Respecting Multi-Party Constitution Of Nigeria By Peter Nwasike

Nigeria is a big country that has many tribes, culture, religions and diverse interests.

The Constitution of Nigeria is therefore skewed to recognize “unity in diversity”. This constitutional magnanimity is also extended to formation of political parties, which makes way for multi-party system 

This is in line with the practice in developed countries of Europe and America where Nigeria copied her modern civilization of education, religion, government and judiciary. For example, in Britain, they have the Conservative Party, The Labour Party,

The Liberal Party, etcetera. In America, they have the Democratic Party, Republican Party, Socialist Party and others.

In Nigeria, the 1999 constitution recognizes multi-party system and so the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), registered over 50 political parties who are eligible to field candidates and contest elections. In this perspective, 37 different political parties fielded candidates and contested the Anambra Governorship Election of November 18, 2017.

Thus, Nigeria has a Federal Government and 36 States. It is therefore certain that there must be diverse political parties in diverse States. Obviously, the party that controls the centre, must not necessary control all the States, and so it calls for cordiality and unity in diversity. With this unity and understanding, a State Government of another party, can work in harmony with the Federal Government of another party. 

This is because all genuine entitlements of the State are approved by the Constitution, and the Presidency is not for any particular person or section, but for all people of all sections and groups which demands for equity, justice, fairness and merit.

So, those clamouring that voters must vote for the party at the centre are portraying ignorance of the constitution, and fundamental human rights of freedom of association and choice. 

That is why Governor Willie Obiano must be applauded for paying a courtesy visit of gratitude to President Mohammadu Buhari for restraining his over-zealous party members to abuse their Federal might and rig the election, in the guise of bringing

Anambra State into the “main stream of Nigeria’s politics”. President Buhari should also be hailed for being a true democrat who upholds the tenets of justice and equity, and one who accommodates the virtue of unity in diversity. He should continue to display this attitude in the proposed Anambra Central Senatorial election, fixed by INEC for January 13, 2018.

President Buhari’s magnanimity and accommodation shall equally help to curb the propensity of desperate politicians who gallivant from their original parties into the party at the centre, with the sinister motive of using the federal might to manipulate the election. 

As Governor Obiano has initiated cordiality with President Buhari at the Federal Level, it is hoped that this mutual understanding, justice, equity, fairness, merit, shall continue to the mutual advantage of the State and Federal Governments.

Why God Kept Buhari Alive By Femi Adesina

Let me begin by telling a story. On June 1, 2015, the day I resumed work as adviser on media to President Muhammadu Buhari, he had admonished me: “Adesina, always tell me the truth. That is what I want from you. In this type of position I have found myself, it is very easy not to be told the truth. People will just tell you what they think you want to hear. But from you, I want the truth. As a General, I may argue, but please argue with me. Tell me the truth always.”

Based on that blank cheque I’d been given, I went to the residence one evening last year to see the President. That was the time there was deafening talk of hunger from different parts of the country. I wanted to be sure that the talk was not being filtered from the President. Of course, I know him as somebody who reads newspapers religiously, and wherever we are in the face of the world, he asks for media highlights from Nigeria. So, he would not be unaware of what Nigerians were going through. But I still wanted to raise it with him.

“Mr President, there is hunger in the land, and people are complaining. I know government is doing its best, but I just want you to be aware,” I said.

Mr President responded: “I know, I know. I am aware of what people are going through. I have people in my own constituency back home, and I know the messages they send to me. But it is a passing phase. Our country was vandalized, and we found ourselves in this problem. But now that we are here, we will do our best. We will bring change to this country, and we are already seeing it in agriculture. This period of hunger will pass.”

It was prophetic. The season of hunger will pass, and is indeed passing. Anyone that is honest will admit that things are looking up in Nigeria. The ravening clouds shall no longer be victorious. They shall not long possess the sky.

 I went away with one conviction from that night’s meeting: the poor matter very much to this President. He is not the type that people would tell they had no bread to eat, and he would tell them to eat cake instead. This is a friend of the talakawas, a man who loves ordinary people, and who wants their station in life to be improved. And those people know it. That is why they gravitate towards him, and repose so much confidence in him. He is their hero. Our hero.

President Buhari turns 75 years on Sunday 17 December. But some six months back, how many could confidently say this day would come for the ramrod straight man from Daura? How many believed the President would come out of the severe medical challenge that had confronted him? It all began as a routine vacation cum medical check up in January, and few days after, the rumour mill was on overdrive. The challenge lasted till August, before the President returned home finally, and since then, he has been looking better by the day. Each time you now see him, there is a fresher glow, and you cannot but give glory to God on his behalf.

