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

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

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Aminu Kano: Story of Radical politics

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

Nigeria’s first Prime Minister Alhaji (Sir) Abubakar Tafawa Balewa (1912- January 15, 1966) was popularly known as “The Golden Voice of Africa”. Tafawa Balewa took its name from two corrupted Fulani words: “Tafari” (rock) and “Baleri” (Black). So he grew up with the nickname, “Black Rock.” He had very humble origins. His father was a slave who rose in service of the Madaki of Bauchi and became a district head.

Abubakar Tafawa Balewa was born in Tafawa Balewa, present day, Bauchi State. He remains Nigeria’s first and only Prime Minister. He started his early education at the Koranic School in Bauchi and like most of his contemporaries, he studied at theBarewa College for further education and soon acquired his teaching certificate. He returned to Bauchi to teach at the Bauchi Middle School.
In 1944, along with a few learned teachers from the north, he was chosen to study abroad for a year at the University of London’s Institute of Education, which today forms part of University College London. Upon returning to Nigeria, he became an Inspector of Schools for the colonial administration and later entered politics.
He was elected in 1946, to the colony’s Northern House of Assembly, and to the Legislative Assembly in 1947. As a legislator, he was a vocal advocate of the rights of northern Nigeria, and together with Alhaji Ahmadu Bello, who held the hereditary title of Sardauna of Sokoto, he founded the Northern People’s Congress (NPC).
In 1951, in the North’s first elections, Tafawa Balewa won seats in the Northern House of Assembly and in the House of Representatives in Lagos, where he became a minister in the Central Council. In 1952 he became Nigerian minister of works and in 1954 minister of transport and the senior minister and leader of the NPC in the House of Representatives.

News of his assassination spurred violent riots throughout Northern Nigeria and ultimately led to the bloody counter-coup of July 1966. Today, his portrait adorns the Five Naira note. The Abubakar Tafawa Balewa University, Bauchi in Bauchi State is named in his honour.

In 1957 he became the first prime minister of Nigeria, a position he held until his death. As prime minister, Tafawa Balewa developed a favorable reputation in international circles. He was considered a pro-Western leader but was very critical of South African racial policies and of French plans to test atomic devices in the Sahara. His last public act in January 1966 was to convene a Commonwealth Conference in Lagos to discuss action against the white supremacist unilateral declaration of independence by Rhodesia (now Zimbabwe).
The Five (5) Naira note features Balewa’s portrait.
Throughout his career, Tafawa-Balewa played a leading role in national policy making. Nevertheless, he often seemed limited in his own personal power, because as vice president of the NPC he was answerable theoretically to Sir Ahmadu Bello, premier of the Northern Region and president of the NPC.
Some political observers have concluded that this relationship with Bello hindered Tafawa Balewa in handling the major crises which arose in the first years of Nigeria’s independence. It was one of these crises, the Western Region elections of 1965, which led to chaos in the Western Region and was the immediate cause of the downfall of Tafawa Balewa’s government.
In January 1966 a discontented segment of the army attempted a coup d’etat in which Tafawa Balewa was abducted and murdered. The circumstances of his death still remain unresolved. His body was found at a roadside in Ifo, present day, Ogun State, six days after he was abducted by soldiers. Balewa was buried in Bauchi.
News of his assassination spurred violent riots throughout Northern Nigeria and ultimately led to the bloody counter-coup of July 1966. Today, his portrait adorns the Five Naira note. The Abubakar Tafawa Balewa University, Bauchi in Bauchi State is named in his honour.

Open Letter to President Buhari on the Alleged Ganduje Videos, by Audu Bulama Bukarti

