Thursday, July 21, 2016

Adamawa: the Politics of Nuhu Ribadu’s Return to APC

The return of Mallam Nuhu Ribadu to the All Progressives Congress (APC) is a national issue, but it has come along with some serious political hullabaloo in Adamawa state.

Adamawa APC is fragmented into three groups: Governor Muhammad Jibril Bindo group headed by former Vice President Atiku Abubakar, the former Governor Murtala Nyako group led by his son, Senator Abdul-Aziz Nyako, while the third group, popularly called Abuja/Buhari group is led by Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Engineer David Lawal Babachir.

The Atiku/Bindo group has never hidden its opposition to Nuhu’s return to APC, because they see it as a serious trap to them in the games of 2019; as the Babachir and the Nyako groups who are oppositions within for the Bindo/Atiku group have not shown any open resistance to Nuhu’s moves. Is Ribadu member of any of the group? Is there a link between Nuhu’s return to APC and the politics of 2019 in the state? Is the Abuja group behind Nuhu’s return? 

Nuhu may not be a direct member of the any of group- but the Abuja group led by the SGF will feel very at home with Nuhu Ribadu because he is a stakeholder of one of the legacy parties- the defunct ACN. He can be an excellent ‘game-changer’ for the group when it comes to the 2019 governorship elections. Beating Governor Bindo in 2019 governorship election will require a miracle if the governor can sustain his current infrastructure development drive especially in the opening up of new roads and urban development, moving away from the era of sharing the state’s commonwealth among family, friends and elites. Furthermore, like a ‘political-conqueror’- Bindo has never lost an election. Governor Bindo’s greatest mistake was his sidelining of the members of the legacy parties- ACN, CPC and the ANPP.

It will be unsurprising if the Abuja group is among those that pressurized Nuhu to return to the APC; Nuhu can be a special political weapon for the group in another way- President Muhammadu Buhari may be keen to give Nuhu Ribadu an important appointment, because Nuhu was very instrumental in the merger that produced the APC. So, if the group effected Nuhu’s return to APC and he eventually gets any appointment, it will have a prime addition to its connections. 

Many people will view Nuhu’s return to the APC as the continuation of the pursuit of his political ambition. But Nuhu is a man that has unique charisma, credibility and is loved by many Adamawa people; his return to APC may turn out to be purely for the best of the party and Adamawa state in general. 

Does Atiku have something to fear with the return of Nuhu to APC? - Yes and no! Atiku have proven to be the only man that always survives and pulls weight in Adamawa politics whichever way the tide turns. Nuhu cannot in any way present a threat to Atiku- a savvy politician, but Nuhu’s return to the APC will definitely alter the present permutations and settings in the Adamawa politics; which Atiku absolutely enjoys. Little wonder Nuhu’s return has sent jitters to the Bindo and Atiku group.

The Nyako group still feels betrayed by Governor Bindo and its main political crave is to have Senator Abdul-Aziz Nyako as governor, if Nuhu Ribadu has returned to the APC to contest the 2019 governorship election, the Nyako group will be not be comfortable with him, but if his return is just to join the party’s front men, the group will be happy, because Nuhu was among those individuals that vehemently opposed the impeachment of Murtala Nyako, though Governor Bindo also did that as a senator from Adamawa North.

Whichever way, the pendulum swings- Nuhu Ribadu’s return to the APC will be highly welcome by the APC national caucus and it will definitely view Nuhu’s return beyond the mere Adamawa local politics, because Nuhu is a strategist with international status, credibility and he played an outstanding role in the formation of the APC. Furthermore, the APC will love to deny the PDP the honour of having a ‘Nuhu Ribadu’ in its fold. Nevertheless, Nuhu’s return to the APC will continue to generate some interesting political ripples in Adamawa state. And, it is good for democracy and real spirited politics. 

Zayyad I. Muhammad Jimeta, Adamawa State, 08036070980.

Sunday, July 17, 2016

Rotimi Amaechi, Hadiza Bala and Buhari’s Government

Recently, at a small private event, I overheard a very important figure in Nigerian politics and in the All Progressives Congress (APC), saying: “Amaechi is one of the very few people that Buhari will give whatever they want”. Curiosity pushed me to ask the bigwig why he said that. “Amaechi bravely went through the ‘Bermuda Triangle’ of Nigerian politics during the 2015 elections, and had the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) won the elections, Amaechi’s story would have been better not told”, he replied.

If President Muhammadu Buhari will give Rotimi Amaechi, his Minister of Transport, whatever he wants, reasons for this are definitely beyond just being brave and resolute during the 2015 elections, but some other qualities in governance; doggedness in the pursuit of what he believes in and his sterling performance as Governor of Rivers states from 2007-2015. After all, President Muhammadu Buhari is known as a man who is never carried-away by ‘flashes’ of politicking.

Curious to know more about some hidden attributes of Amaechi that endears him to Mr. President considering Buhari’s cautiousness in picking close political allies, I contacted few people in government. Some who know Amaechi and many that have followed and observed his way of doing things since his early political career as secretary of the now defunct National Republican Convention (NRC) in Ikwerre Local Government Area of Rivers State; Special Assistant to the Deputy Governor of Rivers State, Dr Peter Odili 1992-1994; Speaker, Rivers State House of Assembly 1999-2007 and to his becoming the governor of Rivers state through his determination in the pursuit of his case up to the Supreme Court.

