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Jonathan Responds

Dr. Goodluck Jonathan, former President of Nigeria is by no means a great communicator. As a matter of fact he is very drab and uninspiring. This self-effacing, terribly inarticulate man is burdened by the need to clearly put his own achievement in context. One of Jonathan’s greatest problems is that his media team has been unable to put across the achievements of his government, and place his work in its proper context.

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An adversarial President, a discontented people

Truth be told, President Muhammadu Buhari does not have the easiest job in the world. But then again, no one who runs for the president of Nigeria ever imagines it to be easy. Even on its best days, Nigeria is a very complex and volatile mix ethnic and religious differences compounded by a heritage of political ideas and leadership that has more generally emphasized and intensified these differences rather than create a harmonious idea of shared nationhood. As I have always insisted, a nation like Nigeria, with its many “ancient kingdoms” and “caliphates” contending with the idea of a single organic nation, is a candidate for profound ruptures.

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President Buhari

Buhari’s Policy Summersaults

In 2012, the Federal government of Nigeria under the administration of President Goodluck Jonathan announced plans to end the regime of fuel subsidies in Nigeria. It led to public protests and an organized action led by the political opposition to challenge Jonathan’s oil policy with regards to subsidies.

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Rescuing the bankrupt states

The Vanguard reported on Friday that the Federal government had suspended the at-source deductions from state allocations from loans obtained by these states and guaranteed by the Federal government of Nigeria. It is apparently a short-gun measure to stem the financial crisis in the states, and to enable them fulfill their payroll obligations and stabilize the economy. In principle this sounds good. But its implications are a little murky. Rescuing states from insolvency is an act of charity that breaks the law. As a matter of fact, it is an unfunded mandate. It is constitutionally a mandate that must be backed by the Legislature of the republic. Every action of government connected to the expenditure of federal funds must be covered in the finance act as enacted by the National Assembly.

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All Peoples Confusion (APC)

President Buhari and his party, the All Progressives Congress, APC, swept into office exactly a year ago on the powerful promise of change. Change that would turn Nigeria from an awkward, self-indulgent nation, to a serious, productive, prosperous, and just nation. It is nearly a year – in point of fact, just less than six weeks shy of a year exactly when President Buhari swore the oath of allegiance to govern as president and defend the constitution of the republic, and lead Nigeria, doing good by all as president. Change came to Nigeria, many claimed, with Buhari as president.

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*File photo: Policemen

The Security Question

On Wednesday, my friend and fellow old Umuahian, Chuks, came to dinner with his family at my home. He is a family doctor in Union, New Jersey, and has been vacationing with his family in Orlando for the Spring break. Our postprandial talk normally drifted to Nigeria, our “Ogbanje nation” and old homeland. Chuks has not visited Nigeria since his mother’s funeral some years ago, and it is not for lack of love, or interest, but from a deep phobia – a fear of getting mucked into the Nigerian criminal maelstrom of accidental deaths from robbery and kidnapping. It is a genuine fear. This fine doctor and gentleman is not alone.

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Former President Goodluck Jonathan (L) With President Muhammadu  Buhari, After A Close  Door Meeting At The Presidential Villa In Abuja On Monday (2/11/15).

Probe Jonathan

Nigerians elected President Muhammadu Buhari on his promise to lead the charge to eliminate corruption in public life, and move to bring those who “looted” the national treasury to book. This is a herculean obligation for which the current administration must be supported and given both cooperation and the benefit of doubt by the public. I am a supporter of this particular goal of the administration, and I have no doubts at all that a majority of Nigerians want the books opened and proper sanction meted on those who may be found culpable.

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Members of the Indigenous People of Biafra, IPOB, at St Peter's Square Rome, during their visit to Pope Francis at theVatican.

Killing Biafra

I confess: the title of my essay today is not original. It was first penned by the now late Agwu Okpanku, Classicist and journalist trained at Ibadan and Cambridge, in his column, “The Third Eye,” published in the now defunct, Enugu-based newspaper of the 1970s, Renaissance. Agwu Okpanku was a fierce critic of the post war attempts by the Federal Military Government of Nigeria, under the leadership of Yakubu Gowon, to erase all evidence of Biafra from national memory.

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Freed Ese Oruru at Police Headquarters, Abuja, yesterday.

Ese Oruru: Living in two countries

The details are still frankly, quite murky. But the general outline is this: round about August 2015, a young underage girl, Ese Rita Oruru, was abducted by Yinusa Yellow a 25-year Muslim resident of Yenegoa, and taken to Kano, where Yinusa was originally born, and from where he came to live in Bayelsa, where he made home, and a living hawking water.

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OOni and Alake

Ascendancy of the Monarchists

The spate of new monarchical regimes and celebrations in the last decade or so does reflect the deep contradictions of the Nigerian state and the ambiguity of Nigeria’s national character as a modern republic. A great roll of drums was just heard all over the conservative press on the recent installation of an Ooni in Ife, Ooni Ogunwusi. The drama did not stop there. The new Ooni declared that his new “regime” was “a new era for the Yoruba” and was intended on “unifying the Yoruba.”

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Former President Goodluck Jonathan

Blame Jonathan

Last week, Vanguard reported a curious drama during the State House briefing after the meeting of the National Executive Council, between State House Correspondents and the Minister for Information, Mr. Lai Mohammed. It seemed like the Buhari cabinet did not have much to talk about. There is of course much going on. Boko Haram is still killing and pillaging. The Chibok girls are as good as lost. To remove the sheen from that fact, the President was reported a while ago to have pointedly told parents of the girls of Chibok to go home as there’s not much else he could do for them.

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File: Buhari during the 2016 budget presentation to the National Assembly.

Buhari’s ‘Egunje’ Budget

It is actually to the credit of the National Assembly that the gross errors of Nigeria’s 2016 Federal budget were spotted and brought to quick light. I have been a critic of the inaction and complicity of the legislative arm in the defrauding of Nigeria since 1999 by the various elected governments of the federation.

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