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10022018 - 2019 : How we'll stop Buhari - Opposition parties

Vanguard Newspaper 10 january 2018

16—SATURDAY Vanguard,

16—SATURDAY Vanguard, FEBRUARY 10, 2018 President Buhari appoints Chief Bola Tinubu to lead APC strategy committee: Nigerians react •Oluwatosin Ige By Juliet Ebirim and Adetutu Adesoji Bola Tinubu should decline the offer - Oluwatosin Blessing Ige, Legal Practitioner I feel Tinubu as an elder statesman should decline from doing this for Buhari again. The success of Buhari during the last presidential election was achieved with the help of Tinubu. At some point during this administration, Tinubu voiced out that he is not being carried along and now Buhari wants to use him to secure second term again. I'm sure Tinubu is in a better position to know who is best for Nigeria just as he always does in Lagos. He should not take this up, but act in the best •Ikenna Asomba interest of Nigerians. Tinubu would be abandoned again -Ikenna Asomba, Journalist/ Public Affairs Analyst I feel President Muhammadu Buhari has not treated Asiwaju Bola Tinubu with utmost respect since 2015. Tinubu had over the last three years been sidelined from the inner workings of the APC at the national level, a party whose birth he helped nurture. No thanks to President Buhari and the socalled cabals. So, if because the 2019 election is forthcoming, President Buhari approaches Tinubu to mediate all warring factions in the APC, good for him. It's his personal decision to accept the offer or not. What I know is that Tinubu would be abandoned again and again.“ This could be a game changer for the president - Joseph Akagu, Writer It's politically brilliant since Tinubu commands an overwhelming loyalty both in the party and in the southwest. Nigerian politics is a politics of personalities and power resides with these few and not the people. So it could be a game changer. The president is envisaging a defeat hence the move - Wisdom Ilesanmi, Oil Consultant Going by the characteristics of this government and its leadership, the president has lost popularity among the westerners. Literally speaking, it is not errorneous to say that the emergence of the president at Aso Rock is highly orchestrated by his win in the Western states. In light of this truth, he is envisaging a defeat as the APC party is •Okewusi Tola •Joseph •Awopetu Juwon becoming more factional. More importantly, a disunited western APC in specifics will spell doom for the president's second term ambition. The choice of Bola Tinubu is therefore imperative in the unity of the party going by his antecedents as one of the pioneers and founders of the party. However, what is covert to the president is the fact that in the 2019 presidential election, the citizenry are more prone to vote individuals not the party. Buhari wants to use and •Wisdom dump Tinubu again - Okewusi Olutola, Artisan There is nothing to unify about APC. The party is in disarray and besides Buhari only wants to cajole Tinubu to use and dump him once more. I don't think Tinubu will fall for the tricks this time. There is nothing for APC in 2019 and we might just find ourselves between the devil and the deep blue sea, because PDP is not an alternative. The country is technically in trouble. Tinubu is the perfect option to re-unite the party, but ... - Awopetu Juwon, Water Consultant It is obviously a smart and strategic move, Buhari knows well that Tinubu handed him the southwest region votes in the last presidential election. Knowing the influence of Tinubu in the party Buhari needs him to push for more support. Technically, Tinubu is the perfect option to reunite the party. Northern region alone cannot hand Buhari victory. He probably needs more to regain Tinubu’s trust knowing that he (Tinubu) is unhappy with the way he has been treated since Buhari assumed office. Ambode and Participatory Governance By Dr. Abdul Hakeem AbdulLateef, Lagos democracy- as espoused by Governor complex. But democracy as we know it today, Commissioner of Home Affairs Ambode- should be? For experiences in took form after the German Revolution, when our part of the World and even in advanced the Weimar Constitution promulgated at “There is no way anyone can manage a countries-recent and ancient- here and in the end of First World War in 1919, put megacity State such as Lagos, unless many other climes, had and continue to a minimum voting age at 20 and you have this atmosphere of peace and conveyunpalatable contrary impressions. subsequent reformations brought the harmony. A State as vast as Lagos, with President Abraham Lincoln in his age further down to 18. Could we multiplicity of needs and complex interests Gettysburg Secondary Speech of 1893, then assume that Democracy ideally of her huge and diverse population, requires during the American Civil War, was merely means “the right of adults to vote much more than the gifts of intelligence echoing what John Wycliffe, a 14thcentury without the restriction of race, class, and competence; it requires more than hard English theologian and philosopher, wrote education level and social position?” work, diligence and dedication, it requires in his notation on a Bible 500 years before NO! special spiritual touching by God. I have the Lincoln Address that “A Government of In fact, this widely-held assumption always loved to touch lives; to me it is a the people, by the people for the people, and practice of democracy as just a spiritual thing and a devotion; the more I shall not perish from the Earth.” matter of electioneering had been the do this, the more I receive assurance and Lincoln’s predecessor by