Chibok Girl Amina Ali Nkeki, a wake up call for Our General Buhari
By Muhammadu Kabiru M. Gwangwazo
Saturday, May 21, 2016/Sha'aban 14, 1437 A.H.
General Muhammadu Buhari, our President was quite emotional on receiving Amina Ali Nkeki, one of the more than 200 abducted Chibok girls who have been held captive by Boko Haram for over two years.
He announced his regret that the Nigerian Government can't turn back the hands of the clock and undo the harrowing nightmares she had gone through over the period of her captivity at the hands of the terror group. But that the Federal Government will do all it can to ensure her life turns a new leaf. That she gets a better life than she has had thus far.
Listening to Mr. President, knowing his passion for seeing all Nigerians, especially the commonman, get the best of what Nigeria can offer I was struck by the irony of it all. It is sad and unfortunate that Amina Ali now has a baby. And to add to her misery that she was rescued with someone, one Muhammad Hayatu, in tow who claims he was her husband and father of her 4 month old baby.
It is ironic that she doesn't look any worse than the generality of other girls of her age who are not under Boko Haram captivity. In fact she does look better cared for. And this is despite the harrowing experience of kidnap and forced marriage to someone who may be a terrorist in a state of war, in a crude and raw environment with the daily fear of terror and sudden death. Yet, in such a state she lived some form of life, and even ran a household of sorts even on the run, with a husband and now a baby.
The main irony for me though is that other girls her age, many younger, many apparently much poorer live a more crude life than she may have led in their supposed freedom. A life of daily horror caused by poverty and its many soldiers. A life where the lucky that go to school, government school, hardly have any appreciable education to speak of.
The stark and painful irony is that many who live life in free Nigeria get married off at Amina Ali Nkeki's age or a lot younger to fellow poverty smashed Nigerians. Mark you, I am not on about the age of marriage at whatever age but the causes and experiences of those forced by poverty and ignorance and culture into such marriages.
Many of the young and many more of those who are older who have no real education are married off and live what passes for a life without gaining much from those government schools they go to.
While many more, in the north don't even go to schools run by government.
They only go to almajiri schools. For such of them who are lucky to escape poverty of the grinding type the majority are condemned to when the girls have to deliver their litter of babies the lucky ones among them patronize government hospitals in such of the villages and cities they may live in in supposed freedom. Such hospitals invariably deliver dead babies and send forth dead mothers to the great beyond.
That invariably is the story of girls who are wives of the Amina Ali Nkeki type living in freedom. Where they invariably have a fifty-fifty chance or worse odds of delivering the kind of baby Amina Ali delivered for her consort ("husband") Muhammad Hayatu.
Her consort's baby was delivered in the bushes of Sambisa. And looks obviously healthy for a 4 months bundle of joy, hopefully. You see her photos veiling herself to suckle the tot right there in the Presidential Villa when she called on Mr. President.
For me her case is a violent wake up call for Mr. President. That Amina Ali Nkeki is not just alerting us of what in a way are the "lucky" Chibok girls who have been the celebrity toys of the elites of Bring Back Our Girls (BBOG).
It is a wake up call that there are probably thousands of other kidnapped persons of different ages who don't have the luck of a celebrity studded campaign led by the privileged children of yesterday's Nigeria who had the best education Nigeria could offer and some of the best opportunities too.
Of course that is not to say the effort they put in in the Chibok case is not commendable. They have done well. But the issue at hand that we need to address as a nation is the fate of the thousands of others who have no voice of the BBOG type. And of the internally displaced persons (IDPs). And more issues of us, and other poverty ravaged Nigerians, who like Amina Ali are left to fend for ourselves.
The case of Amina of Chibok is a violent alert for Mr. President to take the next step after his successful demystification of the thieving Nigerian elite in Government.
It is the theft and misapplication of our commonwealth over the past 30 years since Buhari's last time in government that is at the root of our inexplicable mass poverty. It is at the root of creation of the Boko Haram nightmare. The failure to tackle it and the terror of the Fulani herdsmen and those who use that cover to unleash mayhem in the North. It is also the cause of the Niger delta terrorism trying to bring Nigeria down since their bosses lost power with the fall of PDP.
The Amina Ali Nkeki alert should remind Mr. President of the very weighty and historic role God has bestowed on him, the role that Nigerian masses voted him for. Hoping that the mess and rot he met in the system has not so overwhelmed him over the past one year of his stewardship.
He must use whatever time he has left to reverse the trend that still leaves our hospitals, including teaching hospitals as next to useless "mere consulting clinics".
That was what then Brigadier-General Sani Abacha told us of our health services sector on the December 31st 1983 Buhari coup day speech, for those who may have forgotten. Our President must change our schools from breeding grounds for ignorance to true citadels of learning.
He must make Nigeria worth dying for by its people. He must make life more abundant such that others won't be tempted to feel Amina Ali was lucky to have been abducted.
The sad and ironic reality of the brutish Hobbesian Nigeria of the 16 and 30 years past is that abducted Amina Ali may not have had any better life even as a freeborn living in free Nigeria.
As a free person poverty is her potion and that of whoever she would have gotten married to unless she or her husband or father were an Air Marshal Alex Badeh, a Lieutenant - Colonel Sambo Dasuki or a Petroleum Minister Alison Diezani or one of the many others before them whose only ticket to wealth is the public trust they had the good luck of managing ostensibly on our behalf.
General Muhammadu Buhari as President must do all he can to come up with a coherent and sustainable structural plan to stop thieving. To stop the rot in the political recruitment process that churns out the type of rotten leadership we have had over the past 16 years.
As President, General Muhammadu Buhari needs to confirm all the hope we have always had in him, these past 14 years of the struggle to get him to be President, in the remaining time he has -- 3 or more preferably 7 years in the two terms of 4 years each we sincerely pray he completes in God's name in good health and sound intellect.
The time may seem inadequate. But it is enough to ensure the General restructures our health service such that it truly serves the people. And that is at all levels right down to the Ward level.
The time he has is enough to concretize the laudable health insurance schemes started by governments past. Time enough to make it universal. To cover even unemployeds all over the federation.
It is enough to start the painful journey to change education into a tool for national development.
