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Zulum is Coming-Dr Aliyu Tilde



Professor Babagana Umara Zulum


People should forgive my ignorance if what I write here does not come to pass. His Excellency, Professor Babagana U. Zulum, the Governor of Borno State, the subject of this article, should overlook my wrong forecast at the political climate and not feel offended if indeed I am proven wrong. It is just an attempt to add one to another to make two. I have not spoken to him or to any politician about the 2023 presidency. My only sources on the matter are the eyes of a keen observer and the ears of a good listener. Now, come with me.

Professor Zulum dissolved his cabinet yesterday. This is quite unusual of a straight forward person whose appointments are determined more by merit than by political expediency. Is there an emergency? Yes, I think.

His ruling All Peoples Congress (APC) has been playing chess with the opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) regarding the zoning of the Presidency. Our friend, Farouk Adamu Aliyu, a confidant of the President, has about a year ago told the BBC Hausa Service that their party’s choice for president will depend on the choice of the opposition—meaning, if the PDP would give a northerner its ticket, then APC will have no choice but to do so too. The North is where the bulk of the votes resides.

That calculation still holds. The APC Chairman said as much last week when he said that the ticket of the party is open to all interested aspirants. APC is not doing this at its own volition. In fact, it has some very sleezy remarks for PDP’s likelihood to field a northern candidate. In an interview published by Punch three days ago, Mr. Osita Okechukwu, a founding father of the PDP furiously accused PDP of being Machiavellian and responsible for APC’s return to the drawing board. Mr. Okechukwu:

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“They (PDP) want to capture power by all means, indeed using Machiavellian tactics. We all know that PDP is famished, thirsty and desperate to win Presidency in 2023… The PDP is aware that President Buhari will not be on the ballot in 2023, therefore, for them there is a void to fill. They must have reasoned that the Buhari’s Vote Bank would be up for grabs if they go north. The PDP’s calculation is a desperate one, and selfish to the extent that they breached their own constitution and their age-long die-hard supporters in the South, especially the South-East.”

Here, I wonder who is more desperate for power between the APC and the PDP. Mr. Okechukwu and the APC should then be more pious and politically correct than the PDP by sticking to a southern presidential ticket. But abandoning the south and looking up north, thus copycatting the PDP, leaves him and his party at no better moral position than the former. And if indeed President Buhari has a 12 million votes bank, why would not the APC just sit back, ask the him to open his vote bank and give his party the 12 million it claims is there? The truth is that pragmatic politicians like the Chairman of the party, Senator Abdullahi Adamu, knows very well that those votes are no longer there. They have been washed away by seven years of Buhari’s presidency to the extent that today you cannot find again him appearing on the poster of any northern candidate—from counsellor to president.

People like the APC National Chairman knows that losing power in Nigeria is “next in agony only to Day of Judgement,” as the Chairman of PDP in Bauchi State put it with all seriousness at the party’s stakeholders meeting way back in 2020. The APC National Chairman was himself a PDP Governor. He is only being honest. Rather than give the ticket to a southerner when the party has failed northerners by the low performance of the President and lose the election to a northern PDP candidate, he is ready to throw away the moral costume of zoning and save the party and its members a day of judgement on earth. He honestly knows that today Northerners are not safe and comfortable enough to brave a southern presidency. They are not at all in a gentleman’s mood of 1999.

In its choice of a northern candidate, we all expect the APC under Senator Adamu to be ruthlessly surgical. He knows well that former Vice President Atiku Abubakar and Governors Bala Mohammed, Aminu Tambuwal and Bukola Saraki are there to break into the “12 million vote bank,” and selecting a less renowned candidate in the APC means apocalypse for the party in 2003.

Coming to the north, the APC would naturally go for someone more appealing to the electorate than just a shared regional identity. Afterall, nobody can be more northern than the Turaki of Adamawa, the Kauran Bauchi, or the Mutawallen Sokoto. APC needs someone who is both northern, undoubtedly, and who can sweep the votes as certain as tomorrow’s sunrise in its favour, someone who has the additional quality that northerners always crave for: a penchant for the common man, a bent for justice and, now, after the sad experience of Buhari, a brave performer who cannot sacrifice the north for any other region and who can arrest the unprecedented level of insecurity and underdevelopment in the region with the courage of a warrior. In short, he must be the athlete who, right from when the gun is fired, when the candidates emerge, give the PDP a good run for its money, making the elections conclusive before they even take place.

