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Akobundu’s day out in the Ikwuano sun



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By Tunde Olusunle

Isiala Oboro, the, typically sleepy headquarters of Ikwuano local government area (LGA) of Abia State, came alive on the last day of the immediate out-gone year, Friday December 31, 2021. True, ecstatic youths had procured firecrackers in generous quantities to be released at midnight, both in thanksgiving to God, for helping them through a spectacularly difficult year, and to embrace a new one with a measure of optimism. Before that night-time, end-year ritual, however, Ikwuano local government in its entirety, rolled out an assortment of musical instruments, drums, the traditional xylophone, hand percussion devices, metal gongs, udu, ekwe, and the flute, to celebrate one of their own, a son of the soil who had serially made them very proud.

The event was the Grand Civic Reception for Augustine Okwudiri Akobundu, a retired army colonel, who has served in various political and public offices within the last decade, and brought tremendous goodwill to his people. Akobundu started out as National Vice Chairman, South East Zone of the Peoples’ Democratic Party, (PDP), with his office in Enugu. Indeed, in a practical demonstration of his desire to oversee the affairs of the PDP in the five south east states of Abia, Anambra, Ebonyi, Enugu and Imo, from a location of geographical proximity to the various states, Akobundu formally relocated his residence to Enugu. Immediate past governor of Enugu State, Sullivan Chime, reportedly saluted Akobundu’s pragmatism, as against extant practice. Akobundu’s term in office, coincided with the further entrenchment of the PDP in the south east. While the governorship of Anambra State, remained the preserve of the All Peoples’ Grand Alliance, (APGA), the PDP maintained its foothold at the levels of many federal constituencies and senatorial zones.

In 2015, Akobundu was appointed minister of state for defence, by immediate past President Goodluck Jonathan. He spent barely three months in office, but enjoyed the confidence of his senior military colleague who was the substantive defence minister at the time, Mohammed Aliyu Gusau, a retired lieutenant general. Gusau entrusted the airforce component of the defence ministry, to him and he in turn, brought his own perspectives into the operations of the ministry. In the particular case of the war against insurgency in Nigeria’s north east, he advanced a “diagnostic and holistic approach” to the debacle, which became full blown back in 2009. He assured that the Nigerian military was more than capable of triumphing in the onslaught.

At the national convention of the PDP, December 2017, Akobundu emerged National Organising Secretary, (NOS), of the party. Akobundu, like his colleagues, served in a milieu of truly trying times for the party. The PDP lost power at the centre to the opposition All Progressives Congress, (APC) in 2015, a development which also diminished the geopolitical standing of the party, in terms of the states under its control, as well as the number of parliamentarians the PDP had in the national assembly. It was a rather strange and unusual situation to be in, for a political party which was in power for 16 years, beginning from 1999.

Akobundu recalls: “The party went through lots of trauma and dislocations flowing from the loss of the 2015 elections. When we took over (in 2017), we were not given a chance. People did not believe that we had the capacity to resuscitate a party that was more or less on life support…” Recognising that his directorate, organisation and mobilisation were central to the operations of the party, Akobundu realised the need for the leopard to shed its skin, literally. According to him, “We needed to restore confidence in the processes of the party, by reversing all the vices of the past, including the issue of corruption. Hitherto, the directorate used to be the hub of corruption, where anything was possible. People could win on the field and the loser will come to Wadata House (headquarters of the PDP in Abuja) and change the results… I summoned the necessary political will against these vices, which reversed the trend and restored confidence to our processes.”

The erstwhile military officer feels immensely gratified, that the NWC of the PDP which he served in, initiated reforms, reawkened value reorientation and enforced the application of established guidelines of the party, in the conduct of its processes. These he noted, substantially restored transparency, credibility and confidence in its operations. He alluded to the support and cooperation of governors elected on the platform of the PDP, who are ever willing, to work for the party, irrespective of the inconveniences and personal risks involved. As he presented his valedictory speech last December, at the handing over ceremony to the new national executive committee of the PDP, Akobundu’s speech was severally punctuated, by ovation from leaders of the party present at the event. This, for him, is a most heartening recognition of the endeavours of the executive of the party, which he most recently served for four unbroken years, as NOS.

