Wednesday, 20 September 2017

SPORTS

Kenya's Supreme Court has blamed the country's electoral commission (IEBC) for its decision to annul the re-election of President Uhuru Kenyatta.

The judges said the 8 August poll was "neither transparent or verifiable".

Deputy Chief Justice Philomena Mwilu said the IEBC did not verify the presidential results before they were announced.

Mr Kenyatta got 54% of the vote against opposition leader Raila Odinga's 44%.

Mr Odinga went to court alleging that he had been cheated out of a win and that the IEBC did not follow the law in the conduct of the election.

The Supreme Court took the unprecedented step of annulling the election on 1 September but it has only now explained why it took the decision.

It was the first time in Africa that a court had agreed with an opposition demand to cancel a presidential election over rigging allegations.

'Could have been hacked'

Ms Mwilu also said that the commission had not complied with a court order to allow its electronic voting system to be scrutinised.

She said that the IEBC's refusal to comply with the order to grant access to its electronic voting system led the court to believe Mr Odinga's claims that the system "could have been hacked".

The electoral commission has disputed that its system was tampered with.

Opposition coalition Nasa has been pushing for the sacking of IEBC officials whom it blames for bungling the polls, saying that a new team should be in charge of the re-run scheduled for 17 October.

Doubts have however been cast on this date because OT-Morpho, the French company that provided the voting kits, has said that it needs to reconfigure the more than 40,000 kits and that the process would not be complete until at least the end of October.

The judges had ordered for the re-run to be held in 60 days.

Shareholders of Oando Plc from across the South-West states on Tuesday staged a protest in Ibadan, the Oyo State capital, and demanded that the company’s Managing Director, Wale Tinubu, should step down because of the firm’s poor financial position.

Making reference to the report of the last Annual General Meeting of the company, which was held in Uyo, Akwa Ibom State, where the External Auditor, Ernst & Young, stated that Oando reported a comprehensive loss in 2015 and 2016, the National President, Renaissance Shareholders Association, Olufemi Timothy; and the National Coordinator, Proactive Shareholders Association of Nigeria, Mr. Taiwo Oderinde, condemned the meeting, saying it was stage-managed to continue the mismanagement of the company’s finance by the current management.

Timothy stated, “Oando Plc is practically dead because it is no more a going concern. Its contemporaries are doing well and bringing glory to their shareholders. We are calling on President Muhammadu Buhari, the Financial Reporting Council of Nigeria, Nigerian Stock Exchange and the Senate Committee on Capital Market to intervene before it is too late. 

“We are dying because our investments in the company have grown wings. The share we bought for N90 has come down to N5 under Wale Tinubu’s watch. A proper probe should be carried out. Tinubu should step aside. The company has gone with its current reported N263bn negative working capital.

“We worked hard to invest in the company but what did we get in return? Absolutely nothing! The poor shareholders are suffering and many have died. We have a lot of retired people dying because their investments have gone. Under the current management, Oando suffers a lot and we cannot tolerate it again.”

Oderinde said that Transparency International rated Nigeria poorly in its global corruption index because of alleged corrupt practices within institutions like Oando.

“Enough is enough and Wale Tinubu must go. If you go to the Transparency International’s website, you will see their rating of Nigeria on the global corruption index and it was stated therein that not only individuals are corrupt in Nigeria, but institutions too. Little did we know that TI was referring to companies like Oando,” he said.

The protesters also visited the NSE office in Dugbe, where the Branch Manager, Mr. Kayode Ogun, urged them to write a formal letter to the bourse, stating their demands, while calling on them to exercise restraint while the NSE looked into their petition.

Operatives of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission have visited two mansions in Dubai allegedly belonging to a former Minister of Petroleum Resources, Diezani Alison-Madueke.

The properties, located at E146 Emirates Hill and J5 Emirates Hill, are said to be worth 74,000,000 dirham (N7.1bn).

Emirates Hill, which has been described as the Beverly Hills of the United Arab Emirates, is home to some of the richest men in the world including billionaire Chairman of the Stallion Group, Sunil Vaswani.

Others, who are Diezani’s neighbours, include the immediate past Prime Minister of Pakistan, Nawaz Sharif; a former President of Pakistan, Asif Ali Zardari; and Robert Mugabe junior, the son of the President of Zimbabwe and one of Africa’s longest serving leaders, President, Robert Mugabe.

A source within the EFCC told our correspondent that the anti-graft agency was already applying for the forfeiture of the properties through the Office of the Attorney General of the Federation.

If the commission is able to clear all legal hurdles and ensure the final forfeiture of the property, it would bring the total amount of cash and assets finally recovered from Diezani to $200m (N70bn).

A detective, who did not want his name in print, said the anti-graft agency would exploit the Mutual Legal Assistance Treaty the Federal Government had recently signed with the government of the UAE.

The agreements, signed by President Muhammadu Buhari, are Agreement on Mutual Legal Assistance in Criminal Matters, Agreement on Mutual Legal Assistance in Civil and Commercial Matters, Agreement on the Transfer of Sentenced Persons and an Extradition Treaty.

The source stated, “We have informed the UAE authorities that from our investigation, we believe Diezani bought the properties with the proceeds of crime. The whole process is still ongoing but with the MLAT, signed by President Buhari, it has made work a lot easier for us.”

The detective explained that before the Federal Government signed the treaty, the UAE law prevented foreign officials from having access to properties in the country without the express permission of its owner.

He added that with the new treaty, the UAE authorities were more cooperative and would readily give information of properties from their Land Registry System.

Meanwhile, the Chairman, Presidential Advisory Committee Against Corruption, Prof. Itse Sagay(SAN), who hailed Buhari for signing the treaty, told The PUNCH that some corrupt senators, who also owned properties in Dubai, would be made to forfeit them.

