ADDRESS BY THE CHAIRMAN INDEPENDENT NATIONAL ELECTORAL COMMISSION INEC, PROFESSOR MAHMOOD YAKUBU TO THE STAKEHOLDERS’ MEETING ON THE 2019 GENERAL ELECTIONS INTERNATIONAL CONFERENCE CENTRE, ABUJA ON SATURDAY 16th FEBRUARY 2019

l. About thirteen hours ago, I conveyed to Nigerians the decision of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to reschedule the 2019 general elections by one week. Presidential and National Assembly earlier scheduled for 16th February 2019 will now hold on Saturday 23th February 2019 while Governorship, State Assembly and FCT Area Council elections scheduled for 2nd March 20i9 will now hold on Saturday 9th March 2019. The one-week adjustment was a painful one for INEC but necessary in the overall interest of our democracy.
2. Nigerians will recall that when this Commission was appointed in November 2015, we promised Nigerians two cardinal things. First, we shall work hard to consolidate the improvements made in the management of elections in Nigeria. Secondly, we shall always be open, transparent and responsive. We have strived diligently to keep these promises in very trying circumstances.
3. In keeping with our promise to consolidate the gains of the last two electoral cycles, the Commission has conducted 195 rerun and off-season elections across the country since the last general elections. Most of these elections have been generally adjudged to show progressive improvements in planning, execution and outcomes.
4. This commitment to continue to improve on election administration has informed our preparations for the 20i9 general elections. Our goal is to plan carefully, execute meticulously and bring stability into election management in Nigeria. Consequently, we announced fixed dates for elections in Nigeria to the effect that Presidential and National Assembly elections will always hold on the third Saturday in February of an election year, while the Governorship and State Assembly elections follow two weeks later. Having settled this, we began the planning quite early, with a Strategic Plan (SP), 3 Strategic Programme of Action (SPA) and an Election Project Plan (EPP). In fact, the plan for the 2019 general elections was ready in November 2017 and we subsequently issued the timetable and schedule of activities for the elections over one year ago on 9th January 2018. We carefully followed the timetable and implemented 13 of the 14 activities as scheduled. We kept to the timeframe and have not missed the date fixed for any single activity.
5. In preparing for the 2019 general elections, we have come face-to-face with the realities of conducting such an extensive national deployment of men and materials in a developing country like ours. It is said that elections constitute the most extensive mobilization of men and materials that any country could undertake in peacetime. The challenges of doing so even under the best of circumstances are enormous. Within a period of 16 months, we registered over 14 million Nigerians as new voters, collecting their names, addresses, photographs and their entire ten fingerprints. Beyond that, we prepared, printed and delivered their permanent voter’s cards for collection. It should be noted that of the 14.28 million Permanent Voter Cards (PVCs) made available for collection, about 10.87 million or 76.12% have been collected.
6. It is often not appreciated the magnitude of activities that the Commission undertakes during general elections. Not only have we recruited and trained about 1 million young people to serve as ad hoc staff, the magnitude of materials mobilized for our elections is also enormous. For instance, the Commission has printed 421.7 million ballot papers for six scheduled elections, as well as 13.6 million leaves of result forms for the Presidential election alone. Indeed, managing 91 political parties and 23,316 candidates for whom votes will be cast in 119,973 polling units by over 84 million voters is certainly astounding. No doubt, preparations for the 2019 general elections have been extremely tasking for the Commission.
7. It is therefore not unexpected that such a tremendous national mobilization of men and materials will encounter operational challenges and we have had our own fair share of such challenges. There have been delays in delivering ballot papers and result sheets for the elections which are not unusual. However, 1 must emphasize that all the ballot papers and result sheets were ready before the elections despite the very tight legal timeframe for finalizing nomination of candidates and dealing with the spate of legal challenges that accompany it. In this regard, the Commission has been sued or joined in over 640 court cases arising from the nomination of candidates. As of today, there are 4differentnt court orders against the Commission on whether to add or drop candidates. The net effect of these is that there is usually roughly a one-month window for the Commission to print ballot papers and result sheets and either fly or transport them to several destinations until they finally get to each polling unit. Unfortunately, in the last one week, flights within the country have been adversely affected by bad weather. For instance, three days ago, we were unable to deliver materials to some locations due to bad weather. We, therefore, had to rely on slow-moving long haulage vehicles to locations that can be serviced by air in spite of the fact that we created five zonal airport hubs Abuja (North Central), Port Harcourt (South South and South East). Kano (North West), Maiduguri and Yale (North East) and Lagos (South West) to facilitate the delivery of electoral logistics.
8. Apart from these logistical challenges, we also faced what may well be attempts to sabotage our preparations. In a space of two weeks, we had to deal with serious fire incidents in three of our offices in Isiala Ngwa South Local Government Area of Abia State, Qu’an Pan Local Government Area of Plateau State and our Anambra State Office at Awka. In all three cases, serious disruptions were occasioned by the fire, further diverting our attention from regular preparations to recovery from the impact of the incidents. In Isiala Ngwa South, hundreds of PVCs were burnt, necessitating the recompiling of the affected cards and reprinting in time to ensure that the affected voters are not disenfranchised. I am glad that all the cards were quickly reprinted and made available for collection by their owners.
9. In Qu’an Pan Local Government Area, our entire office was razed, destroying all the materials prepared for the elections printed register of voters, ballot boxes, voting cubicles and several electricity-generating sets. ll Registration Areas and over I00 polling units were affected by the fire. We recovered quickly and have since replaced everything destroyed. In addition, we secured a suitable building from which to conduct the elections.
10. Perhaps the most serious was the fire incident in our Anambra State Office at Awka, which destroyed over 4,600 Smart Card Readers being prepared for the elections. These Card Readers take at least six months to procure. Despite this setback, we have practically recovered from this by mopping up every available one

