Ring True

By Yemi Adebowale; yemi.adebowale@thisdaylive.com; 07013940521 (text only)

Leaders in third world countries, particularly in sub-Saharan Africa, enjoy being disgraced out of office. Their shenanigans are legendary and rank very high on the dark flanks of Africa. Just think about this inglorious list of shamed African leaders: Yahaya Jammeh, Robert Mugabe, Jacob Zuma, Siad Barre, Dawuda Jawara, Mobutu Seseseko, Hosni Mubarak, Muammar Gaddafi, Charles Taylor, Laurent Gbagbo and Mengistu Haile Mariam.

These people insisted on holding on to power against the tide, while their people wallowed in hunger, poverty, disease, unemployment, insecurity and deep-rooted division. Many of them were massively corrupt and incompetent. They were eventually disgraced out of power.
I was not surprised when our own Muhammadu Buhari decided on Monday to travel on this same infamous road by indicating that he would seek re-election in 2019. Buhari wants a second term because his legion of sycophants is urging him on; not because he is convinced about it. Charade is in the blood of the typical African leader. Can our President honestly say that he has delivered on his promises to Nigerians, with just 13 months left of his tenure? Can he honestly say that Nigerians are better under his government than that of his predecessor? Can our President say that he has positively impacted on the lives of the masses of this country in the last 35 months? The frank answers would be on the negative.
The last 35 months have been horrendous for most Nigerians (except those benefitting from Buhari’s trickeries) with unprecedented economic hardship, unemployment, inflation and mass killings. It has been three years of blood, tears, pain, ineptitude and corruption. Above all, this country has never been this divided. It is an undisputable fact that our President presided over the destruction of our fragile unity, forcing former President Obasanjo to declare that Nigeria had never been as divided in history, except for the country’s civil war period between 1967 and 1970. He added in his remarks on August 2016 “At no time in our history, except probably during the civil war, has Nigeria been so fractured in the feeling of oneness and belongingness by the citizenry.” The ex-Chief Justice of Nigeria, Justice Dahiru Musdapher, concurred in September 2016, saying “Nigeria has never been as divided as presently, since it’s amalgamation over 100 years ago.”
Let’s take a look at Buhari’s avowal to exterminate Boko Haram. As I pen this piece, over two million Nigerians are living in excruciating condition in numerous IDP camps in Borno State. They can’t return home; their towns and villages are still controlled by Boko Haram. The terrorists are perfectly in control of three local governments in Borno State. Under Buhari’s watch, Boko Haram became the deadliest terror group in the world, with thousands of Nigerians killed in the last 35 months. Even in IDP camps, displaced Nigerians are persistently attacked and killed by Boko Haram, as seen in Rann, Muna Garage, Dalore and a number of others. Few weeks back, the terrorists invaded the camp in Rann, killing four international aid workers and an undisclosed number of IDPs.
The UN Deputy Humanitarian Coordinator in Nigeria, Yassine Gaba noted: “Innocent civilians continue to suffer daily from direct and indiscriminate attacks in the North-east of Nigeria. Endless numbers of explosions, brutal killings, abductions and lootings continue to uproot the lives of women, children and men daily. Women, children and men face daily grave human rights violations and sexual and gender-based violence.”
Under Buhari, this country has been needlessly losing hundreds of its gallant soldiers to this madness called Boko Haram, yet he refused to replace our inept service chiefs. Many will not forget in a hurry the massacre of soldiers in places like Sasawa, Magumeri, Malam Fatori, Gashigha, Rann, Kanama, Gamboru-Ngala, Mafa and Kunduga. What about the unprecedented and persistent killing of officers by the terrorists under Buhari? Those killed include Lt. Colonel O. Umusu, Lt. Colonel K Yusuf, Lt. Colonel Abu Ali, Lt. Colonel B. U. Umar, Captain Victor Ulasi and Group Lt. Col. A E Mamudu. So, what are we talking about? Buhari’s war against Boko Haram has been a big mess.