But why was President Buhari kept alive, so much so that he is turning 75 today? Why did he pass through the sea of infirmity, and he was not swept away? Why did he pass through inferno, and the fire did not kindle against him? Big question. I don’t have the answer, but I can hazard some guesses, based on divine principles.

Rigobert Song. Remember him? Song was the Cameroonian defender who played many years for the Indomitable Lions. He appeared at eight African Nations Cup tournaments, five as captain, and stood between Nigeria and victory many times. He became an idol, venerated by his countrymen and women. He retired to become a coach.

Then late last year, Song was not on song again on the soccer pitch. He had a near death experience on October 20. He went down with brain aneurysm, and was in coma for two days. Doctors battled to save his life, and he was eventually evacuated to France.

While the travails lasted, the social media was abuzz with news of Song’s passage. As someone who had followed his career over the years, I felt very sad. But this is the season of fake news. Song was not dead, he miraculously rallied back. He narrated his experience, which I found instructive, considering what our President also passed through:

“I did not know what was happening to me…I did not even know I was fighting between life and death…All these people, they put God in trouble. Because everyone in this situation, they were praying-this is what I keep in my mind-God would have been in trouble. Everyone was praying, asking, ‘God, please don’t do that, don’t take Rigobert.’ I say thank you everybody for making me come back.”

What song was Song singing? One of thanksgiving. Cameroonians who loved him bombarded God with prayers, ‘Please, don’t take Rigobert now.’ And God heard. He showed mercy.

That is the same reason President Buhari is alive today. Nigerians bombarded Heaven with prayers. With supplications, intercessions, pleas for mercy. Muslims prayed in mosques. Christians prayed in churches. President Alpha Conde of Guinea declared 24 hours prayer for his Nigerian counterpart. Prayers were going on everywhere, both at home, and in the Diaspora. I can imagine God telling Himself: ‘I must answer these prayers. These petitions are too many. I must answer.’

And God had mercy, a fact attested to by President Buhari himself. He said his return was a miracle, which only God could have done.

Why did God keep our President alive? The Holy Books answer:

“Blessed is he that considers the poor;

God will deliver him in the day of evil.

God will preserve him, and keep him alive,

And he will be blessed upon the earth;

And deliver him not unto the will of his enemies,

And raise him up from sickness.” (Psalm 41:1-3).

And this one in Surah At-Tawbah 9:128:

“There has certainly come to you a Messenger from among yourselves. Grievous to him is what you suffer, for he is concerned over you and to the believers he is kind and merciful.”

President Buhari is concerned about Nigerians, particularly the helpless, the ordinary people, and he has dedicated his life to serving them. And when he was near unto death, those ordinary people besieged Heaven with prayers. That Christian hymn says “dearer to God are the prayers of the poor.” And God truly answered.

There is power in goodwill, we have seen it work. It worked for Rigobert Song, and it has worked for our President. Have a heart for men, particularly for the poor, the lowly, and the downtrodden. And see God rise on your behalf.

Consider Tabitha (Dorcas in Greek), who lived at Joppa. She was full of good works, always doing good, and helping the poor. One day, she took ill, and died. Peter, one of the apostles of Jesus, was invited. He came, prayed, and said: “Tabitha, arise!” And the woman came back to life. That is what is possible, when you have a heart for the poor.

In his New Year message last year, President Buhari told the country: “Living in the State House has not alienated me from your daily sufferings. These challenges are only temporary, we are working to make things better.”

When news came a couple of months ago that Nigeria had exited from recession, what did the President say? “Until coming out of recession translates into meaningful improvement in peoples’ lives, our work cannot be said to be done.”

In another broadcast, the President had stated: “All my adult life, I have always earned a salary and I know what it is like when your salary is simply not enough.”

That is the man we follow, and serve. Millions would today follow him into battle blindfolded. Millions upon millions would vote him again and again, if he throws his hat into the ring. Happy birthday, Mr President. You have shown us how to care for the lowly and the poor, how to bear them in our hearts at all times, and how such pleases God, and brings mercy our way. Thank you for coming this way, thank you for offering yourself for service. 

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

Not Too Young To Run - Nigerian Senate's Golden Gift – Folakunle Adeagbo

The Nigerian Senate gets a lot of flak from young Nigerians, especially in the social media space. Interestingly, on Twitter, there is a Qatari businessman called Nasser Al-Saadi whose handle is @NASS, who is regularly at the receiving end of frank, unsavoury and angry opinions from Nigerians who have mistaken him for the National Assembly. Luckily, he is very good natured about it all and his responses have provided much needed comic relief at the height of some scandals in the past.