Dear President Muhammadu Buhari,

Following your recent appearance on Kadaria Ahmed’s widely-televised programme, The Candidates, I write to raise some issues regarding your response to several questions on the viral video clips allegedly showing Governor Abdullahi Umar Ganduje of Kano State receiving bribe from contractors.
Sir, what stood out to me in your answers are that you “can’t understand” the extent of the “technology” used in the clips and that you are counting on Kano State Assembly (KSHA) and the Kano State High Court (KSHC) to provide you with the answers you and every Nigerian want before you go to Kano for your election campaign.
Your Excellency, these statements left me with only one conclusion: that you have been utterly misled by those people you appointed and trusted to guide you. Contrary to what you have been made to believe, the issue of investigating the clips is not in court and it is not before the KSHA. The whole world is now waiting for you to act. I will explain my assertion below.
Sir, there is currently no ongoing investigation on the said clips at the KSHA and there no pending suit on the investigation. Immediately after the videos went viral, the KSHA instituted an ad hoc committee to investigate the allegations. The committee held public sittings to which it invited Jaafar Jaafar – the journalist who first released the videos – and he who honoured the invitation, testified before the committee and made copies of the clips available to it. I was specially moved by the fact that Jaafar arrived the venue with a copy of the Noble Qur’an and he to testified while hanging it, the same Qur’an you swore on on the 29th of May 2015 that you will, among other things, fight corruption “without fear or favour, affection or ill-will”.
Next, the committee invited Governor Abdullahi Umar Ganduje. But Ganduje failed, refused or neglected to appear before the committee. Instead, he sent his Commissioner of Information to represent him. Predictably, the representative could not offer any convincing explanation not least because he was not there when the alleged facts took place. He merely denied the content of the video and cast aspersions on the personality of Jaafar Jaafar. To recap this point, Jaafar has honoured the committee’s invitation and testified, but Ganduje failed to appear. Doesn’t that tell you anything Sir?
But the worst for Ganduje was still to come. Few days after he refused to appear before the committee, the whistle-blower who shot the video and who was initially hesitant to testify volunteered to appear before the committee if his security and safety can be guaranteed. The committee started making moves to appoint experts to analyse the videos. These development chilled Ganduje and his team to the marrow. The next thing we heard was that a self-styled, unregistered group of lawyers has instituted an action asking the court to stop the KSHA from investigating the videos. The court first restrained the committee and later pronounced that the KSHA has no power to investigate the videos as they contain criminal allegations. It further declared that it is the function of such agencies as the police, the EFCC and the ICPC to investigate the allegations and that the videos should be submitted to them. Thus, the court has already ruled that the KSHA lacks power to proceed and threw to ball to the court of the police, the EFCC and/or the EFCC and all these agencies are under your watch. Thus, there is neither an ongoing investigation nor is there a pending suit on the investigation. So, the matter is not in the court. It is not in the KSHA. Consequently, you unfortunately cannot find the answers you are looking for from the KSHA or from the Court. The EFCC, ICPC, NPF and the DSS have refused to act and they are all under you. Thus, the ball is now in your court, Mr. President.
Your Excellency, permit me to now turn to your statement that you don’t know “the extent of [the] technology used” in the clips and you “can’t understand it”. Mr. President, I believe you a hundred-and-ten percent that you don’t know the extent of the technology used, but I state, with profound respect, that you can understand it if you wish to. Qur’an 16:43 teaches us you “ask the people of the message if you do not know”. Sir, the only thing needed for you to understand the video is for a forensic investigation to be carried out on them. This investigation would reveal whether the clips are genuine or doctored or fake. Today, Allah has put as your disposal every investigative agency in Nigeria: the DSS, the NPF, the EFCC, ICPC, name them. Sir, you simply need to ask them to investigate and brief you so that you may understand “the extent of [the] technology used.”
But you do not even have to ask and wait for forensic investigation to be conducted because the EFCC has already done one. This is according its acting chairman, Mr. Ibrahim Magu and all you to do is to simply direct the EFCC chairman to brief you on their findings. On 23rd November 2018, Mr. Magu told me in public at Queen Mary University of London that his team was in London to, among other things, conduct forensics into the clips. But upon completion and return to Nigeria, he kept mute on the issue. I suspect that result he found is against Ganduje. Otherwise, he would have publicised the results and the police would have arrested and prosecuted the journalist and the whistle-blower.
Sir, do need to remind you that in 2015 you campaigned on the back of three key promises – fighting corruption, unemployment and Boko Haram – and I understand that you are riding on the same promises today. Millions of Nigerians and I who not only voted for you in 2015 but also voluntarily worked for your election to the last atom of our strength did so because we believed that “if we don’t kill corruption, corruption will kill Nigeria.” On the 29th of May 2015, you swore on the Glorious Qur’an saying I “will to the best of my ability preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria”. Furthermore, Section 15 (5) of the Constitution mandates you to “abolish all corrupt practices and abuse of power” in Nigeria.
Mr President, the duo of Jaafar Jaafar and the whistle-blower who did their best to complement your efforts in fight against corruption, are bearing the brunt of your administration’s undoing. While Jaafar is facing a N3billion “defamation” suit, the business interest of the contractor who filmed the video is on a knife edge. The ongoing contracts being executed by his company have been revoked by the state government. This is counter-productive to your whistle-blowing policy as people will rather remain silent in future.
Finally, Mr. President, as you rightly stated in your response to Kadaria Ahmed, this issue has “received a lot of publicity” and “the world is [now] watching us”. You are the President who duty is to lead. If keep complaining that you can’t understand, you will only continue to erode public confidence in your government as you are telling us that you are not in charge. Your Excellency, your action or inaction on fighting corruption in Nigeria will surely be written in history books and taught in history classes and this case is a litmus test. I pray you wouldn’t let, nay make, history judge you harshly. Most importantly, in the Day of Judgement, you would be judged by the Almighty as to whether you have done your best to deliver on your promise. On that Day, there would be no cabal, aides, no supporters and Professor Osinbajo wouldn’t be sitting beside you!
The long and short of what I have said is that the whistle-blower has fulfilled his obligation as good citizen, Jaafar Jaafar has paid his dues as a journalist, the KSHA has played its own and the court has ruled. And now I have done my part. The ball is now in your court, Mr. President.

Mr Bukarti, a Ph.D candidate at SOAS, University of London, is human rights and anti-corruption lawyer.

