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PMB Lands Softly On A Sofa Floor

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President Muhammad Buhari in a regimental toga during a farewell dinner by the Nigerian Army

 

This has been a week of reflection, introspection, and rumination. It’s the last full week of a journey that started eight years ago. And like Yoruba people say, if you can ponder, then you will wonder, and be filled with thanksgiving to God.

That was what Wednesday was dedicated to. Looking backwards, inwards, and forward, as the last Federal Executive Council meeting under President Muhammadu Buhari held. “This is the last that we shall dance together,” Wole Soyinka wrote in his work, Kongi’s Harvest.

Yes, dances do end, no matter how much you love to pirouette. You dance like butterfly and sting like a bee. It will end. You gyrate, whirl and spiral. Very good. It’s a delightful part of life. But then, there’s always the last dance. That’s what Luther Vandross sang about in Dance With My Father:

Back when I was a child
Before life removed all the innocence
My father would lift me high
And dance with my mother and me then
Spin me around till I fell asleep
Then up the stairs he would carry me
And I knew for sure I was loved

If I could get another chance
Another walk, another dance with him
I’d play a song that would never ever end
How I’d love, love, love to dance with my father again.

For Vandross and his father, the dance ended at a time. As it’s bound to be. Nothing lasts forever. Not the good. Not the bad. Not even life itself.

Reflections. That was what happened on Wednesday, as the Federal Executive Council meeting held for the last time under this administration. Such days had come for many governments in the past, and would also come in the future. It’s inexorable, as sure as night follows the day.

Each Minister, and Minister of State, was given time to speak on times and seasons under the Buhari administration. Some had been there since 2015, some others came in 2019, and yet others in 2021, after a minor cabinet rejig.

It was appreciation, eulogy and tributes to the President all the way. Not fawning praise singing, but factual appraisal of opportunity given to serve the country, and to make a difference.

Do you know that Ministers rarely spend four years in position, not to talk of eight years? But a lot did under Buhari, because he’s not a supercilious man, who just likes to sack for the kick he would get from it. Yes, some appointors love to play God over their appointees. They hire and fire at will, just because they have the powers. For some other leaders, it’s job for the boys. You serve for a year or two, and you are dropped, so that the largesse can go round. Not Buhari. Unless you fall short of the mark, you are caught with your hand in the cookie jar, or commit some other grave malfeasance, then you can be sure of a guaranteed time. You have been called to serve, and not to be ridiculed and humiliated out of office.

The Ministers went down the memory lane. And it’s been quite a journey, said the Minister of Justice/Attorney-General of the Federation, Abubakar Malami, SAN. He’s the longest serving in that position in history of the country. Just a few months short of eight years.

His summation: “With all sense of responsibility, we’ve left the country better than we met it.”

Senator Hadi Sirika was at first Minister of State, Transportation, and later full Minister in charge of Aviation. He said the English language was insufficient for him to say thank you to the President for the honor done him, allowing him to serve.

And he spoke about the non-interfering, non-intrusive style of the principal. He recalled when he was going to close the runway of the Abuja airport for many weeks, a momentous decision. President Buhari just listened to him patiently, and said: “Go and plan very well.” The job got done.

Professor Ali Isa Pantami, Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, told the President: “You are the best. We’ve learnt a lot from you, and we will forever be grateful.”

He said he came from a poor and deprived background, and he could never have sat in the hallowed Council Chamber, if not for someone like President Buhari.

“It’s the last FEC meeting, but we will continue to meet with you through our prayers,” he submitted.

Mohammed Bello, Minister of the Federal Capital Territory, said he was picked out of the blues, a testimony typical of most of his colleagues. And he is today the longest serving Minister in his portfolio. He also said the English language was inadequate to express his appreciation. So he borrowed an Hausa word the President loves to use: Madalla, meaning ‘well done, thank you, excellent.’

Dr Ramatu Aliyu, Minister of State, FCT, wondered how a minority from Kogi State, a woman, could have entered the Federal Cabinet, if not for a President who believes in equitable distribution of power. She called Buhari ‘Father of Nigeria’s Infrastructure Renaissance.’ True.

Mrs Zainab Shamsuna Ahmed, Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning, said what she and her colleagues had gone through was “PMB School of Governance,” saying the President never called her once to see anybody, or give anybody anything.

Minister of Foreign Affairs, Geoffrey Onyeama, glorified God for the restored and renewed health of the President, after the severe health challenge of 2017, which saw him in and out of hospital for about eight months.

“Your sterling leadership qualities are admired all over Africa, and, indeed, the world,” he declared.

