Relationship

A relationship is very important. Irrespective of the type and level. Usually personal convenience gains prominence but it spoils the relationship. It is certainly easier to move on and leave the hassles in a relationship but it’s difficult to know whether to move on or not. And when to move on.

I mostly respond to actions and words rather than to a determination to understand them. That is to say I respond with my emotions. By the time the emotions are cooled, the harm is done. Then I realise that making a new relationship is easier than patching up a wounded one. That is the fault of pride. It is difficult to swallow my pride and restart an injured relationship.

Can I change? Can I evaluate the relationship before I respond to words and actions that don’t sit comfortable with me? Can I evaluate the relationship before I say or do things that are inimical to the relationship? I believe I can.

Can I take action to facilitate the healing of an injured relationship? Would I be willing to say the first word or to make the first move? Would I, would I?

The Sins of Muhammadu Buhari according to Wikileaks: Dr Reuben Abati Campaigns for APC

Many supporters of PDP are wont to throw mud at the opposition rather than address personality and substance. The chief of them all, Dr Reuben Abati, displayed cluelessness when he shared, on his Facebook page, an expose on Buhari from Wikileaks in his bid to mudsling the General. His followers immediately began to share the post with glee! Little did they know that they are actually extolling the virtues of Buhari and his lifelong desire to bring about change in Nigeria.

Let us look at the so-called damning evidence against Buhari according to Wikileaks being touted by Dr Reuben Abati, Dr Goodluck Jonathan’s media man.

1. ‘The eviction of Shagari came as a welcome relief as did Buhari’s promise to root out corruption.’

Does this not show that the Americans actually hailed the coming of Buhari then as a commitment to ‘root out corruption?’ It’s like America legitimised Buhari’s coup-d’etat as they saw it as a ‘WELCOME RELIEF!’(emphasis mine). Unfortunately, IBB truncated that reform and introduced the policy of ‘settlement’ which is the order of the day today, re: FFK, Alamesiagha, Bode, Mohammed Abacha and many others.

Methinks, if America is truly honest, it should be a welcome relief again if Buhari wins the 2015 election.

2. ‘Expulsion of 700,000 illegal immigrants from neighboring African states.’

Ok, so the article called it ‘brutal’ expulsion. Were not illegal immigrants a problem to Nigeria then and now? They even said then that Maitatsine wasn’t a Nigerian. Buhari it was, I think, that crushed the Maitatsine insurgency. So what was wrong in expelling illegal immigrants? What country is there that is not expelling illegal immigrants? Just this week, three guards were acquitted of the killing of a man that was being deported! How many NIGERIANS are being expelled everyday from other countries? Why is it a crime when a patriot expels unwanted and illegal immigrants?

Even now, many people have said that some Boko Haram insurgents are non-Nigerians. Would it be wrong to expel them? I think if Buhari was the President, he would have done so again and Nigeria would be spared of many headaches.

3. ‘Jailed hundreds of political opponents.’

I don’t know what America means here, but I’m not sure that a military dictator has ‘political’ opponents. Maybe they mean, democracy activists who were intent on restoring democracy. May be. I am not condoning coup-d’etats, but if Buhari came to power as a coupist, surely he would want to stabilise things, if it were possible, before tolerating the thieving politicians?

He did well to jail those corrupt politicians, as it should be happening if we had a serious government in place! If Buhari were to come back, many of these ‘fat’ politicians would be in jail today.

4. ‘Muzzled a once aggressive press.’

Buhari should have courted the media here as helpers in the reforms. True, he didn’t have to have promulgated Decree 4, but who knows how ‘brown envelope’ was a hindrance then as it is today? Some dictators sent parcel bombs and today they are big advisers to the government. Militants kidnap journalists and we are in a democratic dispensation! Hypocrites!

5. ‘Dismissed 30,000 soldiers as a cost-cutting measure.’

Ok, so America thought it was wrong to cut cost by reducing an army in a peace time? What was wrong with Buhari trimming an army feeding fat on corrupt politicians? The man was cutting costs and they were not happy! No wonder we have one of the most bloated governments today!

