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#EndSARS: INSIDE PMB’S PARLEY WITH FORMER HEADS OF STATE

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It was very touching, poignant, as President Muhammadu Buhari met with all living former heads of state on October 23, 2020, to discuss the state of the nation.

For about two weeks, the country had been suffused with unrest, later violence, precipitated by what began as legitimate protests against police brutality, code-named #EndSARS. In the words of the President, the protests were later “hijacked and misdirected “ by hidden hostile hands, who wanted to destabilize the country.

Lives had been lost in scores, countless public and private properties burnt, there was murder and mayhem everywhere. So it was needful that all former leaders of the country meet to put heads together, and fashion pragmatic ways forward.

All those who had ruled the country, and who were still alive, turned out for motherland, in the virtual meeting hosted by President Buhari. Imagine the collective weight of age and experience in that room. General Yakubu Gowon, 86, had ruled for nine years. President Olusegun Obasanjo, 83, had led cumulatively as military and civilian leader for 11 years. Gen Ibrahim Badamasi Babangida, 79, held sway for eight years, while Chief Ernest Shonekan of the Interim National Government lasted only about 84 days, before the military struck.

Gen Abdulsalami Abubakar, 78, administered the country for just about one year, while Dr Goodluck Ebele Jonathan, 62, superintended over the land for six years.

All that weight of experience was available at the meeting on that day, for the country to draw from, in restoring peace and cohesion after about two angry weeks.

Fittingly, the opening remarks were given by Gen Gowon, after the National Anthem. He was not only the oldest among the former leaders, he stayed longest, and was most senior in terms of hierarchy.

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‘Go On With One Nigeria’ (Gowon) thanked President Buhari for accepting to host the meeting, and said what had started peacefully, and now taken over by “organized miscreants in Lagos and other parts of the country “ was of great concern to them.

“Peace and genuine protests by youths have been hijacked,” he lamented, and wished the youths had stood down after their initial requests had been granted by government.

Drawing from experiences in 1967, before the Nigerian Civil War, Gen Gowon gave some recipes for the government to consider.

President Buhari made remarks next. He gave the former leaders a comprehensive brief on all that had happened since the protests began, up to his address to the nation, which had come up only the previous night. He enumerated what government had been doing to meet the needs of youths, and make life better for them.

The President did not mince words that what started as legitimate protest by youths, was hijacked and misdirected by enemies of the country.

Former President, Olusegun Obasanjo spoke next. We know his antagonism to the government of the day, which had returned to power last year for a second term in office, in spite of an anti-Buhari coalition put together by Obasanjo.

Would sparks fly? Would there be barbs and snide remarks? The fears turned out to be unfounded. The former President was frank, but affable, and no tension was discerned.

“Let me commend your speech of last night, which the nation had been waiting for,” Obasanjo began. “You made points that I believe need to be commended. You said peaceful protests were part of democratic practice. You also indicated that the demands of the genuine protesters had been accepted, and you were working on implementation.”

The former President said the activities of hoodlums who hijacked the protests should be condemned, “as they took away the protests from those who initially planned them.”

On the job and economic situation in the country, he said the interventions being made were good, but not far-reaching enough for a population of 200 million people.

“We need heavy local and international investments to make the impact we need to make. Our Foreign Direct Investment is inadequate. And we need to get better results in security, so that the investments can come, “ he submitted.

When it was the turn of General Ibrahim Badamasi Babangida (IBB) to speak, the President called out to him: “Ibro, it’s your turn.” There was general laughter. That must have been how the President addressed his colleague as Comrade-at-arms in the military.

IBB condoled with the families of those who died in the protests and riots. But he expressed concern on the quality of intelligence available to the security agencies.

“With adequate intelligence, some of these things can be nipped in the bud,” he stated, adding: “I commend the government for the efforts so far, to end the protests.”

Chief Ernest Shonekan was brief. Preventive actions were to be considered for the future, rather than curative. He added: “please call us for more of these meetings. We need to frequently discuss very important national issues.”

General Abdulsalami Abubakar also talked about the need for intelligence gathering and synergy among the security agencies, whom he says should avoid “multiple mandates.”

He canvassed more interaction with the international community, so that they can adequately understand what is going on in Nigeria.

“Funding of security agencies should also be looked into, while the media should be adequately engaged,” the former head of state added.

The youngest of them all, and the immediate past President, Dr Goodluck Jonathan, began by saying he didn’t have the confidence to call the former leaders “my colleagues.” So, he opted for “my most senior colleagues.”

He commended the broadcast of the previous night, and asked pertinent questions: what led to the crisis? How do we stop such in future, even after the Buhari administration?

He said the root cause of the crisis had been with us far before the advent of the current administration, and that it may last into future governments, except some immediate steps were taken. He enumerated them.

