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

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

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Intelligence gathering is in recessionBy Tunde Asaju

​You do not need a soothsayer to know that it is not just the economy that’s in recession in Naija, for a long time intelligence and intelligence gathering has been in recession. When an insurgency is unleashed on your nation while security chiefs nap at public functions, grow potbellies and acquire choice properties at home and abroad, there is something wrong. When brigands get their hands on RPGs and other sophisticated weapons and smugglers of chicken and turkey are paraded as economic saboteurs, there is something terribly wrong.

When the military is embedded with corrupt civilians, lose focus, rig elections and plot against peaceful transition just to cover their dirty tracks, there is something terribly wrong. When maltreated footmen disobey the orders of their corrupt superiors and they are court marshaled while the substance of their grievance is swept under the carpet, there is something wrong. When the same senior officers are trigger happy to head multi-million dollar amnesty deals rather than earn medals for gallantry in the field of battle; you know that professional military men are in recession.

Intelligence gathering can never totally eliminate terrorism, but how did we get to that place where we now have a Boko Haram equipped with military grade weapons and armoury while our soldiers have obsolete equipment? How creek brigands overthrow the legitimacy of governments forcing them to negotiate safe passage for our nation’s army? Who has been declared ‘wanted’ for letting in Libyan mercenaries now unleashing sulphuric hell across the land? When would we be briefed on the effectiveness of the presidential order to move the command headquarters to Haramistan? How did the promise to end Boko Haram in three months culminate in ‘technical defeat’? Where does Abubakar Shekau get the magical nine lives of the cat and the capacity to make propaganda videos that ridicule our might as a nation?

What ‘intelligence’ have we gathered from Amina Ali Nkeki, the lone straggler and her ‘husband’ who were picked up in May? How has that intelligence helped in the effort to locate the remaining Chibok girls? Did we just resettle the traumatized straggler and return to the eternal comfort of official trypanosomiasis? Are we, judging by the way we have treated Aisha Yesufu and other #BringBackOurGirls activists eager to silence the agitation for the safe return of lawful citizens in unlawful captivity?

Of course all these are rhetorical questions. We cannot heckle this ‘people’s government’ into giving answers as that tantamount to treason. It is better for government to act as puppets pulling the strings of scandals keeping the gullible entertained than to govern. Bloody civilians should not poke their fly infested noses into the lucrative pie of security votes even when they are casualties of security ineptitude. A lot has changed in the Buratai era that reduces the time he has for his snake farm snakes and Dubai estates to suggest that nothing has changed.

Without prejudice to the ‘intelligence’ that led to the new declaration, there is a new rule in town in which lawful citizens could be declared wanted by whims and caprice. It is the infection of a disease called Erdoganitis, a syndrome that reverses the logic of complicity under which you are guilty until declared innocent. You could be guilty by association until the contrary is proved. Like Erdogan, our army declares three individuals whose locations were known ‘wanted’ without a formal invitation? Twelve hours after the declaration, two of the ‘wanted’ make contacts with the army and are told to relax and wait until the ‘intelligence’ needed to bring them in are gathered.

This is the best demonstration of the efficiency of our intelligence gathering. Just when you think that things have reached rock bottom, you realize that the base is only a superficial cover for a gigantic sinkhole. If we were an accountable nation, those presiding over this international embarrassment would have lots of explaining to do. In Naija, they are waiting for promotion.

I sometimes feel scandalized realizing that I share the same nationality with those who lionize the actions of those whose conduct pauperize the nation fiscally and intellectually. How lower does it get than being a citizen of a country where a state government uses public funds to place birthday adverts for a jailbird conscious that at home and with plea bargaining, he would have been vying for the chairmanship of his party.

I am surprised no one has declared Shehu Sani wanted. Does it have to do with the non-existent immunity of the legislator? What about Modu Sheriff and the governors of haramistan states? This is the logic that destroyed newspaper circulation vans for unsubstantiated claim of being used to smuggle arms. I hope Oby Ezekwesili packs a sanitary bag – she may be on the ‘wanted’ list. It takes national embarrassments like this to know that it’s not just the economy that’s in recession; even intelligence gathering is in recession. Whenever critics feature on the ‘wanted’ list, it would be a worthy badge of professional honour.

