Connect with us
JUMIA TECH WEEK

OPINION

May Philip Shaibu Not Happen To You

Published

on

Shuaibu

By Ikeddy Isiguzo*

PHILIP Shaibu is the type of Deputy Governor that only a few Governors would keep for longer than a few months. He carried on as if he was a co-Governor with Godwin Obaseki who never made any effort to conceal the fact that he did not like Shaibu. The feeling was mutual.
Shaibu was not likeable. He did not seem to care. Only one thing mattered to him – succeeding Obaseki whether Obaseki liked it or not. He was also sure that the ticket was his as Obaseki would not forget to replay the favour Shaibu did him.
No opportunity was wasted by Shaibu to highlight his contributions to Obaseki’s electoral successes. They seem to be things that were not public. His bragging rights to the ticket failed to factor in the zoning practice in the State’s politics.
During the more trying second term campaign, Shaibu cornered the right to abuse Obaseki’s predecessor Comrade Adams Oshiomhole who responded in more measures. Shaibu excelled in the role. Oshiomhole and Shaibu are from Edo North Senatorial District.
Shaibu’s adult exuberance ticks some off. He makes a point of proving that his office was powerful enough for him to be seen and heard. He was not a spare tyre, as Dr Chukwuemeka Ezeife, former Governor of Anambra State once described Deputy Governors.
When I saw Shaibu forcing his dance steps on Obaseki, in public, I knew his days were not just numbered. He was gone. How was he the one deciding the campaign dance steps? He made a show of leading the Governor, even teaching him moves that could have been Shaibu’s spheres of core competence.
Obaseki maintained an inscrutable face. He was merely tolerating Shaibu. Their divisions resulted in many public spats. We can only imagine what went on behind the door.
Many would be wondering why it took that long for Obaseki who was not known for respecting the law to sack Shaibu. When he did he confirmed the worst fears about him. He was more ruthless than some thought.
Shaibu had contested for the party’s primary. His victory that the party refused to recognise was an affront to Obaseki who had done everything from re-locating the Deputy Governor’s office to locking him out of events.
Obaseki is one of the Governors who find immunity as a convenient cover for doing as they please. They are above the law. They ignore the courts in their race to desired outcomes.
Impeachment processes went on not minding court orders that tried to stop them. Shaibu is looking up to the courts to re-instate him as Deputy Governor and more importantly retrieving the governorship ticket that the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, will not give Shaibu unless the courts say so.
Obaseki claims he is fighting for equitable distribution of political power in the State. Will that be an adequate reason to discard the law? The Supreme Court’s 2008 annulment of the election of Professor Oserheimen Osunbor, successor to Lucky Igbinedion, has seen Edo Central Senatorial District without a Governor in 16 years.
Shaibu sticks to the argument that zoning was not a law but an internal party arrangement that should not be used to scuttle his ambition. He could just be discovering that a Governor is notches ahead of a Deputy. Protocol lists are part of the deceit as they place a Deputy next to a Governor.
Most Governors are emperors. It is not a mistake that they prefer to be addressed as Executive Governor though the Constitution says they are Governor. The distinction, seemingly trivial, is important. There are no Executive Deputy Governors.
We can laugh at Shaibu. We can fail to realise that without being Deputy Governors we suffer similar fates as Shaibu when government officials acquire our property, refuse to be transparent in managing public resources, or security agents abuse us.
They will tell us “to go to court” well aware that justice is distant and that even if we get a favourable judgement, we do not have the political power to implement it. When the powerful in government use public resources to settle legal matters, we stand no chance.
It is left to the courts to decide what happens to Shaibu whose rights under the law cannot be abbreviated by Obaseki’s powers as Governor. It is about time too that Governors are stopped from resorting to self-help each time they think that the arm of justice moves too slowly, or may not be in their favour.

