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ISSUES | Same Cabal Still Running Nigeria; Nothing Has Changed – By Yemi Adebowale

By Yemi Adebowale 

The clique running Nigeria will always take charge of any government that emerges in this country, whether formed by the Peoples Democratic Party, All Progressives Congress, or whatever political party. The scenario that played out last week when the board of the Niger Delta Development Commission was inaugurated reaffirms my assertion. The same old faces running Nigeria in the last 17 years dominated the NDDC Board. I find it bewildering that Victor Ndoma Egba, a staunch member of the PDP and Senate Leader in the 7th Senate, has again emerged the Chairman of the NDDC Board in an APC-led government. Egba was a member of the PDP until after the 2015 general election. This man, who was with the PDP for 16 years, defected to the APC shortly after the 2015 election and has suddenly become a change agent.

Again, the man that emerged the new Managing Director of the NDDC, Nsima Ekere was deputy governor under the PDP-led government of Godswill Akpabio in Akwa Ibom State. For defecting to the APC, Ekere is also now a change agent. That was why I was bemused when the man that heads NDDC’s supervisory ministry i.e. Ministry of Niger Delta, Usani Uguru Usani urged these new “change agents,” who could not change the Niger Delta narrative in all their years in the PDP, to “change the story of Niger Delta by making Niger Deltans feel the impact of setting up the commission.” I can’t see anything good coming out of this paddy paddy arrangement for the troubled Niger Delta region.

This country is just recycling the same old faces for years. It is puzzling that this cabal will always dominate any government in power. They do it with so much ease. This is precisely what has been happening in the last 18 months of the Buhari administration. Let’s take a critical look at some of Buhari’s ministers. Many will be shocked to know that the current FCT Minister, Muhammad Musa Bello was appointed Chairman of the National Hajj Commission (2011-2015) by former President Goodluck Jonathan for his loyalty to the PDP. At the end of his tenure with Jonathan, he switched to the new Buhari administration and grabbed a ministerial slot. What a country!

Even the former national chairman of the PDP, Audu Ogbeh, who also served as minister under Obasanjo, is a key minister of the Buhari administration. Ogbeh, who benefitted immensely from the PDP for 16 years, is suddenly a change agent in the APC, with a plum ministerial job to show for it. By the way, Ogbeh has been in and out of government in the last 36 years, without anything tangible to point to, as having achieved for this country. Yet, Buhari picked him in as one of the men that will change Nigeria.

The current Minister of State (Budget and Planning) Zainab Ahmed worked for the Jonathan administration for four years as head of the Nigeria Extractive Industry Transparency Initiative. At the end of her tenure, she switched over and picked up a ministerial appointment with the Buhari administration.

Senator Ita Enang, Buhari’s Senior Special Assistant on National Assembly (Senate) is another man that has been benefitting from any government in power. Enang, a top Jonathan supporter, won his seat to the Senate under the PDP. He is now having a swell time under the APC government, working for Buhari.

The Minister of Budget and Planning, Udoma Udo Udoma was also an active member of the PDP who won his senatorial seat on the platform of this party in Cross River State. The Jonathan administration also appointed him as Chairman of the Security and Exchange Commission. After the Jonathan administration expired, Udoma returned as minister under the Buhari administration.
Buhari’s Environment Minister, Amina Mohammed worked closely with former President Jonathan as Special Assistant, Millennium Development Goal.

Even Buhari’s famed Mama Taraba, Aisha Alhassan, was PDP golden girl for years. At a point, she got elected into the Senate on the platform of the PDP, to represent Taraba North – 2011 to 2015. After years of enjoying the Jonathan administration and the PDP, Mama Taraba is now our illustrious Minister for Women Affairs in the Buhari administration.

Our Labour Minister, Chris Ngige was a PDP governor in Anambra State, while the Minister of State for Agriculture, Heineken Lokpobiri was Speaker in the PDP government in Bayelsa State. Ngige and Lokpobiri have jumped ship and found their way into the APC government.

Governor of Kaduna State, Nasir el-rufai, who has become a kingmaker in the APC-led federal government, played the same role for about eight years in the PDP-led federal government. At a point, Obasanjo made him FCT Minister. El-rufai is suddenly a progressive and a leading light of the APC. Just as Senator Shehu Sani remarked last year, El-rufai is “conservative, reactionary and devoid of any progressive leaning.”

Our great nation has been degenerating under this cabal holding Nigeria by the jugular. They have been doing this for over 56 years, without anything concrete to show to the masses of this country. If the PDP returns to power tomorrow at the federal level, this same clique will move over and take charge of government. May Allah save Nigeria from this gang.

