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Johannes Wojuola
Works at LOL! Magazine / LOL! TV
Attends Nigerian Law School
Lives in Abuja, Nigeria
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Corruption will fight back

By Johannes Tobi Wojuola

 Nigeria’s former EFCC Chairman, Mallam Nuhu Ribadu is renowned for his anti-corruption stance and fight. Though some may argue that his fight was one-sided or prejudiced, the a posteriori facts point clearly at the reality that indeed corruption was fought by the former Chairman – whether lopsided or not.
Mallam Ribadu stepped on a lot of toes – very big toes I mean; like those of the former Governor of Delta State, Chief James Ibori, Mohammed Babangida, son of former Head of State, Gen. Ibrahim Babangida, to mention a few. It was thus not a jaw-dropper when he was removed from office two weeks after the arrest of former Governor Chief James Ibori.

For a fact, Nuhu Ribadu best tells the tale of the fight against corruption, especially that he was once in the forefront of the battle. Experientially, he is known to have made this pithy quote: “When you fight corruption, it fights back.”

Corruption today has become animated in the lives of many Nigerians: It has become the norm and the accepted way of doing things. It has lost its pariah status. In its various manners and forms, it has eaten very deeply into the fabric of our nation: It has torpedoed our economy, made frail our morality, rendered inert our legislative houses, stung our judiciary and ridiculed our socio-political environment. But despite all these damage and desecration done, those who foster and benefit fatly from it have sworn to protect their sources of livelihood till gaol do they part - Corruption will surely fight back.

Nigerian institutions became the funnels for milking the resources from our Nation’s treasury and then were left to lean and suffer malnutrition, consequently: Dilapidated roads, caustic poverty, moth-eaten hospitals, run-down educational institutions, an enervated civil service, tumbledown airports, a weakened military – name it, rot, rot, rot, here and there! All mothered by the monstrous corruption and fed to size by the misrule of the erstwhile administration of the People’s Democratic Party.

The majority of Nigerians voted President Buhari to fix these; with the mantra of CHANGE hinged on his tripod message to fight corruption, to secure the nation and to rescue the economy. It is noteworthy that securing the nation and rescuing the economy are organic corollaries of the fight against corruption.

President Buhari in his perspicacity understood that to win the war against Boko Haram, the battle must be fought concomitantly with the fight against corruption. The #DasukiGate revelations buttress further this truism; if weapons and ammunitions for the Nigerian Military were indeed purchased as at when they should have with the funds that were appropriated for same, many a family in the North Eastern parts of Nigeria would still be one and at home today. But, corruption had its way. And disaster was served cold to innocent Nigerians and the gallant troops of our Army.

Contrast that with the status quo today, where the Nigerian Army has been able to decimate all known camps of the insurgents in the North Eastern parts; reclaim all towns that were under the control of the insurgents and continue to win day after day the war against Boko Haram. What makes the difference? Sanitization of Defence procurements; weapons and ammunition now made available to the soldiers; rejuvenation of their morale; and a determined leadership founded on integrity at the helm of affairs.

The monumental sleaze committed by the past administration is what President Buhari is fixing – nut by nut; screw by screw.

But the Gordian knot of corruption has begun to wriggle and to bark sham propaganda and telltale lies.

Without an iota of remorse or restitution, the PDP mouthpieces have not thought it wise to rinse the foul stench of sulfurous slime that oozes when they make their failed-on-delivery attempt to put a dent to President Buhari’s war on corruption.

Corruption will fight back.

One would have expected that after losing an election for the first time on the national scale due mostly to the highhanded corruption of its administration, the PDP would have taken a moral cleansing and purgation; welcoming the lens, sponge and soap of the new administration to search and cleanse the country of this cancer. But no, it chooses rather to throw darts of propaganda, sponsor interviews that were never held, and pay jackpot lobbyists to promote puerile lies in defiance.

Corruption will fight back.

One would have also expected a sincere apology from the PDP for their atrocities in government, gross mismanagement of the country and the consequent loss of the lives of thousands of Nigerians in the North Eastern parts. But rather they choose to jubilate at the faintest sounds of gunshots in Maiduguri: “Pres. Buhari is failing, we told you so.”

Dr. Dipo Awojide in a Tweet said: “A war declared on corruption is not a war declared on the PDP.” Fair and fact this is. An addendum is that the anti-graft campaign cannot be dissociated from the handlers of the past administration, which single-handedly institutionalized the looting of our nation’s treasury. Looting was their source of livelihood, their culture, their attitude, their attraction and no doubt, their policy.

The fight against corruption will indeed be a tough one. Bulls once tagged sacred are being gored. The perpetrators of the heinous pillage of our nation’s resources are desperate not to go down without a fight. And this is not unexpected.

