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08042018 - Education in free fall! •Sector gets paltry N3.9 trillion out of N55.19 trillion in 10 years


PAGE 28—SUNDAY VANGUARD, APRIL 8, 2018 What Senator Mantu is yet to say One story that has been in the news for some time now and is refusing to get away from public discourse is the open confession of former Deputy Senate President, Ibrahim Mantu about how he rigged elections when his party; the Peoples Democratic Party PDP was in power. Mantu said many things but none of it is new. As a matter of fact, a more detailed analysis of how elections are rigged in Nigeria rendered by Donald Duke, a former governor of Cross River state is more instructive. Besides, Mantu is not the only politician that has confessed to electoral malpractices During the Federal Government’s ‘Good Governance Tour’ organized by Labaran Maku, a former Information Minister, former Akwa Ibom Governor Godswill Akpabio reportedly told the Maku-led team in Uyo that he falsified a senatorial election result and personally replaced the Demystification of President Muhammadu Buhari (2) Considering the case being built about President Buhari and Boko Haram and the former castigation of former President Jonathan’s attacks on the terrorist latter, let us consider the Chibok and Dapchi abductions, in which hundreds of secondary school girls were kidnapped by Boko Haram, the release of majority whom had attracted praises for the President mostly from his lackeys and APC stalwarts. A lot has been said and written on this intriguing subject, and some interesting conjectures have gained ground due to what some say is the stagemanaged character of the events in question. In my opinion, the staggered release of the kidnapped Chibok girls, most of whom looked better fed and clothed than ordinary suffering Nigerians, indicate that throughout the period they were in captivity the girls could not have been in Sambisa forest where Boko Haram elements were reported to be under constant bombardment by the Nigerian army and air force. Instead, it is very likely that they were kept in a safe house by those who abducted them pending when it would be auspicious for the victims to be released batch by batch for maximum leverage in negotiations with government and also convince critics of Mr. President that the APC administration has achieved what the immediate past administration could not accomplish. Concerning the Dapchi girls, the arangee character of that kidnap was winner with his preferred candidate, Aloysius Etok. Of course, many still remember the great expose ofTemitope Aluko, former Secretary of Ekiti PDP who told the nation how the 2014 governorship election in Ekiti state was systematically rigged in favour of Ayodele Fayose, the then PDP governorship candidate. PhD,Department of Philosophy, University of Lagos 08116759758 suggested election offences tribunal. Having established earlier that he was neither the first to make such confession nor did he say anything new, it is submitted that Mantu’s confession is not about courage. Also, the issue of an election offences tribunal is hardly strong against the backdrop of many reports of One would therefore expect our new generation of politicians to be wary of what Mantu has said so far and to show more interest in what he is yet to say Painfully, those who have refused to overlook the Mantu confession do not appear to have examined the rationale for the confession. Instead, they have allowed Mantu to set an agenda for the nation which seems to have arrested the attention of many. While some have praised the former Deputy Senate President for his courage in coming out at this point to expose a major national defect, others think that Mantu’s confession should be the most appropriate point of departure for the nation to implement the oftenjustice for sale in political matters in the country. In other words, dedicating certain courts to election offences is not likely to alter our justice delivery system without a change of attitude by the principal actors. This is because politicians who compromise our courts can do same to election offences tribunal. Based on this line of thought therefore, it is hard to call Mantu a hero But as stated earlier, the former Deputy Senate indulgent triumphalist progovernment rhetoric on this issue by sycophants such as Festus Keyamo, Orji Uzor Kalu, Lai Mohammed, Garba Shehu and others, there is no doubt in my mind that the kidnap of girls receiving western education in the north has become an instrument of power politics for those Chinweizu called caliphate colonialists – the Chibok kidnap to push Dr. Jonathan out of office while its Dapchi version was meant to bolster Buhari’s sagging messianic reputation and enhance his electability in 2019. Even the increasing wave of audacious attacks by so-called Fulani herdsmen in different parts of the country may not be unconnected with their conviction that they would be protected because a President who has over the years shown himself to be a defender of Fulani interests is now in charge. Meanwhile, other manifestations of insecurity such as armed robbery, ritual killings and ethno-religious conflicts have actually gained traction since Buhari became President. It is really disturbing that prominent members of the APC from the south-east