By Jibrin Ibrahim | Publish Date: Mar 29 2017 12:00PM
President Muhammadu Buhari
Mr. President, we are a group of Northern non-partisan academics and public intellectuals who wish to share our concerns on a number of issues facing the nation. In so doing, our only intention is to be helpful to your Administration, which we believe is sincerely committed towards taking the country further along the path of positive change and the improvement of lives and livelihoods of Nigerians.
Second, we wish to congratulate you on your resolute war against terrorism and corruption, both of which have had considerable success. It is important that your government builds on this success to broaden the scope of change.
The struggle for economic recovery has had more mixed results and quite frankly, there is consensus in the country that your economic management team simply does not have the capacity to meet the nation’s expectations.
The recent publication of the economic recovery and growth plan after 20 months in office is an indication of the team’s lethargy even if it is a significant step in the right direction and provides important indications of what needs to be done.
We are aware that many people of goodwill have made suggestions to you that are similar to the ones in this letter but our hope is that as more people make the same suggestions, you are more likely to take them seriously.
Mr. President, Nigerians voted for you because they believed your promise of good governance and cleansing the political arena of the corrupt, vile and self-serving persons who had previously ruled our country. Today, Nigerians are worried that many such people remain in government. It is important to note that in governing, statesmen are obliged to practice the type of politics that would work for both sustaining the result-oriented political coalition that produced victory and indeed expanding the coalition. The end game however is to produce the dividends of democracy.
In this pursuit, the public must be continually assured that Government is on the right track. Success emanates from producing the results of improved and more secure lives of citizens.
Mr. President, in politics, sustaining the loyalty of the political coalition that won the election is always important. You are lucky to have charisma and your thinking might be that this charisma would be sufficient to carry you to the Promised Land. Charisma, it will be recalled, is the authority of the extraordinary and personal gift of grace that breeds personal devotion and personal confidence in followers. It is important to point out however that history is replete with examples in which charisma fails because there is no political machine or process to sustain it. Mr. President, you are very well aware that your charisma actually has geographical limits and what produced victory in 2015 is not the charisma-inspired following of your base, which has sustained support for you throughout your political career but extending this political support to areas where your charisma is limited. It is for this reason that sustaining the alliance that produced the APC is crucial.
Mr. President, it appears that you have kept the large coterie of ‘professional politicians’ – who worked hard, invested resources and mobilised to get you into power – at arm’s length. We understand the logic that would make an honest person act in this way. If your intention is not to work with politicians, the question you should ask yourself is, ‘What is the alternative?’ Simply refusing to act cannot be the alternative. The effect would be for many constituencies to lose hope in the future and that could be very dangerous. It is for this reason that we urge you to take this advice seriously.
1) The internecine and open fights between some leading members of your security team is threatening national cohesion and is destabilising the ability of government to work in concert. It is well known that when different security agencies are competing against each other and subverting themselves, it is the security of the nation that suffers.
2) The narrow base of your close advisers is giving the impression that you are running a closed government in a political environment that requires a participatory approach of all relevant stakeholders. Nigeria is a large country and has a complex history with a commitment to federal governance. Regular engagement with a broad section of stakeholders would significantly improve the quality of governance.
3) There appears to be no political strategy to your engagement with your own political party, the APC and the National Assembly. As preparations for the next round of elections pick up pace, your Administration needs a strong political team to help you achieve your objectives.
4) As you approach the mid-term of your mandate, your legislative agenda needs to be pursued with more pace and vigour. There are at least three urgent issues. The first is the reduction of the cost of governance through carrying out legislation that would address some of the issues raised in the Oronsanye Report and a new RMFAC formula, which would scale down remunerations of political office holders. The Second is the Petroleum Industry Bill, which candidate Buhari had promised would be prioritized within the first quarter of the Administration. Finally, legislation is necessary to strengthen the anti-corruption agencies.
5) Corruption appears to have tainted some of your leading subalterns and maintaining them in office gives the impression that you support corruption within your circle. The significant success you have achieved in the anti-corruption arena is being undermined by this impression.
6) There are an incredible number of vacancies in your Administration two years after your election. It is imperative that you fill them immediately so that you have competent people to pursue the implementation of the programmes for which you were elected.
