Who will save some Nigerians from intellectual laziness?

By Femi Adesina

Since President Muhammadu Buhari met with the Archbishop of Canterbury in London on Wednesday, and spoke on the likely impact of gunmen trained by former Libyan leader, Muammar Gaddafi, on the killings by herdsmen in Nigeria, some people have virtually flown off the handle, ululating as if wailing was going out of fashion.

They twisted the meaning of Mr President’s words (yes, some people twist everything, even the words of God; 2 Peter:3, 15,16). They claimed he was blaming Gaddafi, long dead, for the killings in Nigeria.

But let’s see the vacuousness and intellectual laziness in the twist they have given what President Buhari said, out of sheer malice and evil hearts. Sadly, even a Senator was involved in the sickening display of poisonous heart. That’s what you get when small minds get into high places.

Here’s what Mr President told Archbishop Justin Welby:
“The problem is even older than us. It has always been there, but now made worse by the influx of armed gunmen from the Sahel region into different parts of the West African sub-region. These gunmen were trained and armed by Muammar Gadaffi of Libya. When he was killed, the gunmen escaped with their arms. We encountered some of them fighting with Boko Haram. Herdsmen that we used to know carried only sticks and maybe a cutlass to clear the way, but these ones now carry sophisticated weapons. The problem is not religious, but sociological and economic. But we are working on solutions.”

“The problem is even older than us,” said President Buhari. If anybody is not challenged with simple understanding of English language, does this mean pre-Gaddafi? The former Libyan leader was born in 1942, and killed in October 2011, making him 69 years old at the time of his death. So, did he cause clashes between farmers and herdsmen, which the President said was older than most living Nigerians? Only rabidly mischievous minds can conceive such.

“It has always been there, but now made worse…” If you say something has been exacerbated by a factor, does it mean such factor is the cause? Simply illogical.

The President talked about the influx of militia trained, armed and used by Gaddafi, who now dispersed into different countries, including possibly Nigeria, after the Libyan strongman’s death. Are some people claiming ignorance of such development, despite it being global knowledge? So deep must be the ignorance of such people. Simple research will show them the Libyan influence on proliferation of small arms all over Africa, after Gaddafi’s death.

The President then talked about the herdsmen we used to know, who carried just sticks, and at worst a cutlass, saying those armed with sophisticated weapons were unknown to this clime. Is that not true?

If herdsmen have suddenly turned murderous in a country, it calls for all sorts of interrogation, including intellectual, as to what may have gone wrong. The causes could be multifarious. And solutions must be jointly proffered.

A President has sensitive security reports available to him. President Buhari gave another vista from which the herdsmen/farmers clashes could be considered, but rather than be reflective and do critical interrogation, the wailers engaged in their pastime: they began to wail, including senators and people who should naturally be level headed and examine issues dispassionately. Very sorry.

“But we are working on solutions,” President Buhari told the cleric. They ignored that. It holds no meaning for them. They are interested in problems, not solutions. Problems serve their pernicious interests more. Pity!

That is what hatred does to the heart. It stunts the mind and poisons the soul. Such heart plays petty partisan and divisive politics with every matter. It is what President Buhari at that meeting called “irresponsible politics.” And as we head for general elections next year, much more of it would be seen, except such people reform, and put on their thinking caps.

The tendency now is to twist and slant every word from President Buhari in the negative, all in a bid to demean, de-market, and demonize him, and make him unattractive to the electorate. But those who do it are to be pitied. Sensible Nigerians know what the President is doing for the country, and would queue behind him at the polls next year. At the end of it all, the detractors would be holding the short ends of the stick, and looking small, forlorn and disconsolate. Where would they then hide their faces?

Does President Buhari truly love Nigeria?

By Musa Mohammed Zango

One common and usual refrain among loyalists and supporters of Nigerian leaders in the past decade is that the particular leader in question, ‘means well for the country’. The issue of meaning well is often brought in to counter accusations of non- performance against such leaders.

Thus when opponents of a sitting President demand for his ouster, usually in the next election as punishment for poor performance or under performance, among the points put forward by supporters of the non-performing leader is to say that he means well for the nation, and should therefore be spared even when in the opinion of the opposition and other discerning citizens, the leader has not done well! One common and familiar scapegoat for the poor performance of the Leader are his aides!

The average Nigerian, good natured as always would blame the aides of the President or those around him and never the man himself as the reason for his poor outing. The question arises, who selected these aides? In the event that the aides were selected for him, should the Leader or President not periodically review what his aides do and call them to order where they are found wanting?

The case above is the same with President Muhammadu Buhari whose term will be up in May 2019, but whose ardent supporters are already losing sleep about his fate come February 2019 when the 2019 elections would take place.

To say that a terrible fever has gripped the pro-Buhari camp and the lying and cheating ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) party, is an understatement. In fact it is right to say that the nation is under siege because of the ambition of this former military Head of State and retired and tired Major-General and his supporters who are so keen on his re-election whether or not he has performed in the nearly three years he has been in the saddle.

Nigerians can go as far as the ridiculous in their support for politicians notably incumbent Heads of States in whose government they have interest. Recently, the Governor of Kaduna State, a state that has had a very bitter taste of the generalised insecurity and killings in the country which has defined the Buhari Presidency, led a high-powered delegation of APC governors to the Presidential Villa to express support for the second term ambition of President Muhammadu Buhari at a time that there should be national mourning on account of the massacre by herdsmen of than 73 men, women and children in Benue.

The unfortunate people were killed in their sleep and their villages sacked by the marauding herdsmen who are now a security threat to the entire country. Second, to add insult to injury, the lying and propaganda ruling party, the APC has been working hard to prod its non-performing, sick and lacklustre Buhari to go for a second term, thus giving the impression that the APC, after the exit of that nationalist and gentleman, Atiku Abubakar, is lacking in quality persons who can contest the Presidency

It should be noted that the sly Kaduna State governor, Nasir El- Rufai and the other selfish and poor performing governors of the APC, took this bizarre and unprecedented step even when President Buhari had not declared his interest in the race as he was trying to come to grips with the security and economic mess the country has become under his watch!