​The Millennials’ Orphanage By Modiu Olaguro

As the raging class struggle between actors in the political space reaches unprecedented levels with the coming of the Buhari presidency, the hoi polloi looks in puzzling dreariness and ecstatic bewilderment as the nation is bustled into a cinema, with every member of the cast doing very well to supplant any other in the horror movie Nigeria has become.

On the political turf, the misuse of politics has undoubtedly reduced democracy to a joke, making it no less a bane than other forms of government it pompously scorns at; on the economic angle, one cannot but succumb to the view of Thomas Carlyle. The Ecclefechan-born scion of divinity probably had our economists in mind when he scorned at economics, rubbishing it as a “dismal science.”

Dismal it is, for no discipline deserving of that esteemed name rooted in methodicalness and astuteness affixes a theory of the largest economy in a country with neither a toothpick nor crayon to her name.

State after state, faith after faith, figure after figure, the Nigerian millennial continues her search to understanding the underpinnings of pan-Africanism in the face of cultural ostracism, the motivations for leadership amongst the people in line with their strive to enter modernity, and the justification for the embrace of a brand of governance structure in post-colonial Nigeria bereft of morality, nay ideology, not to mention the lack of a clear-cut, distinctive ethos among contending groups for empire domination.

Having attained consciousness with the “I have no shoe” campaign of Goodluck Jonathan (PhD), the millennial embraced the shoeless man from the creeks of Otuoke as a model of modernity. He views his humble beginnings as a testament to the power of newness and humbleness.

In no time, he realises he had been sold a dummy. The president was nothing of sort. He got to know of his ordinariness as a leader and his penchant for taking what does not belong to him.

This was what prompted his support for the lanky general from the desert of Daura. But with the gross impunity exemplified by the shady recruitment of at least three national institutions, not to mention his tilting of the justice balance in favour of his cronies, the millennia’s faith in the democratic process is cut by half.

This is why the millennial struggles to maintain her sanity in this space of dignified insanity. Or what else could be going on inside the head of Governor Ifeanyi Okowa when he dipped his hands inside the states’ exchequer to extol the virtues of the virtueless gladiator? It was a full page advert of an ideological blank man whose grand larceny made him a candidate of reformation in a white cell.

“Your charisma,” wrote Okowa, a parent. “Broad-based approach to governance and strong leadership credentials are enduring legacies that have continued to inspire other political leaders.”

Unfortunately, the reality of Nigerian democracy mirrors the abominable legacies of the likes of the Odidigborigbo (whatever that means). Seeing the contradictions in celebrating a criminal from the collective purse of his victims, “politics,” says millennial “is not worth my last name.”

Millennial switches to dictatorship.

Having been born during the era of the barrel, Millennial sees the military in their well starched, nicely pressed uniform matching on the streets on a quiet Saturday and immediately fell in love with them. What enticed him the most was the coordination, orderliness, resilience and discipline as they replaced one leg with the other in splendid precision.

Lo, he says, these are the kinds we need to remove my nation from indiscipline and disorder.

Then he asks his parent: Dad, why is Nigeria practising democracy instead of a dictatorship?

Dad: so you wear Moshood without asking how we came about the name?

Son: I never thought of it.

Dad: we gave you that name to remind the world never to allow your admirers lord over men again.

Son: really? How?

Dad: you were born on 12 June 1993, the day the military-led federal government annulled an election Moshood Abiola won. So each time we call you, it reminds us of our vow to preserve and protect democracy, however, low its adherents sink it—and sink in it.

Via personal studies, he came across names like Ibrahim Babangida, Abdussalam Abubakar, David Mark, and T. Y. Danjuma, stupendously rich sons of nobodies whose rise to fame and fortune rest on the castration of their people and killing of their potentials.

Military he says does not deserve my last name.

The millennial turns to religion.

At least a dozen churches and almost an equal number of mosques surround his home. He sees Enoch Adeboye; a mathematician turned overseer; David Oyedepo, the bishop with a jet shop; TB Joshua, the miracle man; and Chukwuemeka Ezeugo, a “white” reverend who competes with Dictator Jammeh in the Olympics of HIV exorcism. Millennial tells himself religion was the answer.

