Agenda Setting For President Buhari’s Ministers


Agenda Setting For President Buhari’s Ministers

By Taju Tijani

At last, President Mohammadu Buhari has brought smiles to the forlorn faces of Nigerians who were once saddened by his cautious and measured style of leadership. By this act of magnanimity, all the invisible and visible tyrannies of our fear, suspicion and impatience have now translated into hope for a better tomorrow. Nigerians can now heave a sigh of relief after months of presidential inaction that had the nation in a coil of despair, regret and measured blend of scepticism on the direction the new administration is headed. This nation is now ready to see action in motion.

President Mohammadu Buhari’s leadership principle of slow and steady diligence to tasks may well prove to be the new catalyst of our collective desire to rapid progress. The president is distinctly proud of his badge of integrity, transparency and honesty and this tripod values have had us under positive spell. The president has been striving to understand Nigeria’s strength and weaknesses but in a unique way that bothers on patience and meditative style of leadership. President Mohammadu Buhari has now rekindled our faith in him and Nigerians can now safely tell their number one man to set forth at dawn and begin the reconstruction Nigeria sorely needs.

He has shown that it is during national emergencies that the furnaces in which the gold of true leadership are tried, tested and purified. Winning election is a task. However, the greatest task is assembling the brightest and the best to implement the collective vision of a new government. Buhari needs the best economists, the best scientists, the best public sector workers, in order to manage a new administration and carry out viable and effective public policies. In Nigeria, through our home grown political abracadabra, Ministerial position has become an elusive concept that, at times, can be vague and ambiguous.

As a result, majority of our appointed ministers start their ministerial assignments without any template, set rules, agenda or formulas to follow. They work only from guidelines and concepts, perceptions and ideas, abstractions and generalities. This is why most of the ministers find the art of governance difficult to master in four years. This is why most ministers in Nigeria slide into the routine of business as usual, then becoming inefficient and eventually morph into a clique of rich people with enough money to fight for either governorship or senatorial seat within the life of their tenure as public servants.

There have been widespread mixed reactions to the assembled team of new ministers. First, in an act of chutzpah, the president has made himself minister of petroleum resources. This action is symbolic and a blanket condemnation of the mismanagement and corruption of our oil sector. President Buhari has shown no timidity in letting the world know that the petroleum ministry needs a man of his own transparency and fiscal prudency. His good intention aside, there is unambiguous and express prohibition provision as  stated in Section 138 of the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, that effectively precludes the president from appointing himself Nigeria’s Minister of Petroleum Resources and, therefore, also disallows him from exercising the substantive power and authority of the referred executive office.

However, we have to say that this seizure of the petroleum ministry may conflict with the many emergencies on his desk. For instance, and in spite of his integrity touch, Nigeria has remained paralyzed in the past few weeks due to fuel shortages. Who do we blame for this? Further, we have ex-Governors in the ministerial team. Babatunde Fashola, the ex-Governor of Lagos State has been saddled with the burden of managing a super ministry of power, housing and works. The aberration of appointing a Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN) as energy, housing and works minister aside, what, for heaven’s sake is the yardstick used in allocating Fashola these tripod ministry? Is the President relying of Fashola’s pedigree as an efficient, transforming  and performing governor of Lagos State for eight years? Or is President Buhari, in a classic real politick, setting up Fashola for failure. Time will tell.

Other party stalwarts were also given ministries to manage. Chris Ngige, a medical doctor by training is the Labour Minister. Chief Lai Mohammed, as Minister of Information, clinched the ministry that perfectly suits his experience and temperament. Ex-Governor of Rivers State, Rotimi Amaechi, after all the oohs and aahs and the moral revulsion which attended the expose of his documented corruption is the Minister of Transport. Dr. Kayode Fayemi, ex-Governor of Ekiti State is the Minister of Solid Mineral.

Mrs Kemi Adeosun now handles the Finance ministry;  Udo Udoma is in the Ministry of National Planning and Budget and Audu Ogbeh for Agriculture. As far as this nation’s anxiety is concerned, Babatunde Fashola’s ministry is the cynosure of all of our attention. However, collectively the president must set agenda for all of them irrespective of how ‘hot’ a ministry is or not. Part of the agenda setting is delivery of service. All the ministers must deploy fresh, out of the bottle ideas to change the miseries of Nigerians.  Fashola must roll out a new agenda for PHCN and their adjunct partners to ensure that the sector receives his Midas touch as happened to Lagos State.

The Ministers must have objectives and pursue it within timeline. They must be equipped with the ability to generate profit, block leakages and control outcomes in spite of the challenges facing their assigned ministry. Part of the agenda is fiscal prudency in area of managing budget to eliminate waste, bloated staffing and corruption. The president must give them the chance to articulate their vision and be encouraged to realize it without too much official intrusion.

