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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

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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OPINION

Red alert on Kogi 2019 elections, By Omahi Umar

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2019 Kogi elections may end up being the bloodiest and the most rigged election in the history of Nigeria. This is not a question of being an alarmist. It is rather because the incumbent governor, having failed woefully in governance has principally resorted to the use of security agents to rig and manipulate the outcome of the elections in favour of the ruling government.

A taste of what to expect in the elections in Kogi has started manifesting. In the Kogi Central Senatorial District where the governor hails from, members of the opposition are now harassed, harangued, maimed, killed and kidnapped on regular basis. The latest victim is one Enesi who was recently killed by armed men while several others went missing in recent night raids and hunts for men of the opposition parties in the Kogi Central.

In the same central, it is an open secret that the houses of Commissioner for Water Resources, the Commissioner for  Local Government and many of the local government administrators have now turned armouries where a huge number of sophisticated guns and ammunitions are off-loaded at nights purportedly by “men in uniform” unchallenged. It was being speculated that over 3000 assorted automatic weapons have been acquired by the governor and hidden in different locations across the state. The state local tabloids and social media have the news of the governor vowing that he was ready to kill anyone who stands on his way in the coming elections.

The Kogi East will definitely be a battleground of sorts too. It is the home of the all powerful Chief of Staff who has vowed to deliver his constituency to the governor at all costs. Recently in Idah, many vehicles belonging to Atai Idoko were destroyed by APC members while on campaign rallies. Pockets of violence from Kogi East are reported on daily basis and will be on the increase as we approach elections. The most troubling aspects of this violence is that they are often committed in the glaring eyes of security agents who choose to look the other way while these crimes are being perpetrated.

It has been rumoured that the Ogohi of Anyigba’s palace is the armoury for Eastern Kogi with brother, the administrator of Dekina Local Government, Alhaji Isiaka and Alhaji Ahmed, the Kogi East Zonal chairman of the APC as field commanders.

The Western Senatorial District appears calm as of today but we believe it is an uneasy and heavily pregnant calm.  This Senatorial District is the home place of Dino. The governor is betting it everywhere with his life that he would rather die than allow free and fair elections  that would produce Dino. Since Dino enjoys cult followership in these areas, the modus operandi here will be to scare away many people from voting units so as to allow for heavily falsified results against Dino and Atiku.

The number of militants in training in Kogi is becoming very scary, worrisome, alarming and really frightening. The men of the Vigilante Service are now being secretly trained on the use of sophisticated weapons. The first batch of about 1000 men and women have passed out. Currently at the Lokoja Stadium, there are over 700 vigilante men/women in camp undergoing military training for the elections. Police and military uniforms are smuggled into the state for use in the elections.

Apart from this number being trained in the state, reliable information is that over 1000 militants are currently undergoing training in Yobe State for Kogi elections. The whole stories are really very worrisome.

The intention is to kill and harass opposition members as much as possible. It is also intended that many strong opposition members would be kidnapped prior to the elections. Information is that many should be scared away from voting, especially in the opposition strongholds.

By and large, the elections in Kogi may witness tales of anguish and failures except urgent steps are taken to counter the devilish plans of the state governor. The goings on in Kogi State must be exposed to the whole world by all means possible. This is a situation where a stitch in time will save nine.

 

  • Umar wrote in from Lokoja, Kogi State
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OPINION

Wait! Before you vote Atiku, By Musa Mohammed

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While the clamour for change in government from president Mohammodu Buhari to Atiku Abubakar may have been something that has taken over the national discuss and rightly so as the elections draw near, it may be noteworthy to pause and reflect on the character of the prospected replacement.

The big question on our mind should be can we trust Atiku? What really is the new thing he is coming to offer bearing in mind he was once the number two citizen of this great nation for 8years? If we insist the position of a vice president is not as powerful as the president, haven’t the achievements of Prof. Yemi Osinbajo knocked out such narrative?

The Nigerian vice president has proven times without number that he is as useful as the president of Nigeria and records are there to show for it. Where are the achievements of Mr. Atiku?

If you ask Nigerians, most of what they would remember about his days in office would be the national assets he sold to his colleagues and the long running battle he had with his principal, Chief Olusegun Obasanjo.

Aside from the fact that there should be no vacancy in Aso Rock, Osinbajo is more presidential than Atiku. Don’t take my words for it, below were some of the things his then boss said and wrote about him chronologically.

2003 “I regret picking Atiku Abubakar as my vice”.

2004 “I can no longer work with Atiku, his integrity is in question “.

2005 “Atiku cannot be trusted “.

2006 “Atiku cannot escape justice over corruption cases ”

2007 “Do not vote Atiku he is corrupt”.

2008 “Atiku is a corrupt leader”.

2009 “Nigerians can never forgive Atiku”.

2010 “Atiku is not an option to leadership in Nigeria “.

2011 “I have never seen a leader as greedy as Atiku “.

2012 “Nigerians should pray for leaders imbued with integrity not Atiku “.

2013 “Atiku should apologize to Nigerians over his political sins”.

2014 No political party with the aspiration to assume leadership should think of Atiku”.

2015 “Nigeria has grown beyond a corrupt leader like Atiku”.

2016 “I will never reconcile with Atiku “.

2017 “I never knew Atiku was this corrupt ” “I can never be on the same page with Atiku. God forbid!”.

2018 January to August “God will not forgive me if I support Atiku “.

2018 August “Atiku has the capacity to save Nigeria’s economy from collapse”.

If such verdicts could come from Obasanjo who was his direct boss, what doubts should Nigerians have in rejecting such bad market and move on to the next level with the present administration bearing mind that Obasanjo once said, “As an engineer, I know a point I can use tractor to hit and a storey building would come down within few minutes, but it would take years to erect such.”

Nigeria is undergoing transformation. The administration of president Mohammodu Buhari has used his first term to lay a good foundation for him to start building on in 2019 and it only make sense to key in.

God bless Nigeria.

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