Sagay also disagreed with some legal experts who said the Dubai treaty would need to be ratified by the National Assembly before it could be activated.

He said, “The UAE MLAT is not a treaty as such but an agreement; so, it will be operated without their (senators) approval.

“So, let that start worrying them (senators). He (President) will implement it directly. So, those of them that have acquired properties in Dubai and other Middle-East countries should kiss their properties good bye.”

A professor of political science and former Minister of External Affairs, Bolaji Akinyemi, speaks with BAYO AKINLOYE on Nnamdi Kanu’s agitation, how Buhari can save Nigeria from collapse and why corruption persists

Do you think Nnamdi Kanu and the Indigenous People of Biafra are asking for too much that the Igbo should opt out of Nigeria?

There are different peculiarities under which there can be peaceful separation. An example is what happened in the old Czechoslovakia, when the Czech and the Slovak went their separate ways, because it was possible to draw clean lines of separation. But in most cases, separation had actually been through civil wars that carried heavy costs in terms of loss of lives and destruction of property, leaving a legacy of a lasting bitterness

A good example is India and Pakistan. Seventy years after, the lines of demarcation are still being hotly contested through militarily engagements.  In fact, India and Pakistan fought many wars in those 70 years. Achieving a peaceful, non-violent separation, by all means, is debatable along theoretical and practical lines.

For instance, what does Kanu mean by ‘Biafra’? There are states he included in Biafra and the people in those states have said they would have nothing to do with his proposed country. Already, there is a contention over where the lines of demarcation will be. I believe that we can still peacefully resolve the issue of the Nigerian question at this stage, provided we address the twin issue of fears of domination and marginalisation. We must address that. We must admit that there is something wrong with the Nigerian federal system as it is. We must look at the system that we operated, using the 1960 and 1963 constitutions with the necessary amendments. There has to be less arrogance and intolerance shown towards constituent elements of the Nigerian nation. You cannot use the temporary acquisition of power to impose a system on others, thinking everybody will be happy about it. Most of the problems in the world have come about through miscalculations – not deliberate (actions). Many wars fought in the world were as a result of miscalculations with various parties, underestimating how far-reaching their actions would be.

All I’m saying is that, I hope those who are in control of the Federal Government will not become complacent by ignoring the fact that other people are feeling hurt and are dissatisfied with the system that we have now. We shouldn’t because doing so will be a calamitous mistake. Who will win the confrontation, I don’t know. But what I know is that all parties will pay a heavy price – it will not be like the 1966/1967 (coup) all over again. It will not be like the 1967 to 1970 civil war all over again. Right now, there is a proliferation of weapons all over the country and the diffusion of grievances will create war fronts. The Nigerian military is stretched thin with all the challenges it’s currently coping with internally. I don’t think you want to put more pressure on it. We must seek a non-violent way. We must engage in dialogue. There must be, on the part of the Federal Government, the readiness to adopt a more sophisticated approach in promoting the dialogue and a preparedness to change the country.

In his address to the nation after his return from the United Kingdom, President Muhammadu Buhari said the restructuring of the country will be handled by the National Assembly. How will you react to that?

Which president are we talking about?  Is it the president who gave that speech or is it the president who embarked on consultative engagements with different stakeholders in the country the following week? Obviously, I would have preferred that we’re confronted with a president who engaged in consultations and also probably brought in more stakeholders. In a way, the presidency of any country is a critical agent for change. The Americans call it the bully pulpit syndrome. The buck stops with the president. The body language of the president can determine the outcome of an engagement. I hold the belief that President Buhari has a critical role to play in moving the nation forward in averting the oncoming tragedy and in heading the country away from collision to a cooperative destination in arriving at the kind of federalism that will be acceptable to all of us. He has a responsibility to do that.

Apart from being the president, he (Buhari) probably right now, is the only Nigerian that can ensure that we don’t end up in a ditch; in spite of what he says at times, he is the only Nigerian. Not that he stands the chance; he is the only person. Whether he will do it or not, is a different kettle of fish. Now, why do I say that? The present system that we have is skewed in favour of the North and the way forward will have to be the surrender of issues from the 1999 Constitution controlled by the Federal Government to the states.  Some issues on the exclusive list should be moved to the concurrent list and possibly, there should be a creation of the reserved list. So, it is the North that needs to make the concession. But if you’re going to be rational in your approach, the North has to be persuaded that it is not being asked to commit political or economic suicide and the only person right now that the North truly trusts and believes will not play politics with their interests is Muhammadu Buhari. He stands now in the kind of position that the (late) Sardauna stood in the sixties. An average person on the northern streets believes in Buhari in the way that they don’t believe in (former Vice President) Atiku (Abubakar) or my former boss, IBB, because those are the people who have spoken out forcefully calling for restructuring. The northern streets will conclude that these persons are playing with their interests.

But Buhari stands in that position of trust in the estimation of the northern streets that ‘if he should say that we need to give up these issues, he’s not selling us.’ What we need to do is to find people in the North that Buhari trusts – people who can discuss with him, that he believes are not setting a trap for him. The Yoruba leaders’ meeting in Ibadan and this interview will not get through to Buhari. But there are people in the North who can speak with him. There must be mutual trust between Buhari and those speaking with him.

Should Buhari reshuffle his cabinet?

For what reason or for what purpose should he reshuffle the cabinet? It appears to be the pastime of the public to want to see people disgraced and humbled. But again when you look at the people who were appointed in the first place, what was the basis for their appointment? I don’t embrace cabinet reshuffle just for reshuffling’s sake.

Buhari and the All Progressives Congress were voted into power with their promise to deal decisively with corruption in the country. Is that promise being fulfilled?