But soon he realises that between the first three was at least seven private jets; and between the last two lay a litany of adherents whose transits to the great beyond was fueled by their recklessness and criminality. The millennial learns that at least $3m goes to maintaining the least of these instruments of flamboyance and found it unacceptable in the face of chronic poverty amongst their adherents—and people.

He learns about Pastor Fatoyinbo of COZA and his penchant for putting Holy Spirit inspired seed into the body of the Marys over the pulpit.

Religion he says, cannot take my last name.

Then he turns to activism.

They are noble men and selfless women who volunteer to make life worth living by struggling to fight on behalf of others, he tells himself. He sees Dino Melaye during the administration of Goodluck Jonathan; Adams Oshiomole during his days as a labour leader; and lately, Femi Fani-Kayode.

On the click of a mouse, he saw the Kogi senator at Bourdillon on a damning expedition of misplaced boldness. Millennial further learnt about his talents of serial battering and closet misogyny. He turns to the short man from Edo only to see him on a mission to truncating democracy via a virtual attempt to plant his shadow in office. Fani must be the tunnel light, he says. But he was to discover the scion of the old Fani-power dynasty was an embodiment of doublespeak and astounding divisiveness, wearing activism each time the feeding bottle was withdrawn. Ayo Fayose was a no go area, his reputation as a libel on the human race was well known.

Disappointed, millennial turns to the stool.

They are the custodians of the African tradition, he cheers. But in no time, he was confronted with a telling tale of collective sellout and subjugation of traditional principles to suffrage spoilers who had subscribed to political banditry. He sees posh cars replace rusted irons and cows used in place of dogs in the appease of Ogun, the Yoruba god of Iron. Millennial notices the traditional staff of office and sees party emblems written all over it in sordid confirmation of the custodian of tradition’s porting to take custody of militants and snatched ballot boxes.

The stool, sneered millennial, is not worthy of my last name.

Having exhausting all options, with politics gone to the dogs, the military advancing decisively on the bar of roguish indiscipline, religion throwing up substandard characters, and the traditional institution falling in the hands of covert sacrilegists, with neither a leader nor elder in sight to look up to for selfless leadership or moral guidance, the Nigerian millennial accepts his fate as an orphan.

The reality has dawned, Nigeria has transmogrified into the millennials’ orphanage.

For bequeathing a society as desecrated as this to us, the older generation has indeed done well—very well.

Modiu Olaguro writes from Badagry.

Email: dprophetpride@gmail.com

Twitter: @ModiuOlaguro

Technical Defeat Of Muhammadu Buhari By Emmanuel Ugwu

It may seem too early to write off the presidency of Muhammadu Buhari. He is in the second year of his four year tenure. That amounts to a reasonable mathematical chance to change the narrative and finish well. But if the law of inertia counts for anything, the remainder of Buhari’s time will prove to be the slow motion fulfillment of an ineluctable tragedy. Granted, there is a context to the pervasive misery in Nigeria today. Buhari inherited a scorched earth. He was bequeathed a landscape of ruins. He was bound to face the challenge of building with rubble.
BY EMMANUEL UCHENNA UGWU

AUG 12, 2016

I t may seem too early to write off the presidency of Muhammadu Buhari. He is in the second year of his four year tenure. That amounts to a reasonable mathematical chance to change the narrative and finish well. But if the law of inertia counts for anything, the remainder of Buhari’s time will prove to be the slow motion fulfillment of an ineluctable tragedy.

Granted, there is a context to the pervasive misery in Nigeria today. Buhari inherited a scorched earth. He was bequeathed a landscape of ruins. He was bound to face the challenge of building with rubble.

Jonathan had the good fortune of seeing high crude price for the greater part of his 6 years-long tenure. He grossed a steady windfall of petrodollars. But he sanctioned the merciless looting of state funds.

As a candidate, Buhari appeared to recognize that revamping the economy had to be a priority. He made it a go-to talking point. He hammered on it at the hustings, always checking it off with the promise to fight corruption and arrest insecurity.

But in his earliest days in office, the economy was the last thing on his mind. The leisure of globe trotting was first. And he started to work his planes as soon as possible.

When Nigerians, alarmed that the intoxication of power may have made Buhari frivolous, asked him to sit down and work, he plagiarized Obasanjo: My world tour is a necessary charm offensive. Nigeria is a pariah state. I am traveling to reconcile Nigeria with the world!

