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President Bola Tinubu on Sunday, acknowledged that there were some bad eggs in government who try to undermine investment opportunities, but empowered the investing community in Qatar not to hesitate in reporting any of his officials that demand bribe in the country.

Tinubu who is on a visit to Qatar, told the international business community that Nigeria is ready for serious business, assuring that his administration will deal decisively with any and all entrenched interests in the country who undermine investor confidence in the Nigerian economy.

He said he was poised to remove all bottlenecks standing in the way of profitable and legitimate enterprise in Nigeria.

The President gave the charge at the Nigeria-Qatar Business and Investment Forum in Doha, on Sunday.

According to him, Africa’s largest economy and its systems are being reformed and upgraded.

“For you Qatar’s captains of industry report any government official who demands a bribe or any form of inducement at any point in your business endeavour. I give you full assurance of your direct access to the President’s Office.

“I am here to give you the assurance that reforms are going on; forget about whatever you heard in the past. Whatever is the obstacle or problem that some of you might have experienced; it is in the past, because there is no obstacle in the future.

“Do not offer a bribe to any of our people, and if it is requested or taken from you, report to us. You will have access to me. Nigeria will no longer be defined by the past, but by what we do now and moving forward.

“Do not let perceptions become a hindrance to your will to invest. Nigeria is serious about revolutionizing investment promotion. We are removing obstacles today and we are going to continue to remove all obstacles.

“We have done so much within nine months. And I am assuring you, it is free entry, and free exit. Your funds will flow smoothly into and out of our country. Bring your investments,” the President stated.

Stanley Nwabali


 

According to football transfer expert Fabrizio Romano, Super Eagles goalkeeper, Stanley Nwabali, is reportedly attracting interest from English Championship club Queens Park Rangers (QPR) and Saudi Arabian outfit Al Ettifaq.

Nwabali, who currently plies his trade for South African Premier Soccer League side Chippa United as their first-choice goalkeeper, emerged as one of the standout performers during the 2023 Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) in Côte d’Ivoire.


Despite making his competitive debut for the Eagles against Equatorial Guinea, Nwabali impressed by keeping four consecutive clean sheets. His remarkable performance included crucial saves in the semi-final clash against South Africa, helping Jose Peseiro’s team advance to the final. However, they ultimately fell short and lost 2-1 to Côte d’Ivoire.

Following his standout displays at the AFCON, Nwabali has reportedly garnered interest from various clubs within and outside of Africa. Romano revealed via Facebook on Sunday morning that both QPR and Al Ettifaq have expressed interest in the 27-year-old goalkeeper.

“Nigeria GK Stanley Nwabali is attracting attention from different clubs, with Al Ettifaq in Saudi Arabia and Queens Park Rangers in the UK expressing interest in signing him. His South African club Chippa United will assess his future options in the coming months,” Romano wrote.

Harrysong


 

Popular Nigerian singer, Harrysong's estranged wife, Alexer Peres Harry, has finally spoken about her failed marriage.

Recall that Alexer had in a post on her Instagram page last year, announced separation from the singer and pleaded with God for assistance.

She wrote: “I’m Done officially, God help me.”

However, speaking in a viral interview with popular media personality, Daddy Freeze, Alexer claimed that Harrysong had always told her that he never loved her.

“He said I would not do any business or make use of social media. I have not been on social media for the past three years.

“He said he married me out of pity and not love”, Alexer reveals.

Watch her interview below:

 
 
 
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Economic Hardship: Veteran actor, Jide Kosoko, postpones 70th birthday  celebration

 

Jide Kosoko, the veteran Nollywood actor, has postponed his 70th birthday celebration due to the economic hardship in Nigeria.

Kosoko, who turned 70 on January 12, said he appreciates his colleagues and fans who came up with the idea of celebrating his contributions to the industry while he was still alive.


However, he said he is but “putting it (celebration) on hold because of the masses, of which I am part of”.

The thespian in an Instagram post on Sunday, said he was sure that “very soon, the challenges facing the country will be over and we will all be happy about it”

He wrote: I want to use this opportunity to offer my sincere appreciation to my colleagues who came up with the idea of celebrating me for my contributions to industry growth and development our industry while I am still alive and kicking. This also falls within the year of my 70th birthday.

It is my sincere prayer that they will all remain relevant in all areas of human endeavours they find themselves in.

I have discussed with them, and they reasoned, that the celebration should be put on hold, basically because of the current situation in the country and what the people are going through.

I am very sure that very soon, the challenges facing the country will be over and we will all be happy for it.


I am putting it on hold because of the masses, of which I am part of.

Thank you all for your understanding!.

 

Recall that fuji icon, Wasiu Ayinde, aka K1 De Ultimate, also recently cancelled his birthday celebration due to the current economic hardship in the country.

 
 
 
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A post shared by Babajide Kosoko (@princejidekosoko)

In fact, what you are about to read is a two-pronged response to a two-pronged attack on President Bola Ahmed Tinubu by two notable Northern leaders. The attack by the Sultan of Sokoto was responded to by the Yoruba Nation activist, Chief Sunday Adeyemo aka Sunday Igboho, while the second attack by the Emir of Kano was responded to by Tunde Rahman, one of Tinubu’s presidential aides. Let’s take them one after the other: Sultan/Igboho first; then Emir of Kano/Rahman after that, both as they were reported in the media.

