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Bill gates, Peter obi and Nigeria’s Pandemic



Bill Gates, Peter Obi and Nigeria’s pandemic, By Hassan Gimba

 In the past year, hardly can find a word that elicits palpable fear, confusion, hope and scepticism as COVID-19. Surely COVID-19 has changed the world drastically. And definitely, it has changed the way we think and the ways we interact. The pandemic has also been a source of a lot of hardship because, as a result of it, many businesses have closed shop.
The pandemic has been a reason for many job losses and plans gone awry. It has killed a lot of initiatives, pushed more people into poverty, bred many other diseases, pushed some into suicide and killed so many more.
In a world that believes it is civilised and can get a panacea for everything, such a scourge cannot be allowed to remain unchecked for long, hence the race for COVID vaccines. It is quite understandable why the world is at its tenterhooks because the pandemic has afflicted over 105 million with over 2.3 million deaths worldwide.
Globally the race to rein in its spread is apace. We can all see how medical personnel are battling against scarce resources to save the lives of hundreds of thousands. You see them, you feel them. And your heart goes out to them.
 And because they are sincere to themselves, while searching for medical solutions, governments take care of their citizens through palliatives – in cash and in-kind – at personal levels. At corporate levels, the governments provided and have kept providing bailouts to a lot of businesses. The pandemic brought fear and confusion among the serious countries, but there is also hope that a solution will soon be in hand.
Here, there is make-believe fear among the authorities. People are confused because the source of the fear is not visible. However, those at the forefront of the anti-COVID-19 campaign are just fine because they are making money off it while the generality of the people increasingly become more sceptical. Yes, unfortunately, as if we are not part of the global village, the pandemic has been turned into a money-making venture. The National Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) goes about it in a way that raises suspicion over its motives. States must declare a rise in the infection figures or risk being labelled high-risk areas.
A source close to the NCDC revealed that one of the reasons states like Yobe and Kogi were “blacklisted”, apart from being straight over the pandemic scare, is because their governors shot down the plan to cause the presidency to impose another lockdown on the nation. A lockdown is like a blank cheque to the itchy-fingered officials.
But tales abound of its staffers suddenly becoming rich overnight or about the agency giving out contracts in billions that end up as nonexistent projects while appropriated monies have been paid out. The NCDC, officials of the federal ministry of health, to an extent, and those of the presidential task force on COVID-19 have turned the pandemic into a means of making money out of the misery of fellow citizens. The daily allowances they each take home makes one believe the funds collected are meant for them alone.
When the first lockdown was announced early last year, subsequent events proved that the palliatives meant to cushion the excruciating difficulty envisaged were misapplied. While the world is losing greatly because of the scourge but sincerely fighting it, Nigeria’s officials are smiling to the bank. All these and more are factors that have made many people distrust the government, its agents and agencies.
Many conspiracy theories have been flying about, especially when the so-called ‘Chinese doctors’ surreptitiously brought in disappeared like ninjas. Nigeria now intends to spend between N400 and N450billion to procure the vaccines. The intention is to vaccinate 70 per cent of Nigeria’s population at $8 per vaccine. But the government would do well to get the vaccines from a country or countries that the citizens would at least be at ease with. Of course, the government has ways to make people get vaccinated, no doubt, but a government that owes its authority and credibility to the people needed to make the people comfortable. Already people are afraid of western produced COVID-19 vaccines but luckily, Russia, India and Cuba have produced them. The majority of Nigerians may be more comfortable with them than those from the western bloc.
