Category Archives: Politics

Rome was Not Destroyed in a Day

Rome was Not Destroyed in a Day

By Simon Kolawole

Sadiq Daba, the actor, ran into some serious health issues recently. He cried out for financial help to undergo foreign treatment. Pronto, Nigerians reacted overwhelmingly. But wait. I did not hear anybody talk about Daba’s religion or ethnic group. The people who tweeted and retweeted his appeal for help, and those who contributed money, were certainly not from his village. I was so so so so so happy. It confirmed, yet again, my pet theory about Nigeria — that we do not hate each other. We are just victims of the unending political manipulation of ethnic and religious identities for selfish gain. Evidently, ordinary Nigerians have the “Nigerian spirit” in their DNA.

My grandmother, God rest her sweet soul, shaped my worldview when I was a little boy growing under her care. She had this amazing ability to be so proud of her Yoruba heritage and at the same time celebrating the best in people of other tongues. In the days of Operation Feed the Nation, launched by the military government of Gen. Olusegun Obasanjo in the late 1970s, we planted tomato, maize and spinach in our garden. One day, when the tomatoes were ripe, Mama told me: “Have you noticed that when the tomato in the north is out of season, our own is due for harvest? That shows you God wants us to live together, to complement each other.”

I did not understand much of modernised agricultural practices then — I would have argued with her that you could have both tomato species all-season! But, forget my mischief, she was so broadminded. It must have rubbed off on her offspring. When my father’s younger sister wanted to marry a Muslim, she maybe thought Mama would not like it. As I was told, my aunty introduced her fiancé as “Moses”. It was only when their children (that is, my cousins) were being named Hakeem, Sherifat and Ibrahim that the family realised “Moses” was actually “Mustapha”! Mama, I was told, laughed off the trick with a rhetorical question: “Were we not all created by the same God?”

Indeed. I have met extremists and chauvinists from across religions and races. I am yet to hear anyone declare that we were not created by the same God. One of the most astonishing things about life, to me, is the fact that although we can choose to be Muslims or Christians, and so on, nobody can choose to be Hausa, Fulani, Igbo, Yoruba or whatever. We just woke up one day to find ourselves as members of one ethnic group or the other. It was not our making. So why should you discriminate against me, and hate me, on the basis of an ethnic identity that is beyond my control? Is it my fault that I was born into a family that was clearly not my choice?

In this “mindsets” series, my goal is to challenge the way we think about Nigeria. I am fully persuaded that since we have been doing things the same way for ages and we have been getting essentially the same results, the time has come for us to challenge our fundamental assumptions and thinking — and begin to consciously do things differently. As many commentators, analysts and public speakers have been pointing out over time, we need to reform our mindsets. As a man thinks in his heart, so is he. A mind moulded with hate, prejudice, greed and inordinate ambition will produce nothing but hate, prejudice, greed and inordinate ambition.

In the first part of this series, I wrote on “The President Nigeria Badly Needs” (January 7, 2018). I challenged our obsession with seasonal political calculations and permutations. We build our hopes on false dawns and heat-of-the-moment excitements every four years — and end up with more of the same. Something has to change. In the second instalment, “The Spirit of Lagos That Nigeria Needs” (January 28, 2018), I revisited the now rested “Spirit of Lagos”, a reorientation campaign by the TBWA Consortium, in partnership with the Lagos state government. I said Nigerian leaders and the citizens need to cultivate new mindsets to be able to build a new Nigeria.

Today, I am going a little bit practical on how we can renew our minds. There is a saying that Rome was not built in a day, a proverb originated by the 19th century English playwright, John Heywood, who also gave us immortal expressions such as “out of sight out of mind”, “better late than never”, and “the more the merrier”. He said Rome wasn’t built in a day “but they were laying bricks every hour”. This, in some sense, tells us the value of consistent hard work, perseverance and conscious efforts at construction. If Nigeria is going to change, therefore, we must alienate those who see themselves, first and foremost, as ethno-religious champions. It all starts in the mind.

But, pardon me, Rome was not destroyed in a day either. It took ages to build the city but took a much shorter time to destroy it. Rome was sacked by the Visigoths in 410 AD. In three days, they looted, burnt and wrecked the beautiful city. That hastened the collapse of the Roman Empire. Same thing applies here: the destruction of Nigeria by ethnic champions and religious bigots will not happen in one day — it is a gradual, steady process. That is why we the people must guard our hearts jealously before we are recruited into the hate brigade under different guises. Those already recruited can decide to desert straightaway. We need to build, not destroy.

