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To Hell With Self(ish) Interest, Outside The Box By Alex Otti

mer, 2019-05-22 23:01


"Politics is a strife of interests masquerading as a contest of principles; the conduct of public affairs for private advantage" - Ambrose Bierce

As is usual in Nigeria, the word ‘interest’ has been bastardised but I will come back to that shortly. Take the expression ‘PR’, which has acquired such notoriety that the actual Public Relations practitioners think twice before using that expression to describe what they do. When a Nigerian tells you that he’s not ‘being carried along’, you must think twice to realise that oftentimes it has a deeper sinister meaning than just not being briefed on areas relevant to him. He may not be aware of the dynamics of a transaction he should be on top of, and yet be ‘carried along’, when the due share of the loot comes his way.

In the same light the word ‘interest’ has become a much purloined and desecrated word in its Nigerian parlance. It has become a popular saying in Nigeria that in politics, there are no permanent friends nor enemies but permanent interests.

This quote was adapted from Henry John Temple, 3rd Viscount Palmerston (1784-1865). Lord Palmerston, as he was popularly called was a two time British Prime Minister in the 19th century.

He had said “Nations have no permanent friends or allies, they only have permanent interests. We have no eternal allies and we have no perpetual enemies. Our interests are eternal and perpetual, and these interests, it is our duty to follow”.

What Lord Palmerston meant is very different from the context that we use it in Nigeria today. When you listen to a typical Nigerian talk about interest, you will get the feeling that he is talking about the general good of the nation or better still, his constituents.

Sadly, you will be mistaken big time. Our politicians actually mean self or better still, selfish interests. For them, it is not about the people they represent. It is about themselves, family and friends. They also employ this expression to explain their legendary ability to camp in one party today, decamp tomorrow and “recamp” the next day. Of course, it has been proved time and time again that our over 90 political parties are just mere platforms to stand for elections, believing in nothing in particular.

There is virtually no difference between one and the other. There is no ideological orientation in practically all the parties. Even when they proclaim such, their actual practice demonstrates that they go where the money, better still, interest, dictates. The fact that there exists a humungous number of parties, including those that exist practically inside the suitcases of their sponsors, only creates room for the confusion. Even the simple issue of ballot papers has become so cumbersome as all the political parties that sponsored candidates be they contenders or pretenders must be accounted for on the ballot sheet, otherwise, the election would be subject to cancellation.

From the people we copied democracy, political parties have clear distinguishing characteristics based on what they believe in. So, it is unimaginable that someone who is a conservative today would suddenly become a liberal tomorrow, only to swing back the day after, with no modicum of shame or conscience. It seldom happens that someone would be a Democrat today and tomorrow pitch his tent with the Republicans. In Nigeria, these things don’t matter. The end justifies the means and the Maradona politician is hailed as being smart.

In recent times, there had been reports of politicians attempting to hijack the patrimony of their electorate for personal interests. The first notable case was that of Bayelsa State house of Assembly members, passing a law to appropriate funds to themselves as pension on leaving the House of Assembly.

A document titled, “Pension Bill for Governors, Deputy Governors and Members of the State House of Assembly” released recently, generously awarded a retired Speaker a monthly pension of N500,000; a retired Deputy Speaker N300,000; House Leader and the Whip, N250,000; Deputy Leader N200,000 and other retired members of the House, N100,000. In addition, former lawmakers, including persons of Bayelsa origin, who served in the old Rivers State House of Assembly, would enjoy life pensions as applicable to former presidents, vice-presidents, governors and deputy governors across the country.

This new bill was to replace the “Bayelsa State Pensions for Governor and Deputy Governor Law” passed in 2003. Apparently, the 2003 law did not make provisions for law makers, so this new bill was to include the lawmakers in the looting game. After all, they are the ones that make the laws and should not have been left out in the first instance, so it seems. For the new bill to be attractive to the governor whose signature would make it a law, there was something in it for him also.

He needed to be ‘carried along’, obviously. The new bill consequently increased the allowances for both the governor and his deputy in tow. In the new law a governor’s monthly allowance is put at 8 per cent of his Annual Basic Salary (ABS); wardrobe allowance, 50 per cent of his ABS; entertainment, 40 per cent of his ABS; transport allowance, 50 per cent of ABS and utilities, 80 per cent of ABS. Deputy governor’s allowances were also enhanced as follows: monthly basic, 8 per cent; wardrobe, 25 per cent of ABS; entertainment. 20 per cent, transport allowance 30 per cent and utilities 40 per cent. But where the governor and his deputy successfully served a second term of office, they would be guaranteed,150 per cent of their ABS.

As if all those were not enough, a governor is also entitled to seven bedroom duplex and a three-room boys quarters in any location of his choice in the state. A deputy governor exits with one five bedroom duplex and a two-room boys quarters in any location of his choice in the state. In addition, they were to receive two cars and one backup car, and one car and one backup car to be replaced every five years respectively.

The pension includes three drivers, a cook, a steward and a gardener, who shall also be pensionable and two drivers, a cook and a gardener between the governor and the deputy respectively. Both of them will also enjoy paid vacation of 60 per cent of ABS for and 40 per cent of ABS, respectively. Holy Macro!

The action of the Bayelsa State house of assembly generated so much condemnation and pressure from citizens that the governor withheld accent to the bill. This is probably one of the few terrible things that happen in the polity that had attracted this kind of attention. A lot of bills that get approved at the state assemblies seem to be shrouded in secrecy such that people hardly know before they are smuggled through, given assent and implemented without recourse to how it affects the populace.

While we were trying to settle down from the ‘Bayelsa war’, news filtered in that the Kano House of Assembly had also passed its own version of the Pension bill and had sent it to the governor for assent. The Kano Assembly is known for passing bills with jet speed like the recent one that was passed within 48 hours to split the Kano emirate into five small units. As if the house of assembly was seeking compensation for a job well done with the “Kano Emirs Appointment and Deposition Amendment Bill 2019”, the Assembly quickly packaged and passed the “ Life Pensions Bill for Speaker and Deputy Speaker 2019”. The bill grants Speakers and their deputies pension for life by the state, provided that such person were not impeached.

“There shall be paid pension to persons who held office as Speaker and Deputy Speaker equal to the emoluments of a serving Speaker and deputy speaker, provided that either the Speaker or the Deputy do not hold any paid elective or selective appointment.”

“Where the speaker or deputy speaker dies in office before the expiration of the term of his tenure, he shall be paid pension pro-rata the number of years he spent in relation to his tenure of office. This provision needs to be explained as our understanding is that the House wants to pay a dead Speaker or Deputy. I hope they would be required to sign for the money!

The bill continues, “there shall be provided for the speaker and the deputy speaker a brand new vehicle to be bought by the state government every four years. “There shall be provided for the speaker and the deputy speaker medical expenses either home or abroad depending on the nature of the illness,”.

Again, this bill has attracted the attention of civil society organisations and organised labour who have mounted resistance asking that the governor withholds accent.

While all these were on, the National Assembly, in approving this year’s budget, approved a staggering sum of N23.678 billion as severance package for Senators and members of the House of Representatives.

