Weekly political notes
Nigeria Is In The Wilderness-Gowon
Former Head of State, Gen. Yakubu Gowon (rtd), recently reflected on the state of the nation and came with a verdict that Nigeria is “walking in the wilderness.”
He spoke in Abuja at a thanksgiving service to mark 20 years of the intercessory initiative, Nigeria Prays.
“Nigeria is currently walking in the wilderness, but joy is coming very soon. This is the promise of God for our beloved country.”
He said the organisation had succeeded in laying a solid spiritual foundation for national reflection and intercession, and had continued to promote virtues of patriotism and transparency among the citizenry, alongside good governance and incorruptibility in leadership.
“For the past 20 years, we have resolutely remained on our knees, so that Nigeria could stand on her feet. We held the first National prayer rally at the International Conference Centre, Abuja, October 1, 1996. When we started out, we had very clear vision to mobilise Nigerians, particularly the Church, to wake up and offer sincere, fervent and consistent intercession for healing and transformation of our land,” Gowon said.
With due respect to Gowon, this view is not unexpected of him, having been sounding prophetic, instead of getting realistic with the country’s numerous problems since he left office.
Unlike his colleagues who chose to be taciturn over critical national issues, Gowon has consistently spoken out, but not the least critical, precise or firm.
Maybe he has forgotten the Bible version that says God helps those who help themselves. It is high time Nigerian leaders like Gowon called a spade, a spade, without minding whose ox is gored.
Meanwhile, there is no doubt that Nigeria is at a critical crossroads now and that the situation demands practical, urgent and genuine intervention, in addition to prayers.
After all, it is not God that took the country into the wilderness. It is the Nigerian leaders. Many of them are still in the corridors of power holding the country ransom with their evil machinations.
So, no matter the number and quality of intercessory prayers offered under any guise, the country may continue to grope in the dark until the people, especially leaders like Gowon and others do the needful.
Buhari Was In Germany For Medical Treatment–Junaid Mohammed
Second Republic lawmaker, Dr. Junaid Mohammed, has stated that the President Buhari’s recent trip to Germany was for medical reasons.
Mohammed alleged that the president’s handlers were making similar mistakes made by those who served as close advisers to ex-President Umaru Musa Yar’Adua.
According to him, Buhari was in Germany to receive treatment for an undisclosed ailment, but his handlers arranged a state visit in an attempt to mask the truth.
Mohammed said: “The reason the president travelled to Germany was not what it was advertised to be. The trip is basically a medical trip. It was undertaken for medical reasons. It was only converted to a state visit as an afterthought and that tells you the level of contempt the handlers of the president have for Nigerians. We blamed the handlers of Yar’Adua for the way they kept his ailment secret.
“Now, Nigerians have a big surprise awaiting them. They have not been told the truth about the real state of the man’s (Buhari) health. He is our president.”
Junaid Mohammed, has from the inception of President Buhari’s administration not hidden his disdain for Buhari and his style of leadership. He is one of Buhari’s greatest critics, just, as he was during the Goodluck Jonathan administration. Yet that has not and should not vitiate or downplay some salient issues of national interest he has raised.
Such issues include, the skewed nature of Buhari’s appointments in favour of his relations and the North, flagrant disobedience of court rulings, selective anti-corruption fights and others.
Junaid’s claim that Buhari was in Germany recently for medical reason is one that appears rather unchecked.
Just like every other mortal, Buhari is not immune to any ailment. So, why should he or his aides hide any sickness, whereas his last overseas medical trip was made known to Nigerians before and after?
However, if it is true that Buhari has an undisclosed ailment and is being concealed by his handlers, with time, it will be in the open. Nothing is hidden for too long under the sun, especially when it has to with ailment. Still, Buhari deserves prayers of all.
My Wife’s Duty Is To Look After Me, Buhari Insists
Despite the criticisms that have trailed his comment that his wife, Aisha, belongs to the kitchen and “the other room,” President Muhammadu Buhari said he stood by his earlier comment.
He insisted that his wife’s duty was to take care of him, hence, she should stay away from politics.
Buhari’s insistence contradicted the position of his Senior Special Assistant on Media and Publicity, Mallam Garba Shehu, who said the President was only joking with his remarks on his wife, while addressing a joint press conference with Chancellor Angela Merkel of Germany.
With this, it is obvious that Buhari is not going to deny his earlier comment, neither will he apologise. Those crying more than the bereaved are therefore wasting their tears and times.