“Insecurity, poverty can’t be tackled overnight”, Igboho tells the Sultan of Sokoto. Mr. Adeyemo maintained that the blame of bad economy, perennial insecurity problem, food inflation, unemployment and youth restiveness should not be heaped on Tinubu’s administration, which is just about eight months old.

“Yoruba nation activist, Sunday Adeyemo, popularly known as Sunday Igboho, on Thursday, took on the Sultan of Sokoto, Muhammad Sa’ad Abubakar, contending that the nation’s twin challenges of insecurity and poverty cannot be resolved overnight.

“He emphasized that relevant stakeholders in governance, economy, security and other critical sectors should be committed to finding ways round the insecurity challenge and socioeconomic obstacles for Nigeria to achieve peace and steady development.

“In a statement he personally signed, in reaction to the position of Mr. Abubakar on the prevalent hardship and spate of insecurity in some parts of the country, Mr. Adeyemo stressed that President Bola Tinubu’s administration should be allowed to work out solutions capable of addressing the situation.

“Recall that Mr. Abubakar, who is also the chairman, Northern Traditional Rulers’ Council, had, during the sixth executive meeting of the council in Arewa House, Kaduna (last week) Wednesday, declared that Nigeria is sitting on a keg of gunpowder due to poverty, hardship and ravaging insecurity bedeviling the nation.

 “(While) Mr. Adeyemo posited that the Sultan’s position on the current state of the nation was not out of place (he) maintained that the blame of bad economy, perennial insecurity problem, food inflation, unemployment and youth restiveness should not be heaped on Tinubu’s administration, which is just about eight months old”.

According to Igboho’s statement, “it is important for our leaders at all levels, be it religious or traditional, to demonstrate commitment to bringing solutions to the table at this crucial point in our history. Our problems as a nation are foundational.

“Nigeria had been in a precarious state in terms of bad governance, poor economy, terrorism, insecurity, irresponsive leadership for decades. I believe that the Federal Government is not unconcerned about the plight of the people and has taken steps to remedy the situation.”

“Mr. Adeyemo noted that while the nation could not gloss over the incessant attacks by rampaging herdsmen on farmlands, most especially during the immediate past regime of former President Muhammadu Buhari, thus forcing thousands of farmers to abandon farm settlements, it is thoughtful to say that the effect of farmers/herders’ clash, leading to killings (and the) destruction of farms, has been devastating on food production and agriculture value chain.

“This worrisome development has been one of the major causes of food insecurity and increase in prices of food items and commodities. We need to allow the incumbent administration to explore all measures being deployed to address inflation, foreign exchange issues, exorbitant foodstuff prices, which will soon yield results.

“The recent decision by the government to deploy troops for the protection of farmers against herders’ attacks, which are negatively affecting harvest and food productivity, will further boost the confidence of peasant farmers and agric. entrepreneurs to return to the farm. Also, the plan to set up the National Commodity Board will checkmate escalating food inflation,” the statement added.

The Sultan’s statement, though not unexpected, was reckless, provocative and inciting, to say the least. What does he mean that they can no longer restrain their people? For eight years they restrained the same people while Buhari ruined the country irreparably but cannot now restrain the people while Tinubu grapples with the ruins left behind by Buhari! Interestingly, Sunday Adeyemo’s statement, though straight to the point, was measured; it was more of that of a statesman than of an agent provocateur like the Sultan’s. Nigerians are no fools!

Titled “Olayemi Cardoso’s dilemma” the second response by Tunde Rahman started by detailing the CBN governor’s antecedents that he said eminently qualified him for his present job before stating the variables that he said would make or mar Cardoso in his new assignment: “But in the wake of the floating of the Naira, some of the variables shaping the value of the national currency, including limited production in the country as a result of insecurity, Nigerians’ high taste for imported products, dwindling exports, poor dollar remittances, humongous school fees of Nigerian students abroad and medical tourism – all of which engendered a strong demand for dollar, far outweighing supply – seem to be clearly beyond his control.

“Until these situations change for the better, no monetary policies by the CBN will work any miracle, hence Cardoso’s predicament. For instance, in his presentation at the sectoral debate organized by the House of Representatives… the CBN governor lamented that the growing number of Nigerian students studying abroad, increasing medical tourism and food imports have led to the depreciation of the Naira against the Dollar. According to him, over the past decade, foreign exchange demand for education and healthcare totaled nearly $40 billion, surpassing the total current foreign exchange reserves of the CBN, while personal travel allowances accounted for a total of $58.7 billion during the same period”

The question here is: Since we know the problems, tell us what we are doing to solve them! I read of efforts to revamp some hospitals; good! But what are we doing to reverse the “japa” of doctors and other medical staff? What are we doing to revamp our institutions of higher learning? What efforts are we making to engage university teachers and implement the MOU entered into with them?

Not done yet, Rahman continued: “Another critical yet intriguing factor but seemingly odd in Cardoso’s reckoning is the perception in some quarters of some of the decisions of the CBN, which the apex bank considers purely administrative, but which some others give strange connotations. One of such is the decision to move some departments of the bank; notably banking supervision, other financial institutions supervision, consumer protection department, and payment system management department from Abuja to Lagos.