The president has to supervise their performances, set new achievable objectives and re-orientate the ministers away from arrogance, embezzlement and graft. Where Ministers have developed severe disabilities, the president may reassign or if need be, sack erring ones.

Above all, the Ministers must be aware that national assignment is the greatest honour on earth. They have been given trust to uphold. They have been given integrity to uphold in a nation blighted by ignorance, corruption, disease, lack and total mistrust of public figures. The nation can only hope that we have probably entered a new era of Ministerial efficiency, delivery, performance and transparency.

 

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Bloody Saturday: Shiite-Military Showdown


 

Bloody Saturday: Shiite-Military Showdown

By Taju Tijani

Although the ember of the deadly exchange of fire between the Nigeria Military and the Shiite sect, Islamic Movement of Nigeria may have died down, accusations and counter accusations are still flying about to determine who really was the aggressor and the victim. The pedestrian rhetoric is laden with emotion, first for the arbitrary military killing of Shiite members, then anger against the sheer arrogance of the Islamic Movement of Nigeria that has constitute itself into an illegal entity challenging the Nigerian State. What we have witnessed in the last few days is the articulation of recurrent, Shiite Islamic schizophrenia, extremism, lawlessness and terrorism-inspired tactics against the Nigerian nation.

The incident would have been written off as another tragic ranting of disgruntled and jobless Northern youths, but to think so would have been fatal especially when the name of Sheikh El-Ibrahim Zakzaky, the tempestuous leader of the Islamic Movement of Nigeria is linked with the tragic face off. There is dark and doleful fear that the Zaria military confrontation, may, if care is not taken, morph into a full blown terrorist organisation like Boko Haram in Borno, North East of Northern Nigeria.

The narrative of the incident from both sides of the divide seems persuasive of its adherents. Both the Shiites and military sympathisers are feeling so assured of their own rigid positions so much that the altars of truth are being defiled in this unfortunate religious- military tragedy. We were reliably informed that the unfortunate incident started from Friday and went through Saturday. The Chief of Army Staff, from what we heard, was going for an official assignment of graduating recruits at the Nigerian Army Depot, from where he will meet with His Highness (The Emir of Zazzau).

It was said that the Chief of Army Staff (COAS) was then prevented from driving through a blocked highway manned by members of the Shiites sect. In a humiliating climb down, it then transpired that the COAS had to come down to introduce himself and pleaded with the leaders of the Shiite movement. It was reported that only when the Shiites leaders resisted his peaceful plea that the incident turned bloody. It was argued that the palpable urgency of the moment, especially when the life of COAS and his entourage were under threat, that the Army had to undertook a pre-emptive rescue manoeuvre that led to tragic loss of innocent lives.

Here, there is a case for soul searching and questions to be answered. First, is the Shiite-led Islamic Movement of Nigeria above the law of the land by holding procession without permit and blocking the highway, thus denying access to innocent citizens? Why would they resist the pleas of the head of the Nigerian Army? What are their religious and political motives? Why would any group in Nigeria hide under the banner of religion to confront and humiliate the Nigerian Army?

Why is the leader of the Islamic Movement of Nigeria, Sheikh El Ibrahim Zakzaky nursing the noxious ambition of creating an Islamic republic in the North West? Is Northern Nigeria becoming a fertile recruiting ground for Islamic extremism to the shameful extent that other faiths have no right to practice their own religion in an atmosphere of peace and harmony? By reinforcing a dangerous religious demarcation, we condemn in very strong terms the act of religious rebelliousness in which the Islamic Movement of Nigeria has consistently terrorizes Zaria and its environs.

Equally condemnable is the link of the organisation with Iran, a country that may want to export its authoritarian, theocratic mode of governance into our domestic affairs. We call on the Federal Government to sanction the Islamic Republic of Iran and warn it from dabbling in the internal affairs of a sovereign Nigeria in the guise of Islam. Also, is the Nigerian Army right in deploying disproportionate force against the sect members? Has it taken leave of the existing frames of engagement when confronted by unarmed civilians? The Army may want to argue that we are in a world of radical insecurity and perpetual religious conflict, would that reason alone justifies this murderous killing that borders on breach of fundamental human rights of the victims?

We sympathises with President Mohammadu Buhari, the commander-in-chief of the Armed Forces, as he faces a clash of convictions: would it have been proper and fit to condemn the Nigerian Military who took action against a sect that one day may clone the manual of Boko Haram and create another theatre of Islamic warfare in the North West?

At a time when this nation is fighting a dangerous, asymmetrical and murderous Boko Haram insurgency, it is therefore a height of insensitivity for the Shiite-led Islamic Movement of Nigeria to be remotely fomenting any kind of public disturbance. Here, a judicial commission of inquiry presided over by a retired Supreme Court justice, should be urgently constituted to look into the matter to forestall any relapse into the North West version of Boko Haram.