Do you believe everything a political party says? When you look at the people who fund parties – not just the present ruling party, I am talking about any of the political parties in Nigeria – where does the money come from? Look at the financiers, are they clean? Are their hands clean? Do you expect any political party to commit suicide? Until the foundation of your politics is clean, you cannot expect a clean government and you cannot expect it to get into power and go after the financiers. You can’t do that.

We want the country to be united first. We want the country to solve its problem of stability before tackling corruption. Part of the problem of dealing with corruption is that a government has to be in power first and be stable. But when you now depend on corrupt people to win your election and to remain in power, how can you deal with corruption? Is the government stable? Is Nigeria stable?

What do you think about the recent gathering of some Yoruba leaders in Ibadan to take a formal position on the restructuring of Nigeria?

What’s called the Yoruba Agenda is something that is about 20 years old. Various groups and ethnic nationalities in Nigeria have come to the conclusion, especially after the debacle of the June 12 (presidential election in 1993) that we have a system that is not working. The Yoruba agenda has been constant. The constituents of the agenda were re-confirmed at the conference held in Ibadan recently; which is regionalism and states within it and other constituent elements in terms of economic devolution. So, I am not surprised by the outcome of the meeting in Ibadan. There was the need for such a meeting because it reconfirms what the position of the Yoruba has always been. Two, it gives a ready-made answer to anyone who may want to ask: ‘What do you people want? What’s your own contribution to the debate on restructuring?’

Are you bothered that the South-West governors were not at the gathering?

What I often find funny but at the same time disruptive, is the proverb that says,  ‘we cannot all sleep and maintain the same position.’ As Wole Soyinka once said, you can come up with other proverbs that you can all sleep and maintain the same position. If you’re fighting a war, there is the need to have a unity of purpose; there must be a unified focus. Therefore, to that extent, it is worrisome that the (South-West) governors were not there. But this is an issue which has confronted the Yoruba nation from time immemorial. Several attempts have been made to address that issue unsuccessfully.

The most disastrous occurrence in the Yoruba nation was the Kiriji war which lasted for years between Ekiti Parapo and the Ibadan Alliance, (and) practically turned the Yoruba nation upside-down. If you look at the Yoruba history, either to say from then on or maybe even before then, it has always been a case of a divided nation. Even when the Action Group, headed by Baba (Chief Obafemi) Awolowo, was in power, the National Council of Nigeria and the Cameroons gave the Action Group a run for its money electorally. We never had a situation where the Action Group won 80 or 90 per cent of the votes – it was always winning just a little over 50 per cent with the NCNC very close behind it. At times, while the AG won the regional election, in the West, the NCNC actually won the federal election. The consolation then was that such reality did not stop the Action Group under the late Chief Awolowo from recording tremendous successes in the running of the Western Region such that, to date, those achievements are still regarded as the benchmark in the development of Nigeria – because in a way, that was what led to what I would call cooperative but competitive federalism. If one region was doing something, the other region would want to do it as well. But you needed somebody with a vision to start it. So, that is the consolation whether the governors were there or not, – it will slow it down – there is nothing that will stop the march of the Yoruba nation towards having the kind of political system which its people desire.

But – I hope I will not be misunderstood because I don’t wish to be misunderstood – the Yoruba nation will not get what it wants because in a federation, whether that federation is in terms of a village community, a state community, a national community or even a global community, one constituent element never gets everything that it wants. You’ve got to negotiate with the others and hopefully, you arrive at a consensus that all of you can live with. In the 1960 Constitution, the Northern People’s Congress led by the late Sardauna of Sokoto, Sir Ahmadu Bello, didn’t get everything it wanted for the North. (Dr. Nnamdi) Azikiwe, leading the NCNC, didn’t get everything he wanted for the East. And, Chief Awolowo, leading the AG, didn’t get everything he wanted for the West. But there was sufficient consensus on critical issues that allowed them to say, ‘This is a constitution we can sell to our people and this is a constitution we can live with.’

Do you agree with the Yoruba leaders that the country should return to the 1960 and 1963 constitutions?

I do. But you need to spell out what you mean by that. We need to address our language of engagement, which is, we talk in generality. Demands are made (by all sides) in generality. So, the answers are given in generality because each side is reading its fears into the debate. When you say ‘we want to restructure’, those against restructuring are wondering, ‘what do they mean exactly?’. They want to take power away from us. They want to deny us what we’re benefitting from the system. It’s all a plot to enable them to dominate us – that’s what they mean by restructuring.’ But, if you say, by restructuring, ‘we mean political devolution and consequently, economic devolution.’ After all, you cannot transfer executive responsibilities to the states over some issues and not give them the means to carry that out.

I say this because when they (Yoruba leaders) said we need to go back to the 1960 and 1963 constitutions, what they meant was, if you look at the reserved list and the concurrent list; you look at the subjects that are on the lists that had been transferred to the federal authority, you’ve turned Nigeria from being a federal system to a unitary system. So, we want to go back; let us look at those subjects again and return what should be the ‘returnable’ to the states. Why do I say the ‘returnable’? The capacity to execute what a region had in the sixties is not the same thing as the capacity to execute by a state – the state is smaller. It’s not a question of the economic capability. So, it would have to be in an amended version. We’re talking about what the West – the Yoruba nation – wants. But keep it in mind that what you want may not be perceived as being beneficial to others who are even your allies.

Let me give you an illustration: one of the things people have found baffling is the decision reached at the 2014 National Conference. It is the resolution, calling for the creation of 54 states. Many couldn’t understand it as they argued that the current 36 states are struggling due to inadequate funds. People seem to have forgotten that in a constitutional conference – which the national conference really was – you bring to the table your own demands, a regional system and you go to others to ask them for their support. I know definitely that the Middle Belt and the South-South don’t believe in the regional system. But since those who want regional system are their allies, they can say, ‘all right, but what we want, to protect our interests as states, is the creation of more states. So, if you agree to our state creation, we’ll agree to your regional system.’ Since you cannot force your demand on them and they cannot force their demand on you, you negotiate – you bargain – and that was how that proposal (of 54 states) came about.

