Archive for the ‘The Sun column articles’ Category

APGA’s Disgraceful Race To Extinction

November 12, 2018

Casmir Igbokwe

Prince Ifeanyi Ezeabasili’s confidence was infectious. His ambition was to represent Oshodi-Isolo Federal Constituency II, Lagos, in the House of Representatives. He went on road shows and did some other things to mobilise his constituents to get their Permanent Voter Cards (PVCs). To him, no party would beat the All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA) in that constituency in the 2019 election. His calculation was based on the fact that the area is populated mainly by the Igbo.

However, the primaries in Lagos developed some hiccups. Ezeabasili believed he won and the state party chairman reportedly agreed with him. But when it got to Abuja, the story changed. The national body gave the party ticket to another fellow. Since then, Ezeabasili has been counting his losses and naming them one by one. And it has surprised him what the party has done.

Miraculously, Dr. Okey Okoye escaped a similar experience. He had won the APGA primaries for Aguata 2 state constituency in Anambra State and had got certificate of return to that effect. But surprisingly, another candidate emerged with same certificate of return some days after. Dr. Okoye battled his nemesis and eventually got back his mandate.

The experience of Bianca Ojukwu, the widow of the revered Igbo leader, Dim Chukwuemeka Odumegwu-Ojukwu, was particularly interesting. Bianca wanted to represent Anambra South in the Senate. Ifeanyi Uba and Nicholas Ukachukwu also had the same ambition. And so, they came for primaries at Ekwulobia in Aguata Local Government Area. Firstly, the party disqualified Uba who joined not long ago from the PDP for not obtaining a waiver to contest the election.

Secondly, gunmen invaded the Ekwulobia Township Stadium, venue of the primaries. People ran helter-skelter as sounds of gunshots boomed. Bianca also ran. Hardly had she got back to Awka when the news filtered in that Ukachukwu had won the primaries.

Ojukwu’s widow thundered, “As a member of this party’s Board of Trustees, I am deeply concerned that mercenaries appear to have hijacked the operations of our party machinery. APGA is today facing an existential threat and the overall image of our party is in tatters.”

Sorry madam! You may take solace in the fact that in Imo State, about 15 aspirants emerged with one tall ambition: to oust Governor Rochas Okorocha and his in-laws from government house, Owerri. But from nowhere, the party granted waiver to Ifeanyi Araraume who just joined the party and he miraculously became its standard-bearer for the 2019 governorship election in Imo. I’m not too sure why the party granted this waiver to Araraume but denied same to Ifeanyi Uba.

Nevertheless, APGA has always stood on the pedestal of Igbo nationalism. The mantra is, “Nkea bu nke anyi”, meaning this one is our own. The great performance of the party in the last governorship election in Anambra State is a testament.

Unfortunately, the party has greatly derailed. And greed is part of the problem. According to a former governor of Imo State, Ikedi Ohakim, the travesty in APGA shows that what the party leadership was doing all along “was a ponzi scheme, a scam of the highest order, to defraud fellow Igbo men and women of their hard earned money…APGA which had less than N5 million in its account before primaries, now hires private jet for the use of the National Chairman.”

Ohakim accused the leadership of APGA of demanding and collecting various sums of money from members, delegates and aspirants which ran into billions of naira. This is in addition to the abhorrent “abuse of many female aspirants in our own hotels and yet denied the tickets.”

He said betrayal had always been part and parcel of APGA, and described both Governors Willie Obiano of Anambra State and Rochas Okorocha who rode to power on the back of APGA as agents of monumental betrayal of Ndigbo. As he put it, APGA has failed and must die.

But did Obiano actually betray or intend to betray APGA as alleged? Two months ago, about eight governors accompanied President Buhari to China. All, except Obiano, are members of the APC. Last Friday, he again accompanied Buhari together with two other APC governors – Kayode Fayemi of Ekiti State and Aminu Masari of Katsina – to Paris, France, for a peace forum. Could this just be a mere coincidence? Or is it that the President has found in Obiano a son in whom he is well pleased? Only the Anambra Governor, who is the national leader of APGA, can answer this.

In any case, the shenanigan in APGA is not peculiar to it. Other parties, especially the two dominant ones, have their fair share of the perfidy called party politics in Nigeria.

For instance, the ruling party, APC, is still reeling from the recent primaries held across the country. In Ogun, Imo, Zamfara and many other states, it is crisis galore. Currently, Governors Okorocha and Ibikunle Amosun of Ogun State are at loggerheads with the National Chairman of the party, Adams Oshiomhole. They want him removed.

As for APGA, the die is cast. I hear a certain Major General John Gbor (retd) is the presidential candidate of the party. APGA National Chairman, Victor Oye, had boasted that the party would produce eight governors in the 2019 elections and that the party would soon take over from the APC and the PDP.

“APGA is well repositioned to spring surprises in the future elections,” Oye spewed.

I laugh. Of course, part of the surprises is what we are seeing with the party now. So far, the best Oye has done to pacify his aggrieved members is to offer a tepid apology. But mere apology will not suffice here. The anger is deep. The national chairman in consultation with the national leader of the party should compensate people who spent so much for the party’s abracadabra called primaries. Otherwise, nkea aburozikwa nke anyi o (this one is no more our own o!)

___________________________________________

Re: Celebrating presidential WAEC result

Empty vessel makes the most noise. PMB and his APC are cheat. They lied to Nigerians that they would bring change. Because Nigerians assumed the change would be positive they believed them. Today, it’s clear that PMB & his APC are tissue of lies, myopic, insensitive, corporate & national looters, pretenders & power drunk. So Casmir, when PMB & APC have no milestones to celebrate, why wouldn’t the WAEC certificate be celebrated? Only God will deliver us from this evil.

  • Pharm. Okwy Njike, +2348038854922

 

Just finished reading your column: Celebrating presidential ….(wahala) I commend your views. Keep it up.

  • Anonymous, +2348174379875

 

Please Sir, can you find out from one Prof. Tam Sokari David-West, an avid outspoken friend of Buhari, what he (Prof.) feels, thinks about this his most incorruptible Buhari. He, David-West, described a known genuine professor as “kwekwe”. Now this rubbish! What’s integrity, where is integrity, who is the integrity now?

  • Anonymous, +2347035390254

 

Mr. lgbokwe, good day. Your piece is not issue based and you appear to have taken your column to denigrate the president and all he represents. When will you ever take a deep and unbiased analysis of the 16 years debilitating, massive looting of national patrimony and corruption that obviously rendered the economy prostrate? When will you do this and that is a hallmark of a balanced journalism. Thanks.

  • Anonymous, 08037075590

 

If an army of lions/Nigerians is commanded by a goat/o’ level, it will not move. Results cancelled all insults.

  • Kande, PH, +2348069038640

 

Read Bible (JEREMIAH 1:14) Then the Lord said unto me, “Out of the North an evil shall break forth upon all the inhabitants of the land.” Certainly, APC is that evil from Northern Nigeria; killing people and distributing poverty all over the country. Please, don’t vote for APC again in 2019 elections.

  • Mr. Opeyemi, +2348144697765

 

Casmir, the President’s WAEC result is not being celebrated but it reveals the mindset of those PDP depraved citizens who vandalized & cannibalized the economy. They chase shadows to divert attention from the consequences of their pillage & plunder. OBJ withdrew 10 billion dollars for power & delivered total darkness. Diezani stole 20 billion & when CBN Gov Sanusi blew the whistle he was suspended. The worst crime committed by the PDP is that when Boko Haram was on the march from Islamic Maghreb into Nigeria capturing and destroying villages, PDP gave NSA Dasuki 2.8 billion dollars to purchase weapons to fend them off. They shared this money to themselves. The blood of the tens of thousands of Nigerians who were slaughtered then is on their hands. Allowing PDP back to power will mean going back to Pharaoh’s Egypt.

  • Chike Nwigbo Awka, +2348037090360

 

Certificate Saga! This is shameful; Ghana WAEC in 20l5 could not trace Buhari certificate as exam was conducted by them. So, Buhari bribed to get fake certificate. He should be tried and sent to jail.

  • Anonymous, +2348066546306

 

Opposition parties leave issues they would use to campaign to win election come 2019 to talk about WAEC results; but now WAEC has put everything to rest by issuing the result, what next? Opposition parties should tell Nigerians what they have in stock if elected during their campaign so we know where we can cast our votes, so Nigeria can move forward.

  • Gordon Chika Nnorom, Umukabia, +2348062887535

 

What is the presidency celebrating? Celebrating impunity, just WASC. May God save us. It’s a disdain for WAEC to join the presidency in perpetrating impunity. May God save us.

  • Anonymous, +2348039495555

 

  • First published in The Sun of Monday, November 12, 2018.

Celebrating Presidential WAEC Result

November 5, 2018

Casmir Igbokwe

Since last Friday, the Presidential Villa, Abuja, has been in celebratory mood. The West African Examination Council (WAEC) had presented our President, Muhammadu Buhari, with a brand new certificate. They officially called it confirmation and attestation of his results. The powerful WAEC delegation was led by its registrar, Dr. Iyi Uwadiae. And it was an elated Special Adviser to the President on Media and Publicity, Femi Adesina, who announced the heart-warming news to the whole world. Now that Buhari has scored this major goal, Adesina wondered what naysayers or wailers would say next.

The mood in the Villa is understandable. Buhari’s WAEC certificate has been a thorny issue. The President claimed to have attended secondary school. But since 2003 when he started gunning for the Presidency of Nigeria, he never presented any certificate to back up his claim.

