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Late President Shehu Usman Aliyu Shagari And The Federal Government Of Nigeria (FGN): What Matters Most




Attahiru Ahmad Sifawa

Two days ago, there was widespread outcry on the social media over the unfortunate disconnection of the house of former President Alhaji Shehu Usman Aliyu Shagari GCFR, from the National Grid by the Electricity Distribution Company.

Many people lamented the insensitivity of the Company as well as the seeming neglect of the onetime number one family by the concerned authorities.

It is a well-known fact that Federal Government of Nigeria is responsible for the basic needs of past Presidents.

Whether that also extends beyond their lifetime, by which authority and for how long? That is not sufficiently clear to the lamenting citizens, as the concerned authorities keep mute in providing the necessary information.

It is probable that these questions may likely fall within some of the gaps as regards legal provisions on the welfare of Nigeria’s past Presidents after their death.

In any case, the unfortunate incident may likely trigger thought and likely policy provisions to prevent future occurrence.

The timely intervention by the Presidency over the matter is however commendable.
Important as the incidence and its aftermath, as they may be, there is quite more important matter which supposed to engage the attention of the citizens as regards to either conscious or unconscious neglect, the person of late Alhaji Shehu Usman Aliyu Shagari, GCFR, (Turakin Sokoto), the first Executive President of Nigeria suffers from the Federal Government of Nigeria.

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It has been the usual practice by the Federal Government, like elsewhere around the world, that whenever a senior citizen, like a former President dies, steps are usually taken to immortalize him. It is usually a mark of honour and appreciation over his service to the nation and humanity. The common and easiest practice has been to name certain public institutions/places after him.

It is unfortunate to note that more than two years after the death of Alhaji Shehu Shagari, the Federal Government has not done anything to immortalize him despite the promise by President Muhammadu Buhari. I believe Mr President has likely forgotten, but one must be puzzled by the insensitivity of the Ministry or Agency concerned, thus leading to this expensive oversight.

It was on record that after the death of late Chief Alex Ikwame, Vice President of the late Shagari, he was accorded state burial and immediately immortalized by naming a Federal University after him by the current administration of President Muhammadu Buhari. Now more than two years after the death of his boss, President Shehu Shagari, the same administration has consciously or sub-consciously failed to take any step towards immortalizing him. If there is anything worth lamentation by the citizens it should be this unfortunate neglect not the regular payment of electricity bill for the house of the former President Shagari.
On its part, the Sokoto State Government under Rt. Honourable Aminu Waziri Tambuwal, CFR has started doing its part by upgrading the Prestigious Shehu Shagari College of Education Sokoto to a University, retaining the name of late President Shagari (Shehu Shagari University of Education Sokoto). It is never late than never. I will like to commend Governor Aminu Waziri Tambuwal for taking such a step and enjoined the Federal Government to follow suit.

But still, I wish to suggest that the Sokoto State Government’s House be named after the late Shagari as ‘Shehu Shagari House’. The Government should also facilitate the taking over of the Shehu Shagari World Institute for Leadership and Good Governance by the Sokoto State University, Sokoto in addition to instituting/ endowing a Professorial Chair of Political Science in the same University, in his name.

It is noteworthy to mention that late Shehu Shagari as much symbolized astute public servant and educationist as he symbolized Democracy in Nigeria. He was a legendary nationalist figure and a Political Schema. As far back as the 1940s, in his twentieth, Shahu Shagari co-founded Youth Social Circle (YSC), a nationalist organization in Sokoto Province, Northern Nigeria. An active member of the defunct Northern People’s Congress (NPC), a member of the National Assembly (Federal House of Representatives) as well as a Federal Minister during the First Republic, before crowning it all as the First Executive President of Nigeria during the Second Republic.

In the Public service, particularly education which throughout his life remained his primary area of interest, Shehu Shagari was a Teacher at the Sokoto Middle School and had the privilege of serving as a language Instructor to white British Colonial Officers during the Colonial period. He was the founding Head Master of Senior Primary School at Argungu in 1950 and was onetime Senior Visiting Teacher (equivalent of Chief Inspector of Education) in the whole of Sokoto Provice (the present day Sokoto, Kebbi and Zamfara State) in the 1940s. In the Post-Independence period, Shagari was a pillar in the efforts to integrate Islamic Education with western education which led to the establishment of Jama’atu Nasril Islam (JNI) Primary Schools in Sokoto Province. After the fall of the First Republic, Shagari came down to serve as the Commissioner of Education in the defunct North-Western State (present day Sokoto, Kebbi, Zamfara and Niger States). Untill his death, he continued to serve as Chairman of the Sokoto Education Trust Fund.