However, there are even two schools of thought on this. The first which does not believe in the pandemic as being touted in Nigeria is the one led by Yahaya Bello, the governor of Kogi State. Bello believes that with such amount, each state in the country can have one (two for six big states) N10billion world standard hospital and we shall be better off for that.
Another school of thought led by Mr Peter Obi, former governor of Anambra State, believes we can get the vaccines at one-third of that amount. He offered to lead the federal government’s purchasing team to get this dream bargain for the country.
But this is even if we need the vaccines in the first place. Bill Gates, one of the richest men in the world for the past 20 – 30 years, believes we do not need them. All the conspiracy theories surrounding the pandemic begin or end with his name. Sometimes his name may not be at the start or finish because it has appeared in the middle.
Bill Gates, like the Kogi governor, believes that what we need are functional, state of the art hospitals dotted around the country. Bill Gates’ proposition to the Nigerian government: Invest the billions in healthcare, not COVID-19 vaccines. “There is no doubt that the impact of putting money into the health system, particularly the primary healthcare system, will be very high in terms of saving children’s lives,” Bill Gates says.
The co-founder of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation wants Nigeria to prioritise the development of its health sector rather than focusing on the COVID-19 vaccines. Nigeria should divert resources budgeted for the approved COVID-19 vaccines into the development of the country’s weak health care system, he opined. “There is no doubt that the impact of putting money into the health system, particularly the primary healthcare system, will be very high in terms of saving children’s lives. Nigeria should not divert the very limited money that it has for health into trying to pay a high price for COVID-19 vaccines,” he advised.
Mr Gates did not stop at that. He said Nigeria is already a beneficiary of GAVI, the Vaccine Alliance, a public-private global health partnership to increase access to immunisation in poor countries. “The key is that Nigeria is still eligible, and so, for a lot of those vaccines, they will come through the GAVI facility that we have raised money for”, said Gates. That means Nigeria will get a reasonable number of the vaccines free of charge.
But will they pay heed to him? Already it is as if those who have other intentions for these hundreds of billions will neither listen to the Kogi governor nor acknowledge the offer of assistance by Peter Obi, whom they may begin to see as a busybody. But everybody knows Mr Obi’s reputation as a frugal overseer of government purse. As for Bill Gates, he may as well take his advice elsewhere before they will accuse him of interfering in a sovereign country’s affairs.
 As it happened during the first lockdown when there was an insistence that school children trapped at home must be fed, so there will be insistence now to buy those vaccines. As billions were spent in the first lockdown on palliatives but only those provided by businessmen were seen – those later vandalised – billions will be appropriated for vaccines but only those received from donations would be the ones to be seen.
But the worst of all is that the presidency may allow all these shenanigans to happen. The pilferers will have their piece of the cake. And sadly, Nigerians will continue living as if nothing momentous has happened.
But we can see why charlatans set the agenda in our country. So long as the words of governors – serving and former – will not be taken seriously or those of people like Bill Gates will carry no weight with us, so long will the words of Nnamdi Kanu, Femi Fani Kayode, Sunday Igboho and Shekau continue to shape the thinking of our masses and set agenda for our country.
 And so we shall continue to see the initiative being taken away from the government by non-state actors. Now we witness the “expelling” of “criminals” (not minding whether they are criminals or not) by Igboho on the one hand and the “dissuasion” of criminals on the other by Sheikh Muhammad Gummi – both responsibilities of the government, yet out of government’s hand.

