Weekly political notes
Recession: We Take Responsibility –APC
The ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) has accepted responsibility for the economic hardship in the land. The party said it could no longer lament that the recession was not of its making, but would proffer solutions to the problems, so that the citizenry would be saved further nightmare. This was after the APC governors met with President Muhammadu Buhari at Aso Villa, Abuja.
Speaking after the meeting, Chairman of the APC Governors’ Forum and Imo State Governor, Owelle Rochas Okorocha, said: “This was not a problem brought by the APC government, it is a problem that has existed long before APC came to government and we are only trying to clear the mess of the past. But we must take responsibility and we must never shift the responsibility to anybody, APC you are responsible for everything happening in Nigeria; we are responsible. The good, the bad, the ugly, but we are promising Nigerians that we shall fix it.”
Hahaha, it is interesting and surprising that after almost two years of buck-passing and blame game over economic challenges, the APC-led government is indirectly accepting responsibility. Wonders shall never end. Why now? Is it not curious that instead of President Buhari accepting this responsibility on behalf of his government, it was Okorocha that was mandated to do so? Who says or knows whether Buhari will not turn around to counter Okorocha in due course? Or is Okorocha saying that he has Buhari’s nod to say so? Or is Okorocha playing to the gallery as usual?
Well, it is one thing to accept responsibility, it is entirely another to make amends especially in Nigeria, where political leaders say something and do a different thing. I don’t know when Okorocha who is battling with governance in his state, has become Buhari’s minister or spokesperson. We only hope that this is not another rhetoric, which has become the stock-in-trade of the APC-led government.
Unless the Buhari government is confessing that it has now realised its flaws and is ready to mend its way. Until the so-called economic solutions are proffered and implemented to letter, not many will believe this government has solution to the economic and social challenges bedeviling the country.
After all, Nigerians know that the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP)-led government contributed immensely to the current economic challenges, but instead of proffering solution from the onset, the APC-led government spent all the time trading blames.
Oshiomhole: I Don’t Care If Obaseki Betrays Me
Edo State Governor, Adams Oshiomhole, has said he will not interfere with the running of the state by his successor, Godwin Obaseki.
Oshiomhole, who spoke in Abuja recently said he was not the type that would breath down the neck of his successor or worry about being betrayed after leaving office.
He said the governor-elect’s allegiance should be to the people of the state and not him.
“That is very important if you say he will disappoint me, I am not the state. I am only one out of about four million Edo people. So his obligation and his loyalty should be to the people of Edo State. The oath of office he is going to subscribe to, says that he will defend the constitution of Nigeria, he will do everything to uplift the quality of life of Edo people. Nothing in his oath of office will include ‘I shall not betray my predecessor’ because I have no interest to be betrayed.”
Oshiomhole’s sermon is not new among members of the political class, especially out-going governors. It is hoped that Oshiomhole will live by his words, considering that Nigerian politicians are the same. Besides, others before him didn’t allow their successors some breathing space, so it will be unprecedented if he lives by his promise.
However, Oshiomhole shouldn’t be surprised if Obaseki turns out to betray him, because betrayal has become a tradition in Nigeria politics. Ask the likes of Senator Jim Nwobodo, Chief Orji Uzor Kalu, Chief Chris Uba, Peter Obi and others.
So, for Obaseki to betray him would mean nothing, considering that Oshiomhole also betrayed some people who made his election victory and government possible in Edo.
Oshiomhole, saying that he will not be bothered if Obaseki betrays him is an exaggeration.
This is considering the fact that, no Nigerian politician will not look back to see if his investments are yielding good fruits. Is the comrade governor saying that his own style of godfatherism will be different?
Can Oshiomhole confirm the rumour making rounds that he will succeed Chief John Oyegun as the next national chairman of the APC, a position he could use effectively to checkmate and control his successor in office.
Senate Okays Reintroduction Of Tolls On Federal Roads
The Senate on Tuesday passed a motion seeking to revive collection of tolls on federal highways across the country.
The Upper Chamber said collection of toll, from motorists was the only way to construct and maintain roads and enhance their efficiency.
The Senate recalled that tolls were abolished by former President Olusegun Obasanjo in 2004, who argued that the revenue for road maintenance should rather be generated from an increased pump price of petrol.
A member of the Senate representing Bauchi-North Senatorial District, Suleiman Nazif, who moved the motion titled, ‘Need for the re-establishment of tolls on our federal highways,’ however, said the Senate was alarmed that the state of the country’s infrastructure, including roads was worrisome, particularly due to corruption and mismanagement of resources over the years.”
He said: “When we talk about tollgates, the major and critical issues are: one, what is the amount that will be fixed for tolls? Two, who are those that will be the collectors of the tolls? Three, what will the money be utilised for? These are the major reasons and problems of the average Nigerian.”