My suggestions. To start with, do not participate in the sharing of messages and materials that are clearly intended to preach hate and prejudice. Saying “shared as received” is pure hypocrisy. You can be critical of leadership without attacking or disparaging their religions and ethnic origins. As a matter of principle, I do not share messages that are clearly meant to spread hate. It is a duty I owe my conscience. We all have terrible things to say about other people. If we do not allow love to guard our hearts, we will keep adding fuel to fire. Therefore, before you press the “send” or “forward” button, ask yourself: what is my motive? Unto thyself, be honest.

Also, do not feed your children with hate and prejudice. Fill their hearts with edifying things. A senior colleague of mine, a Muslim, married a Christian, who then converted to Islam. He told me he once engaged the services of a cleric to teach his children the Qur’an every Sunday. One day, he overheard the cleric telling the children not to drink from the same cup or eat from the same plate with their aunts, who were living with them, because they were “infidels”. My colleague fired the “afa” on the spot. He remains a devout Muslim, sure, but he saw danger and immediately quenched it. This kind of hate messaging certainly fuelled the mindset that birthed Boko Haram.

This is how hate works: it focuses on what divides us rather than what unites us. If there are Qur’anic verses that say Muslims should love and care for Christians, the hate merchants will focus on where Christians are called “infidels”. If there are verses in the Bible that say “love your neighbour as yourself”, the messengers of hate will focus on “what fellowship does light have with darkness?” There is nothing you want to justify with the scriptures that you won’t find. If you truly have love in your heart, you will focus on the verses of love. The God that forbade eating four-footed creatures is the same God that ordered Apostle Peter, in a trance, to kill and eat! To the pure all things are pure.

And this is how prejudice works: because Chief Obafami Awolowo did not declare Oduduwa Republic in solidarity with Biafra in 1967, every Yoruba is a traitor — including the one that was born early this morning. Because an Igbo chap was arrested for 419, every Igbo person — dead, living or unborn — is a fraudster. Because Barkin Zuwo struggled with speaking English, every northerner is an illiterate; in fact, no northerner has a brain. Because of the insane activities of ISIS and Boko Haram, every Muslim is a terrorist, including your friend. Tragically, there are people that the only thing they can see in you is your language or religion, not the content of your character.

Let me quickly say this before I shut down my laptop and take a stroll: it is very difficult to resist the message of hate and prejudice in a society already polluted by manipulative politicians, their overpaid sidekicks and our inept leaders. I know. When everybody is saying there is casting down, it is very difficult to go against the grain and say there is lifting up. You just go with the flow. But maybe the “casting down” gang is not as big as the “lifting up” brigade — just that the latter has been intimidated into silence. They must begin to speak out. Rome was not destroyed in a day. Those working to destroy Nigeria neither sleep nor slumber.

As for me and my house, we resolved long ago that we would never feed our children with hate, prejudices and biases. These things are usually passed on from generation to generation. I resolved to follow the example of my grandmother by celebrating the best in others rather than focusing on their worst. I would rather talk about the dignity in labour you find among the Hausa, the creativity among the Igbo and the industry among the Yoruba. Accuse me of living in denial and I will accuse you of living in bitterness. Accuse me of being politically correct and I will accuse you of being self-righteous. Accuse me of being naïve and I will accuse you of being jaundiced. It’s all in the mind.



Talking about hate speech, I was presented with a perfect example on a platter of gold on Saturday. Punch quoted Professor Umar Labdo of Maitama Sule University, Kano (formerly Kano State University), as saying the Fulani are destined to lead Nigeria for a long time. He even as much as said that we should be grateful the jihadists did not annihilate local people after the conquest. To help douse the tension caused by the Fulani herdsmen crisis, which has claimed hundreds of lives, he said Benue belongs to the Fulani. I hope by the time all these professors turn Nigeria to Somalia with their reckless and insensitive utterances, they will be very proud of themselves. Tactless.

The Coalition for Nigeria Movement (CNM) is finally here to “rescue Nigeria” from APC. In October 2005, the Movement for the Defence of Democracy (MDD) was launched by ex-PDP bigwigs such as Chief Audu Ogbeh and Chief Tom Ikimi, along with opposition figures, to “rescue Nigeria”. MDD gave birth to ACD, later AC, later ACN and today’s APC that “rescued” Nigeria from PDP in 2015. In 2010, there was the PDP Reform Group, made up of Chief Ken Nnamani, Alhaji Aminu Bello Masari and Prince Vincent Ogbulafor, et al, to “rescue Nigeria”. Today, the CNM, led by Brig-Gen. Olagunsoye Oyinlola (rtd), is all set to “rescue Nigeria” from APC in 2019. Again.