If Buhari was in power today, it would then mean that all these sycophants masquerading as special assistants and advisers would be jobless! Imagine the money saved from paying these unwanted lots for better projects!

Ok, does Abati prefer that his boss keeps a bloated but underfunded army that runs away from insurgents? Ha!

6. ‘Soured Nigeria’s relations with Britain, when he was accused of masterminding a clumsy and unsuccessful attempt in July 1984 to kidnap President Shagari’s brother-in-law, former Transport Minister Umaru Dikko.’

These same Americans would use any means to bring to justice people from any corner of the world but not so for other countries, abi?! This government would rather pay obeisance to Britain, abi?

What Buhari did with Dikko showed the extent to which he (Buhari) wanted to bring all corrupt politicians to book and instead of hailing him today, Abati wants us to vilify him!

When some politicians remember what Buhari did to Dikko, they quake to their bones and will do everything possible to hinder his presidency. If Buhari wins the 2015 elections, they know they have no hiding place anywhere in the world! No presidential pardons for convicted thieves as we have today!

Also, why should we pander to colonial masters and other superpowers?! They pushed away the ladder that they used to develop their countries and wants puppets they can control to impoverish citizens in other countries. We need a leader that would work with every country on the basis of mutual respect and accountability, not as masters and servants! Today, we have voodoo rebasings as Bretton Woods economists are handling our money/economy. On paper, we are the biggest economy in Africa but we have the largest number of people living on emptiest stomachs! And that’s not just because of our population oo!

7. ‘Undermined traditional rulers throughout Nigeria, slashing their benefits and questioning their authority.’

For the first time, there were no sacred cows and they say he undermined traditional rulers. What about the incumbent president who tampered with the wishes of the Kano Emirates in a time of democracy? While I respect traditional authorities, that is just what they are. If they meddle into politics they should be sanctioned! I felt good when the traditional rulers were not treated as sacred cows! Buhari would do it again! That’s why Dr Abati dug up this Wikileaks article to make traditional rulers reject Buhari!

Come to think of it, why should traditional rulers have benefits from the government when there is no welfare in place for the ordinary citizens? What authority should they have when they impoverish the people? May God bring Buhari back to put them in their places unless they earn respect and authority!

Conclusion

So for Dr Reuben Abati, I thank you for digging this eloquent testimony to Buhari’s patriotism and commitment to Nigeria.

For my friends who support PDP, such as Joan Oji, thank you for urging me to go to Dr Abati’s Facebook page to read this wonderful piece that has strengthened my faith in Buhari’s commitment and zeal to heal Nigeria’s fundamental problems and set her on her path to glory in the comity of nations!

Please, continue to dig up more of these nuggets of gold!

Flirting with Anarchy, Elevating Impunity to an Art of Statecraft

Being text of State of the Nation address delivered by the Chairman of
Transition Monitoring Group (TMG), Comrade Zikirullahi M. Ibrahim at a World Press Conference Held At Pauliham Hotel and Resorts, Gwarimpa Abuja on Thursday, November 27, 2014.

Invited guests, gentlemen of the Press.

It is with great pleasure that I warmly welcome you to this World Press
Conference on the State of the Nation. The Transition Monitoring Group (TMG), a coalition of over 450 civil society organisations formed in 1998, is
disturbed by certain unsavoury events that have happened in the Nigerian
polity in recent times. It is to make our position known and make
recommendations on the way forward that we have deemed it necessary to
convene today’s briefing.

A cursory excursion down the lane of our collective memory as Nigerians is
bound to throw up the realities of pain and sacrifices made by the real
heroes of our democracy. I am talking of the men and women who in those dark days of military adventurism into the political space, stood their ground to ensure the nation returns to civilian rule. The present democratic
dispensation, its flaws notwithstanding, is the result of the collective
struggles of the Nigerian people to free themselves from the shackles of
repressive military rule.