Opposition parties had used it to campaign against him. Some had even put modalities in motion for legal fireworks to stop him on account of this non-presentation of the certificate. Even now that WAEC has presented this attestation of result, they are still not satisfied.

The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) national publicity secretary, Mr. Kola Ologbondiyan, put it succinctly: “If Mr. President has a certificate, why did he not use it in the 2015 election? Why is the certificate suddenly coming out few months to the election? And have you checked the photograph that was attached to the certificate? In 1961, was it the requirement of WAEC to have a passport attached to school certificate?”

The President’s Senior Special Assistant on Media and Publicity, Garba Shehu, captured the scenario vividly.

He wrote, “This is a god-sent, with WAEC being a non-political entity. This should put to rest the absurd allegations by the PDP brought up again and again, that he did not attend a secondary school … In 2014-2015, when they raked up the issue, I remember that it took the courage of the then college principal to issue a statement of results from available records. In doing so, he defied the ruling PDP government in the state, which asked him not to.”

According to Shehu, Buhari met the eligibility for the contest in 2015 as he “presented the WAEC results and the other degree and non-degree-related results. He went through the verification process in the party, the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) and the court. He ran and won against the PDP.”

Many questions are begging for answers here. One, if Buhari had presented WAEC results and other degree and non-degree-related results as Shehu claimed, why didn’t he submit same for the election? Why did he swear affidavit that his credentials were with the military?

Or how does one even explain that the WAEC headquarters in Ghana reportedly noted in 2015 that it had no results of Buhari in its records. Also, the military had in 2015 said none of the President’s original copy, Certified True Copy, or statement of result was in its archive? The Army Records office in Lokoja had claimed it didn’t have any records of General Buhari as a military officer.

The Presidential spokesman wondered why “a dead issue” should get the type of attention given it by the media. To him, there are many matters of serious concern to the citizens such as internal security, diversification of the economy, more reforms, better governance, poverty alleviation, job creation, ending corruption and so on.

To some extent, I agree with Mallam Shehu. More people have continued to commit suicide as a result of hardship occasioned by poor economy. More people have died because of serious internal insecurity. Many more people are disillusioned by the rampant display of nepotism and corruption that has festered over the years. So, he is right that we should devote more time to such issues.

But he is not totally correct to wish that we dismiss the certificate controversies surrounding our President. It should be a matter for serious scrutiny. If not, the Presidency wouldn’t have erupted in jubilation when WAEC people came calling with a brand new result duplicate or attestation, as the case may be.

Incidentally, it is even the ecstasy in the Villa that has surprised many Nigerians. Immediately the news broke last Friday, a friend of mine, Emeka Okpala, quipped, “Is this country, Nigeria, cursed? People are celebrating that the President of the most populous country in Africa has gotten O’level certificate to govern his nation in this 21st century! It’s a shame!”

Another friend sent me a bromide of the two circulating certificates, the one allegedly issued in 2015 by the then principal and the second one issued by WAEC and noted: “Same certificate, different results and same person, same school. Fraudsters.” WAEC has explained the seeming discrepancy though. Mathematics and Woodwork were omitted in the attestation because Buhari got F9 in the two subjects.

The opposition political parties under the aegis of Coalition of United Political Parties (CUPP) saw the presentation of the results as suspicious, laughable, and unbelievable. As far as the opposition parties are concerned, the result may have been hurriedly released to stall the commencement of the suit seeking to disqualify the President from contesting the 2019 presidential election.

The coalition added, “Let Nigerians be reminded that, few days ago, the opposition raised the alarm that there was ongoing move to tamper with the records of WAEC and pressure the leadership into manufacturing a result for President Buhari.

“Today’s (Friday) action of WAEC has vindicated our earlier fears and confirmed our stand that WAEC is now competing with Oluwole Market in manufacturing documents.

“WAEC should either present the original 1961 ledger and booklet containing the names of the 1961 candidates who sat the exam from the school in Katsina to backup their confirmation of result issued to President Buhari or apologise to Nigerians for attempting to mislead them with the booklet and destroy the credibility of the once-respected examination body.”

It is pertinent to note that Buhari’s qualification to run for the office of the president is not the main issue. For me, the cardinal issue is integrity, which the President is presumed to have in abundance. That perception of integrity is seriously waning. For one, the anti-corruption war is feeble and insincere. Recently, a national newspaper published a report indicating that at least eight of the politicians working for the re-election of Buhari have pending corruption cases worth N232 billion.

And now, we have this certificate saga. If the President claimed to have a secondary school certificate, but it later turns out to be false, then there is a serious problem. Since he claimed to have attended the Katsina Provincial Secondary School, the onus is on the Presidency to clear all doubts about the issue. Resorting to name-calling and abuse of those fishing for answers to the certificate conundrum will not help the situation.

I want to join the Presidency and some others to celebrate the discovery of this long-lost certificate. But I can only do that if I am fully convinced that there is no attempt to deceive the people.

_____________________________________

Re: Nigeria must go?

Dear Igbokwe, “Nigeria must go” refers. When Nigeria, as our home, is in tatters and the head of the house is busy pursuing rats instead of gathering the pieces for re-construction, what do you expect our neighbours to do to us? Become sympathetic? Please, use your tongue to count your teeth.

– Steve Okoye, Awka, 08036630731

 

Sir, thanks indeed for your Buhari wahala. Don’t be surprised if you read his “media carpenters” in the Presidency and APC coming with insulting empty words glorifying and twisting facts.

– Anonymous, +2347035390254

 

Well, it is very unfortunate and sad that our leaders are not living up to expectations in governance to stop Nigerians from travelling out of this country for greener pastures, when we have resources to make Nigeria a better place for all. Our leaders should do something about good governance to stop Nigerians from travelling out because what they went through here is very unbearable.

– Gordon Chika Nnorom, Umukabia, +2348062887535

 

Dear Igbokwe, your article of Monday, October 29, 2018, page 46 of Daily Sun is good but your problem is that sometimes you allow sentiment to becloud your good intentions. First, if any Nigerian feels that he has another country other than Nigeria, is it wrong to ask such a Nigerian to go to that country, instead of causing confusion in Nigeria? I want to remind you that one is not legally annoyed because one is aggrieved.

– Chief (Hon.) Urom A. Collins, +2348080276172

  • First published in The Sun of Monday, November 5, 2018.

Nigeria must go?

November 4, 2018

Casmir Igbokwe

Ghanaians want Nigerians to go. South Africans say Nigerians must go. Libyans had since kicked many Nigerians out of their country. Unfortunately, even Nigeria’s President, Muhammadu Buhari, also asked his countrymen who want to go to go.

In 1983, under President Shehu Shagari, Nigerians felt that Ghanaians were bugs in their bed. They asked them to go. The refrain then was, ‘Ghana must go’.

Today, the reverse is the case. The Ghanaian Parliament had reportedly passed a legislation to make the business environment hostile to foreigners. Hence, the Nigerian business community in Ghana live in a state of fear, uncertainty and insecurity. Part of the problem is an eviction order dated July 27, 2018, which demanded that Nigerians must have a minimum of $1m as foreign investment capital to do business in Ghana.

Many Nigerians who have not been able to do that have reportedly been shut out of their business premises. This affected over 400 of them and sparked protests by the owners of those businesses.

In many other countries, Nigerians are being hunted, hounded and sometimes, killed. The other day in South Africa, our countrymen lost more than nine shops to arsonists in Hillbrow, Central Johannesburg. The adherents of xenophobia looted the shops before setting them ablaze. Since 1998, our people have suffered different attacks in South Africa. Between 2016 and 2018, over 184 Nigerians reportedly lost their lives to such attacks.

In situations like this, citizens expect their leaders to fight for them, to inspire them with soothing words. You dare not touch an American citizen or interests without facing unpleasant consequences. Currently, the United States and China are entangled in a trade war. Both countries want comparative advantage over the other. And they don’t want to compromise on that. While President Donald Trump imposed tariffs on $200 billion of Chinese goods, the Chinese government retaliated with new taxes on $60 billion of American imports.

Conversely, Nigerian leaders usually feel unperturbed whenever Nigerians face hostile environment both at home and abroad. This is partly what drives the agitation in some quarters for an independent state. To many people, Nigeria is just a geographical expression. There is no strong patriotic attachment to her.

But rather than restructure the country and make it attractive to the citizens, successive leaders worsen the situation with bad policies and selfish inclinations. The incumbent government of President Buhari promised change. But Nigerians are still waiting for that change. Frustrated and sad, many of them try to migrate to other countries through legal and illegal means.

Our President is unhappy about this situation. In August this year, for instance, he met with the German Chancellor, Angela Merkel, in Abuja. At a joint press conference, Buhari warned that Nigerians who migrated to other countries through illegal routes were on their own and that they made such trips at their own risk.

To some extent, I agree with the President. Many of those who defy the desert and the Mediterranean die along the way. Though a toad does not run in the day time for nothing, such risky trips are unnecessary.

But this does not in any way justify our President publicly denouncing his citizens before foreigners or making certain statements which depict him as uncaring and insensitive. Recently in London, he said Nigerian youths were lazy.

Last week, Buhari addressed a delegation of Kwara State APC members who visited him in Abuja. He repeated what he had said in 1984; that those who felt they had another country outside Nigeria might choose to go.