We wish to put it stridently that this column condemns this self-serving attitude of our law makers, both at the national and state levels. Our laws are very clear about who fixes salaries and allowances for public officers. In the 1999 Constitution, the Revenue Mobilisation, Allocation and Fiscal Commission (RMAFC) is responsible for fixing salaries and allowances of public officers including lawmakers. It is a breach of our constitution for the law makers to hijack the job of RMAFC. It is also against the doctrine of separation of powers and checks and balances for law makers to be fixing their own emoluments.

We also worry about the state of the economy. Like we had said in this column over and over, we run a very expensive public sector at all levels, such that over 70% of our budget goes to recurrent expenditure. It is a known fact that all tiers of government have been borrowing to pay salaries. It is sad that the same people who should worry most are the ones who pass laws that enhance their self-interests and put further pressure on our earnings and our collective interests.

Related to this is the clear insensitivity to the plight of workers and the real people who should actually be entitled to pensions; namely the real pensioners. In some of the states paying jumbo salaries and allowances to both the executive and legislator, salaries of poor workers have been in arrears for several months. One would have expected these ‘elected representatives of the people’ to show greater empathy and  concern for such people who need the money more, rather than approving jumbo packages for already well-off people in government.

We are also of the opinion that it is very inappropriate for someone who offered himself for public service to spend his or her valuable time discussing pension.  Frankly, we should begin to do everything possible to make public service very unattractive to people who see it as an avenue to make a living. Elsewhere, people offer themselves for such services when they had been successful in other walks of life. Unfortunately, the reverse is the case here in Nigeria.

It is also the main reason why our elections have turned into banditry and war. It is up to us to sit down and change this deplorable situation. I believe we all know what to do, if we don’t do it voluntarily, the realities of the economy would force us to do it. Even then, these are the more palatable choices facing us. It is difficult to contemplate worse, but not impossible scenarios. The French monarchy and aristocracy had its comeuppance in this manner about 200 years ago. If we let that happen here, the consequences could be too dire for all of us.

There are a lot of cases where governors and other public officers receive jumbo packages called pension on leaving office. Some like we had seen, are entitled to mansions in their states and elsewhere, in addition. Meanwhile, many of them, surprisingly, do not retire. Many of them end up in the Senate or the House of Representatives while others get appointed to ministerial and other juicy positions. So, they end up collecting salaries twice or even more. This also applies to retired military officers. This is simply unfair and dishonest, but more importantly, dangerous in a society like ours where the poverty levels are rising daily. By the way, have you bothered to find out how much your governor draws as monthly ‘security vote’? Is the information classified?

I also want to put it on record that I do not believe that pension should apply to temporary positions of 4 years, 8 years or even more, in the case of legislators. We must let our public officers know that they are not employees of the government. My understanding is that pensions apply to employees and today, we have all adopted the contributory pension scheme. Let it be known that anyone who is interested in receiving pensions should approach pension funds administrators and work out an arrangement for payment as required by the pension reform act, which interestingly, was also passed by the National Assembly a few years ago. I believe it is an insult on our collective intelligence for someone to offer himself for a 4 year or 8 year service and on expiration of his tenor, want us to put him on the payroll for the rest of his life.

Finally, I call on citizens to become more vigilant and show interest in how our commonwealth is used. It is our responsibility to know and we should be asking questions. As they say, the rat cannot steal from the hands of someone who is alert. Our leaders are bound to take us for granted if we do not ask questions. We must learn to hold them accountable because they are actually our servants and not our lords.

That many of them are pulling in the same direction is understandable, but just like Edward Abbey wrote “One man can be pretty dumb sometimes, but for real bona fide stupidity, there ain’t nothing that can beat team work”. The choice is ours. We can decide to be collectively dumb or collectively wise. We must thank organisations like the CLO and SERAP for rising to the occasion. We must emulate them and help raise this public alarm. They also deserve our support. We must do these yesterday.

email:alexottiofr@gmail.com

 

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Egypt, Ethopian Airlines Running Drug Cartels In Nigeria, Says Dabiri-Erewa

mer, 2019-05-22 22:45


Abike Dabiri-Erewa

Abike Dabiri-Erewa

Hon. Abike Dabiri-Erewa, Chairman of the Nigeria Diaspora Commission (NDC), has accused Egypt and Ethiopian Airlines of running drug cartels across Nigeria’s international airports.

She made the disclosure on Wednesday during an investigative hearing by an ad-hoc Committee of the Senate set up to look into the circumstances leading to the arrest last December of a Nigerian lady, Zainab Aliyu by Saudi Arabian authoritiesDabiri-Erewa told the committee that, “We have other foreign and local Airlines operating at our Airports. But Egyptian and Ethiopian Airlines have drug cartels operating at our International Airports. They operate alongside local collaborators. It is not Air Peace, not Arik Air, but Egyptian and Ethiopian Airlines”.

Mr. El-Yakub Usman Lamir, the Airport Chief of Security at the Federal Airport Authority(FAAN), however, made a shocking revelation that scanners at the Aminu Kano International Airport, Kano, were not configured to detect drugs.

He made the revelation in response Senator Kabiru Gaya, Chairman of the adhoc Committee, who demanded to know the status of the scanners at the nation’s airports across the country.

Lamir added that there were 15 security agents involved in checking luggage at the point of entry and exit but that the number had been reduced as a result of frequent complaints by air travelers.

On his part, Mr Mustapha Abdallah, who represented the chairman of the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA), also disclosed that the agency did not have enough German trained sniffer dogs.

Abdallah said, “Throughout the federation, NDLEA only has 14 sniffer dogs stationed in Lagos and we don’t even have one to detect drugs at the Aminu Kano International Airport at all.

The committee chairman, Senator Gaya, charged the officials of the NDLEA to increase the number of sniffer dogs in all the international Airports across the country.

Gaya also directed the officials of the Federal Airports Authority (FAAN) to upgrade such sensitive equipment like scanners at the various Airports to ensure that the country did not become a transit camp for hard drugs.

The senator however, commended Zainab’s father for providing the information on the arrest of his daughter by Saudi Arabian authorities to the Social Media from where the federal government got wind of her arrest and detention.

The committee is expected to submit its report to the Senate upon conclusion of the investigative hearing.

 

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Six Days To End Of Tenure, Yobe Governor Approves N6bn For Upgrade Of ‘Non-existing Airport’

mer, 2019-05-22 22:38


Barely six days to handing over as Governor of Yobe State, Governor Ibrahim Gaidam has approved the sum of N6,067,305,786.91 for the upgrade of design of Yobe International Cargo Airport.

The money would also be used to cater for the bill of quantity for the completion of the International Cargo Airport.

Gaidam approved the money at the State Executive Council meeting that held on Wednesday in Damaturu.

Speaking to newsmen after the meeting, Alhaji Mala Musti, State Commissioner of Information, said N127,187,270.00 was earmarked to cater for operational expenses of 2019 Hajj.

He added that the monies approved were to ensure the deadline of May 30, 2019, fixed for the completion is done.

“This is in a bid to meet the deadline of May 30, 2019, for the final remittances of 2019 Hajj fares by the states pilgrims agencies, boards and commissions in Nigeria to NAHCON,” Musti said.

