Tag Archives: Osinbajo

Reinforcing Nigerian Economy Through Ifa (Oracle)

A REFLECTION

Concerned about improving the Nigerian economy, the Chief Press Secretary to Kogi State Governor, Mrs. Petra Akinti Onyegbule, noted that though Nigerians are “deeply religious”, but investing in Ifa (Oracle) as a source of tourism would go a long way in helping Nigeria grow her wealth. In her Facebook post on 7th of December, 2017, she wondered as follows;

“When will we allow Ifa to contribute significantly to the economy of Nigeria?

Do you know how many people believe in Olodumare through Ifa worship? Why can we not bring them to Nigeria on pilgrimage?

No, we do not need to believe in Ifa to support such venture for Jews do not believe in Jesus as Christians do. The place of Golgotha now has a magnificent mosque sitting pretty on the site.

Bethlehem, the birth town of Jesus, is under Palestinian authority. As a matter of fact, the Church of the Nativity is being reconstructed by the Palestinian Presidential Committee tasked to make the sides more beautiful. Even though the Church has three parts managed by three different denominations – Catholic, Armenian Apostolic and Greek Orthodox.

For the authorities here, it is all about the economy.

Pilgrimage services the hospitality sector in Israel. It can do same for Nigeria.

I do not see why it is not possible.”

Nigerians, what is your take?

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One On One Session With Atiku Abubakar

PEDULUM By Dele Momodu
Email: dele.momodu@thisdaylive.com

Fellow Nigerians, I’ve always wondered what drives or propels the man, former Vice President of Nigeria, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar. For real, I have never seen a man so fastidious about his dream and so obstinate about achieving a lifelong ambition to be the number one Nigerian Citizen. I’ve followed his trajectory with keen interest since 1993 when he took on both Chief Moshood Abiola and Baba Gana Kingibe, in an epic Presidential primary, that Chief Abiola ultimately won. His formidability we were told was a result of the influence of his godfather and political colossus, Major General Shehu Musa Yar’Adua, now of blessed memory. Chief Abiola actually reached out to the General, as he was fondly called, to prevail on Atiku to pull out of the race and support him. A deal was subsequently struck, between Abiola and Yar’Adua, for Atiku to be Abiola’s running-mate. Everything looked good on paper until the powerful and influential Social Democratic Party (SDP) Governors threw spanners in the works, forcing Abiola to renege on his word. Whilst Abiola wanted Atiku, the Governors led by the irrepressible Olusegun Osoba, from Abiola’s home State of Ogun, insisted on Abiola picking Kingibe. They convinced Abiola that it was dangerous to pick Atiku who would have been more loyal and too submissive to his godfather.

I have no doubt that from that moment onwards, the June 12 Presidential election was already threatened and endangered. According to insiders, the General was so miffed and enraged that he swore Abiola would not be President for dumping his godson. Efforts were made by different personages to settle the matter, but it seemed the camaraderie was over between Abiola and Yar’Adua who, once upon a time, were successful business partners at African Ocean Lines.

Anyway, Atiku was kicked out of the race to fight another day. Abiola won the Presidential election eventually but was never allowed to assume power. The June 12 election fallout led to a cataclysmic eruption that consumed many of the big players, including Abiola, his wife, Alhaja Kudirat, Major-General Yar’Adua and General Sani Abacha. The boss of bosses, General Olusegun Obasanjo, escaped only by the whiskers. He was jailed but came back to be President. Ironically, the same Atiku who was not allowed to be the Vice-Presidential candidate in 1993 became the substantive Vice President in 1999, when he ran, and won, with Obasanjo. Whilst Obasanjo emerged, in a bid to assuage the betrayed and wounded Yoruba, Atiku’s choice appears to have been predicated on the sense of injustice that he had suffered as a result of being dumped by Abiola.

Everything initially ran smoothly between Obasanjo and Atiku in their first term in office, from 1999 to 2003. However, the relationship collapsed when Atiku started showing interest in the number one position. I will not bore you with the rest of that fiasco, including the anecdotal humbling of Obasanjo who allegedly had to beg his deputy, Atiku, to allow him a second term. My mission was to provide some background to Atiku’s uncommon trajectory. He has pursued his dream since 1993 and has never given up. That was 24 years ago. Indeed, Atiku has been in partisan politics for 28 years but only served in government for eight years. He has criss-crossed different political parties in search of that magic wand that could give him his heart’s desire. It has been a painful journey. He’s been dissed and lampooned as a serial “decampee” famed for wandering endlessly in the wilderness of Nigerian politics. That, for many people, is a major weakness which signals integrity issues. There are other minuses weighing on him like an albatross. How does he deal with these very serious issues of perception or misperception?

