Monday, February 9, 2015

The Economist endorses Buhari

Influential United Kingdom-based magazine, The Economist, says the presidential candidate of the All Progressives Congress, Maj. Gen. Muhammadu Buhari (retd.), is more competent than President Goodluck Jonathan of the Peoples Democratic Party.
The highly respected magazine in its editorial published in its current edition and titled, ‘Former dictator is a better choice than a failed president,’ said Nigeria was unfortunate to have both Buhari and Jonathan vying for the Presidency. It, however, said that out of the two, Buhari was a better candidate.
This, the magazine argued, was because Jonathan was a huge failure and his party had mismanaged the economy of the country since it took over in 1999.
It said Nigeria was Africa’s largest economy not because it had good leadership but due to the will of the people.
It said Jonathan was highly incompetent as he had failed to address the insecurity ravaging the country.
The magazine recalled that when over 1,000 people were killed during an attack, rather than condole with his people, Jonathan preferred to condole with the people of France over the Charlie Hedbo attack during which terrorists killed 12 journalists last month.
It said, “Start with Mr. Jonathan, whose party has run the country since 1999 and who stumbled into the Presidency on the death of his predecessor in 2010, the PDP’s reign has been a sorry one. Mr. Jonathan has shown little willingness to tackle endemic corruption. When the governor of the central bank reported that $20bn had been stolen, his reward was to be sacked.
“He has shown little enthusiasm for tackling insecurity, and even less competence. Quick to offer condolences to France after the attack on Charlie Hedbo, Mr. Jonathan waited almost two weeks before speaking up about a Boko Haram attack that killed hundreds, perhaps thousands, of his compatriots.
“The single bright spot of his rule has been Nigeria’s economy, one of the world’s fastest-growing. Yet that is largely despite the government rather than because of it, and falling oil prices will temper the boom. The prosperity has not been broadly shared: under Mr. Jonathan poverty has increased. Nigerians typically die eight years younger than their poorer neighbours in nearby Ghana.”
The magazine described Buhari as an incorruptible and honest leader but maintained that the former military head of state had “blood on his hands.”
It recalled that Buhari was guilty of human rights abuse and did not manage the economy properly when he ruled Nigeria between December 1983 and August 1985.
It, however, said the fact that Buhari had been participating in elections since 2003 was evidence that he had now embraced democracy.
It said Buhari would be able to revive the demoralised military and address insecurity.
It added, “Buhari is a sandal-wearing ascetic with a record of fighting corruption. Few nowadays question his commitment to democracy or expect him to turn autocratic: he has repeatedly stood for election and accepted the outcome when he lost. He would probably do a better job of running the country, and in particular of tackling Boko Haram. As a northerner and Muslim, he will have greater legitimacy among villagers whose help he will need to isolate the insurgents. As a military man, he is more likely to win the respect of a demoralised army.
“We are relieved not to have a vote in this election. But were we offered one we would-with a heavy heart-choose Buhari. Jonathan risks presiding over Nigeria’s bloody fragmentation. If Buhari can save Nigeria, history might even be kind to him.”

