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Who should be the new chief of staff to the President?

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WHO SHOULD BE THE NEW CHIEF OF STAFF TO THE PRESIDENT?

By Ahmad Sajoh

The Death of Mallam Abba Kyari had indeed been a very big blow to His Excellency Mr. President, the Government and indeed the Country at large. He left a very big vacuum which will be very hard to fill.

While it is indeed wrong to speak ill of the dead, I find some of the testimonies bandied around by people who claim to have been too close to the late Chief of Staff as equally wrong. Where were all this people when the man was alive and so many unsavory things were said about him? Some of the testimonies do not even add up at all when juxtaposed with what transpired under the presidency when he was alive. But then like I said earlier we have all accepted this cultural norm that it is bad to talk ill of the dead. But certainly it is equally wrong to say things not true about a man who passed away as well. In all honesty we should have been more concerned with designing a template for the President to use in selecting a replacement rather than spending so much time and energy in portraying the late Chief of Staff as an irreplaceable super human.

For me the most important thing we all should be doing is to help the President identify a suitable replacement that will serve the best interest of the President as the leader of the Country and the citizens who have a service contract with the President.

According to the President one of the qualities that stood Mallam Abba Kyari apart was his close relationship with Mr. President for over four decades. This means that whoever will replace the late Chief of Staff must have been close to the President for a long time, long enough to understand the President’s person and temperament as well as to appreciate him both as a leader with all the burdens of office and as a human person with personal needs. Such a replacement must understand National Politics very well while still remaining completely apolitical without pandering to the political whims of the different political tendencies in the polity. This way the different roles of the office of the President cannot be compromised on the altar of political expediency or to satisfy a particular individual or group political interests.

In addition, the replacement must appreciate working 24/7 all year round without let or rest within the President’s demands. This must have been cultivated over the years dating to periods long before Muhammadu Buhari became the President. This is why such an appointee should be the choice of the President this time around not one supposedly imposed on the President as was speculated with the late Chief of Staff. And it is easy for the President to find such a person within his inner circular. Most importantly such a person’s appointment should erase all the speculations about the office serving as the extension of a supposed cabal manipulating the governance process. This is necessary for confidence building.

My understanding of the functions of the Chief of Staff to the President Federal Republic is one that performs a gate keeping function for the President. This is not in the sense one who blocks people and issues from getting to the President but one that sieves through the many schedules of the President and the many issues requiring his attention. For the President this is a very crucial role. Only someone strategic and close enough who understands Mr. President, understands his temperament and thinking can be an effective gate keeper, determining what goes in and out of the President’s presence and office. Every individual or document going into the President’s office should be appropriately evaluated for contents and in keeping with the mood of the President. This must be done in an honest and timely manner without conflict of interest especially one induced by external forces.

It must also be noted that the Chief of Staff is the coordinator of all the personal staff of Mr. President as well as all the Staff of the Presidential Villa. As the name implies, he is the Chief of all the staff directly serving Mr. President. Everyone serving the President or working within the Presidential Villa looks up to him for general direction and coordination.

Supporting the Political Process including configuring effective relationship between the President and the Political class and Political office holders is also another major function of the Chief of Staff. The President as the leader of the Country must relate every day with his political Party, other strata of the political class including those in opposition parties, and political office holders. The Chief of Staff liaises with all of this levels of political activity in a manner that is neither partisan nor myopic. He must understand the needs of the Political class, help to evaluate certain concepts and contents in order to guide the President on the correct political decisions to make that are appropriate to existing situations.

One of the key functions of the Chief of Staff is effective Liaison with other levels of the President’s functions. The President is the Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces of the Federal Republic of Nigeria as well as the Officer Commanding all other Security outfits in the Country. It is the Duty of the Chief of Staff to liaise with all of them and keep Mr. President abreast of happenings in the Security sector and also avail him information on public perceptions and demands. This, the Chief of Staff must do without undermining the functions of all offices responsible for coordinating security strategies and activities. It is a function that must be used with caution and only someone who is apolitical and level headed can perform this function effectively.

The President is the Head of his Cabinet and must be able to guide, promote and protect the effective functioning of the Cabinet as a Constitutional requirement of the Governance process. The Chief of Staff must provide support to the Cabinet Secretariat, ensuring that the President understand all memos and issues to be discussed to enable him guide the process effectively. In doing so the Chief of Staff must have sufficient Institutional Memories of the functioning of the Cabinet from inception of the Buhari Presidency. Such a person should have been with the President from the beginning of his Presidency.
The new Chief of Staff should possess a lot of Institutional memory with respect to Diplomatic relationships established overtime and what needs to be done at what level. Therefore, the office requires a person who had been close enough to have been with the President throughout his tenure. He or she must be a close ally and confidant of the President.

