Weekly political notes
Why Anti-Corruption War Hits Opposition, By Lai Mohammed
Minister in charge of Information, Culture and Tourism, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, said the Federal Government should not be castigated for its anti-corruption crusades against members of the opposition group.
He said the probe at present was about those linked with the alleged diverted funds meant for prosecuting the war against the Boko Haram insurgents.
Mohammed said the alleged embezzled huge sums put at about $2.1b did not only allow the insurgents to be in control of 14 out of 20 local councils of some northeastern states, but led to the incalculable loss of lives and degraded the nation’s armed forces.
This narrative is not new. It is being over-flogged by the government’s megaphone.
After all, Mohammed has no proof that those who allegedly benefitted from the arms funds are only members of the opposition party, Peoples Democratic Party (PDP). It is of note that some key members of the PDP defected to the APC at eleventh hour prior to the 2015 polls.
Is Lai Mohammed saying that the defection of the former PDP members has automatically immuned them from probe? If not, why are they not being probed? This is even when it is a public knowledge that some of them, before defection had pending corruption cases. It seems that doesn’t matter today, so far they have grabbed the broom.
Nigerians are only saying that there should be no sacred cows in the anti-graft fight, if genuine results are to be achieved. It should not be about clamping down on members of the opposition and shielding members of the ruling party.
After all, members of both parties are the same politicians who have traversed the political landscape of the country in the last 16 years plus.
Okonjo-Iweala May Not Be Guilty Of Fraud-Joda
Transition Committee Chairman, Ahmed Joda, said his panel did not find anything to believe that a former Finance Minister, Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, was guilty of graft.
Joda, who spoke in Yola, Adamawa State, said the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), which had beamed its searchlight on the last administration, might never find Okonjo-Iweala guilty of any wrongdoing, despite the huge financial malfeasance that had been traced to the Jonathan administration.
However, Joda expressed surprise at Okonjo-Iweala’s action of not resigning her position, even when it became obvious that many people in the administration were not acting in good conscience.
Joda, once a super permanent secretary seems to be indirectly releasing his findings in the transition committee in tit-bits. He is speaking from the insider’s point of view. The question is; why is Joda focusing on Okonjo-Iweala by stressing that the anti-graft will not find her wanting? Is Joda not usurping the powers of the anti-graft agencies and the judiciary or is he patronising Okonjo-Iweala for reasons we cannot explain?
Is he saying that others who served in Jonathan’s government are corrupt, except Okonjo-Iweala? Let it not be that Joda is trying to cajole her into Buhari’s government to rescue the country’s economy. Or is it a way of watering ground for Buhari’s government to borrow money from the World Bank.
Nothing seems impossible in the face of enormous economic challenges. Whichever, Nigerians are only interested in how the recessed economy could be quickly revived.
Jonathan Meets IBB, Abdulsalami in Minna
FORMER President Goodluck Jonathan, on Tuesday, met separately with former military president, Ibrahim Babangida, and a former military Head of State, Gen. Abdulsalami Abubakar, at their Hilltop residences in Minna, the Niger State capital.
It was gathered that Jonathan arrived Babangida’s residence at about 11am and spent about one hour with his host before he left for Abubakar’s house situated right opposite IBB’s home.
Jonathan was accompanied by a former Minister of State for Finance, Bashir Yuguda, from Zamfara State and his former Chief of Staff, Chief Mike Oghiadome, from Edo State.
The visit does not appear unusual. This is because as a former president, Jonathan has every reason to interface with his predecessors and colleagues. The visit is also well-timed, since it is a Sallah period.
However, coming at a time, his wife, Patience is having an issue with the anti-graft agency, EFCC, tends to give some other meanings to it. This is considering the fact that someone like Abdulsalami played a major role in the post-election arrangement that saw Jonathan’s peaceful exit from the office.
It may not be out place that the visit is part of Jonathan’s consultations with major stakeholders in the polity on the state of the nation, which included 2019 polls, Niger Delta militancy, state of the economy and others as well as probe of his wife and seizure of properties by the Army.
Tell Your Friends To Forget Biafra, Buhari To Igbo Corpers
President Muhammadu Buhari has urged the National Youth Service Corps members of Igbo extraction to tell their colleagues that there is no hope of having a sovereign ‘Biafran State.
Buhari said this when over 100 corps members serving in Katsina State visited him at his Daura residence on Tuesday.
A statement by his Senior Special Assistant on Media and Publicity, Mr. Garba Shehu, said the President urged the corps members to do everything to ensure the unity of Nigeria.
Speaking specifically to corps members from the South-east states, the President said: “Tell your colleagues who want Biafra to forget about it.”
The President said as a young soldier during the Civil War between 1967 and 1970, he fought hard to ensure the unity of the nation.
He, therefore, maintained that Nigeria would never disintegrate under his watch.
