By Comr. Solomon Adodo
On the 24th June 2019, an unusual political activity took place in Abuja, the Federal Capital Territory. A public demonstration staged by an obscure political group that gave its name as APC Concerned Nation Stakeholders led by an even more obscure figure called Dr. Symeon Chilagorom proclaimed that they were protesting against internal forces pulling down the administration of President Muhammadu Buhari.
In his public speech, the Convener of the group, Symeon Chilagorom specifically identified ALH Mamman Daura, Samaila Isa Funtua and Mall Abba Kyari as members of the group that is pulling down the administration. In his words, “the people of this country elected Muhammadu Buhari as their President, not Mamman Daura, Samaila Isa Funtua and Mall Abba Kyari.”
Of the three people mentioned in that speech, only Abba Kyari holds an office in the Buhari government. He is Chief of Staff in the Presidency. The other two accused persons hold no office in the government whatsoever. The agitators protesting their role in government have a responsibility to prove to Nigerians how the President has abdicated his executive responsibilities to them or how they have hijacked those duties and responsibilities.
The office of Chief of Staff is not of Cabinet rank, the holder of the office wields no executive powers, controls no ministry and or department of government. He is an extension of the office of the president, playing managerial and advisory roles such as selection and coordination of key staff, control of people who come to see the President and protecting the interest of the President or any other responsibilities that are entrusted to him by his principal. To demonstrate that he is subordinate to the president, the Constitution does not require that he is screened and confirmed by the Senate.
To accuse him of usurping the powers of the President is to accuse the President of gross incompetence and dereliction of duty. Even as Symeon Chaligorom and his group make great pretense of “love for the President” and vouching for his “personal integrity and capabilities”, the implication of their public pronouncement and outburst on Monday is that the President is incompetent and has lost control of his office.
It is indeed sad that people who profess love for their Presidentand trust in his competence will in the same breath accuse him of abdicating his office to a subordinate he employed and has the powers to fire. This accusation is even more grave and an open insult on the President when a few individuals who have no office in government are accused of rendering the president impotent in exercising the powers invested in him by the constitution he swore to uphold and defend. The target for destruction by Symeon and his confederates in the APC Concerned Nation Stakeholders is not Mamman Daura, not Ismaila Funtua and certainly not Abba Kyari. The target is the President himself.
With ‘friends’ like Symeon Chulagorom and his group, President Buhari does not need to worry about who is his enemies.
Since his appointment as Chief of Staff to President Buhari in 2015, Abba Kyari has been faced with a cocktail of spurious allegations against his person. None of these allegations have been proven and remain in the realm of speculation and fiction by those who are envious of his enhanced status. The public is yet to be presented with any evidence that the man is corrupt and or incompetent for the job. The demonstration on Monday carried the unsubstantiated allegations a notch higher. If anything, a glance at the resume of Abba Kyari gives one conclusive prove that President Buhari couldn’t have made a better choice for the office of Chief of Staff.
Trained at University of Warwick in England where he obtained a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Sociology, he also possesses a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Law from the University of Cambridge. He was called to the Nigerian Bar after attending the Nigerian Law School in 1983. In 1984, he obtained a master’s degree in law from the University of Cambridge. He later attended the International Institute for Management at Lausanne, Switzerland and participated in the Program for Management Development at the Harvard Business School, in 1992 and 1994. These are the best universities one could attend anywhere in the world.
After such a brilliant academic career, Abba Kyari worked in a couple of blue chip firms where he acquired management skills and gained a lot of corporate experience. He worked for the law firm, Fani-Kayode and Sowemimo for some time after his return to Nigeria. From 1988 to 1990, he was Editor with the New Africa Holdings Limited Kaduna. In 1990 he served as Commissioner for Forestry and Animal Resources in BornoState. From 1990 to 1995, Kyari was Secretary to the Board of African International Bank Limited.
At the United Bank for Africa, he was Executive Director, Management Services and was later appointed Managing Director and Chief Executive of the Bank. He was appointed a Director of Unilever Nigeria Plc. in 2002 and is a Director of Exxon Mobil Nigeria. He is a recipient of the Nigerian Honor Award of Officer of the Order of the Niger (O.O.N).
There is no doubt that Kyari must have made enemies among some prominent people in the country who see him as an obstacle to their inordinate political ambition and rapacious desire for material resources. All the noise against Kyari must be coming from this group of people who see the country as a cow to be milked.
