Still in the mood of Independence, “The Strong Breed” - By Bashorun J.K. Randle - Paul Ukpabio's Blog


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Tuesday, 13 October 2020

Still in the mood of Independence, “The Strong Breed” - By Bashorun J.K. Randle

An Address delivered at the Oriental Hotel, Lekki, Lagos on 4th

October, 2020 in celebration of Nigeria’s 60th Independence Day



I thank you most sincerely for inviting me to join you in celebrating the

60th Anniversary of the granting of Independence to our beloved nation by

the British on 1st October 1960. It rained heavily on that day in Lagos (and

most other parts of Nigeria) and it was interpreted as a good omen. I was

a believer then and I remain “endlessly” optimistic provided we older

generation know when to quit the stage and hand over power, authority

and responsibility of the next generation – in an environment and

circumstances that would ensure the enduring prosperity of our nation in

peace, harmony and stability. That is t(he crux of the matter. It is no small

task – especially while the COVID-19 pandemic has gone on a rampage

while our economy as well as the social tapestry of our great country are

in tatters.

From my assessment of the audience gathered here this evening, it is safe

to conclude without double-checking with the Bureau of Statistics or the

Lagos Business School that none of you witnessed the lowering of the

British flag (“The Union Jack”) and the hoisting of the Nigerian flag

(Green-White and Green) at the stroke of midnight on that epochal

occasion. Thankfully, films, television, radio, books and archival records

have preserved the infectious joy and boundless optimism that unleashed

the spontaneous exchange of hugs, kisses and handshakes (before the

COVID-19 virus!!) as confirmation of our commitment to a common

destiny anchored on mutual trust, profound respect and genuine

tolerance without rancorous reference to tribe, creed or gender.

You have requested me to share with you my experience between then

and now. That would have to wait. What is far more pressing is to address

a most critical issue namely; we have been referring to you as future

leaders but when will the future mesh with the present in the predetermined

course of nature as the young replace or are forced to

supplant the old and expired?

Rather than dump my own prejudices and pre-conceptions on you, I

prefer to listen to what you have to say. The trenchant complaint by your

generation is that we have taken you for granted and that nobody listens

to you. On the contrary, your legitimate aspirations and indeed your

anxieties regarding the current state of affairs are being waved off with

levity bordering on contempt.

For this and other transgressions, I offer profound apologies. Of course,

you are entitled to what you demand are concrete action and irrevocable


The avalanche of evidence in support of your petition/indictment is not

limited to the parlous state of our economy and the invasion by

marauders whose real intent and ultimate goal are anarchy and chaos.

Their evil mission is being fuelled by bandits; terrorists (especially Boko

Haram); kidnappers; ritual murderers; extortionists; coup-plotters, “419”

fraudsters; treasury looters; human traffickers; election riggers and

dictators. All these in addition to hunger, famine, rape and hordes of IDPs

(Internally Displaced Persons).

You have attached as Appendix 1 what is currently going on in Mali where

a military mutiny plunged the country into political uncertainty as the

military forced Ibrahim Boubacar Keita out of the presidency. The Malian

President announced around midnight on Tuesday 18th August 2020 that

he was resigning from his post saying that he did not wish blood to be

shed following a military mutiny that plunged the country into a political


The development came hours after soldiers took up arms and staged a

mutiny at a key base in Kati, a town close to Bamako, detaining President

Keita and Prime Minister Boubou Cisse. The events came amid a weeklong

political crisis that has seen opposition protesters taking to the

streets to demand the departure of Keita, accusing him of allowing the

country’s economy to collapse and mishandling a worsening security


As Appendix II, you have attached the current state of affairs in Cote


Appendix III is all about what is going on in the Sudan

As Appendix IV, you have beamed your searchlight on Rwanda

The summary of the other Appendixes revolves around those African

countries where the rulers have been in power for ever plus one day!!

Teodoro Obiang Nguema Mbasogo, Equatorial Guinea; 40 years

Paul Biya, Cameroon; 37 years

Denis Sassou Nguesso; Republic of Congo; 36 years

Yoweri Museveni, Uganda; 34 years

Idriss Deby, Chad; 29 years

Isaias Afwerki, Eritrea; 29 years

I cannot thank you enough for taking me into confidence by sharing with

me your strategy for taking over power through perfectly legitimate

means within the extant laws and the Constitution of our beloved

country. Please correct me If I am wrong but you appear to be determined

to register your own political party. Fortunately, you are endowed with

sufficient vigour and adequate zeal to launch your campaign in all the

nooks and corners of Nigeria – in all the 774 Local Government Areas,

including those parts of the country that had hitherto been entirely

neglected or have remained defiantly inaccessible.

I am particularly enamoured with your taxation policy – namely, the only

commodity to be taxed heavily and punitively is IGNORANCE.

The dynamic emphasis and central thrust of your fiscal policy is the

commitment of fifty per cent of the budget – at every level (Federal; State;

and Local Government) to Education and Health.

Without divulging too much, permit me to commend your vision and the

crystallisation of your radical intervention in the pursuit of wellarticulated

programmes to rescue our nation and salvage our divinely

ordained destiny.

I very much hope that your ideas on the restructuring of our nation’s

political landscape gain traction.

I cannot fault the logic of power sharing arrangement whereby you seek

to build concensus rather than resort to ruthless opportunism and selfserving

exploitation of the masses. To my mind, the novelty of installing a

President from one part of the country regardless of his or her

religion/ethnicity; and Vice-President from another region/ethnic group

for a single term of four years after which they would swap positions is

not a matter to be dismissed with a wave of the hand only to be consigned

to the dustbin of youthful exuberance. Such an arrangement carries with

it the attraction of a former President serving his erstwhile Vice-President

in a reversal of roles. I hope you would concede some measure of

flexibility regarding the selection/restriction of candidates to only those

between the age of forty and sixty in addition to being of impeccable

character. What cannot be controverted is your insistence that they must

have sound education and should have held leadership position in

academics, professions (engineering; law; architecture; medicine; banking;

journalism etc) and/or business/industry. Farmers are especially welcome;

American President Jimmy Carter was a farmer. So also, is the new Prime

Minister of Japan, Mr. Yoshihide Suga. Neither can we exclude trade

union leaders.

The most fascinating section of your putative manifesto relate to the total

abolishment of slavery in all shapes and forms. It is most gratifying that

you have diligently catalogued extracts from our nation’s history to wit:

Extracts from “NIGERIA REPORT” by Sir Frederick J.D. Lugard (On the

Amalgamation of Northern and Southern Nigeria, And Administration

1912 – 1919)

“When the Administration [of Northern Nigeria] was assumed by the

Imperial Government [British] in 1900 the Fulani emirates formed a series

of separate despotisms marked by the worst forms of wholesale slave

trading, spoliation of the peasantry, inhuman cruel and debased justice.”

“The South was, for the most part, held in thrall by fetish worship and the

hideous ordeals of witchcraft, human sacrifice and twin murder.”

“Systematic penetration of the almost wholly unexplored country East of

the Niger began in 1900, and in 1902 the Aro Fetish, whose ramifications

extended throughout the eastern portion of the country – a cult of human

sacrifice and slavery – was crushed by force of arms.”

“The West African Frontier Force was raised in 1898-99, and on its return

from its successful campaign in Ashanti, the task of dealing with Moslem

Emirates was undertaken, in 1902-3. Kontagora, the noted slave-raider,

who had boasted that, like a cat with a mouse, he would “die with a slave

in his mouth” was the first to be coerced.”

“Amalgamation (in 1914) in my view was “not a mere political,

geographical, or more especially a financial expression.” I regard it rather

“as a means whereby each part of Nigeria should be raised to the level of

the highest plane attained by any particular part.”

The problem that comes with tackling the issue of slavery is that we

cannot dodge the consequences and penalties that would propel us into

the cauldron of reparation – how much and who is to pay whom?

Alongside pops up the corollary matter of: Should sons (and daughters)

pay for the sins of their fathers (and mothers)?

Regardless of all temptations to digress into dangerous territory, we must

remain focused while we endeavour to deal with injustice masquerading

as sectionalism – or the domination of one group (or several groups) by

another group that is fiercely and ruthlessly determined to hold on to

power at all costs even if it means perpetuating deep-seated animosities

and resentment.

I must confess that I am as fascinated as I am intrigued by your proposal

that whoever becomes President of our nation would serve for only one

term of four years. Thereafter, he would serve as Vice-President for the

next four years while his previous vice-president gets his or her turn in the

seat of power having served diligently and loyally. This arrangement is

reinforced by the clear understanding that both the Presidential

Candidate and his or her Vice-President campaigned (and won the

election) on a joint ticket.

Consequently, it becomes compelling to wind the tape back to 1999 when

Chief Olusegun Obasanjo won the presidential election. Hence, in 2003

his successor would have been Vice-President Atiku Abubakar; and the

former President would have been obliged to serve as Vice-President for

the next four years !!

By the same token, Alhaji Umar Musa Yar A’dua would have been obliged

to serve for only one term of four years followed by the tenure of his Vice-

President, Dr. Goodluck Ebele Jonathan. Unfortunately, President Yar

A’dua died before the completion of his tenure. In principle, after his first

term of four years, President Jonathan should have handed over to his

Vice-President Architect Namadi Sambo as the flag-bearer of the PDP

(Peoples Democratic Party).

Once the principle is firmly established, it would be a forgone conclusion

that following the success of General Muhammadu Buhari in 2015 under

the flag of APC (All Progressives Congress) it is his Vice-President,

Professor Yemi Osinbajo who would have carried the APC flag in 2019

with former President Muhammadu Buhari as his running mate !!

Would it have worked; could it have worked??

It is a monumental quadratic equation in the realms of quantum physics

especially when you log in the First Lady versus Second Lady factor.

Matters become very explosive.

You have no choice but to go back to the drawing board and galvanize

your strategic options before proceeding further.

I salute the intellectual vigour you have committed to finding a lasting

solution to one of our nation’s most intractable problems which has

created the monster of the “Godfatherism Syndrome” whereby those who

have ruled as President or Governor resort to either tenure elongation or

insist (when compelled to leave) on micro-managing /manipulating their

successors with very serious and invariably violent consequences.

Even if you do not succeed at the first attempt, you must not relent.

Instead, you should draw inspiration from Zig Ziglar (1926 – 2012):

“There is no elevator to success.

You have to take the stairs.”


I am somewhat hesitant to comment in great detail on the comparison

you have made between Nigeria and other countries, principally

• Sweden

• Finland

• Switzerland

• Singapore

whose citizens enjoy a very high income per capita and the quality of life

that goes with it in a very stable economic and political environment.

Perhaps it would be more appropriate to benchmark ourselves against

countries with about the same population as Nigeria, e.g.



However, you are right to emphasise that in Finland it is teachers who are

the highest paid professionals on account of the fact that education at

every level is accorded the utmost priority with health as a close second.

It is not by accident that the entire nation is reaping the bountiful harvest

being delivered by visionary and exceptional leadership regardless of the

COVID-19 pandemic.

As for Sweden, I can confirm from personal experience that when I visited

that country for the first time about fifty years ago, my host was a

professor at the University of Upsalla. What struck me as most

remarkable was that even though his tax was about sixty per cent of his

income, he was not complaining at all. On the contrary, he was very

comfortable in the flat occupied by him and his family; his job was secure;

even after retirement his salary would not diminish; nobody could eject

him or his wife from their flat and the children were guaranteed good

quality education. In addition, the crime rate was very low. So also were

infant mortality / maternal deaths. All these were in addition to

politicians who were scrupulously transparent and accountable for their

deeds or misdeeds.

I did not notice much difference during my more recent visits. Both their

elderly and the youth are in competition for the title: “The Strong Breed.”

I suggest we pause in order to reflect on two documents which I have

attached as Appendixes.

The first one is the 26th NESG (Nigerian Economic Summit Group) dated

26th – 27th October, 2020

of particular interest is “Building Partnerships for Resilience”

The second one is the swift reaction (hold no prisoners) by the Governor

of Central Bank of Nigeria, Mr. Godwin Emefiele.

“The Central Bank of Nigeria fired back at the NESG following a

Businessday report that accused the bank of seeking immunity for CBN

Governor, Godwin Emefiele in the proposed Banking and Other Financial

Institution (BOFIA) Bill.