Presidential Public Asset Declaration: Matters Arising


Presidential Public Asset Declaration: Matters Arising

By Taju Tijani

President Mohammadu Buhari’s recent declaration of his public assets has given him more mileage in his political journey. Though belated, it is nevertheless an action so widely favoured by all Nigerians.  In Nigeria where popular expectations of enthroning  integrity and transparency in governance have been raised high, the pain of inaction may have been most intolerable. And this is where we have to commend  both the President and the Vice President for keeping faith with Nigerians in their demand for a clear, thorough and comprehensive  public declaration of their material possessions. What is at play by this public declaration of assets is to inform Nigerians that we can now celebrate a return of hope and optimism in our ongoing experiment with western democracy.

Asset declaration is a strategic political victory and a pointer to a future of open, accountable and transparent democracy as practised in the developed world. It is agreed, regardless of class or political affiliation,  that Nigeria is confronted today by contested struggle and the challenge of hyper corruption which is fuelled by our loose commitment to prosecution, probity, integrity, honesty, transparency and accountability. In fact the sheer paucity of knowledge of the assets of our public officers has systematically encouraged corruption and stripped our democracy of the values of transparency and accountability which this administration has vowed to change.

Both President Mohammadu Buhari and Vice President Yemi Osibajo have done something heart warming through their asset declaration to shift the irritating paradigm where Nigerians are kept in the dark of the worth of their public figures who, in turn, exploit this political aberration to loot unredeemable public money. What the President and his VP have done is to bring reform to our democracy; win the trust of Nigerians, encourage hope and enthusiasm and the introduction of a new template for future public office holders.

However, the euphoria of the asset declaration aside, we note also some loopholes in the handling and delivery of the exercise. Section 140 (1) of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria states, “A person elected to the office of President shall not begin to perform the functions of that office until he has declared his assets and liabilities as prescribed in this Constitution and he has taken and subscribed the Oath of Allegiance and the oath of office prescribed in the Seventh Schedule to this Constitution.”  Going by the wording of the constitution, the president and his vice have obeyed this section of our Constitution in the breach.

The language of the constitution has no hidden obfuscation. Further, paragraph 11 (subsection 1) of the fifth schedule of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria 1999 (as amended) require all public officers including President, VP, Governor, Deputy Governor, Ministers, Commissioners not only to declare their assets before performing the functions of their offices but also to redeclare same after 4 years or upon completion of their offices. Therefore, the Code of Conduct Bureau (CCB) must gird their loins and make sure that the verification exercise which they did at the commencement of the public officer’s terms of office must be repeated when their tenure of office ends and must be made public. So far the CCB has been docile in this function. The CCB must be up and doing and be seen to be enforcing compliance.

How then can the president and his vice turned a blind eye to this provision of our constitution? Without any irony, this action is unsettling. Further, the president promised to declare his assets in March ever before his inauguration but this promise was not kept. We may commend him but we would refrain from applauding him because President Buhari once declared himself insolvent and had to borrow money from his bankers to pay off the prescribed sum of N27million naira  for the APC Presidential nomination form.  Now, and almost suddenly, President Mohammadu Buhari has suddenly escaped bankruptcy and has N30million naira to his name.

There is also President Mohammadu Buhari’s ungallant hesitation to declare his assets publicly. He initially  declared his assets to the Code of Conduct Bureau (CCB) but when opposition pressures began to mount up, he then did the needful. It was alleged that his Special Adviser on Media and Publicity, Mr Femi Adesina, had to remind the president of his civic covenant with Nigerians before action was taken to go public with his assets. These are regrettable actions from a president whose affirmation of moral conviction  has endeared him to the highest estimation from majority of Nigerians.

We accept that President Mohammadu Buhari is driven by a strongest sense of purpose to bring sanity and good governance to our desecrated polity and that he is no saint, but when our constitution is not followed to the letter, we as gatekeepers have to call him to order. In taking account of the complex economic, social, political and cultural exertions occurring within the space of change, we may overlook some fault lines but in the matter of constitutional procedure we would not.  President Mohammadu Buhari and Vice President Yemi Osibajo may have made a public declaration of their assets, but their timing and open disregard to constitutional procedure and provision have both open their symbolic gestures to charges of undemocratic illegalities.

Nigerians are restating again that the public declaration so far made by the President and his VP are not constitutionally compliant. It now behoves the National Assembly to amend that part of the constitution that says ‘you have to declare your asset’ to read ‘you have to declare it publicly’.

President Mohammadu Buhari’s administration may be articulating what millions of Nigerians are thinking – fighting corruption  and dissolution of business as usual in government –  but the immediate task is to puncture this illegal orthodoxy  where our elected President and other public servants assume office before declaring their assets. This constitutional oversight has to be corrected and full compliance must  now guide future appointments – declare your assets publicly before the assumption of your national assignments and duties.

