By Jude Ndukwe
Igbo leaders from all walks of life gathered at the region’s ancient city of Enugu on Wednesday, November 14, 2018, “to consider Ndigbo’s place in the polity especially in the light of the forthcoming 2019 elections”.
Since that endorsement by prominent Igbo leaders whose capacity to sway the vote of the region one way or the other ca not be doubted, the ruling party, APC, and the presidency, have, as expected, reacted in a manner that is contrary to the low esteem in which they evidently hold the Igbo people.
While the party has said that Igbos were victims of PDP’s 16 years of misrule, Buhari on his part claimed that no sooner had the endorsement been announced than he received calls from “well-meaning leaders from the region asking him to disregard it as it was without any substance”.
While such reactions are expected from one seeking reelection, it is, indeed, surprising that Buhari and the APC would worry about votes from the Igbo people considering how he had spoken of and treated the people in the recent past.
It would amount to political immaturity and insincerity on the part of Buhari and APC to actually believe those Igbo politicians he claimed called and advised him to ignore the Enugu endorsement of Atiku. The fact is that an overwhelming majority of Ndigbo, with or without the leading of their elders, would rather not vote if Buhari is the only candidate on the ballot papers. And the reasons are not farfetched.
President Muhammadu Buhari and his APC have shown enormous disdain for Ndigbo, treating the people and region like mere appendages and not an integral part of the federation that is so much in need of mutual trust for one another following Buhari’s policies that have alienated not only the southeast but also some other regions from the scheme of things.
In the early stages of his administration, President Buhari set the record straight in an unequivocal manner how he intended to run his government to the complete exclusion of those, who in his own estimation, gave him only 5% of the votes as against those who gave him 97%.
Speaking at the US Institute for Peace, USIP, on July 22, 2015, and in response to a question on running an all inclusive government, Buhari stunned the world when he declared thus with so much gusto: “I hope you have a copy of the election results. The constituents, for example, gave me 97% (of the votes) cannot in all honesty be treated on some issues with constituents that gave me 5%. I think these are political reality”.
This has been the order of the day under Buhari.
For example, there is no single person from the southeast the president found worthy enough to head any of our numerous security and paramilitary organisations. His other appointments into federal agencies are so lopsided in favour of people from his region and religion that it leaves every right thinking Nigerian worried.
The political reality is that if Buhari does not trust the Igbos enough as to give them responsibilities of trust, then he should not expect the Igbo to change their opinion of him. The responsibility to prove those who hold the belief that Buhari holds the Igbos in disdain wrong lies with Buhari, unfortunately, he has fluffed that opportunity and has rather reinforced that belief in the people.
A good number of leading Igbo politicians and entrepreneurs have suffered undue persecution under the Buhari administration. They have been harassed and subjected to official oppression while their businesses have come under immense attacks by agents of government.
As at today, the southeast cannot point to any infrastructural project completed by the Buhari administration after over three years in power. The gory tales continue unabated.
Those who think Igbo leaders made a mistake and thereby committed political harakiri by openly endorsing the Atiku/Obi ticket do not probably know the Igbo and how they play their politics.
The Igbo man does not necessarily need the presidency as long as the president, whether from Katsina or Sokoto, whether a Christian or a Muslim etc, provides a level playing field and an enabling environment for him to thrive in his endeavours be it business, academics, entrepreneurship etc.
The Igbo easily connects with Atiku who, like people of the southeast, is not only a job creator but also a creator of wealth. His choice as an alternative to Buhari easily excites the southeast because they see in him a man who has managed businesses and co-managed the country at a time of one of the nation’s greatest periods of prosperity.
It is Buhari, and not Ndigbo, who should be asked why people of the southeast supported the Obasanjo/Atiku ticket, the Yaradua/Jonathan ticket and the Jonathan/Sambo ticket, all of them non-Igbos, including Hausa/Fulani, but have bluntly refused to support him?
Finally, Nigerians of goodwill cannot continue to endure the flawed structure of the country which has formed a major reason the country is in continued shambles, hence, the natural choice to support the Pro-restructuring ticket of Atiku/Obi.
