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75 heartfelt to an Admiral, patriot and a gentleman

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75 heartfelt cheers to an Admiral Patriot Gentleman

By Maijama’a Adamu

Beyond his interventions in the road sector which demystified the protracted era of “I-dont-care-attitude” to the embarrassing abysmal decay in the sector sequel to his fanatical passion for the delivery of GOOD ROADS -good by quality and good by quantity- both intra and inter city, including federal roads, all laced with commensurably high quality bridges, which were the hall mark that heralded the consolidation of his administration, beyond also the revolution he brought front and centre in agricultural sector: a knowledge driven infrastructure supported revolution that substantially redefined agricultural practice in the state, (hitherto occasioned by multiplier effect of sustained harvest of inefficiency), beyond his new thinking approach that was evidently fixing the rot in the health sector; free medicament to mothers and children of 0-5 years, health infrastructure overhaul, halting of medical tourism through the Adamawa German Diagnosis Centre ( the vision of which died with the coup d’état of his government), beyond equally the unsurpassed intervention he actualized in the education sector making Adamawa the overall best ever in the Universal Basic Education project implementation ( deliveries of physical infrastructures, instructional materials and school uniforms, sustaining of teachers emoluments as sacred rights and as first line charge), what could have been the most outstanding defining epitaph of the Murtala Nyako government was his well conceived, well thought out and well showcased electricity development master plan that was forcefully thwarted.
He felt the waste called Kiri Dam could be transformed to serve a more productive venture. He opted for hydroelectricity project. He rolled out the plans, the American authorities understood the vision and the sincerity of it. They came handy with support. They sponsored the feasibility study. The potentiality therein became more glaring. Money could have been issue, but he thought ahead. Built Operate Transfer (BOT) was adopted as wisest and most realistic option. Bidders were invited for bidding by the Gongola Energy Development Company, a special vehicle incorporated to pursue the project. Bidders came from Nigeria, Iran and the Us. A German firm came after closure of bids submissions. They came with an escort from the presidency, a son of the state, to arm twist the process in their favour. The project was simply realistic, attractive, competitive and therefore profitable. It could have worked. An American investment firm won the bidding. All that was left was to handover Kiri Dam and await the deliveries.
Handover date was scheduled. All that mattered were invited. The American Ambassador insisted to be personally present for the handover. He couldn’t make it, his deputy came instead. We all assembled at the dam site to be part of history.
That history was thwarted. A simple via the phone directive from GEJ’s presidency. That the Admiral should suspend it.
It remained suspended till date. It was a project he committed his whole in to, his time, energy and versatile intellect. Adamawa bigwigs with strong presidency connection felt he shouldn’t shine. He still shines @75. Happy BD an Admiral, Patriot, Gentleman.

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Opinion

Of ASUU, Fintiri and Self- Control

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Of ASUU, Fintiri and self-control

By Hassan Gimba
[email protected], 09029880064

Two issues have spurred me today. The first may have some significant risks, but the second is undoubtedly risky. Firstly, I want to lend my voice to the ongoing imbroglio between the federal government and university teachers’ union, otherwise known as ASUU.

It is unfortunate enough that the grass, in this context, university students, have been at the receiving end of this unending brabble between these two elephants: one a mighty imperious federal government and the other, a vital lecturers’ union. For sure, there has been no government since 1999 that has shown willingness to bow to ASUU or give education the sort of budget the United Nations’ prescribed. Conversely, there has been no ASUU administration since then that has not called out its members to drop the chalk.

It is on record the current federal government, on its way to defeating an incumbent in 2015, promised to make our education sector the envy of all. Perhaps ideas or perceptions change when one is in government. Perhaps when out of government, one views things from a dreamy, above-the-cloud idealistic prism that turns into smoke with the reality of being in power and looking at things from a better angle. Perhaps that was why between 2015 and 2019 the government and ASUU were never on the same page. This is even though, as an-out-of-government current affairs analyst, the minister of education, Malam Adamu Adamu, was the best friend ASUU could have.

But in government, the friendship between the minister and ASUU has been strained because they have never been able to reach a common ground. When 2015 to 2019 ministers – even though it is almost the same set now on board – were thanking the president during their valedictory meeting with him in May last year, Malam Adamu told the president: “This is very important; I hope this occupies your mind, the next cabinet and perhaps the party. The ministry of education should not get less than N1 trillion.”

Two years earlier, at a retreat, the presidency held for ministers, the minister had called on the president to declare a state of emergency on education in Nigeria and to increase the government’s investment in the sector substantially. Lamenting that education was seriously underfunded in Nigeria when compared to other sub-Saharan African countries, he asserted that the government must spend more to achieve its goals as a change government. He was adamant that to meet the 13 campaign promises the president made to Nigerians on education, the government needed to spend at least one trillion naira yearly on the sector.

For sure, those currently in government and the ASUU leadership enjoyed the best of education Nigeria could give her citizens in their time. From close to free meals, accommodation and tuition, the libraries, workshops and laboratories were up to date. Therefore they all know what ought to be obtainable in the universities.

