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By Seyi Gesinde

THE governorship aspiration of Senator Iyiola Omisore, candidate of the Social Democratic Party (SDP) in the September 22 election, appears to be receiving a boost, as the political momentum in Osun State seems to be gathering in his favour. The development, many political watchers, especially the Osun people, said had created a clear chance for the Ife-born politician to have an easy sail and emerge the governor of the state.

On Saturday, August 25, when Omisore and the SDP leadership formally launched out to sell his governorship agenda to the people, it began with a senatorial rally at Ilesa, the hometown of incumbent Governor Raul Aregbesola, connecting both the Ilesa East and Ilesa West Local Government Areas, ostensibly to test his popularity. Prior to this move, the thinking in political circles had been that Aregbesola, a two-term governor of the All Progressives Congress (APC), would enjoy the home support, and the people might not necessarily embrace the Omisore agenda.

However, the turnout at the rally didn’t support that speculation, as a large member of people, even defying the rain, gathered for four hours on the premises of the Ilesa Palace, awaiting the arrival of Omisore, and seeing his convoy arriving, they went into a wild jubilation, with a red carpet treatment given to him and his entourage. The elated Ilesa people ushered them into the palace of the Owa Obokun Adimula and Paramount Ruler of Ijesaland, Oba Gabriel Adekunle Aromolaran II, who blessed his aspiration to become Osun State governor.

While speaking at the palace, Omisore, who enjoyed the ambience of excitement surrounding Oba Aromolaran, told the monarch that the administration of Governor Rauf Aregbesola had failed the people of the state, especially the Ilesa people, noting that the governor did nothing to up the standard of living for people in the state, even in Ilesa, his hometown. He also reminded his audience that it was only the projects he facilitated to Ilesa, as a senator and chairman of the Senate Committee on Appropriation, but which had been abandoned for eight years by the Aregbesola administration, that he came back to meet.

“I had thought he (Aregbesola) would have done well in Ilesa because he is from this town. But there is nothing to show for it. It was all the projects I did in Ijesaland when I was in the Senate as the Appropriation Committee chairman, that I came back to meet, and they have even been abandoned for eight years now. Aregbesola has done nothing in Ilesa after those projects.” Rather, Omisore at the palace, addressing the media, hinted that Aregbesola’s administration had allegedly perfected plan to further plunder the state into 15 years of indebtedness after his tenure would have expired.”

In his response, Oba Aromolaran, said; “I have listened with a rapt attention to your inspiring speech at this occasion, and I have to wish you success,” adding that, “as you might be aware, prominent and respectable traditional rulers are fathers to all members of political parties in the country. Our own role is to pray to God to guide all the aspirants and select those who will move our country forward and benefit the masses. “ He admonished politicians to always fulfill their campaign promises.

Oba Aromolaran lauded Omisore’s effort to be the state governor, while he submitted with a specific prayer request, saying: “When God will choose, He won’t forget Senator Iyiola Omisore. This is my prayer, and may He allow the prayer to come to past.” It was in the strength of this royal petition to God, that Omisore and his crew left the Oba’s palace for the campaign ground, where he addressed the Ilesa people. It was a big gathering of people who came from Ilesa towns and villages such as, Ayeso, Araromi, Okesa, Egbeide, Ibala, Idasa, Ijoka, Isida, Ilerin and Iyemogun, from the East, and those from Ilesa West comprising of people from Ereja, Ikoti/Araromi, Ilaje, Isida/Adeti, Isokun, Itakogun, Lower Egbedi, Omofe/Idasa, Upper Igbogi and Lower Igbogi and Oja Oba. They all embraced the Omisore agenda.

At the second senatorial rally in Iwo, the reception was similar to the former. At the palace of the Oluwo of Iwo land, Oba Abdulrasheed Akanbi, Omisore and other party leaders received a rousing welcome. The atmosphere became livelier when a national leader of the party, Ambassador Yemi Farounbi, presented Omisore to the people as a builder, who was prepared to rebuild Osun, and the crowd unanimously hailed Omisore as an “awaiting governor.” The people were at home with Omisore and Farounbi’s claim when introducing him on the podium as “a lover of workers and people in the state, was not disputed. In fact, they joined him in lauding Omisore’s achievements, “as the most experienced of all the candidates seeking to govern Osun State, having formerly served as a deputy governor in the state, and a two-time senator,” with Farounbi submitting that, “if elected the governor, Omisore will restore the lost glory of Osun State.”

