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Muhammadu Buhari: End Of The Great Flop By Mobolaji Sanusi

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As l write this, my mind wanders over that 2014 early morning phone call from our newly installed President Tinubu. When l picked the international call, it was Mr. Sunday Dare, outgone Minister for Youths and Sports that echoed, ‘Good morning Mr. Sanusi and please hold on’; and from the other end bellowed the incisive voice of Asíwájú who must have been following my Friday column in The Nation newspapers, highlighting at that period in time, reasons why Buhari, who was then being touted to contest for the presidency, should not be considered.

 

Asiwaju discussed the Buhari issue with me on phone and l was respectfully emphatic in telling him about my doubts regarding whether the man can be trusted, with reasons. In a persuasive voice, Asíwájú asked a rhetorical question: ‘Don’t you think we should give him a chance’? Obviously, he wasn’t expecting an immediate response from me.

 

But having been tired of the badly managed state of affairs under Jonathan/PDP, like millions of other Nigerians, l gave the esteemed Asíwájú’s persuasion a deserved consideration. Again, this becomes easy having erroneously believed that anybody but Jonathan/PDP would rescue Nigerians from the impending collapse of Nigeria’s ship of state.

From thence, l started giving the Buhari presidential aspiration a serious thought, because of Asíwájú. That was in 2014 and by 2015, he got elected as President. And the rest, as they say, is history.

One thing is constant. And that is the widely known Asíwájú’s invaluable role in the emergence of Buhari as the President of the country. One significant but ignoble blight of his presidency was his early traits of ingratitude, indifference to good policy actions, and sometimes, self-centered policy actions; his impervious disposition to words of wisdom; his unbridled nepotism and reckless contempt for the security and wellbeing of Nigerians that yearned, futilely for official intervention from the cruelty of mostly Fulani bandits/kidnappers.

From Buhari’s inaugural day, he sent a clear signal of his ungracious intentions to sidetrack Asíwájú by his infamous phrase: “l belong to everybody and l belong to nobody.”

From that day, it became clear to me and other discerning Nigerians that Asíwájú’s support for Buhari marked the dawn of an error. Error of choice and a serious political miscalculation. But for God almighty, Asíwájú would have become political history by now. Buhari detests seeing Asíwájú being called APC national leader. This disdain, he manifested at one of the iftars during one of his Ramadan months in Aso-Villa where he clearly proclaimed himself to be the only national leader of the party; thereby seemingly displaying intolerance to Tinubu being referred to as a national leader of the progressive party.

Buhari formed his cabinet, poaching Asíwájú’s foot soldiers without really seeking his inputs. Most of these men distanced themselves from Asíwájú’s interests and more importantly presidential ambition. But most of them, especially those that served in Buhari’s government are back in President Tinubu’s fold pretending to be his locker-room loyalists. I hope President Tinubu will not misplace their hypocrisy for loyalty.

While Buhari’s ‘gbedu drum’ was aloud, his cabal and administration’s beneficiaries sustained their evil political plots against Asíwájú, as their principal looked the other way.

But Asiwaju, a cat with nine lives, survived the conspiracies by first winning the party’s presidential primary, and against all odds; won the presidential election and now got sworn-in as President and Commander-in-chief on May 29. If he had lost the primary, what would have been his fate? The reality should not be lost on the newly installed president.

Nobody should blame Nigerians for voting Buhari to power. Neither should anyone blame Tinubu for masterminding his emergence at his party’s 2014 presidential primary in Lagos and later during the presidential poll by deploying all his vast contacts to achieve this end.

For all of us, including Tinubu that voted for Buhari in 2015 and 2019, our electoral mistakes were an error of judgment. And it is important for us to note that an error is not any fault of our knowledge, but a mistake of our judgment giving impetus to that which is not true. It is also important to note that the error on voting for Buhari was done in good faith which is to establish that sincerity, even in error is strength. By leaving Nigerians worse than he met us, he crippled himself with ingratitude.

Today in the country, once presided over by Buhari, the only thriving enterprise is government patronage and banditry. The economy, he left in shambles and bedevilled by debts purportedly used to prosecute projects that are either misplaced like the Maradi railway project or left comatose by insecurity or badly executed or scandalously yet to be concluded after eight years.