This is where Professor Zulum comes into APC presidential equation. Than him there is not an APC candidate today in the north who can foot the above bill better for the party. It is a pervasive perception in the north that he is honest, brave, courageous, competent, down to earth, no-nonsense, empathetic—the embodiment of northern perception of an iconic leader and thus to the Machiavellian APC, the perfect Tyson who, on a good day, to knockout the PDP with a bloody nose within few seconds of the match. Few northerners, if any, can bet their dime against this. I am not doubting that there are candidates that can perform as well as Zulum in the PDP. However, politics, they say, is about perception. It favours Zulum. Add to it the incumbency privileges of the CBN, INEC, Aso Villa and other uncountable resources of government.

Zulum has therefore found himself in the position of many other unintentional candidates who ruled this country before: Tafawa Balewa, 1976 Obasanjo, Shagari, 1984 Buhari, 1999 Obasanjo, Yar’adua, and Jonathan. He has not bought the form yet, even as I write this article. That is not to say that there have not been behind the scene consultations on the matter between him and the Party. There must have been some. But it was getting late as at yesterday. Hence the cabinet dissolution—I continue to think.

If our speculation on this emergency is correct, Zulum has to rush and dissolve the cabinet because there is no gubernatorial candidate of APC in his Borno State and INEC is adamant on its June 6 deadline for parties to submit the names of their candidates. Going beyond 6 May means that in case Zulum is contesting for the Presidency—which many strongly believe he will be conscripted by his party to do at the dying minute—no member of his cabinet would succeed him because they will not be able to meet the one-month statutory requirement of quitting any political appointment before the party’s primaries.

That is why as soon as I heard yesterday that he has dissolved his cabinet, I heard the sound of the last pin drop in the dark, quiet night of my supposition, 500 km from Maiduguri . Otherwise, it is not in the style of the tall, straight-forward professor to dissolve a cabinet this late in his tenure. With it done now, his cabinet members and indeed any other APC member in Borno can aspire to contest the seat of the Governor.

Zulum is coming.

Dr. Aliyu U. Tilde
6 May 2022


Emotional Farewell: Staff Bid Adieu to Departing Executive at FCTA




By Bala Ibrahim.

In Arabic, the name Najeeb means the Distinguished, the Noble or the Outstanding. The Arabic dictionary says if you’re seeking a name with inherent star power, Najeeb will make for a lovely fit. It is the masculine respelling of the Arabic favorite, Najib, which stands for the Distinguished.

Yesterday, Friday, 29/09/2023, I had reason to write on one of the 21 Chief Executives at the Federal Capital Territory Administration, FCDA, that was relieved of his duty by Minister Nyesom Wike. As of the time of writing the article, I hadn’t any inkling about his name or the company he headed. Within minutes of the release of my article, responses came in torrents, giving the name, the agency he headed, his state of origin and an addendum, spelling out his personal qualities which people admire. These include honesty, generosity, courage and selflessness. His name was given as Najeeb, Najeeb Abdulsalam, whose sojourn as the Managing Director of the Abuja Urban Mass Transit Company, AUMTC, was cut short by the Minister of the FCT, barely three months on the saddle. I was made to understand that Najeeb came from Danbatta, in my native Kano state. In short, Najeeb Abdulsalam was described by many as a man of noble character. The encomiums were so encouraging that they gave me the justification for this follow up article.

For starters, I must make it very clear that the mission of the article is not in any way meant to support Najeeb for reasons of nepotism, not at all. I wrote without even knowing his name or where he came from. I was only touched by the show of uncommon support, solidarity and the sincere sentiments from those he led, alongside the testimonials of those that know him.

His staffers’ account gave the picture of an Officer and a Gentleman, with commitment to discharging correctly, the work he was assigned. Some of the staff that served under him were even volunteering to go with him, should the Government refuse to reverse the termination of his appointment. It is not surprising, because the name Najeeb is meant to go with a certain degree of nobility. Indeed I know some Najeebs, and truly all of them are noble and outstanding. One of the testimonies I received about Najeeb Abdulsalam is thus:

“I can proudly say that I was part of the overwhelming success he recorded during his 3 months+ long tenure at the agency. A friend and a business associate of mine financed the supply of spare parts and supervised the repairs of 37 number buses of the agency. The repairs are almost concluded with about 5 more buses to go out of the Lot. I managed the whole transaction on behalf of my friend. If merit was a yardstick for appointment into public office, Najib would have received a merit award instead of having himself unceremoniously sacked from office by the HMoFCT Bar. Nyesom Wike”.

Another one says: “Individuals like this should be fished out by the leadership of Government and celebrated to serve as an encouragement for others to perform well, Najeeb is highly disciplined and upright individual that I know, being a former Local Government Chairman twice”.