What became evident after the rally was that the people of Iwo, under Iwo Local Government Area, who are spread across different towns and villages such as Agberire, Olubusan, Olupo Jolu, Omoba, Omosan-Igbo, Osa Ogunala, Osunjobi, Papa, Sade, Sekona, Tantan, Yakoyo, Adana, Adekolu, Awuje, Bara, Dauda, Denu, and others embraced the Omisore agenda. A part of the side attractions, which made the rally an interesting and a yielding one, was the adoption of Omisore by the Nigeria Youths Democratic Movement (NYDM) as its candidate for the September 22 governorship election, with a promise to deliver Iwo votes to SDP as against what happened in the 2014 governorship election.

At Odo-Otin, the third and the last senatorial district in Osun State, where SDP held its campaign rally, the people of Asi, Asaba, Oyan, Ekosin, Iyeku, Faji, Opete, Igbaye, Ijabe, Ila, Odo, Inisa, Obe, Agbeye, Okua and Ekusa, were on hand to receive Omisore with a promise to reciprocate the same courtesy he had shown to them by visiting and vote him in as their governor on September 22. There, Omisore also ceased the opportunity to remind the people that he had since left the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP); that those still associating him with the party were mischief-makers, only using his name to campaign, as he noted that: “PDP in Osun State is dead. It died the day I left the party and I have nothing to do with the party again, but to gain popularity, since my name is the only name they can use to convince Osun people, some mischief-makers still associate me with the PDP, making it obvious that this election is between Omisore and others, that is why they are using my name for campaign.”

In the same vein, to solidify his plans for development of Osun State, Omisore before the formal launch of his campaign, had released his party’s manifestos, his vision for governance, which he called an agenda that situates itself at the centre of five thematic pillars. These five pillar include: “economic management and accountability; professionalism and performance; equity in access to services; local content and innovation; and security.” To him, the specific interventions in each pillar seek to address the deficiencies in governance and gaps in implementation over the past eight years, adding that “careful consideration has been given to the central contribution of sound economic management and economic policies on good governance.” As explained, the pillar one “is centered on the need to motivate the civil service, who have had salaries arbitrarily reduced and not paid,” with a belief that “a motivated, trained and professional workforce is key for attainment of the goals of economic growth and social inclusion” in pillar two.

The third pillar for governance, Omisore said “dedicates attention to access to services and presents intervention in key growth facilitators such as, infrastructure and agriculture,” as well as “to enablers of social inclusion in health, education, youth and gender equity,” while the SDP’s fourth pillar for governance is expected to direct attention to local content and innovation and focus on public policy making provisions for local capacity, first in all procurement and services, while at the same time investing in the much needed capacity for competition at the local level.” It also centres on contemporary development on technology. In its diverse and innovative application, technology impacts on all sectors to improve productivity, effectiveness and reach, while the fifth pillar, he said would focus on security.

To Omisore, “if governance had been handled by experienced hands, the state would not be thrown into a state of indebtedness that would make it a debtor state fifteen years after the government would have handed over power, while he also regretted that the situation had adversely affected workers and retirees in the state to the extent they could no longer be paid their salaries and pension arrears.” He was of the view that “the allocation is enough to pay salaries and pension arrears,” which he said he would promptly pay on assumption of office as the governor of the state within the first 100 days. “Osun workers know that I have done it before. Salaries and areas are mandatory payments, including pensions and gratuities. But what is lacking in governance, discipline and prudence will be instituted as I assume office,” Omisore said. Then presenting a youthful deputy governorship candidate, 36-year-old Yemi Lawal, Omisore said, his drive to carry the youths along and provide them with pensionable and gainful employment, had been taken care of.