The other two gentlemen who are being maligned with spurious and unsubstantiated allegations are private citizens who have made their marks in their chosen careers but have no office in government. Why Symeon Chulagorom and group should embark on a campaign of gratuitous calumny against these two patriots is difficult for all sane Nigerians to understand.
The constitution under which President Buhari was elected into office does not bar him from having blood relations nor does it require of him to cut communication with his blood relations or friends. There is nothing in the laws of the land or morality that bars him from having blood and or personal relations with other Nigerians.
Since President Buhari’s election in 2015, the two gentlemen have been subjected to spurious allegations from some aggrieved politicians and their collaborators in the media. The public demonstrations last Monday is perhaps the most bizarre demonstration of hatred and political illiteracy since the 4thRepublic began. This one too shall come to pass.
Comr. Solomon Adodo is the National Convener, Guardians of Democracy and Development. He wrote from Abuja, Nigeria.
Serial lies about Amnesty Programme, By Murphy Ganagana
It is a sad commentary that the Niger Delta people face the paradox of having an amazing wealth in crude oil but are buffeted by a whirlwind that has choked genuine efforts to turn around the situation in a region that is bare in human capital and infrastructural development.
Ironically, parochial interests, greed and an unbridled sense of entitlement have beclouded sound reasoning of some persons who claim to be leaders of the region and possess a monopoly of knowledge on how to run interventionist agencies established by the Federal Government to address developmental challenges.
For these elements, there is no line between darkness and light; morality or absurdity. What is paramount is the means to acquisition of illicit wealth, power and fame, not the common interest of the Niger Delta people whose balloon of hope they’ve consistently deflated whenever it was inflated.
That is the scenario being enacted in their desperation to take over the office of Prof. Charles Dokubo, Coordinator of the Presidential Amnesty Programme, whose unblemished integrity they’ve unsuccessfully been trying to blur with tar. My worry, however, is that the drama has taken an absurd dimension.
Recently, Pointblanknews, an online portal notorious for blackmail and promotion of fake news on Amnesty Programme published an “exclusive” report that Prof, Dokubo had fled the country to the United States “after being implicated in an N23billion looting under the cover of the National Security Adviser, Gen. Babagana Monguno”, who it alleged, was his godfather.
The news portal claimed its investigations revealed that the presidency had asked Prof. Dokubo to prepare his hand-over notes and hand over to the most senior civil servant in the Amnesty Office, but the NSA advised Prof. Dokubo to escape the prying eyes of security operatives and go into hiding in the US.
It further said the presidency was concerned with security reports detailing fraudulent contracts and payments of over N10billion and the looting of the Boro Town Amnesty Programme training facility in Bayelsa State to cover up N13billion fraudulent contracts. It summed up that a total of N23billion Amnesty funds were looted between 2018 and 2019.
These are pointblank lies sponsored and recycled overtime by self-styled leaders to distract Prof. Dokubo from working to achieve the objectives for which the Programme was initiated, except for the recent addition that he had fled the country; when, in fact, he travelled to the Washington DC on official duty after being duly cleared for the trip by the authorities.
It turned out to be an unfortunate outing for the purveyors of fake news who were unaware that Dokubo had returned to Nigeria on the day the “exclusive” was splashed on PointblankNews, which has elevated junk journalism to a nauseating level. As a face-saving measure, the publishers deleted the report from the news portal same day to befuddle undiscerning members of the public, in a clear case of mischief.
That was a misadventure in which the publishers of PointblankNews had a bloodied nose and quickly needed a pad to clean up. So they went to town the next day, September 3, with another fabricated report that Prof. Dokubo had laundered over N5billion in two Turkish banks in connivance with three senior management staff of the Amnesty Programme, including the directors of Administration, Procurement, and Legal Adviser.
The report also claimed that investigation on the case by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission had been stalled because Dokubo is a nominee of the NSA, General Monguno, who is also the godfather of the acting chairman of EFCC. It further claimed that companies registered and owned by some of President Muhammadu Buhari’s principal aides and leaders of the All Progressive Congress, were awarded fraudulent contracts at the Amnesty Programme.
But it fell short of expectation on ethical standards as no mention was made of the two banks in Turkey where the alleged sum of N5billion was laundered and how it was perpetrated, neither were other details of alleged contract scams provided.
Rather than indulging in concoction of fake news in furtherance of their smear campaign against Prof. Dokubo with the objective of removing him from office, the publishers of PointblankNews might have earned for themselves, an inch of credibility (if there was any left for them), if only they had done a bit of checks and cross-checking of what was availed them as facts.