The resplendent December 31, 2021 reception for Akobundu was attended by several dignitaries and distinguished Nigerians. Okezie Victor Ikpeazu, governor of Abia State, and his immediate predecessor, Theodore Ahamaefule Orji, were in attendance. Pioneer chairman of the Nigeria Delta Development Commission, (NDDC), Chief Onyema Ugochukwu, who chaired the event, was accompanied by his wife, Dr (Mrs) Joyce Ugochukwu, were present. Speaker of the Abia State House of Assembly, Chinedum Orji and Secretary to the State Government, (SSG), Chris Ezem, an attorney, were also in attendance. A former caretaker chairman of the PDP in Abia, Ndidi Okereke and erstwhile commissioner for lands and housing in the state, Eboh Ihekwereme Okorie and his wife, Mrs. Lizzy Okorie, were present at the event.

Akobundu was recognised by the Ikwuano Traditional Council, as Dike Akolamba, the strongman who is eternally at the service of his people. Chairman of the council, Eze Eugene Ndimele who conferred the title on Akobundu, was assisted by the four traditional rulers who represented the four traditional clans, which make up Ikwuano. Ndimele noted that Akobundu was so honoured, because of his contributions to the social, political and economic development of Ikwuano and his untiring commitment to the elevation of his people. Chief host of the event and Chairman of Ikwuano LGA, Stephen Mpamugo, confirmed that Akobundu had distinguished himself all through his sterling career and duly earned the respect of his people.

An ecstatic Akobundu said he was thoroughly overjoyed and overwhelmed by the love and affection, showered on him by his people. He pointed out that he least imagined his people were studiously following his endeavours, such that a day will come, when he would be so recognised. This he noted, should needle people in the public eye, to remember they will someday, be accountable to those they represent. He promised to make himself fully available, to mentor a younger generation from his community, who desired to venture into politics for development.

Augustine Okwudiri Akobundu who comes from Oloko in Ikwuano LGA, was born March 10, 1956. After his early education in Enugu and Umuahia, he proceeded to the Nigerian Defence Academy, (NDA), Kaduna, as an officer cadet of the Course 22 Regular Combatant Course. An officer in the Signals Corps of the Nigerian Army, he attended many professional and military courses at Army School of Signals. He equally obtained a diploma in telecommunications and electronic engineering from the Obafemi Awolowo University, (OAU), Ile-Ife, and another diploma in French, from Alliance Francais, Lagos. As a young military officer, he served as aide-de-camp to the erstwhile military governor of Bauchi State, Chris Abutu Garuba, from August 1985 to December 1987.

Since his retirement from military service, Akobundu has demonstrated unparalleled resourcefulness, as a multitasking businessman and entrepreneur. His interests traverse real estate, hospitality, logistics services, among others, under the umbrella of Nostro Group of Industries, of which he is Chairman. Wherever and whenever in his many abodes across the country, from Oloko, through Abuja and elsewhere, Akobundu is your quintessential host, who will go to any length, to ensure the comfort and convenience of his guest. Years ago, I visited him in Enugu when he was zonal chairman of the PDP. As we wound down for the night, since I was a guest in his accommodation, I reminded him I would be on my way to Abuja, very early the next morning, perhaps before he got out of bed, since I had a car and a driver. By the time I stepped out at dawn, breakfast had been packed for my driver and I, including tea flasks, and delivered to my car. One of his vehicles and a driver, was on standby to lead us to our exit point from Enugu! That is the man we love to call Ochi’Agha, one of his many chieftaincy titles. Ugochukwu salutes him fondly as Nnukwu Colonel.

