ADDRESS BY MUHAMMADU BUHARI, PRESIDENT OF THE FEDERAL REPUBLIC OF NIGERIA IN COMMEMORATION OF THE 2018 DEMOCRACY DAY CELEBRATION, TUESDAY, 29TH MAY, 2018

My Dear Nigerians!

Today marks the 19th year of our nascent democracy and the 3rd Anniversary of this administration. I am thankful to Almighty God for bringing us thus far. This administration came at a time that Nigerians needed Change, the Change we promised and the Change we continue to deliver. We have faced a lot of challenges on this journey and Nigerians have stood by us in achieving the three cardinal points of this administration namely; Security, Corruption and the Economy.

2. The commemoration of this year’s Democracy Day is a celebration of freedom, a salute to the resilience and determination of Nigerians and a recommitment by Government to keep its promise to lead Nigeria into a new era of justice and prosperity.

3. Public safety and security remains the primary duty of this Government. Before this Administration came into being 3 years ago, Boko Haram held large areas of land spanning several Local Governments in the North East.

4. Today, the capacity of the insurgents has been degraded leading to the re-establishment of authority of government and the release of captives including, happily, 106 Chibok and 104 Dapchi girls, and over 16,000 other persons held by the Boko Haram.

5. In order to minimize the impact of the insurgency on Internally Displaced Persons, Government has established secure IDP Camps and has improved the mechanism for the distribution of basic aid, foods and essential commodities using various strategies in collaboration with local and international Organizations.

6. Efforts are in process for resettlement of IDPs in their home communities by providing schools, hospitals, clinics, water and sanitation to facilitate a quick return to economic activities. Government is similarly implementing de-radicalization and rehabilitation programmes to facilitate sustainable peace and development.

7. The unfortunate incidences of kidnappings, herdsmen and farmers clashes in several communities which have led to high number of fatalities and loss of properties across the country is being addressed and the identified culprits and their sponsors shall be made to face the full wrath of the law. All the three tiers of Government are presently engaged with communities and religious organizations to restore peaceful co-existence among Nigerians.

8. I want to commend members of the Multinational Joint Task Force drawn from Niger, Benin, Chad, Cameroon and our own country in collaboration with the International Community who are assisting in the fight against insurgency in the North East. I also commend the gallantry of members of our Armed Forces and other security agencies that have continued to provide security for lives and properties across the country. State and Local traditional authorities are helping with much needed intelligence in this fight against insurgency.

9. This administration is pained over the grievous loss of lives and properties occasioned by the carnage of insurgency and other forms of criminality in the country. I wish to assure Nigerians that we will not rest until all criminal elements and their sponsors are brought to justice. Government is boosting the capacity of our security agencies through recruitment of more personnel, training and procurement of modern equipment, enhancement of intelligence gathering as well as boosting their morale in the face of daunting challenges.

10. The Niger Delta Region has enjoyed relative peace through social inclusiveness and cooperation of the Elders and the good people of the region. Government is committed to implementing the comprehensive peace, security and development plan for the region. The environmental clean-up of the region which commenced with the launch in Bodo, Ogoni in June, 2016 is progressing satisfactorily. Furthermore farming assets are being revived and investors in cocoa and palm oil plantations are showing serious interest.

11. The second primary object of this Administration is to fight corruption headlong. Like I have always said, if we don’t kill corruption, corruption will destroy the country. Three years into this Administration, Nigerians and the international community have begun to applaud our policies and determination to fight corruption. We are more than ever before determined to win this war, however hard the road is. I therefore appeal to all well-meaning Nigerians to continue to support us in this fight.

12. Various policy measures already put in place to stem the tide of corrupt practices are yielding remarkable results. Some of these key reform policies include:
The Treasury Single Account (TSA) has realized Billions of Naira being saved from maintenance fee payable to banks. N200 Billion has also been saved from elimination of ghost workers in public service.

The Whistle-Blowing Policy has helped to recover over N500 Billion;

The Presidential Initiative on Continuous Audit set up with a mandate to validate controls, assess risks, prune personnel costs, ensure compliance with Public Financial Management reforms has helped to identify and remove over 52,000 ghost workers from the Federal Government MDAs Payroll;

The Voluntary Asset and Income Declaration Scheme (VAIDS) aimed at expanding tax education and awareness has offered the opportunity for tax defaulters to regularise their status in order to enjoy the amnesty of forgiveness on overdue interest, penalties and the assurance of non-prosecution or subject to tax investigations.

The Sovereign Wealth Fund project portfolio has been expanded with an injection of US$650 million so as to strengthen its investment in local infrastructure, power, health, re-construction of Abuja-Kano road, Lagos-Ibadan Expressway, East West Road (Section V) and the Mambilla Hydro-electric Power project as well as the construction of the 2nd Niger Bridge.
13. The fight against corruption through the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission and the Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission has resulted in recoveries of Billions of Naira, as well as forfeiture of various forms of assets. This alongside other efforts has improved Nigeria’s international image and regional cooperation.

14. We have retained the services of one of the world’s leading assets tracing firms to investigate and trace assets globally. This is in addition to the exploitation of provisions of existing Treaties, Conventions as well as Bilateral Agreements with Multilateral bodies and Nations. Nigeria has also signed Mutual Legal Assistance Agreements to ensure that there is no hiding place for fugitives.

15. This Administration has therefore focused on revamping the ailing economy it inherited in 2015. In 2016, Government executed an expansionary budget and developed the Strategic Implementation Plan. For the first time, 30% of the budget was earmarked for capital expenditure which represents an upward review when compared with the 2015 budget. The SIP was followed by the development of a comprehensive medium term plan – the Economic Recovery and Growth Plan 2017 – 2020.

16. The broad strategic objectives of the ERGP were to; Restore and sustain economic growth; Build a globally competitive economy; and Invest in our people. The implementation of the ERGP has started yielding results. The National Bureau of Statistics reports that the economy grew by 1.95% in 1st quarter 2018, which is a good performance when viewed against -0.91 in 1st quarter 2017 and -0.67% in 1st quarter 2016 respectively.

17. Our foreign reserve has improved significantly to 47.5 billion USD as of May, 2018 as against 29.6 billion USD in 2015. The inflationary rate has consistently declined every month since January, 2017.

18. Recently, Government conducted Focus Labs in three key sectors of the Economy namely, Agriculture & Transport, Manufacturing and Processing as well as Power and Gas. These have yielded significant prospects for investments and Job creation to the tune of US$ 22.5 billion with a potential for creating more than 500,000 jobs by 2020. These investment generation initiatives are expected to increase capital inflows in the form of foreign direct investment. There is a high prospect that the cumulative investments from this first phase of the Labs will hit US$39.2 billion by 2025.

19. Under agriculture, Nigeria continues to pursue a strategic food security programme built around self-sufficiency and minimization of import dependency. As a result, rice importation from other countries has been cut down by 90% which has a direct impact on foreign reserves.

20. The Social Investment Programmes (SIP) has been created as a means to graduating our citizens from poverty through capacity building, investment and direct support. The major strategic objective is to restore livelihood, economic opportunities and sustenance for the poor across the country. The SIP programmes and projects include:
Home Grown School Feeding Programme – About 8.2 million pupils are currently being fed from 24 States of the Federation with over 75,000 Catering Staff engaged under the programme.

The Conditional Cash Transfer has so far recorded over 297,000 caregivers and being trained by 2,495 Community Facilitators in 21 states. Less privileged Nigerians are now being paid N5,000 monthly stipend in 9 pilot States of Bauchi, Borno, Cross River, Ekiti, Kwara, Kogi, Niger, Osun and Oyo. Eventually the scheme will cover all the 36 states of the federation including the FCT.

Under the Government Enterprise Empowerment Programme – About 264,269 loans had been disbursed to 4,822 societies in the 36 States and FCT, while another 370,635 are awaiting release of funds.

N-Power Job creation Scheme – is targeted at providing jobs for unemployed young graduates and has so far recruited 200,000 youths while the next batch of 300,000 have been selected, verified and would soon be deployed across the 36 States and the FCT. Furthermore, 20,000 non-graduate volunteers have also been selected to kick off the N-Build programme in collaboration with the National Automotive Design and Development Council and the Council of Registered Builders of Nigeria.

21. In the area of power generation, Nigerians from all parts of the country continue to report better power supply and less use of generators. This underscores the effectiveness of the methodical plan to deliver incremental and uninterrupted power supply to our homes, markets, offices and factories.

22. The country achieved 5, 222.3 MW representing the highest peak of power generated onto the national grid and delivered to customers in December, 2017. With new facilities, repairs and rehabilitations by Government and private investors, generation capability now exceeds 7,500 MW.

23. This Administration is committed to lawful interventions to ensure the operators of the distribution business live up to expectations especially in the areas of distribution capacity, service delivery, collection efficiency, and metering to eliminate contentious estimated billing.

24. The Transportation Sector continues to undergo a series of reforms in order to sustain the international best practices and ensure safety and security. The nation’s major airports have witnessed reconstruction of runways, installation of navigational equipment and new international terminals due for commissioning in Abuja, Lagos, Kano and Enugu. Bilateral Air Services Agreements between Nigeria and the Governments of other countries will significantly open up new flight routes.

25. As a result of strict regulatory and compliance policies, Nigeria retained her Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) Category 1 status, after a routine international audit. Recently, a new Maintenance Repair and Overhaul facility with capacity for aircraft C-checks and other comprehensive levels of maintenance was established in Lagos. This would save the country an estimated $90m annually.
26. Giant strides have been recorded over the past three years to improve road transport infrastructure in all geopolitical zones of the country.

27. The Railway Sector has also received tremendous attention as this Administration is committed to the goal of linking all State capitals in the Federation by rail network to ease the movement of goods and passengers.

28. The Education Sector especially at tertiary level has continued to witness expansion in order to improve access to higher education by millions of youths in Nigeria. Over the last three years, Government has approved the establishment of 1 new Federal Polytechnic, granted licenses for the establishment of 4 State and 14 private-owned Universities as well as 12 private Polytechnics.

29. Government has also continued to support the implementation of various initiatives aimed at improving the quality of Basic Education delivery. Thus, it has ensured proper funding at the Basic Education level with the disbursement of N42.2 billion UBE Matching Grant to 26 States and the FCT, N851.5 million Special Education Grant disbursed to 23 States and private providers of Special Education and N2.2 billion Teachers Professional Development Fund to 33 States and the FCT.