As such, it was very welcome news during the course of the year when both houses of the National Assembly passed the constitutional amendment bill colloquially referred to as the ‘Not Too Young to Run Bill’. The Not Too Young to Run bill reduces the age of eligibility for legislative and executive offices, as currently prescribed by the constitution. The bill still needs to be ratified by at least 24 State Houses of Assembly and assented to by the President to become law, but it is nonetheless an important step in widening the pool from which we select our leaders and representatives from, at least theoretically speaking.

Theoretically, this is because age is just one of the many subsets in the Venn diagram of political selection in Nigeria. The theory of it all is why many watchers were surprised that the bill did not die on the floor of either house. A substantial part of the advocacy for the bill focused on the unsatisfactoriness of the choices available to the electorate during the election season. Some have described the current order as “sexagenarians who only seem focused on perpetuating 19th-century leadership in a 21st-century world”.

Beyond the nominal trappings of sloganeering - electricity, good roads, potable water, basic education and healthcare - which have defined our elections in the last three decades, Nigeria needs leaders who can wrap their heads around new world issues - artificial intelligence, cryptocurrencies, the internet of things. There is an imperative to usher in a new and virile breed that are competent in speaking to concepts that revolve around innovation, coordination, green, openness and sharing as they impact Nigeria and the wider world in the coming years. To attempt to bridge this massive gap and turn ourselves into a competitive economy requires a lot more vision and strategic thinking than our beret and glove wearing administrators have demonstrated over time. This is where my generation has so much to offer and I do honestly think that we can do much better. 

In all of this, we are not too idealistic. We realise, like has been famously said, that power is never served a la carte. And there are indeed a few governors and senators in their forties that perhaps lend themselves to the argument that youth can lead just as poorly as age - the Wisdom of Solomon, the Age of Methuselah, Strength of Samson having nothing to do with each other and all that. Clearly, there are many other factors such as intellectual capacity, wealth, zoning and so on that prevent the pool of contestants from being much richer than it currently is.

This is why it is imperative that once the constitution has officially been amended to allow younger people to run for office, advocacy must resume immediately to push new bills. We need new bills such as the Not Too Poor to Run, Not Too Smart to Run and Not Too Other to Run Bills. The National Assembly can surely open more doors and break more glass ceilings in a bid to fast-track Nigeria’s race to the top while leveraging her greatest assets, its huge youth demography.

To be less facetious, one must commend the Nigerian Senate for engaging on this issue and helping to move the needle to ensure that Nigerian youth have a foot in the door to being the leaders of today and tomorrow.

 

Folakunle Adeagbo is a young professional who works in the creative industry and an aspiring politician resident in Lagos.

Buratai: That PMB’s “wiz-man” On Counter Insurgency

By Israel Abiodun 
 
President Muhammadu  Buhari knows the appealing burden of leadership. Anywhere a leader finds him, there are huge responsibilities and enormous expectations, no matter how infinitesimal the position entrusted to him.
 
Buhari knows a leader who sets his eyes on honest and dedicated leadership finds the burden of leading less cumbersome. Such leaders take the right decisions; opt for the right choices and do not falter before the antics of detractors.
 
On the flipside, a leader with a crooked mindset finds it extremely difficult to positively navigate the open and subterranean paths of leadership. But a leader who abhors irrationality and insists on what is right is often mistaken for a dictator. But he is least perturbed, and makes light of seemingly serious issues before his lieutenants and people because he is sure of progressive outcomes.
 
Last week, President Buhari was in Kano for a two-day official visit to this ancient city of Northern civilization. He was puzzled by the rousing welcome accorded him by both the small and the mighty. He was particularly enthralled by the spontaneous excitement of the masses or the Talakawas. It again gleefully reminded him of his touted cultic followership by the downtrodden which had always been the greatest envy of his political rivals.
 
But any onlooker would easily observe that the affection on President Buhari had roots spanning his years of enduring public life. The President has strived all his life to exude integrity, honesty and transparency in both private and public life. The many times he has been tested in public leadership, Buhari had proved himself a worthy leader. And it is in this ancient city of Kano that the Talakawas foisted on him the enviable sobriquet of “Mai Gaskiya,” (meaning a man of honesty or truthfulness). For him, it was a visit to his ancestral roots.
 
Therefore, the masses charmingly demonstrated President Buhari’s more than two years civilian leadership of Nigeria has extricated them from many afflictions. They have tested development and employment/empowerment. And topmost of all, the people have been freed from the scourge and menace of rampaging Boko Haram terrorists which held the ancient city of Kano captive, like Borno and the rest. The public elation was fired from this angle and President Buhari got the inkling for the wild excitement.
 
He therefore, teased the people with a parody, declaring quite euphemistically that his APC- led government of Nigeria’s had three cardinal areas it covenanted with Nigerians to accord first premium and priority. He recounted these three most debilitating afflictions of the country as battling insecurity, reviving an economy in recession and tackling the monster of corruption.
 