The new Chief of Staff must be able to appreciate the President as a person, his temperament and family responsibilities. Hem must be absolutely loyal to the President and such loyalty must have been proven over time, must have the capacity to take as many verbal and written bullets as possible without buckling or even over reacting. A person who has the technical ability to analyze documents and provide advisories for Mr. President, must assemble a crack team and work as a team player with the temperament to moderate the various tendencies that will compete for the President’s attention
In trying to be all of the above and much more, the Chief of Staff must avoid engulfing the office or the person occupying the office in unnecessary controversies.
The whole Nation awaits what a replacement will do in mitigating some of these controversies. It is imperative that the President appoints a relatively less visible person to enable him draw more attention to the functions of the office rather than the personality of the occupant of the office. A person without much political visibility or adverse political baggage will surely bring in credibility and respect to the Office.

It is therefore, safe to summarize that the Office of the Chief of Staff to the President of the Federal Republic is an important coordinating Center for the effective governance of the Country under the leadership of the President, Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces of the Federation. One of the requirements of the Office is to simplify complex operations for Mr. President to enable him understand issues and operational modalities in a manner that aids effective decision making.

Ahmad Sajoh is a Public Affairs commentator and former Commissioner for Information and Strategy, he writes from Abuja. (08058421126 text messages only please)

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Opinion

APC: The hurdles before Gov. Mai Mala Buni

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APC : The hurdles before Gov. Mai Mala Buni 

By Haruna Yusuf Abuja


His excellency, Mai Mala Buni the executive Governor of Yobe state, came to Apc limelight at the epic of ravaging crisis that made president Muhammadu Buhari move against oshiomhole to save the party from the verge of disintegration. When NEC immediately dissolved NWC and sworn in Gov. Buni as the caretaker/convention committee chairman to reconcile all the aggrieved members and bring back sanity to the party. 
Gov. Buni’s journey through reconciling aggrieved members, revamping and bringing sanity back to APC is commendable. Though there are groups or individuals breeding hostile propaganda and trying to discredit the led committee of Buni.  One thing is certain, Mai Mala Buni is known by majority as the architect of the process of change that “houses the essence of hope” to all and sundry. And he was also among the APC generals in the common sense revolution Army that brought APC to power in 2015 general elections and remained thorn in the flesh of the powerful opposition.                     Why he was chosen to chair as the caretaker/convention and reconciliation committee in the epic crisis was his astuteness and all-inclusive service delivery mandate in achieving results silently (obviously) he delivers without fuss, solve problems and deliver solutions too,  he is innovative and above all, inspire people.
Buni is known as Mr Fixer and they’re not common, every nation or society boasts only a handful of them, they have become even more harder to find this days, when the common measure for “strong” is how loud and for weak is how quite, his achievements have been loud from days memorial as a grassroot and dogged politicians with the interest of people first above every other interest. 
His excellency, Mai Mala Buni the executive Governor of Yobe state and Chairman APC is bold, Courageous and always ahead of his political rivals and ever willing to show the world what he has achieved in the task to chat the critical path to total political emancipation of the people. There is, therefore,  “another great  opportunity to salute his rare courage of conviction and sense of purpose” since his assumption of office as the Apc chairman caretaker/convention and reconciliation committee on 26 June 2020 is a timely service to APC history.
There are straight opinions about the performance of the APC chairman caretaker/convention and reconciliation committee in the past 4 months of appointment, though majority over scored him, while some applaud his astuteness and all-inclusive style of leadership in carrying everyone along irrespective of region or status. 
This past week meetings with 36 states party chairmen and FCT is a further testimony to the fact that Buni’s chaired reconciliation committee take cognizance of his members and flat playing ground for everyone, in the decision making and taking the party to the level of the progressives. A party that is run with the understanding and inputs of it members. A practical expression of the beauty of leadership and transparency, which he sworn to defend revive bring back lost sanity and uphold at all times.