While he lived in the air, Buhari left Nigeria without direction and without a cabinet. He took six months purporting to look for the beautiful ones. Even in a fiction, that’s too long a period to run an amorphous government after a disruptive election that saw an opposition candidate win.

Naturally, that eternity of vacuum was filled with speculations and rumors. The market place was paralyzed. Investors and businessmen got edgy, confused and afraid.

Because they were made to hedge their bets and wait forever for the new administration enunciate its economic policy, some took their capital elsewhere. The financial system reacted. And an epidemic of job losses began.

Buhari had been advised to take drastic measures in his first days in office. Former British PM Tony Blair -whose autobiography, A Journey: My Political Life , detailed his action-packed first 100 days in office – suggested that Buhari’s first 100 days would define the shape of the rest of his tenure. Blair counseled Buhari to leverage his massive goodwill and abolish fuel subsidy and take hard decisions to spur economic recovery.

Buhari demurred. He said the argument for the removal of fuel subsidy didn’t sound rational. He would not sanction a decision that would the increase inflation and suffering.

When he eventually came around to realize the foolishness of his obstinacy, he had already unleashed the wilder version of the outcome he was trying to avoid so he could retain his popularity.

Same thing he did with the naira. Every voice of reason counseled that it would be prudent to devalue urgently. The artificial value we were purporting to maintain at the expense of our very lean foreign reserve was incongruous with reality. Buhari refused to grant approval.

He cited again the welfare of the masses. He wouldn’t bear to see Nigerians suffer more.

He would later agree to the idea of ‘floating of the naira.’ But before then, market forces had so weakened the naira that his change of mind was a belated adaptation to a fait accompli. His stubbornness and delay did no good other than instigate instability and increase the inflation and suffering beyond what would have obtained if the devaluation had been done promptly.

Until last week , Buhari was adamant that he would not welcome the views of the private sector on the state of the economy. He implied that private sector players were basically selfish. Their opinions would be tainted by avarice. They can’t put profit above patriotism.

The consequence of having a prideful economic ignoramus that would not seek or entertain wise counsel until he sees the worst possible eventuality come in view is that the Nigerian economy has now gone far too bad than is easy to quickly reverse. Of course, this means that the incredible act of surviving as a Nigerian has become a lot harder. In ‘normal’ times, Nigerian life is a story of deprivation. Buhari has made it more so.

The worrisome thing is that Buhari has yet to get the memo. He lives in a bubble. And he is a captive of sycophants that are serenading him with flattery.

For instance, his spokesman, Garba Shehu, recently said Buhari should not be taken to task about the starvation of hundreds of thousands of Nigerian children in IDP camps. Shehu says Boko Haram created the situation. So why should Buhari be the subject of criticism instead of Shekau?

Before this, Buhari’s other spokesman, Femi Adesina, had declaimed in a PUNCH interview that Nigerians were not suffering. He said Nigerians weren’t experiencing the mildest inconvenience. Nigerians owe his principal a lot thanks for their good life!

Taken together, the words of these spokespersons represent a sample of the despicable diet of falsehoods politicians and aides in Buhari’s orbit feed him. And the words also reflect Buhari’s own mindset.

Buhari is averse to taking responsibility for the Nigerian economy. He habitually laments the Jonathan days looting and calls it the sole cause of the present ‘technical’ recession. On the days he wants to inspire hope, he mouths the tired promise that he would ‘diversify’ the economy!

Buhari has effectively resigned. He is unwilling and unable to rouse himself to the business of accomplishing something timeless and memorable. He is secure in a numbing complacency, a feeling of arrival that compels him to relax like a minimally interested observer in his own presidency.

He has squandered his first year. In few months time, he will be two years in office and midway into his term. That halftime will be the real expiration date of his tenure. Beyond that moment, the polity devolves into a dirty fight to replace him.

There is no sign that Buhari aspires to maximize the remaining part of his time. He has no sense of urgency. The most he is doing is actively wishing that crude price rises and yields him abundance. He had not gamed out options to pursue in case of petrodollars drought. And he is not disposed to start now.

