Tag Archives: Buhari

Fake Buhari by Sonala Olumhense

Fake Buhari

Sonala Olumhense

The All Progressives Congress has won back the Ekiti governorship. It is a story that should only have attracted jokes, not big headlines, because there was no reason for former governor Kayode Fayemi not to have regained the job handily.

But he didn’t, not easily and not without controversy. Election observers reported that APC, like its PDP counterpart, engaged in vote-buying, thuggery and intimidation. “Party agents had huge cash and were close to voting points,” one electoral observer said. “Security agents were indifferent to cash inducement of voters…”

The government of President Muhammadu Buhari ferried 30,000 policemen into Ekiti for “security,” an election trick to protect the ambition of the power in Abuja. In 2014, the same manoeuvre served the PDP well on its way to “victory” for Fayose.

It is little surprise then that the Centre for Credible Leadership and Citizens Awareness in Abuja, among others, described disturbing “arrests of political stalwarts by security agents and snatching of electoral materials by political thugs.”

Clearly, given that Nigeria operates no state police system, those arrests were not done by the PDP. What is equally curious is how to explain political thuggery in the full view of 60,000 police eyes.

But the electoral commission, as is its character in these situations, swiftly served the interest of the ruling party by chalking up one for President Buhari.

Two days later, in an anniversary speech he gave at the International Criminal Court (ICC) in The Hague, the Nigeria leader bragged that his country’s general elections in 2019 would be “free and fair.”

But he did not tell his listeners his party had just won a state election with some dubious methods.

In other words, election-manipulation is alive and well under his watch, and it is anybody’s guess how much of the N242.45bn he requested of the National Assembly for the elections will go into buying votes by the APC.

Of equal importance, it is notable that a sizable new effort is going into selling Buhari, who is running for re-election, the government seizing every opportunity to put him up for polishing. But if votes needed to be bought in Ekiti where Fayemi was popular, to what extent will Buhari—who is considerably less popular than he was four years ago, dispense with “free and fair”?

Providing eloquent warning in this regard was an effusive “press statement” following Buhari’s performance at The Hague, signed by presidential spokesman Femi Adesina, in which he gushed about “Mr. Integrity” and how much the world adores him.

Adesina described witnessing President Buhari around the world as he spoke to various multilateral bodies. And then: “I have been on the entourage of President Muhammadu Buhari to scores of countries round the world, I have seen how he is well respected by global leaders, and how that reverence rubs off on Nigeria. I tell you, despite all the challenges our country currently faces, we have a leader the world adulates. His honesty, integrity, transparency, love for his country, personal discipline, and many others, are stuff that fairy tales are made of.”

Mr. Adesina misunderstands, or is mischievous about, two things. The first is the nature of international engagement. When a Head of State or Government addresses an international forum, it is normally followed by applause, sometimes even a standing one. That is normal diplomatic practice, and only arrogance, ignorance or mischief can interpret it as personal approval. I have sat through thousands of such speeches: both heroes and scoundrels are accorded the same reception.

To be sure, some speeches are less pretentious or perfunctory than others. Some speakers are potent orators, while others describe genuine accomplishments.

The difference with Nigeria today is that there is a clear ramping-up of applause for Buhari by his team that is not in consonance with the feelings of Nigerians. Buhari does not speak to Nigerian audiences, and the real measure of a leader is when he speaks to his own people in a democratic setting. Any leader can pretend and tell lies abroad, and they often do.

Nonetheless, as I have often said in this column, a speech, no matter how elevated the platform on which it is delivered, is not an achievement. That counts twice if the words are penned by a hired wordsmith.

Of Buhari’ speech at the Hague, Adesina was foaming with joy: “The applause was thunderous, as a man of integrity, Mai Gaskiya (the honest man) concluded his address. It was a day of glory for Nigeria, and all Nigerians of goodwill. Truly, a prophet often has more honour outside, than in his own country. But then, this prophet undoubtedly has honour everywhere.”

And here is part of a soliloquy on Twitter on Thursday by presidential aide Lauretta Onochie: “Ques: Why is the world fascinated by the man, Buhari? Ans: With the greedy and corrupt leaders we had for nearly 17 years, no one believed a saintly leader could ever emerge from our Nigeria…”

Saintly?

Let us see if the evidence backs the propaganda. The first problem is Buhari’s narrative, because he defines corruption only as stealing money. While he may have never stolen one kobo personally, he has no problem surrounding himself with those who have, or in protecting anyone close by whose character is challenged. He has not been tested for accepting gifts.

Integrity? Two of his closest officials have been exposed in the past two weeks for certificate-forgery, with Buhari eerily silent. Is pretending to be holy the same thing as being holy?

Buhari runs a system in which, by definition, nobody near him or appointed by him can be probed, or if probed, prosecuted. “Semi-honest” is not a compliment.

Buhari last week stood in front of the ICC talking about the rule of law, conveniently ignoring the fact, among others, that he has refused to publish the lists of looters ordered by two Nigerian courts, thereby protecting the looters.

Buhari talked incessantly about accountability until Nigerians gave him the presidency. Is it talking about something or doing it that gets the job done?

How does Buhari derive saintliness from the strange case of Abdulrasheed Maina, a fugitive who, under his superintendence, was recalled to federal service with unprecedented semi-military security protection, given a double promotion, and paid his entitlements?

In 2016, a scandal erupted concerning the illegal hiring by the Central Bank of nearly 100 relatives and candidates of privileged Nigerians, including Buhari. Similarly, last month, it was revealed that a scholarship scheme for trainee railway engineers being offered by the China Civil Engineering Construction Corporation has been hijacked by government officials. Is that not the PDP’s playbook?

Has Buhari read the scandalous 2016 report of the Auditor-General of the Federation, which, like the 2015 report, is loaded with scandal and embarrassment? And did he hear the Auditor-General say that since Buhari took office more government offices have refused to be reviewed?