However, I want to think there is too much reliance on the government that is busy looking for the funds to service its handlers. If Nigerians, in most cases, provide for themselves what the government should, ASUU must devise ways to sustain and improve the university system through partnerships with corporate bodies, multinational organisations and individuals.

Understandably because they are overwhelmed each year by applicants, they do not court applicants which first-class universities all over the world do, including giving scholarships to top brains. Over-reliance on easy money from the government has made the universities tepid. Advanced countries rely on universities for their breakthroughs in various fields.

It is high time they took the matter by the scruff of the neck and treated education the way it should be. We have seen universities owned and run by Nigerians with almost a hundred per cent Nigerian student population thriving in neighbouring countries. But many believe that were those universities to be uprooted from the ground they are sited and brought to Nigeria, they would flounder. And in retrospect, were one to be taken out of here and transplanted abroad, it would prosper.

ASUU must see to it that Nigerian universities become self-sustaining. It is the only way out. And that is only possible through consultancies, innovations, manufacturing, floating various businesses, etc. These are easily achievable through meaningful partnerships. But as long as the university system remains wet-nursed from the government’s feeding bottle, then the FG-ASUU dogfight will linger unabated. And with such brawls almost all the time, it is only our education sector that will keep on nose-diving and our youths’ future put in peril. This reminds one of a Nigerian university lecturer who went to America to teach in a primary school but had to be disengaged because they said he had learning disabilities.

Having a self-sustaining university system will guarantee real growth, make the universities come up with first-class researches and innovations and propel them into the class of elite institutions of learning. We will have graduates that will answer their names, and the nation will have a solid foundation for development.

One of the best and most potent advertisements of the 80s, which became an icon of advertising creativity, was the one by Pirelli, a world-leading Tyre Company. In 1994, adopting the slogan “Power is Nothing Without Control”, the company’s successful advertising campaign showed legendary American athlete Carl Lewis – a multiple Olympic gold medallist – as a sprinter on the starting blocks wearing soon-to-be-legendary red stilettos. However, the significance of the ad is what matters because it was telling us that without a moderating influence, power can be more destructive than constructive without sparing even the person wielding it.

It is in this respect that the second issue I want to talk about comes in. This, of course, is at the risk of a threatening phone call which may be backed by action. Yet, I want to call on Governor Ahmadu Umaru Fintiri to exercise control over his executive powers as the governor of Adamawa State. He was speaker of the state’s House of Assembly and acted as the governor of the state for a time. Therefore, he is not a newcomer to political power, and it is not expected that he would descend so low as to make threatening phone calls to antagonists.

At the peak of the mayhem that led to the looting of palliatives in the state, a state stakeholder, one Gambo Bello Nakura had accused the governor of complacency. Riled by such accusations, Governor Fintiri, in an audio message that went viral, called Nakura and the exchange that followed was not dignifying of his exalted office. Steven Maduwa, his associate, followed suit by threatening to slaughter Tom Garba, a journalist in the state!

Now, as with everything about us, or with power universally, some associates read the body language of the leader and then act accordingly. Some don the characteristics of the principal and behave likewise. For us, it is to do more with some pre-colonial behaviour which is still with us. We do not question our traditional elite; in some instances, they are treated like demigods. They can confiscate any man’s wife or land and woe betide anybody who dared to question their actions for people will accuse him of insulting “a God-sent leader”.

Our political actors have taken over leadership now. Yet a political office is a great honour that comes with significant responsibilities. The well-being of everyone is tied to the mindset and mentality of officeholders. No one who cannot control the power associated with it or hold their tongues when necessary deserves to lead. This possibly is why many people, including Professor Thomas Adeoye Lambo, OBE (March 29, 1923 – March 13, 2004), have suggested mental checks on those desiring to contest for political offices.

Lambo, a Nigerian scholar, administrator and psychiatrist, is credited as the first west-trained psychiatrist in Nigeria and Africa. He worked at the World Health Organization between 1971 and 1988, rising to become the agency’s Deputy Director-General. He suggested that “all political leaders should be subjected to an annual psychiatric examination while they remain in office”.

Professor Wole Soyinka amplified the professor’s opinion in 2006. The Nobel Laureate advocated an annual psychiatric test for those at the helm of affairs to determine their state of mind. In a paper entitled: ‘Thinking The Unthinkable’, Soyinka recalled the former WHO Deputy Director’s recommendation and said: “Most nations recognise the sad fragility of the human mind, and understand that even the mind of political geniuses can break under strain, that the latent seeds of insanity in all of us may actually come to bloom under the strain of existence, how much more when burdened with the enormity of power.”

Someone once said that “madness, with all its variants, is a familiar, though often imprecise affliction. It is a favourite weapon of the gods – as in the myths of Pentheus and Dionysus, Nebuchadnezzar and others – whose fates were couched in that ancient saying: whom the gods will destroy, they first make mad”.

But the question in the minds of all reasonable people is, should people bear the brunt of their leaders’ insanity, or should they be spared that before the havoc is done? It will be a good idea to enact a law that prescribes the psychological evaluation of aspirants before they even become candidates. However, in the interim, it will also not be out of place if governors can set up a mechanism for peer review and peer counselling.