It would seem that the governor who took this insensitive step, and those in his entourage live in the moon unlike majority of Nigerians who hold the view that the incumbent has done his best but that the country need someone who can do better. In fairness to him, President Muhammadu Buhari is a tough disciplinarian and anti-corruption personality and gentleman who knows his limitations. He came not prepared for the exalted office of President but was favoured by providence, and the coalition of strange bed-fellows in the APC moulded into a political party by former Lagos State Governor, Bola Tinubu, with the assistance of other notable political leaders. Muhammadu Buhari was also helped to power by his now- estranged benefactor, former President Olusegun Obasanjo.

Recently, his controversial benefactor parted ways with him on the grounds that he (Obasanjo) is opposed to President Buhari’s ambition to seek another term in office. In fact, former President Obasanjo in a recent public letter to Buhari, accused him of non-performance and nepotism as well of poor health and marginal appreciation of the demands of governance in a plural society like ours. Obasanjo pointedly told Buhari not to seek re-election so as not to sentence Nigerians already reeling from his tribalistic and unimaginative government from another four years of misrule, mismanagement, poverty and hardship and wanton massacre of defenceless Nigerians across the country.

There are many Nigerians both inside and outside the country who are of the view that the country needs new set of leaders and that the present administration has failed abysmally in the area of protection of lives and property. President Muhammadu Buhari has clearly presented himself as a weak Commander-in- Chief who cannot get the nation’s security forces, despite huge budgetary allocation available to them in the last three years, to significantly overcome a terrorist insurgency in the North east region of Nigeria, and a herdsmen killing spree in all parts of the country which is now threatening the entire country.

It would seem also that the elderly man that he is, President Buhari knows that he would only declare interest in the 2019 polls against the wish of majority of Nigerians, at the nation’s peril.

It seems it has dawned on the President that the nation he often has claimed he loves, and which his ardent supporters say he means well for would be in mortal danger if he were to shun the dictates of wise counsel and plunge into the potentially boiling 2019 elections. As one prominent lawyer from Plateau state put it in a recent interview with a national newspapers, “if Buhari contests and wins the 2019 polls, there will be chaos, and if he loses; there will be trouble”. The erudite lawyer then advised the President, to thank God and go home after his term ends in 2019!

However, the way things stand, President Muhammadu Buhari has elected to reject wise counsel and shun the 2019 polls. Buhari seems to be enjoying the death sentence he has passed on Nigerians by the complex and unsuccessful economic policies of his government in the last three years which has yielded more job losses, crimes and business closures than any government in our recent history.

Thus his declaration of interest to contest the 2019 polls at a meeting of his party, the All Progressives Congress (APC) on the 9th of April, 2018 in Abuja is a bad omen and a sign of more difficult days ahead for the people of Nigeria, if effort is not made by Nigerians to hand him a clear rejection through a resounding defeat. The People Democratic Party (PDP) and other opposition parties should sink their differences and come together under a detribalized Nigerian and visionary like Atiku Abubakar, and bring to an end, the Buhari dictatorship.

However, having shown that he is hard of hearing and is determined to inflict more suffering on Nigerians with his nepotic and lying government, one pleads with Buhari that if he has any iota of compassion left in his being, and wish to pay the nation back for the wonderful opportunity that has been given to him, to serve both as a military leader and a civilian President, he should ensure that the 2019 election is free and fair and that the votes of Nigerians would count. Never before in our history has there been so much apprehension that the incumbent will not organise a credible election as we have now under Buhari’s watch! He should also endeavour to ensure that no impediments are placed in the way of the winner to take office.

Musa Mohammed Zango, wrote from Bauchi.

2019: Let the others simply run away

By Femi Adesina, 

There are two options for those in contention for the presidency in 2019: run, or run away. Now that President Muhammadu Buhari has indicated his intention to run, dwarfs trying to wear a giant’s shoes should simply run away. The cat has returned from a journey, let the rats scamper for safety.

Show clean pairs of heels? But this is a democracy! Everybody is free to run in the direction he or she fancies. True. So, what I’ve said is mere advice, which they can take, or choose not to take. Nigerians will decide early next year. The greater the challenge, the sweeter the victory.

I have always said it privately and in public. If President Muhammadu Buhari decides to run for a second term in 2019, I would support him. It doesn’t matter whether I am in government or not. For some of us, the man Buhari is a conviction, a resolution, a man to admire and adore since 1984, when he became military head of state.

Is he perfect? Show me the man who is. Is he running a perfect government? Show me the government which is. Is he sincere? Very. Does he love the country? Dearly. Will he take Nigeria to the Promised Land? As the good Lord helps. And he is on the way there. Does he need more time? Sure, he does. The rot was too much, benumbing.

Nigeria is doing a lot more with a lot less today. There was a time we were awash with money. Oil sold for as high as $120 dollars per barrel, and we produced up to two million barrels per day. For many years. But we had no roads, no electricity, no health care, no security, nothing. The money was simply looted. They sat round the table, as if gathered for lunch, and hundreds of billions of dollars were shared.

Now, after oil prices crashed to as low as 30 dollars per barrel in 2015, and currently oscillates between 50 and 60 dollars, Nigeria is doing great things. Electricity has been taken to over 7,000 megawatts, from the inherited 3,000. The economy is now being truly diversified, after five decades of lip service. Agriculture is now the second biggest thing after oil, and is poised to become number one in the not too distant future. Farmers, in their millions, now smile to the banks. The farmer is now king. He sends himself on pilgrimage to Mecca or Jerusalem, paying his own way. Those who want more wives among them have even taken. And not on credit. Lol.