President Buhari Needs Hard Talking Ministers


President Buhari Needs Hard Talking Ministers

By Taju Tijani

“Kings take pleasure in honest lips; they value a man who speaks the truth” Proverbs 16:13 KJV.

President Mohammadu Buhari’s 100 days of warming the highest seat of power in the land has come and gone. We all still remember with quiet nostalgia that breezy May 29, 2015 as a day of audacious magic that brought back the optimism of our collective will for a new Nigeria. To make a success of rebranding and repositioning Nigeria as a true giant of Africa, President Mohammadu Buhari must begin to love his critics and also arm his ministers with freedom of dissenting views.

In retrospect, it is a documented fact that ministerial silence doomed ex-President Jonathan’s presidency. During his tenure, Jonathan was made a helpless prisoner to reason by a cabal of fruitcake acolyte fringe who refused to say the truth but rather supported many of his bad decisions that eventually catalyze the loss of his presidency.

His political peers, Ministers and advisers lost the ethical commitment to relentlessly and unflinchingly speak out against all odds, against ex-President Jonathan’s excesses, against all entrenched privileges, and even against all hegemonies – real, imagined and self-induced. There was no gesture of defiance to save Nigeria, no challengers to bring us back from demoralisation, no statement of hope to cheer the intellect, no voices in their angry cadences to speak truth to power, no radical declension to stop the structural malfunction of a treasonous PDP government that lived and survived on turbo-charged corruption of incomparable global scale.

As a result of the silence around him, Mr Goodluck Jonathan lost all radical determination to fix Nigeria. He made no concerted effort to swing the political pendulum away from suffocating corruption fetishism. PDP Governors became political predators and resource hyenas who developed demonic and covetous attitude toward the total cleansing of our commonwealth. Billions of money was stolen blindly, carted away blindly to foreign banks and with equal measure was spent blindly on opulent passing fancies like billion dollar mansions, foreign homes, private jets, prestige cars, watches, sexual orgies, women and even on facelift.

The brutal stupidity of blathering Okonjo-Iweala (Jonathan’s Prime Minister), her lies and effrontery of normalising the abnormal showed the moral death of one of our compliant educated conservatives in government. It was a person like Okonjo-Iweala who lost the moral and patriotic battle to stand up to Jonathan and make a hell of a noise about the breathtaking bankruptcy of Nigeria’s economic condition. Rather, she played the welder-in-chief and soldered the economy with unutterable lies, innuendoes, false statistics, financial abracadabra and the ultimate insulting prattle like “the economy is fine.”

Rather than advise ex- President Goodluck Jonathan on the mood of the nation, his advisers fooled him with the idea that adversarial political messages against the person of President Mohammadu Buhari will swing the vote for him. But alas, Nigerians were ready to decide the Manichean struggle between integrity and banality, good and evil, freedom and slavery and the desire to change from the continuity of an evil administration. Voters voting pattern at the presidential poll was shaped by the sheer rational brutality and memory of 16 long years of PDP turning Nigeria into oasis of decadence, draught and economic paralysis. The soul of Nigeria was left in the hands of plutocratic technocrats and these hounds swallowed our riches in one gulp.

Even Femi Fani-Kayode, a commentator well known for inflated idea of his own brilliance, documented multiple insecurities, intellectual hooliganism, polemical rage, toxic propaganda, duplicitous effusions, errand boy mentality, hokey pokey game of political thrones, hectoring rhetoric, shifting allegiance, emergency cross-bearer for Jonathan’s sinking political roof and Pharisaic indulgence all combined to be more of moral hazard to the polity than the plan to capture hearts and minds through a monstrous spin of lies, slander, demonisation, defamation, fantasy and invalidated charges against President Mohammadu Buhari.

There was stark departure of collective outcry to speak truth to power and call former President Goodluck Jonathan to order on his hideous excesses. This is where President Mohammadu Buhari must embrace a timely lesson on governance. If indeed it is true according to the proverbs above that kings value the man who speaks the truth, then President Buhari must listen more to his future outspoken aides, critics and enemies more than his flatterers who want one favour or another.

What we want is ministers who will be courageous and patriotic enough to speak truth to power if the president is going adrift in his change agenda. We want ministers and advisers who will be audacious enough to trespass their turf by articulating cold truth without fear of retribution. Pursed lips or resignation to cowardice as happened during the time of ex- President Goodluck Jonathan among his ministers and aides should be seen as a crime against the voters who voted for change. Truth telling should no longer be silenced by material indulgence. Already, there is public outcry against President Mohammadu Buhari’s lopsided appointments, selective justice on war against corruption, his religious bigotry and even militarism.