That the people had embraced the Omisore agenda, with how responsive they were all through the tour round the three senatorial districts in Osun State seem not in doubt, but to further check this claim, the indication further emerged in a one-on-one survey carried out by Sunday Tribune, where people on the streets were engaged in political talks during the tour to feel the pulse of the people concerning the governorship election in the state. The first responder, a private business man, Mr Tunde Awosika, said Omisore, is the the most favoured of all those aspiring to govern the state. As a business man, his reason, being that “the current government has injured the economic power of Osun people. Unlike before, there is no money to do business simply because of wrong appropriation of the meager resources of the state. Osun is basically a civil service state, and the biggest business patrons are the civil servants, but since they are being owed salaries for months, they have little or nothing to exchange goods with.”

Another contributor, an artisan, Bolaji Isola, said his reason for supporting Omisore was because he had done it before as a former deputy governor in the state; also as a senator, he said people benefited from his large heart. According to Isola, “the previous administration too had been tested, we have seen its strength, it seems not better than what we have at hand. So, the way I see it, Omisore seems a good option to explore. He was a deputy governor of the Alliance for Democracy (AD) with Chief Bisi Akande as the governor. That was the best government Osun people experienced in this present republic. He even seems to be a more experienced politician than this present set we are seeing. So, if given a chance, I see him performing as a governor.”

Madam Atinuke Babalola, a management consultant, also hyping on the people’s social welfare, said the economic well being of Osun people had been tampered with. “The cost of living is so high since there is no free flow of cash, due to non payment of salaries, and there is also no financial empowerment for petty traders. But the way I see Omisore going about his campaign, he seems a ready made alternative for the rescue of Osun State people and other residents alike from the damage the current ruling party has done to the personal economy of the people, Babalola said, contending that, “even, their social well being of the people have been tampered with. When the personal economy is bad, every other thing pertaining to personal welfare is affected. Most parents can no longer send their children to school. To feed themselves and their children is even difficult.”

In his own contribution, Mr Kunle Adebayo, a Civil Defence officer-turned a taxi driver, who lamented his loss of job, lack of gainful employment in the state plus the fact that workers in the state were not being paid their salaries, said, he gave his support to Omisore for his love for people’s empowerment. He though said he had no personal relationship with Omisore, he could solidify his claim with the fact that he knew at least 200 people Omisore helped in gaining employment into the Civil Defence as a Senator. Hence, for Adebayo, that was enough to bring him on board, saying, “You can easily forget someone who gave you money, but the one who has sorted you out for life is someone who offers you a gainful employment. Omisore should be applauded for this, not to mention several projects he facilitated to the state as a senator. All these we are aware of, and such a man should be given an opportunity to serve and do more for the people as a governor in the state.”

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Presidential Debate: between Buhari and Atiku



By Jude Ndukwe

The much talked about Presidential Debate scheduled to hold on Saturday, January 19, 2019, at the Transcorp Hilton Hotel, Abuja, has come and gone but not without its dramas that have kept Nigerians wondering and talking about so many things including why the incumbent, President Muhammadu Buhari, shunned the debate, and why his closest challenger, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar, excused himself from it after realizing that the incumbent was not going to be in attendance.

The debate was supposed to be a Presidential Debate. Such debates world over lose their essence and savour once the incumbent is not present, and it is unthinkable that the incumbent in the US, for example, would miss out on such a debate since the debate is designed to scrutinize the performance of the incumbent/his party and extract commitments from the contenders.

It is therefore sad and unfortunate that President Muhammadu Buhari did not see it fit to seize this all important opportunity to engage his challengers in particular and Nigerians in general through the debate. His absence totally vitiates the importance of the debate and obliterates its essence just like a well advertised world heavyweight boxing match is scuttled by the absence of the reigning champion. No matter how well publicized the match is, it does not even matter if the tickets were sold out and the arena packed to the rafters, the excitement, the anticipation and expectations of those following developments both at the venue and other places dissipates at the speed of light once the reigning champion chooses to stay away from the match for whatever reason. Such a disappointment cannot even be assuaged or compensated for by the challenger no matter how much he tries to entertain the crowd with shadow boxing and showboating which is what a Presidential Debate without the incumbent is.

In fact, in developed democracies, presidential debates are usually organized for only the top contenders, and in the case of the US, between just two, the Democrats and the Republicans. While there are usually dozens of other political parties fielding candidates for the presidential elections in the United States, only candidates of the two major contending parties feature in Presidential Debates after the parties’ primaries.