It is quite disappointing that a time Nigerians are groaning over hardship occasioned by the economic recession, the Senate is busy supporting a motion to reintroduce toll gates on federal roads. That is the irony of leadership in Nigeria. This is the same senate that is not considering reducing its bogus salary and allowances.
Why now? This is even when the Senate in line with its constitutional oversight has not cared to ask those that embezzled public funds meant for roads’ repair to return them. It will be recalled that before the abolishment of the tolls in 2004, federal roads were death traps.
So, how sure are we that the situation will be different this time around? The problem with tolls in Nigeria has been corruption and lack of accountability on the part of government and the collectors. Before now, people in government used the tolls to settle their allies. From the look of things today, nothing has changed. It may still be business as usual with Senators appointing fronts and proxies as toll collectors.
Buhari Seeks Approval For $29.9bn Foreign Loan
President Muhammadu Buhari has written to the National Assembly, asking them their approval of a foreign loan of $29.960 billion to address infrastructure deficit in the country.
The amount, which is under the government’s External Borrowing Plan, is to be spent on power, railway, roads, education, health, water resources, among others.
The request was sent via a letter the president sent to the Senate President, Bukola Saraki and Speaker of the House of Representatives Yakubu Dogara.
The money is made up of projects and programmes of $11.274 billion; Special National Infrastructure projects $10.686 billion; Euro Bonds of $4.5 billion and Federal Government Budget Support of $3.5 billion.
“Considering the huge infrastructure deficit currently being experienced in the country and the enormous financial resources required to fill the gap in the face of dwindling resources and the inability of our annual budgetary provisions to bridge the infrastructure deficit, it has become necessary to resort to prudent external borrowing to bridge the financing gap,” Buhari said.
Well, it is obvious that anytime government needs approval to borrow funds, contents of its request are always fantastic and people-oriented on paper, but expenditure is always questionable and fraudulent.
Is there any need to criticize the National Assembly, if it refuses to approve the borrowing, considering that similar approvals in the past were never accounted for. Unfortunately, this is a country that once celebrated being debt-free, but today reverse is the case.
What is the assurance that Buhari government will judiciously spend the funds on what is earmarked for? This is considering the fact that this government has not been able to explain clearly the whereabouts or otherwise of the looted funds it claims to have recovered so far. Not even the actual amount has been made public, rather government officials, including the President have continued to bandy different figures at different times.
Meanwhile, nothing is wrong in borrowing, but it is totally wrong not to spend it judiciously and accountably. That is the case with successive governments in Nigeria. Whether Buhari’s government will be different, especially with the challenges confronting it will be a matter of time.
PDP Crisis: Sheriff Blames Makarfi For Collapse Of Peace Talks
Factional National Chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Senator Ali Modu Sheriff, has blamed the Chairman, National Caretaker Committee of the party, Senator Ahmed Makarfi, for the collapse of peace talks in the troubled party.
Sheriff said he should not be held responsible for the inability of the two factions to arrive at an amicable solution to the crisis.
Sheriff, a former governor of Borno State, alleged that Makarfi has refused to comply with the terms of reference for the proposed reconciliation committee that was to be set up last week Tuesday.
While saying he was ready to step aside as one of the conditions that would restore peace to the party, Sheriff said the former governor of Kaduna State, however, refused to agree to this condition.
Hmmmm, this is a bad development and wrong signal for lovers of democracy and genuine members of the PDP. It is of note that if there is anytime strong opposition party is needed in Nigeria, it is now.
For the reconciliation move in the PDP to collapse at this point means that there is fire on the mountain. And the fire needs to be quenched urgently, because nobody knows the extent it will burn and the damage it will cause. This is a wakeup call for the PDP stakeholders.
The alarm raised by Sheriff should be looked into urgently. Ignoring it may be at the risk of peace in the party, which is the most important thing at this point.
Sheriff and Makarfi, should be made to drop their ego and ambitions so that peace could reign in the party. Allowing both of them to go back to the trenches now will surely drag the party back ahead of the 2019 polls.
EFCC Investigating Those In Buhari Govt- Magu
The Acting Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crime Commission, Ibrahim Magu, said on Tuesday that the EFCC was investigating some officials of President Muhammadu Buhari’s government.
Magu said this had become possible because the governing All Progressives Congress, under Buhari, had the political will to fight corruption in the country.
Also, Magu said the President had given an order to investigate any Nigerian, no matter how highly-placed.
The EFCC chairman said this when he paid a courtesy visit to the National Union of Textiles and Garment Tailoring Workers of Nigeria in Kaduna.
He said the anti-graft commission is not selective in the fight against graft as being insinuated in some quarters.
