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Opinion

The imperative of a Muslim-Muslim ticket for APC

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Bola Ahmad Tinubu

 

Abdussamad Jibia

The All Progressive Congress (APC) is no doubt a party that brings together some of the most outstanding politicians in Nigeria. However, what makes the APC most attractive is the fact that it is in power. It seized this power from the PDP, a party that ruled Nigeria for 16 years and adjudged to be a failure by majority of Nigerians including their President, Alhaji Muhammadu Buhari. That is why despite all the shortcomings of the APC Federal Government and the economic and security challenges confronting them, Nigerians do not see PDP as the solution.

One manifestation of the interest Nigerians have in the APC is the occupation of social media discussions, radio and television programmes and interpersonal group discussions by the APC Presidential ticket. Last week, Asiwaju Bola Ahmad Tinubu, a devout Muslim from Lagos won the APC Presidential primary election with a landslide to qualify as the party flag bearer in the February 2023 presidential election. As is the tradition, Alhaji Tinubu, a southerner is expected to pick a Northerner as his running mate that shall serve as the Vice President in the event that the party succeeds in winning the presidential elections.

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But there is also another tradition. Christian flagbearers usually pick Muslim running mates and Muslim flagbearers pick Christian running mates. The examples are many. In fact, since the Nigeria’s return to party politics that has been the case. First it was Obasanjo/Atiku, then Yaradua/Jonathan followed by Jonathan/Sambo and now Buhari/Osinbajo. But in all these examples, the Muslims are Northerners and the Christians are southerners. There is no problem, since it can be said with a good degree of accuracy that Christians are the majority in the South and a negligible minority in the North.

Now, should Asiwaju pick a Northern Nigerian Christian as his running mate? I listened to many arguments. The Governor of Kaduna state Mallam Nasiru Elrufai, for example, said religion does not matter in the choice of a running mate. What matters, according to him, is competence. This argument is faulty considering that fact that democracy is about the choice of the majority, a choice characteristically influenced by many factors that include ethnicity, religion, gratifications, etc. in our country. If it is just about merit, candidates would be selected based on their performance in a standard examination on governance organized by my colleagues in Political sciences.

The CAN position is the most uncouth and uncivilized. This group of Nigerians think they have the monopoly of violence and always use threats instead of valid logic. If their position were backed by sound logic all they have to do is to present their arguments to Nigerians including Christians and non-Christians like every other individual and group does and the rest shall be for Nigerians to judge. Again, in politics threat is the language of someone who has no one to influence and it is obvious that Nigerian peace-loving Christians have lost faith in CAN and are no longer influenced by its rantings.

The fact is, any step taken by a political party preparing for an election is carefully taken to attract majority votes from the electorates. This includes choice of its flagbearer and their running mate, its manifesto which unfortunately majority of Nigerian voters do not read, its campaign strategy, etc.

Now, who are the majority voters in Northern Nigeria and what is their relationship with the minority? What would happen to the chances of APC if this majority realizes that the party is succumbing to threats like that of CAN to select its running mate? Is it by force to vote for the ruling party afterall? Can’t they look and vote for an alternative?

Religion was not captured in the 2006 census but we can have a good idea of the Muslim:Christian ratio in the North by considering the ratio of elected politicians in the North. Of the 19 elected governors in the North, 16 are Muslims representing 84.2 % while three are Christians representing 15.8 % in the North and 8 % nationwide. Of the 58 senators from the North, nine are Christians representing 15.5 % in the North and 9 % in the entire country. In the North Central geopolitical zones, there are more Muslims than Christians. Four of the six elected governors in the North Central are Muslims with the other two being Christians.

The meaning of these figures is that Northern Christians are a very small minority compared to their Northern Muslim compatriots. Their number is even much smaller when the country is considered as a whole, and much smaller if we take into cognizance the fact that most Christians in the North would not vote for APC regardless of its flagbearer or his running mate. You may wish to look at the voting pattern of Benue, Taraba and Southern Kaduna.