But President Buhari is up to the task and will surely have no stone unturned as he restores sanity back to our system. The war to rid our nation off corruption must be won; for the betterment of all.

My sincere prayer is that the God that rescued Nigeria from the infamy of the past administration will save us from its vestigial arms of corruption.

Be you apolitical, APC, APGA, PDP or KOWA, please say Amen. Amen.

 

Johannes Tobi Wojuola is a  lawyer and writes from Abuja
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Buhari, Orchestra Of “Noisemakers” And Good Music By Johannes Tobi Wojuola

A prime asset of any leader is a wily use of humour. It is that drop of ecstasy that quells the tension in a room. It is magical, and the progeny of its lack is a stern, colourless and joyless ambience. It is an added arrow to the quiver of communication skills of any speaker.

Ralph Emerson once said it is a luxury to be understood. But humour makes communication affordable. And only the extremely beggarly in joy cannot afford it.

Even the Holy Bible affirms the momentousness of humour in Proverbs 17 verse 22 where it says (ESV): “A joyful heart is good medicine, but a crushed spirit dries up the bones.”

The political milieu is a tense dark atmosphere. And Nigerians who had to wait patiently for the announcement, inauguration and assignment of portfolios of Ministers can attest to how boiled the already heated polity was. Expectations from Nigerians for a magical Buhari wand effect to immediately cure decades of decadence; to cure decades of unstable power supply, to arrest and prosecute every single suspect of corruption from time immemorial till tomorrow, to revamp the East-West Road and the immediate construction of the 2nd Niger Bridge, basically: to correct – in five months – every anomaly that has been known to the face of mother Nigeria, brought more angst to the ambience.

The sacrifices that we must make to get CHANGE – and a sustainable one for that matter – is served in the currency of time and fed from the bowl of patience. But in times like this; when the currency of time is hoarded into quick history and patience exchanged for kvetching, a hue of comical relief becomes indispensable to douse tensions of magical expectations.

President Buhari is a man rarely gifted with this art of communication. Albeit the sad side of this sweet coin when tossed into the stagnant waters of the polity, is the sturdy, solid and unsentimental misinterpretation of his jokes that is oft offered by the shenanigans of mischief-makers.

Tunde O. Thompson is a veteran Nigerian journalist. He was imprisoned during the 1984 era of Buhari’s Military Rule under Decree No. 4 of 1984: “Protection of Public Officers from False Accusations.” He served his term of a year with his colleague, save his last weekend when he was ‘smuggled’ out in the night around 3am from the Maximum Security Prison, Kirikiri, Lagos, to pre-empt civil society groups’ plan to receive him at the gate of the prison.

When Mr. Thompson met then President-elect Buhari at the Defence House, on the 5th of May, 2015, a week after winning the 2015 elections, he was introduced in the light of his role during the campaign and significantly his being incarcerated during the Buhari 1984 era. The President-elect’s first response to the introduction was to ask him if he had finished serving his prison-time. The whole room burst into ice-breaking laughter. Mr. Thompson responded that he had just a day left to serve. President Buhari replied: “you would have to finish it now”. Laughter was let loose once more and the spirits of the attendees (who had endured long hours of waiting to have audience with the then president-elect) at the meeting tuned almost to a climax, as they cheered: “Thompson will have to spend the leftover day at Aso Rock.”

Humor is a necessary supplement in our communications diet. It is good spice to the soup of any conversation: an important art for qualitative communication. However, when President Buhari joshed about Ministers being ‘noisemakers’ those who were flaw-digging thought they had found a propagandistic jab to taunt him with. The shallow approach to his jocular was even adopted by a few media houses that made it the subject of debates. But I thank the ALMIGHTY that a significant majority enjoyed the comic relief necessary for that tide – the wait for Ministerial nominees.

The next phase was tossed to the Senate where the members have the constitutional prerogative to confirm the Ministerial [noisemaker] nominees sent in by the President. Catechisms followed the announcement of the list; from, Why this nominee? To, who is this nominee? Why not nominate that person? Wherefrom is the origin of this nominee? How come this nominee? And so on. Sadly, only a few touched on the pith of the matter: the nominees’ intellectual soundness, expertise, experience and capacity to deliver.

The Senate screening turned out to be an intellectual party: The likes of Dr. Kayode Fayemi, Amina Mohammed, Barr. James Ocholi, Babatunde Raji Fashola (SAN), Remi Adeosun, Dr. Audu Ogbeh, Dr. Ogbonnaya Onu, Gen. Danbazzau, Dr. Ibe Kachukwu, Abubakar Malami – and the many others who were given the opportunity to showcase their wealth of intellect, and not asked almost immediately to bow-and-go – served lectures to the Senators for free. Posts from the social media were abundant, asking that the Senators be issued ‘Diploma Certificates’ for the lectures they had received free of charge.