In a press release published on the website of the central bank, it

addressed wide-ranging claims made against it by the National Economic

Summit Group (NESG) which purportedly leaked to Business Day, a

newspaper in Nigeria. In the article published on Tuesday, the newspaper

alleged “business leaders opposed bill to give CBN Governor immunity”

according to section 51 of the proposed bill.

“Section 51 of the Bill which grants immunity from judicial intervention to

the Federal Government, the CBN, or any officer of the Federal Government

or the CBN from any action, claim or liability to any person in respect of

anything done in the exercise of their duties under the Bill.”

“neither the Federal Government nor the Bank nor any officer of the Federal

Government or the Bank, shall be subject to any action, claim or demand by

or liability to any person in respect of anything done or omitted to be done

in good faith in pursuance or in execution of, or in connection with the

execution or intended execution of any power conferred upon that

Government, the Bank or such officer, by or under this Bill or the CBN Act

or any rules, regulations, guidelines or directives issued thereunder or

pursuant to any other relevant laws,”

The CBN retorted that the section claimed to be granting immunity to the

Governor of the Central Bank already exists as Section 53 in the old Act

long before Emefiele became Governor.

“On the revisions to the BOFIA Act, there are many reasons why we see a

total ignorance or malicious intent on the part of the NESG. First, the

provision they refer to as being currently conceived as part of the new

BOFIA already exists as Section 53 in the old Act, which is now Section 51 in

the amended Act passed by the National Assembly. The current bill has not

proposed any changes to that section at all.”

The CBN also explained that the provisions in section 51 do not provide

any immunity to the CBN Governor as it would for elected Governors of

States of the Federation but rather it protects the apex bank and their

officials against litigations brought forward against it for actions it may

have taken in good faith.

“Second, contrary to their misleading anxiety and associated reportage, the

provision of Section 51 does not purport to confer immunity on the Governor

of the Central Bank of Nigeria like that which obtains for State Governors.

Rather, this provision protects the Federal Government, the Central Bank of

Nigeria and their respective officials against adverse claims for actions or

omission in good faith exercise of powers under BOFIA and other specified

statutes including the Central Bank of Nigeria Act and regulations made


In the Businessday report, it cited a quote from an unnamed CBN

Governor who wondered why the bill would include such a provision

alleging it was to provide immunity for the Governor.

“What would a governor of the central bank need this immunity for?”, asked

a former governor of the apex bank who spoke to our reporter….you already

have in BOFIA a section that requires anyone to first write the governor

before he or she can sue the governor. The governor does not need the kind

of immunity we are talking about and I do not think there is any sensible

country in the world with a provision like this. What do we do if it happens

that a governor contravenes the very law establishing the bank”?

It also quoted the NESG reporting that it “also kicked against granting

immunity to the CBN and its officers from judicial review of acts

undertaken in the exercise of their administrative duties.”

Who is on the right track

Reading between the lines, one does not need a lawyer to explain that the

provision in the passed bill is not new and surely was not introduced by

the current governor to protect himself from immunity. The provision has

been in BOFIA (the existing law) and is also included in other laws setting

up regulatory bodies such as the Securities and Exchange Commission

(SEC), AMCON, NDIC, and even the CBN.

The provision basically protects regulatory bodies from being sued

indiscriminately by parties to whom they may have carried out action

against. For example, in the case of sacking the board of a failed bank, the

directors may sue to get an injunction against the central bank curtailing

its powers to take swift action where necessary.

The Optics

It appears critics are now throwing the kitchen sink at the CBN Governor

for actions they deem “unpopular” even if it means raising false alarms.

Since 2015 when Nigeria’s economic crisis begun, Godwin Emefiele has

come under severe criticisms in his handling of monetary policy and

management of the exchange rate.

Thus, no matter his intent, critics view his actions with skepticism and

caution suggesting a lack of trust between them and his leadership of the

CBN. Despite a deluge of criticisms, he remains in favour of the current

government after his second term was renewed. He is the first CBN

Governor to serve two terms since Abdulkadir Ahmed whose term ended

after 10 years in September 1993.”

I have also added what has been dubbed as “Breaking News” by




As yet another Appendix, I have added the following report:

“Despite repeated denials of culpability in the corruption and financial

recklessness and mismanagement in the Niger Delta Development

Commission (NDDC), a new trove of documentary evidence obtained

exclusively by paints a disgusting picture of the

Chairman, Senate Committee on Niger Delta Affairs, Peter Nwaoboshi

(PDP Delta-North), being neck-deep in the unfolding scandal in the wake

of public hearings by the National Assembly wherein it emerged that the

Interim Management Committee (IMC) illegally spent N81.5 billion over

five months without awarding a single new project.

The cache of documents showed that during the six months period from

January to June 2018, Senator Nwaoboshi secured 58 no-bid contracts

from the NDDC to the tune of billions of naira, which were awarded to

contractors proposed by him. According to the documents, 44 of the 58

contracts in Delta and Abia States were awarded on the same day – May

28, 2018 – to contractors linked to Nwaoboshi through proxies, friends

and family relations. It is worth recalling that the NDDC had in a

statement by its spokesperson, Charles Odili, alleged that Nwaoboshi

used eleven different companies as fronts to secure contracts estimated at

N3.6bn in September 2016. But Nwaoboshi denied the claims arguing that

none of the eleven companies in question belonged to him as far as

records at the Corporate Affairs Commission (CAC) were concerned. He

challenged the NDDC officials to substantiate their allegations with

documentary evidence implicating him.

But Nwaoboshi in a statement said the allegations were geared towards

tarnishing his reputation and to embarrass him. “The smear campaign

and character assassination of people perceived to be stumbling blocks

against the rot in NDDC over the years must stop in the national interest,”

he said. The statement signed by his Special Assistant on Legislative and

Media Affairs, Luka Igbonoba, said the charade in the past weeks by the

Interim Management Committee of the Niger Delta Development

Commission to blackmail a routine task of the National Assembly to

perform its oversight function as stated in the constitution of the Federal

Republic of Nigeria had become a national disgrace.

The statement said: “They listed eleven companies and ascribed

ownership to Senator Peter Nwaoboshi. These are companies that he does

not know nor had anything to do with. A simple search at the Corporate

Affairs Commission will at least show both former and present directors.

How do you libelously claim a man owns companies that perhaps belong

to other people? In any case, if the contracts were actually awarded in

2016 as alleged, the forensic audit which covers the period is expected to

expose every detail surrounding these contracts and save the public from

this shameless falsehood. We strongly challenge NNDC to avail the public

of the names of the directors and shareholders of all the companies. For

the umpteenth time, Senator Nwaoboshi once again declares that he is

neither a director nor shareholder in any of the companies listed by

NDDC. Nigerians are aware that the misleading press release is just

another desperate attempt to rescue the already shredded and tattered

image of Godswill Akpabio.”

Obviously Sen Nwaoboshi is trying to be clever by half, and he thinks

Nigerians are fools. No one expects the senator to be listed as a director or

shareholder in any of the companies which were awarded NDDC

contracts that he secured because the self-dealing and conflict of interest

will be too apparent even for the blind not to see. While it is standard

operating procedure for elected federal and state officials, elite and other

prominent citizens to introduce projects to the agency; what Nwaoboshi

in his self-righteous indignation failed to disclose in his repeated denials

is the fact that such “emergency projects” are introduced to the NDDC

with the name and contact details of the “proposed contractor” who is

usually connected to the “project source.” Nwaoboshi cannot therefore

distance himself from the contractors who were awarded his pet projects

since these projects never followed due process of open competitive

bidding by the NDDC tenders board; in violation of the provisions of

Sections 24 and 27 of the 2007 Public Procurement Act.

According to documents obtained from the NDDC detailing no-bid

emergency projects awarded in 2018, over 50% of the projects Nwaoboshi

secured were awarded and paid to his proposed contractors more than

once. For example, Emergency Repairs of Ahiama Okwu to Obuohia

Okwu [road] in Umuahia South LGA in Abia State was awarded to

Jennifer Adighije of Earth Crust Geosciences Nigeria Ltd with address

listed as: No 58, Usuma Street, Maitama, Abuja; the same address is

shared by the Women Leadership Institute (WLI), chaired by Dr. Kema

Chikwe. could neither establish any relationship between WLI

and the contractor; nor ascertain whether the said Jennifer Adighije is the

fashion designer also called Jennifer Adighije; renowned for her fashion

line, House of Silk; who married Dr. Obiora Okola in a fairy-tale wedding

in March 2013. It is however note-worthy that the same project was

awarded to the same company twice on the same day – May 28, 2018.

Worse even, because the projects violated due process, the cost was

negotiated directly between the NDDC leadership and the contractor.

Find below the list of the 58 no-bid NDDC contracts secured by Senator

Nwaoboshi from January to June 2018.”

We should also revisit the issue of slavery as brutal and barbaric as it is.

We have an obligation to demand from CNN copies of its scoop (on

video) of Nigerians being auctioned as slaves in Libya. This is a matter as

regards which you are right to demand a full investigation. We must also

give kudos to Nima Elgabir, the CNN journalist for her bravery and

resourcefulness which enabled her to expose the dastardly exploitation of

fellow human beings. While still on the subject of slavery, we cannot

ignore the complicity of our fellow Nigerians in both the old slave trade

and the new model.

I hope that as a critical component of the preparation of “The Strong

Breed” to take over power, you would pay special attention to the large

number of our fellow citizens who out of despair and desperation embark

on the perilous journey across the Sahara Desert to Libya with Europe as

their ultimate destination. Apart from the large number of those whose

bones and carcasses litter the merciless desert, many more drown while

attempting to cross the Mediterranean Sea with Italy as their favourite

destination. Yesterday, the BBC showed an hour long documentary on

the gruesome illicit traffick in organ transplant and involuntary organ

(kidney) harvesting in the Egyptian cities of Alexandria and Cairo. Some

of the victims were Nigerians. What made it even more grotesque and

depressing was that as many as forty per cent of those that had

volunteered their vital organs were duped by fraudsters in connivance

with Egyptian hospitals/doctors and civil servants. Many others were

abandoned to suffer the agony of a slow and painful death once their

organs had been harvested.

What followed were horrific scenes of vultures hovering overhead while

waiting to feast on abandoned corpses in the unforgiving desert.

I presume that you have all taken judicial notice regarding the defiance of

fifty-eight young Nigerian doctors who rather than wait for “The Strong

Breed” to take over power, chose to vote with their fleet. Right in the

midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, they fled to Britain on a special flight

where instant visas awaited their arrival.

On their six-hour trip to London, they sang joyously: “It Shall Be

Permanent” – with reference to the visa at the other end and their exit

from Nigeria.

Even before their ascension to power, “The Strong Breed” must beam the

searchlight on human trafficking, especially of females from Edo State

with Italy as their number one destination. The First Lady, Hajia Aisha

Buhari has a foundation that has been playing a significant role in the

rescue of the victims.

Also, Ewuare II Eheneden Erediauwa the Oba of Benin placed a curse on

the traffickers. It worked instantly (for a while).

The indefatigable Professor Yinka Omorogbe, the Commissioner for

Justice and Attorney-General of Edo State has been valiantly combining

her legal duties with being the Chairperson of Edo State Task Force

Against Human Trafficking in a tireless endeavour to stem the tide of

trafficking of females from Edo State to Europe where they end up as sex

slaves / social workers under the ruthless spell of madams who confiscate

their Nigerian passports and then proceed to thoroughly exploit the

naivity of their victims after luring them into an ambush from which there

is no escape. The few lucky ones somehow manage to buy their freedom

and thereafter remit substantial sums of money back home to their

impoverished relatives. Some are able to renovate their family houses or

build new ones and thereby trigger a vicious circle which would lure

others to follow suit in the false belief that the streets of Rome and Milan

are paved with gold.

Professor Omorogbe has painstakingly sought to invest time, energy and

other resources on public enlightenment particularly the conflict of

attitude between Edo North where the trafficking of females is virtually a

taboo versus Edo South where is it regarded as a survival strategy which

carries neither shame nor remorse. In practice, some parents actually

encourage their teenage daughters to embark on the dangerous mission

and gleefully refer them to neighbours whose houses have been renovated

or rebuilt from the proceeds of remittances from Italy and other parts of

the world – Lebanon; Saudi Arabia; France etc without caring a hoot

about the source or the nature of the so-called “work”. The most

nauseating aspect of the heinous trade is that even hard-up ruthless

husbands have no qualms about sending off their wives on these

dangerous missions after swearing oaths of “chastity, faithfulness and

loyalty”!! They claim that the alternative is for the entire family to

languish in abject poverty and despair.