Sunday, February 8, 2015

On Soludo, Buhari, Jonathan and the elections

The firestorm generated by Prof. Chukwuma Soludo’s well-reasoned commentary on the place of issues in the 2015 electioneering has somehow become the core of the campaign. What a way to come from outside and define agenda.
Of course, I do not agree with all the points marshalled by the erstwhile Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria and Patito’s Gang member, but not to commend his citizen duty of engagement or indicate as reprehensible the resort to ad hominen bashing of the former economic adviser instead of providing facts to counter the views he had raised. That is issues-based campaign. I will myself raise logic to support and dispute some of the points in the Soludo intervention.
I do agree with Soludo that issues matter. I also think that those who turn to divisive emotion-laden typecasting of others rather than issues pertaining to the well-being of the Nigerian people do a grave disservice not only to democracy but to the long term common good of all.
The Soludo thrust of criticism sounds like an attack on the statist perspective that intervention can generate jobs and economic growth. Even as one who likes to see government out of the way, I find the approach worrying because beyond the Keynesian logic that brought the ultimate capitalist state, the United States, out of the Great Depression with initiatives like the Tennessee Valley Authority in Infrastructure, there is more recent example of post-2008 global financial crisis and the stimulus packages of the Obama administration, and now Europe turning to Quantitative Easing, not to knock the Wall Street/Main Street tag team approach to ensuring prosperity. Soludo’s solutions sometimes sound like Deepak Lal on the poverty of development economics. I think that if we see the current oil price slum as an opportunity rather than a threat, then we have to see a role for government in the way Lee Kuan Yew used state intervention when Singapore was prostrate in 1965, as Nigeria is today.
This leads to another point I am not in agreement with Soludo on. He talks about cost of programmes and the fact that low oil prices mean you cannot finance a big idea. In 1965, Singapore’s main revenues came from rent for the British Naval Base and the British had decided to shut all bases east of Eden. The decision of leaders of the United Malay National Organisation to eject Singapore from the federation that was thought to be the only hope left Singapore, out of pocket, and all dressed up with nowhere to go. Then, they rolled up their sleeves, got creative, transmitted the right values and found leadership that inspired and had integrity. Today, the small country probably has the largest concentration of billionaires per capita on earth.
Here in Nigeria, shortly after self-government, in the 1950’s, Nnamdi Azikiwe as the Premier of Eastern Region was anxious to match the free education policy of Chief Obafemi Awolowo. Palm produce did not fetch as much as cocoa in the market. The civil servants led by the new Permanent Secretary in Finance, Chief Jerome Udoji, thought it could not be done because of limitations of money. Zik insisted and accused Udoji, in Parliament, of trying to sabotage his government. After 40 per cent of the Eastern Nigeria budget of 1957 had gone to education and was still inadequate, the Udoji team suggested the introduction of fees for Primary 1 and Primary 5. But leadership kicked in. A philosophy called “Ibu anyi ndanda” raised a formula that created a partnership between government, the communities and missionaries that enabled the East to leapfrog the gap in education between the East and West.
In both cases the difference was leadership. At the centre in Abuja, for some reasons that may be from exposure, or whatever, leadership does not inspire as Lee Kuan Yew, Nnamdi Azikiwe and Michael Okpara did. Money is not everything in making dreams come through.
Among the many lessons we will learn, if we begin to operationalise the cash transfers initiative of the All Progressives Congress, a concept that helped Inatio Da Silva pull Brazil out of “potential” into a global economic powerhouse, is that we may not need as much cash as Soludo projects and that corruption and goal displacement are so high in a bloated public service that the savings will more than be adequate. Besides, from Kayode Fayemi and Rauf Aregbesola, we learn that with such programmes in Ekiti and Osun states, the numbers projected are often exaggerated. Given our abuse of census, we are likely to find much fewer people in those brackets. Check with the Bill Gates Foundation on satellite imagery studies of target population groups.
Having stated my major point of disagreement, it is useful to reflect on some other points raised by Soludo.
His broadside on austerity measures pronouncement and the road to austerity is a true, fair and proper read. No question that we walked with our eyes open into a repeat of 1982. In many of my speeches and my 2006 book, WHY NATIONS Are Poor, I recall how the Iranian revolution pushed oil prices into the stratosphere of $40 a barrel. We went reckless with champagne and even importing sand and “big men” bought Rolls Royces. We managed to borrow ourselves into a debt trap. On this round we moved up private jets and buying up Dubai.
When this current boom started with India rising and China producing, I recall on several occasions calling for fiscal responsibility compact in which flows into the distributable pool, the Federation Account, not go above $40 a barrel, with additional revenues up to $70 a barrel price going to a stabilisation fund. This fund would be available were prices to drop below $40 to be used to ensure a constant budget funding up $40 in lean times. Beyond $70, it should flow into a future fund. I have been singing this song for several years but the technocrats say the politicians insist on sharing the whole money and say of talk about saving for a rainy day that it is pointless planning for the rain when it was already pouring torrents. My retort was what is so wrong in resigning to make a point and force public conversation to educate the people because these politicians may be greedy but they surely do not hate their children. They have only acted in ignorance. I pointed them to young Mahathir Mohammed in Malaysia who disagreed with the position of the then Prime Minister and spoke up. He was dropped from the government where he was a junior minister, and expelled from The United Malay National Organisation, the dominant party at that time. Out of government, he wrote a book: The Malay Dilemma. That triggered soul-searching that finished with the resignation of the Prime Minister. He was brought back into the party. Not long after Dr Mahathir Ibn Mohammed became Prime Minister and the history of Malaysia changed for good.
What does it take to lead such a change – Genius? No. I draw from the Ronald Reagan experience in the US. President Reagan was not a genius. Some think he probably already had Alzheimer’s disease when he entered the White House. But his values were clear as was his vision. He found the right people and an America, in retreat, was revitalised, opening the way for ten and twenty American young stars to create a new industry with the .com revolution. Ironically, I have said elsewhere that the Buhari movement somehow reminds me of the coming of Ronald Reagan.
Let me close with a caveat. My response is a citizen response. My prism on this is not partisan. But I am a card-carrying member of the APC. The emergence of the APC is a culmination of my life’s quest as an institutionalist to see the dynamic of two balanced political parties. I was sure that without competition between parties that are equals progress would continue to elude Nigeria. So I longed for and worked for the scenario we have today. But I see in the torrent of abuse on Soludo for speaking truth to power and worry that this thing we have worked hard for, not in any pursuit of any self-interest, but for the advance of the common good, could be threatened by those who fail to understand the very idea of the public squares and the triumph of the ideas rather than emotional outbursts that result in tension and violence. I have read unprintable things online and in so many e-groups, some more offensive than Charlie Hebdo cartoons from both sides. This is poison we must curb. It is a double blow when those who follow this track are well-educated. So let us leave this business of certificates and uncompleted PhDs and hateful portrayals of opponents in caricature from the cross to throw backs of earlier life of candidates that seem like Hitler’s Goebbels at work. Let’s examine vision of society of challenges and the record of incumbents. Let’s ask people, regarding incumbents, is your life better today than it was four years ago and to the challengers, how can you make these same lives much better four years from now?
Utomi is a professor of political economy and founder, Centre for Values in Leadership

Saturday, February 7, 2015

Calls for postponement of elections mischievous, says Lawyers4Change

A  group,  Lawyers for Change (Lawyers4Change) has urged Nigerians to stop the mudslinging of the Presidential candidate of the All Progressive Congress (APC), General Muhammadu Buhari.

The group also described as mischievous, the call for a shift in the dates for elections.

National Coordinator of Lawyers4Change, Adesina Ogunlana, at a press conference, urged the Independent National Election Commission (INEC) not to postpone the elections.

On General Buhari’s qualifications, he said there was enough evidence which attest to the fact that the APC presidential candidate attended and graduated from various military institutions abroad before and after becoming a commissioned officer.

He stressed that Constitutional lawyer Prof. Itsay Sagay(SAN) had further clarified that a diploma from the US War College is the equivalent of Masters Degree.