Former Anambra State Governor Peter Obi, then Nigerian Governors’ Forum’s chair, worked tirelessly to institute a culture of peer review among states to enhance even development. Still, his colleagues were not interested in leadership accountability. Under the scheme, all the governors were to visit every state to assess the developmental efforts of the governors and how they were tackling challenges, which they could learn from or emulate. He started with his state, but after visiting Anambra State, all the other governors chickened out. They wanted to behave as they liked with their states’ resources. They didn’t want any control – in the form of discharging the responsibility of responsible governance – on the enormous power they wielded.

Some people can apparently be overwhelmed by the power to the extent that they cannot control themselves. Such people will ultimately be a curse to the people they lead rather than a blessing.

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Opinion

Resumption of oil exploration, Borno Apc chieftain lauds NNPC

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Resumption of oil exploration, Borno APC chieftain lauds NNPC

By Madu Mohammed, Maiduguri

Following the declaration by the Federal Government that oil exploratiin will commence in Borno, A chieftains of the All Progressive Congress (APC), in Borno state Alhaji Yusuf Adamu has commended the Nigeria National Petroleum Cooperation (NNPC) for the move to resume oil exploration on the shores of Lake in Borno state.

Alhaji Yusuf Adamu who was also a former staff of the NNPC made the commendation in an interview with neswnen in Maiduguri yesterday said the oil exploration will not only create jobs to the youths but increase the revenue base of the state and federal government.

He said “Well, based on the data collected by the NNPC, there is traces of hydrocarbon in Borno . The oil exploration was stopped due to the activities of the Boko Haram insurgency, but now with the attainment of relative peace in Borno, the resumption of oil exploration is timely,”

Adamu urgued that there is traces of oil and gas in the Lake Chad Basin, adding that the neighboring Chad and Niger republic’s have already gotten oil on their basement.

“Very soon everybody will laugh, as Borno will join the oil producing States.. Chad and Niger republic have gotten oil, we are on the same basement .I assured you that we are on top of oil . There is also gas in commercial quantity. Very soon Borno will became oil producing state just as oil was found on the Benue trough in Bauchi state

It could be recalled that on Thursday the minister for state, Petroleum resources, Timipre Silver, the Group General Manager Director NNPC, Kyari Mele and others officials of the ministry were in Msiduguti where they had a meeting with the the chief of Army Staff, Lt General Tukur Buratai, theater commander Operation Lafiya Dole, Major General Faruk Yahaya among others principal officers of the Nigerian Army on how best to commence the exploration.

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Opinion

BOKO HARAM AND THE NGOs…..Since 2009, Borno in particular and North-East in general know no peace. The insurgency that was led by 39 year Cleric, Late Muhammad Yusuf has led to series of sorrow, misery and calamity. Borno was known to be the most peaceful state in the federation of Nigeria before 2009 BH upheaval, sadly, ten years after the uprising, we are still counting our losses in both human and capital resources. So far, estimate has shown that nearly 30,000 people were killed, hundred of thousands were injured, 2.4 million people were displaced, 9 Billion Dollars worth properties were destroyed, about (3.5 Trillion Naira) Several schools were burnt and thousands were widowed and orphaned. The NGOs who are here to support the victims of insurgency by providing health care, food and other basis needs of the IDPs were recently in the media over an allegation that they are providing humanitarian support to the outlawed terrorist group (BH), in fact, the military authority suspended the activities of 2 NGOs who were suspected of aiding BH terrorist. Most people do not trust the NGOs, because they are seen as a major obstacle toward achieving a lasting peace in the affected areas, there are several allegations against the aid groups, in my observation, the only way to build trust between the NGOs and the people is by recruiting the indigenes of the affected areas to work with the NGOs, the current policy of recruitment by the aid groups has indeed created mistrust, suspicion and resentment among the people, it’s sad to note that, majority of the employees of those NGOS are non indigenes, most of them don’t speak the language of the affected areas, there are complaints that the recruitment by the NGOS favor a particular religious group, while the number of overwhelming majority religious group of the affected areas in the service of the aid groups are insignificant, hence, the aim is almost defeated. If truth be told, the NGOs should consider the indigenes of the affected areas in the first place, because they know the terrain and every bit of the society better than the outsiders, the indigenes are also qualified to do the job well. If truly they want peace to reign, they should consider the people of the state, by doing so, the issue of BH will be a thing of the past. There is no way people will be convinced that the NGO’s are sincere as long as they continue with the current trend, many locals are of the believe that the aid groups are the ones responsible for the persistence of the insurgency. ..I am appealing to all NGO’s to consider the above suggestion if truly they want to help us, we know our areas and problems better than any outsiders, our youth are well qualified to do the job, failure to do so will prolong the crisis and the populace will never trust the NGOs, the state government should as a matter of urgency, should monitor all the activities of the NGOs through a competent and patriotic hands who will not place personal interest above communal interest. May God restore peace back to our dear nation. Amin. Gaji Ahmed 6/11/19

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