Buhari pledged to revamp the nation’s economy. So, how well-managed has this country’s economy been in the last 35 months? Are there positive stories to tell about the value of the Naira, electricity, petrol, manufacturing, jobs and so on? The truth is that in 35 months, this administration squandered virtually all the economic gains of its predecessors. Thousands of businesses and manufacturers are gasping for breath. Many have closed shop, while millions of Nigerians have lost jobs. At a point, inflation was almost at an unparalleled 18%. The refineries are still not working. That was why the NNPC spent a monstrous $5.8 billion on the importation of 9.8 million metric tons of petrol in four months – October 2017 to January 2018. This is why payment of subsidy on imported petrol now gulps N1.4 trillion annually. Which corruption is bigger than selling petrol at N145 per litre after spending so much on subsidy? Nigerians outside Lagos and Abuja pay more.
Corruption under this government is frightening. It was no surprise when the 2017 Corruption Perception Index of Transparency International revealed that sleaze in Nigeria is more severe under the Buhari administration. Nigeria was also downgraded by TI from 136 to 148 in the CPI. We can’t forget the likes of Mainagate, Barugate, NHISgate and Babachirgate. Contracts running into billions of USD were allegedly awarded exclusively by Maikanti Baru’s NNPC, without due process.
Which corruption is bigger than plunging Nigeria into unprecedented foreign debt within 35 months? According to the latest data from the Debt Management Office, Nigeria’s external debt rose to $18.91 billion (N5.787 trillion) as at the end of December 2017, while domestic debt rose to N15.937 trillion, bringing the total debt stock of the country to N21.725 trillion ($70.92 billion). The bulk of the borrowing was done by the federal government under Buhari. What do we have to show for all these borrowings in the last 35 months? The Naira, our symbol of nationhood has never had it so bad. At a point, it was trading for as high as N520/$. This is the same Naira Buhari inherited at about N220/$.
Rampaging Fulani herdsmen have spent the last 35 months killing hundreds in Benue, Taraba, Plateau, Nasarawa, Kaduna, Enugu, Delta, Oyo, Zamfara and so many other states. This spate of killing is unmatched. As at press time, over 100,000 displaced Benue State indigenes wallow in IDP camps while well-armed Fulani militia control their local government areas – Gwer West, Guma and Logo. Security agents have refused to curtail them. For me, this is state-sanctioned terrorism under Buhari.
The Conference of Nigeria Political Parties, CNPP, was appropriate when it said Buhari had nothing to show Nigerians, in terms of concrete achievement, to make him think of seeking re-election “beyond the fact that re-contesting is a legal right.”  It continued: “It is disappointing that the President will choose to declare for a second term at when the security of lives and property of Nigerians cannot be guaranteed. His declaration at this time is the height of insensitivity to the plight of Nigerians who are suffering under his administration. Today, we can count businesses that have either collapsed or are operating under the worst economic condition in history of our dear country.
“Re-electing the incumbent is to vote for continuity of failure… Mr President has performed so woefully in security, nation building, provision of infrastructure, employment generation, name it to seek re-election. His government has failed all-round. Nigerians have experimented enough in the last three years. The hungry and jobless citizens can no longer endure, and cannot afford to see another four years of this failed administration after 2019.
Yes, let Buhari run again. The good thing is that this time around, he would be running back to his farm in Daura. Enough of blood, tears, pain, ineptitude and corruption in our beloved Nigeria.Run, Datti Baba-Ahmed! Run!

He is young at 48, with requisite international exposure. He has the political experience, having served as a senator in the 7th senate (June 2011 to February 2012) and a member of the House of Representatives, 2013 to 2017. He’s Cosmopolitan, liberal-minded and would be a big bridge across the divides in Nigeria. He is an applied economist and holds a PhD in this field. He is the founder/Pro-Chancellor of Baze University, Abuja, and knows what it means to provide an enabling environment for businesses. He knows what it means to create jobs for our teeming youths.