It could be recalled that in November 2018, Gaidam had set aside N4.2 billion for the completion of the international cargo airport.

Also in June 2018, the sum of N1.760 billion contract was awarded to United Aviation Services for the supply and installation of communication gadgets at the Damaturu International Cargo Airport under construction.

In 2017, Gaidam awarded the contract for the building of airport at N11.3 billion and he promised to complete the cargo airport with the commissioning slated for or before May 29, 2019.

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Pro-Biafra Anniversary Turns Bloody As Police Open Fire On MASSOB Members

mer, 2019-05-22 21:56


The 19th anniversary celebration of the Chief Ralph Uwazuruike-led Movement for the Actualisation of Sovereign State of Biafra (MASSOB) otherwise called Biafra Independent Movement (BIM) turned fatal on Wednesday when police opened fire on members of the movement.

Two members of the movement were reported killed while no fewer than 10 members of the movement were arrested and 15 sustained serious bullet wounds.

Addressing newsmen in Onitsha, Ogbaru Regional Administrator of BIM-MASSOB, Mr. Amadi Ifeanyi (aka Ochiagha), wondered why police would open fire on a non-violent organisation.

He said: “We were hoisting our flag at about 2 am yesterday morning at Upper Iweka axis in preparation for the anniversary when the police stormed the place in three Hilux vans and allegedly opened fire on us at a close range, which resulted in the killing of the two members instantly.

“They arrested 10 of us and over 15 got bullet wounds, even when they knew that we are a non- violent organisation struggling for a Biafran state”.

Amadi, who spoke through his Director of Finance, in Ogbaru, Ezeaka Martins, identified those killed as Innocent Okoye and Uche Ezinwanne, demanding the release of their corpses.

Also speaking, Chuks Nnaedozie, the Ogbaru Director of Security, gave the names of those injured and hospitalised as Clifford Nwankwo, Ndubuisi Ikpeazu Aloy Ibeh, and others yet to be identified.

On his part, Regional administrator for Onitsha North, Christian Umeaka revealed that one of his members had not been seen since he was arrested by the police when he went to hoist the flag.

“No amount of intimidation would stop us from struggling for a Biafran state,” he vowed.

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FULL VALEDICTORY SPEECH: Be Proud You Were Part Of A Government That Ended Boko Haram, Buhari Tells Outgoing Ministers

mer, 2019-05-22 21:45



President Muhammadu Buhari has told the outgoing members of his executive council to be proud for being part of the administration that 'liberated' Nigeria from Boko Haram insurgency. 

He made the comments when he spoke at the valedictory meeting of the Federal Executive Council, on Wednesday. 

Read full remarks.
CLOSING REMARKS BY H.E. PRESIDENT MUHAMMADU BUHARI AT THE VALEDICTORY SESSION FOR MEMBERS OF THE FEDERAL EXECUTIVE COUNCIL (2015 – 2019) AT THE STATE HOUSE COUNCIL CHAMBER ON 22ND MAY, 2019.

Today’s Federal Executive Council meeting is the last time we will meet as a cabinet before the commencement of the second and final term of this Administration.

2. Our first meeting in this chamber was in November 2015. Over the past three and a half years, we worked together to deliver our campaign promises. I strongly believe that it is this team work that led to the successes recorded during our first term.

3. Some of our colleagues, with whom we started this journey, unfortunately are not here to join us in celebrating our successes.

4. Specifically, I must recognise our late brother, James Ocholi, SAN who passed away in a fearful motor accident with his wife, Blessing, and son, Joshua, only four months after being sworn in as a minister.

5. I want us to all put him, and, indeed, his family, in our memory. He was a true patriot committed to our change agenda.

6. I also acknowledge the contributions of other council members who resigned before the completion of our tenure to pursue other opportunities.

7. You will recall that when we started this journey, our country was facing numerous challenges.

8. We inherited a broken economy which eventually went into recession in the second quarter of Fiscal Year 2016. The situation was further compounded by insecurity and massive corruption.

9. Many would have given up. Indeed, many outside commentators said our situation was well nigh hopeless. However, we all came together and pushed forward to deliver our campaign promise to rescue our country from its parlous state.

10. Although we all had a common vision, we frequently had heated debates in this room on the best way to achieve our goals. These differing views are what made the decisions we took all the more rational.

11. It is this quality that made me retain my cabinet for the full term. Each of you in this room has a unique skill and strength. We are a reflection of the Nigeria we aspire to achieve. A diverse but tolerant nation where no one is silenced and where every opinion should be heard and considered.

12. I want you all to leave this meeting proud to have served your nation to the best of your ability.

13. You should be proud to have been part of the Government that liberated the local governments previously under Boko Haram rule.

14. You should be proud to have contributed to our food security and economic diversification agenda which led to the revival of our rural agrarian economy

15. You should be proud to have been part of the team that developed the Economic Recovery and Growth Plan which led Nigeria exiting its worst recession in decades.

16. You should be proud to have introduced the social investment program that enhanced livelihoods of millions of Nigerians.

17. You should be proud to have participated in settling outstanding pensions of many senior citizens abandoned by previous governments while supporting state governments to meet their salary arrears.

18. And, of course, you should all be proud to have overseen the most ambitious road, rail and airport rehabilitation programs in the history of our country.

19. I want to put on record, that your achievements in the last three and a half hears has guaranteed your position in the history books of this nation. You have certainly built the foundations for an improved economy and a more purposeful government.

20. Although today is our last council meeting, I expect all of you to continue working until Tuesday, 28th May 2019 when you will officially hand over your schedules to your respective Permanent Secretaries. Your handing over letters should be submitted to the Office of the Secretary to the Government of the Federation.

21. I want to conclude by thanking all of you for agreeing to serve our nation during these difficult times. I want to use this opportunity to recognise the silent partners to this cabinet, your spouses, families and friends, who supported you through these years.

22. I wish you the very best of luck and pray for your successes, for dear families and our for country in the years ahead.

Thank you and God Bless the Federal Republic of Nigeria.

(NAN)

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Apologize to Nigerians For Lying About Coup Plot, PDP Tells Lai Mohammed

mer, 2019-05-22 21:32


Lai Mohammed, the Minister of Information and Culture, has been asked by the People's Democratic Party (PDP) to tender an apology for heating up the polity with baseless security breach allegations against the PDP and Atiku Abubakar, it's presidential candidate in the February 23 elections.

Lai Mohammed had earlier leveled an allegation that bordered on treason on the PDP and Atiku alledging that were trying to scuttle the inauguration of President Muhammadu Buhari come May29.

The former APC National Publicity Secretary, however, on Monday assured world leaders invited for the inauguration of their safety on the shores of the country.

Reacting to the contradiction between Lai's allegation and the assurance he later gave the world leaders across the globe, Kola's Ologbodiyan, the PDP spokesman, said the Minister's doublespeak has shown him to be a man given to fabrications in order to win popular sympathy for Buhari-led administration.

The PDP stated that for the Minister to turn around to assure that the country was safe after raising the initial false alarm, showed that his claims were not based on any concrete evidence other than having “no reason to doubt” claims by other individuals.

