Thursday, February 23, 2017

Understanding the Buhari/Osinbajo Presidency

Most pairings in politics are meant to balance the ticket. In many cases, the two persons are like-minded, have a harmonized action plan and work in the same direction. Nonetheless, these two could also be at variance on certain issues, have conflicting views of certain phenomena and maybe sometimes disagree on things.

Nigerians are used to sit-tight leadership at all levels that see political positions as personal, abhors delegating authorities, see their deputies as rivals and a threat; a leadership that often have disdain for their second-in-command; and one that will never support their deputies in anything, let alone transfer power to them to act in their absence. Nigeria has witnessed numerous cases of leaders and their assistants turning against one another. Some have even turned out to become sworn enemies- The Obasanjo/ Atiku feud is a good example.

But President Muhammadu Buhari and Acting President Yemi Osinbajo have re-established the ideal of one presidency and it is working well for the good of the country and democracy. Prior to the President’s absence and during his absence, the two have redefined how we view the President vis-a-vis the Vice President. They have created an atmosphere of progressive political synergy never seen in Aso Rock villa in recent times.

The relationship between President Muhammadu Buhari and Acting President Yemi Osinbajo has looked promising since the campaign days. Both have unique chemistry. Civility of the two distinguished men has kept the Buhari/Osinbajo relationship close, warm and personally friendly. President Buhari and Vice President Osinbajo see each other as brothers; the President has immense respect for the vice President, while the vice president doggedly supports the president.

The Buhari/Osinbajo presidency is one. It is sheer illiteracy to think that Osinbajo as acting president takes unilateral decisions without discussion with President Buhari.

So far, so excellent is Osinbajo’s performance. He has performed according to the expectations of most Nigerians and in line with tenets of President Buhari. Acting President Osinbajo in his capacity has been a good representative of the Buhari school. He has shown that he has not been a figure-head vice president, rather an astute complementing figure to President Buhari’s drive to take Nigeria to greater heights.

A few number of politicians are not happy with the way Acting President Osinbajo is running the affairs of the nation according to President Buhari’s expectations. These politicians were those that campaigned mercilessly against Goodluck Jonathan in 2015 just for personal gains. Their expectations from the Muhammadu Buhari government have not materialized. These politicians have forgotten that the only item that kept and is keeping Buhari 'afloat' is the ordinary man in the street. If not of the ordinary-man's believe in Buhari, is there a political-leader in Nigeria that can take some of the stringent decisions Buhari took and most Nigerians will still not come out of the streets.

So far, Acting President Yemi Osinbajo has inaugurated five commissioners of the National Population Commission, he has constituted the Presidential Task Force on Food Security with the mandate to reduce prices of food items in the country. Osinbajo declared open, the Agenda for Consultative Forum on Economic Recovery and Growth Plan. He sent the name of Acting Chief Justice of Nigeria (CJN) Justice Walter Onnoghen to the Senate for confirmation as substantive CJN. The acting President has also inaugurated the National Road Safety Advisory Council which he heads. Osinbajo has presided over a meeting of the National Economic Council on February 16. The meeting, among other things, directed the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) to review the foreign exchange policy- which already yielding some positive results. On February 17 the acting president signed seven bills into law. On February 20 he presided over a meeting of the Presidential Task Force on wheat and rice and assured that the nation would attain self-sufficiency in food security. On February 21, Osinbajo presided over an expanded meeting of the Presidential Enabling Business Council and unveiled a 60-day national action plan for ease of doing business. The acting president also sent the name of Mr. Adeyinka Asekun from Ogun state to the Senate for confirmation as non-career ambassador.

When one looks at the relationships between many leaders and their deputies in the past and present, it is apparent that there have never been two persons like Buhari and Osinbajo who have shown Nigerians how delegating power is used for the benefit of the nation and for the development of democracy instead for personal motives. The two have set a standard which should become a model for leaders and assistants to follow, if our democracy must continue to flourish.

Zayyad I. Muhammad writes from Jimeta, Adamawa State,, 08036070980. He blogs at

Sunday, February 12, 2017

I am NOT a thief, says Ibori

James Ibori, former governor of Delta state, says the biggest concern he had while serving a jail sentence in the UK was how his people were coping in his absence.

Speaking in his hometown of Oghara during a special thanksgiving service organised in his honour, Ibori said those behind his travails had the intention of keeping him away from his people.

He appreciated his supporters for the love shown to him, saying he had always known that “a day like this would come”.

“Today I have decided to speak for myself. I am not a thief, I cannot be a thief,” he said.