There is nothing new in the President’s admonition. The only remarkable thing is Buhari’s choice of speaking on the Biafra issue, whenever he is at home in Daura.
Even though, Biafra agitation predates Buhari’s administration, he has never hidden his dislike for it. Whenever, he is in Daura, he tells whoever cares to listen that Biafra agitation is an exercise in futility. An attitude that has made many to believe or conclude that the he has phobia for the Igbos.
The question is; what are the offences of Ndigbo against Buhari before and now. Is it their refusal to support his candidature in the elections of 2003, 2007, 2015, even when he picked two illustrious Igbo sons as his running mates on two occasions?
Buhari should know that constitutionally, choice of candidates in elections is matter of individual decision, not a collective one. So, Igbos should not be collectively punished for not voting for Buhari.
Even though, Buhari fought for Nigeria’s unity some years ago, can he sincerely say that Nigeria is united and peaceful now? Saying so now simply means living in self-denial and delusion.
One thing the President seems not to realise is that as long as the Igbos continue to perceive that they are marginalised, it will be difficult for them to do away with Biafra agitation.
It is expected of the leader to address Biafra agitation in a more pragmatic way. Not by dismissal and such actions that only aggravate the situation.
$15m In My Accounts For Medical Bills,Others, Says Patience
Dame Patience Jonathan, the wife of former President Goodluck Jonathan, said she was using her $15m, which was frozen in four companies’ accounts, to settle medical bills while she was out of the country.
She, therefore, urged the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) and Skye Bank to lift the restriction on the accounts.
Patience said this in a letter with reference number GA/Abibo/00226/2016, written by her lawyers, Granville Abibo, (SAN) and addressed to the Acting Chairman of the EFCC, Mr. Ibrahim Magu.
This development, if true, may open a new dimension to Buhari government’s anti-graft fight. It will provide opportunity for those who have been asking for the heads of the Jonathans to dig in and rubbish them.
While, it is not abnormal for Patience Jonathan to operate bank accounts just like every other Nigerian, doing so through proxy is suspicious and unethical. The issue that is begging for answer is not what the money is allegedly used for. It is the sources of the money and on whose names the accounts were opened.
Meanwhile, responsibility now lies with the EFCC to establish that the money was fraudulently made. It is also expected of Dame Patience, and others accused to prove otherwise.
Senate will Advise Buhari To Sack Incompetent Ministers–Saraki
Senate President Bukola Saraki, said the Senate, after its recess, would invite some senior officials in the Muhammadu Buhari-led administration to explain the recession in the economy and the way out of the prevailing economic hardship in the country.
Saraki, said that the Senate would subsequently advise Buhari to take necessary action against any political appointees and managers of the economy, who had been found incompetent or wanting.
What explanations will Saraki want officials of Buhari’s government to make again about the economy, other than it is in recession? It is no longer news that the economy is recession and reality is staring at Nigerians. What can only be new now is when the economy is pulled out of recession. Which is not possible soonest, unless magic happens.
Instead of wasting time to summon government officials, the Senate should think out of the box on how to resolve the economic mess and, possibly, play its own legislative oversight more effectively.
Meanwhile, how could a Senate that seems to have underperformed, advise President Buhari? How many of the benchwarmers, backbenchers and sleepers, who are in majority in the Senate had before, now presented bills that would improve the country’s economy? Won’t the Senate be overstepping its constitutional bounds by asking Buhari to remove his minister?
Besides, what are the parameters the senate will adopt in measuring performance of ministers? If the Senate leadership is truly serious, it should advise members to reduce their salaries and allowances in line with the economic reality.
4,904 Workers Recruited By Jonathan Govt May Lose Jobs
The jobs of 4,904 civil servants, who were recruited by the Federal Civil Service Commission (FCSC) in the last administration of President Goodluck Jonathan, are under threat as the Federal Character Commission (FCC) has queried the exercise.
The Acting Executive Chairman of the Federal Character Commission, Dr. Shettima Abba, had queried the Chairman of the FCSC, Mrs. Joan Ayo, for alleged violation of the principle of federal character in the employment of the civil servants in a letter dated May 3, 2016.
He said the recruitment, which took place between 2013 and 2015, was characterised by flagrant abuse of the Federal Character principle.
Abba alleged that the recruitment was tilted in favour of the South-South geopolitical zone against other parts of the country.
It is interesting that somebody in the present government is emphasising the principle of federal character. It is of importance for Buhari to take note.
Federal character principle should not only be emphasised on workers’ recruitment, it should be upheld in political appointments. That has not been the case with the present government. So, why the complaint over workers that were recruited some years ago? Why targeting workers recruited under Jonathan’s administration? What about workers recruited before Jonathan came into office?
It is either Abba is playing a script or trying to please the powers-that-be to curry favour. Sacking workers will not be in the interest of the Buhari’s government, considering that so many people have lost their jobs since he came into office. Instead of sacking workers, the Buhari government should sack political appointees that are mostly redundant.