Meanwhile, Aisha has not and is not complaining over what her husband, the President has said. Rather she has continued to do her domestic works as dictated by her husband.
Besides, it is important to note that what Aso Rock put together, let no man put asunder. This is because, when the time comes, family matter could be settled or discussed in the other rooms, not in the kitchen. So, leave matter for mathias and worry less over Buhari and his wife, Aisha.
MASSOB Threatens ‘Internal Revolution’ Against Igbo Leaders
The Movement for the Actualisation of the Sovereign State of Biafra (MASSOB) has threatened to organise an internal revolution against political, traditional, religious and opinion leaders in Igbo land.
MASSOB, which issued the threat in a statement signed by its leader, Comrade Uchenna Madu, said Igbo leaders were ‘insensitive’ to the plight of the leader of the Indigenous People of Biafra, Nnamdi Kanu, and other detained pro-Biafra activists.
Madu said: “What are the primary duties of Igbo senators and federal representatives in Abuja? Why should Igbo traditional rulers continue to celebrate ofalas and New Yam festivals while their subjects are still in detention for Igbo cause?
While the concern expressed by MASSOB may be germane and noted, there is every need for the group to thread with caution. This is considering the fact that the group is not only unlawful, internal revolution has no place in the Nigerian Constitution.
However, there are better options for MASSOB to engage Igbo leaders for them to buy into the group’s cause, other than internal revolution. It has become obvious now that the group’s cause, not matter how good it is may not see the light of the day without the total support of Igbo leaders.
So, in this case, it behoves MASSOB to engage Igbo leaders constructively and factually, not confrontationally as being advocated.
APC Members Crying Of Neglect– Okorocha
Many members of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) are complaining of being neglected by President Muhammadu Buhari, Imo State governor, Rochas Okorocha has revealed, echoing similar concerns raised by the president’s wife, Aisha recently.
Okorocha advised President Buhari not to ignore calls for cabinet reshuffle, a sentiment also being conversed especially in the social media.
He said: “Quite frankly, I’m a governor and I know where the shoe pinches more. If there is a clarion call for Mr. President to take a look at his cabinet and bring in more people, there is nothing wrong. If everyone keeps saying the same thing, there may be sense in what they’re saying. But that’s not really the situation that would create hullabaloo. Most party members felt that they have not been carried along. I know that many of them complain every day. They want board appointments released so that there will be calm.”
This is just an affirmation of the concerns earlier raised by Aisha Buhari and other disappointed and abandoned APC loyalists. With this, it is likely that if Buhari’s government does not retrace itself, APC may be heading for trouble.
This is because party politics in Nigeria since 1999 is all about loyalty and winner-takes-all. This has not been the case with APC that came to power on the mantra of change. It appears the party members, including Buhari’s wife are now tired of the change government, thus running out of patience.
Whether Buhari will heed this clarion call is not certain. How this development will save or destroy the government and the party is a different kettle of fish.
National Assembly Broke, Borrows To Pay Workers
The stark reality of the sharp drop in the nation’s revenue, following crude oil price slump at the international market now stares Nigerians, including federal lawmakers in the face.
Now, the National Assembly Service Commission which is on first line charge and used to get about N150 billion yearly to run its affairs, has come out to say it is cash-strapped and cannot pay salaries of legislators, both serving and former.
A top management official of the commission with knowledge of the financial state of the National Assembly said: “Our account is in the red. We can’t even pay our staff salaries. In fact, I can confirm to you that we are yet to complete the payment of salaries of the Seventh Legislators that wound up their activities last June 9. We have to obtain loans from banks to be able to pay them. So nobody is talking about the allowances of the Eighth Assembly now. We don’t know how we are going to handle it.”
Many will be interested and preferably happy with this development, having been critical of the bogus salaries and allowances being cornered annually by National Assembly members and their aides without offering much.
However, it is important for NASS to know that many Nigerians are broke as well, but have no means of obtaining loans from anywhere. So, their case is even better, since they can obtain loan and share. But is it not time for the National Assembly members to reduce their bogus salaries and that of their aides in conformity with realities of economic recession?
Why should the Assembly borrow money to pay salaries, when it does not generate money for the country?
Arms Probe: EFCC Detains Obanikoro
The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) has detained a former Minister of State for Defence, Senator Musiliu Obanikoro.
Obanikoro reported to the EFCC immediately after his arrival in Nigeria from the United States on Thursday.
An aide of the former Minister said that he reported to the Commission headquarters in Abuja by 1.20 pm.