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Abba Kyari: America, Europe again falling for easy lies over awkward truths culled from Thecableng

President Muhammadu Buhari has campaigned in this election exactly as he has governed since 2015, true to the values in which he has believed all his adult life: our security, a diversified economy and an administration free from the scourge of corruption and the sleazy mediocrity it fuels.
Buhari has not changed, and with good reason. Without these attributes, Nigeria will not know peace, prosperity or the rule of law: the only real foundations on which free and fair elections and genuine democracy can thrive. He is stubborn and resolute in defence of these values. This irritates quite a number in the elite, and especially those who, four years ago, thought that they could play the President and use his popularity to continue to steal and cheat the people.
These players have failed. They are angry but they have not yet given up. They have some unlikely allies. Our traditional friends in the US and Europe say they want nothing from Nigeria except free and fair elections. But if you look at what their representatives here actually do rather than what they say, the unmistakeable signs of a quite different agenda are plain to see.
It’s easy to forget where we were, a country falling apart, unable even to protect school girls and where corruption defined every aspect of so much of our public life and private business. Today our media ignore the revelations in a Milan court of how oil companies and fixers stuffed cash in suitcases and the nine-figure bank accounts of former PDP justice ministers and spy chiefs and Presidents. This failure goes beyond individuals or particular political parties, although it is true that our decline accelerated under the PDP after the end of military rule in 1999, a betrayal that Atiku Abubakar and many of his allies hope forlornly to revive and celebrate.
Our young people see only the devastation that has been visited upon them, too young to remember the vibrant rural economy that once gave us the wealth for the schools and hospitals we are only now beginning to revive.
They cannot imagine the rubber plantations where for decades Dunlop and Michelin made tyres for Nigeria and the world. The factories are long since closed. Our palm oil was once a world leader but it is only now, under this government, that we are reviving an industry on life support. We have timber, we have hardworking people – and yet we came to be importing even simple school desks and bedframes. We have so much of what we need for fertilisers, yet government after government preferred to let the plants we had already built go to waste for easy commissions on second-rate imports. Textiles used to employ thousands, and will do again, when we allow our talent fairly to compete on the international stage.
A major crude producer with four refineries that once delivered petroleum products for home consumption and export, Nigeria was reduced to importing petroleum products as if we were Burkina Faso or Bangladesh, not a leading member of OPEC. Our golden goose was starved. The military and the PDP took all the money, they didn’t pay oil partners what we owed and only now, after this government’s efforts, speaking plainly and finding real solutions, can we begin to grow exports that have stagnated for 30 years.
When our private banks collapsed (again) in 2009, the outstanding liabilities were N5.7 trillion. It is hard to imagine a sum of money, so vast, owed by so few, to so many. The list of decay is long. And yet this was the inherited culture of government – ‘to those that have, give more’ – that we have challenged, a culture where every declared reform was in fact a disguise to privatise profit and leave the rest of us with all the risk.
Nigeria has almost as many problems as we have people. But it also has all the resources to meet our needs, if they are properly managed and honestly marshalled. Think where we would be today, but for all the time wasted, the prosperity we would enjoy and the better partner we might have been to our friends in the region and further afield! Buhari is not a populist but he is popular because he is delivering on our most basic needs first.
Do our foreign friends simply not understand what is at stake, or do they actually want us to fail? We know we are not equal partners, and do not pretend to be so. In our own time in government, the US, the UK and the EU let us know subtly, and often not so subtly, what we should be doing on everything from currency reform to fuel deregulation and the import of toothpicks.
They have their own subsidies to protect key strategic interests, their farmers and steel plants, but condemn our own efforts to protect the poorest and most vulnerable from an unregulated market for food, transport and housing, or to create and protect space for new opportunities and innovation to flourish. This is not so much a question of policy, but integrity: we, at least, mean what we say. So many past governments in Nigeria did not.