30. The Federal Government has continued to support fiscal sustainability at the sub-national governments through the implementation of the Budget Support Facility which was accompanied by the 22- point Fiscal Sustainability Plan. Thus, bailouts funds were made available to States to ease their fiscal challenges and other obligations including payment of salaries.

31. In addition, a total of 73 Ecological Fund projects for the control of gully erosion in different communities across all geopolitical zones have been completed in the last three years and are undergoing commissioning while 53 other projects are ongoing. The execution of these projects has generated 357 skilled jobs and 1,350 unskilled jobs during this period.

32. It is pertinent to also make mention of the immeasurable contributions of the Nigerian woman to national development and advancement of democracy, over the last three years. The government and people appreciate you all as mothers of our great country.
33. My dear country men and women, as we all celebrate our democratic experience, let us resolve to avoid hatred and intolerance; we can only achieve our objectives in an atmosphere of harmony and peaceful co-existence.

34. Finally, the up-coming months will usher us into another season of general elections. Let me use this opportunity to urge us all to conduct ourselves, our wards and our constituencies with the utmost sense of fairness, justice and peaceful co-existence such that we will have not only hitch free elections but also a credible and violence free process.

35. In few days to come, I will be joined by many promising young Nigerians to sign into law the “Not Too Young to Run” Bill

36. I thank you for your attention.
37. God bless the Federal Republic of Nigeria.

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Buhari and the Arrogance of Ignorance, By Majeed Dahiru

President Buhari’s dishonest integrity was in full display when he reeled out distorted facts, half-truths and outright lies as he venerated late military dictator Sani Abacha and vilified former President Olusegun Obasanjo, alongside all his other democratically elected predecessors. While receiving a delegation of the Buhari Support Group (BSO) under the leadership of his lifelong ally and current comptroller general of Customs, Hameed Ali, Buhari remarked that: “I don’t care about the opinion you have on Abacha but I agreed to work with him and we constructed roads from Abuja to Port Harcourt, Benin to Onitsha and so on. We also touched education and health”. He then vilified Obasanjo, in a thinly veiled reference: “One of the former heads of state was bragging that he spent $15 billion on power in Nigeria. Where is the power?”
Buhari’s veneration of Abacha, who headed the most notoriously rogue military junta in the history of Nigeria, on the basis of the construction of a few roads and some other interventions in health and education, can only be compared in bizarre absurdity to an Angela Merkel praising the memory of Adolph Hitler on the basis of his pioneering role in the establishment of the German network of super highways – the autobahn. Apart from his unprecedented plundering of Nigeria’s commonwealth, Abacha also terrorised the Nigerian people, Gestapo style, in the worst case of brutal human rights suppression by any government before and after his in the history of Nigeria. Similarly, Buhari’s re-echoing of the false allegation against Obasanjo that he stole $16 billion on a failed power expansion project can be likened to the uninformed rumour that was made popular by Afro beat legend accusing him (Buhari) as minister of petroleum resources of stealing $2.3 billion “oil money” from the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC).
Buhari’s poor style of governance, with the consequent lack of tangible achievements in nearly three years, was brought about, among other things, by a combination of the lack of an understanding of basic statecraft and his arrogance of ignorance. Like his claim about Obasanjo’s $16 billion failed power project, Buhari’s statement at the meeting that, “I challenge anybody to check from Europe, America to Asia; between 1999 to 2014 Nigeria was producing 2.1 million barrels of oil per day at an average cost of $100 per barrel and it went up to $143” is as far from the truth, as the moon from the sun. The consistent rigidity with which Buhari peddles these false allegations underscores the arrogance of his ignorance.It is not true that oil prices averaged $100 per barrel between 1999 and 2014. The Obasanjo administration inherited a crude oil price at a record low of $17 per barrel in 1999 and this did not exceed $70 by 2007 when he left power. Between 2008 and 2010, oil prices fluctuated between $94 and $77, with the exception being in the months of June and July when crude oil sold for an all time high of $130 and $145 respectively. Crude oil prices only steadied at the $100 benchmark between 2011 and 2013, when prices hovered to about $107 and rose as high as $109 in some months. 2014 saw to the beginning of a steady decline in crude oil prices from $96 to $49 in 2015. Therefore, the cumulative average of prices of crude oil within the period under review was about $61 and not the fictitious $100 that Buhari throws around. While past administrations could have done much more to meet the expectations of Nigerians, it amounts to shear dishonesty to discountenance their modest achievements within that period. Contrary to Buhari’s claims, available facts suggest that the Obasanjo administration and its successors achieved far-reaching milestones in terms of physical infrastructure with these modest earnings, than he is ready to admit. In addition to raising the minimum wage by over 100 percent and expanding the size of the public sector workforce through mass employment of Nigerians, the Obasanjo administration constructed thousands of kilometres of roads across the country, while it initiated a revamping of the rail sector. To the eternal credit of the Obasanjo administration, the master plan of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) Abuja was substantially restored through a massive infrastructural expansion that distinguished it as one of the fastest developing capitals in Africa.
The Obasanjo administration reformed primary education through the Universal Basic Education initiative, which increased the enrolment of children into elementary schools in multiple folds. Obasanjo’s accomplishments in health care through the National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS); housing, by means of the National Housing Fund (NHF); and tertiary education through the Tertiary Education Trust Fund (TETFund) and Petroleum Technology Development Fund (PTDF) are reference points in institutional corporate governance today. Human capital development and far reaching institutional reforms that positioned Nigeria as a destination of choice for Foreign Direct Investments in Africa were carried out by the Obasanjo administration. Obasanjo instituted the war on graft and corruption through the establishment of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) and the Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission (ICPC). All these achievements are despite the fact that the Obasanjo administration inherited a depleted foreign reserve of $3 billion and huge debt of $30 billion in 1999. However, by 2007, Nigeria witnessed a phenomenal turn around when Obasanjo left a whopping $43 billion in foreign reserves and $35 billion in savings in the excess crude account. In addition, Obasanjo successfully exited Nigeria from the clique of debtor nations when he paid $18 billion as counterpart funds to a league of creditor nations and institutions, to get the balance written off.
On power, it is neither true that Obasanjo spent $16 billion nor that he achieved nothing. The bogus figure of $16 billion emanated from a controversial National Assembly inquest into the power sector. Whereas, $16 billion was projected for the holistic transformation of the power sector by the Obasanjo administration, less than $4 billion was actually expended, according to available records. The power sector in 1999, when the Obasanjo administration came in, was in a very poor state. As a result of long years of neglect by successive administrations, the various power stations in Jebba, Shiroro, Kainji, Egbin, afam and Delta could only generate a paltry 1500 megawatts.The first step taken by the Obasanjo administration to improve power supply was to successfully revamp the existing power plants, which resulted in the increased output of 2500 megawatts, bringing the total output available to Nigerians from the national grid to 4000 megawatts. Further expansion of the power infrastructure saw the Obasanjo administration’s conceptualisation and initial execution of ten power plants across the country, with the capacity to generate 12000 megawatts of electricity. These projects were funded from the savings of the Obasanjo administration from the excess crude account. Out of the estimated cost of $10 billion, only about $3.7 billion was expended as the time of the complete procurement of the first phase of power plants in 2007.
Throughout his political sojourn in the wilderness of the opposition, Buhari gained fame for his strong incorruptibility credentials and his fiery criticism of his predecessors/rivals for plundering the nation’s common wealth. He attributed the nation’s underdevelopment to the scourge of corruption, which he claimed left Nigeria in the deficit of basic infrastructure, no savings but a debt overhang. Nigerians believed in him to salvage the ugly situation and got him elected on his fourth attempt on the ballot in 2015. That Buhari, who regaled the nation about the looting exploits of his predecessors/rivals, went to the “CBN governor with my cap in hand and asked if we had savings. He told me we had only debts, no savings” means that his accusation of massive looting was actually a false alarm. Even though available facts go contrary to Buhari’s claim of inheriting an empty treasury, his often melodramatic theatrics over his shock at the extent of the looting of the commonwealth renders his age long accusation of his predecessors/rivals as deliberately orchestrated lies to gain political advantage. The Buhari administration inherited a foreign reserve of $25 billion and an excess crude account of $2.4 billion, contrary to the claim that there were no savings.
That Buhari is venerating Abacha five months after taking delivery of over $300 million looted fund by the late dictator from Swiss authorities, while expecting another of his $500 million from the United States, calls to question his (Buhari) understanding of corruption, as much as about any other issue of governance. It is discernable from Buhari’s statements that he didn’t quite pay attention to the details of government dealing throughout his years in the opposition, in order to be adequately informed. This lack of proper information on issues of governance is responsible for the elevation of fake news and hate speech to presidential levels as Buhari continues to wallow in the arrogance of ignorance.

Majeed Dahiru , a public affairs analyst, writes from Abuja and can be reached through dahirumajeed@gmail.com .

BEING TEXT OF A SPEECH BY PROFESSOR SHUAIBU AHMED DANFULANI, CHANCELLOR – CENTER FOR INTERNATIONAL AND STRATEGIC STUDIES (CISS) AND COUNTRY DIRECTOR/PRESIDENT, GLOBAL AMNESTY WATCH (GAW) AT THE INTERNATIONAL CONFERENCE ON TERRORISM HELD AT THE INTERNATIONAL CONFERENCE CENTRE ABUJA ON MONDAY MAY 28, 2018

Protocols,

Esteemed participants, you may not realize it but you are part of history making today because the chances are that the conference would come with the position that could help Nigeria win the war against terrorism. The conference has the opportunity to speak truth to power. It also has the chance to consign itself to other non-consequential interventions that had hugged the limelight in the past only to adopt the timid business as usual stance when the facts are all too glaring for the casual observer to see.

It is now a given that some things around how Nigeria responded to Boko Haram and other proscribed or outlawed groups changed about three years ago, which I believe is the basis for which this conference is concerning itself with assessing only those three years that terrorists were made to realize that Nigeria is a country, and one with a standing and capable Army. The terrorists have since learnt that this is not a no man’s land where they can brag about holding territory. That repulsive ambition died once generals who know what they are doing stepped to the plate.