Go where, Mr. President? Two years ago, you made a similar statement while addressing a delegation from the Niger Delta at the Presidential Villa, Abuja. You also noted that peace, security, investment and prosperity were linked together, adding that “if we give peace a chance, investors will come here and invest. Nobody will invest in an insecure environment.”

This is the point, Mr President. Just the other day, many portfolio investors pulled out of Nigeria as the 2019 election approaches. They pulled out because of insecurity and uncertainty of tomorrow. Many Nigerians have pulled out and many others wish to pull out because of insecurity, hardship and uncertainty of the future.

When you came on board in 2015, you promised to salvage Nigeria. Over three years down the line, there is no glimmer of hope. Instead, things have worsened. So what do you expect Nigerians to do?

Survival is the first instinct of nature. Any man threatened by either insecurity or hunger will not wait to die like a chicken. He will make moves to find solutions to his problems.

Also remember, Mr President, that a father does not throw away his baby with the bath water. You are the father of every Nigerian. You do not tell your sons and daughters who are aggrieved over certain hostile conditions in the house to go to hell. You call them privately, upbraid them and tell them to sin no more. You also make conscious efforts to address their legitimate concerns.

When the Niger Delta militants waged war against Nigeria over perceived marginalisation, the late Umaru Yar’Adua government did not ask them to go. It instituted the amnesty programme and rehabilitated most of the militants. That action calmed the nerves in the Niger Delta.

If successive leaders in Nigeria had played their part well, Nigerians will not agitate to leave their country. What I expect the President to do is to institute policies that will make Nigeria attractive and irresistible. To do this effectively, he must shun nepotism and other negative sentiments hindering the progress of the country.

As he seeks to return for a second term, he should tell Nigerians what concrete things he will do to salvage this drifting nation. Above all, if other countries are asking Nigerians to go, our President should not also join the queue.

 

Toast to Winco Foam chairman and Engineer Chike Madueke

Penultimate Saturday in Accra, Ghana, the European American University conferred an honorary doctorate degree of Science in Business Management and Corporate Governance on the Chairman and Group Managing Director of Winco Group of Companies, Chief Godwin Okafor.

In a citation read at the conferment ceremony, Okafor was described as a consummate industrialist and philanthropist. Born at Isuofia in Aguata Local Government Area of Anambra State, Chief Okafor also known as Anyanwu Ora, had a humble beginning. As a young man, he grew up learning the tenets of humility, hard work, perseverance and honesty.

He commenced foam business in the seventies on a small scale. Endowed with organisational and administrative abilities, Chief Okafor steered his company to a first-class mattress manufacturing company which now ranks among the top five foam manufacturing industries in Nigeria. About 1000 people are under his employ.

He is a philanthropist of no mean repute and a recipient of numerous awards at local, national and international levels.

Also, last Saturday in Uturu, Abia State, Gregory University conferred an honorary doctorate degree on Engineer Chike Madueke at the third convocation ceremony of the institution. Madueke, who is also known as Agbalanze, is a native of Inyi in Enugu State.

He holds a Bachelor’s degree from the University of Ibadan and Masters in Metallurgy from the University of Manchester and was trained in Production Engineering at SMC, Hammamatsu, Japan. He also did Post Graduate Studies in Strategic Management at the University of Lagos. He was also at Harvard University Boston, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, MIT, and Grand Canyon University Phoenix for doctoral studies in Leadership.

Engr. Madueke, who has been the Chief Executive of Indev Group, is well known for his contributions to the development of industries, enterprise and technology. He has a Merit Award from the United Nations Industrial Development Organisation, UNIDO and the National Productivity Order of Merit –NPOM from the Federal Republic of Nigeria. He headed the National Integrated Power Project Monitoring Unit in The Presidency. He is a member of the Board of Directors of up to 10 organisations and sits in the governing board of two universities in Nigeria.
All I can say to these two illustrious sons of Nigeria is, congratulations.

Re: Whither art thou David Umahi?

It’s unfortunate that a David that should be relied upon against the APC Goliath has only a nuisance value. On the other hand, this particular fake David should know that God still has men. Jesus is Lord.

Bassey Akang, Calabar, +2348108532520

Gov Umahi’s reaction to the appointment of Peter Obi as Atiku’s running mate is just a tip of his devilish, selfish, narrow-minded nature. I am an Ebonyian and if we tell how much we have suffered under him because of his parochial reasoning, his selfish disposition to governance and his wicked state policies, you will understand that Ebonyi residents have been in bondage since May 2015. I am happy that in spite of his hypocritical pretences the general public has started to see the real devil behind the mask. Your write-up on him is rather a kind assessment of the juggernaut.

Steve, Ebonyi State, +2347030269130

Dear Igbokwe, please ask David Umahi and Co. the State Obasanjo, Shonekon, Osibanjo and Oladipo Diya come from. Did other Yorubas fight each other because they are from one state? Raise up your hand for Atikulate/Obility.

Japh de Wazobia, 08036228542

Atiku/Peter Obi ticket is the best thing that has happened to this country. Both have made history in their field of engagement and same will be re-enacted in our economy.

Chief Afam Ibekwe, +2348189126545

 

 

Whither art thou David Umahi?

October 22, 2018

Casmir Igbokwe

The hullabaloo was really unnecessary. He is the chairman of the South-East Governors’ Forum. Hence, you would expect that David Umahi would be the first person to hail the nomination of former Governor Peter Obi as the vice presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP). But he chose to oppose it on the flimsy excuse that the presidential candidate, Atiku Abubakar, did not consult him and his co-travellers before announcing it.

READ ALSO: Peter Obi: Bizarre politics in the South East

The question then arises, whither art thou Dave? The Ebonyi State governor made some clarifications: “We must take decisions against the marginalisation of Ebonyi people because, if we have to vote, we must be treated with equity. Two names of the nominees came from Anambra, two from Abia and one from Enugu, but none came from Ebonyi and Imo. What is wrong with somebody from Ebonyi and Imo? If you must know, one of the reasons an Ebonyi man is against regions in the country is the fear of further marginalisation,” he said.

Who is marginalising you Mr. Governor and how? A few months ago, the governor of Anambra State, Willie Obiano, renamed a street in Awka, the state capital, to Club Street. It was formerly named after the Ebonyi State capital, Abakaliki. This change, according to Obiano, was necessitated by the fact that the street was where most of the nightclubs in the town were located. He renamed another street after Abakaliki.

That common and simple decision drew the marginalisation bile in Umahi. And he made much fuss about what could have been an innocent action. He felt Obiano took the decision because of the stigmatisation of Abakaliki as a backward city and reminded whoever cared to listen that the town had become the fastest developing and the most beautiful state capital in Nigeria. This is something he could have easily sorted out with Obiano without much media noise.

Umahi appears to be hiding behind one finger in his political actions and utterances. Did he kick against the nomination Obi because he was not consulted or because he wanted an Ebonyi man instead? He not only described his critics on this issue as uninformed, but also said they were not human beings. This is too shallow a statement to emanate from a governor.

READ ALSO: VP slot: Ebonyi residents, Igbo groups laud Atiku’s choice of Obi

In any case, Atiku did not need to consult anybody before making his choice known. If he had done that, Umahi and Co. would have scuttled it. Recall that immediately after the PDP convention in Port Harcourt, a national newspaper had published a story quoting authoritative sources as saying that Anambra had been ruled out of the vice-presidential race. Reason, according to the unknown campaigners, was because the state had produced vice-president and even president before. Really!

What Umahi and Co. did not understand was that, while they were busy conspiring against one another, Obi was busy making himself relevant. He attended many courses in the best of universities abroad. He engaged in humanitarian causes in different parts of Nigeria. And he became the toast of youths with his motivational and practical speeches on leadership. He may have also made huge contributions towards Atiku’s emergence as a presidential candidate. And you think the man will leave him for another person simply because Anambra had produced a vice-president before?

A number of people, rightly or wrongly, have classified Umahi as having a PDP body and an APC soul. In November 2017, he reportedly endorsed the second term ambition of President Muhammadu Buhari. There is nothing wrong with this, you might say. But it puts a question mark on his loyalty to his party. You cannot blow hot and cold at the same time.

Besides, in September 2017, soldiers occupied many parts of Igboland in what they termed Operation Python Dance. They even killed some civilians along the line, especially in Umuahia. Rather than condemn the action like many people of conscience did, the South-East Governors Forum, led by Umahi, pronounced a ban on the activities of the Indigenous People of Biafra. This invariably contributed to the proscription of the organisation by the Federal Government.

Governor Umahi should do all in his power to cure this growing negative perception of him before it becomes cancerous. He may have good intentions for Ebonyi people. But he needs to solve the conflict between his selfish interests and the general interests of the people.

______________________________________

Re: Atiku and Peter Obi combination

READ ALSO: Atiku and Peter Obi combination

Casmir Igbokwe, I raise up my hands and even legs for your wonderful observations. People who did not understand Peter Obi’s plan were accusing him of being ‘aradite fist’. However, by the time he started to change the ‘ugly face’ of Anambra state, those people praised his vision. I am from Nawfia in Njikoka LGA of the state. He tarred the road that passed in front of my house from old Awka-Onitsha to join the expressway. Only evil-minded people will fault Atiku-Peter Obi combination.

-Pharm. Okwy Njike, +2348038854922

 

ATIKULATE + OKWUTE = HOPE FOR NIGERIA! You are right Casmir. We look forward to a mighty deliverance. I hereby raise up my hand in salute.

-Col. RN Oputa (retd), +2348033206191

 

Sir, “If you agree with me, raise up your hand. If you don’t, please hold your peace.” Haha … in fact, you are funny. Thumbs up!