For the record: Points of concern and action, by Olusegun Obasanjo

Full text of former President Olusegun Obasanjo’s open letter accusing President Muhammadu Buhari of plotting to rig the 2019 elections.

I am concerned as a democrat who believes that with faithful and diligent practice of democracy, we can get over most of our political problems and move steadfastly and surefootedly on the course of stability, unity of purpose, socio-economic growth and progress for all.
Democracy becomes a sham if elections are carried out by people who should be impartial and neutral umpires, but who show no integrity, acting with blatant partiality, duplicity and imbecility. For all democrats and those carrying out the process of elections, there must be the redline that must not be crossed in tactics and practices of democracy.
I personally have serious doubt about the present INEC’s integrity, impartiality and competence to conduct a fair, free and credible election. And if the INEC is willing, will the ruling party and government allow it? From what we saw and knew about Osun State gubernatorial election, what was conclusive was declared inconclusive despite all advice to the contrary.
The unnecessary rerun, if viewed as a test-run for a larger general election, would lead people to expect incidences of deliberately contrived, broken or non-working voting machines or card readers, confusion of voters as to their voting stations, inadequate supply of voting materials to designated places, long line to discourage voters and turning blind eyes to favour the blue-eye political party of INEC because the Commission’s hands will be tied to enable hatchet men and women to perform their unwholesome assignment. The transmission and collation of results are subject to interference, manipulation and meddling. If the INEC’s favourite political party wins with all the above infractions, the result will be conclusively declared and if not, there will be a ‘rerun’, the result of which is known before it is carried out. I know that I am not alone in being sceptical about the integrity of INEC and its ability to act creditably and above board. But we are open to be convinced otherwise.
The joke about INEC would seem real. The INEC was asked if the Commission was ready for the election and if it expects the election to be free, fair and credible. The INEC man is reported as saying in response, “we are ready with everything including the results!” God save Nigeria! It is up to Nigerians to ensure that the redline is not crossed in safeguarding our fledging democracy. And if crossed, appropriate action must be taken not to allow our democracy to be derailed.
A friend of mine who is more credulous and who claims to be close to the Chair of INEC keeps telling me that INEC will retrieve its image and reputation by conducting the coming elections with utmost integrity and impartiality. I am not sure as I believe more in action than in words and in past record than in promise. The track record of the present INEC is fairly sordid and all men and women of goodwill and believers in democracy must be prepared for the worst from INEC and their encouragers and how to get Nigeria out of the electoral morass that the Commission is driving us into. To be forewarned is to be forearmed. A battle long forewarned does not embroil the cripple nor catch him unawares. A word is sufficient for the wise. The labour of Nigerian democracy heroes must not be in vain. Some men of God would hold President Buhari to his word on free, fair, credible and peaceful elections. I am a realist and I reiterate that I go by track record. Therefore, I am not persuaded by a track record of hollow words, impunity, insensitivity and ‘I-couldn’t-care-less’ attitude, or by the sanctimonious claims of any candidate and his campaign staff. I will only believe what I see. This is a time for vigilance to fight to safeguard our votes and defend our democracy. The price of liberty and sustenance of our democracy is eternal vigilance and appropriate reaction to ward off iniquities. We must all be ready to pay that price and not relying on hollow words of callousness. The derailment of Nigerian democracy will be a monumental disaster comparable to the disaster of the Nigerian first military coup.
While Nigerians must not allow such a disaster to happen nor take such an affront lying low, the international community who played an admirable role in warning INEC, of course, to no avail on the Osun State gubernatorial election and who have been warning all political parties must on this occasion give more serious warning, send more people to the field to observe and work out punitive measures against INEC and security officials especially the Police and politicians who stand to gain from INEC’s misconduct, which is obviously encouraged by the Executive Arm of Government and who must be held responsible for the violence that will follow. Such measures can vary from denial and withdrawal of visas from the people concerned and from their families to other more stringent measures including their accounts being frozen and taking them to International Criminal Court, ICC, if violence emanates from their action or inaction. Nigeria must not be allowed to slip off the democratic path nor go into anarchy and ruin. No individual nor group has monopoly of violence or gangsterism. And we must not forget that in human interaction, reactions are normally greater than action, though opposite.
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It is no use, at this juncture, to keep lamenting about the failure, incompetence, divisiveness, nepotism, encouragement and condonation of corruption by Buhari administration as there is neither redeeming feature nor personality to salvage the situation within that hierarchy. You cannot give what you don’t have. Bode George put it bluntly in his statement of December 3, 2018 when he said:“The other day, the Vice-President of Nigeria, Professor Yemi Osinbajo – a learned man, an enlightened person in all parameters – was seen at various markets in Lagos State and Abuja distributing N10,000 each to market women. What an absurdity! It was indeed an obscene display of executive recklessness and abuse of office. Pray, where did the money come from? Was it budgeted for in the appropriation law? In more civilised nations, Osinbajo would have been impeached and prosecuted for gutting our collective treasury.”
