Connect with us

OPINION

From “Sai Baba” to “Slay Baba,” can Buhari regain his groove? By Tayo Ogunbiyi

Published

on

Prior to his 2015 electoral victory, President Muhammadu Buhari had contested for the presidency thrice (2003, 2007 and 2011) and lost on all three occasions. But by 2015 when he made the fourth attempt that eventually enthroned him as the nation’s latest horse rider (apology to Chief Olusegun Obasanjo aka ‘Ebora Owu’), his popularity had soared to an all time high. The chant across the country was simply: ‘Sai Baba’. Except, perhaps, for the Late Chief MKO Abiola in the annulled 1993 presidential election, no presidential candidate in the country’s political history had garnered so much extensive approval.

A couple of factors were responsible for the change in Buhari’s political fortune. First, his predecessor, the Lucky One, had squandered all the goodwill that offered him the presidency. Second, Nigerians saw in Buhari a man of spotless integrity who could be entrusted with the nation’s treasury. Third, Nigerians believed he could decisively tackle the nation’s mounting security problem. Fourth, the coalition of political parties that formed the APC gave Buhari a better platform than he previously had. Fifth, Nigerians were simply fed up with then ruling political party and were willing to give Buhari a chance.

So, Buhari rode on the back of all these aforementioned dynamics to become, perhaps, the most widely elected President in the nation’s political annals. But then, in a funny twist of events, the once famous Buhari, who can never do any wrong, has suddenly become a villain. Suddenly, the man Nigerians love to hail with the chant of ‘Sai Baba’ is literarily being slain on a daily basis, curiously by his erstwhile fanatical promoters.

Just recently, fiery Lagos Pastor and a top notch Buhari’s advocate, Tunde Bakare, held a State of the Nation parley at the headquarters of his church in Lagos. The verdict? Buhari has failed the country. In quick sequence came Buhari battering from across the country. Various organisations and individuals that were once avowed Buhari’s backers have suddenly become his strong critics. Indeed, a famous priest who once predicted Buhari ascendancy to the presidency recently warned him not to take Nigerians for granted.

At the home front, the President isn’t equally finding things easy as the First Lady was once alleged to have said that she wouldn’t campaign for the President’s re-election except he puts his political house in order. The latest in the catalogue of anti-Buhari sentiment, currently pervading the country, came from no other source than the self-acclaimed ‘Conscience of the Nation’, Chief Olusegun Obasanjo.

Now, the question is: How did the President fritter away the goodwill he so much enjoyed at such a critical moment as this? Why is Nigerians’ patience suddenly running out with the president? Well, like every such intricate socio-political issue, the answer to the questions is multifaceted. For one, the president is perceived by many to be too slow in his handling of salient national matters. It took him about six months to put in place a cabinet while appointing members into the various boards of national parastatals took him much more. This is just to mention a few instances.

Also, the President has been broadly accused of engaging in unconcealed nepotism. It has been alleged that the sacred cows in his government are his kinsmen who are largely untouchable. The President has also been accused of favoring those from his part of the country in terms of appointments. In this case, appointments into top national security posts have particularly been alleged to be lopsided.

Additionally, the President’s handling of the tricky killer herdsmen’s question hasn’t been too convincing. While speaking on this particular subject, Pastor Tunde Bakare accused the President of gross bias. He cited the example of how the military were swiftly deployed to fish out Nnamdi Kanu and his IPOB gang. He wondered why same speed was not employed in the case of the Benue genocide where hapless people were gruesomely murdered. All over the country, herdsmen are becoming a nuisance and great security threats, but there seems not to be an all out onslaught against them. The insinuation in many quarters, therefore, is that the President is not willing to tackle the knotty issue because ‘his’ people are involved.

Now, in-spite of recent decline in the President’s approval rating, if he wishes he could still warm himself back into the hearts of his disgruntled compatriots, especially the masses who so much believed in him. For one, the President needs to become swifter in his handling of urgent national matters. His recent assertion that he needs to take his time in taking certain decisions doesn’t really suffice. A man whose house is on fire does not have the luxury of time. Swift decisions and actions must be taken on critical national matters to move the country forward. What we need at this critical time in the country is strong leadership. Shrinking from taking the right decisions and actions at the appropriate won’t do the country much good.