Let it be clear: the more Buhari apologists and propagandists insist on his fake narrative, the more important it is to challenge it, because even the PDP did not stoop so low.

And because the Buhari of their imagination is dangerously fake.

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Awolowo, Abiola, Obasanjo and Afenifere

Awolowo, Abiola, Obasanjo and Afenifere

Afenifere leader, Chief Ayo Adebanjo and former President Olusegun Obasanjo

Posted By: Bayo OSIYEMI

I REMAIN a genuine admirer and believer in the ideals that Pa Obafemi Awolowo espoused in his life time. I also loved his dress sense since I first encountered him as a primary school pupil in 1957 and also from 1978 when I got close to him at both his Park Pane, Apapa home and his ancestral home in Ikenne, Ogun State, due to my professional and political callings.

So, if some of those who shared the same passion for the man Awo can now be seen to be rallying support for Chief Olusegun Obasanjo, who they believed (and still believe) stood between Awo and the Presidency of this nation which he coveted in his lifetime, then I feel hugely vindicated that I engineered the political coming together of Alhaji Lateef Jakande and late Bashorun Moshood Abiola, first in the late 80s, and later, in the early 90s, until the political spoilsports in our clime came to put spanners in the works of the few of us then, who believe that political recrimination, stubborn unforgiveness, vindictiveness and vendetta will, and, can never stand the Yoruba nation in good stead.

No harm if what some of us saw then, the latter-day converts are now seeing. But I smell a rat. Whereas it was for altruistic reason that informed our own action then, the same cannot be said of the few that gathered together recently to host former President Obasanjo and try to whip up tribal sentiment in his favour.

Of course, I’m not deceived into believing that Obasanjo himself is not playing cat and mouse game with our respected and elderly Afenifere chieftains and their younger followers; that he only needs them now to help him out of the consequence of the cobra tail he had stepped on; and that if he succeeds, he won’t go back to the club of few who, for countless number of years, after the demise of the First Republic, have held Nigeria by the jugular.

I submit, with due respect that the meeting held with Obasanjo in Chief Ayo Adebanjo’s Lekki residence recently was to a partisan end, that it has nothing to do with their tribe and their love for the race or the nation. It was, without mincing words, a meeting instigated to work for the preservation of privilege and the return of a group of political desperadoes to power at the centre, since Buhari has made it be known that with him, it will no longer be business as usual.

Let the few Afenifere choristers and Obasanjo offer us refreshingly different tunes from the ones we have had in the past and tell us who these new singers are, if it won’t be evident that they are in the genre of the jaded voices from our very recent past, those rejected massively at the last polls, and who are using every trick in the book to stage a come-back.

When all their bag of tricks is drying up, they are now trying to stigmatise our integrous President of an attempt to Islamise Nigeria, an attempt I know Buhari is fully conscious of what the consequence of that will be to him as a person, and Nigeria as a corporate entity. Take it from here that he will not dare contemplate such gamble!

Elections are in the air and political parties, especially the PDP, are jittery and therefore anxious to find what else they can do to overtake the APC for scoring impressive points on the issue of Abiola and June 12. It is in their desperation that they are wooing just any group – socio-cultural, religious, youths, et al, to recruit, to join in their bid to upstage Buhari and the APC in the next elections.

It is within their right under the law but, in doing so, they should be mindful of spreading venom into susceptible minds and not engage in acts that are inimical to national cohesion, unity and progress. They should also remember that laws are no respecters of anybody and that those who run foul of the nation’s laws in any subtle or discerning form, will have nobody but themselves to blame.

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Source: The Nation

Desperate to protect their interests, Obasanjo, former generals perfect plot to stop Buhari’s re-election

2019: Obasanjo, ex-generals plot against Buhari’s reelection

Buhari and Obasanjo

Posted By: Sunday Oguntola

Some retired generals may have formed a secret coalition to defeat President Muhammadu Buhari in the 2019 Presidential Election. Sunday Oguntola reports on the inside details of the plot.

INVESTIGATION has shown that some ex-generals, led by former President Olusegun Obasanjo, are perfecting plans to stop the reelection bid of President Muhammadu Buhari.

It was learnt that because of their disagreements with some key policies of Buhari administration, the ex-generals have formed what a source called “a strong coalition against Buhari’s second term ambition in 2019.”

The army of opposition

Some of the prominent ex-generals presently associated to the coalition, according to our findings, include Lt. General Theophilus Danjuma, former Military President Ibrahim Babangida, former Head of State Abdulsalam Abubakar, General Zamani Lekwot and General Joshua Dongoyaro, among others.

It was learnt that though the ex-generals also have personal issues among themselves leading to mutual suspicion, they may have decided to jettison them for the purpose of fighting a cause they consider fundamental to their individual survival.

All the prominent ex-generals so far linked to the coalition reportedly have personal axes to grind with the current administration over several issues; it was learnt, leaving them no option than to unite against Buhari, who they now consider a common enemy.

The plot, according to sources, is spearheaded by Obasanjo, who on January 23 wrote Buhari to put his reelection bid on hold, accusing him of non-performance.

The letter, sources confided, was carefully scripted and timed to rally other ex-generals who were skeptical over the workability of the plans.

Once the letter became public knowledge, many of them reportedly became more relaxed and comfortable with the group, pledging to stop at nothing to ensure the defeat of the president at the 2019 poll.

It was gathered that the ex-generals, some of whom served under Obasanjo in the military, have been holding surreptitious meetings for over a year on how to stop Buhari.

Investigations revealed several of the meetings held in Abuja while a few elements in the coalition have also met overseas to perfect strategies on how to stop Buhari at all costs.

Part of the plot, according to sources, is to mount a campaign of non-performance, highlighting the many weaknesses and drawbacks of the current administration with a view to discrediting it.