What an act by a Senior Advocate of Nigeria lawyer, number 2 man in the Executive hierarchy; and what is more, a pastor of one of the Christian movements led by a revered, respected and upright church leader, Pastor E. A. Adeboye. Osinbajo must have gone for, “if you can’t beat them, join them”. A great pity indeed and which makes people ask the questions, “Any hope?” Yes, for me, there is hope. Osinbajo has shown the human weakness and proved the saying that the corruption of the best is the worst form of corruption. His explanation that it was their government programme can only be construed to be very shallow and lopsided, if not an outrightly idiotic programme.
Traders in rural and sub-urban areas of Nigeria are many more than those in urban areas and they are much poorer than traders in Lagos, Abuja and other cities. They need more attention and greater help. Are they to be confined to the heap of perpetual poverty? What of those who are not traders? They are not entitled to hand-out and they can languish in penury? And what about millions who have lost their jobs in the last three and a half years? The timing is also suspect. Those who criticise the action are called evil but they are not evil as they know what they are doing and saying, and they love Nigeria and Nigerians not less than the likes of Osinbajo. They are not devils incarnate; they are patriots.
What is the connection between taking the number of PVC (Permanent Voters Card) of the recipient of the N10,000 doled out to ‘traders’ and the forthcoming election? There is something sinister about it, and Professor Osinbajo, of all people, should know that. With collusion of the INEC officials and card readers not made to work, anybody quoting the PVC number may be allowed to vote as the revised Electoral Bill was not signed. And if that happens all over the country, it will be massive rigging indeed. The Chairman of INEC must stand firm and carry out his duties with competence and unbending neutrality. Card readers must be used without fail and accreditation must be completed and number ascertained and made public before voting commences as was done in 2015.
Amina Zakari has become too controversial a figure to be able to give assurance of free, fair and credible election for INEC. President Buhari and her family have declared that there is no blood relationship but there is relationship through marriage and that is more than enough for the good lady to step aside. A judge does not sit in judgement over a case once he or she becomes a cause for controversy or one side in the case has strongly objected to the judge. Madam Amina Zakari should, in honour, stay out and not be seen as a source of contamination of the election. Otherwise, it will be difficult to deny the rumour that she is being assigned to Collation Centre for one duty only – to write out figures that are not results of the voting in the field on fake results sheets without water mark or on genuine results sheets which she will have access to as a Commissioner. Amina Zakari is not the only Commissioner that can be in the Collation Centre. Let the INEC Chairman act boldly and impartially and prove his absolute neutrality and responsiveness to contribute to make the election peacefully free, fair and credible. His integrity needs to be transparently demonstrated.
We should remember that there had been reports of INEC sponsored rigging in the past, and also with INEC officials through collation and with officials being put in party coordinators’ dresses and working for the political party favoured by INEC and also putting the dresses of other parties on INEC-favoured parties and police uniforms on INEC-favoured parties to rig all the elections for the favoured party. Like all of us, INEC knows all these and it should devise means to make sure they do not happen. But will they? One way will be to only allow card readers to be means of authenticating voters and where there is no such authentication, it should mean no voting. The second is to use only identity cards with watermarks issued by INEC itself to party officials only for identification of political party coordinators, officials and agents and not political parties dresses or arm and wrist bands which anybody can wear for purposes of identification on election duty or function. Both the Presidency and the National Assembly must so far be commended for adequately providing funding as confirmed by INEC, and therefore funding cannot be an excuse for poor performance by INEC.
President Buhari and his hatchet men in the coming election think that the judiciary must be primed in their favour. Hence, the Chief Justice of Nigeria, Justice Walter Samuel Nkanu Onnoghen, has been harassed and prosecuted for non-declaration of his assets without following the Constitution and the law, just to make him conform or set him aside for a Buhari man to take over or act, as President Buhari and his people believe no stone should be left unturned to rig Buhari in. It seems to be a ploy to intimidate the judiciary as a whole in preparation for all election cases that will go before them. Where and how will all these stop? Typically, with overwhelming outrage and condemnation, we are told that the Presidency denied knowledge of the action. But the Vice-President told us that the President knew of the action on Saturday night for everything that has been prepared for Monday morning. Haba VP, it doesn’t happen that way. Nobody should take such measure against any of the four in hierarchy below the President or any of his ministers without his knowledge and indeed his approval. But if that can happen to the Chief Justice of the Federation, the fifth man in the hierarchy of government, without the knowledge let alone the approval of the President, then it speaks for the type of government we have which means the President is not in charge let alone being in control and no Nigerian must take anything for granted. We are all unsafe and insecure under such an administration. And enough of it! Buhari’s apologists will not stop at anything to try to cover up his administration’s inadequate performance and character. A constitutional liberal democracy cannot thrive without an independent and insulated judiciary from the executive and the legislature. Nigerians must wake up and stop these acts of wanton desperation tantamount to mental incapacity to run the affairs of Nigeria wholesomely.