many years, John reason for many unwanted inspiration from the Lord God, that if I Adams, First Vice President and Second consequences associated with continue to touch humanity, He would President, in 1864, portrayed a rather it. providea bigger space for me to advance melancholic picture of democracy when he To reiterate, apart from humanity on a bigger scale. Here I am said, “Democracy never lasts long; it soon periodic election and voting, doing it with Governance, with you, for you, wastes, exhausts and murders itself.”These other features of ideal •Gov Ambode for me, for our dear Lagos”- two American Presidents were expressing democracy include Governor Akinwunmi Ambode. views of democracy from two independent judiciary, rule of This quote from His Excellency, contrasting perspectives: Lincoln law, unfettered exercise of Governor Akinwunmi Ambode,to described what democracy, ideally, fundamental rights (freedom of association, spiritual leaders at the Inter-Faith should look like, while John speech, access to basic amenities,etc.), Parley in the State House, on Adams’ submission stemmed from adequate and proper representation, majority Tuesday, December 12, 2017, shows experienced and recorded rule and minority right, multi-party system that Democracy, ideally consequences of how democracy and free Press.Yet, in developing democracies, practised,could indeed be an was actually being implemented. and even in most of the advanced ones, instrument for adequately meeting A direct people-participation in achieving the ideal seems elusive, but not the needs of the people, stem strife, governance or participatory because the solutions for the attainment of promote peace and prosperity, governance, is not a recent concept. higher form of democracy has not been address corruption, banish It can even be traced to ancient identified. ignorance, increase literacy and Athenian Greek when all adult Participatory Governance is a method where generally advance human worth and male citizens actively participated all channels of influence are explored, bring much happiness to a vast in parliamentary proceedings. strengthened and engaged in a political number of citizens. Or is this not how This model was not practicable as process to achieve accelerated solutions to societies became bigger and more meet citizens’ needs and aspirations. It is a Continues on page 36 means where all citizens, affected by issues, are engaged, involved and benefit from the outcomes of collective efforts and jointly-arrived solutions. Participatory Governance,as simple as the phrase is and as noble and natural as the concept is, must have proven effectiveness and profitability. Only very few politicians would be brave enough to adopt it though, let alone, championing same the way His Excellency, Governor Akinwunmi Ambode is currently operating. The practice can be very laborious, physically demanding and mentally tasking. It requires that you give primacy to, and pursue pro-poor policies; it requires correct attitude of humility, transparency and accountability; it is a process of constant consultations and engagement of people affected by issues throughout the lives of the programmes designed as solution(s) to address the issues. It requires that you carry out (along with the people involved), analytical research and assessment of needs and problems, design appropriate programmes (solutions), form network of suitable technical partners and allies who will enrich the values of the process and

SATURDAY Vanguard, FEBRUARY 10, 2018—17 CORRUPTION WAR: Is Buhari giving with one hand and taking with the other? BY SONNY DANIEL It was during the Russian revolutionary that , Alexander Herzen, who wrote in the year of the failed revolutions in Europe that ‘the men who proclaimed the Republic became the assassins of freedom’. Herzen’s argument centred principally on the fact that beneath the pomp and pageantry of doing away with the feudal systems in Europe, those who led the drive to effect a change in the political system, actively succeeded in securing freedom for their own circle of friends and not the workers. The author then submitted that in a sense the architects of the republic had in a way broken the chain of slavery but left the prison walls standing, making them assassins of freedom. Arguments can rightly be made for and against President Muhammadu Buhari’s acclaimed war against corruption in Nigeria. All along and with his avowed declaration to combat graft to a standstill when he assumed the presidency of Nigeria in 2015, it was all to his credit that Buhari adopted the fight as one of his three cardinal programmes. The tripartite programme on the retired General’s agenda was centred on boosting security, economy and eliminating corruption before it kills Nigeria. Almost three years into his administration Buhari has received accolades for his determined efforts to contain raging insurgency in the Northeast and get the economy back on tract. On the fight against Boko Haram, he has triumphed to reasonable extent and deserves applause for his administration’s deft moves that took Nigeria away from recession late last year, posting positive indices in all facets of economic performance, as released by the National Bureau of Statistics. But Buhari has also become his own albatross by either deliberately or unwittingly playing down the gains hitherto recorded by his government in the onslaught against graft. All along the opposition party, the Peoples Democratic Party, has been raising alarm that the fight against corruption was one-sided as no member of the ruling party has been reprimanded for graft. They have been