 No doubt, President Buhari is tackling all these national ailments simultaneously and impressively. But he teased that insecurity has been the most easiest to handle among the trio, than reviving the economy and battling corruption.
 
President Buhari felt comfortable and indeed confident about tackling the widespread and threatening insecurity across Nigeria because he appointed a workable team to lead the Nigerian military.  The President from the outset believed he had to obey his conscience by appointing crack team of officers to preside over the bile insurrections, manifest in local armed conflicts   and the almost insurmountable Boko Haram insurgency, which had arrogantly,  in violent raids, seized swathes of territories of Nigeria’s sovereignty.
 
There is no intention to berate anybody or impugn the leadership character of any former leader of Nigeria. But the unalterable truth remains that if Nigerians assumed former President Goodluck Jonathan (GEJ) failed on any aspect of leadership of the country, it was more visible in his helplessness to curb the rising spate of insecurity across the country.
 
It heightened to extents GEJ declared state of emergency in certain LGAs, but it never worked. Some foreign embassies consistently issued travel advisories or bans to their nationals wishing to journey to Nigeria because of the superfluous insecurity threats everywhere, including major cities like FCT, Abuja.
 
Unfortunately, the Jonathan government had a military team,  which at least in public estimation were epicureans, who demonstrated a confounding indifference to their assignments. So, terrorists and other lethal sects feasted freely on Nigeria. Service Chiefs remained in their comfort zones in Abuja or elsewhere, and released troops to the warfront they hardly supervised personally, obviously because they dreaded possible attacks by insurgents.  They had a penchant for issuing cold and lifeless directives to commanders and troops without checking the level of compliance.
 
President Buhari, a retired senior military officer himself, painstakingly scanned these lacunas in the counter-terrorism war and opted for a yawning and remarkable difference in his choice of Service Chiefs. He never allowed himself to be influenced by lobbyists.  President Buhari went for the beast brains in the military, who had in their kitty track records of excellence and accomplishments on previous assignments.
 
And putting together the right team, President Buhari had his intentions on security of lives and property of Nigerians protected. Likewise, the securing and defending of the territorial integrity and sovereignty of Nigeria got working perfectly and excellently to set timelines and targets.
 
Therefore, when President Buhari proclaimed in Kano that among the three focal malaises of Nigeria he elected to instantly remedy, security had been the easiest, the Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces of Nigeria was tacitly revealing to Nigerians the reward of getting the right team and competent hands to superintend on assignments. This strategy is a tool that works for leaders’ everywhere.
 
A peep into President Buhari’s security architecture or Nigeria’s current security defence team reveals the Chief of Defence Staff (CDS) Gen. Gabriel Olonishakin and the Chief of Army Staff (COAS)  Lt. Gen.  Tukur Yusufu  Buratai in seamless copulation in initiatives and strategies  for the counter-insurgency operations.
 
Precisely and most outstandingly, Gen. Buratai,  the helmsman of the counter-terrorism campaigns in Nigeria, can only be  likened  to the world’s  youngest art award winner, “Wizkid” in terms of innovation, courage and charisma to truly appreciate his enormous roles and the corresponding successes that have come in recent times. In him the troops see the perfect definition of a servant-leader, kind and generous to a fault and a man who would prefer to sacrifice his personal comfort for others for the job to be done.
 
In strategies, tactics and field engagements with Nigerian troops, Gen. Buratai has personified excellence and a numbing competence, which has led to the decimation and eventual defeat of  Boko Haram terrorists.  He has continually  maintained  an excellent tradition of meeting timelines, punches on target and above all concerned about reforms that will enthrone the Nigerian Army as one of the best in the world. General Buratai sees a greater and more united  Nigeria beyond Boko Haram and to this end made conscious efforts to ensure the Army leaves every area of Operation better than they have met the place.
 
It is needless to re-echo that President Buhari’s security “Team Right,” syndrome has packaged military officers who  knows exactly when to advance attacks and when to retreat; it knows how to assail enemy camps and have arrests of terrorists’ and the surrender of top Boko Haram commanders.  It has underlined welfare of troops on its list of first obligations.
 
The Security “Team Right” knew when to chase agents and sympathizers of terrorists who have constituted themselves into cogs in the wheel of progress. Or when these terror surrogates graduated the war of terror on Nigerians from the battlefield into cyberspace terrorism and contained it effectively.
 
These exploits spearheaded by Gen. Buratai as the ombudsman of the counter-insurgency operations have left a positive impression on the psyche of the world. It has thus, compelled a bewildered humanity into the endorsement of President Buhari  as a leader who sticks to his words and promises. It is evident in the defeat of terrorism and sister devious terror sects in the country.
 