He has the preposterous notion that Nigerians will forgive him for the broken economy because he achieved the technical defeat of Boko Haram and permitted the EFCC to recover some chicken change from certain corrupt politicians on the other side of the political divide.

Not all. People in developing countries tend to judge a leader in one way. The extent to which he helped make the meeting of their basic needs easier. Going by that metric and the escalation of human suffering across Nigeria in the past one year, Buhari’s administration is a disaster!

Buhari walked into the highest office in the land without a plan. He didn’t do any homework. He had no sketch of policies as you would expect of a four time presidential candidate; a serious-minded former head of state that had three decades to study his country as a private citizen. He presumed that all things would align for good. The business of governance will take care of itself. All he needed was to win the election and take the oath of office.

Buhari thought so lowly of the position of president of Nigeria and so highly of himself that he rated himself too qualified to ready himself for it!

Buhari believes that luck is destiny. He counts himself unlucky to be the leader of Nigeria at this time. Every day, he laments the oil curse. He solicits pity for having the misfortune of coming to power now.

This is a coded confession of defeat; an acknowledgement that he has no faith in his ability to pivot his administration to positive denouement.

Buhari’s fatalism has convinced him of his own victimhood. He is persuaded that it is beyond his power to cause a meaningful shift. And this is why the hardship in the land is likely to morph into the worst case scenario.

immaugwu@gmail.com

@EmmaUgwuTheMan

President Buhari, Silence Is Not Always Golden, By Bámidélé Adémólá-Olátéjú

​The quality of leadership in the Senate and House of Representatives has long been considered an intra-party problem, and the budget padding scandal has shown that it is a challenge the nation must confront and overcome. Since we started the present democratic experiment in 1999, the legislative chambers have never been accountable. They have existed as extortion departments to make demands from the executive. Until Buhari was elected, they were the Senate and House of Ghana Must Go Bags. It is these perks and vaunting ambition that prompted Saraki’s hijack of the process and the forgery of standing rules, as being alleged. Events since the Eighth national Assembly was inaugurated has proven to Nigerians that the Senate President and the Speaker of the House are unqualified to serve in their respective roles; both in character and temperament. Together, they promote graft, theft and a campaign of intimidation and harassment, while they revel in the complete abdication of their statutory roles.

Despite the president’s signature agenda of fighting corruption, a few people in positions of trust and privilege continue to plunder our resources while ordinary Nigerians are not being paid their wages, salaries, and decent living has never been harder. Saraki and Dogara’s infractions have continued to make mockery of the president’s anti-corruption fight. Their intent and actions in their official capacities clearly reveal their contempt for Nigeria’s constitutional norms and preference for judicial subjugation and abuse of procedures.

Along with these orchestrated sabotage is Mamman Daura’s hostile takeover of presidential appointments and the Dambazau debacle. Sadly, the president has remained silent through it all. It feels like it doesn’t matter. What will it take to get the president to talk? What will it take to get the president to feel the pain and anguish of the average Nigerian? President Buhari, at times of national unease like we are in, silence is not golden. Do not listen to the likes of Adesina who tells you that you cannot afford to be a talkative president. Nigerians elected you and they deserve occasional briefings on major events and developments. You cannot afford the communication strategy of a hermit. It will not serve you nor will it benefit us. Sometimes you need to rally the troops. You need to make the case for patience and sacrifice. Sometimes, you need to give peptalk to boost morale at times of national despondency when there is pervasive hunger and want in the land. At times like this, it is better to say too much than to say too little.

Mr. President, are you going to leave Nigerians to the desecrators and violators to deal with as they deem fit? The majority of Nigerians do not understand your wall of silence. The unusual combination of mindless gratification, unbridled arrogance, disregard for the judicial process and impunity from legislative quarters is galling. Unfortunately, neither Saraki nor Dogara and their clique of saboteurs sees their moral failures as any form of handicap. While Saraki is encouraging bullying and physical fights in the Senate in his desperation for affirmation, he is totally contemptuous of facts and other points of view. While Dogara is accusing another of budget padding, his red ink gives authority and timestamp to grand theftYour silence might be political but it is not strategic and it is detrimental to national interest. Even if it conveys a sense of mystery to us, the predictable meaning we read into it are different. With this sort of silence, we feel more passivity, more uncertainty and relinquishment, if not surrender and helplessness. It is true that politics is a game of intrigues but times like this calls for persuasion, clarification and conviction to win public support and sympathy.

