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Effective Leadership As NYSC Camps Resume

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“There will be reason they are not listening so work out what it is.” – Richard Templar; THE RULES OF PEOPLE.

Richard Templar is the pen name of a British author who has written self-development books.

He reportedly shares his “path to success” in a series of books, in which 100 simple “ Rules” are presented.

The World’s best known online marketing application Amazon.com said Richard Templar is an astute observer of human behaviour and understands what makes the difference between those of us who effortlessly glide towards success.

As I reflect on some successful leadership qualities in display in the management of the National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) under the current dispensation, the best intellectual hot spot to tap for some guides towards unravelling the strides made institutionally in the administration of the NYSC is therefore the qualitative thoughts of this beloved British author whose 2018 book titled “ the Rules of people” I find Fascinating in this thematic reflection on the imminent resumption of camping by hundreds of thousands of Nigerian University graduates by the National Youth Service Corp as a necessary prelude towards kick starting their year long service to fatherland Nigeria.

My reading of the works of Richard Templar and other erudite writers on management shows that to pay attention and listen to the pulse of the people under your management is at the core of the qualitative virtues of an effective manager.

Richard Templar puts it succinctly thus: “ if someone persistently doesn’t listen – or doesn’t hear what you’re saying –you need to do something different otherwise nothing will change. There will be a reason they ‘re not listening, so work out what it is.

Are you undermining their authority, criticizing them, saying something they don’t want to hear, making them look bad in front of someone else? Whatever the reason, try to accommodate it.

Take a different tone, speak to them in private, plan out how to get your point across more succinctly, pick a better time. Show them why what you have to say is worth listening to.”

These indeed constitute the corpus of the ingredients needed for a sustainable and effective management of people and resources institutionally.

For the purposes of our reflection, it is tangential to situate these concrete body of evidence at the doorstep of how so well and how so efficiently effective the managers of the National Youth Service Corp have carried on with their onerous task even amidst the shifting nature of the dreaded COVID-19 PANDEMIC IN NIGERIA.

The distinguished citizen named Brigadier General Shuaibu Ibrahim who has a doctorate degree in education is the head of the NYSC and he has over the past few couple of months, since coming on board, manifested the abundant qualities of an effective leader of Youngsters and he uniquely showed the quality of listening when in the hit of the advent  of the Coronavirus Pandemic in the first quarter of the year he was quick to ask the participants of the NYSC scheme to leave the camps so measures are adopted to safeguard their lives.

The rapid shut down of camps by the management of NYSC in line with the directives published by the Nigerian government under the auspices of the Presidential task force on containment of Covid-19, remains commendable and it is indeed an excellent show of effective leadership.

Writing on the scholarly theme of efficient management versus effective leadership, Emily Rice stated the following: “In most leadership books, you are told that you need to be both in order to be successful. That you need to be both, effective and efficient.

Except, when given a choice, we’re likely to choose one over the other.

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In definition, effective is producing the intended or expected results.”

This management guru further informed us that: “While, efficient is performing the best results in the least about of time and/or effort.

In other words, being effective is doing the right things and being efficient is doing things right.Doing the right things isn’t enough anymore. Nor is just doing things right – Laura Stack.

“Therefore, if someone is expected to be both, then it’s about doing the right things, right.

Although, both “lenses” encompass a different mindset.

Those that align with being effective are impact-oriented, strategic, and relational.

An effective leader focuses on productivity in various layers such as motivation, teamwork, communication and objectives.

They encourage innovation and creativity to reach a desired goal.Those who are efficient are task-oriented, impulsive, and project focused.”

The management expert said also thus: “An efficient manager is one who uses limited resources to get the job done in a more professional manner; They want immediate results. Efficiency avoids mistakes and likes to take repeated steps to achieve a goal.

Both efficiency and effectiveness are desirable characteristics in business.

Although, one is often attainable only at the expense of the other. While some do a good job of balancing the two, others view one lens more than the other.

Depending on the situation, both efficiency and effectiveness can be used, if managers and leaders work together. “

No doubt, the effective  leadership of the NYSC was also instrumental to the ability of the institution to very rapidly rise to the occasion and to efficiently put internal measures in place to meet with global best practices and guidelines published by the Nigerian Centre for disease control, presidential task force on Covid -19 and the world Health Organization’s protocols towards the containment of spread of Covid-19 disease.

The media has been awash with the positive story that the management of the  NYSC in consultation with the Presidential Task Force on COVID-19 (PTF-COVID-19) and the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) have developed these guidelines to facilitate the safe conduct of the 2020 NYSC orientation camp activities in all NYSC camps across the country.