have not challenged President Buhari’s northernisation of the governing security architecture of the country, a situation made worse by his total neglect of the geopolitical zone in the process. In a multiply plural country such as ours, occluding any zone or ethnic group from the highest decision-making levels of governance, particularly on matters concerning security, is inimical to national security and unity. Clearly, because of the President’s lopsided appointments, anytime a meeting is called to discuss national security at the highest level, the southeast would not be represented: no wonder, then, that the army carried out Operation Python Dance with ruthless efficiency and brutality without due President has succeeded in getting our politicians to throw banters at each other on the subject. The man said he rigged elections for his party, he didn’t say he was mandated by the PDP to rig elections for her. It was thus unnecessary for the latter to disown Mantu simply because he has claimed to be the real ‘Mr. Fix it’. At the time the man was Deputy Senate President and also a member of the PDP Board of Trustees, many of his colleagues (riggers or saints) that are now in the ruling All Progress Congress APC were in the PDP. It is not unreasonable to imagine that they may have taken along with them, the rigging prowess of the PDP to the APC. This is not hard to appreciate because just before the 2015 Presidential election the PDP-led federal government introduced a new rigging strategy known as postponement of voting for security reasons. The APC promptly adopted the same strategy at the first opportunity- the Edo state governorship election in 2016 which was postponed without the knowledge of the electoral body. One would therefore expect our new generation of politicians to be wary of what Mantu has said so far and to show more interest in what he is yet to say. In earnest, those who are prepared to fault the official reason for Mantu’s confession are not without blown wide open after Amnesty International announced that the military was forewarned about Boko Haram’s plan to strike again, but the army withdrew from Dapchi less than a week or so before the kidnap actually happened. When the abducted girls were released a month later, they were carrying bags, as if the kidnappers went shopping with them! In my view, the logistics of moving hundreds of girls across many kilometers in a volatile area supposedly under heavy security without any intervention by law enforcement agencies, including the army, reinforces the belief that the abductions were stage-managed to achieve certain objectives depending on who was involved. Thus, for Boko Haram kidnapping school girls in the educationally backward northern Nigeria has become a lucrative business which also furthers its primitive agenda of abolishing western education amongst muslims. For President Buhari and the APC, it provides another opportunity to lampoon the immediate past administration. Interestingly, my position is corroborated by Shehu Sani, the maverick senator from Kaduna state, who claimed that members of the northern ruling elite cannot openly criticise President Buhari’s handling of Boko Haram because they do not want to be seen by fellow northerners as being against one of their own. That said, in spite of the selfregard for the feelings of Igbo people. In this connection, it would be mission impossible for anyone to convince Ndigbo that Buhari is sensitive to their concerns as a people the way he is to the interests of his Fulani kinsmen, notwithstanding the Buhari-is-a-friend-of-the- Igbo shibboleths from Rochas Okorocha, Loretta Onochie and Osita Okechukwu. Let us be clear about one thing: despite my misgivings regarding the ambivalent attitude of President Buhari and key members of the northern establishment towards Boko Haram, the fact that the group has lost areas it controlled Overall, Buhari’s economic team, if there was anything like that at the time, lacked creativity and technical knowledge needed to pull Nigeria out of economic black hole before the present administration came to power is commendable. But the sect has not been “technically defeated,” “routed,” or “completely degraded.” So, the purported advantage of having a retired military head of state as President to take charge of national security is yet to be noticed by most Nigerians. Boko Haram is alive and kicking, armed robbers, kidnappers and ritual murderers are still terrorising our people with impunity. Considering all this, one must admit that the mystique of Buhari as a terror to “the bad guys” has almost completely strong arguments. First, Senator Mantu has to explain why his rigging expertise did not keep him beyond 2007 in the senate which has no term limitation. Even his bornagain justification is suspect because he employed it without success in the last national chairmanship contest of the PDP. Last September, he reportedly urged leaders of his party to elect Tunde Adeniran as the National Chairman because he “fasted for 30 days and nights” asking God to show him who would lead the party, and God showed him Adeniran. The result of the vision he saw, should make us look beyond the current confession. Could it be that there are other ills, the guardian spirit of the bornagain wants Mantu to reveal? What for instance