The Yoruba nation must understand the need to negotiate with others who have their own agenda as it pushes forward its regional government agenda. We’ve got to show cleverness, wisdom, and acumen in the negotiation that will follow to make sure that we don’t lose the core of our own demands and interests. The important thing is for us to deal with the question of domination; to ensure a system where there is no automatic domination of any group by another group. The other issue is what the European Union called the issue of subsidiarity, which is that what is best handled at the local level. They should be reserved for the local government level. That means that there are things which the local governments should be allowed to handle; same thing at the state and federal levels.

Part of the pronouncement made by the Yoruba leaders is that Nigeria will not know peace unless it is run as a federal state. Do you agree with that?

I do. We are too large and our interests are diverse, not necessarily antagonistic that it makes a lot of sense for us to give this breathing space to each constituent units of the nation and that can only be done under the system of federalism. Fortunately, federalism is such an elastic concept that we don’t need to lose sleep over the kind of federalism that is achievable for Nigeria. But one of the things that we will need to jettison in our mind is the concept of true federalism. There’s nothing called ‘true federalism’. Each federal state adopts a system that addresses the core issues which that nation needs to address. The Canadian concept of federalism is different from either the German or the American federal system. It doesn’t really matter what name it is called. What’s in a name? A rose by any other name is still a rose. Like the Americans will say, ‘It looks like a federal state. It smells like a federal state. It works like a federal state. Damn it, it is a federal state!’ What we should be seeking is a Nigerian federalism that’s unique to Nigeria (and) that allows us to live together without the fear of dominance and marginalisation. It’s those who are dominated who talk about marginalisation; it’s those that are doing the domineering that have the fear that unless they have powers in their hands, they’re going to lose out. They fear being marginalised.

The spate of crime and insecurity has continued to increase. What do you think is responsible for this?

These are hard times but the manifestations are global not just local. I doubt if there is any country in the world that says it feels safer now than it did 10 or 15 years ago because you’re dealing with phenomena that are global in nature. Trans-continental, non-governmental alliance and movements that are not under the control of a government and therefore, the kinds of constraints and restraints that normally govern inter-governmental behaviours are totally absent and Nigeria is not immune to that. Another reason is the lack of an elite consensus in our politics – it’s detrimental to national development.

Perhaps the only time we had elite consensus was between 1953 and 1963. The moment a state of emergency was declared in the South-West in 1962, it destroyed the post-independence elite consensus. It also destroyed the political values by which we maintained stability in the country. I am not saying that era was perfect; we had a system that was predictable. Predictable in the way it was run, predictable in its outcome, and predictable in the objectives by which the country was run – that was what I meant by a competitive federalism. It was destroyed in 1962 because it meant a seizure of power in the West by the Federal Government, by the North and the East. In an attempt to destroy the West, they triggered off forces that ended up destroying Nigeria itself and we have never known peace since then.

Do you think Nigeria is a failing state?

Yes, I do. I think we’re driving down the road to becoming a failed state. But I don’t think we are a failed state. There will always be contestations and some of them could be violent but they’re not sufficient to term a country a failed state, otherwise, nations like the United States of America and Spain may fall in that category. We’re in such an unstable position than we were in the 1960s.

What now is the way out of it?

It has to do with the creation of an elite consensus. Imagine if the elite can get their acts together and we run an honest political system – a political system of governance that delivers dividends. I’m not talking about dividends of democracy. I’m talking about dividends of governance where roads are properly constructed, the challenges in the educational system being effectively addressed, among others. The political gerrymandering that goes on instead of governance where bridges are built where there are no rivers or build river under the bridge.


• As Citizens Battle To Dethrone Eyadema Family’s Stronghold
• Abuja, France Should Step In

The Togolese seem to be protesting the hegemonic rule by the Gnassingbe Eyademas. Did you see this coming?
It did not come as a surprise, because succession crisis in Togo is as old as the country itself. Remember that the first President of Togo, late Sylvanus Epiphanio Olympio, was assassinated in a military coup that brought late Gnassingbe Eyadema to power, who was then a sergeant. Late Eyadema got to power after serving in Indo-china and during the war of independence in Algeria, as well as Vietnamese independence war against French colonial rule. So he came home after working under French military rule and later when Togo became independent, he continued to work with Togolese armed forces. But he carried out a coup with others that resulted in Olympio’s death. However, in that coup, just like what happened in France under Napoleon, the leaders could not settle for who should head the country’s leadership. So, he organised his own coup and became Togo’s head of state. Since then, the late Eyadema ruled Togo under a one party regime (PRT), even when there was a multiparty system in 1990 he continued to win elections.

He got into power during the cold war, when military take-over was the norm in Africa, though supported by the Western world. At the end of the cold war, multi-party democracy became the order of the day and France, the former colonial power and at the same time provider of military, economic and commercial activities for francophone countries under the Canal France International (CFI) policy, said all colonies must undergo multi-party democracy. Togo had a one party system before the multi-party policy, but after the policy was implemented, election was organised and the late Eyadema won. And he consistently won the elections thereafter, because he had so managed the electoral process that he could not see himself losing elections and this continued until he died suddenly.

Upon his demise, West African leaders said election must be held, after protests against the son taking over automatically. So, election was held with all the electoral processes in the hands of Eyadema’ family. Though there was internal fighting in the family, but Faure Eyadema won. He came into power, when many West African countries had keyed into the culture of two terms for elected officers. He has been there for two terms and he has not made any one pronouncement as to the political future of the country. A constitution review was done in 2016, which recommended two terms and multi-party system for the country, but that constitution is yet to be approved by Togolese Assembly. So, the people felt the only thing they have to do is to go on the streets, and that is where we are now in Togo. Of course, repression and trying to neutralise the opposition is the order of the day.