It is time enough also to return agriculture to its status in years past as the mainstay of our economy.
The remaining seven years of the Buhari Presidency should be enough for us to look back with pride at a redesigned Nigeria where no captive Amina Ali of Chibok will ever again be the envy of other freeborns in a free Nigeria.
Unlike captive Amina Ali Nkeki how many Nigerians have the good luck of a one on one tete-a-tete with the President and the pledge of a better life for the rest of her life from such a man of honour.
General Muhammadu Buhari is known to honour his words no matter how long it takes. He did so with the World Golden Eaglets, Nigerian footballers he announced honors for in the twilight of his military presidency in the mid 80s. Subsequent governments refused to deliver on his pledge for the 30 years he had been away from the presidency only for him to return and redeem the Government's pledge to them some time last year.
The remaining seven years of Buhari should see a start with the Amina Ali Nkeki alert that Nigerians of all ages who are not Dasukis or Badehs and Diezanis or their relatives and friends and associates are all in the same comfortably caring Presidential boat with her.
That they can expect Nigeria to serve them well for all of their days on earth.
Such a start should be seen from the ways and means of the 2016 budget. This budget must not be permitted by Mr. President to dictate to us as an irrevocable totem. It should be open to rejigging when/if the need for doing so arises.
After all, Amina Ali for instance was not in the budget and now she is an item for the whole of her life.
All of us who are lucky not to have been abducted and yet not as lucky as she is to have had her plight made public are perforce also items on the budget who must be attended to.
We must be supported to feed, clothe, house, educate and provide health services for us and our families as the basic security consideration we expect of a Buhari Presidency.
Muhammadu Kabiru M. Gwangwazo (firstname.lastname@example.org), a journalist and APC politician writes from 244 Gwangwazo, Kano City. He is also (since 2009) Chairman, Coalition Committee for Buhari Groups (CCBG), Kano
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Saturday, 28 May 2016
Sunday, 3 April 2016
2019 is just around the corner, for all who have ears to hear!
Open Letter to Chief Olusegun Osoba
- As Osoba dumps SDP, rejoins APC
By Kabiru Muhammad-gwangwazo
Chief Segun Osoba, Sir.
I welcome you back as you return to your, our Political Party, the APC, like I did after a brief estrangement shortly before the elections. You may recall that we battled to get General. Muhammadu Buhari the APC ticket as best we could even as I was a refugee in SDP forced to accept the SDP's kindness of offering us the Governorship ticket for Kano like the party did you and your group in Ogun. I welcome you back as we have a saying in Hausa "bak'on safe, ke saukar na dare" (the Guest who arrived in the morning is the one who welcomes the Guest who arrives in the evening) as I did return with all of our supporters, before the Governorship elections in early April, exactly one year ago, after my 3 months forced sojourn in the SDP that I incidentally joined with the full support and endorsement of General Muhammadu Buhari as our Leader in the CPC, the key Legacy Party that got the merger going with you and your Party, ACN,
I would like to suggest that with your return now you should immediately start to work towards 2019 just as we are now doing assiduously since returning home last year, more so as we are moreorless political IDPs (internally displaced persons) within a party we, like you toiled to build, a party we worked to get in to power at the national and state level here in Kano. Even those who had remained within the party despite their anger at the fact of being sidelined as CPC partisans in the merger during our brief sojourn out of the party still remain mere IDPs unattended and untended.
In my view Sir, focusing on the future, on 2019 is the only way you can be of use to the teeming base of support that you have in Ogun state and indeed Yoruba land were many of your type who are as much Buharist as any you can find are not happy with the local political color.
Chief Osoba Sir, I am sure you can find an accommodation with Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu with whom I am certain you have no personal quarrel.
You have proved that you can always strike out on your own, even if the Political Reality of the desperate need for Change from the hopeless PDP of Jonathan was so pressing that local differences were not enough to divert attention from the bigger picture. That was exactly what General Muhammadu Buhari decided on when he insisted on APC - SAK, all over.
That is why he ordered that I should come back to APC to support the party in Kano as a means of indicating to the mass of Buhari supporters who were of the CPC that all is well.
The target of our sojourn in SDP and why we went in was to prove to tyrannical PDP and PDP types in the APC that they can not always have their way. At the same time we needed to keep our people away from PDP like you did in Ogun, and Senator Seyi also did in Oyo, and many of us who were not happy with what was going on in APC in our local chapters In other states also did drifting to alternative parties. The handling of Government by the local champions in Government today is proof that we were right to express our discontent by voting with our feet. You were right too. We were right to return when we did, as you are so right to return now after giving the local champions time to prove their capacity or lack thereof.
Sir, I am sure you recall also how from reports of SDP national stakeholder meetings we worked to block the plan for the SDP to be used by some party leaders to facilitate PDP plans especially in the South West.
There is the expectation that there is likely to be a political reform to drastically reduce the hold of moneybags and no-good political godfathers of the reactionary type on elections within and between parties before the end of the first tenure of General Muhammadu Buhari.
That done it would be a lot easier for people of character and integrity to be out forward in the 2019 elections. Where the party apparatchik in APC refuses to toe the line of fairness and rectitude it will not be likely for General Buhari to intervene to save the manipulators who used his influence in 2015 to again ride roughshod over the populace with their outdated PDP type politics that has now been proved to be totally barren and devoid of ideas In practically all the states we have records of.
Therefore it is obvious 2019 will be a whole new ball game. In 2015 it was expedient for what happened to happen.
It was good, actually that General Buhari asked for votes for APC all the way.
If he hadn't done that by now the story could have been different. With the hostile PDP type politics of the National Assembly under Bukola Saraki if the PDP had had a majority of Governors they would have used them to armtwist the NASS to do some unthinkable to the General. Look at how even now the NASS is busy putting all kinds of obstacles in front of the Government, seeing that they can't have their way.
First it was the weird alliance of so called APC Senators to elect an APC/PDP NaSS leadership. Then there was the tale by moonlight on the TSA at the same NASS. Then there was the foot dragging on Ministers and the backslapping sycophancy in clearing them including many who ought not have been cleared In the first place in a Buhari APC Change Government.