7) Regular communication with Nigerians should be an important part of the Administration’s style of governance. The impression so far is that the President rarely talks with Nigerians and presidential spokespeople appear to talk without full consultation with their principal, often finding themselves on the wrong side of what the President believes.
Nigerians often hear the President reveal information during foreign visits and it is simply respect for citizens that the President should talk to them more often.
I. Stop the internal war among your security team and remove those who are unwilling to do their work in a loyal manner and are spending all their energies fighting others
II. Make an effort to appoint more advisers, formal and informal from wider circles, and open up to other ideas and suggestions that would improve national cohesion.
III. Appoint a high-powered team of economic advisers that can create coherence and synergy as well as guide the economic recovery plan.
IV. Appoint a high-powered team of political advisers that would guide the process of revamping your party and develop your political plans and strategy. The political team should also have the capacity of developing a modus operandi of working successfully with the National Assembly to pursue your legislative agenda.
V. Act decisively to get rid of your ministers and officials who have been tainted with engagement in acts of corruption.
VI. All vacancies in ministerial positions, boards, agencies and departments should be filled immediately.
VII. Develop a schedule for regular television appearances and town hall meetings to brief citizens directly on the conduct of government business.
Prof Massaud Omar
Dr. Abubakar Siddique Mohammed
Comrade John Odah
Prof Jibrin Ibrahim
Mallam Y. Z. Ya’u
Mr. Chom Bagu
Prof. Mustaha Gwadabe
Dr. Chris Kwaja
Mallam Ibrahim Muazzam
Mallam Auwal Musa Rafsanjani
Dr. Yohanna Kagoro Gandu
Prof Abdulkadir Adamu
Dr.Salihu Zubairu Mustapha
Mallam Danladi Aliyu
Mallam Abubakar Ibrahim
Dr. ElHarun Muhammad
By: Great Imo Jonathan
After analyzing the ongoing struggle to deliver Nigeria from CORRUPTION and to reinvent our economy, I came to the conclusion that at the heart of development under a democratic governance is The National Assembly. No President can do better in a DEMOCRACY than the legislature allows. Because anything done outside the law made by the National Assembly is considered illegal and the President if he insist is viewed as a dictator.
But and unfortunately, this time we have a President who is sincere and who love Nigeria and sadly a National Assembly populated by retired criminal governors and election riggers led by Bukola Saraki who don’t care if the people perished. In one of the fora where I belong, I told them that I suspected Saraki was interested in becoming the Senate President even before he showed interest. And I told them that when that happens, the change we all worked for will be up in flames because in a DEMOCRACratic government national assembly is key.
Unfortunately Saraki emerged because of President Buhari’s lack of political prowess and not allowing the party and Asiwaju Bola Tinubu to interfere. With Saraki’s emergence CORRUPTION torpedoed the change (maybe temporarily).
I remember my post on the day Saraki emerged, the fear that I expressed is gradually becoming real. But God forbid. I feared that with Saraki who has mountains of corruption hovering over him, Nigeria has come under the shadow of darkness despite Buhari’s sincerity and eagerness to develop Nigeria.
With Saraki taking Senate Presidency, the criminal elements in Nigeria literally outsmarted us. Because without new laws in the new direction no change can occur. You can imagine that the bill President Buhari sent to the National Assembly that will help expedite war against corruption is still lying with the national assembly. Saraki and his criminal gang sat on it and we are all yet complaining that all we hear is that there is corruption everywhere but there are no convictions.
How can you get convictions with Saraki himself facing charges? How can we win war on corruption with this state of corruption and unwillingness in the judiciary and Police? And how can you win war on corruption when the real institution, the National Assembly that is supposed to make new laws that will energize Buhari and Osibanjo to work are deliberately holding the Presidency to ransom, helping our corrupt elites to stay afloat and to get the opportunity to sack Buhari in 2019 and return the nation to the path of corruption permanently until total destruction.
They are blocking Buhari from getting the needed legislations and from accessing funds because they know that if laws are strengthened and money is available Buhari will do wonders as he did with PTF. The elite knows if Buhari is allowed to work and set the pace Nigerians will no longer accept their way of corruption and the minimum standards would have been set.
