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OPINION

Bukola Saraki needs help, fast, By Ibrahim Musa

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Bukola Saraki, President of the Senate and the Director General of the Atiku Abubakar Presidential Campaign is suffering and needs urgent attention. Were he still familiar with Medicine- his primary profession- he could have properly examined himself for the destructive symptoms of delirium and hallucination. If he were, we would have urged him to embrace the age-old axiom: Physician heal thyself!
Nothing demonstrates Bukola’s fusty state of mind than his recent hallucinations with official figures of fuel importation into the country. Saraki had claimed during an interview on Channels Television on Wednesday that Nigeria’s petrol consumption is about 20-22 million litres per day and that the current import level of about 50 million litres per day is a “a big-time fraud.”
Saraki rubbished his position as the number three man in the Government when he made such a grave deliberate falsification of figures without quoting any official document. The senate president glibly stated that “any expert” will tell you that Nigeria’s daily PMS consumption could not be more than 22 million litres.
Everyone understands that this is campaign season and politicians would capitalize on anything that could give them electoral victory. But it becomes an unpardonable political gaffe for anyone, especially a President of the Nigerian Senate, to lie about figures that are documented just to sell himself to the electorate.
Let us remind Saraki that the 7th Senate of which he was a member conducted several hearings on fuel subsidy and NNPC where it was publicly disclosed that the daily PMS consumption in 2014 and 2015 was 35-40 million litres. In January 2014, for example, the average monthly consumption was 38 million litres per day.
By January 2015, under the same government of PDP they reported 36 million litres per day and in March 2015 the daily consumption reported by the PDP Government was 45 million litres, while importation was at levels above 80 million litres per day. These are official figures in the custody of the senate, and most likely in the document shelve of Saraki.
It is strange that Saraki would now tell Nigerians on television years later that fuel consumption figure had gone down to 20-22 million litres of fuel per day! It defies economic logic, and even commonsense to suggest that a country where population, rural-urban drift and vehicles are on the increase will see such a drastic fall in fuel consumption rate.
During the same interview, Saraki also exposed his fading political career when he blamed the rejection of his presidential candidate by Nigerians, especially wealthy donors on the Muhammadu Buhari Administration. He accused the Administration of stifling the opposition because no one is willing to donate to his cause.
Read him: “The atmosphere does not allow the kind of campaigns people are used to. The general feeling is that the APC is choking the campaigns. If you look at support groups, fund raising dinners. Fund raising dinners in 2015 were everywhere. People were having dinners with the business community trying to raise money. Now most business communities don’t even want to come out and see that they are getting involved in politics. The environment now is different”, he said.
Saraki should be ashamed of himself for blaming the Administration for the rejection of his campaign. Is Saraki so delirious that he has become incapable of analyzing situations rightly? Is he so dumb that he cannot see his own political denouement? Can he not see, as most Nigerians have seen, that he, like a film unraveling before our very eyes, is coming to an end?
No responsible Nigerian will be willing to donate to the presidential ambition of either Saraki or his principal Atiku Abubakar, after what is already in the public space about them and some of their colleagues. Saraki has become a bad product even in his home state of Kwara. His famed but phantom political empire has crumbled under the weight of his infamous actions. His masquerade has been unmasked and he no longer has a hiding place.
Anyone who doubts my views should just walk into any streets in Ilorin, the state capital, and ask questions about Saraki. It is shocking, but not unexpected, how quickly Saraki seemed to have unraveled. Today, influential clerics in the state are denouncing him and his political ideology, and urging people of the state to reject him and everything he stands for. His candidate lost the bye-election into the House of Representatives recently conducted by INEC in the senatorial district of Governor Ahmed!
Saraki also said the campaign for the forthcoming election should not be on sentiments but be based on “what we see.” And he went on to make his characteristic false claims that there were no security problems in 2015 in the North West, North Central and North East! But that today all three zones have security challenges. I beg your pardon?
Did Saraki truly believed himself when he uttered those statements? Or was he just playing his usual politics of mischief and propaganda? Even school children would know Saraki was lying through his teeth. Where was Saraki in 2013 when cattle rustling started in Kaduna and Plateau States and scores were being killed? Where was he in 2014 when Benue(Agatu) experienced the worst bloodletting in their history at a time their son, David Mark, was senate president? Where was Saraki when hoodlums killed over 100 mobile policemen in a Lafia, Nasarawa State while on a mission to arrest a so-called spiritual leader of a village in 2014?
I could go on and on. But the point is not to celebrate crisis but to put the current crisis in proper perspective. It is undeniable that almost the whole of Northern Nigeria was paralyzed economically by the Boko Haram insurgency May 2015 when Buhari was sworn-in as president. Less than one year after his inauguration, the North came back to life and businesses started booming again. The recent unfortunate resurgence of Boko Haram activities cannot diminish the commendable achievement of our military and the resolve of the Buhari administration to bequeath a prosperous, secure and peaceful Nigeria to our youths.
Saraki deserves pity because his days of glory are counting out. Although it may be too early yet to conclude that the lofty narrative of a silver spoon thrust into political leadership by his father is about to end. But if the morning shows the day, we may be witnessing his tragic denouement. And nothing demonstrates the turn of events better than his unaccustomed struggles at home. He is facing continuing revolt and rejection in his home state of Kwara where he has held sway for the past 16 years, first as two-term governor and as political godfather of the current governor Abdulfatah Ahmed. He must ask himself questions about where and how he got it wrong. If he does, and is able to redeem himself, perhaps he may safe himself from the imminent political storm.