And strikingly, the COAS has not relented in spite of the gains registered in the terrorism war, and vows to sustain the tempo until the final whistle is blown. No day ever passes without Gen. Buratai redoubling efforts and inventing something new in the anti-insurgency battles. Just yesterday, the first set of graduates from the Army War College has their graduation ceremony, expectedly too is the commmecement of work at the Nigerian Army University of Technology, Biu. These are intended   to completely free Nigeria from the claws of terrorists in order to make Mr. President to sparkle more and more in all his undertakings in the dogged determination to salvage Nigeria.
 
Therefore,  the road is rough and the odds staked against the peace and  progress  of Nigeria are certainly tough; but President Buhari need  not lose hope;  but be confident that much can still be achieved on the economy and the war against corruption, like on security,  with his ongoing  laudable and impactful  initiatives.  He has no cause to tremble as Nigerians are firmly in his support for a better and greater nation.
 
Abiodun is a civil rights advocate and contributed this piece from Ibadan.

Now that New York Times is back on the Offensive  

 
 
At a time that the media industry, globally, is confronting dwindling revenue for a host of reasons, it appears the New York Times is yet to fully harness the full potentials of revenue models available to it. New York Times only needs apply a little touch to its so called investigative stories to deliver a readymade blockbuster script to Hollywood in the fiction category. A recent piece by the publication, "They Fled Boko Haram, Only to Be Raped by Nigeria’s Security Forces" would break the cinema once appropriately titled "Travesty" or "Multiple Jeopardy". 
 
The piece tells the story of Falmata, a teenager who was repeatedly raped by Boko Haram abductors only to fall into the hands of military rapists when she escaped from the terrorists. Consistent with Hollywood standards of scripting these kind of flick, there is a near happy ending as "Falmata now lives with her grandmother, but is too ashamed to tell her what happened. Someday, she hopes to continue her education and become a lawyer. She wants to represent the powerless." 
 
The "travesty" is not that fourteen-year-old Falmata was reportedly abused and exploited by persons who should be protecting her from terrorists; the travesty is that New York Times is again shamelessly peddling its crisis entrepreneur wares to the unwary world. In that single piece the American media organization encapsulated its arrogance, cowboy impunity and disdain for races other than the ones it holds as superior – a justification for its persistent agenda for the destabilization of other countries. 
 
This same New York Times, between September 2002 and June 2003, frantically reported how Saddam Hussein of Iraq possessed a frightening arsenal of "Weapons of Mass Destruction", which turned out to not only be a lie but such agenda driven journalism laid the foundation for the chaos that today reigns supreme in Iraq. Writing in 'The Public Editor" section of the paper, Daniel Okrent on May 30, 2004 quoted a Bill Keller as admitting that there was an internal examination of the flawed journalism that contributed to misleading the world about the weapons of mass destruction hoax. 
 
There is no debate as to whether the likes of New York Times were remorseful about the lies and pandering to the agenda of bloodthirsty western politicians in reporting once stable countries into crises. The glee with which New York Times marketed the "Arab Spring" as the next best thing since the discovery of anti-biotics is enough proof that once a group of entitled people become addicted to lying to destroy others there is no turning back.  
 
The Arab Spring, contrary to what New York Times and others in the 'Fake Mainstream Media' (credits to President Donald Trump) want us to believe, the countries that were touted as being on the way to becoming democratic free market entities are everything but that. Almost all the nations whose citizens were gullible enough to be misled by the idyllic Arab Spring today wish they were more circumspect of being misled with the kind of special report/coverage offered by such entities. Egypt is stuck under a metamorphosed military al-Sisi, Libya is the definition of hell, Yemen is a Houthi rebels' hotbed with the worst humanitarian crisis in history, Syria is a disaster playing on a loop and they all combine to birth the Islamic State (ISIL) to which Boko Haram is a franchise. 
 
In practical terms, to the extent that the kind of journalism it engages gave rise to ISIL, New York Times should accept part responsibility for the ascendancy of Boko Haram. It should apologize to Falmata and to every other woman ever raped by the terrorists. The horror it midwifed in the Middle East spread through the Maghrib and the Sahara to manifest as an embolden Boko Haram in North East Nigeria. This is bad enough on its own without New York Times attempting to shift the blame to the Nigerian military as it attempted to do in "They Fled Boko Haram, Only to Be Raped by Nigeria’s Security Forces". 
 
Even the report it attempted to use for this is flawed in the New York Times Tradition. 
 
First, the story is mostly a rehash of old reports offering nothing new save to sensationalize the accounts of one survivor in a manner that both shocks readers and advance its larger agenda. 
 