Life and living are anchored on trust. But if I trust you and you deceive, cheat or disappoint me the first time, it is shame on you. However, if I allow you to do so the same thing for me the second time, I do not only have myself to blame, I must be regarded as a compound fool.
Buhari has succeeded in deceiving us the first time and we will be fools to allow ourselves to be deceived the second time. Buba Galadima, who knows Buhari very well as a confidant and National Secretary of Congress for Progressive Change, CPC, the Buhari’s party before it joined in forming All Progressives Congress, APC, has warned us this time around that no matter what he promises, he cannot change his character and attitude. He describes him as inflexible, insincere, dubious, intolerant, never accepts responsibility when things go wrong and impervious to reason and advice for change. If you cannot change your mind, you cannot change anything is the assertion of George Bernard Shaw. Even when figures, facts and statistics are made clear to Buhari, he keeps repeating what is untrue, either because he cannot understand or for mischief purposes and that places him on the level of a pathological liar. He believes he can get away with impunity and deceit as he seems to have done on many occasions in the past. Buba Galadima’s position is well complemented by Dr. Auwalu Anwar on the APC, CPC, TBO and Buhari’s character and attitude in his yet to be launched book, “Politics As Dashed Hopes in Nigeria”. It is also a stunning revelation. Anwar clearly pointed out, “the brazen display of incompetence, insensitivity and irresponsiveness by delusional party, CPC, leadership at all levels”. Buhari was the leader of the party. Bola Tinubu’s statement about Muhammadu Buhari in 2003 is fairly prophetic, “Muhammadu Buhari is an agent of destabilisation, ethnic bigot and religious fanatic who, if given the chance, would ensure the disintegration of the country. His ethnocentrism would jeopardise Nigeria’s national unity.”
Junaid Mohammed was eloquent on the issue of nepotism. But if as we were told that Buhari is nepotic because he does not trust others, why should others trust him to continue to put their fate and life in his hand. Trust begets trust. They cannot be trusted for ‘sensitive’ appointment but they can be sent out to campaign for his re-election. Who is fooling who?
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What is happening under Buhari’s watch can be likened to what we witnessed under Gen. Sani Abacha in many ways. When Abacha decided that he must install himself as Nigerian President by all means and at all costs, he went for broke and surrounded himself with hatchet men who on his order and in his interest and at high costs to Nigeria and Nigerians maimed, tortured and killed for Abacha. Buhari has started on the same path in mad desperation.
From available intelligence, we have heard of how Buhari and his party are going about his own self-succession project. They have started recruiting collation officers who are already awarding results based on their projects to actualise the perpetuation agenda in which the people will not matter and the votes will not count. It is the sole reason he has blatantly refused to sign the revised Electoral Reform Bill into law.
His henchmen are working round the clock in cahoots with security and election officials to perfect their plan by computing results right from the ward to local government, state and national levels to allot him what will look like a landslide victory irrespective of the true situation for a candidate who might have carried out by proxy presidential debate and campaigns.
The current plan is to drape the pre-determined results with a toga of credibility. It is also planned that violence of unimaginable proportion will be unleashed in high voting population areas across the country to precipitate re-run elections and where he will be returned duly elected after concentration of security officials as it happened in Osun State. We are monitoring them and we call on all democrats across the world to keep an eye on the unfolding anti-democratic agenda of President Muhammadu Buhari. This is the time for preventive measures to be taken otherwise Nigeria may be presented with a fait accompli with impunity and total disregard of all pleas.
His scheme bears eloquent testimony to this road similar to Abacha whom he has praised to high heavens and as an arch-supporter and beneficiary from Abacha, he has seen nothing wrong done by him. It is clear from all indications that Buhari is putting into practice the lessons he learned from Abacha. Buhari has intimidated and harassed the private sector, attacked the National Assembly and now unconstitutionally and recklessly attacked and intimidated the Judiciary to cow them to submission.
I was a victim of Abacha’s atrocities against Nigeria and Nigerians – high and low. At the height of Abacha’s desperation for perpetual power, he did not brook any criticism because Nigeria was seen as his personal property. You must go along with him or be destroyed. All institutions for ensuring security, welfare and well-being of Nigeria and Nigerians particularly the Police, the Military and the Department of State Services (DSS) were abused and misused to deal with critics of Abacha and non-conformists with Abacha.