All the Ministers spoke, but for want of space, let us adopt this highly applauded one from Dr Olorunnimbe Mamora, in charge of Science, Technology and Innovation:

“My intervention will commence on a note of gratitude to God by whose grace we are all alive and here to witness this glorious day. Next, is to thank you, Mr President, because our appointment as members of FEC is through your presidential benevolence. I am particularly grateful for being a member of this legacy team of your administration. You had earlier appointed me as MD, NIWA, and Minister of State for Health. A day like this is a day of thanksgiving, it is a day of reminiscences and it is a day of celebration of God’s faithfulness.

“Before proceeding further, please permit me to share a true life story on a lighter note. When I was Speaker in the Lagos State House of Assembly in 1999, as the presiding officer, I could sit for 5 – 6 hours without getting up from my seat. I was much younger then, but I cannot do that now that I am 70. After one of such sessions one day, some of my colleagues in the chambers walked to my seat at the platform searching underneath my table and I asked what they were looking for. They told me they came to find out whether I had a urinary catheter connected to a container under my table to explain my ability to sit for such long hours without the urge to go and ease myself.

“Mr Chairman Sir, I wonder how you are able to do the same at over 80! It’s simply incredible and can only be explained by your Spartan discipline. This Spartan discipline is one of the qualities that define you as a leader. I have observed you from a privileged position as one of your foot soldiers in the capacity of Deputy Director General of your Presidential Campaign both in 2015 and 2019. You are a man of calm disposition under any circumstance.

“In 2015 while wooing delegates for the presidential primaries, l sat with you in the car traversing several States from Kano to Bauchi, Kebbi, Zamfara and finally to Sokoto. The journey from Zamfara to Sokoto was in the night and the convoy was moving at neck breaking speed, so much that my heart was virtually in my mouth and skipping beats! Here was l sitting next to a General. I was so scared. Lo and behold, Oga was calm all through the journey without uttering a word on the driver’s speed! We arrived in Sokoto at about 12.30am!

“Mr President is a man of compassion and great humility. We had just finished the Presidential nomination convention at Teslim Balogun stadium in Lagos lasting from Wednesday night to early hours of Friday, about 2am. After delivering his acceptance speech, he left the podium and I thought Mr President had gone back to the hotel where we both came from. How wrong I was! He was sitting quietly in the car patiently waiting for me.

“When word came to me through Sarki Abba that Oga was waiting for me, I quickly rushed to join him in the car with a load of apology. He said “Distinguished Mamora, how could l have left you behind, when we rode in here together?” I felt greatly touched.

“Mr President has an uncommon sense of humor. At one of our virtual FEC meetings during COVID, following the presentation of a memo by the Aviation Minister, the Minister of Police Affairs was called to make his comment, having indicated to speak, but he was not available after repeated calls; Mr President then retorted, maybe he has gone for “Road block”!

“At another FEC meeting, while debating a memo on augmentation of the contract sum for the reconstruction of a particular road, the issue arose as to how Nigeria can maximise the use of local resources for road construction. Following an energetic submission by the Interior Minister, Mr President set up a Cabinet Committee to look into the matter. In his characteristic passion for what he believes in, the Interior Minister sought Mr President’s permission to be co-opted into the 3-member committee to which Mr President retorted, “Hon Minister of Interior, we do not need a passport for road construction!”

“Mr President, you have carefully put a great team together to assist you in the prosecution of your agenda for Nigeria, starting with Mr Vice President who has not only been truly Vice Presidential in words and deeds, but has combined professorial erudition with pastoral zeal. He heads the team of legal minds in FEC, whose contributions oftentimes illuminate and enrich debates at our meetings…

“Mr President and distinguished council members, I recall the comic relief always introduced to debate by the duo of Hon Minister of Works and Housing, and Hon Minister of Labour. Following the presentation of a memo on road construction and rehabilitation one day, by the Minister of Works and Housing, the Labour Minister said the Minister of Works has begged and lobbied him to sheath his sword and not attack his memo. He further said the Works Minister is an Ikate boy who migrated to Surulere. In his response, the Works Minister said the incessant strikes by the labour unions was caused by the Labour Minister who moved from Okija to Victoria Island in Lagos thereby giving the false impression that he has a lot of money. Hence Labour has been on strike with a view to benefiting from the Labour Minister’s wealth.

“The banters they throw at each other bring a lot of comic relief to the council chambers and they can be likened to “Tom and Jerry” of children’s comedy fame.

“Distinguished Council members, we have jointly served our country to the best of our abilities, hence we raise our hands in joyful adoration and shout “Thus far the Lord has helped us”! To God be the glory!

