By Tunde Olusunle
For the many awards he has won in recent weeks, I should begin by felicitating with Yahaya Bello, governor of Kogi State. Yes, last month, he was conferred the “presidential award on security” for ensuring minimum security breaches within the space and span of a geopolity bounded by nine states and the federal capital territory, (FCT).
And more recently, just last week in fact, Kogi State under Bello’s leadership was also bedecked with a three-layered neckwear by the World Bank, under the State Fiscal Transparency, Accountability and Sustainability, (SFTAS) Programme.
According to a report presented by the state commissioner for finance, budget and planning, Ashiru Idris to the state executive council, Kogi State reportedly embraced the scheme in 2018.
It “seeks to improve and strengthen fiscal management and entrench transparency and accountability mechanisms that ensure effective utilisation of public funds for improved public service delivery.” The document posits that Kogi State government received three awards for impressive performances in three categories, namely: “fiscal transparency and accountability,” “debt sustainability” and “domestic revenue mobilisation.” The awards must mean a lot to the Bello system, owing to the ear to ear grin which Idris the state’s exchequer has been wearing in the last few days. Our expectation and prayer though, is that these laurels and souvenirs translate into substantial and tangible reflections in the individual economies of our people, and their buying powers in the marketplace.
Governor Bello will surely be going into the yuletide season which is already at our doorsteps, a happy man. Yes, the imminence of Christmas is reinforced by sprouting decorations around the Abuja metropolis, even as hawkers on the streets thrust sundry merchandise into our faces at traffic intersections. Age-old Christmas tunes are also being played in public facilities, while in instances, dressmakers are rushing to meet deadlines. This is despite the fact that sartorial accoutrements are not primary concerns for the mass of 133 million Nigerians, relegated to abject poverty by the incumbent administration. All of these, however, reaffirm the inevitable approach of that season when christendom, indeed the world commemorates the birth of Jesus Christ.
As Bello savours the festive season with family and friends, there are homesteads which will not have the luxury of marking the period. This is particularly so when they reminiscence on the absence of people very dear to them. At a time like this, one’s mind calls up the memory of a consummate media and communications practitioner, a prolific playwright and prominent Ebira son, Onukaba Adinoyi-Ojo. He left us in the evening of Sunday March 5, 2017, while returning from the celebration of Nigeria’s former President, Olusegun Obasanjo. Onukaba alighted from the vehicle he was travelling in and ran into the bush, to avoid armed robbers who had taken over the Ilesha-Akure highway, that evening.
A vehicle which escaped from the marauders, lost control and landed ferociously on him, on the spot he found refuge in the bushes. That was how we lost one of Nigeria’s most committed, most insightful writers and intellectuals. Governor Bello visited Onukaba’s family in Ihima, Kogi State, for the “third day” Muslim prayers. He was informed at the event, that Onukaba who he had long known by reputation, and who was his elder brother within the African context, died without a home of his own. Exasperated and concerned, Bello promised to address the matter, expeditiously. The governor indeed requested to be promptly advised on accommodation options for the family of the late Onukaba.
A team from Dr Onukaba’s group of friends, drawn principally from the membership of the Adinoyi-Ojo Onukaba Endowment Fund, set out to work. The group was chaired by Mallam Yahaya Yusuf, a retired Director from the Ministry of Federal Capital Territory, (MFCT), who is both kinsman, to Bello and the late Onukaba. Other members of the group included: Prof Maxwell Gidado, SAN, OON; Dr Umar Ardo; Mrs Franca Aiyetan; Mallam Sadiq Ibrahim Adaviriku; and I. By every stretch of imagination, this is a very distinguished and respectable assemblage. The team toured several housing estates in Phases 2 and 3 of the Abuja developmental layouts and came up with suggestions and recommendations forwarded to Bello.
I was in Lokoja early June 2017, on the invitation of the Kogi State chapter of the Nigerian Union of Journalists, (NUJ). Fortuitously, Governor Bello attended the same event and I had the privilege of sharing the high table with him. Presidential spokesman, my colleague and friend, Garba Shehu; Former Kogi State Commissioner of Police, AIG Wilson Inalegwu, (Rtd), and Secretary to the Kogi State Government, (SSG), Dr Shade Ayoade, were also on the distinguished table. The event was held at the Confluence Beach Hotel on Ganaja Road. I slipped a small note to Bello, and followed him to his car when he was departing the venue of the event. I managed to extract a sentence from him to the effect that his “Chief of Staff,” (COS), who at the time was Edward Onoja, “will fix an appointment” for Gidado, SAN and I to see him in Abuja.