Secondly, it is appalling that it presented the government, military and police response in only 143 words for a story length in excess of 1600 words and completely repressed the fact that all the affected agencies have taken steps to deal with the situation. 
 
Furthermore, what will likely be achieved by the New York Times article is to keep security forces away from the displaced persons' camps, which is just what Boko Haram fighters want to be able to resume attacks on the population of these facilities.  
 
Those with capacity to contain the excesses of New York Times should thus immediately call it to order now that it is back on the offensive against Nigeria. It has demonstrated sufficient lack of capacity for remorse even in the face of its past errors and those running the publication must now be thought to have the thinnest filament of conscience to help them appreciate that it is human life they toy with each time to push their agenda.
 
Murphy, a security expert sent this contribution from Calabar.

Political Alliance Of Southern States For 2019: Igbo As President And Yoruba As VP By Bayo Oluwasanmi

The All Progressives Congress (APC) was formed February 6, 2013 in anticipation of the 2015 elections. Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN), the Congress for Progressive Change (CPC), the All Nigeria Peoples Party (ANPP), and a faction of All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA), merged to take on the People's Democratic Party (PDP).

The APC candidate Muhammadu Buhari won the presidential election by almost 2.6 votes. Incumbent President Goodluck Jonathan conceded defeat March 31. This was the first time in Nigeria's history that an opposition political party unseated a governing party in a general election and one in which power transferred peacefully from one party to another.

For Nigerians, the electoral victory of Buhari was a victory of unprecedented triumph and optimism. With Buhari in Aso Rock, eyes were fixed on the promise of a new society. Suddenly, a vision for a better Nigeria had been given substance and historic impetus by the defeat of PDP, the party in power for 16 years. The APC victory was indeed stunning.

If Antonio Gramsci's haunting phrase “the old is dying and the new cannot be born,” was ever applicable to Nigeria's presidential election, then it is now. The old brigades have continuously maintained and extended their stranglehold on power. It's all about them. They believe they have monopoly on the wisdom, superiority, and singular ability to manage the affairs of our nation that's becoming more complex by the day. The youths are disorganized, disoriented, divided, confused, immobilized, and unprepared to challenge the octogenarians and take power away from them. History is about to repeat itself.

For 2019, it's not going to be predictable like before. It has become politically imperative for the Southern States – South West, South East, South South plus Kogi, Kwara, and Middle Belt – to unite and form an alliance to save this dying nation. The alliance will be for common agenda for purposes of contesting 2019 presidential elections with a joint ticket of a younger generation of Igbo as the presidential candidate and Yoruba as the vice-president that will clear election thresholds. The alliance will make possible the maximizing of votes in pursuit of an agreed set of common goals to be reached by means of a common strategy, joint actions, the pooling of resources and the distribution of possible subsequent pay-offs. More than any other thing, the alliance will help progressives to access, to gain control, retain power, and chart a new course for Nigeria.

Buhari's administration is a textbook example of failed government and it should be denied a second term. Buhari's two years in office has been one disaster and another. A government which rode on the coattail of populism of change mantra is everything but change. He lost the war on corruption – his signature program. Unemployment remains the tormenting devil of our youths. Restructure, the preamble to his party's manifesto, has been jettisoned. Boko Haram rampage is on going. Northern cattle herdsmen are in the real sense of the word, another barbaric domestic terrorist. Electricity is predictably more erratic and epileptic. The living standard of Nigerians is at its nadir. Chaos, crisis, protests, panic, fear, insecurity are familiar daily newspaper headlines. Jungle justice has replaced criminal justice. Hunger is an everyday companion of poor Nigerians. Nigerians are victims of cheap deaths that are treatable, curable, and preventable. In short, the socioeconomic diary of Buhari's government reads like a funeral dirge.

The progressive elements of our nation cannot continue to be spectators any more. The time is NOW to forge an alliance of the Southern States to produce a viable alternative presidential choice for Nigerians to run against Buhari and Abubakar Atiku. Our democracy is a tired adversary to all the principles of a true federalism. The Southern Alliance will set the stage for the next leadership battle and serve as a framework for governance – radical transformation of our country and restoration of principles of democratic federalism – equity, fairness, justice, separation of powers, checks and balances, state's autonomy, judicial reforms, rule of law, new revenue allocation formula based on derivation, state and local government police, new constitution, and many more. It's a coalition that will build a consensus on issues that impacts development and governance. The alliance will ensure that our people are entitled to, and must get the dividend of peace, progress, and prosperity.

