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Opinion

Nigeria under Bondage of Corrupt Leaders

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Yusuf

 

By Yusuf Shuaibu Yusuf

The essay though not historical one, to fully understand the quagmire and chaos Nigeria stumbled into, one has to contemplate and flashback the emergence of the country as a sovereign nation and the immediate events that led to its development. Only then would one asses its present malady and profer a possible remedy to it.

A former British colony, situated in West Africa and occupying a total area of 9237770km² and total coastline of 853km, Nigeria, a multi culturally diverse nation, is the most populous African country with enormously vast natural resources. The country which attained its independence in 1960, has alternately been ruled by both military and civilian governments until 1999 when Abdussalamu Abubakar, a military head of state himself, finally handed over power to the elected civilian government, starting from Olosegun Obasanjo,down to Yar’Adua, through to Goodluck Ebele Jonathan and finally to the incumbent president Muhammadu Buhari. And this has been the longest time, so far, the country has ever witnessed the uninterrupted civilian rules since its inception.

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There is a need to elaborate on the word ‘corruption’ as it would recurrently feature in the subsequent paragraphs. Corruption is an umbrella term for any action that deviates from what is right. This includes election misconduct, misappropriation of public funds, exam malpractice, nepotism, favouritism, bribery, tribalism, regionalism, religious bigotry and whatnot. In 2012, Nigeria was reported to have estimatedly lost over $400 billion to corruption since its independence.

“The trouble with Nigeria is simply and squarely a failure of leadership. There is nothing basically wrong with the Nigerian land or climate or water or air or anything else. The Nigerian problem is the unwillingness or inability of its leaders to rise to the responsibility, to the challenge of personal example which are the hallmarks of true leadership.” Chinua Achebe.

The total decay and degeneration, we, therefore, see today and for which change we crave and dream of, hasn’t been something natural or fortuitous, but rather the outcome of train of corrupt leaders who have generation after generation, misgoverned the country, mismanaged and looted its vastly enormous wealth, divided and disunited its citizens,for their political benefits, along ethnic, religious and regional divides, thereby sowing the seed of hatred and distrust among its citizens who have, already, been culturally diverse in nature. Thus, the vast natural resources meant to develop our social and physical infrastructures and also to create business friendly environment in order to attract foreign investors, become a loot to be plundered by the cycle of our political class and their cronies. The politics, therefore, becomes attractively lucrative where only the rich can invest directly or indirectly through sponsoring their own candidature or that of their ‘boys’ to contest for political offices with the sole aim of yielding profit through bogus contracts. Law and order, which is supposed to be binding on all the citizens, becomes a thing for the poor while the rich and political elites can, at will, trample on the laws with impunity. By virtue of nepotism, regional or political sentiments, the dull-brained are privileged over the intelligent and the mediocre over the competent when it comes to employment, promotion or appointment.

As Chinue Achebe has aptly said” Nigeria is what it is because its leaders are not what they should be.” This claim has made it obvious that if leaders are good and competent, all other thing would fall in place and if leaders are bad and corrupt all other institutions would decay, crumble and become disorderly. It would manifest to anyone, upon little reflection, that a bad leadership affects all the existing institutions in a country, the way cancerous cells affect the entire system of the body as exemplified in Nigeria. It’s now evident that the perennial bad and corrupt leadership has virtually infiltrated and permeated all our social institutions. This cancer has eaten deep into the fabric of our existence, turning our country on its head.The ultimate outcome and the effect of this age long corruption is that Nigeria has fallen short of the prerequisite to reach world standard in almost all aspects of human endeavour, simply, because the vast resources designed to develop any such aspect are diverted and stolen by the same people who have assigned such projects in the first place.

Consequently, our educational and health sectors are in shambles. And unfortunately, the same politicians who have jeopardized and stagnated these sectors will, when the need arises, fly to developed countries for medical reasons or education of their children.
Failure of the governnment to provide job oppurtunities or create an enabling environment for the foreign investors to boost our industries has rendered our teeming youths jobless and possible recruits for the underworlds. The best brains who could be employed in Nigeria to develop the country but denied, perhaps because of their poor connection with the political class, daily, go to abroad seeking for a higher paid jobs while some of them who decide to remain in the country engage in any sort of crime to grasp quick money. No wonder Nigeria is notoriously popular in scamming and other sorts of cyber crimes. Our economic reality is so hostile that even the semi literate and the illiterate ones have, on daily basis, now jumped on the bandwagon and leave the country, for Arab world to perform domestic services and other odd jobs or seek asylum in Europe, masquerading themselves as refuges. In fact, there has never been an exodus of Nigerians into the foreign soils as we are witnessing today.