Sir, your silence is being interpreted even by core Buharists like me as incompetence, intransigence and a variant of arrogance. From what we see so far, your silence has led to your political encirclement. Effectively, the legislative houses are in the hands of unbelievers of change and seasoned economic saboteurs whose interests are their pockets and ambitions. Your appointments are lopsided in a country with visible fault lines and we are begining to see the manifestations of cronyism and nepotism.

As a battle tested General, I know you will never underestimate an enemy but sir; but the signals are there that the battle lines are drawn and the conflict is going to be a fight to the finish between you and the unbelievers of change. The plot is to prevent your administration from functioning effectively and succeeding in the battle against corruption. As I write this, the battle front is desultory and your men like Mamman Daura, Abba Kyari and Femi Adesina are widening the theatre of conflict to the point that it is appropriate to call it a war. I urge you to break your silence today. Your silence is deafening. Your silence is not strategic. It is certainly not golden!

Bámidélé Adémólá-Olátéjú a farmer, youth advocate and political analyst writes this weekly column – “Bamidele Upfront” for the Premium Times . Follow me on Twitter @olufunmilayo
Culled from premiumtimesng

First Lady Aisha Buhari’s Wristwatch and The Vanity of Nigerian Elites, By Adeolu Ademoyo

If true, the news about Mrs. Aisha Buhari’s wristwatch is highly disturbing. The reported news is that she allegedly wore a ten Million Naira Cartier Baignoire Folle 18-Carat White Gold Diamond wristwatch to her husband’s inauguration on May 29, 2015. Her defenders deny this. They claim that the wristwatch is a “knock down” version of the watch and the one she wore cost between $100-$130.
The responses of both Mrs. Aisha Buhari’s critics and defenders on this matter have been inadequate and unhelpful. Her critics seem to be raising ethical issues, one of which is that if Mrs. Buhari is hoping to step into the public sphere in any form, her handlers hope to package her, genuine and verifiable modesty, humility, a strong sense of ethics in public service consistent with the moral opposition that shoved Ex-president Jonathan aside and brought Mr. Buhari in is non-negotiable. Her critics on this matter have not clearly stated this (perhaps because they – the critics – are also morally compromised), neither have they shown that Aisha Buhari actually wore that vain watch (if actually she did) in a moment that can be described as an instance of public service.
On the other hand Aisha Buhari’s handlers have failed on two grounds. First, they dodged a legitimate issue, which is about requisite ethics in public service and role. It is possible Aisha Buhari’s handlers do not even see the seriousness of the grim moral problem Nigeria is in since many of Mrs. Aisha Buhari’s handlers probably belong – in a historical sense – to the same political, feudal, military, and ruling class that knocked the country down.
Let us put it starkly. It is unacceptable in a country where the average Nigerian lives on a dollar a day for anyone in a public service role to step into the public sphere in a vain ten million naira wristwatch. If Aisha Buhari’s handlers correctly understood the moral opposition that brought Mr. Buhari to power, then Aisha’s handlers must admit this ethical position unconditionally and proceed to either admit that she needed to draw a clear line between her legitimate right to her privacy (where she is free to use anything she likes since it is her money), and her potential public role (where her role ought be conditioned by public ethics), and apologise to Nigerians for such faux pas or deny it factually.
Aisha’s handlers chose the latter (i.e. they denied) and said what their principal wore is a knock down version of the original watch, which they claim, cost $129 in a flea market. But for Aisha Buhari’s handlers to dismissively claim that it is a knock down version of the original watch is a mere statement needing factual confirmation, which is similar to the claim of her critics which also needs factual confirmation. This is the point at which both Aisha’s critics and defenders/handlers may be playing on the genuine moral feelings of Nigerians who are determined to break with the silliness and vanity in Nigerian First ladyship.
Someone may ask: “what is the heck with Aisha Buhari wearing a ten million naira wristwatch if it is indeed true”? The simple answer is that “the heck” is that it reveals a moral mindset, if true a moral mindset which is out of tune with the new Nigeria we want to build where anyone in a public role is a genuine servant of the Nigerian people, and not a pretender. Mrs. Aisha Buhari is the latest brand in the lineage of first ladies of Nigeria. And here I will go for the broke with no holds barred. Why? Those who fought to change the old dispensation will not allow any President and his first lady to re-invent and take us back to the dark days of Goodluck Jonathan presidency and the useless First ladyship of the Nigerian presidency. To put it starkly, this mandate is not Buhari’s mandate. It is the mandate of the Nigerian people, and we are going to watch this very closely.