The euphoria of the successes recorded in the war against terrorism notwithstanding, and without prejudice to the costly sacrifices being made by members of the Armed Forces, we must in our intervention today be bold to rankle moods and step on toes. Whatever is found wanting must be identified and proclaimed so as that is the only way for the country to be able to take steps that will rid it of the last vestige of terrorism.

I will therefore digress to dwell on something or some things that Nigeria should have done differently. That is the overall approach to the war on terrorism. Please note, this is not to say a lot has not been achieved but it is rather to point out that much more could have been achieved and attained faster than we did. What I find to be missing in this regard is a failure to evolve a fully Nigerian approach to dealing with a global problem that mutated a Nigerian strain for that is what Boko haram is.

Since terrorism became a global challenge, countries have evolved their own responses to the threats posed, either in isolation or part of a collective but always with the national touch that ensures the interest of the particular country is well protected even when it is constrained to honor commitments to supra-national bodies.

I challenge you, participants, to take a quick study of France – the number of terror attacks it has had in the past ten years and the number of arrests it has made in those instances. What you will find is that a higher number of the terrorists that carry out attacks in France do not live to wear handcuffs neither do they ride police patrol cars, their corpses usually make the trip from their standoff with law enforcement to the city morgue because they always invariably end up dead. The latest attacker was a mere 16 days ago and that was the fate that befell him even though his weapon of choice was what some would refer to a mere knife. So, the terrorists know France is not a playground for their twisted ideology. Former French colonies in Africa – take note of Mali, Burkina Faso, Niger – have adopted a similar approach and terrorists know not to go fooling around in these places.

Russia has even lesser tolerance and a thinner finesse to dealing with terrorists. Russian President Vladimir Putting, quoted in a Brooking Insitute article that made reference to a 2000 interview for his biography said of his brutal suppression of terrorists in Chechnya, “If we did not quickly do something to stop it, Russia as a state in its current form would cease to exist…. I was convinced that if we did not immediately stop the extremists [in Chechnya], then in no time at all we would be facing a second Yugoslavia across the entire territory of the Russian Federation — the Yugoslavization of Russia.” Putin also does not want Chechen that have fought alongside ISIS terrorists in the Middle East to export terrorism back to Russia, it is a cheaper and more effective approach, to deal with the problem before it arises.

Britain is arresting, trying and jailing its nationals that have gone to Syria to support ISIS. In fact, even contemplating or planning to travel to join ISIS is a crime for which some convicts are serving time. United Kingdom Defence Secretary, Gavin Williamson asserted that Britons who have fought for ISIS should be hunted down and killed to ensure they never return to their country. Perhaps, British that fought on the side of ISIS are fortunate to only be imprisoned for their crimes; an American citizenship could have guaranteed them death right in the Middle East by Hellfire missiles fired from Predator drones simply to ensure they do not live to return home with their terrorists’ ideology and build terror networks in their homelands.

Incidentally, these are all countries that some of us have been brainwashed to regard as the benchmark for strict adherence to human rights. Yes, they adhere to human rights and follow rules of engagement but they always make sure that the collective interest is above those of individuals that have gone rouge. For these countries, it appears failure to remove threats to the larger population is what constitute violation of human rights. Their governments and military see themselves as being responsible to the civilian population that would be harmed if terrorists should successfully hijack their countries.

Ladies and gentlemen, please note how the media and civil society in the aforementioned countries react to these practices I have mentioned. They may grumble, they may criticize but they in the end join in managing the situation so that their people see the common and greater good in the steps taken to curtail terrorism. At no time have international human rights organizations been able to hound them or their militaries. If anything, reports that have recriminating titles have texts that praise the valour of the troops that kill menacing terrorists.

You should by now be asking yourselves what the Nigeria model is. What is the Nigeria model? The reality is that there is no Nigeran model in the true sense of things. What we have instead has been a Nigerian Army that has been excelling in the face of impossibilities. The same human rights activists and international NGOs that see nothing wrong in the way these other countries keep themselves safe expect Nigerian troops to approach terrorists with gift offerings so that they can be talked into giving up their evil ways. Once troops kill terrorists it would become a matter of human rights violation and threat of being dragged to the International Criminal Court (ICC). I invite you to note again that the military from France, Russia, United Kingdom and United States are not threatened with ICC when they kill terrorists, instead they get medals. So, the question is, why is Nigeria different?

This is a question for participants to find answers to. At a different forum, people told me it is because they want Nigeria to fail. But even this answer only provoked more questions. If you were to give me the same answer I will then ask: why do they want Nigeria to fail or collapse?

Other questions are: who are these people that want Nigeria to fail? How do they plan to make Nigeria to fail? What have they done so far to set Nigeria on the path of failing? Who are they using to make Nigeria to fail? Who benefits if Nigeria should fail? What is Nigeria doing to prevent itself from failing?

Whatever answers we get to these questions, they will point to the centrality of the Nigerian military, notably the Nigerian Army as the institution to counter these threats. The Army cannot safeguard the country against conspiracies of such magnitude if it has to adopt a different set of rules to the ones other Armies use to protect their country. The Army cannot be fighting Boko Haram only for agents of countries that do not allow terrorists breathing space to dictate what must not happen to known terrorists.

I therefore challenge this conference to review the conditions under which the Nigerian Military achieved its successes over Boko Haram with a view to making suggestions that will empower military personnel to do even better. You should identify groups that are being used to undermine the military’s effort to eradicate Boko Haram and make useful suggestions on how to manage such organizations.

My hope is that you will be able to come up with a template that will help the Nigerian Army develop its own approach to dealing with terrorists in a manner that ensures that the safety of Nigeria is not jeopardized.

I wish you fruitful deliberations.

