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Restructuring, El-Rufai And The Rest Of Us, By Hassan Gimba

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Restructuring, El-Rufai and the rest of us, by Hassan Gimba

There are a number of issues on the public burner. I could have gone on with Part 2 of my write-up on General T.Y. Danjuma and what Nigeria could take out of him. But that should wait. There is also Sambisa Forest, Abubakar Shekau, Boko Haram and the Islamic State of West Africa (ISWAP). And then, of course, the brouhaha about the ban on open grazing in the south. The death of General Attahiru Ibrahim, the Chief of Army Staff, is the freshest.

Sambisa needs to be talked about because it is like the spiritual base of Boko Haram and Abubakar Shekau’s headquarters. It is where our military claimed several times that they had captured. At a time they told us they would turn it into a tourist centre, at another time a stadium and at another time their base.

Sambisa is where the Nigerian military tells us that their jets had bombed Boko Haram’s “Command Centres”, or Boko Haram chiefs at “Planning Conferences”. It has always been these or some plausible “achievements”.

However, mid last week we got the news that the Islamic State of West Africa had invaded Sambisa and, seeing no way out, the overpowered Shekau had taken his life along with those of some ISWAP commanders via suicide bombing, a case of he who lives by the bomb dies by it.

It is an excellent question for one to ask: is it the same Shekau whom our military claimed to have killed again and again, and could not defeat, that some ISWAP fighters took out so easily when they wanted? Then ISWAP must be a deadlier alternative to the erratic Shekau.

The ban on open grazing should be applauded, though. It is high time the north also banned it. I do not want to talk about the death of General Attahiru Ibrahim yet. The wound is too fresh. Suffice it to say that had he been from another part of the country, the “ever-wise” would have concluded that someone from the “other part” of the country killed him.

But sometimes it pays to have a suspicious brain. We must stop accepting things at their face value. What is wrong with our military planes and what caused the ill-fated crash that led to the COAS’ death? We hope the enquiry will be conclusive and the findings not cloaked in official lies and secrecy. 

Anyway, today is about restructuring. According to Wikipedia, restructuring is the corporate management term for the act of reorganizing the legal, ownership, operational, or other structures of a company to make it more profitable or better organised for its present needs. Similarly, the Cambridge dictionary defined it as the act of organising a company, business, or system freshly to make it operate more effectively.

Restructuring is a term used by corporate bodies and synonymous with a reorganisation, regrouping, realignment, shifting, transformation, etc. It has, however, taken a political meaning in Nigeria.

While some proponents of restructuring see it as a constitution review strategy aimed at bringing government as close as possible to the people at the grassroots, others see it as simply a call for the restoration of federalism. The belief is that Nigeria would function better with fundamental changes in the charter of citizenship rights, on the structure of the military, the police system, the judicial system and even the political system.

However, most of the people who cry “restructuring” do so because it is the vogue and not because they understand it or are ready for it. Many of them think restructuring is akin to the removal of the so-called ‘born-to-rule’ people from being their ‘taskmasters’.

They cannot realize that their governors are not from another world, but elected from among them. They are blind to the fact that all their houses of assembly members, commissioners, local government chairpersons and councillors, members of their state and national legislature and all political appointees and public servants from their areas are their people.

No one from another part sits on their grants. They get their monthly allocations and all other statutory grants just like all other states and local governments of the federation.

Instead of the people calling those directly superintending over them to account for their mis-governance, they mischievously prefer to lampoon imaginary rainbows that “drink up their waters”. Thus they found a bogeyman for ethnic bashing, regional bashing and religious bashing.

Because the people have been led by the nose by pedagogues, their leaders have jumped in front of the bandwagon and are shouting more loudly just so they would remain relevant.

If not that, how can one situate the recent call for restructuring by the southern governors? Do they care for restructuring as they want the herd they want to continue leading by the nose to believe?

They would have since given their houses of assembly, judiciary and local governments the financial autonomy due to them as approved by none other than President Muhammadu Buhari. Nigeria would have been able to save some strikes out of many, at least.

How Right Is el-Rufai?

Malam Nasir el-Rufai, a political gadfly, is a man who elicits extreme emotions. You are either fanatically for him or extremely against him. To each group, he neither acknowledges your admiration nor gives a hoot about your disdain. He does whatever his mind tells him.