If the society sees traits like integrity, honesty, courage, loyalty and fortitude as the virtues of good behavior or character, then people like Najeeb Abdulsalam should be among the cardinals of the system. Three out of the 8 point agenda of President Tinubu are, Job creation, Adherence to the rule of law and the Fight against corruption. With people like Najeeb Abdulsalam at work, I see Asiwaju’s ambition as a fait accompli.

The Abuja Urban Mass Transport Company Limited (AUMTCO), where Najeeb Abdulsalam was heading up till last week, was established by the then Ministry of Federal Capital Territory, which had a change of name to the Federal Capital Territory Administration (FCTA) in 1984, as Abuja Bus Service (ABS). It later mutated to Abuja Urban Mass Transport Company Limited, AUMTC. The ambition is to implement an environmentally friendly and sustainable Urban public transport system in the FCT, for effective, comfortable, safe, regular, efficient and affordable transport service delivery. The company has had a sizable turnover of chief executives, who served for years at various times, but according to insiders, non came near Najeeb Abdulsalam in performance. And he was only there for three months.

On his first day in office as the Minister of the FCT, Bars. Nyesom Wike promised to restore the national capital’s master plan by cleaning up the metropolis, instilling orderliness and ensuring infrastructural reforms, which were destroyed by decades of corruption, incompetence, carelessness and impunity. If the Minister is serious about matching words with action, people like Najeeb Abdulsalam should not be removed from the saddle.

Najeeb’s antecedents have given Kano state additional magnificence, especially when put alongside the recent story of Auwalu Salisu, the 22-year-old commercial tricycle operator in Kano, who returned the sum of N15 million, forgotten by a Chadian commuter in his tricycle.

The Minister of State in the FCT, Mariya Mahmoud Bunkure is an indigene of Kano. She must rise up to the challenge, by waking up to smell the coffee. The country needs people with integrity to manage it. And in Najeeb Abdulsalam, I see a glimpse of such noble-mindedness.

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Kano State Education In 100 Days-Muazzam



Governor Abba Kabir Yusuf

Let me begin by refreshing our memory with the popular saying of the African Independence Revolutionary Nelson Mandela who said, “Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world.” This is a clear testimony that any nation which wants to progress and have an independent life must make education its priority in governance.

This important reason is what led Engr. Rabiu Musa Kwankaso’s Administration in the years 1999-2003 and 2011-2015 to introduce a primary school pupil feeding program, providing them with free uniforms, canceling school fees, introducing the payment of SSCE fees to Secondary School Students, establishing State Universities, and offering overseas scholarships to outstanding indigent students to study in different disciplines. Today, many of these students have recorded tremendous achievements and are contributing their best to the state, Nigeria, and overseas.

His Excellency Engr. Abba Kabir Yusuf promised during his campaigns that he would continue from where his Leader Engr. Rabiu Musa Kwankwaso left off. Education was made a priority in his blueprint, being the first, second, and third agenda items. This was stated by H.E Engr. Rabiu Musa Kwankwaso several times and was reiterated in the RMK 2023 Blueprint, page 3: “Education is a public good, we shall ensure, through the correct reforms and investment, that all our schools provide the appropriate quality education to our citizens…”

The first assignment of Engr. Abba Kabir on education was in primary education. He conducted a special investigation on AGILE, a program that supports girls’ child education. He selected 19 LGAs for the program and disbursed the sum of N917 million to benefit 45,850 female students. Unfortunately, this World Bank-supported project didn’t receive the required attention and results until now. One may inquire from 23/6/2023, when the program was launched until today, about how many female children are enrolled in school, especially in rural communitiesThe results would be certainly amazing.

Secondary school students in Kano State are in joyful moments after the Executive Governor of Kano State paid their NECO fees. The previous APC administration had abandoned the examination fees of 55,000 students, but they turned a deaf ear towards the end of their administration. To save the students from this quagmire, the Kano State Government ordered the release of N1 billion to ensure they were eligible for the examination. It might interest you to know that 11 boarding schools were abandoned in the past administration, and N79,284,538 million was released for their renovation and reopening during the 5th State Executive Council.

On 23/8/2023, the Executive Governor of Kano State, Engr. Abba Kabir Yusuf, approved the payment of N700 million to 7000 Kano indigent students at Bayero University, Kano. He also approved the renovation of pedestrian bridges at Bayero University, Kano, Sa’adatu Rimi University, Kano, and Aminu Kano College of Islamic and Legal Studies, Kano, which were abandoned since 2015. We have another great effort where 131 Kano indigent students have been approved to travel overseas for a Master’s Scholarship Program sponsored by the Kano State Government.

This is a clear indication that the Education Sector has been made a priority in the first 100 days under the Leadership of the NNPP in Kano State. During the past APC administration, releasing funds for the Education Sector to cater to its immediate needs was not easy. They were more inclined to demolish school structures to transform them into shops, plazas, event centers, or recreational facilities. This behavior drove donor agencies and organizations to neighboring states like Katsina and Jigawa State to fulfill their charitable gestures.

