Corruption: Re-looting the Loot - By Kenneth Kaunda Adamu

 
By Kenneth Kaunda Adamu
 
"There's honour among thieves" is a well-known saying so should there also not be honour among activists? Human rights lawyer cum activist, Chief Femi Falana (SAN) would do well to think along this line as his ongoing grandstanding over allegations that he is a beneficiary of corruption amounts to tokenism taken too far.  
 
Former chairman of the Pension Reform Task Team (PRTT), Abdulrasheed Maina, through his lawyer, Sani Katu, and infact the Attorney-General and Minister of Justice claimed in separate statements, one issued at Kaduna and the later at the Senate Hearing that Falana was the beneficiary of a recovered asset worth over N2billion but  bought for N1 billion. The allegation is that the property Falana has converted to his office in Abuja was one of the Properties the Maina led PRTT had helped the government to recover from pension thieves through the use if derivative powers if the EFCC, and that Mr. Ibrahim Magu, the acting chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) gifted same to Falana, who has taken ownership. 
 
So far, the activist-lawyer's response has been nothing but derisive – a strategy he had successfully deployed in the past when faced with weighty allegations. This apparently works by reducing the substance of the allegation into a joke that will make keen watchers lose interest in knowing the final outcome. 
 
His reaction has been to wax rhetorical by asking “Which house? Where is it located? Is it in Lagos or Abuja?” He further claimed he has never met Maina as if he needed to sit down with the former PRTT chairman at a drinking joint for the sale of the property in question to be consummated. Even more irresponsible was his claim that those in government instigated Maina to make the allegations because he, Falana, had been vocal in canvassing sanctions for all those involved in Maina's controversial reabsorption into service. These are all symptomatic of a man who erroneously believes his role as an activist confers on him a license to engage in impunity and go unscathed. 
 
Far from playing the victim of a witch-hunt – for which he is insinuating that President Muhammadu Buhari and some of his cabinet members are behind his travails – Falana will do well to address the issue raised by Maina. He is at liberty to address other similar claims that have accused him of everything from compromise to hobnobbing with foreign enemies of Nigeria. 
 
Maina did not hint at being under duress when he allegedly named Falana as a questionable beneficiary of assets seized from what he recovered for the Federal Government. The former PRTT boss is of course in a position to know what assets were confiscated from pension thieves  and certainly has the mental and emotional attachment to keep track of how the ownership of the said assets are changing hands, especially when he is being prosecuted for carrying out a very risky job that was assigned to him by the past administration. 
 
It is noteworthy that Maina did not make the allegation as a snide comment but made Nigerians aware of same through his lawyer. He knows better than to make spurious claims.  Falana is a lawyer whom, I would think depends on his reputation to make a living. It is also curious that the firebrand Falana, who usually would have threatened crippling lawsuits, is barely whining in the lame attempt to clear himself in the allegations made against him. Falana has instead resorted to the kind of media manipulation that treasury looters had engaged in the not too distant past. 
 
Falana's theatrics must however not detract from the reality on ground because it is immoral that assets are confiscated in the anti-corruption drive only to be looted again. There are vital information he must place in the public space since he has resorted to the media and court of public opinion as the choice of where he wants to clear his name. 
 
First, Falana should categorically let Nigerians know if he has at any time bought property in the vicinity of N1 billion. His response to this will at least let us know that in addition to being a celebrity activist he might as well be a billionaire-activist. The country may just as well begin to look at his tax records and sundry in case other crimes have been committed. Of course, he is at liberty to claim he did not purchase such property, at which point those with the skills will try to see what they can use the Freedom of Information Act to uncover. 
 
Secondly, Falana may want to shed more light on his relationship with the acting Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, Ibrahim Magu, and the transfer of certain property confiscated and handed over to him. The news has in the past been dominated with the kind of clean hands Magu operates with so there is little wonder that confiscated property are ending up with his cronies and those that have helped identified the legal loopholes to perpetually keep him in acting capacity. 
 
Furthermore, since he is reportedly in possession of the building, it is important to verify that he did paid N1 billion for the property and that it was not simply "dashed" to him by those he had done hatchet jobs for. If the money is not paid his offence against the Nigerian state would be worse than that of those he had condemned in the past and should be measured by the standards he had set for others in the past. 
 
For those who may think this is below the belt, the response is that this is to specifically call out Falana to answer his name as the allegation against him is a complicated and weighty one. He should stop compounding the problem by attempting to trivialize it and seeking sympathy from the court of public opinion. Buying a property from Maina led PRTT which was recovered from Pension looters, is not something to be discussed on the pages of newspapers, rather, its something over which he should hurry to clear his name by giving Nigerians information and documents relating to the property in question so as to clear his 'hard earned reputation'
 
Those who have stolen from those who stole from us are worse than the first thieves. So if Falana  fails to clear himself of this allegation he would be worse than all those we have condemned in the past for stealing from a suffering nation simply because they were given the opportunity to mourn or sympathize with the country. 
 
It is imperative at this point that the Federal Government provide Nigerians with a detailed list of those who are re-looting the loot recovered from the Main a Led PRTT whose ingenuity recovered the loot from those that had pilfered the treasury. The latest allegations against Falana offer a vista into how some people hide behind the veneer of respectability to defraud the country and set back the anti-corruption war with their gilded images. It is a scenario Nigerians are tired of and for which they want to learn that the culprits have been sanctioned. If Falana becomes the poster child for stopping the theft of recovered loots then so be it.
 
Adamu K. K sent in this piece from Lokoja, Kogi State.

