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Weekly political notes


Emir of Kano, Muhammadu Sanusi II

Emir of Kano, Muhammadu Sanusi II

Kano Emir, Sanusi, Warns Buhari On Economic Pitfalls
The Emir of Kano, Alhaji Muhammadu Sanusi II, has warned President Buhari to avoid fiscal missteps that dogged the administration of his predecessor, Jonathan.

He urged the President to beware of persons, he described as ‘voodoo’ economists parading the corridors of power and churning out policies capable of perpetuating poverty.

He said current economic indices hinted there is serious trouble ahead for the polity, unless policies were well articulated to bring the nation out of recession.

The former Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) governor, now revered traditional is at it again. Being a perpetual whistle blower on economic and financial matters, many may ignore him, but not his punchy message. Especially now that the country’s economy is begging for attention and solution.

Despite being a supporter of Buhari’s government, it takes somebody like Sanusi to boldly and publicly speak the truth to the government, without minding whose ox is gored. One may say that Sanusi is not new to courting controversy and being loquacious, but for him to have spoken out this way means that he may have been denied access to President Buhari. Or, maybe he has advised the President privately without any positive response, so he decided to go public for record purposes.

Besides, there is nothing new in Sanusi’s warnings. Others have said more than this, but were ignored. Maybe this time the government will listen because Sanusi, an insider is the one talking.

Police Seal Kwankwaso’s Residence In Kano
Armed policemen on Tuesday sealed the residence of former Governor of Kano State and senator representing Kano Central zone, Rabiu Kwankwaso, located on Lugard Road in Kano metropolis. The house also serves as headquarters of the group loyal to the former governor, popularly known as Kwankwasiyya.

The Commissioner of Police in the state, Rabiu Yusuf, who spoke through the police spokesman, Magaji Majiya, said the action followed an intelligence report that there was a plan to conduct a mass wedding in the house.
“We have directed our men to seal the residence, because of an intelligence report that there is a plan to conduct mass wedding in the house,” the commissioner said.

It seems the Nigerian Police have forgotten that the country is in a democracy. Under which law do they derive the power to seal somebody’s house because of some alleged plan to conduct mass wedding? If at all, there is intelligence report to the effect, it is the responsibility of the Police to ensure that law and order is maintained. It seems the Police, whose action appears more political than constitutional acted a written script.

This may not be the first or last time mass wedding will take place in somebody’s residence within and outside the state, provided such is not against the country’s constitution or Islamic injunctions.

But if one may ask, when has Kwankwaso become an Imam or his residence become a mosque or event centre for the conduct of mass wedding? Was the former governor trying to sell political dummy under the guise of mass wedding, without considering the political and security implications?

All the same, if an immediate past governor and serving senator of Kwankwaso’s pedigree, cannot be guaranteed security and honour in his state, where can he get it. Or is it politics of 2019?

Marginalisation: Presidency Compiles List Of Appointments — Ojudu
Special Adviser to the President on Political Matters, Sen. Babafemi Ojudu, said the Presidency has compiled a list of appointments by President Muhammadu Buhari to determine marginalisation of any section of the country.

Ojudu, who noted that the allegation was taken seriously by the Presidency, said the compilation showed that no section of the country was marginalised in the appointments made by President Buhari.

According to him, some northerners heading federal agencies were chosen on merit. He said the President stuck to the principle of merit to promote patriotism and excellence.

Ojudu wouldn’t have dissipated his energy approbating and reprobating at the same time, without making the list available to Nigerians. Is Ojudu trying to be the complainant and judge in his own case? There is nothing new in what he said, because the Presidency’s spin-doctors have put up this defence consistently and severally before now. But it has not changed and may not change public perception of the apparent lopsided appointments.

If President Buhari’s decision to appoint more northerners than southerners into positions is based on merit, does it mean that there are no qualified people from the South, including Ojudu himself to be appointed based on merit? Even if it were so, where is the principle of federal character as enshrined in the country’s constitution? Was it ever considered or jettisoned in the appointments made so far by President Buhari? Ojudu, Nigerians need unequivocal answers.