A source privy to the meetings told our correspondent: “The first thing is to attempt to badmouth the Buhari’s administration by showing where it is not doing so well.

“The thinking is that once Nigerians begin to think less of the administration and its weaknesses are promoted, they will become disenchanted and look for alternatives.

“That is why Obasanjo has been relentless in telling everyone that Buhari has failed. It is a line he will keep repeating for the remaining months to the election. The strategy clearly is to say this man has failed to meet your expectations so look for someone else to fix the nation.”

Aiming for the spine

Obasanjo, who has accepted the daunting task of being the brain-box and face of the coalition, has been harping on the economic performances of the current administration, declaring them as appalling.

In his January 23 letter, the former President had stated: “I knew President Buhari before he became President and said that he is weak in the knowledge and understanding of the economy but I thought that he could make use of good Nigerians in that area that could help.

“Although, I know that you cannot give what you don’t have and that economy does not obey military order. You have to give it what it takes in the short-, medium- and long-term. Then, it would move.

“I know his weakness in understanding and playing in the foreign affairs sector and again, there are many Nigerians that could be used in that area as well. They have knowledge and experience that could be deployed for the good of Nigeria.”

The insecurity challenge, especially the herdsmen attacks, also offers the coalition a massive outlet to bark at the administration. Again, Obasanjo touched on this in his letter.

He had stated: “The herdsmen/crop farmers issue is being wittingly or unwittingly allowed to turn sour and messy. It is no credit to the Federal Government that the herdsmen rampage continues with careless abandon and without finding an effective solution to it.

“And it is a sad symptom of insensitivity and callousness that some governors, a day after 73 victims were being buried in a mass grave in Benue State without condolence, were jubilantly endorsing President Buhari for a second term! The timing was most unfortunate.

“The issue of herdsmen/crop farmers’ dichotomy should not be left on the political platform of blame game; the Federal Government must take the lead in bringing about solution that protects life and properties of herdsmen and crop farmers alike and for them to live amicably in the same community.”

The allegation of collusion by the military in the recent killings across the nation by Danjuma last March was also part of the well-planned strategy to expose the current administration to public outcry.

Danjuma’s outburst on alleged ethnic cleansing sat well with many in the northcentral who consider him a cult-figure in political and security affairs.

It was gathered that the coalition has compiled a list of weaknesses or drawbacks of the current administration, which would be highlighted at different fora from time to time.

A source said they will also work with pressure groups, civil society organisations and human rights bodies, whose primary role would be to organise protests and demonstrations across the nation to create a sense of dissatisfaction against the Buhari government.

Battle for global acceptance

There are indications that the civil society organisations are currently being mobilised by a Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN) with a history of good working relationship and vast networks with the bodies.

It was gathered during the week that very soon, the civil society groups will start unleashing statements and position papers, which would be followed up with peaceful protests across the nation to expose the needs for Nigerians to reject Buhari at the poll.

Another plank of the well-articulated ploy is to mount a campaign against the administration at the international scene to sell to world powers the idea of defeating Buhari.

This strategy, which was also well-deployed against former President Goodluck Jonathan, is directly coordinated by Obasanjo using his vast network and connections in the international scene.

It is believed that the international community is considered crucial to the Buhari-must-go campaign because of the likely consequences and implications on their economic pacts and interests.

But the recent appearance of Buhari at the White House on the invitation of United States President Donald Trump reportedly threw spanner in the wheel of the coalition.

The temporary setback probably made Danjuma to lead a delegation on a lobbying session in Washington DC last May; an action our source said was designed to counter whatever gains Buhari’s government would have made from the US visit.

At the closed-door session held with key officials of Trump’s administration, it was gathered that Danjuma presented damning facts on the herdsmen killings in Taraba and other northcentral states, accusing Buhari’s administration of complicity and grave human rights violations.

The meeting, which was described as a fruitful session, we gathered, afforded the delegation the opportunity to know the inner thinking of Trump’s administration on Nigerian government.

One of the sources, close to the retired general confided that some members of the coalition will have more briefings overseas with countries considered crucial to secure support against the planned defeat of Buhari in 2019.

Diaspora groups have also been mobilised to organise seminars and speaking engagements that would feature some anti-Buhari personalities.

There is also the political arm of the plot, which is targeted at mobilising mass revolt and disaffection against the President’s reelection.

Politics of ex-generals

Also coordinated directly by Obasanjo, the political strategy has taken off with the adoption of African Democratic Congress (ADC) as the platform for the former President’s Coalition for Nigerian Movement (CNM).

ADC, which is working towards the fusion of other parties like the Social Democratic Party (SDP) and Peoples Democratic Movement, as well as 23 smaller ones, has reportedly started building consensus on a northern presidential candidate to stop Buhari.

The choice of the candidate, it was learnt, has however been a thorny issue among the ex-generals with many of them failing to reach an agreement.

While Obasanjo is said to be disposed to backing Gombe State Governor, Ibrahim Dankwambo, some of the ex-generals are rooting for Senator Rabiu Kwankwaso or former Kaduna State Governor Ahmed Makarfi.

The ex-generals are reportedly working on the theory that a strong northern candidate will share votes from the region with Buhari while getting support from the northcentral, south-south and southeast. This permutation, it was learnt, is why they are considering a vice presidential candidate from the southeast or southwest.

Some of the ex-generals are said to be toying with the idea of backing the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) should it present an “acceptable” presidential candidate they could work with in 2019.

But it was learnt many have serious misgivings about supporting PDP because of its perception challenges, making the ADC option a more reasonable path for the ex-generals.

Our correspondent gathered last week that Buhari is however not unawares of the plot against him by some members of his former constituency.

A presidential aide, who spoke under strict conditions of anonymity, told our correspondent: “These things are there to see. We know what they are up to. It is all because their economic interests have been badly affected by this administration.