Former Vice-President Alex Ekwueme has been buried in his hometown, Oko, Anambra state. Someone pointed out on social media that “in one week Oko has street lights everywhere, in one week the bad road from Ekwulobia to Oko has been reconstructed”. Great thoughts. My theory remains that if Nigerian leaders resolve to develop Nigeria today, you will see a marked difference within four years. If they decide that all hospitals will become world-class and there will be uninterrupted power supply and all major roads will be in good shape, you will see the results in no time. One day, we will come to the consensus that our real problem is poor leadership. Truth.

Stephanie Otobo, the Canada-based stripper, last year accused Apostle Johnson Suleiman of things. She went into lurid details, giving dates and timelines. Charged to court in Nigeria over alleged blackmail, she sued Suleiman in Canada, claiming $5 million in damages resulting from “breach of trust, breach of fiduciary relations, breach of contract, negligence, defamation and poisoning”. She even found time to record a gospel song. She has now done a U-turn, claiming she was politically induced to blackmail the pastor. Was she pressured to recant? In a sane society, she should be facing criminal charges, including perjury and blackmail, by now. But is it not Nigeria? Theatre.
Source: ThisDay


Babangida denies statement on Buhari

Babangida denies statement on Buhari

Babangida (left) and Buhari

Former Military President, Ibrahim Badamasi Babangida, has denied a statement in which he asked President Muhammadu Buhari not to contest the 2019 election. 

Responding to the widely circulated statement issued by his spokesman, Mr Kasim Afegbua, Babangida said the statement did not tally with his views on national issues. 

‘My attention has been drawn to a report making rounds especially online in which I was quoted as advising Nigerians not to vote for President Muhammadu Buhari in the coming 2019 election.

‘Not only is the said statement untrue, it is in its entirety, an inaccurate representation  of my view of the state of our dear Nation’, he said. 

He was quoted as asking President Buhari to step down for digital leadership in 2019. 

With this denial, Babangida has tried to distance himself from the stance of another former President, Chief Olusegun Obasanjo, who late last month wrote an 18-page letter, accusing the President of poor handling of the economy and clannishness. 
Babangida also said as a former head of state he had access to make his views known to the President without resorting to open letter. 
Here is the full text of the letter:

My attention has been drawn to a report making rounds especially online in which I was quoted as advising Nigerians not to vote for President Muhammadu Buhari in the coming 2019 election.

Not only is the said statement untrue, it is in its entirety, an inaccurate representation  of my view of the state of our dear Nation.

As a former President and an elder statesman, I have existing communication channels through which I reach out to President Muhammadu Buhari on topical issues of national importance, should there be the need so to do.

The media,  both online or mainstream and indeed the unsuspecting public are advised to disregard such false reports.

Thank you and God Bless you all.

Gen. Ibrahim Badamasi Babangida (Rtd) (GCON)
Former Military President Federal Republic of Nigeria

Hilltop Mansion
Minna, Niger state.
4th February 2018.

Babangida asks Buhari to step down in 2019

IBB urges Buhari to step down in 2019 for digital leadership
…laments ceaseless flow of blood

Ibrahim Babangida

By Emmanuel Aziken, Political Editor

Former President Ibrahim Babangida has called on President Muhammadu Buhari to step down in 2019 to allow a generational shift that should reinvent the wheel of leadership and spur healing in the land.
Babangida in a special statement issued on Sunday also lamented the failure of the All Progressives Congress, APC to advance its change mantra in several areas of the polity saying that the party failed to push ahead with the programme to restructure the country as canvassed to Nigerians.

Babangida in the statement issued on his behalf by his spokesman, Prince Kassim Afegbua particularly lamented the flow of blood in the country noting that the unity that himself and others sought to keep was daily being drawn to the seams by the killings across the land.

Babangida also lamented the herdsmen/farmers clashes as he called for the adoption of ranching as a way of stemming the crisis. He also fumed against the recycling of analogue leadership as he called for a more youthful and digital leadership to push the country in the comity of nations.

Babangida who governed Nigeria as military head of state between 1985 and 1993 while lamenting the recycling of analogue leadership said:

“In the past few months and weeks, I have played host to many concerned Nigerians who have continued to express legitimate and patriotic worry about the state of affairs in the country. Some of them have continued to agonize about the turn of events and expressly worried why we have not gotten our leadership compass right as a country with so much potential and opportunity for all. Some, out of frustration, have elected to interrogate the leadership question and wondered aloud why it has taken this long from independence till date to discover the right model on account of our peculiarities. At 57, we are still a nation in search of the right leadership to contend with the dynamics of a 21st century Nigeria.