Those who worked selflessly (working to see radical break from the past and improved conditions of the people) for the election of President Buhari took a gamble and a risk. And Nigerian voters will remain watchmen and women of the risk they took because the voters did not work to institute another round of vanity in power because if true, to perform an official function with a ten million Naira wristwatch in a country where the average Nigerian lives on a dollar a day is morally unacceptable.
Mrs. Aisha Buhari is a private citizen. She should remain so in so far as she does not peddle influence, or go near the public treasury. To this end, she is free to wear any type of wrist watch – gold, silver, golden-silver, brass, diamond – anything. It is her right. It is not important to Nigerians the type of wristwatch she wears. She only needs to take it off the public sphere if she is hoping to step into the public domain.
A comparison of Nigerian ruling elites with their counterparts in other climes reveals a lot about vision and ethics. Take as an example Charles Feeny, one of the early movers of the now popular duty free shops where all brands of wristwatches are on display but who personally uses wrist watch worth less than $50! An Irish-American and alumnus of Cornell University, Feeny has this to say about himself: “I had one idea that never changed in my mind — that you should use your wealth to help people. I try to live a normal life, the way I grew up…I set out to work hard, not to get rich.” Since 1982, Feeney had given out grants totaling 7 billion dollars – the single bulk of it has gone to universities both in the US and his original country, Ireland. But wait a minute, Feeny, a billionaire, a signatory to the World Billionaires’ “The Giving Pledge” and pioneer mover of duty free shops where all manner of wristwatches are often on display for sale, himself, uses a wristwatch worth less than $50!
This ought to be a sober lesson for our usual Dubai bound vanity, gold plated phone and Carat wristwatch seeking members of the Nigerian ruling and feudal elites.
But it is conceivable that Mr. Buhari himself may just not be aware that her wife allegedly wore ten million naira worth wrist watch to his official inauguration; even if this is true, it negates in a fundamental sense the sense of seriousness and purpose we thought Buhari had and which we used to rally Nigerian people to his side in the last election. At least it is on record that ex-president Obasanjo said he was not aware that his wife, Stella Obasanjo was going for a tummy surgery, which sadly resulted in her death.
Nigerian people have the right to be on the alert because of the vanity of the so-called Nigerian First ladies. Always mistaking vain pomp and pageantry to be style and taste; lacking in deep and profound vision; failing to see the style, grace, nobility, honour and virtue in modesty and humility in service to the people; lacking in style and grace but full of vain pageantry and poor ethics that define members of Nigerian ruling and feudal elites, these tribe of so-called first ladies range from Mrs. Babangida, to Mrs. Abacha to Mrs. Stella Obasanjo, Mrs. Turai Yar adua, down to Mrs. Patience Jonathan.
The Buhari presidency must quickly define and clarify the relationship of the figurative position of the first lady to official public life and to the Nigerian public treasury – both formal and informal. While all “first ladies” and “first men” have rights (as private citizens) to their sense of vanity, including their multiple golden, silver, brass wristwatches, driving toys, phones, gold ringed eye glasses, and shoes, they must limit their vanity to their private lives. But if they change roles and officially step into the public domain with their vanity, the Nigerian people will subject them to the rigorous public scrutiny of the high ethics and high standards of the public sphere.
In the post-Goodluck Jonathan presidency, the first and last call of any state official is genuine, visible and verifiable humility, modesty in service to the Nigerian people as we have it in advanced democracies and civilised climes. There will not be less. There will be no sacred cow, goat, or sheep in this historic and moral duty of watchmen and women. This is the only condition the votes of Nigerian people and our deliberate call for Nigerian people to vote Buhari would not have been a waste.

Adeolu Ademoyo, aaa54@cornell.edu, is with the Africana Studies and Research Center, Cornell University, Ithaca, NY.

Culled from premiumtimesng.com

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