A pan-Nigerian in thought and worldview, Akobundu is married to Mrs Deola Akobundu, who hails from Ekiti State. The union is blessed with children and grandchildren. Akobundu is never far from his in-house gymnasium or any exercising facility in his neighbourhood, because he loves to get on the treadmill ever so often. He loves reading, writing and listening to music. He remains his witty self and is very up to date with social and musical trends. A mutual friend of ours limped into his Abuja residence the other day, steadying himself with a walking stick. While sympathising with him about his dislocation, Akobundu said to him: “I have credible intelligence that you are competing with your children to dance to the music of Burna Boy. You better leave the youths with their gbese dance!” We all cracked up in laughter.

*Tunde Olusunle, PhD, poet, scholar journalist and author, is a Member of the Nigerian Guild of Editors, (NGE).

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Tinubu’s Cabinet Of Controversy




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By Zainab Suleiman Okino

In all ramifications, it appears the euphoria and excitement that greeted President Bola Tinubu’s assumption of office are gradually ebbing away. Quite expectedly, having started with the tough decisions of fuel subsidy removal and floating of the forex, the President now needs to do more and urgently too.

Both policies have since worsened the woes of the Naira and Nigerians. From accusation of being surrounded by “Lagos boys”, (his cabinet as Lagos State Governor between 1999 to 2003), to policy somersaults to somehow nepotistic appointments (and vengeful dismissal of some CEOs), questions are being asked about Tinubu’s pro-people and pan-Nigerian credentials.

He started with politically correct appointments. The geographical spread of his service chiefs was received positively. His swift policy statements, though criticized, were timely, compared with the sordid silence of his predecessor.

The misnomer became apparent during ministerial nominations flip-flopping into high-wire politics that led to a ministerial nominee in person of former Governor Nasir El-Rufai being dropped at the last minute over a so-called security report after screening. We also witnessed how a nominee from Kano State, Maryam Shetty was refused screening by the senators after she was already seated at the National Assembly lobby, which showed clearly a scene from the playbook of Ganduje’s dirty politics under Tinubu’s government.

Two former governors were appointed to man the Ministry of Defence; former Governor Bello Matawalle of Zamfara State, was downgraded to serve as a junior minister under his colleague, Mohammed Badaru Abubakar, former governor of Jigawa state. Looks so incongruous. Some MDAs were “reorganized”, and we expected a more compact arrangement. But what did we get? Some ministries were boosted and some downgraded. To which end, except to favour some ministers and appoint others to less juicy or relegated ministries, just to satisfy constitutional provision. Tokenism? Maybe.

The result was a boosted aviation sector renamed Ministry of Aviation and Aerospace Development under the supervision of an equally controversial figure, Festus Keyamo, while the Ministry of Transportation was debased and can safely be called ministry of railway, after the removal of everything maritime like NIMASA, NPA, Shippers’ Council etc now under the Ministry of Marine and Blue Economy.

Indeed, inconsistency in pronouncements came too early in this administration. Tinubu made history when he reshuffled a cabinet that was yet to be inaugurated. Engineer Abubakar Momoh was redeployed from Ministry of Youth to Ministry of Niger Delta that the president hitherto ignored.

Imagine the embarrassment that followed the declaration by the UAE government, that they are yet to resolve and reverse their visa ban on Nigerians, after the President’s spokesman, Ajuri Ngelale went to town to announce same. Propaganda should have limits. Why the hurry? To impress who? The disinformation has since taken the shine off the president’s diplomatic engagement with his UAE counterpart. So, after the UAE denunciation, where exactly are we now?

Tinubu does not seem bothered about over-bloated personnel costs or reducing the cost of governance. For the first time, Nigeria now has almost 50 ministers under its low per capital income of 5,200 PPP dollars in 2021 compared to USA’s 25 ministers and per capita income of 70,480 PPP dollars as at 2021.

Consequently, Nigerians have resigned to fate that they may never have pro-people government in their lifetime, since most of the policy initiatives of the new government favour only the rich, the haves, high-end businesses and high class of people and interests. It is obvious that the president must have made many commitments to friends and associates, who in his own estimation must be fixed, regardless of an ailing economy like ours.

Still smarting from all these came the issue of lopsided appointments, which we thought we had seen the last of after Buhari. The protests over Tinubu’s skewed appointments started from “home”, when a group from the Southwest accused him of appointing only people from Lagos contrary to the notion that Yorubas had an edge in his government.