But again unfortunately, Nigerians are being blind folded by the likes of Saraki and Ben Bruce from getting to know that at the heart of current distortions are legislative vacuum and judicial pollution anchored in the National Assembly.
Let me give insight into how The National Assembly is holding Presidency and Nigerians to ransom using my edited version of Obono-Obla narrative.
They want Nigerians to suffer until they revolt against Buhari and the intention is to scuttle war on corruption. They want us to keep on crying about the economy, recession and
hardship but they have the powers to help Buhari solve the matter but have refused to address them.
Buhari asked The National Assembly to give him economic powers to help get us out of the recession but they refused. He asked to be allowed to take a loan to jump start the economy. He was denied by the same people in the National Assembly.
The stolen money that many thieves of the Government returned shows clear admittance of guilt by them. No court
accepted to convict any of them despite the many self confessions. Yet the National Assembly refused to pass the executive bill that was brought to it to help expedite CORRUPTION cases.
CBN changes the rules of transactions regarding FX at will. They have succeeded in creating business panic in the country.
They are now the rice marketers. Baba cannot remove the CBN Governor he has no such powers, but the National Assembly can do that very easily. Instead they turn the other way.
One of their own exposed their shady dealings and level of corruption in NASS and was prepared to serve his own jail term.
National Assembly led by Saraki called him names, bullied and booed him as they sent him packing.
Price of crude went down worldwide, Ben Bruce blame it on Buhari and the Presidency. But recently, N450b was uncovered being unremitted funds by agencies. The National Assembly is quiet
Thieves that stole this country to nothingness hid their wealth in soak-aways, surface tanks, farms, toilets etc. Yet the National Assembly has refused to pass the law the help sentence these criminals quickly.
In saner climes, with a people who truly want change and progress, any two combination above is enough to bring the National Assembly down……
But unfortunately with all these National Assembly shenanigans Nigerians are still only blaming Buhari. Even with these overwhelming evidence and facts, some bigots and wailers will still lay the blame on PMB, simply because of cheap hatred and propaganda being paddled by corrupt politicians.
If we want CHANGE, Presidency and entire Nigerians must fight the National Assembly to a standstill. They must be made to pass every piece of Legislation required to move Nigeria forward. It is within their powers to do them. In fact the so called restructuring we have been shouting about can be done by the National Assembly without delay. But not until we HOLD THEIR HEELS TO FIRE.
Great Imo Jonathan.
Whereas there has been resurgent xenophobic youth attacks on migrants in South Africa,
And whereas these attacks have resulted in the loss of human lives and properties of migrants in South Africa,
And whereas there is wide-spread outrage and resentment by Nigerians over the attacks on their fellow citizens living in South Africa,
And whereas the South African Government has condemned these racial attacks and is taking redoubtable steps to stanch further crisis,
And whereas the Nigerian Government has equally deplored these xenophobic attacks on Nigeria which assiduously propped up South Africa to end the obnoxious Apartheid and hence secure her independence in 1994,
And whereas the Nigerian Parliament has sent a high-powered delegation to South Africa to press for an end to the violent attacks,
And whereas, in expression of repulsion to these attacks, Niger Delta Militant groups (Niger Delta Watchdogs, Niger Delta Volunteers and Niger Delta Strike Force) have issued a threat to attack MTN, DSTV, Shoprite and other South African business investments in Nigeria if the Nigerian Government does not close them down in one month.
Therefore, we in the Revolutionary Council of the Nigerian People, in exercise of our rights under sections 38, 39 and 40 of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria as amended hereby today……………… state as follows:
- That although South African youths have expressed distaste over their being displaced from social and economic opportunities in their land—South Africa, we condemn the killing of Nigerian migrants in that country and destruction of their properties.
- We demand that the South African government should take urgent and effective steps to end the crisis and initiate peaceful dialogue between migrants and South African nationals to boost the amity of the two countries.
- That the Niger Delta militants–Niger Delta Watchdogs, Niger Delta Volunteers and Niger Delta Strike Force—should suspend forthwith the planned attack on South African business interests and persons in Nigeria.
- That such attack of vendetta will yield calamitous consequences on Nigeria: massive loss of jobs and business opportunities, especially ITC.