Having been privileged to preside over this great country, interacted with all categories of persons, dissected all shades of opinions, understudied different ethnic groupings; I can rightfully conclude that our strength lies in our diversity. But exploring and exploiting that diversity as a huge potential has remained a hard nut to crack, not because we have not made efforts, but building a consensus on any national issue often has to go through the incinerator of those diverse ethnic configurations. Opinions in Nigeria are not limited to the borders of the political elite; in fact, every Nigerian no matter how young or old, has an opinion on any national issue. And it is the function of discerning leadership to understand these elemental undercurrents in the discharge of state responsibilities.


There is no gainsaying the fact that Nigeria is at a major crossroads at this moment in its history; the choices we are going to make as a nation regarding the leadership question of this country and the vision for our political, economic and religious future will be largely determined by the nature or kind of change that we pursue, the kind of change that we need and the kind of change that we get. A lot depends on our roles both as followers and leaders in our political undertakings. As we proceed to find the right thesis that would resolve the leadership question, we must bear in mind a formula that could engender national development and the undiluted commitment of our leaders to a resurgence of the moral and ethical foundations that brought us to where we are as a pluralistic and multi-ethnic society.

Nigeria, before now, has been on the one hand our dear native land, where tribes and tongues may differ but in brotherhood we stand, and on the other hand a nation that continues to struggle with itself and in every way stumbling and willful in its quest to become a modern state, starting from the first republic till date. With our huge investments in the African emancipation movements and the various contributions that were made by our leadership to extricate South Africa from colonial grip, Nigeria became the giant of Africa during that period. But having gone through leadership failures, we no longer possess the sobriety to claim that status. And we all are guilty.

We have experimented with Parliamentary and Presidential systems of government amid military interregnum at various times of our national history. We have made some progress, but not good enough to situate us on the pedestal we so desirously crave for. It is little wonder therefore that we need to deliberately provoke systems and models that will put paid to this recycling leadership experimentation to embrace new generational leadership evolution with the essential attributes of responsive, responsible and proactive leadership configuration to confront the several challenges that we presently face.

In 2019 and beyond, we should come to a national consensus that we need new breed leadership with requisite capacity to manage our diversities and jump-start a process of launching the country on the super highway of technology-driven leadership in line with the dynamics of modern governance. It is short of saying enough of this analogue system. Let’s give way for digital leadership orientation with all the trappings of consultative, constructive, communicative, interactive and utility-driven approach where everyone has a role to play in the process of enthroning accountability and transparency in governance.

I am particularly enamored that Nigerians are becoming more and more conscious of their rights; and their ability to speak truth to power and interrogate those elected to represent them without fear of arrest and harassment. These are part of the ennobling principles of representative democracy. As citizens in a democracy, it is our civic responsibility to demand accountability and transparency. Our elected leaders owe us that simple but remarkable accountability creed. Whenever we criticize them, it is not that we do not like their guts; it is just that as stakeholders in the political economy of the country, we also carry certain responsibilities.

In the past few months also, I have taken time to reflect on a number of issues plaguing the country. I get frightened by their dimensions. I get worried by their colourations. I get perplexed by their gory themes. From Southern Kaduna to Taraba state, from Benue state to Rivers, from Edo state to Zamfara, it has been a theatre of blood with cake of crimson. In Dansadau in Zamfara state recently, North-West of Nigeria, over 200 souls were wasted for no justifiable reason. The pogrom in Benue state has left me wondering if truly this is the same country some of us fought to keep together. I am alarmed by the amount of blood-letting across the land. Nigeria is now being described as a land where blood flows like river, where tears have refused to dry up. Almost on a daily basis, we are both mourning and grieving, and often times left helpless by the sophistication of crimes. The Boko Haram challenge has remained unabated even though there has been commendable effort by government to maximally downgrade them. I will professionally advise that the battle be taken to the inner fortress of Sambisa Forest rather than responding to the insurgents’ ambushes from time to time.


In the fullness of our present realities, we need to cooperate with President Muhammadu Buhari to complete his term of office on May 29th, 2019 and collectively prepare the way for new generation leaders to assume the mantle of leadership of the country. While offering this advice, I speak as a stakeholder, former president, concerned Nigerian and a patriot who desires to see new paradigms in our shared commitment to get this country running. While saying this also, I do not intend to deny President Buhari his inalienable right to vote and be voted for, but there comes a time in the life of a nation, when personal ambition should not override national interest. This is the time for us to reinvent the will and tap into the resourcefulness of the younger generation, stimulate their entrepreneurial initiatives and provoke a conduce environment to grow national economy both at the micro and macro levels.