The French government wanted multi-party system across its colonies in Africa. Why did Togo miss that mark and the attendant reforms that came with this policy?
Togo missed it because the late Eyadema was considered a very faithful partner of France in Africa. So, he had been able to entrench and endear himself to leaders of all political parties in France, to the point that he was able to win all elections. So, you have multi-party democracy, but he constantly won the elections, though they were not transparent, free and fair. There is this contradiction in France foreign policy to its colonies. On one hand, French leadership supports multi-party system and rule of law, but on the ground in the colonies, those principles are not implemented. And because the late Eyadema had friends across different political formations in France, he was able to get away with it, which is why they are in this crisis now.
Is the Economic Community Of West African States (ECOWAS) not a contributor to the crisis, as one would have expected that they would step in to ensure compliance with the 2016 constitution review and getting the Assembly’s backing?

Of all ECOWAS countries, Nigeria is the most influential. It has the biggest economy; biggest military force and you see what Nigeria did in The Gambia. But Nigeria has never done that for Togo. Ghana wanted to, but it does not have the political and military clout to deal with Togolese succession crisis. Nigeria has always been silent. The little Nigeria did was to say that election must hold, when Obasanjo was in office. It did not go far to say that a constitution must be in place for a two-term maximum. If that had been done, the issue would not have happened.

In the geo-political configuration of ECOWAS, members will only go the way Nigeria goes and this has been demonstrated. Nigeria is the highest financial contributor and ECOWAS headquarters is in Nigeria. It is only when Nigeria moves that others follow and that is what happened with The Gambia. Senegal could not do anything.

Are you saying some forces within Nigeria are contributing to the crisis in Togo?
Yes, I will say so. This is because unlike in The Gambia’s case, when we said no, we didn’t want this, no action is being taken on Togo. We intervened in Liberia and Sierra Leone, when their internal crises was about to spill over, but when it comes to Togo, there are some internal forces in Nigeria that are friendly and in support of Eyadema’s regime.

And what do you think is the interest?
There is a very powerful Togolese political lobby in the Nigerian political landscape. And do not forget that the late Eyadema was one of the founders of ECOWAS. He had been friends with Gowon and successive governments after Gowon. Maybe, his son does not have that influence, but the father had.
What is the future of Togolese political landscape? There was a time the father had issues just like the son is having now, but the former got away with it.

Are we going to have a repeat?
When a crisis starts and it is not resolved fundamentally, it disappears temporarily, but reappears again. That is what is happening in Togo, and if care is not taken, that country will go into a civil war. It is time for ECOWAS to step in, to say look, let us do this: Faure Eyadema is at the end of his second term, so let us have a new constitution that says any president can stay in power for a period of five years and not renewable after a second term. If this is done now, they can now negotiate a settlement for Faure to contest again, but will not re-contest again after this last outing. This could be done as a middle of the road agreement and then the place will calm down. And it will be made clear that, if he contests and wins, he will not return again and this will break the Eyadema’s family stronghold on the country. If not, the crisis may become so bad that the country may implode. There is need to have a middle of the road agreement.

The sit-tight syndrome is the norm in Africa. Looking at Faure’s reformation posture, when he assumed power, don’t you think seeing previous leaders before retained power at all cost encouraged him to also want to stay put?
He deceived the international communities and Africa. He gave the impression that one of the things he wouldn’t do is behave like his father. But you only know people when they get to power, and not before. A man or woman becomes a liberator or an oppressor, when he gets to power, and that is when you know the nature of his regime. Also, in many African countries, incumbent presidents don’t have the intention of leaving. The only opposition to a life president is death.

What geo-political setting gave the Eyadema family the upper hand to have remained in government for over 50 years?
If you look at Africa’s post independence history, the late Eyadema was one of the few leaders that captured power and stayed in power. In the 50s and 60s, the notion of spending two terms in power and leaving was not there. You stayed in power as long as you wanted. And if you look at Nigeria, it is the internal dynamics and contradictions that forced some people out of power. Gowon did not want to leave, Shagari was removed by a coup, Babangida did not also want to leave, when election was conducted, he scuttled it. That culture of you must spend two terms was not yet ingrained into Africa’s political culture. I do not see why the likes of Paul Kagame and Museveni are still in power. It retards progress and promotes under-development, because the resources meant for education and vocational training is spent on promoting dictatorship.

The biggest problem Africa is facing since 1492, when it had contact with Europe, is that we have simply remained a continent that supplies raw materials and nothing else. The transformation of these raw materials in Africa has not been realised simply because, even after independence, African leaders have not invested heavily in education and vocational training, like it is done outside. If you invest three or four percent of the budget on education and vocational training, what are you going to achieve?

This is what is happening in Nigeria, with almost ten million out-of-school children, which is one of the highest in the world. This is aside the fact that half of our population cannot read and write. These are potentials for economic development. You can only reverse it, if you invest heavily in education and vocational training, just like in South Korea. We are not doing that; we are only perpetuating leaders, spending money to perpetuate rulers. That is the tragedy of Africa.

And Togo is an example; it spends about three percent on education and vocational training, but look at the money it spends on armed forces, which is about 50 percent of the budget. So, there cannot be development.

Do you see external forces’ conspiracy in this? What sense is in it, if you spend less on education and much on military and security, which is sourced externally?
Yes, a bit of foreign conspiracy, but mainly because African leaders have decided to under-develop Africa. We need to be saying that, because this is 50 years after independence. And they are under-developing Africa to promote their longevity in power.

