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FERMA: A Tear For Nigeria As Tinubu Presses Panic Button




SOMEONE said that strategy is everything. He is wrong for nothing is everything as President Bola Ahmed Tinubu, a hyped master strategist, is finding out in running Nigeria. If you are a good man, the paucity of like-minded folks would shock you. If you are a bad man, one of your earliest discoveries would be that there were people by far worse than you, and unwilling to yield the competition.
Tinubu had long declined to be counted among saints. It was a brave choice, not only in his circumstances, but in the seeming acceptance that the baggage he pulls along would have drowned anyone, except Tinubu.
Sadly, he has pressed the panic buzzer too early in the day. How would he survive that? How could he react swiftly and beyond reasoned action on a slim matter like the headship of the Federal Roads Maintenance Agency, FERMA? What was wrong in appointing a young man to head FERMA? Is there a statutory age provision for the role?
Tinubu crumbled when voices rose against the 2525-year-oldbrahim Imam. The first-class graduate of a foreign university also parades a Master’s degree. His qualifications are relevant to civil engineering. The loudest dissents were over his age, though he had completed the National Youth Service Corps only last year.
His rash management of the matter was devoid of any semblance of logic or attention to the yearnings of any section of Nigerians, except those Tinubu thinks can save him from future troubles.
The decision to send the young Imam away confirmed a few things about Tinubu, and the All Progressives Congress, APC, which has been consistent in declining from a political party to a party, and more likely to end up as a town hall, different, speaking incoherent tunes.
How would Tinubu have forgotten the song and dance that APC made of its ‘Not Too Young To Run’ Act that mainly opened places for younger people places in government? We knew it was a panicky appeasement of younger people after their occupation of the Lekki Toll Gate in Lagos, three years ago, over police brutality. They stirred President Muhammadu Buhari to momentarily wakefulness – again for the moment.
What is wrong with a 25-year-old being the Chairman of FERMA? Was the ‘Not Too Young To Run’ law a slogan that expired with Buhari? Does Tinubu, burdened with the present, not have space for young people, the future?
Tinubu did not think of the long list waiting for appointment when he took young Imam. A rich President may not be interested in FERMA’s 2022 budget of N82.6 billion. FERMA had N80 billion to dispense under capital projects and over-heads. A common name for both is contracts, better still patronage. Should a young man who lacks the experience to dispense patronage control money?
The main challenge lies elsewhere and makes FERMA’s resources pale to nothing. Imam’s father was the problem. Kashim Ibrahim-Imam is the Chairman of the Board of Trustees of the Tertiary Education Trust Fund, TETFund. The organisation has more loads of money than the ordinariness of its name tends to suggest.
Imagine an organisation that has no annual budget. Funds flow into its coffers from 2 per cent tax on the profits of companies in Nigeria. Federal Inland Revenue Service, FIRS, collects the money on behalf of TETFund.
Please take a minute to digest that; I took a couple of minutes to do so. You can call TETFund a gold mine, an oil well without spillage and host community issues. Ibrahim-Imam leads decisions at TETFund. There are thousands of contracts spread over 43 federal and state 48 universities; 40 federal and 49 state polytechnics; 27 federal and 54 state colleges of education.
TETFund pays for different interventions – facilities, equipment, books, publications, lecture halls, scholarships for lecturers, researches – in public universities, polytechnics, and colleges of education – to improve the quality of education. There are 261 public institutions that qualify for TETFund’s interventions.
A simple argument that saw the younger Imam jobless, only days after his nomination to the Senate, was that his father’s compensation was more than enough for a couple of families in one electoral tenure.
Those who knew TETFund’s worthy led the protest that panicked the President in another round of presidential foible. While Buhari excelled in sprinkling his appointments with names of the dead, Tinubu’s excellence has been in appointing people without diligence over their credentials, and the high octane politics like Imam’s raised.
Mired in distant pasts that have planted themselves unyieldingly in the present, Tinubu’s acclaimed bravery has deserted him. His followers consider him strategic. What they tend to ignore is that Tinubu as president is different. Every evidence, for or against him, point to a man who is better left to bear his numerous burdens alone. He is the one who knows how many shoes he wears. He cannot count their pinches.
Distant watchers come to sudden conclusions about Tinubu as he navigates life. It is obvious that we do not know Tinubu in enough measures, and convincing circumstances, to reach conclusions about him.
Is it a surprise that anyone who tries to defend Tinubu turns out a liar? They have all taken risks about a man they thought they knew. They find out in the journey with Tinubu that they do not know their leader. Why then bother about the direction?
Tinubu has become a shared burden. We can mock him, we make jokes of the President but the real joke – and it is on all of us – is how he got here.
A Nigerian president that could not use the Imam appointment to firm up his care for the youth (and it did not have to be Imam), or is busy flicking through wads of pages on Chicago, and strategies for stopping FBI from generating more questions about him, deserves more than self-pity. We do not know Tinubu enough to determine what quantum of pity to deploy to his causes.