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OPINION

Hammed Olamijuwon to youths: Vote wisely, shun violence and don’t sell your vote

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Young and dynamic, Hammed Solomon Olamijuwon has urged youths across the country to vote massively for young and vibrant candidates into respective position that would represent their interest in different level of government in the forthcoming general elections.

Olamijuwon in a statement issued at the weekend, implored Nigerian youths to be an active participants in the February 16 and March 2 elections.

His words: “In few days to this time, we shall be taking a major decision concerning our nation by electing leaders that will steer the affairs of this country. Our decision in the next few days will determine our next four years. The people we decide to elect to the position of power will determine a lot concerning you and I.

“I argue youths to go out and vote during the general election. If we all sit in our homes claiming that our votes won’t count, remember that some persons go out on that day and vote. If they vote-in the wrong people; we will have no choice than to be bound by their decisions over this nation for the next few years to come.

“If you have your PVC, kindly makes sure you go out to vote. Vote wisely. Vote credible and responsible candidates. Do not sell your vote. We must ensure that the right people are elected this time.”

Olamijuwon, a Real Estate developer and Managing Director of HSO Global Limited, while stressing the need for Nigerian youths to play active roles in the forthcoming elections, said the youth votes has the potential to be extremely influential in Nigeria.

“I believe the youth vote has the potential to be extremely influential in this country. Young voters notoriously neglect the importance of voting, but their voice is an important one on both sides of the aisle. Key issues in every election increasingly relate to the concerns of students and professionals between the ages of 18 and 35, making it essential for members within that age group to educate themselves on political issues and take to the polls,” he said.

On his political ambition; the Ijesha man who hail from Ilesa East Local Government Area of Osun State and founder of a Non-Governmental Organisation, HSO Foundation whose youthful political pedigree has endeared him to young and old in the town especially those in the grassroots, disclosed that: “I am taking my time and consulting political stakeholders across the country and my state to know the next step regarding my ambition of serving my people. By 2023 I believe the youth is taken over full time and I can assure my people I am ready to serve them.”

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OPINION

This is what next level means, By Tunde Ajose

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When the news hit the media that the former president, Chief Olusegun Obasanjo, gave a press release, calling the attention of the federal government to his fears towards the 2019 presidential election and beyond, it is not surprising that the media took a mere advice out of proportion.

Right to free speech is a fundamental human right and well recognised by the Nigerian constitution.

In the release, OBJ as he’s popularly called while stating his desire for a change of government, insisted that Nigerians must vote in his preferred candidate to replace the incumbent, President Mohammadu Buhari, and send the country back to the dark days better forgotten.