The statement said, “Moreover, the Minister’s claims that he relied on certain alarms fell flat as no agency in the country had ever accused the PDP, as a political party, or our presidential candidate, Atiku Abubakar, of ‘doing everything possible to sabotage the Buhari Administration, generally overheat the polity and make Nigeria seemingly ungovernable’ as claimed by Lai Mohammed.

“It is now clear that the whole essence of the misleading allegation was to heat up the system, attempt to cow democratic voices, divert public discourse from the rigging of the presidential election and scare the PDP and our presidential candidate from pursuing our stolen presidential mandate at the court.

“We also have fears that Alhaji Lai Mohammed could have made those wild claims in a bid to pave the way to frame, harass, arrest and detain some opposition figures on trump-up charges.

“Such antics have failed as Nigerians have seen through them and are resolute, behind Atiku Abubakar, in the determination to retrieve his mandate in the court, and no form of blackmail and intimidation will detract from that resolve.

“By his fabricated claims, the Information Minister only succeeded in further demarketing our dear nation in the international arena, causing more damage to investors’ confidence in our system and exposing this administration as purveyor of fake news.

“The PDP therefore invites Alhaji Lai Mohammed to apologise to the nation and desist from such acts of incitement”.

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FULL STORY: Real Reason Justice Zainab Bulkachuwa Stepped Down From Presidential Election Tribunal

mer, 2019-05-22 21:17


The President of Court Appeal,  Justice Zainab Bulkachuwa has recused herself as the Chairman of 2019 Presidential Election Petition Tribunal hearing the petition against the election of President Muhammadu Buhari. 

Bulkachuwa voluntarily withdrew from participating in the hearing of the case shortly after the unanimous decision of the panel dismissing the application filed by the petitioner.

The ruling was delivered by a member of the panel, Justice Peter Ige.

She said that she took the decision for personal reasons and to avoid a situation where another female Justice will  face same issues presented to the court. 

She said that the four man panel will continue with the case pending the announcement of the new chairman of the panel.

But the tribunal held that the petitioners have not placed enough materials of evidence before the court that the president of court of appeal will be biased in the matter.

The remaining four members of the panel have continued with case.

The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and it's Pesidential Candidate, Atiku Abubakar on 16th of may 2019 filed a motion asking an order to ensure that Justice Zainab Bulkachuwa be recused from further sitting of the tribunal or participating in the proceedings in the petition and be replaced by another Justice of the Appeal Court.

They also averred that Justice Bulakchuwa is the biological mother to Aliyu Haidar-Abubakar a prominent card-carrying member of the All Progressive Congress.

It further averred that being the wife and mother of prominent card-carrying members of the APC which is the third respondent in the petition before the tribunal, there is every likelihood of bias if Justice Bulkachuwa remains as a member of the panel.

They also asserted that at the inaugural sitting of the tribunal the president of the appeal court while delivering her speech said "elections are held in Nigeria every four years into elective positions, no matter how well the election is conducted there are bound to be complaints."

Her decision to step down is seen as a test of transparency of the process.
 

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Former Nigerian Bar Association Chairman Collapses In Court During Trial For Alleged N20m Fraud

mer, 2019-05-22 20:32


Adesina Ogunlana, former chairman of the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA), Ikeja Branch, has collapsed in the dock during arraignment by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) on Wednesday.

Ogunlana collapsed, when the EFCC prosecution, Samuel Daji, asked the trial judge, Justice Mojisola Dada, to remand him in prison custody after he pleaded not guilty to a 30-count charge alongside other defendants.

Daji was, however, lent a helping hand by his colleagues and offered a seat for the court proceedings to commence; the cause of his collapse could not be ascertained.

The EFCC had arraigned Ogunlana, for alleged stealing and money laundering alongside his predecessor, Yinka Farounbi and immediate past treasurer of the association, Aderinola Kappo.

According to the charge, the three defendants collectively allegedly stole a total sum of N20 005, 000 belonging to the association.

They were alleged to have committed the offence between 2016 to 2018 by converting the said amount to personal use.

EFCC alleged that the money was paid into Ogunlana’s First bank account through issuance of cheque ‘ without authorisation’.

The defendants, however, pleaded not guilty to the charge preferred against them by the EFCC.

Following their not guilty plea, the prosecution counsel led by Samuel Daji urged the court to remand the defendants in prison custody pending the court’s ruling on their bail application.

Daji said: “We urge the honourable court to grant us accelerated hearing in this matter and also to remand the defendants in the prison custody.

“My lord the first and third defendants are flight risk. They jumped the administrative bail granted them by the EFCC and the third defendant even gave us the address of the house she has left two-years ago and the landlord is also looking for her.

“They were supposed to be reporting at the EFCC office every Friday but they didn’t comply.

“These defendants have also been threatening our witnesses as well as operatives of the EFCC by agents of the first defendant.

I urged the court to remand the defendants accordingly, after all, governors are being kept in prison custody. There is no big man in where to keep defendants.”

The defence counsel, Mr. Akin Olatunde, however, urged the court to grant the defendants bail on liberal term.

"We literally fought the prosecution to prosecute this matter and they have been coming to court since Monday.

“The court is at discretion to admit the defendants to bail after their arraignment. The essence of bail is for defendants to be present in court. They are responsible personalities who are ready to come for the trial anytime as demonstrated in their coming since Monday,” Olatunji said.

After listening to both parties, Justice Dada granted bail to the defendants as requested.

The judge said: I have considered the case of the matter and considering the fact that the defendants are ex-officials of the Nigerian Bar Association, the court will be granting them a temporary bail.

Justice Dada ordered the defendants to submit their international passports to the court registrar pending the determination of the bail condition.

She thereafter adjourned the matter till June 3, 2019, for hearing of bail application and opening of the prosecution case.

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BREAKING: Justice Zainab Bulkachuwa Steps Down From Presidential Election Petition Tribunal

mer, 2019-05-22 19:48


BBC

Justice Zainab Bulkachuwa has recused herself from the Election Petition Tribunal sitting in Abuja.

The People's democratic party had asked Justice Bulkachuwa to recuse herself because she is married to a senator-elect of the All Progressives Congress.

Counsel to Atiku Abubakar, presidential candidate of the PDP, Livy Ozuokwu asked the Chairman of the tribunal to recuse herself on the grounds that she will be biased in the case.

On Wednesday, Justice Bulkachuwa recused herself after a prolonged sitting.

More to come.

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EXPOSED: How Gov Wike Is Trying To Influence Rivers State Election Petition Tribunal

mer, 2019-05-22 19:26




Nyesome Wike, the governor of Rivers State is working tirelessly to influence the outcome of the state Election Petition Tribunal, SaharaReporters can confirm.

He plans to do so by forcefully changing the lawyer representing candidate of the African Action Congress, who is his main challenger at the tribunal, Engineer Awara Biokpomabo Festus.

Sources within the Rivers state government house revealed to SaharaReporters that Gov. Wike singlehandedly funded the recent false 'suspension' of AAC pro-tem Chairman, Omoyele Sowore which was masterminded by one Leonard Ezenwa.