APGA - Magnanimity In Victory By Victor Ike-Oye

Reports show that some persons, under the guise of celebrating the victory of Governor Willie Maduaburochukwu Obiano in the just-concluded Anambra Governorship Election, engage in disruptive, salacious, racy and uncouth media attacks on the persons that contested against the governor and lost. Some others have even made coffins with inscriptions capable of causing a breach of the peace and generating unnecessary bad blood.

As much as the need for people to celebrate the milestone attained by the governor and the All Progressives Grand Alliance, APGA, is appreciated it should be done with decorum and charitability. APGA, as a responsible political party, frowns at and will not condone the use of its name, logo or any insignia in whatever guise to perpetrate acts that are indecent, inhumane, indecorous, and undignifying against anybody, particularly those that contested the election with the governor.

Governor Obiano, for those who know him too well, cannot engage in or encourage anything that is pedestrian, debasing or haughty. In his acceptance speech after he was officially declared the winner of the election; Akpokuedike extended his hand of fellowship to all and promised to work with the cooperation of Ndi Anambra to achieve the vision of his administration. For the All Progressives Grand Alliance, the election has been won and lost. It is now time for serious business.

The party congratulates everybody who worked to make this history, especially President Muhammadu Buhari; the security agencies under the direction of DIG Operations, Habila Joshak; and INEC that created the level-playing field that culminated in the landslide victory.

The All Progressives Grand Alliance felicitates with Governor Willie Obiano for working very hard to earn the one hundred per cent confidence of the people that voted massively for him. We are certain he will work harder in his second term to make Anambra State better.

Above all, the leadership of the All Progressives Grand Alliance thank God - the Creator of Heaven and earth - for making everything possible. To Him be all honour and glory forever.

Biafra And Kanu: Foretelling The Possible End By Omoshola Deji

 

Nigerian ethnic groups are enduring the pains, rather than enjoying the gains of unity. From 1960 to date, successive governments, both the militarily imposed and the democratically elected, has declared Nigeria’s unity non-negotiable. Double-edged, the willingness to retain a united Nigeria is contrasted by the unwillingness to allow the nationalities negotiate their terms of cohabitation. This inflames the countrywide demand for political-economic restructuring and the quest for Biafra in Southeast, Nigeria. 

Championing the immediate struggle for Biafra secession is Nnamdi Nwanekaenyi Kanu - the former director of the London-based Radio Biafra and recently dismissed leader of the proscribed secessionist movement - the Indigenous People of Biafra, IPOB.

The Nigerian military’s invasion of Kanu’s home and IPOB’s proscription as a terrorist group is generating controversy and anxiety in the polity. In any case, Kanu has only been declared missing, not dead. The mere speculations of death, without prove, cannot halt research and analysis on Kanu’s struggle for Biafra, it rather strengthens it.

This piece sets sights on foretelling how Kanu and the struggle for Biafra would ultimately end. A recount-before-analysis approach is adopted to cover the essentials and curtail ambiguity. The struggle of late minority rights activists and secessionist leaders is then examined to foretell the possible end of Kanu and Biafra.

For history, Odumegwu Ojukwu declared Eastern Nigeria a sovereign nation named the Republic of Biafra in 1967, battled the Nigerian army for three years and surrendered Biafra in 1970.

Kanu willfully assigned himself the duty of accomplishing Ojukwu’s failed mission. He crusades that Biafra restoration is the only solution to Southeast’s marginalization. In no time, Kanu’s popularity rose steeply and the drumbeat of secession resonated into President Muhammadu Buhari’s ears. The dictator turned democrat civilly wield the big stick! Kanu was arrested for treason and other related offenses on October 14, 2015. After prolonged detention without charge, the court ordered Kanu’s release on bail, but the state kept him in custody.

Buhari famed Kanu. The state’s willful disobedience of court order earned Kanu sympathy among the Southeasterners who largely grades Buhari as sectional and anti-Southeast. If Kanu was freed when he perfected his first bail conditions, he probably won’t have gained the kind of compassion that astoundingly transformed into support and discipleship in the Southeast.

After scores of protests and legal wrangle, Justice Binta Nyako, on April 25, 2017, granted Kanu a fresh bail on the key conditions that he must not be seen amidst a crowd of more than ten persons, must not grant interviews, hold or attend rallies. Kanu fearlessly dishonored the bail conditions and continued his advocacy for Biafra after he was freed. He called for referendum, but allegedly threatened war, berated other ethnic factions and purveyed hate.

Kanu rationalized his bail flout on emulating Buhari – the president who “does not obey court orders”. Fact checked, Buhari is still disobeying the order to release the former national security adviser, Sambo Dasuki, and the Shi'a Muslim cleric, Ibrahim El-Zakzaky. Reminiscent of a chain-smoker irritated by smoke, the same Buhari government that dishonor court orders implored the court to revoke Kanu’s bail.

The wheels of justice grinds too slowly for Buhari’s military oriented, democratic government to hope on. On September 10, 2017, the military invaded Kanu’s home and reportedly left their - Fela Kuti’s asserted - regular trademark: sorrows, tears and blood. Kanu has since been out of sight. There is more to his disappearance than meets the eye. He is either dead, in solitary confinement, or has absconded when the military overpowered the IPOB members that formed human-shield round his house.