-Nonso A., +2348037989242

 

Dear Igbokwe, I’m not surprised the Ebonyi governor and his co-travellers are against Peter Obi’s choice as running mate. His utterances have been against the Igbo since he became governor. He has never spoken against the killing of Igbo and other Nigerians by the Fulani criminals. The grievance for the choice of Obi is that Ebonyi and Abia states people are using Peter Obi’s lot of good work and governance in Anambra as a standard of mockery to them. Peter is president-in-waiting after Atiku, if they win, by the special grace of God and with the prayers of Nigerians who lost their relations. Because of bad leadership of the APC government, the PDP shall win. I thank Atiku for making the best selection for a running mate.

-O.P. Anaekwe, +2348037275839

 

My hand is up. Remain blessed.

-Anonymous, +2348033144657

 

Casmir, you did open the eyes of most Nigerians on the man Peter Obi through that piece. Truly speaking, it is not natural for everyone to love a leading light among the Igbo such as Peter Obi. But it is good that opposition or objection to Obi’s appointment is coming from the envious APC moles in the PDP, apostles of python dance, those who betrayed the Igbo youth to remain in power. We shall see. God bless Obi!

-Anonymous, +2347066017004

 

I concur sir. Nigeria will be far better off with Atiku/Obi administration than this tribal, nepotistic, clueless and corrupt government.

-Anonymous, +2348033776685

 

There is nothing wrong with the Buhari and Osinbajo combination. No team can solve our national problems by a mere wave of the hand. What is important is that the Buhari team is repositioning the nation on good track by seeking to remove the ills that had set her back. It takes maturity of mind for one to quickly know that a bright future awaits us. I do not see any depth in Atiku telling Nigerians that he will restructure the country under six months. Where is he to derive powers? Is he a military dictator? What happens to elected persons when he restructures the country?

-Barr Ngozi Ogbomor, +2348033397362

 

Ndigbo should not be carried away because Alhaji Atiku picked an lgbo man (Mr. Peter Obi) as his vice president. But can Atiku carry Obi along for him to perform as he did in Anambra State, if they are elected? Ndigbo should not put all their eggs in one basket because of Obi, to avoid what happened to us in 2015 repeating again in 2019. We must vote wisely in the 2019 general election.

-Gordon Chika Nnorom, Umukabia, +2348062887535

 

Oga Casmir, please, why are Ndigbo very gullible and naive to the political scheming of the Hausa/Fulani? Atiku had, while campaigning for the primaries, promised to go for just a term with a view to giving Ndigbo a chance. If he is to be believed, will it then not be for Ndigbo to agree on who his running mate should be, one that will take over from him? Why would he hand-pick the person? Is it not obvious to you that he and they want the person that will be doing their bidding?

-Anonymous, +2348033072852

 

  • First published in The Sun of Monday, October 22, 2018.

Atiku and Peter Obi combination   

October 16, 2018

Casmir Igbokwe

There is excitement in the air. There is also anxiety. It is partly because of the 2019 general election; and partly because of the prospect of having another change at the seat of power in Abuja.

President Muhammadu Buhari and his All Progressives Congress came to power in 2015 on the pedestal of change. They promised Nigerians heaven on earth. Unfortunately, that has turned out to be a mirage.

Currently, there is untold hardship in the land. Many people have lost their jobs. Some work without salaries. Some have committed suicide. Some others have sold their children and have had to do all manner of odd things to survive.

Do we talk of herdsmen and sundry criminals who kill people like cows? Do we talk of the insincere fight against corruption? Do we talk of a large chunk of the population who feel alienated from the scheme of things; the major appointments that go to a particular section of the country? Things have not been this bad. Many Nigerians have only resigned to fate and prayers.

But the cheery news is that a lot of individuals have promised to rescue Nigeria. Many political parties actually have good candidates who can do it. But the reality is that only two major parties, the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) and the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), have the financial muscle and the structure to win the general election.

My earlier intervention on this page says it all. In the story entitled, ‘2019 presidential contenders and pretenders’, (see Daily Sun of Monday, September 3, 2018) I noted that among all the presidential aspirants, Atiku Abubakar would be the one to give the incumbent President a good fight.

I had written, “Top on the list of the PDP contenders is former Vice-President, Atiku Abubakar. The man has been mobilising and seeking support across the country. He is a successful businessman with a lot of investments in Nigeria. He is detribalised and cosmopolitan and has the ability to give Buhari a great challenge in the election…

“As a tested businessman who understands the intricacies of wealth creation, Atiku appears well equipped to transform this country if given the opportunity…To pull Nigeria out of the woods, her President must have the mental ability of a Lee Kuan Yew and the business acumen of a Dangote.”

Former President Olusegun Obasanjo put it better: “For me, relatively and of all the aspirants in the PDP, you have the widest and greatest exposure, experience, outreach and possibly the best machinery and preparation for seeing the tough and likely dirty campaign ahead through. From what I personally know of you, you have capacity to perform better than the incumbent. You surely understand the economy better; you have business experience, which can make your administration business-friendly and boost the economy and provide jobs.

“You have better outreach nationally and internationally and that can translate to better management of foreign affairs.  You are more accessible and less inflexible and more open to all parts of the country in many ways.”

Similarly, the national leader of the APC, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu, had, two years ago, reportedly heaped praises on Atiku. In a letter to felicitate with the former vice-president on his 70th birthday, Tinubu reportedly said, “Your life has been a life of service to your people, your country and the causes you believe in. Nigeria has been well-served by your stewardship and leadership…Do not relent because Nigeria needs you and others like you to continue to make life more meaningful.”

Obviously, there are some others who do not like the man for one reason or the other. But the truth is that no human being is ever liked by everybody. The most important thing is that the prospect of rescuing Nigeria is getting brighter.

I am particularly excited that a few days after he emerged as the PDP presidential candidate, Atiku picked Peter Obi as his running mate. Without mincing words, that is also a great choice.

Like him or hate him, Peter Obi is an enigma. He is quite enlightened and has attended many programmes both in Nigeria and abroad. He has been to the Lagos Business School, Harvard Business School, London School of Economics, Columbia Business School, Oxford and Cambridge Universities among others.

Like Atiku, he is a successful businessman and wealth creator. He has been chairman and board member of many companies. He is former chairman of Fidelity Bank, former chairman of the board of Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), former chairman of Guardian Express Mortgage Bank Ltd and many others. He was a member of Presidential Economic Management Team during Goodluck Jonathan’s regime.

In the political arena, Mr Obi is no pushover. Before he emerged as governor of Anambra, the state had suffered monumental bad governance and became the butt of jokes in many quarters. Recall that a sitting governor, Chris Ngige, was kidnapped at a point to the chagrin of many Nigerians. But Obi changed the narratives. His admirers fondly call him Okwute (the rock). And upon that rock, God built a solid foundation for the progress of Anambra State. He has gathered many awards in recognition of his outstanding qualities.

One of these qualities is prudent management of resources. In his time as governor, Anambra made savings a cardinal principle of governance. By the time he left office, he had saved millions of dollars in cash and investments for his successor. This contrasts sharply with the huge debts which his colleagues left behind for their successors. Under Obi, Anambra was the least indebted state in Nigeria. In fact, he did not borrow or raise bonds to finance various projects he executed in the state.

Whenever he travelled as governor, he stayed in modest hotel rooms. He plugged the loopholes through which government workers siphoned money from the state coffers. He closed down some state liaison offices that had been drainpipes on the resources of the state. He also stopped many aides from accompanying him to trips that yielded undeserved allowances for them. The money he garnered through this means was deployed in the service of the state.

He attracted and supported a number of companies to invest in Anambra and improve the economy of the state. One of the companies is SABMiller Brewery, the second largest brewery in the world. He also encouraged Innoson Motor Manufacturing Company by buying over 1,000 vehicles from the company.

During his time as governor, the state moved from 24th position in West African Examinations Council and National Examination Council (NECO) examinations to the first position among the 36 states of the federation. Part of the magic he performed was that he handed mission schools back to churches and supported them financially. The change of ownership brought about some changes in the attitude of teachers – no more late coming; no more teaching and selling clothes and groundnuts. Discipline became the watchword in those schools.

In every other sector such as health, security and infrastructure, Peter Obi left worthy legacies in Anambra.  Development partners such as the World Bank, the European Union, the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and UNICEF, adjudged the state as one of the best in development partnership and commitment to reforms for good governance.

What further amazes me about this man is his simplicity and humility. Anambra is notorious for convoy menace. Some of its rich and influential citizens move with convoys that dwarf that of any state governor.

But even as governor, Obi rejected such nonsense. There was no air around him; no show of bravado by security details; and no fawning display of loyalty by aides. He flew economy class. And each time he came down from the plane, he waited to carry his luggage like any other passenger. Many of his colleagues flew first class. Some even had private jets.

In this era of bad governance, Atiku and Obi remain beacons of hope for our lost generation. If you agree with me, raise up your hand. If you don’t, please hold your peace.

 

Okowa, the roadmaster

Last week, I was at Asaba, the Delta State capital, for the 14th All Nigeria Editors’ Conference. The host governor, Dr Ifeanyi Okowa, used the opportunity to showcase the achievements of his administration. So far, he has reportedly done 296 road projects and more are in the offing. For this, his people nicknamed him the roadmaster.