Then we heard of the Budget and its "theft" from the Senate, then the budget padding scandal. That of course was not only a Senate affair but involved remnants of the old guard of PDP type politics and government in the system.
Finally, we now have the "approved" Budget that was passed for Presidential assent without details.
Only God knows what would have happened by now if President Buhari did not have a majority across board in APC.
So, Chief Osoba Sir, there is a time for everything.
There is a time to charge. There is a time to Retreat. And there is even a time to Idle away.
Welcome back Sir.
And don't be too bothered if you are also left to idle away like we have been for the whole of this past year at the local state level. The central government will surely not let you rot away once activity takes off after passage of the budget.
And 2019 is just around the corner.
This is a message for all who have ears to hear, Sir.
Olusegun Osoba dumps SDP, rejoins APC
By Assistant News Editor
3 hours ago
A chieftain of the Social Democratic Party (SDP) and former Governor of Ogun State, Olusegun Osoba, has returned to his former political party, All Progressives Congress (APC).
It would be recall Osoba dumped APC following a disagreement that brewed between him and the Ogun State Governor, Senator Ibikunle Amosun.
Big wigs Of the All Progressives Congress (APC) on Sunday met to receive Osoba back into their fold at his residence in Abeokuta, the capital of Ogun State.
The party leaders present were former Governor of Lagos State, Bola Tinubu, former Governor of Ogun State, Bisi Akande, Deputy Governor of Lagos State, Oluranti Adebule, who represented the Governor of Lagos State, Akinwunmi Ambode.
Osoba left the defunct ACN after a party infighting which took him and his supporters to the Social Democratic Party (SDP) in the 2015 general elections.
He is seen as one of the SDP founders.
Osoba was elected on two different occasions as Governor of Ogun State; first from January 1992 until November 1993 on the platform of the SDP.
He and others were removed from office by the administration of General Sani Abacha on 17 November 1993.
After the return to democracy in 1999, he was elected again as Governor of Ogun State on the platform of the Alliance for Democracy (AD), holding office between May 1999 and May 2003.
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Monday, 5 October 2015
President Buhari's 100 days:
The General scores as solitary Noise Maker (aka Minister)
The General scores as solitary Noise Maker (aka Minister)
By Kabiru M. Gwangwazo
"I have been a governor before and this question keeps coming. One hundred days in the life of a government with a mandate of four years is insignificant. There is always a learning period. You may say he was a military Head of State before but it is different. In military dictatorship there is nothing like the National Assembly; you give orders and nobody will question your orders. But the situation is quite different from a civilian government where you have to lobby.
"So, I do not want to use 100 days to assess a sitting president. But so far, so good! What is going for Buhari is the perception of Nigerians that he is an incorruptible leader.
"The integrity and what he came with to government is what is helping him. If you go to the North and you mention Buhari’s name, ‘’Sai Buhari’’, they come like bees.
"Some of them do not even know who he is. You can spend money and Buhari will not spend and people will trek 15 kilometers to support him.
"That is the mystery he has built for himself over the years because people see him as incorruptible and straightforward. With this change mantra that they floated and anti-corruption as the vessel, people seem to believe what he is doing".
- DSP Alamiseigha, ex-Bayelsa Governor (Vanguard newspaper interview, September 19, 2015).
It is well past the first 100 days since General Muhammadu Buhari took the oath of office as President of the federal republic.
With the testimony of one who has every reason to say ill of General Buhari and the APC Government that took over from his boy, Jonathan what more do we need to say on 100 days of the government? But then, write we must to keep a date with history.
So far the General, our freshly minted President has sent names of what he says are the first batch of his nominees for Ministerial appointments at the very last minute of his pledge that he will name his cabinet team before or by the end of September.
His studied silence on the issue of Ministers, his refusal to be railroaded by all of us interested in one kind of appointment or the other in Government has heightened tension among the Nigerian elite. But with the masses of the people and indeed many not so "massey" this added to the General Buhari mystique.
While waiting with bated breath to authoritatively learn who and who are on the list next Tuesday October 6th a whole industry has sprung up on lists of supposed Ministers in the social media initially, and not to be outdone the mainstream media too joined in titillating the palate of an impatient and inquisitive clientele. Some post names that sound so authoritative that one tends to go with them. Many we would go with because they favour the choices we'd love to see around the General, either because we know them in person or in the media, or because we feel they are the type who are capable of assisting General to deliver on the hopes we have so pinned on him. Many we wistfully hope to see Tuesday at Senate unveiling of the list because of the roles we see they played in getting us the General to lead the Change we, the people have been hankering for for 30 and 16 or more recently 13 years that Buhari has offered himself for service as President.
Be that as it may, my reading of the national political barometer says so far, so good. That is no doubt the verdict from Change Advocates who have rooted for General Buhari and stuck to him for President even before Ministers are named.
That is not to demean the huge role Ministers are expected to play when they eventually come aboard despite the General himself downplaying their immense role, as mere "noise makers", when he said in a media interview abroad that civil servants, the so-called technocrats (as if there aren't any among the political class, themselves recruited from the larger society like the techno-civil-servant-crats) do all the work (I guess he means groundwork, backgrounding etc) while Ministers merely make noise. Adding, that is what we all do, he said, encompassing himself indicating a remarkable but hallmark self deprecating humility.
But then see the General's kind of "noise making" that has retuned the civil service, the police, the DSS, the EFCC, the CCB, the ICPC and the Nigeria Army. His kind of "noise" literally by only one man, the Oga at The Top, has changed the fortunes of NEPA. As I write now, well after 2am, Saturday (morning/night) I am enjoying NEPA and the comforts thereof. Simply because of the body language of this lone noisemaker we now enjoy the availability of fuel at N87 all over at petrol filling stations.
And yet again much as we would like to see a more active involvement of the President's wife in matters that affect the broad constituency she was part of drawing in and attracting to vote for him and their concerns, women and children, this lone General's kind of noise has kept a tight lid so far on that front. He has stopped the initial indication of a high class First Lady blitz under his wife as was the tradition in the years the locusts ate.