Since becoming governor, the small-sized but courageous Kaduna State governor has dismissed no fewer than 30,000,000 workers as the last count. Labour estimates 50,000. His reasons are that his government will now use the salaries they gulp for the good of the other segments of the state’s population. According to him, over 90 percent of the state’s allocation goes to civil servants who are less than a percent of the state’s nine million people. And this he cannot take.

What many people cannot understand is that most states in Nigeria are described as “civil service” states because the only viable industry – the largest employer of labour – is government. Just observe socio-economic activities around the time salaries are paid and you would understand the economics of it all.

When salaries get delayed, even the okada people have no job, markets become empty. The tomato seller, tailor, and retail shops suffer as much. Private schools know so because school fees get delayed, hence teachers’ salaries.

In some advanced countries, governments give allowances to the jobless so that the economy would not grind to a halt, and to ward off a rise in crime. It is, therefore, wrong to dismiss a worker, who probably left home that day promising his family unable to feed that morning that he will return with food, only to return with a sack letter. And he will not even get his entitlements that the state has been deducting from his salaries since his first pay, or his severance benefits. 

A government with vision will have a timeframe within which to train people to be self-dependent before disengaging them from public service. A self-dependent person can even engage other jobless citizens, thus contributing positively to the development of the state.

Dismissing thousands who have nothing to fall back on has serious security implications to the nation. After all, insurgents, separatists, bandits, militants, etc, all target such frustrated class in their recruitment drives.

But come to think of it, has el-Rufai reduced the number of his many aides, many of whom have no schedules? He collects salaries and allowances, yet the Kaduna State government feeds him and caters for his family. Is there no anomaly here? Will it not be wise for him to release the millions budgeted for his upkeep, and all those many allowances he collects? After all, all those he dismissed cater for themselves and their dependents from their meagre salaries. Is it not time we held a conversation about the expensive upkeep of the president, governors and other political office holders and top public servants?

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Opinion

A well deserved leadership & The Sun Awards For Mai Mala Buni

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A WELL DESERVED LEADERSHIP & THE SUN AWARDS FOR MAI MALA BUNI

By Abba Dukawa

The hallmark of a great leader is not measured in Castle and materials, but in ability to groom and lead successful discipline. The caretaker committee under Gov. Buni had regained the party and made it stronger and able to put the party back on track by addressing all the grievances that, in the first place, brought it to its knees.

Preceding to June 2020,there was euphoria from other oppositions politicians camps and even some political analysts were writing off that governing All Progressives Congress (APC) party was on the brink of either serious leadership crisis or party might be in its last days. But like a miracle the parry found a lasting solutions by dissolution of then National Working Committee (NCW), led by Adams Oshiomhole.

The award Conferred on APC Caretaker/Extraordinary Convention Planning Committee (CECPC), chairman Governor Mai Mala Buni, as a Politician of the Year at the 2021 Annual Conference and Awards Ceremony of Leadership Media Group. Also It is for other reasons that the Board of Editors of The Sun Publishing Limited chose him as winner of The Sun Political Icon of the Year Award 2020. Both the awards are marks of recognition of his led committee in retooled the ruling governing party and also a convincible pointer and a well deserved award on this humble grassroot politician in addition a morale booster to serve Yobeans and the country at large.

Reassessing the emerging success recorded by National Chairman APC Caretaker/ Extraordinary Convention Planning Committee (CECPC) in rebuilding the APC in line with the CECPC’s core mandate: to engender unity in the party, promote true reconciliation and give a sense of belong- ing to every party member. At the inception of the committee he had met Party national leaders like Chief Bisi Akande, John Oyegun and Tinubu and other aggrieved members toward restoring crisis-ridden ruling party back to life.

His uncommon dispute-resolution skills have paid off, with many formerly aggrieved members withdrawing and terminating many litigations involving the party. This efforts have put the party on the path of greatness again. Governor Buni’s CECPC led the party to unprecedented nationwide membership registration, revalidation and register update, to shore up the party’s membership and support- base nationwide.