The climax for most was the screening of Rt. Hon. Rotimi Amaechi who had become a victim of fraudulent petitions and a lousy whitepaper report from the quarters of his haters. Injustice did not reign; the truth was out of the bushel, and Rt. Hon. Amaechi was confirmed as a Minister of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.

Rt. Hon. Amaechi made a rousing statement only a few can boldly assert: “I hate corruption … I have never taken any bribe in my life.” Only a handful can confidently affirm as he did on such a wide and distinguished platform as the Senate podium with millions of viewers on live-stream television.

In all of these, one thing was clear from the screening of the selected nominees: President Buhari had given us a list of QUALITY NOISEMAKERS!

And even though we could not attest to seeing nimbuses on the heads of the nominees, we surely did see stars!

WHO WILL MAKE THE LOUDEST NOISE?

The foundation to work has been laid and the bar finally set; portfolios have been assigned to each ‘noisemaker’ to change the tune of each Ministry and bring in ‘noise’ worth hearing from their arena in good time.

Two hours after the Ministers were sworn in, returning from an interview, I noticed ebullient smiles on the faces of workers in one of the elevators of the Radio Nigeria building, I couldn’t help but ask why; it was too obvious something was up. My answer was dished to me in euphoria: “Our Minister is around.” Alhaji Lai Mohammed, the Minister of Information had already resumed work at his Radio House (Ministry of Information) office less than two hours after his inauguration as Minister of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.

I also stumbled on a Tweet with a photo from Egghead Odewale showing the new Minister of Solid Minerals, Dr. Kayode Fayemi and the Minister for State for Solid Minerals, Abubakar Bawa Bwari in a meeting at the Ministry with its Permanent Secretary, Istifanus Futkur.

One thing is for sure: these Ministers would not be courtiers as HRH Sanusi Lamido Sanusi, the Emir of Kano described past crop of Ministers. President Buhari has made it known that his Ministers would be given a leeway to achieve set goals and targets for optimal results. Their successes and failures are in their hands. And the consequence of the latter would surely be a red card. The President is not known to be a micro-manager, but certainly, there would be guidelines and frameworks for targeted results.

Nigerians want to see true and palpable change. These Ministerial noisemakers have already told and shown us they possess what it takes to deliver. But especially amidst pre-screening criticisms, the Ministers must beyond outstanding oratory, presentations and past glory, prove to Nigerians – once more – their worth and shame the rancorous critics.

I foresee competitions among the Ministers; where each tries to outshine the other. And for me, that is welcome.

CHANGE, President Buhari’s mantra is in the offing. Nigerians are eager; our currency of time is spent, but we yet have some to spare.

The new Ministers of the Federal Republic of Nigeria must, above their qualitative noisemaking, show qualitative works.

My prayer is that history will smile at these men and women when the pages of this epoch would be written.

Johannes Tobi Wojuola, Editor in Chief ofLOL! Magazine writes from Abuja
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Why this year's Independence Day calls for celebrations

by Johannes Tobi Wojuola

Independence Day all over the world is celebrated with an insightful reflection on a country’s political, social and economic liberation from the control of another country. It is a celebration of a newness and at every year which it is marked, it calls for a check on the calendar and diary to inquire; so far, how far?

Speeches, ceremonies, fireworks, parties, prayer services, sermons, picnics, carnivals and rallies would oft be held – all purposely or flippantly celebrating the history, government, economy and taking stock of the journey so far.

Independence Day is a similitude of a person’s birthday: it signifies the birth of a sovereign entity, the coming to being of a nation-state out of a hitherto chrysalis state. And most often, the labour that precedes the birth of a nation state comes with a struggle – bloody in some unfortunate case; tough, rough and a fray in others. On whichever road the birth came through, liberation calls for celebration.

But Nigeria’s independence may not mean a big deal to many Nigerians, save the fact that it remains a cherished holiday that liberates the middle-class and civil servants from the shackles of work and sundry demands. Its significance has been downplayed; with little or no patriotic patronage for this day which happens to be the precursor of almost everything that we hold dear in the sacrosanct entity of the nation of Nigeria today.

Nigeria gained its independence from its colonial masters – Britain – fifty-five years ago, amidst prospects – notwithstanding disagreements that reared their heads among the then regional leaders as to when was “practicable” for a date of independence. Today, that is history. Since that historic event of October 1st 1960, our prospects have been better told than seen: we have danced to the tune of different leaders who set out their agendas that were best seen on paper than known in reality; we have been the victims of civil strife and internal animosities; the state of the nation has been threatened by interests – justly and unconscionably - of persons who have felt dissatisfied by the nation’s treatment of their interests.