Ironically, the Asaba end of the Onitsha-Asaba-Benin Road is in a bad shape. Travellers have had to endure traffic snarls occasioned by potholes on some portions of that road. I know the argument is that it is a federal road. But I don’t think it will cost the governor much to do some palliative work and save travellers the agony of staying long hours on the road. Christmas will soon be here and the situation will get worse if not addressed.  Governor Okowa, please intervene and take the glory. Waiting for the Federal Government may be an exercise in futility. Expecting a refund from Abuja may also not materialise. But take it that you are doing it for your people. They will like you more for that as the road is a major gateway to your state.

Snippets of Nigeria’s crazy party primaries

October 11, 2018

Casmir Igbokwe

Fela Anikulapo Kuti must be turning in his grave by now. In one of his popular songs, the legendary musician described our system of government as democrazy. Now, not only is the craze getting crazier, we have bluntly refused to mend the broken pieces of our deranged system.

Last week was particularly eventful. Iyom Bianca Ojukwu and Mr. Akinwunmi Ambode may have finished counting their political losses and will now be wondering what actually hit them.

The headlines said it all: ‘Bianca Ojukwu flees as gunmen invade Anambra senatorial primary’, ‘Lagos primary: APC NWC makes U-turn, declares Sanwo-Olu governorship candidate’, ‘Buhari’s aide bites governorship aspirant in a dirty fight’, and so on.

I can imagine how Mrs Ojukwu, who is Nigeria’s former ambassador to Spain and Ikemba Nnewi’s widow, ran with her high heels. I can also imagine how the oil magnate, Ifeanyi Uba, positioned his mouth to laugh. The All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA) had disqualified Uba from contesting the Anambra South senatorial primary. The party said he did not obtain a waiver having recently crossed over to APGA from the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).

Ironically, Uba strenuously campaigned for APGA’s Willie Obiano during the last governorship election in Anambra. His campaign slogan then was ‘afa Igbo ama efu’ meaning Igbo name will not disappear. Now that he needed APGA to pay him back, his own name disappeared.

In the same token, the name of Governor Ambode of Lagos State disappeared from the register of the All Progressives Congress (APC) governorship candidates. The governor would never have imagined that he would never get the second term ticket of the APC. He probably underestimated the power of his godfather, Bola Tinubu. He kept on fixing major roads and bridges but failed to fix the pockets of some party stalwarts. Tinubu himself alluded to that when he reportedly said Ambode was a good governor but not a good party man.

The man I pity most in these Lagos shenanigans is Clement Ebri, the former governor of Cross River State. He was the head of the APC’s National Working Committee (NWC) that was supposed to supervise the Lagos governorship primary.

Last Tuesday, he and his team were actually in Lagos to do their duty. He told the whole world that the election could not hold because the modalities were not followed as scheduled. He said a new date would be announced later.

The state chapter of the party thought otherwise. They said there was an election and that Babajide Sanwo-Olu was the winner. Hardly had Ebri got back to Abuja when the story changed. With the same mouth he uses to eat yam and cocoyam, Ebri announced that indeed there was an election and that Sanwo-Olu won. Shame has no other better name than this.

Ambode did not need any soothsayer to tell him that the game was up. His deputy and some commissioners had abandoned him. The social media erupted with a cartoon of Ambode captioned, ‘eat alone; die alone’. He conceded defeat and congratulated Sanwo-Olu. If he had tried to be combative, the House of Assembly would have impeached him. And surely, goodness and mercy shall fail to follow him all the remaining days of his political life.

Ambode’s wisdom in accepting defeat is what is lacking in many other states. In Ogun, Imo, Zamfara and some others, different factions created crisis and pointed fingers at one another. A particular faction of the APC in Ogun State even accused the National Chairman of the party, Adams Oshiomhole, and the Vice-President Yemi Osinbajo of being the brain behind the crisis in the state chapter. Some youths even marched to the national headquarters of the APC in Abuja, demanding the removal of Oshiomhole.

Being a dogged fighter, Oshiomhole has been prancing about and dishing out instructions. His mood is like that of a combative child who is spoiling for a fight and daring his opponent to come and touch him.

Governor Rochas Okorocha of Imo State is like that too. He had wanted to foist his brother-in-law, Uche Nwosu, on Imo people as governor. But he met strong resistance. And so, he and seven other aggrieved governors stormed the Presidential Villa to meet with President Muhammadu Buhari. Since their meeting was behind closed doors, it will be difficult to categorically say what they wanted the President to do for them.

But no matter what, five APC governorship aspirants in the state declared their support for Senator Hope Uzodinma whom the Ahmed Gulak-led Election Committee had adjudged to be the winner of the state governorship primary election. APC had cancelled that election, declaring the result as fake. But the five aspirants vowed never to participate in any other election and urged the national leadership to call Okorocha to order. There was a fresh election last Saturday. The winner was not certain before this column went to bed.

The fear now is that our demonstration of craze may extend to the 2019 general election. Or how does one explain that Buhari got 2.9 million votes in Kano State alone in the last APC primary. In 2015 general election, he got 1.9 million votes out of the 2.3 million people who purportedly voted in Kano. Many people cried foul. Now, there is a dramatic increase in the number of votes gathered from only APC Party members. In the general election when both party and non-party members will vote, only God knows the figure they will churn out of Kano. Governor Abdullahi Ganduje of Kano gave us a hint when he boasted recently that Kano would give APC five million votes in the 2019 presidential election.

My prayer is that 2019 election should be violence-free. People should not just die for nothing. Already, the primaries have recorded some deaths and near deaths in some states.

In Akwa Ibom, the managing director of the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) and the governorship candidate of the APC, Nsima Ekere, reportedly escaped assassination attempt. It was in this same Akwa Ibom that an aide to President Buhari reportedly engaged a governorship aspirant and former minister of state for FCT in a dirty fight in Uyo. The President’s aide even allegedly went as far as biting the aspirant. The fight reportedly broke out when Buhari’s aide advised the aspirant to step down for Ekere. That engendered a heated argument which eventually led to the fight.

Nigerians should be extremely careful next year. Let nobody endanger his life for politicians whose major interest is self preservation. Let us put a lie to the prediction that the 2019 election will witness violence in some states. With the major political parties having picked their presidential candidates, the coming weeks and months will be very interesting. Our common prayer should be, may the general elections not be as crazy as the primaries.

 

Re: Osun governorship election and Nigeria’s jaundiced democracy

I just finished reading your piece in The Sun. It’s a good one. Keep it up. Thanks.

Foster Obi, +2348033075694

Dear Casmir Igbokwe, your article on the just concluded Osun governorship election is the same old story by PDP agents all over the country. Any election PDP loses must fall below international standard but any one PDP wins becomes the best election in the world organised by the same INEC you are castigating now. I want you to know that we are not strangers in Nigeria. We witnessed all the elections conducted by the PDP when they were in power for sixteen years. So there is no point crying over spilt milk. What you should do as someone who saw everything that happened in that election is to ask your PDP candidate to go to court and challenge the outcome of the election and you will serve as his witness. That is what you and other PDP agents should do instead of crying every day on pages of Newspapers.

From Chief A. U Collins, +2348080276172

Really, Osun State guber election was a disappointment in the eyes of international community and election observers but opposition party (PDP) should take it as they saw it because they operated same way when they were in power. It is pay back time. After all one of the former presidents said election that brought him to power was rigged, then what are we talking about ruling party rigging election. Let them go court to claim their mandate.

Gordon Chika Nnorom, +2348062887535

Thanks for letting the general public know about my case through your widely read article. I will appreciate any other means you can assist me. Wishing you happy new month and God’s blessing.

Edward Uche Adigwe, 08033906769

Osun governorship election and Nigeria’s jaundiced democracy

October 8, 2018

Casmir Igbokwe

The just concluded Osun governorship election was freely unfair. Like some blind men who touched the elephant in different places and came up with different accounts of how it looks like, the verdict on the election has been variegated. It depends, to a large extent, on one’s political leaning and interest. But in all this, truth will always stick out and will always prick the conscience of the nation.

The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) had declared the first poll inconclusive. The candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Senator Ademola Adeleke, had won by a slight margin.

In the rerun held in some seven polling units last Thursday, September 27, 2018, INEC declared the All Progressives Congress (APC) candidate, Gboyega Oyetola, the winner. He scored a total of 255,505 votes as against Adeleke’s 255,023 votes. The difference was just 482 votes. In the first poll held on September 22, 2018, Adeleke led Oyetola with 353 votes.

To the ruling APC, the election was free and fair. It described the party’s triumph as “another morale boosting victory in the lead-up to the 2019 general elections and solid attestation of the people’s support for the change agenda of the President Muhammadu Buhari-led APC Change administration.”

Also, President Buhari quickly congratulated Oyetola. As expected, he thanked Osun State for supporting “our good governance agenda by re-electing the APC.”

To the opposition Coalition of United Political Parties and the PDP, the rerun was a show of shame and a black day for Nigeria. The CUPP expressed worry that INEC and security agencies allegedly turned themselves into organs of the APC.

The national leadership of the PDP not only rejected the result but also expressed concern that the future of the nation’s democracy was bleak and the nation sliding into crisis. The PDP National Chairman, Uche Secondus, said what happened in Osun “shows clearly that the All Progressives Congress is not ready for an election and we are afraid that President Muhammadu Buhari will not hand over if he loses the election next year.”

An impartial and independent observation of the election puts question mark on where our democracy is heading. The missions of the United States, European Union, and the United Kingdom that monitored the election said there were incidents of intimidation and harassment of voters. The US Consul General, Mr. John Bray, who read the missions’ joint report, expressed concern over the reported intimidation, harassment of party monitors, journalists and domestic observers. He urged stakeholders to remain calm.

