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The Aftermath Of Arresting And Calling An Accountant To Account

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Ahmad Idris,AGF

 

By Bala Ibrahim.

Nigeria is in trouble, but perhaps many would not understand until later, because, calling an accountant to account, comes with chronic consequences, especially for PMB, who made the fight against corruption his major campaign focus. The breaking news last night, and one that is trending now is that, the Accountant-General of the Federation, Ahmed Idris, has been arrested.

According to reports, Ahmed Idris was arrested over alleged money laundering and diversion of at least N80 billion in public funds, which was allegedly laundered through some bogus contracts. N80 billion?

Am not good with maths, so I cant easily interpret the number of zeros that make up a billion, but my friend Cham Faliya Sharon, opined thus: “Looting N80bn! Money that is bigger than the annual budgets of some states! This Accountant General of the Federation has the same DNA with Diezani!”

Good God! Money bigger than the budgets of some states? Even though by law, the accused is presumed innocent until proven guilty, going by the words of the anti graft agency, EFCC, that the money was invested into real estate in Kano and Abuja using proxies, family members, and close associates, and that Mr Idris was summoned repeatedly for interrogation but evaded or failed to honour the invitations, alongside the doctrine of the balance of probability, which says that, a court would be satisfied that an event occurred if the court considers that, on the evidence, the occurrence of the event was more likely than not, one can say that his actions tantamount to a partial admittance of guilt.

We all know that it is the duty of the Accountant-General to carry out revenue monitoring and accounting, issue officially approved forms bearing Treasury numbers for use in all State MDAs and other arms of government to ensure uniformity, formulate the Accounting policy of the government, as well as service public debt and loans.

So in a weak capitalist economy like Nigeria, this is a very bad news, and I hope PMB would use it to convince the world that he means business in the fight against corruption.

Capitalism is often thought of as an economic system in which private actors own and control property in accord with their interests, and demand and supply freely set prices in markets in a way that can serve the best interests of the society.

But when the capital thrown into the market is stolen from the public treasury, and the public is expected to compete with such proceeds of corruption, there would be the failure of equality of outcome and that of equal opportunity. And the Economists have long told us that, inequality creates social divisions, and they come with chronic consequences.

In this case, the first consequence is the public perception about the fight against corruption by the Buhari administration. There would be a lot of allusions, one of which has since been advanced by Na-Allah Mohammed Zagga, thus:

“The man implementing IPPIS is now arrested by EFCC for alleged involvement in N80 billion fraud. The primary goal of IPPIS is to check fraud by promoting transparency. The success of any policy depends on the sincerity and integrity of those implementing it. As many critics have said, IPPIS is another name for the centralisation of corruption. They are now vindicated”.

Surely the arrest of the Accountant General would put to test the Key Performance Index, KPI, of PMB’s administration, because a good performance index should mix together elements that all genuinely contribute to the same measurable outcome and offer at a glance insight into a complex situation.

This situation is complex, because for sometimes, Nigeria has been operating under an economic policy that pretends to accomplish three policy goals: stable prices/exchange rate, full employment, and economic growth. All the three are being achieved in the reverse, but the Government is told something else, and the President seems not to be asking whether Nigeria is working with voodoo economics.

With the arrest of Idris, and the reports from the EFCC, we should know why the demand for the dollar is ever high and where the money is going to.

PMB needs to take a second look at his powers to delegate responsibilities to appointees, alongside the weakness or wickedness of the appointees to abdicate that responsibility. Delegating is entrusting a task to another person, while Abdicating is failing to fulfil that responsibility or duty. In the government of PMB, such complaint is abound. And it has the potential of affecting the President’s KPI.

The country is in trouble, but perhaps many would not understand until later, because, calling an accountant to account, comes with chronic consequences.