The management has reportedly put all the necessary logistics and manpower in their proper position to effectively ensure that  all corp members are  tested for COVID-19 on arrival. Only those whose test results are negative will proceed to register in the camp.

From information generated by this writer from official channels, the following are the general measures in place: *Additional orientation camps will be provided in each State/FCT to reduce the number of participants in each camp. *This is to ensure the observance of physical distancing.

As part of usual practice, all orientation camps will be fumigated/decontaminated before the commencement of the orientation exercise.

In addition to the fumigation/decontamination of the camps, there will be enforcement of physical distancing, regular hand washing, use of face coverings and proper hygiene in all camps.

There will be compulsory temperature screening at every camp entrance.

The use of face masks is compulsory for every corp member, camp officials and visitors.

Beds in hostels will be re-arranged to allow for two-metres spacing, which will ensure physical distancing as provided for in the COVID-19 safety protocol.

Lectures will be conducted observing physical distancing and will be complemented via e-learning tools.

COVID-19 safety measures will be part of the content of the call-up letters for prospective corp members. All corp members are required to fill the COVID-19 testing self reporting form before they can download their call up letters.

There will be deliberate reduction in the number of participants during each orientation exercise in order to free up spaces in the hostels and make for proper physical distancing and better ventilation.

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Also,  Camp officials, in addition to the corps members, shall be sensitised fully on the required measures.

There will be Infection Prevention Control reminders and communication materials prominently displayed in every part of the camp.

Hand hygiene stations will be set up across strategic locations in the camp.

Assessment tools have been developed to inform baseline situation at the proposed NYSC camp sites. This will ensure adherence to safety protocols before opening of orientation camps and for entire camp duration.

Readiness assessments have been conducted across NYSC camps to ensure that all camps meet the key performance indicators (KPIs) of COVID-19 preventive measures and are ready for safe opening.

These are facts gathered from the NYSC safety protocols for NYSC Corp members just as this document is for all prospective NYSC Corp members to read and sign before resumption at camp. This should be available on the NYSC website.

To visit the NYSC COVID-19 RDT Testing Self-Reporting Form web page, prospective Corp members are asked to click on the appropriate registration buttons in the official portal of the NYSC.

Also, every corp member will be given an appointment for resumption and they are warned to endeavour to resume camp on the day of their appointment as arrangements will not be available for those that resume earlier than scheduled.

They are to fill a self reporting form on the dashboard and  Download a code and covid-19 testing slip just as this should be presented on arrival in camp for the NCDC officials to be able to conduct your test.

After successfully meeting up these guidelines, President Buhari has therefore permitted the re opening of NYSC camp after 8 months of closure with mandatory order that

full COVID-19 protocols to be enforced in camps to protect corps members.

The Federal Government has approved the reopening of orientation camps for prospective members of the National Youth Service Corps (NYSC).

Prospective corps members were sent home when camps were closed in March 2020 as part of efforts to limit the spread of COVID-19.

The Minister of Youth and Sports Development, Sunday Dare, announced on Thursday, October 15 that camps will reopen on November 18.

“The resumption of the NYSC orientation camp for prospective youth corpers has been approved and opens on November 10th 2020. Full COVID-19 Protocols will be enforced,” he said.

Recall that the coronavirus pandemic has swept around the world and infected over 38 million people and killed over one million globally.

Nigeria has recorded over 60,000 cases and over 1,000 deaths, but infection rates have dropped over the past few weeks, even though officials are concerned that is due to the drop in testing rate.

Many sectors that were shut down in March have steadily reopened since restrictions started getting relaxed in May.

There is no mass-produced vaccine yet for the novel disease, however Pfizer/BioNTech have just announced that their COVID-19 vaccine is already tested ninety percent effective.

The fact that the management of the NYSC successfully met the stringent resumption requirements for the camps to be reopened is a dramatic and constructive demonstration of remarkable leadership acumen which must be applauded.

This goes to show the effective observations of the kernel of public policy for public good.

RK SAPRU in his book: ‘Public policy: formulation, implementation and evaluation’ says the following on public policies: “It is first important to understand the concept of public’ fora discussion of public policy. We often use such terms as public interest, public sector public opinion, public health, and so on.

The starting point is that Public Policy’ has to do with those spheres which are so labelled as public’ as opposed to spheres involving the idea of private”.