The alliance will be a realignment of progressive forces that will break the stranglehold on office, monopoly on power, and hegemony of the North West and North East which had ruled Nigeria for 47 out of 58 years of independence without any concrete or visible progress to show for it. In spite of the many years the Hausa-Fulanis had ruled Nigeria, the north still grapples with problems of medieval times particularly human capital development. Based on the idea and ideals of a greater society for the greater good of our people, the alliance will do away with nepotism whereby relatives and tribal kinsmen control the machinery of government, security apparatus, judiciary, federal civil service, federal agencies, and federal parastatals. Unlike the arrogant and ignorant belief of the old tired and worn out Trojan horses that they know it all and can do it all, we believe wisdom is to be found in the crowd. They are out of their depth. We know it and inwardly they do too.

Like an ebb tide that reveals a reshaped coastline, the new alliance will remake Nigeria. A true and genuine political alliance that will reflect the full range of views across the country that will open up politics for a better Nigeria. The alliance will do more than provide an outlet for frustrated progressives who are painfully disappointed by Buhari blatant nepotism and the way he's been running the country for the past two years. It will improve our politics in subtle ways that go well beyond our choices in a presidential election. The basic failure of Nigerian politics is that we have been locked into a cul-de-sac by backward, reactionary, and corrupt re-cycled leaders who lack the intelligence, foresight, courage, determination, wisdom, judgment, and with no room for creativity or innovation in governance or new solutions to problems that have plagued our nation for 58 years.

The coming together of Southern States will forge strategies for nation building and more importantly “cross-over leadership” in order to revive and renew Nigeria and move the long stranded and stagnated nation in the right direction. The alliance we embrace and install accountability. Through the ballot box, we'll remove these false and manufactured leaders – the real enemies of our people. We'll put an end to the unnecessary and needless sufferings and subjugation of our people – Hausa, Igbo, and Yoruba. Progressive will be the lexicon of the new Nigeria. The alliance will pride itself on collaboration as opposed to corruption as the baseline of our political thought and action in 2019 and beyond. The old political parties with the old guards can never change. They have nothing except sticks and stones to offer our people especially our teeming tortured and taunted jobless youths. The Southern Alliance will create a progressive and prosperous future for our youths in particular, and Nigeria as a whole that is as desirable as it is feasible.

A new nation is waiting to be born!

 

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Buhari, Security and the Right Team Strategy 

 
 
President Muhammadu Buhari used his visit to Kano this week to reaffirm that security, the economy and fight against corruption remain the cardinal principle of his All Progressives Congress (APC) administration. Such assurance is definitely needed in a clime and place where the tendency is to latch onto the negatives as opposed to highlighting the successes and working on how to replicate them.  
 
Equally lost in the negative casting is the reality of fulfilling the promises versus the romanticized perception. Fighting corruption for instances has the inbuilt risk for economic blowbacks as seen in the depression of certain sectors once the flow of easy revenue from corruption was disrupted. This perhaps explains why President Buhari went on to state that addressing Nigeria's security challenges was easier than tackling corruption or reviving the economy. 
 
One must however slightly disagree with Mr. President, who should have given himself credit for handpicking the right team to deliver his desired mandate in security. Having the right team in place is additional guarantee that things will turn out well. 
 
In the case of how President Buhari found it easier to fulfil his promise on security with his appointment of Chief of Defence Staff, Major General Gabriel Olonisakin; Chief of Army Staff, Lieutenant General Tukur Buratai; Chief of Naval Staff, Vice Admiral Ibok-Ete Ekwe Ibas and the Chief of Air Staff, Air Marshal Sadique Abubakar.  This collection of gallant military men is proof that the right team works and works effectively to deliver results everywhere.  
 
The team in the Defence led by General Olonishakin with Lieutenant General Buratai  indisputably playing the role of Lionel Messi, Barcelona and Argentina king of football as the “Defence Gateman” has seen the military getting outcomes that tally with what President Buhari had promised Nigerians. This has of course made it possible to reach the conclusion that that Buhari is a man of his words.  
 
Buratai's handling of his role is remarkable in that he made Mr President to shine. Under him, the hordes of Boko Haram terrorists were halted from advancing into other cities in the country while soldiers went after them even in places that were once reputed as their strongholds. The scoundrels have not only been chased out of the areas they once stationed themselves they have also been prevented, repeatedly, from again regrouping on the scale they once did. More importantly, however, is the Army's success in preventing the other wannabe terror groups from ever evolving to the stage Boko Haram got to. 
 
This team also has it to its credit that the kind of right abuses that led to foreign blockade of arms sales to Nigeria were not repeated as soldiers were made to conduct operations to meet expected international benchmarks for rights issues. While critics, including local and international NGOs, had attempted to sully Mr. President's human rights record, the pro-active approach of this team, like the Army's Human Rights Desk set up by Buratai, took the wind out of their sails. Most, if not all the allegations dredged up by such vested interests were usually found out to be without substance. 
 