President Buhari rounded off the meeting with remarks,thanking all the former leaders for their contributions, which he said had all been well noted.

He said he was pleased that the former leaders commended steps taken by government on the protests, but added: “I wish we could have stopped the hijacking of the protests. Burning of police stations, freeing of prisoners, can’t be tolerated. Judicial enquiries have commenced, and we will work as reports get back to us.”

The President said agriculture was on an upswing in the country, but opined that investors would need stability, noting: “If you burn factories, release prisoners, then it is anti-investment. We need to behave ourselves.”

Yes, we need to truly behave ourselves. It is only then that things will look up for this blessed but blighted country. If we sow the wind, we reap the whirlwind. If we foment lawlessness, we reap anarchy. If we don’t calm down, and let government serve us, then we would have nobody to blame, except ourselves.

*Adesina is Special Adviser to President Buhari on Media and Publicity

More… https://www.femiadesina.com/endsars-inside-pmbs-parley-with-former-heads-of-state/

Opinion

Nigeria Independence And The Boldness Of Buhari To Blow The Trumpet

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President Muhammad Buhari

 

By Bala Ibrahim.

It was late Sir Ahmadu Bello, the Sardauna of Sakkwato, the former Premier of northern Nigeria, and the supreme political leader of the region that said, “You should blow your trumpet, because if you don’t, no one is going to blow it for you, as everyone is busy blowing his own”. Undoubtedly, the ambition of the Sardauna statement is to encourage people to tell their own success stories, particularly people that are vested with responsibilities. But for some people, perhaps because of modesty, or that behaviour of being relatively moderate, they don’t subscribe to the idea of blowing their trumpet. To do that they argue, is like being boastful about one’s achievements. Until recently, one of the people with such belief is Gen.Muhammadu Buhari rtd, and now President Muhammadu Buhari, PMB.

In the days when I was a reporter with the BBC, and prior to his transformation from a soldier to a politician, I was a regular visitor to him in Kaduna. Time without number, we had discussions on the sacrifices he made as a soldier, and the successes he recorded as a Governor, Minister and Head of state. Every time he mentions them, my instinct as a journalist, was to spur him to talk on the radio. I would say sir, why don’t you narrate these to me on the microphone. And his response was always NO. He would blushingly decline to speak by way of a formal interview, because according to him, some may think you are exaggerating your sense of importance, or your abilities for accomplishment.

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After countless abortive attempts, in one instance, I sought and succeeded in getting a note from him, to travel to Ilorin, and speak to his deputy at the Supreme Military Council then, late Gen.Tunde Idiagbon rtd. Lo and behold, I met him, but the situation wasn’t any different. In fact, Gen.Idiagbon issued me a threat, that if I insist on him blowing his trumpet, he would instruct for my immediate arrest, regardless of the introduction letter from his boss. I said take it easy sir, my intention is honourable. Like his boss, talking about your achievements, is akin to exaggerating your sense of importance, or your abilities for accomplishment.

But I am particularly happy with today, because, years after the death of Gen. Tunde Idiagbon, and on the occasion of the celebration of the 2022 Independence anniversary of Nigeria, President Muhammadu Buhari has reversed his position on the issue of the blowing of the trumpet.

In an address to the nation this morning, PMB took time to score himself high, alongside his political party, the All Progressives Congress, APC, because as he said, in addition to the many achievements of his administration, and pursuant to the effective public financial management system put in place by his government, Nigeria succeeded in exiting two economic recessions. Sure, this was achieved because of the very practical and realistic monetary and fiscal measures employed by the government.

Not only had his administration given the desired priority to the agricultural sector through a series of incentives to micro, small and medium-scale enterprises that resulted in creating millions of jobs, as he mentioned, PMB was quick to blow his trumpet more, thus:

“Leading this initiative, the Central Bank of Nigeria’s intervention in a number of areas as well as the Anchor Borrowers Programme had created the required leverages for Nigerians towards self-sufficiency in food and the necessary attraction for farming as a business”.

After a detailed examination of some of the challenges facing the country, and the efforts of the Government at addressing them, including the thorny issue of the strike of the University lecturers, PMB returned his mouth to the trumpet, thus:

“In the past few years, we have witnessed and overcome a good number of challenges that would ordinarily have destroyed our nation. However, the indefatigable spirit of the Nigerian people has ensured that we overcome our challenges. It is in this spirit that I call on all of us to individually and collectively bring to the fore in dealing with all our development issues. I was called to serve, along with my team, I saw an opportunity to create a better Nigeria which we have done with the support of Nigerians. Almighty God and the good people of Nigeria supported us in laying a solid foundation for the Nigeria of our dreams.”