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The concept theoretical Perspectives of public policy presupposes that there is an area or domain of life which is not private or purely individual, but held in common. Public dimension is generally referred to public ownership or control for ‘public purpose”

“The public comprises that domain of human activity which is regarded as requiring governmental intervention or common action. However there has always been a conflict between what is public and what is private.

W.F. Baber argues that the public sector has ten key differences from the private sector

I. It faces more complex and ambiguous tasks

II. It has more problems in implementing its decisions

III. it employs more people with a wider range of motivations

IV. it is more concerned with securing opportunities or capacities.

(v) It is more concerned with compensating for market failure;

(vi) It engages in activities with greater symbolic significance,

(vi) It is held to stricter standards of commitment and legality and has a greater opportunity to respond to issues of farness

(v) It must operate or appear to operate in the public interest

(x) It must maintain minimal levels of public support above that required in private industry”.

Impressed by these groundswell of preparation for the commencement of camps across Nigeria as made by the NYSC, the DIRECTOR-GENERAL, Nigeria Centre for Disease Control NCDC Chikwe hekweazu  revealed that no National Youth Service Corps, NYSC, camp will be  shut down as a result of one corps member testing positive to COVID-19.

This was disclosed in a statement signed by the Director Press and Public Relations, NYSC, Adenike Adeyemi.

The NYSC to ensure compliance to the necessary preventive protocols to COVID-19 when the camp reopens, the prospective corp member would undergo COVID-19 test in order to ascertain their health status and in the event of a prospective corp member testing positive, other Corps members should not panic as adequate measures have been put in place in all NYSC camps to manage such case.

He commended the Director General of the NYSC, Brigadier- General Shuaibu Ibrahim, for his passion for youths, exemplified by his tenacity of purpose which facilitated the approval for the Corps to resume normal operations.

He said prospective corps members should exercise caution as coronavirus is still around. Ihekweazu said it has been a trying time for the country, but expressed challenge brought the NYSC and NCDC together to work in partnership tor the common good of the country.

He challenged the participants to be the leaders that the country needs at this critical time.

On his part, General lbrahim praised the NCDC director-general and his team for working tirelessly to safeguard the health of the nation, stating that there will be zero tolerance for risky behaviours that will compromise the health of those at the camps.

He thanked the NCDC chief executive for the donation of personal protection equipment to the NYSC, pledging to put them to good use. Ibrahim appealed to the camp participants to eschew the spreading of fake news and encouraged them to always approach the camp management for clarification on issues of interest. Another impressive milestone worth noting is the phenomenal directive by President Muhammadu Buhari that henceforth all participants at the NYSC would be enrolled in the National Health Insurance Scheme of the Nigerian public sector.  This single most important directive by President Muhammadu Buhari is indeed salutary and should be pragmatically implemented and without doubt the management of the NYSC under the current dispensation would carry out this instruction vigorously and meticulously.

EMMANUEL ONWUBIKO is head of the HUMAN RIGHTS WRITERS ASSOCIATION OF NIGERIA (HURIWA) and blogs@www. theingerianinsidernews.com, www.huriwanigeria.com.

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Dissecting Kwankwasiyya’s Stand Over Sale Of Public Property In Kano

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Abba Dukawa, Kano.

Even at the peaked of tussle between a former governor of the state, Senator Rabiu Musa Kwankwas and the incumbent, Governor Ganduje has remained) focussed on delivering democracy dividends to (the people of Kano State. He has not only kept faith to his promise of continuing the projects and policies of his predecessor, he has moved on to conceptualize and consolidated projects and policies his adminstration has initiated.

Almost six years out of power, still they presumed to be undefeatable power broker in the state. For them they can do and undo; they can make or mar; they can give power to whomsoever they wish and wrest power from whomsoever they wish.

Governor Abdullahi Umar Ganduje of Kano state

Still they have not realised that the movement crumbling like a pack of cards and the domino effect still extends to remaining Kwankwaso’s supporters.

They hurriedly forget that when their leader was at the helm of the affairs of the state, there was a relative retardation in commercial activities for which Kano is well-known.

One funny and laughable thing is that the movement has now turned itself into the so-called defender of public properties.

While Kwankwaso was in power deluded by his rise to political limelight and his rabid followers do not help matters as they have spun a myth around him that he wears shoes made of metal and he could tread on the toes of all – the mighty and the not-so-mighty.

This is not to count the ordinary citizens, civil servants and pensioners who also suffered varied indignity treatments.

Is he not the same Kwankwaso in whose second tenure he borrowed billions from State Pension Fund to build Bandirawo and Amana Housing Estates?

Still most of houses are not occupied by the peoples in whose name the estates were constructed.