The opportunity came for me to engage him very critically, and very privately, yesterday afternoon in Lagos. A mutual friend had called to arrange the meeting at Atiku’s behest. I gladly accepted not only as I was anxious to bombard him with many nagging questions, but also because by some quirk of fate, the political gladiators for the number one hot seat in Nigeria seem to feel that a session with me is a sine qua non for their aspiration. I’m deeply humbled by that trust.

The meeting was arranged for Lagos. Atiku had arrived on Thursday. I arrived in Lagos yesterday afternoon from Abuja where I had been the Chief Presenter of Mallam Bolaji Abdullahi’s book, On a Platter of Gold, chronicling President Goodluck Jonathan’s twilight days as President. I checked into my hotel just before 12 noon and put a call through to his room. He told me to give him a short time to freshen up and invite me over. He’s obviously been doing a lot of consultations and was working well into the early mornings. I dozed off. Suddenly, I was awoken from my slumber by banging on my door. I stood up to look through the peephole and was pleasantly surprised to see the most-talked about politician of the moment at my door. I opened the door and Atiku immediately apologised for the intrusion. He came without any aide, so we were both comfortable to talk frankly.

I thanked him for the honour of actually coming to me and asked if he won’t mind me asking some tough questions. He said that was fine and I should feel free. My first shot was about his moving from Party to Party. Does this not make him look desperate and unserious? He must have answered this question a thousand times because he wasted no time in answering very calmly and confidently:

“There is nothing wrong with it. Ours is a fledgling democracy of barely two decades since the end of the last military regime. What it means is that the political parties are yet to mature and are going through constant transformations and changes. That is why even President Buhari has been able to move from party to party, including ANPP, CPC and now APC. And for those who read about world history and political books like I do, they will know that Abraham Lincoln, Sir Winston Churchill and others went through so much before achieving their dreams…”

He went further: “I’m not different. I know what I want for my country. I’ve served Nigeria in different capacities and I am one of the most experienced leaders around today. There is no part of Nigeria I’m not familiar with. I have friends everywhere. They know me and I know them. The benefit of being around for so long is that they have come to know me for certain principles and know that I have a rich knowledge of Nigeria and what it would take to move us to the height of greatness. They can also trust me that I’m not coming to government to steal their money. God has blessed me with business acumen. How can you run a nation if you cannot run your own business? I run my businesses to international standards. Let any of those who want to compete with me show what they have managed successfully. I’ve lifted over 45,000 families out of joblessness and poverty through my microfinance company in my State Adamawa and we’ve have empowered mostly women. The good news is these women have been very honest. Returns on our loans have been about 98 percent. They have not disappeared with the loans given then. We plan to replicate this nationwide…”

I asked if he was obsessed with being President at all costs. His answer was an emphatic, No! He asked rhetorically why he should not give back some of his experience and exposure to a country that has given him so much? Why should he allow incompetent people to run down the country when God has given him the talent and wherewithal to lift up Nigeria?

I told him the belief out there is that he is a corrupt man and that the stain won’t be easy to remove. His former boss, General Olusegun Obasanjo, has sold us that line, and would stop at nothing to regale the world that Atiku is a thief who nobody should vote for. Atiku’s response was very concise and assertive: “I have the highest regards for my boss. He gave me eight years to serve Nigeria under him. We had our differences but we both tried our best. But on the issue of corruption, I have challenged anyone, anywhere, who has any evidence of corruption against me to come forward. I’m sure they would have combed everywhere trying to find anything incriminating against me, but they have not found it, or they are still searching. Dele, I’m throwing that challenge again, let them bring out whatever they have on me…”