It is inconceivable that our government officials are unaware that the sex

slaves end up in brothels (or on the streets) where they are required to

sleep with between ten and twenty men per day/night in addition to the

humiliation of being filmed while engaged in sexual activity with dogs,

horses and other animals. Most disgusting utterly shameful.

As confirmation that “The Strong Breed” is not exclusive to men, we

should give due recognition to Adunni Oluwole: The Fearless Yoruba

Woman who warned Nigeria against Independence:

“Adunni Oluwole was a Unitarist, and anti-independence activist. Adunni,

a small, almost fragile woman, was one of Nigeria’s most colourful female

leaders in the decade prior to Independence. Adunni did not think

Nigeria was ready to attain independence in 1956 when a date in that year

was proposed, and she worked to prolong the British stay.

Adunni was born in 1905 into the family of an Ibadan warrior to whom her

fearlessness is usually credited. Her early years were spent with Bishop

Howells, the vicar of St. John’s Church Aroloya, Lagos, and she grew up in

Mushin, a difficult child. As a youth, she wrote a very successful play for

the Girl’s Guild of St. John’s Church in Lagos, that was directed by the

Nigerian nationalist, Herbert Macaulay. She later became the only female

founder of a professional theatre company in the Western Region of


During the workers’ general strike of 1945, when the colonial government

stopped their salaries, Adunni mobilized women in support of the

workers and gave money to the Workers’ Union in order to enable them

to cope. In the same year, she founded a party that had men as its great

majority and won a seat in Ikirun, Osun North of the Western Region in

the 1954 House of Representatives regional election, defeating bigger

parties such as the NCNC and the Action Group of Dr. Nnamdi Azikwe

and Chief Obafemi Awolowo respectively.

The Nigerian Commoner’s Party that she formed opposed the rapid

transfer of power to Nigerians at the price of ‘dictatorship’ of some over

the others. With this shocking view she gained instant fame, and her

message resonated well among the rural people who were already

complaining about heavy taxation. They came to be known among

Yoruba-speaking groups as “Egbe Koyinbo Mailo” which translates to “The

White Man Must Not Go”. The group did not stay around for long due to

inadequate funding afte her death. On 25th August, 1955, Adunni carried

her campaign to the palace of the Olubadan who invited chiefs and men

of affairs to witness her submission. There, she was accosted by Ibadan

politician, Adelabu Adegoke, who called her a harlot and threatened to hit

her with broom sticks.

After her banishment from Ibadan, Adunni took her message to Akure

where she tied ropes round her waist and had two strong men who she

had hired to pull her through the streets. She would then make speeches

denouncing the Nigerian political class who she claimed, will become

cheaters of common people that she symbolized. She died of whitlow in

1957. Her stance looked reactionary at the time but events in our country

sixty years after the so-called Independence show clearly that Adunni saw

what this country would become in the hands of internal colonialists after

the departure of the British. She was our own Nostradamus. She probably

died before 1960 so that her eyes would not behold evil.”

In these testing times, “Silence Is Not An Option” – to quote CNN’s

anchor man Don Lemon.

“America is in crisis right now. A lot of people want to help, but

have no idea where to start. In our new podcast, we’re going to dig

deep into the reality of being Black and Brown in America, and

explore what you can do to help find a path forward. We’ll have

tough conversations with activists, artists, and thinkers about our

nation’s deep racial divide. As we look for meaningful and lasting

solutions, there is a lot to learn and unlearn. These conversation are

going to be challenging – even uncomfortable – but they’re

important. Because this time, we get to rebuild America together.”

This is precisely the task before “The Strong Breed” with regard to Nigeria.

You should draw inspiration from Sir Winston Churchill (1874 to 1965) the

late Prime Minister of Britain who has exhorted us:

“If you are going through hell, keep going.”

However, you must ensure that you are not merely scratching the surface

and relying mostly on platitudes. If you are truly determined to change

our nation’s political landscape and its economic fortune, you have to

grasp the nettle.

The recently launched: “Our Journey: 2050 Vision” provides you with an

excellent opportunity to be assertive. You should demand seats at the top

table (not merely at the Technical Level) as it is your generation that are

more likely to be around in 2050 to bear witness to the conception and

delivery of the promised land if and when we get there, COVID-19

pandemic permitting. In any case, those at the top table would be the

first to concede that they themselves got their big break in industry, civil

service, chartered accountancy, banking and other professions in their

early thirties.

Besides, General Yakubu “Jack” Gowon was only thirty-two years old when

he became Nigeria’s Head of State in 1966. Chief Obafemi Awolowo was

thirty-nine years old when he became the Premier of the Western Region

in 1954.

Other remarkable examples are Chief Mathew T. Mbu who was appointed

as Nigeria’s High Commissioner to Britain at the age of twenty-nine in


Others that come to mind are:

General Murtala Mohammed aged 38 (Head of State 1975-1976).

We would add the following to the super achievers (or prodigies):

Justice Mohammed Uwais was only forty-seven years old when he

became the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of Nigeria in 1995.

Mr. Gbolabo Ogunsanwo became the editor of the “Sunday Times”, the

largest selling newspaper (1-3 million copies per day) before he attained

the age of thirty.

What is now required is positive and constructive action not righteous

indignation. I have listened to some of your lamentations regarding

corruption. One of the most glaring was captioned: “THE SUBSIDY HAD


“Do you know Nigeria imported DPK-Kerosene and allocated it to

marketers at one-quarter of the landing cost in the name of helping the

poor. At some point Nigeria imported DPK to land in Lagos at

150-160 Naira per litre and sold it at 41 naira per litre.

Many marketers paid one million dollars to grease palms and get

allocations; it was routine stuff at some point. It was one million dollars

for 10 million litre. If such a marketer sold 10 million litre in Apapa at

N150 per litre then he would make; 100 x 10,000,000 = One billion Naira.

One billion then was over 5 million dollars……so without breaking any

sweat, beyond staying in a 5 star hotel in Abuja for four days, an average

tank farm owner in 2013 would make at least 4 million dollars on a small

allocation of kerosene.

You must know that some marketers got these allocations for fun (sic),

then they would take a few trucks of kerosene and go to some stadia to

share alms to the poor.

The big marketers took the kerosene outside the country, moved it

offshore to Lome or Cotonou; converted the Kerosene to Jet A1 and sold it

to other West African countries.

These guys took government kerosene at one quarter of the price turned

it to JET A1 and switched it into another vessel and brought it back into

Nigeria to sell in dollars to airlines.

The subsidy was madness; it was insane. The country was throwing away

money, and all those guys in DPR and PPMC knew it.

The money was too much for them to remain saints.

And of course, the government used these things to raise funds for


Everybody was faking that it was all being done in the interest of the poor.

Things have happened in this country and things are still happening. This

is why total deregulation is what the poor man needs now.

People are shouting, bring back our subsidy. The Bible says my people

perish for lack of knowledge.

We were subsidizing the entire West Africa with cheap petrol through our

porous borders. Sometimes the queue of trucks at our northern borders

heading to Burkina Faso and Mali would stretch for kilometres and boats

were everywhere around Badagry shipping petrol westward.

Please let’s tighten our belts once and for all, and move forward.”

What is most instructive are the despair and lamentation of Chief Fred

Ajudua who was remanded in Kirikiri Prison for several years following

allegations that he was involved in “419” fraud/scam:

“All the exotic homes I built in Ibusa, Eleme and Lagos with about

30 rooms at the time of ignorance are dilapidating today. Over 40

other commercial buildings are unkept or uncompleted.

The son I was busy acquiring all that for, is not interested and he

has started building his own empire.

So, am I the one that will start renovating and completing all those

projects at over 60 years?

How many more years do I have to live? Maybe 25 to 30 at the

most, depending on God’s wish, it could be less or more.

So, we must begin to realize the emptiness and folly of our

ephemeral struggles, unhealthy competition and primitive

accumulation of wealth. We must begin to change our psychology

and perception of living.”

“The former Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria and former Emir of

Kano, HRH Sanusi Lamido Sanusi has on several public occasions spilled

the beans on how easy it is to collect “rent” by deftly manipulating the

distortions in the foreign exchange market:

Former Emir of Kano and one-time Managing Director of First Bank,

Sanusi Lamido Sanusi has lamented that the nation’s economy has not

been diversified, over 60 years after the discovery of oil in Nigeria. Malam

Sanusi spoke on the second day of the Kaduna Economic and Investment

summit (KADINVEST) 5.0 on Tuesday.

While comparing Nigeria and Malaysia, Sanusi said that the latter has

transformed from an exporter of primary products, to manufacturing over

a 30-year period, from 1970 to 2000, adding that its ‘’ GDP/capita

increased from $310 to $4,045 within that period.’’ The renowned

Economist said that Nigeria has generated an increase in wealth from $345

in 1985 to $2,655 in 2015 GDP/capita but ‘’without any structural

transformation in what the country actually produced.’’

The former Governor of CBN pointed out that the export of crude

petroleum and oils obtained from bituminous materials contributed

almost the same increase in wealth in Nigeria within 30 years. Sanusi, who

quoted the 2016 edition of Atlas of Economic Complexity, said that crude

oil and allied products generated 89.67% in 1985 and 77.05% in 2015, over

a 30-year period in Nigeria. According to him, the economy is growing but

it has not been diversified and this explains the high rate of poverty and

high level of inequality in the country. He said that the difference

between African countries and those in Asia is that they have diversified

from primary to secondary and tertiary sectors of the global economy.

He said that the difference between African countries and those in Asia is

that they have diversified from primary to secondary and tertiary sectors

of the global economy. ‘’The major difference is that they have moved on

but we have not,’’ he lamented.

Sanusi pointed out that Malaysia has the same factors that Nigeria has

been using an excuse for having not developing, adding that both

countries are multi-ethnic and have fought wars. He lamented that

Nigeria is still a consumer nation instead of being a producer, by seizing

on the investments that the government has done in technology. ‘’Africa’s

failure has been in not leveraging on the underlying infrastructure—

towers and undersea cables—to catalyse the development of other and

new industries,’’ he said. ‘’If you use your smart phone which is made in

China and order shoes from France and they are delivered to you at home,

what have you actually gained? You are just a consumer,’’ he added. The

ex CBN Governor argued that the same phone can be put to productive

use, when it is used to shoot a Nollywood movie and the film clip is


He advised governments to invest on Human Capital and should aim to

create enabling environment for investments, instead of borrowing to

finance development. The former Governor of the Apex Bank also said

that ‘’while everyone looks to the federal government for solutions, the

truth is that its role in the economy is small—both in absolute and

relative terms.’’ Sanusi praised Kaduna state government for not just

increasing its Internally Generated Revenue (IGR) but providing

infrastructure and creating the enabling environment for both domestic

and foreign investments to thrive.

The former Emir recalled that the success of Nigeria’s pre-oil economy

was based on the dynamism of its trading sector and the diversity of its

export base. He said that the diversity of the nation’s export in the pre-oil

economy in Nigeria, ‘’meant that it was less vulnerable to a terms of trade

shock driven by any one export in particular.’’

On another occasion, he revealed how during the bank consolidation

exercise when Nigerian banks were required to raise their paid up Share

Capital to minimum of N25 billion, some of the banks chose to game the

system. They set up SPV’s (Special Purpose Vehicles) and the banks

proceeded to lend vast sums to the SPV’s which then bought huge chunks

of the banks’ shares. In a particular case, the bank ended up owing

(through the SPV) 22 per cent of its own shares. However, when the share

price crashed the bank was on the verge of collapse until the Central Bank

of Nigeria and AMCON (Asset Management Corporation of Nigeria) came

to its rescue.

I believe that we can safely assume that the United Nations, which is a

major sponsor of this evening’s event has been keenly monitoring the

events in our country especially the audit report delivered on the front

page of “The Guardian” newspaper on September 12, 2020.


The Anglican Bishop of Nnewi Diocese, Rt. Revd. Ndubuisi Obi, has said

that Nigeria, as presently constituted, is not working.

The bishop, who pointed this out in his maiden presidential charge during

the 2020 Synod of the Nnewi Diocese of the Anglican Communion,

yesterday, noted: “The common people are suffering; there is abject

poverty in the land, despite our touted oil revenue. This is most


Nigeria is only working for those who are benefitting from it; it is working

for the elite.”