Ironically, in spite of the huge budget on security, Africa states are not able to fight terrorism because they are under-equipped and the armies are like that of the 60s, while the terrorists are very sophisticated, in terms of intelligence and arms. And we are now being haunted by the neglect and under-funding of education and vocational training. This is what is playing out.

If you look at the education and vocational budget of those countries that are helping us, it is very high. They have well-equipped personnel, as well as well-funded armed and ammunition institutions that are up to date.

Are Togolese not also guilty, especially for being so tolerant of tyrants and sit-tight leaders’ excesses?
I would not agree, because from time to time, there have been protests and revolts over corrupt and indolent leadership. Citizens have not considered these leaders as people that cannot be changed. There have been crises, showing displeasure for leadership styles on the continent.

Unfortunately, however, when you switch on the television, you see hundreds of African youths wanting to leave the continent to go to Europe. This is a product of leadership failure, because they cannot see hope in their countries. This is a continent that is one of the richest in the world. There is no type of raw material that is not in abundance in the continent, but what are our leaders doing about them?

Yes, there might be followership conspiracy, but fundamentally, the buck stops at the doors of our rulers. Look at how our revenues are being stolen and taken abroad.

You talked of revenue, which is about the economy. If you look at countries with sit-tight leaders, they rely on external assistance for sustenance of their economies. Is the unhealthy state of the economy not playing a role in all of these crises?
We need to move away from those classical theories. In the 1960s, South Korea and Nigeria were at the same level of development, but South Korean leadership, without any political revolution, decided that they must spend a huge sum of their budget on education and vocational training and it has moved from four per cent to about 56 per cent. And the result? We have Kia, Daewoo and industrial gadgets, among others. Since 1960, Nigeria is still a country of raw materials with mono economy.

In that kind of situation, you cannot industrialise and become independent of external forces. If you have money and don’t spend it on education and vocational training, definitely you will not reap where you didn’t sow. If you spend three per cent of the budget on education and 60 per cent on the political class, what do you expect to get? You only get under-development.

But I want us to move away from the thinking that it is external forces. Yes, they exist, but the internal forces must be the engines for development. If a leader says, as recommended by UNESCO, I will spend 26 per cent of the budget on education and vocational training; 10 years after, you will see the result.

We are just stagnating. And because we fail to do the right thing, our future generation is doing anything possible to go to Europe that is in crises. This is because we have refused to do the needful. It is pathetic for a continent that is so rich. I won’t even accept all these claims that Niger and Chad are very poor, because there are human beings living there, just like there are material resources in the countries. It is because of the way the resources are being managed that is responsible for their being qualified as poor countries.

African leaders meet at different occasions, whether on regional basis or centrally, yet its structure, including the Africa Peer Review mechanism, has not been able to check their excesses…
To really evaluate the political system in Africa, we need to look into the percentage spent on education and vocational training. It is a very important index. If you spend 15 per cent on education and vocational training and increase it every year, it means you are moving into production of the much-needed manpower to transform raw materials into industrial finished products. Right now, we are not adding wealth to what is on ground. What is the whole basis of exporting gas and petrol to South Korea, when we were at the same level in 1960? It is simply that we have not got it right and not invested in education and vocational training.

This, for me, is a big indication. As long as we do not invest in education and vocational training, we cannot maximally exploit the benefits of our raw materials. We only wait for transfer of technology, which is propaganda. Send your people to school, invest heavily in education and vocational training and you will see people performing wonders. This century is driven by knowledge of economy and digital revolution.

The whole idea of education has dramatically changed. You go to school to acquire knowledge, as well as for skills. You are studying physics, but you must also learn how to be either a carpenter or hairdresser or mechanic, so that you realise your full potentialities as a human being. You have a skill and your brain is functioning, that is the modern concept of education. Korea and Japan are doing that. China and Germany are also doing it. It is not just mono way of acquiring education. Let me give you an example. There are two sectors booming in Nigeria today: Nollywood and hip-pop. These two sectors are populated by graduates, who did not read theatre arts or music. What they have done is that, because they have trained their mind, anything they put their hands on, they could learn. If you do that in the university before leaving, there would have been a better transformation of Nigeria’s economy. 

Don’t you think ECOWAS and AU need to take a stand to say Faure Eyadema must leave, not minding possible humiliation to the Eyadema dynasty? Wouldn’t this send signal to other sit-tight leaders?
You need France and Nigeria to do that. AU will only follow Nigeria and France’s position. If today, Paris mounts pressure on Eyadema to promulgate into law the new constitution, that is the end of the game. If Nigeria says, promulgate the new law so that it becomes an act of parliament, Nigeria will have to seek Paris’ cooperation and understanding to make that a reality. So, it is a question of Paris and Abuja making the move.

The tragedy about Africa is that we have rulers who still behave, even with elections, like kings. You know a king is never replaced until he dies. That is what we are facing in Africa. And until there is a struggle to entrench the new position, it will not come like that. No human being will give up his/her privileges without a fight. Democracy and human rights did not come without a struggle. Change in Africa would only come through a struggle. And where there is struggle, there is no liberation.

The attitude of sit-tight African leaders can be checked, but it is a question of the will of the civil societies, to say we have gone through this path before and enough is enough.

TROOPS yesterday launched a manhunt for Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) leader Nnamdi Kanu , barely 24 hours after the group’s proscription.

Nothing has been heard about Kanu since the proscription.

Some sources yesterday said he had gone underground.

Kanu is on bail for the alleged treason charges preferred against him.

The Nation learnt  yesterday that  his bail sureties might be asked by the security agencies to account for him.

Besides,  security agencies are  probing  IPOB leader’s alleged foreign links.

Investigators are said to be analysing a  video clip of Kanu and a Turkish citizen  as part of the probe.

A source, while confirming the search for Kanu, said: “Troops have been given a firm order to fish out and arrest the IPOB leader. As a prelude to it, the Defence Headquarters on Friday  declared IPOB as a terrorist organisation.