Contemporary leadership has to be proactive and not reactive. It must factor in citizens’ participation. Its language of discourse must be persuasive not agitated and abusive. It must give room for confidence building. It must build consensus and form aggregate opinion on any issue to reflect the wishes of the people across the country. It must gauge the mood of the country at every point in time in order to send the right message. It must share in their aspirations and give them cause to have confidence in the system. Modern leadership is not just about “fighting” corruption, it is about plugging the leakages and building systems that will militate against corruption. Accountability in leadership should flow from copious examples. It goes beyond mere sloganeering. My support for a new breed leadership derives from the understanding that it will show a marked departure from recycled leadership to creating new paradigms that will breathe fresh air into our present polluted leadership actuality.

My intervention in the governance process of Nigeria wasn’t an accident of history. Even as a military government, we had a clear-cut policy agenda on what we needed to achieve. We recruited some of the best brains and introduced policies that remain some of the best in our effort to re-engineer our polity and nation. We saw the future of Nigeria but lack of continuity in government and of policies killed some of our intentions and initiatives. Even though we did not provide answers to all the developmental challenges that confronted us as at that time, we were not short of taking decisions whenever the need arose.


The unchecked activities of the herdsmen have continued to raise doubt on the capacity of this government to handle with dispatch, security concerns that continue to threaten our dear nation; suicide bombings, kidnappings, armed banditry, ethnic clashes and other divisive tendencies. We need to bring different actors to the roundtable. Government must generate platform to interact and dialogue on the issues with a view to finding permanent solutions to the crises. The festering nature of this crisis is an inelegant testimony to the sharp divisions and polarizations that exist across the country. For example, this is not the first time herdsmen engage in pastoral nomadism but the anger in the land is suggestive of the absence of mutual love and togetherness that once defined our nationality. We must collectively rise up to the occasion and do something urgently to arrest this drift. If left unchecked, it portends danger to our collective existence as one nation bound by common destiny; and may snowball into another internecine warfare that would not be good for nation-building.

We have to reorient the minds of the herdsmen or gun-men to embrace ranching as a new and modern way to herd cattle. We also need to expand the capacity of the Nigeria Police, the Nigeria Army, the Navy and Air Force to provide the necessary security for all. We need to catch up with modern sophistication in crime detection and crime fighting. Due to the peculiarity of our country, we must begin community policing to close the gaps that presently exist in our policing system. We cannot continue to use old methods and expect new results. We just have to constructively engage the people from time to time through platforms that would help them ventilate their opinions and viewpoints.


When the ruling party campaigned with the change mantra, I had thought they would device new methods, provoke new initiatives and proffer new ways to addressing some of our developmental problems. By now, in line with her manifesto, one would have thought that the APC will give fillip to the idea of devolution of powers and tinker with processes that would strengthen and reform the various sectors of the economy. Like I did state in my previous statement late last year, devolution of power or restructuring is an idea whose time has come if we must be honest with ourselves. We need to critically address the issue and take informed positions based on the expectations of the people on how to make the union work better. Political parties should not exploit this as a decoy to woo voters because election time is here. We need to begin the process of restructuring both in the letter and spirit of it.

For example, I still cannot reconcile why my state government would not be allowed to fix the Minna-Suleja road, simply because it is called Federal Government road, or why state governments cannot run their own policing system to support the Federal Police. We are still experiencing huge infrastructural deficit across the country and one had thought the APC-led Federal Government would behave differently from their counterparts in previous administrations. I am hesitant to ask; where is the promised change?


At this point of our national history, we must take some rather useful decisions that would lead to real development and promote peaceful co-existence among all the nationalities. We must be unanimous in what we desire for our country; new generation leadership, result-driven leadership, sound political foundation, demonetization of our politics, enhanced internal democracy, elimination of impunity in our politics, inclusiveness in decision-making, and promotion of citizens’ participation in our democratic process. The search for that new breed leadership must start now as we prepare for 2019 election.

I get worried when politicians visit to inform me about their aspirations and what you hear in terms of budgetary allocations for electoral contest does not cover voters’ education but very ridiculous sub-heads. A typical aspirant in Nigeria draws up budget to cover INEC, Police, Army and men and officers of the Civil Defense, instead of talking of voters’ education, mobilization and sensitization. Even where benchmarks are set for electoral expenditure, monitoring and compliance are always difficult to adhere to. We truly need to reform the political system. And we must deliberately get fresh hands involved for improved participation.

We need new ways and new approaches in our political order. We need a national rebirth. We need a rebranded Nigeria and rebranded politics. It is not so much for the people, but for the institutions that are put in place to promote our political engagements. We must strengthen the one man one vote mantra. It is often ridiculous for me when people use smaller countries in our West Africa sub-region as handy references of how democracy should be. It beggars our giant of Africa status.

