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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.

The real price of ‘Change the Change’ campaign 2

By Garba Shehu,

On Tuesday, May 29, 2018, the Buhari/Osinbajo led government will clock three years in office. With elections less than a year ahead, this period of people-oriented governance has been a great success. The administration has fared very well in various policy fronts. There is a long list of achievements to flaunt.

The popular support for the administration, especially among the poor and disadvantaged is still holding up and is unlikely to significantly wane. In fact trends from our internal polling suggest that this should hold up, or even grow all the way to 2019, the reason being that the ordinary citizens concede it to the president that he is trying to do his best for the country. His concerns for the poor citizens and the nation are among his greatest assets. This is why he has led the country through difficult changes, such as the increase in the pump price of fuel and the landmark steps to stabilize the Naira, at grave risk to political capital, but measures that had become necessary for the benefit of the nation.

The distinguishing characteristic of the administration is its habit of not being bombastic. Look at the simple programme drawn up to celebrate the third anniversary: prayers in mosques on Friday and churches on Sunday; Democracy Day Lecture by Professor Attahiru Jega, erstwhile chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC in the morning of Monday, 28th and a banquet in the evening on Tuesday 29th, at which event the country is also expected to say farewell to the Super Eagles of Nigeria, one of the teams representing Africa in the 2018 World Cup tournament in Russia.

The most telling event of the day is expected to be the broadcast on radio and TV by the President at 7:00 in the morning.

To mark the occasion, some ministers and senior officials of government are expected to be on radio and TV for much of the day, parading what has been achieved by the government in the three years. While the claims will be verifiable, the opposition is expected to continue their political jibes much of it unfortunately, promoting hate and intolerance that does not fit with the traditions of modern democracy.

When they ran the government at the centre, the opposition PDP showed aptitude in only one thing: the toppling of elected state governments using the police and secret service under their control. A five-man legislature met at 6:00 am and “impeached” Governor Dariye in Plateau; 18 members out of 32 removed Governor Ladoja of Oyo from office; in Anambra, APGA’s Governor Obi was equally impeached at 5:00 a.m. by members who did not meet the two-thirds required by the constitution.

His offence was that he refused to inflate the state’s budget. The lawmakers had reportedly met with representatives of the President in Asaba , Delta State and then accompanied to Awka by heavy security provided by the police Mobile Unit. The PDP President at that time had reportedly told Obi to forget re-election in 2007 if he did not join the PDP because he (the President) would not support a non-PDP member.

In Ekiti, Governor Fayose in his first term faced allegations of financial corruption and murder. Following the failure to heed the instruction of the presidency to impeach only Fayose and spare the deputy, Madam Olujimi, now a senator, the PDP President declared that there was a breakdown of law and order in the state and declared a state of emergency. He appointed Brig-Gen. Adetunji Olurin (rtd) as the sole administrator of the state on October 19, 2006. In an earlier incident in Anambra, it took an insider collaboration to thwart the unseating of Governor Ngige by a powerful thug sponsored by the PDP administration. The parliament at the centre seized the law-making powers of the Rivers State House of Assembly as a way to save Governor Rotimi Amaechi, the then chairman of the Nigerian Governors Forum from impeachment by the PDP presidency. Thank God for Buhari, none of these absurdities has happened under his watch but the PDP is indicating their boredom with his meticulous observance of the constitution by calling for a return to the old order.

If not for “dry eyes,” as said in our common parlance, what is it that would push this party to write a letter to the United Nations, laying false claims to constitutionality and alleging that democracy is presently under threat?

But then, we all understand that by its tone, this is an angry opposition unhappy about the loss of privileges they desperately want to hang on to, privileges now abolished by the prudent, austere Buhari Administration. The former Minister of Finance, Dr Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, shocked the world by the revelation in her new book, titled, Fighting Corruption is Dangerous: The Story Behind the Headlines, that they paid N17 billion bribe to the National Assembly to get them pass the 2015 budget.

President Buhari’s first budget in 2016 was the first year of passing the budget without the bribery of legislators. He came to power to clean up the mess and has so far managed a cleaner government than all of the past administrations.

As we said in the first part of this article, the beneficiaries of the old order have since been complaining that they are being starved. Four more years of Buhari?