The President may need to borrow a leaf from what his colleague, Colonel Sani Bello rtd. did in Kano in the 70s, the audio of which is now viral, in a report compiled by Maude Rabiu Gwadabe. I have listened to the report and I see similarities between the allegations against the Accountant General, particularly with regards the issue of real estate, and the then cabinet members of late Audu Bako, which Lawal Haruna Ningi summed up thus:

“When Colonel Sani Bello took over as the Military Governor of Kano State from his predecessor Commissioner of Police Audu Bako, who ruled the state from 1970 to 1975.Col Sani Bello set up a high powered committee led by a Justice from the judiciary. In 1976, Col Sani Bello made CP Audu Bako, his commissioners, heads of department and even the rich people like Aminu Dantata to return houses, farms, vehicles, kickbacks on contracts, and every single Kobo misappropriated by Audi Bako, his cabinet and all government officials of his administration”.

Yes, in the aftermath of the arrest and call on the Accountant General to account, the media is awash with all manner of reports, including one by Sahara Reporters, titled, How Accountant-General, Idris Acquired Multi-Billion Naira Properties, Shared To Family Members, Secretly Married Teenage Girl Before Eventual Arrest By Anti-graft Agency.

Opinion

Alleged Conversion Of Almajiris To Christianity: Breaching The Constitution And Parental Neglect

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Abdulmutallib

 

Abdulmutallib Mukhtar

I read from today’s edition of Daily Trust how DSS rescued 21 almajiris from a house which is under the custody of ECWA church in Jos North. The almajiris were alleged to have been forcefully brought there from another state. After their rescue, the almajiris revealed how they were forced to learn and practise Christianity.

Keep aside the pluralism of Nigeria and remember how Plateau State has been suffering from crises for over two decades now. The major cause of these crises is undeniably attributable to religious divides.

Taking and camping children from another religion in the name of educating them without parental consent, especially when they’re forced to receive religious instructions, take part in or attend religious ceremony or observance different from their own religion, is an act that clearly violates Section 38(2) of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999 (as amended).

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Therefore, the act of the Evangelical church is constitutionally wrong. It is unacceptable in the eyes of the law. More so, looking at the situation in Plateau State, it is completely unthinkable for the church to camp Muslim almajiris without the consent of their parents or guardians and teach them Christianity or force them to attend church services. This act is akin to throwing an ember into a tank of fuel.

Looking at the issue from another angle, it behoves any fair pen to tell truth to the parents of these almajiris. The remote places in the North still view almajiri system as a good way of learning, merely because of its ancestral tint. It is highly condemnable seeing little children roaming about the streets of our cities day and night, begging for food in the name of learning. Looking at the slavish lifestyle of almajiris in Arewa, it will not be surprising if someone acts in the belief that the parents of these almajiris have disowned them.

More strange news would continue to hit the headlines as long as the almajiri system remains what it is today. As life changes, people must adjust to take better breath.

Abdul Mutallib Muktar

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Opinion

Running Mate:The Malady Of Making A Mindless Mistake

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Asiwaju Bola Ahmad Tinubu

 

By Bala Ibrahim.

According to the dictionary, a running mate is an election candidate for the lesser of TWO CLOSELY ASSOCIATED POLITICAL OFFICES. I put the phrase, two closely associated political offices in capital letters on purpose, so as to compel the reader comprehend the closeness in the connection and correlation between the office of the principal and his deputy or vice.

It is also my ambition to make the principal realize the expected reckoning of the electorate, with regards the running of the two offices and how the occupants behave towards each other.

In short, while the choice of a running mate may be within the absolute control of the principal, because he or she would be his or her deputy, the consequences of his or her mistake in making a careless choice, could come with a combatant calamity.

Former President Olusegun Obasanjo has been hammering upon the nemesis of such mistake since he left office in 2007, and I think as patriotic citizens, we owe it a duty to draw the attention of those that have been elected to lead, to be not only canny, but circumspect in the choice of their running mates, and here, more attention should go to Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu, the Jagaba of Borgu, and the presidential flag bearer of the ruling party, the APC.

While Alhaji Atiku Abubakar, the Waziri of Adamawa, had since named Dr. Ifeanyichukwu Arthur Okowa, the incumbent Governor of Delta State as his running mate, for the 2023 Presidential election, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu is still silent on who would be his authentic running mate in the battle.