Although candidates of the other parties have always been in the contest, their chances of victory are very slim and insignificant to the extent that the debate feature only the top two contenders. If it was in the US, the Presidential Debate would have been strictly between the top two contenders, in this case, President Muhammadu Buhari and his closest challenger, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar. The verdict, based on what happened yesterday, would have been that the Debate would not hold since Atiku turned up but Buhari was nowhere to be found near the venue. In fact, he was in far away Plateau State, showing total disregard for the debate, as always.

Just like in Nigeria, apart from the major political parties, there are also such parties with considerable influence in the American political system but who are not invited for Presidential Debates. The wisdom in this is that it allows the contenders with the realistic chances of having ample time to scrutinize one another. For example, former New Mexico governor, Gary Johnson, was the presidential nominee for the Libertarian Party (LP) at the 2012 US general elections. Johnson had votes in every state in America except only for Michigan and Oklahoma. His total votes in the election were over one million.

Again in 2016, the LP fielded Gary Johnson, and this time round, he received over four million votes in the presidential election.

Another party with similar strengths as the Libertarian Party in the US is the Constitution Party. The strength of this party can be measured by the fact that its gubernatorial candidate at the Colorado election in 2010 actually came second with 36.4% of total valid votes cast, beating the candidate of the Republican party to third position.

It is noteworthy that despite their strengths, only candidates of The Republicans and The Democrats tango in the US’ Presidential Debates. If the debate was to be in America, the debate would have been strictly between Buhari and Atiku, and the natural and correct thing to do when the incumbent is not present is for the organizers to call it off and or for the top contender to excuse himself as he cannot debate against himself. One is not saying that the other contenders are not important, it is just that having narrowed the contest to two major contenders with the most realistic chances of winning, they need time to scrutinize each other and marshal out their points.

Atiku was absolutely right in excusing himself from that Presidential Debate after seeing that the other major contender, Buhari, was absent. Debates are not just addresses or rallies, they are ultimately a stage where “opposing arguments are put forward” by the debaters. In fact, another dictionary described it as to “argue about (a subject), especially in a formal manner”. One of the synonyms for debate is to “dispute” on an issue. At this stage of our national life, we can no longer be taking certain things for granted. If it was a debate on critical national matters, who would Atiku be debating or disputing with on this matters?

Does Kingsley Moghalu know why our soldiers are being killed on a regular basis by a ragtag Boko Haram despite trillions of naira budgeted and spent on the military in Buhari’s almost four years tenure? Can Oby Ezekwesili provide answers to why the Buhari presidency keeps making excuses for those who murder our fathers, rape our mothers, wickedly rip out the unborn from their wombs, maim our children, sack communities and forcefully take over other people’s lands without any repercussion or even as much as a challenge from our security forces under Buhari as Commander-in-Chief? Could Fela Durotoye have been able to provide answers to why Nigeria became the poverty capital of the world under the Buhari administration with all its known inefficiencies, gross incompetence and blatant ineptitude? Who among them could have explained why the fight against corruption under this administration has been turned to a fight against opposition? Who among them would have been able to provide answers on why appointments are lopsided and why Nigerians have been so bitterly divided along parochial lines under the Buhari presidency based on the words and actions of the president and his officials?

Critical issues and questions of national importance would have come up at the debate to which only the incumbent would have answers to. But what is the essence of a debate of presidential candidates when the one to give answers to those issues plaguing us as a nation is not there to either defend himself and his administration or give explanations as to why certain things happen under him which have left Nigerians bewildered.

Such disputing on the podium would then give all the candidates including the incumbent chance to put forward what they would do differently going forward. This is why a debate is between the forces for and those against. It is not a narrative exercise, it is an argumentative one, and when one critical party to the salient points to be raised at the debate deliberately makes himself unavailable, it rubbishes the very essence of the debate.