HMB’s efforts have also resulted in three PDP governors comprising Ebonyi State (David Umahi), Cross River State (Ben Ayade) and Zamfara State Bello Matawalle) decamping to the ruling party, prominent politicians return the APC, including the former PDP national chairman, Barnabas Gemade; former speakers of the House of Representatives, Yakubu Dogara and Dimeji Bankole, former governor of Ogun State, Gbenga Daniel, Senator Joy Emordi, Senator Stella Oduah and recently one most critical to the APC led administration Fani Kayode joint the party.

In Buni’s led committee, the ruling governing party found a peace Regaining it soul as and was able to made the party stronger through a successful drive of hard work, building through peace reconciliation trait. HMB reconciliation drive save the party from being a divided party. APC witnessed gale of defection to the party, from its closest rival, the Peoples Democratic Party governors, federal and states legislators and other influential political leaders across the country.

In fact, HMB proved himself as a huge asset to the ruling governing party and the country that his three decades experience in politics are giving the party a sense of directions as National Caretaker and Extra-ordinary Convention Committee members acts together in ensuring party discipline, and cohesion are made sacrosanct and are imbibed by members by high and low.

This Piece Is To Celebrate With Strategist , Grassroot Politician And A Great Achiever Of Transforming Socioeconomic And Infrastructural Development Of Yobe And Also Leadership Newspapers Award Conferred On
Governor Buni’s As “politician Of The Year 2020 Of The 2021 Annual Conference And Awards Ceremony Of Leadership Media Group And Also Political Icon Of The Year Award 2020 Of The Sun Publishing Limited.

Dukawa write in from Kano and can be reached at abbahydukawa@gmail.com

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Of Bigmen’s Children, Boko Haram And An Unholy War, By Hassan Gimba

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Of Bigmen’s Children, Boko Haram and An Unholy War, by Hassan Gimba

From the beginning, the quasi-Islamic jihadist movement with the high-sounding name, Jama’atu ahlus sunnah lidda’awati wal jihad, loosely translated to mean “People committed to the propagation of the Prophet’s teachings and jihad”, was anti-West. Many believe, albeit erroneously, that Boko Haram started in Maiduguri, Borno State, in 2002 and that the founder was Mohammed Yusuf.

The group, not with its latter-day and most known name, started in the mid-‘90s in Yusufari, Yobe State. Popularly called “Taliban” or “Sahaba”, a name derived from what the prophet’s companions are called, it comprised mostly the children of the well-to-do in the society. With white as their preferred choice of colour, they were always attired in white garments and used camels for their transportation.

They were mainly idealistic youths who opted to shun worldliness, sacrifice the flesh and nourish their souls in seeking the favour of Allah. They started romanticising a Utopian world where God does for them whatever they fancied. That was what governed their thoughts, and they concluded that the best way to achieve that was by divorcing themselves from a world filled with sin.

Most of them came from Borno and Yobe states, and being from the same social class and having met at the university, that of Maiduguri precisely, they all agreed to migrate (hijrah) to a virgin land where they would worship their God undistracted by temptations that feed the flesh and starve the soul. They chose the desert of Yusufari in Yobe, bordering the Niger Republic.

Alhaji Bukar Abba Ibrahim, a three-term governor and three-term senator, was the governor of Yobe State then. Those whose children got involved were top shots in the two states. Naturally, the Yobe State Government was concerned that ‘heirs’ were derailing and abandoning the path being paved for them. What to do? Disperse them as gently as possible, causing no harm to the prodigal children. And so the government, using the security agencies, tenderly dislodged them with each bigwig advised to rein in his ward so as not to lose his scion.

The kids sired by the elite got ferreted out of the country to Europe, America and Asia to study and, in the course, got drowned in the world. Better take the path of the world than the futureless life of asceticism they were so enamoured with, their bigshot parents in government thought.

They left those sired by the nobodies stranded with nobody to give them succour. They did not in reality do anything that may warrant the government giving them ‘amnesty’ then, but a serious society would have done something about those idealistic kids whose eyes were blazing with religious fervour. But no, society left them to their devices. And so they congregated in Maiduguri and paid allegiance to Mohammed Yusuf, who started his rise to infamy.

He, it was, that popularised the ‘Boko Haram’ (western education is sinful) mantra. ‘Boko’ stands for western education and ‘haram’ is sin in Arabic.