- That xenophobic attacks in consequence are not caused by South Africa but by politicians and select few in Nigeria who have since independence engaged in squander mania and profligacy in government thereby driving the youths out of jobs with the upshot of recession that makes them to arduously roam all over the world in search of livelihood.
- That instead of blaming South Africa and South African businesses which have economically empowered tens of thousands of Nigerian youths through employment and skills coaching, the new generation of Nigerians should blame their successive governments for marooning them in poverty and wretchedness.
- That Nigerian youths should come back to Nigeria—a plum country of fecundity rich in human and natural resources—to demand for better governance that would guarantee them self-reliance, economic growth, prosperity, wealth, joy and happiness. They should just as Bishop Hassan Kuka said, “Take back their country from the hands of marauders” and as Senator Shehu Sanni said, “challenge their leaders for subjecting them to economic poverty and current recession”.
- That the hope of Nigerian youths to succeed in life and prosper is in Nigeria, not overseas where they wash dishes and act as second-class citizens.
- That we vehemently oppose any attack on South African concerns in Nigeria and exhort the Niger Delta Militants to plumb why Nigerian youths suffer indignities all over the world, instead of blaming South Africa.
Okenwa Enyeribe (B. Pharm.)—Google/You tube
Head, Revolutionary Council of the Nigerian People, 08059853212. www.revolutionarycouncil.org.ng
Scribe, Revolutionary Council of the Nigerian People
For and on behalf of the Revolutionary Council of the Nigerian People
Citizens Action to Take Back Nigeria (CATBAN) has uncovered a huge financial theft, fraud and corruption on a sum of N630,125,499.90 by the principal officers of the National Assembly in the person…
Citizens Action to Take Back Nigeria (CATBAN) has uncovered a huge financial theft, fraud and corruption on a sum of N630,125,499.90 by the principal officers of the National Assembly in the persons of Sen. Bukola Saraki (Senate President), Sen. Ike Ekweremadu (Deputy Senate President), Hon. Yakubu Dogara (Speaker, House of Representatives) & Hon. Yusuf Larsun (Deputy Speaker, House of Representatives) involving the use of the Federal Capital Development Authority (FCDA) as a front under the guise of renting, renovation & furnishing of fictitious official residences.
The National Assembly as an independent arm of Government has all its statutory earnings and allowances properly fixed and spelt out by the Revenue Mobilization Allocation and Fiscal Commission (RMAFC) Act, 2002. This same law gives the National Assembly the power and control over her own budget and expenditure, including payment of all forms of allowances, and according to the RMAFC the remuneration package for political, public and judicial office holders is calculated in relation to the percentages of their annual basic salaries. For example, each Nigerian Senator receives 150% of his/her annual basic salary as accommodation allowance while each member of our Federal House of Representatives gets same equivalent. This percentage is also applicable for their furniture allowances yearly.
In view of this, the appropriate accommodation allowance for the Senate President is Three Million, Seven hundred and Twenty Thousand Naira Only (N3,720,000.00) and that of his Deputy is Three Million, Four Hundred and Fifty One Thousand, Five Hundred Naira Only (N3,451,500.00). In the case of the Speaker of the House of Representatives, his accommodation allowance is Three Million, Seven Hundred and Five Thousand Naira (N3,705,000.00)while his deputy is entitled to Three Million, Four Hundred and Thirty Five Thousand naira only (N3,435,000.00).
Authoritatively, CATBAN has established that the National Assembly has always enjoyed stable and steady receipt of its allocations and allowances. This means that all members of the National Assembly, including the principal officers of both chambers have been receiving these statutory allocations promptly and as at when due, including that of their accommodation & furnishing.
As an organization that has sworn to fight graft & instill good governance in public service in Nigeria, we were faced with a difficult question after it emerged from our preliminary investigations that these Principal Officers of the National Assembly impressed it on the Federal Capital Development Authority (FCDA) to provide them with accommodation, knowing fully well that the Monetization Policy prohibits the Federal Capital Development Authority (FCDA) or any agency of government from using taxpayers money to meet up to personal demands of public officers outside the provisions of the law.