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Mai Mala Buni: Independence of Political Diplomat And Consensus Builder



Mai Mala Buni: independence of Political Diplomat And Consensus Builder

By Sadiya Shelleng Hussaini

Change presents humanity with a confounding paradox. Whereas change is constant and inevitable it forebodes a vague sense of unease. Fear of the unknown taunts the nerves of even the valorous of men. Men of destiny however prepare for change, meeting it at the doorstep with secure pace .June 25,2020 was Nigeria’s governing party –APC’s date with fate, a day of a dramatic change of baton and democratic transition of powers from the ruling Oshiomole led national working committee to Mai Mala Buni caretaker/convention planning committee.The date may have caught some clay footed but quite a handful had no illusion as their mandate was terminated through “doctrine of necessity ” to curtail the crisis that bedeviled the party.

The hype and political intrigues that have characterised the tenure of Adam Oshiomole led National Working Committee of the All Progressive Congress (APC) would not come as a surprise to political pundits. Being the governing party and one which prides itself as the largest growing political party in Africa, the successful transition of the party to a new leadership portends a lot for the polity and the 2023 permutations.

Following the leadership tussle, that consumed the immediate past leadership of the ruling All Progressives Congress APC, leading to the constitution of a caretaker/convention planning committee under the leadership of Yobe state Governor Mai Mala Buni, as part of move ahead the party requires everyone amongst its members and supporters to reflects on what should be the best for the future of the party.

Taking cognizance of the renewed support for our great party from the ordinary citizens of Nigeria as evidenced in the recently conducted elections , massive membership registrations across the country and ward congresses with leaders of the party largely emerging through consensus. It has shown clearly that even Nigerians believe that our party, APC remains the only party that can restore the country to the path of sustainable peace, progress, national unity and economic prosperity.

Therefore, the party now more than any other time, requires a courageous, fearless, thoroughbred politician, committed party man and patriotic personality who understand the political history of the country as well as dynamics of the APC, its antecedents since its creation.

Yobe State governor ,Mai Mala Buni has put the party on sound foundation as demonstrated by his political pedigree and diplomatic approach in managing the party affairs. The history of Buni’s political struggle has proved his extraordinary tenacity in Nigerian politics.

Based on the foregoing, Mai Mala Buni standout based on his 14 months score card as the Caretaker Commitee Chairman of the party. Opinions across the country among party leaders and stakeholders indicate a thunderous applause on the APC CECPC for resetting the party back to glory days.

Depicting the sound attributes of a great leader, the two -time APC scribe a highly detribalized, humble, focused, amiable and thoroughbred personality with good sense of direction. These are the qualities he is applying now to take the APC out of the doldrums.

He is man that is naturally loved and admired by the people; a democrat and pivot of mass mobilization; a man who achieves greatness through assiduousness, self -will and sheer determination; a good listener; a man that remains unruffled even at the height of unwarranted intimidation and provocation; a man with critical thinking-skills. He is a strong advocate of unity, peace and progress of our great country, Nigeria. He believes in mega- changes in the social, economic and political sectors and theses must be driven by the current generation of Nigerians.

Within his 14 month on the saddle of the party, Hon Buni has clearly demonstrated to Nigerians that APC will certainly form the next government and entrench party supremacy, internal democracy, party cohesion and internal harmony among elected officials and the party.

There is no doubt that his legacies shall remain eternal source of inspiration for many generations to come. APC on his assumption as the Caretaker Chairman had 64 senators then now has over 70. He has also made three PDP governors throw away the umbrella and his broom. This is not the end on his yeomen duties he is working hard to bring in more serving and former governors, legislators and top party chieftains from the opposition.

President Muhammadu Buhari recently said the All Progressives Congress (APC) has been revived, energized and repositioned for its national convention and future elections, while commending the National Caretaker/Extraordinary Convention Planning Committee (CECPC) led by Governor of Yobe State, Malam Mai Mala Buni.

Speaking at the APC CECPC meeting at the State House, the President said the fortunes of the party had been brightened by the re-organisation and reconciliation of members across the party, saying “with the work done by the committee the party has bounced back to life.’’

“I have listened with great interest the remarkable job you have done so far,’’ he said. “We are all witnesses to the crisis that engulfed the party leading to litigations and presented a picture of selfishness and division.’’

One cannot but wonder from which source he drives his rare aggressive energetic zeal and tenacity, in solving party matters within a snap of a finger. To borrow the words of the classical Greek writer Homer, he is both a speaker of words and doer of deeds. Despite the monumental achievement of Hon Mai Mala some forces are bent on dragging his name twist to a supreme court judgment to rubbish the achievement,let me warn them that the Yobe State Governor Hon Mai Mala Buni who doubles as Chairman National Caretaker/Extraordinary Convention Planning Committee (CECPC) will have the last laugh and would hand over party affairs after a successful national convention .

Shelleng wrote in from Yola .

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Who is Afraid of Gov. Buni?



Who is Afraid of Gov. Buni?

Fatai Olagunju

For very obvious reasons, the successes recorded by the Caretaker Committee of the All Progressives Congress in repositioning the party and massive defection of prominent figures into the party mean different things to different people.