The next election in 2019 therefore presents us a unique opportunity to reinvent the will and provoke fresh leadership that would immediately begin the process of healing the wounds in the land and ensuring that the wishes and aspirations of the people are realized in building and sustaining national cohesion and consensus. I pray the Almighty Allah grant us the gift of good life to witness that glorious dawn in 2019. Amen. I have not written an open letter to the President, I have just shared my thoughts with fellow compatriots on the need to enthrone younger blood into the mainstream of our political leadership starting from 2019

Source: Vanguard


Third force: Can Obasanjo coalition change 2019 political equation?

Third force: Can Obasanjo coalition change 2019 political equation?

OLUSOLA FABIYI and TOBI AWORINDE examine the implications of new political realignment as the tussle for elective offices in 2019 draws nearer

Gauging the mood of the nation and those of his political sojourners, former President Olusegun Obasanjo, in his ‘special statement’ some days ago, called for the establishment of a third force, which he called the ‘Coalition for Nigeria’. This coalition, he believed, would wrest power from the two main political parties. In his controversial ‘special statement’, titled ‘The Way Out: A Clarion Call For Coalition For Nigeria Movement,” he dismissed the ability of both the APC and the PDP, under which he became president and ruled for eight years, to change the fortunes of the country for the better.

Obasanjo’s statement, however, came under heavy criticisms from the Federal Government.

The Chairman of the Presidential Advisory Committee against Corruption, Prof. Itse Sagay (SAN), described the former President’s critique as insulting.

Sagay wondered why Obasanjo, who attempted to get a third term, would advise Buhari not to seek a second term.

“I saw Obasanjo’s comments and I could not believe my eyes, that a man who tried to get a third term is discouraging someone else from getting a second term. It doesn’t make sense.

“I think it is insulting for a man who wanted a third term to tell somebody else not to want a second term. It is most inappropriate, and for a former head of state to say so is most improper,” Sagay said in a The Nation report.

In the same vein, the Minister of Information and National Orientation, Lai Mohammed, said “We believe that Chief Obasanjo, because of his very busy schedule, may not have been fully availed of developments in the government’s efforts to revamp the economy, which was battered by the consequences of over-dependence on a commodity as well as unprecedented pillaging of the treasury.”

No sooner had Obasanjo spoken than his foot soldiers hit the road, designing cards for membership of the coalition. With a little fanfare than expected, the coalition was formally inaugurated, distributing branded T-shirts and caps to the attendees. The coalition said its membership was open to “all Nigerians of 18 years old and above.”

Although Obasanjo was expectedly absent from the inauguration of the group, a former Governor of Osun State, Olagunsoye Oyinlola; a former Governor of Cross River State, Donald Duke; and a former National Chairman of the PDP, Senator Ahmadu Ali, attended the event in Abuja. Oyinlola, who is also a former Lagos State military governor, and former National Secretary of the PDP, said it was unfortunate that despite the myriads of challenges being faced by Nigerians, the Federal Government did not have a well thought-out plan of action.

Oyinlola said, “You will agree with me that there cannot be peace where there is no justice. The tension and security challenges which this country faces today are a product of the lack of social and economic justice. Market men and especially women are the hardest hit by the self-inflicted economic challenges we are grappling with.”

Culled From The Punch


Lagos Assembly passes N1.046tn budget for 2018

Lagos Assembly passes N1.046tn budget for 2018

The Lagos State House of Assembly on Tuesday passed the state’s 2018 appropriation bill of N1,046tn into law.

The passage followed the adoption of the report and recommendations of the House Adhoc Committee on Budget and Economic Planning, headed by Hon. Gbolahan Yishawu.

The house approved N347. 039bn as the total recurrent expenditure from the consolidated revenue fund.

It also approved N699. 082bn as the total capital expenditure from the development revenue fund for the year ending Dec. 31, 2018.

Yishawu, while presenting the committee’s report, said that efforts should be made to reduce the total overhead cost of the state.

The lawmakers, who took turns to commend the nine-man ad hoc committee for a job well done, however, called for quick consideration of the Private-Public Partnership (PPP) scheme.

Hon. Setonji David, the Acting Chairman, House Committee on Physical Planning and Urban Development said: “there are so many arrangements going on in PPP that the house does not know about’’.

The Deputy Majority Leader, Hon. Muyiwa Jimoh, said that PPP should be on its own and not operate under any ministry.

The Speaker of the House, Hon. Mudashiru Obasa, also commended Yishawu and members of the committee for thorough scrutiny of the budget within a short time frame.