Our transition has been difficult because Nigeria needs radical change, which we have been delivering, despite ingenious and often disingenuous resistance from vested interests and the business-as-usual brigade. Which begs the question: is there a difference between what suits Nigeria’s real national interest and what suits the interests of the Great Powers? The years of failure were characterised by hypocrisy and betrayal by our leaders, who were in turn easy targets for manipulation – much easier for foreign powers to manage than a government genuinely looking to repair and revive today so that we can build tomorrow. And tomorrow never dies.
I always knew that business-as-usual had a powerful self-interest in resisting CHANGE. I had hoped their tentacles did not stretch so far or so easily beyond our borders, that a good case, well made, would receive a fair hearing. In three and a half years in government, I have learned that decent argument and hard facts face stiff competition from vested interests that seem so easily to sway people who should know better. A convenient lie is not better than an uncomfortable truth.
Nowhere is this clearer than the contrived debate on the conduct of elections. Buhari’s commitment to the democratic process is a matter of record, time and again. All of the work to rebuild our public institutions, restore our values and recalibrate our future prospects can succeed only in a democracy in which the integrity of elections is sacrosanct.
Instead of judging Nigeria by our actions, it seems altogether too easy for foreign partners to be swayed by the expensive words of lobbyists. Riva Levinson has been hired by Bukola Saraki. She was trained by Paul Manafort and Roger Stone (both caught up in the probe into interference by foreign powers in the US elections in 2016) and guide earlier in her career to dictators like Siad Barre, unprincipled warlords like Jonas Savimbi, or frauds like Iraqi exile Ahmed Chalabi, the man who neo-conned the Bush White House.
We are meant to believe that Ms Levinson, like the others who are paid by one of the contestants, wants only to promote a free and fair race. And that it is only a coincidence that this language for hire is identical to what we hear from accredited diplomats!
By omission or commission, it appears it may actually suit our friends, deep down, below the pious words, to see Nigeria a basket case, begging bowl in hand, than the partner we could, should and will prove to be. And we have been here before. At the end of 1984, British diplomats predicted a coup against the then Buhari government, with whom London was quarrelling over everything from apartheid to economic policy (as we knew then, and as it turned out, Buhari was right). Glowing profiles of Ibrahim Babangida were prepared and telegrams of congratulation were drafted. Mrs Thatcher put the project on ice, at least for a few months, but it was not long before foreign powers concluded that their best interests would be served by people who told them everything they wanted to hear on democratisation and reform, but, as they could and should have known, meant precisely none of it. Nigeria lived through the consequences of this systemic deception. We lost so much in the 30 years after 1985, but nothing as precious as the loss of confidence in our values and what we as a nation could be.
In the 19th century, Lord Palmerston, Britain’s Prime Minister and one of the country’s most celebrated diplomats, observed that “nations have no permanent friends or allies, they only have permanent interests.” We have been delivering on a programme to restore the rule of law, to build democracy and strengthen security, to deal with corruption and to create opportunity in a new meritocracy. It is a platform that helps tackle violent extremism, illegal migration, trafficking and financial crime. These are the very issues that are central to the interests of our foreign friends, and we are producing results.
Nigeria will make its choice on Saturday. It has never before had a government that has more clearly demonstrated through words and actions its commitment to transparency and the rule of law, protecting good judges and decent public office-holders from the corruption of their peers. Voters are free to move forwards to a better future or back to the desperate past from which we are now beginning to emerge. Our election commission is independent and has all resources it needs to do its job. We should all be wise to the risks, including partial and premature announcements of unofficial results from unverifiable sources, especially when one party has already declared well in advance that it cannot lose unless there is rigging. There should be no interference from any quarter, including foreign powers who say one thing but do another – exactly the formula that their friends here have employed for years to bring us so close to despair