#2ndInternationalHumanRightsConferenceOnLocalArmedConflictsInNigeria

NEMA Swims in bad tides By Emmanuel Onwubiko

The National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) is currently swimming in the tides of controversy around the issues of corruption, managerial incompetence, contract and procurement misconducts among a litany of other matters which have combined to cripple the motivation of a lot of the staff.
These avalanche of crises afflicting NEMA started when President Muhammadu Buhari appointed a career politician to head this most strategic intervention agency and ever since the Yobe politician Alhaji Mustapha Mahaja arrived NEMA, it has been every day one trouble.
It can even be concluded that this agency of government established for the purposes of embarking on emergency rescue and remedial processes is itself in a very urgent need of emergency redemption.
From official account found in the website of the agency yesterday, the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) was established via Act 12 as amended by Act 50 of 1999, to manage disasters in Nigeria. It has been tackling disaster related issues through the establishment of concrete structures.
The Mission is; To coordinate resource towards efficient and effective disaster prevention, preparation, mitigation and response in Nigeria.
The Vision is; To build a culture of preparedness, prevention, response and community resilience to disaster in Nigeria.
The Act vested the authority of managing disasters in Nigeria in NEMA.
According to the enabling law; the Agency shall among the other things,
(a) Formulate policy on all activities relating to the disaster management in Nigeria and co-ordinate the plans and programmes for efficient and effect response to disasters at national level; (b) Monitor the state of preparedness of all.
Sadly, since he arrived from the political terrain to assume the mantle of leadership of this important agency of government, this usually pro-active office has become a theatre of war between the new Director General and some “unlucky” directors whom he has accused of a range of financial misappropriations running into billions. These directors have in turn accused the director general of these same serial contracts procurements’’ crimes and have insisted that the man was simply on a vendetta for no known reason. It is feared that the new director general may have spoilt for a fight to muddy up the records of those directors who are pioneer staff just so he can bring in his own boys. This pattern is what obtains in most agencies whereby the current set of power workers have appointed their cronies.
For the first time since NEMA was created, the staff embarked on industrial action over failure of the current Director General to meet up with their basic financial obligation.
The news emanating from the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) have never being palatable even as productivity within the agency has dramatically nosedived because of artificially induced paucity of operational fund to power some of the very pressing activities.
The director general has also been accused of over stepping his powers by arbitrarily suspending serving directors without recourse to the laws governing affairs of civil servants.
Also, two institutions one of which is a whole arm of government and the other an agency under the Executive arm of government namely, the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission and the National Assembly have feasted on some of these controversies brewing within the National Emergency Management Agency in such a way that has reduced the agency to a mere theatre of war.
This is because, while the Federal House of Representatives thinks the Director General has questions to answer regarding monumental corruption the EFCC on the other hand is seen as the attack dog being deployed to witch-hunt the directors who have fallen out of favour for a reason that is not easily known.
The Vice President Yemi Osinbanjo is the chairman of the head of governors of NEMA and is therefore expected to provide effective oversight to the running of the National Emergency Management Agency.
The Vice president is a known political godfather of the acting chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission Alhaji Ibrahim Magu.
Yemi Osinbanjo is known to have thrown his weight behind Ibrahim Magu when the senate over ruled his fitness to head the anti-graft body.
Some observers are therefore seeing the clamp down on the six directors of NEMA by EFCC as a voice of Jacob but the body of Esau meaning that the anti-graft czar may have sided with the Vice President to shift the burden of the blame for the alleged corruption on the suspended staff and not the politically appointed director general of NEMA who is affiliated to the Vice President and is said to be doing his bidding.
There are also insinuations that if indeed the director general may have committed the said financial infractions, it follows therefore that the Vice President may have some explanation to do concerning why those alleged crimes happened. The Federal House of Representatives reportedly invited the Vice President over these issues.
What is however disturbing is that despite the cacophony of controversy dogging NEMA, neither the president nor the vice president made any known moves to call the director general to order or to completely re-organize the management of that agency so a real competent manager is appointed to head that agency.
If truth must be told, NEMA is such a vital organ of government that must not be used as avenue to settle political sons but a place whereby only the best is good enough to head the agency.
However, whilst we thank the benevolence of nature for not unleashing a major disaster which will definitely not be managed effectively by a highly disorganized National Emergency Management Agency, the problems tearing that place apart seems far from over.
The director general appeared before the House of Representatives and was quoted as having admitted committing procurement crime but the mystery is that it seems the government is so overwhelmed by corruption and financial crimes’ allegations that it does not know what next to do to sanitize the rotten house that is being presided over by President Muhammadu Buhari.
The director general of the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA), Engineer Mustapha Maihaja, had admitted before the House of Representatives Committee on Emergency and Disaster Preparedness, which is investigating breach of public trust in the agency that the agency did not comply with the provisions of NEMA establishment Act which mandates it to liaise with its state counterparts during distribution of relief materials.
Speaking at the resumed sitting of the committee in the National Assembly, the DG made the admittance while responding to questions by lawmakers on the failure of the agency to distribute relief materials to the affected areas in the North East.
The hearing of the day was focused on the distribution of relief materials or lack of it, and the N8 billion Emergency Food Intervention Programme in the five states in the North East region: Borno, Yobe, Gombe, Adamawa and Bauchi States.
It also took testimonies from the officials of the National Pension Commission (PENCOM), National Social Insurance Trust Fund (NSITF), Industrial Training Fund (ITF), Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS) and the Corporate Affairs Commission (CAC) on the status of the companies that were awarded the contracts for the implementation of the emergency food intervention programme.
Representatives of governments of Gombe, Yobe, Bauchi and Taraba states had made testimonies before the committee where they disclosed that NEMA did not involve the state government or the state emergency agencies when the commenced the distribution of items. They also added that they could not ascertain whether the items were distributed by NEMA according to the claim of the DG because of their non-involvement in the whole arrangement.
Media reports said all of the states except Bauchi State said they did not receive any letter from NEMA about the food distribution to internally displaced persons in their states, while Gombe state government was emphatic that there are no IDP camps in the state, and as such, it did not receive any relief materials from the agency.
The committee also reportedly unraveled a forged clearance certificate presented by Three Brothers Rice Mill Ltd. The representative of ITF at the hearing had informed the lawmakers that the clearance purportedly issued by ITF was not from his office as it bears a wrong address, signature and carries his name, though he was not the one who signed it.
Officials of the National Pension Commission (PENCOM), National Social Insurance Trust Fund (NSITF), Industrial Training Fund (ITF), Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS)and the Corporate Affairs Commission(CAC), while making presentations on the companies (Three Brothers Rice Mill Nigeria Ltd and Olam Nigeria Ltd) engaged by NEMA to carry out the N8 billion Food Intervention Programme, informed the committee that they did not fully meet all the requirements for qualification for government contracts.
Responding, NEMA DG, Engr. Mustapha said the exigency of the situation required the agency to make emergency procurements. He also faulted Yobe State statement that NEMA did not make any contact with the state on the distribution and presented a letter of communicated to the committee where the state acknowledged correspondence from them.
The contract awarded to Olam Nigeria Ltd for 2.4 billion naira and the 600million to 3 Brothers Rice Ltd for supply of rice for the emergency food intervention programme in the North East, he stated, was made at the presidential level and the contractors were selected because they had the capacity to deliver in the huge quantity that was needed.
Media reports stated that the chairman of the committee, Ali Isa J.C, warned against misrepresentation of the proceedings of the committee. He said some news reports were deliberately trying to mislead the public and create an impression that the National Assembly is at war with the vice president.
He said, “The House believes we are working with the executive, especially when it comes to fighting corruption and getting value for money. “
The chairman also declared that the House cannot be intimidated into suspending the investigation. He said they will not be distracted to shift focus from probing the N5.9 billion and N3.1 billion Emergency Food Intervention Programme, the N1.6 billion funds for 16 states flood relief and another N1.6 billion for Libya returnees.
The committee summoned the Central Bank of Nigeria, Ministry of Budget and National Planning, Ministry of Agriculture and all companies involved in the procurement of the N5.1 emergency food in the North East.
It also directed NEMA DG to bring all communication, including minutes of meetings, related to the selection of the companies that got the contracts.
Again, as the Committee on Emergency and Disaster Preparedness resumes its investigation into breach of trust by the National Emergency Agency (NEMA), efforts by the lawmakers to track the source of the directive to disburse over N8 billion to some companies to supply grains to internally displaced persons in the North East was truncated after the accountant general appealed to the House not to disclose contents of the documents required because they are classified as security information.
A press statement emanating from the House of Representatives said NEMA could not make any presentation at the hearing due to the failure of its director general, Engr. Mustapha Maihaja, to appear for the second time in a row.
The director of Relief and Rehabilitation, Mr. Kayode Fagbemi, who was again mandated to represent him was rejected by the representatives but asked to stay through the proceedings as an observer.
The committee, in the hearing that held at the National Assembly, had earlier interrogated three of the companies that benefitted from the emergency food programme and the food security programme on the basis of the release of the funds to them. All but one of the companies, namely BUA, Three Brothers Rice Mill, Dangote could not tell the committee exactly what office the contract for their supply of grains emanated from.
Only Olam stated that while it did not apply to NEMA for the contract to supply food to the North East, or mop up grains for off season use, it was granted the job the agency and received payment from the office, though it has an outstanding of N274 million.
However, one of the documents before the committee revealed that the disbursement, which all companies said was not a loan facility, came from the Central Bank of Nigeria as a public/private partnership arrangement. The document showed that it was supposed to be a loan facility to the beneficiary companies.
They also queried the permanent secretary of the Finance Ministry on another document which showed that the authorization to the Central Bank of Nigeria to pay the companies was issued by his office.
In his presentation earlier, the representative of BUA could not tell the committee the agency that awarded the contract to his company, and also said he does not know if there was an award letter or agreement between the federal government and his company in relation to the contract to supply soya beans. This was after he had earlier submitted that there was no contract or agreement to that effect.
While adding that all grains have been given to NEMA, he added that BUA did not apply to CBN for the contract.
On its part, Olam’s vice president (Rice), Mr. Reggie George stated again that it did not bid for the N2.4 billion naira contract it got but was informed by the Ministry Agriculture to send an invoice to the ministry of Finance, after a Rice Processors of Nigeria meeting. He also added that there was no advertisement or bidding process that the company responded to or participated in.
Responding to enquiries by the lawmakers, the Permanent secretary, Ministry of Finance, disclosed that there was no contractual agreement, just an instruction from the office of the Accountant General to pay N5.8 billion to some companies, which they complied with.
Office of the accountant general, however, said it is not aware of any dealings of the contract.
The controversy surrounding the legal status of the Three Brothers Rice Mill continued at the hearing as documents related to the company showed three in figure (4) instead of in words as the company’s representatives claimed was the correct name.
The Corporate Affairs Commission and other relevant agencies were directed by the committee to submit all documents related to the company in either of the 2 names in the next hearing on Thursday, which is expected to be the last.
The house of NEMA indeed stinks of corruption and managerial incompetence requiring a transparent clean up with a clean broom untainted by partisan politics.
Emmanuel Onwubiko heads the Human Rights Writers Association of Nigeria (HURIWA) and blogs @ http://www.emmanuelonwubiko.com ; www. huriwanigeria.com ; http://www.huriwa@blogspot.com