Speaking on the way out of the woods for the country, the Bishop called

for restructuring as the way to go, noting that it would stem the tide of

persistent wanton killing of Christians in parts of Nigeria and also stop

other atrocities that have befallen the country.

He stated: “The hydra-headed federal government must be dismantled

and power should be ceded to the regions, while we have a loose,

coordinating government at the federal level.

If we are a federal republic, then the regions must become federating

regions and be allowed to run their affairs, manage their resources, and

develop at their own place. This is the simplest unambiguous way to put

Nigeria on the path of recovery.”

Coming near to tears, Obi passionately appealed to President

Muhammadu Buhari to make every effort to secure the release of Leah

Sharibu and all other abducted citizens still with their abductors.

On COVID-19, he said Nigerians should do everything possible to protect

themselves, maintain good hygiene at all times, avoid crowded places,

reduce traveling, and pray always.

The Joint Auditors promptly filed their own reports on the same day.

“Saturday Telegraph” newspaper front page headline:



……..Calls for national dialogue (to save Nigeria) from


“Today, Nigeria is fast drifting to a failed and badly divided State

economically, our country is becoming a basket case and poverty

capital of the world. Socially, we are firming up as an unwholesome

and insecure country. All these manifestations are the products of

recent mismanagement of diversity and socio-economic

development of our country.”

“Saturday Sun” newspaper also carried on its front page as headline:


CONFERENCE” – Aare Afe Babalola S.A.N.

Elder statesman and founder of Afe Babalola University, Ado Ekiti,

(ABUAD) Aare Afe Babalola has warned that Nigeria may be heading

towards a dangerous end if a sovereign national conference is not urgently

convoked to produce a people’s constitution before the 2023 general

elections. According to the legal luminary, “People are hungry for a

sovereign national conference and they will vote certainly for a

constitution that will change the current constitution, not amending it.

We need a new and total change in the constitution, representing the

people’s constitution, with true federalism, or alternatively, let us return

to the 1966 constitution with just a few amendments. Without that, we

may never have a Nigeria nation. We are getting farther, farther away

from being a Nigerian nation now.

The only way out is not an amendment to the flawed constitution but a

new people’s constitution through a sovereign national conference, the

politicians who are in government, in the National Assembly and so who

are benefiting from the flawed constitution can never make any good and

proper constitution for this country and no amendment can ever do so. In

1965, we had House of Assembly and the Senate, nobody earned salaries

then, what they earned was sitting allowances. Look at the House of

Assembly, Senate and House of Representatives now). Hardly will you

find 50 people there in a day and they earn salaries. They even talked

about pension. So there is no way you can amend the constitution, they

will make sure that they remain earning these billions of naira. We are the

only country where people earn billions. So, in respect of the constitution,

my position is, we should call a sovereign national conference, the

meaning of that is that whatever they decide will not be subject to

amendments by these people. I have participated in many conferences

and at the end of the day what comes out of it, they want to spend

another N2 billion for amendment, what are you amending? Look, if you

have a house, a bungalow made of mud and you want to amend it and

make a three-storey building, what happens? Calamity.

This is an analogy of what is happening in the country. There is no way

you can amend a constitution and make it a people’s constitution, they

will never pass a law which will allow them to take only allowances

anymore, to even jettison the number of Houses we have they will never

pass that law. People are hungry for a sovereign national conference and

they will vote certainly for a constitution that will change the

constitution, not amending it. We need a new and total change in the

constitution, representing the people’s constitution, with true federalism,

or alternatively, let us return to the 1966 constitution with just few

amendments. Without that, we may never have a Nigeria nation. We are

getting farther, farther away from being a Nigeria nation now.

I have said it severally in my articles and I am saying it again, we should

not have the 2023 election until we have changed the constitution to

people’s constitution, until we have sovereign national conference,

because the way they are going the same people repeat themselves, they

will be there again. We are going to change the voting pattern; these

people can’t change the voting pattern. It is a matter for the new

constitution, so, my appeal is in the interest of the suffering masses, and

we should change the constitution through sovereign national conference,

which represents the constitution of the people. If today, the government

is interested in what most people and I are saying, they can set up a

committee for this and we can complete this before 2023 if we are serious.

What is happening in the country is awful. The wretchedness and poverty

affects lawyers and judges also. Do you know there are judges who are

not paid their allowances for months?

How independent can a man be when he is hungry, when he wants to pay

for the school fees of his child? But above all, Nigerian judges are the most

poorly paid in the whole world. I remember that I was invited to the

bench by the chief judge of western region then and I told him it is my

wish to become a judge, because a good lawyer will love to end up being a

judge, he would have acquired all the wealth he needed, he doesn’t want

to steal anybody’s money, but when a judge cannot pay the school fees of

his child, what happens? How many judges can send their child to Afe

Babalola University? They are poorly paid, so, the judiciary is not

independent as far as I am concerned.”

More audit reports were delivered from military quarters. On its front

page “The Saturday Tribune” newspaper of September 12, 2020

carried the following headline: “TODAY’S NIGERIA IS


- Lieutenant-General

Joshua Dogonyaro (Retd)

(former Chief of Defence Staff)

“I don’t understand what is happening to this nation.

If we admit that this is our country, then we should be interested in

its security. We will continue to pray for the nation and its citizens.

But we have to take care of our country as nobody will come and

defend it for us.”

This is the address the then Brigadier Joshua Nimyel Dongoyaro delivered

on August 28, 1985 when the regime of Major-General Muhammadu

Buhari was toppled.

“I, Brigadier Joshua Nimyel Dogonyaro, of the Nigerian Army,

hereby make the following declaration on behalf of my colleagues

and members of the Nigerian Armed Forces.

Fellow country men, the intervention of the military at the end of 1983

was welcomed by the nation with unprecedented enthusiasm. Nigerians

were unified in accepting the intervention and looked forward hopefully

to progressive changes for the better. Almost two years later, it has

become clear that the fulfilment of expectations is not forthcoming.

Because this generation of Nigerians and indeed future generations have

no other country but Nigeria, we could not stay passive and watch a small

group of individuals misuse power to the detriment of our national

aspirations and interest.

No nation can ever achieve meaningful strides in its development where

there is an absence of cohesion in the hierarchy of government; where it

has become clear that positive action by the policy makers is hindered

because as a body it lacks a unity of purpose.

It is evident that the nation would be endangered with the risk of

continuous misdirection. We are presently confronted with that danger.

In such a situation, if action can be taken to arrest further damage, it

should and must be taken. This is precisely what we have done.

The Nigerian public has been made to believe that the slow pace of action

of the Federal Government headed by Major-General Muhammadu Buhari

was due to the enormity of the problems left by the last civilian


Although it is true that a lot of problems were left behind by the last

civilian government, the real reason, however, for the very slow pace of

action is due to lack of unanimity of purpose among the ruling body;

subsequently, the business of governance has gradually been subjected to

ill-motivated power play considerations. The ruling body, the Supreme

Military Council, has, therefore, progressively been made redundant by

the actions of a select few members charged with the day-to-day

implementation of the SMC’s policies and decisions.

The concept of collective leadership has been substituted by stubborn and

illadvised unilateral actions, thereby destroying the principles upon which

the government came to power. Any effort made to advise the leadership,

met with stubborn resistance and was viewed as a challenge to authority

or disloyalty.

Thus, the scene was being set for systematic elimination of what, was

termed opposition. All the energies of the rulership were directed at this

imaginary opposition rather than to effective leadership.

The result of this misdirected effort is now very evident in the country as a

whole. The government has started to drift. The economy does not seem

to be getting any better as we witness daily increased inflation.

The nation’s meagre resources are once again being wasted on

unproductive ventures. Government has distanced itself from the people

and the yearnings and aspirations of the people as constantly reflected in

the media have been ignored.

This is because a few people have arrogated to themselves the right to

make the decisions for the larger part of the ruling body. All these events

have shown that the present composition of our country’s leadership

cannot, therefore, justify its continued occupation of that position.

Furthermore, the initial objectives and programmes of action which were

meant to have been implemented since the ascension to power of the

Buhari Administration in January 1984 have been betrayed and discarded.

The present state of uncertainty and stagnation cannot be permitted to

degenerate into suppression and retrogression.

We feel duty bound to use the resources and means at our disposal to

restore hope in the minds of Nigerians and renew aspirations for a better

future. We are no prophets of doom for our beloved country, Nigeria. We,

therefore, count on everyone’s cooperation and assistance.

I appeal to you, fellow countrymen, particularly my colleagues in arms to

refrain from any act that will lead to unnecessary violence and bloodshed

among us. Rest assured that our action is in the interest of the nation and

the armed forces.

In order to enable a new order to be introduced, the following bodies are

dissolved forthwith pending further announcements: (a) The Supreme

Military Council (b) The Federal Executive Council (c) The National

Council of States. All seaports and airports are closed, all borders remain


Finally, a dusk to dawn curfew is hereby imposed in Lagos and all state

capitals until further notice. All military commanders will ensure effective

maintenance of law and order. Further announcements will be made in

due course. God bless Nigeria.”

The “Vanguard” newspaper of September 12, 2020 carried on its

front page as headline:


Professor Pat Utomi

“The system has guaranteed that Nigeria is not governed. It is just a

field for plunder; personal and legal plunder, sometimes illegal

plunder with public power. Some people insist that they don’t want

that kind of system that is decentralised. They feel that they can

continue to manipulate the system; game it, and they can only push

Nigerians to where we have come to; where the people feel so out of

it, that there is nothing else except self-help. That self-help is what

we are witnessing everywhere whether it is banditry, Boko Haram,

kidnapping in the northern divide and South-South.

These are pieces of evidence of ineffective governance. The political

class is lazy. They see politics as a means of amassing wealth and

they want to bully people for the purpose of personal abuse. What

they don’t seem to realise is that they have ruined the country. The

country is a joke in the eyes of most people because of their

(politicians) greed. If they continue this way, there are people who

want a better life who will say, enough of this nonsense; if we die,

we die. So, it’s in their best interest for this nonsense to stop. But

there are people who are understandably afraid that if Nigeria

disintegrates they will be at a disadvantage.”

The Nation” newspaper opted to deliver the Executive Summary (of the

auditors’ report) with the headline:



• Says 2023 will be watershed in Nigeria’s


“Former President Olusegun Obasanjo reviewed the state of the country

afresh yesterday and declared that Nigeria “is becoming a basket case and

poverty capital of the world.

And socially, we are firming up as an unwholesome and insecure country,”

he said at a consultative dialogue held at the Shehu Yar’Adua Center,


At the dialogue organised by some socio-cultural political organisations to

harmonise their thoughts on Nigeria, Obasanjo said the country “is fast

drifting to a failed and badly divided state.”

He attributed the situation to what he called “recent mismanagement of

diversity and socio-economic development of our country.”

He particularly decried the level of mistrust among the various sections of

the country, saying: “Old fault lines that were disappearing have opened

up in greater fissures and with drums of hatred, disintegration and

separation and accompanying choruses being heard loud and clear almost


“It would appear that anybody not dancing to the drumbeat nor joining in

chorus singing would be earmarked as ethnically unpatriotic or enemy of

its tribe or geographical area. In short, the country is fast moving to the


But happily, I observed that the five socio-cultural political groups

gathered here have been getting together to find common ground, areas

of agreement or accord for moving Nigeria away from tipping over,” he


But he urged caution on the part of those beating the drums of

disintegration and singing choruses of bitterness, anger, and separation,

because according to him, “if even Nigeria is broken up, the separated

parts will still be neighbours. And they will have to find accommodation

as neighbours or they will be forever at war.”

He added: “And those who prevent justice to be done invite violence to


However, he said Nigeria still stood a good chance of weathering the


His words: “I see a ray of hope that Nigeria can be saved from

disintegration. If we are ready to live together in understanding, mutual

respect, and love with equity, justice, inclusiveness while engendering a

sense of belonging and unity of purpose and all hands are on deck, we can

deal with internal issues of terrorism, organised crimes, banditry,

kidnapping, human trafficking, drug, money laundering, and corruption.

We will then be able to deal successfully with any incoming attack of

terrorism, organised crimes, etc, from outside.

Today, that is a sure threat dangling over the heads of all of us, no matter

our tribe, religion, geographical location, social standing, age, or gender.