Abba Kyari is the Chief of Staff to president Muhammadu Buhari

HIS EXCELLENCY, PRESIDENT MUHAMMADU BUHARI’S BROADCAST TO THE NATION ON ELECTIONS  FEBRUARY 14, 2019

Fellow Citizens,
On Saturday, February 16, 2019, you will, once again, be called upon to choose the leaders who will pilot the affairs of our great nation for the next four years. This is a constitutional right which should be freely exercised by all eligible voters.
2. I wish therefore to start by assuring all Nigerians that this Government will do its very best to ensure that the 2019 elections take place in a secure and peaceful atmosphere.
3. It was indeed such free, fair and peaceful elections that made it possible for our Government to emerge, despite the fact that we were contesting against a long-standing incumbent party.
4. And as your president and a fellow Nigerian, I ask that you come out and queue to fulfill this important obligation you have to yourselves and your fellow citizens – and to our common future.
5. Let me at this point, reaffirm the commitment of the Federal Government to the conduct of free and fair elections in a safe and peaceful atmosphere. Just yesterday, I signed the Peace Accord alongside 72 other presidential candidates.
6. I want to assure all Nigerians, the diplomatic community and all foreign election observers of their safety and full protection. Any comments or threats of intimidation from any source do not represent the position of the Federal Government of Nigeria.
7. As Government has a critical role in maintaining the democratic traditions, so do citizens. I therefore urge you all, as good Nigerians, to take a personal interest in promoting and maintaining peace in your respective neighbourhoods during the elections. This is certainly not a time to allow personal, religious, sectional or party interests to drive us to desperation.
8. At this point, I want to make a special appeal to our youth: Do not allow yourselves to be used to cause violence and destruction. The people who want to incite you are those preparing the ground for discrediting the elections. Having lost the argument, they fear losing the elections.
9. When you elected me in 2015, it was essentially in consequence of my promise of CHANGE. We committed ourselves to improving security across the country, putting the economy on a sound footing and tackling rampant corruption, which had in many ways become a serious drawback to national development.
10. Our Government spent the last 3 years and 9 months striving faithfully to keep this promise, in spite of very serious revenue shortages caused mainly by a sharp drop in international oil prices and an unexpected rise in the vandalisation of oil installations, which, mercifully have now been curtailed.
11. We nevertheless pressed on in our quest to diversify the economy, create jobs, reduce commodity prices and generally improve the standard of living among our people.
12. The damage that insecurity and corruption have done, over time, to our collective livelihood is incalculable. However, it is pleasing to note that our frontal attack on these twin evils is gaining momentum and bringing about visible progress.
13. The recovery of the economy from recession is complete and Nigeria is back on the path of steady growth.
14. The key to creating more jobs lies in accelerating this momentum of economic growth. Happily, we have succeeded in making the fundamental changes necessary for this acceleration, and we are now beginning to see the efforts bearing fruit.
15. Our ease of doing business policies and programmes are already impacting medium, small and micro industries, as well as Manufacturing, Mining and Agriculture, among other key sectors.
16. Our commitment to critical infrastructure – that is Roads, Rails, Bridges, Airports and Seaports – will create more jobs, improving the efficiency and competitiveness of our industries.
17. Many of these projects are at different stages of completion, and those who use them regularly will attest to the fact that even while construction is ongoing, they are beginning to see reduced travel times. This will ultimately translate to reduced costs and greater convenience, making transportation, and business in particular, much easier.
19. The economic recovery that we promised is well underway, as demonstrated by the recently released statistics. In 2018, the economy grew by 1.93%, with the Fourth Quarter growth being 2.38%, up from 1.81% in the Third Quarter.
20. Remarkably, the strong economic performance was driven by the Non-Oil sector, which grew at 2% as at full year. Indeed, Non-Oil growth rose to 2.7% in the Fourth Quarter of 2018, up from 2.32% in the Third Quarter. These results further underscore our commitment to diversifying the economy away from the past dependence on Oil.
21. Other indicators confirm the economy’s steady recovery. Our monthly food import bill has declined from $664 million in January 2015 to $160 million as at October 2018. Inflation fell from 18.72% in January 2017 to 11.44% in December 2018. Our External Reserves have risen from $23 billion in October 2016 to $43.12 billion as at 7th February 2019.
22. Now that the recession is well behind us, our next task is to redouble our efforts, accelerate the growth and use it to create even more jobs for our people.
23. The Executive Orders, No. 5, and No. 7 issued by me, and the recently approved National Infrastructure Maintenance Policy demonstrate our commitment to accelerated job creation and infrastructure development.
24. We believe that Governments cannot simply proclaim jobs into existence. Job creation will only expand as a result of economic policies that enable the private sector to flourish, and this is the approach our Administration has taken.
25. Executive Order No 5, which Promotes Nigerian Content in Contracts, as well as Science, Engineering and Technology, will preserve and prioritize job creation for our citizens.
26. Executive Order 7, on the Road Infrastructure Development and Refurbishment Investment Tax Credit Scheme, seeks to mobilize private capital and capacity for infrastructure development.
