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A Man Of Faith

By Sam Omatseye

What Asiwaju Bola Tinubu – the president-elect – just pulled off is a miracle but the merchants of miracles in our midst are not shouting hallelujah.

They are still querulous. Rather than see a divine halo in the man’s march to his hallowed dream, they were trying to choreograph the divine poise.
They did not see his seesaw of obstacles and how he scaled one after the other. And, also, how gifts fell on his lap. First, it was in his party, the APC.

Once the 2019 polls were over, some elements in Aso Rock as well as opponents in the party ganged up. First step, sack Adams Oshiomhole as chairman.

He was seen as Asiwaju Tinubu’s man in the party’s inner sanctum. They did, and then one of the coupists, Akpan Udo-Edehe, announced that they wanted a consensus candidate. In other words, a not-Tinubu as flagbearer for president. It was even decreed that no court suit should ensue.

Udo-Edehe limped in his run for APC ticket in Akwa Ibom. He sulked into NNPP.

That was not enough for self-confidence. All eyes focused on the primaries. First, they advanced the idea of an open one. Then they balked. Tinubu had a way with the crowds.

The sweepstakes may creep out of their hands into the Jagaban’s web. After all, he was the chief proponent of open primaries. So, let’s make it delegate-driven. It buzzed until they saw again trap falls of disaster.

The only feline path to tear him apart was to get the president to appoint a successor in the mould of how Abdullahi Adamu emerged as party chairman. It did not happen from Buhari’s end.

Then, they came with a magic. They wanted a narrow count that disenfranchised lawmakers and many party leaders. Their frustration was that a primary had to happen. Before that, they orchestrated a machine of lies. He did not go to Chicago.

A media outfit called Chicago State University to wrest a denial. Rather the school said he was not just a student but a distinguished one. They brought drug hobgoblin even after a U.S. government’s denial. They said he was not fit enough.

He beat all contestants hopping from state to state. He even beat his chest over his peripatetic prowess when he met Niger State delegates.

His opponents were waiting for him to faint and fly out in a medical craft. Nature failed their malice.

On primary day, some party men rallied behind Senate president as the anointed pick. But it floundered. In fact, some Villa elements wanted Buhari to change his mind at the last moment.

One of them asked the service chiefs to see Buhari for a last-minute order. One of the chiefs insisted the president already gave them a go-ahead to conduct a fair primary. But a cabal insider insisted all three should see him.

They did. They met an irritated boss who asked them to proceed to the stadium to conduct a fair poll.

He did not only win but handily, flummoxing all those who predicted his Nunc dimittis. He had before then enriched our political language with Emilokan.

Some called it outburst. But it busted the cabal. As the campaign wore on, he became a source of immense derision.

They mocked his body fluid, his height, his walk, his sitting, his standing, his words, his accent, his language, his faith, his paternity and maternity, his roots. But they were mocking his maker.

And God said, God is mocked. If he had lost, a newspaper was waiting to appropriate O lule for him. But they wouldn’t employ it for their dazed candidate.

Weeks to the polls, they saw an inevitability, and they devised a new obstacle. Fuel and cash. They would blame his party for putting Nigerians through the crucible.

Tinubu will pay for them. The elements in the villa were accused but they had no shame. They persisted.

Peter Obi and Atiku Abubakar loved the cynical play because they expected the scarcity to knock out the Jagaban.

We experienced in Tinubu on this matter what political scientists call loyal opposition, when he spoke under warrior Lisabi’s shadow in Abeokuta about those who wanted him to fail. El Rufai elaborated later.

But in the divine strain must be seen a few factors.

One, the APC northern governors, who were this essayist’s personal pick for persons of the year in 2022, insisted the next president must come from the south.

Two, Obi came in as a gift by wiping out Atiku’s southern entitlements in Lagos, Southeast and south-south. Three, Wike and the G-5 factor. The forces were aligning.

For the LP man even the APC did not hide the permutation that he was a gift for Tinubu. Yet, PDP and Labour Party in their mutual obstinacy united for Tinubu.