There are those who celebrated the party bouncing back to life, others didn’t like the giant strides of the committee, while others who feel threatened by the reconciliation and coming of new members also felt bad.

For the opposition party, it was its most trying moment  after loosing three serving governors to APC and still counting.  The Caretaker committee under Governor Mai Mala Buni, has remained PDP’s most terrible nightmare.

The interpretation of the Supreme Court Judgement on the Ondo state governorship election by the Hon. Minister of state for Labour and Employment Festus Keyamo, generated some arguments. However, Keyamo’s postulation now in public court, has attracted a lot of arguments in support and against.

The provisions of Section 183 of the Constitution as amended which forms Keyamo’s arguments, has been defined by other learned gentlemen clearing ambiguities.

Deputy Senate President, Keyamo’s kinsman and legal colleague, Senator Omo Agege, took time to define the said section 183 of the Constitution, making it clear, unambiguous, unequivocal and in explicit terms.

According to Omo-Agege, “From the explicit provision of Section 183 of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999 (as amended), it is absolutely impossible and untenable to argue that the provisions of Section 183 bars a Governor from being a Chairman or member of a Caretaker Committee set up by his or her political party. More so, the position of the Chairman of a Caretaker Committee cannot by any sense of imagination, logic or simple common sense be classified as a being a salaried Executive office.

“There is no law under our legal jurisprudence that bars or prohibits a Governor who is a member of a political party and won elections under the political party from carrying out specific assignments on-behalf of his party. How this will amount to holding an Executive office is beyond every stretch of human comprehension.

“In the light of the foregoing exposition, it is humbly and firmly stated that Section 183 of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999 (as amended) only bars a Governor from holding Executive positions like being a Minister, or any other executive positions for which he shall be paid for. It does not by any scintilla of imagination, render the appointment of Governor Bumi as APC Caretaker Committee Chairman incompetent and will not in anyway, affect the legality or competence of the APC scheduled Congresses” he argued.

Chief Adeniyi Akintola, Counsel to APC in a press conference opined “let me make this clear: this isn’t the first time we would be having minority judgements. A minority judgement has no value. You can’t cite it as the authority. It has no effect”

He cited “In 2008, Abubakar Atiku versus Shehu Musa Yar’Adua, there was minority judgements given by Justice George Oguntade, Justice Walter Onoghen and one other justice while Justice Niki Tobi delivered the majority judgement. So, there has always been precedence.

“There is no value attributed to minority judgement. So, what happened yesterday isn’t strange. So we are worried that some lawyers are attaching value to it”.

It is pertinent to note that, the APC constitution is very conscious of such critical circumstances and it made a clear declaration in  article 17 (iv) which states
“No officer in any organ of the party shall hold executive position office in government concurrently”. Therefore the party couldn’t have been careless in handling this matter.

However, in a very politicised country like Nigeria, other factors came in to define section 183 of the constitution.


The membership registration and revalidation exercise of the party which has accommodated new and more members seem to have threatened others who are not comfortable with the new converts and returnees. They feel their positions would be taken over by the new converts. They opposed the registration, attempted sabotaging the process and now fighting the party leadership. The membership registration and revalidation exercise opened the party to many members who were hitherto refused membership. Prominent members who claimed ownership of the party lost the acclaimed ownership of the party.


Local politics between stakeholders of who controls the party in the state came into play. The conflict of  personalities between Senators, Members of the House of Representatives, Ministers and other stakeholders had also manifested in who controls the party in the state. Unfortunately those who lost out are blaming Governor Buni for their trivial and now fighting back. They also define Section 183 to mean “Buni must go”.

 For instance, the personality clash between Deputy Senate President, Ovie Omo Agege and the Minister of state Labour Barr Festus Keyamo in Delta, Sen. Ngige and Sen. Andy Uba in Anambra, Zamfara state Governor Bello Mutawalli and former Governor Abdul Azeez Yari.


Recent discoveries by the party revealed that some desperate party members seeking to contest positions are liaising with the opposition to discredit the leadership, the party structure and all other processes.