Although there has been very little to celebrate after 15 years of this
democratic experience, the Nigerian people are still hopeful that the true
manifestation of the government of the people by the people for the people,
remains the vehicle for the achievement of our national developmental
objectives. As such, in spite of the poverty, chronic youth unemployment,
economic stagnation and the general state of anomie pervading the land, we are convinced that the Nigerian people will ultimately take their collective destiny in their hands by liberating their country from bad, corrupt and an inept political leadership.

Knowing that democracy should ultimately be the vehicle for the people to
liberate themselves from the present rudderless order, we frown at and
denounce all actions that attempt to subvert democracy. It is the biggest
irony that the very beneficiaries of our nascent democracy won through the
blood, tears and sweat of Nigerians, are the ones pushing the system to the
brink.

Invasion of the National Assembly

TMG condemns in the strongest possible terms the November 20, 2014 invasion of the National Assembly by policemen and other armed security agents. To say the least, that action of November 20 would go down in history as one of the most ignoble attempts to subvert democracy and the principle of separation of powers. Those who ordered the ill-advised clamp down on the National Assembly should be made to know that their action was a declaration of war against the Nigerian people.

For the avoidance of doubt, the National Assembly is the custodian of the
mandate of elected representatives of all peoples from across Nigeria. It is
the hallowed ground which is supposedly a spring-well from which laws that
govern the people of Nigeria are fetched. Thus, it beats our imagination
that anyone with an understanding of the sacredness of this institution
would order the kind of shameful assault, including the tear gassing of
lawmakers.

TMG also takes serious exception to the action of a few thoughtless entities
within the executive who have by their impunity made Nigeria a laughing
stock in the international community.

TMG frowns at the might is right approach, which has been deployed in
apparent pursuit of what looks more like vendetta. We are not in doubt that
the issue of the defection of the Speaker of the House of Representatives
from the ruling party to the opposition, is a matter for a court of
competent jurisdiction to decide on.

The police action of November 20, amounts to a patent illegality, a clear
case of an institution of the state taking the laws into its own hands and
resorting to self-help. It calls to question the ability and credibility of
the Inspector General of Police, Suleiman Abba, to police the forth coming
elections. To say the least, his actions since inception have shown
partisanship, and the fact that he has become a ready tool in the hands of
the ruling party.

Invasion of All Progressive Congress (APC) Data Centre

As if the impunity at the National Assembly was not enough desecration of
the democratic space, the attention of the public was again drawn to the
invasion of the opposition APC data office in Lagos. While we cannot say
that security agencies should not do their legitimate duty, we frown at all
forms of illegality even in the line of duty.

If the security agencies believe that the said building was been used for
illegal activities, the procedure would be to obtain a search warrant or a
court order before any takeover of the building can be effected. It is the
law, and no one or institution is above the law. It again amounts to
thinking that the security agencies are above the law, when they take
actions outside the law. Also, those who wield the coercive powers of the
state must not be seen to descend into the political arena. The moment that
is allowed, it becomes an open invitation to anarchy.

We therefore call on the security agencies to understand that their ultimate
duty is to the Nigerian people, and not to sheepishly follow every whim of
the government of the day. Security agents must be able to decipher between lawful orders and orders that are capable of throwing the nation into a state of confusion.

Absurd Mathematics in Ekiti State House of Assembly

Similarly, TMG is appalled by the current absurdity going on in the Ekiti
State House of Assembly. From the way events have been playing out, it is
clear that desperation and recklessness have become the name of the game. We cannot understand how mature men and women who are supposed to be lawmakers would descend so low as to publicly engage in actions that invite the conclusion that majority of our politicians require psychiatric help.

Strangely, in a legislative body of 26 members, wherein 18 is the least
needed to remove the Speaker, seven legislators are purporting to have
removed the Assembly speaker. While we are not interested in the partisan
bickering, we find this absurd mathematics in Ekiti worrisome. Apart from
being a criminal subversion of due process, it debases the people of a state
reputed as the nation’s fountain of knowledge. Furthermore, this kind of
attitude makes mockery of the essence of democracy, which is a game of
numbers by the majority.