Kwankwaso, the Kano landlord, also left PDP. They broke into three. How could pieces make mincemeat of a whole?

The APC left them alone according to the words of Napoleon: “Never interrupt your enemies when they are making a mistake.”

The Obidient movement was like Asahel in the scripture who, like Fela’s joro jaro joro, ran but looked neither left nor right with no weapon and plunged straight into a sword.

It is a movement without eyes or ears but legs of a flailing antelope. Like flies following the sweet scent of death in a corpse, they buzzed into their own electoral oblivion.
Buoyed by false prophets and ethnic bigotry, it believed it could force a victory on a diverse nation.

They forget that southwest and North coalition gave Buhari his victory.

They didn’t have that heft. Christians and southeast alone is a narrow coalition.

If the Atiku votes up north of Muslims with the southwest were in contention with the Obidients, a shellacking would have drowned Labour.

Having shaved Atiku in the southeast and southsouth, Atiku relied only on the north for big numbers. Obi’s cynical move gave us no ideology. If it did, it romped in a narrow radius.

The United States has a religious and white coalition. But it falls short. They align with business with the concept of low taxes and small government. Nixon enunciated the Christian and cultural nexus into what he called the southern strategy. It is exhibited in the G’s: God, gays and guns.

The prophets hoodwinked their followers, acting like God’s spokesmen. I asked on TVC Breakfast Show, if that were the case, what happened with Father Hyacinth Alia of Benue State who supported APC and triumphed for Tinubu? Did it mean the holy spirit was at war with itself? God forbid. As Jeremiah wrote, they were speaking from their imaginations.

He said, “A wonderful and terrible thing is committed in the land. The prophets prophesy falsely and the priests bear rule by their means. And my people love to have it so.”

Men like that are a disgrace to the word of God. They are spiritual hustlers who want to fill their halls and build gigantic buildings as though the truth of God relies on marble palaces made with hands. Just as we no longer rely on physical circumcision but the foreskin of the heart, the love of God is in the heart, not in the ululations of false prophets.

Their entrance does not bring light, but lights-out. For all who prophesied, Paul said, “though there be prophecies, they shall fail.” And of course, their tongues shall cease.

The Bible says let the wheat and tares dwell together, not duel together. When the polls results started trickling in, the Obidients were exulting because they were cherry-picking areas where they were doing well.

The polls were credible then. They forgot the big picture. They were happy to hear that Lagos fell, that a sort of partial domino fall was dawning: Buhari lost Katsina, Ayade lost in Cross River, Lalong in Plateau, Adamu in Nasarawa, El Rufai in Kaduna, et al. Translation: a credible proceeding.

Twenty governors lost their states. But when Obidients lost the full count, they say no sir, it was rigged. Of course, it was no perfect poll. A man like hoary Obasanjo was sulking like an anarchist.

The problem with the Obidients is that where they lost, they didn’t lose. Where they won, they didn’t win enough. Maybe they want to win 150 percent of southeastern states.

As for some of my eastern brethren, they thought it was all right that a Tinubu had zero percent in one state and one percent in two states there. They have to understand that democracy is about building bridges and not erecting bubbles of bluster.

It is the sort of puffy air they are bringing to Lagos. A territorial braggadocio does not make peace in another person’s patrimony. Many of them work here in peace, but a swagger of proprietary assertion by a good number of them does not make for peace.
The LP man was an interesting candidate. He was a man who did not rely on his track record or vision. His followers did not watch him except his old wristwatch.

When he lied, it was an act of human grace. When Tinubu erred, it was a big, unforgivable gaffe. His statistical illusions made the LP candidate a wizard. All those who hated Tinubu channeled their anger for the LP man.

He did not have to be a saint. They canonised him and gave him the holy scent, including our pastors who loved the holy spirit so much that they did not see what was coming.

Some writers and commentators went abroad to make claims for which they have no evidence. One of them was writer Chimamanda Adichie who wrote a New York Times piece out of rage rather than method.