If by chance or accident you have a USD 16 billion question hanging on your neck, money large enough to construct the Lagos-Port Harcourt standard gauge railway and the massive Mambila power plant put together without borrowing a kobo, then you see a capacity in the change administration to end the shenanigans and get to the root of what happened with the money in that exercise, what do you do? Most people will say start running, scream it: that this change we voted for has gone too far. Foxy generals don’t wait to be caught.

It is the same thing with the narrative of suffering and hunger in the land, the blame which is unfairly being heaped on this administration. Understood in its proper meaning, it is just a way of saying that the country’s ghastly and complicated corruption industry, which provides inestimable amounts of disposable incomes to public servants and elected officials is being shut down. What government has done in the trade and investment sector, and in other processes of government are illustrative of this. Government has been streamlining systems as a result of which there is transparency and fewer rules. That’s what the ease of doing business is all about, measures that have brought a lot of international compliment to Nigeria and for which there is a Presidential Enabling Business Council. As a result of this work Nigeria moved 24 places on the World Bank ease of doing business rankings, and earned a place on the list of 10 most improved economies in 2017. A prospective investor unjustly denied visa to visit Nigeria by a consular officer in a Nigerian mission can today hop into a plane and obtain his/her visa on arrival. New businesses which took years upon years to register now have a maximum of a 48-hour waiting period to be certified.

“Change the Change,” cries will continue to ring from elected officials and the beneficiaries of the old order who enjoy grinding the ordinary citizens into the dust and denying them access to the basics of government. These are the real losers who are rooting for the reversal of the change.

The Buhari Administration has since 2017 issued five Executive Orders, all of them to enhance the ease of doing business, increase local content and forcing businesses to use trained Nigerians in place of foreign labour and skills. Tell me, will all those who procure and sell expatriate quotas; the ones who bring in substandard furniture and electrical goods; fake drugs and the others engaged in the dumping of goods that threaten local agriculture and industry, not be happy to change the change?

These Executive Orders are already having a positive impact on Nigeria’s business and manufacturing sectors. The “bad” thing about them however is that they have dealt a devastating blow to officialdom, not just one having to do with petty bribes but scams to the tune of billions of Naira that highlight a political-industry nexus which, if not checked, would continue to hold down the economy in an underdeveloped state.

In a country that traditionally plundered its resources and wasted its best opportunities, it is a remarkable departure that this administration continues to do more with fewer resources. Despite the fall in oil price on the global markets and the cut in local output due to sabotage unleashed on the nation’s oil assets, more than N1.2 trillion was released for capital expenditure in the 2016 budget, and 1.476 trillion, so far, in the 2017 budget, making a total of 2.7 trillion (about $9 billion) in two years. This investment has enabled the resumption of work on several stalled projects — road, rail and power projects — across the country. At the same time, savings continue to be recorded with:

Ø Nigeria’s External Reserves doubled from $24 billion in October 2016 to $48 billion at present

Ø The Sovereign Wealth Fund seeing inflows of US$500m in 2016 and 2017 (the first inflows since the original US$1bn that established the fund in 2012)

The Buhari Administration has demonstrated a single-minded commitment to upgrading and developing Nigeria’s transport, power and health infrastructure.

In May 2018 the Federal Government launched the Presidential Infrastructure Development Fund (PIDF), under the management of the Nigerian Sovereign Investment Authority (NSIA). The PIDF is kicking off with seed funding of $650 million and will soon hit $1 billion.

Priority projects to be funded include the Lagos-Ibadan expressway, the East-West (Lagos-Port Harcourt) expressway, the new Abuja-Kaduna-Kano expressway, the Second Niger Bridge and the Mambila power project.

In March 2018, the NSIA invested US$10m to establish a world-class Cancer Treatment Centre at the Lagos University Teaching Hospital (LUTH), and $5m each in the Aminu Kano University Teaching Hospital and the Federal Medical Centre, Umuahia, to establish modern diagnostic centres. These centres will be completed before the end of 2018.

It is also noteworthy that in 2017, the Buhari administration invested N127 billion in the transport sector, N130 billion in agriculture & water sector and N325 billion in power, works & housing sectors compared with the then Federal Government in 2014 that spent a paltry N14 billion on transport, N34 billion on agriculture & water and N106 billion on power, works & housing.

Road projects are on-going across every State of the country; many of these projects had been abandoned in recent years because of mounting debts owed by the Federal Government to contractors.