The President of the Nigerian Labour Congress, Ayuba Wabba PHOTO: NAN

The President of the Nigerian Labour Congress, Ayuba Wabba PHOTO: NAN

NLC Rejects Okorocha’s Two-Day Farming Policy For Workers
Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) President, Comrade Ayuba Wabba, has condemned the Imo State government’s three-day work and two-day farming policy for workers, as recently introduced by Governor Rochas Okorocha.

Wabba said the policy, which implies sending workers to farm by force was against the International Labour Organisation Convention and the rules and procedures in service.”

“Don’t forget that the public service rule is very clear about what trade a worker can actually do to add to his normal routine services.”

While one may say that the idea is not entirely bad, considering the clarion call for economic diversification, it is obvious that the approach and timing by the state government is shoddy and undemocratic.

For a state, like Imo that has been having a running battle with workers over salary palaver, it is expected of government to carry the workers along in the whole arrangement, instead of trying to force it on them.

The legality of the action, as pointed out by the labour union needs to be looked into properly. To make the policy workable and embracing, government should have before now provided some incentives, in addition to its appointees and functionaries leading the way, while the workers follow.

IBB Must Face Probe Over $12.4bn Oil Windfall, Says SERAP
A rights advocacy group, the Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP), has called on the Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami (SAN), to reopen the unresolved case of the “missing $12.4bn oil windfall.”

According to the group, the money was spent between 1988 and 1993 by the government of former military president, Gen. Ibrahim Babangida.

While nobody is against the probe of Babangida over the alleged mismanagement of the oil windfall, there are too many ongoing probes now that have not been concluded or resolved. Besides, the probes are becoming too distracting and unending, without any meaningful result.

Re-opening the oil windfall case of nearly two decades may end up as another shadow-chasing exercise. Especially now, that anti-graft agencies and the judiciary appear to be overwhelmed.

However, if SERAP is in custody of evidence linking Babangida with the alleged mismanagement of the oil windfall, nothing stops the group from proceeding to court with it to fast-track prosecution.

Mr Babatunde Fashola, Minister of Power, Works and Housing.

Mr Babatunde Fashola, Minister of Power, Works and Housing.

Lawmakers Don’t Have Right To Increase Budget — Fashola
The Minister of Power, Works and Housing, Mr. Babatunde Fashola, said it was wrong for the legislature to unilaterally seek to increase the national budget.

Fashola, who made this remark as one of the panelists at the annual conference of the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA), said the major responsibility of the legislature was representation.

He maintained that since the federal lawmakers had no powers to collect tax, they did not possess the right to unilaterally increase the budget.

Fashola’s view is not only belated and ill-timed, it seems to be an afterthought. It would have made sense if he had privately offered President Buhari this advice at the peak of the crisis over the alteration of the 2016 budget. Well, going forward the 2017 budget is already on the way. Maybe if the National Assembly members try to ‘pad’ next time, the executive, relying on Fashola’s view may approach the court for proper interpretation. But if there is understanding between the two arms, there can be collaborative increase of the budget. That is, ‘you pad’, we pad.

Meanwhile, is Fashola trying to say that budgets were never increased by the Lagos Assembly members, while he was governor?

Restructuring Can’t Solve Nigeria’s Problems — Ganduje
Kano State Governor, Dr. Abdullahi Ganduje, has opposed calls for the restructuring of the country.

According to him, restructuring is not the panacea to the nation’s current socio-economic woes, but that Nigerians need to restructure their mindsets instead.

The governor argued that the United States “is more geo-politically fragmented, with a lot more nationalities than Nigeria, yet, it is undisputedly the strongest nation in the world.”

Ganduje’s position is not unexpected, especially considering the fact the status quo favours not only his own part of the country, but his state, with the highest number of council areas in the country.

Besides, Ganduje’s view is not and cannot be different from that of his brothers that are major beneficiaries of the current structure. While, one may not rule out the urgent need for Nigerians to restructure their minds, such can be quickly and correctly done if the glaring imbalances and infractions in the current structure called Nigeria are quickly addressed through restructuring.

Is the Kano governor claiming that majority of Nigerians including northerners who are pushing for urgent restructuring of the country don’t know what they are saying?