Under Buhari, crude oil theft is on the increase without any sufficient official efforts to stem the tide; oil subsidy rackets were on the increase under Buhari, the value of Naira keeps tumbling to an all time high; power is epileptic, borrowings on an all time high, automobile prices are beyond the reach of average Nigerians as a result of his misplaced automotive policies cum extremely high customs duties.

Infrastructure including railway stations built with foreign loans are unusable or used with trepidation because of unbridled kidnapping for ransom and killings.

Also, fuel/diesel/kerosene/gas prices have reached an all-time high under Buhari as President, even with his disputable subsidy policy. Poverty has legalised corruption in our institutions of state because people plead it as reason for engaging in sharp practices.

Tinubu’s presidency should obviously be ready to address the shortcomings of previous leaders, especially that of his predecessor, Buhari. It’s indubitably historical that he is the only leader that truly prepares to rule the country by working assiduously to achieve that goal with divine intervention.

Hopefully by the end of Tinubu’s administration, we all should be able to applaud and say, with confidence, that Buhari was indeed a better forgotten error. By almighty’s grace, so shall it be.

By Mobolaji Sanusi

•Sanusi, a corporate legal consultant and immediate past MD/CEO of LASAA, lives in Lagos.

Opinion

The Paul Erinne Foundation: Stamping out poverty, hunger in Nigeria

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Food security has in recent times become most-valued and desired across all status, communities and institutions due to the effects of corruption which has over the years wrecked serious havoc, being a cankerworm against adequate welfare of Nigeria citizens as well as socioeconomic growth and development of the nation.

 

The ugly scenarios has no doubt brew joblessness, hunger and high level poverty among others.

 

Religious orientation aside, many people believe that with a serious anti-corruption drive, Sub-Sahara Africa, and Nigeria in particular, can achieve speedy economic growth to the benefit of the citizens.

Thus, in a country where corruption thrives, if care was not taken, such society will be ruined by corruption.

As part of efforts towards improving thee quality of lives and support development of human capital for the needs of a modern society within a caring healthcare system, a Non-Governmental Organization, The Paul Erinne Foundation, was established with core values to providing care and empathy to the less privileged and larger public.

The Founder of the NGO, Engr. Paul Tunde Erinne, said that his aim is to make the society better than he met it, adding that his life ambition is to live and die for the poor through passionate work and believe that any blessing from God must be reflected in the ways it affects others.

Speaking on the achievements of the foundation since 30 years of its existence, the Engr. Erinne said that indigenes of Enugu, Kogi, Kwara, Anambra, Imo, Abia, Ebonyi, Lagos, Ondo and Taraba states have benefited from the largesse of the Foundation.

He said that the foundation has made contributions in reducing the burden of poverty in such areas as:
1. Basic Health: Building of Health Centres. Provision of water. Provision of food stuff.
2. Empowerment for Sustainability: Skills acquisition. Micro-credits. Support for Agriculture.
3. Education: Building of school blocks and equipping of classrooms. Award of Bursaries/Scholarships.
4. Shelter: Provision of shelter for widows.

In specific terms, among activities of the foundation includes; annual end-of-year food distribution to widows, for example at The Cathedral Of The Good Shepherd in Enugu, Enugu State. On the average, 4,000 widows benefit from the exercise on the 24th of every December.

A four-storey building was erected in 2008, and donated to Paul University Awka, Anambra state, while Assembly Hall building was also built for Union Secondary School, Okija, Anambra state and donated to the school in 2016.

A house was built for a widow at Nanka, Anambra State, in 2019 and Saint Paul’s charity home for a widow, at St Patrick’s Catholic Church, Ogbete, Enugu state, is nearing completion.

St. Peters Anglican Church, Okija, Anambra state and Saint Anthonys Catholic Church, Ogui-New Layout, Enugu, were completed in 2013. The structures were supported with provision of high quality aluminium windows.

Umuapani Village Hall, Ubahu Okija, Anambra state was built and completed with a borehole, and donated by the founder in 2015.

Another project by the foundation was completion of the Reverend Father’s house from the first floor level, at Christ The King Parish, Ubahu Okija, Anambra state. The project was dedicated on Easter Monday, 2019.