“Mr President, l join my colleagues and millions of your well wishers to congratulate you and Mr Vice President for the giant strides made under your eight-year presidency, your achievements, in the various sectors, already documented, will remain indelible in the annals of our nation’s history. You have finished well and strong. Yours has been a life of struggle but full of grace. Now is the time to take a bow and enjoy your well deserved rest.
Congratulations, Mr President and best wishes.”

Kizz Daniel and Tekno, in the popular song, Buga, said: “When I land I land softly on a sofa floor…” That is what is happening to President Buhari. Despite evil speaking, evil thoughts, false prophecies, lies, de-marketing from some quarters, the President is landing well, finishing strong. To Daura for a well deserved rest after serving the country for many decades. Awesome God.

And today is also our last dance on this platform, From the Inside, which has featured for many years, without failing for a single week. God be praised. And by His grace, we meet on another platform in the not too distant future.

So long. Au revoire.

*Adesina is Special Adviser to President Buhari on Media and Publicity

Opinion

Unveiling the Complexities Behind Kano’s Emirate Tussle-Abdullahi Dahiru

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Dr.Abdullahi Dahiru

Many people reduce the current Emirate tussle in Kano to a ‘selfish’ fight between Muhammad Sanusi II and Aminu Ado Bayero over the throne of Kano Emirate. They think the matter should not be given and importance by the government since the Emirs have no constitutional power and no roles specified in the constitution.

But the imbroglio is far more than that. When Ganduje decided to depose Muhammad Sanusi I I, he did other things that were inimical to the sarauta system that made the return of Sanusi II very much easy and desirable.

Ganduje decided to balkanize the Kano Emirate into five bew distinct entities. He then took a map and decided to allocate each Emirate some local government areas as districts without looking at history or and cogent consideration. Part of the problem he created was posting of the four Kano kingmakers out of the Kano Emirate to the new ones he created and hence becoming subservient to the new Emirs. Traditionally, the kingmakers are next in importance to the Emir. The kingmakers defied their new postings and the new Emirs expelled them and remove some of them from being district heads of ancestral homes in Dambatta, Wudil and Dawakin Tofa. There were other important district heads that did not pay allegience to the new Emirs and were also expelled from their districts.

After expulsion of the Madaki from Dawakin Tofa, one of Ganduje’s relation was appointed as the district head. Many important APC stalwarts were appointed as title holders in the new Emirates like Alhassan Ado Doguwa and Musa Iliyasu Kwankwaso. The new Emirates came with appointment of new title holders, district heads and recruitment of several palace officials. The new Emirate law allocated right to be appointed as Emirs to certain families excluding others that were equally heirs in some of the new Emirates. The budget to maintain the five Emirate increased significantly.

The government decided to construct new township roads in the headquarters of the new Emirates and elevated the ststus of General Hospitals there to specialist hospitals to show that the creation of the Emirates has brought development to the rural areas. But the specialists hospitals were there only in name because there was no single specialist working there. Government could have brought the same development without creation of the new Emirates.

The APC government campaigned that voting it into power will make the new Emirates survive but that didn’t help the party as it lost election in the headquarters of most of the Emirates.

The repeal of the law that balkanized the Kano Emirare that made it possible for Ganduje to depose Sanusi II was not only about returning Sanusi but redressing many anomalies that emanated from Ganduje’s previous Emirate laws. Since the repeal of the law and return of Sanusi II to the throne many district heads and the Kano kingmakers have returned to the leadership of their ancestral towns that were hitherto usurped from them.

Some people are complaining that Kano people are fighting over a throne that has no value. But are people really fighting in Kano? I don’t think so. People are going about their normal businesses. Nobody was beaten or injured since the imbroglio started. It is only legal tussles that are on going and the courts will decide on all petitions over time.

The sarauta system in Kano is about the people, their culture and history. There are people that considers it important even when many think it is just relics of the past. Those that are not interested in the institution should stop whining and leave the interested parties to persue what they consider important legally.

Abdullahi Dahiru Writes from Kano

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Opinion

Rivers Boils, Kano Simmer: Political Chaos and Federal Indifference

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Harun Muhammad

For those that have been following with a keen interest, Rivers politics has been intensely boiling for almost a year now. First, a state Governor losing a control of his entire cabinet members, and the State Assembly intended to serve him an impeachment notice. Instead to allow that unfortunate event to happen, he instructed demolition of the House Assembly chamber. This single act could’ve been termed as an absolute abuse of power and treasonable offence against the democratic settings of our land. However, nothing happened.