I am of the class of Nigerians who argue that General should not have a First Lady's Office if he had promised at the campaign that he won't but we, the people, still expect the Wife of the Pesident to come up with some valuable support to the General. Of course not quite like the Constitutionally questionable bazaar of the past, especially the recent past -- of illiteracy and divisive ethnic rascality of the 6 years of clueless dumbness under the Jonathan PDP or even the one we saw of the cabal that kept a sickly Umar Yaradua on seat and milked him for what he was worth.
If the General is kind and considerate enough to the huge constituency his wife could serve and he suppresses his noisemaking on this home front he can still organise a more tempered version of the President's consort support group.
He would be in good company here from a more positive historical past. Recall we were blessed with such cerebral women as Nana Asmau the daughter of Sheik Danfodio who was a valuable compliment to the rulers of the Greater part of what is now known as Nigeria and other neighboring states. We also had such great women as Mary Slessor of Calabar. And of recent there were the Ransome Kutis, the Gambo Sawabas, the Tinubu's, Asabe Rezas, Bola Ogumbos and even our own Najaatu. But with the coalescing of forces and power under the Wife of the President matters in this sphere that can only be so tackled will be so effected from the home front via the Wife. Of course not as the First Lady concept that had been so bastardized; and all this with the needed efficiency. At least General will be freed of the troubles from the home front so far stumped by his very strict and stern handling thus far with little "noise making" to talk of.
His Senior Press and Media Assistant, Malam Garba Shehu was recently on hand to efficiently explain how the Wife of Mr. President and her Office will work recently when the heat on the matter forced a statement from the General. He outlined the basics of what seems like a workable plan that he says is being prepped, one that no one can fault.
You never know with the General, despite all this he may decide to still retain the total public clamp on the Wife he seems disposed to. And it won't matter much to the mass of the people who asked him to lead them to a New Nigeria. Even if this may seem somewhat unfair, I must hasten. After all, it is the media and the opposition that deliberately and somewhat mischievously focused so much unwarranted attention on the Wife, using the experiences of the recent past as background.
Anyway, I digress way too much here.
So back to the issue on the table. The issue of General doing what we see as so far so good even from the point of view of those who have no reason to say so. And he is the only "Noise Maker" (aka Minister) on ground so far.
My point: General was in no way demeaning the position of Ministers seeing that he has written himself into the same "Noise Zone". And see what his kind of "Noise" has done these past three months or so.
On the journey so far, What has the General done? Practically? Has he met our expectations? Has he fulfilled his pledges to us? What are our expectations? I don't think as a journalist I should be in the business of praise singing. Even if I also sport the cap of a politician that I cannot do without at all times. Even with the fact that General is a hero you can't fail to be starstruck with on associating with him even from a safe distance.
Our expectations, the mass of the people's basic expectations are that he will start Nigeria afresh. That he will Hit the Reset Button ala then US Secretary of State Hilary Clinton and Russia on a new foreign policy matrix. We expect that he will be the same man we have known all his public life: Mr. Clean, Mr. Integrity. That he won't ever condone corruption.
That as a non-nonsense soldier he will ensure the most basic concern that tilted the scales in his favour in 2015: security of lives and property.
That he will halt the menace of terrorists making life miserable for us all from the North East, the North West, the Middle belt, the Niger Delta, the South East and the South West. The most public terror menace is of course the Yusufiyya Boko Haram (BH). But kidnappers too are as much an issue, as are the "Fulani" marauders and bandits adding to BH in the north west. So too the ethnic militias of the middle belt, the robbers of the south west and south east as well as the terrorists whose focus is oil theft and banditry in the Niger delta.
For now the General's focus on the terror scourge in the north east is on course. Thankfully there are no more cases of towns overrun by the terror group. Rearguard action of suicide and opportunistic bombings appears targeted to retain relevance for the group before the endgame catches up with them.
On the integrity call General has kept to his pledges. On Ministers some can argue he has fallen short here. Because he only sent in the first batch, whatever the number, before end of September. Will he send in the balance by the Tuesday date the Senate sits to unveil the names? Will he send in more by the time the screening starts?
Still on his avowed integrity, on his being Mr. Clean, he declared his assets and made it public before his first 100 days as he pledged to so do, and his deputy too.
The lean declaration confirmed what we, the people, expected and hoped for.
No doubt most LG chairmen in the past 16 years, if not all of them, should be expected to declare a lot more than he did.
We all know he was a former GOC, a former Governor of a state that gave birth to the six states in the North East. He was a former Oil Minister and founder of NNPC. He was a former head of state. He was a former head of half the federal government under General Sani Abacha when he served as chairman of PTF, the most effective intervention agency ever set up by any government in Nigeria awash with petrodollars. And he declared a mere N30 million.
And the General who had declared assets at least four times has challenged Nigerian journalists to go and check his previous declarations for comparative verification.
This brings us to the issue of tackling graft and whatnot in governance just as per the covenant he entered with the Nigerian people. He reaffirmed his saintly status in the eyes of the people by saying he had no beef with Senate President Abubakar Bukola Saraki. That he will expect him to sort himself out with the law. After all he has himself gone public with his own declaration of material assets and worth including his 270 heads of cattle as a bona fide Fulaniman. His deputy has done so too including his mortgaged flat in Bradford (or Bedford?).
The number three is now under the microscope, even as politics and witch hunt are cited by those who want to sweep the issue under the carpet to obviously test the waters and see wether we will begin a gradual return to the era of anything goes.
By General's actions thus far and his public stand of not seeking to cover anyone he has comforted us, the people who voted Change.
He has comforted us the more by his 55th anniversary address when he said he bears no one any ill will over (the many ills done him and us, the nation) in the past. But that all who have any such cause to worry should be ready to face the ghosts of their past.
That is fair warning that the fireworks will soon start in earnest.
Exorcism can't work unless one faces the ghosts from one's past.
This confirms General won't allow pilferage or deliberate misapplication of our resources, the peoples resources. As such we should expect there won't ever be a repeat of the misdirection, misrouting and deliberate rerouting and diversion of monies meant to secure us that made security a nightmare over the past few years of the worst maladaministration the PDP has afflicted us with. Remember, upto one-third of our petronaira budget was said to go to security these past six years or so. And we are told only recently by the nation's top soldier, Chief of Defence Staff, AVM Alex Badeh that no new tools of war needed to fight terror had been procured since 2006. He only made this scary revelation on the very day he was retiring and being pulled out of the Army.