From civilian rule to military rule, and to civil rule, and back to military rule, the helm of our nation’s leadership has vacillated from here to there before fate brought us to the threshold of civilian rule which we have been married to for the past 16 years. The expectations of the rebirth of a democratic era that took place on May 29, 1999 were high. It was the third time since independence that we were going to taste the fruits of democracy.

Nigerians and even the whole world envisioned in this rebirth the herald of a bright future for the country, one that would throw us into the comity of the world’s leading economies; the re-attainment of our axiomatic role as a centric power bloc in Africa and a major player in world politics. That election saw the emergence of former President Olusegun Obasanjo returned as President of Nigeria, who ruled for eight years under the umbrella of the People’s Democratic Party. The late President Umaru Musa Yar’adua was elected President thereafter but died two years into his tenure and was unfortunate not to see to the actualization of his 7 Point Agenda for Nigeria, leaving behind his Deputy, Dr. Goodluck Jonathan who was thereafter elected in 2011 as Nigeria’s President promising Nigerian’s a breath of fresh air.

Dr. Goodluck Jonathan eventually lost to Nigeria’s current President, Muhammadu Buhari, in the keenly contested battle of CHANGE and CONTINUITY of the 2015 elections after it seemed that former President Goodluck Jonathan had failed to deliver on his promises of fresh air; and to stem the insurgency in the North East and after corruption had been more honoured in its elevation than it had suffered in its abasement.

Like I noted in my letter to President Muhammadu Buhari penned at the fore of the election victory, Nigerians voted him as a ‘messiah to rescue us … [from] the monstrous corruption whose distasteful bite on our system has brought our economy and social fabric to a hemorrhage’; to revive a dwindling economy, to provide security of lives and property, to vivify our rusty international relations, to plug leaking revenues, to fix up the frail transport and education sectors, among others.

The vote of confidence bestowed on President Buhari was premised on his known stand and unalloyed position on corruption, and as we have come to appreciate it: the formidable and hardboiled body language of Mr. President. The question may then arise, what makes our 55th Independence celebration – the 16th since our last taste of military rule – different and more auspicious than ever? With a new rider on the saddle, would this be just another October 1st celebration where Nigerians would cluster in their numbers to party without appreciation of the cause; while working class professionals would see it as another day off to rest from work pressures?

The hope that was fostered in Nigeria on the 29th of May 2015 provides a non placet answer to the above questions! And the strides of Mr. President since the 29th of May further strengthen the avouchment of President Buhari as a man set on a mission to give significance to October 1st to Nigerians: that the labour of our heroes past shall never be in vain!

HOPE!

President Buhari set off on promises hinged on the tripartite angles of providing security, fighting corruption and engendering youth employment through a stimulation of the economy.

The President upon being sworn-in gave breath to the first leg of his promises when in his swearing-in speech directed that the Military Command Centre for the fight against Boko Haram be moved to Maiduguri at the heart of the war. Now, that was a basic move wanting an order from the right leadership, and President Buhari did not wait to show his leadership and military prowess there. Thereafter he met with the then service chiefs, who he later changed to press-up able, war-ready and troop-leading Generals. These moves have stemmed hopes among the communities of North-Eastern Nigeria; hopes not just from believing in the resumé capabilities of these Generals but from a posteriori ostensible results from the warfront and sundry: from the re-capturing of hitherto held Boko Haram camps and territories, to the communal cooperation of the Multinational Joint Task force with $21 Million released for the establishment of the headquarters of the force, to the evident boost of morale among the troops, to the steady return of economic activities in some hitherto abandoned towns, to promised technical and material support by World leaders to fight the terrorists to an end.

These hopes are indeed not founded on the reverie of changed leadership but on the palpable victory that has been self-evident in the war against the insurgents in the North Eastern parts of Nigeria. The President has given a 3 months period – which ends in December – in which the war must be won.

The President’s stance on corruption has been long known and appreciated – even by those on the other side – his disposition has not been put to a contest that it ever bowed with its tail between its legs.

A beauty in good leadership is watching its positive effect trickle down. That is why corporate governance principles in the public sector code today advocate for top-bottom approach to accountability, disclosure and positive ethos among the board and the Ministers with the knowledge that once these sacred values are imbibed in the hierarchy they would flow – like a spring – down to the lower echelon. And that is what Nigerians have today appreciated as the body language of Mr. President. That enduring ethos of incorruptibility has somewhat started a revolution in government ministries, departments and agencies. All of a sudden, but not without the knowledge of the new Sheriff in town, electric power supply has increased around the country – with over 4,600 Megawatts now being generated. I count it joy that our country today can boast in a fortified and unimpeachable hope that corruption has found a genuine adversary who is bent on uprooting it from the Nigerian system.

The promises of the Buhari administration to provide a meal a day for Nigerian pupils in primary schools and the payment of N5,000 monthly to 25 million Nigerians is still in the by-and-by; and assuredly, when the 2016 budget is presented by the President, it would be accordingly catered for. Looking forward to these masses oriented packages are a reflection of a reborn Nigeria worth celebrating come October 1st, 2015!