” Indeed, until the Emir of Kano, Alhaji Aminu Ado Bayero, spoke on this issue last week, I had reckoned that the imperative of the planned relocation of some CBN departments and the headquarters of the Federal Airport Authority of Nigeria from Abuja to Lagos was evident enough. I had reasoned that the Northern politicians, including Senator Ali Ndume from Borno State, who had moved to bring down the roof over the development, were merely playing politics.

Rahman then quoted the Emir as saying: “We are indeed suspicious on why Mr. President single-handedly relocated key departments of CBN and outright relocation of FAAN to Lagos. We are receiving a series of messages from my subjects, and most of them expressed concern over the relocation of CBN and FAAN to Lagos. President Tinubu should come out clean on this matter and talk to Nigerians in the language they would understand. Do more enlightenment on this matter. I, for one, cannot tell the actual intentions of the government. We should be made to actually understand why the relocation of the CBN and FAAN offices back to Lagos.”

Rahman said many would wonder “why some members of the northern elites are losing their cool, misinterpreting this move and, perhaps inadvertently, heating up the polity on this rather elementary matter. Is their reservation altruistic? Or are they just being sincerely mistaken and reading unnecessary motives into the policy?” While I agree that the Northern leaders’ views on this issue is not altruistic but unhelpful, tribal, sectional, selfish and myopic, I disagree with Rahman that more PR by Cardoso would have changed the Northern leaders’ opinion. No amount of PR will! Rahman advised the CBN governor to “be political without being partisan”. I disagree! The CBN governor is not a politician and must resist every insidious effort to turn him into one.

However, I agree with Rahman that “those who are responding negatively to the policy (of moving some offices from Abuja to Lagos) are treating Abuja as if it belongs to the North rather than being the symbol of the entire country as the Federal Capital Territory. In that capacity, as the FCT, Abuja belongs to all and belongs to no one. In the same vein, as the economic capital and nerve center of the country, Lagos is a melting pot where representatives of virtually all ethnic and cultural groups in the country reside and earn a living. There is absolutely nothing that says that the headquarters of all federal agencies must be located in the federal capital even when economic considerations and efficiency dictate otherwise. Some federal agencies reside neither in Abuja nor Lagos at present, and their work goes on unimpeded”.

O yes! If need be, let more FG offices be moved from Abuja to Lagos and other parts of the country. Akinola Aguda, Kayode Esho, Tai Solarin and other Yoruba conscientious and eminent luminaries who thought they were being patriotic when they recommended and or supported the movement of the capital from Lagos to Abuja will squirm in their grave, seeing how the North is appropriating to themselves alone what should belong to all of us equally! Every part of Nigeria is qualified to house any agency of the federal government if we are truly the Federal Republic of Nigeria and not an appendage of the feudal North.

Politics apart, the aggregate of opinion is that Nigeria is in a very bad shape; opinion is divided, though, on what needs to be done to return it to a better shape. Has this become a mission impossible? Can Nigeria be salvaged or is it beyond redemption? Is the task of our heroes, past and present, condemned to being like that of Sisyphus? Greek mythology records that Sisyphus, a king of Corinth, was punished in Hades (Hell) for his misdeeds by being condemned eternally to rolling a heavy stone up a hill: Each time he approached the top of the hill, the stone escaped his grasp, rolled to the bottom, ad nauseam, ad infinitum! Nigeria escaped what we thought was a gripping debt burden under President Olusegun Obasanjo only to run headlong into a more scandalously vicious debt trap nuder President Muhammadu Buhari!

The opinion you are about to read is that of Prof. Banji Akintoye, Yoruba Nation protagonist, who insists that this house has already fallen! How? Why? What can still be done? Titled “NIGERIA NEEDS NOW THE COURAGE TO DISSOLVE PEACEFULLY”, his views are articulate, profound and arresting, which was why I chose to share excerpts of them with my readers here today. Enjoy it! Reactions are welcome!

 

“At independence in 1960, Nigeria was truly the economic giant and hope of Africa. Nigeria was 25% of the population of Black Africa. One of the Regions of the Nigerian Federation, the Western Region, had the most intensely educated population in Africa, and Nigeria, therefore, had the largest and most solid class of educated professionals in Africa. By the time of independence, Nigeria ranked as one of the world’s largest exporters of cocoa (from the Western Region), palm products (from the Eastern Region) and groundnuts (from the Northern Region).

Of minerals, Nigeria was an exporter of tin (mined on the Jos Plateau) and coal (mined on Udi Hill near Enugu), and every region of Nigeria had rich deposits of minerals. The Western Region had the second largest deposit of bitumen in the world, and the Northern Region had deposits of uranium. Nigeria was known to have rich deposits of petroleum; by the 1970s, Nigeria became one of the leading producers and exporters of petroleum in the world, earning phenomenal revenues that made the country one of the world’s richest countries. Altogether, Nigeria seemed to be heading to success, wealth, prosperity and power. Unhappily, however, Nigeria lacked the inner unity and strength needed for such greatness.