Of course the NSA Colonel Sambo Dasuki under whose direction billions of Naira were said to have been smuggled out to South Africa in a private pastor's jet claims otherwise. Even if the gallant outgunned fighting Nigerian troops and their wives in the North East Theatre of War say the NSA lied as they were regularly dumped for slaughter in batches infront of a better armed enemy with inadequate weapons.
The northeast terror problem began in 2009. Yaradua took over from Obasanjo in 2007. And no worthy tools had been procured since Obasanjo's time in 2006 the CDS told a shocked nation.
It is because of these and similar tales of inexplicable lunacy in governance that Nigeria cried for Buhari and his Integrity to kill Corruption before it killed the nation. Corruption had literally held us, the people, hostage. And it is in our names the rogues reign by their recycled devious electoral wins.
Killing corruption will enhance security was the view of the Nigerian masses. Killing corruption will provide employment and quality education etc. Killing corruption will sanitize the electoral process. And today Nigerians enjoy a more secure life even with checkpoints gone.
By mere body language and a very few direct statements from the lone "noisemaker" on the block thus far Mr President, Muhammadu Buhari, our favorite General has unleashed an unprecedented frontal assault on corruption. This is the foundation needed to return our derailed nation back on track.
We thus expect a serious set of "noisemakers" (Ministers, Special Advisers, especially and others) who will assist the "chief noisemaker" (Mr. President) with equal zeal and integrity.
They are to firmly ensure the Reset Button in Nigeria works with as much or even more efficiency than the one that Hilary Clinton and Obama Reset in US/Russia relations. That Nigeria at 55 will, like the Phoenix, be truly reborn; after all we have been through the crucible, burnished and are all set and ready for our date with destiny.
So, General, you are on course. Even DSP Alamisiegha (Alams), Jonathan's boss and sacked Governor of Bayelsa says so. But that shouldn't stop the antigraft train catching up with him if he is in its sights.
That is our covenant with You, General Sir!, Mr. President Sir! Aye! Aye!, Sir!
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Tuesday, 29 September 2015
APC, General Buhari and Change: Senator Saraki as test case
By Kabiru Muhammad Gwangwazo
" . . . I do not want to use 100 days to assess a sitting president. But so far, so good! What is going for Buhari is the perception of Nigerians that he is an incorruptible leader.
"The integrity and what he came with to government is what is helping him. If you go to the North and you mention Buhari’s name, ‘’Sai Buhari’’, they come like bees. Some of them do not even know who he is. You can spend money and Buhari will not spend and people will trek 15 kilometers to support him. That is the mystery he has built for himself over the years because people see him as incorruptible and straightforward. With this change mantra that they floated and anti-corruption as the vessel, people seem to believe what he is doing".
- DSP Alamisiegha, ex-Bayelsa Governor (Vanguard newspaper interview, September 19, 2015)
The merger that led to formation of All Progressives Congress (APC) and ultimately earlier this year swept away the anything goes Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) that had held Nigeria and its treasury hostage for 16 years was a baby of Change. It was given birth by the desperate desire of a majority of Nigerians to see a new way of doing things in Government at all levels, that is determined in the top down Nigerian polity by the disposition of the central government.
APC's Change victory at the elections was primarily determined by three things. The unprecedented popularity of General Muhammadu Buhari among the voting public; the smart proactive adoption of the General by the most effective of the Yoruba elite led by Jagaban Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu; the revolutionary introduction of the permanent voters card and card reader technology by Professor Muhammad Attahiru Jega led Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC). At the core of all this it bears repeating is the desperate desire for Change, change from a totally bastardized and corrupt polity that has allowed unfettered access to Government for murderers, kidnappers, terrorists and all manner of crooks.
The Change Desire is to have a government that will not allow such brazen and untrammeled corruption that no matter your crimes all you need to do to escape the law is to join the government party and lo and behold, like the NICON Insurance advert of old says: "you are covered!".
Of the three primary reasons why we witnessed the Change we have been fighting for since General Buhari joined us in APP even before the party morphed into ANPP 13 years ago, the final tally of the votes at the last presidential elections confirms Buhari is the most important and valuable of them all. The facts are his votes were upped from about 13 million in the 2011 elections to 15 million. Every 4 year election cycle since 2003 when he first made the attempt to become president in ANPP the General had always got an added 2 million votes. As the candidate of Congress for Progressive Change (CPC) in 2011, a party that did not have any LG Ward Councillor, LG chairman, State, National Assembly member or Governor he was able to garner almost 13 million votes. The fixation of the Nigerian masses on Buhari presidency has had to do with their expectation that he will not run an "anything goes" government of the type PDP afflicted us with.
It is the integrity that even enemies of Change agree General Buhari brings to the table that is the key to the tsunami that swept PDP away in March. It is General's unassailable integrity that did them in.
That is why Nigerians at the lowest levels of the strata are pleased with the General thus far. For those who don't live with the people, like I do, they won't understand the extent of satisfaction we feel whenever we look around and see us in a new Nigeria. A Buhari type Nigeria where all who matter should be men and women of integrity. That is what I am talking about.
Where I live at Gwangwazo right inside the old walled city of Kano with the year round pestilence of Mosquitos and our open drainages and the squalor of the inner city, where we live with the "Almajirai" that Dame Patience Jonathan said she had no business with we are ok with the General. We and our almajiris who troop out in our thousands whenever the General passes through Kano, are eminently satisfied. One hundred days of the General are much more peaceful and comforting for us than all the 16 years of Jonathan and his PDP 'parents', Yaradua and Obasanjo and their local lackeys. We now pray in our open court mosques with no fear of gun toting or bomb blasting murderers who blend with us and wreak mayhem without any hope of succor from the government that seemed to enjoy our suffering and even claim with utter mischief that the murderers are after all our own people!
