Weekly political notes
Buhari Suspends SGF Babachir Lawal, DG NIA
President Muhammadu Buhari has ordered an investigation into the allegations of violations of due process made against the Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF) David Lawal, in the award of contracts under the Presidential Initiative on the North East, (PINE).
The President has also directed the suspension of the SGF from office pending the outcome of the investigation.
In a related development, the President has ordered a full-scale investigation into the discovery of large amounts of foreign and local currencies by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) in a residential apartment at Osborne Towers, Ikoyi, Lagos, over which the National Intelligence Agency (NIA) has made a claim.
The President has also directed the suspension of the Director General of the NIA, Ayo Oke, pending the outcome of the investigation.
A three-person committee comprising the Attorney-General of the Federation Abubakar Malami, the National Security Adviser, Babagana Monguno and headed by the Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, is to conduct both investigations.
Who says Buhari’s government is not confused? It is not only confused, it lacks the capacity to keep records. Why the sudden suspension of the SGF over an issue for which he had been investigated and cleared of any wrongdoing by the presidency? Maybe Buhari wants to use Babachir as a sacrificial lamb to appease the Senate.
It is hoped this same treatment will be meted to Ibrahim Magu of the EFCC, who was earlier cleared of wrongdoing alongside Babachir by a committee set up by President Buhari.
Is Buhari by this action, saying that the earlier committee headed by the Attorney-General to investigate the duo of Magu and Babachir did a shoddy job? Or has Buhari seen and now accepts the alleged incompetence of the SGF, which has put his government in a bad light? Hope the suspension and investigation will be thoroughly delivered without sacred cows.
Meanwhile, the suspension of NIA DG by Buhari appears an afterthought and belated, after many days of waiting without action. This is due to controversy that has continued to trail Oke’s claim of his agency’s ownership of the huge sums recovered at Ikoyi apartment by EFCC, recently without any evidence.
With the suspension, it is clear that Buhari has listened to the voice of reason and clarion calls. But if he is serious and sincere, why not set up Independent Panel of Inquiry or anti-graft agency to do the job, instead of appointing members of his executive? It is expected that these allegations will be properly investigated, made public and appropriate and not political action taken.
I Resisted Pressure To Charge Buhari With Certificate Forgery- Ex-AGF Adoke
A former Attorney General of the Federation, Mohammed Bello Adoke, has explained how he allegedly came under pressure from unnamed persons to charge then candidate of All Progressives Congress (APC) Muhammadu Buhari for forgery in the run up to the 2015 presidential election.
He also said that he pushed back against demands for former President Goodluck Jonathan to constitute an interim national government in the run up to the 2015 elections.
But the former attorney general said he promptly “dismissed the suggestion” in deference to the constitution and after weighing the consequences of such move at the time.
“It is true that some people came to me and said Buhari should be disqualified, because of certificate forgery,” Adoke said in a recent interview with an online media.
It is observed that since the Malabu oil bloc deal consummated by the immediate past administration became a public knowledge, Adoke who is alleged to have played a key role has been singing like a bird, trying to prove his innocence.
In what looked like Senator Musiliu Obanikoro’s style, Adoke has continued to grant online media interview from his overseas base, accusing the anti-graft agency of witch-hunt. He has even tried to curry favour from President Buhari by disclosing how he allegedly refused to charge him for certificate forgery ahead of 2015 polls.
Who asked Adoke all these now? Of what importance and relationship are these Adoke’s cock and bull stories to the allegations of corruption against him? As a senior lawyer and former AGF, Adoke should have known that there are things that are better reserved than disclosed; at least, to preserve and protect one’s integrity. Maybe Adoke has not realised that some of his comments are self-indicting and compromising. If truly Adoke knew that Buhari didn’t have certificate, why didn’t he charge him to court, without minding whose ox is gored?
Instead of hiding and engaging in talks that are diversionary and unnecessary, is it not better for Adoke to return home and clear his name in court?
Dogara Cautions Nigerian Govt Against Conducting Census Before 2019 Elections
The Speaker of the House of Representatives, Yakubu Dogara, has called on the people clamouring for conduct of population census in 2018 to exercise patience till after 2019 elections, when there will be no political pressure to manipulate its outcome.
This was contained in a statement issued by his Special Adviser on Media & Public Affairs, Turaki Hassan on Monday in Abuja. Dogara said conducting population census in an election year may generate unrealistic results, and therefore advised that the next administration should conduct the census at the beginning of its tenure when there isn’t so much at stake.
While Dogara’s admonition is salutary and timely, it may not go down well with some power mongers who would want to use the exercise to gain political advantage in 2019 elections. These power hawks no doubt may have perfected plan on how to manipulate the exercise for selfish political gains.
This manipulation was obvious during the last census in 2006, which was just a year to the 2007 general elections. In the 2006 census record, it was written that a state like Kano was more populated than Lagos. That is the reason since then votes that come from Kano State in every general election are more than that of Lagos.
Who knows, if the exercise is conducted next year, Borno State will not be more populated than Rivers State, as well as the votes in 2019 general elections. Meanwhile, why the haste to conduct the exercise next year, while constitutionally it ought to have been conducted in 2016, but it was put off?
Besides, won’t it be better to inject the fund being proposed for the exercise into the revival of the ailing economy?
Nigeria’s Economy To Rise 0.8 Per cent In 2017– IMF
The International Monetary Fund, (IMF) on Tuesday, projected that Nigeria’s economic growth would rise by 0.8 per cent in 2017.
The agency, in its World Economic Outlook report unveiled in Washington, said continued growth in agriculture, rise in oil output and big government spending will drive the nation’s growth.
The outlook also explained how Nigeria will return to growth after an economic decline of 1.5 percent in 2016.
“In sub-Saharan Africa, a modest recovery is foreseen in 2017. Growth is projected to rise to 2.6 percent in 2017 and 3.5 percent in 2018, largely driven by specific factors in the largest economies, which faced challenging macroeconomic conditions in 2016,” the outlook noted.
“After contracting by 1.5 percent in 2016 because of disruptions in the oil sector coupled with foreign exchange, power, and fuel shortages, output in Nigeria is projected to grow by 0.8 percent in 2017 as a result of a recovery in oil production, continued growth in agriculture, and higher public investment.”
According to the IMF, “inflation in 2017 is expected to remain at double-digit levels in a few large economies in sub-Saharan Africa (for example, Nigeria, Angola, Ghana), reflecting, among other factors, the pass through of large depreciation”.
IMF is at it again with its projection of economic growth in Nigeria this year. While, there may be a possibility of this projection, it makes no meaning to ordinary Nigerians, who are wallowing in abject penury, due to the economic recession. So, this economic statistic can only make sense to the people, when it becomes reflective and practical.
It would be recall that before now, there have been several projections about Nigerian economy that were neither here nor there. Majority of them were mere economic statistics and fantastic theories that never materialised. Others were economic terms that were confusing and unrealistic here.
With the economic reality now, IMF and other international financial agencies should spare hungry Nigerians of these bogus projections and figures. They should concentrate attention more on helping Nigeria to grow the economy in line with what is obtainable in the developed countries. Anything on the contrary is cock and bull story, because a hungry man has very little patience for unrealistic figures.
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