“Buhari’s regime remains the most credible government in Nigeria today. So, all mudslinging about Buhari can’t take away the fact that he is in the class of Aminu Kano of this world”, he stated.

Ogunlana acknowledged that the country has been gripped with election fever and that there is a lot of tension in the air because of the February 14, 2015 Presidential elections.

He urged all political leaders to do their utmost best to curtail violence and uncivilized modes of electioneering adding that people who are genuinely interested in serving any community should not engage in dislocating, disrupting and distroying same community.

He further advised all security agencies to eschew partisanship in the discharge of their duties.

“Violence is an ill wind that blows no one any good. Let all security heads and officials know that they are agencies set up for the protection of the state and not to serve the interests of any political party or group”, he stated.


No comment on national issues until after elections – Obasanjo

A former president, Chief Olusegun Obasanjo, has said he will henceforth maintain silence on the state of the nation until after the forthcoming general elections.
He said this on Wednesday while addressing traditional rulers from Egbaland who were attending a seminar organised by a non-governmental organisation, The Village Network Empowerment Initiative. The seminar held at the Olusegun Obasanjo Presidential Library, Abeokuta.
The former president, who had in recent times criticised President Goodluck Jonathan’s administration, said it was unfortunate that some people could misconstrue his good intention for the country.
Hence, he said he had chosen to keep mum until after the elections.
Obasanjo, who also flayed the situation in which teachers in some states were being owed salaries for upward of six months, said Nigerians had an opportunity from February 14 to play their own part in enthroning leaders of their choice.
He said, “Where we are now, I have spoken. I have used body language and whoever still does not understand all I have been saying, it would take such a person a long time to understand.
“It is something that is very clear for us all to see. Some people came to visit me from Benue State three days ago and told me teachers in that state had not been paid for six months.
“There are states where teachers have not been paid for four months, three months and two months. That is not good at all. It’s only God that can help us to overcome all these problems.
“All I know is that God has done His own part and it’s now left for us as human beings to do our own bit. Do we, as Nigerians, say that God has not been magnanimous enough to us?
“Is it human or natural resources that we do not have? We are blessed with a lot of fertile land. Shakespeare says the fault is not in our stars but in ourselves that we are underlings.
“God has done his own part and it’s now left for us as human beings to play our own part. That our own part starts from the 14th and it’s now left to you and me. I won’t say more than that. I’ve said I won’t say anything anymore until after the elections.
“You’ll hear from me after the elections. But I’ve said it verbally and through body language and how you understand it all is now left to you. But whatever you still don’t understand about all of these, I will put it in prayers that God should enable you to clearly understand it all better.
“But I won’t say more than this until after the election.”
Delivering a lecture to the traditional rulers on “Waste to Wealth, Health, Biogas productions as an alternative source of energy for sustainable rural development,” the Director of the Zoo Park of the Federal University of Agriculture, Prof. Moses Oyatogun, enumerated the uses of different waste for energy production.
He advised them to take advantage of all manner of waste in their environment.
The initiator of the Village Network Empowerment Initiative Network, Oba Olufemi Ogunleye, said he organised the seminar to enable the traditional rulers to acquire knowledge and exposure towards the development of their communities.

Osinbajo laments loss of 400,000bpd

The Vice-Presidential candidate of the All Progressives Congress, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo, has lamented the daily loss of 400,000 barrels of crude oil in the face of the high rate of unemployment and poverty in the country.
Osinbajo, who is a senior pastor in the Redeemed Christian Church of God, said Christians as the salt of the earth, should be agents of positive change.
The Senior Advocate of Nigeria said this at the first Annual Lecture Series in commemoration of the 73rd birthday of the General Overseer of the RCCG, Pastor Enoch Adeboye, in Lagos on Wednesday.
In attendance were Adeboye and several senior pastors of the church.
While delivering a lecture titled, ‘Harmonising virtues to gain heaven and earthly prosperity’, Osinbajo said, “112 million people in Nigeria are extremely poor. Despite being the largest economy in Africa, we are among the 33 poorest countries in the world.
“In the area of infant mortality, 3.9 million children have died between 2009 and 2014. For maternal mortality – 55,000 women die every year while 110,000 die of diarrhoea disease yearly. There are 10.4 million children out of school while 80 per cent of graduates are jobless.
“Corruption here as described by Hilary Clinton is unbelievable. There are missing funds. The Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation subsidy scam amounts to N2.6 trillion. Kerosene subsidy scam amounts to $7bn. Missing excess crude amounts to $1bn as 400,000 barrels of oil are stolen every day.”
The APC candidate said if these problems were not addressed, Nigerians would never be able to enjoy the best things in life.
He said, “Who does God hold responsible for creating prosperity and happiness? You are the salt of the earth…you are the light of the world.”
Also speaking at the event, Adeboye thanked the organisers for honouring him. Adeboye prayed for the prosperity of all and stressed the need for Nigerians to be closer to God.
Meanwhile, Osinbajo has said the presidential candidate of the APC, Maj.Gen Muhmmadu Buhari (retd.) cannot turn Nigeria into a Muslim nation.
Osinbajo, who disclosed this at an interactive session with professionals in Warri, Delta State, said those accusing Buhari of being a Muslim fundamentalist are distorting history.
Osinbajo said, “Throughout his period as military head of state, Gen. Buhari was under intense pressure to drag Nigeria into the OIC, but he never yielded because he respects Nigeria as a secular state in line with the constitution. Besides, his cook and driver are Christians.
“When Gen. Babangida eventually dragged Nigeria into the OIC, none of the successors ever attended any of its meeting because they know to Islamise Nigeria is very difficult as you need to first get the constitution amended. That process, you know, is almost impossible”.
“But it is on record that in 2013, President Jonathan, undermining the constitutional limitation, ensured that Nigeria attended an OIC meeting.”
Also speaking, a Warri leader, Chief Tuesday Onoge, told Osinbajo that the Urhobo people would support the APC in the coming election.
SOURCE: by Eniola Akinkuotu in the punch