This is the reason why the other contenders should have also insisted that they would not participate in the debate if Buhari was not going to be there. What was the essence of all they said about the precarious situation of the country when the man at the helm of affairs was not there? Who were they disputing with? Or, rather, who were they debating with? The truth is that all the other candidates who chose to go ahead with the debate did not do so because they are comfortable with the fact that Buhari was not present or that they love Nigeria and Nigerians more than Atiku, but only seized the opportunity of rare free live television coverage provided by the occasion to speak of their ambition and have their faces on camera. That is the hallmark of desperate politicians who would compromise standards and rightness just to further their own personal interests which they masquerade as national interest.

But Atiku is not a desperate leader. His ambition is obviously about Nigeria and not about his person. He shows this by insisting that the right things have to be done by all irrespective of status. He has willingly engaged Nigerians at different forums where he was subjected to grueling questions agitating the minds of the people. He was fully prepared for the debate despite his long trip and the hectic schedules arising from it, yet, he moved straight from the US to the debate venue, but alas, the president, the most pivotal factor of such an exercise chose to stay away.

Buhari’s absence is surely not unconnected to the mindset of his presidency as stated by one of his acolytes, Prof Itse Sagay, that the presidential debate was designed for “political dwarfs”. Until Buhari comes out of his shell of “political dwarfism” even as the President and Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, those who go to presidential debates without him there as president have only succeeded in cutting their own average heights just to fit into “political dwarfism”. As for Atiku, it is obvious he is not ready to reduce his towering heights in order to satisfy the conditions for being a “political dwarf”. Certainly, it is time for political giants in the mould of Buhari and Atiku to square up in a debate. This is the real deal and when could this be?

—; Twitter: @StJudeNdukwe

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Pendulum: Why Atiku’s US Trip is a Super Coup Against APC




Fellow Nigerians, this season of jolliness and bonhomie has not been the best of times for the ruling party, APC, and certainly not for its Presidential flagbearer, President Muhammadu Buhari. It may not be unfair to say that this has been one of the worst weeks since the President returned to power on May 29, not May 19, 2015. The President has come under a barrage of social media attacks for series of gaffes on his part in recent time. The first was the interview he granted the Editors of Thisday newspapers and their sister station, the fast rising, Arise News Channel. That amateurish video production was so dire and awful that had it not emanated from the Presidency it would have been condemned immediately as trash. As it is, it seems symptomatic of the malaise currently dogging the President and his team.

The story was told of how the President’s handlers insisted they must handle the recording themselves and hand the tape over to Arise News Channel. That is fine, no problem, but the production turned out to be beneath acceptable standards of journalism and certainly belied the efficiency and perfection one would expect from the Presidential Team. The audio and vision were not the best, not to talk of the meat of the interview itself. The President came across as someone not too sure, or confident, of himself, and what his job entails. The unfortunate display which was avidly circulated by social media aficionados did not compliment the President at all.

As if that was not bad enough, there was yet another interview, in quick, rapid-fire succession, organised on the government-owned NTA. This one was a total PR disaster for President Buhari despite the fact that the cerebral Vice President, Professor Yemi Osinbajo was co-interviewed by one of the best television personalities in Nigeria, and beyond, Kadaira Ahmed, and in his inimitable intellectual, charismatic and charming manner, the Vice-President tried to limit the damage being done by his boss. As much as the interviewer tried to be mild-mannered and pleasant, unlike her usual combative style, the interview just didn’t flow in the right directions. Opportunities were missed and justifications and explanations were stilted. There were just too many negative soundbites which ignited cyberspace and in no time went viral globally.

As they say, when it rains it pours, and this was the case for APC, two days ago, when The Boss, a popular online newspaper, broke the news of Atiku Abubakar’s trip to the United States of America. For over a decade Alhaji Atiku Abubakar had not been able to obtain a US visa talk less of travelling in that direction. It was one of the nagging questions I posed to him when I got an exclusive session with him in Lagos, long before he won the PDP ticket. His answer became a major point of controversy, as he told me, candidly, that he had applied for American visa and was yet to be granted. Naturally, his political enemies went ballistic and taunted me and him endlessly about his inability to enter the US, as if I was his spokesperson and more importantly as if a visit to the US was indeed a precondition for winning the Presidential election. Many swore that he would never surmount that obstacle, matter-of-factly. They stubbornly rejected the notion that if Atiku was afraid of America, he would never have attempted to apply for a visa, in the first instance and, that, if America wanted him so badly, he would have been granted the visa so that he could be snared and entrapped, or in the absence of that, he would have been put under International Police (Interpol) watch, and he would have long since been picked up on one of his frequent trips abroad. Truth is logic no longer knows logic in our climes.