The Independent National Electoral Commission thereafter released a statement saying it is unaware of said 'suspension' and will continue to relate with Sowore as the chairman of the AAC.

READ ALSO BREAKING: INEC Debunks Sowore's Suspension From AAC, Says 'He Is The Only Chairman We Recognise'

The grand plan was to hijack the party structure and send a memo to Awara, imposing a 'selected lawyer' who will surreptitiously work for  Wike while pretending to work for the AAC candidate at the tribunal.

The lawyer to be imposed on Awara is a lackey of Senator Magnus Abbey.

SaharaReporters can also confirm that Wike in a bid to buy more members of the AAC party, reached out to Legal Adviser of the AAC Barrister Inibehe Effiong.

Effiong declined the offer which made the governor more desperate. 

Shortly after the contact, the expelled secretary of the AAC, Leonard Ezenwa under the inducement of Wike, sent a letter to the legal representative of Awara at the tribunal Tawo E. Tawo (SAN), demanding that he refrains from appearing as the legal representative of the AAC.

In the letter, Ezenwa 'appointed' H.A Bello Esq to take over as legal representative of Awara at the tribunal. 

Sources who spoke to SaharaReporters confirm that Wike has a bad case at the tribunal hence his desperation to manipulate events and outcomes of the tribunal.

Sources told SaharaReporters that the PDP woman leader and mother of UK-based AAC impostor, Ify Chigwe brokered a meeting between Leonard Ezenwa and Gov. Wike to enable free flow of funds between the duo.

Mr. Wike is known to bribe judges, lawyers and INEC officials to do his biding.
 

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UPDATE: Tension As Presidential Election Tribunal Fails To Reconvene At 2 pm

mer, 2019-05-22 18:42


BBC
There is tension in the courtroom where the Presidential Election Tribunal is currently sitting.

The tribunal stood down proceedings with the announcement that it will reconvene at 2 pm to give a ruling as to if Justice Zainab Bukachuwa will recuse herself from the tribunal on the basis of a petition filed by the People's Democratic Paty, PDP.

However, at the time of filing this report, the Tribunal is yet to reconvene while the whereabouts of the five man panel remain unknown.

The decision by the Tribunal today would be viewed as a test of the integrity of the final decision it will produce.

More to come.

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You Are Still Terrorists And Illegal, Police Warn IPOB Over Sit-At-Home

mer, 2019-05-22 18:24


The Anambra State Police Command has warned the Indigenous People Biafra not to go ahead with its planend sit-at-home on the 30th of May 2019 or face harsh consequences of it does.

The group had ordered a sit-at-home to honour war veterans who died in the Nigeria-Biafra war from 1967-1970.

The police however reminded the organisation of their proscription as a terrorist group and therefore warned them to to organise any events.

The Anambra state police command in a statement on Wednesday said, “Information at the disposal of the Anambra State Police Command has revealed that the outlawed group, Indigenous People of Biafra is perfecting plans through public announcement and threats in Nnewi and other parts of the State in order to enforce a “sit-at-home,” warning people to stay at home and not to come out for any business activities on the 30th of May,2019.

“For the avoidance of doubt, the Indigenous People of Biafra is still a proscribed organisation hence all its activities remain illegal.

“The Commissioner of Police Anambra State, Mustapha Dandaura enjoined all Anambra people to disregard alleged calls by any group urging them to sit at home on the 30/5/2019 and go about their lawful businesses.

“The CP further assured the public that adequate security arrangements have been put in place by combined security forces in the State to nip in the bud any threat emanating from such groups.”

“The Command will therefore not hesitate to deal decisively with and in accordance with the law any individual or groups under any guise that will disrupt public peace in the State”.

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EXCLUSIVE: Naira Marley Was A Wanted Criminal In The UK In 2014

mer, 2019-05-22 17:18



Contrary to claims by defense counsel of Nigerian singer Azeez Fashola better known as Naira Marley in court that he is a first time offender, findings by SaharaReporters has reveal that the singer was declared wanted by Lewisham Police, United Kingdom in 2014.

Naira Marley was arrested by the Economic and Financial Crimes Comission in Nigeria for his alleged connection to advance fee fraud and cyber crime.

On Monday 20th of May, 2019, during the arraignment of Naira Marley by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC at the Federal High Court, Ikoyi, Lagos a member of his defence counsel, Taiwo Oreagba who stood in for his lead defence counsel, Olalekan Ojo had pleaded with Hon. Justice I.N Oweibo, the Judge presiding over the case that the singer be remanded in EFCC custody pending the day of his bail hearing.

Oreagba had made the plea to the judge stating that Niara Marley was a first time offender.

Justice Oweibo eventually ruled that the singer should be remanded in Prison custody.

In a report published by London news website, Newsshopper on the 11th of June 2014, Naira Marley, alongside four men, was declared wanted by Lewisham Police for crimes ranging from robbery to sexual assault on a night bus.

In his mugshot, the singer who was 19-years-old at that time was pictured dressed in a black T-shirt and a swollen left eye with a caption that read: “Azeez Fashola, 19, is wanted by police in connection with an incident in Surrey Canal Road, New Cross on March 5.”

Naira Marley has been remanded in prison custody until the 30th of May for the hearing of his bail application.

The arrest of Naira Marley by the EFCC had generated mixed reactions as some personalities like Daddy Showkey amongst others have rebuked the anti-graft agency for going after the singer when corrupt politicians walk freely while others like Ruggedman have rejected those in support of the singer’s stance on “Cybercrime” saying fraud should not be celebrated.
 

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Anti-Riot Policemen Fire Teargas At Protesting Ondo Varsity Students

mer, 2019-05-22 16:29


Students protesting fee hike by Ondo State government


Protesting Ondo State Students


Students fleeing after being teargassed by Police

Protesting Ondo State Students SaharaReporters Media

Anti-riot policemen on Wednesday fired teargas on protesting students of Ondo State owned Universities who were demonstrating a hike in their tuition.

The teargas canisters caused many of the protesting students to retreat from Oba Adesida road, a popular meeting point for the demostrators.

The students mainly from Adekunle Ajasin University, Akungba Akoko and the Ondo State University of Science Technology Okitipupa have been calling for a downward review in their school fees.

As the protests entered the second day, the students mobilized to shut down the popular Arakale road as they sang different solidarity songs and carried placards bearing different inscriptions.  

Sahara Reporters observed the show of force applied by the anti-rioting policemen to disperse the protesting undergraduates.

A student from the Adekunle Ajasin University, Miss Ibidapo Adefunke, who was affected by the teargas said the police has always been an enemy to mass action saying that nothing will discourage the them.

Students fleeing after being teargassed by Police SaharaReporters Media

"You can see the police using all the force they have use. You witnessed it. This has been a peaceful protest, but the police are making it as if it is a war zone.

“They have just fired teargas on us and we have to run for our dear life but we will not relent. We are would surely come back and We say Aluta Continua" she said.

Addressing journalists, Comrade Samuel Adesomoju, President of the Students Union Government at Adekunle Ajasin University Akungba Akoko, described the teargassing of the protesting students as inhuman.