“It’s a fight-back ploy to defend their interests that negatively affect the nation. We shall be waiting for them to throw whatever they have at it.

“At the end of the day, Nigerians are no fools. They know this President has their best interests at heart. All their plotting will come to naught because they are plotting against an ex-general also.”

Source: The Nation

2019: Can Obasanjo’s romance with Yoruba leaders stop Buhari?

2019: Can Obasanjo’s romance with Yoruba leaders stop Buhari?

Afenifere leader, Chief Ayo Adebanjo, and former President Olusegun Obasanjo

By Abdullateef Aliyu, Lagos |

The recent romance of former President Olusegun Obasanjo with Yoruba leaders has been greeted with mixed feelings and reaction by some of his kinsmen. They see the latest volte-face by the former president as a continuation of his Buhari-must-go campaign. How far can he go?
Former President Olusegun Obasanjo remains a towering figure, not only in Nigeria but in the African continent, going by his statesmanship and the peace building mission across the continent. But like the saying that a man is never recognised in his own country, Obasanjo is loathed by many people in the South-West where he hails from, more than a decade after leaving office as President and Commander-in-chief of the Armed Forces, Federal Republic of Nigeria.

To many people in the South-West, the eight years of the Obasanjo presidency did not benefit the geopolitical region. Up till today, many stakeholders in the region continue to make reference to the tenure of Obasanjo. They claim he never represented the interest of the Yoruba nation while he held sway as president.
Many Yoruba leaders have, over the years, held on to this opinion, lambasting Obasanjo at every opportunity they got. The pan Yoruba socio-cultural group, Afenifere, has often accused the former president of not identifying with it.
But last Saturday’s meeting with some key Yoruba leaders is being viewed with utter shock by political pundits, who are well convinced that the move has political undertone as the 2019 election approaches.
In an unexpected move, Obasanjo, on Saturday, June 23, paid a visit to some Afenifere leaders at the Lekki house of one of the chieftains, Pa Ayo Adebanjo, who recently clocked 80. It was a warm atmosphere. Prior to Obasanjo’s arrival, Adebanjo and other Afenifere arrowheads were waiting patiently at the corridor to receive their august visitors.
Incidentally, it was the same Adebanjo who attacked Obasanjo in his new book, “Tell it as it is,” which he presented in Lagos recently. In the book, he reportedly described the former president as a corrupt leader and “whited sepulchre.” According to Adebanjo, Obasanjo had not disputed that he had only N20,000 in his bank account when he returned from prison in 1999. He added that former Vice President Atiku Abubakar and a businessman, Oyewole Fasawe, saved him from bankruptcy. Adebanjo stated that he was sure that “when a real government of the people comes into power, they would take over Obasanjo’s presidential library complex in Abeokuta.”
Adebanjo’s remarks about the former president were seen as a reflection of the deep-seated animosity which exists between him (Obasanjo) and Yoruba leaders. It is an age-old cold war which has remained potent after his eight-year tenure as president.
But the Saturday visit, described as a courtesy visit, was seen as a subtle way of reconciling the Yoruba leaders for the purpose of the 2019 elections.
Yoruba leaders at the meeting were Prof Akin Mabogunje, publishers of the Tribune Newspapers, Mrs. Tokunbo Awolowo-Dosumu, the senior pastor of the Latter Rain Assembly, Pastor Tunde Bakare, an Afenifere chieftain and South-West chairman of the Social Democratic Party (SDP), Chief Supo Shonibare and the spokesman of Afenifere, Mr. Yinka Odumakin.
Others were Second Republic senator, Prof. Banji Akintoye, one-time secretary of the Afenifere, Senator Femi Okunromu, elder statesman, Dr. Amos Akingba and Akin Oshuntokun, as well as a former governor of Ogun State and the director-general of the Atiku Campaign Organisation, Otunba Gbenga Daniel and a former governor of Ondo State, Olusegun Mimiko.
Obasanjo was accompanied to the meeting, which started at 10:40 am and ended at 11:40 am, by some of his loyalists and associates, including Chief Abraham Akanle, Mr. Joju Fadairo, Dr. Femi Majekodunmi, Dr. Gbolade Oshinowo, Kenny Martins and Otunba Oyewole Fasawe.
The open confrontation between President Muhammadu Buhari and Obasanjo after the former called on the latter to forget the 2019 presidential election has fueled the suspicion that the meeting was part of the 2019 move to stop Buhari by all means.
This suspicion is especially not out of place since Obasanjo had earlier last month paid an historic visit to the Afenifere leader, Pa Reuben Fashoranti in Akure, Ondo State. On the same Saturday, the former president earlier visited another Yoruba figure and former deputy national chairman of the PDP, Chief Bode George in his Ikoyi residence in what was called a condolence visit over the recent demise of his son.
These marathon shuttles to Yoruba leaders, Daily Trust on Sunday reliably gathered, was part of a strategy to galvanise them to stand against the re-election of President Buhari. Another leg of the rapprochement, according to informed sources, was the possible endorsement of an Atiku Abubakar candidacy for the 2019 presidential election. This, it was gathered, informed the presence of former Ogun State governor, who is heading the Atiku Campaign Directorate.
“Don’t be surprised at Obasanjo’s move. It is typical of Nigerian politics. It is a popular maxim here that in politics there is no permanent enemy but permanent interests. The interest of Obasanjo is to ensure that Buhari does not return in 2019, and he is ready to court anyone necessary to achieve his mission,” said a source who is familiar with the intrigues currently going on.
However, many doubt the potency of Obasanjo’s move, given that not all Yoruba leaders are behind him. In fact, President Buhari has incontrovertibly succeeded in winning the heart and soul of some Yoruba leaders, especially after his famous declaration of June 12 as Democracy Day and the subsequent conferment of posthumous GCFR award on the acclaimed winner of the June 12, 1993 election, Chief MKO Abiola. While some Yoruba sons and daughters may not be convinced about the genuineness of the president’s action, there were those who have changed their perception of the president and would not think twice before casting their vote for him.
More so, the national leader of the APC, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu, has not hidden his support for the president’s second term bid, ditto all the five APC governors in the South-West. This groundswell of political support, according to analysts, may be the elixir the president needs to secure the required votes in the region come 2019 since virtually all the APC leaders, including the governors, are some of the greatest influencers of election outcome in their domains.
Thus, Obasanjo may not be able to exert the political power to sway the direction of votes in the 2019 presidential election.
According to Adebanjo, the meeting centred on deepening Yoruba unity. He said, “This is nothing more than the fact that Nigeria must move forward. All attempts to establish dictatorial tendencies in the country must be opposed.
“What is important is that we have our common goal. We don’t have a candidate yet. We must agree first; any difference among us must be settled.”
But can the Afenifere leaders Obasanjo is courting assist in achieving his objective? No doubt, the outcome of the election will prove the point.
However, Tinubu challenged the former president, saying he has no moral right to call on President Buhari not to re-contest. He called Obasanjo a busybody, saying it is none of his business if Buhari decides to run for a second term.
Less than 10 months to the presidential election, South-West remains a major battleground for the ruling and opposition parties. Observers are watching to see how the various conspiracies would change the course of the exercise.