So, it was assumed that Atiku and America were on permanent divorce, due to irreconcilable differences. At a point, even the ruling party warned the United States not to be swayed or tempted to issue him the much sought-after visa, and everyone wondered if it was their business to dictate to America. Now, let’s fast forward. Atiku won the Presidential ticket of PDP and went about his business. His victory was dismissed by the APC as a non-event and its supporters even boasted, openly, that Atiku will never defeat Buhari. They never forgot to end by adding, “a man who cannot attempt to enter America.” But the ways of God are not the ways of man. The men of power began to flex muscles and subjected Atiku to subliminal attacks. A Vice-President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria for eight years, from 1999 to 2007, some courtesies that used to be extended to him were suddenly withdrawn. His plane was frisked, and he complained about being searched, more than usual, on return from one of his foreign trips, but the gentleman bore it all with equanimity. In no time, thereafter, rumours began to fly about the seeming and perceived intimidation of his supporters. His campaign found it tough to raise needed funds. No one wanted to fall into the hands of Buhari’s goons. But Atiku remained defiant and trudged on, like the old Roman soldier. His campaign was dissed as lacklustre, and not able to match Buhari’s fire-power and razzmatazz.


All seemed tight and tough for Atiku but he maintained a steady focus. His campaign started at a slow but steady pace. Surprisingly, he kept packing the crowds, while the Director General of The Atiku Abubakar Presidential Campaign and The President of the Nigerian Senate, Dr Abubakar Bukola Saraki, remained uncharacteristically upbeat. He was dancing so much at rallies that many began to wonder the source of his sauce. He constantly lit up the campaigns. Saraki and former Ekiti State Governor, Ayodele Fayose, stewed so much as they danced Shaku Shaku style and tried to compete with our best choreographers. We didn’t have to wait long for answers to the posers. It landed, without warning, at my desk Thursday afternoon. I was on a flight from Monrovia, Liberia to Lagos, Nigeria, and was in transit in Accra Ghana, when it landed, thunderously. Scoops are the best meals of journalists. It won’t be wrong to call them our opium.

Before we took off, I quickly drafted an urgent press release which I fired to our Editors. Their initial response was that of incredulity, but I told them to shoot immediately. No other media group should beat us to this. You only get such exclusives once in a green moon.

By the time we landed in Lagos, I rushed to put on my phone and ran to open my biggest addiction, Twitter, something I share in common with President Donald Trump. I was happy our story was everywhere but sad our mainstream media seemed unable to confirm the biggest story of the year, or too scared to take a risk because they felt it was an impossibility.

As soon as we disembarked, and I climbed into my waiting car, I zoomed to work on my phone, frantically. I called some impeccable contacts who gave me the blow by blow account of how Atiku left Nigeria, unannounced, and obtrusively, on his most important journey ever, the game-changer any politician would wish for, exactly one month to the biggest election of all time. I called the Editors and fired some more authoritative gist. We did an update on how Atiku left Lagos, in company of Saraki and Senator Ben Murray Bruce and others. Then my phones began to buzz. I was told Daily Trust has debunked our story based on an interview granted them by Atiku’s media aide, Paul Ibe. I simply ignored the talk of the story being fake. I expected Paul to avoid being so categorical but… We moved on knowing news bomb would soon explode and expose whoever was right or wrong.

Shortly after, I saw the story on Cable News, owned by my dear Brother, Simon Kolawole, and I said now we are inching closer to an eventful evening. Then, at The Boss, we did our last update before everywhere finally exploded. This time, it was how Atiku’s plane filed a flight plan to London, from where it changed and headed to Washington. All this while doubters, and APC supporters, were on my case, flashing the Daily Trust story at me, but I remained unperturbed.  I saw a Punch story that the Nigerian Embassy said it was aware of Atiku’s presence in the US. I smiled to myself, knowing very soon, they will know by which technology he navigated his way to America. Soon, and very soon, we shall see the Wazirin in America. I already queued up for the first pictures. And it came.