Four-storey building built and donated by the founder to Saint Joseph’s Home for physically and mentally challenged children, and orphans is managed by the Holy Family Sisters Of The Needy. The building was donated in 2007. The upkeep of the home is supported by the Paul Erinne Foundation.

The foundation, which started as a deep concern and passion by the founder to make the society better than he met it, has improved life and service to humanity.

“The Paul Erinne Foundation is, therefore, conceived in line with best global practices not just to lift Nigerians out of poverty but to also improve the quality of life. This commitment has been the driving force in the interventions the Foundation has made in health-care support, in human empowerment, and in human capital development across many cities in Nigeria. The Foundation is guided by the philosophy that developing men and women should come first, before developing cities”, the founder said.

“Paul Erinne Foundation started informally in 1998, as a personal intervention by the Founder to bridge the gap in quality human capital and equip youths with skills for the future. Paul followed the example of his late father by paying school fees for over 50 students, a function which he has since transferred to the Foundation.

“Today, the number of beneficiaries has doubled both within and beyond our shores.
Until its formal registration in 2015, the Foundation was run by the Founder, who was following the footsteps of his educationists and philanthropists’ parents – Mr. D.C. Erinne and Mrs. D.E. Erinne, both now of blessed memory, of Okija in Ihiala Local Government Area of Anambra State.

To ensure continuity and that the foundation outlives the founder, he said that the foundation is being managed by congregations of Roman Catholic Reverend Sisters and religious Reverend Fathers, namely; the Society of Jesus (Jesuit Congregation), the Holy Ghost Fathers, the Reverend Sisters of the Hand-made of Holy Child Jesus (HHCJ), The Daughters of Divine Love (DDL), and Holy Family Sisters of The Needy (HFSN).

Operating from Enugu, the Roman Catholic Bishop of Enugu Diocese, plays a pivotal advisory role geared towards achieving the laid-out goals of the Foundation.

Until her demise, the Foundation was ably assisted in policy formulation by Paul’s aunt, a well experienced and eminent lady; Mrs. Phoebe Chiadi Ajayi-Obe, second female SAN in Nigeria and the first from the Eastern part of Nigeria.

The founder’s cousin, Professor Ifeoma Enemuo, a one-time Deputy Vice Chancellor of the University of Nigeria, Enugu Campus, and a lawyer by profession, is gradually filling the gap.

Apart from members of the clergy listed above, the board which also consists of highly placed individuals and founder’s junior brother, Dr. Sam Erinne, has been working harmoniously and strategically to upscale the various interventions of the Foundation, in assisting the poor and needy to realize their potentials and lead a much-fulfilled life.

As Nigerians and Nigeria’s government continue to struggle and find an equilibrium for peaceful co-existence in the society through adequate supply of food items and creation of jobs to the teeming youths, The Paul Erinne Foundation has already taken a lead in the campaign and advocacy both in principle and in practice for the general well-being of humanity.

**Arowona Abdulazeez, a public analyst and media consultant writes via sardauna2@gmail.com

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Who Healed The President? – Tayo Ogunbiyi

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In the estimation of self-styled doctors and soothsayers, President Bola Ahmed Tinubu ought to have died by now. They swore that he was very sick. No sooner had the then candidate Bola Tinubu won his party’s ticket to run for the presidency than they came up with tales of his terrible health condition.

 

What exactly was his health challenge?

 

Without giving any valid proof, the pseudo doctors quickly went to town with accounts of how his kidneys have gone so bad. They also gave stories of how he was moving with the aid of a machine kept inside of his left heart.

Some claimed he was actually suffering from amnesia and Parkinson disease. He would not survive the rigour of a tough political campaign.

Another tale had it that his sickness was so bad that he had started peeing on his body! So strong was this claim that it reverberated in a viral video by one of his most trusted political allies.

With all these tales of woes, candidate Bola Tinubu was a disaster waiting to happen! To really drive home the point that the man was a walking corpse, a group of jesters also joined in the fray. They composed a song titled, ‘Baba wey dey shake’(literally translated as the sick Papa).

In the said virile song, they taunted him with his alleged ill-health, contending that virtually all the organs of his body have packed up. They chorused: ‘Hand dey shake, leg dey shake, he still dey say emilokan’ (with shaking hands and legs, he still says it is my turn to be President).