The hundreds of peoples of Nigeria, pushed together in 1914 by the British, were radically different in culture, political traditions, religion, attitudes to religious diversity, and attitudes to modern change. Until after the Second World War, the British did nothing to give Nigeria a unified existence. When at last they granted a unifying constitution in 1949-51 and created under it a Federation of three Regions (Eastern, Northern and Western Regions), they boldly wrote conflict and instability into the life of the Federation –by disrespecting obvious ethnic boundaries in the delineation of the Regions’ boundaries, by making the Northern Region much larger than the Eastern and Western Regions put together, by giving the Northern Region a decisive majority in the Federal Parliament, and by generally creating the impression that the Northern Region was destined to lead the Federation.

 

The Regions did well for their peoples (with the Western Region as the development leader and pace setter), but rancor, hatred and unhealthy rivalry marked their relationships. Then, to ensure Britain’s continued control of the Nigerian economy after independence, the British maneuvered in great detail (falsified the national census, installed stumbling blocks in the constitution, rigged the pre-independence election, heavily influenced the post-election inter-party negotiations) to give dominance to the Fulani leadership of the Northern Region over Nigeria’s Federal Government at independence. By doing these things, the British essentially placed a death sentence on Nigeria.

 

The Fulani were one of Nigeria’s smallest peoples (only about six million in the Northern Region), were a non-indigenous people, had no homeland in Nigeria or anywhere, were part of a Fulani people scattered all over West Africa, consisted mostly of nomadic cattle herders, were the least educated people in Nigeria and the least desirous of modern education, and were the least capable of leading a modern country along modernity lines. Lacking an understanding of the nature of a modern country, the Fulani decided immediately at independence that they were meant to be the new colonial overlords of Nigeria.

 

Nigeria’s sad journey thus began – through endless falsifications and manipulations of political processes, falsifications of censuses, destruction of the federation through centralization of all power and resource control, destruction of Regional and local initiatives in the economy, rancor and acrimony, inter-people conflicts, pogroms, civil war, religious violence, Fulani use of military force for an attempt to conquer all of Nigeria’s indigenous peoples, economic decline, Fulani invitation to other West African Fulani to help conquer Nigeria’s indigenous peoples, Fulani attraction of international terrorist groups to help the Fulani conquest, a destructive push to turn Nigeria to a Muslim country by violence, vicious insecurity, rivers of blood, economic collapse, to the now inevitable break-up.

 

The early Fulani adventure to expand their control over all of Nigeria featured a major agenda, embarked upon in 1962 and covertly assisted by the British, to subdue the Western Region (Nigeria’s leader and pace-setter in development). The adventure destroyed the Western Region’s and Nigeria’s development progress, dragged down Nigeria’s security, and provoked the first military coup in 1966. From then on, there followed a long succession of military coups and military dictators until 1999 – with only a brief civilian interlude in 1979-83. The military dictators relentlessly destroyed the federal principle in favor of centralization. The military dictators from July 1966 on, being all Northerners, pushed for further and further centralization and Northern Fulani dominance. This provoked resistance and bloody conflicts, and an attempt by the Igbo-led Eastern Region to secede from Nigeria in 1967. The attempt started a 30-month civil war, 1967-70, which took about two million lives among the Igbo people.

 

As if to wipe off these self-imposed disasters, mineral oil began in the early 1970s to boost Nigeria’s economic strength, by making phenomenal amounts of money available to Nigeria’s development. Nigeria’s prospects were so rosy by the late 1970s that some patriotic Nigerians embarked on putting together a dazzling program of development for Nigeria. Some of the youthful intellectuals in this group even believed that they could make Nigeria the ‘Blackman’s World Power of Modern Times’. But Nigeria lacked the unity, the cohesiveness and the orderly political and economic life necessary for such great accomplishments.

A manipulated, blatantly rigged and violently protested election in 1979 shot down those who were proudly talking of building the ‘Blackman’s World Power’. From then on, rather than grow in prosperity and power, Nigeria entered into a process of truculent Fulani grabbing of control, of unrelenting centralization of political power, resource control and development management, and the most rabid culture of public corruption in the world. The Northern Fulani control became so total that one of the military dictators felt free in 1993 to annul a completed and peaceful presidential election without giving any reason for his action, and another felt free to arrest and imprison the winner of the election and then to institute a murderous reign of terror to stop popular reaction, and yet another unilaterally imposed a constitution on Nigeria by decree in 1999.

 

The Nigerian culture of impunity and public corruption has grown so mightily since then that it has earned Nigeria, year after year, the assessment as one of the most corrupt countries in the world. Since 2018, Nigeria has been classified as the Number One home of ‘extreme poverty’ in the world. The succession of the Northern military dictators from 1985 to 1999, serving the purposes of centralization and of Fulani control of power and resources, rammed down their system irremediably. In spite of Nigeria’s hundreds of nationalities, Nigeria lost federalist direction and became simply a country under complete control of a central government firmly controlled by mostly Fulani nationality. Nigeria’s central government became an instrument for managing, not Nigeria’s development, but for managing Nigeria’s titanic and complex culture of public corruption.