That was how in one second, Atiku, or the Atikulated campaign, took off with uncommon favour and fervour. My dear friends in APC went quiet, a few threw the usual tantrums. I had expected them to pretend a little, but they couldn’t hide their shock and, possibly, disappointment in America. By yesterday, my big Brother, Alhaji Lai Mohammed came out of the grove to declare, majestically, that if Atiku likes, he can pick up a green card in America and stay there for as long as he wants. Wow, he was not done. He became an instant Prosecutor, or Minister of Justice, EFCC boss or Supreme Court Justice, when he pronounced Atiku guilty of bank fraud and malfeasance, and that he should be ready to answer questions about the collapse of Bank PHB, upon his return. This coming after about one day gone in the United States, and one month to the start of the general elections. Lord have mercy.

Why is APC fighting on all fronts? Who is misleading my friends and, once upon a time, fellow Buharists. Are they not tired of this commotion, tension and confusion. Not too long ago, the Senate President and the legislature; more recently, the CJN and the Judiciary; now the leader of opposition, Atiku Abubakar. My prediction is very simple and straight-forward.

It seems to me that APC needs a miracle to win the next election, if it continues to follow this destructive path. APC has inflicted these difficult times on itself. I am not sure that some of the distinguished party faithful are not working directly against the interests of the party and its presidential candidate.  There are apparently Fifth Columnists abroad! Otherwise, the only other thing that can be said is that the party appears to be hell bent on following the PDP template for rejection and failure that the same APC constantly and serially condemned just before the last elections.

All the party’s antics now smack of great desperation and panic attack as they seek to land the plum job of President of Nigeria. The senior members should have summoned the courage to advise the President to serve only one term, especially after his health failed so spectacularly two years ago. His amiable, cerebral and inspired Vice-President would have taken over and unified the country. But hell no, they didn’t see the need. How on earth, and at this time and age, did APC expect Buhari to run a serious campaign and manage a big and complex country like Nigeria, given all that seems to be wrong? At least the President was honest enough to acknowledge this when he ceded leadership of the campaign to the irrepressible Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu. The only problem is that this gambit itself appears to have backfired as the President has made more appearances on the campaign trail and hustings than the appointed leader of the campaign.

I’m wondering if APC remembers the promises made to Nigerians to make the economy better, corruption exterminated, the Naira stronger and security tighter. In good conscience, have they delivered? This, will be answered hopefully next month, when the people troop out to vote.

Congratulations to Atiku on what is turning out to be a good trip for him both at home and abroad. The APC is jittery and this alone may be worth the medal for Atiku. Meanwhile, we await your arrival and looking forward to your trial …

God help Nigeria.

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The Trials of a Chief Justice: Justice And Buhari’s Aberration of Due Process



By. Pelumi Olajengbesi Esq.

On Monday, January 7, 2019 a petition by one of President Buhari’s pally was filed against the Chief Justice of Nigeria. Two days after, said petition had made its way to the Code of Conduct Bureau (CCB) Chairman’s desk. In uncharacteristic manner, the petition was expedited with charges dated the 10th of January 2019, filing and service of charges were effected on the Chief Justice on the 11th of January, 2019. Effective legal system? Think again.

Trial was hurriedly fixed for the 15th of the same month in what must be the nation’s fastest legal system process in living and late memory. It won’t be surprising to see the kangaroo tribunal produce a ruling or judgement still within January. Everything absurd is possible under this government.

Of course one may make the mistake of applauding the process while failing to discern that the pace is not so much from a quest for justice but a rush to score a political advantage over perceived non-loyalists of the APC-led government. So desperate was the set-up that its facilitators, as usual of them, failed to properly follow or respect laid down principles at law in such cases.

Mr. President’s legal advisers are regrettably slow, inadequate or simply pressured by their principal’s desperation to cut corners in due process where it serves their shallow whims. They’ve demonstrated such woeful interpretation and awareness of the laws of Nigeria to indict their relevance to the country. For the avoidance of doubt, the Chief Justice Walter Onnoghen may only be tried by a Tribunal if (and after) the National Judicial Commission through its own constituted investigative committee finds him culpable of any offence and sanctions him. The above due process/principle was emphatically laid down in the decided case of Nganjiwan v. Federal Republic of Nigeria.