Apart from the above, the millions of job losses, skyrocketing food prices, flagrant disobedience of court orders, one-sided fight against corruption, official tyranny, financial scandals of monumental proportions rocking key elements of the presidency, etc, are some of those factors that make Igbo leaders settle for the Atiku/Obi ticket.
It will also be wrong to ascribe Igbo support for Atiku to his choice of Peter Obi as his running mate. As earlier said, the Igbo have always supported tickets they think will be of benefit not only to them but also to the entire country even when these tickets had no Igbo man on them. The plethora of socio-economic and political crises bedeviling the nation under Buhari are too numerous for him or any other person or group to think that Ndigbo would just pass him off as good enough to go for the presidency a second time simply because he is Buhari. As some of the most critical analysts in the country who have shown indisputable commitment to the country by living, settling down and investing enormously throughout the country, no one or region can claim to love the country more than the Igbos. When they refused to vote for Buhari at the 2015 elections, it was because they already envisaged he would throw the nation into the kind of situation it is in today, and not because of his tribe or religion. Today, even those who vilified the Igbo as usual for “putting all their eggs in one basket” are even the worst hit by the shambolic economic policies of the current administration.
The endoresemnet of the Atiku/Obi ticket is an endorsement for freedom, peace, prosperity and justice without which no nation can make progrees.
Ndigbo will rather support a ticket that will promote the interest of Nigerians than the one that has led us to become the poverty capital of the world so that even if Buhari wins Ndigbo have not lost a thing!
—email@example.com; Twitter: @stjudendukwe
Leah Sharibu: The Prisoner of Conscience
Her story has been like the story of Daniel in the den of terror. In the face of captivity her captors kept her just because she refused to call another faith. She is the mercurial of her own conscience. One of the first in the history that never denies her religion and She is Leah; but powerful than her co-mate in the scripture.
Leah Sharibu is our daughter. One of the girls that have brought our country to her kneels. Not just a martyr of faith but a girl whose spirit has driven us all to her struggle since she was abducted in Dapchi. And that abduction was historic.
It is seemingly a thought of a cohesive expression to the government. I see her than the way Nigerians see her. She is the girl that has made us to understand that religion is fate and faith is faith— in time of obstacle. Someone who doesn’t compromise her principle rather beseech in the spirit of prayer. That voice of Leah begins to come to us than it echoes to her captors. Meanwhile, she is supposed to be in school.
While some of her colleagues are intensely studying for the school certificate exam but she is here dying to be rescued. And Prof. Wole Soyinka has compared her to the late apartheid fighter, Nelson Mandela. In Soyinka’s poem titled: ‘’ Mandela’s Earth’’ the poem has a conjectural meaning that Mandela reverted to those who jailed him. ‘’ NO! He said’’
These particular words came out to Leah Sharibu as well. When she said— No! And perhaps in Wole Soyinka’s poem: ‘’ I am the rock, this Island. I toiled’’ this is what our own Leah stands for. However, the poem says: ‘’ in and out of time wrap, I am that rock/ in the black hole of the sky’’ truly, Sharibu has become the rock of human.
She has made us to understand that her release is important to us. That her struggle is to end bigotry and fanaticism in our country and perhaps to let everybody has the right to believe in faith. To have been in captivity for this time is terribly bad for a sixteen years old girl in her own country.
Recently, she celebrated her sixteen years birthday. In the den of terror, just because she is not ready to deny her own faith— meanwhile, if Jesus were to be alive he would have seen that Leah Sharibu loves him than her own life. And this means a lot for sacrifice. To a girl who has hope for her beloved country.
Probably, had it been her mother knew that such would happen, she would have been like the character in Toni Morrison’s novel: ‘’ Beloved’’ where the mother kills her own daughter because she doesn’t want her to face racism. Is this not a religion manhunt? — For Leah’s mother to cry helplessly for her beloved daughter to be released.
And I believed that the day she was abducted in her school with her other abductors, she would have recited the national anthem and pledge. That she was serving Nigeria with all her strength and now; is Nigeria serving her back? Or has the government forgotten that Leah is a citizen?
This means her life matters to every single Nigeria. And it is the duty of President Buhari to let her come back to her parent. Still, her life is not enmeshed, with wrong faith rather she has been the quintessential girl that knows how to identify her own right. Her life means a lot to all of us. Not that she is just a mere girl child, she is our daughter.