Corruption‘ll disappear if Buhari wins, says Amaechi

THE Rivers State Governor and Chairman of Nigeria Governors Forum, Mr. Rotimi Amaechi, said on Wednesday that corruption would disappear from Nigeria if the presidential candidate of the All Progressives Congress, Maj. Gen. Muhammadu Buhari (retd.), emerged the winner of the February 14 presidential election.
Amaechi specifically stated that Buhari would instil discipline and uprightness on corrupt public officials in the country should he win the forthcoming poll.
The Director General of Muhammadu Buhari Campaign Organisation, who made this remark while swearing in nine permanent secretaries at the Government House in Port Harcourt, pointed out that Nigerians were tired of the Peoples Democratic Party leadership under President Goodluck Jonathan and needed a change.
Amaechi added that no matter the lies told by the leadership of the PDP, Nigerians were interested in the improvement in the country’s affairs.
“We were sharing some discussions in the bus in the cause of our campaign. The President and the PDP never knew that there will be a time like this in Nigeria when Nigerians will be asking for change, not because of the APC or Amaechi but because they are tired of what is going on.
“No matter the lies you tell, Nigerians just want change; any type of change they want it. It could be change for the better, it could be change even for the worse but they certainly want change,” the governor stressed.
Amaechi, however, charged the newly sworn-in permanent secretaries to see their appointment as a call to service delivery and ensure that they were not on the wrong side of history.
He observed that in the past, permanent secretaries were not corrupt but upright, adding that currently, some of those occupying similar positions had landed property everywhere.
The governor urged the new permanent secretaries to resign if they were not ready to serve, maintaining that their current position came with challenges.
Amaechi said, “Don’t be one of those permanent secretaries that history will have on the wrong side of the society. If you don’t want to serve, please, resign because it comes with challenges.
“Just imagine the days when J. E. Amadi was a permanent secretary. Now permanent secretaries have houses everywhere, estates they have built for themselves and are busy sharing money.
“You better change because the Buhari government will force change on everybody. I hope you listened to him (Buhari); he is not talking about Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, he said there are rules of the civil service.
“If we obey those rules, corruption will seize. If we all run government by those rules, then we will have a better country. Let me congratulate you on behalf of the state government.”
Those sworn in by the governor are Amieyefori Joseph, Marcus Anga, Samuel Egbe and Dagogo Heart. Others are Mrs. A. E. Petito, Augustine Orlu Orlu, Sam Woka, Kingsley Hart and Mrs. Ibaniba Abella Briggs.

GMB: Welcome to Kwara

They may shout and cry about anything that catches their fancy to denigrate you, but the people’s General, the incorrigible advocate of transparency, the one whose names sends cold shivers down the spine of those who have something to hide from the people of Nigeria, keep on moving with your message of change. For no political conspiracy can stop you from marching to victory again. And so tomorrow Saturday January 31, Ilorin, nay the entire people of Kwara, welcomes you to Garin Alimi and the state of Harmony.
The stage is set, the people are anxious. They are ready, in deed, eagerly waiting to see the General again. And for those familiar with the dynamics of politics in Kwara State, no one would forget how the Leader, Senator Bukola Saraki, believing he was relating with one whose words are his bond, mobilised support for President Goodluck Jonathan on a similar campaign visit in 2011. But now things have changed.  The people of Kwara, still strongly backing the Leader, have shifted and moved; they have CHANGED, as the APC slogan commands, and hence today are out in their thousands to welcome the General who by the grace of God will lead the next government in Nigeria.
We embraced change because PDP was sinking. Sinking with corruption, ineptitude, cluelessness, injustice and insecurity. The leadership is sensitive to the deplorable plight of the mass of the people. They are dividing us along ethnic and religious lines while appropriating our commonwealth for the benefit of a few.   For six years, no single life-touching, soul-saving project in our state. Jonathan decimated the Governors’ forum with his hypothesis of 16 being greater than 19 and egregiously aiding and abetting the then party chairman to desecrate our party’s constitution. We left because we could no longer tolerate their gross impunity.
Now that they admitted that their generation has failed Nigeria (I reject to be part of the failure), Buhari deserves to be President again, nothing less. All over the federation, from the far north down south, the generality of Nigerians have been demonstrating their love and acceptance for the man who can be described without equivocation as the man of the moment. People see in Buhari, the kind of leadership Nigeria needs at a time like this: a leader with courage of conviction, a leader with compassion, a leader with example in fighting corruption, and a leader with credible track record when providence gave him the opportunity. Nigeria needs someone who can stand up in the international community and command respect. We need someone whose word is his bond and not someone who only makes promises without fulfilling them. We need a man of the masses, not a man for a few whose pastime is plundering our collective resources.
Truth be told, Nigerians are tired of empty promises, we are no longer ready to follow a leader who gropes in the dark on grave issues of national security, we need a leader who can stand firm, who will take security intelligence with the seriousness it deserves and not someone who will be dancing on the grave of innocent citizens killed by terrorists because the nation refused to equip those who have signed their lives away to protect the people. And that is why all efforts to denigrate Buhari have failed; because the people know that they were orchestrated to cover the glaring failures of the incumbent. And that is why other efforts still on their agenda will fail, because the reality has dawned on Nigerians that we have been taken for granted these past years but now we have an opportunity to take our destiny in our hands. This is our time and this is Buhari’s time as history beckons to a man of destiny. With the support of the people, the genuine change that Nigeria needs will surely come.
General we take solace in your promise to “end the impunity of the ruling Peoples Democratic Party, (PDP), a party that has proved clueless in every manner. It has failed to deal squarely with the great security challenge that has faced this nation within the last five years. And it has remained touchy and impervious to all constructive criticism and without concern for human life and for the suffering going on in the land”. They wish you dead because your hands of justice know no bound. But we shall not curse them. You shall commiserate with their family when they eventually pass on.
Buhari’s is the face of hope; he is the symbol of integrity and no matter how much they try to splash mud on his garments, he will continue to come out clean, and even better shined than before. What he has to offer is what Nigeria needs now and that explains the massive support the retired General has been receiving all over the nation. And that is why Kwarans from all walks of life will converge on the state capital tomorrow to welcome the man of the moment; the man on whose shoulder destiny will put the shape of things to come for our dear fatherland. We have been choked for long, we have endured much pain and disappointments, we have been deceived as a people and now we are holding our destiny in our hands. We are not going to give in to political rapists who will just enjoy the pleasure of our bodies and leave us bruised and traumatised. Yes, they may boast they have the resources, but we have our votes. They cannot buy our conscience. We will give our votes to those we know will use it to love us and bless our union. In Kwara we will give our votes to Buhari/Osinbajo. And that is why we will be trooping out in numbers on Saturday to welcome you, our General.
Our mothers, our fathers, our brothers and sisters today queue behind the Leader, Dr Abubakar Bukola Saraki to welcome your Mai Gaskiya to the State ├Żof Harmony.
Welcome to our midst, the man of the moment.
  •  Abdulwahaab, chief press Secretary to the Kwara State Governor, writes from Ilorin. 