The decision to try the country’s Chief Justice at the Code of Conduct Tribunal without due process on charges of false declaration of assets brings once more to the front-burner the question of the real intent of executive rascality on the judiciary. Is it truly a case of justice in operation or oppression?

I would happily concede, of course, that no one is above the law and that the Chief Justice does have a duty at law and morally to clear himself of the allegations levied against him. What, however, offends my sensibility as a concerned citizen is threefold; firstly, the apparent readiness of this government to prosecute non-party members of the APC while sleeping on their responsibility where the accused are members of the APC, secondly the opportune timing is much too convenient to not be suspicious given the elections are but a few weeks away and elections tribunals are anticipated by products of said selection. Thirdly, and perhaps more instructive, is the identity of the leveler of the claims against the Chief Justice.

Is it truly the case that APC members are beyond reproach? Is it truly the case that the APC would readily pardon conformist party-members for gross allegations while sounding the war-drum where the accused is from opposition parties, or simply non-loyalists of the APC. Babachir Lawal presents an ever perturbing insight into the working of the minds of the Buhari government who, till date, refuses to prosecute or try Mr. Babachir in court for his involvement in swindling the government of at least N250 Million naira to cut grass. Let’s not forget that Mr. Babachir continues to play a prominent role in the APC even after his resignation (rather than outright sack) from office.

Abba Kyari has severally been indicted by substantiated claims of using his position to defraud unsuspecting individuals while pocketing kickbacks from government contractors. The APC National Legal Adviser was indicted for paying questionable sums of money to a judge to influence a decision but that is a matter that has long grown cold. Okoi-Oblat continues to seat as a Presidential Adviser on persons to prosecute while himself indicted for forging his certificate and by implication bereft of the qualifications he claims as a lawyer.

There is of course Senator Omisore who has long since had his traveling documents returned to him and his EFCC case ‘forgiven’ given his role in helping steal the people’s gubernatorial mandate in Osun state. Lest I forget, there is of course Chief Uzor KANU wanted ( and declared wanted by the EFCC) but publicly galvanising at APC rallies without reproach. I could go on but I believe my point is made. I leave Nigerians to consider if these individuals become saints once their loyalty shifts to the APC.

With the elections in view, it has been suggested that the harassment of the Chief Justice may be strategic given Buhari’s reservations about a Chief Justice from the south. Should the Chief Justice be successfully driven from office, the next in line from the apex post is a Northerner, a convenience that must greatly please Mr. President with his demonstrated strain of nepotism.

But more than that, the identity of the individual who made the claims against the Chief Justice lends greater credence to the suspicion that removing him is a strategic play by the APC. Hiding under a fictitious organization, Mr. Dennis Agher, a former aide of President Muhammadu Buhari wrote the petition against the Chief Justice. The accelerated preparation for the trial of the Chief Justice only goes to confirm that justice in this country is selective and politically strategic. Mr. Dennis is but a pawn employed to destabilize the judiciary to perhaps pave the way for the executive to exert themselves on the judiciary. To believe the contrary would be to exhibit an unforgivable naivety that may very well empower the gradual dismantling of the non-negotiable features of a democracy; rule of law and separation of power.

Only recently, the APC unveiled it’s campaign logo and slogan, NextLevel and retracted it when it was made public that both the logo and slogan were plagiarized. It wasn’t the first time this government would be caught stealing other’s ideas from a lack of originality on their part, neither was it the last. Just last week, their Website put up a copied speech promising to ‘make America great again’ !

This aren’t things to be trivialized as these are pointers to the general cluelessness of this government. If they’ve spent their time copying speeches and slogans, their ruthlessness as an oppressive government is actually inherent in the personality of their principal head- President Buhari, a one time military head who abrogated the constitution and disregarded the judiciary.

This is Buhari 202. Let’s hope we never experience Buhari 303. To Get Nigeria Working Again, Buhari simply has to go.

Pelumi Olajengbesi Esq., is the Principal Partner at Pelumi Olajengbesi & Co. Law Corridor.

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