He has to listen to these critics and make necessary correction. Nigerians would prefer a listening president who will respect the opinions and sentiments of internal and external critics who speak out against aberrations that might destroy the democratic renewal and reconstruction we all have been yearning for in the past 16 years. Rather than cosy up to his flatterers, he should rather warm up to his critics and respond to constructive ones with courage and conviction and admission of wrong in the true spirit of the time.

If indeed integrity and honesty are the twin pillars of President Mohammadu Buhari’s change administration, then these values must be elastic enough to accommodate dissenting voices and irritating critics who may have valid reasons to disagree with his public policy formulations. His Ministers and advisers who are closer to him must enjoy the liberty to express their mind when things are going wrong with the ship of state. The ongoing tragic emblem where appointed government officials are turn into demagogues, see no evil and speak no evil zombies should now be a thing of the past. The President should not be blindsided by sweet talk alone he also needs hard talk. That is the true meaning of leadership.

tajutijani@hotmail.com

Recasting President Buhari’s Integrity Canon


Recasting President Buhari’s Integrity Canon

By Taju Tijani

Today, Nigerians are reflecting on how integrity in governance is more than compulsive for a nation like Nigeria that has been tirelessly and ceaselessly plundered, exploited, abused, raped and left to rot by deranged politicians desensitised by decades of high corruption.

Before the memorialisation of May 29, 2015 as a day of audacious magic that brought back the optimism of our collective will for a new Nigeria, ex-President Goodluck Jonathan and his circle of failures had been living insulated lives from the privations of those they pretend to represent – marginalised Nigerians.

Politicians, Ministers and advisers lost the ethical commitment to relentlessly and unflinchingly speak out against all odds, against Jonathan’s bad governance, against all entrenched privileges, and even against all hegemonies – real, imagined and self-induced. There was no gesture of defiance to save Nigeria, no challengers to bring us back from demoralisation, no statement of hope to cheer the intellect, no voices in their angry cadences to speak truth to power, no radical declension to stop the structural malfunction of a treasonous PDP government that lived and survived on turbo-charged corruption of incomparable global scale.

Mr Goodluck Jonathan had no radical determination to fix Nigeria. He made no concerted effort to swing the political pendulum away from suffocating corruption fetishism. PDP Governors became political predators and resource hyenas who developed demonic and tigerish attitude toward the total cleansing of our commonwealth. Billions of money was stolen blindly, carted away blindly to foreign banks and with equal measure was spent blindly on opulent passing fancies like billion dollar mansions, foreign homes, private jets, prestige cars, watches, sexual orgies, women and even on facelift.

Two things remain very striking about Jonathan’s government. First, the range of pandemic corruption. Corruption which should have been an offence to commonsense became agreeable in the political lexicon of his government. He was quoted as saying that “stealing is not corruption” in a  moment of proven drunken stupor. He headed a corrupt government defined by financial recklessness which then became doomed as a sinking Titanic.

The brutal stupidity of blathering Okonjo-Iweala (Jonathan’s Prime Minister) lies and effrontery of normalising the abnormal showed the moral death of one our compliant educated conservatives in government.

It was a person like Okonjo-Iweala who lost the moral and patriotic battle to stand up to Jonathan and make a hell of a noise about the breathtaking bankruptcy of Nigeria’s economic condition. Rather, she played the welder-in-chief and soldered the economy with unutterable lies, innuendoes, false statistics, financial abracadabra and the ultimate insulting prattle like “the economy is fine.”

Secondly, Jonathan kept on living on delusion. He was not disturbed that he had become a mirage of the desert; a passing meteor, a dry well and even a melting vapour the very moment President Mohammadu Buhari took him on as a challenger. Jonathan then encircled himself with morons, demagogues,  blind political prophets whose claim to political wisdom is nothing short of bringing the nation on its knees through selfish prognosis. Under Mr Jonathan, governance was drained of integrity, justice, core values, probity, fairness, protective structure and transparency. What he practised was primordial looting, clannish solidarity, blatant tribal marginalisation (the Yoruba), impunity and even political vendetta against the person of Rotimi Amaechi. He rendered his politics in token and parochial patterns.

Jonathan advisers fooled him with the idea that adversarial political messages against the person of President Mohammadu Buhari will swing the vote for him. But alas, Nigerians were ready to decide the Manichean struggle between integrity and banality, good and evil, freedom and slavery and the desire to change from the continuity of an evil administration. Voters voting pattern at the presidential poll was shaped by the sheer rational brutality and memory of 16 long years of PDP turning Nigeria into oasis of decadence, draught and economic paralysis. The soul of Nigeria was left in the hands of plutocratic technocrats and these hounds swallowed our riches in one gulp.

Even Femi Fani-Kayode, a commentator well known for inflated idea of his own brilliance, documented multiple insecurities, intellectual hooliganism, polemical rage, toxic propaganda, duplicitous effusions, errand boy mentality, hokey pokey game of political thrones, hectoring rhetoric, shifting allegiance, emergency cross-bearer for Jonathan’s sinking political roof and Pharisaic indulgence all combined to be more of moral hazard to the polity than the plan to capture hearts and minds through a monstrous spin of lies, slander, defamation, fantasy and invalidated charges against President Mohammadu Buhari.