With income standing at about 60% less than what we used to earn, N1.3 trillion was spent on capital in 2016. The 2017 budget will close with about the same amount being expended on capital projects. Simply because you have a honest man in leadership. Not that corruption has been wiped out, no, but it has been drastically curbed. And anyone serving with the man knows that stealing is now corruption. When fish rots, it starts from the head. But we now have a head that shows the way. Mai Gaskiya. The Honest Man. Shine the light, and people will find the way.

How about our foreign reserves? They say we should stop talking about the past, and simply face the future. So that Nigerians would not be reminded of how they ran the country into a hole? With oil at its highest prices for many years, what they left in foreign reserves was a miserly $29.6 billion. It dropped to as low as $24 billion about a year ago, because of collapsed oil prices. But then, by divine mercies, prices began to inch up in the international market. It reached $60 per barrel, just about half of what they earned for many years. We cut unbridled importation of what can be produced locally. Prudence became the watchword. And foreign reserves now stand at over $46 billion. Why? Simply because the money is not being pocketed by those in power, as it once happened.

And then, some voodoo priests came: don’t run for a second term. Give way to younger people. Take a well deserved rest. Blah blah blah. As if they were the beginning and end of democracy. The motive was simple: we must dissuade this man from running, so that he wouldn’t become the greatest ever Nigerian leader. He must not become the authentic national hero. All types of cards were being flashed, yellow, green, red, purple, as if they had become emergency referees. But President Buhari kept his peace. No abuse for abuse, no railing for railing. When you are in the marketplace, you concentrate on the person you are transacting a deal with, and ignore the noise of the market. Now, the Tower of Babel has been resoundingly ignored, and democracy will be the victor.

Early next year, Nigerians will decide what they want. Go ahead on the journey to Canaan, a land flowing with milk and honey, or go back to Egypt, a land of eternal bondage, and excruciating pains? Nigerians will do it again. They will freely elect the leader they want, without pandering to ethnic, religious, and other primordial sentiments being currently whipped up. There will be no doomsday, as the election will be free and fair. No wuru-wuru or mago-mago under Buhari’s watch, no matter what. A man that swears to his own hurt.

Nigerians, President Buhari is on the march again. For the sake of our tomorrow and the ages to come, for the sake of our children and generations yet unborn, let’s do it again.

Adesina is Special Adviser to President Buhari on Media and Publicity

Nigeria counting blessings

By Garba Shahu,

Last year, the World Bank ranked Nigeria among the top 10 reforming economies in the world. This was clearly in recognition of the thorough and rigorous growth and development-oriented economic policies of the Buhari Administration.

Today, investors and business men and women from around the world can arrive in Nigeria and get their visas right at the airport without any hassle. This is just one of the many reasons why Nigeria has advanced 24 steps in the global ‘Ease of Doing Business’ rankings of the World Bank.

The government is spending more on infrastructure than previous administrations, despite earning barely half of what the country earned from oil between 2011 and 2014 when the product was selling for an average of $110 per barrel. The latest GDP figures show continued growth after the Buhari administration successfully brought the country out of recession, with virtually all sectors of the economy now on the rebound, and significant progress recorded in agriculture.

This administration has also ushered in significant progress in agriculture, where output has risen in local production, and Nigeria is now importing 80-90 percent less rice than in previous years.

Fertilizer plants have been resuscitated, prices have dropped. More and more young people are going into agriculture, being able, for the first time, to see farming as a viable endeavour. Has anyone heard of the Graduates-in-Agriculture Scheme in several states of the federation, a self-driven, government-assisted programme by which our young men and women are stopping their endless wait for white-collar jobs and creating wealth for themselves and the nation?

Power generation and distribution have more than doubled from 2015 when President Buhari took power to the present.

In his address at the 10th Bola Tinubu Colloquium a week ago, the Vice President, Professor Yemi Osinbajo reported that the Buhari administration has put in place “an audacious Social Investment Programme to the tune of N500 billion, the largest pro-poor programme in our nation’s history, and the largest social safety net, at least in Sub-Saharan Africa. This was despite the fact that by 2015, oil prices fell by over 50% and our production also fell from over 2 million barrels a day to less than 700,000 barrels a day, sometimes even 500,000 barrels in 2016.

“We have seen today the empirical evidence of the successes of this programme, and all of that is evident for us to see and listen to several testimonies and stories. 200,000 jobs for undergraduates employed under the N-Power programme, 300,000 more waiting to be employed; they have been pre-selected; over 7 million children being fed daily in 22 States so far; beneficiaries of micro-credit loans going to about 300,000; and almost 300,000 households benefiting from conditional cash transfers.”

In line with campaign promises, this administration is spending trillions of Naira to build railways, roads and ramp up power supplies. On this spending on infrastructure the Vice President’s words were:

“In 2014, when oil was at between 100 dollars and 114 dollars a barrel, the actual releases for capital for three ministries – Power, Works and Housing – then they were three separate ministries, was in total N99 billion; while Transportation got 14 billion, and Agriculture got 15 billion. I am talking about actual releases, not budgeted, what they actually got. Let us compare that with capital releases to the same ministries in 2017, when oil price was between $50 and $60 a barrel, N415 Billion for Power, Works & Housing, N80 Billion for Transportation; N65 Billion for Agriculture; totalling N560 Billion, in a time when we were earning at least 50% less than we were earning in 2014.”

We wish, however, to caution that these comments should not be misconstrued as denying that there is more that needs to be done, as the current administration is relentless and determined to continue in its task of continuously improving the lot of Nigerians.

We are only saying that we must learn to pause and count our blessings. The loud voices of critics with selfish ambitions and ulterior motives should not be a veil that keeps Nigerians blind to the many ways God has blessed us and improved our lot through the Buhari administration.

Job creation, stronger economy can unite Nigeria, stem sectarian strife

By Atiku Abubakar,

Over the last few months, our nation has had to reopen a fresh chapter in the conversation on internal security, peace and unity in the wake of renewed violence in the North Central and North East of our country. These sad episodes have not only led to questions by young Nigerians (and Nigerians as a whole) around the effectiveness of our security structure, but also questions about the integrity of Nigeria’s unity.