Finally…
MORE sadness enveloped Nigeria through the death of two Nollywood icons, Saratu Gidado, popularly called Dasso, who died at home and Junior Pope, as  Pope Odonwodo was more famously known. Pope’s drowning on the Anam River while returning from shooting a movie, takes us back to the absence of life jackets, emergency services, first responders, ambulances, hospitals that have oxygen, and medical professionals who can handle emergencies. These issues remain ignored until there is an accident. Water safety regulations are largely observed in breach. Will we wait for the next accident to act?
OUR miracle-generating pastors still missed the fame and fortune that raising Junior Pope would have funnelled into their flagging missions. For a group famous for competing for converts, and more importantly cash, why not raise Junior Pope from the dead and charge his colleagues and followers for the expenses? We know everything is expensive now – miracles cannot be excluded – but Nigerians will pick the bill once any of the pastors, or a consortium of them, raises Junior Pope. Dasso has been buried.
PRINCE Paul Adekaye, Special Assistant to the President on Logistics should speak up for himself. Letters written on Presidency headed-paper, bearing his name, signature, as well as his title are on the desks of Nigeria’s Local Government Council Chairpersons nominating them for awards. The awards are part of a two-day Regional Stakeholders Summit on Local Governance and Rural Development that is being organised from Prince Adekaye’s office in the presidential villa. Who manages the President’s logistics if the Prince is busy with his six regional Local Government Summits? Has Local Governance and Rural Development been added to the Prince’s brief? Imagine the audacity of sending those letters out in a manner that suggests they have the imprimatur of the President!
WADUME is his street name. Hamisu Bala (aka Wadume) of Ibi Local Government Area, Taraba, State had a kidnapping ring that covered most of Northern Nigeria, and supplied arms to terrorists, using Takum and Ibi Local Government Areas, as his base. He had a bizarre relationship with soldiers that resulted in the death of police officers who arrested Wadume and were taking him to Abuja. The soldiers cut Wadume’s handcuffs, aiding his flight to hiding. The case that nailed Wadume was the kidnapping of Usman Garba at his filling station in Takum. Garba paid a ransom of N106 million before Wadume released him. Last week Wadume, jailed in 2019, was freed from Kuje Correctional Centre to a rousing welcome in Taraba. He now looks like a victim instead of a policeman and others who died during his operations. The last has not been heard of Wadume.
DAVID Umahi, Minister of Works, has been gracious enough to tell us that the 700km Coastal Highway from Lagos to Calabar would cost N15.6 trillion, a little over half the 2024 federal budget. The project was awarded to Hitech, a company that belongs to the President’s associate Lebanese-Nigerian Gilbert Ramez Chagoury, born in Lagos 78 years ago. No transparency will suffice in this contract. Could that explain why there was no bid for it?
STORIES of hunger in the land appear to be far from the ears of the authorities who are too busy applauding the pendulous swings of the value of the Naira against the Dollar. They pay little attention to the insecurity that hampers food production. It is our fault – especially those who see nothing good in the patriotic sacrifices our leaders are making. It is even possible that we are eating too much to have the strength to blame the President who we are told spends sleepless nights over Nigeria’s challenges.

*Isiguzo is a major commentator on minor issues

Continue Reading
Advertisement
Click to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