She turned anecdotes into a pattern, history into tendentious material, bigotry into grace. She probably thought she was writing a novel. But facts, even when fictionalized, have their place.

She is often quick to toady up to the west for affirmation. She is entitled to her servitude, but she should not replace research with sentiment. As in her New York Times effusions. She needed to know that we had only a fraction of the polling stations with problems. And every polling station had result sheets signed by party agents at various levels.

We need to ascertain whether some people are wailing because they did not have the chance to hack the server. Writing as though her Half of A Yellow Sun, she whipped up a spectre of refugees going to America. No bloodshed here, please.

The polls may not be perfect; hence the law speaks of substantial compliance, a point the Nigerian Bar Association President noted in his assessment.

At long last, we shall accept that elections, like this one, tumble social hierarchies by affirming the royalty of the citizen.

In the words of the boisterous American statesman Huey Long, “every man a king but no one wears a crown.” The coronation belongs to the Nigerian people.

When he said, emilokan, Tinubu turned out to be more prophetic than any prophet in the land. It was an act of faith as novelist Dostoyevsky wrote, “In a realist, faith does not spring from miracle but miracle out of faith.”

Tinubu was the man of faith.

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NSCDC Under Audi: CWAI Highlights Achievements and Paradigm Shift

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A civil society and pressure group, non-profit and anti-corruption organization has stated that the crackdown on illegal miners has saved the economy huge financial revenue loss as a result of securing the mining sector which is a vital component of Nigeria’s economy. The CSO further observed that this destruction of over 350 illegal refineries has also assisted to reduce the menace of oil theft in the Niger Delta region as well as the arrest and recovery of critical assets and railway materials worth over 5 billion Naira.

It is instructive that the creation of the Nigerian Security and Civil Defence Corps, NSCDC’s Special Mines Marshals to combat the menace of illegal mining has also enabled the reduction of mining theft, oil and gas sector of the country as the present management of the NSCDC under the leadership of Dr Abubakar Audi is determined to nip in the bud these challenges once and for all.

Howbeit, the creation of the Civil Defence Academy in Jos, Plateau State, for career development and progression; the creation of NSCDC Arms Squad Training School at Ugede Development Area in Nasarawa LGA of Nasarawa State is very instructive; the massive acquisition of mini fire fighter tankers for disaster management in case of emergencies are worthy of note and big morale booster for the corps and the procurement of Armoured Personnel Carrier (APC) vehicles for the NSCDC to use in fighting criminalities across the country is a welcome development under the present administration.

In a press release signed in Warri, Delta State by the Executive Secretary of Citizens Watch Advocacy Initiative (CWAI), Omoba Kenneth Aigbegbele on Tuesday, the CSO identified bad governance, abject poverty and unemployment as some of the root causes of attacks on our critical oil and gas assets including the mining sector in the country. He stated that poverty and hunger have contributed to the damages being recorded in the oil and gas facilities and that the degradation of the environment due to exploration and oil spills has not helped matters as it has deprived communities’ access to their traditional methods of livelihoods.

The organization observed that: “There is therefore the need to confront and tackle poverty and other issues, so as to reduce the menace.” That government should deploy special equipment, create forums to engage the various communities, collaborate and partner with private security guards, armed forces and intelligence services to stem the tide of oil theft and mining plundering.

In an effort to curb Illegal mining and create safe mining environment recently, the Federal Government commissioned 350 additional operatives of the NSCDC as mining marshals. This is happening barely few months after the first batch of 2,220 mining marshals were inaugurated. This is as the marshals underscore the Federal Government’s commitment to reforming the unlicensed operators across the country. According to reports, since the inauguration, over 200 illegal mining suspects have been arrested, 133 prosecutions underway and confiscated illegally mined minerals forfeited to the Federal Government. CWAI gathered that as part of its efforts to strengthen, protect and safeguard schools across the country, the Save School Initiative was launched for the protection of vulnerable schools and to reduce the menace of kidnapping in schools and the creation of the NSCDC Female Squad to aid in tackling kidnappings and other restiveness in schools which has yielded enormous dividends by the reduction of this heinous crime.