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Sheikh, Dr. Ahmad Abulfathai El-Miskin’s Biography and Journey through Qur’anic/Western Education, Amidst Philanthropic legacy

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Sheikh Dr. Ahmad Abulfathai El-Miskin’s Biography and Journey through Qur’anic/Western Education, Amidst philanthropic legacy 
By Haruna Yusuf 

Sheikh Dr. Ahmad Abulfathai El-Miskin is the Son of the late prominent scholar/cleric Sheikh Abubakar El-Miskin. Abulfathai was Born in the year 1970 in Maiduguri, the Borno state capital. At the age of 3 he began the Journey of his Qur’anic Education, under the supervision of Mallam Goni Bukar kuru, between 1973/1980 when he was able to recite 2 verses (hizu) of the Holy Quran. He was later transfered to Mallam Dan Kelluri’s Sangaya (Boarding school) and between 1980/1988 he was able to complete his Qur’anic education and memorised it. 
After completing his Qur’anic education, he was sent back to his Namesake the popular Sheikh Abulfathai to get the knowledge of Tafsir (Qur’an  Translation) in Hausa the common and most spoken Nigeria language among others. Books written by great Islamic scholars for more enlightenment, from the period from 1990/1997. He was able to gain the knowledge of translating the same Tafsir(Qur’an translation) From Hausa to Kanuri the Kanem Borno language of all times. The Books that helps him understand translations properly was gotten from his late Father Sheikh Abubakar El-Miskin and Sheikh Sheriff Tijjani from 1998/1999.
Sheikh Dr. Ahmad Abulfathai El-Miskin began his western education and exploration in the year 2000 when he enrolled into high Islamic college and completed in 2002  and got his secondary certificate and forged ahead to obtain his National Diploma certificate in Islamic studies in 2002/2005 and continued with his Degree programmes in Islamic studies in University of Maiduguri from 2006/2010. He went ahead to obtain his Master Degree in the same university of Maiduguri from 2012/2014. The sheikh never rest his hoax in obtaining his Doctorate Degree (PhD) Dr. From university of Cotonou in 2015/2016 maintaining the same Islamic studies throughout his educational Journey and that’s why he is one of the best.
Sheikh Dr. Ahmad Abulfathai El-Miskin is a renowned scholar, preacher and a philanthropist an astute manager of people irrespective of status or political affiliation, easy to access and broadminded, listening ears and full with wisdom. He always extend his benevolent hands towards the needy and vulnerable across not minding and contributing Immensely to the environment and state at large. 
He is the chairman of Tijjaniya youth enlightenment initiative of Borno state chapter, and he is also one among the 10(Ten) Members of the board of trustee of Tijjaniya in Nigeria. 
What makes Borno aka Kanem Borno empire special?  Kanem Borno is powerful, advanced and extremely wealthy, it has strong military and some brilliant officials and youths and massive territorial and commercial empire. Moreover, people in the empire have a keen sense of history, as shown by their decision to record the reigns of their kings. The introduction of writing reinforced thus cultural sophistication, Kanem Borno must rank among the great African empires of the second millennium.
Why Borno have the best Islamic scholars and the origin and development of Kanem Borno
The empires roots lies in the state of kanem, which  was created in the eight century between lake chad and the Bar el-Ghazal in the region of kanem in the modern – day chad. This state then conquered land in the north, enabling the creation of a Trans-Saharan empire. It was a major regional power, with embassies in Morocco and Othman empire in Tripoli, in the fourteenth century, the centre of the empire moved away from kanem to Borno when kanem was captured by the empire’s enemies, although kanem was retaken in the sixteenth century, the imperial capital remained in Borno. This is why it is called Kanem-Borno.
Religion; Islam and Traditional Beliefs 
Since the eleventh century, the ruler of kanem Borno had being Muslim, the empire became famous for its Mosques (Masjids) and the pilgrimages to Mecca made by its leaders, since the fifteenth century, the emperor called himself (Caliph) meaning the ruler of all Muslims, but despite this, traditional religion persisted for a longtime. For example, a sacred Pre-islamic object called the “Mune” was honored until the thirteenth century, we should think religion in the empire as a mix of Islamic and traditional elements.
Writing and Recording History.
The rulers of kanem Borno were very good at recording their history, since the ninth century, the names and ancestry of the kings of Kanem were recorded orally. The introduction of Islam and Arabic writing meant that things went a step further, with the beginning of a written record. A chronicle of kings, the (Diwan) or (Girgam) was written from the sixteenth or perhaps the thirteenth century until the nineteenth. This is a very important source for historians, both because it covers such a large period of time and because other written records are rare. Therefore, the Diwan/Girgam shows how advanced the kanem Borno Empire was by the standard of its time. 

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Nigeria, 60 years after independence, still toddling

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Nigeria, 60 years after independence, still toddling

By Haruna Yusuf 

Today marks 60 years of independence from British colonial rule. Nigeria gained her independence on 1st October 1960. Nigeria is among the 17 African countries who seek liberation and got their independence, as Ghana got hers in1957, 3 years before Nigeria. 