Today, another Abacha Era is here. The security institutions are being misused to fight all critics and opponents of Buhari and to derail our fledgling democracy. EFCC, Police and Code of Conduct Tribunal are also being equally misused to deal with those Buhari sees as enemies for criticising him or as those who may not do his bidding in manipulating election results. Criticism, choice and being different are inherent trade mark of democracy. If democracy is derailed or aborted, anarchy and authoritarianism will automatically follow.
Today, as in the day of Abacha, Nigerians must rise up and do what they did in the time of Abacha. Churches and Mosques prayed. International community stood by us Nigerians. I was a beneficiary and my life was saved. Well-meaning Nigerians took appropriate actions and made sacrifices, some supreme, some less than supreme but God had the final say and He took the ultimate action.
God of Nigeria is a living God and a prayer-answering God. Nigerians must cry out to God to deliver Nigeria. Here again, I have been threatened with arrest and extermination but I will not succumb to intimidation or threats. Maybe I should remind those who are using probe as a threat that I have been probed four times by EFCC, ICPC, House of Representatives and the Senate and Buhari has access to reports of these probes. But I have also challenged Buhari and the criminals around him to set up a probe on the same allegations and I will face such probe in public. But I know that these criminals cannot withstand a Police inquiry let alone clinical probe on the past public offices they held. My fervent prayer is that President Buhari may live to see the will and purpose of God for Nigeria. My final appeal to him is to desist from evil with manipulation and desperation because evil has repercussion especially as man who should watch and be mindful of his self-acclaimed and packaged integrity. At the end of the day, those who goad you on will leave you in the lurch. You will be left alone, naked and unheralded. In defeat, which must be Buhari’s fear leading to desperation, he and his co-travellers can still maintain modicum of decency, and exhibit fear of God in their actions. We have been told that governance has been abdicated to a cabal. Now, campaigning has been abdicated to ‘jagaban’. And it is being authoritatively stated that he would not join any presidential debate. Nigerians will not allow the elections to be abdicated to INEC and Police to give us false and manipulated results. I personally commend the President for yielding to popular outcry to let the former Inspector-General of Police, Ibrahim Kpotun Idris, go when he is due as he had the track record and history of being assigned to rig elections for the incumbent. It was alleged that he was sent to Kano for that purpose in 2015. He was already deploying his Commissioners of Police on similar mission before his exit. We must all encourage the new Inspector-General of Police, Mohammed Adamu, to tread the path of professionalism, even-handedness, respect and new image for the Police.
While Nigeria must appreciate Buhari for the little he has done and allow him to depart for home in peace if he allows free, fair, peaceful and credible elections, we must also tell ourselves that Nigeria deserves better at this point in time than what Buhari is capable of offering. History will note that he has been there. Nigeria now needs a man with better physical and mental soundness, with an active mind and intellect.
Let me say again that Nigeria belongs to all Nigerians and exists for the benefit of all Nigerians and non-Nigerians who desire to live or do business in and with Nigeria. The attitude of “it is my turn and I can do what I like” with impunity will not last because Nigeria is created by God and it will outlive all evil machinations and designs against the overall interest of Nigeria.
Before I conclude, let me assert that the security situation has deteriorated with kidnapping everywhere and Boko Haram more in action and nobody should deceive Nigerians about this. With the teaming up of Boko Haram and Islamic State’s West Africa Province (ISWAP), Boko Haram is stronger today militarily than they have ever been. Boko Haram has also been empowered by the Nigerian government through payment of ransom of millions of dollars which each administration disingenuously always denies. With ISIS being liquidated in Iraq and Syria, Africa is now their port of concentration. Soon, they may take over Libya which, with substantial resources, is almost a totally failed state. When that happens, all African countries North of Congo River will be unsafe with serious security problems. The struggle must be for all West African, Central African, North African and most East African States. Nigeria has to play a vanguard role in this struggle as we have much to lose. This administration has reached the end of its wit even in handling all security issues, but particularly Boko Haram issue, partly due to misuse of security apparatus and poor equipment, deployment, coordination and cooperation.
Finally, those Nigerians that are being intimidated or threatened by this Administration must trust in God and stand firm. Tough times do not last forever, but tough people invariably survive tough times. This is a tough time for almost all Nigerians in different respects, but the people’s will shall triumph. All people who have registered to vote with their PVCs must never allow anybody or anything to deny or deprive them of the right of performing their fundamental civic duty of voting and sustaining democracy. Establishment of democracy and its sustenance is second to attainment of independence in our political life, leaving out the victory of the civil war. We shall overcome.