CWAI noted the various institutional nationwide reformations presently taking place across the corps as well as the new sense of belonging, increase in welfare packages for the corps, prompt payment of emoluments, allowances including the zero tolerance for corruption initiated by the new management. This, without doubt, has given the corps a pride of place in the paramilitary organizations in the country and has raised the ‘esprit-de-corps’ of the men and officers like never before seen. The robust welfare, motivated packages through massive promotions, conversion, upgrading and other benefits-in-kind are really commendable and not to mention the construction of official and residential buildings within and outside the NSCDC headquarters, including the procurement of operational and office equipment and the purchase of over 200 operation vehicles are also worthy of note.

The arrest of students for acts unbecoming of them across institutions of learning in the country; arrest of practitioners of same sex marriages is a major milestone; the commendations given by governors of Zamfara, Gombe, Ogun, Jigawa and Katsina states recently are also worth mentioning; the reduction of the incessant herders’ and farmers’ clashes and cattle rustling; the deployment of undercover corps officers to schools;  the collaboration with the Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ) to reduce criminal activities across the country with the toga ‘See Something, Say Something;” the robust relationships of inter-agency corporations and partnerships with sister agencies such as the Navy, Army, Customs, Immigration, NNPC, and civil society organizations, is a major achievement that must be applauded; the consistent advocacies carried out by the CG to intimate and assure Nigerians to believe in the corps’ operations to engender faith in security agencies, are all worthy of note.

The continued fight against cyber-crimes, child abuse and the flushing out of illegal guard private operators; the arrest of smugglers, vandals and pipeline/oil thieves in the Niger Delta region have become an Herculean task that must be achieved, according to the CG, saying that the Service “is presently doing all it can to curb the proliferation of small arms across the length and breadth of the country.” He also read the Riot Act to the Corps’ commandants in the Niger Delta states, assuring them that President Bola Ahmed Tinubu has a zero-tolerance to civil theft. He asked them to do all they can to nib crimes in the bud in line with a presidential order to rid the nation’s oil sector of economic saboteurs, vandals, criminals, oil thieves and other nefarious activities inimical to the growth of the sector.

CWAI can attest to the fact that the giant strides achieved so far by the current leadership are as a result of the strategic directions taken on the commissioning of the Standard Curriculum for NSCDC for entrenching career progression, effective supervision and transparent regulation of the Private Guard Companies in Nigeria which has reduced insecurity across the country. CWAI asserts that this is connected to a new reinvigorated legal department, successes in anti-vandalism, protection of farmers’ physical security at mining sites and the establishment of Special Female Squad (SFS) targeted at boosting the fight against insecurity and the location of the squad in all Commands across the country. This has also enhanced the safe school response coordination and the protection of schools in remote areas and border communities, which is done in collaboration with other security agencies of the Army and the Department of State Services (DSS) to foil attempts to attack schools. This is endorsed by all stakeholders.

Similarly, the Commandant-General has continuously urged security agencies/operatives to shun inter-agency rivalry to foster national security. The CG gave this charge at a recent security seminar tagged “Promoting Inter-Agency Collaboration Among Security Agencies.” He noted that “the rivalry was capable of eroding relationships building over time between security agencies and consequently rubbed off negatively on the provision of adequate security.”  

CWAI also endorsed the amicable settlement of conflicts and dispute resolutions between herdsmen, farmers, cattle rustlers and villagers, community leaders and bandits – all championed by the current management of the NSCDC. The pressure group also applauded the vision, mission and the ability to implement its mandate as regards the settlement of disputes through Alternative Dispute Resolute (ADR) between warring parties.

CWAI recognizes the importance of conflict and dispute resolution mechanism in today’s contemporary issues and conflict management, and commended the leadership for thinking out of the box and finding lasting solutions in today’s crises-prone society, where conflicts have become the order of the day with the support of the proactive Minister of Interior, Olubunmi Ojo.