Unity is not something we just have because we are Nigerians, or because someone like me or any other weighs in asking Nigerians to be united. Unity is something we must deliberately work for. In order to unite Nigeria, me must consciously define the fundamentals of our nationhood, to ensure everyone feels safe, secure and carried along.

To build a truly united nation, we must address the issues which lead to insecurity at their roots. We must pay more than lip service to “poverty alleviation”, and truly get Nigerians working again. A person who has a job has less time for ethnic bickering.

Let truth be told, the people in the upper classes of our country rarely engage with each other with ethnicity in mind. When people have food to eat, they are less suspicious of each other and begin to focus on creating value. People who have food to eat and good homes to live do not worry about ethnicity of their business partners or co-workers. They are more worried about what value their business partners bring, rather than where those partners come from.

There is this joke which I get to hear often – when a small car hits another small car, the drivers come out to shout, because they don’t know which of them has money to fix the damage, but when two big cars hit themselves, the big men come out, shake hands and exchange cards. As people get better quality of life, they begin to place more value on life and wellbeing of others. This obviously means that if our people have better lives all-round, there will be fewer suspicion and confrontations between groups of people.

Now let me share a bit of experience with building unity. I come from Adamawa State, made up of almost an equal number of Christians and Muslims, Fulani and disparate people’s collectively called Chamba. In many ways, Adamawa is like Nigeria. I grew up as a Fulani boy. My grandmother and uncle were tradespeople, so it was not uncommon to have a lot of Christians and people of different ethnicity and religions in our home. Our neighbours were Christian and Muslim, so I grew up really not exposed to tribalism until I went to secondary school. There were two sociopolitical organizations then, one for Chamba people and the other for Fulani. I was a popular student, so was promptly invited to join the Fulani organization.

But privately I had been speaking with both my Fulani and Chamba friends about unifying both organizations before the invitation came, so it was difficult for me to go and join the Fulani organization. I publicly refused to join the organization, and instead worked with both sides to create the Adamawa Students Union, an umbrella union which collapsed both the Chamba and Fulani organizations into one.

This was the inspiration which would later lead to the creation of the Adamawa Peace Initiative, a non-governmental organization which brings together all the stakeholders in our state to work for peaceful coexistence. The API brings together scholars, clerics, youth, market women, businesspeople (many of whom are of Igbo extraction), representatives of security organizations, and co-chaired by Muslim and Christian leaders. This organization helps defuse conflicts in Adamawa communities, organizes entrepreneurship classes and sports events for young people, as well as coordinates relief projects whenever and wherever the need arises in Adamawa. API was the first organization to coordinate the absorption of internal displaced people from around the North East into Yola and surrounding towns.

A few years ago, the API heard rumours that certain groups were spreading fake news that another group was planning attacks on the other from out of state. The organization quickly got together, assembled both Christian and Muslim leaders to address the issue. That Friday, the imams around the state had been briefed to speak about the issue to reduce tension, while the Christian churches did same on Sunday. Crisis was averted. This has been the template with which API has addressed issues since then.

The experience here shows that building peace and unity goes beyond goodwill messages. We should not be in denial about the weaknesses in our communities. We must actively pursue peace and unity by coordinating grassroots organizations. Fake news did not begin on the internet – rumours have led to unfortunate incidents of bloodshed in our communities around Nigeria. Inter-group grassroots organizations can provide a trustworthy partner in keeping everyone assured of their safety.

But the tasks of NGOs like API are only secondary. The primary needs of Nigerian communities are jobs and opportunities to build sustainable ventures. Our economy needs to grow to accommodate the population which has been growing faster than our GDP.

I was having a conversation about Nigeria’s population growth rate, and a friend of mine joked that I am probably not the right person to have this conversation with, seeing as I have a really large family. This is true in many ways. Many people in my generation grew up in large families, it was all we knew, but must we continue in what we knew, in the face of new information and reality? It is also often the case that the elite families can afford to train their children, so large families become a resource, but the reverse is the case with poorer families. It is easy to see how income inequality will grow even wider as our population grows further, especially in rural communities.

For the avoidance of doubt, there’s nothing wrong with huge population. It can indeed be an asset if properly harnessed, especially in situations where the citizens are exposed to good education and skills, ensuring that they get a head start in life, like it is the case with China.

The challenge however is where population growth far outstrips GDP growth as is currently the case with our country. In this instance population becomes a liability by default.

It is important that we grow our economy at a rate to cope with our population growth. Our current population growth of 3 per cent when compared with our GDP growth of 1 per cent in 2017 and the expected 2.5 per cent in 2018, will see us ending up with a lower per capita income and becoming even poorer at the end of 2018. Our GDP growth needs to outpace our population growth to make the latter an asset and not a liability.

As a father (and one with a large family) on one hand and a promoter of education on the other, I will counsel that on a scale of balance that parents have children that they can train to acquire good education and skills that will give them a head start in life and make them productive members of society.

An alumnus of American University of Nigeria, Mr. Muhammed Zanna is a daily reminder of the nexus between education and job creation. The young man could not wait to graduate before venturing into the entrepreneurial world. He bought over a business that had served as a practical for their business management class. Today, the young man runs a personal business, a testimony that education can indeed be a tool for creating small businesses. The Zanna experience, incubated at AUN in Yola, is an apt reminder that when our young people are taught how to create small businesses, their creative energies are unleashed to the betterment of the individual, our economy and society.

Atiku is the Former Vice President of Nigeria between 1999-2007

Black Panther and many lessons for Nigeria

By Atiku Abubakar

Over the weekend, I joined my children to watch the much talked about ‘Black Panther’. It was a good film, and I was happy they took me to see it. However, I came out of the movie theatre a little upset.

When the first scenes came up, and I saw “Sambisa Forest” I was unhappy that the only reference the film makers could have for Nigeria was a negative one, but I was later encouraged by the thought of Africans solving African problems. That is a good thing, the kinds of things we used to do. For young people who may not remember, Nigerian civil servants and indeed most able citizens used to contribute money every month to support the struggle against Apartheid in South Africa. Nigeria was the single stabilizing force across West Africa. Helping to restore peace in Liberia and Sierra Leone are examples of the gigantic status we once had.