Our predecessors in office made a lot of political capital out of the fact that they are from Niger Delta and had the exclusive right to properly handle the affairs of the region. As it turned out, this was a big, big swindle as nothing came out of it. Money came; money went and passed through Niger Delta with nothing to show for it.

The Buhari administration’s ‘New Vision for the Niger Delta’ brings together a robust set of promises, solutions, targets and initiatives aimed at ensuring that the people of the Niger Delta benefit maximally from the region’s oil wealth.

The New Vision offers a detailed response to the 16-point Demand Agenda submitted to President Buhari by the Pan Niger Delta Forum (PANDEF) in November 2016. Tangible results of the New Vision so far include:

Ø Take-off of the Nigerian Maritime University in Okerenkoko, Delta State. The University was granted approval in January 2018 by the National Universities Commission (NUC) to commence undergraduate degree programmes effective 2017/18 session, and academic activities on April 12, 2018.

Ø In 2017, President Buhari had approved an increase in the take-off grant allocated to the Maritime University from N2 billion earlier announced, to N5 billion. Similarly, in November 2017, an additional N1 billion was approved by the President to support essential infrastructure works and staff recruitment in the University.

Ø $170m seed funding for the Ogoni Clean Up, in an Escrow Account established for that purpose. The Escrow Agreement Signing ceremony took place in April 2018.

Ø Approval by President Buhari for an additional N35 billion for the 2016 budget of the Presidential Amnesty Programme

Ø Approval for the establishment of Modular Refineries across the nine States of the Niger Delta – one such refinery has been commissioned and two others will be completed by the end of 2018

Ø Resumption of construction work on abandoned projects across the Niger Delta, including the all-important East-West Road.

On agriculture, even our worst critics will [reluctantly] accept that the agricultural revolution is real. A food importing nation spending more than one trillion Naira annually, in the past, on food imports is now proudly producing nearly all that is needed to take care of herself. The Anchor Borrowers Programme (ABP) of the Central Bank of Nigeria has substantially raised local production of rice, yielding from 2-3 tonnes per hectare to as high as 5 – 6 tonnes per hectare), and produced a model agricultural collaboration between Lagos and Kebbi States.

Between 2016 and 2018, eight new rice mills have come on-stream; and Nigeria’s paddy production and productivity has doubled compared to 2014 levels. Nigeria’s milled rice production has increased from 2.5MT to about 4MT, and rice exports from Thailand to Nigeria dropped from 1.23 million MT in 2014 to 23,192 MT as of November 2017.

The Presidential Fertilizer Initiative (which includes a partnership with the Government of Morocco, for the supply of phosphate), has resulted in the revitalization of 14 blending plants across the country, with a total installed capacity in excess of 2 million MT. The benefits include annual savings of US$200 million in foreign exchange, and N 60 billion annually in budgetary provisions for fertilizer subsidies. The Scheme has also made it possible for farmers to purchase fertilizer at prices between 30 to 100 per cent cheaper than previously bought.

Through agriculture, millions of our citizens, especially the unemployed youths are being brought into the growth trajectory.


“Pastor” Reno Omokri is forcing me to do what I don’t do. I don’t react to published criticisms. I have spent my entire career in the media and as one who criticizes others; you must be ready to take criticism.

This is about exposing a liar masquerading as a pastor. By the way, I have known and worked with exemplary pastors who are decent and from whom you learned more of the etiquette of truth telling.

Take for example Pastor Emeka Izeze and his brother, Pastor Ifeanyi, or his friend, Pastor Segun Babatope. And lately, Professor Yemi Osinbajo, the Vice President and Pastor Femi Adesina.

For those Reno tried to mislead, yes it is a fact that I worked in the media office of a PDP administration. Not for five years as the new-day pastor published but only for six months at which point it was announced on NTA news, to my surprise, that my letter of resignation had been accepted when I hadn’t written any. I learned of course that I was fired because the head of the country at that time, who believed that every published criticism was sponsored by an insider, read the weekly magazine, The News, and didn’t like what was written about him.

Another point the “Pastor” keeps making is that he was my colleague at that time. No, he wasn’t. His boss was. The Reno I knew was a Personal Assistant (PA) to a Principal Officer like me. He didn’t attend meetings and didn’t receive official briefings as we did but ran errands for his boss.