We have reason to thank the Almighty Allah for these wonderful and generous gestures. We believe and hope that the first year of H.E Abba Kabir Yusuf’s administration will bring back the lost glories in the education sector in Kano State, Northern Nigeria, and the country at large, In Shaa Allah (God willing).

Ibrahim Mu’azzam Senator SSA Public Affairs to the Kano State Governor

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In my piece of August 23rd, 2023 titled “Blackmail Against Judiciary and Threat to Kano’s Security”, I brought to the fore the position of Kano State Governor, Abba Kabir Yusuf, owing to comments on Radio made by his Broadcast Media Aide, Abdullahi tanko Galadanchi. From those comments, the Governor counted on nothing to achieve victory, other than bribing the Honourable Judges of the Tribunal. This position was further affirmed by a leaked audio attributed to a Political Mobilization Aide for Kano South, who advised the Secretary to the State Government to ensure that all funds are channelled to procuring favourable judgement, even if to the detriment of the state, he emphasised. The Secretary to the State Government also, in his speech to mark 100 days of the government in office, attributed the administration’s failure to fulfil some of its promises to paucity of funds caused by enormous expenditure related to the proceedings of the Election Petition. Summarily, the administration has in its dwarfed wisdom, stylishly legitimised efforts to procure judgement through emotional blackmail, all of these came on the back of threats to lives of Tribunal Judges, and threats of making Kano a field of cultivation of lifeless bodies through anarchy and banditry.The administration of Abba Kabir Yusuf is indeed always clever by half; I predicted the ouster of some appointees that outwardly made heated, inciting or compromising statements, however in its narrow foresight, the government sacked only two out of numerous appointees that danced to an obviously authorised drum and song. We saw the Secretary to the State Government on video, accompanied by some Commissioners, threatening fire and brimstone, saying unambiguously in Hausa that “duk wanda ya taba mana zabe a Kano, sai dai uwarsa ta haifi wani”. This is the worst form of debasement that government has ever been brought to in the history of Kano State. The most senior appointed official of government threatening lives of Honourable Judges is indeed worrisome to every sane mind. Of course, tens of appointees followed suit thereafter, expressing intentions to wreck unprecedented havoc in the event of an unfavourable judgement, one after the other, we listened as they clawed at imaginary straws and have continued to sank even lower into abyss. In the case of self-acclaimed rufflers of feathers, Kperoogi and Naja’atu, it is funny that they missed the threats to lives of Honourable Judges and did not pay attention to government officials threats to make Kano worse than a banditry-torn Zamfara and Katsina; rather they only found their sense and logic in seeking a court to defend the indefensible and become father Christmas by granting Abba and NNPP that which they did not ask of the Court. Their illogical logic did not cause them to realise that APC in its petition raised numerous issues around non-compliance, and the NNPP even after its poor defence (due mainly to its complicity in the matter), failed to file any counter against the APC to cause us to have to defend the lawfulness of our votes. Yet, Kperoogi and Naja’atu believe that the court should have fed Abba & NNPP in their mouths, since Kwankwaso has made that a birth-right of theirs. In her comments, Naja’atu also exclaimed that if elections were to hold in Kano today, Abba would win by a landslide; this same woman not too long ago said the same of Atiku Abubakar, and we all recall how badly he was trounced in her home state of Kano.One would imagine that Kwankwaso, Abba & NNPP would have learnt a lesson or two from the irreparable damage the recent loss in court has caused them. Unfortunately, Abba through his mouthpiece, Bature, has come out to claim that the Honourable Judges might have been made to give judgement under duress. This speaks volumes of the failure of the Abba administration to see what is placed right before them, right in front of their noses. The Honourable Judges in their submissions have outrightly made clear the reasons why they chose to pronounce judgement via zoom, and it is the fault of none but those who demonstrated an uncultured, recalcitrant and violent tendency by threatening lives of judges and peace of the entire state, in the event of a loss. Let me do Abba and Bature a favour of asking them to read page 226 of the judgement, and frankly undertake an introspection exercise before engaging the public on such a matter again. Since I know you both may still be in slow recovery from the reality check dished by the Tribunal, I will assist you with some of the painfully piercing lines; “I use this opportunity to condemn the gang of Red Cap wearers… I am in no doubt that the security Agencies know and are aware of those who removed their eyes from their case and put it on the Judiciary. They are also aware of those who extended the threat further by declaring that THEY WILL KILL THE JUDGES. THIS THREAT MUST NOT BE SWEPT UNDE

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