Day Yoruba, Hausa, Igbo, others united for Buhari in Ondo

A huge crowd of supporters welcomed the All Progressives Congress (APC) presidential candidate, Gen. Muhammadu Buhari, and his campaign team to Akure, the Ondo State capital. DAMISI OJO and LEKE AKEREDOLU report.
In the History of Ondo State, January 24,2015 would remain indelible in the minds of many people.
That day, racial discrimination was totally put on hold as Yoruba, Hausa, Igbo and other tribes welcomed the All Progressives Congress (APC) presidential candidate, Gen. Muhammadu Buhari, and his running mate, Prof Yemi Osinbajo, (SAN), to Akure, the state capital.
In the annals of political campaigns and rallies in Ondo State,it was a special day as the 5000 capacity crowd Democracy Park could not contain the surging crowd.
Many hanged on the veranda of adjoining buildings to catch a glimpse on the former Head of State.
In spite of the late arrival of the visitors,anxious party members and supporters waited patiently till around 4.30 pm when the campaign train hit the Democracy park like the biblical triumphant entry.
Security operatives had a hectic time in controlling the crowd. People were shouting ‘sai Buhari’, waving their brooms and dancing to the tunes of Saidi Osupa and his band boys.
The crowd defied the scorching sun food and drink vendors made brisk business.
Before the arrival of Gen Buhari and his entourage from Ado-Ekiti, the APC National Leader and former Lagos State Governor had arrived earlier to cheer up the excited crowd who had waited anxiously for more than eight hours.
They later came in a long convoy Gen Muhammadu Buhari,Prof. Yemi Osinbajo, Osun State Governor, Rauf Aregbesola, National Chairman, Chief John Odigie Oyegun and other party leaders.
The APC leaders flayed the ruling Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and urged Nigerians to vote out the party, which they said, represents corruption and maladministration in the February general elections.
They noted that the PDP government has brought untold hardship to Nigerians and assured that the APC would bring about change.
Tinubu who addressed the APC supporters at the Democracy Park, Akure said the party presented Buhari as its candidate to fight corruption, stressing that the former Head of State is not too old to rule the country as being insinuated by the PDP.
Tinubu mentioned some prominent world leaders, including the late Dr Nelson Mandela, former President of South-Africa who ruled their countries in their old age. He said age has nothing to do with efficiency and leadership.
The APC National Leader recalled that former Ondo State Governor, Adekunle Ajasin ruled at over 70 years. He said the legacies of his administration are reference points for successive administrations.
He said: “Leaders who ruled their countries and liberated them ruled at old age. nelson Mandela ruled South Africa at over 70 years. The man who liberated the United States of America ruled the country at over 70 years, so, if we are presenting Buhari, a 72 year old man to liberate us in Nigeria, it is not a sin.”
Tinubu who described the APC campaign as “common sense revolution”, described Buhari as a brilliant, intelligent, brave and honest person, who has solution to the problems confronting the country.
He challenged President Goodluck Jonathan to present his score card for the last six years. He asked him to show the refinery he promised to build in Ondo state when he was canvassing for votes four years ago.
The former governor maintained that Nigeria needed a courageous man like Buhari to conquer terror, adding that the current administration has failed woefully in all sectors of the economy.
Buhari said that the PDP has killed the economy through corruption and maladministration, adding that his government will restore the hope of the masses.
The former Head of State promised he would end corruption and revive the economy. He promised to create jobs through farming and mining.
The National Chairman of the APC, Chief John Oyegun, and Governor Rauf Aregbesola of Osun State urged Nigerians to collect their Permanent Voters Cards (PVC) and vote out the PDP.
Aregbesola noted that Ondo State had been delivered from the captives of the oppressed with their support for the APC.
Dignitaries at the event include former governors of Ekiti, Adeniyi Adebayo, Segun Oni and Kayode Fayemi, Chief Pius Akinyelure, Mrs. Jumoke Anifowose (nee Ajasin), Abike Dabiri, Victor Olabimtan, Senator Olorunmbe Mamora, Rotimi Akeredolu SAN, Oyewole Fasawe, Sola Iji, Niran Sule and Bola Ilori.
Others include Isaac Kekemeke Senator Ajayi Boroffice, Ifedayo Abegunde, Ganny Dauda, Henry Bello, Dr. Tunji Abayomi, Dr. Paul Akintelure, Adegboyega Adedipe, Ade Adetimehin,
Others are Eni Omosule, Tayo Alasoadura, Benson Enikuomehin, Lebi Morayo, Gboyega Adedipe, Tunde Imolehin, Abayomi Adesanya, Charles Titiloye, Erelu Modupe Johnson- Akindele and Mrs Funmilayo Olaseinde-Vincet.
Highlight of the rally was the defection of some PDP and Labour Party member (LP) to APC.
Among them were Femi Agagu, former Chief of Staff to the former Governor Olusegun Agagu, and former Speakers of the Assembly, Hon, Victor Olabimtan and Taofik Abdusalam.