Mind boggling, could an outspoken Kanu ever abandon his supporters at such a crucial moment, forsaking them to die of state’s bullet? Could an outspoken Kanu ever keep mute on IPOB’s proscription as a terrorist organization? While these questions await answers, a major pointer that Kanu is alive emerged. IPOB sacked him as the director of Radio Biafra. Concurring with the arguments of rights activists and senior lawyer, Festus Keyamo, after declaring the army killed Kanu, did IPOB wake him from the grave to question him over allegations of inciting violence and misappropriation of funds before sacking him? Presumably alive, what would be the ultimate end of Kanu?

Kanu may end like Isaac Adaka Boro (1938-68). Boro fought for the emancipation of the Niger-Delta, decades before it became a popular catchphrase. The new generation activists - including Asari Dokubo, Ateke Tom and Government Tompolo – only picked the baton to finish the race that consumed Boro. The oil firms and state’s exploitation of the Niger-Delta frustrated Boro to declare an independent “Niger Delta Peoples Republic” on 23 February, 1966. Boro’s armed militia, the Niger-Delta Volunteer Force, battled the Nigerian army for twelve days before losing out.

Boro took up arms against the state and later picked up arms to fight for the state. On the eve of Nigerian civil war, the then head-of-state, retired Gen Yakubu Gowon released Boro from jail and enrolled him as a Major in the Nigerian Army to fight against Biafra. Boro fought gallantly, but was mysteriously killed in active service after he liberated the Niger-Delta from Biafra.

To the point, if Boro who once confronted the state could be tricked, used and allegedly killed by the state, Kanu may end up in a similar situation. The power-hungry opposition party may brainwash Kanu that he would get Biafra or juicy political appointment if he uses his influence to ensure the Southeast vote for the party. Kanu may later be silenced with death or relegated – like the All Progressives Congress, APC, is doing to Bola Tinubu and Atiku Abubakar - once the party gains control of power.

Into the bargain, if Tinubu’s henchmen withdraw their support for Buhari in the Southwest, the APC might opt to win the southeast in 2019 through Kanu. Cast no doubt, if a strong-willed Boro could work for Gowon, never boast that Kanu cannot work for the APC in the future.

Boro died fighting for the recognition of minority rights in the Niger-Delta, but the people are still suffering amidst surplus. Kanu too may die for Biafra and the struggle would continue for decades without Biafra coming to pass.

Kanu may end like Ken Saro-Wiwa (1941-95). Saro-Wiwa wrote passionately against the oil exploitation, environmental degradation and human rights abuses in Ogoni. He swapped Boro’s gun for pen by declaring to his people that “I do not want any blood spilt, not of an Ogoni man, not of any strangers amongst us. We are going to demand our right peacefully, non-violently and we shall win”. Despite being non-violent, the Sani Abacha military regime could not tolerate or negotiate with Saro-Wiwa. He was silenced with death!

The Abacha government accused Saro-Wiwa and eight other activists of instigating the riot that led to the murder of four Ogoni chiefs. It was widely reported that Saro-Wiwa did not participate in the riot because the military had denied him entry into Ogoni on the riot day. After nine months in detention, the Ogoni-nine were arraigned before a tribunal that sentenced them to death-by-hanging on October 31, 1995. In the face of public outcry and global plea for clemency, the Abacha government hanged Saro-Wiwa and the eight activists on November 10, 1995.

One may argue that such gruesomeness is not possible under a democratic government, but if the court, for instance, hands Kanu a death penalty in his ongoing treason trial, the state may hurriedly execute him on judicial grounds, when all means of appeal are exhausted.

Buhari and Abacha are former military dictators. It is thus quite possible for the military that “publicly” executed Saro-Wiwa (under Abacha) to secretly execute Kanu (under Buhari) when soldiers invaded his home. If Saro-Wiwa was executed for an offense he (possibly) didn’t commit, Kanu too can be later accused and indicted for same. The state forces that are desperate to silence him and the politicians displeased with his rising popularity may use the Judas among his disciples to frame him up on crimes such as murder or illegal arms importation.

Kanu may end or might have ended his desire for Biafra like Ojukwu. If a gallant military officer like Ojukwu could abscond into exile, leaving the Southeasterner’s to languish in anguish at the height of the civil war, it is possible that a diaspora returnee and city dweller like Kanu might have absconded and possibly bowed cheaply to the superior force of the Nigerian state.

Ojukwu and Kanu aimed for Biafra but their style of steering secessionist movement differs. Ojukwu showed bravery by backing his Biafra declaration with action. In contrast, Kanu seems lost in focus. Challenging elites that are not willing to disintegrate or allow for referendum goes beyond rants and threats. Kanu’s actions have so far revealed that he lacks the essentials needed to restore Biafra. His uncouth orations also shows he lacks the maturity.

As observed in Africa, Kanu may help free Biafra from Nigeria and hold on to it as Mugabe did in Zimbabwe. Secession doesn’t guarantee peace and equity. Biafra may disintegrate to grapple with ethno-religious violence and a survival economy like that of the Central African Republic. Biafra may secede to know no peace. It may be another South Sudan that gained independence, only to start another round of ethnic violence and civil war.

On the other hand, Kanu may end up being a replica of Singapore’s Lee Kuan Yew. He may, by luck or circumstance, get Biafra and swiftly transform it from an underdeveloped nation to a developed one. Biafra may later develop to the envy of Nigeria; just as Singapore is more developed than Malaysia.

So long as the Buhari government insists that Nigeria’s unity is non-negotiable, our cohabitation must be constantly negotiated to reflect equity and fairness. Rational distribution of power and resources is breath for the survival of Nigeria. Force, intimidation and harassment would not end the agitation for Biafra. Secession can only be averted if Nigeria is restructured for the minority to enjoy rights.