was his role in the famous 3 rd term agenda? What he confesses with respect to this may help Nigeria to stabilize as it can bequeath to posterity the positive features of democracy. There is in fact, so much that old politicians can do to restore Nigeria to the path of progress. Beyond helping to stop election rigging, the nation is in dire need of a sanitized legislature that does not seek to expropriate a huge chunk of the nation’s budget. We also need law makers whose interest in law making should be more than materialistic oversight functions and other vices that the old breed originated. evaporated. The next issue is the economy. Buharimaniacs hypnotised or befuddled by the cult-like following of the President tend to portray him as a disciplined and frugal man bereft of the destructive primitive bulimic tendencies characteristic of our leaders since independence. But the question is: based on a dispassionate assessment of President Buhari’s track record as military head of state and former chairman of the Petroleum (Special) Trust Fund (PTF), is that portraiture justified? Is there any good reason for hope that the country’s economy will improve under the leadership of this President? For millions of Nigerians (including this columnist) whose economic fortunes have been going down since May 29, 2015, the answer to both questions is a resounding “No”! Remember, in 1984, Maj. Gen. Buhari implemented a centralised command-and-control economic paradigm which stifled growth in the real sector, discouraged capital inflow from both local and foreign investors, and created turbulent disequilibrium in the macroeconomic variables that serve as engine room for the economy. His attempt to restructure the economy by placing strict limits on government expenditure, scrapping of external borrowing, counter-trade, pegging of the exchange rate at one naira to a dollar and fifty cents, and changing the colours of different denominations of the naira among others did not achieve the desired results for the simple reason that they were the wrong medicine for Nigeria’s ailing economy at the time. Buhari rejected the economic measures proposed by the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and, instead, implemented a radioactive cocktail of austerity measures that led to massive retrenchment of workers and spiraling inflation. Many Now to the big one. In October 2003, Mallam Nasir el-Rufai, now governor of Kaduna state who was then a ministerial nominee, appeared before the senate for confirmation. During the process, Nasir openly alleged that some senators demanded from him a whooping N54million to facilitate the confirmation. When further pressed to name those who made the demand, el Rufai shocked the nation by naming two senators which included the then Deputy Senate President, Ibrahim Mantu. To calm the political tempo which the subject triggered, the senate immediately set up a panel which hurriedly cleared the accused of any wrong doing as if anxious to protect their own. Interestingly, the senate still cleared el Rufai, the supposed false alarmist. This made many analysts to doubt the authenticity of the senate investigation. The PDP which was the ruling party at the time explained that the matter was resolved the family way. Those of us that didn’t belong to that political family queried in vain the wisdom of using a family platform to resolve a criminal offence. This left different people to hold divergent opinions till today. Thus, it does not appear out of place to classify the subject as qualified for confession! It does not have to be Mantu only, more confessions are welcome please industries closed down because they could not access foreign exchange to import essential raw materials and equipment, while price controls imposed on essential commodities led to severe scarcity of those products in the market. According to experts in economic management, what Nigeria needed was an expansionist economic blueprint that would reflate the economy, boost investors’ confidence, create jobs for the teeming population of unemployed youths and enhance the purchasing power of Nigerians. Overall, Buhari’s economic team, if there was anything like that at the time, lacked creativity and technical knowledge needed to pull Nigeria out of economic black hole because it seemed not to understand that the complex mechanisms which determine the economic fortunes of countries are not subject to the ad hoc jackboot methods of military regimentation. What about Buhari’s performance in PTF? Now, if Buhari’s management of PTF from 1994 to 1999 when it was disbanded is anything to go by, then Nigerians are in serious trouble. Perhaps, the main reason late Gen. Sani Abacha dredged up Buhari from retirement and asked him to manage the fund was his reputation as a strict disciplinarian who would ensure prudent and efficient management of funds that accrue to the body. Unfortunately, the high expectations on Buhari were sorely disappointed: not only was there lopsided execution of PTF’s projects in favour of the north, elephantine corruption unearthed by the interim committee mandated by former President Olusegun Obasanjo to probe the trust fund puts a big question mark on the capacity to manage efficiently and productively a complex non-military project or institution. To be continued.

