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2021: A New Year For Nigerians To Calm Down, Stop Wailing – Femi Adesina

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When the year 2020 popped out of the womb of time, nobody knew that it was going to be what Yoruba people call Ogbologbo. Rough and tough. Unpredictable. Hungry and angry, consuming anything and everything it could lay its jaws on.

Across America, Europe, Asia, Africa, indeed, all continents, time, like an ever rolling stream, has been bearing its sons and daughters away. They fly forgotten as a dream dies at the opening day.

And who or what is the Grim Reaper? It is called a pandemic. COVID-19. Like President Muhammadu Buhari often says, “you can’t see it, you can’t hear it, you can’t smell or touch it, yet it is there, wreaking havoc all over the world.”

COVID-19 is a Great Leveler. It has removed dichotomies between the First World and the Third World. Every country, no matter the level of your health infrastructure, suffers. In fact, curiously, those who were better prepared for emergencies are suffering more, even than Africa, Nigeria particularly, with severe health infrastructural deficits. God works in mysterious ways His wonders to perform. When a cow has no tail, it is God that helps it to drive away flies. That is Nigeria for you.

The Grim Reaper is a respecter of nobody. It takes the rich, takes the poor. It takes the old, and the young. It takes the brilliant, and the dullard. It is still around, stalking, predating, seeking who to devour. May God keep us from an enemy we can’t see, hear, smell or touch. Amen, somebody!

As 2021 rolls in, it calls for new priorities from us as a people. As Nigerians, people ordained by fate to inhabit the area of the great River Niger, we must pause and think, and reset our priorities.

When this administration first came in 2015, every of its move was opposed by the then freshly rusticated People’s Democratic Party (PDP). Spokesman for that party then was Olisa Metuh. If President Buhari inhaled, he didn’t do it well. If he exhaled, he was asked why he did it like that. If rain didn’t fall, Buhari did it. If it rained too much, Buhari o, Buhari o. If a man was like a stud in his home, it was Buhari. If he suffered loss of power, chai, Buhari o, Buhari o.

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Olisa Metuh led the charge of criticism. And he had good allies in millions of people, worsted at the 2015 polls, and who didn’t seem to realize that the elections had been lost and won, and power had changed hands.

As spokesman to President Buhari, I had the duty to respond to a good number of the criticisms. One tried to do it as decently as necessary. One day, they had been ululating over one flimsy matter, and I responded, wondering whether the professional critics had any other job at all. I told them that power had changed hands inexorably, and that they should be ready to cry for a long time, if it was the option they preferred. I remembered the reggae music group, Bob Marley and the Wailing Wailers. I borrowed the name of the band to describe them. Wailing wailers.

It caught on like wildfire. People latched onto it, particularly pro-Buhari forces, to describe the unrelenting critics. The epithet, which I originally used to describe Metuh and his rag-tag army, was eventually appropriated by everyone in opposition to the Buhari government, and they began to call themselves wailers. Well, if they loved the name, and had accepted it, what else could we do than to arrange a formal naming ceremony? We did, and rice and stew was very plenty.

They gave we the pro-Buhari forces a name. Hailers. While they wailed, we hailed. While they found nothing right in the government, they said we found nothing wrong, not even the tiniest jot nor tittle.

And so we have been coming since 2015. The wailers crying and holding their heads in grief, cursing and hissing like serpents, the hailers applauding the government and encouraging it to do better. Which side would you rather be? You know the answer.

READ:  On Kano PCACC’s crusade against corruption - Kano Information, Muhammad Garba.

In the year of the pandemic, everything collapsed. The economy. Oil prices in the international market. Businesses. There were emergencies, with people struggling to balance between lives and livelihood. Budget projections became nonsense. There were lockdowns, and life was generally nasty, and unpleasant. In many countries of the world, the citizenry knew where their problems came from. But in Nigeria, the wailers attempted to change the narrative. Chai! Buhari! Buhari! Buhari oooo.

But in the midst of the challenges, with earnings at about one quarter of what we used to receive as a country, President Buhari gave a charge to the Minister of Finance: salaries and pensions must not fail, and funding of agriculture and infrastructure must not stop.