Now only ample of Government Department and Agencies are occupying these houses.

Some (four days ago), Kwankwasiyya movement accused Governor Abdullahi Umar Ganduje of illegally selling public property to cronies and family members describing it as unconstitutional and selfish action.

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These baseless allegations on the properties sold by the Ganduje administration to include Daula Hotel, Triumph Publishing Company, part of the Eid Ground, Panshekara Modern Abattoir, Hajj Camp, Shahuci Motor Park and the State Zoological Garden.

Kano state government is still paying the over N350 billion debt inherited from the Senator Rabiu Kwankwaso-led government. The debt cuts across contracts for uncompleted flyovers, roads, and the controversial foreign and local scholarship scheme, which amount to over N15 billion.

It still baffles any reasonable imagination why Governor not investigating someone who left over N350 billion debt.

Former governor of the state, Senator Rabiu Musa Kwankwas

There is no need engaging into unnecessary war of words with Kwankwasiyya followers because the people know their antics.

The Movement and supporters would never see any good in anybody or anything apart from itself. Let me remind them whenever they want to deceive the public, they keep on mentioning failed projects of the Kwankwaso administration.

Let them woke up from their slumber (and recall) that it was under the former governor that Daula Hotel was closed down and the staff sacked. Even though RMK handed over the property to School of Hospitality and Tourism but the school only occupies 10 per cent of the structure situated within premises. When the hotel was closed down some reputable hoteliers operators in the state drawn the attention of then administration to entered an agreement with them to managed Daula Hotel under Public Private Partnership (PPP) but not vying the idea on they request to runs the Hotel on PPP agreement only the reason for rejected this Hotelier request best known to him.

Now Ganduje’s administration has engaged private developer through Public Private Partnership (PPP) to developed the said property into a residential building, a mall and a hotel in its continued efforts to explore more ways of enhanced revenue generation in the state.

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The present administration work assiduously in seeing to the actualization of the bringing back to life of the (Triumph Newspaper.)

Governor Ganduje shows his commitment in revitalisation of the Triumph Publishing company knowing that the company is not just a newspaper publishing company but a training ground for journalists across the country.

We the staff of the company on this day Thursday
27 October 2012 at about (6pm) while going about our normal duty we just saw a team of security operatives in the premises of the company accompanied then state commissioner of information.

The commissioner told us that Governor RMK closed down Triumph Publishing Company. This brutally and unceremoniously closure of the company would remain in our mind even though (we) the staff of the newspaper are more luckiest than their Daula counterparts as no one was sacked from service courtesy of solidarity we enjoined from our comrade in pens in the state.

“I can testifying that Triumph Publishing Company is relocated to a convenient place befitting a newspaper house to pave the way for the development of a more economically viable and modern Bureau de Change Market that can generate more revenue to the state and provide employment opportunities to the teeming populace.

On Zoological Garden, no government will fold its arm and watch the lives of its citizens (being endanger). One may recalled last year how one of the Lions kept in the Zoological Garden escaped which cause serious trauma to the residents around Gandun, Tukuntawa and Zoo Road Housing Estates.

Most of Zoo Garden across the world is not normally found within a residential area and there is nothing wrong if Zoological Garden is relocated from a residential area for public safety, because when the Zoological Garden was established, it was on the outskirt of Kano with no human inhabitance. With relocation of garden the place will now be put to more economic use.

On the Eid ground, for the residence of Fagge, Zango, Kofar Mata, Kofar Wambai the Eid Ground remains scary place to passed by because some miscreants turn the ground as a hiding place and commit heinous crimes to by passers a lot of peoples lost lives to phone snatching and other related crime.

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They have forgotten that it was during his first tenure some part kofar Mata Eid ground were allocated to some individual close to then administration. With the structures put in place surroundings the Eid ground the level of insecurity drastically reduced and beautifying the area.

Civil servants and their families would not forgotten how Governor Kwankwaso sold Government GPs at the exorbitant price beyond civil servants that occupied the said properties earning, while there are available records on how his government sold such GPs to his cronies of the administration at giveaway price.

At the tail end of the administration, some vehicles belonging to the state government valued millions of naira sold to themselves at giveaway price. Another laughable act by Kwankwasiyya movement is that it said it would not fold its arms and allow public assets to rot away.

But its part of the state government policies that there haven’t been any of these issues that hasn’t been discussed and looked into by the Kano State Executive Council; sometimes with the inputs of professionals before a final decision is taken. So as far these decisions are concerned, they are not illegal, and they have been done with due consultations with relevant stakeholders.