I am talking about Yusuf Datti Baba-Ahmed, who has just declared his interest to run for the Presidency in 2019. He is a breath of fresh air which forward-looking Nigerians should queue behind. Honestly, Datti Baba-Ahmed, or DBA, has all it takes to turn around the fortunes of this country. We can’t continue this. Things have just got to change and DBA can give us the genuine change this country earnestly desires. This young man was one of the lawmakers that killed Obasanjo’s third term bid. He is known for speaking out against corruption. This country needs a young and pragmatic leader, capable of taking decisions that will unite and secure our people and to also to revive our comatose economy. My message to DBA this morning is very simple: Remain focused, surround yourself with genuine patriots from all sides of the divides and run an issue-based campaign.

Still on the Boko Haram Attack in Jere LG

I have always opposed exchanging Boko Haram commanders with abducted girls. It is even more depressing when government give cash to these terrorists. The swap of 82 Chibok girls on May 7, 2017, is believed to have also involved the payment of €3 million ransom and the release of five Boko Haram commanders. This plainly amounts to oiling and elongating the war. Now, one of the Boko Haram top commanders used in the swap deal for Chibok girls by the Nigerian government, Shu’aibu Moni, is back on the field and wreaking havoc. Moni is believed to have led the bloody Easter Day attacks in Jeri LG on April 1 that claimed scores of lives. Bale Kura, Bale Shuwarin, Jamine and Alikaramti villages were affected.
Moni is still threatening the Nigerian state with continued attacks and suicide bombings. He now leads a 4th Boko Haram faction. The Nigerian government released this criminal to continue his reign of terror against innocent Nigerians. Our security agents must ensure that Moni is arrested and made to pay for the killings in Jere.
Another top terrorist, Hussaini Maitangaran, released by the DSS and swapped with abducted girls is also believed to be back on the beat, killing and abducting innocent people in Borno State. Maitangaran masterminded the deadly explosive attacks against worshippers at the Kano Central Mosque, as well as an attack on a military formation in Yobe State, all in 2015. After their illegal release, Moni and Maitangaran are believed to have carried out scores of suicide bombings and armed attacks in IDPs’ camps in Borno State. This madness of exchanging criminals with innocent people must stop. Also, paying Boko Haram for hostages must stop.Confession of INEC on Election Rigging 

INEC declared on Monday that the governorship elections it conducted in Edo (2016), Ondo (2017) and Anambra (2017) were “cash and carry” polls. Chairman of the Commission, Prof. Mahmood Yakubu, represented by Solomon Soyebi, its National Commissioner in charge of Oyo Ekiti, Osun and Ondo States, acknowledged this much during a stakeholders’ meeting in Ado-Ekiti ahead of the July 2018 governorship election in the state. “The elections in Edo, Ondo and Anambra States were largely monetised. We are aware of this. It was see and buy, but we promise you, it won’t happen in Ekiti. It was N5,000 per vote in Ondo and Anambra states. We are working with security agencies not to allow it to happen again. We even seized some cash in Anambra state,” Soyebi said.
I was not shocked by this “disclosure”. That has always been the practice during elections in mother Nigeria. Victories in the three governorship elections listed by Soyebi evidently went to the highest bidders. The ruling APC which claims to be fighting corruption pumped more cash into Ondo and Edo states to win the elections. Willie Obiano’s APGA spent more than the others to claim Anambra State. The candidate with access to public funds often wins. Governors that emerged in Edo, Ondo and Anambra should be ashamed of their victories in the light of INEC’s indictment. Godwin Obaseki of Edo State and Rotimi Akeredolu of Ondo State should be more worried because of their party’s hypocrisy. APC is permanently shouting “change” and no to corruption, yet, they bribed voters to secure victories in Edo and Ondo states, as alleged by INEC. What a country.