In its verdict, the Centre for Democracy and Development (CDD) declared that the rerun did not meet up with the minimum standards for free, fair and credible election. It confirmed acts of intimidation by security forces and violence allegedly unleashed by party thugs. Some voters and observers were reportedly denied access to polling units. Security forces, in some cases, even reportedly threatened and arrested field observers. At PU 17, Ward 5 Osogbo, election was disrupted due to reports of sporadic shootings by hoodlums. These, the group said, were suggestive of attempts to compromise the integrity of the poll.

The recurring decimal in the allegations of electoral manipulations is the security agencies. They have always allegedly shown bias for the government in power. In the governorship election in Ekiti State two months ago, over 30,000 security agencies harassed and intimidated voters such that it put question marks on the outcome of the election.

Before the election, the outgoing governor, Ayodele Fayose, had wept at a PDP rally in Ado-Ekiti, alleging that the police manhandled him and beat up anybody who had any sign of PDP on them. “I am in pain, I am in severe pain. I can’t turn this neck anymore. If anything happens to me, the Inspector-General of Police should be held accountable,” Fayose had lamented. Of course, the APC debunked Fayose’s claim, saying it was clearly contrived to give the impression that he was being persecuted.

My fear in all this is that what happened in Osun and Ekiti dangerously point to what may happen in the general elections in 2019. If we cannot handle clean election in a few wards in one state, what is the guarantee that we will effectively handle general elections in all the states next year?

The signs are really ominous. Already, the United States Institute for Peace and the International Republican Institute have predicted electoral violence in places like Lagos, Rivers, Kano, Anambra, Ekiti, Plateau, Adamawa and Kaduna in 2019.

In a report, the institutes noted that the socio-economic inequalities, ethnic and religious divisions as well as corruption contributed to the risks of electoral violence in Nigeria. The report added that public confidence in the INEC for credible elections was low. It advised the electoral umpire to consider a transparent result management and staffing reforms.

Will INEC listen? Will the security agencies stop intervening in a negative manner in our elections? The Federal Government must reassure Nigerians that it will sanction any security agent or INEC official that attempts to manipulate our electoral process in the future. It must investigate the role of security agencies in the soured Ekiti and Osun elections and punish the culprits. This is to re-establish confidence in the system.  The wishes of the people must prevail at all times.

President Buhari must take a cue from the former President Goodluck Jonathan. Despite being the incumbent president then, Jonathan allowed the wishes of the people to prevail by conceding defeat in 2015. This is the minimum requirement Nigerians expect in 2019. Anything short of this will take our democracy back to the Stone Age. May God help Nigeria!

 

Re: Tinubu, Ambode and politricks of godfathers

I don’t blame Gov. Ambode. He knows very well that he that pays the piper calls the tune. He has shown in clear terms that he lacks the capacity to confront the status quo. So Your Excellency, why not take a dignified walk and move on with your life. Ambode has tried his best but the powers that be don’t want to see his face. The humiliation is becoming too embarrassing.

Pastor Emeka Okogbue, +2348035700346

Good day sir! I am a newspaper vendor and a regular reader of your article in Daily Sun. Based on your advice to the governor; kindly give me free tutorials on how to recover my money from FCT Ad-hoc Committee on Sale of Government Houses. My case is a long story but in summary, I paid the sum of N2.250 million for a two-bedroom flat at Gwagwalada since April 2008. Till date, I have neither seen the house nor my money. Thanks.

Edward Uche Adigwe, Kubwa, 08033906769

Bro Casmir, my wish and demand from Lagosians is a revisit of Agbalajobi and Otedola on Sarumi over Jakande godfatherism. Ambo should dam it and take a jump, he will cross the sea and nothing will happen. It is better to live a day in one’s life than every day as a sheep.

Michael I. Eze, +2348035375409

Dear Casmir, I was sincerely impressed after I have carefully gone through your frank, insightful and courageous write-up. The overbearing attitude and disposition of Tinubu to be playing God by selecting, recommending and discarding governors is too bad and uncalled for. This is not real democracy. Politics of godfatherism under any guise must not be encouraged. However, this is what is obtainable in Nigeria as this is part of corruption and yet Buhari is not seeing this. Honestly, these are the reasons why I don’t have faith in Nigeria project. If I am in the shoe of Gov Ambode, he should be bold enough to call the bluff of Tinubu and then energetically/spiritually and politically confront him/fight him to standstill. This is what Ambode must do now. He must seek and pray to almighty God, recruit either Cuban or Israel secret agents/body guards, use all his contacts, influence, financial resources, civil servants, political carrots and sticks, incumbency factors, revoke appointment of Local Govt Chairmen and swear in his loyalist etc before contesting the gubernatorial primary of APC with the Tinubu stooge.  If he contests and  yet did not win as the Lagos Governorship candidate of APC, then history shall be kind to him for putting up a fight and making a statement. The other option open to him then is to defect with his entire political family structure to PDP and then select/work with Christian deputy gov from APGA who could be a Yoruba woman and consult with Dr. Olusola Saraki who I am predicting to win the 2019 presidential election if he can pair with either Mr. Peter Obi or Senator Ike Ekweremadu as running mate and both Tinubu and Buhari will be defeated in 2019. Please convey this to those concerned. Thanks.

Gabriel, +2347039158196

Good bro Cas, Ambode should go ahead and hold unto his belief, after all Tinubu is human and fallible. Let’s see the power of incumbency and god-fatherism at play; but if by any means Ambode beats Tinubu’s chosen one, then it will be clear to all that Tinubu  will never hold Lagos state and the south west politics hostage any more. After all, he is not from Lagos state.

Larry, +2348060689642

l believe whatever sins Gov Ambode has committed against his godfather and APC, Senator Bola Tinubu should forgive him to run for second term so he can complete all projects he has started before it becomes abandoned projects.

Gordon Chika Nnorom, +2348062887535

Tinubu, Ambode and politricks of godfathers

September 24, 2018

Casmir Igbokwe

It is no longer news that they are playing cat and mouse. The cat appears to be former Governor of Lagos State, Bola Tinubu. The mouse is his godson and current Governor of the state, Akinwunmi Ambode. As the game becomes more interesting, Lagosians get more confused. And they have been asking, what is going on?

Tinubu, also known as Asiwaju or the Jagaban, allegedly does not want Ambode to go for his second term as governor. All entreaties to him have reportedly fallen on deaf ears. Not even Ambode’s wife, Bolanle, could convince him to support her husband.

READ ALSO: Lagos 2019: It’s over for Ambode as peace efforts fail

So far, it is not clear how this game will end. Even the meeting Ambode had with President Muhammadu Buhari behind closed doors appears not to have resolved the issue. But for the Jagaban and his clan of supporters, the new pawn is Babajide Sanwo-Olu, a former commissioner in the state.

The questions are: Why does Tinubu (or his supporters) want Ambode out? Has the governor not performed well in his first term? Or did he not carry the major stakeholders along in the scheme of things in the state?

There have been different permutations and analysis on the cause of the alleged rift. Poor performance in office has not featured as one of them. The governor, from the reckoning of many Lagosians, has done relatively well. For instance, there is massive infrastructural development in the state.

Last Friday, the state government said work on the Pen Cinema Flyover in the Agege area of Lagos was at 60 percent completion stage. The government also said the 10-lane Oshodi-International Airport Road was at 50 percent completion stage and that it would be completed by the end of the year. There are reportedly over 70 major projects ongoing in the state.

The governor has his faults, no doubt. The environmental eyesore Lagos has become of recent is one of them. Whatever he has done to clean up the city has not worked. VisionScape, the new company saddled with the responsibility of evacuating refuse in Lagos, has not got it right. Consequently, Lagos is looking dirtier than before.

Also, some inner streets and roads are riddled with potholes. From Lawanson Road in Surulere to Okota Road, the story is the same. The rainy season does not help matters as the roads get worse each time rain falls. The governor had concentrated on the big projects, leaving out the smaller ones to suffer. Nevertheless, he has just directed immediate repair of potholes statewide.

There is also the issue of heavy taxation on the residents of the state. Ambode’s government, for instance, jacked up the land use charge such that the average landowner in Lagos is wondering if he made a right choice by investing in the Centre of Excellence. The governor tried to reduce the charge when landlords cried out. But to some people, even the reduced rate is still high.

The governor has also mulled the idea of jacking up the price of some state land that people had already paid for. For instance, I bought a piece of state land at Ibeju Lekki area in 2011 for about N3.5 million. It was during the administration of Raji Fashola. It is called Oko-Orisan scheme. I have paid everything and have been waiting to get my certificate of occupancy. But, recently, I was told to hold on because the state government was reassessing the scheme. According to state government officials, what we paid cannot provide the required infrastructure. So far, some of us are yet to get the C of O. Neither have we taken physical possession of our land.

However, should I, because of my selfish interests, begin to attack the governor even when his ‘sins’ are menial and do not warrant his being removed? That would be inconsiderate of me to do. And this is where I fault our politicians. If the Lagos APC leaders want Ambode out on account of bad leadership, I will support them wholeheartedly. But that is hardly why they want him out.

Forget whatever these politicians want you to hear. The so-called Conference 57, comprising the 57 council chairmen in Lagos State and the Babajide Sanwo-Olu Campaign Organisation, (BOSCO) want us to believe that they want a change of leadership in order to move the state to greater heights. Which height, if one may ask? Height of intrigues! Height of manipulations and greed!