Unfortunately, the police, which should have intervened to end this
disgraceful conduct is babysitting the gangsters that are perpetrating the
absurdity. TMG takes exception to this state of affairs and condemns this
gangster approach to politics as well as the complicity of the law
enforcement agents. TMG calls for immediate exhibition of decorum by the
elected Ekiti legislators as their place of service is to the masses that
elected them and not for their selfish political gains.

2015 General Elections

With less than eight weeks to the 2015 general elections, TMG notes with
concern that the polity has been fouled up by violent and inciting rhetoric.
We note concern that political actors who should be at the vanguard of
stabilizing the system are openly pushing people into violent acts by their
extreme posturing.

In this regard, we flay the “crush the cockroaches” hate speech as credited
to the Governor of Katsina State, Ibrahim Shema. On the whole, we are
convinced that now is the time for all actors in the political terrain to be
mindful of their utterances especially as the country is already stretched
by dastardly reality of political and sectarian violence. All those making
inflammatory comments capable of stoking passions and causing disorder
should know that they would be held accountable for whatever heinous roles they play.

On Insecurity in the North East

TMG notes with a deep sense of concern the unending waves of attacks being carried out by the Boko Haram sect in the North East. Our hearts go out to the families of those who have either been killed, maimed or displaced by the reality of the insurgency. We are saddened and disturbed by the further humiliations that all Nigerians have suffered as a result of the tendency of a number of our troops to run, rather than stand and fight the insurgents. We commend the gallantry and raw bravery of local hunters and vigilante groups in Adamawa who helped liberate a number of towns taken over by the insurgents in recent times.

The daring and successful counter offensive by these local groups against
the terrorists makes it abundantly clear that it is possible to rout the
insurgents and restore peace. We remain convinced that the welfare and
security of the citizens remain the primary purpose of government. We
therefore call on the government to stop abdicating its responsibility in
the face of the audacious redesigning of Nigerian territory by Boko Haram.

On the realm of strategy, we call on those handling this war on the side of
the government to live up to their epaulets by ensuring every part of the
country becomes safe for all Nigerians. To us at TMG, this unending assault
on the sanctity of human life on Nigerian soil is unacceptable. It is the
responsibility of the government to stem the tide, but to our consternation,
the government has looked weak and bereft of ideas, as the terrorists have a field day. No case exemplifies this more than the fact that so close to
Christmas, the over 200 Chibok girls abducted in April are yet to be
rescued.

The Economy

Just a few months ago, the government of President Goodluck Jonathan
informed the world that the Nigerian economy had been rebased. It claimed
that Nigeria had emerged as the number one economy on the African continent, beating South Africa and others.

We knew that there were no indices to substantiate this claim. It was
nothing but the usual government propaganda similar to the negotiated
ceasefire with Boko Haram which resulted in a false promise about releasing
the over 200 abducted Chibok girls.

Just last week, the government announced austerity measures to cushion the downward trends of the economy. It sought to withdraw over 50 percent of our external reserve and further devalue the Naira. Government is also looking at increasing prices of petroleum products. Ordinary Nigerians would be the most affected by these policies.

TMG is of the belief that this government has completely run out of ideas
about revamping the nation’s ailing economy. We reaffirm our position that
until massive corruption is tackled by government, Nigerians won’t benefit
from the wealth of the nation.

INEC Preparations

TMG calls on the Independent Electoral Commission (INEC) to be more forth
coming with explanations about its preparation for the 2015 general
elections. It is not enough for the commission to say its preparations are
in top shape. The commission must be willing to share the details of its
plans, so that Nigerians can be carried along well enough.

We note with concern the problems that dogged the distribution of the
Permanent Voters Cards (PVCs) and the Continuous Voter Registration ((CVR). TMG notes that a number of these critical processes have not been concluded so close to the elections.

As we speak, we await the final voter register for the 2015 elections, just
as we wonder when those who are registering now in the CRV will get their
PVCs. Knowing that it took several months, if not years for those who
registered in 2011 to get their PVCs, we wonder how those just registering
now will get theirs’ weeks to the elections. Bearing in mind the fact that
without the PVCs, eligible voters will be denied the opportunity to exercise
their franchise, we call on INEC to ensure that no eligible voter who has
registered is denied the opportunity.