As a spin doctor, who is interested in projecting favourable interpretations of the activities of the government and the party in power, especially in the media, by this boldness, to blow the trumpet of his achievements, PMB had simply given me the best of the gifts that any President can give his people at a trying time like now.

Yes, although this is his last independence anniversary speech as an elected President, the speech would help in correcting some of the distortions, and the negative perceptions about his performance.

Hip Hip Hip! Hurrah Nigeria at 62. And Hurrah PMB, for changing your stance, on the issue of the blowing of the trumpet.

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Opinion

APC : The Time To Tame The Fanning Out Of Fake News

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Senator Abdullahi Adamu,APC National Chairman

 

By Bala Ibrahim.

For the best part of last night, and the early part of this morning, my phones were ringing non stop, and virtually all the calls were coming with questions for clarification. As one heading the bureaucratic arm in charge of media management of the party in power, where important decisions taken by the elected representatives of the party are passed to you to process, for onwards transmission to the public, as directed, such calls can come under the classification of the normal call of duty. But not when they emanate out of the intent to install in the media, an insolent and impudent information, by the friends of fake news. Yes, the friends of fake news.

I did my best addressing the media last night, mostly my colleagues in the Hausa service of the electronic media, but by the morning time, the queries have skyrocketed to something like a quiz of scepticism. Everyone is asking, some with doubts, about a letter sighted by the media, to the effect that the National Working Committee, NWC, of the ruling All Progressive Congress, APC, under the leadership of Sen. Abdullahi Adamu, as the chairman, had written, in an unpleasant language, to the Presidential candidate of the party, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu. As expected, in the eagerness to be the first to break news, some of my colleagues were quick to release the story, some, with nasty captions.

One of the moderate caption reads thus, APC Campaign Council List: Adamu Accuses Tinubu Of Side-lining NWC. It went on to say, “The chairman of the All Progressives Congress, APC, Abdullahi Adamu has accused the party’s presidential candidate Bola Tinubu of appointing members of the Presidential Campaign Council without the approval of APC National Working Committee. Tinubu had on Friday unveiled a 422-man committee comprising political heavyweights and other notable members of the party to pilot the various sub-committees of the campaign council. However, days after releasing the list, Tinubu’s campaign council postponed its inauguration to accommodate other interests and stakeholders within the party”.

Some media houses went as far as releasing the purported nasty letter, which by implication means, the party has arrived at the junction of the rumoured rift, and the anticipated rupture.

A paragraph from the said wordings of the chairman reads, “It is against this background that the NWC received with astonishment and regret, the press release by the PCC on 23rd September, 2022, in which a purported list of appointees was announced, which effectively served as the approved roster of participants in the Party’s Presidential Campaign Council. The purported list not only came as a complete surprise to the NWC and the Party’s leadership, but also contravened the principles and purposes of the arrangements that you and I had led towards the adoption of the Organogram of the PCC, and its principal officials”- Sen. Abdullahi Adamu.

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My first quarrel is not with the content of the letter, but it’s qualification for authenticity, which ought to lie on the genuineness of the signature on it. And that gave way to my second, and most painful quarrel, because the letter in circulation, has not even been signed by anyone. It is a draft.

The last time I checked the dictionary, on the meaning of draft, it said, a preliminary version of a piece of writing. And my English teacher used to say, preliminary is the beginning, not the tentative, or fixed. It can change. Which means, even if there was the intention to fight, if there is a change of mind, the intention to fight can not be published as a fight.

No sooner than these agents of fake news had finished their work, than a release came from the Party, duly signed by the National Publicity Secretary, Bar. Felix Morka, viz:

APC PRESIDENTIAL CAMPAIGN COUNCIL – SENATOR ABDULLAHI ADAMU DID NOT WRITE ASIWAJU BOLA AHMED TINUBU.

“Our attention has been drawn to a “DRAFT” letter in circulation purportedly written by His Excellency, Senator Abdullahi Adamu, the National Chairman of our great Party, addressed to His Excellency, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu, the Presidential Candidate of our great Party, expressing dissatisfaction over the recently released list of the Presidential Campaign Council (PCC). To be clear, the “DRAFT” letter did not emanate from the Party. An UNSIGNED letter that marks itself as a ‘DRAFT’ cannot and should not be attributed to its purported author. The National Chairman of our Party and our Presidential Candidate maintain cordial and effective communication channels, and enjoy full liberty of open and frank conversations on matters of interest to the Party and our Presidential Campaign. As such, an unsigned “DRAFT” letter of the kind in circulation is patently unnecessary and of no qualitative value to engagement between the Party and the PCC. We will not be distracted by the wishes and actions of detractors that wait gleefully but in vain for some kind of crisis to erupt between the Party and the PCC. We stand united, as a Party, in our resolve and commitment to execute a focused and issue-driven campaign to persuade Nigerians to renew our mandate in next year’s general election”.