Since the return of the General we can now peaceably stay up late not just because of the blazing Streetlights we have all over Kano these past few years, courtesy of Rabiu Musa Kwankwaso (RMK), the rebel PDP Kano Governor who joined us in our quest to form a party for the General, even if he did try to do us in by his burning ambition when he schemed for the presidency himself in ill advised direct contest with the General. Of course he got his fingers well and truly burnt at the Lagos APC national convention.
Because of the enhanced security, we are out on the streets and lazing in front of our homes even at night. In addition we now so enjoy the blissful revived NEPA plus the use of our fans and fridges in the heat of the day on account of a new way of doing things across the spectrum of Nigerian officialdom with Buhari, our General in charge.
The masses are quite happy with Buhari as are most of our rational elite, minus the negligible fraction that suckled on our misfortunes in the past 16 years, or if you extend it, 30 years since Buhari's last headship of Nigeria.
Added to this, his first vow of tackling insecurity that he has been doing with efficient commitment, his second vow to stop corruption dead lest it kills us all is well on course. The third of his only three pledges is to do all he can to get our youth gainfully employed. His deputy Osinbajo, the no doubt upright Christian man of God, told the world recently in Kano that the General's APC Government is working out a formula to place as many as 25 million vulnerables on an allowance of N5,000 per month. The General's target of jobs for those who need them is sure to be actualised in view of the first two already well on course in under 100 days. And all the while without ministers, using the Jonathan PDP infrastructure, the same bureaucracy, the same security and antigraft agencies and their chiefs, minus one or two here and there, as it were.
Now with the full blast media-celebrated pursuit of an untouchable, Senate President Abubakar Bukola Saraki, by both the Code of Conduct Tribunal and the EFCC that dragged in his wife it is obvious the chattering classes will argue the chase is political. That it is a witch hunt. It may well be if it were under another type of President. But certainly not Buhari. A man who won't even tolerate breaking of his own set rules with his family as severally reported by the media. Not many would situate this issue appropriately as part of the Buhari and APC Change package they sold that we, the people, bought.
Therefore what we all need to look at here is, are the issues in this case seen as "The Saraki and APC Change" test case factual?
Do the processes involved conform to the rules of the game or the rules of the law?
Is the Senate President exempt from, or above the law?
At a time, as Governor, he was deemed exempt because of the immunity clause in our constitution.
After leaving the immunity zone he was smart enough to keep the long arms of the law off of him using the many loopholes in our iniquitous legal system. Ours after all is a system that doesn't bat an eyelid on jailing a poor villager for stealing his neighbor's cat, fowl or goat while giving blanket immunity to Governors and the like. Such a villager may with luck only get a one in a hundred chance of a pardon by a bigger and more public thief covered by immunity during Independence or New Year media events to show the cynically merciful side of an elite that can always steal you blind and use the Law to hide forever.
We all hear of the two term PDP Rivers state Governor, Peter Odili, and how he got a perpetual injunction from a court not to be asked any questions about his Father Christmas "dash-dash" of his state's resources.
And this Odillian type of dalliance was clearly on display by our forum shopping Senate President these past week or two. And this of a distinguished Senator whose party, APC came in to rescue Nigeria from brigands sloganeering that it was the party of Change.
He would as his mates who were from the PDP and those used to the PDP way of doing things argue he shouldn't be asked any questions on this "small" code of conduct issue where he is alleged to have undeclared foreign bank accounts and some 12 other claims of not-done's.
He would say as was the way of the elite in years past that the Attorney General's office should keep quite or "be made" to keep quite as well as the Code of Code Tribunal and the EFCC. After all, he was instrumental to the party of Change's victory. Yes, he was. But he would need to read the earlier parts of this epistle to realise the error of his ways if he is this complacent. I did draw attention to the three main issues that determined enthronement of the Buhari APC Change Government. Yes. Without Saraki and his stout support for Buhari even from within the APC it may have been a lot more difficult to get the party ticket.
But then who would Saraki and anybody else who had burnt his bridges from the PDP or any other party and angling for a national presence have supported? No one, but Buhari, if they wanted to return to power. Believe me.
Would they have supported Atiku Abubakar, a perennial losing candidate for the Presidency who has yet to connect with the masses even in his home state of Adamawa? His chosen candidate for Governor was defeated despite his huge war chest. Senator Bindow Jibrilla, the current Governor and one time Atiku Boy flattened his campaign machine in his presence at the state APC selection process.
Who else? Our Rabiu Musa Kwankwaso (RMK), who despite doing so well as Governor of Kano is still seen as politically "belonging" solely to Obasanjo? And anyway in 2011 he only defeated the dummy presented for Governor by Shekarau with less than 60,000 votes to become Kano governor with tacit strategic support of some Buharians in Kano after been out in the wilderness for eight years since he was chased out of Government House by Buhari who had presented Shekarau to the Kano voters in the first SAK political tsunami in 2003.
No serious politician needing to win will refuse a General Buhari. None will dare the General's ballooning votes that keep growing by a regular as clockwork 2 million.
None will dare drop Buhari's 13 million for any of the non starters who can't deliver their home states with any degree of certainty.
And if they did dare by now they would have been long locked up by the merciless PDP they bucked and broke. Because any but the General won't have had the mass support the North gave which was the decider at the 2015 polls. And PDP and Jonathan would still have been around with Dame Patience doing their thing, and Sambisa still a no-Ho forest.
Any but General won't have elicited the universal confidence of being a well known clean candidate that all Change advocates can relate to nationally and internationally.
I am not saying what you don't know, any candidate but the General won't have gotten the confidence of the Yoruba political machine that had tried all types over the years and not gotten access to Aso Villa. At a time they every lost many of their states to the treachery of Obasanjo's wicked PDP.
So, in essence those who want to argue that Saraki or any other person with serious public cases to answer should be exempted now because they had helped the General would have missed the object of the Change the APC and the General promised Nigeria and Nigerians.
The mass of Nigerians are clear in their minds what contract they entered into with Buhari. They want a cleaning of the Augean stables.
They want to see such stomps by the antigraft agencies reach their logical conclusion. They would not take kindly to any attempt at halting the trundling train of change that is gathering momentum. That is why they, we went for Buhari.