Last weekend, evidence of such slanted appointments went viral. Critics reeled out at least 20 consequential appointments from the Southwest including MDAs like Justice, Finance, Customs, Police, FIRS, Immigration, NIMC, CBN, Power, Digital Economy, COAS, Maritime, Interior and Communications in the president’s kitchen cabinet. Muslim groups like MURIC have also cried out complaining that Christians hold key economic positions. The cry of marginalization has always been part of governance and politics in our clime, and Tinubu is not in a hurry to end it.

In addition to his hard-to-swallow economic direction, Tinubu’s choice of appointees is somehow causing concerns among the elite too. Without a semblance of inclusion and symbolism, the people feel let down by a president they thought was going to be pan-Nigerian, gradually becoming provincial, in deeds, even though appointments only enrich the beneficiaries while the conditions of ordinary people remain unchanged.

I believe competence and capacity should be uppermost in considering people for appointments, but I also know that all regions or ethnic groups harbour such competent people among them. Going forward, the president should be more circumspect, and look elsewhere instead of his “household” in a delicate balancing act that Nigeria needs, and which will surely give him (Tinubu) more support and goodwill. No matter how inconsequential he thinks these issues are, they have already got tongues wagging. As a minority myself, I can’t help but notice this potentially damaging and divisive subject in our polity.

Already an internal revolt is brewing in APC over Tinubu’s style of leadership and appointments. In what a group called “yorubanization of the current APC government”, the “APC members in Coalition for a United Nigeria (CUN)”, said “86% of the critical appointments made so far have been people from your (Tinubu) geopolitical zone, the Southwest.

Moreso, to our greater bewilderment is the fact that 90% of these people are your “Lagos boys”, imploring the president to “drastically balance this prejudice by giving attention to other regions outside the Southwest”. If members of the party are disappointed in their government, what do you expect from the rest of the country?

Okino, is the chairperson of Blueprint Editorial Board, a fellow of the Nigerian Guild of Editors (FNGE), her syndicated column appears on News Point Nigeria newspaper on Thursdays. She can be reached via:

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Essentials of institutional effectiveness, transparency and accountability as panacea for good governance




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Why would I think I can PROFFER A CURE FOR the ailing systems in the governance of our great nation? At least a good man can try, I have for over period of time now perused the thought —consistently- of the possibility of good governance, at least good governance, not great or excellent governance- even though that is easily achievable using the same principles for good governance- but at least we would do well to appreciate good governance in our good homeland of Nigeria, before I go on ranting about my thoughts, my people let me be quick to return to the subject of our discuss; “the essentials of institutional effectiveness, transparency and accountability as a panacea for good governance”.

Let take a deep breadth as we explore this topic, the irony of the truth is that The Panacea for good government is good governance, there is no hard and fast route about it, here we have a few of its components in institutional effectiveness, transparency and accountability, Good governance is like the proverbial good deed you give it and it comes right back at you, what is governance? Governance is simply the manner or style of government practiced in a particular location; in this case (our case) it is democratic government, which is a government of the people for the people by the people so good governance would be a complete cycle of the being a government elected by the people and then the delivery of the goods of its governance for the people (who duly elected the ones in governance), which would have to take us back to an even more important question for good governance to be anticipated, are the people in government democratically elected?

This question alone helps us to see that institutional effectiveness is first of all key in attaining good governance, as the question poised above is in reference to institution the Electoral Body, in our case INEC.

So what are the essentials of effectiveness for institutions to live up to expectation?

  1. Key and Competent Personnel: – not just getting the competent people but getting the right people for the right places.
  2. Policy Guided operations according to the institutions’ founding principles.
  3. Ethical interpretation of Law and legal processes
  4. Ethical Operations, Management and of all activities
  5. Optimization of standards with International acceptable modus operandi
    In addition to the above with the afore mentioned virtues of Accountability and transparency, good governance is left from aspirations to affirmative reality; Accountability is the act of being held responsible for your actions this helps to hold good governance players responsible for their actions in tandem with institutions, which is why the first factor is very important, and finally being transparent, being frank, firm and open, saying exactly what one means and meaning what one says, this when institutions and people in them say what they mean and mean what they say, not with hidden motives or agenda.