Kanu would either conquer Nigeria or be consumed by Nigeria. One or the other, his silence must not be misjudged. He is either busy strategizing his comeback or his mission to disintegrate Nigeria has died in him, or with him.

*Omoshola Deji is a political and public affairs analyst. He wrote in via This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Nigerians Celebrate The End Of War On Corruption By Bayo Oluwasanmi

In anticipation and in preparation for 2019, the presidency announced that the war on corruption ended last week with the arrest of Pius Anyim, former secretary to the federal government by the EFCC. The presidency has therefore decided to celebrate the milestone achievement with 180 million Nigerians.

So, on a bright sunny Saturday inside the Abuja National Stadium where the demise of corruption was being celebrated, a corrupt politician quarrels over the loudspeakers with a fed-up Nigerian who tells a section of the mammoth crowd about the $20.2 billion missing from NNPC since 1999 in a series of corruption scandals.

As the scripted recording plays, three EFCC operatives sitting among the crowd watch in awe at the passing parade of corruption goons in the country; cracking up in laughter, pointing a the bright red and yellow uniform and insignia on the breast pockets of their jackets that reads “Corrupt parade to mark end of corruption.” Posters that adorn the stadium includes caricatured faces of former presidents, former and present state governors, senators, reps, judges, bank executives, General Overseers of Nigeria's Pentecostal Churches, and many others.

“For years, our nation has been undergoing incremental killing by corruption,” says Naima Jambamesu, the head of the multi billion naira multi global corruption outfit.” “By taking part in this parade,” continues Jambamesu, “we're trying to make corruption tangible, real, and understandable to Nigerians, and to explain to them its direct implications on our everyday lives. The restless crowd yelled “spot on!” “We're responsible for the pandemic spread of corruption and the diversion of delivery mechanisms of basic infrastructures and basic social entitlement schemes of the government,” says Jambamesu.

“Broad government corruption remains a largely untreated illness for decades,” says the president. “My government has been plagued with questions, arrests, suits, and appeals, over stolen and looted trillions of money,” says the president. “For the life of our republic,” continues the president, “corruption and impunity have inspired apathy and danger. But today, we have come to bury corruption.” As if possessed, the crowd went into ecstasy chanting “Sai Baba, Sai Baba” rent the air.

“I'm happy to tell you that both the great leaders from our two great parties – APC and PDP – and the sharks and whales of corruption from both parties have reached an historic compromise to laid corruption to rest,” says the president. “In the spirit of the historic compromise, I have instructed the EFCC chairman and the courts to dismiss all cases of corruption and dismantle all corruption courts with immediate effect. In addition, all stolen money by the politicians will not be refunded to the government. Also all properties that were seized by the EFCC must be returned to the owners without delay. Those who have refunded full or part of money that were stolen must be returned to them,” the president assured the nation. “Our victory over corruption is unique. There are no victors, no victims. We're all victors and victims. Nigeria is the first country in the world to kill corruption,” the president adds cheerily.

“Nigerian politics have been considered a joke since independence. For Nigerians to maintain their sanity in the culture and climate of corruption of impunity with immunity, the deadly virus has been tamed with spiritual comedy. I'm grateful for this. A purge of the federal government, state governments, governors, judges, civil servants, universities, and banks would have left Nigeria without a single official or institution. It becomes expedient for us to stem the hemorrhage from the war on corruption and declare victory.” The crowd thundered in unison: “Preach on Mr. President!”

“Remember, we came out of recession few months ago. Since then, the economy has been on the rebound. Five million well paying jobs have been created. Factories are humming again. New businesses are springing up daily. Companies can't find enough workers. Ajaokuta is back to life. The first made in Ajaokuta automobiles will roll off the mill in 2060. Our farmers can't handle the bumper harvest from their crops. For the first time in 16 years, food prices are at basement prices. We now export virtually all food items from yams to gari, cocoyam, pepper, onions, tomatoes, sugar cane, palm oil, vegetables, rice, beans, etc. to Europe and the US. Our education is one of the best in the world. Our senior citizens are having the best time of their life. However, expect regular and stable electricity in 2080. My administration will continue to ferry sick former and current very important looters (VIL) to abroad for medical treatment while the sick poor will seek treatment from miracle Pastors and Babalawos. With the historic compromise, I believe we're on the right path toward a new Nigeria where peace, progress, and prosperity reign.” The crowd roared: “four more years! four more years!”

“Corruption is a disease of the political body. Corruption in Nigeria consists of two deformities of truth: lying and bullshit. Ours is a system where dishonesty, greed, and self-interest have gotten so deeply entrenched. These deformities corrupt the entire citizenry because it conceals private interests under the guise of a concern for truth. We're a nation full of people of crooked moral character. Corruption profoundly debase, distort, and destroy the moral and spiritual fiber of our beloved nation. As we have witnessed, corruption is a form of epistemic injustice.” The crowd shot back: “True Mr. President!”

Today I make good on my promise to you two years ago that I'll kill corruption before corruption kills us. Corruption is dead! The crowd erupted with thunderous applause: “God bless you Baba! Long may you reign!” Beaming with smiles and nodding his head the president replied: “Thank you and God bless Nigeria.” The crowd burst into uncontrollable frenzy of “Sai Baba for 2019!” With contentment of hope and confusion of the historic compromise, the crowd melt into thin air.