Most of the sect’s early adherents dropped out from western education-based schools, from primary schools to tertiary institutions. Some of those who had completed such schools tore their certificates. It became an obsession for the Boko Haramites to stop western education wherever they could.

Some measures they took included but were not limited to abducting school children, killing some of them, and burning their schools. In one such gruesome campaign, they slaughtered 59 young boys in their sleep at Federal Government College, Buni Yadi, Yobe State, on February 25, 2014. They also razed twenty-four buildings in the school.

Similarly, later in the year, on November 10, one of their suicide bombers, disguised as a student, detonated an explosive device during a morning assembly session at Government Senior Secondary School, Potiskum, in Yobe, killing 47 students and maiming 79 others, some for life.

In between the two massacres, on April 14 they hit Government Girls’ Secondary School, Chibok, Borno State, and abducted 276 of the students, aged between 16 and 18 – a raid that forced the entire world to sit up and take note. Seven years have gone by and over a hundred of these girls are yet to be accounted for. Then, four years later, on February 19, 2018, there was another mass abduction of schoolgirls at Government Girls’ Science and Technical College, Dapchi, Yobe State, where about 110 schoolgirls were carried off in a strike reminiscent of Chibok. Weeks later they were released, but not before the death of five others, and returned to their town by their captors, except one Leah Sharibu, who would not accept being forcefully converted to their form of Islam. Authentic Islam frowns at forced conversion.

While the North East is daily getting free of the menace of Boko Haram, with life slowly but steadily returning to normal, it is not so for the North East and the North Central. Appendages of Boko Haram in the disguise of bandits, herdsmen and kidnappers are having a field day abducting people at will. Herdsmen’s nefarious activities, which started taking a turn for the worse in Zamfara State in 2011, are now more complementary to Boko Haram’s.

Mass abductions of pupils and students have become so commonplace in Zamfara, Kaduna, Katsina and Niger over the last two years that it is no longer ‘unexpected news’.

These brigands go to houses in towns and schools to take whoever they fancy, and whenever they want. Apart from turning kidnapping into a lucrative vocation where they rake in hundreds of millions by squeezing family members, they have forced state governments to do their bidding by shutting down schools. Some states have ceded roads and sizable portions of territory to them. Sad, but that is the reality – a sort of victory for those who believe there should not be western education.

Those who were left to their own devices when the bigshots took their kids abroad have now forced all of us to sleep with eyes wide open. They have unleashed an unholy war on all of us, the haves and the have nots. In the process, they have recruited foot soldiers in almost all sectors of society. They have their sponsors, informants, associates, suppliers and apologists among politicians and the clergy. Those that minister to them can also be found in the security sector, among students, trade unions and the business class.

Insurgency and related criminal activities have taken their toll on the North. In every society, those between the ages of 15 and 40 build it up, being the most vibrant age bracket. But those in the region’s most active age group are daily joining the increasing groups of bad eggs or spending energy running away from them.

The North has long suffered this breakdown of law and order. It has crippled the economy of the people and the people’s mainstay, agriculture, has taken a back seat because of the nefarious activities of the criminals. People in many parts of the region cannot go to their farms, and where they could, they have to pay taxes to insurgents or bandits.

As a result, revenue generated by states has fallen to an all-time low. The revenue from agricultural produce, livestock production and personal income tax, except for those in government employment, has thinned out. Many businesses – big, medium and small – have closed shop, throwing more able-bodied youth into the unemployment market, further putting stress on society and fuelling more reasons for social discontent.

Things in the North East, as earlier stated, are getting better and the current successful onslaughts recorded by our security operatives in the other parts of the region are commendable. Hopefully, the government has woken up from its inertia and has taken the bull by the horns. Nigeria looks forward to having a peaceful and secure North.

To avoid regressing to the days (of course we are not yet out but hopefully soon) of fear, Northern states must aggressively pursue all means to improve their internally generated revenues. There should not be any hypocrisy in that. I truly believe Islam forbids the consumption of alcohol. Not only that, it prohibits its production, transportation, sale, or using the proceeds of the sales. Therefore, if you are a genuine believer who destroys alcohol in your town, refusing its sale and punishing those who take it, why should you gleefully accept any money, in whatever name, from the proceeds of its sale?