These hopes are not based on obsequious belief in the persona and capabilities of President Buhari; but they are funded on two indefatigable substances of humanity: Truth and Tangibility!

The war against Boko Haram is indeed being won; Nigeria’s international relations has been bolstered to attract unprecedented Foreign Direct Investment in our economy, and even to support our security personnel; the economy stands strong and exuberant even after having been left battered by the previous administration and starved by dwindling oil prices – our foreign reserves fell from $49 Billion to $27 Billion within November 2013 and April 2015  even when our earnings from crude oil were at the windfalls. This same reserves shot up to $31 Billion in  the first 2 months of President Buhari’s coming into power – despite oil being sold at an all time low of $43 to $47.

Many more plans in the kitty are yet to materialize and it is just over a hundred days plus: indeed better days are ahead, and it can be surmised that the 2016 budget that would be submitted by President Buhari would be a catalyst and the next phase for President Buhari to focus on infrastructure, revamp of key sectors and other activities that would engender sustainable growth and job creation in Nigeria.

Truly so, there is a cause to celebrate: October 1st 2015 is not just any other holiday but a day to celebrate Nigeria’s propitious comeback to the stage of world leadership and a state with the interest of the masses truly represented. President Buhari is on the path to CHANGE Nigeria for the better. And these self-evident truths show that Nigeria’s future is not bleak as it may have seemed a year ago. Talk about a new Sheriff who means business and give me a reason to adorn my green agbada come 1st of October!
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Understanding Buhari in 100 Days - Mallam Garba Shehu


The enormously popular talk show, ‘Berekete’ on Wazobia FM, Abuja, told the incredible-yet-true story of a hard-working and respected school teacher somewhere in Plateau State who hanged himself. He hadn’t been paid salary for seven straight months. He came home to find that no-one had eaten and two of the children had medical prescriptions for which there was no money. He sneaked out without talking to anyone. After a long while, news came home that he had strangely been caught with a stolen goat.

On his day in court, the teacher confessed to the offense. The reason he stole, he told the local judge, was that he hadn’t been paid for seven months and when he got home to see what he saw, he just couldn’t stand it. The judge allowed him to go home on bail on self-recognition given, as he said, the good impression the entire village had of the otherwise respected teacher. All were shocked to find his body dangling from a tree the morning after. He couldn’t live with the shame.

In the recommendations and notes the Ahmed Joda transition committee presented to him as President-EIect, Muhammadu Buhari was informed that a section of the Federal government, as well as 27 states, hadn’t paid salaries, in some case for up to a year. The committee advised that this was a national emergency and should be treated as such. It is on account of this that one of the activities - please note the choice of this word: activities, not achievements - of President Muhammadu Buhari in these past three months is the settlement of unpaid salaries. This is going on right now.

Like the proverbial blinking of an eye, Saturday September 5th will mark the 100th day of the Buhari-led All Progressives Congress (APC) government which took office on May 29th after the new party became the first in opposition to unseat an incumbent government in an election adjudged by everyone as free and fair.

There are many out there who say that the performance of a president and his government in terms of success or failure cannot be judged in 100 days and I agree with them. But history will be written anyway. In the coming week or two, a rash of commentaries and analyses to commemorate the event will be made. I myself don’t deny that 100 days is long enough to know and understand the man who is the head of a government.

Buhari arrived power with strong support from young men and women and this country’s poor. The new government was not favoured at election by monied power-brokers although that did not stop the President from taking measures such as improving security, good for business and investment. This government is business-friendly but not one that is for crony capitalism.

The new government inherited enormous problems created by the tainted PDP administration, largely caused by the lack of governance, corruption and lawlessness. This was mostly evident in the last two years of the Goodluck Jonathan administration. As the President continues to point out, the  drift is most evident in the oil sector. I believe that there is enough on the ground in those 100 days to understand President Buhari, his government and what it stands for. I will cite a few of these, after a little confession. 

In the course of electioneering, the presidential campaign had so many centers of public communication which, for whatever reason were on the loose. There is a certain document tagged “One Hundred Things Buhari Will Do in 100 Days” and the other, “My Covenant With Nigerians”. Both  pamphlets bore the authorized party logo, but as the Director of Media and Communications in that campaign, I did not fund or authorize any of those. I can equally bet my last Kobo that Candidate Buhari did not see or authorize those publications.

As a consequence of these publications, expectations have been raised unreasonably, that as President, Muhammadu Buhari will wave his hand and all the problems that the country faces - insecurity, corruption, unemployment, poor infrastructure - would go away. But that notwithstanding, President Buhari has given the job his best shot and the whole country is saying that we never had it so good. He has re-instituted the values of hard work and  administrative efficiency. The President says times without number that this country needs to fix governance and that he won’t tolerate laziness.