CANDOUR can be another name for Godswill Akpabio, our uncommon Senate President, who has admitted he was a bad example in conversations about corruption. He is right. As a Senate President managing an allegation of stealing N108.1 billion, the worse thing to permit a future Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, was the imprudence of using you as an example. Ola Olukoyede had said, “If we are investigating the Senate President for example…” Akpabio retorted, “I’m very glad that the nominee wants to use the Senate President as an example. But Mr. Nominee, leave the Senate President for now, look at this direction (pointing at the seats of opposition lawmakers)”.
VICE Chancellor of the University of Medical Sciences, Ondo, Prof. Adesegun Fatusi: “I believe firmly that anyone who has gone to government school under government sponsorship must be bonded to serve the country for five years before he/she goes and I have absolutely no apology for that”. He should also advise government to create more opportunities, more scholarships for medical studies in Nigeria. Ganiyu Abiodun Johnson has sponsored a bill to prevent Nigerian-trained medical or dental practitioners from being granted full licences until they have worked for a minimum of five years in Nigeria. The bill has passed second reading in the House of Representatives.

Isiguzo is a major commentator on minor issues


Group Calls For Protection Of Journalists In Bayelsa, Imo, Kogi States



The Media Rights Agenda (MRA) has urged for necessary measures to protect journalists and other media workers during this weekend’s off-cycle elections in Bayelsa, Imo, and Kogi States.

The group sent the request to the federal and state governments, as well as law enforcement and security agencies, stressing that the role of journalists in disseminating information about the electoral process is critical to ensuring free, fair, and transparent elections.

In a statement issued ahead of the elections in Lagos and signed by the Communications Officer, Media Rights Agenda, Idowu Adewale, MRA also urged journalists to be cautious and to use its existing hotline (08138755660) to report any threat or attack they may encounter during the process, as well as any obstacle.

Adewale said in the statement: “Given the pattern of heightened attacks on journalists and the media during previous elections, including the recent 2023 general elections, as well as the tense political climate in the three states in the lead-up to the elections, measures must be taken to ensure general security during the elections and provide adequate protection for journalists covering the elections.”

“Access to information allows citizens and other members of the public to have the information they need about political and electoral processes, facilitating effective public participation in elections,” he says.

“Journalists and the media play an important role in ensuring residents and other members of the public have access to information and may participate in the process.

“As part of efforts to preserve the integrity of the polls, it is also critical that the safety and well-being of these interlocutors be assured and safeguarded.”

Lamenting the increased number of attacks on journalists in the run-up to the off-cycle elections, as well as earlier this year in the run-up to the general elections, he emphasised that “a free and vibrant media is fundamental to a healthy democracy, and journalists must be able to carry out their duties without fear, coercion, or violence.” During this vital phase, MRA stands ready to assist them and assure their safety.”


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Police Nab Husband, As Mother Of ‘Mummy Be Calming Down’ Boy Takes Own Life



Men from the Edo State Police Command are said to have detained Mrs. Toluige Olokoobi’s husband after he allegedly murdered her.

Olokoobi was the mother of Oreofeoluwa Lawal-Babalola, the tiny boy whose video went viral in 2020 after he pleaded with his mother, “Mummy be calming down.”

Oreofeoluwa rose to prominence on social media after a video of him crying in an attempt to confidently appeal to his mother, who chastised him, went viral.

The film inspired Lagos State Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu, who used it to deliver an Eid-el-Kabir appeal to Muslims and Lagos people in general to remain calm during the COVID-19 outbreak.