By the way, do bicycles and dogs have licences anymore like we used to see decades ago? There is an increase in using bicycles with the banning of motorcycles for security reasons across the states. Northern state governors must think out of the box for their states to survive. They need to build projects, not for fancy, but those that can bring more revenue to their states. They need to open up the hinterlands and invest in education and health. A healthy, educated person will feed himself and others and can generate revenue.

I believe when all states start generating reasonable amounts of revenue, the country’s unity will be cast in concrete and guaranteed. Come to think of it, each state will have what the others need and we will look at none as a parasite because each contributes a necessary portion to the general purse.

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Opinion

PMB Approves Reappointment of Prof Bashir Haruna As Exe Secretary NCNE

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PMB Approves Reappointment Of Prof Bashir Haruna As Exe Secretary NCNE

By Adamu Mohammed Dodo, Yola

President Muhammadu Buhari has approved the renewal of appointment of Prof Bashir H Haruna as Executive Secretary, National Commission for Nomadic Education (NCNE)

The appointment letter signed by the Hon Minister of Education, Malam Adamu Adamu, dated September 1st, 2021, explained that the appointment was for a second tenure of five years with effect from August 30, 2021.

The appointment shall be under the same terms and conditions as that of the first tenure and as stipulated in the NCNE.

Some of the staff of the Commission seen jubilating said the reappointment of Prof Bashir was a worthy development.

The National Commission for Nomadic Education, the Implementation and the delivery of the Nomadic Education Programme (NEP) were commended by the commentators to have witnessed giant strides and made landmark achievements under Prof Bashir’s first tenure of five years; from August 2016 to July 2021, which ensured the strategic planning and systematic implementation of policies and programmes of NEP, making it more responsive for the 21st century generation boost,
thereby ensuring that there is a cardinal link between goals/objectives of
NEP and implementation of key projects and programmes.

Some of the achievements of the Commission credited to Prof Bashir include; acquiring a permanent and befitting head office complex with a view to getting the Commission out of the rented building.

Gaining ministerial approval for the allocation of the Office Complex at the Defunct National Educational Technology Centre, Kaduna, in addition to being allocated 21 units of houses at the National Open University of Nigeria (NOUN) Kaduna Study Centre.

Institutional strengthening and human capital developmen, establishment of a robust and expanded the Administrative Structure of the Commission to address emerging needs and repositioning of the Commission and improve its operational efficiency towards meeting its goals and objectives.

In response to the demand for the provision of Technical and Vocational Education and Training Skills for the nomads, new Departments of Extension Education and Skills Development and Social Mobilisation and Women Development were established, in addition to the establishment of Directorate of Special Duties under the Office of the Executive Secretary, to effectively coordinate activities of Sections and Units under the Executive Secretary’s office.

Partnership Peace and Conflict Resolution Unit was established for the promotion of peace-building and constructive engagement of the farmers and herders for improved relations and ensure effective management and amicable resolution of conflicts.

Establishment of Consultancy and Outreach Unit as part of measures to step up resource mobilisation and utilisation through the improvement of internally generated revenue base for the Commission, improvement and diversification of funding pattern for the Commission and provision of critical infrastructure and facilities under capital projects and Universal Basic Education Commission (UBEC) interventions.

Pioneered the conduct of Tracer Studies on the implementation of Nomadic Education Programme across the over 4,026 nomadic schools spread across the 36 states and FCT.

Revitalization of activities at Nomadic Education University Based Centres at University of Jos, University of Maiduguri, Usman Danfodio University and University of Port Harcourt.

The University of Jos centre is in-charge of Research and Evaluation for education of Nomadic Pastoralist, Usman Danfodio University Sokotocentre is responsible for Curricula and Textual Materials Development, while University of Maiduguri centre is specifically saddled with the task of Teacher Training and Outreach Services. The University of Port-Harcourt centre is in-charge of Research and Evaluation, Curricula and Textual Materials Development and Teacher Training and Outreach Services for the education of Migrant Fisher-folks and farmers.

Academic support services and quality assurance mechanism and securing approval from the National Broadcasting Commission (NBC) for the establishment of an AM Radio Broadcasting License (Frequency Channel 720 KHz and a bandwidth of 9KHz) for an initial period of five years from October 2018 to October 2023.

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