OPINION

The Scourge Of Rising Inflation

Published

on

By Dakuku Peterside*
An increasing number of Nigerians are being driven into poverty, not by choice, but by the current political and economic climate, shaped by stringent macroeconomic policies. These policies, such as subsidy removal, devaluation of Naira, and increase in electricity tariff, have had unintended consequences. For instance, removing subsidies has led to a significant increase in the cost of living, while the devaluation of Naira has made imported goods more expensive. These factors, combined with the high level of insecurity, have affected food security in Nigeria and created a perfect storm of economic hardship. The signs of this unavoidable reality are readily apparent. The interventions to prevent this descent into poverty are either ineffectual or remedy the condition too slowly.
An unprecedented rise in inflation has destroyed households’ disposable incomes and pushed many families into poverty. Spiralling inflation is having a devastating impact on all, but especially on households in the lower rungs of the working class, who in their millions are joining the already over 133 million multidimensionally poor Nigerians struggling to earn a living because high inflation has eroded the value of their income. As shown by the NBS Consumer Price Index of April 2024, published in May 2024, the headline inflation rate rose to 33.69% in April 2024 compared to March. The headline inflation rate was 11.47% higher in April 2024 compared to the previous year. During the same period, inflation in urban areas was higher than in rural areas. Even worse, the food inflation rate in April 2024 was 40.53%, increasing by 15.92% compared to April 2023. What does this mean for the ordinary citizen? More money can purchase fewer goods and services.
We cannot dismiss the direct correlation between rising inflation and rising poverty in Nigeria. A household with a monthly income of N300,000 in April 2023 would have lost 33.69% of its real purchasing power if it earned the same amount in April 2024. This means that the same amount of money can now buy significantly fewer goods and services, putting a strain on the household’s budget. Imagine this household struggled in 2023 to make ends meet; how will it cope with less than 33% of its value in goods and services this year? It is little wonder many Nigerians are in despair and are calling on the government to tweak its policies and salvage the situation before it is too late. Families in the earning bracket mentioned above are even better than many whose total income is less than N100,000 if both parents in the household earn minimum wages per month.
The government intervention so far, with the best of intentions, has yielded little result as inflation continues unabated. The monetary policies of increasing base interest rates to above 22%, improving the cash reserve ratio by banks to above 40%, and constantly engaging in the money market to mop up excess liquidity have yielded less than the expected result in curbing inflation. More is needed, and my little knowledge of street economics shows me that the Nigerian economy often defies some fundamental economic concepts that work in developed countries because of our economy’s informal and unregulated nature. The Nigerian government must creatively use other bespoke and practical fiscal and monetary measures to tame our raging inflation.
Paradoxically, there is compelling evidence that inflation continues to rise because of critical government policies. Instead of providing more concerted anti-inflationary measures, the government has added more inflationary steps to the economy. The government cannot confront inflation while imposing limitless taxes, tariffs, and charges on the things that people spend money on daily. The impact of excess tax is on everybody, but the burden is more on people experiencing poverty whose purchasing power has been eroded by inflation. The government cannot tax itself out of our economic predicament. Increasing personal income tax is one way the government reduces disposable income to curb demand-pull inflation, but the inflation in Nigeria is not because of an increase in household income, but caused by cost-induced factors. So tax on people whose income has not increased in the past year is a recipe for hardship.
Other factors also imperil government efforts to curb inflation. Imported inflation has been the bane of Nigeria, given the number of raw materials and goods imported into Nigeria from countries with high inflation rates. This is not helped by the new exchange rate regime that has seen the Naira fall to its lowest value in a generation. The government has been trying to control the erosion of the value of Naira to no avail. The increasing cost of energy has pushed some businesses to pack up. These factors have exacerbated the rise of inflation, and unless the government starts tackling them, it cannot effectively win its fight against runaway inflation.
The consequences of inaction are severe and far-reaching. The system requires a set of anti-inflationary measures to relieve the people and companies so that livelihoods can improve, and real incomes recover from shock to encourage people to live and save. Savings and prosperity will fire up investment, production, supply, and consequent demand. If inflation worsens, the economy will, at best, go into stasis, further regression, and possibly depression. More manufacturers will quit, and unemployment will worsen with even more crime and insecurity. The picture I painted above is not far from us.
Recent statistics about the hunger level in Nigeria occasioned by food inflation are alarming. There is a deteriorating food security and nutrition crisis in Borno, Adamawa and Yobe (BAY) states this lean season between May and September 2024. According to the Government-led Cadre Harmonise analysis released in March this year, in Borno, Adamawa, and Yobe states, some 4.8 million people are estimated to be facing severe food insecurity, the highest level in seven years. Children, pregnant and lactating women, older persons, and people living with disabilities are among those who are most vulnerable. About 2.8 million of these people need urgent interventions.
The prices of staple foods like beans and maize have increased by 300 to 400 per cent over the past year because of a cocktail of reasons. Inflation is outpacing the ability of families to cope, making essential food items unaffordable. Furthermore, the report stated that “malnutrition rates are of great concern. Approximately 700,000 children under five are projected to be acutely malnourished over the next six months, including 230,000 who are expected to be severely acutely malnourished and at risk of death if they do not receive timely treatment and nutrition support.”  The Acting Representative of UNICEF Nigeria argues that “this year alone, we have seen around 120,000 admissions for the treatment of severe acute malnutrition with complications, far exceeding our estimated target of 90,000”.  These statistics are for only 3 states in Northeast Nigeria. Imagine what it will be like for the whole 36 States in Nigeria. There is real fire on the mountain!
This rising hunger is not peculiar to the Northeast. From my knowledge of street economics, hunger and poverty is pervasive across all six geopolitics zones. Increasing poverty is directly linked with more severe economic outcomes. Increasing poverty can result in a more divided society, Issues with housing, homelessness, limited access to healthcare, nutrition poverty and poor living conditions that have a detrimental effect on one’s health. Children living in poverty have less access to education, which will reduce their chances in the future. More families facing poverty will experience conflicts, stress, and domestic violence. Poverty can set off a vicious cycle in which the effects of it act as catalysts for additional episodes of poverty. Increasing inflation and poverty are bad omens that blow us no good. They are bad for our economy. They are bad for our people. The government must pay attention to these factors and be more sensitive in our economic policy choices.
Only some anti-inflationary measures that comprehensively capture the macroeconomic dimensions and provide solutions may work. Poverty alleviation measures are barely temporary and, at best, work in the short run to cushion the effect of heightened inflation and food insecurity. The government should provide solid medium- to long-term solutions to tackle these problems. They should re-evaluate some of their policies to see whether they are inflationary and jettison them to allow good policies to thrive. We can only imagine the unintended consequences of allowing poverty and inflation to fester. The increasing inflation and poverty are creating desperation among a portion of society, which is increasingly becoming despondent and seeing itself at the fringes of society. The implications of this are plausible. Many ordinary citizens are burdened by poverty, hunger, and severe inflation, which have made their lives miserable. The government must take action to alleviate this scourge and help Nigerians lead meaningful lives.