In the end, the Nigerian Fulani political elite, intoxicated by all this great success of theirs in the politics of Nigeria and by continued covert British support, embarked upon a pre-modern and primitive ambition to employ violence to conquer all the other nations of Nigeria and turn their homelands into a large Fulani homeland. The outside world, lacking an understanding of this bizarre political turn in Nigeria, wrongly saw it as a development arising simply from climate change – from the coming of prolonged droughts in the West African Sahel and Sudan from the 1990s, and the consequent veering of Fulani cattle herdsmen southwards into the forest territories in search of grass for their cattle and, therefore, intensified conflicts between farmers and cattle herders in Nigeria. But that is not the true explanation for what has been happening in Nigeria…

As soon as a Fulani leader, Muhammadu Buhari, was elected President of Nigeria in 2015, the Fulani seriously commenced their planned conquest of Nigeria. For the next eight years under Buhari, Fulani cattle herders and militias, indoctrinated with the message that Allah had given the whole of Nigeria to the Fulani for a Fulani homeland, and heavily armed with sophisticated modern weapons (mostly AK 47 rifles), spread out all over the South and Middle Belt of Nigeria, destroying or burning farms, farmsteads and villages, killing farmers and farmers’ wives and children, wiping out the inhabitants of whole villages, raping and killing women, killing children on the way to or from school, kidnapping countless people, extorting enormous amounts of money as ransom for the kidnapped…

As President Tinubu was being sworn in on May 29, 2023 to succeed Buhari, greatly confident armies of Fulani destroyers and killers were waiting for him. They were sitting on the enormous amounts of Nigeria’s money that had been stolen in recent years for the Fulani war of conquest, and they owned enormous arsenals of various weapons, and countless thousands of Fulani killers and international terrorists. They immediately heightened the tempo and viciousness of their killing and kidnapping. In January 2024, they publicly announced that they had declared war against Tinubu himself and threatened to invade the president’s offices and seize the seat of power!

In summary, Nigeria’s economy has collapsed, Nigeria’s security has collapsed, Nigerians are living a life of wrenching poverty and hunger, a life of frightful insecurity and chaos…Terrible hunger grips the life of most Nigerians… On the floor of the Nigerian National Assembly, legislators are breaking into tears as they recount the economic suffering and the drastic insecurity of the people of their constituencies, and many legislators are denouncing Nigeria’s presidential system and calling for its abolition. Many influential Nigerians are publicly advising ordinary Nigerians to buy guns for self-defence. In all regions of Nigeria, huge numbers of hungry people are protesting in the streets, crying of hunger. (TO BE CONTINUED).

Public reactions to the report of the presidential committee on restructuring and rationalization of federal government parastatals, commissions and agencies led by Steve Oronsaye, former Head of Service of the Federation have been immensely positive. Those who have a few reservations, have no substantive objections to the report; instead, they are merely raising issues of how to implement an old report without updating it to meet today’s concerns.

What this suggests is that both presidents Goodluck Jonathan and Muhammadu Buhari failed to meet public expectations on the expedience of taking steps to reverse a trend in Nigeria that had been encouraging bloated government. A bigger blame goes to Jonathan who saw the need to set up the panel, yet for 3 years 2012-2015, got distracted away from doing the needful by implementing even those aspects of the report which his government accepted.

 

As is always the case in Nigeria, the government that came after that of Jonathan spent several years reviewing the report that had been severally reviewed as if its game-plan was to buy time rather than cut the cost of governance. As a result, Buhari’s government joined those which set up panels without doing anything positive about the findings of such panels. As if following precedents, different former heads of service Ama Pepple, Ebele Okeke, Bukar Aji etc. were mandated to either review or produce white papers that were never implemented. It was nothing new because from history we are aware of a plethora of panels: Mbanefo (1959), Morgan (1963), Simeon Adebo (1971), Jerome Udoji (1972-4) Dotun Philips (1985), Allison Ayida (1994) Ahmed Joda (1999).

 

Against this backdrop it is in order to commend President Bola Tinubu for resurrecting the famous Oronsaye report which would have saved the nation N862 billions of naira between 2012 and 2015 if it were implemented. Everyone including Peter Obi has praised Tinubu for the decision. President Tinubu  must however distance himself from leaving the subject at the cosmetic point of proclamation as his predecessor did. The target of 3 months set by him for the exercise makes a lot of sense as he needs to consider new developments that might work against the implementation of some aspects of the report. At the same time, there are many areas that are too obvious to be delayed. For example, organizations  found by previous report to have no enabling law, which Oronsaye restated should be done with immediately and avoid the old vice of procrastination.

There are also several bodies with similar functions and powers that can be run together without serious adverse consequences. It would not be necessary to add such bodies to what needs to be reviewed once again. Nothing for instance works against the merger of the Infrastructure Concession and Regulatory Commission(ICRC) with the Bureau of Public Enterprises(BPE). Similarly, a health entity can be achieved from the merger of the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) and the National Commission for Refugees (NCF). There is also no aberration in recognising the ample similarities between the Voice of Nigeria (VON), the Federal Radio Corporation of Nigeria (FRCN) and our own Nigerian Television Authority (NTA). Our worry as I personally testified before the Oronsaye Panel in 2012 is funding.