27. It responds to the demands of manufacturing and industrial complexes which wish to construct access roads without waiting for government, so long as they are allowed to recover the cost from taxes they would have paid to government.
28. We expect that this approach will boost industrial expansion and rural development, consequently creating more jobs for our people.
29. Similarly, our recently issued Maintenance Policy targets artisans, carpenters, welders, tailors, painters, bricklayers, electricians, plumbers, landscapers and many more Ordinary Nigerians at the base of our economic pyramid who will get regular and large-scale opportunities to improve themselves.
30. It is an economic solution that also brings the relevant artisans and professionals into long term sustainable employment to maintain our Schools, Court Rooms, Hospitals, Police Stations, Federal Secretariats and other Public Buildings.
31. Human Capital Development has also been a key priority for this Administration, which has increased investments in health and education. Innovative measures have been introduced to complement the traditional budgetary allocations to the relevant Ministries.
32. For instance, Nigeria Sovereign Investment Authority has invested US$21 million in three healthcare projects as a Public Private Partnership with three Federal medical institutions. These include two modern Medical Diagnostic Centres located at Aminu Kano Teaching Hospital, Kano and the Federal Medical Centre, Umuahia; as well as one outpatient Cancer Treatment Centre in Lagos University Teaching Hospital, Lagos – which I commissioned on 9th February 2019.
33. Of course, our radical commitment to developing Critical Infrastructure is the foundation upon which we will deliver an all embracing national prosperity and a shared commonwealth.
34. There is no country that aspires to greatness without spending massively on its Critical Infrastructure. Rather than the discredited policy of ‘stomach infrastructure’, which could only benefit a few for a little while, we are focused on real infrastructural development for the growth of our economy and the long-term benefit of all Nigerians.
35. When you voted for our message of CHANGE, you invited us to assume office and depart from that bad and most regrettable choice. We have responded by making a choice for real infrastructure of Roads in every State, Housing in 34 States, Power Stations across Nigeria, Rail from Lagos to Kano.
36. The choice that now confronts us is whether we want to continue with real infrastructure development, which is the road to prosperity and jobs or return to the era of ‘stomach infrastructure’.
37. Agricultural Self-Reliance and Food Security is also a choice we made in fulfilment of your mandate for change.
38. Our Presidential Fertiliser Initiative has resulted in savings of US$150 million in foreign exchange due to local sourcing of inputs at 16 Blending Plants. It has also conserved N60 billion in Subsidies as well as supported tens of thousands of farmers and agro-dealers nationwide.
39. Our Anchor Borrowers’ Programme has substantially raised local rice yields from as low as two Metric Tonnes per hectare, to as high as eight Metric Tonnes per hectare.
40. Through this programme, the Central Bank of Nigeria has cumulatively lent over N120 billion to over 720,000 smallholder farmers cultivating 12 commodities across the 36 States and Abuja. Targeted crops and livestock have included cattle, poultry, fish, cassava, soybeans, ground nut, ginger, sorghum, rice, wheat, cotton and maize.
41. As a result, we have seen a remarkable rise in the production of key agricultural commodities. I am pleased to note that in major departmental stores and local markets, there has been a surge in the supply of high quality Nigerian agricultural produce.
42. Behind each of these products, are thousands of industrious Nigerians working in factories and farms across the nation. Our interventions have led to improved wealth and job creation for these Nigerians, particularly in our rural communities.
43. Again, these outcomes have been a major departure from the previous focus on consuming imported food items, which literally exported our children’s jobs to food-exporting nations, whilst depleting our precious foreign exchange reserves. This, of course, caused a closure of our factories while keeping open other peoples’ factories.
44. The choice made by this Administration to assist farmers directly and promote agriculture in every way possible has gone a long way to enhance our food security while enabling us to tackle poverty by feeding over nine million children daily under our Home-Grown School Feeding Programme. It also puts us clearly on the road to becoming a food secure and agriculture exporting nation.
45. Next to Agriculture, we are focusing on Manufacturing Sector. The Purchasing Managers Index, which is the measure of manufacturing activities in an economy has risen for 22 consecutive months as at January this year, indicating continuous growth and expansion in our manufacturing sector.
46. I will conclude by going back to where I started: that our choices have had consequences about employment and cost of living.
47. In making your choice this time, please ask yourself whether, and in what ways, others will do anything different to address the issues of Agriculture, Infrastructure, Security, Good Governance and Fighting Corruption.
48. If they are only hoping to do what we are already doing successfully, we are clearly your preferred choice.
49. Think carefully and choose wisely. This time, it is a choice about consolidating on growth for Jobs and Prosperity.
50. February 16th is all about a choice. But it is more than a choice between APC and the opposition. It is a choice about you, it is a choice between going back or keeping the momentum of CHANGE.
51. The road to greater prosperity for Nigeria may be long, but what you can be assured of is a Leadership that is not prepared to sacrifice the future well-being of Nigerians for our own personal or material needs. You can be assured of my commitment to remain focused on working to improve the lives of all Nigerians.
52. Thank you very much for listening. God bless you, and may God bless the Federal Republic of Nigeria.