On his reference to US being more geo-politically fragmented with a lot more nationalities, it is only because unlike in Nigeria, there is rule of law, fairness, equity and transparency there. Besides, the states in US don’t collect handouts from the central government. They pay taxes instead.

Dialogue: New Militant Group Rejects Clark, Backs Diete-Spiff
A new militant group, Niger Delta Greenland Justice Mandate, which has claimed responsibility for attacks on oil facilities in the upland area of the Niger Delta, on Monday, warned the Federal Government not to negotiate with Chief Edwin Clark-led team on behalf of militants in the region.

Instead of Clark’s team, the group said they will accept any dialogue coming from the government through the Niger Delta Dialogue Contact Group, led by the first military governor of Rivers State and Amanyanabo (traditional ruler) of Twon Brass of Bayelsa State, King Alfred Diete-Spiff.

While the discordant tunes over the planned dialogue between the Federal Government and the Niger Delta militants is not a surprise, there is need for the leaders of the region who are demanding to lead the talks find a common ground. Anything contrary may jeopardize the move and make them look like unserious people, who are chasing rats while their houses are on fire.

The leaders of the region, especially the Ijaws are expected to serve as rallying point for all the militants. It will be a great mistake for them to engage the government in a dialogue as a divided house.

Budget Padding: ‘Dogara, Jibrin, Others Guilty’
Members of the Transparency Group in the House of Representatives said that despite the fact that all 10 principal officers had disowned the ousted Chairman, Committee on Appropriation, Mr. Abdulmumin Jibrin, those accused by Jibrin were as guilty as well.

The group said that much as Dogara reserved the prerogative to appoint and fire a committee chairman, the sacking of Jibrin did not address the allegations he raised.

Transparency Group is not saying anything new. It is known that there is no way Jibrin could exempt himself from the allegations of budget padding he leveled against the principal officials. If the allegations are true, there is no way it could have happened without Jibrin, assisting and benefitting.

If the group is serious, it should walk its talk by compelling Dogara and others to address the allegations properly or face severe sanctions when the House resumes next month.

Leader of the Bring Back Our Girls (BBOG) group, Oby Ezekwesili (right) and others at the main entrance to the Presidential Villa, Abuja. PHOTO: PHILIP OJISUA

Leader of the Bring Back Our Girls (BBOG) group, Oby Ezekwesili (right) and others at the main entrance to the Presidential Villa, Abuja. PHOTO: PHILIP OJISUA

Chibok Girls: Uproar As Buhari Shuns Protesters
There were angry reactions on Monday after President Muhammadu Buhari shunned the #BringBackOurGirls group and the parents of the Chibok schoolgirls who were abducted by the Boko Haram sect.

The BBOG and the some parents of the girls had assembled at the Unity Fountain, Maitama, Abuja, at 10 am, from where they marched towards the Presidential Villa.

But the movement of the protesters was cut short by armed anti-riot policemen who blocked the access road to the seat of power.

In response to Dr. Oby Ezekwesiki’s query about the blockade, the officer in charge of the police team, CSP Obasi Chuks, said he could not allow the protesters to proceed to Aso Villa because they did not have an official clearance.

While the #BringBackOurGirls group has the right to protest, it is not compulsory or constitutional to grant them access to the Presidential Villa, especially if they breach protocol.

So, it is not a surprise that President Buhari shunned them, as he has never meet them since he came into office. The Presidency seems to be keeping to chest its plans to rescue the Chibok girls and appears not perturbed by the group’s protest.

Maybe President Buhari avoided the group, because they did not come with one of their co-founders, Ms Hadiza Bala Usman, who is now serving in the APC-led government as Managing-Director of Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA).

Ezekwesili over to you!!! Consult Usman to take your group to President Buhari for your own stomach infrastructure and leave the Chibok girls matter for now. Have you forgotten that the President said in his inaugural speech that the war against Boko Haram sect cannot be complete without the rescue of the abducted Chibok girls? For now, the war is still ongoing; why the worry for the girls?

NBA: Buhari Should Fight Corruption Within The Law
The outgoing president of the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA), Augustine Alegeh (SAN), has called on President Muhammadu Buhari to ensure that his anti-corruption war is fought within the ambit of the law.

He spoke at the opening ceremony of the 56th annual general conference of the association in Port Harcourt, Rivers State Capital.