I sincerely hope that the Army High Command will probe the death of the brave Commander of the 272 Special Forces Tanks Battalion, Lt. Col. Muhammad Abu-Ali, and six of his men, who were last week killed in a Boko Haram attack at Mallam Fatori, Borno State. I concur with speculations that Abu-Ali and his men were exposed by moles and saboteurs in the military. The impending probe is expected to give a clearer picture. This is the only way the Army can do justice to the spirit of Abu-Ali, an exceptionally brave and efficient Army commander. Yes, our Sarkin Yakin is gone, with the six others, but all those responsible for their exposure must be brought to book. The saboteurs have murdered sleep and must not be allowed to sleep. Our highly distinguished Abu-Ali led one of the army’s fiercest-ever battles with Boko Haram, in February 2015, culminating in the recapture of Baga town in Borno State. This gallant officer and the fallen six fought for a pacific Nigeria. Abu-Ali was a recipient of the Chief of Army Staff’s award for exceptional bravery and excellence. Abu-Ali was an embodiment of loyalty, commitment and service to motherland. I agree with the statement of the Army that Abu-Ali was a source of inspiration to millions of Nigerians praying for the speedy end of the insurgency. I candidly hope that the Army will honour its statement that “Ali and others who have lost their lives in the ongoing campaign will never be forgotten.” For a start, gallant Ali, the fallen six and all others that have lost their lives in this war against Boko Haram should be given post-humous national honours. Their families must also be swiftly and satisfactorily compensated. This is the only way we can honour our heroes. These people died for our safety and freedom. For Abu-Ali and the others, I will say Inna Lillahi Wa Inna Ilaihi Raji’un.arewell to Mohammad Abu-Ali

FG’s School Feeding Programme

Suddenly, the Buhari administration is telling Nigerians funny stories about its much-publicised free school feeding programme. This project failed to commence in September as promised. The assurance was that the programme would benefit 5.5 million pupils in Primary 1 to 3 in the first year of its operation. The scheme inaugurated on June 9, 2016 by Vice-President Yemi Osinbajo amid fanfare, now exists only on paper, with so much confusion around it. Operational challenges in the states and economic recession are some of the reasons now being propagated by the government for its failure to commence the scheme as scheduled. This venture formed a major part of the All Progressives Congress’ campaign promises during the 2015 presidential election. Unfortunately, the promise was made without financial due diligence. It was one of the razzmatazz of the APC to excite voters. Now, reality dawns.

The government is even struggling with the blueprint for the implementation of the scheme. The other day, the minister of State for Budget and Planning, Zainab Ahmed was on television, saying that the federal government will now key into the existing school feeding programmes in the states and that the state governments will feed Primary 4 to 6 pupils. I don’t know of any state government still implementing a school feeding programme. The programme has collapsed in the two states that were hitherto executing it. I am surprised that Hajia Ahmed is unaware that Governor Nasir el Rufai has suspended the project on which he said Kaduna State had spent N1.1 billion to serve 1.8 million pupils one meal a day in seven months. El Rufai said since the state was yet to get reimbursement from the Office of the Vice President, the programme stood suspended until that was done. In Osun State, though, the death of the project is yet to be formally announced, the pupils are given scruffy meals. It is one big fraud in Osun State.

There is already a big confusion, considering the statement of the Governor of Kaduna State. While the federal government is saying that the state governments should fund the feeding of primary 4 to 6 pupils, the state governments clearly have a contrary opinion. This is why el Rufai is expecting “reimbursement.” State governments expect the federal government to fund the entire scheme. In any case, free school feeding was never part of the campaign promises of PDP and APGA-controlled states. So, why and how is the federal government expecting them to provide funds for the project? I also doubt if there is any APC governor that can afford to feed primary 4 to 6 pupils. This sloppy and bogus feeding programme is dead on arrival. My advice to the federal government is that it should focus on reviving our prostrate economy, so that parents will be empowered to feed their children properly. This government should focus on fighting hunger, disease, poverty and unemployment, pragmatically and forget about this spurious feeding project.

Osinbajo’s Tale of 800 Arrested Fulani Herdsmen

I am still puzzled by the remark of Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, during his recent trip to the United States that about 800 suspected violent herdsmen had been arrested across the country by security agents. “There are about 800 of suspected violent herdsmen in the country that are currently in custody,” he said. So, where are they being detained? How many of them have been convicted? I am sure that the police and other security agencies will also be baffled by Osinbajo’s “disclosure.” If such a large number of rampaging herdsmen are in detention as claimed, incidents of killings by them would have reduced. Further remarks by the vice president that the federal government was acting to curb the menace of the herdsmen was outlandish. Fulani herdsmen are still everywhere, killing and maiming. Just last month, the herdsmen attacked natives of Godogodo town, in Jema’ah Local Government Area, Kaduna State, killing over 40 people. Virtually all houses in the town were burnt, in an attack that took place unhindered for two days. Security agents failed to respond to distress call from the community.

The truth that must be told is that the Buhari administration has failed to protect hapless Nigerians against rampaging herdsmen. The impunity with which they go about their heinous crime is unprecedented. Under Buhari’s watch, herdsmen now enjoy freedom from punishment after breaching the laws of the land. They enter other people’s communities, destroy their farmlands and kill innocent people. The crime committed by these herdsmen in Agatu community in Benue State where over 100 people were slaughtered is still fresh in our memory. The laws of our land are being flouted with impunity while our president looks the other way. My dear Osinbajo should tell Nigerians the precise location of the arrested herdsmen and the number of conviction secured in the last 18 months.

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