Seeing another African country come play ‘Big Brother’ to Nigeria made me very sad. We must return to a place of respect. We may argue that the film is a work of fiction, but there are many truths in the story – one of them being that young girls are being abducted by terrorists across the northeast of Nigeria, and they need to be rescued. Only recently, a band of terrorists stormed another girls’ school in Dapchi, Yobe State. After days of confusing information, it is now confirmed that 110 girls are missing. Nigeria has once again been thrown into sorrow with many of us wishing that there was indeed a ‘Black Panther’ to help rescue the girls.

Here are my takeaways on Black Panther:

Institutions are important

Wakanda was portrayed as a technological giant, which ruled great kinds, supported by a council, and traditions are held in high esteem. But it was easy to see that most of the decisions are those of the king, which presents serious institutional problems. Institutional order in the dispensation of justice could have helped handle the betrayal of Wakanda by the king’s brother, which would have prevented the hatred of Wakanda which filled the heart of the nephew who was left behind.

The succession system is also another example of institutional weakness in Wakanda. The young man from America came in and within days, destroyed the long standing institutions, even when he seemed to be trying to help Black people all over the world.

In one moment of folly, he decided to destroy the garden that guarantees powers to every other king of the future. Should there not have been a process whereby a council needs to approve the King’s orders before they are carried out? Institutions are better guarantors of good governance than kings or strong men/women.

Checks and balances are important in leadership. This is why democracy is important. As a Nigerian who has lived through many dictatorships, I would have liked Wakandans to adopt a new model, which gives them a say in who leads them, as well as includes checks and balances. This would at least insure the country against the rise of tyrants and demagogues.

Killmonger’s liberation philosophy was terrible

The most successful tyrants always have simple philosophies, which on the surface appear good. We only see the deviousness of the plan after a second look.

Many people would be drawn to the message of black liberation that the young American returnee preached, but closer scrutiny reveals that it wasn’t liberation he was preaching, but reverse oppression. When the oppressed becomes the oppressor, has justice really been done or are we just exchanging one evil for another?

Nigeria’s hope is Nigerians

One of Wakanda’s most valuable resources was mentioned in the film, but not shown – many Wakandans abroad providing intelligence to their country back home. There’s enough Nigerian talent abroad to turn our country into a technology and industry giant. The question then is how we can make the environment conducive for them to return and contribute to its growth and development.

During my time in government, mining the ‘natural resource’ of Nigerians in the Diaspora was an important part of our strategy, bringing back Nigerians who had established themselves abroad to come home to work. Sadly, many of those people who came back have packed up and returned abroad. We are losing professionals in all sectors in their droves every month, at the fastest rate not seen since the 1980s.

We cannot build the Nigeria of our dreams without keeping our best people in the country and empowering them to work and build businesses. We cannot keep our people healthy when the best of our medical professionals are being forced to pack up and leave.

We always need strategic alliances

One of my favourite characters in the film was Mbaku, the big chief from the mountain tribe. He sounded and acted very Nigerian, which made me like him a lot. His alliance with T’Challa was very innocuous – having failed to defeat the new king in the challenge for the throne, the king encouraged him to give up, that he will be useful to the king in the future. That little moment is the reason Wakanda was saved later in the film.

As a Nigerian, I always wonder how much stronger our regional leadership would be if we built better alliances. Nigerian soldiers spent most of the 90s and 2000s helping stabilize West Africa. Wouldn’t it be in our interest to strengthen our influence on the basis of those sacrifices?

Women in Africa get things done

One important thing I noticed in Wakanda was the strong role of women in all aspects – defense, technology, leadership, spiritual leadership, among others.

When there was trouble, the women of Wakanda didn’t just stand by, they found a way. I remember in the mid-90s, when many of Nigeria’s leading democracy activists were running away in crates and bush border crossings, (I also miraculously escaped), the women were there to save us.

Women were either helping the movement go underground, or taking up the fight. It would be a disservice to Nigerian women, if we speak about June 12, without mentioning the role of Kudirat Abiola.

I was honoured to present a posthumous award to MKO Abiola’s family during the recently held Silverbird Man of the Year Awards, and I wish more awards will go to the women who often led or supported the pro-democracy movement.

I finished the Black Panther movie wondering how much better our country would be if we let more women into leadership. We are losing up to 40% of our productivity because we still haven’t fully integrated our women into economic and socio-political leadership.

But I was also left thinking, what if the king’s first child was a girl; would Wakandans support her to be Black Panther?

Atiku Abubakar is the  former Vice President of Nigeria and PDP chieftain

FFK and persistent attacks on personality is unethical

 By Gbenga Owoyele

It is a blessing to our nation that the social media has made it easy to engage government along with several values it added to business and life in general.

However, the former Aviation Minister, Femi Fani-Kayode (FFK), is one of many who have benefited from this and our role as youths and citizens of Nigeria is to ensure the social media space is not corrupted.

History records that since the creation of the Economic and Financial Crime Commission (EFCC) there has been allegation by numerous Nigerians that the process is witch-hunt rather than sanitization.

The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) regime experienced same allegations and that did not stop the much recorded success of the agency.

Be as it may, none of them has attached the allegations to God as Mr. FFK Femi Fani-Kayode, that we know is not a church frequent Christian, who we can longer understand as he tries to turn to God now.

What we don’t understand is his mention of people who EFCC already settled with. Gov. Isa Yuguda, Gov. Orji Uzor Kalu, Gov. Sullivan Chime of Enugu and Senator Obanikoro. Mr. FFK in May 2017 tweets said: My brother, Musiliu Obanikoro’s decision to join the APC irks and saddens me. I say this because I have always loved him and I care. I will miss him in PDP. When the news of his decamp to All Progressive Congress hit the media.