The House passed the bill after Obasa conducted a voice vote on each of the sectoral allocations for ministries, departments and agencies.

Obasa directed the Acting Clerk of the House, Mr Azeez Sanni, to send a copy of the bill to Gov. Akinwnmi Ambode for his assent.


INEC to transmit election results electronically

INEC to transmit election results electronically

​Abuja – The Independent National Commission (INEC) has solicited the collaboration of Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) and telecommunications operators for deployment of electronic devices in the conduct of 2019 general elections.

INEC National Chairman, Mahamood Yakubu addressing pressmen on new release of 2019 Election Time Table and Schedule of Activities for 2019 Federal Capital Territory (FCT) Area Council Elections while at INEC Office Abuja. Photo by Gbemiga Olamikan.

Chairman of INEC, Prof. Mahmood Yakubu, made the appeal when he led management of the commission on a visit to NCC Executive Vice-Chairman, Prof. Umar Dambatta, on Tuesday in Abuja.
Yakubu said that INEC was planning full deployment for e-collation and transmission of Ekiti and Osun governorship elections later in the year, and for the 2019 general polls.

He said that time had come to electronically collate and transmit election results from polling units to collation and declaration centres, explaining that doing so would enable results to be transmitted faster and more accurately.

Yakubu said that while the commission had the software and hardware to do the transmission, it needed to rely on telecommunications operators for the transmission of figures and scanned images of result sheets.

Towards these, he appealed to NCC, as the the industry regulator, to facilitate a meeting between INEC and telecommunications operators in the country to finalise preparations for the elections.

He said that the meeting would provide INEC with the combined network coverage map for all operators nationwide, including network strength that could help the commission to deploy e-collation system successfully.

“Since we shall also be transmitting scanned copies of result sheets, it is imperative to ascertain areas covered by 3Gand 4G networks and by which operator(s) across the country.

“The objective is also to discuss data security in the course of transmission of results in order to further safeguard the security of the process.

“The meeting is also imperative to discuss the provision, registration and exclusive use of SIM Cards with special numbers for use in its Smart Card Readers.

“These numbers should be registered in the name of INEC instead of the current practices of using cards sourced from the open market registered in the personal names of our officials.

“This will help in the management of database and dataset of the allocated numbers.

“Doing so will also enable the encryption of information thereby providing additional security in the course of transmitting both data and images,’’ he said.

Yakubu also called on NCC to facilitate discussion with the operators on ways to enhance cooperate social responsibility to Nigeria electoral process, especially on voter education and publicity.

“Towards the 2019 general elections, we would like the operators, in collaboration with INEC, to send bulk SMS on imperative of peaceful elections, the collection of Permanent Voter Cards by registered voters.”

He also called for synergy on directional information on the location of Polling Units for easy access to voters.

In his response, Dambatta expressed NCC’s reediness to be at the forefront of driving innovations that would improve the electoral process in the country.

He said that the commission was committed to ensuring and promoting free, fair and credible elections in the country, especially from 2019.

Dambatta added with ICT there was no need to be at election venue before election could be monitored, saying that today’s telecommunications had made nonsense of distance.

He assured that there was availability of telecom infrastructure, including 3G networks that would facilitates e-collation and transmission of election results.

“We will bring to bear our wealth of Information and Communications Technology (ICT) and telecoms expertise in 2019 general elections to meet the yearnings and aspirations of Nigerians.

“This is what we can achieve in 2019,’’ he said, adding that coming together by INEC, NCC and telecom companies to discuss would help to overcome some of the envisaged challenges.”

He added that there was no better time than now to commence voter education and publicity ahead of the 2019 elections. (NAN)


Restructuring: el-Rufai committee recommends merger of states, scrapping of LGs

Restructuring: el-Rufai committee recommends merger of states, scrapping of LGs

APC chairman, Chief John Odigie-Oyegun

Taiwo Amodu – Abuja

The APC Committee on True Federalism inaugurated in August 2017, by Chairman of the party, Chief John Oyegun (centre), chaired by Governor Nasir el-Rufai is at the APC secretariat to present the committee’s report to the leadership of APC.
The All Progressives Congress, (APC) Committee on True Federalism inaugurated last August by the Chief Odigie Oyegun led the national working committee on Thursday submitted its report with far-reaching recommendations.

Kaduna state governor and chairman of the Committee, Nasir el-Rufai told the gathering of the party chieftains and leadership that his Committee has recommended that local councils be scrapped while the nation should run two-tier system of government.

The Kaduna state governor premised his Committee recommendations on views of Nigerians who sent memoranda and spoke with his team across the country. His team also recommended State Police.