Illusion and Myth of Buhari’s Fight Against Corruption, By Mohammed Dahiru Aminu

…upon becoming president after four attempts to run for the office, Buhari’s leadership skills, and the rhetoric on corruption have been evidently more mythical than real. Perhaps, it can be charitably put that the president’s perception of the fight against corruption is but a mere figment of his imagination.

Muhammadu Buhari was voted into office as president of Nigeria in 2015 under the supposition that he had a character that was allergic to corruption. He had maintained the resolve as being intolerant to corruption since he ventured into partisan politics in 2002. But upon becoming president after four attempts to run for the office, Buhari’s leadership skills, and the rhetoric on corruption have been evidently more mythical than real. Perhaps, it can be charitably put that the president’s perception of the fight against corruption is but a mere figment of his imagination. However, what is more interesting amidst this rhetoric on corruption, is that both Buhari and the small band of cheerleaders around him have succeeded in creating some sort of illusionary (as opposed to realistic) truth effect. Judging from the performance under Buhari, one easily remembers Hitler’s top propagandist, Joseph Goebbels, who was attributed with the words: A lie told once remains a lie, but a lie told a thousand times becomes the truth.

It is interesting that despite glaring examples which argue for the president’s disinterest in fighting corruption, many Nigerians are still convinced otherwise. It can be said that most of these people are within the demographic of the young, who may not have recollections of how the country fared under Buhari’s military regime. While that regime came about through unanimous support of his military colleagues at the time, who later led a coup that ousted him, this time as a democratic president, Buhari came to power by a popular vote that was aided by elite consensus from Nigeria’s major power blocs.

But then the first irony. A man who claims to be intolerant of corruption had to ride on the back of what appears as illicit funds to power. For example, no question has been asked about the source of campaign funds that brought Buhari to power, despite allegations that some of the financiers may have used public funds through the offices they occupied, in backing their principal’s political ambition. But that is not all of it. A foremost senator from Kaduna State, Shehu Sani, described Buhari’s fight against corruption as selective. He noted that when the president’s men are caught within the webs of graft, the presidential instrument used is a deodorant; however, when the president’s men are not involved in graft, insecticides are used on other people.

The Babachir David Lawal case is one of the most disturbing examples of corruption, which greatly affects the integrity of the president and suggests whether his attitude toward taming corruption is genuine or not. Lawal, who was the former secretary to the federal government was alleged to have been involved in multiple acts of corruption, including illicitly enriching himself with funds meant for the rehabilitation of people who were internally displaced by the Boko Haram insurgency. Despite being indicted by a Senate committee and later by a presidential committee headed by the vice president (Yemi Osinbajo), Lawal has seemingly gotten away scot-free, and he is in fact one of the henchmen working for the president’s re-election bid. It is interesting to note that it even took the president too long a time to be convinced of Lawal’s corruption and to relieve him of his position in government. Another example of the manifestation of corruption under the Buhari administration can be found in the Abdulaziz Maina case. Maina, who was the head of a task force on the pension scheme, was indicted of corruption and declared a wanted man by the country’s anti-corruption agency. Nonetheless, Maina, who went into hiding abroad, was brought back into the country by the Buhari administration and was reinstated into the nation’s federal civil service and promoted to the rank of a director. It took a lot of pressure from the people of Nigeria for the government to go back on its resolve on Maina. It is strange that a government which came to power with the intention of fighting corruption is now unable to take decisive actions against those who are involved in corruption — such that the government assisted a known fugitive back into the country and then promoted him. Even as Maina is nowhere to be found now, his case, it seems, has been swept under the carpet, never to be heard again.

But not to relent, as the 2019 elections approach, a new trend has since emerged. Opposition politicians who have corruption cases against them are trooping into the ruling All Progressives Congress, in order for them to be forgiven of all the crimes they have committed. The former minister of state for defence, Musiliu Obanikoro, seems to have had his corruption charges dropped immediately he assumed membership of the ruling party, even when there are routine pretensions of a trial around him. The former governor of Abia State, Orji Uzor Kalu, who had been declared wanted by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, was seen on stage a couple of weeks ago in solicitation of the voting public for the president’s re-election.

Still, as the electioneering campaigns proceed, it is embarrassing to the note that the president uses every attempt to endorse politicians for re-election without reminiscing over such politician’s integrity with regards to the handling of the public trust. Governor Abdullahi Umar Ganduje of Kano State is a case in point. Ganduje was caught on videotape receiving kickbacks in cash from contractors who handled various projects within the State he leads. But despite the overwhelming evidence that give Ganduje away as unfit to continue in public office, the president recently went to Kano to publicly endorse the governor’s continuity in the same office. Perhaps President Obasanjo was right when he noted recently that Buhari’s supposed integrity is better put as a sanctimonious veneer of a bogus integrity.