Governor Abdullahi Umar Ganduje of Kano state

Despite the financial difficulty the country and the state at large facing, Governor Abdullahi Umar Ganduje is doing very well for the overall development of the state and has taken the state to the highest feats where he made free and compulsory education for teaming children most of whom are wards of the poor. There is nothing wrong if such comatose and structurally defective properties would be turned around with committed stakeholders through Public Private Partnership agreement with willing investors in the best public interest, as part of a noble futuristic move to make the ancient city catch up with modernity for a befitting mega city status.

Dukawa wrote in from Kano

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Nigerian Democratisation and Internal Party Contest for Leadership

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By Salihu Mohammed Lukman.

It was the American journalist and political commentator, Fareed Zakaria, in the book The Future of Freedom: Illiberal Democracy at Home and Abroad who argued that democratisation everywhere is shifting power downward.

According to him, the process of democratisation goes far beyond politics and result in hierarchies “breaking down, closed systems are opening up, and pressures from the masses are now the primary engine of social change.

Democracy has gone far from being a form of government to a way of life.” The role of political parties all over the world in facilitating the shift of power to the people (downwards) is quite remarkable.

Both within parties and at wider societal levels, considerable pressure from ordinary citizens is influencing the change of leaders, in most cases as a result of the defeat of powerful individuals and political establishments. In most cases, leaders and political establishments, including parties become more prone to electoral defeats when they resist or block internal pressures for leadership change. The electoral victory of APC in 2015, for instance, could be partly explained based on the refusal of PDP leadership to recognise and respect the yearnings of party members and leaders.

It was the inability to respect internal yearnings for change that produced the splinter group of New PDP, which eventually joined the merger that produced the APC in 2013. Combined with other factors outside the PDP, especially the ability of leaders of the opposition parties under the defunct Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN), All Nigeria Peoples’ Party (ANPP) and Congress for Progressive Change (CPC) to negotiate a successful political merger, which bolster public confidence, the APC electoral victory of 2015 was resoundingly accomplished.

Having gained some political advantages as a result of being organised, the old members of the New PDP would appear to have taken all the necessary steps as a block to contest the hegemony of other blocks from the old legacy parties that merged to form the APC.

This was more apparent during the contest that produced the leadership of the 8th National Assembly. Combined with other internal factors within the APC that disorganised leaders of APC, it is to the credit of members and leaders of the New PDP who led the rebellion against the choice of the APC leadership resulting in the emergence of the Sen. Bukola Saraki and Hon. Yakubu Dogara leadership in the 8th Senate and House of Representatives respectively.

Whichever way anyone choses to analyse the events of 2015 in Nigerian politics, the reality was that culmination of political developments between 2011 and 2015 broke down the hierarchy of PDP leadership, opened up range of democratic possibilities in the emergence of new political leaders in the country. Part of the challenge facing Nigerian politics today is the difficulty in institutionalising and mainstreaming political competition within our parties.

Most of our political leaders are highly resistant to competition. For them, competition should be mainly reduced to endorsement of their leadership and their decisions, including the leadership choices they make.

This reality has created a situation of permanent internal rebellion within our parties. Anyone, interested in contesting or competing for leadership in any of our parties, must be ready to organise rebellion, especially, if such an aspiring contestant is not part of the inner caucus of current leaders.

Without doubt, this reality has made the context of Nigerian democratisation process to legitimately become over concentrated on issues of electing political leaders into government, especially as President or Governors.

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The public understanding and appreciation of all the dynamics and processes of democratisation is more about who will emerge as candidates for these positions in our respective political parties. With it, space for political competition and contestations are limited to analyses of issues of allegiances, loyalties or associations with prospective candidates, or absence of it, which may have been responsible for specific events triggering opposition to decisions of our leaders in our political parties.

Consequently, we become highly fixated about analysing problems facing our democracy, poor leadership and lack of political accountability, corruption and lack of development, and so on and so forth. These are very valid issues worthy of every democratic attention. However, such attention must be given side by side with the need to strengthen capacity of institutional political structures to facilitate competition, especially around the emergence of political leaders. Inability to pay attention to issues of strengthening capacity of political institution to facilitate leadership contest makes citizens to recklessly dismiss and condemn leaders with hardly any clear political demand requiring any response from our political leaders. And on the other hand, our leaders continue on the political trajectory of intolerance, ignoring and blocking any demand or competition both within the party and at wider political level.

Whether in APC or in other parties, including the PDP, the dominant perspective is to analyse internal dynamics in the context of so-called prospective candidates.