“Today is the day they say I should give testimony to God, for those who know me, you know that my entire life is a testimony itself and I have said it over and over again that my life is fashioned by God, directed by God, sealed, acknowledged, blessed by God and I believe that since the day I was born.

“Like the arch bishop said, when this whole commotion started, what was most painful to me was the pain and suffering that my people were going through.

“When I looked at how things were going, I discovered that they wanted to separate me from you people. They wanted me to go to the corner where I won’t be seen.

“It has nothing to do with me as a person because for some reasons like I said to you, I drew my strength from God and somehow, I knew that God would stand by me. I knew that this day would come. I am indeed very pleased that I can now stand before you and look at your faces, faces that I have missed and those of you who have indeed suffered the pains of my absence.”

Ibori, who said he lacked words to express his feelings, added that God answered the prayers of those who wish him well.

“When I reflect, it gives me joy that all your prayers, God has answered. I thank you for all your support and solidarity with me all through this period,” he said.

“It is indeed not what I can begin to say. If I am to give testimony of my journey, you will not leave here. The only testimony that I have is the fact that I am back and alive in your midst. And again I say that I never had any doubt in my mind that I would get back home.

“I am happy to be home with my people. There is nobody that can battle with the Lord. An Urhobo adage says there is time for everything. A day will come when I will tell my story and every one of you will hear me, but for today, it is just to thank God.”

Saturday, February 4, 2017

EFCC Discovers $9.7m in ex-NNPC GMD’s House

The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, has discovered the sum of $9.7million in the house of former Group General Manager of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, NNPC, Andrew Yakubu.

The amount is about N3billion in current official exchange rate of N305 to $1.

On June 20, 2016, the anti-graft commission arraigned Mr. Yakubu alongside business man, Jide Omokore, before Justice Binta Nyako of the Federal High Court, Abuja on a four-count charge of money laundering.

Other defendants in the case are Victor Briggs, Abiye Memnere, David Mbanefo, Atlantic Energy Brass Development Limited and Atlantic Energy Drilling Concepts Limited.

Mr. Yakubu was the GMD of the NNPC between 2012 and 2014 when Atlantic Energy lifted oil without remitting the amount of money due to the federal government.

The same Atlantic Energy was also awarded controlling stakes in two lucrative oil blocks, OML 30 and 34, for about $50 million each – barely a year after the incorporation of the company.

Mr. Yakubu was released on July 4, 2016 when Justice Nyako granted him a N50million bail.

But acting on a tip-off, operatives of the EFCC stormed Mr. Yakubu’s Sabuwan Tasha residence in Kaduna on Friday and searched all the rooms.

Although the former NNPC boss was not in the house during the raid, the operatives met his younger brother residing in the house.

During the search, inside sources told DAILY NIGERIAN, a giant safe was found.

“When the man was asked to provide the key to the safe, he said it was not on him. So we had no option but to haul the safe into our van to our office,” said a competent source.

Although the spokesman of the EFCC, Wilson Uwajaren, said he was unaware of the discovery, insiders said the sum of $9.7 million dollars was counted when the safe was ripped open by locksmiths.

Mr. Yakubu neither responded to DAILY NIGERIAN call nor replied a text message sent to him seeking a reaction.

Thursday, February 2, 2017

People Now Sell Crude Oil In Hotels, NNPC Raises Alarm

The Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) has warned the general public to beware of fraudsters who parade themselves as representatives of the corporation to sell crude oil.

NNPC said the activities of these swindlers have become pervasive to the extent that oil and gas transactions are now conducted in "Nicon Hilton" (now Transcorp, a popular Abuja hotel).

NNPC’s Group General Manager (GGM), Crude Oil Marketing Division (COMD) handed the warning in Abuja on Thursday at the opening of bids for the Direct Sale and Direct Purchase (DSDP) of crude oil-a system NNPC uses to swap crude for fuel.

“You don’t do it (sell crude oil) in Nicon Hilton, that is what is happening now. People selling crude oil in their rooms in Hilton and at the end of the day they end up collecting $50,000 or $100,000 from very gullible people and they vanish. They tell them they will collect $50,000 and give it to NNPC as processing fee, there is nothing like processing fee,” Kyari said.

“Anybody who brings a sheet of paper and says he has crude oil, it’s not true. Crude oil is not kolanut, those who know (about crude) know where to find it, it is on electronic platform, anybody can see it,” he added.

Kyari clarified that the corporation does not have any agent in Nigeria apart from Duke Oil, its London-based subsidiary dedicated to crude oil transaction.

“For the avoidance of doubt NNPC does not allocate off spec crude. There is nothing like off spec crude which is what you see in many documents flying around. NNPC does not participate in spot allocation and we don’t have cargo agreement with anybody,” he said.