Following that, the youngster and his family met with the governor, who praised his bravery and poise.

While little has been heard about the family in three years, heartbreaking news broke on social media on Tuesday that the boy’s mother had committed suicide.

According to an X user, Olokoobi committed suicide in Benin, the capital of Edo State, for unknown reasons.

The X user, who stated that he was present at the site on Monday afternoon, went on to say that she had refused to disclose her difficulties with anyone before committing herself.

“The woman in the viral Mummy Calm Down video has just committed suicide here in Benin,” he stated in an email.

“She refused to discuss her problems with anyone.” She abandoned three children for her husband, including the well-known Mummy Calm Down boy.”

Meanwhile, confirming Olokoobi’s death in a chat with BBC Pidgin, the spokesperson of the Edo State police command, Chidi Nwabuzor, said her husband has been arrested and detained for questioning.

Nwabuzor said the husband reported the matter to the police.

The police spokesperson quoted the husband to have said that “he came home from the market when he saw his wife hanging with rope on her neck”.

Nwabuzor said she was rushed to the hospital and then to the mortuary after she was confirmed dead. (Adapted from a Vanguard report).

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Anambra: CP Aderemi Adeoye Decorates Promoted Officers With New Ranks



The Anambra State Police Command Headquarters Conference Hall was a hive of activity Thursday as CP Aderemi Adeoye took turns decorating around 18 promoted officers of the command with their new titles.

The delight of some of the officers whose wives assisted the CP in decorating their husbands with their new ranks knew no bounds, as their husbands duly saluted their wives and the CP for their new positions and responsibilities.

Obi Innocent, one of the officers elevated to the rank of Chief Superintendent of Police (CSP), whose wife joined CP Aderemi Adeoye in adorning him with his new rank, said it was wonderful that the Inspector General of Police thought him worthy.

CSP Obi Innocent, the officer in charge of the Legal Department at Zone 13, Police Zonal Headquarters Ukpo, stated that his new rank was a call to service and that he would do his best to uphold the charge given to them by CP Aderemi Adeoye to respect and protect the citizenry’s fundamental rights in the discharge of their new assignments.

Charity Akharame, who was honoured with the rank of Deputy Superintendent of Police (DSP) and was the only female officer among the 18 promoted officers decorated with new ranks, said it was not an easy feat but she was grateful to be among those who were decorated with their new ranks.

DSP Charity Akharame, the officer in charge of stores in the Anambra State Police Command, recalled how she began as a Police Constable and worked her way up to her current position as Deputy Superintendent of Police.

She stated that as a very disciplined police officer, she would follow the Police Commissioner’s directions regarding respect for all and sundry in the fulfillment of her constitutional obligations.

Jane-Frances Obi, one of the spouses of the officers elevated to the level of CSP, stated that being the wife of a police officer was not an easy assignment. As a result, she recommended any lady who is married to a police officer to be patient and understanding because the job is quite demanding.

Jane-Frances Obi, whose husband is Innocent Obi, the officer in charge of the Legal Department at Zone 13 Ukpo, believes the promotion is a reward for years of being patient, understanding, and standing in for them when they are not present.

Meanwhile, Emenike Chinenyenwa, who was decorated with the rank of Assistant Commissioner of Police (ACP) and presented a vote of appreciation, expressed deep gratitude to the IGP and the Chairman of the Police Service Commission for considering them worthy of being adorned in their new ranks.

ACP Emenike, the officer in charge of Medicals, stated that the elevation comes with increased responsibility and that they will work harder in their new tasks.

CP Aderemi Adeoye praised the current promotion winners in his remarks, noting that two aspects make the police career very interesting and eventful. He stated that one is for promotion and the other is for positions.

CP Adeoye, on the other hand, urged the newly honored officers to develop more empathy, compassion, care, and dedication in the performance of their jobs.

The police chief insisted that newly promoted officers must first recognise that they share the same humanity as others, and as a result, they must treat all people with dignity and protect their fundamental human rights at all times.

CP Aderemi Adeoye stressed that without the enormous roles of spouses, they wouldn’t have been successful in their careers. He therefore congratulated all the promoted and prayed that God gives them good health to enjoy the new ranks and the energy to discharge the responsibilities of their new offices.

  • Source: Independent


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