How admirable. What other evidence did you need to know that it was an administration that had come to serve, and not to be served? In the same situation, in another era, those in government would be lining their pockets, looting whatever was available, to provide for themselves and their families, against the rainy day. Buhari picked salaries, pensions, funding of agriculture and infrastructure.

Let us look at infrastructure. In 2020, the year of the pandemic (which is yet to abate), did you notice any reversal in the building of roads, rail, bridges, airports, and the like? A lull during the lockdown, but things revved up again. Second Bridge over the River Niger. AKK pipelines. Long abandoned roads. Airport projects. All proceeding apace, and most of them billed to be completed in the lifetime of this administration.

Minister of Works and Housing, Babatunde Raji Fashola, has given timelines on the completion of major projects in the country. Most of them fall within the first quarter of 2022, a clear year before the terminal date of the administration. You know what that means? 2021 is the year of work. Hard work, to deliver on the major projects by next year. Is it then a year to continue wailing? No. It is the year to calm down. A year for wailing wailers to find a vocation, and allow government to concentrate, and deliver on projects at hand. Anybody who loves the country must resolve to give government as less distraction as possible this year. Yes, there are challenges: security, economy, improving quality of lives. Lack of jobs. Inflation.. And many others. But is it the year to wail? No. We should rather hail, encourage government to do better, and engender better standards of living for Nigerians.

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So, what am I saying. No criticism in 2021? No. But let it not be a full time vocation, as it has been with some people. They will criticize the rail project of the government, calling it white elephant, but will be the first to hop on the trains, taking selfies in it. Wailers, calm down. Please, “be calming down” in 2021, so that government can function with less distractions. It is not the year to cavil, find unnecessary faults, and fill the land with lamentations.

May 2021 be a better year for us all. May we be kept, sustained, and taken care of by the divine powers. May insurgency, banditry, all forms of criminality come to an end. May we get out of the Hobbesian state of nature, where life is nasty, brutish and short. May we have more causes to hail, instead of wail. May we love our country, warts and all, knowing that no perfect government exists anywhere, at least, not one run by man. William Cowper said: “England, with all thy faults, I love thee still. My country.” We should also say same of Nigeria.

May it be a splendid year. And may Heaven endorse our amen. Again, amen, somebody!

Adesina is Special Adviser to President Buhari on Media and Publicity

 

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Opinion

BELLO: PIONEERING POLITICAL INCLUSIVENESS AND MODERN NATIONALISM ll

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BELLO: PIONEERING POLITICAL INCLUSIVENESS AND MODERN NATIONALISM ll

 

 

Governor Yahaya Bello’s passion to bequeath, a legacy of political inclusiveness on the political terrain in Kogi State and by extension in Nigeria was concisely encapsulated in the previous article.

It was submitted that GYB’s exerted efforts in repositioning the politics for betterment of all political stakeholders are yielding positive results; this he achieved through the culture of recognition of the disadvantaged political stakeholders, political fairness, justice and equity amongst all.

The political observers and opinion molders will without any hesitation agree that Governor Yahaya Bello has become a trailblazer of Nigerian modern nationalism. There is no gainsay that GYB’s political quest has unraveled him as a pioneer of modern nationalism in Nigeria.

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The nationalism movement in Nigeria started a few decades ago when the likes of Sir Herbert Macaulay kickstarted the liberation of Nigeria from the colonial administrators and by necessary implication, birthed the idea and perception of unification, separation and nation building. It is however submitted on a sad note that the objective reality of the nationalism is yet to come to fruition.

Nationalism, which is supposedly a quest for the identification with one’s own nation and support for its interests, especially to the exclusion or detriment of the interests of other nations appears unrealistic in Nigeria. Nationalism in Nigeria; like any other political pursuit has been treated with levity and greatly misconstrued.

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There is however a ray of hope when one look at how Governor Yahaya Bello of Kogi State has demonstrated his interest and support for the betterment of Nigeria. It must be said without mincing words that few Governors in Nigeria has shown interest and support for Nigeria in recent time and Governor Yahaya Bello top them all.

Nigerians have seen how GYB gets involved in advocacy for the unity, togetherness and peace in Nigeria. He has openly and secretly brokered peace in Nigeria and put the first responsibility of securing life and property of any legitimate government in practice.

He is able to see all Nigerians through a telescope of unity, love, fairness, equity, justice and equality. He can never be found or seen amongst those who promote or incite political polarization. He is all out for building a new Nigeria where everyone are safe, secure, love, and where peace and justice reign.