The question that one would have expected to be asked should have been whether this was because he loved Nigeria or there was a selfish motive behind it all. Why?

It is not coincidental that his preferred candidate happens to be the same person he once ruled the country with. This same preferred candidate is the one same OBJ had rubbished severally in the media as unreliable and even went to the extent of writing a book; dedicating substantial pages to why Alhaji Atiku Abubakar must never be allowed to smell power again.

I could remember an interview Chief Obasanjo gave a long time ago, when he was also faced with cries of non performance. He was asked why it was taking like forever to fix Nigeria based on his promise. Obasanjo answered, “As a farmer, I know where I can hit a storey building with a caterpillar and it would all collapse within few minutes. But it takes months to build the same without changing its specification.”

Obasanjo believed that many years of military misrule can’t just be undone with few years of democracy as it would take time.

This is the same belief of the Buhari led government. That 16years of the Peoples Democratic Party’s rule, where money meant for national projects were shared by the privileged few. The insurgency caused by Boko Haram which has been greatly decimated by our gallant men of armed forces would have been a thing of the past if PDP 16 year rule has not diverted the fund meant for standard arm procurement into few pockets.

President Mohammadu Buhari came into power with the believe that even though the corrupt elements had already done havoc to the national treasury, he could not comprehend extent of rot he eventually met.

So with the believe that you can’t build a solid house on a rotten foundation, Buhari, despite enormous expectations placed on him, decided to start rebuilding the foundation into a stronger institution for the country in his first term and hope to consolidate and erect a befitting edifice, where corrupt elements, insurgency, unemployment and many social vices would be things of the past.

And this is the next level.

 

– Ajose, wrote from Lagos, Nigeria.

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OPINION

Atiku’s US Trip: So much ado about nothing, By Tunde Ajose

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For good watchers of the Nigerian politics, one thing has come to stay in our political experiment at getting it right in this country and that is the ability for smart politicians to easily sway the electorates with mundane issues.

The campaigns are no longer issue based but media sensationalism.

Latest of such was the sudden appearance of the former Vice President, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar in the United States of America! Then one begins to wonder why the opposition would think such is the needed magic wand to win the election.

And the euphoria may not be unconnected with the report that Atiku was barred from entering the States because of his fraudulent nature but the question is, why would any serious opposition believes such action would immediately translate into winning the Aso Rock.

One would have wondered why Atiku has chosen to travel with the current senate president, Dr. Bukola Saraki? Could it be that he actually traveled under the diplomatic immunity of Saraki’s official delegation?

Diplomatic immunity is a form of legal immunity that ensures diplomats are given safe passage and are considered not susceptible to lawsuit or prosecution under the host country’s laws, but they can still be expelled.

We need to be circumspect as we move forward as a nation and be more discerning. The current government of Nigeria is focused more than before in ensuring that Nigerians, regardless of the class or status has a befitting country they could fall back to and call a home.

It is quite obvious that while the opposition are playing to the gallery, the presidential campaign organisation of president Mohammad Buhari is busy rolling up its sleeves and getting down to fields where the real electorates are and connecting with them.

This past week especially has been full of activities for the president despite his age. Within a spate of two weeks, Buhari had sat down to two interviews in-between journeying from the length and breadth of the country in getting the message of hope down to the people.

The president does not rely on his privilege as an incumbent, but insisted on talking to his people and ensuring that Nigerians are united as they go to polls come February.

No one is in doubt that his message also resonates well with the citizens as they troop out en masse to welcome and listen to what he has to say. With the multitude of crowd recorded today as he presented the gubernatorial flagbearer of the party to the good people of Delta State and the ovation that greeted it, there is no doubt that Buhari is truly loved.

As we count down to the elections, Nigerians need to bear it in mind that the 2019 election is about building on a new foundation which the present government has been able to achieve in the first four years and giving the solid foundation out to the marauders to destroy along with the better forgotten 16years in power.

If Atiku is in the United States today, there is no way the intelligence agencies of the federal government of Nigeria would not know about it.

 

Tunde Ajose, a political commentator, writes from Lagos.

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