And to further lend credence to the bogus integrity that Buhari and his cheerleaders claim in describing the man, others who knew him too well through close working relationships have been coming out to demystify that integrity. Buba Galadima, a Buhari insider from the very beginning, is constantly in the news showing us where the bodies were all buried. In newspaper interviews, Dr. Junaid Mohammed, the elder statesman and veteran politician from Kano State, had given stunning revelations on the Buhari character; of defending known thieves and loyalists, as well as his penchant for nepotism in government. Former governor of Sokoto State, Attahiru Bafarawa, recently narrated how he rigged the 2003 party primaries in favour of Buhari, with the latter’s full participation. Bafarawa also claimed that he gave Buhari money for campaigns in the aftermath of the primary elections ‘victory.’ Dr. Aliyu Tilde is another pioneer Buhari insider who has recently been hitting hard at the president, albeit in a politer language than other critics. As Vanderbilt University professor, Moses Ochonu, puts it, the claims of these insiders correlate with Buhari’s actions as president: approving, participating in, and accepting the political and financial proceeds of theft, while maintaining deniability. Professor Ochonu claims that Buhari is arguably the most successful political scam of the twentieth and twenty-first centuries, as most things about him are fiction, including his personal integrity and fight against corruption

The illegal suspension of the CJN by IkonAllah

1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria
Section 292. (1)
A judicial officer shall not be removed from his office or appointment before his age of retirement except in the following circumstances –
(a) in the case of –
(i) Chief Justice of Nigeria, President of the Court of Appeal, Chief Judge of the Federal High Court, Chief Judge of the High Court of the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja, Grand Kadi of the Sharia Court of Appeal of the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja and President, Customary Court of Appeal of the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja, by the President acting on an address supported by two-thirds majority of the Senate.
(ii) Chief Judge of a State, Grand Kadi of a Sharia Court of Appeal or President of a Customary Court of Appeal of a State, by the Governor acting on an address supported by two-thirds majority of the House of Assembly of the State,
Praying that he be so removed for his inability to discharge the functions of his office or appointment (whether arising from infirmity of mind or of body) or for misconduct or contravention of the Code of Conduct;
(b) in any case, other than those to which paragraph (a) of this subsection applies, by the President or, as the case may be, the Governor acting on the recommendation of the National Judicial Council that the judicial officer be so removed for his inability to discharge the functions of his office or appointment (whether arising from infirmity of mind or of body) or for misconduct or contravention of the Code of Conduct.

Based on the above constitutional requirements the president can only appoint or remove a CJN with a two third majority backing from the senate. The Suspension of CJN was not mentioned in the constitution.

Yes the CJN goofed and he should be held accountable but a procedure has been outlined in the constitution on how he should be held accountable. Why not follow the constitution? The offense was committed in 2016 and the entire process of his illegal suspension was done in less than a month in 2019 when the general elections are few days away without regard to due process. Several cases that preceded the CJNs case are still going through the system including an allegation against the CCB chairman accused of receiving bribes so why should the CJN be singled out with such speed not characterised by a government renowned for foot dragging in cases of corruption involving close allies like the grass cutter.

Political expediency i guess. The code of conduct has no power to recommend the suspension of the CJN when its jurisdiction has not been established . The NJC is the statutory body recognized by the constitution to do that. Even if the CCT convicts the CJN for breaching the code of conduct it will write the NJC who will recommend his removal after obtaining two third votes in the senate. Unless the constitution is amended, this is the only way to remove a CJN anything short of that is arbitrary and illegal. Those quoting GEJs removal of justice Salami must understand that his suspension was recommended by the NJC as stipulated by the constitution not an agency under the executive.Buhari has been accused of so many infractions in office yet he did not step aside. No arm of Government has the power to remove the head of another other arm according to the doctrine of separation of powers . The CJN or Senate president cannot suspend the president so how can the president be able to suspend the CJN or Senate president? Using this logic Saraki should have been suspended by the president during his CCT trial.

The rule of law and the constitution are bedrock of democracy and any deviation is dangerous no matter the motivation. What if a corrupt person becomes president and decides to unilaterally remove the CJN to support his corruption? The rules of law if followed will prevent anybody taking the system for a ride. This is non negotiable no matter who is president. GEJ removed justice salami based on recommendations of NJC as required by the constitution yet all men of goodwill condemned the political undertone related to salamis sack. Same principle that motivated my stand on salami applies to CJNs illegal removal.