WHAT CATBAN HAS UNCOVERED AND WISHES TO PRESENT TO THE PUBLIC IS NOT JUST A MERE CASE WHERE THESE PRINCIPAL OFFICERS OF OUR NATIONAL ASSEMBLY FALSELY CLAIMED MONEY FROM FCDA ON THE GUISE OF SEEKING OFFICIAL ACCOMMODATION, BUT RATHER A CLEAR CASE OF ABUSE OF POWER, STEALING, CRIMINAL CONSPIRACY AND DECEPTIVE USE OF SEEKING ACCOMMODATION AS A PLOY TO ENRICH THEMSELVES WITH PUBLIC FUNDS.
We thus hereby present a report on our findings as follows:
Sometime in the month of March 2016, the principal officers of the National Assembly clandestinely approached the management of the Federal Capital Development Authority (FCDA) to provide them with residential accommodation, being a follow up to an orchestrated plan perfected earlier by a loyal agent acting between the National Assembly and FCDA, to steal money through false accommodation request. To buttress the fact that these plans were perfected before the request, the speed & dispatch used in accepting, approving & disbursing hundreds of millions of naira for the so called residential accommodation was within 48hours.
The principal officers of our National Assembly presented companies that acted both as Estate Agents & Property Owners for the exercise, to which the monies for renting, renovation & furnishing were paid to by FCDA. The companies are:
GOGETIT INVESTMENT LTD with account in Zenith Bank,
LEGENDARK CONSULT LTD with account in Guaranty Trust Bank,
PITCH GLOBAL SERVICES with account in Heritage Bank.
Through these companies, the sum of Six Hundred & Thirty Million, One Hundred & Twenty Five Thousand, Four Hundred & Ninety Nine Naira, Ninety Kobo (N630,125,499.90) was fraudulently paid by the FCDA for the purported renting, renovation & furnishing of four (4) properties as official accommodation for the said individuals.
From uncovered evidence, Sen. Bukola Saraki & Hon. Yakubu Dogara presented their personal residential properties to serve as the purportedly rented houses, while Sen. Ike Ekweremadu & Hon. Yusuf Larsun didn’t present any residential property at all but simply collected & pocketed their share of the money.
Each of the above named individuals, with the help of the companies above, made a claim for the rent, renovation and furnishing for the fictitious houses.
SEN. BUKOLA SARAKI presented one of his properties acquired since he was Governor of Kwara State, located at No. 48 Lake Chad Crescent, Maitama District, Abuja and received the following sums:
Rent – N113,095,238.00 + N11,904,761.90 (VAT)
Furnishing – N67,857,142.86 + N7,142,857.14 (VAT)
Total – N199,999,999.90
HON. YAKUBU DOGARA presented one of his properties still under construction, located at No.9 Persian Gulf Close, off Euphrates Street, Wuse 2, Abuja (recently constructed by A. A. Oil) and received the following sums:
Rent – N72,833,333.32 + N7,666,666. 68 (VAT)
Furnishing – N63,146,500.00 + N6,647,000.00 (VAT)
Total – N150,293,500.00
SEN. IKE EKWEREMADU presented no residential property, yet received as follows
Rent – N90,476,190.76 + N9,525,809.24 (VAT)
Furnishing – N45,084,285.72 + N4,745,714.28 (VAT)
Total – N149,832,000.00
Hon. YUSUF LARSUN also presented no residential property, yet received as follows:
Rent – N62,428,571.42 + N6,571,428.58 (VAT)
Furnishing – N55, 190,476.18 + N5,809,523.82 (VAT)
Total – N130,000,000.00
GRAND TOTAL OF PUBLIC FUNDS STOLEN – N630,125,499.90
It is important to note that despite the fact that these individuals collected a total of N28,623,000.00 being their legally approved rent & furniture allowances as stipulated by the Revenue Mobilization Allocation and Fiscal Commission (RMAFC) Act & representing 300% of their annual basic salaries, they still went ahead to connive & fraudulently collect a whooping N630,125,499.90 of taxpayers money from FCDA to share, claiming same for rent & furnishing.
These findings and revelations have not only put to question the integrity & moral standing for these individuals to preside over the affairs of our legislature, but has also brought to fore the endemic corruption going on in our National Assembly, supported by individuals voted in by their constituents to represent their interests & make laws, but who have rather ganged up to fight for personal interests even when such includes defrauding the Federal Republic of Nigeria.