As much as Obaninkoro, Fani-Kayode, Bashir Ishaq Bashir, Reuben Abati, and Bala Mohammed were in same room while in custody of EFCC, we know too well that the charges were different, which meant the resolution cannot be the same.

Abati agreed to return N5 million out of N50 million he allegedly received from the former national security adviser and was released. Judge granted Ishaq Bashir bail for N2m in $1m fraud case. November 4, 2016 when Obanikoro was released FFK was still held and no issues of being given preference was raised by FFK.

Reuben Abati or Bala Muhammed never raised such issues till date and they were all arraigned same time.

What we know of, is the heart issues Fani-Kayode has, as stated by his lawyer.

We are not aware that he has issues with understanding the legal implication and differences in his case and Obanikoro case. I advise he seeks the assistance of his lawyer to understand the difference.

Recently, a Nigerian daily reported that sources informed the media orgation how Obanikoro paid N100 million to EFCC, after he was detained on October 17 following his return from the United States to submit himself to the commission on fraud allegations.

These are salient issues around the case that make Obanikoro different from FFK.

We are however aware that in the last four appearance in court, Fani-Kayode had come up with several distraction and excuse, the online community should see this as one of them.

Instead of accusing others, Fani-Kayode should seek redress with the PDP brotherhood which in the first place reported him to EFCC for embezzlement of campaign funds.

The sanity of Nigerian political discuss on social media should not be compromised. Today the fall out of online engagement especially twitter has shaped discuss on other media, from Television to Radio programs. We should be careful of misinforming Nigerians who do not have resources to verify news.

Everyone who pays attention to EFCC cases will know this is just another Fani-Kayode tactical move for freedom from the corruption net of the Government of President Muhammadu Buhari.

Owoyele is Vice Chairman, Nation Youth Council of Nigerian, Ejigbo LCDA Local Chapter.
twitter: @lagoschairma Facebook: Lagos Charisma

Loathe or love Kanu, he has fought better

By Atiku Abubakar,

For 35 years, Anthony Enahoro, Afenifere, Ben Nwabueze, OPC, ọhaneze, MEND, MASSOB, Awolowo, and other reputable Nigerians tried and begged for restructuring, the north rebuffed them.

No body even took them serious. Nobody listened.

Then a little known rabble-rouser ran a pirate radio station from his matchbox room in Peckham. In three years he made the hitherto unfashionable and impossible thing central to our national politics.

Elrufai was in London yesterday talking restructuring.

They fought in Ondo in a meeting on restructuring, there is a Yoruba declaration.

Northern elders are shifting ground while pretending to grandstand.

You don’t have to agree with his style, I also don’t, but you must be one pretentious clown if you don’t acknowledge that Nnamdi Kanu, loathe or love him, has achieved what all those people and organizations have been fighting for over 35 years without success.

He did it in three years. The mass movement he inspired became a huge threat to the establishment.

They had to take him out. Sadly, ethnic bịas and hate from those who accuse him (rightly too) won’t let folks see or acknowledge what this man has done.

The fire he lit up will definitely lead to something tangible happening this time. People aren’t ready to take no and platitudes for answers again.

This much you can concede to kanu without letting the hate you often accuse of him of get the better of you.

Dead or alive, the little rabble-rouser from Afara-ukwu Umuahia has secured his place in history.

In the final analysis, immortality isn’t how long you live. It is how long your name is remembered, and for good or bad, Kanu will be remembered for ages as the man that took aim at the very heart of the Nigerian political establishment and they rolled in the tanks to quell him.

That is something you must concede.

When history is made, the protagonists rarely know the consequences of the chain of events they unleashed.

But posterity will always remember.

Kanu has been many things to many people- uncouth, brash, hateful, obsessed, a charlatan, a clown, a messiah, a saviour, a fraud, etc. We can’t seem to agree. We must agree though that he has also been an agent of change.
Should the current fever on restructuring succeed, kanu should take credit for birthing it.

Atiku is the former Vice President of Nigerian between 1999-2007

Nigeria and needed true third force

By Azibola Omekwe

It evokes anger why after nearly 58 years of Nigeria independence, we are still battling to save country. Our mates and even younger peers have gone to the moon as well as have gone nuclear. They manufacture and sell aircraft on the counter.

Power supply does not blink in these countries, while we are grappling with who is performing and who is not. We are, however, grateful to Baba Obasanjo, for his perpetuity in intervening in our polity in his so long a “love” letter.

We are really grateful to Baba for telling the APC-led government to stop stealing our money while they sermonize that PDP is to be blamed for their lack of performance.

The government has suddenly discovered an art for its cluelessness.

PDP ‘misrule’ is to be blamed for paying subsidy on petrol nobody knows the giver nor the receiver, or even the amount. It is to be blamed for our medical personnel to dread going to work because it is a death trap.

What a hell for patients! PDP is to be blamed for the killings in Zamfara State, a scenario worse than Benue State while the state and federal officials are afraid to speak. It is to be blamed when it is a faceless cabal and not the president that is ruling Nigeria.

Of course, we can blame it on the Minister of Justice to go to court to stop senate from investigating Abdulrasheed Maina; while the president is ‘angry’ he was ever reinstated.

Nigerians have declared him wanted as a people while the relevant institutions are yet to do so. Of course, PDP’s 16 years of ‘misrule’ caused the scandals in the NNPC under Buhari as the Petroleum Minister.

Dr. Olusegun Obasanjo has often come to the rescue. While other former presidents traverse the length and breadth of Nigeria preaching peace and unity, he was bold enough to say corruption is worse than Nigeria has ever known. Baba is supposed to know.

He convincingly enumerated the sins of this government; that is irrefutable. The Oracle of the hills and the caves of Ota farm declared: Buhari forget 2019, go home and rest.

We commend Obasanjo to have spoken the minds of Nigerians to the president to take a deserved rest and join the fray of statesmen in advising Nigerians until death do you part.