Source: Daily Trust

Why is our Baba crying like a baby?

Why is our Baba crying like a baby?

y Dele Sobowale

“Cowards die many times before their deaths, the brave taste death but once…”.

I had wanted to lead off this article with another quote written by the greatest columnist before Nigeria was created – the inimitable Dr Samuel Johnson, 1709-1784, a philosopher, columnist, author of poetry and prose and a lexicographer. Don’t go looking for a dictionary for the meaning of lexicographer. It means the author of a dictionary. Johnson published the first English Dictionary. But, he also left the world with two statements which have a bearing on today’s subject. The first was the one I cannot recollect precisely. I think it said: “It is easier to be generous when there is nothing to give; to be brave when danger is far.”

The second will come later.

One old Baba, ex-soldier, has been raising the alarm that somebody is plotting to kill him. That is most surprising. On at least three different occasions in the past, this same old man had announced that he was willing to die for Nigeria. Nobody took notice. Apparently, recently, at least according to the old man himself, some people want to help him out and send him to kingdom come. Forget, for now, if the allegation is true or not. I would have thought that Baba would have been happy to get his wish to die for Nigeria; that he would gladly welcome the assassins; perhaps even entertain them. But, No! He has been raising hell all over the place waking us all up because somebody wants to finish him. Why? He had always wanted to die for Nigeria. Read below what happened in 2006 and just laugh at the man. He is a jester.

OBASANJO, PLEASE DON’T DIE; JUST GO HOME.

DELE SOBOWALE

“I am ready to die for Nigeria”—President Olusegun Obasanjo, February 28, 2006 at Abuja.

President Obasanjo has once again repeated his desire to die for the country. This would not be the first time and it might probably not be the last but I personally hope it is the last we shall hear of this. Some will read into this statement the same patriotic zeal that prompted Ouintus Horatio Flaccus, known to history as Horace ( 65 – 8 B.C ) to write those immortal words Dulce et decorum pro patria mori ( Latin) which translates in English language into : “it is sweet and proper to die for one’s country”. Earlier in the last century, Wilfred Owen (1893-1918) the great British poet has called it “the great lie” and Ernest Hemmingway ( 1898 – 1961 ) the American Nobel Prize winner for literature has added: “ In the good old days it used to be said that it is good and honourable to die for one’s country, but today you die for nothing; just like a fowl”. One only hopes not a fowl with bird flu. What makes the Obasanjo declaration so tragi-comical rests on two facts available to all Nigerians. First the man is a retired General of the Nigerian army and he should know that the duty of a soldier is to kill for his country, not to die for it. In so far as a General dies he is a failure because in military arithmetic, a general is worth more than ten thousand infantrymen. So the death he welcomes with such melodrama amounts to welcoming death for ten thousand of the finest men and women this country can provide. That is the tragedy.

The comedy derives from the President’s biography, the outlines of which are in the public domain. At least on two occasions in the past when death pursued him, in 1966 and again in 1976, he had not waited for it. He ran for dear life, undoubtedly forgetting that the same Horace has added the observation that: “and death pursues even the man who flees”. History will record that on the two occasions that Obasanjo fled from imminent death the country had not suffered as a result of that decision. Even now, I can bet my last Naira (I don’t have much of it though) that, despite the outward demonstration of courage, he would scamper for safety if an explosion occurs within 100 meters of his position.”

Just a few months ago, Obasanjo was at it again. He was boasting of his readiness to die for Nigeria. Buhari has not even threatened his life the way he was on the two previous occasions and he is already crying for help. Let me briefly recount the 1966 and 1976 encounters with death by Obasanjo for posterity since journalism is the first rough draft of history. Readers will dismiss henceforth bragging by OBJ about death.

In 1966, as soon as Northern soldiers took power in the counter coup, Abacha organized a group of Northern soldiers who went about searching for and killing Igbo and Mid-West soldiers. They left Yoruba soldiers untouched except one – Olusegun Obasanjo – who was widely known to be a close friend of Chukwumah Nzeogwu, the first coup leader. Sensing death close on his heels, OBJ ran to the house of late Chief Sunday Awoniyi, the Private Secretary to the Sardauna of Sokoto and the second most powerful man in Northern Nigeria at the time. He was allowed in just before the soldiers in pursuit arrived based on a tip-off. Chief Awoniyi boldly faced the soldiers and told then Obasanjo was not in his house. The soldiers, not yet in full control of power, did not want to confront a powerful man in his house. They retreated to receive instructions from above. By the time they returned Awoniyi assisted Obasanjo to escape in disguise to safety in the South. History will recall that Obasanjo repaid Awoniyi with ingratitude.