Over the years, government developed a nonchalant attitude towards broadcasting. Apart from paying only salaries to broadcast stations, they are not allowed to exercise professional discretion in the performance of their duties. Indeed, the last 8 years saw a subtle but effective clamping down on the stations, introducing several censorship guidelines that make broadcasting obsolete. For such a sector which gets minimum respect from government, one would not be surprised if a merger of the 3 bodies leads to sending to them one third the funds needed by the 3 components which would still function separately. The case of television would be particularly precarious because its needs are technically different from that of radio which may suit VON and FRCN that have no need for the video component of television. If they must all merge, the only gain would be to reduce their 3 Boards of Directors to one.

The Federal Road Safety Commission (FRSC) has done some good work for some time, but its relatively better performance than its mother body, the Nigeria Police is due more to funding. No one would have given to the Police alone, what both the Police and the FRSC are getting now, yet the FRSC was cut off from the Police to handle the assignment of one department of the Police. Interestingly, many provisions in the law setting up the Police are reproduced with respect to functions and powers of the FRSC. No wonder Nigerians meet a multiplicity of law enforcement agencies on the highways. It is also noted that the Universal Basic Education Commission, the Nomadic Education Commission and the National Mass Literacy Commission can seamlessly fuse.

For all intents and purposes, both the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) and the Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission (ICPC) are essentially set-up to fight corruption. Considering that corruption is one of the greatest challenges to good governance in Nigeria, what both bodies need are great working tools. They don’t necessarily need to be two separate bodies. The recommendation by the Oronsaye panel that both should merge is therefore understandable. The same argument can be put to support the merger of the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) and the Public Complaints Commission(PCB). In fact, the latter which has almost faded away on its own will get revived if merged with the NHRC that has always had vibrant leadership. In addition, the nature and powers of the PCB render her a toothless bulldog.   

It is ridiculous to hear that regulatory bodies of professional entities are part of organs which get annual subvention from government. Why for instance should government carry the burden of funding the Advertising Practitioners Council of Nigeria APCON or even the Nigerian Press Council NPC? Well before 2012, different courts had declared that the existence of the NPC negates the constitutional provisions on press freedom. Should such a body still exist let alone to attract annual government subvention? It is true the council has done well in attracting bright officers but such staff can easily fit into other government bodies under the information and communication sectors. Although the Oronsaye report recommended that the Nigerian Film and Video Censors Board (NFVCB) should become a department in the Information Ministry, no organization should be allowed to have the NFVCB type of Board with 54 Directors.

One of the easiest ways for government to cut cost is to investigate  several organizations that came into existence through the legislature whose members create institutions for their villages without feasibility studies. So many such bodies have since emerged through the bow and go culture of the legislature to compound an already bloated government. President Tinubu should stand firmly against many such bodies that have been created since after Oronsaye’s report was presented in 2012. We cannot afford to be seen outside our clime as one that continues to increase government bodies after a panel had been set up to reduce the size of the same government. It is not enough to say such new bodies were the creation of law that can be amended.

 

For a successful general harmonization, the size of ministries should also be rationalized. Nigeria as a poor country cannot afford to have twice the size of Ministers of the United States. The unveiling of a large ministerial size by President Tinubu may have been informed by the desire to attain inclusivity as well as that he probably didn’t know the extent of Nigeria’s low finances. Now that he knows, he should strategize to do the needful because examples have always been better than precepts. After that, Nigerians from all walks of life led by civil society activists must stand in unionism to demand for an amendment to our constitution to bring to an end our two-chamber federal legislature. Its capitalist nature is too expensive for Nigeria. One chamber is enough if we must cut our coat not according to our size but according to our cloth.

In this first interview with any national daily since the conferment of the rank of Senior Advocate of Nigeria, SAN, and his appointment as Attorney-General and Commissioner for Justice in Ondo state, Dr, Olukayode Ajulo, speaks with Olakunle Olasanmi, Head, Judiciary Desk, on constitutional issues, current hardship in the country and the chances of his principal, Governor Lucky Aiyedatiwa, among other aspirants for the November 16, 2024 governorship election in the state.

You were conferred with the prestigious rank of Senior Advocate of Nigeria, at an elaborate ceremony in Supreme Court last November, how does it feel being a SAN and what has changed professional wise?

The rank of Senior Advocate of Nigeria is the highest professional recognition in Nigeria for lawyers and indeed, I submit, of any professional. This esteemed title is prescribed and it symbolises the pinnacle of personal desire, fulfilment, and professional achievement within the legal community. I must confess, the journey to attaining this honour was one I eagerly anticipated, prayed and hoped against hope for.

Now that it has been graciously bestowed upon me, I am humbled by the magnitude of the responsibilities it entails. While I still revel in the euphoria of this achievement, I am also keenly aware of the challenges that come with ascending to such a privileged realm within the legal profession. What has changed for me professionally is the heightened sense of duty and the determination to excel that accompanies this prestigious title. I upped my game!

In the last few months it’s been from one elevation to the other, last November, you got the coveted SAN rank and now, an appointment as Commissioner in Ondo state, would you like to share some of the secrets of your successes?