Legitimate political demands, including grievances of party leaders and members are reduced to projections of advantages of prospective candidates and so-called opposition to political leaders within our parties. This attest to the Weberian postulation that “very frequently the “world images” which have been created by “ideas” have, like switchmen, determined the tracks along which action has been pushed by the dynamic of interest.” Every position, conduct or opinion is either for or against some political leaders in favor of so-called prospective candidates.

This is the unfortunate reality, which has greatly weakened capacity of our political leaders and our institutions, including political parties to be able to facilitate or resolve political challenges. Is it possible to have democracy without political competition? In other words, is it possible to have election without contest? These are old questions, which made the American political scientist, Francis Fukuyama in his controversial book, The End of History and the Last Man to argue that “there is no democracy without democrats.”

The absence of competition in Nigerian democracy, especially in our political parties is responsible for so many unpredictable political circumstances and is making political leader both unsure and insecure. This has basically reduced Nigerian politics to a game of conquest. A major attribute is that political leaders are conquerors, while party members and ordinary citizens are the would-be conquered. Arguably, while in other parties, including the PDP, this is a well-established order, in APC, it is being highly contested.

This is because since the emergence of APC, apart from the personality of President Muhammadu Buhari, no leader can be sure of emerging as a candidate of the party for any election. In the case of President Buhari, he has such a personal blessing that made him to attract at least 12 million votes in all the elections he contested since 2003. No leaders, whether in APC or out of APC can claim to be in control of 5 million votes.

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The fact that President Buhari is serving his last term, require some strategic succession arrangement within the APC, especially in order to guarantee the retention of all the electoral advantages. With President Buhari clearly out of the race for the position of Presidential candidate of APC in 2023, there is clearly a potential for a big internal contest in the party. The question is whether any of the power blocks within the party will take step to block internal contest and therefore emerge as the conqueror. In which case, the issue is really whether the APC leadership will allow the process of democratisation to ensure that leadership emergence both within the party and at wider political levels are determined based on the choices of party members and citizens.

Most of the public speculations around internal dynamics in APC today is basically informed by some strategic political expectations and leadership permutations. Unfortunately, a lot of these permutations seems to be oriented based on an approach that seek to strengthen the capacity of some leaders within APC to conquer the structures of the party. When members and leaders of the party, for instance, demand that issues of membership register of the party are resolved such that the party is able to have a credible and verifiable membership register, it is being interpreted to mean that some leaders of APC want to take over the party to promote their political ambition for 2023. Take over from who? Does it mean that those who claim to be in control of APC now have any credible and verifiable membership records? Why are they not able to make such records accessible to all party members and leaders?

There is no short cut to democratisation. Internal contests for leadership based on transparent process are irreducible minimum. Once any party cannot guarantee the existence of credible and verifiable membership records, which is up to date such a party cannot serve as a vehicle for the emergence of democratic leadership.

This is the underlying factor facilitating all the current contestations going on in APC. Such contestations are at best marginal in other political parties including the PDP. This means that while in other parties established leaders have conquered all semblances of democratic openings for any possible exercise of power by ordinary party members, in APC, no leader can impose himself/herself as the conqueror.

Without doubt, this comes with a lot of challenges, which include the question of how the absence of a conqueror in APC would guarantee democratic contest, for instance. Would fellow contestants respect the outcome of internal contest for leadership? Beyond the absence of a conqueror-leader, there is the need to strengthen internal party rules. Issues of discipline and leadership as well as membership orientation need to be taken seriously. This would require a code of conduct, which should serve as a byelaw to facilitate internal democratic contest within the party, spelling out dos and don’ts.

Once we are able to institutionalise internal leadership contests in APC, some of the avoidable distractions based on manipulative strategies using both legal and extra-judicial strategies can be avoided. Absence of democracy within our parties has not only blocked open leadership contests but is criminalising political aspirations. Most of the needless court cases within our parties, including the APC, are initiated based on the anger that open and transparent leadership contest are blocked.

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A simple legal audit of all legal the cases by party members and leaders against their parties, will show that, the objective is mainly to negotiate leadership positions. Even the recent suite instituted by Mr. Hilliard Eta, former APC National Vice Chairman, South-South, against the APC Caretaker Committee, it is basically aimed to negotiate the return of Mr. Eta to the leadership of the APC.

A major unfortunate collateral casualty of many of the legal cases against parties is the process of democratisation. With a daring mindset of must-win, litigants engage in legal contestations basically to destroy any electoral advantage of the party if they can’t get what they want. This was the case in Rivers and Zamfara state during the 2019 general elections.