Not being a principal officer by status, he could not have had an office opposite my own. He may, however, have perched on a stool in one of those offices but I didn’t take particular notice of which one. He was, however, very personable at that time.

“Pastor’’ Reno lied by calling me an AGIP – meaning an unprincipled person ready to serve any government in power. The period he was referring to was one in which my boss ran into bad political weather and some of us around him were scapegoated. I was locked in DSS detention many times, my houses in Kano and Abuja broken into and valuables, including cash some of which were never returned were seized. I was going to court for two years and for the most part of which I didn’t have a passport. In the course of that trial, the judge presiding called back my lawyers, Niyi Akintola, SAN and Rickey Tarfa, SAN, after an adjournment to say that “I didn’t mean that he should be kept in DSS detention. I said he should be taken to Kuje Prison,” and that’s where I was kept. Under detention in the DSS I was stripped down to the pants and photographed head to toe. All that didn’t make one to capitulate.

When they lost to Muhammadu Buhari in the party primaries, the candidates in that race, Governor Rabi’u Musa Kwankwaso, Waziri Atiku Abubakar, Rochas Okorocha and Sam Nda-Isaiah surrendered their media assets to the winner who had the grace to ask me to lead the media team. When we won, he (then President-elect Buhari) invited me to serve as one of his two spokespersons and I pledged 100 per cent loyalty to him and that’s where I am. This cannot be AGIP by any standards.

Reno should stop lying, if only to help the pastoral calling to retain its good name. Otherwise he should quit the ministry.

Shehu is Senior Special Assistant to the President (Media & Publicity)

Buhari may make Atiku his successor

By Odilim Enwegbara

President Herbert Hoover did not cause the Great Depression. But his sin was that rather than his policies bringing it to an end — or at least bringing it under control — his policies indeed worsened the whole situation. Even knowing fully well that the fact on the ground couldn’t lie, President Hoover preferred to engage in self-deception and false optimism, accusing his predecessor to be responsible for the economic menace. In the meantime, believed that come November 1932 he would be winning landslide.

However, Hoover lost big simply because his arrogant mindset blinded him from seeing the reality on the ground, not to mention caring to come up with how to reduce the widespread poverty, anger and hunger in America which were obvious and unprecedented throughout his four years as president.

Today, these same events are repeating themselves in our young democracy, where a former military dictator who having run in 2003, 2007, and 2011 without success, got elected in 2015 on a platter of gold thanks to PDP’s mistake of fielding President Jonathan for reelection, notwithstanding his agreement with the country’s Northern politicians in 2011 that should he win in 2011, he would never seek a reelection in 2015.

But with Buhari as president, everything that could go wrong with a government is going wrong with this administration. Even though everything that should go wrong has embarrassingly gone wrong in Nigeria since 2015 under his watch, the same way the handlers of Hoover never allowed him to see how bad things were, President Buhari’s handlers have preferred to falsely construct a prosperous Nigeria and made sure the President is never allowed to know the truth, including the incredible herdsmen menace, who have turned the whole country into a killing ground and have been doing so with such unbelievable impunity.

Their impunity has gone so far that one of the respected military veterans of this country, General T.Y. Danjuma, had to openly ask Nigerians to carry arms in order to defend and protect themselves since their elected government has failed to defend them from the hands of the murderous herdsmen.

Truly security has never been this bad. The senseless killings of innocent Nigerians have now got to the level that citizens across the country are now resorting to self-help in order to secure their lives and property.

While these mistakes go on, members of the Buhari administration seem to prefer shooting themselves in the foot. But unknown to them, each time they shoot themselves in the foot, they end up increasing the chances of PDP’s landslide victory come 2019. Knowingly or unknowingly, the APC is handing to the PDP victory on a platter of gold,

While members of APC out of fear of the presidency seem not to be publicly alarmed, what this has translated to is that knowingly or unknowingly they are by this, giving on the same platter of gold handing PDP victory in 2019, a repeat of how PDP handed Buhari victory in 2015.

Thanks to the fact that this time around, the presidential candidates of the two major parties are both Northerners, the chances of the repeat of Northern election protest in 2015 against a Southern presidential candidate remains non-existent.

Since this is the inevitable truth, the 2019 electoral map will radically change from what it was in 2015. What this immediately tells us is that it is the southern electorate, not the northern electorate, who will determine the northern presidential candidate who will become president-elect in February 2019.