NEMA Swims in bad tides By Emmanuel Onwubiko

The National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) is currently swimming in the tides of controversy around the issues of corruption, managerial incompetence, contract and procurement misconducts among a litany of other matters which have combined to cripple the motivation of a lot of the staff.
These avalanche of crises afflicting NEMA started when President Muhammadu Buhari appointed a career politician to head this most strategic intervention agency and ever since the Yobe politician Alhaji Mustapha Mahaja arrived NEMA, it has been every day one trouble.
It can even be concluded that this agency of government established for the purposes of embarking on emergency rescue and remedial processes is itself in a very urgent need of emergency redemption.
From official account found in the website of the agency yesterday, the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) was established via Act 12 as amended by Act 50 of 1999, to manage disasters in Nigeria. It has been tackling disaster related issues through the establishment of concrete structures.
The Mission is; To coordinate resource towards efficient and effective disaster prevention, preparation, mitigation and response in Nigeria.
The Vision is; To build a culture of preparedness, prevention, response and community resilience to disaster in Nigeria.
The Act vested the authority of managing disasters in Nigeria in NEMA.
According to the enabling law; the Agency shall among the other things,
(a) Formulate policy on all activities relating to the disaster management in Nigeria and co-ordinate the plans and programmes for efficient and effect response to disasters at national level; (b) Monitor the state of preparedness of all.
Sadly, since he arrived from the political terrain to assume the mantle of leadership of this important agency of government, this usually pro-active office has become a theatre of war between the new Director General and some “unlucky” directors whom he has accused of a range of financial misappropriations running into billions. These directors have in turn accused the director general of these same serial contracts procurements’’ crimes and have insisted that the man was simply on a vendetta for no known reason. It is feared that the new director general may have spoilt for a fight to muddy up the records of those directors who are pioneer staff just so he can bring in his own boys. This pattern is what obtains in most agencies whereby the current set of power workers have appointed their cronies.
For the first time since NEMA was created, the staff embarked on industrial action over failure of the current Director General to meet up with their basic financial obligation.
The news emanating from the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) have never being palatable even as productivity within the agency has dramatically nosedived because of artificially induced paucity of operational fund to power some of the very pressing activities.
The director general has also been accused of over stepping his powers by arbitrarily suspending serving directors without recourse to the laws governing affairs of civil servants.
Also, two institutions one of which is a whole arm of government and the other an agency under the Executive arm of government namely, the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission and the National Assembly have feasted on some of these controversies brewing within the National Emergency Management Agency in such a way that has reduced the agency to a mere theatre of war.
This is because, while the Federal House of Representatives thinks the Director General has questions to answer regarding monumental corruption the EFCC on the other hand is seen as the attack dog being deployed to witch-hunt the directors who have fallen out of favour for a reason that is not easily known.
The Vice President Yemi Osinbanjo is the chairman of the head of governors of NEMA and is therefore expected to provide effective oversight to the running of the National Emergency Management Agency.
The Vice president is a known political godfather of the acting chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission Alhaji Ibrahim Magu.
Yemi Osinbanjo is known to have thrown his weight behind Ibrahim Magu when the senate over ruled his fitness to head the anti-graft body.
Some observers are therefore seeing the clamp down on the six directors of NEMA by EFCC as a voice of Jacob but the body of Esau meaning that the anti-graft czar may have sided with the Vice President to shift the burden of the blame for the alleged corruption on the suspended staff and not the politically appointed director general of NEMA who is affiliated to the Vice President and is said to be doing his bidding.
There are also insinuations that if indeed the director general may have committed the said financial infractions, it follows therefore that the Vice President may have some explanation to do concerning why those alleged crimes happened. The Federal House of Representatives reportedly invited the Vice President over these issues.
What is however disturbing is that despite the cacophony of controversy dogging NEMA, neither the president nor the vice president made any known moves to call the director general to order or to completely re-organize the management of that agency so a real competent manager is appointed to head that agency.
If truth must be told, NEMA is such a vital organ of government that must not be used as avenue to settle political sons but a place whereby only the best is good enough to head the agency.
However, whilst we thank the benevolence of nature for not unleashing a major disaster which will definitely not be managed effectively by a highly disorganized National Emergency Management Agency, the problems tearing that place apart seems far from over.
The director general appeared before the House of Representatives and was quoted as having admitted committing procurement crime but the mystery is that it seems the government is so overwhelmed by corruption and financial crimes’ allegations that it does not know what next to do to sanitize the rotten house that is being presided over by President Muhammadu Buhari.
The director general of the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA), Engineer Mustapha Maihaja, had admitted before the House of Representatives Committee on Emergency and Disaster Preparedness, which is investigating breach of public trust in the agency that the agency did not comply with the provisions of NEMA establishment Act which mandates it to liaise with its state counterparts during distribution of relief materials.
Speaking at the resumed sitting of the committee in the National Assembly, the DG made the admittance while responding to questions by lawmakers on the failure of the agency to distribute relief materials to the affected areas in the North East.
The hearing of the day was focused on the distribution of relief materials or lack of it, and the N8 billion Emergency Food Intervention Programme in the five states in the North East region: Borno, Yobe, Gombe, Adamawa and Bauchi States.
It also took testimonies from the officials of the National Pension Commission (PENCOM), National Social Insurance Trust Fund (NSITF), Industrial Training Fund (ITF), Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS) and the Corporate Affairs Commission (CAC) on the status of the companies that were awarded the contracts for the implementation of the emergency food intervention programme.
Representatives of governments of Gombe, Yobe, Bauchi and Taraba states had made testimonies before the committee where they disclosed that NEMA did not involve the state government or the state emergency agencies when the commenced the distribution of items. They also added that they could not ascertain whether the items were distributed by NEMA according to the claim of the DG because of their non-involvement in the whole arrangement.
Media reports said all of the states except Bauchi State said they did not receive any letter from NEMA about the food distribution to internally displaced persons in their states, while Gombe state government was emphatic that there are no IDP camps in the state, and as such, it did not receive any relief materials from the agency.
The committee also reportedly unraveled a forged clearance certificate presented by Three Brothers Rice Mill Ltd. The representative of ITF at the hearing had informed the lawmakers that the clearance purportedly issued by ITF was not from his office as it bears a wrong address, signature and carries his name, though he was not the one who signed it.
Officials of the National Pension Commission (PENCOM), National Social Insurance Trust Fund (NSITF), Industrial Training Fund (ITF), Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS)and the Corporate Affairs Commission(CAC), while making presentations on the companies (Three Brothers Rice Mill Nigeria Ltd and Olam Nigeria Ltd) engaged by NEMA to carry out the N8 billion Food Intervention Programme, informed the committee that they did not fully meet all the requirements for qualification for government contracts.
Responding, NEMA DG, Engr. Mustapha said the exigency of the situation required the agency to make emergency procurements. He also faulted Yobe State statement that NEMA did not make any contact with the state on the distribution and presented a letter of communicated to the committee where the state acknowledged correspondence from them.
The contract awarded to Olam Nigeria Ltd for 2.4 billion naira and the 600million to 3 Brothers Rice Ltd for supply of rice for the emergency food intervention programme in the North East, he stated, was made at the presidential level and the contractors were selected because they had the capacity to deliver in the huge quantity that was needed.
Media reports stated that the chairman of the committee, Ali Isa J.C, warned against misrepresentation of the proceedings of the committee. He said some news reports were deliberately trying to mislead the public and create an impression that the National Assembly is at war with the vice president.
He said, “The House believes we are working with the executive, especially when it comes to fighting corruption and getting value for money. “
The chairman also declared that the House cannot be intimidated into suspending the investigation. He said they will not be distracted to shift focus from probing the N5.9 billion and N3.1 billion Emergency Food Intervention Programme, the N1.6 billion funds for 16 states flood relief and another N1.6 billion for Libya returnees.
The committee summoned the Central Bank of Nigeria, Ministry of Budget and National Planning, Ministry of Agriculture and all companies involved in the procurement of the N5.1 emergency food in the North East.
It also directed NEMA DG to bring all communication, including minutes of meetings, related to the selection of the companies that got the contracts.
Again, as the Committee on Emergency and Disaster Preparedness resumes its investigation into breach of trust by the National Emergency Agency (NEMA), efforts by the lawmakers to track the source of the directive to disburse over N8 billion to some companies to supply grains to internally displaced persons in the North East was truncated after the accountant general appealed to the House not to disclose contents of the documents required because they are classified as security information.
A press statement emanating from the House of Representatives said NEMA could not make any presentation at the hearing due to the failure of its director general, Engr. Mustapha Maihaja, to appear for the second time in a row.
The director of Relief and Rehabilitation, Mr. Kayode Fagbemi, who was again mandated to represent him was rejected by the representatives but asked to stay through the proceedings as an observer.
The committee, in the hearing that held at the National Assembly, had earlier interrogated three of the companies that benefitted from the emergency food programme and the food security programme on the basis of the release of the funds to them. All but one of the companies, namely BUA, Three Brothers Rice Mill, Dangote could not tell the committee exactly what office the contract for their supply of grains emanated from.
Only Olam stated that while it did not apply to NEMA for the contract to supply food to the North East, or mop up grains for off season use, it was granted the job the agency and received payment from the office, though it has an outstanding of N274 million.
However, one of the documents before the committee revealed that the disbursement, which all companies said was not a loan facility, came from the Central Bank of Nigeria as a public/private partnership arrangement. The document showed that it was supposed to be a loan facility to the beneficiary companies.
They also queried the permanent secretary of the Finance Ministry on another document which showed that the authorization to the Central Bank of Nigeria to pay the companies was issued by his office.
In his presentation earlier, the representative of BUA could not tell the committee the agency that awarded the contract to his company, and also said he does not know if there was an award letter or agreement between the federal government and his company in relation to the contract to supply soya beans. This was after he had earlier submitted that there was no contract or agreement to that effect.
While adding that all grains have been given to NEMA, he added that BUA did not apply to CBN for the contract.
On its part, Olam’s vice president (Rice), Mr. Reggie George stated again that it did not bid for the N2.4 billion naira contract it got but was informed by the Ministry Agriculture to send an invoice to the ministry of Finance, after a Rice Processors of Nigeria meeting. He also added that there was no advertisement or bidding process that the company responded to or participated in.
Responding to enquiries by the lawmakers, the Permanent secretary, Ministry of Finance, disclosed that there was no contractual agreement, just an instruction from the office of the Accountant General to pay N5.8 billion to some companies, which they complied with.
Office of the accountant general, however, said it is not aware of any dealings of the contract.
The controversy surrounding the legal status of the Three Brothers Rice Mill continued at the hearing as documents related to the company showed three in figure (4) instead of in words as the company’s representatives claimed was the correct name.
The Corporate Affairs Commission and other relevant agencies were directed by the committee to submit all documents related to the company in either of the 2 names in the next hearing on Thursday, which is expected to be the last.
The house of NEMA indeed stinks of corruption and managerial incompetence requiring a transparent clean up with a clean broom untainted by partisan politics.
Emmanuel Onwubiko heads the Human Rights Writers Association of Nigeria (HURIWA) and blogs @ http://www.emmanuelonwubiko.com ; www. huriwanigeria.com ; http://www.huriwa@blogspot.com

Obasanjo submission to the house committee on power in 2008 on the ‘$16bn’ allegations