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GYB represents a true modern nationalist in Nigeria.

Written by
Shadrach Emmanuel, FICMC.

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Opinion

Exclusive: Hon. Rimamnde Shawulu’s Opinion About PDP, Other National Issues

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Exclusive: Hon. Rimamnde Shawulu’s Opinion About PDP, Other National Issues

 

 

BY: Janet Samuel

As the 2023 General Elections draw near with Political parties, Aspirants and Support Groups already putting plans in place ahead of the election, the House of Representative Member Representing Kwewum, Donga,/Takum/Ussa/Yangtu Federal Constituency, Taraba State, Hon. Rimamnde Shawulu has aired his view about the People’s Democratic Party PDP and other fundamental issues inn the Country.

Hon. Rimamnde Shawulu, in an Exclusive Interview with Newsmen in Abuja, took time to touch light on critical issues that one should ponder upon.

Read Below

CRISIS IN THE PDP

In my opinion, I don’t think there is any crisis in the People’s Democratic Party, PDP. What we have is that some members such as the Governor of Rivers State and some people in the national Assembly, in fact I think a greater majority of members of the party think that the national chairman has done enough.

Even though his tenure will not elapse till November, we think that it is expedient for him to leave the scene for some other people to try, so that we can have time to reorganise the party, do genuine reconciliation of party members, because as you know the party has some challenges in some states, where there are cases in court, where you have some state congresses that have not been concluded.

We think it is better to have somebody that is not part of the crisis to manage the process of reconciliation and the process of reorganising the party to be able to fight effectively during the 2023 General elections.

Some people may feel offended that such a call is coming, but I am of the view that this call should have come even before now.

Normally, when a party leader leads a party to defeat, the party Chairmanship and the leadership resigns to make way for new people to lead. That has been the standard around the world.

In the case of PDP, in 2015, the House of Reps. PDP caucus championed the call for the Adamu Muazu, the former chairman, who led us to a disastrous loss of the 2015 elections to leave, and he actually did leave. So, Prince Uche Secondus was given the chance to continue. He has continued up till now, but it is clearly observable that there are frictions and some challenges that it would be better for new leadership to resolve.

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Not that there are other crisis, PDP has no factions. There isn’t any crisis. It’s just that in preparation for the 2023 elections, there is a growing majority opinion that the leadership of the party should step aside so that the party can prepare for the elections.

CLAMOUR TO ZONE PRESIDENCY TO SOUTH

I believe that as Nigeria works today, any section that calls for power shift is justified. The majority of the opinion from 2015 up to date, is that Jonathan should not have contested, that it was the turn of the North.

Former Governor of Niger State, Dr. Mu’azu Babangida Aliyu and several former Governors, even of PDP have made those claims. If you did say, six years ago, that it was the turn of the North, why are you now saying that it should be about the quality of leadership and not power going to a different constituent part?

Why do we have the federal character written in the constitution in the first place? Anywhere in the world, there are principles of affirmative action and federal character to ensure that every part of the Country or society are included in governmental affairs. We are implementing it in JAMB, we are implementing it in every level of admission, we are implementing it even in serious matters like sports.

Why are some people now saying certain sections should be excluded from politics or from political positions? It is not fair. So, I think that the Southern Governors have a right that they should be included. There is no part of the Country that you won’t have competent people.

INSECURITY

I don’t think there is any part of the Country that is not affected by insecurity. The Country is pretty unsafe with the kidnappings, banditry and Fulani militia. Nigeria is becoming a failed State. Presently, Nigeria fulfills all the requirements of fragile state, and we are moving from fragility into failure.

READ:  On Kano PCACC’s crusade against corruption - Kano Information, Muhammad Garba.

The definition of a failed state, is simply a state that, one, among others, a large section of the people in the country do not have loyalty to the state. We have the IPOB, the BOKO Haram and some Yoruba groups.

The second part of fragility of a failed state that intellectuals talked about is, that some of those territories are not in the hands of government. It is very evident that large parts of Niger State, parts of Borno, Yobe and several parts of the country are not in the hands of security forces.