Who is afraid of Buhari? By Yomi Obaditan

“We cannot trample upon the humanity of others without devaluing our own.The Igbo, always practical, put this concretely in their proverb, “Onye ji onye n’ani ji onwe ya” – “He who will hold another down in the mud must stay in the mud to keep him down”

The name of General Muhammadu Buhari has always generated controversies from the day he became military head of state in 1983. The short period he was in charge of the nation was a period noted for drastic change in terms of national discipline, moral re- birth and draconian application of rules.
The National Party of Nigeria ( NPN) was a political party that was powerful and corrupt beyond redemption. At the time the Buhari/Idiagbon regime came to power, three of the then NPN members were alleged to have embezzled over six billion dollars.
Twenty three years later, the echoes of the Buhari era that cleared up the rubbish that the shameless politicians perpetrated in our land is sending fear into the spine of the “jegudu-jera” (embezzlers). Buhari has contested presidential election about three times and failed. He even lamented that the 2011 election would be the last election he would be participating in. But the merger of some political parties to form the All Progressives Congress (APC) made him to change his mind and gave him courage to give the race for the office of the President a last trial. The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has been enraged by the outcome of the APC presidential primary election that was open, transparent and free from acrimony. Their thought was that the APC’s primary election would mark the end of the party.
But now that they realise that Buhari’s massive followers from the North and the neglected South-West people under Jonathan will nail the political coffin of the PDP and its candidate, they have resorted to shenanigans.
When Buhari became Head of State, nobody ever mentioned that a Nigerian Army General has no certificate. Not even the journalists! When he contested three times in diffferent political parties namely All Nigeria Peoples Party (ANPP) and Congress of Progressive Change (CPC), nobody raised any issue about Buhari’s certificates. But now that the ruling party realises that Buhari is leading a formidable political party against it, it appears to be using blackmail.
Did Buhari have the INEC basic credential for the coming election? Buhari possesses the basic school certificate. In 1956, Buhari attended Katsina Provisional Secondary School (now Government College, Katsina). It was after this school that he joined the Nigerian Army and was trained in many military institutions within and in various military institutions across the globe. Some of the schools he attended include: Mons Officers Cadet School, Aldershot, in the United Kingdom before he was commissioned with the rank of Second Lieutenant. Buhari also attended Army Mechanical Transport Officer’s Course in Bordon, United Kingdom from May 1965 to June of the same year. He was sent to Defence Services Staff College, Wellington, India, in 1973 and Army War College, United States from 1979 to 1980. Can a general who attended all these institutions be called an illiterate?
The minimum qualification required by the Electoral Act Section 106 (d) is school certificate or its equivalent. That is why wise Nigerians are asking politicians to discuss issues; issues that will move the nation forward, issues that will revive our economy, issues that will provide jobs for the jobless, issues that will give hope to the hopeless and cause Nigerians irrespective of social status, tribe and tongue to live in any part of Nigeria in harmony. Akin Osuntokun’s reference to the cancellation of Jakande’s transport project in Lagos by Buhari after the army took over power in 1984 is no longer relevant to the present challenge.
Raising such issues against Buhari shows how hypocritical politicians could be while trying to destroy political opponents. Osuntokun spent a large part of his life in Lagos and attended the University of Lagos, yet he never advised Chief Olusegun Obasanjo against the withholding of local government allocations for Lagos. In Osun, Governor Rauf Aregbesola joyfully approached the president with the free offer of train coaches to the state from the Chinese government. The offer was given to the governor shorly after he came into office. Till date, the president has failed to even acknowledge the application. Secondly, the Lagos state government under Raji Fashola was working on the revival of the rail transport system.
The government of Lagos state approached President Jonathan over the approval, the President bluntly refused to grant the necessary right-of-way approval to the Lagos Metropolitan Transport Authority (LAMATA) for the construction of its redline light rail project from Iddo to Ifo in Ogun State with a capacity to carry one million passengers per day. The investors were turned back by the refusal of the president, making Lagos and the nation to lose one billion dollars in the project.
President Goodluck Ebele Jonathan’s advice that the politicians should watch their utterances is mere lip service. The president spends hours each time during his campaign to castigate Buhari, Obasanjo or any other political opponents. If he is not accusing Buhari of not buying a single gun while in office, he is busy calling Obasanjo a motor park tout and not qualified to be called a statesman. The allegation against Buhari has since been proved to be false. Evidence has been provided that guns, arms and military aircraft were purchased under Buhari’s administration.
The same PDP accused Buhari of being too old at 72 to rule Nigeria, but they have forgotten that in 1983, Chief Obafemi Awolowo contested at the age of 74 while Chief Nnamdi Azikwe contested in 1979 at the age of 75. The former American President Ronald Reagan became president at the age of 70 and served two terms. Here in Africa, Tunisia’s newly- elected President Beiji Caid Essebsi is 88 years old. The oldest African President, Robert Mugabe of Zimbabwe, is 93. It is not age that matters but wisdom.
If age and academic qualification were the magic for good governance, Nigeria would have been one of the best today. This is because, for the first time in our history as a nation, we have a doctorate degree holder at the helm of affairs. But the big question is, how far has it been of an advantage to the nation? Whatever it is, let’s discuss issues, and leave personalities out of the debate.