Giving further insight into the report, Mallam el-Rufai said the predominant position of Nigerians on resource control was that states should be vested with rights to issue a prospecting license for mining of mineral resources, oil and gas.

He said: “Local government autonomy is a very interesting subject in which we were surprised at the outcome. There were divergent opinions on this issue.

“We recommend that the current system of local government administration provided for by the constitution should be amended and that states should be allowed to develop and enact laws to have local government administration system that is peculiar to each of them.

“What we heard from Nigerians is that as far as local government is concerned, there is no one size fits all. We all come from different histories, different cultures, different administrative systems and we believe that the constitution should ensure that there is a democratic local government system in every state but the details of, and the nature of that local government system, the number of local governments should be left to the states and states houses of

“We proposed amendments to Sections 7, 8, 162, the first schedule, part one and the first schedule of the constitution to give effect to our recommendations. The section that lists the local governments and their headquarters should be removed, so local governments are no longer named in the constitution. States can create their local governments and determine the structure of their local governments.

“We are by this, recognising that in a federal system, you cannot have more than two tiers of government. Having three tiers of government is an aberration. There is nowhere in the world where our research has shown us that you have more than two federating units.

“We have proposed that mining, minerals, oil should go to the states. Then there will be certain constitutional amendments. The Petroleum Act will be amended to show that states can now issue oil mining licences; the Land Use Act, Nigeria Minerals and Mining Act, the Petroleum Profit Tax Act 2007 would all need to be amended. So, we
have proposed an amendment that will ensure that minerals, mining and oil are vested in the states except for offshore minerals.’’

“Derivation principle, it is recommended that the revenue mobilisation and fiscal commission act be amended to
vest it with the power to periodically review the derivation formular and make a recommendation to the president who shall table the same before the National Assembly for necessary action.

Physical federalism and revenue allocation. We propose an amendment to subsection two of the constitution to give more revenue to the states and reduce the federal government share.

There was an overwhelming popular demand that there should be devolution of power to the states and the committee recommended same. We have recommended that the first schedule, part one and two be amended to
transfer some powers to the states.”

Besides the scrapping of local councils, another controversial recommendation of the Committee is the merger of existing states, as Governor el-Rufai, even as he admitted that majority of Nigerians were against it.

“The first item that we felt needed legislative action is the merger of states. It is pertinent to note that only 36% of Nigerians wants more states created while the majority of Nigerians don’t want more states. For us, since the creation of states is already in the constitution, there is no action needed than to implement that.

“So, the first recommendation for which we have proposed a draft bill for a constitutional amendment is the merger of states. Though there was no consensus’ from stakeholder on the merger of states, we felt that we should propose a bill that allows states to merge and it is left for the National Assembly, the party and the people of Nigeria to decide on that.

The Kaduna governor equally revealed that his team ‘’proposed an amendment to create the State Judicial Council that will appoint and discipline judges within a state while the National Judicial Council will exercise control over the appointment, the discipline of judges of the federal government only.

We have proposed the creation of the state court of appeal so that from the High Court, you can first appeal to the state court of appeal before it goes to the Supreme Court of the federation. Again, this is consistent with federal practice all over the world.

“We also propose a constitutional amendment to allow for a referendum to be conducted on burning national or state issues before decisions are taken. Right now, the constitution has no room for a referendum, but
only in the creation of states.’’

Receiving the report, APC national chairman, Chief Oyegun, expressed delight over the report and assured the Committee that its recommendations would be given the needed attention by all the statutory organs of the party.
He said: ‘’From the presentation of the chairman of this committee, everybody now has an idea of what the APC stands for with regards to true federalism and restructuring. This is the totality of our views,
but it is still going to go through the mill.

“What I will promise you, Mr. Chairman and members of the committee who have put in so much hard work -you have not only provided the details, but you have gone ahead to provide the mechanism for implementation both in terms of law and necessary presidential action, is that this report is going to get the expeditious consideration of this party, the APC.

“I am going to promise that before the middle of February, it would have been considered and decided upon by the major structures of this party, the National Executive Committee, the Caucus of the party. And whatever is thereafter agreed, will be presented to the authorities as the considered views and decisions of the APC for appropriate implementation.

“What you have done is very challenging. What you have done will be controversial but what you have done still has given the basic foundation for the building of a new nation and a new way of doing business in this country; that we will not only devolve power and spread the wings of development nationwide but that will enable the people of this country to not only hold the president accountable but to also hold the states accountable because once this report is approved and implemented, states will become important routes of economic activities and development nationwide.’’
Source: Tribune