Today, we have so-called party leaders who engineered the APC’s electoral disaster of 2019 in Rivers and Zamfara States, proudly threatening the party leadership with more litigations every time the fear not being able to win recognition as leaders of the party. Instead, of projecting themselves as democrats ready to contest and win or lose elections, we have politicians who are members of APC that are permanent plaintiffs in our courts.

It was Max Waber, in the speech, Politics as a Vocation, at Munich University in 1919, who argued, that He who is active in politics strives for power either as a means in serving other aims, ideal or egoistic, or as ‘power for power’s sake,’ that is, in order to enjoy the prestige-feeling that power gives. Most politicians who strive to conquer political spaces of leadership contests can at best be aspiring for ‘power for power’s sake,’ or, ‘in order to enjoy the prestige-feeling that power gives’, but certainly not to serve in anyway. Those who block internal party leadership contests, in every way, including resort to judicial processes can only undermine the process of democratisation and therefore retain the closed shop orientation of political parties.

Alhaji Salihu Mohammed Lukman, Director General Progressive Governors Forum, Abuja

The most important question is, are we developing our parties to serve as institutional platforms to confirm that party members and citizens are the source of political power? Or are we going to allow a situation whereby some few party leaders continue to hold every available space for leadership contest in our party in captivity, based on which they are able to impose themselves and their proxies as candidates for elections?

This is the dynamic playing out in APC. To the extent that such dynamic is making almost every leader and party member in APC uncomfortable, it project the democratic possibilities in APC. This means that no one can say with every confidence that this is the leader that will be thrown up at the end of the exercise.

The associated question is whether our leaders in APC are democrats ready to engage the process by presenting their aspirations and take every step to win the contests through attracting votes of fellow party members? Or will they instead take steps to sabotage the democratic opening up of the party, using every means, including judicial process?

In the end the struggle for justice and democracy will always triumph. The contest for leadership everywhere and at levels of human society is real and given. Democracy is indeed a way of life!

This position does not represent the view of any APC Governor or the Progressive Governors Forum.

Director General Progressive Governors Forum, Abuja

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Life And Times Of Phillips Tatari Shekwo: A Life Of Service From Accomplished Administrator.

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By Tukura Matthew, Lafia.

Yelwa is a linean settlement in Toto Local Government Area of Nasarawa State. The Community is famous for hosting early Christian missionaries and a branch Bible school, an affiliate of ECWA Bible Training School, Karu.

Yelwa an agrarian Gbagyi Community has produced prominent scholars, pastors, politicians among others.

Among the Chairmen that have ruled Toto Local Government three (3) came from Yelwa, including one time Member, Nasarawa State House of Assembly, Commissioner, State Chairman of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) core party men, retired Permanent Secretary in the state (Nasarawa) civil service among others.

In 2013, precisely April 19th (Friday) Yelwa welcome home one of its illustrious son who has just then been appointed Commissioner in person of Hon. Philips Tatari Shekwo. The Community was pomb, roll out drums with cultural dances in honour of Hon. Shekwo who arrived Yelwa in a white Hillux at exactly 9:15pm.

The same honour was accorded to him in 2014 when he was elected State Chairman of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC).

Today (Friday, November, 27th 2020) the same Community will stand still in a mournful mood to receive the corpse of this same great son who was kidnapped by yet to be identified gun men Sunday night (22nd November, 2020) and later found dead near his residence.

Yelwa community will not share this moment of grief alone but the state and Shekwo’s associates from all walks of life will be in Yelwa to bid him farewell as his remains is committed to mother earth today.

Since the breaking of the sad news of Shekwo’s kidnap and death there has been movement of people in droves within and outside the state to his residence and Government House to condole the family, Government and people of the state.

The Comments of thousands that have visited the family can be summarize in a sentence that Shekwo was a good leader, honest, sincere and a complete gentle man. Even when he was elevated in the society as the State APC Chairman, he remained his humble self.

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For the years he man the affairs of the party in the state, he never take pride as the Chairman of the ruling party. The party got stronger and witnessed no any serious crisis during his two terms tenure. The thunderous outcry and lamentations that followed his killing is a clear manifestation that a big bird has flown out of Yelwa, Nasarawa State and the Country at large.

Many of his admirers would for long live with trauma of his sudden death. A devout Christian and Jerusalem Pilgrim (JP) Shekwo relied on the power of prayers and God’s guidance in carrying out his daily responsibilities.

Shekwo never hesitated when called upon to render good service to humanity. He was an accomplished administrator.