In May 2008, former President Olusegun Obasanjo was summoned by the house committee probing the expenditure on power sector between 1999 and 2007 when he was in office. His successor, Umaru Musa Yar’Adua, had alleged that Obasanjo’s administration spent $11 billion on the sector “with nothing to show for it”. This prompted the probe, with the alleged figure rising to $16 billion. TheCable reproduces below the full response of Obasanjo to the allegation in a letter dated May 12, 2008 which he sent to the house committee on power and steel.
The Chairman and Honourable Members of the House of Representatives Committee on Power and Steel, I thank you for your letter of the 3rd of May 2008 received on the 9th of May 2008 inviting me to appear before you. In the said letter, you said that the invitation was to give me “a fair hearing on allegations and counter-allegations which were made behind me in respect of my role in the execution of projects in the power sector from 1999 to 2007″.
Your letter which came to me on the 9th of May 2008 inviting me to appear on the 12th of May 2008 (the 10th and 11th being Saturday and Sunday respectively) did not specify or include details of the particular allegations and counter-allegations made before you by some persons who appeared before you to which you want me to reply or respond.
As much as I would like to assist your investigation, fair hearing which you referred to demands that these particulars ought to be forwarded to me and adequate time ought to be provided for me to prepare before appearing before you. The need for adequate time becomes more imperative since I have left the government since 2007 and I have no access to government data and information which are in the custody of the government.
It is my view that your task is not an easy one and nothing should be taken for granted. Since you have taken it upon yourselves to strengthen our practice of democracy which was re-established in 1999, and for which I was a key participant and nourisher between 1999 and 2007. As a democrat, I will like to do whatever is possible within the Constitution, the law and decency to help as you establish a new precedent of investigation and putting searchlight on the executive actions and duties after office. It is a precedent that may serve the country well or serve the country not so well. It is seen by me as healthy for our young democracy if it is carefully, fairly, justly and honestly carried out. I will hope that my response to your invitation will not be taken as precedent for other former Presidents to be so invited in future. It may be regarded as being in bad taste and that may be right. I chose to be here not because I see it as compulsory or mandatory. It is absolutely voluntary.
In general sense, democracy is a system of government in which the ultimate power rests with the people. In institutional sense, it is a system in which powers are divided or shared among institutions: Executive, Legislative and Judiciary. With the concept of democracy and good governance, we have a system based on good leadership, respect for the rule of law and due process, accountability and transparency. Your task must be to enhance these pillars of democracy and good governance and I am here just to assist you in doing that as a means of continued nurturing of our young democracy. Having said this, no institution of government should use its power to prevent or hinder the other institutions of government from being able to function properly, effectively and appropriately. I appreciate Section 88 of our Constitution which says that the National Assembly has powers to investigate any matter in which it can make laws for the purposes of making law, and that power and energy is part of such laws.
However, in Section 148, the President has power to grant executive responsibilities to ministers, to hold regular meetings with ministers for determining the general direction of domestic and foreign policies and to coordinate the activities of ministers in the discharge of their executive responsibilities. The President leads a team and galvanises, mobilises and inspires that team into action. What I am saying here is that the privilege and the collective responsibility of the members of Executive Council must not be hindered by the way the National Assembly carries out its function, otherwise it may be difficult, if not impossible, for the Executive to carry out its domestic and, certainly, its foreign duties, policies and responsibilities.
COLLECTIVE RESPONSIBILITY
Each institution should carry out its functions in such a way to enhance its own performance and the performance of other institutions of Government. Going on from this point, I could say that having granted executive responsibilities to the minister responsible for power and, believing in the concept of collective responsibility of the Executive Council, I do not need to appear before your Committee since the Ministers responsible for Power and Finance have appeared on their own separate behalf and on behalf of the Executive Council. I have chosen not to go that way because I, personally, believe that we must all carefully, justly, fairly, sincerely and honestly continue to nurture and strengthen democracy, if the exercise you have embarked upon is not working to a pre-conceived answer.
May I draw your attention to the letter of 3rd of May received on the 9th of May headed “Invitation to Appear at the Public Hearing on the Power Sector”. I observed that the letter was not authored or signed by the Chairman of the Committee, Hon. Ndudi Godwin Elumelu. The signature is that of one Sahmed. As a matter of comment, I believe that courtesy and decency will suggest that a letter from any Chamber of the National Assembly to me as former President of this country, on a matter of this nature, will be signed by the head of the chamber concerned on behalf of the Committee or the Clerk of the National Assembly or, at the minimum, the Chairman of the Committee itself and not by a third party.
For the reason of the way and manner your invitation came as well, I may choose not to appear and merely object to the manner of invitation. Again, I have chosen not to go that way. As Africans, we must respect age and authority. It is also a product of birth and breeding in an African culture. I hope members of the Committee will have something to learn from this exercise. Be that as it may, let me go to the points that will “give an insight and perspective into what” I know and my role in the execution of projects from 1999 to 2007.
What was the position of Power in May 1999 when our Administration took over? The following is the summary:
1. Non-serious investment in generation and transmission between 1981 and 1999, a period of eighteen years, except the completion of Jebba and Shiroro hydro power plants which my military administration began and Egbin thermal plant initiated also by military administration all of which were completed by President Shehu Shagari administration. And yet, for a developing country like Nigeria, we should be increasing the rate of our power generation as close to the rate of our population increase as possible. Our Administration thereby inherited eighteen years of non-investment in power generation and seeming apparent neglect of the sector. Serious determination to understand where we are and how we are in the power situation today must understand this background.
2. Although 6000 MW capacity was claimed in 1999, only 1500MW was being generated. Ijora and Oji River thermal based on coal have completely closed down for lack of coal production and early gas thermal units at Afam and Delta were obsolete and needed replacement.
3. The hydro power plants of Kanji, Jebba and Shiroro suffered seriously from silting and/or inadequate flow of water into the dam and poor maintenance.
4. The Egbin thermal unit suffered from disruption of gas supply through vandalism and poor management and maintenance by NEPA staff.
5. Because the transmission system was not a closed loop, any disruption by vandalism or any other cause meant power would totally be cut off from the part of the country affected.
6. NEPA was a den of monumental corruption and malpractice which were deep and widespread and revenue generation was grossly below expectation. There was massive illegal connection and avoidance of payment of bills.
CLOAKED IN MYSTERY
This situation was not thoroughly understood, identified and clarified until after the first two years of my first term. Late Chief Bola Ige, who was my first Minister in charge of power and who, by any standard, was a bright and smart person, thought he could deal with the problem of power within six months and he made such public pronouncement to the world. But after twelve months, he could not unravel, in details, the problems of NEPA let alone proffer a satisfactory solution. It was not because he did not try, but rather it was because NEPA was cloaked in near mystery.
After late Bola Ige was moved to Ministry of Justice, Dr. Segun Agagu took over and, with him, I paid a little more direct attention to the power issue. I was surprised, after one year, to discover the situation described above.
With such discovery, we sprang into action. First, NEPA leadership had to be changed and we brought in an accomplished Engineer from the private sector in person of Engr. Joe Makoju to assist with giving the organisation the leadership it lacked and to shape up the entire structure of organisation and change their attitude and orientation. The aim was to sanitise and reposition NEPA to perform its roles, functions and duties to the nation. Then, we started to tackle the issue of repairs, maintenance and replacement.
In replacement, we started with Afam where a new 276MW thermal unit was installed and commissioned.
We requested the Oil Companies to join in providing power to sell to NEPA. Mobil Oil started talking to us locally but due to lack of interest from their Headquarters in the US, they gave up. In spite of all efforts in this direction, only Agip Oil showed enough concern and commitment to build a 480MW thermal unit with transmission line to the grid system which I commissioned at Okpai. Until I left government in May 2007 and, in spite of pressure on the Oil Companies, no other Oil Company made commitment in this regard to the point of commissioning. It must also be mentioned that the delay in getting the Energy Regulatory Bill passed by the National Assembly also contributed, in some way, to the private sector slow commitment to power generation. In spite of power being on the concurrent list in our Constitution, only Rivers State paid serious and appreciable attention to power generation and transmission, Akwa-Ibom followed later with Federal Government support.
POOR REVENUE
Meanwhile, we embarked on building thermal units in four locations where existing gas pipelines are sufficiently close to minimise cost of gas provision to these sites. These sites or locations are Papalanto, Omotosho, Alaoji and Geregu. Each of these sites could be made to ultimately provide close to 1000MW. It must be remembered that the first term of our Administration started with the price of oil at $8 to $9 per barrel. Our budgets were not realised due to poor revenue intake from oil. For these four locations, we had to seek loan from China at concessionary rate to support two of the sites. Three of these sites – Gerengu, Omotosho and Papalanto – were built to the point of commission before I left government in May 2007.
As at today, Papalanto, Omotosho and Geregu are generating power for the grid. Gas pipe vandalism has affected them all. Since they were to be expanded, there was work continuously going on for adequate gas provision, transmission and additional turbines to reach the ultimate magnitude or capacity of about 1000MW each. The problem of vandalism of gas pipelines remains with them as with Egbin.
During our Administration’s first term and going into the early part of the second term, we studied all the available and possible sources of power and energy. These include solar, wind, tide, biomass, thermal from gas, thermal from coal, thermal from nuclear and hydro. We realised that technology for mass production of power from solar, wind and tide is still some distance away, and, therefore, the unit cost is prohibitive. They will do for smallholding or domestic use and we instituted concessionary policy to encourage such domestic or small-holding installation and use.
For large scale power production, we are left with thermal from gas, thermal from coal and hydro. We set for a twenty-year programme of nuclear energy only after we have almost exhausted what we can obtain from other thermal sources. After a visit to Omoku where Rivers State was building a thermal unit close to an Agip gas source to eliminate long distance gas pipelines that could be subjected to vandalism, we embarked on the study and search for similar available gas sources close to which other thermal plant could be located. Six of such sites were located at Sapele (Delta), Ehobor (Edo), Egbema (Imo), Gbaram (Bayelsa), Calabar (Cross River), Omoku (Rivers). That is the beginning of what is today called NIPP. It would be short in gas pipelines but might be somewhat long in transmission to grid line.
We have to coordinate and harmonise five aspects of the building of generation and evacuation unit in each site – turbine, gas provision, civil works, electrical station and transmission or evacuation. Unless all these are synchronised and brought together, expenditure on four, leaving out one as uncompleted, will still leave out power generation let alone having the power at our homes and factories. No matter what resources you may have, it will take a minimum of three years, if there are no interruptions or disruptions and with hard driving, to complete any one of these units. Without hard driving and with any disruption, it may take up to five years or more.
Now, with ICT taken over by the private sector, we identified energy, transportation and water supply as major infrastructural needs to make 20 20 20 a reality. If South Africa, with a population less than one-third of Nigerian population, has a power generation of some 40,000MW and yet still only an industrialising country, Nigeria will need close to 100,000MW of power generating capacity to become a serious industrialising country. But with the existing power generation capacity, the four thermal units earlier embarked upon and the seven NIPP, if pursued vigorously, Nigeria was to have 10,000MW generating capacity by 2007/2008 and then move by leaps and bounds to some 20,000MW by 2015. That programme is feasibly put in the pipeline but it has to be driven to be achieved. As a people who are desirous of making rapid economic and social progress, we have no alternative. Talking of any alternative can only be an idle talk or borne out of ignorance.
Fortunately, revenue from oil had improved from 2003 and we have managed to keep some reserve to prevent the boon and burst of the past when we spent all when we had money and went flat when the oil price ebbed. After consultation with the Governors, the Chairmen of Local Governments and the National Assembly, it was agreed to finance NIPP from reserve of unallocated oil revenue since energy touches every life and everywhere. It was to be an investment contribution which is on the basis of revenue allocation formula and to be refunded when NIPP is privatised on the same basis of revenue allocation. At that time, everybody agreed and we moved to finance NIPP on that basis.
In every case, to the best of my knowledge, all contracts for NIPP were based on open-publicly-advised tender system except for the turbines where the four major producers in the world – GE, Siemens, Hitachi and Alshtom – were invited to submit tender. GE was the cheapest with the best terms all round but particularly including establishing a repair and maintenance centre in Nigeria. Turbines which were custom-produced will only be produced when there is assurance of payment in form of down payment or irrevocable letter of credit.
MOBILISATION FEE
To the best of my knowledge, the government policy was to pay contractors only 25% mobilisation fee. However, it is not the duty of the President to oversee such payment. You are well aware of those whose duty it is to pay. If a contractor, who has been paid mobilisation fee is not actively on site, it will be wise to find out what the problem of such contractor may be – violence in the Niger Delta, extortion of money by the so-called militant groups, unfriendly community, waiting for raining season to go, awaiting equipment from abroad or any other reason. If there is a contractor that has taken mobilisation fee or any fee for that matter and not performing, there is always the guarantee from his bank or insurance that can be called. For letters of credit, a contractor does not draw money until there is evidence of performance normally in form of shipping documents which are negotiated between the bank of the client and the bank of the supplier.
You may wish to know that any allegation that companies are not registered or that non-existing companies were paid are not matters for the President but for appropriate officers in the relevant ministries. If this ever happened, there would have been a big syndicate racket that should be broken and all concerned prosecuted because monies are paid by cheques or letters of credit. Companies will not have bank accounts opened for them without evidence of registration and other documents authenticated. If the Committee has such a case, please ensure prosecution without delay. Let me just say that international and multi-national companies like the suppliers of turbines do not necessarily need to be registered in Nigeria to carry out operations, directly asking for waiver if necessary or through their local representatives. I am, however, informed that the issue of unregistered companies has since been clarified and the Committee has received evidence of registration of all the 34 companies.
While looking for solution to our energy problem, I visited South Africa where they depend heavily on thermal plant based on coal, generating in total 40,000MW and planning to spend $21 billion in the next five years. We could not embark on coal generated thermal until we can produce coal locally and no private sector will be involved in coal or other solid mineral production unless there is assurance
or expectation of reasonable return on such investment backed by necessary law, regulation and survey. The solid mineral bill lasted two years in the National Assembly. And no investor could be persuaded to come to invest in solid mineral when there was no law in place. The law came in the last quarter of our Administration. Very serious attention can now be paid to thermal generation from coal. Meanwhile, we have taken to hydro to supplement thermal with Mambila and Zungeru and smaller potentials from where we can generate almost 4000MW.
There has been some allegation of waiver of due process. Let us all understand what is meant by due process. It is the rule or regulation put in place for systematic and orderly business of government. Normal due process for award of contract is advertisement or, in case of selective tendering, ensuring sufficient number to avoid collusion. Then the tender should be publicly opened, followed by analysis of the tender and award made on the recommendation by those who analyse. Our Administration set up a due process unit to ensure that another check is in place especially with local contractor to see whether prices could be further reduced and to issue a certificate to ensure that there is budget provision for the project, the contract or the supply. All NIPP projects went through due process to check on competence, prices, or cost and were issued with due process certificate but exempted from due process payment certificate since they were not projects on normal annual budget but on special provision from excess crude and the fund being available there was no need to cause any further delay in payment for such an urgent project where any delay will be costly in human discomfort and inadequate power supply to industries. The first set of invoices by contractors were delayed in due process office for almost two months – an unnecessary delay which was holding up progress.
Let me plead with the Committee again that where you have proven cases of fraud or corruption, please give details of the amount involved, the bank involved, the persons involved. Where it is corruption, the receiver and the giver. Not only should you make public such proven misconduct, hand the offender with necessary documents to EFCC and/or ICPC.
DOUBLE JEOPARDY
In all cases, in government, during our Administration, we pursued the best interest of Nigeria and we went to great lengths to ensure that the interest of Nigeria, Nigerians and the government is protected. As the head of that administration, I spared no public officer who committed any breach of public order, integrity and propriety, particularly fraud and corruption. No matter how high an official was, he was sanctioned for misbehaviour. In this respect, I lead by example. But if your Committee has anything to the contrary, bring it out here and now, to explain if explanation is necessary.
Now, after it is all said and done, the bottom line is that Nigerians need power and they need it now. Any delay is double jeopardy – there is loss to our economic and industrial growth and, every month that the contractors are wittingly or unwittingly prevented by whatever reason or excuse from embarking on their jobs, Nigeria will pay more. The hold-up and the delay that have attended the projects in the pipeline since May 2007 will, by my estimation, cause the nation not less than 25% more by the time the works are completed. There is the danger that some of the equipment, particularly the turbines that are now at the port and elsewhere in the country may suffer deterioration if not kept in a special storage facility. And they may have to be replaced or refurbished at a very high cost before they can be installed.
The point must be made and vigorously too that 20 20 20 will be a mirage without adequate power supply and adequate transportation. The private sector will have to be involved in helping to provide these either as contractors, suppliers or public-private partnership. We cannot criminalise them, antagonise them, disgrace them and expect to get the best support and cooperation out of them. Most of the contractors and suppliers are companies and organisations with tremendous reputation and most of their management and staff are men of honour and dignity. They deserve understanding and respect. Most of them, as far as I know, have carried out the task consciously and committedly. In all cases, there are officials or Committees who are supposed to monitor them.
What I am saying is that the legislature, whether in their legislative duties, their oversight functions or in their investigative duties, must realise they share responsibility for progress of the nation especially the economy. Let the Legislature help the Executive in its onerous task of moving the economy forward and in realising 20 20 20.
Theatrical or circus shows will provide fun and maybe hurt some people but the reality will remain. Let us do everything possible to urgently implement the projects in the pipeline to minimise the current agonies of the Nigerian public. One year is already lost, we cannot afford to lose another year without dire consequences in the coming years. Let us all be progressively positive and cumulatively constructive to move Nigeria forward. Let us move away from ‘Pull Him Down (Phd)’ syndrome.