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Harnessing Gains Of The 2017 Global Terrorism Index 

The Global Terrorism Index 2017 published by the Institute for Economics and Peace is one report that have excited Nigerians, home and abroad, and for good reasons too. The report indicated that terrorism related deaths fell by more than 80% for year 2016. There are other positives for Nigeria embedded in the 120-page report. 

An immediate plus is the renewed consciousness that it is possible for the mentions of Nigeria need not be all bad. Nigeria's commitment to tackling Boko Haram head-on contributed to the plummeting of terrorism related deaths as reported. This confirms that in spite of the limited international support – what the country gets sometimes is sabotage – the Nigerian military, notably the army, have delivered on a core mandate of President Muhammadu Buhari, with results to show for it. 

While the elation around the report is understandable, the pointers it gave about moving forward must not be lost in the euphoria about the plunge in the number of people that Boko Haram's attacks killed. Only a genuine appreciation of these indicators would firmly place Nigeria on the path of preventing the deaths that the terror group is still able to cause. This appreciation must be matched with corresponding actions for them to be meaningful. 

First, the Army, even with its superb leadership under Lieutenant General Tukur Yusufu Buratai, cannot and must not be left alone to deal with terrorism. If military action alone brought about an 80% reduction in deaths then a 99% fall in the number of terrorism linked deaths would have been possible if other stakeholders pitched in. We should at this point be asking why the police has not done more in massing to take over the protection of areas fully cleared by the army or why the intelligence agencies are not doing more to track would be suicide bombers or even why they have not been able to block the flow of new recruits to Boko Haram. We must also address why the military is left alone to deal with the menace of Boko Haram with only wits and brute force without the legislative support to specifically make new laws or upgrade existing ones to align with the realities of terrorism as many nations have done.  

Secondly, the report has exposed how the military have been maligned by a certain syndicate of miscreants and war merchants  over time as not doing much to counter the terror group. The few instances where Boko Haram is able to strike soft targets is usually celebrated by some international interests and their domestics proxies, which is usually a boost to the terrorists that go on to use such tacit support as propaganda to recruit new fighters. In retrospect, the period covered by the Global Terrorism Index 2017 turned out to be one during which the army was criticized for not preventing Boko Haram attacks; since fact and figures do not lie, it is now clear that the military did have the upper hand over the terrorists. 

Also, the aspect of the report that touched on "Financing Terror" is one that should get us all thinking and acting. According to the report, "Boko Haram has also been financed by donations from group members, corrupt politicians and government officials as well as supporters or organisations based in other countries." These are areas that the military had raised alarm about in the past and people dismissed such as trying to cow the opposition or accused of mounting propaganda. Now that we have read it from a neutral source perhaps we will now begin to take the issue of terrorism financing seriously and even review our transactions as individuals to ascertain we are not unwittingly funding terrorists. This development is also an eye opener about the activities of "organisations based in other countries", which some Nigerians feel obliged to kowtow to because they always package themselves as one thing while in reality they are something else – the activities of groups like Amnesty International and its affiliates must be reassessed against the background of this information. 
 
Fourthly, there is the lesson that the terror group should continue to be treated as one cancerous case irrespective of how many factions it splinters into. The report had noted that "Following military defeats, Boko Haram split in August 2016 into three separate factions including a violent faction, one that aligns itself with ISIL and a third faction affiliated with al-Qa’ida." The military must not stop its pursuit of terrorists even when the factions they supposedly belong to are reported to be less than barbaric than the other.  

Furthermore, as the military increasingly get drafted to address other threats to national security – like the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) that has also been designated a terror group or the outlawed Islamic Movement in Nigeria (IMN) - it is imperative to address the nexus between other disturbances and terrorism as established in the report. The army under General Buratai must be commended for dealing with these other problems before they snowballed into the kind of horror show Boko Haram has evolved into. If one is not asking for too much, the insults poured on the military  for proactively  dealing with these problems should be revisited and it’s  role in keeping the country secured in line with President Buhari's promise acknowledged for mention. 

Much as Nigerians are keen on celebrating the Global Terrorism Index 2017, we must immediately address the issues raised above. This becomes imperative when one realizes that the next report would be using the current 20% death as the benchmark for assessing the following year, which could potentially translate into higher deaths by percentages even when the actual figures have fallen well below the previous year. 

Stakeholders must therefore address the obstacles that the military had faced even at the time it achieved the feat of dampening terrorism related deaths. This include ensuring that operation against terrorism do not lack funding, equipment, legislation and government support. The Federal Government must also find a lasting solution to the harassment of the country's military institutions by so called international organizations that may well be the  "organisations based in other countries" referred to in the  report of the Institute for Economics and Peace.  In fact, their activities should henceforth be appraised in a different light to ensure they are not sabotaging the military to ensure they can continue to chalk up civilian deaths to suit other agenda. 

While congratulating President Buhari, General Buratai and the Nigerian Army on the import of the report, one must mention that the progress indicate by the report is a call to do even more to end Boko Haram's days of terror. The report in the section on "How Terrorist Groups End" posited that 35% of terrorist groups succumb to military/police defeat, 30% Internal splintering and 35% relenting after they have achieved their goals or entered politics. Boko Haram will never achieve its goal neither will it find a welcoming embrace in the political arena with its history of bloodletting. The military must therefore unleash more defeats that would further splinter the terrorists so that they will not have the space to take even 2 per cent  lives before the next report is due.

Murphy is a security expert based in Calabar, Cross River State.

Yahaya Bello: The Worst Governor Ever For Workers? By Oziwere Atta Aisha’a.