June 2022 made it five full years since we’ve been expectant of the materialisation of the Kogi helmsman’s promise. March 2023 will mark six years of Onukaba Adinoyi-Ojo’s departure. It is usually convenient to accuse, blame, castigate, upbraid people in authority for not delivering on their own very pledges. Circumstances precipitating such forgetfulness are rarely sufficiently distilled before aspersions are cast. People in high office deserve our collective understanding, sympathies and assistance. To the glory of God, I’ve been privileged to have served three state governors and one president in professional capacities. I should therefore have a fair understanding and insights on the issues.
To be sure, I was Director of Information and Public Affairs to pioneer civilian governor of Kogi State, Abubakar Audu, back in 1992. I equally served his two subsequent successors, Paul Omeruo and Bzigu Afakirya as Chief Press Secretary. I’ve equally been opportuned to work with Nigeria’s first President in the fourth republic, Olusegun Obasanjo. I’ve found in these various instances that people in top public offices can do with our appreciation of their limitations and are deserving of our support and encouragement.
From the manner Governor Bello spontaneously rallied to the aid of the family of the police outrider, Aminu Salihu, who died on his convoy on Monday March 15, 2021, he is a potentially compassionate person. Bello paid a condolence visit to the departed Salihu’s family Saturday March 20, 2021. He did not only provide immediate monetary palliatives to the family, he promised to provide two houses for the family of the deceased, who left a mother, two widows and five children behind. Bello equally committed to providing scholarships for Salihu’s children. I’m told the Kogi chief executive has since delivered on his promise of accommodation for the late police inspector’s family. He procured two houses for them in Kubwa, a satellite town in the FCT. Salihu was from Katsina State.
Onukaba Adinoyi-Ojo left behind a young wife, Maimunat, and young children, namely Asuku, Ebikere and Onyeche. He also adopted Zulaiha, his paternal niece as his daughter, and she was an integral part of his nuclear family, whether he was in Nigeria or on holidays abroad. Courtesy of the Adinoyi-Ojo Onukaba Endowment Fund established and substantially funded by former Vice President Atiku Abubakar, GCON, the education of the children has proceeded seamlessly. Asuku who will be 20 next February, has been on a fully funded, 100% scholarship at Atiku’s American University of Nigeria, (AUN), Yola, owned by the presidential flagbearer of the Peoples’ Democratic Party, (PDP). He is in the 400 level class, studying software engineering.
Ebikere his immediate younger sister, who will be 18 in July 2023, was christened after her late maternal grandmother from Edo State. Mama died in an automobile accident between Okene and Lokoja, in 2005, while travelling to Abuja to check up on her daughter, Ebikere’s mother, who was carrying Ebikere’s pregnancy at the time. Ebikere was born in the US and has activated her status to this effect, courtesy of her maternal uncles, Festus and Kenneth Ogirri, who both live in Houston. Ebikere is in college, preparatory to a switch to the university system. Onyeche, the baby of the family will be seven on Christmas Day! In Yorubaland, Abiodun, (born during a festivity), would be her spontaneous name. She was barely one when her father died. Zulaiha is at the Ibrahim Badamasi Babangida University, Lapai, Niger State.
Onukaba’s family has relocated, nomad-style, from one rented accommodation to another, from one district of Abuja to another, in the past six years. Such regular disruptions are not good enough for children growing up. They can easily be destabilised with regards to cognitive growth, mental balance and academic performance. Onukaba was an uncharacteristically spartan personality. He devoted his life and career to the focused pursuit of his profession and the happiness of others, to the detriment of his minimal material comfort. Knowing that Governor Yahaya Bello’s good heart as practically demonstrated when a police outrider died in his convoy, I’m confident he can surprise the family of his kinsman, Onukaba, this Christmas season. Nothing will be more heartening and gratifying to the memory of our departed brother. For “Christmas girl Onyeche,” there can be no better birthday present! Should this happen, there will be no need for the renewal of the rents of the family’s present accommodation, due December 31, 2022.
I’ve engaged on a number of occasions with Ashiru Idris, Governor Bello’s very zestful and hardworking finance commissioner on the subject. Ashiru, my younger brother back home in Isanlu, a core loyalist and untiring defender of his principal, has been very accessible. Onukaba’s family and I will be glad to work with him to execute the Kogi governor’s mandate to this effect. It will be Bello’s pleasant honour to present the keys to the house to Onukaba’s family, to public aplomb.
Congratulations once again, Mr Governor, on your outpouring of awards and recognitions, this season!
Olusunle, PhD, poet, journalist, scholar and author, is a Member of the Nigerian Guild of Editors, (NGE)
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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