SUNDAY VANGUARD, APRIL 8, 2018, PAGE 29 By Josephine Agbonkhese Her name might ring no bell, but Ezim Anne Giwa-Amu is the widow of the first Attorney General of the defunct Midwestern Region, Sir Steven Idowu Ohiole Giwa-Amu. Her grandfather too, a Scottish, was the Agent General (Head) of the defunct Royal Niger Company, a firm instrumental to the formation of Colonial Nigeria. Those ties are however not what makes Giwa-Amu, who turned 75 in March, an interesting personality. A die-hard follower of the late Archbishop Bishop Benson Idahosa until she relocated to the US where she was, years later, ordained a reverend by Archbishop Margaret Idahosa, she reveals, in this interview, among other things, how God entrusted in her hands the spiritual welfare of Nigeria; and how she has since then executed several prophetic projects on behalf of the country. What was growing up like? We say some people are born with silver spoon; I happen to be one of such. But my mother passed on when I was 13 and I had my siblings to take care of. That’s why, today, they don’t look at me as a sister but as their mother. I think the experiences of my mother’s death pushed me into early marriage. At 19, I was already married to my late husband, Steven Idowu Ohiole Giwa-Amu, and was pregnant. I remember how I cried frequently over the phone to my grandmother each time I was overwhelmed by my inexperience in caring for a new-born. We were in Benin-City back then; where I also grew up. I remember she would say, ‘You know I am old and cannot do anything or come. But whenever you have problems, call me on the phone’. I remember the time my first child fell inside the bath from my hands. I had six children in all and we grew together in age (laughs). This is the tenth year since my husband’s demise. That marriage was quite early; were you pregnant or was it that you both were dating? It wasn’t a mistake. Like I said, my mother’s death threw a lot of responsibilities on me. My grandmother was old and I had to be a mother to my siblings. So, I just had to get married. As for dating, no; I didn’t have the privilege of dating like you people do now. My husband just came and said he wanted to marry me. What was it like to be married to the first Attorney General of the Midwestern Region? I want to tell you something I admired so much about him; he took his job as his job. My husband never allowed his official car to come home to take anybody anywhere. He had his car, I had my own car and that was it. I didn’t ever have to go to his office; what will I be looking for there? His official closing time was 4pm and, thereafter, he would come straight home. So, I was a normal wife like any other housewife. Nobody ever addressed me as Wife of the Attorney General and I did not expect it anyway. So, his official duties were his official duty and they ended at the office. Feed us with more memories of him. He was such a loving husband and father to our six children. After school, he would insist all the children sleep for at least one hour. He was a teacher and role model to his children and many My husband denied us the use of his official cars for family needs — Anne Giwa-Amu, widow of defunct Midwestern Region’s first Attorney General The late Steven Idowu Ohiole Giwa-Amu, Attorney General, defunct Midwestern Region others who grew up in our house because my house was like a boarding house. You said he drew a line between official and personal properties; but what we see these days are cases of public office holders retiring home with government properties… When my husband resigned as the Attorney General, he didn’t come home with anything apart from the file he carried daily to his office. In fact, he declared his assets; he had 31 pounds in his account. My children went to public schools like every other child. My father-in-law, Michael Giwa-Amu, was the first Inspector General of Nigeria; we called him so being the first Nigerian to rise from recruit to Inspector of Police and that was the highest at that time. So you can see the nature of family my husband came from; not the sort of police officer to that would ask “Oga, wetin you come give us?” So, my husband and his siblings lived like their father; holding integrity in high esteem. Let us talk about transparency and accountability in public service today; legislators for example go home with millions monthly and are not accountable to anyone. How can we begin to hold our leaders accountable? I will use the United States of America as an