Secondly, while on that mission of emancipation, we have watched with dismay how the police, under instructions from those close to the corridors of powers, discharge out hot water on the Executive Governor of Rivers, all in the attempt to stop him from having access to the Assembly chamber. However, that didn’t stop him. The Governor, used executive power to present his budget to minority assembly members, which was considered as illegitimate way of democratic processes. Again, nothing happened.

Thirdly, since last few months, there has been tension in the state because the tenure of the existing local government chairmen is expiring tomorrow. As a result, the Wike and Fubara’s camp started throwing heavy threats. The former’s camp is claiming that only the court of law can sack them while the later are saying, based on the orders from the Governor, they must vacate their seats before tomorrow. As I am writing this, it is getting spontaneously tense in Rivers, and only God knows when this melting pot will stop boiling.

Why am I saying this?

Ever since this series of events started to emerge in Rivers, the State Governor and the security forces in the state, despite multiple court orders and proceedings, have been working closely with Gov Fubara. There has never a time when a Commissioner of Police publicly disagreed with the Governor. In fact, the first CP was removed and new one was issued into the state at the peak of the turmoil just to make things easier for the Governor.

Rivers, being one of the oil-producing states, is a critical factor to Nigeria’s evaporating economy. With political instability on ground, a clear threat to the national security is conspicuously aiming to emerge. However, there was never a time the security forces takeover some portion of the state against the State Governor’s order. There was never a time security forces usurped the Executive Governor. There was never a single time.

On the other hand, in Kano, the state government passed a law to revert the Emirate to its status quo, which has been in existing over 100 years ago. The Governor, by the power given to him constitutionally, signed the bill into law. By that single Act, the Governor generously refused to send the dethroned out of the state against the tradition of the Emirate in the past.

Despite this, some political actors find themselves in a position to destabilise the peaceful coexistence of the state, which has given them everything. Consequently, with the help from the above, they have been fanning the embers of resentment which continues to smolder, threatening to reignite from time to time.

It should be noted that, the Rivers and Kano issues are mutually exclusive and collectively exhaustive events. However, the later seems to have drawn more attention to the security forces and federal government, despite posing significantly less threat to the national security than the one in Rivers. The question is: why always Kano?

Again, it should be noted that the political actors, having been democratically defeated at the polls twice, including the courts, are hellbent to continuously cause unending chaos in Kano State, and therefore prepare them for 2027 election.

We shall remind the Federal Government that the people who are encouraging them to challenge a democratically elected Governor are not doing the entire process a favour. More specifically, what we want the state actors to note that they are setting a dangerous precedence because tomorrow someone with access to power could play a worse syntax against the laws in the land.

The world is watching, and seven years—even if those in power secure re-election—will quickly pass.

Haroun Muhammed writes from Lagos, Nigeria

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Opinion

The Wike ,I never Expect-Abba Hamisu

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Governor Wike making the address

 

Abba Hamisu

Glad to be a resident of Abuja the Federal Capital Territory FCT,glad to have Nyesom Wike as FCT Minister .

Yes in past nine years particularly from 2014 to 2022 I frequently visit Abuja from Kano mostly by air as one of my clients that I provide TV content for them paid the bill on weekly basis together with one or two of my workers at Time Base TvAfrica ,but from the Airport to my hotel all I see then was dust plus harders walking freely around some of the strategic areas of the city .

But with coming of the former Rivers State Governor Wike who mostly perceived to be a stubborn politician ,things have suddenly change overnight.

What I mean by overnight is that the man have change the face of Abuja within one year. I am proud with this development and appreciate the support of Dr. Bunkure ,the State Minister of FCT who was the former Commissioner for Higher Education in Kano State from 2019 to 2023.

With out bothering you much ,what really passionate me about this man is the completion of the Abuja Metro rail which was initiated during the second tenure of Chief Olusegun Obasanjo.

Serial FCT Ministers couldn’t complete this project but Wike did. From Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport to the National Stadium down to Edu rail station up to the Central area ,the main Metro stations,was a lovely journey,free of charge for all passengers including me on 7th June 2024 .And according to the plan ,the train will be free up to December 2024.

So Abuja residents like me and Visitors have every right to enjoy this giant project of Wike.

Congratulations Abuja residents and Nigerians by Extension.

My hope is to see Kano light rail soon ,forget about politics ,Governor Yusuf should learn from Wike ,as Prophet of Islam (S A.W ) said “Wisdom is the property of a pious man ,he should pick it where ever he see’s it”.

Kano need modern transportation system fly overs and under passes alone can not provide the needed solutions.

Abba Hamisu Sani ,is the CEO Time Base TvAfrica/Nigerian Bureau Chief Africa Press and the National Coordinator Society For Patriotic Journalism.

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