Continue Reading

OPINION

New Approach To Combatting Terrorism In Nigeria: Truth Alliance And The Path Forward

Published

on

Terrorists

By Ahmed Mustapha*

Three weeks ago, a high-level UN counter-terrorism summit in Abuja concluded that a new approach to fighting terrorism was needed across Africa.

As the head of one of Nigeria’s largest NGOs dealing with this problem, I strongly agree and hope that the conclusions of this meeting will herald new and exciting approaches to reducing the risk of more violence and its terrifying consequences for the people of this country and the Continent of Africa.

The summit gathered one month after the brutal kidnapping of over 100 students from Kuriga, Kaduna State.  Even more recent kidnappings show how the terrifying reality of violent extremism remains in Nigeria. Both provide a stark reminder of the ruthless tactics of terrorist or violent extremist groups who target innocent civilians, using suicide bombers in markets, places of worship, and crowded venues, further exacerbating the region’s humanitarian crisis – all to further their cause.

As the summit discussed, the terror unleashed by Boko Haram, Islamic State West Africa Province (ISWAP), and their likes has led to widespread displacement, with millions forced into refugee and internally displaced persons (IDP) camps under dire conditions. The social fabric of entire communities has been torn apart, with trust eroded and countless families mourning the loss of loved ones.

Advertisement

But there is hope.  Our pioneering work to reduce the risk of violence and rehabilitate those who leave these groups and the tireless works of other groups like us give points to a new way forward.

Our work in affected communities is heralding great results and pointing to a new wave of defections and surrenders from Boko Haram for those fed up with the hypocrisy of its leadership, the brutality of its actions and the cruel manipulation of those whose job it is to recruit people into their ranks.

That is why a group of stakeholders, CSOs and concerned citizens formed the ‘The Truth Alliance’ – a network committed to unmasking the truth behind violent and extremist groups and empowering communities to resist tyranny and violence. Through education, outreach, and collaboration, the Truth Alliance strives to build a safer, more resilient society for all.

In a campaign tagged ‘Time to Tell the Truth’, the Truth Alliance has come together to expose the truth behind how violent extremist groups draw young people into their ranks. Their message is simple: these groups manipulate, they deceive, they control, they kill, and they destroy the hopes and dreams of people, their families and the communities in which they live.