Over the years, activities of groups like CAN have set Northern Christian minority against the Muslim majority. It is so bad that in any Northern Nigerian community where Christians are the majority, the story is that of hate and violence against Muslims. The examples are many. For example, as I am writing this piece, there is no single Muslim left in Tafawa Balewa, the hometown of the first Nigerian prime minister. The few Muslims who have not been killed have migrated to Bauchi and other places. Incidentally, that is the constituency of Yakubu Dogara, one the Northern Christians being mentioned in the selection of a running mate for the APC flagbearer. In the event Dogara becomes the running mate of Asiwaju, the question every Northern Nigerian Muslim would ask is, is it compulsory for me to vote for my killer?

Other examples of Christian communities known for their violence against Muslims are Plateau state and southern Kaduna. Over the last several decades, whole Muslim communities have been attacked and nearly wiped out in these places. When commissions of enquiry are set up, the grievances of the Northern Christians have always been that they are dominated by emirs, their great grandparents were enslaved, they are not given opportunities, etc.

Muslims have made many overtures in states where they have the majority in order to take Christians along and make them feel at home. An example of this is Kaduna state. It has always been ensured that the Deputy Governor of Kaduna is a Christian even though a Muslim-Muslim ticket can win with a landslide as demonstrated in 2019. To give Christian maximum opportunity, Muslim politicians were once suppressed to allow for a Christian to become the governor. Where in the whole of Christian world has this ever happened? To address their complaints of being traditionally ruled by emirs, chiefdoms were created for them by Makarfi administration. It was after all these overtures that the same people killed over 1000 Muslims on one day in Zonkwa. Those who are saying that appointing a Christian as the running mate of Asiwaju would bring Christians and Muslims closer are probably not aware of this.

Compare the case of Kaduna with that of Plateau. Plateau has a population of Muslims equivalent to the population of Christians in Kaduna state. Yet, a Muslim has never been a Deputy Governor, much less a Governor of that state. Attacks on Muslim communities in Plateau and Southern Kaduna only ceased because of the Fulani herders who, unlike the Hausa, would always revenge when they are attacked. When the intolerant Christians realized that it is a war they cannot win they had to declare peace.

That does not mean Muslim travelers are not intercepted in Plateau and massacred. We are very much aware of the murder of General Idris Alkali by Lafendeg non-Muslims. Somehow, all the suspects arrested have been released due to the influence of the Governor, Simon Bako Lalong. We saw how he was running up and down between the state house and Defence headquarters to make sure that the culprits were not punished and not even a fly of Plateau state has been convicted due to the murder of General Idris, a high profile Muslim General.

Those who are pushing for Lalong to become Asiwaju’s running mate are probably ignorant of this. If Lalong who is only a Governor can successfully follow up to make sure that murderers of Muslims are not punished, what would happen if tomorrow he sits as the Acting President with full control of the security apparatus of the country and a similar thing happens?

Now take Babachir and the more charismatic Boss Mustapha. Both of them are from Adamawa state and were appointed by Mr. President only because he is Buhari, the darling of Northerners. The only question I have here is that do they have the political strength to defeat Atiku in their state. Certainly no. Outside Adamawa, other rules apply.

This writeup is not meant to malign any politician. All the Christian politicians I have mentioned above have APC dear to their heart and wouldn’t like to see it lose at the polls. That is also the intention here.

Northern Nigerian Christians have not adequately prepared themselves for elections at National level due to unnecessary inferiority complex and hate towards their Muslim neighbours. Of course there are very good ones among them as no rule exists without exception. However, collective behaviour of a community is used to assess a people anywhere.

For now, Northern Christians may wish to set their house in order and plan for the future. Elections are not won by threats but by careful planning and building bridges.

Professor Abdussamad Umar Jibia
14/06/2022

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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