It is obvious that the APC-led government has become sycophantic, where public office holders say or do anything to impress the powers-that-be. Perhaps that is the only way their jobs could be secured. If not, why should Magu make such infantile comments? Does the EFCC need the President’s nod to do its constitutional job of investigating people suspected to be corrupt? The answer is No. So, what kind of mandate did the President give Magu on how to go about his job? Is it orders on who to investigate and who to shield?
If Magu is receiving orders on how do his job, why should anybody deny that the government’s anti-corruption fight is selective and one-sided? With Magu’s statement, one needs no further question on that.
It appears that despite having worked in the agency for long before his appointment as its acting chairman, Magu still needs some tutoring on the constitutional responsibilities of the agency. Or is Magu’s case that of putting a round peg in a square hole or pleasing the paymaster to get confirmation as the substantive chairman of the agency? Whichever one, public office holders should be mindful of their comments, because they are serving the public, not the government in power.
IPOB Kicks, As Justice Nyako Takes Over Nnamdi Kanu’s Case
The Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB), and its Directorate of States (DOS), have on Wednesday, kicked against the appointment of Justice Binta F. M. Nyako as the new trial judge for the case involving its leader and Director of Radio Biafra, Mr. Nnamdi Kanu and others.
In a statement issued in Nnewi by IPOB’s Media and Publicity Secretary, Mr. Emma Powerful, the Biafra group alleged that Justice Nyako is a sister to President Muhammadu Buhari and also comes from the same state with the President.
IPOB, however, stated that it does not have any grudges against Justice Nyako, who it described as an erudite judge that had sat on notable cases, but that being a sister to the President and coming from the same state with him will definitely make her dance to the tune of the President, who they said was “bent on convicting our leader, Mr. Kanu.”
There is no doubt that this development is the fallout of the recent security agent’s raid and arrest of some judges alleged to be corrupt. With this, it is certain that persons or groups will kick whenever their cases are assigned to judges they do not trust or are suspicious of. This is a very dangerous trend in the country’s judiciary cum political system.
Though, some may dismiss IPOB’s allegation as cheap blackmail, there is need for the appropriate authority to look into it. If confirmed to be true, morality demands that Nyako should stay away from the case. Especially in the light of the controversy and intrigues that have trailed Kanu’s arrest, trial and continued detention.
However, it is of importance to remind IPOB that it is not its constitutional right to determine which judges to sit on its leader’s case.
APC Governors Tackle Buhari Over Appointments
State governors elected on the platform of the All Progressives Congress (APC), on Monday, expressed displeasure over how they are being sidelined in the choice of those to be given federal appointments in their states by President Muhammadu Buhari.
The governors protested to Buhari and Vice-President Yemi Osinbajo at a meeting they had at the Presidential Villa, Abuja.
It was learnt that the complaints were not presented to Buhari at the larger meeting attended by APC governors and some deputy governors.
At the second meeting, it was learnt that the governors expressed displeasure over federal appointments and denying them the benefit of deciding whom to appoint from the states.
These APC governors seem not to have learnt anything about Buhari’s style of leadership. If not, why the belated complaint over ambassadorial appointment, whereas they were sidelined in ministerial appointment and other previous ones? They didn’t complain then, why now? Have they forgotten that they are emperors in their states, where they run government like family business, single-handedly dictating who gets what, when and how?
Lest they forget, it is not constitutional for the President to consult state governors before making appointments from their states. That such was the practice in the past does not make it right and legal.
APC governors should be reminded that Buhari from the onset never hid his disdain for consulting party chieftains, before making his appointment. Rather he prefers to consult with his tiny cabal in Aso Rock. That has been Buhari’s style since he came into office and he appears not ready to change.
APC May Implode Before 2019-Timi Frank
The Deputy National Publicity Secretary of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Timi Frank, has cautioned that unless the party does something urgently to resolve its internal crisis, it risks loosing members to an emerging new coalition party in the coming months.
Frank, who claimed to be speaking the minds of many key members of the party concerning the anomalies in the party, also said he would be writing President Muhammadu Buhari and other key leaders of the party to seek audience with them in order to help save the situation
Frank’s narrative is a public knowledge that will not do the party any good. Before now, many party members have expressed concerns over how the party and government are being run. Unfortunately, neither the Presidency nor the party leadership has done much to rescue the party from imminent collapse.
Despite being the ruling party, APC is struggling to put its house in order almost two years now. Why hasn’t APC get its act in order? Is it a case of strange bedfellows that are incompatible or is it the issue of poor governance and bad party leadership?
Let the party know that it will be appalling and historical for it to lose the presidency in 2019. This is the major reason party members should put their house in order as quickly as possible.