shouting to the roof top that their members were simply targeted by the Buhari administration for alleged graft while his party officials are being protected over worse crimes. Once it took the president a long time to accept and do away with the former Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Babachir Lawal for alleged corruption, the PDP had enough grounds to slam the administration for condoning graft and protecting its inner caucus members. Buhari even cleared Babachir initially. But whatever defence Buhari or any member of his cabinet might have used to deflect hot punches aimed at it by the opposition has since fizzled like a pack of cards with last Monday’s inexplicable and offensive recall of the suspended Director General of the National Health Insurance Scheme, Professor Usman Yusuf, a kinsman of Buhari. The recall of the man, who was accused and still being investigated by the EFCC for alleged corrupt practices is what many Nigerians cannot comprehend. His recall by the President through his Chief of Staff, Abba Kyari, is an act that will certainly hurt the retired General and his government for a long time and dent all that he stands for as an incorruptible man. And the mud thrown at Buhari and his government is likely going to endure for a long time just like the furore generated by the action. It would have been okay for Buhari to recall his kinsmen back to work if he had not been castigated by the National Assembly for alleged fraud running into millions of Naira. It would have also been normal for the President to reinstate his brother from the same Katsina if he had not been indicted by a government panel raised by the Minister of Health, Prof Isaac Adewole, a man appointed by the president himself to head the ministry because of his integrity and outstanding work in the area of medicine. His recall appears to have abruptly terminated the probe of Mr. Yusuf by both the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission and the Independent Corrupt Practices Commission over the alleged laundering of N919 million and the award of contracts far above approved threshold, something that the president is supposed to have enthusiastically supported in order to be seen to be fighting graft in the land. A national daily, apparently miffed by Buhari’s action, ran riot in its editorial on Thursday, February 8, 2018. The paper queried Buhari’s socalled anti-corruption war with the recall of Yusuf and wondered if the president still believed the war was alive. Outspoken lawyer, Mike Ozokhome, also carpeted Buhari for reinstating Yusuf, alleging that the war against corruption was selective. The Senior Advocate of Nigeria, SAN, said, “This is one more exemplification of the truism that this government fights corruption within the government with sweet – smelling Sasarobia perfume while it fights corruption against opponents and critics of government with a powerful insecticide. “That is why they will order the arrest of Kasim Afegbua for merely issuing a release advising the President not to seek re-election. “That is why a whole minister will suspend a person after a panel of enquiry has found the person culpable and the President will reinstate that person. “It shows again and again the issue of corruption being fought is a ruse to hoodwink the unwary and ignorant members of the society. No corruption is being fought at all.” From all indications, the EFCC is being tamed on its constitutional powers to investigate and prosecute a suspect of financial and economic crimes against Nigeria by the Presidency and the reckless display of power of ‘proximity to the presidency’ is likely going to whittle the onslaught against graft in the months and years ahead because other suspects would readily cite the meddlesomeness of Buhari into the whole affair as an odious precedent that will certainly hunt and hurt the polity for generations. Despite a face-saving declaration that the reinstatement of Yusuf by the president does not stop the EFCC from continuing with the investigation and possible prosecution of the suspect, it is clear to all men of good conscience that the anti-graft agency does not have the clout to go against the direction of Presidential actions. This is more so at a time when the Presidency has defied the Senate to •President Buhari stand by Ibrahim Magu, the m a n rejected by the Senate twice but kept in office by the sheer grace and benevolence of the President. It is hoping against hope to believe the EFCC when it declared on Wednesday thus, “Look, that letter by the CoS to the President reinstating Yusuf to his post does not in any way stop us from digging into what the ES did with the huge amount of money taken away from the scheme.” An official of the EFCC said this as public criticism heightened over the questionable recall of Prof Yusuf. “Let it also be noted that the President, who is against any form of corruption by any of his officials, has not asked us to stop the investigation of the alleged fraud in the NHIS. “We are continuing our probe of the man’s expenditure at the NHIS and it does not mean that we arrested and detained him as being speculated. “The truth of the matter is that the reinstatement of the man does not prevent the EFCC from probing him and finding out whether the sum of N919 million was laundered by him or any official of the NHIS under his watch,” the official explained. It is tempting to assume that Buhari might have acted in bad faith, thereby adding to the accusation of clannishness heaped on him by former President Obasanjo but it is plausible that the President might not have known the full weight of his action. C M Y K