By Yusuf Idris Gusau
Within the last few days, there have been what seems to be an orchestrated campaign to incite the Zamfara public against the personality and administration of Governor Bello Mohammed Matawalle by certain elements in the society.
The elements who have been apparently waiting in the wing for quite a while, where they retreated to after their unsuccessful bid to bring Matawalle’s administration down through sustained onslaught in the media, now see the recent distribution of vehicles to traditional rulers and clerics as veritable leeway with which to launch themselves back.
And they seem to have succeeded going by the armies of recruits they deployed in the frontline, most of whom donned the toga of reputable and leading news medium. To others that survive mainly through mercenaries profiteering using social media space as war zones, however, it is futile reasoning with them that the vehicle gift gesture is a noble one and deserved positive highlights.
But for the traditional media to also get caught in the anti-Matawalle spin shows the extent the administration’s enemies can go in their offensive. Even in the coverage of what is ordinarily a simple event, the opposition media display their invectiveness in screaming headlines, while the nucleus of the story was lost.
More disturbing is the fact that His Eminence, the Sultan of Sokoto, Alhaji Muhammadu Sa’ad Abubakar III’s speech was not given the deserved attention. Instead, only a sentence was used to reflect the fact that he was the special guest of honour at the occasion. If they had done justice to what His Eminence said, the importance of the event and goodwill behind the gesture would not have been lost on the people. But they chose to highlight what they wanted the public to believe in their attempt to paint the gesture in bad light.
Among the bad press the gesture elicited, that of the LEADERSHIP newspapers stood out; it was as if the outfit was out for vengeance and had to go out of it’s way in achieving its objective. It went beyond the mere routine stories most media did on the event to allocate almost a full page space to unleash what seems to be a pent up anger taking on Matawalle, Zamfara State Government, the Royal Fathers that benefited from the gesture amongst others in the 733 words piece.
Apparently on a mission, the outcome of which is yet to come to light, the newspaper took the issue as a personal war worthy of an Editorial, reeling out imagery statistics on poverty level, development indices and state’s debt profile to justify why the vehicles gesture is misplaced.
It concluded that “rather than deploying huge resources to service the traditional rulers, Governor Matawalle ought to channel these scarce resources to addressing challenges of insecurity, education and health care delivery.”
Well, it is okay for the paper to embark on such a self-righteous trip; in fact, it is part of its social responsibility to hold the leaders accountable, but it can only do that within the prisms of facts because facts are sacred and they oiled a well balanced interventions.
If the paper had taken pain to study the various speeches made during the occasion and properly analyze them, its interventions, if any on the development would have been guided by reason. But it chose to ignore that most important journalism dictum and rushed to press instead.
And the speed with which the paper put its data and statistics on Zamfara together is quite unnerving to say the least. But you can’t beat the speed of a man on a mission goes a popular saying.
The important aspect of the Sultan and indeed Matawalle’s speeches during the symbiotic presentation were that the vehicles were part of measures to curbing insecurity in the state as they are also fitted with communication gadgets which would enable the traditional rulers to reach out to security agencies in case of an emergency.
It is common knowledge that the bandits terrorising parts of the state always take advantage of absence of communication facilities with which residents could reach out to appropriate authorities, to unleash terror and escape to safe abodes. So if Matawalle in his wisdom decided to bridge this disturbing gap by providing the traditional rulers whose domains are under constant attacks the leeway to call for security interventions at such dire times, should we rush to condemn him? Point be made that those vehicles were not just fancy luxury cars that our friends in the LEADERSHIP want the public to believe.
There is also the need to emphasis here that long before this intervention, the Matawalle’s administration, donated 200 brand new vehicles well equipped with communication gadgets to all the security operatives in the state, along with monthly imprest to cater for their maintenance. This is outside the stipend the governor releases to the officers monthly amongst other similar interventions. It is important to also recall here the establishment of a Ministry of Security and Home Affairs for the first time in the state to tackle the issue of insecurity as well as the Ministry of Humanitarian Affairs to offer immediate emergency service and build confidence in attacked communities and victims throughout the state.
The Sultan also commended Matawalle for his collaborative effort with other neigbouring states and even Niger Republic in stemming the tide of banditry in the state yet the paper did not see that as worthy of their space.
The paper must be told that the fact that the action and inaction of some traditional rulers aided the activities of bandits in the past shouldn’t elicit stringent measures to cut off others from performing their roles as the custodian of the people as doing so would be counterproductive and injurious to the ongoing war against insecurity.