You also have another evidence of large amount of weapons being in the hands of non-stakeholders, that is, being in the hands of citizens, rather than in the hands of people who are authorized to hold them. Evidence abounds to show that the arms, according to some governors, that are in the hands of bandits and Fulani herdsmen, are more than the arms that are in the hands of security agencies.

I am sure you would recall that a former Governor of Borno state said Boko Haram had more arms and more modern arms than the Nigerian Army. So, we are running into serious problems. And all these problems boil down to failure of governance, that the people who should be holding this country together for us have failed. That is the challenge that we have.

So, security challenge is not just in any particular state, not just in Taraba state, it is in virtually all the states. Even states like Nasarawa there were times that farmers could not go to farm. And even around Abuja we are hearing that persons of strange element are locking around.

It is a problem that, in my opinion, will not be solved urgently. There is no way you can resolve this problem within a short time. So, we need to have long time strategy that is not just kinetic (force), but that also involves the use of soft powers, which the government is seriously lacking.

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THE TIV-JUKUN CRISIS

It boils down to the issue of governance and the refusal of people to include every person in what they want to do. If you have a system that predisposes itself to exclusion, you will have people fighting to be included. And that is happening in all parts of the country.

DECAMPING OF PDP MEMBERS TO APC

Again, it has to do with the governance of the PDP. Some of us believe that the current Chairman should give way for genuine reconciliation.

People like Yakubu Dogara, the former speaker (of the House of Representatives), ought not to decamp, but they have to decamp because of the system where the party chairman handed over the party to governors instead of allowing a system where leadership of the party is from the ward and local government. Unfortunately, many of the governors he handed over the party to in the states have decamped, creating more issues in the party.

I am of the strong view that, for PDP to be competitive in the next election, there has to be a change now, not later, in the leadership of the party. Some people are saying let us wait till November. No. Uche Secondus should sacrifice and leave. He doesn’t need to be forced out. People should beg him to leave the party so that the party can reorganise.

If Secondus does not leave the party by the end of September, PDP will not win, and will not do well in the 2023 elections. Secondus needs to leave latest by September to allow reconciliation within this year, so that by early next year the party can start the process of rebuilding.

So, for those who don’t know, if Secondus does not leave by September, PDP will not win 2023 elections.

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2023: Read House of Representative Member Representing Kwewum, Donga,/Takum/Ussa/Yangtu Federal Constituency, Taraba State, Hon. Rimamnde Shawulu’s Opinion About PDP, Other National Issues

 

 

BY: Janet Samuel

As the 2023 General Elections draw near with Political parties, Aspirants and Support Groups already putting plans in place ahead of the election, the House of Representative Member Representing Kwewum, Donga,/Takum/Ussa/Yangtu Federal Constituency, Taraba State, Hon. Rimamnde Shawulu has aired his view about the People’s Democratic Party PDP and other fundamental issues inn the Country.

Hon. Rimamnde Shawulu, in an Exclusive Interview with Newsmen in Abuja, took time to touch light on critical issues that one should ponder upon.

Read Below

CRISIS IN THE PDP

In my opinion, I don’t think there is any crisis in the People’s Democratic Party, PDP. What we have is that some members such as the Governor of Rivers State and some people in the national Assembly, in fact I think a greater majority of members of the party think that the national chairman has done enough.

Even though his tenure will not elapse till November, we think that it is expedient for him to leave the scene for some other people to try, so that we can have time to reorganise the party, do genuine reconciliation of party members, because as you know the party has some challenges in some states, where there are cases in court, where you have some state congresses that have not been concluded.

We think it is better to have somebody that is not part of the crisis to manage the process of reconciliation and the process of reorganising the party to be able to fight effectively during the 2023 General elections.

Some people may feel offended that such a call is coming, but I am of the view that this call should have come even before now.

Normally, when a party leader leads a party to defeat, the party Chairmanship and the leadership resigns to make way for new people to lead. That has been the standard around the world.

In the case of PDP, in 2015, the House of Reps. PDP caucus championed the call for the Adamu Muazu, the former chairman, who led us to a disastrous loss of the 2015 elections to leave, and he actually did leave. So, Prince Uche Secondus was given the chance to continue. He has continued up till now, but it is clearly observable that there are frictions and some challenges that it would be better for new leadership to resolve.