Comrade Adesomoju noted that the student desmostrators would not succumb to police brutality adding that they had all resolved to say no to increment in their school fees.

He added that the students remained resolute in their struggle to ensure that the astronomical hike in the fee is reduced.

"This is unjust and it is inhuman and both AAUA and OSUSTECH have all been at home for three weeks now.

"We are saying No to all the satanic increments in our Universities by Governor Akeredolu's government.

"We have tried all we could to make the Governor understands us but he has failed to listen. He showed he is recalcitrant, arrogant and draconic. Students protesting fee hike by Ondo State government

"The Governor has been threatening to flush us out but we say no to this because we need reductions in our school fees.

"We have mineral resources in Ondo state but the governor has failed to look into them hence he is chasing after how to plant cannabis.

"We are telling him now to increase the subvention giving to our school so that the standard of learning can increase and improve in Ondo state.

"And for peace reign, we are calling on the Governor to reduce the hike in our tuition in tertiary institutions of the state" he said.

Also speaking, Mr. Kowe Odunayo, a former Chairman of Joint Campus Committee (JJC) of the National Association of Nigeria Students berated Governor Akeredolu for the hike in school fees of the students.

Mr. Odunayo, however, said that the protesting students would resist all means by the state government to commercialize every levels of education in the state.






Students protesting fee hike by Ondo State government















Protesting Ondo State Students


Students fleeing after being teargassed by Police

PHOTONEWS: Police Fire Teargas At Protesting Ondo State Students As Demonstration Over Hike In Tuition Fee Enters Second Day

 

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UPDATE: Tribunal To Rule On Application Asking Court of Appeal President Zainab Bulkachuwa To Recuse Herself

mer, 2019-05-22 15:13


BBC

The Presidential Election Petition Tribunal sitting in Abuja has fixed 2:00pm to rule on the application filed by the Presidential Candidate of Peoples Democratic Party ( PDP ), Atiku Abubakar asking the President of court of Appeal, Zainab Bulkachuwa to recuse herself from the case.

Wole Olanipekun Counsel to 2nd respondent, President Muhammadu Buhari, submitted that it is within the discretion of the court to constitute and decide the panel of justices that will sit in the case.

He argued that no one can impose his own authority or will on the court.

He told the tribunal that 2nd respondent has no say in the constitution of the panel of justices that will be sitting in the case. He added that this is in the interest of principle of separation of power.

Olanipekun adopted all the processes filed by the 2nd respondent.

On his own part Counsel to the 3rd respondent ( APC ) Lateef Fagbemi in his own argument faulted the exhortation raised in the authority cited by the petitioner.

He added that the matter before the court is not Governorship or National Assembly election.

Fagbemi  stated that the application is aimed to blackmailing the tribunal. He urged the court to dismiss the application.

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Buhari vs Atiku: Presidential Tribunal Stops Proceedings For 30 Minutes

mer, 2019-05-22 14:34


BBC
The Presidential Election Petition Tribunal sitting in Abuja has stand down proceedings for 30 minutes to enable the petitioners study the counter affidavits and reply brief by the 3rd respondents All Progressives Congress  ( APC ). 

At the resumed hearing of the case Counsel to Atiku Abubakar, Livy Ozuokwu asked the court to stand down the case for 30 minutes  to enable them study the counter affidavits filed respondents. He added that they were just been served few minutes ago. 

Atiku had asked the Chairman of the tribunal Justice Zainab Bulkachuwa to recuse herself on the ground that she will be biased in the case.

READ BREAKING: Presidential Tribunal To Hear Application To Withdraw Justice Bulkachuwa

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Spoken Word: Ramadan Week 3 - Ya Allah My Du’a Is For President Buhari As He Forms His Government By Hannatu Musawa

mer, 2019-05-22 14:30


Ya Allah, my Du’a in this third week of Ramadan is for President Buhari as he forms his next government.

In 2015, President Buhari became the first challenger to unseat an incumbent president in Nigeria’s history and was sworn-in amid great hope and enormous goodwill. Following his inauguration, the country was awash with optimism that his government would reignite a fading economy. In this crispy new 2019, he has been reelected.

The elections came with much apprehension, zeal and exuberance. All eyes were on the presidential elections as the top two contenders were heavyweights in their own right. The governorship, National Assembly, state house of assembly and local government elections arguably didn’t have as much attention as that of the presidential. While many were victors, many are still nursing their wounds of defeat as they head to the courts to challenge the outcome of the elections. 

Now that elections are over, governance needs to be kick-started. For a few months before the elections, the absence of governance has been conspicuously discernible as political actors were understandably politicking, aligning and realigning as well as de-camping as the case may be. However, the elections are over as such and the country is in dire need of effective governance at all levels. 

At the federal level, it is in order for one to be concerned with the pace at which members of the president’s cabinet will be appointed. As we all know, it took a while before ministers were appointed four years ago and that resulted in the slow pace of development. While the official reason given was that the President wanted to ensure that only credible ministers were appointed to his government, in time we have witnessed some ministers performing below par.

It goes without saying that choosing a cabinet in a diverse and multi-cultural country like Nigeria is a complicated balancing act. The one whose responsibility it is must juggle the need for skilled leaders with the requirement to repay political allies while navigating the shifting alliances of internal party politics and eliminating “accumulated deadwood”. Then there’s the need to carefully maintain an ethnic and religious balance, and to make sure each of the country’s 36 states is somehow represented.

In 2015, after an agonizing four months wait, the highly anticipated list of ministerial nominees was finally read out on the Senate floor of the National Assembly. However, this came after the President had only just met the deadline for submitting his proposed cabinet, relaying 21 names to Senate President Bukola Saraki. 

Unsurprisingly, the list contained a host of former governors and newfound political associates of the President. There were no great surprises amongst the names, which included a mix of those seen as career politicians and those seen as steady technocrats. While many in Nigeria were heaving sighs of relief after months of holding their breath, it took another couple months for them to be approved and assume duty.

This time, it looks like it will be a little different, as the Cabinet is expected to be dissolved today, 22nd May so that by May 29th, when Mr. President will be officially sworn in, a new cabinet is likely to be announced imminently. Four years ago, the delay in choosing a cabinet many months after the assumption of office adversely affected the economy and polity. The business community, for instance, was a casualty, as investors who had been waiting to see what shape Nigeria's new administration will take following the unseating of the PDP which ruled the country for 16 years were left in limbo.

By not having a full cabinet until 166 days after his inauguration, the President allowed the management of the nation’s economy to be virtually put on hold during which uncertainty prevailed, thus accelerating capital flight and weakening confidence in the Nigerian economy.

Cabinet ministers perform an important role within democracies, to provide direction and to get things done. As the heads of their departments, they are the bridgeheads between politics and the implementation of the policy by the departmental bureaucracy. The importance of the individuals that should be placed in these positions cannot be overstated.

Aside from quickly constituting the cabinet, the President should also ensure that appointments are based on merit, efficiency as well as capability. The norm of placing square pegs in round holes should be made away with. In many developed and developing countries, they attract the best brains into governance and civil service to formulate laudable policies. In Nigeria however, the reverse is the case as we place inexperienced, insincere and incapable individuals into key roles and expect them to outperform those who have invested in critical sectors of human capital development. This shouldn’t be the case going forward.