Majority of them said Amaechi extremely abhors injustice, loves quality leadership and always prefers putting the right people in the right jobs. Well, these qualities including Amaechi’s braveness before, during and after the 2015 politicking must have been the ones that attract President Buhari to him.

The appointment of Hadiza Bala Usman as Managing Director (MD) of Nigeria Port Authority (NPA) has generated some grumbles from few quarters- many suggesting that, Hadiza was appointed because Amaechi and Governor El-Rufa’i are friends and President Buhari will always give the duo whatever they want. Most people forgot that Hadiza Bala Usman is a young goal-getter in a class of her own and, Buhari is man of thoroughness and operates in a style that Operations Research scientists call ‘System Thinking’- a serial approach to governance- where each development sector is connected and will influence each other within a well-planned government. Amaechi’s recommendation of Hadiza is purely based on Buhari’s cardinal belief which Amaechi also shares- the need to bring on board young adventurers, silicon-valley-like-thinkers; men and women who can move the government at the speed of the imagination of most Nigerians; individuals whose sense of judgement is centered on the challenges of un-locking the future for ordinary Nigerians.

All the persons Amaechi recommended to President Buhari are individuals who know their onions and what is expected of them. They know they are called to rebuild a system that will shift governance away from the traditional method of concentrating on only 'off-the-shelves' way of improving our society. They will not saddle themselves with mundane issues; but would rather be team players who bring new and feasible ideas that will trigger development in all spheres of the society. These people will help put in place, systems that will bring dynamism into governance.

Ameachi has proven to be one of those ministers that will make Buhari’s cabinet an engine-room to provide broad variety of services to Nigerians, ranging from health to industrial development, security, a sound legal system, and the provision of effective infrastructure; education system and human capital development.

Zayyad I. Muhammad Jimeta, Adamawa State, 08036070980.

Thursday, July 7, 2016

Of Baru, Kachikwu, Buhari and the NNPC

President Muhammdu Buhari’s appointment of Maikanti Kacalla Baru as the Group Managing Director (GMD) of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) will have three implications- economic, political and staff’s mode in the NNPC.

The most important economic implication of Baru’s appointment is that the NNPC will continue to work without feeling a major shake in the change of baton in the corporation; because Baru has worked closely with Kachikwu and has contributed to the already setup machineries and reforms– the system will not witness any disruption in terms of new management. Furthermore, Baru’s appointment will definitely impact the orientation within the NNPC staff. Those who are advocates of having a GMD from within the NNPC will be relieved; those who share the passion for more private-sector-like-reforms will be at home with Baru. Furthermore, Baru’s appointment will boost staff morale and reassure them of career growth within the corporation.

No national assignment or appointment in Nigeria is free from political equations and analysis- notably the everyday discussions on marginalization or favouritism of the north or the south. Some observers have expressed the fear that Baru’s appointment may alter the gains made by Kachikwu in the engagement with dissidents from the Niger Delta region and the excellent moves in engaging the leaders of the region in order to halter the rise in attacks on vital oil and gas infrastructure. Baru’s appointment could in fact boost Kachikwu’s efforts; Baru’s intimidating experiences will further solidify Kachikwu’s achievements with the Niger Delta.

Baru’s appointment and that of the NNPC’s Board is in fact a kind of approval by President Buhari of Kachikwu’s work so far, especially as GMD of NNPC – Kachikwu a thoroughbred bureaucrat who found himself in the nexus of complex politicking and policy, public extreme expectation and performance will now have ample time in ‘Ministering’ Nigeria’s complex oil and gas industry; fully engage the Niger Delta and also see the activities of the NNPC from the angle of a Board Chairman- an angle that will give him an unbiased view and feedback of activities of the corporation.

With the four autonomous business units and project management office, Baru is lucky- he has his job description clearly cut for him: to work within the tenets of President Buhari’s anti-corruption war- cleanup the oil and gas; sustain the current level of transparency that Nigerians have never seen- e.g publishing of NNPC monthly account; keep up and bring-out the benefits of Kachikwu’s painstaking reforms. Baru will also utilize his in-house experiences to put the right people and policies in the right position and time.

Nevertheless, Baru has some painstaking tasks ahead in the area of touching the life of every Nigerian – which is NNPC’s Unique Selling Point (USP). Notwithstanding if he achieves 100% success in other sectors of the NNPC business, if the sector that touches the lives of ordinary Nigerian is not impressing; the entire nation will be on him. So the New GMD needs to pay special attention to sustaining the availability of petroleum products; drive more improvement and introduce corrective measures to some areas. Of recent, the PPMC under Ahmed Farouk has witnessed some heartwarming success- some depots which have not received refined products for many years have recently received and loaded products, especially PMS. Kaduna depot is wonderfully wetting the north with PMS, AGO, DPK and some petro-chemicals.

The trio of Buhari, Kachikwu and Baru being very passionate about reforming the oil and gas sector, should tackle downstream major problems- incessant illegal tapping of pipelines by oil thieves, sabotage, right-of-way incursions, slow detection of leaks and in-line equipment failure due to inaccessible sites, including the old-fashioned method of managing the pipelines and increase the capacity of our refinery, by going for modular, mini and mobile refineries: There are affordable 1,000 bpd – 30,000 bpd Modular refineries whose equipment units are pre-fabricated on skid-mounted structures prior to shipment to any location.

Zayyad I. Muhammad, Jimeta, Adamawa State,, 08036070980