In an attempt to beat the June 17 deadline for the submission of presidential and vice presidential candidates, some political parties submitted names of vice-presidential candidates or running mates, who they described as placeholders. The ruling APC and the Labour Party, LP, are the ones clearly caught in the web of this mess of a placeholder, in place of the running mate.

In the APC, Kabiru Masari, the party’s Welfare Secretary was named as the running mate to Jagaba, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu, while Dr. Doyin Okupe, the current Director General of the Peter Obi Presidential Campaign Council is submitted as the placeholder for Peter Obi, in lieu of a substantive running mate.

Whether the term placeholder would pass the legal test, and secure a place in Nigeria’s constitutional and legal framework, is a task for the legal barons, but as public analysts and commentators, our task is to harp on the merit of making a careful choice, and the malady of making a mindless mistake, through the careless choice of a running mate.

For some times I have seized to be a fan of Obasanjo, because of his penchant for ridiculing everyone, and his self-appointed position of being the best God given gift to Nigeria, but when a man or woman keeps lamenting endlessly, on an issue that touches on patriotism, or selfless devotion to the support for one’s country, it would be foolish to flout such a forewarning.

There is a Hausa proverb that says, “Idan kunne ya ji, to jiki ya tsira”, whose literal translation is, when the ear hears, the body is safe.

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As a war veteran, and an indisputable patriot, that is prepared to defend his country against enemies or detractors, Obasanjo’s position on
Nigeria is unchallenged. Of course he has his weaknesses, but compromising national unity is not amongst.

Chief Olusegun Mathew Okikiola Ogunboye Aremu Obasanjo was Nigeria’s military Head of State from 1976 to 1979 and later the elected President of Nigeria from 1999 to 2007. In between the two tenures at the top, he served as a prisoner, after being convicted by a secret military tribunal for plotting to overthrow the government of General Sani Abacha in 1995. On his release and pardon by the regime of Gen. Abdulsalami Abubakar, Obasanjo was washed into the PDP and promoted to the position of an elected President.

On the advise of his backers, Obasanjo chose Atiku Abubakar, as his running mate, or Vice Presidential candidate for the 1999 presidential election. Together, they emerged victorious, and ran the offices of the President and that of the Vice President almost in conformity with the dictionary ambition of the phrase, CLOSELY ASSOCIATED POLITICAL OFFICES.

However, pursuant to his satanic scheme for a third term in office, beyond the second term that should expire in 2007, which runs contrary to the provision of the constitution, and which Atiku Abubakar fought tooth and nail, the relationship between Obasanjo and Atiku has been everything but wholehearted.

As Nigerians await the final decision of Tinubu on who would be his running mate, Obasanjo, Tinubu’s kinsman, though one that always takes an opposite position, has once more voiced out his grief or sorrow, with special reference to the two mistakes he made in life. The first was the choice of his running mate , while the second was his refusal to accept an asylum when he was told that the late Head of State, Gen.Sani Abacha, wanted to arrest him.

We don’t know what repercussion would have come had he succeeded in the third term plot, which his running mate aborted, but he clearly paid on his refusal to accept an asylum abroad.

So on the subject of choosing a Vice Presidential candidate, and in order to avoid lucid lamentations, occasioned by the malady of making a mindless mistake, I would advise Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu, to discard his political disagreements with Obasanjo, and take serious the issue of who becomes his authentic running mate.

“Idan kunne ya ji, to jiki ya tsira”,

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Opinion

Nigeria And The Permanent Partnership With Paucity Of Power

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Bala Ibrahim

 

By Bala Ibrahim

We woke up to a bad news this morning, saying, the residence of a close friend was razed to the ground by fire in Kaduna. This is the second time within a short spell, and the same stroke of bad luck had similarly visited another residence of the same person in Katsina. God can’t be wrong, and only HE knows why, but the physically assessed cause is attributed to electric inverter malfunction.