The accusations on this government are weighty and there is no way Buhari can redeem himself out of it. Under this regime bloody clashes are uncountable, the highest in the annals of the country so far. That is unacceptable.

These and many more are the attacks and counter attacks of the political parties against one another.

At a point in time, Obasanjo’s party card came to the rescue. Since the government of the day was not performing, he tore it publicly.

Sometime ago when APC was at its best blaming PDP for its incompetence, he came with another antic that he actually did not tear the card and that he could use it to remove them out of power. And after the card phase, now heralds the third force.

The Third Force concept herein is metaphoric. It is the force that seems to fix those things that are beyond the available means or political power. This concept came like a beautiful toast in the best words to Nigerians.

It came jaw dropping and has caused the not so careful and anxious people to sit on the edges of their chairs. It is presumably made up of people who are not part of the political class. That is, with these guys, it is not business as usual.

One would quickly think these guys are from the galaxy and they have come out with the magic solution. A quick recall of how the APC came out with their masterpiece strategies.

You may require a third eye, perhaps a pair of binoculars, to look where the signatories of the third force are coming from. Big names, as usual. But lo and behold, when the major force behind the third force was mentioned one would quickly recall a diversionary Obasanjo.

Between 1999 and 2007 Nigeria had several billions of dollars from oil that cannot be accounted for today.

The mention of Buba Galadima’s name on the signatories is only laughable to see an exhumation of a ‘dead body’. Alhaji Galadima was a founding father of the defunct CPC that gave birth to the nightmarish APC.

His is simple: he fell out of favour with the APC and quickly turned into self-acclaimed activism against them; hence his participation in the third force.

One thing would quickly come to mind: does it mean if a system you supposedly actively initiated does no longer favour you or you fall out of grace with it, that now automatically makes you an activist? Senator Shehu Sani is a renowned activist yet he is in APC, even when they are not heeding to his quarrels.

At the sight of the name of a supposedly young man, Donald Duke in the third force, the multi billion Naira debt Cross River State incurred under him quickly comes to mind. And the mirage called Tinapa Resort quickly comes to mind too.

These are some of the core forerunners of the third force. Nigeria should be tired of a preservationist system – these are people that have been in the political class one time or the other. They are not coming from the blues. They have not even given Nigeria a clear-cut mission statement that is sellable.

It is a matter of nomenclature. We have had third forces right from Shagari’s reign. Buhari came to power in 1983 as a third force. PDP’s emergence in 1999 in our nascent democracy was like a third force. APC came like a beautiful bride three years ago, that was also a third force. Today, the christened ‘third force’ is chorusing.

The trend is now scientific. Nigerians can be told to forget the sitting government and welcome a third force, and when the third force fails, then reconsider a fourth force and this becomes generic to a fifth force and so on.

Governance is not about a clique of people with their intrigues. It is about a click on ideas to transform into a workable system that is sustainable. Cliques break but ideas stay. There is a need for Nigeria to build a workable system in line with this famous quote: “America has no government but a system”. Nigeria has just identified one: the restructuring to a true federalism that Atiku Abubakar is modelling now.

A prudent thinker like Obasanjo would have called Atiku Abubakar and asked him how this system that the latter is fore-running would strive and free Nigeria from the suffering since it is a novel theory.

It would only behoove on the theorist to tell Nigerians how the system would deliver an egalitarian society; how it would answer vexatious questions concerning cattle colonies; how it would make the leaders of the unit states go to work and stop relying on the central government; how the unit states would have to harness their resources; how an Ortom would not have to fill or make several fruitless applications to the Inspector General of Police and receive insults as a “drowning man” in Abuja before he swoops on perpetrators of dastardly acts in his state; how a state can be able to lend another money without waiting for the Federal Government for bailouts. The benefits are endless.

Why can’t Obasanjo embrace this groundbreaking idea together with the scholar and promoter behind it? It is a revolutionary theory in its right.

Lest we forget, brain efficiency and capability has nothing to do with age. Leadership has nothing to do with age – it has to do with what you have got to offer. Ideology is diametrically different from age discrepancy. After all, long awaited solutions do not come as picking something from the shelf; it comes after years of working the library, studios, laboratories, fields, etc.

Let us come to look at it critically: if it were an issue of young age, then states like Kogi would have been boasting of having the best governor but empirical findings look the other direction.

Having something to offer has to do with forceful research for solutions. With the nationalistic embrace given to the restructuring ideology, it is enough to say that restructuring is the true third force.

Omekwe is a former member of Bayelsa State House of Assembly.

Mr President! These drums are loud enough

By Adeola Akinremi, 

I grew up listening to pattern of strokes on drums. From a sacred forest near our house, we heard constant drumbeat; from a palace of a deceased famous king we heard early morning beating of drums; and from the market square a few steps away, sound from drums was what Gelede masquerade listened to before putting one foot in front of the other during festivals. My maternal uncle helped me to understand strokes on drums by explaining messages behind a particular drumbeat, the time; where the sound is coming from and why it matters.
So it was in my childhood years that I learned perceptive communications.

I try not to blow the vuvuzela of other people, especially when I don’t agree with their political leanings, but Chief Olusegun Obasanjo, Pastor Tunde Bakare and Ibrahim Babangida’s recent open rebuke of President Muhammadu Buhari’s leadership contain sounds from dangerous drums all over the country that the president may find difficult to hear, because of his lickspittles.
Clearly, if there’s one message for President Buhari in the sound of the drums I heard from the South to the North, it is that Mr. President is overstretching citizens’ patience on the state of the nation.

I am aware that President Buhari hears regularly from his constituency, if I go by the much publicised and repeated allegory in the president’s spokesperson’s articles.
“One evening I went to see him, and I told him,” wrote Mr. Femi Adesina, the president’s spokesman who is doing a difficult job to sell a broken egg at original price. “Mr. President there is this noise all over the country of hunger, he told me ‘I am aware. I have a constituency. People from my own constituency pass the word to me and tell me that things are tough.’”