Therefore, it is the ability of the government to provide for her needs in captivity. To rescue her is even the major concern of all Nigerians. What is the point to the military if she can’t be rescued? Is it that our military are scared to fight the insurgency? All I know is that if Leah Sharibu is not being rescued that means her parent will lose hope in Buhari’s Administration.
However, she is the prisoner of conscience. She is the prisoner that has not failed to know her God. She has indeed believed in her faith like one of the character in James Joyce’s short story, Dubliners. And, still her colleagues were released but she was held back because she refused to deny her faith. This is a simple meaning of a cultured girl. And she strongly believes in the article of faith.
Leah is an affable girl that knows that her right is to be freed from the thraldom of dooms. In a society of ours, because what she has done do not deserve this kind of maltreatment she is receiving. If truly, we have a government that understands the people— the Leah Sharibu of our time won’t spend these hours and days in captivity.
To make the system function, let us all know that, what happens to Leah Sharibu, could affect anybody. And prior to her abduction, we knew the Chibok girls’ story. Yet, the government has not found measure to liaise with the insurgent. And what I expect the government should have done is to take the military serious than ever. And the military needs to deploy tactics and strategy because this is like a fratricide.
For every life, it matters to us that, we should never forget to know that Leah Sharibu is still a piquant subject that can never be forgotten. Thus, her abduction is cumbersome. Perhaps, I expect the government to know that Nigerians want Leah Sharibu alive.
Her parent has cried for too long; to the extent that, they talked like the English poet, Andrew Marvel, in his poem: To His Coy Mistress, which says: ‘’Had we but world enough and time/ this coyness, lady, were no crime.’’ With truism, she has no crime. But, if Buhari forgets to do the needful, Leah Sharibu’s spirit won’t make Nigeria rest just because she is innocent.
Let us know that a sixteen years old girl has decided to hold on to her faith; and this makes her to be the prisoner of conscience. Even with a conscience heart, we pray for release.
EXPERTS UNDERSCORES IMPORTANCE OF INFORMATION TECHNOLOGY IN FINANCIAL MANAGEMENT
Information Technology (IT) has been identified as a vital element to achieve maximum productivity, efficient and effective service delivery, with faster communication in Public Financial Management (PFM).
The Head, Management Information Unit, of the Office of Accountant General/State Treasury in Ogun State, Mr. Abdulfattah Odusanya stated this while presenting a paper at a 2-day Training on Public Financial Management held at Itori in Ewekoro Local Government Area of the State.
The programme was organized by the Ogun State Government (OGSG) through its Project Support Unit, Ministry of Budget and Planning, in collaboration with the Office of the Senior Special Assistant to the President (OSSAP) on Sustainable Development Goal (SDG), for Financial Managers in selected Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs), as well as those in Local Government Areas (LGAs).
Odusanya, while speaking on a paper titled “Information Technology: An Enhancement to Public Financial Management” said IT is a network of networks that has brought unprecedented change and redefined methods of communication, work, study, education, interaction, health, entertainment and commerce across the globe.
“Investment in IT system and infrastructure has become a key element in productivity and effective Public Financial Management. Increased investment in IT-Capital has accelerated growth and development”, he said.
Speaking further on PFM enhancement through IT in Ogun State, Odusanya suggested integration of the State payroll with, Pension system for seamless transfer of retiring employee information, Biometric Time and Attendance Management software, seamless Online payment solution for salaries, pensions and vendors payments, all electronic revenue collection platforms for on-line real time monitoring and comprehensive reporting in the Treasury departments among others.
In her closing remark, the Director of Planning in the Ministry and the State Focal Person, Mrs. Yetunde Olatubosun urged participants to ensure that the knowledge gained from the training reflected in their professional conducts.
In their separate responses, the Head of Account Unit, Rural Water Supply and Sanitation, Mr. Adewale Adesanya and the Treasurer, Ifo LGA, Mrs. Hassan Enitan, described the training as impactful, assuring that knowledge acquired would enhance their performances as financial managers in the State and also enable them operate in line with best global practices.
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