Nine years after, the same man was the Chief of General Staff, CoGS – the second in command to Head of State Murtala Mohammed. On Black Friday, 13th of February 1976, Murtala was assassinated on his way to work by Colonel Dimka’s men. Obasanjo’s convoy was a short distance away, and sensing danger ahead, quickly diverted to a side street. From there, they entered a private house. There the fleeing General changed to civilian dress and headed for the mansion of late Chief S.B. Bakare – the wealthy Ijesha man – where he was literally hidden under a bed until the really courageous soldiers led by General Danjuma went in search of their future Commander In Chief, C-I-C.

History will also record that late Chief Bakare was repaid with ingratitude by Obasanjo.

“A man in a suit of armour does not need to be brave” said Gustave Flaubert, 1812-1880, when others are not well-armed or protected.

As I wrote in 2006 when he was boasting of being ready to die for Nigeria, the records available would suggest that he would flee if death actually drew near. I am therefore not surprised that he is now crying for help when there appears (rightly or wrongly) no threat to his life. In 2006, as the President of Nigeria, he had all the security forces at his command. He was the threat to other peoples’ lives – especially those who opposed his third term ambition. So, he could boast in 2006 about his willingness to die for Nigeria. Danger was far away.

Now that he is as defenceless as the rest of us, he would perhaps understand how several of us “bloody civilians” felt when we confronted Abacha during his murderous rule now being glorified by Buhari.

Horace, 65-8 BC: “…death pursues even the man who flees nor spares the hamstrings of the cowardly..”

Most people quoting Horace and his praise of those who die for the fatherland stop before those final lines about the “man who flees”. Obasanjo had fled twice. He will probably run again if the need arises. There is nothing wrong with that. Self-preservation is the first law in nature. He should however stop deceiving us by laying claim to courage he does not possess. At least, he should stop crying now. Buhari will never contemplate killing Obasanjo. The President is too humane for that. The number of mysterious deaths of political opponents during his tenure remains a record which we can only pray will not re-occur under any other freely elected President. As the Yoruba say in a proverb ”apani ki je ki won mu ida koja nipako ti e” meaning “a professional assassin would not allow anyone to play with a sword behind his back.”

HOW NOW VP?

“God offers to every mind its choice of truth and repose. Take what you please. You can’t have both”. Ralph Waldo Emerson. 1803-1882.

A few weeks ago, the Vice President, Professor Yemi Osinbajo, SAN, had urged Nigerians to vote for the All Progressives Congress, APC, because, according to him “we are not thieves”. I had admonished the VP about giving blanket endorsement to his co-party members. And as a Pastor, he had been reminded about the commandment about bearing false witness. A party which has as a member, who is being prosecuted for N4bn removed to partly fund Ekiti elections in 2014 cannot claim that “we are not thieves”.

Today, Osinbajo, SAN, has more rotten eggs on his face – thanks to three prominent APC members who were jailed recently. The Accountant General of Kebbi State, Mohammed Dakingari bagged 70 years. Former Governors Jolly Nyame and Festus Dariye, of Taraba and Plateau states respectively were sent away for 14 years each.

If only the VP had read PDP: CORRUPTION INCORPORATED, pages 258 to 264, he would have been ashamed to be in the same political party with Reverend Nyame – a so-called “Man of God”.

Will the VP issue an apology? I doubt it. Politicians are almost all liars.

“You cannot adopt politics as a profession and remain honest.”

Lewis M Howe, 1871-1936. Who will believe Osinbajo after this?

Culled from Vanguard

Budget padding: National Assembly counters Buhari

Budget 2018: National Assembly faults Buhari’s claims

By Azimazi Momoh Jimoh, Terhember Daka and George Opara, Abuja

• Says President Was Misinformed On Budgetary Figures
• Lawmakers’ Alterations Smack Of Greediness, Insists Presidency

The National Assembly said yesterday that the 2018 budget figures reeled out by President Muhammadu Buhari in respect of several projects were incorrect and misleading.

It declared that adjustments and reductions in the locations, costs and number of projects approved were made in order to address geo-political imbalances that came with the Executive proposal.

At a joint press conference addressed by spokespersons of the Senate, Aliu Sabi Abdullahi and his House of Representatives colleague, Abdul Razak Namdas, it was also pointed out that the introduction of new projects was done to ensure the promotion of the principles of Federal Character as contained in Section 14, subsection (3) of the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria as amended which states that “the composition of the Government of the Federation or any of its agencies and the conduct of its affairs shall be carried out in such manner as to reflect the federal character of Nigeria…”

However, the presidency yesterday insisted that the lawmakers’ alterations demonstrated greediness and self-centredness. In a statement by presidential spokesperson, Femi Adesina yesterday, the presidency said the lawmakers apart from increasing the oil benchmark for lawmakers’ interest, still cut funding for essential projects.

“The Executive is therefore surprised that with an additional sum of N170 billion Naira available for the National Assembly to spend on Constituency Projects, together with the sum of N100 billion Naira, already provided for in the Budget, that the National Assembly should feel it necessary to cut allocations to important national projects, and thereby distort the Budget, in order to further increase their allocation for constituency projects,” Adesina said.

The National Assembly further asserted that the projects had to be increased in order to give a sense of belonging to every geo-political zone of the country to ensure socio-economic justice, equity, fairness, and to command national loyalty. It insisted: “Within the context of the provisions of Sections 4, 80 and 81 of the Constitution, everything that the National Assembly has done is within its powers.”

“Furthermore, Chapter 2 of the Constitution emphasizes the need for balance, inclusivity, and equity in the distribution of national resources. The annual budget, which symbolises the distribution of these resources must reflect the aforementioned values, which we swore to uphold,” the NASS said.