Some of the other activities I wish to enumerate also include the fact of his taking relations with the country’s immediate neighbours to new heights. By their open admissions, this country’s  neighbours did not have someone they could talk to on the deteriorating security situation in the Lake Chad Basin area in Aso Rock. 

Buhari embarked on his foreign policy on Day Four of his administration. When he met   Barack Obama, the U.S president told the Nigerian leader that he was getting it right and that it is only when Nigeria gets it right that Africa will get it right. The United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon who came calling this week said that our president is “courageous, focused and firm.” Relations with the “G-7” group of industrialized countries have since been “reset” and the dividends of this have begun to flow inwards.

In the area of economic management, Nigerians are already seeing things  happen that they thought were not possible in so short a time. He didn’t put a Kobo to finance the power sector. Yet, reading his body language alone and knowing that there are things you cannot do and get away with under Buhari, electricity supply all over the country has risen to unprecedented heights.

Actually, some cities are on the verge of calling 24-hour, round-the-clock power supply. The country generates more power than can internally be taken by the deplorable distribution system we have on the ground, which points to the next challenge that the country faces.
Framework for the management of the country’s finances has been put in place. The wobbly Naira is being stabilized and inflation is headed towards a single digit. President  Buhari is keeping a close eye on the government treasury. Agriculture is getting its own shot in the arm. Rice importation has been curtailed and seven governors whose states are priming a  massive local production of the commodity have had a strategy meeting with the President on the next steps that are coming. Americans say their intervention in our agriculture will come next year.

Boko Haram, which had more or less been allowed to fester for about five years is about being ended but what is even more interesting is that intelligence coming from the fired-up armed forces who now work in synergy with each other is raising hope that the Chibok girls may (repeat: may) be found in good number in a geographic location of interest somewhere in the North-East. 

President Buhari is being praised at home and abroad for his ongoing fight against corruption. He said from the beginning that his government will not tolerate this vice. Borrowing the words of India Narendra Modi’s, he said himself that “I won’t steal and I’ll not allow others to do it.” President Buhari has walked his talk since he come to office. Himself and Vice President Yemi Osinbajo have not only given up half of their salary, they have cut a good number of funding lines to their official  homes and offices. President Buhari also takes the environment seriously. He blames the lack of security in the Lake Chad region on the recession, almost drying up of the lake. He has undertaken to clean up Ogoniland. 

In this country, appointments and removal from office were done usually in accordance with a spoils system. A new government sacks officials on the basis only that it did not appoint them, but the predecessor-administration. President Buhari has shown that his government is different. He wants to look at each case on its own merit and it is clear by now that he is not ready to surrender the country to burnt-out politicians. Technocrats will have a big place in his administration. He has appointed no ministers yet, but the government is running smoothly.

In this period of three months, government certainly deserves a pat on the back for improved power, reform in the energy sector, foreign relations fight against corruption and insurgency and the fact of Nigerians being at peace, not only among themselves but with their neighbours and the rest of the world. In summary, I would like to end this piece by saying that President Muhammadu Buhari will turn out to be a leader in the tradition of Lee Kuan Yew and India’s current reform-minded  Prime Minister Modi, with strong and clear emphasis on detail and execution. He may however differ with them by not micro-managing things. 

Shehu is Senior Special Adviser, Media and Publicity to the President.
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Post New Year and The Weekend! 
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Good friends are like food, work and other demands can starve us of them, but in truth, we can't do without them. #Love
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YES! The President Can!

by Johannes Wojuola


The Nigerian Petroleum Sector accounts for over 80% of Nigeria’s revenue, consequently being the largest source of our economic dependence. President Buhari’s desire to oversee the affairs of the Petroleum Industry/Sector has seen a series of unfounded attacks on the President’s decision from both legal and moral viewpoints.

Nigeria cannot joke with this profound sector. On the other side, it is of significance to note the fact that the Petroleum sector accounts for over 60% of our revenue leakages.

It is lucent that the Nigerian Petroleum sector has been bereft of prudence and accountability. President Buhari’s consequent decision to put a special eye on this sector by personally overseeing the Ministry of Petroleum is in order.

I would not pretend or shelve beneath the carpet the moral and legal argots flying here and there giving credence to or castigating Mr. President’s decision.

It is important that I state here that, in fact, after President Buhari’s expertise in the Military sector, the next sector where the President is most proficient is in the Petroleum sector. Under Gen. Obasanjo’s military regime, Buhari served as the Federal Commissioner for Petroleum Resources – a similitude of what we have today as the Minister of Petroleum – from March 1976 to June 1978. He also helped in the establishment of the NNPC – where he was the Chairman in 1978 – and the Kaduna, New Port Harcourt and Warri refinery. He also supervised the laying of 3,000km of pipelines around Nigeria. He is credited for having laid the foundation for what we have as the Petrochemical Industry today.