BASED ON THE ABOVE, WE DEMAND AN IMMEDIATE REFUND OF OUR TAXPAYERS MONEY STOLEN BY THESE PRINCIPAL OFFICERS, AND SUBSEQUENTLY CALL ON THE NIGERIAN POLICE FORCE AND ALL RELEVANT AGENCIES TO WADE INTO THE SITUATION AND ENSURE THAT JUSTICE IS SERVED. WE ALSO WANT TO REMIND ALL SENATORS & MEMBERS OF THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES THAT THEY ARE DUTY BOUND TO ENSURE APPROPRIATE SANCTIONS AGAINST THEIR COLLEAGUES WHO HAVE SOILED THE IMAGE OF THE NATIONAL ASSEMBLY OF THE FEDERAL REPUBLIC OF NIGERIA, AS THEIR CONSTITUENTS ARE KEENLY WATCHING TO SEE HOW THEY RESPOND.
Let it be known that, should members of the National Assembly remain docile and fail to take appropriate action against these Principal Officers, CATBAN will turn the National Assembly Complex into a Citizens Square, where decisions for severe political sanctions against all elected federal lawmakers currently serving under this dispensation will be made.
The Nigeria elite is highly hypocrite and suffers from selective amnesia! I recall that in January, 2006 Ebom people bombed neighbouring Ebijakara in Abi Local Government Area of Cross River State with dynamites. More than 300 were killed and all the houses in Ebijakara destroyed.
Today Ebijakara are homeless and internally displaced people. I waged a relentless campaign for Justice for Ebijakara no body from Cross River supported it.
Today, some people are pretending to be vociferous about unfortunate conflict in Southern Kaduna just because President Muhammadu Buhari. Must we politicize, sectionalize and bring religion into everything under the sun?
Ebijakara is entirely Christian but it did not arouse the conscience of Christians Community Cross River State nay Nigerian!
The narrative that the crisis in Southern Kaduna is Christian versus Muslim is totally dishonest, biased and disingenuous.
It is a script by some anarchists and trouble makers who are hungry for blood and wants to use such narrative to ignite a conflict in Nigeria.
All communal conflicts in Nigeria are rooted in ancient animosities, grudges, prejudices and intense struggle for land rights! The one in Southern Kaduna is no exception!
In Cross River State such bloody conflicts and eruptions are frequent occurrences! They are Ediba-Usumutong; Nko-Mkpani-Nyima; Onyedama-Nyima-Nko to mention but a few!
I recall the bloody communal conflict in Aguleri and Umuleri communities in Anambra State some few years ago.
In 1995, the people of Umuleri invaded Aguleri and started killing, maiming and destroying properties belonging to Aguleri. Aguleri and Umuleri are Christian and Igbo communities.
The crisis was brought to an end by the Obasanjo administration, when he went to the effected communities and invited leaders of the three (3) communities (Umuoba Anam inclusive) to the state house for a meeting. It was during this time that an agreement was reached, to settle out of court. A peace committee was formed to see to an amicable settlement.
I recall the bloody communal war between Ife-Modakeke in Osun State in the 1990s and 2001. This conflict has raged for more than two hundred years.
I remember the invasion of Ezillo community in Ebonyi State by well-armed gunmen from Ezza Community in the early hours of the morning in December, 2013 who indiscriminately open fire on innocent villagers killing more than 100 people in Ezillo! The Ezza and Ezillo people are both Christian and Igbo!
Two days a bloody conflict erupted between the Obudu Community in Cross River State and a neighboring Community in Benue State. The conflict is still raging! The Obudu and Tiv people are predominately Christian!.
For the past five years, the people of communal war erupted between the people of Ochienyim in Amagu Ikwo in Ikwo Local Government Area of Ebonyi State and the Adadama community in Cross River State that resulted in massive killings on both sides. These are two supposedly Christian Communities.
The truth of the matter is that Nigeria is rife with communal conflicts and violence.
Maybe there is something structurally and fundamentally wrong with the justice, law and order sectors in the country that conflicts are never resolved but are allowed to snowball into wars!
Government must put in place a machinery to promptly deal with conflict and punish those who instigate and perpetrate them.