If they wanted an all comers mess they would have stuck to the PDP that has failed to provide us our most basic need of security. This due to the extreme corruption that was the system in its days as confirmed by the Jonathanian defence chiefs who told the world as they were leaving no new stuff had been bought to fight the terror we faced since the days of Yaradua in 2006. Yet over one third of the national budget in trillions of Naira was spent on security. Unbelievable!
The only thing that may be acceptable in the Saraki saga or any of the type would be a normal state pardon by the president as a sign of magnanimity for those who helped his cause in the build up to the 2015 elections. But that will be only after the due process of the law has been allowed and any pilfered monies returned.
Doing the right thing is why the delegates at the APC national convention and later the Nigerian voters listened to General.
We still recall his sincere assertion at the Lagos convention saying, "I don't have dollars or Naira to give you, even if I did I won't . ."
This still rings in the ears of Nigerians. It reverberated the more when he declared his assets posting what many Local Government Chairmen in the past 16 years of mass plunder of our resources will consider as being far below their acquisitive dignity to declare. So why should he change a winning formula.
It did reverberate again when he named his service chiefs, and his SGF known to be a fellow traveller of the General's in terms of his scrupulous principles and ascetic lifestyle. So too do we expect it will yet again reverberate to the high heavens when this morning of Tuesday 29th September or tomorrowWednesday 30th, the last day of September as the General sends in his list of Ministers to the National Assembly for screening and adoption.
I should be surprised if he sends in a list of persons who have any significant "rattling skeletons" in their cupboards that can be used to stump his "Ministerial Cabinet of the Righteous" (no mischief meant).
As such there is really no need to bother and expect him to interfere with the rules of the game and to return us to the PDP way of doing business. He shouldn't even need to lobby the NASS for his appointees. We are going into a new Nigeria, where quality and merit speak for you.
That is our covenant with Buhari. If Saraki is able to convince the Tribunal and other processes of the Law he has issues with and they declare him clean, I would be the happiest of persons.
Especially as I still recall his stout support for the General prior to the national convention. It don't matter even if as suggested it may have to do with enlightened self interest.
If he fails to get juridical clearance at Tribunal then after all the due process I should expect the General to grant him amnesty. May be at the next independence or new year day celebration. That will have fully paid off the General's and our debt to a son of the PDP, even if some would say he was merely an opportunistic Change agent.
Come to think of it though it would be best for Saraki to simply resign the Senate Presidency as is done in other civilized climes when one has such a burden to contend with to more squarely face his challenges. I sincerely hope he sees things this way and acts accordingly. This will allow the NASS and democracy to grow in this season of change. And he may even get to ultimately keep his Senate seat even if he is found to have stepped out of turn by the Tribunal.
- Kabiru M. Gwangwazo a politician and journalist writes from Gwangwazo, Kano city
Sent from my iPad
Sent from my iPad
Monday, 17 August 2015
To kill Corruption is all we ask of Buhari
By Kabiru M. Gwangwazo
- Femi ODERE (Media Practitioner, as published on Sahara Reporters online., August 16th, 2015) in “Buhari and his August Visitors”
This is a very pithy and apt reminder for General Muhammadu Buhari on the one hand and Nigerians as a whole who voted him to fight Corruption. Corruption has been identified by Buhari since 1983 as the nation’s major problem. Since his transmutation into a civilian politician he has all of the past 13 years continued to wage an unrelenting war against the scourge whenever he got the opportunity to speak to Nigerians.
His anticorruption stance is explicit and has always been in full public view. He has always tried to be on the side of honesty, truth and fairness; and protection of the underdog, protection of those placed under his charge, and standing up for Nigeria. That was what got him into trouble with the Shehu Shagari government when as GOC, he personally, flew in a helicopter from his Jos base to Maiduguri’s extreme border and lead his troops to chase away rogue troops that had crossed into our borders at the northeast most axis and killed some five soldiers. For him, “loyalty is two-way”. For Buhari, the archetypal military General, his troops who believe in him and go to war whenever he orders them to, must enjoy his 100 per cent loyalty too when they need him to “have their back”, to protect their backs as it were.
That stance of standing by truth and fairness is what got the attention of Northerners, especially Muslims, riveted on him when he denied the lies that the PDP Government of President Olusegun Obasanjo asked Vice President Atiku to tell the world. The Obasanjo Govt had claimed that all members of the national council of state (NCS) were unanimously agreed to revert to a supposed “status quo ante”, to reverse application of Shariah, a legal and constitutional right of Muslims, for Muslims alone.
That sense of fairness was what almost got him in trouble again when the 1983 coup plans leaked. He had agreed to the putsch to throw out the drifting Shagari government that had forced itself back to power in a rigged 1983 landslide against all odds, a government that was so patently corrupt, a status only surpassed today by its successor, the PDP Nigeria has suffered for 16 years. Such distaste for corruption was also said to have earned him the boot from the post of head of state. His colleagues threw him out and dumped him in jail when he insisted on applying the rules even when it was revealed to him he needed to soft-pedal on a particular case at hand, of an officer who allegedly used the proceeds of corruption to help finance the coup that brought him in. He had not consolidated his hold on the levers of power, allowing other more sophisticated and less scrupulous colleagues to undermine him.
At a very mature age of 72, despite having nothing to lose on account of his advancing age, this time around as President, General Buhari has mellowed down considerably. In dispensing the rules he is more tactical. Much as he apparently still has the same distaste for corruption that he has always had he was more circumspect about his plans for the anti-corruption war in the work out for the 2015 polls.
This is quite unlike the build up to the 2011 elections. I do recall the bombshell he dropped in his hometown of Daura when we accompanied him to pick his CPC party card. He told the hundreds of thousands of us massed to watch him pick the card that he will get all stolen monies returned to Nigeria’s treasury. It was such a bombshell because we felt he had become more electable with the greater national spread the Buhari movement had then attained.