Insecurity is another grave issue Nigeria has to deal with. Our security framework has been politicized and corrupt as recruitments or promotions are allegedly not often done on merit. Another yet sad development is the way this deliberately lingering insecurity becomes a source of stealing in Nigeria. Just like the endless lies surrounding the provision of steady power supply, the issue of insecurity has created an avenue where our politicians and allegedly high ranking military officers unaccountably steal money putting the lives of the millions Nigerians at risk. This, has in consequence, made our military framework porous, exposed and very vulnerable. There have been many outcries and demands by junior military ranks, in their endless war against Bokoharam, for the short of manpower, lack of sophisticated weapons. Despite huge investment by the government in this sector, our senior military officers still complain about underfunding as being the reason of the dragging of the war . The lack of readiness, caused by corruption, by the government to tackle the issue of insecurity, squarely, is what has led to the emergence of the deadlier variant of Bokoharam in Northeastern part of Nigeria, which has now expanded its onslaught towards North central part of the country. The issue of IPOB, which on daily basis, wreck havoc on innocent Nigerians and Niger Delta militants still remain a matter of serious concern. The recent insecurity challenges which have also gone out of hand are the issues of banditry and kidnapping. The notoriety of bandits and kidnappers have caused the loss of lives and property and rendered ten of thousands innocent Nigerians homeless. The sad accounts of rapes, tortures and huge money given as ransoms to these gangsters are no longer top stories in our daily papers. In the same vein,The police who is supposed to inspire confidence and treat people with cordiality and sociability often do exactly the opposite.The tags: ‘Police is your friend’ or ‘Bail is free’, by the police organization, is as annoying as it is ridiculous. Those who have once been charged by the police or been to police station to bail out a friend or a relative would understand what I mean. The masses, therefore, lose their confidence in the police organization and no longer see the police as their friends but mere extortionists.

Knowing that our judicial system is compromising, knowing that they would bribe their way when arrested, many Nigerians have become grossly indiscipline. The attitudes of jumping the queues and smoking in public places have become a norm in Nigeria. Violating traffic laws on our main roads is no longer seen as a crime by some Nigerians. There have been different campaigns, by different governments, over the years to end these unwholesome trends. But these attempts have always proved abortive, perhaps, the people enacting the laws and the law enforcers are wanting in discipline too. Dallying and disrespecting time has become deeply ingrained in our attitude. In fact, I have never seen or heard about any African country where ‘African Time’ has been normalized like Nigeria. Coming to public offices late and closing early have become widespread almost all over the country.

I have a dream that one day our vast resources would be channelled towards boosting our economy and developing our social and physical infrastructures such that Nigeria could be competing with the rest of the world in science and technology, such that people from different part of the world would be coming to Nigeria to study or to seek medical attention.
I have a dream that one day Nigerians would rally around and vote for the people with competency and capacity irrespective of religion, region or tribe, a dream that all Nigerians would come under the same umbrella of patriotism and sing the song of unity and brotherhood.

I have a dream that one day any Nigerian would be judged according to his personal character not his identity, that any Nigerian would decide to live in any part of the country and exercise their full rights, feeling safe and at home.

I have a dream that one day Nigerians would stop seeing politics as money making industry but as an avenue to serve people in order to leave behind a good legacy, a dream that Godfearing and incorrupt people would be the ones to lead the country, the outcome of which is an ideal society where the yearnings and aspirations of the poor are represented and realized. Such was the ideal society longed and struggled for by Malam Aminu Kano and his fellow patriotic comrades until their last breaths. Malam Aminu Kano once said: “Anyone who wants to lead should be the servant not the boss of those he wants to serve”.

I have a dream that one day every Nigerian, poor or rich, would be treated equally before the law, a dream that every Nigerian would have equal access and opportunity to education, employment and promotion, the ultimate goal of which is a perfect environment where competence and hard work pay, where merit is privileged over any other sentiment.

I have a dream that Nigerian military, police and other security operatives would one day be well manned and equipped so that they could rise to the bedevilling security challenges facing the country, that the police tags of ‘POLICE IS YOUR FRIEND’ OR ‘BAIL IS FREE’ would have their true meanings.

I have a dream that one day Nigerians, both the leading and the led would have respect for the law, out of patriotism and love for the country, a dream that Nigeria would have discipline leaders who would be leading by example, a dream that Nigeria would one day become a discipline and decent country.
I have a dream that one day Nigeria would prosper in peace and tranquility, a dream that terrorism, banditry and militancy would vanish, a dream that a person could travel to any part of the country, feeling secured.

Finally, I have a dream that Nigeria would regain her lost glory and pride and take her right place in the world stage.

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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