Also, the President must be wary of sycophants whose stock in trade is lies and deception. They are hypocrites with self-seeking agenda. They did same with Abacha. For the right price, they can wine and dine with the devil himself. Therefore, the President needs to be discerning with the kind of stuffs such people feed him with. He needs to pay more attention to what his critics are saying. In most cases, critics are better than sycophants.

Equally, the President needs to be more visible. Nigerians want to see and hear their President. It has often been said that President is a man of little words. No! This shouldn’t be the case. He is the leader of a nation of over 170 million people and they are eager to see and hear him. He needs to allay their fears. He needs to say things that would encourage and inspire them. He needs to sometimes move out of the Aso Rock to relate with the ordinary Nigerians. The Vice-President did this quite well while the President was away on medical treatment. He needs to engage the people on several burning national issues. There are several platforms through which this can be done.

Finally, the President must allay the fears of Nigerians on the allegation of bigotry being leveled against him. He must see the entire country as his constituency. After all, his mandate is a pan-Nigerian one. Thus, he must not be seen to favour one section of the country at the expense of the other. In the words of former Senate President, late Dr. Chuba Okadigbo: ‘If you are emotionally attached to your tribe, religion, or political leaning to the point that the truth and justice become secondary considerations, your education is useless. Your exposure is useless. If you cannot reason beyond petty sentiments, you are a liability to mankind’.

For the President, the clock is ticking and time is running out. History would not be kind to him if he squanders the unique goodwill upon which he rode to the presidency. We have had enough tales of failure. He cannot afford to fail!