In summary, when our Administration came in in 1999, we met seven power stations – Kainji, Jebba, Shiroro, Egbin, Afam, Sapele and Delta – all together in different stages of disrepair and obsolescence, generating about 1500MW.
By 2007, we have added six new stations as follows with the seventh almost completed at Alaoji:
To these must be added about 2000MW produced by Rivers State.
We must also take cognizance of the heavy rehabilitation works in all the existing power stations: increasing their available capacity significantly.
There are six NIPP projects in the pipeline and the expansion of Omotosho, Papalanto, Geregu and Alaoji to about 1000MW each by combined cycle and 2500MW from Mambilla.
In other words, in eight years of our Administration, we have provided six new power generating units of almost 2000MW.
There was no transmission work embarked upon between 1982 and 2000. But by May 2007, we have taken transmission to Bayelsa State for the first time, double the transmission from Shiroro to Abuja to ensure stability of supply. We have also awarded all the transmission contracts to close the transmission loop and ensure that vandalism of transmission or any fault in the transmission line will no longer keep any part of the country in the dark if there is adequate power generation. This is to ensure stability of power supply nationwide. At the same time, we have embarked on pre-paid meter system to reduce non-payment of electricity bills and eliminate unauthorised connection. We moved from revenue generation of about N2billion per month in year 2000 to about N7 billion per month in 2007. Repairs on the pipeline that was vandalised in February 2006 and which began immediately were completed only in March 2008.
MONEY SPENT
Finally, let me come to the quantum of money spent on power from 1999 to 2007. Various figures have been banded around ranging from US$4 billion to US$16 billion. They may all be right or they may all be wrong depending on what anybody takes as expenditure most of which is constant no matter what amount of power is generated, transmitted or distributed, your figure can be as high as you want to make it. That figure will include personal emolument of staff, pensions, gratuities, transportation, maintenance, rural electrification, etc.
If you take staff emolument, etc, out and limit expenditure to only running or operating costs and capital expenditure for generation, transmission and distribution, you will get a new set of figures. If you add power-related training and expenditure in other ministries and departments such as education, NNPC and industry you will get yet another set of figures. If you limit yourself to capital expenditure and running costs you will get a set of figures that can truly be said to be really expenditure on power.
I have been told that the figure in this regard from 1999 to 2007 is in the region of $6.5 billion including outstanding letters of credit. But whatever figure you choose to take, to say that there is little or nothing to show for it is the greatest understatement of the year which will tend to portray inadequate knowledge or ignorance.
From what I have said above, there are results to show for the expenditure. What is required is serious, adequate and committed follow-up and sustenance from where we stopped. If the total expenditure has not translated to power availability at our homes and for our industries, it is because the little additional expenditure that is necessary for completion or for sustenance has not been made. For example, if you spend $200 million on a power station and the switch gear costing less than half a million dollar is not installed, you will not get the benefit of the $200 million already invested. For the uninitiated, nothing has happened.
Let me, at this juncture, crave the Committee’s indulgence to express appreciation, once again, to those my colleagues, collaborators and assistants who joined hands with me in serving Nigeria loyally, committedly, honestly and sacrificially. You have done your best for your country, you have made your mark and I am sure the fruits of your labour will continue to be seen and surely appreciated. I am proud of the achievement we have made together. One thing that anybody may charge against almost all of us under our Administration who were involved in solving the power problem from 1999 to 2007 is passion and zealousness. I will, however, accept such a charge without any apologies as I see passion and zealousness for the good of Nigeria as a virtue worthy of emulation.
I thank friends, relations, well-wishers and concerned citizens who have got in touch with me by letters, telephone calls, e-mails and text messages to express their feelings and concerns. The lot of reformers must be understood is not without its pain and stress. We have no regret for all that we have done for our country and humanity. We thank God for the opportunity to serve Him by devotedly serving our country and we thank Him for His grace. We also thank Nigerians and friends outside Nigeria who appreciate what we have done. I am so confirmed and encouraged by the good we have done for this country politically, economically and socially that I have no regret whatsoever. We have taken Nigeria to where it should be within the limited time we had.
Honourable Chairman and Honourable Members, thank you. I am ready to deal with any allegations or approvals which my presentation to you so far has not clarified or adequately explained. But let me just add that no approval or programme or policy was granted or embarked upon for personal enrichment or aggrandisement. If, however, any official or public officer has made a genuine mistake, he or she should be sanctioned and corrected at the same time. I understand that threats for all sorts of spurious reasons are being issued for other investigations, no honest officials or political officers who served in my Administration should feel threatened by such threats if their hands are clean and clear.
Chief Olusegun Obasanjo, GCFR
May 12, 2008
. Okpai in Delta – 480MW by Agip
. Afam II – 276MW
. Omotosho – 330MW
. Palalanto – 330MW
. Geregu – 414MW
. Ikot Abasi-Ibom Power – 145MW – to which Federal Government is a partner.
. Alaoji – 545MW

OPEN LETTER TO PRESIDENT MUHAMMADU BUHARI ON THE STATE OF THE NATION BY TIMI FRANK

Dear Sir,

I write this letter to you, Mr. President, with all sincerity and humility, as it is my very first letter to you since your emergence as President and Commander-In-Chief of the Armed Forces of our great country, Nigeria.

I would first of all like to use this opportunity to formally apologise to the immediate past President of Nigeria, Dr. Goodluck Ebele Jonathan, for all the tantrums and mistreatment orchestrated by me against his person while he held sway at the helm of affairs of our great country.