Why My Mission To The US Matters By Atiku Abubakar

It has become pertinent for me to speak about my ongoing visit to the United States of America, where I met and I am still meeting with US administration officials and business leaders.

I travelled to the United States of America because I had a mission and my mission is to create the right economic atmosphere for American investments to return to Nigeria at a rate and quantum that we had before the current Nigerian administration’s policies almost halted the flow of Foreign Direct Investments to Nigeria.

I am in America because Atiku means jobs.

My reason for running for the office of President of Nigeria and even for going into public service in the first place, is because I believe that Nigeria has what it takes to be the beacon of hope for the Black Race and a leading nation of reckoning in the international community.

This has not materialised over the course of the last four years because, as Chinua Achebe prophetically said in his 1983 book, “the trouble with Nigeria is the failure of leadership.”

The current Nigerian administration has allowed our relationship with our long-standing friends and partners to deteriorate and this has had unfortunate consequences for our economy.

Foreign relations that had been meticulously and delicately built for decades were allowed to deteriorate because the incumbent administration mistook their personal interests as the interest of Nigeria and allowed short term goals to dominate their foreign policies.

New friendships should not be made at the cost of old friendships. It is not an either-or situation. Right from independence, Nigeria has nurtured a policy of non-alignment. We borrowed from the Lincoln policy of malice toward none and charity for all. Sadly, that policy has suffered major setbacks in the last four years.

As a leader in business, I am cognisant of the fact that both Western and Oriental nations will be making the transition from fossil fuels to electric powered vehicles and other green energies over the course of the next two decades. This means that Nigeria’s oil has a limited shelf life.

To be forewarned is to be forearmed and we must, as a nation, begin to make the transition from an oil economy to a modern economy based on manufacturing and value-added agricultural chain.

The message I took to the United States business community is not a new message. In my opinion editorial in the British media (Beyond Brexit – Nigeria wants a new trade deal with Britain), I opined that Brexit is an opportunity for Nigeria and the United Kingdom to have a Big Ambitious Free Trade Agreement.

It is only common sense.

In 2014, the African continent as a whole earned $2.4 billion from coffee grown in Africa and shipped mainly to Europe. That sounds impressive. However, one nation alone, Germany, made $3.8 billion from re-exporting Africa’s coffee in 2014.

As a businessman, I see this and I cannot allow it to continue. It is unconscionable, but situations like these will not stop unless Nigeria and Africa have leadership that thinks business instead of aid and capital instead of loans.

Nigeria has perhaps the highest populations of youths as a segment of the total population, in the world. Already, we have the unfortunate distinction of being the world headquarters for extreme poverty. We cannot afford business as usual. My single-minded focus is to change this dubious record by transforming Nigeria from a consumer nation to a prosumer nation (a nation that consumes what it produces).

For this to happen, we need US firms who have divested from Nigeria, to return. We need Procter and Gamble to reopen their $300 million Nigerian plant which they shut down last year. We need General Electric to reverse their $2.7 billion pull out of Nigeria.

And my vision is for trade to go both ways. Nigeria has a lot to offer America via her creative industry (Nollywood is the world’s third largest movie industry) and rich mining sectors (Nigeria’s Kaduna state is rich with gold ore). I am also eager to find a market in the US for some of the half a million shoes manufactured in Nigeria’s cities of Kano and Aba everyday.

Someone somewhere said Nigeria’s youth are lazy. I am one of the single largest employers of Nigeria’s youth and I know that that assertion is false. My travels in Europe and America is to sell the Nigeria that I know to the world that does not yet know her. A Nigeria with not just a hardworking youthful population, but a nation with some of the smartest working people on earth. A nation that is open for business and a Nigeria that is much more than oil.

And I am certain that if I am successful in selling this Nigeria to the world, the world will come to Nigeria for business. That is why I am in America. Because I believe in JOBS – Jobs, Opportunity, Being United and Security and it is time Nigeria and all Nigerians finally have the opportunity to realize their true potential.

Atiku Abubakar is Presidential candidate of Peoples Democratic Party and former Vice President of Nigeria

Memo to General Buratai on Military-Media Relations- by Yushau Shuaib

_*original story
Link: https://yashuaib.com/2019/01/buratai-military-media-relations/

Dear General Buratai,

I thank you for inviting media executives and public relations practitioners, through the Deputy President, Nigerian Guild of Editors, Mallam Suleiman Gaya for the interactive dialogue held in Maiduguri last December, 2018. The event was friendly, frank and sincere, towards evolving stakeholders’ engagement and enhancing military-media relations.

However, a few days after the well-attended engagement, the Nigeria Army declared an activist, Dr. Perry Brimah wanted over alleged fundraising for troops. The military also subsequently invaded the offices of leading national newspaper, Daily Trust and arrested some of its journalists over an ‘exclusive’ report it had recently published on the counter-insurgency strategy of the Nigerian Army.

I must tell you frankly that these incidences were worrisome and portends a huge minus to the desired mutual military-media relations being striven towards.

It might interest the Army, Sir, to note that similar media indiscretions during the previous administration of Dr. Goodluck Jonathan were well-managed, when news editors were inundated with confidential information in the name of exclusive reports.

For instance, on the evening of Friday, February 13, 2015, almost four years ago, there was intelligence about a sensitive news story that had been filed to the headquarters of Daily Trust in Abuja by Hamza Idris, a war reporter who doubled as the Bureau Chief of the paper in Borno State, and is currently a political editor.

The filed story coincided with the commencement of ruthless military operations in which many Boko Haram terrorists attempting to over-run Maiduguri were eliminated. The Nigerian Air Force had then intensified aerial bombardments of the dreaded Sambisa Forest, leading to the recovery of the towns of Monguno, Marte and others from the terrorists. President Goodluck Jonathan was billed to fly in an airforce helicopter to the liberated towns of Baga, Mubi and others.

At the time, I was assigned by the Security Service to ensure that a sensitive aspect of the filed story concerning special forces was not published. For several hours and into the midnight of that Friday, I was in touch with the Defence Correspondent, Ronald Mutum; the North-East Bureau Chief, Hamza Idris; Daily Editor, Nasir Lawal; and Saturday Editor, Abdulkarim Baba-Aminu appealing to and finally convincing them of the implications of disclosing such sensitive part of the story to the public.