How can a government that promised jobs without providing any yet, turn around to sack workers? Is Abba saying that after sacking the workers, he will replace them with his northern brothers? Won’t that be robbing Peter to pay Paul? Abba should allow what bites in the night to be mosquitoes.
Edo: INEC To Probe Alleged Registration Of 8,000 Militants
The Independent National Electoral Commission has said that it will investigate the alleged registration of 8,000 militants by the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) for the Edo State governorship election.
The Edo State Governor, Mr. Adams Oshiomhole, had complained that the PDP registered the alleged number of militants with the aim of using them to cause mayhem during election.
Oshiomhole, a member of the All Progressives Congress (APC), alleged that the militants were recruited from neighbouring states of Delta and Rivers. The two states had denied the allegation.
INEC doesn’t need to do much investigation. Governor Oshiomhole who made the allegation should furnish the electoral body with incontrovertible evidence. Or is Oshiomhole saying that militants work in or with INEC? If yes, let him furnish Nigerians with the names of the militants.
If he has none, even as the chief security officer of the state, let him keep quiet as he packs his bags for final exit from the Government House.
The allegation is too weighty to be ignored, politicised or trivalised. Hope, INEC’s postponement of the governorship poll is not on the basis of this allegation. If it is, one hopes that the electoral body and security agencies has not fallen prey to a gimmick.
Tinubu: There’s Stability In Lagos Because Of Solid Foundation
Former Lagos State Governor, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu, said that the state has political and economic stability because of a solid foundation.
He said that lack of solid foundation contributed to the nation’s current economic situation.
“The political and economic stability we are enjoying in Lagos today is as a result of a solid foundation,” he said.
“Without a good and solid foundation, we cannot achieve a sustainable economic prosperity.”
While Tinubu may not be far from the truth, he should be reminded that Lagos’ stability goes beyond solid foundation. This is because foundation can be solid, but bad leadership can easily destroy it. After all, it is easy to destroy than to build.
Besides, Lagos, being former capital of the country could be said to enjoy advantages that are lacking in other states. Being the commercial nerve centre of the country, funds have never been a problem, but how to manage it well.
There is no doubt that since the return of democracy, the state has always been lucky, having leaders that not only have clear agenda and vision, but drive it well with passion.
However, the state is inhabited majorly by people, that are not only politically conscious, but have always put government on its toes.
My Political Travails Are Distractions, Says Saraki
Senate President Bukola Saraki described his trial at the Code of Conduct Tribunal (CCT) and others as mere distractions that would soon fizzle out.
Saraki spoke at a town hall meeting in Ilorin, the Kwara State capital, adding that the distractions have started giving way.
Saraki said: “All the travails one is going through for those people who believe in God know that all these are politics. All those are distractions not to allow us focus on issues. They always say that the truth will always prevail. We are beginning to see truth is already prevailing. The distractions are finding their ways.”
While Saraki’s optimism is expected and typical of a Nigerian politician, Nigerians are eagerly waiting for the outcome of his trials. This is because it is one trial whose outcome will determine the success or otherwise of Buhari’s anti-graft fight.
Saraki’s description of the trials as mere distraction is comical. It is not mere distraction, but a serious one, having derailed the business of the Senate.
Is Saraki already celebrating victory, even when his trials have not gone half way? Won’t that be too early in the day? Where is Saraki’s confidence emanating from, his lawyers, the powers-that-be or the judiciary? Time will surely tell, who is right or wrong between Saraki and his detractors.
My Govt Inherited Nothing From Obasanjo, Yar’Adua, Jonathan-Buhari
President Muhammadu Buhari said, he inherited no legacy from the previous governments of Presidents Olusegun Obasanjo, Umaru Musa Yar’Adua and Goodluck Jonathan. The President, who spoke against the backdrop of current economic recession facing the country, said the administrations left nothing to build on.
He said: “We should thank God, the reports I’m getting, which is very pleasing, is that we will have a bumper harvest this year. I want Nigerians to realise that what this government inherited after 16 years of PDP government was no savings, no infrastructure, no power, no rail, no road and no security.”
It amounts to exaggeration for Buhari to say that his government didn’t inherit anything from his predecessors. Every successor inherits something from his predecessor. Such inheritance could be positive or negative. Whichever way, for the fact that government is a continuum, the successor should take the bull by the horn. To continue to dwell in the past and engage in endless blame game is uncalled for.
If Buhari didn’t inherit anything as he said, it is obvious that he inherited a united country with a peaceful atmosphere. There is no doubt that the PDP-led government contributed immensely to the country’s present economic woes, but that is immaterial at the moment. The deed has been done and what Nigerians want to hear now is the way out of the recession.
Buhari’s government should blame less and provide the way out quickly. The buck stops on his table now, and not his predecessors.
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