Monday, February 2, 2015

Buhari/Osinbajo: Change in the Offing

In one of his writings, the present writer had advised the All Progressives Congress (APC) to perish the thought of a Muslim/Muslim ticket and also to look beyond the Southwest in picking the running mate to its presidential flag bearer. The best materials for vice presidential candidate at that time were Asiwaju Bola Tinubu and Governor Babatunde Fashola, both of whom, unfortunately, are Muslims. At the time, I gave that advice, I did not take into consideration the need to factor in the strengths of the legacy parties that metamorhorsed into the APC. They are: the action Congress of Nigeria (ACN), the Congress for progressive change (CPC), the All Nigeria Peoples Party (ANPP) and a faction of the All Progressive Grand Alliance (APGA).

The largest group in the merger was the ACN, which should have produced the presidential candidate. But, for shrewd political reasons, the slot was zoned to the North. Eventually, the party settled for Buhari, a man Nigeria needs more that he needs Nigeria. In fact, if there were no Buhari, the APC would have invented one. Tinubu is believed to be instrumental in the emergence of Buhari, who was the leader of the second largest group in the fold. He is the most qualified for the job.

It was in recognition of its role in the formation of the APC and the support for Buhari that made it imperative for the APC to zone the slot the running mate to the ACN, who were dominant in the Southwest. It was for the purpose of justice, equity and fairness, so that members of the defunct ACN would not lose out in the whole arrangement. Not doing so might have offended the sensibilities of the Southwest, which commands an intimidating number of eligible voters.

Tinubu then came out with a masterstroke. He came out with a distinguished professor of law and a senior advocate of Nigeria (SAN), who is not only a devout Christian, but also a pastor of the Redeemed Christian Church of God (RCCG) as a running mate to Buhari. That was the clincher. For the first time in the history of Nigeria, we are on the verge of getting a professor in the Presidency. This turned out to be a popular choice because it has received the backing of Nigerian intellectuals, including men and women in the law profession, captains of industry and other intellectually-oriented groups.

What came to my mind after the announcement of Prof. Osinbajo as Buhari’s running mate was that Asiwaju Tinubu had once again exhibited his penchant for picking competent people into high political offices, as he did in the case of picking Fashola to succeed him. Fashola has turned out to be the most successful governor in the federation. Therefore, Asiwaju and other leaders of the APC should take the credit for the choice of Osinbajo as Buhari’s running mate. Nigeria needs both of them at this time of her chequered political history.

According to Tinubu, “when America was in big trouble, she turned to General Dwight Eisenhower; Britain turned to Sir Winston Churchill and France to General Charles de Gaulle, in their most difficult times. Tinubu therefore sees Gen. Buhari as “the person Nigeria needs, and must turn to at this critical time of her travails in order to liberate her from her current state of stupor, corruption, insecurity, impunity and general hopelessness, as the above leaders did for their countries.

It is a known fact that Buhari and Osinbajo are disciplined, religious, honest, humble, transparent and not obsessed with power and material wealth. Buhari and Osinbajo are known to be incorrupt and incorruptible, with no skeletons in their cupboards. Both of them have reached the highest levels of their careers: the one an army General and the other a Professor and a SAN. Buhari had been Garrison Commander, Military Governor, Head of State, Chairman of Petroleum Trust Fund (PTF) among others. Both of them are happily married with children and live a peaceful, honest, simple and decent lives. In the United States, for example, these are part of the qualities required for persons who aspire to rule the country.

Throughout his career in the public service, Buhari never looted the treasury like others before and after him. He is not known to have acquired wealth and property at home or abroad. While our public officers have many mansions in choice locations in Nigeria and overseas, Buhari is reported to have only two houses; one in Kaduna and the other in Daura, Katsina, his home state. As for Osinbajo, we all know that people of his kind, intellectuals like the present writer, are not known for amassing wealth and property, but are interested in the pursuit of intellectual satisfaction and peace of mind. This shows that Buhari and Osinbajo are a perfect match for the nation. They are not the kind of people who worship money, wealth or indulge in extravagant life. Buhari’s stance against indiscipline and corruption, the twin evils that have brought Nigeria to the present sorry state, is legendary. In order to prevent Nigeria from collapsing like a pack of cards, the APC has in its wisdom carefully fished out Buhari as a man who could fix Nigeria by rescuing her from imminent collapse.