example. Since My father-in-law, Michael Giwa-Amu, was the first Inspector General of Nigeria; we called him so being the first Nigerian to rise from recruit to Inspector of Police and that was the highest at that time the day about 17 children and two teachers were shot in a school, the children have continued to protest. The protest is increasing by the day and everybody now is advocating for gun control because the children are standing up and protesting heavily. What (President) Trump brought up as remedy was to arm teachers but the children would have none of that. Since the beginning of the year, there have been 19 shootings and the children are now saying they have had enough. Nigerians too should rise up. I am not saying fight or kill; just open your mouths and speak up—demonstrate. Somebody has to speak up. The day we say we have had enough, then we've had enough. The slavery in this country is enough. You mentioned before we began this interview that God told you decades ago to stand in the gap for Nigeria spiritually; tell us about that… While still in Nigeria and working for the Lord— ever before leaving for the US where I resided for many years—the Lord told me he needed somebody to trust; somebody to commit the spiritual aspect of this nation Nigeria to. He asked me, “Would you be my eyes there?” and I accepted. So, I had a lot of pastors that He made me call together; we started praying for this country and still maintain that even up till today. We’ve had a lot of prophetic projects across the country and wherever or whosoever He sends us to, we go. God has manifested Himself through that ministry in a big way even though we do not have a name. My associate pastors however call the group ‘New Dawn’. New Dawn has taken us to quite a number of places; as well as many other African countries. I was actually a Deaconess in the Church of God Mission in Benin-City before relocating to Lagos and thereafter to the United States. I bagged a degree from the Oral Roberts University College of Theology and Ministry in 1972 and have since continued to work for God. I was ordained a reverend in the US by Archbishop Margaret Idahosa. How do you measure the impact of the assignment given you by God, vis-à-vis the prevailing unrest in the country? The people get what they want. God will not give you what you do not clamour for. A time came when the Israelites said they needed a king like other nations surrounding them. They said they were not satisfied with the prophets administering their affairs. God gave them Saul. Saul became arrogant and was gloating everywhere. God quietly dethroned him and sent a prophet to go anoint a child in the house of Jesse; David. David didn’t come out immediately as a king but God was working wonders through Him. The last time we prayed, God told me, “Do not worry. I am doing something that the eyes cannot see; except those that I opened their eyes to see. I have anointed a young man who will take over this country when the time comes.” For how long should we wait for that young man; is it when Nigeria disintegrates? Nigeria will not disintegrate. When one of the Presidents, a Christian, was there, the Lord told us (my New Dawn prayer team) to carry out a prophetic action; which we did with the support of the President as instructed by God. The Lord asked us to collect the sand (earth) of each state and bring them together at our prayer point in Abuja, mix together. When we were done, He asked us, “Do you know where each of these sands came from?”, and we said “No”, and He said that was what He wanted to do with Nigeria. The Lord instructed that each time he (the then sitting President) got afraid about the country, he should stand on the sand and make a decree and He (God) will intervene. I keep reminding that former President to never forget the work of God committed into his hand. Even when he celebrated his birthday recently, I still reminded him of this task. I dare not do what God did not ask me to do; hence, I did everything concerning that prophetic assignment according to God’s direction. Herdsmen attack on communities is now a trend; do you see these people overrunning this country? Overrun? Do you not know or has it not occurred to you that the God who made the heavens and earth is in charge of this country? And He still lives. He is not dead. I tell you, nobody can overrun this country. I have that confidence because God said it; I’m not relying on what you journalists write but what the journalist of heaven said. C M Y K