That way, they would have known that the unfortunate incident of vandalization and looting of the Amnesty Programme Vocational Training Centre at Kaiama, Bayelsa State by hoodlums in February, this year, had been under investigation by security agencies, particularly the Police, which has concluded its assignment and submitted a report to the appropriate authorities. I hope that the findings will be made public soon to put to rest the chain of fallacy churned out as exclusive news on PointblankNews about that incident.
I have no doubt that discerning and well-meaning Niger Deltans and Nigerians are conscious of the ignoble role of Pointblanknews to please their paymasters by discrediting Prof. Dokubo. Which is why, reports celebrated on the portal in recent times are mainly about Dokubo and the Amnesty Programme.
It is unfortunate that the publishers of PointblankNews have gone a step further by dragging the names of respected top government officials who have no business with the Amnesty Programme in the mud, in a desperate bid to get at Dokubo. My prayer is that his detractors will soon come to terms with the futility of their actions and succumb to the supremacy of the will of God, the Almighty. No human should play God.
*Ganagana is Special Assistant (Media), to the Coordinator, Amnesty Programme
A vision and flyers to fly with: A case study of Mallam Isa Pantami and Kashifu Inuwa
By Hashim Suleiman
Let me start this piece from the year 2014 when me and my bosom friend Babukar Tanko through our always interactive and progressive discussions devoid of gossips and unrealistic dream birthed an idea about how we must encourage our young men especially those from the Northern part of Nigeria to imbibe the basics of how leadership comes by through capacity building and integrity. We basically wanted to encourage the government, private sector and political institutions to engage worthy young men as they were capable of injecting faster and most recent innovations in achieving their goals, many articles related to these have also been written by me and published in several media fora.
This entire idea birthed One Heart Initiative for Equity and Good Leadership which in-turn championed #30PercentOrNothing affirmative action and was coordinated nationally by my humble self. It was a non partisan effort aimed at speaking to both youths and institutions to harness one another, the entire aims and objectives is story for another day.
In the course of the above stated activities inter alia, we were also very interested in attending preaching classes and motivational speaking events and I remember vividly when Sheikh Zakir Naik came to Nigeria and was at the Ansarudeen Mosque at Maitama, Abuja, we were there at one of the days and his preaching about how the northern Muslims of Nigeria must embrace people of other faiths in the country with the aim of getting them attracted to the faith was aptly in tune with the aims and objectives of our vision and goals.
Subsequently that year was the Ramadan fast and all roads in Abuja led to Annur Mosque where there was a quintessential Sheikh from Saudi Arabia who had come to liberate Nigerian Muslims with a preaching that was very easy to decipher, we attended all of it and in the course we heard it was a young Sheikh from Saudi Arabia who was also a PhD holder and was coming to contribute to the much needed awareness regarding Islam and the general progress of the society as no society can grow without commensurate knowledge and awareness. At the end of the entire Tafsir session for the year 2014, I and Babukar were not the same people again and our vision for youth liberation and involvement in progressive activities got richer by no small means.
Thereafter, we moved on with our campaign for youth involvement and was always also echoing how the youth must behave appropriately to deserve such honors while the institutions must also select appropriately if they wanted to truly harness the ingenuity were highlighting in young people. Remember, the 2015 general election campaigns were also on at that moment and we visited all political parties, support groups, select private sector organizations and esteemed individuals. The entire idea was well received and the lot of it also afforded us an opportunity to understand better the complexity of the problems associated with young people and progress in Nigeria even though some appreciable number of them have done great things in personal capacity e.g Adebola Williams and Jaafar Jaafar etc.
In all of the above however, it was clear to me that if you have vision, then the most potent ingredient you need for it’s coming to fruition is people who will believe in it and fly with, we were blessed to have some of those in our movement and they were always ready to contribute their energy and resources to the success of the vision simply because they were convinced by the idea that the message was carrying.
Considering that it was a deliberate effort and self sponsored coupled with the complexity of the problems and lack of commensurate number of flyers to carry the vision, our activities retracted and we resorted to social media activism and motivational talks. The last major event we attended was the maiden dinner organized by Mrs Aisha Muhammadu Buhari where we categorically told the young men there that they had to switch their social media handles from mockery to advertising government policies as some of those policies could be complex for those at the downtrodden to decipher and participate.