Muhammadu Ribadu: Nigeria’s First Minister of Defence BY AYOMIDE AKINBODE

After independence, Nigeria’s first Minister of Defence was Alhaji Muhammadu Ribadu (1910-1965).
The Minister of Defence of Nigeria is a senior cabinet official in the Nigerian Federal Executive Council in charge of the Nigerian Ministry of Defence. The Defence Minister’s main responsibility is to manage all branches of the Armed Forces of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, to maintain a modern, competent, and professional military force for the protection of the national territory, maritime interests, airspace, and constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.
Alhaji Ribadu was born at Bulala, in present day, Adamawa State. He was active in Politics in the Northern Region and entered the Northern House of Assembly in Kaduna in 1947.
Thus began a political career in which he rose rapidly. He soon became a leader of the Northern People’s Congress (NPC), founded in 1949 as a cultural organisation but soon turned into a political party in order to meet the requirements of the Macpherson Constitution.
Under the leadership of the Sardauna of Sokoto, Alhaji (Sir) Ahmadu Bello (1909-1966), the most powerful politician during his era, the NPC won all the Northern seats in Nigeria’s first general elections of 1951-52 and Alhaji Muhammadu Ribadu was one of the Northern candidates who won the election to the Federal House of Representatives in Lagos where he was appointed Minister of Natural Resources. He was previously a director of the Nigerian Produce Marketing Company, but resigned this post on becoming a Minister.In 1954, he was appointed Federal Minister of Land, Mines and Power; he served in that ministry until 1957 when he was transferred to the portfolio of Lagos Affairs. He was second Vice-President of the NPC, and of the most influential leaders of the NPC-dominated regime in the Federation.
He received a British decoration, being awarded the Member of the British Empire (MBE) in 1952.
While serving as Minister of Defence, Ribadu presided over a rapid expansion of the Nigerian Army, Navy as well as the creation of the Nigeria Air Force. He established the Defence Industries Corporation in Kaduna, the Nigerian Defence Academy in Kaduna and a Second Recce Squadron in Abeokuta.
No doubt, Alhaji Ribadu was a towering figure. A giant among men. He was in all but name, the deputy Prime Minister. He was powerful and intrepid. His colleagues often refer to him as “power of powers”. He completed the Nigerianisation of the Nigerian Army. Till today, he’s still being remembered as one of the most outstanding Defence Minister Nigeria ever had.
Historians believe that had Ribadu been alive, the January 15, 1966 coup wouldn’t have happened.
On May 1, 1965, he was to be honoured along with the then Prime Minister, Alhaji (Sir) Abubakar Tafawa Balewa (1912-1966) by the then Premier of Northern Nigeria, Sir Ahmadu Bello with gold medals of the Usmamiya order in Kaduna but died on the morning of that day at the age of 55.

Aminu Kano: Story of Radical politics

When he was writing his letter of resignation from the services of the colonial government to go into full time politics, Mallam Aminu wrote: ‘’ I have seen light in the far horizon. I intend to match into its full circle, either alone or with anyone who cares to come with me ”. From then, he never looked back; he plunged into politics till he died in 1983. Unlike many typical politicians, Mallam Aminu did not join politics to acquire power by all means. He entered politics with a clear vision and well-articulated mission.
EARLY LIFE AND EDUCATION
Aminu Kano was born to the family of an Islamic scholar, Mallam Yusuf of the scholarly Gyanawa Fulani clan, who was a mufti at the Alkali court in Kano, around 1920.
He attended Katsina College and later went to the University of London’s, Institute of Education, alongside Sir Abubakar Tafawa Balewa. He earned his teaching certificate after completing his studies at Katsina College and subsequently became a teacher; he started teaching at the Bauchi training College.
Aminu Kano co-founded the Northern Elements Progressive Union (NEPU) as a political platform to challenge what he felt was the autocratic and feudalistic actions of the Native Northern Government. He geared his attack on the ruling elite including the emirs , who were mostly Fulanis. The potency of his platform was strengthened partly because of his background. His father was an acting Alkali in Kano who came from a lineage of Islamic clerics, Aminu Kano also brought up Islamic ideas on equity in his campaign trails during the First Republic. Many talakawas (commoners) in Kano lined up behind his message and his political stature grew from the support of the Kano commoners and migratory petty traders in the north.One emir in the north said that the main problem Mallam Aminu created for the traditional institution was that “he taught the common people how to say no”. He mobilized the people to know their rights and to stand up for these rights.
POLITICAL CAREER, LEGACY AND DEATH
Together with Chief Obafemi Awolowo, Mallam Yahaya Gusau and Chief JS Tarka, Mallam Aminu was in Gowon’s cabinet during the civil war, (1967-70). He was, in fact, in charge of war procurement, in addition to being federal commissioner (minister) of health and communications at different times in that government.
When he went to Sudan and saw how they integrated Islamic schools with modern education, he came and set up the first Islamiyya school model in Kano. His main concern throughout his life was how to get everyone educated and productive. Mallam Aminu was really a visionary who was ahead of his time.
At the time of his death, he left behind only one house, which is now a research centre of Bayero University, Kano; one wife, Hajia Aishatu, one daughter, Hajiya Maryam; one radio, one television and one farm land.