HIS WORDS ON MARBLE

When people are used to doing things for their personal interests only, no matter how beneficial a change is to the larger society, they will certainly oppose it. That was why we had conflicts with the House of Assembly that was dominated by PDP then. The conflict led to the impeachment move against Senator Umaru Tanko Al-Makura who was the governor then, but the APC government survived the impeachment attempt.

There were no roads, water and electricity. There was no difference between Lafia and my village, Yelwa, at that time. Al-Makura saw sorry state of things and came up with a master plan to improve on the looks of Lafia as a state headquarters.

Remember, the state headquarters is an image of the state; more so that Lafia is a gateway to the east and north. Many visitors pass through Lafia and if there is any road congestion or blockage, the travellers become frustrated because there were no alternative roads. So when Al-Makura came in, he opened alternative roads, he opened up so many communities that were like slums, paid compensations and constructed roads.

APC is a child of necessity and that necessity was for the Government to bring about change to do things not in the usual manner.
We should be able to do our campaigns based on issues that will advance the polity of Nasarawa State.

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If you win election based on religion or ethnicity, are you going to form your government based on your religion or tribe? The question of Nasarawa State should come first before any other thing.

Religion when used properly should unite us, develop our minds, and create the fear of God in us and the knowledge that our existence on earth is temporal. I condemn politics of religion or ethnicity. Even if it is found in APC or elsewhere, I condemn it because it is counter-productive. It divides the people and set brothers, sisters against each other. We should look for who has a genuine heart to develop Nasarawa State. And I boldly say I found that in our governor, Engr. Abdullahi Sule who has a large heart that can carry Nasarawa State without any demarcation or discrimination. He has the zeal to develop the state, just like his predecessor.

In APC once elections are over, we settle down for development. Our Governor has been placing a call on all Nasarawa State people to join him in the development of the state. We are very much on course for Nasarawa State.

Late APC Chairman in Nasarawa State, Hon. Philips Tatari Shekwo

When you fight corruption, it will fight you back. In some third world countries, some of them have been able to topple governments because of the huge financial gains they make. So fighting corruption is not a local exercise, it is an international fight. This is what makes it difficult to fight it.

Countries that stand to fight corruption normally face frustration from developed ones. Those international conglomerates are in various countries and they benefit their individual countries and sometimes their countries give them back up. In fighting corruption, we need to tread with caution.

“I want to thank the people of Nasarawa State for giving APC a chance and for believing in the party. I assure them that government will not disappoint them. Under Governor Abdullahi Sule we will see more progress. This is why the governor is consolidating on what has been gained by his predecessor. There is continuity on the projects he found on ground. I want to plead with them to continue to support this government so as to encourage our governor to do more for the benefit of all.”

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Shekwo’s Birth:

Born in Yelwa (9th May, 1957) Shekwo attended ECWA Transferred Primary School Yelwa (1964-1970) Government Secondary School Nasarawa 1973-1977 and was the House Captain, Makama House (1976-1977) He was a student , School of Preliminary Studies Keffi, Nasarawa State (1977-1979) and furthered his education at Bayero University Kano (1979-1982) and obtained Bachelor of Art (B.A) (Hons) English/Political Science and did his National Youth Service Crops (NYSC) 1982-1983. He was a Lecturer with the School of Preliminary Studies Keffi (1983-1990). He secured employment with the National Population Commission and rose to Deputy Director [grade level 16] and voluntarily retired for active politics.

He held the position of Honourable Commissioner, Ministry for Local Government and Chieftaincy Affairs, Nasarawa State in 2013 and later moved to Ministry for Higher Education. In 2014 he was elected State Chairman, All Progressives Congress, a position he held till his death. He was also chairman, Governing Council. Federal College of Education (Technical) Umunze, Anambra State 2018-2020. In 2003-2004 Philips Shekwo was appointed Chairman, Transition Management Committee, Toto Local Government Council, Nasarawa State. At various times he was president, Plateau State Students Association, Bayero University, Kano. Head of Department S.P.S. Keffi, Secretary, Academic Staff Union SPS Keffi and chairman, staff union, SPS, Keffi, President Gbagyi Cultural Association Toto and Nasarawa Local Government Areas.

As Shekwo’s remains is laid to rest in his country home of Yelwa today, the best respect that can be paid to him by his admirers and Sundry is to imbibe his simple life style of humanity and sincerely.

APC State Chairman, as you were fondly called, it is well with your soul in the land that you will never grow old. God reward you for your service to humanity.
Good night.

 

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