Curiously, the National Assembly revealed that there was no existing contract for the construction of a second Niger Bridge.

The Assembly said: “Addressing the issue of the Second Niger Bridge project, apart from early works, as of today, there is no existing contract for the Second Niger Bridge in spite of frequent requests from the National Assembly. The N900million cut from the N10billion proposed by the Executive was deployed to fund ancillary roads that connect to the Bridge. It should again be noted that the N12.5billion and the N7.5billion appropriated for the Second Niger Bridge in the 2016 and 2017 budgets by the National Assembly were never utilized for the project.”

On the President’s claim that the National Assembly delayed in passing the Budget, the parliament noted that “although the budget was submitted in November, 2017, as at March 15, 2018 (five months and 8 days after the budget submission), Mr. President was still directing the Secretary to the Government of the Federation to compel the Heads of Ministries, Departments and Agencies of the Federal Government to appear before the committees of the National Assembly to defend their respective budget. In addition, up till April (6 months after the budget submission), the Executive was still bringing new additions to the 2018 budget, which the National Assembly in good faith and in the spirit of collaboration and harmonious working relationship accepted.

“More importantly, the 2017 budget was signed into law on June 5, 2017 and by the provisions of Section 318 of the Constitution, which defines the Financial Year as “any period of 12 months beginning on the first day of January in any year, or other date as the National Assembly may prescribe” – the 2017 budget lapsed on the 5th of June 2018. This same provision is replicated in the 2017 Appropriation Act,” it said.

On the reductions made in some aspects of the budget, the National Assembly declared that, “the figures given by the President as amounts of the reductions made by the National Assembly were unduly exaggerated, as we did not make any substantial reduction on any project to the extent of affecting its implementation.

“It was stated that the legislature made cuts amounting to N347 billion which were meant for 4,700 projects. Again, these reductions of N347 billion were made from low priority areas to higher priority areas to support the generation of employment for our youth by MSMEs. We took the decision to reduce the funds in some areas in order to ensure balance and equity in the spread and utilization of our national funds,” the Assembly said.

Giving the exact detail of the projects where deductions were made, the lawmakers disclosed that the counterpart funding for the Mambilla Power Plant, Second Niger Bridge/Ancillary roads, the East-West Road, Bonny-Bodo Road, Lagos-Ibadan Express Road and Itakpe-Ajaokuta Rail Project, was reduced by only N3, 956,400,290 -which represents only 1.78 per cent of the total N222, 569,335,924 submitted by the President. This left these projects with N218, 612,935,634 that cannot negatively affect their implementation. This obviously contradicts the claim that these projects lost “an aggregate of N11.5 billion,” they submitted.

Specifically, the National Assembly said “the counterpart funding for 3050mw Mambilla Hydropower Project was reduced from N8.5billion to N8.2billion (a reduction of N300million); the construction of the Second Niger Bridge including access roads phases’ 2a and 2b in Anambra and Delta states and other projects in the South East were reduced from N10billion to N9.1billion (a reduction of N900million).”

It continued: “The construction of Bodo-Bonny Road with a bridge across the Opobo channel in Rivers State was reduced from N10billion to N8.7billion (a reduction of N1.3billion) while funding for the Lagos-Ibadan Expressway was reduced from N20billion to N18billion (a reduction of N2billion).”

The Assembly also disclosed that it increased the aggregate funding for the East-West Road from N11, 285,000,000 to N12, 085,000,000 because it realised the strategic importance of the road to the entire oil producing areas of the country and the fact that the road project has lingered for too long.

On the issue of the 104 Unity Schools across the nation and the claim by the President that N3billion was cut from their funding, the National Assembly disclosed that it actually provided an additional N3.7billion more for meal subsidies in these 104 Unity Schools.

Faulting President Buhari’s remarks on the alleged reduction of the funding for the construction of the Terminal Building at Enugu Airport, the lawmakers said:
“it was claimed that the provision for construction of the Terminal Building at Enugu Airport was cut from 2 billion Naira to 500 million Naira and that this will further delay the completion of this critical project.

“However, for the avoidance of doubt, it is necessary to again clarify that during the budget defense and oversight processes, the National Assembly discovered that out of the N2billion contract for the Enugu Terminal Building, N1.7billion had already been paid to the contractor. And what is left to complete this project is just N300million. Hence, the National Assembly approved N500million for the project, which is even N200million more than was required.”

Source: The Guardian

How National Assembly mutilated 2018 budget – Buhari

President Buhari’s speech at the signing of 2018 budget into law

SPEECH BY HIS EXCELLENCY, MUHAMMADU BUHARI, PRESIDENT OF THE FEDERAL REPUBLIC OF NIGERIA, AT THE SIGNING INTO LAW, THE 2018 APPROPRIATION BILL, PRESIDENTIAL VILLA, ABUJA,

PROTOCOLS

I would like to thank the leadership of the National Assembly, particularly the Senate President and the Speaker of the House of Representatives, as well as all the Distinguished Senators and Honourable Members, for passing the 2018 Appropriation Bill, after seven months.

2. When I submitted the 2018 Budget proposals to the National Assembly on 7th November 2017, I had hoped that the usual legislative review process would be quick, so as to move Nigeria towards a predictable January-December financial year. The importance of this predictability cannot be overemphasized.

3. While the Federal Government’s budget represents less than 10% of aggregate yearly expenditures in the economy, it has a very significant accelerator effect on the financial plans of other tiers of government, and even more importantly, the private sector, which mostly operates on a January-December financial year.

4. Notwithstanding the delay this year, I am determined to continue to work with the National Assembly towards improving the budgeting process and restoring our country to the January-December fiscal cycle.