That ray of hope was somewhat manifested in the last ten days or so when

the Northern Elders Forum and Yoruba Summit Group complemented

each other in their separate press releases on the Senate’s idea which

invited submissions from the Nigerian public for the amendment of the

Constitution which had been regular money-gulping activity by every

National Assembly Session since 1999, a veritable source of waste without


I believe one of our major problems in the past was that we did not

dialogue enough. We talk at ourselves and selfishly keep old prejudices

and biases. If we show understanding, give-and-take, love of one another,

and commitment and love of the country, we will do what is right and

stand firmly together for the good of all.

In the process of consultation and informing people about this initiative,

in spite of general disenchantment with what is going on as far as the

performance of the present administration is concerned, most people still

give Nigeria a chance of pulling through to a united and wholesome, fastdeveloping

and progress-making country provided we take care of what

some term as restructuring and others term as devolution of power,

responsibilities, and resources.

And even those that may be called hardliners maintain that selfdetermination,

disintegration, separation is a last resort when other

measures have been prevented or other measures have failed to


Frustration leads to desperation and nobody can be sure of what

desperation can lead to. We are here to start the process of putting those

other measures together and to continue to enlarge the circle from this

mini-dialogue group bit by bit until a national dialogue that can save

Nigeria from disintegration is reached and when that is done, this

initiative will come to an end.

I believe Nigeria is worth saving on the basis of mutuality and reciprocity

and I also believe it can be done through the process of dialogues rather

than talking at each other or resorting to violence. It will amount to

dangerous and destructive self-delusion for anybody to claim that all is

well in Nigeria today.”

As regards the 2023 elections, Obasanjo said that year should be a

watershed for Nigeria.

“2023 should be the beginning of a true and genuine new Nigeria. After

over sixty years of independence, we should be able to settle for a united

country where nobody would feel oppressed nor have a sense of alienation

and where our youth are truth to know, in love and honesty grow, and

living just and true, great lofty heights attained, to build a nation where

peace and justice shall reign.

It is long overdue and we should leave no stone unturned to achieve this.

During the present democratic dispensation which is the longest in the

history of independent Nigeria, we have gained some experiences and

learned some lessons which should stand us in good stead as we move

along the process of establishing the fundamental ways of Nigerians living

together in peace, security and harmony to satisfy the yearnings of all its

population and particularly the youth and to make the necessary impact

sub-regionally, continentally and globally.

The time is right and the experience has been acquired over sixty years of

independence and almost twenty years of the present democratic

dispensation to get it right. Let me say again that the dialogue will

continue to be expanded with consultation and information sharing with

every sector of our society. No sector will be left out.”

In attendance at the dialogue were Chief Ayo Adebanjo who represented

Afenifere, Chief John Nwodo, President of Onanaeze Ndigbo, and a

representative of Ijaw leader, Chief Edwin Clark.”

The damning auditors’ report which former President Olusegun Obasanjo

delivered to Shareholders of the “Nigeria Project” was the stuff that would

certainly provoke the Chairman/Chief Executive Officer to sack the

auditors “with immediate effect”.

The response from Aso Rock, (The Presidential Villa/State House) was

swift and massive. It was a no-holds barred shelling, bordering on nuclear


In his most recent statement former President Olusegun Obasanjo

attempts to divide the nation while President Muhammadu Buhari

continues to promote nation building and the unity of Nigeria.

The difference is clear. From the lofty heights of Commander-in-Chief,

General Obasanjo has descended to the lowly level of Divider-in-Chief (to

adapt the coinage of Time).

Before responding further to the unfair attacks on President Buhari and

his administration by the former President, it is important that we

categorically state that contrary to the assertions by a few analysts, the

recent speech in which President Buhari advised West African Presidents

against tenure elongation beyond constitutional limits has been

consistent with his long held views on the need to adhere to the rule of


Even though he tried it and failed (sic), the recent uptick in the number of

such leaders proposing to do, or actually carrying on in office beyond

term limits is sufficient to cause concern among democrats in the subregion

given its prospects of destabilising the states and the region.

President Buhari’s advocacy is consistent with his principles and in line

with the current policies of his administration and indeed that of the

ECOWAS Charter which is that term limits must be respected and that

the change of government is only permissible through the ballot box.

Having cleared this misperception, we hope that Chief Obasanjo would

once again sheath the sword and rest the pretentiousness about the

Messiah that has (mis)led him to pronounce often wrongly, as he

disastrously did in the 2019 elections, about the life and death of Nigerian


As some commentators are already suggesting, Chief Obasanjo should, in

accordance with his mantra as a statesman, get involved with problems

solving, when and where they exist instead of helping the mushrooming

of a poisonous atmosphere of ethnic and religious nationalism.

Surely, he must have disappointed many of his local and foreign admirers

by showering commendations on a few extremist groups who have vowed

to shun the invitation to the National Assembly to participate in the

process of constitutional amendment.

No doubt, he must have left those admirers confused in announcing the

support for the boycott of a democratic process of changing the

constitution, at the same time calling for dialogue and engagement.

The fact that the process he ushered in under his administration with the

dubious intention of amendments that sought tenure elongation failed-as

did two other attempts by the successor administrations of the same

political party- does not in any way justify his dismissal of the exercise by

the 9th Assembly as a another waste of time and resources.

To the credit of the All Progressives Congress-led 8th Assembly, the

process of constitutional amendment was kickstarted and carried

through, paving the way for, among other benefits, the financial

independence of local government councils, States Houses of Assembly

and the country’s Judiciary. These changes have already been signed into

law by the President as mandated by the constitution.

The recent decisions by the administration as they relate to subsidy

withdrawal, helping to plug some of the most horrendous notorious holes

and release of scarce resources for the more pressing needs of the people

has also not escaped the ire of the former president.

It’s a known fact that the withdrawal of subsidies had been on the wish

list of the Obasanjo-led Peoples Democratic Party, PDP. They failed in

achieving these measures because, one there was a shared greed. They

plundered the treasury as much as anyone could in the name of either

subsidy or waiver with reckless impunity.

Two, is to say it takes courage and rare statesmanship on the part of a

leader to do as President Buhari to shun populism and seek the best

interest of the people and the state, providing the kind of reform and

development that Nigeria urgently needs.

This President has run an administration focused on infrastructure and

development. He has repaired our damaged relations with neighbours and

our traditional allies such as the UK, US, China, Russia, France, Germany,

Saudi Arabia and the others with lots of benefits to the country.

It is a pro-business administration that has used diplomacy to unlock

bilateral trade and investment.

He leads a government that has liberalized the investment climate and

market access by achieving reforms that have placed the country in the

list of the world’s top reforming economies.

Nigeria, which other nations had mocked and ridiculed for so many

things that were wrong is today progressing at a pace reflecting its size

and potential.

With so much to show and many more coming, it is little surprise that

President Buhari would be the object of envy and harsh unfair challenges

by politicians who failed to deliver, but continue to nurse ambitions of

delighting the audience long after their curtain has been drawn.”

Apart from the heavy artillery from The Presidency, General Olusegun

Obasanjo had to contend with missiles (and ambush) from different


Reacting to the comments (by General Obasanjo), the Chairman of the

Arewa Consultative (ACF).

“A top official at the Presidency took a swipe at a former president, Chief

Olusegun Obasanjo, over his recent comments on the state of affairs

under the administration of President Muhammadu Buhari, describing

him as a “yesterday man”.

Though the Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and

Publicity, Garba Shehu, did not respond to a message sent to him on the

subject, the top official who did not want to be named said: “Obasanjo is

yesterday’s man. After he had come against President Buhari and lost the

election, you don’t expect anything positive from him.”

Chief Obasanjo had said on Thursday that Nigeria was fast drifting into a

failed and badly divided state under President Muhammadu Buhari.

This, he said, were the products of recent mismanagement of the

diversity and socio-economic development of the country.

“Old fault lines that were disappearing have opened up in greater

fissures and with drums of hatred, disintegration and separation and

accompanying choruses being heard loud and clear almost everywhere,”

Obasanjo said.

He was delivering a paper titled; “Moving Nigeria Away From Tipping

Over’ at a consultative dialogue in Abuja.

The dialogue was held behind closed doors between September 9 and 10.

He, however, called for concerted efforts of all stakeholders towards

“moving Nigeria from tipping over.”

The former president also called for a national dialogue, saying it would

save Nigeria from disintegration.

He expressed concern that some Nigerians had been obsessed with the

2023 general elections, despite the challenges of debt, death, destruction

and disease across the country.

On 13th September 2020, the front page of “Daily Trust” newspaper

carried as its headline:



• You Are Not A Prefect To Supervise Other Leaders

Audu Ogbeh

(ex-King’s College/Pane’s House)

Reacting to the comment, the chairman of the Arewa Consultative

Forum (ACF) and former Minister of Agriculture, Chief Audu Ogbeh,

said in an exclusive interview with Daily Trust on Sunday that

“Advertising us as a failed state is not mature. Let me in all fairness say

something to Obasanjo: There is a tendency for him to always think that

if he were there, there would be perfection. He had his own challenges.

What about Zaki Biam and Odi? Were those democratic expeditions?

You are not a prefect appointed by anybody to supervise the conduct of

other heads of state.”

Reminding Obasanjo that he (Ogbeh) was chairman of the then ruling

party (PDP) when he was president, he said: “I think if Gowon,

Abdulsalami and Shagari (before he died) continued lashing out at

incumbents the way Obasanjo does, people would have tagged them


I think he enjoys this policy of mischief, going around and looking for

audience that would applaud him saying nasty things about those who

came after him.”

Admitting that Nigeria has problems and has to deal with them, Ogbeh

said: “I respect him (Obasanjo) as a former president, he is a very

intelligent man, but he should also avoid mischief.”



The spokesman of the pan Yoruba socio-cultural group, Mr. Yinka

Odumakin, agreed with Obasanjo that Nigeria is drifting towards a failed

state, saying, “All the indices of a failed state are very apparent in


He said this was made worse because of the leadership of the country

which he noted is not “unifying” and “treats some sections of the country

as if they don’t matter.

There is a clear and present danger in the country now which we must

address,” he said.

He said the president had in the past five years failed to fulfil his

promises anchored on three cardinal programmes to Nigerians,

wondering how he would achieve the nine-point programme he recently

unveiled in the about two years left for him in office.

He said the government must set its priorities right, adding that the

president must bequeath to the country a “proper constitution that will

make every part of the country productive.”

“Remember in 2015, he campaigned on three key areas which he has

failed to deliver in five years. Now that he has two years to go, he said he

wants to address nine. We must get clear priority areas,” he said.


– An associate professor of Political Sociology in the

University of Abuja, Dr Abubakar Umar Kari, said Obasanjo was as much

a cause as those he was accusing.

Reacting, the varsity don said Obasanjo was not the first person to make

such a claim.

“It is common these days to hear and read about Nigeria being a failed

state. It is a pretty weighty claim made often in frustration or outrage or

by opposition elements and those with an axe to grind with the powers

that be.”

According to him, a proper interrogation of the concept of a failed state

would reveal that it is very controversial, subjective and even confusing.

He said based on some definitions and measurement criteria, countries

like South Africa and Brazil also fit into the failed state bill.

“Serious scholars and analysts have abandoned the concept because it is

problematic. What is not in doubt, however, is that all is not well with

Nigeria, and that is putting it mildly.

It is also true that Nigerians are sharply and deeply divided along all

sorts of cleavages, but in this, Obasanjo is as much a cause as those he

was accusing.

I have a problem with Obasanjo playing the social critic and concerned

statesman, because it does not add up. He can hardly mask his bitterness

towards Buhari.

His utterances on the present administration had of recent lacked the

requisite objectivity and constructiveness and sometimes border on the

pathological. And remember, he was addressing a meeting of ethnic and

regional leaders with a well-known antagonistic disposition towards

Buhari and his government,” he said.

But a political scientist, Dr. Kayode Esuola, agreed with Obasanjo that

Nigeria is drifting towards a failed state, saying the Buhari

administration’s “lack of ideological and policy directions will fast track

the failure of the Nigerian State.”

He said: “Nigeria started drifting towards a failed state immediately she

was created in 1960, but the drift merely inconsistently galloped till 2015

due to a plethora of policy efforts – some appropriate but mal-applied,

some inappropriate but appropriately applied- made by different


Buhari’s emergence in 2015 has consistently shot upward the drift, and

the country is much closer and clearer to a failed state than it ever was.