Oziwere is the President of Union of Ebira Women in diaspora, endorsed Yahaya Bello for governor in 2015 because he promised to increase workers welfare and build more roads but today reverse is the case. We thought he is a God-­fearing man, a man that was voted by God is acting this way, if at all the electorates should have voted for him imaging what he will be doing by now.

“Yahaya Bello will go down in history as the worst governor for workers in Nigeria,” says Kudi Ijiji Secretary-Treasurer of the Women Youth Wing.

“Bello has a consistent record of attacking workers’ rights while failing to create jobs. Since the day Bello took office he has been looking to advance the wants and desires of his kobonaire and thousandnaire campaign donors at the expense of working people.”

How badly have unions been hit by Bello?  After three to four failed consecutive screening exercise that put an end to thousands of Kogi workers in the state, Bello has designed another means of reducing Kogi work forces through FAKE RESULTS SAGA. All the affected people should take fate and wait for the next government to RIGHT the WRONG. He used state funds to build mansion in his home state while cutting education by 10 percent. Let him cite an example where in Nigeria where government has come hard on workers? Look at the atrocities he has committed so far;

Lingering crisis between the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU), Kogi State University Chapter and the Government of Kogi State

The termination of the appointment of 135 academic staff of the university is unhealthy and inimical to progress and orderly development of the institution.

The termination of the appointment of 157 academic staff of the College of Technical, Kabba is unhealthy.

Unrecognized the employment of 500 Secondary School Teacher and other ministries

TAKE A LOOK AT SUMMARY OF KOGI STATE WORK FORCE AS AT SEPTEMBER 30, 2017

1. Work force as at January 2016 (when Governor Yahaya took over) 76,275

2. Staff cleared by verification/appeal committees 65,832, but those receiving 24,232

3. Uncleared Staff by verification/appeal committees 10,443 but add it 41,600 unpaid workers

4. Outstanding Salaries Between 2 and 18 months

5. Some Uncleared Staff have been pardoned No available figure

Almost two years of the screening exercise still continue at the government house, salaries are been paid from there, no MDAs know what is going on in their respective ministries.

Our findings have shown the following inflow of cash into the coffers of Kogi State government since 2016.

1. FAAC Allocations to the State 60, 500,000,000.00

2. FAAC Allocations (LGAs) 49, 300,000,000.00

3. FG bailout 20, 000,000,000.00

4. Paris Club Refund (1st & 2nd tranches) 17, 200,000,000.00

5. Internally Generated Revenue (estimated as at September 30, 2017) 20, 000,000,000.00

Total – N167, 000,000,000.00

According to an ex-governor, and I quote: “The elders say it is when a man marries the second wife that he knows who is better, I believe Kogites have learnt the lesson and the electorates also have learnt their lesson that Kogi state is more safe and secured in the hands of those that was voted by electorates than the one come through back yard”.

During Wada Idris administration, both ghost workers and genuine are paid, nothing like percentage at the state level, it was those selfish local government chairman that paid percentage due to their political interest. May the elders council from the central call their son to order.

K-Rad And A Preparation For This Hour By Johnson Amusan

I felt as if I was walking with destiny, and that all my past life had been but a preparation for this hour and this trial. - Winston Churchill

By 2018, there must be a change of guard in Osun. The reason, therefore, Osun is currently on the match again in search of a veritable candidate to take the baton from the current governor of the State of Osun, Ogbeni Rauf Adesoji Aregbesola.

What is unique about the race this time is that, apart from the opposition, the party in the saddle also wants to reproduce itself in another candidate that will continue when the current governor ends his tenure in 2018.

Of course, the usual trend, so far, in most states is for a governor to select, apparently, his favourite for people to vote into power. This, however, has never been the experience in Osun. Even the inimitable Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola, despite his popularity, passed through the crucible of a primary election for him to emerge as the candidate of the party for the second term election. The essence is that, in Osun, it is not a norm for a candidate to emerge without the common seal or stamp of the delegates in a people’s primary.

In taking note of this democratic ethos, some have shown interest while others are also gearing up or still gauging the moods of the public and the electoratesin particular. However, one aspirant who has boldly thrown his hat into the ring is Mr. Kunle Rasheed Adegoke, widely known as K. RAD – the epithet that has stuck to him as fish to water.

I have found it rather difficult to write about K. RAD. This is not because I do not know what to write. The question is: how does one write about his sterling qualities; his passion for progress, his doggedness and commitment to the general good and his innumerable good deeds without being accused of sycophancy?

Perhaps, there is no better an auspicious time than now to tell the story to the world of a man who has had footprints in the sands of time. Kunle Rasheed Adegoke, as a young person then, had developed an insatiable capacity for reading and set off early as a Marxist-Leninist. He had company in his elder brothers and friends whose influence sharpened his intellectual development and his inquiring spirit; with particular hatred for oppression, exploitation and poverty but a burning quest for a revolutionary change in Nigeria. He was admitted into a Marxist-Leninist Movement at a very young age in the fifth form in the secondary school. By the time he was to leave secondary school, K. RAD had read such texts as State And Revolution andCommunist Manifesto, both by Karl Marx; and Engel’s Dialectics of Nature, among others. Through reading those books, he became aware of the injustices that characterise the life of man. He discovered the slave-master relationship that exists between governments and the governed, between the masses and the ruling class. He saw that society is highly unjustly stratified between the haves and have-nots. He discovered that workers are placed at the lowest rungs of the ladders of the economy,  due to no fault of theirs, while the employers who do no work, except providing the capital, live like kings. He felt something had to change and he wanted to be part of that change.