We believe Nigerians are itching to know how far the commission has gone
with printing of ballot papers, the state of card readers, preparations for
logistics amongst a host of other issues. While we have no cause to doubt
the commitment of Professor Attahiru Jega to conducting a free fair and
credible election, we call on the INEC leadership to be much more forth
coming regarding progress so far, and the challenges ahead. This way,
Nigerians can better appreciate what is on the ground, and how to adjust in
the face of eventualities. In the end, free, fair, transparent and credible
elections are non-negotiable in the eyes and minds of all Nigerians.

TMG’s Plans For 2015

As Nigeria’s flagship election observation and civic education coalition,
TMG would be actively on ground to observe the 2015 elections. In the run up to the polls, we have been engaged in monitoring the pre-election
environment within the context of our early warning system for violence
prevention.

Reporting cases of violence or early indicators that a situation may become
violent during the 2015 electoral process and receiving early responses from
relevant authorities is expected to mitigate electoral violence and
facilitate peaceful elections next year. The first report from our
monitoring of the pre-election environment in the build up to the 2015 polls
will be released next week.

For the Presidential Elections of February 14, 2015, TMG will be deploying
the Quick Count methodology. The Quick Count methodology, also known as the Parallel Vote Tabulation, is a gold standard for verifying the accuracy of elections. TMG will verify the outcomes of the 2015 polls using this widely
tested method. Processes to be assessed include; opening of polling units,
voter accreditation, voting, sorting, counting, announcement of results
amongst other aspects of the Election Day procedures.

Through the TMG Quick Count, non-partisan citizen observers will deploy to a random, representative sample of polling units across the country to report on the opening, accreditation, voting and counting processes during Election Day, as well as collect voting results. The heart of the Quick Count rests on establishing a representative, random sample of polling units. TMG will thus deploy observers to all 774 LGAs – whether this means traveling to the most inaccessible riverine areas or to the most remote desert villages – to maximize geographic coverage to analyse the election.

All of these, we believe will help ensure transparent elections, which would
allow for the supremacy of the voices of the Nigerian people come 2015.

Let me use this opportunity to profusely thank all our donors; the National
Democratic Institute, the United States International Development Agency
(USAID), Department for International Development (DFID), MacArthur
Foundation and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP/DGD) for their support to TMG.

Long live the flagship of Nigeria election observation, the TMG; and long
live the Federal Republic of Nigeria.

For media enquiries, please contact TMG Media Manager, Armsfree Ajanaku on 07033865138 or email: media@tmgng.org

Season of Mourning

Season of Mourning

In the heat of a damp evening
Sweating to the beat of generators,
My lungs in furious duel with fumes,
My heart drenched
In the grief of Potiskum parents.

It is daybreak and the pains are unabated,
The sun shines but my vision is blurred,
Blurred by the gory mutilation
Of saplings yearning for knowledge,
I have heard the poisonous perfidy
Of looters consolidating powers,
I have watched the obscene dance
On the graves of our children.

Yet tears fail me
As my mourning is stifled,
They wash their hands like Pilate
And I drown in blood and vinegar!

(C) Kabura Zakama

Nigerians First and Nigerians Always!

My dear Countrymen and Countrywomen, young and not-so-young, rich and not-so-rich. I address you this morning for a different purpose. Because of my commitment to the country and for my personal honour, I have decided not to declare myself as a candidate for the 2015 Presidential Election as planned. Instead, I have decided to honour the words I uttered in 2011, my words, that I will not contest the 2015 Elections. In the months before I hand over to whoever wins the Presidency in 2015, I promise to mobilise Nigerians against the numerous challenges facing us. One of which is the insurgency in the North East. I will shut my ears to ‘easy narratives’ from outside and ‘lazy narratives’ from inside to focus on finding a solution to this particular menace. I want all Nigerians to give me their support, irrespective of ethnic and religious leanings and party politics. On my part, I will not leave any stone unturned until these perpetrators of evil are brought to book. NIGERIANS FIRST AND NIGERIANS ALWAYS!

{what a dream I’ve just had!}