The last one year had been particularly scary for anyone who

understands what it means for a state to fail.

Division is a major symptom of state failure. It destroys social order and

causes crisis of hegemony (we witness both at present).

So, Obasanjo’s observations are correct in the social context. However,

the same Obasanjo cannot claim to be unconnected to all the crises,” he


Also speaking, Dr. Gbade Ojo, an Associate Professor of Political Science,

said Obasanjo’s concerns were valid. However, he said Nigeria’s federal

arrangement since 1960 had been convoluted.

According to him, Nigerians are more divided today than they were in

1967 before the civil war. He said if a referendum was to be conducted

today, most Nigerians would prefer to go their separate ways.

“Today, it is the federal might that is still holding us together, not

nationhood,” he said.

The political scientist said if care is not taken, Buhari might be the last

president of the country and Nigeria could break into five, stressing that

Nigeria is running “a bastardized federal arrangement and the federal

character principles are being observed in breach.”

He said Obasanjo being a civil war hero is pained that the unity he

fought for is severely threatened.

He advised the president to implement the recommendations of

previous national confabs.”

Perhaps it was inevitable that the Buhari versus Obasanjo “Roforofo”

fight should galvanize and magnetise others into the fray as major

combatants and unrepentant gladiators.

The first salvo came from the indefatigable Professor Wole Soyinka, the

Nobel Laurette. It has gone viral.

“I am notoriously no fan of Olusegun Obasanjo, General, twice former

president and co-architect with other past leaders of the crumbling edifice

that is still generously called Nigeria. I have no reasons to change my

stance on his record. Nonetheless, I embrace the responsibility of calling

attention to any accurate reading of this nation from whatever source, as a

contraption teetering on the very edge of total collapse. We are close to

extinction as a viable comity of peoples, supposedly bound together under

an equitable set of protocols of co-habitation, capable of producing its

own means of existence, and devoid of a culture of sectarian privilege and

will to dominate.

Nigeria is a suppurating slaughter slab, and it boggles the mind that

supposedly wise and lettered men, sheltering under any religious

mandate, would go into a solemn huddle to ‘legitimately’ augment the toll

of mindless killings that now plague the land.

Presumably, the ongoing ‘national security’ persecution of Obadiah

Mailafia is a sign of national unity? I invite our marionettes to read deeply

into history. Oh, excuse me, history has been banned from learning

structures, so look not for history books! However, straightforward, firsthand

testimonies abound, exposing structural flaws, deceits and

conspiracies against this presumptive national edifice. They are

perpetrated by highly placed servants of the state, some of whom have

since risen to even higher national positions. I draw attention, for

instance, to detailed revelations of plots against the nation, plots that

resonate in the present. Such is the two-year old interview of a former

ambassador to the Sudan, Bola Dada – “The Punch” newspapers archives

remain ever obliging. They avail us vivid material to decide whether or

not a sinister script is being acted out today with copious libations from

Nigerian blood.

I think, in the public interest, “The Punch” should re-run that interview,

most especially in view of recent claims by a columnist in “The Nation”

newspaper – Femi Abbas Sept. 4, 2020 regarding how and by whom

Nigeria was corralled into the OIC. When you abolish History in

institutions, you open the gates wide for rampaging revisionism while the

same gates are shut against a grasp, however tenuous, of why, for

instance, a Mailafia becomes a target of serial interrogations and

harassment, rather than those boldly named in his revelations. Is it he

who constitutes a danger to the nation, or the indicted fanatics of

unlimited impunity and callous disregard for humanity? Why the

ostentatious pretence of investigative zeal? The man has told you where

to look. Well, look in that direction and report back to us! In the

meantime however, ensure that he meets with no accident!”

As confirmation that it was ready to take on all comers, The Presidency

took centre stage (or bull ring) courtesy of the front page of “Nigerian

Tribune” newspaper of September 17, 2020.




“Special Adviser to President Muhammadu Buhari on Media and

Publicity, Mr. Femi Adesina, has faulted claims by former President

Olusegun Obasanjo and Professor Wole Soyinka, among other cirtics, that

Nigeria is more divided now under the present administration than it ever


Speaking on a Channels television programme on Wednesday evening,

Adesina said Buhari met a terribly divided nation in 2015 and was

progressively working at narrowing the gulf of disunity.

He cautioned against comments in the realm of politicking. Stressing that

Nigerians should coalesce efforts at uniting and ensuring harmonious

coexistence rather than promoting divisions.

Though he noted that Nigeria had dwelt with an inconvenient

amalgamation dating back to 1914, he averred that the desired unity of the

nation would be achieved when all Nigerians decide to accommodate one

another irrespective of ethnicity or religion.

He said: “Nigeria has always been divided, right from amalgamation in

1914. Nigeria is an inconvenient amalgamation but we have worked at it

and there is no time in the history of the country that the country was not

divided. But then, we have kept at it and trying to make it work.

In 2015, when President Buhari came, Nigeria was terribly divided; divided

along ethnic lines, religious lines, language, political lines, divided

hopelessly and that is the division that President Buhari has been working

at. But you see that a lot of people, instead of letting harmony return to

this country, thrive and luxuriate in widening the gulf within Nigeria. So,

if they say Nigeria is divided today, it is because it has always been divided

and all efforts to unite Nigeria and Nigerians are thwarted.

When Nigerians come to a decision point that we must live together

without wishing anyone, any ethnicity, religion away, then we will work

towards being a nation.

Professor Wole Soyinka delivered a lecture in 2010 or 2011 when he said

Nigeria was not a nation, and that Nigeria was, at best, a conglomeration

of different ethnic nationalities.

The question is, was President Buhari in power then? So, Nigeria has

always been divided. The onus is on us all to make our country work and

those who continue to harp on division are part of the problem.”

Though he noted that the Buhari government was not averse to criticisms,

he said government was wary to discard those discovered to emanate

from the realm of politics and preconceived notions.

He said government sifted criticisms from Obasanjo and Soyinka to

discover those that are germane and well-founded and knows how to deal

with theose ones that come from predispositions as permanent critics of


Adesina added: “Woe betide a country that does not have critics. They

could be doing everything wrong and there will be nobody to point out

that they are going in the wrong direction. Critics have their uses;

criticisms have their positive sides but then, it is not every criticism that

should give you sleepless nights. When such criticisms come, you need to

look at them, isolate what you think is germane, actionable and what you

think is in the realm of politics and in the realm of preconceived notions

you have to discard. There are some criticisms that you find what you

think you can adjust and you adjust.

If you look at the trajectory of President Olusegun Obasanjo, you will see

that there is no government he hasn’t criticised. The only government he

has not criticised is the Olusegun Obasanjo government.

So, that kind of person has a right to air his opinion and you have a right

to take it or not to take it. Obasanjo has criticised every government,

including the Shehu Shagari government that succeeded him in 1979.

In 2018, he said the horse rider must now dismount from the horse,

alluding that President Buhari should not run in 2019. But Buhari ran and

won. Do you think that someone who was asked not to run and ran will

be kindly disposed to (his traducers). He would not. It is in that light

that we must situate and see whatever former President Olusegun

Obasanjo says.

Before Soyinka agreed with Obasanjo, he first issued a disclaimer. That

says a lot about the former president. Professor Soyinka is somebody we

respect. You don’t have then too many (like him) in a country, even on

the continent. Professor Soyinka is an icon; we respect him; we listen to

him but we don’t take everything he says hook, line and sinker. There is

nobody that says something and everything he says, you take hook, line

and sinker. He is an individual; he can make mistakes. He may reason

from preconceived notions.

Professor Wole Soyinka has never been a pro-Buhari person, right from

when Buhari was military head of state. I recall that before the 2015

elections when he softened a bit, he still came out to say that of the two

main candidates, one was just slightly a shade better than the other. It

was not as if he endorsed the president totally.

Sometimes, he came visiting at the Villa and was still very frank with the

president and the president was very frank with him. He has always been

like that and will always be like that.

We will take whatever he says, we will look at it, the ones that need to be

assimilated and ingested, it will be done; and the ones we see as typical

Professor Wole Soyinka, a critic, who is always on the other side of

government when he speaks, look at what he has said, assess it, the ones

that you think are germane and well-founded, you take and the ones that

comes from his predispositions as a permanent critic of government, you

know what to do with it.”

On September 15, 2020, The Chairman and Publisher of “Nigerian

Tribune” newspaper Dr. (Mrs.) Olatokunbo Awolowo-Dosumu graciously

shared the front page with The Presidency.

“Former Nigerian Ambassador to The Netherlands, Dr Olatokunbo

Awolowo Dosumu, on Sunday, said that Nigerians are united in anxiety

about the future of the country.

Awolowo Dosumu was one of the panelists who spoke on the theme:

“Understanding Contemporary Nigeria- What Unites Us,” organised by

the Political Leadership Academy (POLA) of former governor of Ogun

State, Chief Gbenga Daniel, as part of the POLA’s National Dialogue


She noted that building a stable community of people in a democratic

setting is fast receding in the country due to lack of patriotism and

honesty on the part of the leaders for a greater and virile nation.

“We are united in our anxiety about the future, about good governance.

We are anxious about our economy. We are anxious of where our

economy will lead us, when we do not have any clear way,” she added.

Awolowo Dosumu noted that Nigeria can still return to the golden age

where Meritocracy, Pragmatism and Honesty (MPH) were the core values

of the nation’s founding fathers.

She advocated meritocracy in place of federal character, insisting that

good governance is one of the way (sic) forward for the country.

The former diplomat lamented that corruption, ethnicity, nepotism are

the cog in the wheel of the nation’s progress, hence the need for Nigerians

to elect leaders who have the interest of the country at heart.

She said, “Any nation requires a consensus about where they want to go.

Without a consensus, then we can’t even begin. In the First Republic, our

founding fathers did have a consensus of sort. They were united on their

zeal to serve the people and when occasions arose they forged a common

front in order to serve their people better.

The most important is that, they hard a consensus on the kind of

structure of governance that was suitable for a multiethnic, multicultural

country like Nigeria. It was a consensus that federalism was the best.

But somehow along the road we have lost our way and that is what I

believe we should be interrogating now. What do we need to do?

We need to have a consensus about what kind of leaders do we need in

this country? What kind of governance do we need?

The best kind of governance is the one that stresses the responsibilities of

the ruler to the subject. The aim of a good government is the welfare of

the entire people under its jurisdiction.

The duty of a good government is clear. It is not opened to government to

prefer the members of its own hierarchy in provision of amenities. We

need to agree on the kind of government we want.”

The guest speaker, Dr. Abdul Jhali Tafawa Balewa, speaking on the topic:

“What Unites Us,” said the country’s leaders must examine the areas

where Nigeria is not doing well and correct the anomalies.

The former presidential aspirant noted that the country is blessed with

intellectuals who are ready to play a vital role in the development of


Daniel, who is the Chancellor of POLA, in his remarks submitted that the

issue of unity of Nigeria, remained the collective responsibility of all.

The former governor explained that the whole focus of the Academy was

to encourage the younger elements on why they should be actively

involved in the nation’s political process.

He said, “The youths seem to be contented with entertainment and all

sorts of mundane things. When you look at the demography of Nigeria,

you will find out that the young elements have the population and if you

have the population, what is wrong with you?

I think the focus now should be on the young elements. Youths need to be

very active, proactive and get involved in the political process.”

Other panelists were the former governor of Anambra State, Dr.

Chukwuemeka Ezeife; former Political Adviser to former President

Goodluck Jonathan, Dr. Akilu Sank Indabawa; former Minister of Water

Resources, Alhaji Muktar Shagari; renowned Professor of Land Policy,

Professor Soji Adelaja and Sir Chris Chikwelu (Jnr).”


“To state that we live in challenging times is perhaps an understatement

and does very little justice in accurately capturing our current realities.

Those realities include a world faced with a pandemic the scale of which

hasn’t been seen in 100 years. The crisis has crippled economies, destroyed

global supply chains and obliterated once productive and viable sectors of

the economy.

Our dear nation has not been spared in this difficult period and, indeed,

has felt the impact of the global crisis. But as a responsive government,

the Buhari administration has within limited resources designed

responses that are targeted at mitigating the full impact of this scourge.

The Economic Sustainability Plan has earmarked N2.7 trillion in spending

to create and sustain jobs and livelihoods for those who have been

impacted the most by this crisis.