READ ALSO: I’ll restore Lagos’ glorious days – Sanwo-Olu

BOSCO claimed there were torrents of endorsements and outpouring of love from Lagosians. It debunked the insinuation in some quarters that the support of Conference 57 and some others was for economic reasons.

But verily, verily, I say unto you, what is at play here is the self-serving inclination of many Nigerian politicians. No matter what, if Tinubu changes his mind and supports Ambode, all the Conference 57 conferees and Mandate Movement men or whatever you call them will do likewise and forget moving the state to greater height.

What is on display here is the hand of Esau and the voice of Jacob. Tinubu, who is also the national leader of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC), looms large in the politics of Lagos and the entire country. He alone knows the talisman he has used to have a firm control on the APC in Lagos.

This brings us to the bad influence of godfathers in Nigerian politics. The Minister of Labour, Chris Ngige, suffered this fate when he was the governor of Anambra State. His nemesis then was Chris Uba. In July 2003, armed policemen kidnapped Ngige and forced him at gunpoint to sign a letter of resignation. He outsmarted his godfathers and remained as governor until a Federal Court of Appeal ruled in March 2006 that his election victory was fraudulent. Peter Obi emerged and displaced him at Government House, Awka.

The amala politician, the late Lamidi Adedibu, is another typical example. Adedibu was constantly on the neck of the then governor of Oyo State, Rasheed Ladoja. At a point, Adedibu complained that Ladoja was too greedy. According to him, the governor was collecting N65 million as security vote every month. “You know that governors don’t account for security vote. He was to give me N15 million of that every month. He reneged. Later, it was reduced to N10 million. Yet, he did not give me,” Adedibu had said. On January 12, 2006, 18 lawmakers of the 32-member Oyo House of Assembly loyal to him illegally impeached Ladoja.

There are many other godfathers in different parts of the country. Their objective is usually the same: To project a candidate through whom they would continue to dominate the economic and political affairs of their states. But Nigerians can call their bluff if they choose to. The only problem is that for some them, once they see as little as N5,000, they are ready to sell their birthright.

If I were Ambode, I would do as governor Nyesom Wike of Rivers State has advised. Damn the godfather and move to be a man of yourself. Two things will happen. It is either you win or you lose. If you lose, it is not the end of the world. And who says you can’t mobilise and get your own supporters?

But in case everything fails, don’t worry, dear governor. I am available to give you free tutorials on how to survive a life of retirement.

READ ALSO: 2019: Resist your godfather, Wike tells Ambode

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Re: Nigeria’s presidential warfare and politics of endorsements

Dear Casmir, you are Nostradamus of Nigeria. The man that saw today. Kudos to you for this article. You are damn right. Buhari has proved you right. The taste of the pudding is in the eating. Buhari has made Nigerians wiser. All that glitters is not gold. Once beaten, twice shy.

– Dr. Goddy Okeke, +2348185580605

My brother, Cas, thanks for a beautiful piece in The Sun today. Your write-up is nothing but the truth about Buhari. What you did not say about him is more than the ones you said. Nobody can contradict you here. What pains me is how some power drunks hero-worship Buhari and Hausa/Fulani oligarchy. As a fact, Buhari is a religious bigot, tribalist, clannish and first class hater of Igbo. Besides, he is illiterate and unintelligent.

– Anonymous, +2348030762730

Biko, God and Amadioha and other deities in Alaigbo will never allow Buhari to come back as Nigerian president next year. He is a sadist, he believes in the use of brute force to murder Christians and non-Hausa/Fulani people. In short, it is a shame that he is the President of Nigeria today.

– Ojoh Okafor, Esq. +2348055217580

 

Wrong Time To Die

September 10, 2018

Casmir Igbokwe

First Bank sent me a miraculous credit alert penultimate Wednesday. It was N200,000. The value of the money may not be much. But in today’s Nigeria, every kobo counts. Incidentally, I do not know the sender, Gimbiya Benjamin. And so, I felt it would be premature to start singing Abraham’s blessings are mine.

Some friends advised that I rush immediately to withdraw the money. They said it was God’s miracle seeing that it’s a period of heavy expenditure for me, especially school fees and burial of my mother-in-law. I wanted to believe it, claim it, and receive it as they chant in prayer ministries. But first, I needed to confirm the miracle as I do not take what does not belong to me.

Last Monday morning, I was on my way to the bank when I got another alert. This time, it was a debit of the same N200, 000. And the message was straightforward: wrong posting as advised by Gimbiya Benjamin.

That word ‘wrong’ reminded me of similar ‘wrongs’ in my life of recent. A few days back, my daughter overheard me lamenting that my mother-in-law died at a wrong time. “Is there really a wrong time for someone to die?” She asked. “You will not understand, my daughter,” was all I could say.

Or is 60 years a right time for one to die? That was the age Mrs Philomena Ijeoma Muogbo, who hailed from Isuofia in Aguata Local Government Area of Anambra State, departed this world. The painful aspect of it was that there was no advanced warning. She was not that sick. She only had waist pain which resulted from the little accident she had about two years ago. This affected her gait. We brought her to Lagos last year and got a physiotherapist to treat her. She later felt better and started moving about again.

However, in the morning of Tuesday, July 17, 2018, she spoke with her daughter and my wife, Ifeoma, on phone. Her voice was clear and strong. She said she was going to the hospital for check-up as she was feeling somehow. In the afternoon of that same day, my wife called again. She was told that mama’s blood pressure was low but that she was responding to treatment. Ironically, it was high blood pressure she had been suffering from. In the evening of that same day, a call came that she had passed on.

READ ALSO: How to control high blood pressure with coconut water

I am not superstitious. Otherwise, I would have suspected something about this death and the figure ‘three’. Three years ago, my biological mother died three days after my birthday. My own father died three years before, that is, in 2012. And now, my mother-in-law has gone to join them, three years after my mother’s death.

Ijeoma Muogbo, nee Okeke-Akpunonu, was a mother like no other. Each time I visited home, I was sure of eating sumptuous local delicacies like ‘ukwa’, washed down with my favourite beer. I would go back to Lagos with some local food items and snacks. Now, I will be at the mercy of local restaurants whenever I visit home.

Very accommodating and kind hearted, Ijeoma trained and nurtured many indigent children. Two of such children currently live in her house. She was always ready to counsel people who consulted her for one thing or the other. To these people, it is wrong time for her to die!

Besides, the harsh economic situation in the country today makes it a wrong period for one to die. Burial ceremonies in Igbo land attract a lot of expenditure. Many families struggle to do this because if you don’t, it will look as if the current hardship is only resident in your house.

That is why some towns and groups have tried to cut down on burial expenditure. The Catholic Diocese of Awka, for instance, has banned printing of brochure for burials. And once someone dies, you have maximum of two months to bury the person. Some dioceses have even shortened the period to two weeks. I understand that plans are at an advanced stage to also ban indiscriminate use of mourning clothes (aso ebi) in Awka Diocese. When the law is passed, the clothes will only be for the immediate family members of the deceased.

READ ALSO: Anambra Govt to assess flood prone areas in Awka, 2 others

Muslims appear to understand this concept of death better than Christians. Once a Muslim dies, his relatives bury him immediately because they know that life is vanity.

Thanks to President Muhammadu Buhari, many Nigerians now pinch their pennies. Although some privileged few still squander money during burials as if it is too easy to come by, the majority of the people are going through hell. Even some of the people you think have the money may only just be managing to survive.

A few days ago, one of my readers wrote: “Uncle Casmir, please I need your help to start up a small business so that I will be able to take care of myself and as well go back to school. Uncle, I’m so sorry to disturb you with my problems but nothing is too small and I promise you that your help towards me will never be a waste. I’m so frustrated that I don’t know what else to do. I’m one of your fans in Sun newspaper. Please rescue me…”

Life can be so cruel. Some have billions of dollars to spend as they like; some others don’t even have just N100 to eat. Today, life is sweet; tomorrow, it is bitter. Today, you are full of life, making plans on how to buy a limousine. Tomorrow, you are a food for maggots.

I have come to realise that the most important thing in life is to serve humanity and to find happiness and fulfilment in what you do. The ultimate happiness is when you leave this earth in peace and also have peace wherever your soul finds itself.

Mrs Ijeoma Muogbo died peacefully. She may be happier where she is now. But for those she left behind, the death is painful. It came too early and unannounced. Her husband, Prince Ben Muogbo, is still crying. Her children and siblings have cried their eyes out. But we cannot question God. As we commit her to mother earth this Thursday, September 13, 2018, I can only say, may her soul continue to rest in peace!

READ ALSO: My mum didn’t have a life because of my siblings and I – Gbemisola Ope

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Re: Saraki, Tinubu and Buhari’s 800-metre relay

Nigerians are not naive, they are wise and intelligent. Buhari’s 800-metre walk is not news. Any person can do that as exercise. The truth is that our president is sick and it is affecting the masses. If it were to be an advanced country, the president would resign to take care of himself. Leave Saraki alone; the sin of Saraki and others is that they left APC and PDP to other political parties. Let us face the realities and stop chasing shadows.

• Bishop Uzoma Emmanuel, Owerri (mouth of Nigeria), 08037748145

Igbokwe, it is God that gives men their daily bread not man. Man is only a channel while God is the source. For now, power rotation is the name of the game in place. This is why APC and PDP zoned their presidential candidate slot to the north so as to complete their 8 years mandate/gentleman’s agreement. Merit was jettisoned after June 12 election due to lack of trust of the northern military/civilian oligarchy. In the course of time, the merit system would find its way back when enough trust would have been built.