Lucky enough, in the newspaper published the following day, the sensitive portion of the cover story, which was subject of concern, had been expunged. Dozens of towns were later recovered and President Jonathan flew into Baga, Mubi and other liberated towns to felicitate with the gallant troops. That was when Jonathan honoured the late Lt Col. Abu Ali for his military prowess and valour.

General Buratai, sir, there were several instances in which the Nigerian media demonstrated excessive patriotism in protecting national security. During that period, Femi Adesina, who was President of Nigerian Guild of Editors and General Chris Olukolade, the Defence Spokesperson ensured that the security services put news editors in confidence about major operations and the media were very supportive treating highly classified information with the delicateness it required. And, those editorial gestures were at NO COST to the government.

Sir, you may be surprised to note that some of the harshest critics of the military during the Jonathan administration were mostly strong supporters of General Buhari’s candidacy for president. They included media practitioner, Omoyele Sowore of Sahara Reporters, civil society actors like Dr. Ahmed Idris of Citizens United for Peace and Stability (CUPS) and Dr. Issa Perry Brimah of Every Nigerian Do Something (ENDS), among others. Then, the security services tolerated the excesses of critics of the administration to some extent, as some of their outbursts were borne of genuine concerns, which also influenced positive social change and the upgrading of security tactics and strategies.

Meanwhile, on your assumption of office, critics gave the service chiefs breathing space for sometime before resuming their ‘constructive engagements’, not necessarily of the military per se but of you as Chief of Army Staff, after the Zaria Shi’ite massacre and the Dubai property imbroglio.

Surprisingly, some of these persons, who are my good friends, bore me bitter for founding PRNigeria as a platform for alternative narratives on the performance of the military as an institution. Although public relations is a legitimate and profitable communications business, they fail to realise that since the appointment of the current National Security Adviser, Babagana Monguno and service chiefs, the Media/PR outfit has never been paid a kobo for managing the reputation of the security agencies and promoting their activities. Yets, PRNigeria takes solace in the fact that we have unfettered access to very top officers and security spokespersons for credible, reliable and timely information in its work.

General sir, you need to establish a better rapport and engage with the media and other critical stakeholders closely, for them to appreciate your efforts as the Chief of Army Staff. Some of them even lack basic information about much of your past accomplishments in commanding troops and in the communities you served. They may have forgotten that as JTF Commander, you stabilised the Niger Delta region, having wrested it from the scourge of armed militancy; that as the Commandant, Nigerian Army School of Infantry, not only did you train cadets on guerrilla war tactics and counter-insurgency manoeuvres, you also endeared yourself to the troops before their eventual deployment as the first special forces to fight Boko Haram in the North-East. Your brief stint as the first Force Commander of the rejuvenated Multinational Joint Task Force (MNJTF), after the recovery of over two-dozen towns from the terrorists, further consolidated our military gains and sustained relationship with neighbours. Your hardline stance and no-nonsense approach to acts of terrorism, even while sustaining the personal losses of your country home in Buratai being burnt and security guard killed by Boko Haram.

The recent altercation of the Nigeria Army and the media is not the first in your tenure as Chief of Army Staff (COAS). You may recall that after the arrest of the publishers of Sahara Reporters and Premium Times in February 2017, I wrote an article titled, “Self-censorship and Security Report”, through which I cautioned that as a service chief you should be wary of busy-body consultants and lawyers who may wish to profit from the misunderstanding between the military and the media by instigating the taking of irrational steps. Like I pointed out there, “No one fights the press publicly, especially the credible media, in attempt to enforce censorship, not self-censorship, and gets away with it unscathed.”

In a nutshell, my dear General, the most recent military siege on the media could be well-managed if we consider the sacrifice and risk being taken by editors who have unfettered access to citizens and troops in embattled communities, with information at their disposal on some unpleasant developments in the North-East. They nevertheless remain steadfast and supportive, with fair and occasional self-imposed censorship in their reportage to protect the integrity of the Nigerian security system.

Much of the security challenges that have come up are associated with misinformation, disinformation and the lack of credible intelligence. While the military can claim to have strong weapons, with their guns and bombs, the media actually possesses stronger weapons, with their pens and keyboards, in changing mindsets, engaging in psychological warfare, strengthening the fighting spirit of troops, boosting the confidence of citizens and weakening the morale of terrorists.

Sir, I dare urge that constructive engagement in information management is very essential at this crucial period our dear General, and the soldiers’ soldier.

Once again, I thank you for the last invitation as I wish you a more rewarding New Year and better-managed relationship with all the critical stakeholders in the Nigerian security system, and its administration.

Yushau A. Shuaib
_Author, An Encounter with the Spymaster_
_Recipient of SABRE African Public Relations Award and International Public Relations Award (IPRA) on Crisis Management_
http://www.YAShuaib.com