Well, why Obanikoro decided to return to Nigeria and report himself to the anti-graft agency, EFCC, is not clear yet. Whatever it is, it is now left for the EFCC to substantiate its allegation against him in the court and not in the media.
It is also required of Obanikoro to prove his innocence, considering that 2019 is fast approaching and there is ongoing realignment of forces in the polity, especially in the Southwest.
Meanwhile, EFCC’s arrest or detention of suspects is no longer news. What will make news is the prosecution of suspects, which appears to have become impossible, especially of high profile cases before the courts.
Corruption In Judiciary, Crime Against Humanity-Sagay
The Chairman, Presidential Advisory Committee Against Corruption, Prof. Itse Sagay (SAN), has justified the recent arrest of judges on allegation of corruption, categorising acts of corruption by judicial officers as a crime against humanity.
Responding to criticisms from some quarters against the raids and the arrest of seven judges between October 8 and 9, Sagay said the critics failed to understand the implications of corruption on the bench.
He said an ordinary man could be guilty of corruption, but a judge should never be.
Sagay: “The ordinary man like you and me can be guilty of corruption; a judge should never be guilty of corruption. Once a judge does that, he brings himself to our level and so, cannot complain if he is treated like you and me are treated. That is what has happened. Let us be objective and be fair to this country in our commentary and not be narrow minded.”
There is nothing new in Sagay’s submission, except that he did not state how corruption could be fought without destroying the judiciary completely.
As an appointee of the Buhari government, it is expected of Sagay to defend the DSS action. But Sagay should be reminded that he is a respected member of the Bar, which is an ally of the Bench. And that while government will come and go, Bar and the Bench will always be there.
However, corruption in any arm of government, including the executive is also a crime against humanity, because the buck stops on its table.
So, while searchlight is beamed on the judiciary in the fight against graft, it is expected to be holistic, constitutional, conclusive and not selective. That is how people will be convinced that the arrest is not a witch-hunt or a vendetta.
Drama As Fayose Forces EFCC To Release Fani-Kayode’s Wife
The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) on Monday detained Mrs. Precious Fani-Kayode, who is the wife of a former Minister of Aviation, Mr. Femi Fani-Kayode, in Ado Ekiti for hours.
Precious, who was a guest of Governor Ayodele Fayose, had gone to a branch of Access Bank in Ado Ekiti around 3pm and was detained by officials of the bank.
Sensing that she was not being promptly attended to, she inquired from officials what the problem was and was told she was being detained on the instructions of the EFCC.
Precious, who had her eight-month-old son with her at the time, was prevented from leaving the banking hall thereafter.
It took the intervention of Ekiti State governor Ayo Fayose, who led scores of supporters to the bank around 7pm to secure her release.
The EFCC has denied the reported detention of Mrs Fani-Kayode, which is expected of it. If it were true that Kayode’s wife was detained in a bank for a second on the order of EFCC that is the height of impunity.
While, it could be the rule for a bank to question suspicious transaction and report to the anti-graft agency, it is not it’s responsibility to detain suspects on behalf of the anti-graft agency.
Of what importance is the detention when the woman is not on the run, under investigation or on trial for an alleged fraud? The anti-graft agency needs to be conscious of public perception of its activities.
That Femi Fani-Kayode is under investigation or on trial does not mean that his wife or family members are also on trial, unless EFCC is saying that his wife is an accomplice. If EFCC has evidence to that effect, it should properly arraign her in court, instead of adopting Gestapo-style to intimidate or harass her.
Corruption Allegation: Justice Ademola Withdraws From Dasuki’s Trial
Justice Adeniyi Ademola, a judge of the Federal High Court in Abuja, and one of those arrested by operatives of the State Security Service, on Tuesday withdrew from presiding over the trial of former National Security Adviser, Sambo Dasuki.
Ademola was arrested by the DSS on October 7 after his house was ransacked following allegations of corruption.
The operatives said they found huge some of money in local and foreign currencies at his residence during the raid.
Ademola had presided over other cases on Monday, before his latest decision to resign from Mr. Dasuki’s case.
He said the reason for his withdrawal is the current allegations of corruption levelled against him.
Ademola’s withdrawal is not unexpected, because it is in line with international best practice. So, the action should not be view as act of cowardice.
Hope that Ademola will willingly stay away from presiding over other cases, pending when he is proven innocent of the allegations DSS levelled against him.
However, this may be a difficult decision for Ademola and the NJC, but it is required at this point. If not for anything, to restore people’s confidence in the judiciary and prove to the world that the Nigerian Judiciary is not what DSS has made the people believe.