CWAI emphasized a renewed vigour for the increment of national budget allocated to the NSCDC in view of the pivotal role it plays in the reduction of criminal elements in the protection of critical national assets and the reduction of kidnapping in our schools as a result of the school initiative, which if properly funded will give the NSCDC the impetus to do more for the nation and its workforce.

We are encouraged to commend the public procurement and contract approvals, accountability in procurement process and payments. We also applaud the transformation, vision and forthrightness of the leadership in changing the narrative to make the Corps the cynosure of all eyes through discipline, promotion of officers when due and capacity building of officers and men, including building strategic alliances with various ivory towers across the land, to upgrade the service institutions to meet with what is attainable globally and build robust sister inter-agency collaborations.

CWAI, therefore, has no hesitation in passing a vote of confidence on the Dr. Abubakar Audi-led management and calls on the international community and well-meaning Nigerians to support the NSCDC management and allow them to concentrate on their mandate and continuously support the proactive leadership to enable it further its commitment and efforts to the general wellbeing of the nation.

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Groups Back Federal Govt’s Initiatives, Laud Agric Minister For Generating Over 60,000 Jobs

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Over 1000 bloggers under the aegis of the Bloggers and Vloggers Content Creators Association in Nigeria (BAVCCA) and Tinubu -Shettima Support Group have lauded the creation of 60,000 jobs in various rural economies across the country under the leadership of the Minister of Agriculture and Food Security, Senator Abubakar Kyari.

The bloggers and Tinubu-Shettima Support Group in a joint statement on Sunday signed by the Vice President of BAVCCA, Dr. Adebayo Olugbenga, National Coordinator of Tinubu-Shettima Support Group Alhaji Shehu Mohammed and the Secretary, Hon Uche Okafor respectively expressed their unwavering support for Kyari’s transformative leadership and the significant progress made in the agricultural sector under his stewardship in the last one year.

The State reads in part, “It is with great pride and enthusiasm that we, the members of the Bloggers and Vloggers, Content Creators Association in Nigeria, and the Tinubu-Shettima Support Group gathered here today to pass a vote of confidence in the Honourable Minister of Agriculture and Food Security, Senator Abubakar Kyari.

“In the past one year, Senator Kyari has demonstrated an unparalleled commitment to revolutionizing agriculture in Nigeria, and we are here to applaud his remarkable achievements and unwavering dedication to this crucial sector of our economy.”

They pointed out that the agricultural sector under the watch of Kyari, has injected an estimated value of N309 billion into the Nigerian economy in the last one year, as the money was injected through the harvest of agricultural produce.

And commended the minister for the provision of rural infrastructure, such as the construction of 77.8km of asphalt roads; construction of 130.9 km of earthen roads; provision of 102 motorized and solar-powered boreholes and installation of 6,504 solar street lights, as well as generating over 60,000 jobs in various rural economies.

Enumerating some of the Minister’s achievements, they said the Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Food Security had launched dry season farming with cultivation of 118,657 hectares of wheat in 15 states in the acceleration of all-year-round farming in a bid to ensure food and nutrition security.

They noted that at the end of dry season farming, that one of the participating States, Jigawa, had produced 55,000 metric tonnes of wheat.

The Vice President of BAVCCA disclosed that the Federal Government has also supported 107,429 wheat farmers with inputs such as fertilizers, seeds, and pesticides, resulting in an output of 474,628 metric tonnes.

The leadership of BAVCCA and the Tinubu-Shettima supporters observed that in response to the Presidential directive, the Ministry of Agriculture had released 42,000metric tonnes of assorted food commodities made up of maize, millet, sorghum, and garri, from the National Strategic Food Reserve to National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) for onward distribution to vulnerable Nigerians.

As part of measures to reduce escalating prices of food items in the markets, they expressed joy that the Federal Government procured and distributed 58,500 metric tonnes of milled rice to all States of the Federation and Federal Capital Territory, Abuja.

According to the statement, “To reduce malnutrition and stunted growth among children, the Federal Government had embarked on fortification of crops with Vitamin A micro-nutrient to enrich nutrition content and health value of food commodities.