So now we are in change and there are lots of expectations, promises and the need to do things differently. We watched and observed and made comments where necessary then boom came an announcement about the appointment of Mallam Isa Ali Pantami as the DG of NITDA and the first thing I did was to reach to my phone and called Babukar Tanko, I said my friend change has come and he replied he was also about calling me. Change had come in the sense that the person we heard his preaching the other time about the sort of ideals that were essential for a new society had joined the team of a change government and again he fits into ideals and vision of our wanting to see excellent young men join the team of the management of the country. Everyone then moved on and there was a new perception from our side regarding the change movement. Further to that again, there was the coming in of people like Tolu Ogunlesi, Mallam Bashir Ahmad, Ismail Ahmed, Ife Adebayo, Abdulrahman Baffa Yola and others numerous to mention. It was generally not bad for us at One Heart Initiative.
Going forward, we began to hear about NITDA taking over major headlines over quintessential performance that was associated with capacity building, saving money related to execution of IT projects by the Federal Government as well as major efforts aimed at ensuring Digital compliance by the nation. These news never stopped coming and Mr. President himself had to attend the e-Nigeria summit for 2017 and because of the content he followed it up with attendance at the 2018 version. There was general acceptance by the public that NITDA had been transformed into an unusual government organization in Nigeria. These achievements and more catapulted Dr Isa Ali Pantami to become the Minister of Communications in the Federal Republic of Nigeria to the general acceptance of all Nigerians as square peg in square hole.
Almost immediately after the appointment, there was the filling up of the vacancy at NITDA with Mr. Kashifu Inuwa and a look at his resume revealed him to be the one who has been flying with the vision of his predecessor. This further revealed the wisdom and the secret behind the successes NITDA had experienced all along. More fascinating is how both have formed uncommon synergy to consolidate their already started efforts at rejuvenating the ICT industry in Nigeria which will now spread to the associated communications industries.
Messages like these are essential to be brought to the fore for purposes of enlightening the public in relation to loyalty and belief in credible visions including mentorship and patriotism. Also very importantly to note is how criticism of policies of government must not be based on partisan considerations and bandwagon information. A closer look into events and activities could reveal information enough to make you form an objective assessment of ventures.
May God bless the Federal Republic of Nigeria.
Hashim Suleiman wrote from FCT, Abuja. email@example.com
Is LADOL truly a Nigerian company? By Desmond Orjiakor
By: Desmond Orjiakor
Even with the signing of the Nigerian Oil and Industry Content Development (NOGICD) Act of 2010, many Nigerian investors still exploit the old loopholes in the system to take advantage of this law.
Many Nigerians still parade foreign-owned companies as local entities to take advantage of the opportunities provided by the NOGICD Act at the detriment of the Nigerian economy.
LADOL, for instance, prides itself as a local company and is reaping the huge benefits that accrue to local companies in Nigeria but its shareholding structure appears to question this claim.
It is not an offence for foreign companies to operate in Nigeria.
After all, President Muhammadu Buhari has travelled all over the world to woo foreign investors to come into Nigeria and harness the investment opportunities his administration has created.
Also, the Vice President, Professor Yemi Osinbajo, has also made tremendous efforts to improve Nigeria’s ranking in the World Bank’s Ease of Doing Business to attract foreign companies.
Buhari and Osinbajo’s efforts have paid off by attracting many foreign companies and investments since 2015.
All these investments by foreign companies operating in Nigeria have provided employment for Nigerians and helped to grow the Nigerian economy.
The Nigerian government has also provided benefits for these foreign companies to thrive.
But it is worrisome when some foreign-owned companies parade themselves as local companies because they shortchange both the Nigerian economy and truly Nigerian companies.
Foreign-owned companies, which should enjoy the benefits provided by the Nigerian government for foreign companies have claimed to be local companies to enjoy the benefits in the NOGICD Act.
A peep into the shareholding structure of LADOL, for instance, reveals that the ownership is foreign-dominated because this conglomerate, which claims to be a bona fide Nigerian company, has its substantial 84 per cent shares held by foreign companies.
The two foreign companies that own the 84 per cent stake in LADOL are Sable Offshore Investment Limited, registered in British Virgin Island, and Alsba Ventures, also registered in the British Virgin Island.
While Sable Offshore Investment Limited has 53 per cent stake in LADOL, Alsba Ventures Group has 31 per cent.
When two foreign companies establish a company in Nigeria, the company can be rightly regarded as a foreign company.
So, substantially, and legally too, it can be argued that LADOL is a British Virgin Island company and not a Nigerian indigenous company because it is owned.
Dr. Desmond Orjiakor is an Abuja based public affairs analyst.
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