Along with members of our team, the Coalition Committee for Buhari Groups (CCBG), I was worried that he would be stopped by the team of Nigeria’s corrupt and looting politicians having stated his mind yet again in public. We thus appealed to him to change his tune and in fact extend a hand of fellowship to all types so as to get to the Aso Rock Villa, first. We appealed to him to suggest that he would draw a line and ignore issues from the past when he wins the elections. And thankfully he agreed. On this, we appear to have been in good company with many other good governance activists on his trail in the CPC and many more who have been rooting for a return Buhari presidency since his time in ANPP and his tenure as head of state in 1983/85 beautifully amplified by his stint at PTF as chairman. The merger of the three political parties, ACN, ANPP and CPC ahead of the 2015 polls used the Buhari appeal to rally all anticorruption forces to form APC and finally provided the pan national platform for a more realistic chance to get the General into Aso Rock.
Looking at the General’s votes in 2015 and recalling the extent of commitment and consistent support of the Nigerian people it is obvious Nigerians decided to entrust General Muhammadu Buhari with management of their lives for the next 4 years simply to fight corruption. He became President exactly 30 years after he had been ousted from power, for the simple reason that they most voters are comfortable with his one consuming passion.
For Buhari to fight the HYDROPUS (“. . . ” as quoted by Femi Odere) that corruption has become is the one and only task Nigerians ask of him. It is all they need to set their affairs right
It is obvious that the corruption that sent our hapless soldiers to the warfront without adequate arms and ammunition needed to be killed if we are to kill insurgency and see the back of BH. It is obvious that we need to have Buhari kill stealing that used to not be corruption under PDP if igboland is going to have that bridge they had been clamouring for all of the past 16 years of PDP rule.
Killing Corruption before it kills Nigeria the more is the only solution to divert Nigerians monies from huge estates by former top political and service office holders, many of them serving or ex-generals to pay soldiers the living wage needed to secure our nation.
To kill corruption is a task that must be done if we are to give agriculture the monies needed to become the centrepiece for provision of jobs to the 60 million plus youth who are now locked in a hopeless state of anomie, with no education, or half education, no jobs, no hope for the future, no skills and for many no-sense as drugs have been introduced into their lives by the corrupt failure of the system to tackle the drug traffickers. With our porous borders and the corruption that keeps them open to all forms of evil imports the petty trades and things the youth get into are swamped by useless imports.
Now, is anyone in doubt that fighting corruption is all we need of Buhari for everything to be shipshape on our shores?
The thieves in the system should be thankful that Buhari appears to have softened from his previous incarnation. He is not insisting on jail for theft of Nigeria’s resources. Plea-bargaining as detestable as it is, is now acceptable to him. That anyone who returned whatever he had cornered needed not fear jail.
In the past it was 100 or 200 or even 300 years for what many then considered a minor infraction. In those days corruption had not really matured. Many docked for allegedly cornering a few tens of thousands of naira got hundreds of years in jail from the military tribunals. Of course much later we got to learn that in his 1983/85 term General Buhari as head of state had to insist on jail rather than summary firing squads that was the general consensus of his colleagues among the military top brass.
The firing squad was Ghana’s preference that got to stabilize the country faster than Nigeria. With the current national consensus against corruption and Buhari’s more mellow approach to punishment merely seeking return of stolen goods as restitution we need a little more. That such a plea-bargain stratagem gets a built in legal framework to stop the bargainers from ever getting a chance to handle our national resources, again. Any that get caught with their hands in the cookie jar even under Buhari should have similar treatment.
Indeed in the case of future thefts, for corruption or whatever it is Nigerians and their leaders care to call it a jail term needs to be factored in as standard procedure. That is in our law books, as it has always been. The current crop of spill-over thieves and corrupt Nigerians now littering our political landscape, with huge mansions, fleets of jets and bulletproof cars, many in prominent leadership positions with unaccountable tonnes of naira and dollars they can’t explain are a “lucky lot”. Why? Because they have the luck of neither jail, nor sanction.
They merely return what they stole to cause all the mess they force us to live with today. The mess that has made our education a mess. The mess that has made our economy a mess. A mess that has made our health services a mess.
A mess that has left us beholden to leaders we are forced to cheer for “granting” us “dividends of democracy”. Leaders who steal us blind and use such proceeds of crime to continue to recycle themselves back to power in sham elections within political parties that translate into general elections that prove much worse.
We now know that such types stole our money in NDDC, N180 billion plus of it, meant for amnesty payments for restive Delta youth and development of the Niger Delta. Such types stole our funds in multimillion barrels of oil and multi billion dollars and naira. And they sold off many, many of our national assets to themselves, from hotels that are so commonplace to sophisticated telecoms, to our national power assets; and all paid for with funds from opportunities they got by being our representatives, our servants; presumed public servants.
Buhari can afford to look all of his colleagues, our thieving top elite, in the face to say: “come, what madness possessed you, to steal so voraciously, so rapaciously”.
He can do this comfortably because he has always been comfortable with his cows and retired military general’s pension that we are told (true or false) he had even so asked to be reduced to a manageable level of N2 million plus, rather than the N30million plus other ex-generals and ex-heads of state get paid. He could stick to his fight against corruption in public and in private because he has always been comfortable with his people, the common-men, the youth whose lives, whose “tomorrows” they (the leaders, our leaders) eat up “today” while in charge of our affairs.
From the reaction of Nigerians to the war on corruption by General Muhammadu Buhari it seems he is on track. It seems the President is on the same page with a majority of the people who voted and stood by him all these past 13 years. He appears to be firmly fixated on the same page with Nigerians tired of the state of insecurity that has afflicted them because of corruption.
He is no doubt on the same page with Nigerians who forced the hands of our leading elite to break ranks from the established politics of the past 16 years and come join the anticorruption champion, the General. I can’t stop referring to him as the General. After all he is up there to fight the war we, the people of Nigeria, engaged him to lead as only a General can.
The amazing thing is that so far all the action and the operators wreaking so much havoc with the guilty are from stuff exposed by staff from ex-President Goodluck Jonathan’s time. When our General gets going with his own appointees in charge of such fireworks how much more focused and effective the anticorruption war will be, and how exciting I leave you to judge.
One thing that is certain is: what we ask of the General is that he kills corruption dead, so that Nigeria returns from the dead.
Kabiru M. Gwangwazo (firstname.lastname@example.org) a journalist writes from Kano city. He is Publisher/CEO, Pyramid Media, Kano (www.pyramidnewsng.com). He writes on: www.kmgsampling.blogspot.com
Monday August 17th, 2015