I offer my utmost praise and adoration to the Almighty God, for He has bestowed upon me countless blessings. His grace has unfailingly accompanied me throughout my journey, and the secret to my successes lies in unwavering faith in God coupled with diligent efforts. As the sacred scriptures expound, faith and hard work are essential ingredients for achievement, and I have steadfastly adhered to this principle.

This age-old covenant with success is epitomised by the motto of my law firm, Castle of Law, which quotes Proverbs 22:29: “Seest thou a man diligent in his business? he shall stand before kings; he shall not stand before mean men.” With faith as my guide and diligence as my companion, I have traversed the path to success.

Many Nigerians believed the judiciary is part of the problems we are facing in this country today, especially, the controversial orders that are being issued from the courts, what would be your advice as regards this view that is being held by Nigerians and also to the leadership of the judiciary in the country?

While it is true that our judiciary, like any institution, faces challenges, it is essential to approach this issue with a balanced perspective- no institution should be insulated from this. Eighty per cent of the problems we face in Nigeria are internal. However, the judiciary sure plays a vital role in upholding the rule of law and ensuring justice for all. To address concerns about the judiciary, I would with respect recommend strengthening the rule of law, upholding integrity within the judiciary, improving judicial efficiency, promoting judicial education and training, and ensuring accountability and disciplinary measures. Restoring public trust in the judiciary requires a collective effort from all stakeholders, including the judiciary itself, legal professionals, the government, civil society organizations, and the public.

It is believed that the Rule of Law is not regarded by the FG, in your view as a senior lawyer, what is the implication of this on the country’s image and economy?

As a lawyer, I would urge that we approach the subject of the federal government’s regard for the rule of law with a measured perspective. While criticisms have been voiced regarding the government’s commitment to upholding the rule of law, it is essential to acknowledge that the current government is an offshoot of constitutionalism, forming a foundation rooted in the principles of the rule of law.

Ofcourse, it is within one’s prerogative to aspire for more improvements and reforms in this regard. Constructive discussions and efforts to strengthen the rule of law should be encouraged, as they contribute to the development and progress of any nation.

Despite varying political interpretations, court judgements continue to be honoured, signifying a recognition of the importance of respecting the judiciary’s decisions. However, challenges persist, and it is crucial to address them to prevent adverse implications on the country’s image and economy. Disregarding the rule of law can erode investor confidence, promote corruption, weaken legal frameworks, and foster social unrest, all of which can hinder economic progress and tarnish the country’s reputation.

In expanding these thoughts. The expected implication of disregard for the rule of law by any given government of a country to the economy is enormous, as said, firstly it will erode investor confidence and discourage both domestic and foreign investment. You know, investors typically seek legal protection for their investments and expect fair and transparent legal processes. If these expectations are not met, they may hesitate or even choose to invest in other countries with a more favourable legal framework.

Moreover, when the government fails to uphold the Rule of Law, corruption, favouritism, and arbitrary decision-making can become prevalent. This can stifle economic growth, hinder entrepreneurship, and discourage innovation. It may also lead to a brain drain, as talented individuals and businesses may seek opportunities in countries with better legal systems.

This can also weaken the overall legal framework, leading to inadequate protection of individual rights, weak law enforcement, and a culture of impunity.

Finally, when the government does not uphold the Rule of Law, it can lead to a breakdown of trust between citizens and the state. This may result in social unrest, protests, and conflicts, which can further impact the country’s stability and hinder economic progress.

It is important to note that these implications are general and can vary depending on the specific context and circumstances of a country. However, in general, a disregard for the Rule of Law can have far-reaching consequences for a country’s image and economy.

Apart from being a successful lawyer, you are also a top politician, with your recent appointment as Commissioner, what are your plans for the developmental agenda of your principal, Governor Lucky Aiyedatiwa?

I must confess that I have always been reluctant to accept the title of “politician” due to my trajectory, experience, training, and interests. I have always seen myself more as a social worker or social interventionist, and I want to emphasize that I did not take this distinction for granted.

Throughout my journey, my involvement in various capacities such as being a unionist, a student leader holding elective offices during my undergraduate years, running for a Senate seat in Abuja under the Labour Party, and eventually being elected and serving as National Secretary of the Party, and being a Board Chairman of a government Corporation, despite all these, I have never lost sight of my role as a lawyer, as I thrived with other committed noble Knights in establishing a top law firm, Kayode Ajulo & Co. with a unique brand, Castle of Law in Nigeria and four other countries.

My legal practice has always remained integral to my identity, which has helped me maintain an independent mindset. I recall that I voluntarily resigned from politics and stepped down as the National Secretary of Labour Party in 2015, when I did that I publicly expressed my desire to focus on my law practice, humanity and charitable endeavours. In hindsight, I believe that decision has been vindicated. In subsequent years, I have been honoured with the prestigious rank of Senior Advocate and bestowed with the Officer of the Order of the Niger (OON), one of the highest national honours in Nigeria.

When the unexpected offer of a commissionership came my way, I carefully considered it. It is a tough decision, a juggling between the prospect of being just a Commissioner and the potentiality of sacrificing to serve the people of my State. However, what ultimately swayed my decision is the latter and the personality, demeanour, and my belief as well as trust in the offeror, His Excellency, Honorable Lucky Orimisan Aiyedatiwa. You will agree with me that he has emerged as a beacon of pragmatic leadership and has consistently demonstrated a pro-peoples approach, and when he shared his vision and mission for Ondo State, I found myself compelled to join him in his efforts to rescue the state and I’m not alone, the leadership of APC and the generality of the people of the State, old and young are firmly with him.