This is not to say that either northern or southern electorate alone have the electoral power to determine the president of Nigeria because if it has ever been possible Buhari wouldn’t have repeatedly lost in 2003, 2007 or 2011.

Given the above analysis along with the present economic and security menace Nigerians have been subjected to since Buhari became president, the irreversible truth is with Buhari unacceptable, certainly he has become unelectable in 2019.

What the changing electoral map is revealing to us is that should PDP field presidential material like Atiku Abubakar, certainly PDP would have been cruising to retaking power from APC; with lessons learned to never again take the interest of the Nigerian electorate for granted.

To see how Atiku will defeat Buhari in landslide victory in February 2019 the same way Roosevelt defeated Hoover in landslide victory in November 1932, here is what the new electoral map will look like in the 2019 presidential election.

Let us start with Buhari’s main base, Kano State. As it seems, Obasanjo is all out to field Rabiu Kwankwaso. If and when this happens, certainly his SDP-led Coalition will make Buhari and Kwankwaso fight over Kano.

This battle could possibly be extended to Jigawa and Zamfara. Should their popularity be tested, it is likely that Kwankwaso’s popularity in these core Northern states, Buhari will divide electoral base into a 50-50. There’s the likelihood that Emir of Kano, Sanusi Lamido Sanusi, might give his full support to Kwankwaso, the man who made him Emir.

The fear here is that, should Kwankwaso get 50% of Kano – or even 40% votes – Buhari will be seriously in trouble. Why? It’s obvious that as a result of protest votes, the States of Taraba, Plateau, (Southern) Kaduna, Benue, Kogi, Nassarawa, Kwara, Abuja, and possibly Adamawa — along with Shiite Muslims across the North — Atiku’s landslide victory is assured.

Why I’m so certain? A close look at how the whole electorate in Middle Belt Northern States will vote reveals that. If anyone is still in doubt that as high as 80% of their votes will be handed to Atiku in protest then one is yet to recognize the anger and frustration across these States, and why their determination to vote for him given how his cosmopolitan and religious moderation has earned him the kind leadership personality these Nigerians are crying for today.

But if the electorate of Middle Belt States are this angry and fully determined to sack Buhari come 2019, you better wait and see how the whole Southeastern electorate will vote in full protest to ensure that never again should politicians with Buhari’s kind of arrogance and insensitivity to ethnic group feelings be allowed to become the supposed president of all Nigerians. No doubt Southeast electorate will give Atiku as high as 95% of their votes.

And for boldly insisting that the country is in need of restructuring with the return to the pre-1966 fiscal federalism, because 100% will be impossible, with the possible exception of Edo State, surely Atiku will be getting as high as 90% of all South South votes especially because of his support for restructuring and the possible return of the Nigeria to its pre-1966 fiscal federalism.

While some 2019 presidential election watchers might wrongly believe that PDP would have difficulty wining in Southwest, here are some of the new electoral map surprises they have not fully considered, starting with Lagos State.

First, Lagos will be won by Atiku. How and why? Since Lagos electoral map shows 40% of Southeastern and as high as over 15% of other non-Southwestern voters, when added with as high as 50% of Southwestern voters who have been so disappointed with Buhari’s leadership style, certainly Atiku will be getting at least 55% of the entire Lagos electorate’s votes. That will be terrible news for Buhari and Tinubu.

Yes, Buhari is likely to win the States of Oyo, Ogun; the States of Osun, Ekiti and Ondo will be voting for Atiku, who they will be voting for in protest against the president’s nonchalant attitude towards herdsmen killings across the country. This, they will do, in solidarity with the Middle Belt States where most of killings occurred ending in full destruction of both lives and farmlands.

Besides, what goes for Atiku is his great business and entrepreneurial successes. The difference between Atiku and Buhari grows miles apart, considering who between them has what it takes to run Nigeria efficiently as a successful business. Here Atiku remains in Roosevelt’s class, while Buhari’s lack of understanding of how to run a country as a business keeps Buhari in Hoover’s class.

Because Atiku will hire and appoint the best and brightest Nigerians not minding their political, ethnic or religious affiliation, there is no way an Atiku cabinet will have the like of the present finance minister or allow one politician no matter how he has helped his campaign to be in charge of three important ministries like power, works, and housing.