It is also worrisome if all the barrage of legal luminaries now interpretering the Supreme court judgement, could not realize any lacuna in the constitution of the Caretaker committee this all the while except now, 13 months after, then, something must be fundamentally wrong with their patriotism and commitment to serve the government rand the party, honestly and creditably.


PDP is crying more than the bereaved. The party seem to have developed more interest than APC members. They have temporarily forgotten their problems to fight on behalf of other members of APC. The reason for this poke nosing into the affairs of others, is not far fetched. The Buni led Caretaker committee in the last 13 months had deflated the PDP, subtracting three governors along with hundreds of thousands of their supporters from PDP. The Buni committee has no doubt made PDP very jittery and vulnerable.


 Who is afraid of Governor Buni?

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Tunji Disu: The Making of a New Super Cop



Tunji Disu: The making of a new Super Cop

By: James Bwala

Yesterday I posted a story from the Press Release issued by the Force PRO, CP Frank Mba. As I go through the story this morning, I said to myself indeed a chapter has closed never again would Abba Kyari come back to this position even if at the end of the matters that matter at this moment of his life and career defines him innocent of the allegations as indicated by the US agency – The FBI.

Kyari was a super cop who receives acculiat and praises from men who loves and hates him on the line of duty even as truth about their friendship is being exposed by the predicament he found himself whether guilty or not guilty. The Kyari saga has further plunge the unity of this country in questions with regional inclinations and expressions from the current situation butterfilling both the traditional and social media.

Nigerians massively are hypocrites. But there are still few ones who a still holding the truth as would a pastor and his Bible even if their position was a negative one. For the first time I came to agree 100 % with a senior colleague, Malam Yakubu Ahmed BK over his write up on DCP Abba Kyari. I mean without reservations – religious, regional, ethnic or when he falls on the political side. I had had reservations on most of his piece base on either of these but not this one.

Kyari has guffed. That is the right words but we are not bringing him into judgement knowing that to err is human and to forgive is devine as we said always in Nigeria. However, we do not know how the Americans defines this in their terms. Hushpuppi is caged and he is already vomiting. If he had been caged here in Nigeria, we have herbs that can stop him from vomiting but the white man has his laboratory to test, experiment and bring out result. So is the case with Kyari our one time super cop.

Whether as Nigerians we like what is happening or not the FBI has spoken. Our IGP has responded and Kyari is waiting for fate. If the gods have mercy on him, he may yet have some years to wear the uniform and redeemed himself in another capacity serving the nation, else a chapter on his career as a Police Officer is close and we salute him.

As I was going through my Facebook page, I come across a piece of writing where the writer was so exposing the sentiment of the southwest region over the suspension of Kyari and appointment of Tunji Disu. The write up reads in part:

“Patriotic Oduduwa blooded TUNJI DISU, takes over as head of IRT from Super cop Abba Kyari who was suspended for proper investigation.”

Patriotic was Abba Kyari when he was holding sway as every hand was clapping while he leads his team. These are the kind of songs Nigerians like to sing for occupants of dreaded and fearful position to do and to undo. If I were Disu, I will begin to count my enemies from this point because these same songs were sang by people like these ones to Abba Kyari and the same people are mostly behind the songs he is now hearing on his way to sit before the investigation panel.

It continuous: “Disu was respected/real national asset Jagaban’s ADC when he was Lagos state governor as such the blood that flaws from his professional veins is that of nationalism & patriotism.”

That is it! I now see the political game in play. Indeed as the writer says we shall
collectively, effectually and fervently offers prayers for Tunji Disu to succeed. But the questions is that, would Disu be Pariotic and Nationalistic in his dealings with Nigerians as head of Police Intelligence Team knowing the hand that has pushed his rising? would he be apolitical coming from the political strings? Indeed he needs much prayers but his first move will determine our prayers either to pray more lifting or cry to the Almighty to deliver Nigerians from the Pharaoh who place their moles in places as monitoring spirits over Nigeria.

  • James Bwala is a Nigerian Journalist and writes from Maiduguri

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