What really mobilised Nigerians to recast their collective trust in Buhari is his constant emphasis on the two most fundamental values that have eluded our politics: honesty and integrity. Buhari’s integrity has morphed into Nigeria’s integrity as seen in the respect, honour and the ready assistance of President Barack Obama of USA to search, find and return looted public money back to Nigeria.

Of a truth, the architecture of leadership, all the theories and guidelines falls apart without honesty and integrity. Integrity is the keystone that holds government, organisation, home, business, community and friendship together. Integrity has to be sincere. Actions, words and deeds must be judged to be sincere. An integrity-driven leader has to set and respond to fundamental goals and values that will move the nation and followers forward.

Buhari’s standards, values and motives must be the template by which his appointees must act and react to eliminate the kind of ethical and geopolitical disgrace that characterised Mr Jonathan’s government. President Mohammadu Buhari’s job is to stay committed and articulate his values by constant preaching, persuasion and purposeful action. So far, his actions are mirroring what he says.

Buhari’s now famous slogan for the redemption of Nigeria, “For everybody and for nobody”, is a subtext for “I will stand for anybody that stands right.” It is then no wonder to see President Buhari’s many recent anecdotes and expressions aimed at looters, crooks, corrupt enrichment and unpatriotic parasites.  Ever since he became the president, Mohammadu Buhari has continued to attract success, respect, support, admiration and a positive image by the sheer power of transparent honesty and integrity.

For our nation’s social, economic, political, intellectual, cultural and spiritual rebirth to stand on firm foundation, we all must recast our faith in the president’s integrity canon and emulate it in our new movement of nascent determination to reclaim Nigeria back from the brink.

Buhari Backsliders, Cool Temper


Buhari Backsliders, Cool Temper

By Taju Tijani

Most cyber commentators are restless voyeurs who see the warts of the world, the imperfections of politicians and deformities of our democratic journey. Since the inception of President Mohammadu Buhari’s administration, pessimism is the name of the game and transferred, aggressive discourse the order of the day. Unhaunted by the recent disastrous history of ex-President Goodluck Jonathan’s wrecking administration that was marked by massive corruption, goalless vision and massive pillage of public revenue, some commentators and pundits are making an anthill out of Buhari’s evolving style of governance.

Now what’s gone wrong? Has the universal euphoria of his messianic appearance on the political scene cooled? Who wants to set him on the impossible task of competing with Usain Bolt in the athletic art of hitting the ground running? Is Nigeria’s disease of impatience creepily asserting itself into reality? Has the Buhari’s revolution, distinguished by his legendary integrity, patience, persistence and perseverance no longer national monuments for our idolisation? Is Buhari fundamentalism no longer our ready opium? Is the personal and philosophical compatibility we feel at a distance toward Buhari receding too soon into a nameless ghost? Is our negativism and doubt in his vision not too early to form polemical dissection in a smoke-filled isiewu joint?

There is the reason why we all need to reclaim common sense and patience from implanted panic, hysteria and the desire to see speedy action. We have forgotten too early the criminogenic ease with which ex-President Jonathan and his consort of PDP oppressors brought Nigeria to the foothill of political, economic, social and cultural implosion. We have forgotten the sheer arrogance of the last administration and its abiding faith in its own infallibility until the onset of our seismic political shift that brought us back from political genocide.

If we could, through our complicity, mumu and dialectical capacity tolerated PDP government for 16 years, would it matter if Buhari takes three months to get ready and launch his APC capability-driven capsule into our political space? Nigerians have endured all kinds of leader-looters for 5 decades and the political wounds from bad governance are multi-layered and could be seen in our paralysed institutions, youth unemployment, social and political impunity, entrenched privileges, untouchable elites, systemic evil of corruption, monetisation of democracy and moral death. Clogging the nation’s aspirational arteries in the last 16 years include cabal of privateers, toll gate economy, ostentatious and vulgar indulgence of supposed public figures, runaway decay, democratic negligence, shameless elites, dead brained political jobbers, mogul interests and governance by carrot and stick.

Therefore, to right the wrong of 16 years of monumental national destruction, President Buhari must take his time, be cautious, ponderous and prayerful in his desire to appoint from the dizzying array of time tested, efficient and talented technocrats willing to assist in the salvage of what remains of Nigeria and its future. Buhari is undergoing the onerous task of removing the old landmarks that badly wobbled Nigeria. To euphemised his careful attention to details as “too slow”, “losing focus” and “no action” brutally summarises the emblematic and contrived ignorance of many of our impatient pundits, polemicists and commentators. So, Buhari backsliders, cool temper.