Ogunbiyi wrote in from Ikeja, Lagos

Continue Reading
Click to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

OPINION

Isa Pantami as a metaphor, By Adamu Tilde

Published

on

NITDA DG, Dr. Isa Pantami. PHOTO: NITDA
By Adamu Tilde
The appointment of Dr. Isa Ali Ibrahim (Pantami), September 2016, to the position of the Director-General, National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA) by president Muhammadu Buhari could have provoked the usual and expected bashings of the north by the Southern press as a product of quota and federal character system. For the fact that Dr. Pantami had a steady academic career that spanned for almost two decades, rising to the position of an associate professor, put an end to the question of competence and merit; his expertise and training in the IT-industry made the appointment more relevant and timely.
There is this weird stereotype, even if absurd and baseless, that outlived its usefulness despite its refusal to die peacefully and efforts by its advocates to deliberately— even if illogically— make a statement of fact that a Northerner, no matter how trained and well-grounded, could not attain the pinnacle of his career purely on merit without a policy of federal character system or patronage by the power that be. Farfetched as it is, this belief is held by a large chunk of those not from the North. [His Royal Highness] Sanusi Lamido Sanusi was a victim of that narrative; he had his credentials challenged, his competence ridiculed and his merit questioned. Never mind the irony in the misdirected protests given that, then, before his appointment, Sanusi Lamido Sanusi was heading the largest bank in West Africa. Kemi Adeosun and Babatunde Fowler were given a vote of confidence even without been subjected to any competency test while Hadiza Bala Usman could not be given. Why? well, she is from the other side of the Niger. Nothing could be more ridiculous!
It is no longer news that Dr. Pantami is steadily and meticulously positioning NITDA to its deserving status as the country’s regulatory body of the IT industry. This essay will attempt to chronicle the journey so far of the chief technology officer of the country, particularly with respect to competence, fairness and cosmopolitanism. His preferred prefix, Sheikh, for some inexplicable reason evokes mixed metaphors. However, Dr. Pantami is daily proving the nay-sayers by being like what the Hausas call ‘Murucin kan Dutse’— he came well-prepared!
Following the signing of Executive Order 003 by the present administration, reference to a circular from the office of the Head of Service of the Federation on the implementation of executive order 003 on support for local content in public procurements, and building on the success story of the implementation of local content policy in the Oil and Gas industry; NITDA through its local content policy thrust that promotes patronage of “Made-in-Nigeria” goods and services with the goal of strengthening the Naira, creating jobs, grow entrepreneurial capability to engender competition among local manufacturers that will drive down cost and improve quality;  Independent Software Vendors, Original Design Manufacturers, Original Equipment Manufacturers and host of other IT related services are smiling to their banks as a result of unprecedented patronage they currently enjoy from MDAs.
Today, for example, NITDA under the supervision of Dr. Pantami, through its subsidiary office – Office for Nigerian Content Development in ICT (ONC) – had transformed the local “Original Equipment Manufacturers” into a vibrant sector of the IT-industry from an abysmal performance in the purchase of 92,000 units of IT-equipment only by MDAs in 2015 to 350,000 units of IT facilities purchased by the MDAs in 2017. This unprecedented achievement is largely due to the charismatic leadership of the NITDA that dutifully follow, supervise and uphold the rule of law. To demonstrate his commitment to the rule of law, there was a report on how a single MDA made a purchase of 10.5B worth of ICT facilities locally— this was after its short stay at EFCC custody of which NITDA orchestrated.
Again, our young innovators have never been happier. Through the Office for ICT Innovation and Entrepreneurship (OIIE), a subsidiary of NITDA, today, startups and innovators are given an unprecedented support, motivation and encouragement to showcase their creativity, originality and ingenuity. Platforms, locally and at the global stage, were and are still being offered to our innovators to compete and demonstrate their competence in solving problems and proffering solutions using information and communication technology. Ten and six innovators were rigorously and fairly selected from a pool of more than 400 applicants, and sponsored to participate in the 2017 and 2018 The Gulf Information Technology Exhibition (GITEX) – an annual consumer computer and electronics trade show, exhibition and conference, Dubai – respectively.
Also, StartUp Friday, another event specifically created to identify, evaluate, encourage and support promising innovators, which were hitherto restricted to Lagos and Abuja has now enjoyed geographical spread for inclusion and equal participation. Under the supervision of Dr. Pantami, StartUp Friday has taken place in Gombe, Enugu, Akwa Ibom, and Kaduna. Given the publicity NITDA offered to startups, today our startups had in the 1st, 2nd, and 3rd quarter of 2018 alone contributed 9M, 57M and 35M USD respectively to our GDP. Through the strategic leadership of Dr. Pantami, ICT had contributed 13.36% of Nigeria’s GDP by the 2nd quarter of 2018. This is a record achievement by the competent leadership manning the affairs of NITDA. Like Dr. Pantami is fond of saying: the statistics are there.
In a widely publicized press release of the beneficiaries of NITDA Scholarship, Dr. Pantami has yet again demonstrated a sense of fairness, equity, inclusiveness and cosmopolitanism that is rarely found in our current democratic setting. Unlike what characterized BEA or PRESSID Scholarship, NITDA scholarship is equitably distributed among successful candidates without the minutest exhibition of preference to a particular region or tribe.
In an essay, “Isa Ali Pantami: A Role Model of Leadership in Nigeria”, my good friend, Dr. MD Aminu, succinctly and compellingly argued that (and I paraphrase): what Nigeria needs at this trying moments are people like Dr. Pantami to influence the affairs of government. The dirt in Nigeria’s leadership can only be cleansed by encouraging good people to participate in the leadership process to flush it out of its current situation, its wanton depravity.
The opportunity to serve Nigeria in public office for Dr. Pantami came as a delight and a renewal of hope in the Nigerian project. People who had followed Dr. Pantami through his scholastic pedigree and personal antecedents for several years had hoped for his recognition in government where his impact will be most felt. I am confident that Dr. Pantami’s best is yet to come if he continues to exude managerial excellence in many aspects within Nigeria’s IT industry and maintain the positive traits everyone would expect from him. If he continues in the path of upholding probity and accountability in executing the core mandates of the organization that he leads, if he continues towards a visionary leadership formed from a well-thought-out perception, then he will carve out a place for himself as a leader whose styles are not usually common, and from whom others could learn
Continue Reading

OPINION

Why Buhari must not sign the Electoral Amendment Bill 2018, By George Obi

Published

on

It is a sad irony that the legislature, perhaps the most critical institution of democracy, will initiate laws that majority of the people they represent would consider as capable of putting them in a situation where they may be unable to exercise their franchise to vote and elect leaders of their choice in 2019.

This is the scenario that now stairs all in the face in view of the Electoral Amendment Bill 2018 passed by the National Assembly and now awaiting the final assent of President Muhammadu Buhari.