I followed with a bazooka and asked him “how come you are running away from the United States of America? What offence have you committed to warrant not being able to visit, since all this time?” Atiku fired back at me: “It is the sole prerogative of America to determine who they want in their country or not. I’m not running away from America. I applied, but wasn’t issued a visa. However, they did not decline me categorically either. They’ve only said my application is going through administrative process. This is not peculiar to me. For about 15 years, Buhari could not enter America on account of religious considerations. The current Indian Prime Minister, Modi, suffered the same fate for years. Today, he is being treated to red carpet treatment in America.. I fly to different parts of the world, including Europe, if America wanted me, it would be so easy for them to reach out to their allies…”

We soon dovetailed to the nitty-gritty of politics. Why did he not wait to contest the primaries in APC first and see the outcome before running away? I felt this was defeatist! His response: “After Buhari won the election, he was no longer interested in the Party that made him President. Every activity stopped and not even the Party Chairman, Chief John Oyegun, could take any decision. I called Chief Oyegun a few times to tell him our Party was dying slowly but he told me he would not do anything unless he got clearance from the President. At a stage, I gathered about 18 prominent members and began to meet in the hope that we can re-energise Party activities, but some people lied to the President that I wanted to use the forum to launch my Presidential campaign. That forum became simply dead on arrival. No BOT, no NEC meetings, as stipulated in our Constitution. The Party became a one-man property. Everyone grumbles behind the President’s back but they are too timid to raise a voice against the illegalities being perpetuated. I should be bold enough to know what I want, and can do so at my age, so I decided to leave…”

So, where is he going from here? He says he hasn’t formally declared for any Party, but is sure PDP is waiting to welcome him back into the Party he co-founded with others at the end of military rule. I asked if he has any guarantee of getting the PDP ticket. He told me why he should get it: “Nothing is absolutely certain in this life, but PDP needs a candidate with the brightest chance and that can only come from someone who has major experience, exposure, knowledge about running an economy, who is a Nationalist and not a sectionalist and whose brand cannot be intimidated in anyway by that of the current President. If PDP picks a weak candidate, then the Party is doomed. Some of those whose names are being touted and bandied about have not grown beyond their immediate domains.”

If he gets the PDP ticket, is he confident he can beat a sitting President and Buhari for that matter? “I will definitely beat him this time. He has wasted a lot of his massive goodwill. A lot of people are disgruntled but keeping quiet and lying low. Our youths are suffering terribly and now they are being sold into slavery. Everyone knows my track record of inviting and attracting a good team and giving them the opportunity to work professionally. Nigerians are tired of leaders who cannot think big and work big. Dele, I will be ready from day one…”

Is he not afraid of Buhari? “No, definitely not. Buhari is free to contest and I’m free to contest. And Nigerians will make their choice.” I could see that glow in his eyes. He sounded determined and more prepared at this time, than at any other time.

Will Atiku play a joker as his last card in 2019? Time will tell.

CORPS MEMBER TASKS SCHOOLS ON NATIONAL DIGNITY, DONATES NIGERIAN FLAGS

A Corps member identified as Ajadi Samsideen has encouraged schools in the country to imbibe the good use of national identity.

He made the call during a sensitization programme he organized as part of his Community Development Service Project as a corps member serving in Kogi state. He also donated flags to some schools in the area.

The seminar, titled “National Symbols: Pride of Our Country”, held at Government Day Secondary School, Iruvucheba, Okene recently.
Mr. Ajadi observed that many schools in the community hung shabby flags while many did not have any to display.

According to him, “It sadden my heart to see our schools such tattered and rag-like flag hung”.

A former Chairman of Okene Local Government, Alhaji Al-Rasheed, while speaking during the event attributed the lack of attention given to the national identity to hunger and non payment of salaries in the state.
He noted that unhappy family and unpaid workers will never remember that a flag is dirty.

He advised chools to ensure they contribute positively to this disturbing situation of the country.

Another corps member who was present at the event, Oyeyipo Oluwasegun said that schools should do more to enlighten people and students on the significance of National symbols.

“Our national symbol is what we have to sell to the outside world. Our schools must do well to educate the people on what the Nigerian national symbols stand for And this can only be done when the those identifies are in good condition.” he added.

Students and staff members of schools in the area were present during the seminar while he schools representatives received the brand new flag on behalf of their schools.

​OUR MANY TRAVAILS AND THE NEED TO CONSOLIDATE OUR DEMOCRACY

By: Moshood Muhammed

Generally speaking, the people constitutes mainly the element, admissible and permissible in democracy, the Nigerian system of government, with whom the decision of who becomes what, get what and at what time is taken and for.