President Buhari Cyber Showdown Vs Jonathan Final Delusion


President Buhari Cyber Showdown Vs Jonathan Final Delusion

Taju Tijani

President Goodluck Ebele Jonathan’s last political gimmick unravelled and consigned him to the dustbin of historical tragedy. Aware that he has lost the election, he carried on as if he had a fighting chance through some dumb voters who could still be swayed by his final delusion. He deployed some delusional tools, techniques and strategies.

For instance, he went on the offensive and bled the airwaves  with messages of a lost cause to perceived undeciders;  created election propaganda section headed by the renegade Femi Fani-Kayode of tattered reputation, manipulated online conversations, encouraged open cyber attacks, set up oppositional surveillance, bullied Professor Atahiru Jega, allowed mob illegalities through his proxies of OPC and MASSOB, let loose his Rottweiler wife as a mad dog on the attack and worse, massively pillaged federal government treasury to fund a lost election.

Welcome to a new Jonathan universe. Welcome to Jonathan delusion. I arrived Nigeria – Ibadan for real – early February to monitor the heart and mind of grassroots voters, listen to their pulse, fear, emotion, feelings, doubt  and aspiration for the future. I was a witness to Jonathan first delusion. His cancellation of earlier date for the election was a clear manifestation of fear of losing, insensitivity and political cowardice. Mum was the reaction among Nigerians. No groans, no protests, no grunts, no shouts and no fight.

Ibadan as a location for my field work provides an important context. Ibadan has divorced itself from its old, muscular, wetie stronghold into a pulsating, vibrant, promising metropolis of melting pot configuration where Igbo, Hausa, Ijebu, Egba, Ogbomosho, Kogi, Ede, Edo, Fulani and Benue live shoulder-to-shoulder as landlords, employers, employees, residents, friends, associates, rivals, husbands and wives. Ibadan is a new narrative of a healthy mix of tribal conurbations.

Ibadan represented a battleground in the many political wahalas of a shipwrecking President Jonathan who is shamelessly obsessed with power to the consternation of those he once fooled with hypocritical, humble narrativisation of a poor, shoeless Otueke  boy.

In the course of the last Presidential election, the humble boy morphed into Africa’s worse power drunk, power mongering and power obsessed dictator despised and hated even by his own people. If Habermasian’s conception of public sphere is a talk shop of rational and critical discourse among different actors in the society, then it is not farfetched to deploy his theory and test his prognosis among my own people. In the course of my  research, I criss-crossed the noisy hair dressing salons, Dugbe corporate axis, Gate spare parts junkyards, UI campus, mama put bukas, okada parks, bank halls, mechanic garages, barber shops and public transports. Without bias, I discovered massive support  for the triumph of Buhari as Nigeria’s next president. Voters readiness to elect Buhari as their next leader represented the beginning of a rising political shift.

Jonathan does not find any persuasion in the fact that he is no longer popular but prefers to live in a delusional bubble of you-never-know.  Jonathan’s unpatriotic last minute distractions; his gratuitous resource vandalism, his poll victory conspiracy, the fetishing of failed transformative agenda, his elevation of morons to national prominence, all, epitomise, the hubristic catastrophe of a deluded lame duck leader. Our PVCs sunk him. Oh, my goodness!!!

The balance sheet of his putrescent and vulgar 6 years delusional presidency has mired Nigeria in deepening poverty, economic decline, and social and tribal polarisations. Before the election the unhealable internal implosion within the PDP not only implied vision of electoral disaster but also the breath of Jonathan’s delusional hope of winning the presidential contest. Only the blind and mischief makers will disregard the massive tide of worldwide  affection for General Mohammadu Buhari. I also realised that certain aspects of digital technologies helped in shaping social mobilisation. I have come to believe that sophisticated use of social media is leading to intellectual, social and political emancipation among Nigerians. We are evolving into a nation of digital protesters. A real technological and cultural root is gaining acceptance!

Before the election, groups like Global Intelligentsia for Buhari, Nigerian Diaspora Group for Good Governance,  Nigerian Global Awakening Group,  Nigerian Diaspora Group, and Diaspora For Buhari discussed, commented and interrogated varied political, social and economic issues paralysing the Nigerian state and deployed ‘spin’ to achieve  subjective and maximum impact.

Major themes of discussions were bad governance, endemic corruption, poor policy implementation, infrastructural decay, power outage, unemployment and electoral fraud. These groups were digital attack forces that marshalled arguments to destroy all the canons of Jonathan’s lies, hypocrisy, corruption, resource vandalism, political vulgarity, baseness and other palette of abysmal failures of his presidency.