But there was a widely anticipated turn of event that may yet save the situation if all go well. Last Monday, three political parties approached the Federal High Court, Abuja seeking an order of the court to stop President Muhammadu Buhari from assenting to the Bill. The parties are: Advanced Peoples Democratic Alliance, (APDA), Allied Peoples Movement, (APM) and Movement for Restoration and Defence of Democracy, (MRDD).

They are seeking a declaration of the court that assenting the bill would truncate the 2019 general election. Their Counsel, Dapo Otitoju, told reporters that they had two questions for the court to determine.

“Whether the president can proceed to assent the Electoral Act amendment bill 2018, forwarded to him by the National Assembly to be used to conduct the 2019 general election when there is no adequate time for the manifestion of the proposed act. And

“Whether assenting to the Electoral Amendment Bill 2018, now will not truncate the Chairman, Independent National Electoral Commission, (INEC) from ensuring proper conduct of the 2019 general election.”

These are no doubt valid questions that all concerned Nigerians, and members of the international community must ask. It is a shame that our legislators do not appear to put their country first in their deliberations, otherwise commonsense would have dictated otherwise. Legislators, especially their leadership, are fond of initiating laws that cater to their interests and not the interest of the country.

A national daily recently reported in its front-page lead story that the NASS is currently working on bills that would lead to the establishment of at least 12 new tertiary educational institutions in the country, so soon after 11 new federal universities were established.

Yet, NASS has not initiated any bill that would make our tertiary education more qualitative and prevent lecturers from going on strike.

The most contentious new amendment to our electoral laws which NASS wants to foist on the 2019 is the insistence on electronic voting and transmission of results for the next general election that is scheduled to happen in February 2019. As desirable as this provision in the amendment is, the timing is unsuitable and portends grave danger to the 2019 election if signed into law.

The bill provides for electronic transmission of results from polling unit to collation centres. In a country where illiteracy level if said to be over 60 percent of the population, how do you properly educate the electorate so that they are not dis-enfranchised in the election that is just two months away?

How can an electorate to savvy in ICT assimilate the act of electoral voting and transmission in less than two months to the general elections? Is this not a recipe for confusion? A proper voters education and demonstration of electronic voting system is required to be done in all 36 states of the federation, the FCT and the 774 local government areas before such a bill can be introduced to the electoral process This is a strong reason why the President must withhold assent until after the 2019 election.

What is a major source of concern also is the absence of clarity in the Bill as to the commencement period of its application and operation. The sensitivity of the Bill is such that it cannot accommodate any ambiguity in view of its capacity to generate chaos at a time when elections are already at hand and the process for its conduct almost completed.

The INEC, political parties and other stakeholders in the electoral process have been working with the Electoral Act 2010 as amended. The existing act had been used by political parties to conduct primaries into political elective offices for 2019. Amending the act that had been used for primary elections in preparation for the 2019 general elections would engender confusion in the electoral process. Assenting the Bill at this time may effectively truncate the electoral process which has already began.

I am not sure those who are challenging the Bill in court are against its provisions. I think they are only concerned that assenting the Bill two months to election would disrupt the electoral process and reduce the credibility of the February elections. Why can we not wait until after the next election to sign the Bill into law? Or are some people planning to use the anticipated confusion to manipulate the election?

It is also necessary to factor in and be mindful of the African Union Protocol which strongly disapproves any amendment or introduction of new electoral laws three months to the election, as in this case. Nigeria as a key international player must be seen to have respect for international protocols and convention. We cannot be seen to be operating in breach of international protocols and convention as a nation.

Events since the Nass first passed the Bill to the presidency showed it was a hurriedly packaged law with a pre-determined objective. The Bill was returned for correction twice, and the law makers never faulted the grounds for rejection. It was an admission of it tardiness and a lack of deep, patriotic thoughtfulness that went into it package.

President Buhari had again refused to assent the Bill immediately and the NASS are threatening to veto it. A senator even tweeted asking Buhari to ignore “Cardreaderphobics” and sign the Bill-a term he used to describe those asking that electronic voting be deferred. It’s an indication of how self-consumed our lawmakers have become that one of them could suggest to the President to ignore patriotic Nigerians asking that the electorate not be dis-enfranchised.

But no one should be surprised that the leadership of NASS is behind the push for the signing of the Bill. Both Bukola Saraki, President of the senate, and Yakubu Dogara, Speaker are now members of the opposition PDP following their recent defection from the ruling APC. Saraki is also the Director of Campaign of the Presidential Candidate of the PDP, Atiku Abubakar. Anyone familiar with politics in Nigeria know that the Bill has been factored into the plan of the opposition party.