President Buhari would bring his vast experience from the intimate working relationship he has had with the Petroleum sector’s management. And to boot, he would be bringing in his known virtues of integrity, prudence, honesty and honour to see to an effective management of this sector.

Would the President get any emoluments for the role? Obviously not. We must note that the President is the head of Nigeria’s executive and making sure this sector works is part and parcel of the job of the President. This is so whether there is a Minister or not.

I have seen a few hawk the simplistic argument that every Ministry must have a Minister, and even going to the length of supporting their point with the constitutional provision of Section 147 of the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria as amended. That is a wrong notion to hold. Whereas the proposition of this Section of the Constitution is such that the President must appoint Ministers who must be one from each State of the Federation – at least 36 Ministers – it is not in any effect providing to impel the President to designate to each Ministry a Minister. The prerogative of allocating Ministerial portfolios is solely vested in the President by the provisions of Section 5 (1) (a) and Section 148 (1):

Section 5 (1) (a)

“Subject to the provisions of this Constitution, the executive powers of the Federation –

shall be vested in the President and may, subject as aforesaid and to the provisions of any law made by the National Assembly, be exercised by him directly or through the Vice-President and Ministers of the Government of the Federation or officers in the public service of the Federation …”
Section 148 (1)

“The President may, in his discretion, assign to the Vice-President or any Minister of the Government of the Federation responsibility for any business of the Government of the Federation, including the administration of any department of government.”

Summarily: the President may establish as many Ministries as he deems necessary – but not below the nethermost of 36 Ministries – assigning to each a Minister of his choice.

One of the most common issues that have arisen from President Buhari’s decision to oversee the Petroleum Ministry is bordered on the provisions of Section 138 of the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic Nigeria as amended:

“The President shall not, during his tenure office, hold any other executive office or paid employment in any capacity whatsoever”

Except for mischief, it is clear to the meticulous observer that the overseeing of the Ministry of Petroleum by the President does not in any way mean him taking another office or paid employment. The President is vested with ALL executive powers of the Federation by virtue of Section 5 (1) (a) of the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic Nigeria as amended. The same Section provides that the exercise of the executive powers of the President may (at the President’s discretion) be exercised by Ministers, but in no way precludes the President from the exercise of his executive powers. The petroleum sector is a branch of the executive. And by virtue of this fact the President may decide to oversee this Ministry by himself – as he has so chosen.

This once venal Ministry must have a turn around. Its peculiar recent past that harbored high-level malfeasance and embarrassing pilferage of our nation’s commonwealth must experience CHANGE indeed. President Buhari has made it clear that he wants to make a difference in his administration; he wants to ensure that this sector which produces the largest part of our revenue works well. And where it does, it would be for the benefit of every Nigerian.

The recent constant supply of gas to our power thermal plants has led to a boost in electricity generation and supply. Availability of petroleum products generally without hustles, transparency being entrenched in a sector where the activities were hitherto clouded in opaqueness and mystery, is enough proof that President Buhari’s mantra of change is not mere verbalism. This is a good and welcome start. And with the President overseeing the sector, with an extra eye, things are surely headed for the better.

Johannes Wojuola, Lawyer and the Editor-in-Chief of LOL! Magazine writes from Abuja.
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#Nigeria # Security #Buhari
 
SSS accuses Dasuki of "alleged plans to commit treasonable felony"

I've pasted the full statement below, but key points are:

- SSS move to "pre-empt individuals with penchant for impunity & lawlessness from putting back the nation to the dark days" -SSS statement.

- Incriminating evidence found include: 7 assault rifles + 5 bulletproof cars "being kept for possible sinister enterprise"

- they had a search warrant, but not an arrest warrant.

It comes after what PRNigeria described as an end of a 24 hour "siege" of Dasuki's Abuja home by the SSS. His international passports have been seized but there is no restriction on his movements.

Full Statement:

SSS PRESS RELEASE ON EX-NSA SAMBO DASUKI

PREVENTING ATTEMPTS TO COMMIT TREASONABLE FELONY: THE SEARCH ON THE RESIDENCE (S) OF MOHAMMED SAMBO DASUKI (COL RTD), IMMEDIATE PAST NATIONAL SECURITY ADVISER (NSA)

Gentlemen of the Press, good evening.