It is hardly any surprise that the use of the Internet and the Web, the so-called distance and time-shrinking telecommunication, has become a truly potent phenomenon among Nigerian’s digital protesters. In the sub Saharan African region, there is no country more ferociously hungry for media consumption than Nigeria. We inhabit a cyberian republic populated with warrior netizens who have come to embrace social media and deploy them as tools to fight, criticize, project and highlight various  social injustices affecting the destiny of their nation.

Even digitalised diaspora Nigerians who are oceans away from the centre of political, social and economic life back home, are daily engaging in online communities to register their participation in the social, economic and political processes happening in their homeland. Some find accommodation in blogging. Some take to twitter. Millions embrace Facebook. Others communicate through WhatsApp and other social media devises. In all the flourish, Muhammadu Buhari was the pillar of their hope for a new Nigeria. He was the centre of their gravity. Sai Baba/Buhari was the battle cry before the election.

The March 28 general election was Nigeria’s most troublesome and challenging election in living memory. Appropriately, activities among Nigerian voters on Facebook reached saturation point. Nigerians both at home and abroad converted Facebook into a platform for information diffusion, participation, mobilisation, propaganda, smear campaign, personality attack, abuse, ethnic polarisation, radicalisation, caricaturisation and empowerment.

Resources and time were deployed to encourage mass turn out for a Buhari’s victory. Articulation of arguments for his choice became a byword of digital unity.  The election was couched in the metaphor of a messiah coming to undo the work of a dark, corrupt incumbent bent on destroying Nigeria because of his inability to let go a transient power. Meanwhile, most Nigerians I interviewed desired a rebranded nation of peace, power, possibilities, promise and prospects.

The distillation of their ongoing conversations and democratic deliberations strengthened their resolve to CHANGE the worsening conditions around them  with a blast of Buhari’s unsoiled reputation, integrity and political honesty. Therefore, realising that there were no factory fresh political ideas to sell to Nigerians, Jonathan fell from grace into the desperate grip of delusions. His first delusion was the wasteful injection of billions of naira to saturate the broadcast, print and social media in a cowardly propaganda to damage the reputation of Mohammadu Buhari. He failed!

In another delusion, Jonathan  criss-crossed Nigeria, giving an average of N50 million each to traditional rulers, most especially in the South-West and the Northern parts of Nigeria. Letters in English and Hausa backed by millions in cash were dispatched to willing rulers in the region. Religious leaders, trade unions, youth organisations, outlaw groups (OPC and Niger Delta Militants), professional bodies, entertainers were not ruled out of the money sharing jamboree of a wantonly wasteful criminal Jonathan. He failed!

One of his laughable delusions was the last minute forced friendship with the Yoruba people. Yoruba are the famed, lionised, intelligent and resourceful race of omo Oduduwa that had remained rejected, mistreated and marginalised by Jonathan in a mysterious alchemy of geopolitical miscalculations. The fixer of our tribal quota relegated the Yoruba to nothingness under Jonathan’s presidency. The injury of Yoruba political oblivion under Jonathan would later bundle him back to swampy Otueke through a calculated electoral revenge.  His final delusion to force feed the renegade Afeniferere with billions of naira also failed. For the record, Afeniferere has emerged as a leprous finger of shame and scandal. This time there is no forgetting of their crime against Yoruba unity.

Another Jonathan delusion was the use of his shameless wife – the damned – Dame Patience as a trench warrior, fighting verbal wars on all cylinders and spreading quarrels and anger all across the geopolitical divide. Patience Jonathan illiterate quarrels and horrible comments in the public domain were forms of delusional tools used to woo illiterate voters like her. All noises and no substance! Her projected fears of a victorious President Buhari later came to be a self-fulfilling prophecy. She failed!

Her reduction of nuanced and intelligent soap box campaign into Bolekaja-Warri-pidgin-megaphone by a tempestuous, accidentally lucky housewife shows her vulgar upbringing.  Another of Jonathan’s final delusion was his blindness to see renaissance voters who were ready to defy his propaganda, promote the idea of CHANGE, of reconstructive democracy over transformative fraud and good governance over corrupt leadership.

Being slow to interpret the signs of CHANGE that were all around Nigeria, Jonathan’s biggest effrontery was the idea to save his face from electoral failure and bushwhacked Nigeria into the unpopular arm of Interim National Government – ING. Thank God, his evil desire to derail Nigeria from paradise into purgatory has backfired on his face. He failed!

Lastly, Jonathan’s attempt to reduce our democracy to a do-or-die and delusional farce blew up on his face. His 6 years of embroidered lies, stealing, plundering, impunity, marginalisation of the Yoruba- his burden bearers to the Presidency – naked ambition, over-heating of the polity and his crude benign blindness to see CHANGE all around him have all combined to bury him into the depthless darkness of political oblivion. The desire of most Nigerians to live under a new universe became an instant opium and all of us turned into Buhari junkies. Sai Baba won!!! Job done!!!

* Tijani is the Europe and Middle East Coordinator for Global Intelligentsia For Buhari.