It is important that the paper take interest in the interventions that are going on in all the sectors especially key ones like health, education, works and housing, water resources amongst others, where tremendous achievements are being made, instead of dwelling only on what it views as the negatives so as to save itself from the embarrassment of misrepresentation of facts.
It is also wrong for the paper to say the state government is not taking interest in the many mineral deposits and agricultural potentials that the state is endowed with. With the speed which the paper reeled out its data about the state of affairs in the state, it should have known that Zamfara is the leading producer of agriculture products in Nigeria’s Northwest.
Out of the total area of 3,247,366 hectares covered by the State, 2,673,492 hectares are arable land cultivated mainly by small-scale farmers. Major crops grown in the State include food crops such as sorghum, millet, maize and rice, and cash crops like groundnut, cotton, beans, tomatoes, pepper and onions.
Significantly however, it is in sorghum production that Zamfara earned its place as Nigeria’s leading producer and putting the country on the world’s map as one of the key exporters. It is also common knowledge that Zamfara is also one of the leading producers of groundnut.
As per the solid minerals that abound in the state, the paper is aware of the controversies that trailed this administration’s move to collaborate with the federal government to boost the sector. Solid minerals are federally controlled. Sometimes ago the governor had approached the nation’s apex bank, the Central Bank of Nigeria(CBN) and by extension the Federal Government for the possibility of boosting the mining sector in the state under the anchor-borrower scheme. The bank will invest the sum of N5 billion for the state to supply it with gold as proceeds of the investment over time, while under the arrangement, the state government was to purchase the gold from the miners and supply it to the bank.
The federal government had commenced the process of licensing the companies that had indicated interest in mining in the area. What this means for the state was that the gold will no longer be used to fuel the activities of the bandits with the governor stylishly cutting their hold on the supply chain. The second fundamental advantage Matawalle’s gesture threw up was that the state government would have more fund to embark on more projects for the benefit of the people as the internally generated revenue will swell.
But as usual, those who were profiteering from the seeming lucrative “banditry business” were uncomfortable with the turn of event and have resorted to campaign of calumny against the governor. The sworn anti-north elements fuelled the misconception that the state government was taking over the minerals within its domain, even as it was public knowledge that mining is exclusive right of the federal government. Their charade needlessly attracted resources control agitators and senior lawyers who worked hard to frustrate the initiative.
The state government has also not neglected the poor and orphans as it has been doing all within its power to provide for them. Recently it purchased items worth N1.8 billion and distributed to them. The state government is also catering for about 40, 000 orphans across the 17 emirate councils in the state with N896 million recently released for their welfare amongst other interventions, which the space would not be enough to enumerate.
It is no doubt important to highlight here that the paper should avoid the temptation of taking easy route in its pursuit of news as doing so would put its integrity at stake. Also, as a medium based in the North, it should know that the region values its traditional institutions, the more reason why stories around them must be factual. If the Zamfara function is so anti-people as the paper editorialized on, the Sultan would not have honoured an invitation to grace it,and if he did attend, it is to speak the truth to power, not to commend Matawalle for the gesture.
Come to think of it, vehicle gifts to traditional rulers is a common phenomenon in Nigeria with the ministries of local government and chieftaincy affairs contributing to the endeavour once in a while. Bauchi’s Bala Mohammed distributed some recently without a much fuss. It is okay to hide behind the banditry situation in Zamfara to condemn such gesture but it is also pertinent to look at the underlying current behind the gifts before questioning its morality.
Yusuf is an APC stakeholder in Zamfara State.
Tinubu’s Cabinet Of Controversy
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: email@example.com.
Essentials of institutional effectiveness, transparency and accountability as panacea for good governance
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?
- Key and Competent Personnel: – not just getting the competent people but getting the right people for the right places.
- Policy Guided operations according to the institutions’ founding principles.
- Ethical interpretation of Law and legal processes
- Ethical Operations, Management and of all activities
- 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.
SO, DEAR FELLOW NIGERIANS’ LETS DO THE RIGHT THING, LETS TAKE ACTION!
-2019 Presidential Candidate
- Former National Chairman Inter-Party Advisory Council (IPAC)
-National Secretary CUPP
Tinubu cannot remove a CBN governor without 2/3rd senate majority
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.
Lawyer, Social Commentator & Executive Director of Citizens Advocacy for Social & Economic Rights (CASER), writes from Abuja, Nigria
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