Despite battling with low public revenues, and the hydra- headed monster

of low oil price and a reduced production quota from OPEC, this

administration remains committed to honouring the promises made to

the Nigerian people across the key areas of Security, Economy and

fighting Corruption.

At the just concluded Inter Ministerial Retreat, where the entire

Government apparatus was gathered under one roof to review

performance over the last year; with a singular objective of identifying

how to improve in those areas where successes fell short of target, and

how to replicate those key elements that led to success in others.

A frank conversation took place between the participants and

independent assessors. Amongst the critical themes that emerged from

the two-day session was the need to improve focus, coordination and

collaboration amongst Ministries, Departments and Agencies, and the

importance of rigorous execution, monitoring and evaluation of projects

and activities against set targets.

Regarding domestic policy actions, the last week has seen critical

decisions around the economy being taken. These are decisions that for

many years previous governments have shied away from, and as a result

cost our country several billions of dollars.

This was funding that could easily have been deployed elsewhere in

support of millions of our citizens, as opposed to subsidizing a small

percentage of our population. If we continued along this path it would

portend a very dark and uncertain future for our country.

As most crisis managers state, “Never allow a crisis go to waste.” Such

periods present an opportunity to take stock and make difficult decisions.

These domestic policy decisions were by no means easy, but are in the

best interest of our nation.

The impact of this decision is to have an improved allocation of very

scarce resources, create an opportunity for private sector investment to

return to sectors where government intervention had created distortions

in various ways. The return of the private sector promotes job creation

and provides for the entrepreneurial genius that is embedded in


Leadership is about making tough and difficult decisions and not a

popularity contest. President Buhari’s commitment to doing the right

things in the best interest of our country should never be in doubt.

In the regional sphere, Mr. President has not shirked from his

responsibilities of promoting alongside other subregional leaders the

principle of non-acceptability of change of government other than by

constitutional means, and the values of democracy in places like Mali and

ensuring that peace and security are maintained in neighbouring

countries as they have a direct impact on our own security and territorial


Mr. President is also fully aware that there are historic fissures that exist

in various locations across the country, and has advocated for dialogue

between key parties who are direct stakeholders in ensuring peace. An

example is the recent peace dialogue that took place in Kaduna between

warring groups that have been at each other’s neck for quite some time.

Their efforts to sit across the table and dialogue on how best they can

resolve their differences, is the pathway that needs to be charted in

addressing our internal issues. Such peace moves, which would be

deepened and extended to other parts of the country, are critical to our

continued existence as a people and as a nation.

However, what is sad, and most reprehensible is the conduct of those who

should know better and should be seen to be playing a leading role in

bridging and or mediating these fissures that we have lived with, who now

invest their time in trying to deepen those fault lines and stoking ethnic

embers in very subtle and manipulative ways that eventually find their

way to the public sphere.

Given the plethora of challenges that confront our nation, Mr. President’s

attention is on how our growing youthful population can compete in a

world that has no boundaries and barriers, given our very fertile land.

Focus is on how we can best improve agricultural practices and increase

yields per hectare, so our farmers benefit from their sweat and honest


Also under attention is how connectivity between markets and people can

be improved so that commerce and movement of persons can thrive and


These are a few amongst the things that occupy the thoughts of the

President. All statesmen will be judged by their records long after they

exit the scene, and President Buhari is focused on deepening Nigeria’s

unity and laying a solid foundation for the transformation of our country

so that future leadership can build on them. Therefore, he will not be

deterred by those whose singular objective, carried out through a veil of

deception, is a cocktail of hate-inspired messaging and vitriol intended to

distract and undermine our march towards prosperous nation building


There was just enough room left to squeeze in the headline:



“NIGERIAN leaders and elders under the aegis of pan-Yoruba sociopolitical

group, Afenifere; Northern Elders Forum (NEF); Ohanaeze

Ndi’gbo, Pan-Niger Delta Forum (PANDEF) and the Middle-Belt Forum

(MBF), on Monday described as “deeply disappointing and worrying” the

way the presidency chose to react to the pieces of advice offered by the

groups and former President Olusegun Obasanjo on better ways to move

the country forward.

This was made known in a statement jointly signed by Mr Yinka

Odumakin for Afenifere; Dr Hakeem Baba Ahmed (NEF); Chief Guy

Ikokwu (Ohanaeze); Senator Bassey Henshaw (PANDEF) and Dr Isuwa

Dogo (MBF), a copy of which was made available to Tribune Online.

The Presidency had, in its reaction, condemned the parley which held last

week in Abuja which featured the groups and Obasanjo, describing the

former president as “Divider-In-Chief” for saying that Nigeria under

President Muhammadu Buhari’s leadership was approaching a failed state

status, among others.

Leaders of the five groups, while distancing themselves from being the

mouthpieces of Obasanjo, said it was left for the former president “to

choose how he responds to the lamentable response of President Buhari

to his initiative.”

They declared that they had no regret or apology to offer for making

themselves available to dialogue with each other, exchange ideas and recommit

themselves to pulling the country from the brink of precipice of

“no return.”

According to the groups, the communique released at the end of the

Abuja meeting, being “the first of many,” is a loud testimony to levels of

responsibility and maturity on their part, for which countless

commendations had poured in “from many responsible Nigerians,”

expressing more worries why such initiative “will attract the type of

childish vitriol from the Presidency, including labelling us as terrorists.”

The leaders and elders said: “Leaders of five groups who held a two-day

meeting under facilitation and chairmanship of former President

Obasanjo in Abuja, last week, have taken note of the reaction of the

Presidency to the meeting.

To say that the Presidency chose to react in the manner it did to a

responsible and credible initiative by our groups and a former president

is, to put it politely, deeply disappointing and worrying.

Our groups are not mouthpieces for Obasanjo and we will leave it to him

to choose how he responds to the lamentable response of President

Buhari to his initiative.

For us, it is sufficient to say that we have no regrets or apologies to offer

for making ourselves available to dialogue with each other, exchange ideas

and re-commit ourselves to pulling our nation from the brink of precipice

of no return.

The communique released at the end of our meeting, which we are

confident is only the first of many, is a loud testimony to our levels of

responsibility and maturity.

We have received countless commendations from many responsible

Nigerians for supporting and participating in this initiative to make our

country a democratic and united entity.

We are even more worried at this stage that a responsible and

constructive effort to douse tensions, build bridges and restore hope in

the potentials for the survival of our country as democratic and united

entity will attract the type of childish vitriol from the Presidency,

including labelling us as terrorists.”

The groups argued that it was quite certain that the country’s current

leaders at the helm of affairs were living in very deep denial if they do not

recognise that the current situation represented an existential danger to

the nation.

This was just as they applauded the commendable support of other

leaders for the initiative as well as what they described as the

statesmanship of chairmen

of the All Progressives Congress (APC) and the Peoples’ Democratic Party

(PDP) Governors‘ Fora, who attended the second day of the meeting and

expressed genuine support for it.

Afenifere and others said the position of the governors’ fora was in

contrast, which made them to be “alarmed at the insensitivity of the

Presidency which will rather demolish patriotic and responsible action

than take steps to address gaping holes in the manner it handles our

national destiny, our security and our economy.”

The group of leaders and elders, while saying that their forum was

encouraged to pursue the time-tested strategy of engagement, dialogue

and steadfast commitment to the future of the country as secure, united

and just, vowed that they would continue to exercise their rights to meet

and seek solution, and discharge their obligations to younger generations

of Nigerians who deserve to live in a nation without its current

frightening limitations.

They expressed the belief that the Presidency, the National Assembly and

all Nigerian lawmakers and every well-meaning citizen should be part of

the initiative, saying Nigerians have the right to ask what the Presidency is

doing to address the country’s deeply-embedded problems, “if the

Presidency chooses to stay out.”

They, however, pointedly said President Buhari should know that

Nigerians can distinguish between the citizens who care enough to

do something and those with responsibility, but choose to do nothing.

“Clearly, our current leaders are living in very deep denial if they do not

recognise that our current situation represents an existential danger to

the nation.

We noted the commendable support of other leaders for the initiative and

the statesmanship of chairmen of APC and PDP governors’ forum, who

attended the second day of the meeting and expressed genuine support

for it.

In contrast, we are alarmed at the insensitivity of the Presidency which

will rather demolish patriotic and responsible action than take steps to

address gaping holes in the manner it handles our national destiny,

our security and our economy.

Our forum is encouraged to pursue the time-tested strategy of

engagement, dialogue and steadfast commitment to the future of

our country as secure, united and just.

We will continue to exercise our rights to meet and seek for solutions and

discharge our obligations to younger generations of Nigerians, who

deserve to live in a nation without its current frightening limitations.

We believe that the Presidency, our legislators and all well-meaning

Nigerians should be part of our initiative. If the Presidency chooses to stay

out, Nigerians have the right to ask what it is doing to address our deeplyembedded

problems itself,” they said.

You now have an excellent opportunity to vigorously challenge and

deliver a robust refutal to the verdict declared by Pastor Emeka John

Chigozie Emekesiri (founder of the Indigenous People of Biafra [IPOB]

And lawyer) on the front page of “Saturday Vanguard” newspaper of

September 12, 2020:

“Today, the youths of the present generation have lost their bearing.

They have decided to wander in the wilderness like sheep without a

shepherd even though the old shepherds from the old generation

are still alive and willing to guide the youths to the Promised Land.

Unfortunately, most of the youths of today have become

unteachable and incorrigible. The major problem in the Igbo

Nation now is the spirit of rebellion among the youths. In fact,

almost all Igbo organisations have split into many factions because

of insubordination and rebellion. I have a bitter experience on this


As for the North, “The Nation” newspaper of September 12, 2020

carried on its front page the following headline:


• Hoodlums kidnap, kill victims after collecting


In security the northern parts of the country appear to be taking a turn for

the worse as banditry assumes a more worrisome dimension. Besides

their penchant for killing for no justifiable reasons, bandits have added

kidnapping for ransom to their ungodly trade. Worse still, they are

killing their victims after collecting ransom for them.”

The elders cannot claim to be unaware of the monumental damage being

done to the psyche of the nation, especially the youths when on its front

page on September 12, 2020 a chilling report which has not been refuted

carried as headline:


CO-ACCUSED” – Witness.

“A prosecution witness, Abdulhakeem Mustapha, on Friday, told the

Federal High Court in Abuja how be handed over about $9m in four

tranches to a businessman, Mr. Aliyu Abubakar.

Abubakar is being jointly prosecuted along with a former Attorney-

General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Mohammed Adoke

(SAN), on 14 amended counts of money laundering.

But Adoke’s name did not feature in the $9m transaction which the

prosecuting agency, Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, had

alleged involved tranches of the fund in amounts exceeding the statutory

threshold outside a financial institution, violating the Money Laundering


The Managing Director of Farsman Holdings Limited and Farsman BDC,

Alhaji Farouk Suleiman, had, while testifying as the fourth prosecution

witness, said he was engaged in 2013 by Abubakar to help him convert the

sum of N2bn to dollars.

Suleiman said Abubakar gave him seven cheques worth N2bn drawn in

the name of Equal Access Limited and instructed that the dollar

equivalent be handed over to Mustapha, which he said he did. He said he

handed over the sum of $9.084,700 to Mustapha in five tranches between

September and October 2013.

Led in evidence by EFCC’s lawyer, Bala Sanga, on Friday Mustapha, a

Senior Advocate of Nigeria, said he was Abubakar’s lawyer for seven years.

The witness told the court that he had acted as Abubakar’s lawyer in the

transaction involving his sale of a certain property of the businessman to

the Central Bank of Nigeria by Abubakar.

He said, “At all material times, I have been a solicitor to the second

defendant. He is into selling and buying property. He instructed Equal

Access to sell certain property to the Central Bank of Nigeria. He

instructed Equal Access to pay the money paid to it to Farsman. He asked

me to collect the money from Farsman.”

Mustapha told the court that he handed over the total sum of $9,084,700

to Abubakar in four tranches; $2m, $4m, $3m and $24,000. He added that

he was issued receipts by Abubakar.

The witness said receipts were tendered by the prosecution and admitted

as exhibits by the court. Adoke’s legal team, led by Kanu Agabi (SAN) and

Paul Erokoro (SAN), opted not to cross-examine the witness.

Meanwhile, under cross-examination by Abubakar’s lawyer, Mr. Olalekan

Ojo (SAN), the witness conceded that no one was present when he

handed over the money to the businessman. He also admitted that he

had no document to support his claim that he was instructed to receive

the money from Farsman on his behalf.