Indeed, I and many others may have misunderstood Jonathan’s silence for weakness and thus pushed harder to malign his person and portray him as a weak leader. Having achieved the Change Agenda, it is now crystal clear, that the change we had clamoured for is not the change we got.

While this may have come as a rude shock to some of us who preached the change mantra assiduously, particularly the youth, I am consoled by the fact that, Nigeria shall get to the promise land someday and our generations yet unborn will appreciate the genuine efforts made by those of us who stood on the path of truth, rather than being praise singers sycophants.

Mr. President, I am sure that the current state of our dear country should be a cause of genuine concern, as the symptoms of the ailment you had come to cure seem to have morphed into a killer virus waiting to consume its patient (Nigeria) as the clock ticks away.

The damning assessment of Nigeria under your leadership as released by the United States Department of State in its 2017 country reports on Human Rights, cited impunity as being widespread at all levels of government and lack of transparency by your administration. The report noted that massive corruption by government officials and security agencies is on the rise with most perpetrators being shielded from trial, thus giving room for reckless practices with impunity. The report stated that, “although the law provides for criminal penalties for conviction of official corruption, the government did not implement the law effectively, and officials frequently engaged in corrupt practices with impunity…massive, widespread and pervasive corruption affected all levels of government and the security services.”

Today there is hardship everywhere with the price of fuel now N145 per as against the N85 that it was being sold when you assumed office – the over N1.4trillion already paid by your government as fuel subsidy notwithstanding. You will agree with me, Mr. President, that a report of this magnitude coming from a foreign government should be a cause for serious concern as it posits that your Anti-Corruption Agenda is merely a hoax. Furthermore, your famous slogan of “belonging to everybody and belonging to nobody” has turned out to be a mere Public Relations gimmick, meant to soothe the egos of the spectators that were present at your historic swearing-in-ceremony.

Other assessment cited by the report include the extra judicial killing of IPOB members, Col. Sambo Dasuki’s continuous incarceration, widespread human rights abuses and flagrant disregard for the Rule of Law, under this administration.

You will recall, Mr. President, that a similar report from the Transparency International (TI) was rubbished by your Ministers who claimed the global body was biased in its assessment. Surely, both agencies could not have conspired to tarnish the reputation of your government, as Nigerians can also decipher the high partiality and nepotism being practised by your government, which represents a new low in the history of governance in Nigeria.

I would therefore recommend that your Special Adviser on Media and Publicity should grab a copy of THISDAY Newspaper of Tuesday, 24 April 2018 and perhaps brief you further on the report, in the event that the content of the report has not been brought to your attention.Mr. President, it may also interest you to know that the economy under your watch has been terribly battered, with all the economic indices indicating that we are yet to recover from the recession of 2016, owing to your ill conceived policies as against the rhetoric of the erstwhile administration being responsible for our woes.

The GDP growth before you took over government and three years after being in the saddle of governance attests to woeful failure of government policies while gambling with the nation’s economic gains. The high unemployment and poverty rate as released by the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) should be a cause of concern to any well-meaning Nigerian, as the masses can barely survive with their current meagre income which leaves them with little or no savings to embark on other meaningful economic ventures to better their lot.

Furthermore sir, I am sure that you’re aware that the level of insecurity in the country now has reached an all time high with an average of at least 50 deaths weekly to the bewilderment of the an already wearied population, whose hopes are dashed on a daily basis. Only last week over 120 persons were kidnapped along the Birnin-Gwari Road in Kaduna State. The farmers/herders crises has continued to claim precious lives as if the nation is in a state of war. Moreover, the statement credited to you that the killer herdsmen were trained by the late Moumar Gadaffi of Libya is most unfortunate as nothing is being done to police the borders in order to prevent them from coming in as well as declaring a state of emergency on these murderous killers.

More so, the statement credited to former Minister of Defence, Gen. T.Y. Danjuma came as another rude shock to Nigerians on the state of our security architecture in the nation, not also forgetting the statements attributed to former President Olusegun Obasanjo and Gen. Ibrahim Babangida, reemphasising, that the government under your watch has failed Nigerians.

Surely, the opinions of your comrades cannot all be a farce, but rather a wakeup call to your administration that all is indeed not well with the nation. This is why I dare say that a re-election bid in the wake of this wanton killings and widespread sacrilege in the land, is definitely not the right thing to do at this time in a country engulfed with so much bloodletting. Permit me to say that as things stand today, Nigeria, under your government, has become increasingly autocratic.

Instead of enhancing freedom and rule of law, our democratic gains are being frittered away under the pretext of fighting corruption. The rights to freedom of speech and association are increasingly being denied. People can no longer freely express themselves without security agencies harassing, accusing, arresting, parading, and prosecuting them like common criminals over spurious allegations.

I dare say that I am by this letter offering myself to pay whatever price it will take for Nigeria to be free once again. I know your goons will soon come after me but I am not bothered a bit. I will continue to speak the truth. I spoke the truth when Jonathan, my kinsman, was in power and I will continue to speak the truth. Be that as it may, the truth is that you have destroyed our democracy so much so that Nigerians are now living in fear.

Under your tenure the rule of law has been replaced with the rule of force. You have injected fear into the society. People who voted for you to save them from corruption and ineptitude have been barred from speaking up against the myriads of evil and wicked acts being perpetrated by officials in your government.

Unfortunately, corruption is in the upward swing under your watch. This is why I had to apologize to Jonathan since events of the last three years have shown the former President was a better leader. People freely expressed themselves under Jonathan’s administration without fear of being branded cultists’ sponsors, gunrunners or aiding murderers. But not so under this administration.

Under Jonathan, Nigerians enjoyed freedom of speech, association and right to hold dissenting views including organizing and partaking in protests against unwelcome government policies. All these are no go areas today. Does it mean Jonathan was a better democrat? It is a fact that no member of the APC which was then in the opposition before 2015 was jailed or harassed for expressing dissent.

However, under this administration, the Senate President is being persecuted, Senator Dino Melaye has been arrested and detained like a common criminal, Senator Matthew Urhroghide had been attached for telling Nigerians that the Federal Government breached the Constitution by paying the sum of $496million for 12 Tucano fighter jets without National Assembly approval; the trial of Senator Isa Misau by the AGF over his face-off with the Inspector General of Police, the persecution of most members of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in the name of fighting corruption are all examples of intolerance under this administration.

Mr. President, while your fight against corruption is being promoted as gathering steam leading to an award given to you by the African Union (AU) recently, the allegation of illegal award of $25billion contracts leveled against the GMD of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), has not been investigated but rather the malfeasance and shoddy dealing in the NNPC has been swept under the carpet because as the substantive Minister of Petroleum Resources any probe of the agency will require that you make some explanations.

This government has shown total disdain for court pronouncements and the enforcement of fundamental human rights of citizens. El-Zakzaky and Dasuki will not be in jail today but for the present rule of force under this government. It is a pity that today democracy and freedom have become scarce. Insecurity continues unabated. Killings take place on a daily basis across the country either by kidnappers, Boko Haram insurgents, herdsmen, and other criminal elements having a free reign around the country. Life has become worthless and uncertain and people cannot speak out for fear of being labeled anti-government by your regime. Besides, instead of heeding the wise counsel of leaders like Obasanjo, IBB, TY. Danjuma, General Gowon, and religious leaders like Bakare and Oyedepo, you have again declared to seek reelection as President. You even boasted in Bauchi that you will be reelected which was akin to saying you will rig yourself back into office. The worse acts of corruption are being perpetuated under your regime, but people are keeping quiet because of fear of reprisals. This cannot continue. You met Democracy and freedom in 2015, when you leave office, there will still be democracy and freedom for the people. Nigeria will not end with you. Before you, others came, but today where are they? Under this regime, the homes of Honourabe Justices were forcefully broken into and ransacked. Many of them were suspended and are currently being prosecuted by agents of the executive. If this is not intimidation of the highest order what is it? Despite immunity conferred in him by the Constitution, the home of the Governor of Akwa Ibom State was raided. The Governor of Rivers State had to approach the courts for an injunction to forestall a similar treatment being meted on him. Is it not curious that Senator Shehu Sani and Dino Melaye have been framed up as being connected to criminal murder suspects just because they politically differ with their state governors? It is not also true that Saraki and the Governor of Kwara State are now being roped into the case of alleged cultists and murder suspects arrested in Ilorin? If this is not harassment, intimidation and humiliation of perceived opponents of your administration, then what is it?

Don’t forget that the Senate led by Saraki has been in a ding-dong with the Inspector General of Police for refusing to honour the legitimate summons of the upper chamber. The plot to once again implicate Saraki in murder activities using alleged cult members earlier arrested in Kwara State is a new low in the antics of this administration to harass, intimidate and humiliate members of the opposition especially those of the defunct New PDP arm of the APC.

The recent attack on the Rivers State Judiciary, the invasion of the Senate and forceful theft of its mace without arrests or word of condemnation by you make the security situation worse and worrisome.

The vehemence with which members of the opposition and the New PDP arm of the APC are being persecuted makes one to wonder why close aides of yours and other high officials in this administration with criminals allegations against them are not equally being prosecuted.

Are you no longer for everybody and belong to nobody? What is good for PDP and New PDP members ought to be good for members of the CPC, ACN, ANPP and a faction of APGA in the APC as well. The reality is that members of the APC are sacred cows that can do no wrong.This growing intolerance, repression and coercion against innocent citizens has led me to the painful resolve to once again offer myself as a sacrificial lamb to pay the price for Nigeria’s total emancipation from the shackles of tyranny being perpetuated by your government.

I therefore, urge all Nigerians to wake up and face the current realities and save Nigeria from total collapse under the jackboots of impunity by this administration. History will not be fair to me if I had championed the campaigns against former President Jonathan and now remain silent in the face of anti-democratic tendencies and sheer impunity.

It is my sincere hope that this letter meets you well. I also hope that my outburst will not be seen from the angle of disrespect, but rather of despair and urgency. I believe it is high time for you, as the President and Commander-In-Chief to arrest the situation and restore peace, security and rule of law in the country and confidence in the people once more.

God bless the Federal Republic of Nigeria.

With best regards

Comrade Timi Frank

Deputy National Publicity Secretary All Progressives Congress 07033555555