Surprisingly, candidate Bola Tinubu was unperturbed by all the ill-health jibes. He surged on with the agility of an athlete poised to break World/Olympic records. In-spite of his purported failing health, he ran a most strenuous political campaign, combing the length and breadth of the country with his ‘Renewed Hope’ mantra.

He was reported to be holding a series of political meetings deep into the night. Even so, he would be the first to be on the road for yet another political engagement the following day. He even went to places considered quite dangerous. A particular case was a village in Kaduna State, Birnin Gwari, noted for its protracted terrorists’ escapades. Against every persuasion, then candidate Bola Tinubu insisted on visiting the village. He and his team got there in the dead of the night. The Emir was so impressed that he bequeathed him a traditional title.

*Yet, the quasi doctors were not convinced. He remained a sick man. The verdict? He was not fit for the throne. However, come election day, the electorate had a different view as he defeated his closest rivals to emerge the 16th President of the country.*

About two weeks after he was pronounced winner, he left the shores of the country for France. His handlers said he needed a moment of rest and reflection, considering the enormous task ahead.

But his self-appointed wannabe doctors would have none of that. He was going to France to seek urgent medical attention as some of the gadgets fixed to his body were already malfunctioning and needed to be reworked.

While in France, radiant pictures of the man and his family together with political associates surfaced online. Still, his self-appointed physicians insisted he was at the Intensive Care Unit, ICU, of a French hospital. They claimed the online pictures were merely carefully doctored by his handlers to fool Nigerians.

At the appointed time, they claimed they were going to reveal the name of the hospital where he was admitted and show the whole world how life-threatening his health condition was. It was so bad that he could no longer recognise anyone. So they alleged.

*A few days to the inauguration, Bola Tinubu arrived in the country, using his words: “after a refreshing and rewarding time in France”. He was seen coming down from the aircraft with the liveliness of a bubbling youth, waving enthusiastically at his supporters who had come in their numbers to welcome him back home.*

Yet, the quasi medics were not persuaded. Rather, they called attention to a supposed machine allegedly fixed on one of his pockets as an authentic proof that their ‘patient’s ailment was yet to be healed. Before you could say Jack Robinson, pictures of the purported machine had gone virile.

“Yes, we said so. He is a sick man. We don’t want another Yar’Adua”, the disciples of the phoney doctors chorused.

*Since his inauguration, rather than die as they had predicted, the President has continued to exhibit traits of a man whose faculties are intact. He has made decisions that have been considered sound and apt from far and near. Even his worst critics have agreed that the man has begun his presidency on a sound footing.*

*In his first official overseas trip to France (what is it with the President and France?) where he attended the maiden Summit on New Global Financing Pact in Paris, he looked quite energetic, holding several meetings with notable world monetary bodies and individuals.*

Perhaps, the highlight of his outing in France was the manner he galloped, like an Under-17 footballer, to hug French President Emmanuel Macron on the last day of the Paris Summit. He was so lively and full of energy that one would think he was the younger of the two.

*Curiously, of late, the quasi doctors and their disciples seem unconcerned about the President’s health. They seem to have been disappointed that their skewed diagnosis has failed. Probably, they are now convinced that they are wrong after all.*

*How can a sick President be almost everywhere bubbling with life. After he left Paris, the President flew to London where he reportedly paid his predecessor, Muhammadu Buhari, a private visit.*

*He left London for Lagos and was engaged in a flurry of activities that were certainly not appropriate for a sick man. In one day, he was in Ijebu-Ode and Abeokuta, both in Ogun State, on a private visit to the monarchs of the respective ancient Yoruba towns. Same day, in the evening, he was back in Lagos as a guest of the State government, which held a colourful reception in his honour.*

*The following day, he attended to a visiting African Head of State, while also making several private visits to notable individuals such as the Oba of Lagos, Hajia Abba Folawiyo, Haji Binta Tinubu and a host of others.*

Since the pseudo doctors and their adherents seem to have mellowed about his health concern, the question they need to urgently answer now is: Who healed the President?

– TAYO OGUNBIYII

Ogunbiyi is Deputy Director, Public Affairs, Ministry of Information and Strategy, Alausa, Ikeja.

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