Nigeria is among the largest, if not the largest country in Africa with the population of about 180million people with different cultural backgrounds, heritages and believes. Nigeria with it’s diversify, abundant natural and human resources, yet rated the third country with the most poorest individuals as citizens.  

Nigeria’s recent history has been a mixed picture of partial progress and woeful setbacks, marked by democratic stability, economic woes, corruption and pocket of progress amid development, education and damning health challenges among others.

Nigeria as a country and Nigerians as citizens narrowly escaped from colonial dominations and slavery only to enter into a new and premeditated covert era of resources exploitation and subjection. 


Nigeria with all modesty witnessed a peaceful transfer of power in its recent elections, in which President Muhammdu Buhari the incumbent defeated Good luck Ebele Jonathan in a tight presidential race in 2015. 
Good luck Jonathan faced tribulations from the present ruling all progressive congress (APC) which was the powerful opposition, accusation of financial mismanagement, abuse of political power, lack of will to settle the issues of insecurity, health, power and unemployment among other issues that was holding Nigeria to ransom, but now, reverse is the case. 


Nigeria was one of Africa’s giant and most dynamic economics for many years after independence during the military era of Yakubu Gowon, Nigeria was the largest coco export in Africa. But six decades on, Nigeria is mired in problems, still struggling to build an economic model that encourages enduring growth, addresses poverty and provides a future for its youth.
Youth “explosion” the most dangerous and consuming factor facing [email protected] the moment. ” The most striking change for me, is the increasing reality of disaffected youth- a younger population that is ready to explode at any slightest opportunity. They’re hungry for political emancipation of freedoms, they’re hungry for economic opportunities and they’re hungry for social fulfilment.


Joblessness is a major  peril, unemployed youths are the easiest prey for armed groups, especially the decade nightmare engulfing the peace and stability of Nigeria especially in the northeast (Boko Haram) Northwest/ central the kidnappers and armed bandits while the south/east the rising cultism, ritualist and rape among others. The Jihadi movements in the sahel became a stumbling block for development and dividend of democracy. This may always be tempted to risk clandestine emigration, often at the cost of their dare lives. 


Poverty, injustice and inequality is the greatest factor crippling the peace and stability of Nigeria. A country bound by a repugnance and remorseful constitution that seems applicable to only the vulnerable and irrelevant in the society. A country so blinded by hate and cumulating sentimentalists, a country where “everyone else” is a hypocrite in his/her own way. A country with so many educated illiterates and maybe a country with many delusional and deranged ideologist.


If and only, we can trace and see in the realm of Nigeria, not through but above our noses how blessed this country is, both in human and natural resources, then and there,we’ll have embraced nature and make a better part out of our miserable life.


The bleak future and clouded uncertainties we found ourselves in, is a manmade and calculated proportion that could’ve been averted if we ever had wished to be contained, but we are blinded by hatred for one another and tied to sentiment and inflicted by our delusional ideologies of divide and rule instead of oneness and coexistence.


It is a pity to say, but it’s quite unfortunate in a normal view that politics is unrelated to our every day life, the country of Nigeria has three embodied arms of Government that the average person knows nothing about and should’ve a problem with, especially when it comes to the political publicity and awareness. The undiluted truth about Nigeria political system isn’t always about the people that it suppose to be as constituted in democracy nor the Government that supposed to be for the people, by and with the people. But ultimate “power” to extort and subject the same people tribulation. 


Corruption is a monster that has brought about catastrophic setbacks and maiming of millions of vulnerable Nigerians from independence to military dictatorship to this acclaimed present day democrazy. 


Nigeria has not recovered from the diabolic thievery of Abatcha and his acolytes, thousands have died perhaps more than in a holocaust, thousands are still dying due to our potholes on the roads, insecurity, lack of portable drinking water, medical healthcare facilities among others.


Corruption in Nigeria is more of malicious than civil war, communal clashes and Boko haram combined. Our politicians always have their ways through the maze by bribing and buying the conscience of the electorates. 


Democracy and Nigeria are like Siamese twins, through conjoined very maneuvering, they are uncomfortable and under intense pressure that could result in all forms of hurt, even death, although, democracy may not be strange to an overwhelming percentage of Nigerians, what may be strange to them is the brand of democracy that invests, first and foremost in human and material resources for purposes of political stability, economic viability, scientific advancement, technical breakthrough, educational development and life-enhancing social services, given the general optimism that Nigeria was going to be the  bastion of democracy in Africa.
A lot has to be done and some has to be let go, before we can come out of the spirit of crippling and stagnating bondages.   

A piece by Haruna Yusuf the publisher of Daily Hint Newspapers 

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