In a new report, the Alliance has highlighted what we call “the significant revelations about the internal conflicts and growing disenchantment within Boko Haram.” We believe the group’s cohesion and operational effectiveness are weakening, illuminating the underlying vulnerabilities within its ranks.

Advertisement

The personal testimonies from young insurgents who defected in April provide a disturbing glimpse into the group’s operations and the brutal reality that reveals the truth behind their recruitment practices, which contradict the group’s recruitment propaganda.  This manipulative recruitment strategy targets the most vulnerable, often deceiving them with twisted interpretations of religious texts.

The report also describes how Boko Haram, infamous for its brutal campaign of violence, has long engaged in atrocities, including mass kidnappings, indiscriminate killings, and the exploitation of children as soldiers. However, the growing number of surrenders and defections from Boko Haram indicates a loss of control and diminishing morale among its members.

If we act fast, these internal fractures are critical vulnerabilities that could provide opportunities for regional security forces to capitalise on. This could potentially accelerate the group’s decline and herald exactly what the summit asked for—a new scale of effort to tackle this enduring and terrifying problem facing the people of Nigeria.

*Mustapha is the spokesperson for The Truth Alliance and can be reached via info@truthalliance.org.ng

Advertisement
Continue Reading

OPINION

Manchester City Beat West Ham  To Become First Team To Win English League Title Four Seasons In A Row

Published

on

With Manchester City needing a win to be sure of holding off Arsenal, who started the final day two points behind but with a better goal difference, Phil Foden put Pep Guardiola’s side ahead after just two minutes.

The England star added another before the break and although Mohammed Kudus pulled one back, midfielder Rodri restored the home side’s two-goal cushion with a shot from the edge of the area after 59 minutes.

City survived a late scare when West Ham had a second goal ruled out by VAR for handball.

However, their victory was never seriously in doubt

The win completed a staggering run of 19 wins and four draws since their last defeat in the league, at Aston Villa on 6 December.

Advertisement

City have now won six out of the past seven Premier League titles. Last term, they joined Huddersfield, Arsenal, Liverpool and Manchester United, twice, in winning the top flight three years in a row.

Now Guardiola’s team have achieved something no other side has managed since the English league was formed in 1888, 136 years ago.

On 25 May they will aim to become the first side to complete the domestic Double in successive seasons when they face Manchesterter United in the FA Cup final at Wembley.

Foden has already collected the Football Writers’ Association and Premier League Player of the Year awards. Few would argue against a clean sweep when the Professional Footballers’ Association eventually confirms theirs.

At 23, Foden now has six titles to his name. He is still a long way behind Ryan Giggs, who holds the record with 13.

Advertisement

However, it is worth noting Giggs did not achieve his sixth until he was 26 and while the Welshman was 39 when he got his last, given City’s current dominance, Foden is likely to keep chipping away at that total in the short term.

Guardiola feels there is further improvement in the England international, but he has already developed his all-round game, makes better runs with and without the ball, and his close control is sublime.

James Ward-Prowse must have felt he was chasing shadows as he closed in to make a tackle when Bernardo Silva provided Foden with a square pass. But with one touch, Foden ghosted away from the West Ham man before delivering the perfect finish.

There was no real evidence of nerves in the crowd before kick-off. City had not lost at home all season and they had a 100% winning record against West Ham on home soil since Guardiola arrived in 2016 .

The visitors had nothing to play for, manager David Moyes is leaving and top-scorer Jarrod Bowen was ruled out with tonsillitis.

Advertisement

But any home anxiety that did exist was rapidly swept away.

Foden’s second – his 26th goal of the season – wasn’t long in arriving as Jeremy Doku delivered a slide-rule, square pass through a crowd of bodies to the edge of the six-yard area. Foden was calmness personified in a frantic situation and found the net with a first-time finish.

Only a bit of bad luck and West Ham keeper Alphonse Areola prevented West Ham being completely swept away in the first half hour.

The France keeper turned away De Bruyne’s vicious free-kick, repelled Doku twice and also denied Manuel Akanji. Rodri, Erling Haaland, acrobatically, and Josko Gvardiol all missed the target from reasonably close range.

Advertisement
Continue Reading
Advertisement

Trending