In conclusion, I wish to reiterate that while my path may have led me to the political realm, my core identity as a social worker, lawyer, and advocate for positive change remains steadfast and these remain my agenda while I am committed to working alongside His Excellency, Honourable Lucky Orimisan Aiyedatiwa, to serve the people of Ondo State and contribute to their well-being.

In your own view, what is the way out of the current hardship in the country and what is the government of Ondo state doing to ameliorate the hardship being faced by the people of the state?

The current hardship in Nigeria is global but ours has multifaceted causes and requires a comprehensive approach to address it. While it is challenging to provide an exhaustive solution, it is important there’s the need for Implementation of economic reforms aimed at promoting sustainable growth, job creation, and diversification of the economy can help stimulate economic activity and reduce hardship. This may include measures such as improving the ease of doing business, attracting investments, promoting entrepreneurship, and providing support to key sectors Also, implementing social welfare programmes targeted at the most vulnerable populations can provide immediate relief and assistance. This may include initiatives such as conditional cash transfers, food security programs, healthcare services, and education support.

Investing in infrastructural development, such as roads, transportation, power supply, and telecommunications, can improve access to basic services, enhance productivity, and attract investments. This can have a positive impact on the overall quality of life and economic opportunities for the people.
Promoting transparency, accountability, and good governance practices can help combat corruption, reduce the wastage of resources, and instill public trust. This can lead to more efficient service delivery and effective utilization of public funds for the benefit of the people.

Do you have any plans for seeking elective positions in the future?

Haba! Indeed, what an interesting question! However, I think we agreed that there won’t be any political questions, rather than focusing on future political aspirations, I believe it is more appropriate to channel my energies towards fulfilling my current responsibilities and support the Governor to serve the people to the best of my abilities.

There’s no way to avoid politics, If you’re interested in good governance. With the current political realities within the State and considering all the political gladiators in the governorship race do you think your principal Governor Lucky Aiyedatiwa will get the party’s ticket come April?

Indeed! Absolutely. Allow me to make it clear that the current political circumstances you have just mentioned in Ondo State are advantageous to Governor Lucky Aiyedatiwa, and this is self evident. First and foremost, it is a forensic truth that he is the most experienced among all the contenders. Yes, he is the most suitable candidate for the job.

I am not frivolous with my statements as a lawyer, please let anyone contradicting my above statement take a pen and list the names of the contenders, their achievements and stations in life to contradict me.

Let us not forget that he began his career as a teacher before becoming a management and financial expert. Among the competitors, he is the most experienced in the realm of governance in the State as we speak. He served as a Campaign Coordinator, Confidant, and Deputy Governor to my esteemed brother Silk, a vibrant, intelligent professional, and former governor, Arakunrin Oluwarotimi Akeredolu, SAN, CON. May Aketi’s soul rest in peace.

Today Lucky Aiyedatiwa is the Governor and Chief Executive Office of the State, Governor Lucky is indeed lucky and possesses a thorough understanding of every aspect of governance. Additionally, let us not forget that he was entrusted and nominated by Aketi and appointed by the President to serve on the board of NDDC as the representative of Ondo State, and he performed exceptionally well.

In my humble opinion, only a political party that is not prepared for victory would take a risk with its best chance of winning in an election. Moreover, Governor Aiyedatiwa has demonstrated the ability to establish connections with leaders and the people, and I do not believe the party will trade certainty for uncertainty. Without sounding immodest, I have for years represented and consulted for the APC and other parties as an External Solicitor/Consultant majorly in constitutionalism, I am therefore aware that there is a convention and or an unwritten rule within the APC and, in fact, every political party, stating that any performing incumbent has the Right of First Refusal (ROFR) before being considered for replacement.

I am acquainted with the prominent contenders, and I must say that most of them are my friends, for whom I have tremendous respect for their intelligence. Although it’s their sacred right to aspire for any political office in Nigeria, but as astute individuals, I expect them to comprehend that this is a closed market with no vacancy in Alagbaka Government House.
Without a doubt, the governor surpasses the skill level of the competitors. The APC party is fortunate to have him as a governor at this particular moment, as other political parties are aligning with the APC to support him as their candidate..

Therefore, it would be unreasonable for the political organization or structure to exchange certainty for uncertainty in a politically sophisticated state like Ondo State.


Credit: LEADERSHIP Newspaper

Some residents have invaded a warehouse belonging to the National Emergency Management Agency of Nigeria (NEMA) in the Federal Capital Territory.

Vanguard gathered that the warehouse, is located in Karimo, Phase 3 Region of the FCT, Abuja, was raided on Sunday morning.

 

According to reports, the residents carted away foodstuffs and other items.

 

Meanwhile, the police in Abuja have been deployed to the area to disperse the looters.

The spokesperson for the FCT Police Command, Josephine Adeh, confirmed the incident.

Adeh, however, added that the situation had been brought under control.

“The situation is now under control,” she said.

[Vanguard]

 
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