READ:  Why Ondo Gov Akeredolu Needs To Wear The Ortom Armour

Not that there are other crisis, PDP has no factions. There isn’t any crisis. It’s just that in preparation for the 2023 elections, there is a growing majority opinion that the leadership of the party should step aside so that the party can prepare for the elections.

CLAMOUR TO ZONE PRESIDENCY TO SOUTH

I believe that as Nigeria works today, any section that calls for power shift is justified. The majority of the opinion from 2015 up to date, is that Jonathan should not have contested, that it was the turn of the North.

Former Governor of Niger State, Dr. Mu’azu Babangida Aliyu and several former Governors, even of PDP have made those claims. If you did say, six years ago, that it was the turn of the North, why are you now saying that it should be about the quality of leadership and not power going to a different constituent part?

Why do we have the federal character written in the constitution in the first place? Anywhere in the world, there are principles of affirmative action and federal character to ensure that every part of the Country or society are included in governmental affairs. We are implementing it in JAMB, we are implementing it in every level of admission, we are implementing it even in serious matters like sports.

Why are some people now saying certain sections should be excluded from politics or from political positions? It is not fair. So, I think that the Southern Governors have a right that they should be included. There is no part of the Country that you won’t have competent people.

READ:  My Diary @ First Annual GYB Seminar for Nigeria's Political & Crime Correspondents - Omoba Abdurazaq

INSECURITY

I don’t think there is any part of the Country that is not affected by insecurity. The Country is pretty unsafe with the kidnappings, banditry and Fulani militia. Nigeria is becoming a failed State. Presently, Nigeria fulfills all the requirements of fragile state, and we are moving from fragility into failure.

The definition of a failed state, is simply a state that, one, among others, a large section of the people in the country do not have loyalty to the state. We have the IPOB, the BOKO Haram and some Yoruba groups.

The second part of fragility of a failed state that intellectuals talked about is, that some of those territories are not in the hands of government. It is very evident that large parts of Niger State, parts of Borno, Yobe and several parts of the country are not in the hands of security forces.

You also have another evidence of large amount of weapons being in the hands of non-stakeholders, that is, being in the hands of citizens, rather than in the hands of people who are authorized to hold them. Evidence abounds to show that the arms, according to some governors, that are in the hands of bandits and Fulani herdsmen, are more than the arms that are in the hands of security agencies.

I am sure you would recall that a former Governor of Borno state said Boko Haram had more arms and more modern arms than the Nigerian Army. So, we are running into serious problems. And all these problems boil down to failure of governance, that the people who should be holding this country together for us have failed. That is the challenge that we have.

So, security challenge is not just in any particular state, not just in Taraba state, it is in virtually all the states. Even states like Nasarawa there were times that farmers could not go to farm. And even around Abuja we are hearing that persons of strange element are locking around.

It is a problem that, in my opinion, will not be solved urgently. There is no way you can resolve this problem within a short time. So, we need to have long time strategy that is not just kinetic (force), but that also involves the use of soft powers, which the government is seriously lacking.

READ:  Between Market Dominance And Sugar Crisis In Nigeria

THE TIV-JUKUN CRISIS

It boils down to the issue of governance and the refusal of people to include every person in what they want to do. If you have a system that predisposes itself to exclusion, you will have people fighting to be included. And that is happening in all parts of the country.

DECAMPING OF PDP MEMBERS TO APC

Again, it has to do with the governance of the PDP. Some of us believe that the current Chairman should give way for genuine reconciliation.

People like Yakubu Dogara, the former speaker (of the House of Representatives), ought not to decamp, but they have to decamp because of the system where the party chairman handed over the party to governors instead of allowing a system where leadership of the party is from the ward and local government. Unfortunately, many of the governors he handed over the party to in the states have decamped, creating more issues in the party.

I am of the strong view that, for PDP to be competitive in the next election, there has to be a change now, not later, in the leadership of the party. Some people are saying let us wait till November. No. Uche Secondus should sacrifice and leave. He doesn’t need to be forced out. People should beg him to leave the party so that the party can reorganise.

If Secondus does not leave the party by the end of September, PDP will not win, and will not do well in the 2023 elections. Secondus needs to leave latest by September to allow reconciliation within this year, so that by early next year the party can start the process of rebuilding.

So, for those who don’t know, if Secondus does not leave by September, PDP will not win 2023 elections.

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