• Mike, Mushin Lagos, +2348161114572

‘Buhari and quest for president of Igbo extraction’: Your people are the main problem of your inability to produce a Nigerian president of Igbo extraction. Other issues are secondary. The cult-like and religious cohesion entrenched in Yoruba and Hausa politics is not known in Igboland. Rather your people destroy good materials like Orji Uzor Kalu who wears a nationalistic outlook like Zik, saturate the system with many aspirants, speak with discordant voices and allow all manner of parties into your system. Imagine APC, PDP, and APGA all there for what! Blame not Buhari and what happens, first look inward for solution.

Imagine an NBA election for presido magnanimously zoned to east and two Igbo candidates, Arthur Okafor and Ernest Ojukwu, were seen sharing votes meant for one thereby making a relatively unknown Paul Usoro who’s even a minority to zoom home. Nigeria is a peculiar country. We must apply peculiar methods in doing things. I’m non-partisan and detribalised in my views and deeds. Justice is what matters to me. You can’t believe that I am Akwa Ibom, yet I champion the Igbo cause whose political growth is also stagnated by your very people. The presidency must go round. An Akwa Ibomite now leads NBA because the Igbo votes were shared.

• Edet Essien esq, +2348037952470

It is nice write-up. Our orientation must change for better Nigeria.

• Gordon Chika Nnorom, +2348062887535

  • First published in the Daily Sun of Monday, September 10, 2018.

2019 presidential contenders and pretenders

September 3, 2018

Casmir Igbokwe

The tempo of political activities has heightened. More political parties have joined the fray. More intrigues have come to play. More importantly, sundry presidential aspirants have emerged. It is all in preparation for the 2019 general election.

READ ALSO: PDP and its presidential aspirants

President Muhammadu Buhari is one of the aspirants. He belongs to the ruling party, the All Progressives Congress (APC). Being the incumbent President, he will likely not have any challenger.

One thing he has going for him is the power of incumbency. Many politicians will want to identify with him mainly for self-preservation. Currently, there are hundreds of groups that champion his bid for re-election.

The security agencies are also at his beck and call. As the commander-in-chief, he can decide where and how to deploy them. If he decides to rig election, these security agencies will come handy. But we pray it does not get to that level.

Also going for Buhari is his cult followership in the North, especially North-West. Kano and Katsina are his strongholds. And these are the states that turn in massive votes in any election, it does not matter whether some of the votes are genuine or not.

Buhari will also garner many votes in the South-West, which is largely controlled by the APC. But that does not mean that the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) is a pushover in the region. The main opposition party may pull some surprises in the zone, all things being equal.

However, it will not be easy for the President in the other parts of the country. Many people in North-Central states such as Benue and Plateau are not happy with the ruling party. They have suffered and continue to suffer untold hardship from killings by herdsmen.

In the South-East, the APC is flying the 2023 kite to woo the Igbo. The permutation is that only Buhari’s second term will guarantee a President of Igbo extraction in 2023. Though the party has won some converts because of this, it has a Herculean task winning in the South-East. Many Igbo believe Buhari hates them.

Many others are disillusioned. Under Buhari, the level of hardship in the country has risen. Many people have lost their jobs. Currently, Nigeria occupies the unenviable position as the nation harbouring the poorest people in the world. Corruption has also worsened as attested to by Transparency International. The spate of insecurity and division in the country is worrisome. The future appears bleak and uncertain.

These notwithstanding, Buhari may still win. But that will be with a lot of struggle. It will also depend on who the main opposition party, PDP, fields as its candidate in a few weeks’ time.

Top on the list of the PDP contenders is former Vice President Atiku Abubakar. The man has been mobilising and seeking support across the country. He is a successful businessman with a lot of investments in Nigeria. He is de-tribalised and cosmopolitan and has the ability to give Buhari a great challenge in the election.

READ ALSO: Atiku weeps as supporters present him PDP nomination form

His opponents say he is old. But at 72, the man is still physically and mentally alert.

Besides, leadership is not about how old or strong or educated one is. It is competence that counts. After all, the 32nd President of the United States, Franklin Roosevelt, ruled from a wheelchair. His presidency spanned most of World War II and the Great Depression. And he was the only US President to run four terms in office.

But one strange stigma against Atiku is corruption. Incidentally, the man has never been a governor or a President. He even fell out with his boss, ex-President Olusegun Obasanjo, who has not forgiven him up until today.

The questions are: Who is a saint among Nigerian politicians? And how competent are those saints? The ones we thought were saints have disappointed us. So, this country needs more than sainthood to move forward.

As a tested businessman who understands the intricacies of wealth creation, Atiku appears well equipped to transform this country, if given the opportunity. He has even promised to do one term, thereby dousing the fear of the Igbo that the emergence of another President outside the incumbent would delay their quest for the presidency in 2023.

One major individual Atiku will contend with in the PDP is Senate President Bukola Saraki. He is an astute politician who can be described as a cat with nine lives. The ruling party never wanted him to be Senate President. But he outwitted them. Recently, security agents blocked his residential gate apparently to prevent the gale of defections that hit the ruling party from members of the National Assembly. Again, he outfoxed them and supervised the defection of some of his colleagues to the PDP.

The powers that be have also tarred him with a corruption brush. And I ask again, who is a saint among Nigerian politicians? Saraki has been two-term governor of Kwara State. So, he has enough experience to be the President of Nigeria.

However, Saraki’s major influence is in Kwara State. To beat a candidate like Buhari in the North will not be easy for him. He needs to work seriously on this.

Sokoto State governor, Aminu Tambuwal, is another candidate to watch. I am not too sure of what he has been able to do in his state. But give him one thing – he knows how to manage politicians. As a former Speaker of the House of Representatives, he was able to galvanise and keep the House in order. When the APC national leader, Bola Tinubu, accused him recently of dumping the ruling party for the PDP because he was denied automatic ticket, Tambuwal boasted that he had the wherewithal to beat Buhari. Well, he needs to scale the PDP hurdle first. He reportedly enjoys the backing of the Rivers State governor, Nyesom Wike. But how that will help his ambition remains to be seen.

Former Kano State governor, Rabiu Musa Kwankwaso, is another heavyweight who may pull some surprises. Last Wednesday, when he declared to run for the presidency, the powers that be denied him the use of the Eagle Square in Abuja, which he paid for. But he mobilised his supporters to another venue and the turnout was massive.

However, Kwankwaso has Buhari to contend with, if he wins the PDP ticket. Though he is still popular in Kano, he will need to climb some mountains with the current Kano State governor, Abdullahi Ganduje. To soften the ground for him, he reportedly asked the PDP to zone the presidency to the North-West. His reason is that the rival APC’s candidate is also from the North-West. This, however, may not fly for the PDP.

Sule Lamido is also in the race. As the former governor of Jigawa State, he may garner some votes from the state and from Kano. But I suspect that it is the much he can get. His worldview revolves around the North. Nearly every high point of his life has been in Kano or Jigawa. The PDP needs a strong candidate who can beat Buhari. I don’t see Lamido doing that.

I don’t also see Gombe State governor, Ibrahim Dankwambo, doing that. No doubt, he is a great candidate. As an incumbent governor, he can mobilise resources to battle his opponents. But ruling Nigeria is not governing Gombe State. He still has some years ahead of him. So, he should consider going to the Senate instead.

Former governor of Kaduna State, Ahmed Makarfi, has a bright chance. He was once the caretaker chairman of the PDP and could pull some strings within the party to beat his opponents. He made reference to this recently when he boasted that he did not need money to defeat Atiku and other aspirants in the PDP. Well, the primary is a few weeks away. Let’s see what happens.

Let us also see how it goes with Kabiru Turaki and Attahiru Bafarawa. Turaki is a former Minister of Special Duties and Intergovernmental Affairs. Some media reports indicate that former President Ibrahim Babangida is backing him. But winning the PDP ticket goes beyond that. He is a good candidate, no doubt, but he doesn’t have the structure to beat Buhari in the North.

Neither does Bafarawa nor Jonah Jang. These are also-rans. Someone joked the other day that when Jang declared his intention last week, even his supporters were not that cheerful and ecstatic. Instead of hailing the man and making some ululation in his support, some of his supporters looked unconcerned.

There are many other also-rans especially outside the PDP. Rev. Chris Okotie is one of them. He has become a perennial presidential aspirant. Some others are former Central Bank of Nigeria deputy governor, Prof. Kingsley Moghalu; motivational speaker, Fela Durotoye; and some women, among whom are Prof. Oluremi Sonaiya and Prof. Olufumilayo Adesanya-Davies.

READ ALSO: 2019: Okotie’s charter for an interim government

These are great candidates any day. But I don’t see them going far. It would have been better if Durotoye, for instance, started with his state as a governor. Many United States ex-Presidents such as Bill Clinton and Franklin Roosevelt started like that.

In all, what Nigeria needs now is a leader with capacity. Age has nothing to do with it. Academic intelligence has nothing to do with it. Physical strength has nothing to do with it.

To pull Nigeria out of the woods, its President must have the mental ability of a Lee Kuan Yew and the business acumen of a Dangote.

The highly anticipated 2019 will soon be here. The arena is becoming more exciting. Who will you vote for?

  • First published in the Daily Sun of Monday, September 3, 2018.