The people that President Buhari includes in his cabinet must be able to convince Nigerians that they care about Nigeria and not just about lining their pockets. They need to show empathy to the plight of the ordinary man on the street and propose plans that have been formulated with the interests and concerns of citizens in mind. As such, the chosen few are required to take an interest in citizens. This means all citizens: appointees should not only keep an eye on the happy few who have access to them but they have to show compassion with the nearly two hundred million civilians that are facing difficulties or who are vulnerable to the setbacks of the Nigerian terrain. 

Those eventually selected must win respect and support of the public for their views and plans. To be successful in this respect, credibility is a crucial asset. We need credible leaders who are thought to be competent, trustworthy, and caring. The competence required relates to knowledgeability, decisiveness, bravery, performance, and political strategy. Trustworthiness includes keeping promises, consistency in views and actions, honesty and sincerity, and dependability. Caring means having an eye for citizens’ needs and concerns, morality, constructive attitude, and no self-enrichment. Not only should the appointees be competent, trustworthy, and caring, they should also be perceived as such. People that have a dossier of corruption and questionable habits with public funds should not even make an appearance on any appointment list.

Those chosen should have the vision to inspire people, an effective communicative performance, having policy views that inspire action, being decisive, and having a good judgment and skill to process large amounts of complex information. They must be honest, sincere, have stability of views, and have authenticity. They must convince the public that they have the interest of public needs. Nigerians need to be convinced that they are not only in politics to promote their own position.

During his second term, along with his ministers, the President should focus more on improving the living conditions of ordinary Nigerians and enhance development projects. He needs to employ all constitutional means possible to checkmate unemployment in the country, the insecurity ravaging parts of the country and provide a future for out of school children.

Now that the inauguration is upon us, the real work is about to start. For the presidency to have the full confidence of the people and acquire continued support from citizens, it must absorb only the most pivotal asset of including credible agents. Because, no matter how credible or principled the President is said to be, if the Nigerian people do not believe in the messengers he appoints, they won’t believe in his message. 

We expect more from Mr. President and since he is said to be a man of integrity, one should be optimistic that the next four years with an honest, trustworthy, credible and caring set of people will be more eventful than the last four was. Nigerians deserve the needed development obtainable in other countries and, with the right set of people in place perhaps this leadership can attain it.

So, Ya Allah, my Du’a in this third week of Ramadan is for President Buhari as he forms his next government. May he have the knowledge, courage, wisdom and foresight to make the right and proper choice.

 

Spoken Word

Written by 

Hannatu Musawa

I invite you to:
Follow me on Twitter- @hanneymusawa
hannatumusawaspokenword@gmail.com

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Respect Saudi Arabia’s Law Or Face Consequences, Buhari Warns Drug Traffickers

mer, 2019-05-22 14:25


President Muhammadu Buhari has urged Nigerians residing in Saudi Arabia to respect the laws of the country especially as it relates to the prohibition of hard drugs.

The President said this on Tuesday when he received the leaders of Nigerian Community in Saudi Arabia during his visit to the country to perform lesser pilgrimage.

He stated that efforts being made against drug trafficking would be sustained while urging Nigerians in diaspora to respect the laws of Saudi Arabia and always provide information that will help the government to curb the menace.

“Every country has its own unpatriotic citizens. In China and Saudi Arabia, the laws are stringent on these things. Our citizens must obey our laws. They must respect the laws of other jurisdictions and if they don’t, then they should blame themselves, not the harsh laws that they meet,” President Buhari said.

He also said that the country would intensify efforts to expose everyone involved in drug trafficking and illegal trade in Saudi Arabia.

President Buhari called for an expansion of searchlights on the recent exposure of a network of drug dealers operating at one of Nigeria’s international airports, who were discovered to be tagging bags filled with drugs in the name of innocent passengers.

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President Buhari Gives Truck Drivers 72 Hours Ultimatum To Vacate Apapa Road

mer, 2019-05-22 13:52


President Muhammadu Buhari has issued a-72 hour ultimatum to truck drivers that parked along Apapa, Lagos road to vacate.

The President noted that the vacation would help in clearing the Apapa gridlock and help in restoring law and order to Apapa and its environs.

The vacation notice was issued today as one of the outcomes of a meeting convened by President Buhari and chaired by Vice President Yemi Osinbajo on the 25th of April, 2019.

READ ALSO 'I Will Get Rid Of Trailers In Apapa Within My First 60 Days In Office', Says Sanwo-Olu

Truck drivers going into the Lagos port have turned every road and street to parking space. This has been one of the major cause of traffic in the state. The truck drivers have consistently ignored the warning by the Lagos State Government to vacate the road. Some of the drivers also bribe Police Officers, Soldiers and Naval Officers who work with thugs in the area to allow them to park on the roads.

The notice issued by the President reads, “A Presidential directive has been issued for the immediate clearing up of the Apapa gridlock and the restoration of law and order to Apapa and its environs within 2 weeks.

“The directive mandates the immediate removal of all trucks from the bridges and roads within Apapa and all adjoining streets leading into the Apapa axis.

“To facilitate this important assignment, operators of trucks and tankers have also been directed to vacate the Port Access Roads within the next 72 hours.

“The meeting proffered lasting solutions to the gridlock around the Lagos Ports, as the traffic congestion has continued to restrict all operations and livelihood in the area.”

A Presidential Taskforce, chaired by Osinbajo was established to ensure the restoration of law and order to the area within two weeks.

The Taskforce, "will report directly to the President, has included on its Terms of Reference the development of an efficient and effective management plan for the entire port area traffic, including the cargo, fuel distribution and business district traffic; enforcing the permanent removal of all stationary trucks on the highway, and the development of an effective manual truck call-up system, pending the introduction of the electronic truck call-up system and the implementation of a workable Empty Container Return and Export Container Truck Handling Policy, amongst others."

Members of the task force include Kayode Opeifa, former Commissioner of Transport in Lagos State, as the Executive Vice Chairman; a representative of the Presidential Enabling Business Environment Council (PEBEC); Nigerian Ports, and the Nigerian Shippers' Council (NSC).

At the meeting were key heads and representatives of relevant Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) of government, including Babatunde Raji Fashola, Minister of Power, Works and Housing; Mohammed Adamu, Inspector General of Police; Rear Admiral B.E.E Ibe-Enwo, representative of the Chief of Nigerian Navy Staff; Salaam Taiwo Olufemi, Permanent Secretary, Lagos State Ministry of Transportation; and Sokonte Davies, Executive Director, Marine and Operations of Nigerian Ports; among others.

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Confirmed: Buhari, Other Nigeria Leaders Suffering From Narcissist Disorder By Ehi Ekhator

mer, 2019-05-22 13:46


Yesterday, while I was walking in the street of London, the thought of Nigeria predicament and how we keep taking one step forward and five steps backward kept crawling on me. I haven't been able to digest why a country full of intelligent and influential Nigerians cannot solve a simple problem, that is, to improve the lives of her people despite the natural endowment God has gifted us.