With reference to the definition a former President of United States of America, Abraham Lincoln, participation of people, who are an indispensable element of government and leadership of a country, is believed to be non-negotiable. But, reverse is sharply the case in the issue of Nigeria, the most populous black-skinned people country in the world.

The rare magnanimity of the then military ruler and Head of State, Rtd. General Abubakar Salami saw Nigeria return to democratic rule in 1999 with Olusegun Aremu Okikiola Obasanjo as the democratically elected President. After he exited office, Nigeria has successfully transferred power from one leader to the other and most recently, from a political party which Nigeria started with, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) to the now ruling All Progressives Congress (APC), in a very peaceful and uncommon manner, alien to the African politicians and its many years of political sojourn. This remains one of the feats we have achieved as a country.

On return to democracy eighteen (18) years ago, expectations were high, no thanks to the ‘nightmares of military rule’ and having seen what democracy infers in other climes. Nigerians could not hide their joys when the Obasanjo administration came on board; many were promised with very infinitesimally done so far and nothing done in many cases, even by successive occupiers of the Aso Villa and other public positions in the yesteryears up till now.

Power supply has remained consistently out of supply in many homes, villages, cities and factories, forcing Nigerians to make darkness their neighbours, while many businesses went out of operation, with others relocating to neighbouring countries; education is yet to recover from the colossal damage done to its structural and administrative hitherto strong rooting. Same is the case with Agriculture, which was formally our source of national financial muscle depleting into a business of very few with little concentration from government, not until recent time. The list is endless.

As much as it incontrovertible that all is not so well, coupled with corruption fast becoming regalia of our political actors, it does not translate to the end of the road for the country. The country has despite the political upheavals that greeted the preparation for last general elections among other issues emerged, a united country, though with affray from some parts of the country.

As Nigerian democracy gets a year older, concerted efforts must be made by all in seeing the birth of the new and assuring country Nigerians would be proud of.
Now, the leadership of the country and government structures across board must be sanitized and made to work in the interest of the people, while the trademark of corruption on most political office holders is ‘confiscated’. Our leaders must be aware that if everyone who has at one point or the other occupied the office did not leave, they would never have the opportunity to get there.

Furthermore, the central government must not surrender in its struggle for a well respected country in Africa and beyond, flush out, in sincerity the demonic corruption tendencies, that has almost brought the country on its knees, out of the country; wipe out the inkling Boko Haram insurgence stint, rescue the remaining Chibok School girls, get back home Nigerians leaving like foreigners on the own soil, neighbouring countries. Also, our economy which somersaulted must also be revamped, with the diversification plan executed speedily while ensuring an enduring, stable and uninterrupted power supply to all nooks and crannies of the country. This will do doubt help recover our hailing economy and set us forthwith on the path to prosperity.

On the other hand, Nigerians must see The New Nigeria project as a collective assignment, on which the destiny of millions of our country men and women are tied to, and indeed that of many generations yet unborn. Should the war against corruption be won, proceeds recovered and ultimately pumped into the economy, Nigerians can be certain of a speedily developed country. Hence, everyone must resolve to join the campaign, reject proceeds of crime and never be involved corruption. Charity they say begins at home.

Similarly, our parents, families, religious leaders, teachers and schools must note that they are either partner in crime or partner in progress, depending on what they make of the flock in their care. There is therefore a great need to have them support government and by far, the popular view, rid the country of many rots she has found herself in. This implies that the song of anti corruption, transparency, accountability, hard work and perseverance should be continuous on their lips.

The truth is, should we fail to augment our resolution for the ‘hell-lots’, vent our displeasure with the widely affirmed abysmal state of things, by participating meaningfully in the affairs of the country, our complaints would be mere noise. In other words, our political affairs, call for accountability, responsive and responsible government should not be left in the hands of politicians and the acclaimed ‘opposition’ parties, we must all make Nigeria work for our good. The rumoured military take-over is not and will never be in the interest of majority of Nigerians. As such, we must all defend our democracy and make it stronger.

Though, all may not be rosy for us as a country, it is never a time to give up; our participation in governance should be strong, defiant of oppression tendencies of any public office holder, bad governance, misrepresentation among others, like never before. Surely, we would get there.

If you are not participating, it is not making sense. #Standwith9ja

God bless Federal Republic of Nigeria