Mr. Kunle Adegoke’s father was an Aso Oke merchant who also produced the traditional wear in large quantities. Kunle also joined in the making of Aso Oke. He was adroit at it but each time he was by the ancient wooden handloom, what usually occupied his mind were the books he had read and how to resolve the contradictions he had noticed in society. Like it happens to many youngsters who have dreams, his childhood dream was to be a journalist with a pen oozing vitriolic diatribes against oppressive establishments and reactionaries. He believed just like Nguigi Wa' Thiongo that "The pen might not always be mightier than the sword; but used in the service of the truth, it can be a mighty force." But fate had a different agenda for him. Today, he is a lawyer but still not a lover of the oppressive class.

Apart from his academics, K. RAD’s days in the university were marked by successful political forays such as emerging as Secretary General of the Students’ Union, Unilorin (1991-92); Secretary of National Association of Nigerian Students (NANS) for Zone C (1991 – 92); Secretary of NANS Convention in OAU Ile-Ife in 1994 and Chairman of NANS Convention, ABU Zaria in 1995; all in which he was adjudged to have performed excellently well in mobilising and conscientising student colleagues. It must be mentioned that it was not all rosy at school for K. RAD. He faced a number of challenges as a student activist but he did not allow them to deter him from his academic goal while he did not relent in his commitment to the socio-political struggle in Nigeria as he participated actively in the June 12, 1992 struggle. As an undergraduate in Unilag, he was a firebrand law student, challenging lecturers in the class on authorities and precedents. He became famous for excellence, assiduity, determination and hard-work. He did not only leave the Law School in flying colours but he has also turned out to be a successful lawyer.

As a practicing lawyer, K Rad has driven into his practice his attributes of deep sense of commitment to purpose, hard-work, honesty and unwavering quest for excellence. A lazy bone is discovered at his duty post. K Rad had fallen seriously ill one day when he arrived from his office. A doctor attended to him, gave him some medicine and asked him to rest while he was receiving drips. He had a court proceeding to attend the next day. Unless he would incur the wrath of the Judges of the Election Tribunal who tolerated no delay to achieve the ends of justice, he would have to personally attend. The alternative was to seek an adjournment of the case which could affect the attitude of the Judges to his client who was already receiving the benefit of service in the House of Assembly of Lagos State. K. RAD was, therefore, between the devil and the deep blue sea. It took a sedative secretly administered by his doctor with the concurrence of his wife to keep him out of court while the matter proceeded with the help of a junior counsel the following day.

In school, K. Rad was not just a student activist but was also a problem solver and a highly mobile student soldier who was always ready to rally round comrades who were in distress – and he needed not to have known you. In and out of the university, his political activism had brought him into collision with the state and authorities to the extent that he had several times been cast into detention and severally paid the prize of expulsion for the ideology he treasured in defence of humanity. What however interests me was that throughout all these difficult periods, K Rad was always smiling, cracking jokes and was never downcast. Over the years, I have watched him and I have come to see in him a man whose courage is characteristically strengthened in the face of adversity.

At close quarters, I have also come to know that Kunle Rasheed Adegoke has grown to experience God and has become very devout in His service as he says that God answers prayers if we call upon Him. He more often than not attributes his success in life to God’s grace. If he is capable of so many things, one thing he is incapable of is evil, for he believes, just like a philosopher, that the presence of God in a man’s life is his conscience. He is a man with the heart of love. He does not only have the fear of God but he also has respect for man. He does not discriminate between the lowly and the rich, neither does he relate to people based on religion or ethnicity. He tries as much as possible to meet people equally. To him, philanthropy is one of the injunctions of God as a service to humanity, without which life worth living is incomplete. He has been the light to the dark arena of many and the shoulder which has sustained their slipping clothes.

For his present pursuit to be the next governor of the State of Osun, many have come to ask the questions: what political post has he held before? Does he think governorship is a cakewalk? Is this not too high a mountain for him to climb? How does he want to handle the uphill task? All I would say is that from the foregoing, it should be clear now that K Rad is known for challenges and he has never run away from them. It may be pertinent to note that one thing that sustains Chief Obafemi Awolowo’s legacy till date is his intellectual contribution to the political space of this country. Whereas Awolowo was never known to have held a political office before becoming the Leader of Government Business and later, Premier, in the whole of Western Region of Nigeria, it is indisputable that dead or alive, no politician has been able to match this feat. In fact, many of Awo’s hardened enemies are still using his intellectual bequeath, especially his books, as a guide to charting their political routes. I wish to say that I can see another ‘Awo’ in K. RAD in terms of the intellectual and developmental flavour that he will personally add to the politics of Osun. He does not only have a clarity of thought but also a prolific proclivity for writing. He is highly cerebral and can function anywhere, hence, he can take the state to higher grounds.

Kunle Adegoke is straight as a pole in all that are important. He is a revolutionary in words and in deeds. He seeks truth and acts truthfully. He does not throw punches of words without backing them up with action or hard evidence. He would not make promise he would not keep. He is one person whom you can keep your life with and do not have to look back to see whether he is tending it or not. He is a man of history, a product of historical struggle. It will be difficult for him to lose the sense of the essence of that history. In other words, he knows that history can make a person while it also has the capacity to mar a person. A man who is aware of this fact will not want to wrong history.

