By Adrian Awoyele
I read Pa Ayo Adebanjo’s interview in The Punch newspaper on 25 February with so much relish. But it was the elder statesman’s submission on President Muhammadu Buhari and his administration that caught my attention.
It is wise that when an elder speaks, the younger generation listens. This is because, not only does Pa Adebanjo have loads of experience and wisdom but also because he has a vast knowledge of Nigeria, past and present.
It is with that respect that I would like to tackle the issues Pa Adebanjo raised in his submissions not just because it has to be done but because if it is not done it may be taken by a few who don’t have the clearer picture as “truth”
I’ll tackle the issues he raised one after the other, starting with President Muhammadu Buhari’s inaction on herdsmen.
What then is being done about security? The approach of the government has been to deploy mobile police forces to troubled areas and also both the army and air force, the Nigerian Army formations and units in Benue State for example, especially 72 Special Forces Battalion, have consistently maintained Forward Operating Bases at the flash areas covering Guma, Logo, Katsina-Ala and Agatu Local Government Areas.
The operation has the generic name Operation MESA, but it is nicknamed Operation ZENDA in Benue State. The Army had within the last few days scaled up the size of troops and equipment in Agatu, Guma, Katsina-Ala and Logo Local Government Areas of Benue State.
The Army also recently deployed troops at Awe and Tunga Local Government Areas of Nasarawa State, in order to monitor and block the gaps that were presumed to be used as staging points by armed herdsmen to attack communities in Benue State.
Additionally, troops of 93 Battalion, Takum in Taraba State, also occupy blocking positions as well as maintain constant liaison with troops in Benue State.
Furthermore, the command and control structure of the Army formations and units in Benue and contiguous states have been reorganized.
Accordingly, more troops were deployed and the Commander 707 Special Forces Brigade was reassigned to Taraba State for effective command and control of troops operating in the entire Benue/Taraba general area. And next week, the Nigerian Army will flag-off Exercise AYEM AKPATUMA, to checkmate the activities of armed bandits and militias in Benue, Taraba, Nasarawa and environs.
The killings on herdsmen is condemnable no doubt but to say the Federal Government is aiding and abetting them is not true.
Only last week, the Benue State Government jailed three herdsmen for open grazing without an objection from the Federal Government, this is proof that Buhari’s government wants an end to the herdsmen debacle. Not only has he deployed the Inspector General of police to Benue, he has deployed also droves mobile police forces, army and air force to troubled areas with a view to end the attacks but also to bring peace to these areas, but to stem further tide of the herdsmen menace on neighboring states. This deployment as had been read in many national dailies has accounted for a drop in the aggression seen as regards the herdsmen issue
Worthy of note also is that President Buhari has set in motion a new Committee to rebuild communities affected by herdsmen-farmers violence, and in doing so he appointed His Excellency, Vice President Yemi Osinbajo; which further shows the importance Buhari attaches to resolving the issue. The committee is expected among other things to find ways of providing welfare and other needed facilities to ameliorate the resultant effect of the crisis.
Like many Nigerians, Buhari’s appointment of northerners as security heads was raised by Pa Adebanjo. The argument he posited and this same line of reasoning has been raised by other persons without recourse to the fact that the hierarchy of these security institutions existed way before Buhari and if the hierarchy had these officers in cue should the president just jump the constituted authority because he wants to satisfy quota? Truth be told had all these high-ranking officers in the DSS, Police and Army were non-northerners would Buhari have simply promoted northerners and made them head?
Would he have promoted a Major in the Nigerian Army just because he was from Daura, Katsina state and made him Chief of Army Staff? I don’t think so. All these men were next in line for these appointments so they got it.
The case of the CJN is one of key reference, when it got to confirming Justice Walter Onnoghen, the president just towed the line because the current CJN was the next in line it didn’t matter whether he was from the South-South; it was the hierarchy that mattered not his place of ethnicity.
On the issue of Buhari’s integrity, it is pertinent to note that he inherited Nigeria in a bad state, given the maladministration of the previous government.
To put things right, he needed to start from the scratch. He needed to tackle the principalities and powers that had held sway and needed to put his feet down on some matters.
At Buharis inauguration Nigerias foreign reserve was at an all time low, that even the worlds global lending organisations advised that it was unhealthy to lend Nigeria any money. Quite a few nations were not interested doing any business in Nigeria. We were like a nation suffering from leprosy.
Today, Nigeria’s savings has since soared, trillions have been garnered from anti-corruption campaigns and agencies like JAMB have begun generating billions of naira for the economy, Nigerian Customs has generated all it did in over 7yrs in under 2yrs not to mention many others.
On restructuring, Pa Adebanjo said anybody opposing restructuring is an enemy of Nigerian unity. Quite frankly, I do not think this government is opposed to some of the issues raised on restructuring.
President Buhari himself set up a panel within the All Progressives Congress, APC, to dispense with the current pseudo-federal structure.
The panel made sweeping recommendations to save the fragile polity through true federalism.
Essentially, the APC Committee on True Federalism proposed the devolution of powers to the federating units and a measure of resource control. In line with this, it recommended state police, which is to operate “alongside the federal police” and each force with its own defined areas of authority. The committee views the current Exclusive Legislative List, which has 68 items, as a bastardisation of federalism. That is a good judgement.
Vice President Yemi Osinbajo has said more than once that he is support of having state police in Nigeria. He believes this will help improve the security measures that are already in place in Nigeria. Even President Buhari has never opposed restructuring, he only believes that the time for it is not now.
Like millions of Nigerians know, Buhari is not given to much talk, so if he keeps quiet on certain issues, people regard it as negligence or an I don’t care attitude.
Pa Adebanjo’s stance against President Buhari was long before he was elected President in 2015.
In his interview with Punch he said, “Before he (Tinubu) supported Buhari, I shouted. My interview was published: ‘Don’t vote for Buhari. If you vote for Buhari, you will regret it, particularly you people from the West’. They said I got money from (former President Goodluck) Jonathan. I said, ‘I know what you people don’t know’ because a lot of people, who were Buharists at that time, were between the ages of 30 and 40. All of the things I was recounting that Buhari is guilty of, they were not born (to witness) then (1983-1985); those who were born then were teenagers, so they couldn’t appreciate it.”
Perhaps, the elder statesman never gave President Buhari an opportunity to succeed. But more importantly, was the call for Vice President Yemi Osinbajo to resign because restructuring was not implemented.
Osinbajo is not only Buhari’s deputy but also one of the main players in this government.
He quelled the restive Niger Delta militants after holding meetings with them, he engineered creation of modular refineries in Nigeria and has repeatedly stated this government’s readiness to improve the general wellbeing of Nigerians.
Isa Pantami as a metaphor, By Adamu Tilde
Why Buhari must not sign the Electoral Amendment Bill 2018, By George Obi
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
Between natural justice and the purchase of Justice through the back door: Is Senator Attai Aidoko a deviant alongside his gullible gollowers?
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?
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?
Ojoachele Akor Felix, writes from Lagos.
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