They certainly have their reasons for pushing for it. But if their reason is not to cause confusion and benefit from it, then its hard to see any other reason. Only two weeks ago, Uche Secondus, National Chairman of the PDP, at an event where Saraki, Atiku and others were present, called for the sack of INEC Chairman, Mahmud Yakubu and the Inspector General of Police, Ibrahim Idris two months to the next general election!

Obi wrote from Abuja

Continue Reading

OPINION

Between natural justice and the purchase of Justice through the back door: Is Senator Attai Aidoko a deviant alongside his gullible gollowers?

Published

on

By Ojoachele Akor Felix8

Natural justice is akin to social justice and equality of all as opposed to purchase of justice through the back door on the altar of falsehood and, marooned justice for sale that is inimical to law and orderliness of any society. It breeds potential and avoidable deviants situation such as ours today. Aidoko is as deviant as his followers on every page if we are to google their respective absurdities

Gullibility is a precursor of self imposed predicament that is laden with the endangerment of after thoughts.
It’s very important we marry this abnormal behavioral and psychological improprieties to explain the present situation in Kogi East today.

Law came as a result of
poor control of societal ills which was against the existential cooperation,a threat to communal living.It is therefore focused on fostering social reengineering and social justice hence the increase in social engagement and cooperation in our today’s world.

Albeit, the prospect of law and order today is negligible considering the commercialisation of justice in some of the hallow temple of justice globally.
The highest bidder today carries the day as ordinary people are now stranded on the altar of illegality arising from amoral blanket of injustice and several black market and kangaroo judgements.

It’s for this reason that
all the sit down look senators e.g Kogi East senator Attai Aidoko,would boast of winning an elections through illegal sharing of money for suspected gullible folks to vote for him in the forthcoming Senatorial elections especially,party leaders in Kogi East.

Who’s deceiving who?How can a man participate in an elections without undergoing through the due process of primary elections?

In the case of Aidoko,there was no primary elections and for him to have colluded with Inec officials to impose himself on the people of Kogi East actually give credence to the cash and carry electoral process cum the PDP political braggadocio,rascality and unpopular show of arrogance.It is the height of gross irresponsibility and insensitivity to the sensibility of our people.

Deceiving people around just to return to the red chamber?

How could some of this party leaders so reduced themselves so much so that an Aidoko, would tell them that he couldn’t get them some packages because of security related issues and that they should keep waiting for such till God knows when?When will security issues be settled in the country?
He is donating 2 bags of maize to each ward in Ibaji? You and your supporters are joker’s and shameless political jobbers!

We also have some scary
reports from Ibaji, Olamaboro,Ankpa Omala and Dekina on some of this futile attempt but, truth will prevail over falsehood.
You collected money as individual to sell us all to a blind legislator for money?
Are we also blind like him?You can enjoy your money but have no power to exchange our Senatorial seat in this regard.

For taking money from Aidoko,you are also one of those destroying our land and posterity will judge you all.
The stage is set and we want to see what you will present to our people as campaign appeal/ agenda!

We are watching.
The law will soon catch up with some of these shameless old politicians who are only concerned about their pockets and not the interest of our land and her people.

Our schools are bad and they are not asking Aidoko?
Our roads are terrible and nobody is asking?
No hospital?
Total collapse of infrastructural facilities and amenities even where they are available the story is not different!

Your people are living in darkness and you are happy taking car from Aidoko?
Which road are you going to ply/ride on?
For those in Ibaji local government areas I weep for you!

Some of these leaders have nothing to show,no scorecard and today they want us to believe them?
You are a disgrace to humanity!
Your parents have no clothes to wear and you are busy creating scene outside that you are a big man?
You are obiolo politician whose life span will soon expire!
Ibete redefined in ignorance!

Money was,is and will be while we are here and after our departure from here.
Live a legacy of a good leader.Good name is better than riches whose foundation is questionable!

Aidoko chene inacha Igala!
Uwe onugo gbaigedee otudu ikpani?
Ribeida!!!!!!

 

Ojoachele Akor Felix, writes from Lagos.

Continue Reading
Advertisement

Facebook

Advertisement
Advertisement

Trending