But does Buhari hear more than words from his constituency? Does Mr. President hear the beating of the drums? Does he understand the pattern of strokes on the drums?
This is why Nigerians are bummed out: Some more than 7.956 million Nigerians became unemployed since Buhari was elected. I did not make up the data. The National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) revealed the truth. Based on what NBS churned out at the end of 2017, Mr. Buhari inherited the burden of creating jobs for less than eight million Nigerians who were out of job in 2015, when he was elected to bring change, but the number of people out of employment has doubled with no sign that it will abate.

In fact, the jump in figures for unemployment rate will be hard to reverse without foresight. The spiral downward shows “14.2 per cent in Q4 2016 to 16.2 per cent in Q2 2017 and 18.8 per cent in Q3 2017.”
To compound the woe, more people of ability to work bloated the figure for working population from 83.9 million in June 2017 to 85.1 million in September 2017. Certainly, Nigeria under Buhari didn’t prepare for them. Don’t forget that we missed the opportunity to hold census in 2016.

“The number of people within the labour force who are unemployed or underemployed increased from 13.6 million and 17.7 million respectively in Q2 2017, to 15.9 million and 18 million in Q3 2017,” NBS said.

It is clearly a shattering moment for the country, when breadwinners now sit at home with families or roam the streets to avoid being asked the typical concerned question: how’s work?

NBS figure is enough to make any sitting president and his party lose next round of elections, where people vote based on policy and where votes count. That is what I’m hearing in the drumbeat of despondency across the country.
Will Buhari be able to reverse the trend before the end of his tenure? I doubt. Here is why: the 2018 budget is in limbo, the National Assembly controlled by the All Progressives Congress, the president’s party has said nothing will happen to the appropriation budget until April, because their concerns have not been addressed. How can you run a government on lotto (a game of chance) and expect true change? Last year, the budget debacle nearly ruined everything and less than 50 per cent of the 2017 budget was implemented.

In a recent interview published by The Punch, a former Managing Director of Unity Bank Plc, Mr. Rislanudeen Mohammed, made a negative pass at Buhari’s economic growth. “The strategies put in place under the economic recovery and growth plan have yet to be effectively implemented,” he said. “For example, for the capital expenditure aspect of the 2017 budget, it was only 15 per cent that was implemented as of the third quarter of 2017 and the Gross Domestic Product of 2.19 per cent projected for 2017 might as well be a mirage.

“Capital expenditure typically reflates an economy by creating more jobs and jumpstarting it towards sustainable recovery and growth in a typical Keynesian economic model.”
Mohammed’s observation puts a question mark on Buhari’s talent in running a country and making it prosperous, after nearly three years in government.

Indeed, it is true. In a year, when Buhari is expected to tell positive narrative of his time in government to stimulate support for his party or his re-election, a damning report by the African Development Bank (AFDB) is equally making him look unserious and uninformed about how to boost ailing economy.

At nearly three years in government, Buhari appears to be a bystander in economic recovery plan. The evidence is in the prolonged agony in different homes and business places all over the country.

Now, under Buhari, the AFDB’s latest economic outlook report shows significant increase in the number of people who fell into poverty rack with figure of 152 million citizens living on less than $2 a day. That calculation represents about 80 per cent of Nigeria’s population.
“Poverty is unacceptably high,” declares AFDB. “Nearly 80 per cent of Nigeria’s 190 million people live on less than $2 a day,”

Okay, it is legitimate for those serving with Buhari to find fault with my analysis, but I’m only taking Mr. President by his words. I was there in the beginning, when we all hired our minds out to hope, trusting he will truly turn things around, based on his words and “body language,” and we cannot say they don’t matter now.
To be sure, in September 2015, during a three-day tour of France to prepare his government for economic success, he addressed a gathering of investors at the Nigerian-France Presidential Business Forum (PBF) in Paris with unusual conviction that Nigeria under him will accelerate economic growth and pull millions out of poverty.

“Nigeria is now at a new dawn to chart and reposition its destiny for greatness,” he said. “We have resolved and firmly determined to consolidate on industrialising Nigeria and diversifying its economy into sectors such as agro-processing, mining, manufacturing, petro-chemicals, food processing and textiles.” Interestingly, the sectors mentioned are still burdened with challenges unattended to by this government in a way that will fire up impressive gains.

The figures of small growth not withstanding in the manufacturing sector is hampered by perennial infrastructure problems such as poor power supply, high cost of self-generated energy, poor road network and rail services.
For instance, Frank Jacobs, who leads Manufacturing Association of Nigeria (MAN), said: “Most companies, such as Coca-Cola, Wempco, Nigeria Flour Mills and especially the multi-nationals self-generate their power. They don’t rely on the national grid.”

Be mindful that these companies produce products that Nigerians go after for one reason or the other and their outlook report is supposed to attract foreign investors. The companies are some of the places where you can find true figure of job creations and employment to make a case for re-election, but their reports are in the negative, from downsizing to closure and losses to lethargy.

In fact, when I learned that companies in the league of Manufacturing Association of Nigeria spend N20.8 billion monthly on power generation to run their production processes, I figured out that Nigerians will pay for it and with household income that is so poor, patronage will reduce when the price of commodity go up. Of course, the poverty level can only be imagined, when purchasing power is low in any economy. It has a rub-off effect on healthcare too.

To flip the narrative, Nigeria will need a president that will not test-run, but take the bull by the horns. For that to happen, I believe Buhari can help the country progress by supporting Nigeria’s quest for a forward-leader. I’m sure he knows that within Nigeria’s 190 million population there are many brilliant leaders in the North and South, who can continue to take the country forward.

Yes, Buhari can stand for election again, but his statesmanship will be in directing his energy at helping the country find a forward-leader that is desperately needed.

Here are my final words. Presidency of Nigeria is not by divine rights. It is simply a contract. In 1963, America’s civil right leader, Rev. Martin Luther king Jr said something very profound and president Buhari should think on those words that “the ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort and convenience, but where he stands at times of challenge and controversy.”