In Nigeria, because of the permanent paucity of power, the use of electric inverters has since become a necessity, particularly with the high cost of diesel, that is making the use of generators almost impossible. Those who can afford it, are compelled to install electric inverters, that convert direct current to alternating current for power supply in the house or office.

But from the look of recent happenings, this alternative source of energy is coming at a high price, because of the frequent cases of fire, occasioned by the permanent paucity of power.

Because the Nigerian power sector is so problematic, on coming to power, PMB made a promise to overhaul the system for the better. As a result, billions of dollars were spent on power, and many ministers and technocrats have come and gone, but the result seems the same: permanent partnership with darkness.

Successive stakeholders in the resuscitation exercise have talked about the privatisation of the sector, in a way that would give flexibility to the introduced lexicons like the GENCOS, DISCOS and TCN, but alas, the result seems the same: permanent partnership with darkness. And now the frequent visits of fire.

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The mystery of power supply in Nigeria got to a point where a former Minister of Power, Zainab Kuchi, was once quoted as telling a South African delegation that evil spirits were preventing the country from achieving sustainable electricity supply. In her wisdom, Kuchi recommended that all hands must be on deck to collectively exorcise the demons in the sector.

“We must resolve to jointly exorcise the evil spirit behind this darkness,” –Kuchi.

But in spite of all the promises made, and the volume of money pumped, Nigeria seems to be moving from bad to worse in power supply, it seems.

I read somewhere, a statement credited to the PDP presidential flag bearer, Alh. Atiku Abubakar, viz:

“The darkness that has enveloped the nation in the last couple of days with the collapse of the national grid is a metaphor for the collapsing state of our nation: collapsing unity, collapsing security, collapsing economy, collapsing education, collapsing well-being and collapsing value of human life and dignity. My expectation is that Nigerians will collapse the ruling APC in kind via the ballot and enthrone a viable pathway for the New Nigeria of our dreams that will be united and stable, prosperous and awash with opportunities; secured and inclusive. As One, we can get it done”.

I also read some where, some remarks, credited to the General Secretary, Electricity Union of Nigeria, Joe Ajaero, which clearly comes like a direct response to the comments of Atiku, thus:

“17 OUT OF 18 COMPANIES YOU SOLD UNDER PRIVATIZATION IN 1999 ARE YET TO BREAK EVEN, YOUR THREE-POINT AGENDA IS DEAD ON ARRIVAL. Today Osogbo Steel Rolling Mill is a glorified warehouse, what has been the performance indices of Generation Companies (GenCos) and Distribution Companies (DisCos) in the last eight years? 17 out of the 18 enterprises Atiku sold in the power sector, none is yet to break even. The Federal government has pumped about N2 trillion as subvention to the privately owned companies in the power sector, yet power generation has nose-dived from 4,000MW to 2,000 MW in nine years”.

The Union was quick to describe the three-point agenda of Atiku Abubakar, whose ambition is the privatization of refineries, rail sector, transmission company of Nigeria (TCN) and breaking the monopoly of all other infrastructure operations, as dead on arrival, asking Atiku to tell Nigerians, how many of the over 60 enterprises privatized under his chairmanship of the National Council on Privatization (NCP) in 1999 are functioning optimally today.

However, in something reminiscent to a respite, the Chairman, Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC), Mr. Sanusi Garba, has announced to the press yesterday, that Nigerians would witness improved power supply from July 1st, following renewed efforts by industry stakeholders.

Garba said there was a meeting, which was attended by top officials of NERC, Transmission Company of Nigeria (TCN), Generation Companies as well electricity Distribution Companies, wherein an agreement was reached between the Gencos, TCN and the 11 DisCos that would guarantee the generation, transmission and distribution of an average of 5,000MW of electricity daily to customers effective July 1st. He said the contract would be binding on all the players across the sector’s value chain, with the stipulation of penalties for any party that defaults on the new arrangement.

How far the government would go in the fulfilment of this promise, remains to rescue the rift, between a miracle and a mirage.

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