I will like to humbly suggest to the Federal Government to consider naming the National Institute for Policy and Strategic Studies, Kuru, Jos and Kaduna Airport after the late President Shehu Shagari, as; ‘Shehu Shagari National Institute for Policy and Strategic Studies, Kuru, Jos’ and ‘Shehu Shagari International Airport Kaduna’, respectively. The Government can also look at other similar proposals in order to accord the late President the honour he deserves.

Despite whatever shortcomings that one may identify during his Presidency, given the time and resources available, it is not an exaggeration that the Administration of late Shehu Usman Aliyu Shagari had arguably performed better that any of the successive administration that came after him in areas of patriotism; national sprit; selflessness and devotion to public service; infrastructure development; purposeful public policies, and lots more. He was in many respect, the nation’s last touch with its legendary nationalist figures and founding fathers.

May Allah forgive late President Shehu Shagari his mistakes, continue to bless his family and grant him Jannatul firdaus.

Attahiru Ahmad Sifawa, PhD.
Department of History,
Sokoto State University, Sokoto


Wake up North-Abubakar Sadiq Dauda



CBN Governor Emefiele


By Abubakar Sadiq Dauda

It is absurd that my Northern brothers are nagging and complaining over the unavailability of the new redesigned currency when we can transact using POS machines, online banking and USSD.

So far, many southerners are unperturbed with the happenings. The complaint, curses and insults is mainly coming from the North. It is ridiculous that the masses and average persons in the North are hailing our politicians for opposing the monetary redesign scheme, not knowing that the politicians are crying because it is going to affect their chances in the upcoming elections if the policy is not reversed or extended.


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I can’t fathom how the unavailability of the newly redesigned currency affects any smooth transaction of any kind when there are many online payments platforms, numerous POS terminals in our shops and markets.

The North must learn to embrace technology. We must not relegate ourselves to second division when it comes to education and technology. Even against many odds, we must wise up. We must equip ourselves with basic knowledge in areas of communications and technology.

It is a clarion call, let us wake up!

Sadiq writes from Kano. Can be reached via sadiqdauda55@gmail.com

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The Falling State Of Businesses In Nigeria-Umar Ismaila Isa



Umar Ismaila Isa


By Umar Ismaila Isa

Its saddening, psychologically and traumatically worrying that in our today’s Nigeria, the major employers of labour are not just falling, but also wobbling, humbling, crumbling and collapsing like packs of cards much to the chagrin of other African countries that have long been venerating and reverencing and referencing Nigeria’s economy as the giant of the continent. How are the mighty falling.

Some of the factors responsible for these colossal falls are partisan political influence, interest as well as corruption which had brought businesses in Nigeria to their humble knees, specifically the micro, small and medium enterprises, while also not staking claims for even common macroeconomic factors like recessions, insecurity, government debt, exchange rate and high-interest rates.

As we speak, there were over 41million MSMEs in Nigeria in 2017. which have as at 2022 dropped to about 35 million.

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No doubt, failure to provide value money can make customers disgruntled and avoid patronage, so also poor inventory management, failure to differentiate product and services in a highly competitive environment, and strong bargaining power of buyers which can as well cause business failure, not mentioning weak economy, tax burden, high exchange rate, lower purchasing power, high inflation, money running out being in the wrong market, lack of research, bad partnerships and wrong allocation. All these undoubtedly in no small measure can cause business failure.

Also, Challenges like rising cost and reduced revenue, poor power supply, restrictive economic policies, foreign exchange hike, high cost of production, insecurity, high inflation rate have drastically reduced the number of MSMEs which were over 41million in 2017 and now ar about 35million in the just last year 2022.

The data from the bureau of labor statistics isn’t encouraging at all, as it shows that approximately 20percent of new businesses faile during the first two years of operation, 45percent during the first five years and 65percent during the first ten years, while only 25percent makes it to 15 years or more.

In Nigeria, MSMEs account for 48percent of the Gross Domestic Product, (GDP), 96percent of businesses, 84percent of employment in the the country, according to a pricewaterhousecoopers report, and also the three CCCs which are concept, capability and capital. So it’s worthwhile to make sure that before engaging in any business that you make sure you have the basic concept, capability before investing your capital.

As a matter of fact and emergency, beyond the rhetorics, there are practical ways government can create the right environment for businesses to thrive increase, the ease of doing business, eliminate multiple taxations of MSMEs, encourage public-private partnerships, improve power supply, tackle the issue of foreign exchange hike, because with the rate of inflation in the country many businesses can’t survive.

The government and other necessary authority have to take measures to save the country before it’s too late, and the time is now especially as we prepare to elect another president in less than 40 days from now that will take the baton of leadership from President Buhari.