“Intelligence has, however, revealed that Kanu might have gone underground. As I speak with you, troops have actually searched his house and he was not found there.Troops have a mandate to arrest him wherever he might be.”

Asked what if he is not found the source said: “ We might follow legal process by holding his sureties responsible. These sureties will have to produce him.”

On the probe of Kanu’s alleged foreign links , another source said:”We are looking into the allegations of foreign support for Kanu. We are doing a profiling of his foreign contacts. We have some clues but we need to dig deeper.”

The Nation can also confirm that  government insisted on non-withdrawal of soldiers from Abia State to avoid a situation whereby the  IPOB will “take advantage and unleash mayhem” on innocent citizens.

Sources said the   presidency overruled Abia State Governor Okezie Ikpeazu on the withdrawal of troops because the police alone could not  cope with the “grave security” situation.

“The governor wanted a political solution to a military matter. But the federal government cannot watch and allow the situation to degenerate,” one of the sources said.

“Before Kanu was released on bail, these same governors in the Southeast, political leaders from the zone and others prevailed on the federal government to allow him home.

“Some of these governors and Igbo leaders made a commitment that they would  ensure that Kanu did  not abuse his bail conditions.

“The government bent backwards and ensured that Kanu was released on bail. But you can see what has happened. All those who gave the guarantee that Kanu would  respect his bail bond have been made to look foolish.

“Intelligence on IPOB revealed that without troops on the streets, the situation would have been worse.”

The  Embassy of the United States has asked Americans in Abia and Plateau states to review their security and maintain a high level of vigilance.

The Embassy’s cautionary note was contained in its travel alert.

It said: “Curfews have been declared in Abia and Plateau states because of violent attacks accompanied by threats of reprisals.

“Exercise caution in these areas; review your personal security plans; remain aware of your surroundings, including local events; and monitor local news stations for updates.

“Maintain a high level of vigilance and take appropriate steps to enhance your personal security.”

The  National Leader (Southsouth) of Action Democratic Party (ADP), Senator Roland Owie,  yesterday  faulted the declaration of IPOB as a terrorist organisation.

In a statement in Abuja, Owie said the declaration smacked of double standards.

He said: “Now that IPOB has been declared ‘Terrorist group, the government should immediately declare Fulani herdsmen, Terrorist group.”

Owie added: “I urge President Muhammadu Buhari-led federal government to walk the way of justice and equity in handling the affairs of Nigeria and stop pretending that all is well.

“The gravest mistake of non-equitable administrations all over the world is the denial of wrongdoings on their part.  Unfortunately for such administrations, they forget that God cannot be mocked.”

“Gravitation will help a person if he builds the side of his house straight and plumb; but gravitation will oppose him and make his house fall down if he builds it out of plumb.”

 
Saturday, 16 September 2017 00:56

Man United can cope without Pogba, says Mourinho

Jose Mourinho says he has ample options in his Manchester United squad to cope without injured midfielder Paul Pogba as Wayne Rooney prepares to return to Old Trafford.

Pogba is widely expected to be out of action for between a month and six weeks after damaging his hamstring just 18 minutes into Tuesday’s 3-0 Champions League victory over Basel.

That would force him to miss France’s World Cup qualifiers against Bulgaria and Belarus in early October, which they need to win to guarantee a place at the finals in Russia.

But Mourinho’s refusal to put a timescale on the midfielder’s absence may yet give national team coach Didier Deschamps reason for hope.

Marouane Fellaini, who replaced Pogba as a substitute against Basel, is likely to step into the starting line-up for Sunday’s Premier League home match against Everton, with Ander Herrera and Michael Carrick also in contention.

Mourinho would not elaborate on suggestions that Pogba had aggravated a long-term hamstring problem, or claims that the midfielder has been working with a personal trainer against club advice.

The United manager would only say he expects Pogba, the club’s £89 million ($121 million, 101 million euros) record signing, to be out for “a few matches”.

“I just know that it’s a muscular injury and he’s out for the weekend match,” said Mourinho. “That’s the only one I’m thinking about. I don’t think further than that. So for me, it’s simple and objective that he’s not playing this weekend.

“I don’t know if it’s the same one. I just know it’s a hamstring.”

Rooney return
Pogba was out for three weeks in March with a hamstring issue and it is understood he was given instructions by United’s medical staff on how to strengthen the muscle to ward off further problems.

But the midfielder is believed to have been getting treatment from a personal trainer, leading to fears that it might have made him more vulnerable to injury.

Pogba is set to miss United’s league games against Everton, Southampton and Crystal Palace, plus next Wednesday’s third-round League Cup tie against Burton and the Champions League trip to CSKA Moscow on September 27.

He also faces a fight to be back in time for his side’s Premier League trip to Liverpool on October 14 — but Mourinho is certain that United will manage.

The manager said: “We have players waiting for an opportunity because we started the season really well and we had one match per week so there was no need to rest players and no need for changes.

“Honestly, we miss Pogba and we need him but we have good players. Herrera, Fellaini, Carrick, they are waiting for a real chance to start matches. And they are ready. This is also our way of things.

“We lost important players last season at crucial moments and we were not crying or getting excuse. That’s just football.”

Sunday’s match will see Wayne Rooney return to Old Trafford for the first time since leaving Manchester United for Everton in July.

Mourinho described the former England captain as a “legend” but urged United fans not to make him feel too comfortable.

“I think he will get the welcome that he deserves,” he said. “Sometimes in this country the word legend comes too easily, but that’s not the case here. He is a legend of this club.

“He is one of the most important players in the history of Manchester United. The stadium will show him the respect he deserves before and after the match, not during the match.”

Saturday, 16 September 2017 00:46

Southeast governors ban IPOB

The South East Governors’ Forum has announced the proscription of activities of the Indigenous Peoples of Biafra (IPOB).