2. On 16th July, 2015, about 1650 hours, based on credible intelligence linking the immediate past NSA, Mohammed Sambo DASUKI (Col Rtd) with alleged plans to commit treasonable felony against the Nigerian State, operatives of the Department of State Services (DSS) conducted a search on the properties belonging to the former NSA, Mohammed Sambo DASUKI (Col Rtd). The properties are on Nos. 13, John Khadya Street, Nos. 46, Nelson Mandela Street, both at Asokoro, Abuja, and Nos. 3 Sabon Birni Road, Gwiwa Area, Sokoto, Sokoto State.

3. The search operations was planned to be simultaneously conducted, but DASUKI, refused the operatives entry into his main residence located at No. 13 John Khadya Street, Asokoro, despite being presented with a genuine and duly signed search warrant. Consequently, what was to last not more than two (2) hours, lasted more than ten (10) hours, up till the early hours of 17th July, 2015. Indeed if not for the sense of maturity and professionalism of the officers and men assigned this task and the very good understanding and timely intervention of the new Chief of Army Staff, Tsukur Y. BURATAI (Maj Gen), there would have been a clash between the Army operatives guarding the house and Service operatives, as SAMBO directed the soldiers on duty not to allow any movement into his house, despite the subsisting court order. SAMBO thereafter raised a false alarm to the military authorities to come to his aid as he failed to correctly tell the military that his property was about to be legitimately searched.

4. Gentlemen, please recall that SAMBO retired from the Army as a Colonel, and therefore not entitled to have military guards, if not for the fact he was NSA. Even as NSA, such guards should have been withdrawn after his removal as NSA since he would not have been entitled.

5. The search was thoroughly conducted, and several items recovered, among which were some incriminating items. These include seven (7) high caliber rifles, (high assault weapons), several magazines and military related gears. 

6. The team also recovered twelve (12) new vehicles, out of which five (5) were bullet proofs. These vehicles which are all exotic vehicles were retrieved from SAMBO’s residence having failed to produce evidence of ownership. For instance, what could he be doing with five (5) bullet proof cars as a retired NSA?. These cars which from all available evidence were purchased with tax payers money, were being kept for possible sinister enterprise.

7. The Service would want to state categorically that this search operation is not a witch hunt. The Service decided to move at this time in line with current Management resolve to be proactive and pre-empt individuals with penchant for impunity and lawlessness from putting back the nation to the dark days. The Service is also aware that the lethal arms and the vehicles recovered were not reflected in SAMBO’s handover notes or what could a former NSA be doing with destructive weapons and bullet proof cars which put together could disrupt the peace of any city in Nigeria for a while.

8. On the search of his three (3) properties, including the Sokoto residence, the Service is aware that in his capacity and given his antecedents, he might decide to use any of his residences for such diabolical plans, rather than his main residence.

9. Gentlemen of the press, the Service Management would want to assure members of the public that it would not trample on the freedom of individuals or groups as guaranteed by the Nigerian Constitution and emphasized by the current administration’s position on transparency, and probity underlined by justice and equity for all Nigerians. This is the driving force for all DSS operations. However, the Service would not hesitate to go after any person or group of persons, no matter how highly placed once such individual (s) breach or attempt to breach the laws of the Federation. The days for impunity and indecisiveness in the face of unpatriotic acts by individuals operating against the State are over. The Service hereby appeal to all Nigerians to be law abiding and partner with it in ensuring a peaceful and secured nation. In the same vein, those that are bent on breaking the rules governing our peaceful co-existence due to either the huge ill gotten wealth they have acquired or imaginary hold they think they have on our nation’s survival, are being warned to rethink. The DSS will use all constitutional means as defined by its mandate to deal decisively with such unpatriotic individuals.

10. The Management want to seize this opportunity to appreciate Nigerians for the tremendous acts of goodwill that is being extended to the new dispensation. The Management also wish to assure Nigerians that the gesture and confidence being expressed will be reciprocated with more dedication and service to our dear country Nigeria.

11. Happy Eid-el-Fitri to you and indeed, all Nigerians. 

12. Thank you. 

sgd
Tony OPUIYO
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Johannes Tobi Wojuola is the Editor-in-Chief of LOL! Magazine; he is an effervescent Lawyer; a trained Dispute Resolution Specialist; former Google Student Ambassador; a fun lover; a workaholic; a believer in the Bible and its teachings; and a writer. He is a member of the Nigerian President, President Muhammadu Buhari's Media Team.

Johannes enjoys the company of positive people and loves to have interesting chats with new pals in his leisure time.  He is an I.T. and Social Media Enthusiast and served as the Director of Online Media at the Sam for Nigeria Presidential Campaign Organisation till the APC Presidential Primaries that produced General Muhammadu Buhari as its candidate. He is a media adviser to Mr. Sam Nda-Isaiah and was a member of the erstwhile All Progressives Congress' Presidential Campaign Organisation (APCPCO); Directorate of Media and Communications.

Johannes Wojuola is a Capitalfield Human Rights' Ambassador and a member of the Abuja Global Shapers.
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