Umar Isa is a business writer and analyst. He writes from Kano and can be reached via issihbaba@gmail.com

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What Axe Does Governor Yahaya Bello Has To Grind With The Ohinoyi?




By Ozumi Abdul

I read in bathed breath the query letter issued by the Kogi state government to the paramount ruler of Ebira Kingdom, The Ohinoyi of Ebiraland, Dr Ibrahim Ado dated 5th January 2023, wherein the revered and venerated traditional ruler was indicted and inculpated for his failure to come out of his Azad Palace to welcome President Muhammadu Buhari during his last year December’s visit to Okene to commission the legacy projects of Governor Yahaya Bello’s led administration in the place, particularly the newly built Okene Reference Hospital and the refurbished official Ohinoyi palace.

Therein in the query letter signed by the state’s Director of Chieftaincy Affairs, Enimola Eniola, the Ohinoyi was shotgunned and impelled to reply to it within the 48 hours from the day it was issued, being on the 5th January, 2023.

As a concerned and full fledged son of the soil, I became seriously concerned, perturbed and disturbed, hoping for the very best way these two illustrious sons of Ebiraland can diplomatically meander through the egoistic duels that has subtly been marring their relationship since the coming on board of this Kogi state’s government.

I fervently prayed for the abatement of the seeming gloom of doom that is looming large, if the relationship between the Ohinoyi and the governor gets deteriorated, and breaks down beyond repairs.

God forbid, I dreaded, and still dreading the unfortunate Kogi version of Ganduje versus Sanusi debacles and faceoffs in Kano state, the one that led to Sanusi Lamido Sanusi || being deposed as the 14th Emir of the ancient city of Kano, by the Abdullahi Ganduje led Kano state government.

I dread the fact that the relative peace Ebiraland has been enjoying since the coming on board of the Yahaya Bello’s led administration might soon be stymied and once again shrouded in the tumultuous state of yester years, when in Ebiraland life was “Nasty, Brutish, and Short”: Yes, that you can’t take that away from this Yahaya Bello’s administration in Kogi state, because his administration stemmed the tides everything insecurity in not just the Kogi Central alone, but the entirety of the state; he came and restore parity and sanity in the state that was hitherto ravaged by the activities of different cells of gun-trotting and gun-fighting non state actors.

Worryingly though, one thing that is, and will surely be of great concern to every Ebira son and daughter, is the umpteenth running subtle battles between the Ohinoyi and the governor; the battles rumours have it in some quarters that are more of “patriarchally historical” than egoistical; because one will surely be mystified to know that the Ohinoyi can be served a query letter for his failure to come out of his palace to welcome President Buhari during his visit to Okene, without a prior official letter noticing him of the president’s purported visit to his domain from the state government, coupled with the fact that bomb went off right in front of his palace on the scheduled day of the President’s visit, where about four people lost their lives, as well as the destruction of the barricading fence of his Azad palace.

In other northern states for instance, particularly the core northern states like Kano and Zaria Emirates, where reverence and veneration for their paramount rulers (Emirs) are given unequal premium, whenever a president goes visiting to their (the Emirs) domains, he is usually led by the governors of the states to their palaces, where he (president)pays homages to them; then proceed together to the venue(s) of the event(s) in which purpose(s) the president goes to the state. Then, why is ours different and have become embarrassing subject of discourses in both conventional and social media?

Why is Governor Yahaya Bello exuberantly dancing to the sound of the destructive drums of sycophantic naysayers who don’t mean well for him and his government? Why is he being lulled by the metaphoric lullaby and mendacity of power, power that is only transiently tenure-bound; believing he has an axe or axes to grind with the Ohinoyi, a nonagenarian at that who is old enough to be his grandfather?

Governor Yahaya needs to halt these dances that may hurt and haunt him even after the expiration of his tenure as a governor. He needs to thread with caution so that he won’t walk the tight rope of life after the conclusion of his tenure as a governor.

The fact that the Ohinoyi responded to the query, though days after the 48 hours the Kogi government impelled him to answer the query, with sheer wisdom, maturity and equanimity does not necessarily mean that the nonagenarian is overtly contended with being maligned and contemned by the state government in such a ridiculous and ludicrous manner.

A proverb in my native Ebira parlance has it that when a dog is on the cusp of public-glare disgrace, he will be all of sudden be inflicted with sores right at the back of its head, and out of the reach of the leaking of its tongue, because leaking the sore will endear the sores’ quick healing. May Governor Yahaya Bello never be such proverbial dog.

Ozumi Abdul is a staff Columnist in Arewa Trust.

He can be reached via Abdulozumi83@gmail.com

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