Arising from its emergency meeting on Friday in Enugu, Chairman of the forum, Gov. Dave Umahi of Ebonyi requested the group and other of such groups to articulate their grievances and send to the forum.

Umahi appealed to all governors in the zone to ensure compliance with the directive in their various states and for the Federal Government to withdraw the troops in the zone.

Umahi said: “All activities of IPOB are, hereby, proscribed. IPOB and all other aggrieved groups are advised to articulate their position on all national issues.

“Such should be submitted to the committee of governors, Ohaneze Ndi Igbo and National Assembly members from the South East zone through the chairman of the South East Governors’ Forum,” he said.

The Ebonyi governor said that the forum believed in the unity and indivisibility of the country and reinforced their desire for the restructuring of the country.

“We reinforce our desire for the restructuring of Nigeria where all national issues will be discussed and amicably settled to achieve justice and fairness to every Nigerian.

“Accordingly, we appeal to President Muhammad Buhari to, please, withdraw the military in the South East zone, while police perform their traditional role of maintaining law and order,” he said.

Umahi said that the forum was in touch with their northern counterparts “who have assured us of the safety of our people living in the north and we have also planned for exchange of visits to reinforce confidence.

“We wish to assure Nigerians that full investigation is ongoing on all allegations of killings, maiming and other unlawful conduct in the zone within this period,” he said.

He said that appropriate actions would be taken against those found culpable.

Umahi said that governors in the zone had taken adequate measures to protect the lives and property of indigenes and non-indigenes and urged northern governors to do same in their respective states.

“We advise all residents of the zone to go about their normal businesses as governments of each state is committed to protecting everybody,“ he said.

The governor said that all those invited for the meeting were present except the leadership of IPOB that sent in their apologies.

At the meeting were governors of Abia, Anambra, Ebonyi and Enugu while Imo was represented by the deputy governor.

Other notable personalities that attended the meeting were the Deputy Senate President, Chief Ike Ekweremadu, the General Officer Commanding 82 Division, Maj.-Gen. Adamu Abubakar and the President General of Ohaneze Ndigbo, Chief Nnia Nwodo.

Former Vice President Atiku Abubakar on Thursday accused President Muhammadu Buhari and the All Progressive Congress (APC) of abandoning him after helping the party to win the 2015 general election.

This came after the Minister of Women Affairs, Aisha Alhassan, publicly declared her support for Atiku’s presidential quest in 2019.

The minister said she would support the ex- vice president even if President Buhari decides to seek re-election in 2019.

The foremer Vice President, in an interview on the Voice of America (VOA)’s Hausa Service, said he had been abandoned in spite of his efforts in making sure that the APC defeated the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in 2015.

Speaking from his home town in Yola, the capital city of Adamawa State after the Eid-El-Kabir festival, Abubakar said: “Honestly speaking, I’m still a member of the APC; I was part of all the processes, including campaigns until success was achieved.

“But sadly, soon after the formation of government; I was side-lined, I have no any relationship with the government, I’ve not been contacted even once to comment on anything and in turn, I maintained my distance. They used our money and influence to get to where they are but three years down the lane, this is where we are.”

However, he applauded the president on the successes recorded so far in the fight against Boko Haram, but said it was not yet time to celebrate because a lot is yet to be done and “the ruling government had failed in many fronts.

“Yes, there were successes but not comprehensive success because the Boko Haram miscreants are still very active, killing our people and many local government councils in Borno and Yobe are under their firm grip. People cannot dare go back to their dwellings,” he said.

A Nigerian minister has promised to quit if President Muhammadu Buhari decides to seek re-election, claiming the ailing leader had earlier vowed to serve only one term.

Women’s affairs minister Aisha Alhassan said she would back former vice-president Atiku Abubakar for the presidency at the next election in 2019 rather than the incumbent.

“If today Buhari decides to go for re-election… I will go and kneel before him and tell him, ‘Father, I’m grateful for the opportunity you have given me to serve in your cabinet but you know Atiku is my mentor, staying around you will portray me as a hypocrite and I’m not one’, that is if Atiku declares his interest to contest,” she told BBC Hausa radio.

Speculation has been rife in Nigeria about whether Buhari, 74, will stand again, after he has spent much of the year in a London hospital with an undisclosed illness.

The government maintains he is back at work, although he has kept a low profile since returning from the British capital last month.

Buhari has skipped and cancelled weekly cabinet meetings, chairing his first gathering of senior ministers in five months last week.

Alhassan disclosed her allegiance on Wednesday after being asked whether Buhari had told anyone he planned to run in 2019.

She said: “In 2015 prior to the election, when Buhari decided to contest following intense pressure, he declared that he was going to serve one tenure, that is four years.

“And to date no-one can claim Buhari has expressed any desire to stand for re-election in 2019.”

Buhari made Alhassan women’s minister after she narrowly failed to be elected to run the eastern state of Taraba, making her the country’s first female state governor.

Abubakar, whom Buhari beat to be the All Progressives Congress (APC) party’s presidential candidate for 2015, nominated her for the ministerial post.

The former customs service chief, 70, who served as vice-president under former president Olusegun Obasanjo in the 2000s, is widely tipped to try again for the top job.

He has been touring the nation to drum up support but senior APC figures maintain Buhari remains the candidate to beat, should he decide to contest.

Alhassan made no further comment when asked about her remarks by AFP.

Nigerian politics is largely dependent on patronage, with little to separate the main parties other than personalities.

In 2015, the Peoples Democratic Party haemorrhaged support because ex-president Goodluck Jonathan allegedly reneged on an apparent pledge to serve just one term.

A slew of lawmakers switched to Buhari’s APC, ensuring the first opposition win in Nigeria’s history.

AFP

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