When all the factors described above are bundled to form a complete system of governance; good governance is sure to thrive.

Finally in addition to all these my personal opinion rests upon the afore discussed as already known factors and processes needed for good governance, especially by the Nigerian institutions and people in governance, as we have notable institutions, what i think is that the Nigerian institutions and people in governance should ‘Take Action’ in doing the right thing!

All Nigerian institutions, people in government have knowledge of all this factors, or at least moral inclination to do the right thing, but what we lack is the actual DOING, and if we as Nigerians, can cultivate the habit of DOING; then all our ideas, ideologies institutional effectiveness, transparency and accountability as well as every other factors that contribute to good governance would then become a conscious cultural norm of the Nigerian people which will necessitate the birth and practice of good governance in our nation.


Peter Ameh

-2019 Presidential Candidate

  • Former National Chairman Inter-Party Advisory Council (IPAC)
    -National Secretary CUPP
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Tinubu cannot remove a CBN governor without 2/3rd senate majority




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By Frank Tietie

The recently announced removal of the embattled Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria, Godwin Emiefele and the Deputy Governors of the Bank by the fiat of President Bola Ahmed Tinubu is not in compliance with the provisions of the Central Bank of Nigeria Act, 2007. Therefore, it is illegal!

Whereas Section 11 of the CBN Act provides for several grounds for the removal of the CBN Governor or Deputy Governors, whenever such removal is based on the decision of the President, as in this reported case of Emiefele and his deputies, it can only have effect where the President has first sought and obtained the approval of a two-thirds Senate majority.

Clearly, there is no evidence that the President indeed sought and obtained the required two-thirds majority of the Nigerian Senate before announcing the formal removal of Governor Emiefele with his deputies and the appointment of a new Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria.

Consequently, the president is in error, and all his recent actions in removal and appointment of a Governor of Central Bank of Nigeria can be set aside by the courts.

According to the Court Appeal in the case of Olotu v. President of Federal Republic of Nigeria & ors, it held that:
It is a trite point of law that when a statute dictates a certain mode of doing something, then that method and no other must be employed in the performance of that act. Put differently, where a legislation lays down a procedure for a thing, there should be no other method of doing it

Nigeria operates a Presidential-Federalist system of government with a high concentration of political and executive powers in the person of the President. Therefore, this infraction of the CBN Act by the President on the removal of the CBN Governor may pass without any censure of the National Assembly or review by the Judiciary. But it is such disregard for plain provisions of the law by the President who is supposed to set the example of legal compliance, that creates the usual incipient negative impact on constitutional democracy which rests on the rule of law.

Therefore whenever an administration starts glossing over express provisions of the law that serve to guarantee order, peace, good governance and economic prosperity of Nigeria, the culture of disregard for court order and widespread violation of human rights begins to cascade down the various Ministries, Departments and Agencies of the Federal Government together with all the other strata of government across the states and local governments. This has been the bane of Nigeria’s stable development in all spheres and the recipe for corrupt abuse of political power and violation of human rights. That’s why military junta often truncated national democracies. May that be far from us!

The Nigerian state spends huge financial and human resources to maintain its democratic structures. Therefore, the National Assembly and its leadership must stand up at all times to live up to their responsibilities in upholding the principles of democracy and separation of powers to avoid tyrannical acts of the executive by requiring strict compliance to every law that mandates its approval on such matters the President is required to apply for.

Therefore, when the National Assembly indeed discharges its roles in the political equation of checks and balances with the President and the Judiciary, there will be less of interventions by self styled but well-meaning activists and civil society organisations who are often referred to as busybodies but are determined to seek judicial review of executive actions to ensure the rule of law and a stable Nigerian society.

Frank Tietie,
Lawyer, Social Commentator & Executive Director of Citizens Advocacy for Social & Economic Rights (CASER), writes from Abuja, Nigria

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