As timely and good as this advice is to the government, Alegeh should have extended it to the members of the NBA that are being hired by government and those who have been accused as counsels. This is because it is the duty of lawyers to advise the government, and judges to do the needful when the government is going contrary to the provisions of the law.

But that has not been the case because lawyers, government and judges have carried on with impunity, thereby jeopardising the rule of law for their own selfish gains. So, there is urgent need for the trio to play the game according to the rules for survival of the country’s democracy.

Wike, Fayose Will Ruin PDP, Says Bode George
Former Deputy National Chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) Chief Olabode George, said the party was in ruins and imminent danger.

Addressing a press conference at the Lagos PDP secretariat, George’s Political Adviser, Mr. Uthman Shodipe-Dosunmu, said Rivers State Governor Nyesom Wike and Ekiti State Governor Ayo Fayose were bent on destroying the party.

He said the August 17 convention would have divided the party more, stressing that the convention was hijacked by the two governors to prosecute their 2019 ambitions.

Bode-George’s narrative and lamentation is not new. This is because accusing fingers have been repeatedly pointed at the duo of Wike and Fayose since the party’s crisis erupted.

Instead of the continued attack on the two governors, George, an elder in the party, should seek and proffer solution to the leadership crisis rocking the party. That is why he is a respected elder.

After all, before the recent leadership crisis, Lagos chapter of the party, where George is a major stakeholder had been enmeshed in protracted crisis that has continued to deny the party governorship seat since 1999. Let George’s charity first begins at home.

Or is George saying that Wike and Fayose have no right to support Chief Jimi Agbaje or any other person for the party’s national chairmanship position? What if the duo had supported George? Will he still attack or criticise them? After all, Wike and Fayose are only two governors out of the 12 PDP governors in the country. George is free to seek the support of other governors. It is bad for elders to start learning left hand at old age.

Senator Rabiu Kwankwaso

Senator Rabiu Kwankwaso

Kwankwaso, Ganduje Feud Deepens In Kano
The cold war between the Kano State Governor, Dr. Abdullahi Umar Ganduje and his political mentor and erstwhile governor of the state, Senator Musa Kwankwaso, has reached a crescendo, following the alleged refusal of the current governor to grant the former permission to host an event in the state capital.

It was gathered that Kwankwaso, now Senator representing Kano Central, had planned to undertake a mass wedding of 100 couples under the auspices of his non-governmental organisation, Kwankwasiyya Development Foundation (KDF).

However, Ganduje, allegedly, directed the police to stop the event for security reasons.

Saying that Kwankwaso and Ganduje have come a long way is like stating the obvious. Having worked together for years as governor and deputy meant that they knew each other too well to wash their dirty linen in the public.

There is no doubt, that it was of the deep intimacy between them that made Kwankwaso to chose Ganduje as his successor, which was the second of its kind in the country since 1999.

With that it would have made sense if the current feud does not exist. It is of utmost importance for the duo to respect each other politically and otherwise. But typical of Nigerian politicians, the feud may not be unconnected with future polls.

Yet, it could be avoided, because when two elephants fight, the grass suffers. Meanwhile, with the unfolding events, it is apparent that the party leadership’s intervention in the feud has not yielded positive result. It means that the earlier the party leadership and presidency wade into the matter to resolve it, the better for the people of the state and the APC as a party.

Buhari Seeks Emergency Powers To Tackle Economy
President Muhammadu Buhari is asking for emergency powers from the National Assembly to push his planned stimulus for the economy.

The objectives of the action-plan on the economy, which is in recession, include shoring up the value of the naira, creation of more jobs, boosting of foreign reserves, reviving the manufacturing sector and improving power.

This economic move is long overdue, but it is better late than never. It is a replica of what President Barack Obama did in US in 2008 to reposition the economy. This would have been done before now if the APC-led government had done its homework well. This is the consequence of lack of clear-cut economic agenda. With this, there is no doubt that government needs to re-jig its economic team for better performance.

But of utmost worry to many is the need to ensure that government spends the funds judiciously for the improvement of the recessed economy. Let it not be that the funds will cornered for the 2019 polls by the politicians.

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