Buhari has kept a low  profile for more than 30 years in the public domain, and has earned the enviable reputation as an honest, disciplined, incorrupt and incorruptible man, and a man of integrity. Under his previous short regime (1983-84), indiscipline and corruption were fought with vigour. If Buhari had ruled Nigeria for 4 years at that time, the twin evils of indiscipline and corruption would have taken their hurried flights from Nigerian social and political space. He now wants to be president, definitely not for self aggrandizement but to deliver Nigeria from the regime of indiscipline, corruption and impunity; and this is precisely what he would do because he is himself self disciplined. As Awolowo said, “in order to discipline others, you must yourself be self disciplined”. And so, like Awolowo’s doctrine, we are on our way to the regime of mental magnitude. Fortunately, Buhari has an able vice-president in the waiting, and from whose intellectual prowess he could tap to his own advantage, his government and Nigerians as a whole.

Professor Osinbajo, in my judgement, has some of the characteristics of President Barrak Obama. Like president Obama, Osinbajo has a great capacity for hard work. He is smart, eloquent and has the look and features of Obama. Our prediction is that Buhari plus Osinbajo means the change – perhaps radical change – that Nigeria needs at this time for a just, corrupt-free, safe and sane society, the greatest good of the greatest number of Nigerians (egalitarianism) and life more abundant for all. They are the best ticket to lead Nigeria, at this time of her need, to the Promised Land instead of the Desert.
Ugly Campaigns
 While the APC continues to campaign on the incontrovertible issues of corruption, insecurity, impunity and unemployment, the PDP continues to chase shadows on the mundane issues of certificate, age and health of its opponent, as if those are the issues Nigerians are interested in instead of rebutting, with superior arguments, the serious issues of corruption, insecurity, impunity and unemployment that have confounded Nigeria for six bad years!. A party which lacks confidence in itself is usually jittery and hence is prone to making mistakes (I have called these necessary mistakes) that turn the electorate against the party. This is precisely the position of the PDP in its attempt to distract voter’s attention from serious issues to mundane ones by such logical fallacies of argument: argumentum ad hominem (“attack against the person” instead of arguing on the issues), and ignoratio elenchi (irrelevant argument) . All this is happening simply because PDP has no answers to the pertinent issues of corruption, insecurity and unemployment raised by the APC in their vigorous campaigns.

The whole world was aghast at Ayodele Fayose’s crude and uncultured advert on the life and probable death of Buhari that is better forgotten for the primitive mentality of its sponsor, and Femi Fani-Kayode’s miserable rantings and orchestrated political howlers on the mundane issue of certificate that has been beaten to death, as if that is what Nigeria needs to fight corruption, insecurity and unemployment that a masters or “Doctorate” degree holder had entrenched during his corrupt regime. As one female electorate said about PDP’s gaffe about certificate:”Na certificate we dey chop? “ Unfortunately, the issue of certificate on which Fani-Kayode had spent so much expenditure of energy has backfired, like that of Fayose, his compatriot in noise making. Both of them have succeeded in offending the sensibilities of many Nigerians, especially the sensibilities of northerners and the military whom Fayose and Fani-Kayode have unwittingly attacked, first, that all the past three northern presidents had died in office, with the implication of death-wish for Buhari and, second, that the northerners are incapable of producing a graduate even in the military, as President of Nigeria, and so Buhari must be ridiculed with the school certificate saga. Rightly, prominent northerners have kicked against these wicked innuendos. From now till the time of election, the PDP would make more mistakes that are necessary for its own downfall. Surely, those who are too clever sometimes overreach themselves.
 Conduct of Election
 From all indications, the 2015 elections would be like the 1993 election which M.K.O Abiola won fairly and squarely. With the same enthusiasm that accompanied the  “ Hope 93” election, the INEC must try to meet, if not surpass, the standard set by Prof Nwosu in the conduct of  the freest and fairest election in Nigeria in 1993. Like in 1993, the general enthusiasm of the electorate is so great that voters would troop out to vote in order to put an end to their sufferings caused by the thieves in Jonathan’s administration. On the conduct of the coming election we dare say that rigging would be difficult for a party that has seen the handwriting on the wall. Incidentally, rigging is difficult, if not impossible, where a party and its candidates are popular, as anybody attempting to rig in those areas would be on a suicide mission. All the parties should appoint strong, competent and reliable people as party agents for all polling units and collation centres. Electorate must be educated, as Aregbesola did in the last election in Osun State when he displayed to them how to fold their ballot papers so as to prevent their thumb prints from disappearing into the PDP’s logo.

Now, the electoral law has stated that ballot papers must be counted and the results announced at every polling unit and collation centre before all the results are sent to Abuja where the INEC would only perform the ceremonial function of announcing the already known results from the polling units and collation centres. That the results are known to everybody and even in the internet before they make their ways to Abuja is made possible by information technology through the prompt recordings of results at polling units and collation centres on smart phones of various technological devices. Were it not for those technological devices, an entirely different result would have been announced in Abuja during the August 2014 gubernatorial election in Osun State where announcement of result was embarrassingly delayed for hours for possible dislocation. It was a rigging aborted by the aid of modern technology. This means that it is now possible for Nigerians to know the winner of the election even before its final announcement in Abuja, and the loser would congratulate the winner as it is done in civilized countries, including our neighbour, Ghana.  If the election is free, fair and credible, the loser should congratulate the winner even before the final results are announced at least for a change, in the 2015 elections. Nigeria deserves this civilized political culture.

 Makinde is the Director General of Awolowo Centre for Philosophy, Ideology and Good Governance, Osogbo, Osun State.