Like the same way Roosevelt appointed America’s best, practical and commonsense public policy geniuses like Henry Morgenthau Jr. who notwithstanding lacking elementary knowledge of economics was appointed Treasury Secretary and Marriner Stoddard Eccles a high school dropout as the Federal Reserve Chairman (US Central Bank Governor), an Atiku Abubakar presidency will eventually look for Nigerians gifted not on the basis of best academic certification, but who are exceptionally talented to help his administration through the difficulty of putting Nigeria on the industrial map.

Like how Deng transformed the provincial economy of China into the world’s ever best in growth figures with more than half a billion Chinese joining the middle class and over 600 million of China’s 1.4 billion people, with his big dream for Nigeria Atiku will make Nigeria’s economy to be growing at as high as 12% with equally as high as 5 million Nigerians getting some good paying jobs annually.

In politics where tribalism earns politicians elections and re-elections, Atiku stands out among his peers. And why shouldn’t he, especially, having married from the North, Southwest and Southeast?

If in 2003, 2007, and 2011 Buhari won most of the core Northern States but still never won the presidency, is it now that he will win a reelection at a time his once Northern political base has been fully fragmented due to his looking the other way while the North, like the South was burning? So, the same core Northern electorate who failed to elect him president in 2003, 2007, and 2011, will come, February 2019, fail to make him president.

The fact that most powerful Northerners are not publicly opposing Buhari is simply because they are afraid of persecution given how Buhari’s powerful army of religious and ethnic followers wouldn’t hesitate to go after any of them wanting to publicly oppose him politically.

For those who have been insisting that Atiku’s chances are slim given what has become the Obasanjo factor, I’ve often wondered why most Nigerians have always given too much attention to such a thing that hardly exist. That’s why I have always demanded to see that magic power former President Obasanjo has that makes him to have the unique power to reverse or annul the votes of majority of Nigerians. Of course, Obasanjo knows well that his so-called SDP-led Coalition is already dead on arrival.

It is true that as a very close friend of Washington, Obasanjo has the ears of some powerful US establishment, thanks to his being there since 1985, and above all for having during his 8 years as Nigeria’s post-military civilian president given a lot of favours to some of them using our oil. But, then, the truth remains that no matter what, the election of Nigeria’s president is a constitutional power only Nigerians have and will always exercise.

Those know what has been happening between Obasanjo and Atiku know that it all started in 2003 when it was alleged that Obasanjo had to kneel down to Atiku while begging him not to run for the presidency. So, it is all about political differences which I’m not sure we will be interested in here.

That’s also what metamorphosed into all kinds of unfounded lies about Atiku, including the so-called Atiku being wanted in America. This fabricated falsehood by Obasanjo and his paid mischief makers even without substance has been so recycled that it’s time to dump it in the dustbin where it permanently belongs.

I say so knowing who Obasanjo is, a vindictive man, who will never stop at anything once he feels to be hurt by someone. Wise men are wise because they know that in life one must always forgive so as to be free from burden of always feeling hurt.

I will certainly insist that America cannot bring non-existent charges because Obasanjo wants to humiliate Atiku. This is because Washington cannot falsely charge Atiku, especially when Washington has too many important things to preoccupy itself than wanting to please one of its boys, Obasanjo. In fact, were there truly anything out there to implicate Atiku, Obasanjo would have gone to the extent of spending millions of dollars to sponsor such implicating charges so as to expose and humiliate Atiku.

That Atiku should visit America so as to shame those insisting that he cannot visit America without risking being picked up is like when Satan asked Jesus if he says he’s the son of God why shouldn’t he save himself. Jesus should have proved Satan wrong by demonstrating his power, which would have amounted to bringing himself to the level of Satan.

As someone who was privileged to have out of curiosity participated in the International Security Studies at MIT, and as a result, discovered how ferociously the US goes after those foreign leaders who committed crimes in the US — including leaders like Manuel Noriega — I can authoritatively state that there were no such serious charges against Atiku, because if there were, the US would have gone after Atiku if not in Nigeria, they would have picked him up anywhere in the world, particularly in western countries like the UK, where Atiku visits a lot. But let me ask: Since when has freely visiting the US become one of the constitutional requirements for contesting for the presidency of Nigeria?

Enwegbara is an Abuja based development economist and writer