As if acting with the instinct of a premonition, at the occasion of the signing of a peace accord today, which had in attendance virtually all the Presidential candidates for the 2023 elections, alongside their party chairmen or representatives, the chairman of the National Peace Committee and former Head of state, Gen. Abdulsalami Abubakar, took time to address the issue of fake news, saying unlike in previous elections, where thuggery and violence were the major threats, in 2023, fake news is the major challenge. He said and I quote, “According to the latest fake news, the name of the winner of the Presidential election of 2023 has already been released, long before the ballots are cast”.

In my elementary days of training on Basic Journalism, one phrase that was repeatedly used, and made to resonate like a religious verse was, DONT BE THE FIRST TO GET IT WRONG.

My colleagues and I can do justice to the mission of the National peace committee, by refusing to be amongst the first to get it wrong, through the taming of the fanning out of fake news. And the best time to do it, is NOW.

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Opinion

What You Need To Know About Professor Iya Abubakar

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Professor Iya Abubakar

 

Sadiq Mohammed Mubi

Prof. Iya Abubakar, is from Adamawa state of Northeastern Nigeria, the first-rated Mathematician Of Africa who  became Professor Of Mathematics at the Age Of 28.

Iya Abubakar had his first class in mathematics at London University (University College Ibadan) in the ’50s,  and completed a Doctorate Degree at Cambridge University, England in the 60s.

Professor Iya Abubakar was the only Nigerian appointed as a Professor in the Department of Mathematics, ABU Zaria, at the age of 28 in 1963.

A first class graduate of Mathematics at the University of Ibadan, he is the first Northerner to earn a PhD in any field when he earned it at the University of Cambridge.

He became Head of Department, Mathematics and Computer Science, ABU Zaria, at the age of 32 (a record in the Nigerian University system).

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Second indigenous Vice Chancellor of ABU Zaria, at the age of 40 and retired from academics at the age of 44.

His academic productivity suffered a lot when he became Vice Chancellor (President) of the University.

Biography and Academic Carrier

Iya Abubakar was born on 14 December 1934 at Boloko, Belel District, Maiha Local Government Area of Adamawa state. He attended Barewa College Zaria, University College Ibadan (later  became the University of Ibadan) and earned a PhD at the University of Cambridge in England.

He worked as a visiting Professor at the University of Michigan in 1965 – 1966, before being appointed as Professor of Mathematics at Ahmadu Bello University Zaria at the age of 28, in 1967.

He held this position until 1975, as well as a visiting professorship at the City University of New York from 1971-72. In 1975, he was appointed the Vice-Chancellor of Ahmadu Bello University  Zaria, a position he held until 1978.

Prof. Iya Abubakar is exceptionally gifted, genius, talented, an industry of knowledge, the best of the best  and second to none.

Prof. Iya Abubakar is no doubt one of the finest brains to have come out of the North, whose legacies in academia are worth celebrating.

The people of “SABONDALE” comprised of Madagali, Michika, Mubi North/  South and Maiha Local Government Areas are indeed proud of their son ( Iya Abubakar) who is an elder statesman.

Youth of the 21st century may find it difficult to refill the vacuum created by GOD’s wishes, when death comes, only GOD knows.    “Allah ya bashi lafiya da  cikawa da imani”.  “Esteemed is better than silver or gold”.

Prof. Iya Abubakar was a director of the Central Bank of Nigeria from 1972 to 1975.

Later career

After the regime of Lt-Gen. Olusegun Obasanjo handed power back to an elected Government in 1979, Iya Abubakar was appointed as the Federal Minister of Defence, holding this office until 1982. From 1993 – 2005, he was the Pro-Chancellor and Chairman of Council of the

University of Ibadan.

In the late 1990s, he served as the Director of  National Mathematical Centre at Abuja, and chaired both the National Manpower Commission of Nigeria and the non-governmental Africa International Foundation for Science and Technology.

Iya Abubakar was elected Senator for the Adamawa North constituency of Adamawa State, Nigeria at the start of the Nigerian Fourth Republic, running on the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) platform.

He took office on 29 May 1999.

He was re-elected in April 2003. After taking his seat in the Senate in June 1999 – 2007. He was appointed to committees on Public Accounts, Banking & Currency (chairman), Commerce and Finance & Appropriation.

Iya Abubakar has also chaired the Senate Committee on Finance and Appropriation [6] and the Senate Committee on Science and Technology.

Prof. Iya Abubakar, holds a traditional title in Mubi Emirate Council, Adamawa state, as the Galadima of Mubi.

The great Professor, has since retired from active participation in public office and is now living a quiet private life

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