Justice Inyang Ekwo adjouned the trial till November 23, 2020.”

Chief Dele Momodu chose the front page of “Sunday Punch” newspaper of

September 13, 2020 not to relaunch his political ambitions but to advertise

his disillusionment and disenchantment (with the youths).


Dele Momodu

“A former presidential candidate and Chief Executive Officer, Ovation

Media Group, Chief Dele Momodu, has said he will never reconsider

contesting the presidency because he does not have the capacity for many

things people go through to win such elections.

Momodu, who was the presidential candidate of the National Conscience

Party in the 2011 elections, argued that it is what candidates go through

before they emerge that make it difficult for them to perform when they

eventually get into office.

Asked in a recent interview with “Sunday Punch” if he would recontest

presidency in the future, he said, “The answer is no. Never! I know what

it entails and I don’t have it. I have the capacity to run any country

effectively but I lack the capacity to go through what you would need to

go through to get there, unless they come and offer me on a silver platter

in my house and that would be practically impossible.

I have decided I’m not going to beg for or steal money just because I want

to serve my country. The reason why a lot of leaders can’t perform in

Nigeria is simple; what they go through to get there. No matter how

saintly you are, you need the bad guys to win an election because you

can’t do it alone.

So, when you get there, you would be an ingrate to start disturbing the

bad guys, because without them, you won’t be there in the first place. For

that reason, I don’t have what it takes to get the bad guys to my side, so I

would rather stay (away).”

He also called on the President to unite all Nigerians.

Speaking on the debate regarding the region that should produce the next

president in 2023, he stated that he never liked zoning but that it’s fair for

the South to produce the next president in order to ensure balancing.”

In the same newspaper, Pastor Enoch Adeboye did not mince words.



“The General Overseer of the Redeemed Christian Church of God, Pastor

Enoch Adeboye, has said the Nigerian government has enough money to

provide palliatives for every citizen, but that corruption and lack of

accountability are the country’s problems.

Adeboye added that his church, for example, spends between N250m and

N400m monthly on corporate social responsibility, saying the government

must attend to the demands of the people.

The cleric spoke at the monthly thanksgiving service at the RCCG

Headquarters, Throne of Grace, Ebute-Metta, Lagos State.

Adeboye, who was represented by the Assistant General Overseer,

Administration and Personnel, Pastor Johnson Odesola, said he was full of

praises to God for intervening in the COVID-19 crisis in the country.

The Thanksgiving service was themed ‘Victory Over Lockdown.’

Adeboye said, “To say there is not enough money to give juicy palliatives

to Nigerians is an understatement because Nigeria has the money. But

the problem known to everyone is corruption and lack of accountability.

For example, in RCCG, we spend a substantial amount of money on

corporate social responsibility of between N250m and N400m every


While commenting on the hike in the pump price of fuel and electricity,

Adeboye noted that the government needed to be considerate with its

people and reconsider introducing such policies at a time people were not

getting relief from the scourge of COVID-19.”

In a direct message to “The Strong Breed”, “The Punch” newspaper of

September 13, 2020 devoted the top half of its front page to a pungent




“The recent reminder by former President Olusegun Obasanjo that 14

million Nigerian children are deprived of educational opportunities is an

indictment of the country’s political leadership. Put in context, this figure

is more than the population of Guinea (13 million); Rwanda (12.9 million)

and Tunisia (11.8 million). Reversing this trend should be a top priority for

the federal and state governments.

Generally, gender discrimination, disasters and armed conflict, language

challenges, household poverty, child labour, child marriage and factors

related to disability are some of the main barriers that keep children out

of school. In Nigeria, leadership failure, especially at the state level, is also

largely to blame. That the country churns out such saddening statistics in

human capital in the 21st century rankles and speaks to the need to reevaluate

and retool education policies in line with current realities.

A Chinese proverb says, “If you are planning for a year, sow rice; if you are

planning for a decade, plant trees; if you are planning for a lifetime,

educate people.” In a knowledge-driven world, countries with low literacy

rates have no future, as they will be left behind. The fact that the majority

of out-of-school-children are in the northern states as studies show is

evidence of poor choices. The problem has been compounded in the

North-East states of Borno, Yobe and Adamawa where the Boko Haram

insurgency has disrupted socio-economic and academic activities.

Interestingly, Nigeria is not in short supply of policy measures and laws to

ensure that no child is left behind in education. Officially, there is free

and compulsory primary and junior secondary education to cater for

children aged five to 14 years. The Universal Basic Education Act 2004 is

the legal framework that provides for compulsory, free and universal basic

education of all children of primary and junior secondary school age in

the country. There is also the Child Rights Act, which reinforces this as a

basic human right by prescribing schooling up to junior secondary school.

Unfortunately, these policy instruments and laws have been largely

obeyed in the breach; The 11 states that are yet to domesticate the CRA are

all in the north, resulting in their large out-of-school children.

What is wrong? While other countries are working assiduously to reduce

their out-of-school children population, the various tiers of government

have allowed the number to spike dangerously over the years. A 2018

UNICEF survey showed that the population of out-of-school children in

Nigeria had risen from 10.5 million to 13.2 million, the highest in the

world. Of the world’s 63 million out-of-school children of primary school

age, 34 million, more than one-half, live in sub-Saharan Africa, while

southern Asia has the second-highest number with 10 million, the USIF

Fact Sheet No.48 2018, discloses. This is not all; there is still a huge

number of those who are in school, but learning nothing. UNICEF says

schooling does not always lead to learning. In Nigeria, there are more

non-learners in school than out of school.

This has huge implications for Nigeria’s economic development and

security and deserves greater attention. Experts identify a nexus between

education, social deviance and development. As Obasanjo warned, “If we

don’t take care of these 14 million out-of-school children in the next 10

years or so, they will be the terrorists, armed robbers, and kidnappers of

the future.” This chilling prediction is already unfolding. The decade-old

insurgency in the North-East, organised banditry and kidnapping across

the North as well as criminality in other parts of the country in recent

times draw recruits from the army of uneducated and deprived youth.

Ironically, these ugly realities accentuate the phenomenon of out-ofschool

children. The United States military’s Africa Command said

terrorist groups shut down over 9,000 schools in different African

countries, including Nigeria in the past five years.

All this calls for concerted efforts to reverse the misfortune. The rising

illiteracy rate in the country, especially in the North, should be addressed.

In 2018, a report by EDUCELEB, a non-profit education advocacy group,

indicated a national average of 59.3 percent female literacy rate for

Nigerians between 15 and 24 years old; the North-West trailed with 38

percent, followed by the North-East (41 percent) and the North-Central

(62 percent). On the other hand, the South-East led with 95.4 percent,

followed by the South-South (94 percent) and the South-West (92.6

percent). When viewed against the fact that 11 Muslim Arab countries

(Jordan, UAE, Bahrain, Syria, Qatar, Kuwait, Algeria, Libya, Saudi Arabia,

Oman, Tunisia) have attained literacy rates well above the world average

of 87.6 percent, with Jordan scoring the highest (99.4 percent), the

wrong-headed neglect of education by the northern governors becomes


Many countries are looking beyond religion to catch up on education. The

Pew Research Centre reports that among the world’s major religious

groups, Muslims have made some of the greatest gains in educational

achievement in recent decades. But the story is different in sub-Saharan

Africa and some parts of the Middle-East. The PRC says in sub-Saharan

Africa, roughly two-thirds of Muslim adults (65 percent) have no formal

schooling. The same is true for roughly four-in-10 Muslim adults in the

Middle East-North Africa region (42 percent) and three-in-10 in Asia-

Pacific region (32 percent). By comparison, nearly all Muslim adults living

in North America and 95 percent of those in Europe have at least some

formal education.

In addition, the gender gap in education among Muslims in sub-Saharan

Africa has remained mostly unchanged across generations, and the share

of all Muslims with no formal schooling in the region is higher than the

share of Christians with no formal schooling, the research states. While

Muslim women are fast catching up in other regions of the world,

according to the Population Council, Muslim women’s educational

attainment is lowest in sub-Saharan Africa; where even among the

youngest cohort (women 25–34 years old) two‐thirds have no formal

schooling. Regrettably, Nigeria’s North poses the most depressing


Nigeria should roll back the negative influence of religion in national

development. While some Northern states have established a ministry of

religious affairs, the United Arab Emirates made history as the first

country in the world to establish a ministry of and appoint a minister for

Artificial Intelligence. Uncontrolled family size naturally breeds illiteracy

and poverty while discrimination against females hampers healthy family

and economic growth.

The various levels of government, especially the Northern states, need to

raise investment in education to address the phenomenon and other

challenges in the sector. This will align the country closer with the

international development community’s laudable goal of achieving

universal primary and secondary education by 2030, a decade away.

Increasing budgetary allocation to primary education has become

imperative. Though education is on the concurrent legislative list,

persistent decline in budgetary allocation to the sector by all governments

has hampered the provision of quality education in the country. However,

getting children into school primarily rests with the states.

Unfortunately, this is one admonition successive governments have not

taken to heart. For instance, in 2020, the Federal Government allocated

N671.07 billion, constituting 6.7 percent of the N10 trillion budget, to

education. In 2019, it was N620.5 billion out of N8.83 trillion, representing

7.05 per cent; N605.8 billion in 2018 and N398 billion in 2017. The figures

for the sub-national governments are similarly ludicrous. Sadly, amidst

the rot in the sector, a report from the Universal Basic Education

Commission said that as of 2018, 24 states out of 36 failed to access their

own portion of the over N47 billion basic education grants between 2015

and 2017. States are required to provide an equal amount of the money as

counterpart funds to qualify to access the funds, a statutory obligation

many have failed to meet over the years due to poor accountability. As

Benjamin Franklin, one of the Founding Fathers of the United States, once

said, an investment in knowledge pays the best interest.”

As for Professor Adebayo Williams, he chose the front page of “The

Nation” newspaper of September 13, 2020 to deliver a trenchant warning

to the youths in order to alert them not to make the mistake of

underestimating the task ahead:

“As we move to the centre stage, the resurgence of the politics of

ethnic identify that we are currently witnessing is likely to be a

child’s play. The politics of ethnic identity will mutate or

metastasize into the politics of ethnic separatism and continuing

violent clashes among colliding modes of production with several

ethnic platforms openly braying to be let out of the Nigerian


This is how state incompetence and sheer lack of visionary impetus

to reconfigure a badly fractured multinational nation turns what

should ordinarily be a struggle for the allocation of values and

resources among countervailing elite forces into a nasty tribal

melee. As it has been famously noted, those who fail to learn from

history are condemned to repeat it.”

In anticipation of the take over of our beloved country by “The Strong

Breed”, Yinka Odumakin has availed you of our handing over notes

courtesy of the front page of “Sunday Tribune” newspaper of

September 13, 2020.


“We continue to deceive ourselves that we want to reduce cost of

governance and fight corruption while under an expensive and

corrupt presidential system.

Seventy-one members of the House of Representatives at the

twilight of the 8th National Assembly took a positive step in

unanimously opting for a bill to enact a new law for a reversal to

parliamentary system. The bill was introduced in December, 2019.

Led by Honourable Kingsley Chinda representing Obio/Akpor

Federal Constituency of Rivers State, the lawmakers lamented the

flaws in the current presidential system. They had this to say:

“Studies have shown that countries run by presidential regimes

consistently produce: lower output growth, higher and more

volatile inflation, and greater income inequality relative to those

under parliamentary ones.

Presidential regimes consistently produce less favourable

macroeconomic outcomes which prevail in a wide range of

circumstances for example in Nigeria.

Due to the excessive powers domiciled to one man under the

presidential system, consensus building that is often required for

economic decision is always lacking.

The level of liability and volatility of the presidential system makes

it difficult to achieve economic objectives.”

Lending his voice also Chinda said: “If you ask some legislators

about some government policies, it is difficult for them to clearly

understand because the interface between the executive and the

legislature is not as it should be.

The parliamentary system will ensure that the Executive, Legislature

and Judiciary are on the same page. The system will iron out all

these things; that is why we have thrown it up for Nigerians to look

at, discuss and see that it will help us in proffering solutions to some

of the problems of our country.

What we have proposed in that bill is that the exclusive list should

be pruned down so that issues of devolution of power are taken care

of and I can assure you that you will see healthy competition and

this country will grow for all of us.”

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