Since 1999, the Nigerian leadership qualities fell drastically, the culture of respect and integrity completely disappeared from us. I recall as a child, the only thing I ate without permission from my grandfather was a chicken thigh. The old soldier returned home and discovered the fleshy thigh was bony. Knowing who could have done such a marvelous transformation, the man grabbed me by the arm while he ordered my aunt to grind the African pepper.

He poured the pepper on my head and left me in the sun, then invited all the children on the street to play a band made out of plastic rubber bag while I dance like a masquerade with a torn pant. After that special treatment, whenever I see someone's belonging, I remember my grandfather face pouring the ground hot spice on my head.

Well, that was the Nigeria I grew up, parents were very cultural and disciplined. Stealing was believed to be a stain to the family's name and your parents would rather skin you alive than to let you get away with it. In today's Nigeria, things have changed. Stealing is the professional career of parents, some use their children bank accounts to hide the diverted public funds.

I kept thinking, maybe, who knows, Nigeria will be great again, who knows, one day, the Land of the great will be blessed with King Joseph and not the many Pharaohs we have now. Suddenly, it occurred to me that Nigerian leaders are suffering from a narcissistic disorder.

Why haven't I thought about this all these years? The signs are there, it is very vivid and why couldn’t I realize that the disorder is now passed from fathers to children?.

Let's analyze some signs of the disorder according to Help Guide.

"Narcissistic personality disorder (NPD) involves a pattern of self-centered, arrogant thinking and behavior, a lack of empathy and consideration for other people, and an excessive need for admiration. Others often describe people with NPD as cocky, manipulative, selfish, patronizing, and demanding. This way of thinking and behaving surfaces in every area of the narcissist’s life: from work and friendships to family and love relationships."

Tell me, does that sound familiar? People with this kind of disorder resist any form of change in their behaviors, even when it's causing them problems. The motive is to turn the blame on others. They are usually very sensitive and react crazily to the slightest criticism, disagreements, perceived slights, which they translate as personal attacks. To live peacefully with a narcissist, you go along with whatever demand they make to avoid attack, coldness, and rages.

Again, does this sound familiar? Let's now list the signs, perhaps, this will make it even clearer for you.

  • Grandiose sense of self-importance:

Nigerians, mainly the leaders feed their inferiorities with grandiose. They show Hollier than thou with a hoity-toity mentality. They do everything to demonstrate they are progressively prevalent, "one of a kind or exceptional" than you. They believe nobody understands them other than exceptional individuals such as themselves. They only want to associate and be associated with other high-status people, places, and things. Do you have a friend or a politician like this?

  • Lives in a fantasy world that supports their delusions of grandeur:

Since reality hit them in the face, they develop a fantasy that makes them live in a world beyond, a world propped up by distortion, delusion, self-deceit. "They spin self-glorifying fantasies of unlimited success, power, brilliance, attractiveness, and ideal love that make them feel special and in control." Who do you think has this quality among your Senators, President, Governors even the Instagramers?

  • Needs constant praise and admiration

Narcissists feed on constant praises and admirations and when they don't get it, they whip, rage and willing to hurt anyone in their ways. The fantasy of superiority blows in their faces if they don't receive the constant applause to keep the balloon inflated. Narcissists need consistent nourishment for their sense of self, so they encircle themselves with individuals who are happy to take into account their fanatical longing for attestation. These relationships are very one-sided. It’s all about what the admirer can do for the narcissist, never the other way around. And, if there is ever an intrusion or diminishment in the admirer's consideration and recognition, the narcissist regards it as a betrayal. Again, does this sound like Nigerian leaders? I mean, right from the Nigeria President to the local government Chairman?

  • Sense of entitlement

I realized that all Nigerian leaders have this sense of entitlement. They believe because they are special, they should get whatever they need. The people around them are expected to provide it, otherwise, such a person is considered irrelevant. If you dare ask for anything in return, you are likely to meet rage, anger, cold shoulder and a sense of betrayer from those already betraying you. Do you know any leader like this?

  • Exploits others without guilt or shame

Narcissists lack empathy. That is their greatest weapon. They exploit others without shame. They believe they are entitled to everything and you are not qualified to get anything. Like in Nigeria, the government divert the funds meant for the general public while they care not if the people it's meant for are suffering. Remember the Minister of Information Lai Mohammed who said President Muhammadu Buhari deserves the best because he flew to the United Kingdom for medical tourism while Nigerians face the rotten medical system? Narcissists do not think how their behaviors affect others and if you point it out, you likely expose yourself to their attacks. The solution is that you have to keep quiet and dare not complain. Don't forget they have admirers who are watching every step you make and every group you belong to.

  • Frequently demeans, intimidates, bullies, or belittles others:

Because of their fantasy world, they do everything to keep it at a level where you will never be able to stand up. They constantly reduce you, intimidate, demean and bully you just to keep you at their fingertips. E.g A few days ago, a student of Akwa Ibom State University (AKSU), Ikot Akpaden, Joy Nkanang was suspended indefinitely for calling the Vice Chancellor Eno Ibanga "foolish" on Facebook.

Ms. Nkanang only expressed her anger over the increased threat to properties and lives in the University campus since the school authority won't allow a protest not to expose the rot in the school. Remember, you are supposed to keep quiet when a narcissist drains the blood out of your vain. With the current situation in Nigeria, there are journalists in prison, lecturers fired, buildings bulldozered by mini narcissists for challenging the authorities of their boss.

Someone with this disorder always thinks of what to get from the people and not what to give. They usually have nothing to give and they won't let you say it to their face. When you finally get the bull to speak out, you get intimidated, bullied, demeaned and belittled. Is there a leader of such in your state?

After I thought of these signs, I realized that Nigeria may never reach its true potentials as many Nigerians are now pushed to kowtow the system set by the narcissist's leaders. The son of the President was recently rated as one of the richest youths even though he can't disclose where he received his monthly salary.

The Nigeria of today is self-inflicted by the narcissist leaders who have transferred the blood to their offspring. Many Nigerians now suffer from Stockholm syndrome (feelings of trust or affection felt in many cases of kidnapping or hostage-taking by a victim towards a captor).

Is there a solution to this disorder in a country where the kidnappers are more than the victims? How do you stop a wildfire from spreading in the summer with limited water supply? If you ask me, na who I go ask?

It's now obvious that President Muhammadu Buhari, the self-acclaimed self righteous and his counterpart, Chief Olusegun Obasanjo who believed that he is the best thing that ever happened to Nigerians, the state governors, current and past, former and current ministers, lawmakers, Nigerian pastors, Yahoo Yahoo boys whose first thought is to buy expensive cars and spend thousands at a night club whenever they make money, or tricking their victims to surrender their wealth without thinking of how they feel later, local government chairmen, and those always insulting you at WhatsApp groups whose true intention is to be seen by political leaders rather than the objectives of the groups, are all suffering from narcissists disorder.

Name one person you know that is suffering from this disorder. Let's start from your state politicians to the federal power.

Ehi Ekhator is a UK based journalist. He can be reached on ehidan@naijacenter.com

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