It is for these reasons that President Buhari must give credit to his choice in getting the right team that knows exactly what needed to be done to keep would be detractors of their boss guessing while they go ahead to make exploits. All those that have constituted themselves into clogs in the wheel of Nigeria's progress have since learnt that security is no longer a sure way to pick holes in Mr. President's achievements.  
 
President Buhari must therefore not lose hope as much can still be achieved with the economy and the war against corruption once the teams manning these other areas are able to marshal the determination, discipline and commitment required for the kind of results they seek to achieve.  
Kano was once in the crosshairs of Boko Haram and other terrorist groups. The military saw to it that terrorists are kept away from that city as far as possible while an attack there has become something they can only daydream about. 
 
Therein lies the source of enthusiasm that saw President Buhari being received by a jubilant throng of residents, who were simply unable to hide their elation. Once the kind of right team running the military affairs begin to run the shows in other sectors the crowd will line the streets of any Nigerian city that President Buhari is visiting and each one will be a homecoming.
 
Agbese, a human rights law researcher  writes from the United Kingdom.

Defence: Buhari Gets CSO Accolades

...hails Buratai’s sportsmanship 

President Muhammadu Buhari has earned accolades from a critical segment of the Nigerian society, over the administration’s conquest of Boko Haram and other rising insurgencies threatening the stability of peace and unity of the country in recent times as it also hailed the Chief of Army Staff, Lieutenant General Tukur Yusufu Buratai for his leadership and sportsmanship. 

This was made known at a peer review gathering of the Coalition of Civil Society Organisations For Transparency and Good Governance [CCSOTGG] which held in Abuja to appraise the administration’s efforts on security. 

The group while commending the Nigerian Army’s decisiveness in dealing with both rising and existing insurgency , affirmed that Boko Haram is only able to attempt showing its presence in a limited geographical area where it exploits the vulnerability of soft targets, which says a lot about how the Nigerian Army, under the Chief of Army Staff (COAS), Lieutenant General TY Buratai, has been able to degrade the terrorists. 

In the statement signed by the convener Nkechi Odoma, the group condemned all terrorist attacks describing them as a gross violation of sanctity of human life and an attack on the society and humanity at large.


Attributing the recent wave of peace in the nation to the military's action, the coalition specifically applauded Buratai's commitment to the cause, attributing it to the recent Global Terrorism Index which scored Nigeria high.

"The combination of these achievements has revived our hope that Nigeria will step into 2018 as a more secured country with the space available to terrorists continually shrinking until they become a relic of history whose only mention would not be in the daily news bulletins but in the archives, that tell of a gallant era of Nigeria's Armed Forces. We dare say that the Global Terrorism Index 2017, which showed that terrorists are not able to kill as many people as they use to, is a testimony to the victory that Nigeria will ultimately score over the enemies of humanity. 

“It is a confirmation that the Nigerian Army under Lieutenant General Buratai has contributed greatly to improvements and the success recorded by the country’s defence architecture in the last two years especially in responding to both internal and external threats. 

“This coalition commends President Muhammadu Buhari as the Commander-in-Chief under whom these achievements were recorded". It read in part.

The coalition further added that aside from degrading Boko Haram as a grievous threat to Nigeria, the Nigerian Army has done even better in preventing the ascendancy of other terrorist and extremists groups like the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB), Niger Delta Avengers and the Islamic Movement in Nigeria (IMN).

They said these groups have been reported to have foreign backing so the threats they posed to the country were significant and it is remarkable that the Army has been able to curtail the activities of these groups in the space of time under review in spite of the strident propaganda that they and their sponsors mounted against the Army and the COAS while dismantling those that would have metamorphosed into bigger threats were decisively dealt with and the inherited terror groups have been served quit notices. 

According to them the degradation of terrorism has freed up other facets of national life: 

“be it the defeats of Boko Haram and the ability of the people to return to agriculture in the northeast, the containment of IPOB with the resulting confidence in commerce in the southeast or the curtailing of militants with the stability of the oil industry in the south-south" , noting that the removal of these threats have positively impacted on other facets of our national life to an extent that international confidence in the stability of Nigeria is reviving. 

The coalition however called on the presidency for more support to the Chief of Army Staff to further contain all acts of aggression in the nation.

"Our commendation is however our own way of playing the Oliver Twist as we task Mr. President to do more. If Boko Haram soft target attack has been confined into just two states in the northeast of the country we want them to be restricted into just two squared kilometers before their final annihilation. This, for us, underscores the need for President Buhari to sustain the tempo of his achievements particularly what the Army has done in turning the gun against Boko Haram and other insurgent groups in the country,” the statement added.

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