5. I note, with pleasure, that the National Assembly is working on the enactment of an Organic Budget Law, so as to improve the efficiency of the nation’s budgetary process.

6. As I mentioned during the presentation of the 2018 Appropriation Bill, we intend to use the 2018 Budget to consolidate the achievements of previous budgets and deliver on Nigeria’s Economic Recovery and Growth Plan (ERGP) 2017-2020.

7. It is in this regard that I am concerned about some of the changes that the National Assembly has made to the budget proposals that I presented. The logic behind the Constitutional direction that budgets should be proposed by the Executive is that, it is the Executive that knows and defines its policies and projects.

8. Unfortunately, that has not been given much regard in what has been sent to me. The National Assembly made cuts amounting to 347 billion Naira in the allocations to 4,700 projects submitted to them for consideration and introduced 6,403 projects of their own amounting to 578 billion Naira.

9. Many of the projects cut are critical and may be difficult, if not impossible, to implement with the reduced allocation. Some of the new projects inserted by the National Assembly have not been properly conceptualized, designed and costed and will therefore be difficult to execute.

10. Furthermore, many of these new projects introduced by the National Assembly have been added to the budgets of most MDAs with no consideration for institutional capacity to execute them or the incremental recurrent expenditure that may be required.

11. As it is, some of these projects relate to matters that are the responsibility of the States and Local Governments, and for which the Federal Government should therefore not be unduly burdened.

12. Such examples of projects from which cuts were made are as follows:

a. The provisions for some nationally/regionally strategic infrastructure projects such as Counter-part funding for the Mambilla Power Plant, Second Niger Bridge/ancillary roads, the East-West Road, Bonny-Bodo Road, Lagos-Ibadan Expressway and Itakpe-Ajaokuta Rail Project were cut by an aggregate of 11.5 billion Naira.

b. Similarly, provisions for some ongoing critical infrastructure projects in the FCT, Abuja especially major arterial roads and the mass transit rail project, were cut by a total of 7.5 billion Naira.

c. The provision for Rehabilitation and Additional Security Measures for the United Nations Building by the FCT, Abuja was cut by 3.9 billion Naira from 4 billion Naira to 100 million Naira; this will make it impossible for the Federal Government of Nigeria to fulfill its commitment to the United Nations on this project.

d. The provisions for various Strategic Interventions in the health sector such as the upgrade of some tertiary health institutions, transport and storage of vaccines through the cold chain supply system, provision of anti-retroviral drugs for persons on treatment, establishment of chemotherapy centres and procurement of dialysis consumables were cut by an aggregate amount of 7.45 billion Naira.

e. The provision for security infrastructure in the 104 Unity Schools across the country were cut by 3 billion Naira at a time when securing our students against acts of terrorism ought to be a major concern of government.

f. The provision for the Federal Government’s National Housing Programme was cut by 8.7 billion Naira.

g. At a time when we are working with Labour to address compensation-related issues, a total of 5 billion Naira was cut from the provisions for Pension Redemption Fund and Public Service Wage Adjustment.

h. The provisions for Export Expansion Grant (EEG) and Special Economic Zones/Industrial Parks, which are key industrialization initiatives of this Administration, were cut by a total of 14.5 billion Naira.

i. The provision for Construction of the Terminal Building at Enugu Airport was cut from 2 billion Naira to 500 million Naira which will further delay the completion of this critical project.

j. The Take-off Grant for the Maritime University in Delta State, a key strategic initiative of the Federal Government, was cut from 5 billion Naira to 3.4 billion Naira.

k. About seventy (70) new road projects have been inserted into the budget of the Federal Ministry of Power, Works and Housing. In doing so, the National Assembly applied some of the additional funds expected from the upward review of the oil price benchmark to the Ministry’s vote. Regrettably, however, in order to make provision for some of the new roads, the amounts allocated to some strategic major roads have been cut by the National Assembly.

13. Another area of concern is the increase by the National Assembly of the provisions for Statutory Transfers by an aggregate of 73.96 billion Naira. Most of these increases are for recurrent expenditure at a time we are trying to keep down the cost of governance.

14. An example of this increase is the budget of the National Assembly itself which has increased by 14.5 billion Naira, from 125 billion Naira to 139.5 billion Naira without any discussion with the Executive.

15. Notwithstanding the above stated observations, I have decided to sign the 2018 Budget in order not to further slowdown the pace of recovery of our economy, which has doubtlessly been affected by the delay in passing the budget.

16. However, it is my intention to seek to remedy some of the most critical of these issues through a supplementary and/or amendment budget which I hope the National Assembly will be able to expeditiously consider.

17. I am pleased with the success recorded in the implementation of the 2017 Budget. A total sum of 1.5 trillion Naira has been released for the implementation of capital projects during the 2017 fiscal year. In response to this and other policy measures implemented, we have observed significant improvement in the performance of the Nigerian economy.

18. To achieve the laudable objectives of the 2018 Budget, we will work very hard to generate the revenues required to finance our projects and programmes. The positive global oil market outlook, as well as continuing improvement in non-oil revenues, make us optimistic about our ability to finance the budget.

19. However, being a deficit budget, the Borrowing Plan will be forwarded to the National Assembly shortly. I crave the indulgence of the National Assembly for a speedy consideration and approval of the Plan.

20. The 2018 Budget I have just signed into law provides for aggregate expenditures of 9.12 trillion Naira, which is 22.6% higher than the 2017 Appropriation. Further details of the approved budget will be provided by the Minister of Budget and National Planning.

21. I thank the Ministers of Budget and National Planning, the Budget Office of the Federation, and everyone who worked tirelessly and sacrificed so much to bring us to this day. However, the job is only partly done.

22. I am sure you will remain committed to advancing our Change Agenda, not only in the preparation of the national budget but also in ensuring its effective implementation.

I thank you and may God bless Nigeria.

(NAN)