“In response to persistent food inflation, the Federal Government has distributed 60,432metric tons of improved seeds, 887,255mt seedlings, 138numbers of value kits, 501,726 litres of agrochemicals, 62,328.5 metric tonnes of inorganic fertilizers, 1,000kg fungicide, and 33,200 equipment to farmers across different value chains to enhance production.

“The Ministry also received 2.15 million bags of fertilizer from the Central Bank of Nigeria(CBN) for distribution to farmers free of charge, adding that the distribution of the farm input has begun across the States.

“As part of measures to guarantee the protection and safety of farmers in their farmlands, there has been an improvement of farmland security with the provision of additional resources to Agro Rangers and other security agencies.

“On livestock production and animal health, the Federal Government had in the last one year procured and distributed 14,056,467 doses of anthrax spore, foot, and mouth diseases vaccines for risk-based vaccination exercise in 22 high-risk states across Nigeria.”

The groups further noted with satisfaction the establishment of animal health centres and veterinary hospitals, six micro earth dams and eight boreholes, 164 milk collection centres, eight cottage feed mills, and seven livestock centres in the country.

On Mechanisation, BAVCCA explained that the Ministry had signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with John Deere and Tata Africa to assemble in-country and supply 10,000 tractors with implements and accessories at 2,000 units yearly, as well as 100 units of combine harvesters to support production.

The groups explained that the Federal Government had partnered with the Brazilian government for the sum 995,000 Euros to provide mechanisation hubs across the Federation.

They are confident that under the continued stewardship of Kyari, the agricultural sector will thrive, contributing to the country’s food security, economic prosperity, and sustainable development.

“Kyari’s dedication, innovation, and tireless efforts have truly set a new standard for agricultural leadership in Nigeria.

“We, the members of BAVCCA and Tinubu-Shettima Support Group, pledge our unwavering support and commitment to working alongside the Minister to further strengthen the agricultural sector and realise our collective vision of a prosperous, food-secure, and environmentally sustainable Nigeria,” the statement assured.

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Coalition lauds NCC’s commitment to telecoms’ sector increase in contributions to nation’s GDP

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The Coalition on Transparency and Rule of Law (CTRL) has commended theGo Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) for its commitment to the nation’s telecoms sector which has led to an increase in its contribution to Nigeria’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP).

 

The coalition also praised the leadership of Dr. Aminu Maida, the Executive Vice Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of NCC, for his vision and strategic goal alignment.

 

In a statement signed by Sunday Thomas, the coalition said: “We are thrilled to acknowledge the recent remarks made by Dr. Aminu Maida, reaffirming the commission’s commitment to significantly enhancing the telecoms sector’s contribution to Nigeria’s GDP.

 

“Dr. Maida’s leadership and creative vision are commendable, demonstrating the NCC’s dedication to driving economic growth and development.”

 

The coalition further praised Dr. Maida’s ambitious target of achieving a 25% increase in the telecoms sector’s contribution to Nigeria’s GDP, noting that it showcases the commission’s proactive stance in harnessing the potential of the telecommunications industry.

 

The group also acknowledged Dr. Maida’s leadership style, which has fostered an open-door policy, encouraging industry stakeholders to engage in constructive dialogue with the commission.

 

“We extend our heartfelt commendation to Dr. Maida and the NCC for their dedication to driving sustainable economic growth and development in the telecoms sector,” Thomas added.

 

“Their commitment is aligned with our mission to champion policies and practices that uphold transparency, accountability, and sustainable economic growth.”

 

The coalition expressed its support for the NCC’s endeavours, acknowledging the imperative need for synergistic collaboration between the public and private sectors.

 

They believe that the NCC’s commitment will catalyze other sectors to strive for similar growth and contribution to Nigeria’s GDP.

 

“We believe that Dr. Maida’s 25% target is feasible, and we look forward to seeing the positive impact of this initiative on our economy and the lives of Nigerians,” Thomas concluded.

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