But just as Femi Adesina, special adviser on media and publicity to President Muhammadu Buhari, said in his column in the Daily Sun of Friday, Nov. 9, 2012:

Well, people can believe whatever suits their fantasies, but it often does not change the truth. As Buddha said, “three things cannot be long hidden: the sun, the moon and the truth.” Or as Winston Churchill declared: “The truth is incontrovertible. Malice may attack it, ignorance may deride it, but in the end, there it is.”

 

 

 

Johnson Amusan is a former Student Union President and Ex-Vice President of NANS (National Affairs).

 

Jeff Uzor And Chances Before Imo Youths In 2019 By Lancelot Obiaku

If only men can fast forward the hands of the clock, over 90 percent of the electorate in all the Nigerian States where governorship elections will be conducted in 2019 would wish that tomorrow is that election day. The reason is not far fetched, only a few Nigerian governors are performing up to average and the masses cannot wait any longer for the governors who are performing below par to give way for better ones.

Although much emphasis has been made about the poor performance of the President Muhammadu Buhari led federal government of Nigeria, the truth is that the effect of an indifferent federal government would not have been so felt by the helpless masses if the governors themselves were prudent and sincere in their administration of governance to the people, and having all intent to perpetuate nothing except good governance at all cost.

In Imo State for example, there are solid claims in various quarter that Governor Rochas Okorocha ,has reduced governance to a mere child's play. If such claims are valid enough to be considered truth, what it means is that Okorocha has spent six years without administering the basics of good governance to the masses of the State.

This could explain why imolites are mad at Okorocha who has come under strong attack in recent weeks emanating from all corners, including the local and international media, for erecting the statues of the embattled South African President, Jacob Zuma, and his Liberian counterpart, Mrs. Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, an exercise that was allegedly carried out with the State funds and gulped close to a whopping 600 million naira ,though the state government had debunked the claim that such amount of money was expended in erecting the statues that have sparked off controversies. This is with the exclusion of other monies spent on the lavish hosting of these heads of state.

While some imolites are today scratching their heads to figure out what the State stands to gain from the exercise, majority of them believe it is a misplacement of priority and have accused Okorocha of gross abuse of office and executive recklessness. To add weight to this claims is SERAP which has since asked anti graft agencies, EFCC and ICPC to probe Okorocha for corruption and abuse of office.

It is understandable why the governor's actions and inactions have frayed nerves in the State. In Imo currently, civil servants and pensioners are owed arrears of salaries and pensions respectively; the State has a record of bad roads, poor health facilities and unemployment is the order of the day. The Chief Executive soon after his re-election in 2015 abandoned his Job Job Job, Factory Factory Factory and Industry Industry Industry campaign mantra only to embrace Statue! Statue! Statue!, which apparently adds nothing to the development of the State and wellbeing of her citizens. The economy of the state is in shamble and a state of shame.

Imolites are dying of hunger and starvation and lack of basic necessities of life. The recent shocking death of the Chairman of Imo State of Nigeria Union of Pensioners highlights further the suffering which the masses of the state are currently passing through. Sadly and regrettably, few days before his unfortunate demise, like many other pensioners, he received a dud check from the State government which had few weeks back embarked on a deceitful and fraudulent pension payment exercise.

However, I don't want to believe that all hope is lost for Imolites with 2019 general elections drawing near. I also don't want to believe that the State lacks credible and conscientious leaders who can steer her affairs with humility, respect for the masses and sincerity of purpose. Imo needs a quality leader and technocrat who will bring a paradigm shift and entrench good governance, touching every facet of her economy.

In my own point of view, what Imo needs is a leader who shares similar vision as the youthful Mbaitoli born Jeff Uzor who is not only endowed with what it takes to breath fresh air into the State but also has unbridled passion for his beloveth Eastern Heartland.

Jeff for example has vast experience both in public and private sector needed to give Imo State a touch of class. He boasts the clout which is required to surmount certain administrative challenges in government having been able to contribute his quota to the development of the United States of America through his Evergreen Contracting Firm which offers various forms of services to the government of USA. At the age of 43, Jeff will not be found wanting in the agility needed to orchestrate the onerous task of governing a state like Imo, essentially at a time in the history of the State when so many people, including Okorocha himself, are clamouring for active involvement of youths in the highest level of leadership.

The successful businessman grew up in his native mbaitoli and spent years schooling in Nigeria. He had started his business in Nigeria before expanding the empire to international level. He knows Imo State in and out and had long developed the desire to contribute his own quota to her development.

Jeff Uzor is one of the few Imo sons who already has the blueprint to reform the Imo State civil service and the education, industrial, agricultural and health sectors of her economy to accepted global standard. Through massive industrialization and ensuring that the viability of the public and private sectors is achieved. The young man believes that Imo State will become economically stable like an average State in the USA, hence reducing hunger and starvation to the barest minimum. Also, coming from the background of an improved democracy like the USA, the governorship hopeful knows that ensuring sanity, transparency and accountability in government will be crucial to building the Imo of our collective dream. He has the intention to make it impossible for himself or anybody coming after him to loot Imo treasury by removing the secrecy of Imo funds through keeping in public domain figures of revenues accruing to the State under his watch in the form security vote, federal allocation, internally generated revenues etc, and how they are spent. Jeff believes in nothing except using the wealth of Imo State to work for Imo State alone and not diverting public funds into his private pocket and that of his cronies.

In conclusion, the reason why Imo citizens, like their counterparts from other States of the federation, are still yearning for good governance is simply because they have continued to elect bad governors. However, if the story must change in no distant time, especially as 2019 general elections draw nearer, a leader in the mould of Jeff Uzor will not be a bad choice.

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