Connect with us


Obasanjo, Peter Obi: The dangers of the ‘Solomon Syndrome’



Since Olusegun Obasanjo, former President and Nigeria’s longest living leader with a record of 11 years, plus came out with his endorsement of Peter Obi, the presidential candidate of the Labour Party (LP), on Sunday, the Nigerian polity has been suffused with a thick dust.

The impact of the revelation made in his New Year message has generated has continued to echo ever since.

Indeed, only the totally naive, imbecilic or politically-blind would have been surprised about the choice of the former President. What surprised many who knew or knows the General, was the tune that stripped of the veneer of the vintage Obasanjo outings Nigerians are familiar with.  A vintage Obasanjo is not that temperate or clement with words.

This suggests even while being firm with his decision, he still considered the feeling and ego of Obi’s opponents as could be gleaned in his depiction of President Muhammadu Buhari. We have moved from the frying pan to the fire and from the mountain top to the valley. Vintage!

But hear how he went about others: None of the contestants is a saint but when one compares their character, antecedent, their understanding, knowledge, discipline and vitality that they can bring to bear and the great efforts required to stay focused on the job particularly looking at where the country is today and with the experience on the job that I personally had, Peter Obi as a mentee has an edge.

It was clear Obasanjo, was in no mood for a fight. He simply wanted to pass his message on his choice and state the reason. Otherwise, there was no reason to come with the proviso of saying that none of them was a saint.

Now, did Obasanjo lie in stating that Obi towered above others in the criteria he used in making Obi his choice? He calls it TVCP: Track record: Vision; Character; and Physical and mental capability.

In which aspect of this guide he provided would any unbiased assessor score Obi lower than his opponents not only in the race to the Aso Rock Villa, but the mission of rescuing the country, even without Obasanjo saying so? Which of the candidates would, for instance, run government without borrowing, as Obi did in Anambra?

Are Obasanjo’s critics not aware that Obi ran Anambra for eight good years without borrowing a kobo. Yet, it was within the same period that Anambra beat other states in virtually all yardsticks for human development. Yes! It was that period that Anambra moved from number 26 in WAEC and NECO to number one, which it has maintained till date, such that indigenous students, are admitted in federal institutions with the highest score in the country.

When Obasanjo speaks about track records, should he for whatever reason ignore that Obi became the best governor in terms of attaining all the indices set out in the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) – the measurement barometer for the success of government at that time, beating the rest of the 35 other governors, including Tinubu, his then contemporary in government?

Should Obasanjo have ignored the fact that Obi did all these by cutting the cost of governance and plugging most, if not all the loopeholes for the mindless pillaging of public resources? If Obi, had demonstrated this in Anambra, would it not follow naturally that he would possibly do the same at the Presidency, where for instance, billions are voted yearly for the Aso Rock Clinic, yet without common syringes or cough syrups being provided?

Would he ignore the fact that Obi left zero debt to the state on the day he was leaving office – paying off all the contractors for the jobs generated, paying off the pensions and gratuities of retired workers unlike in many other states? Are his critics saying they’re not aware that Obi left N75billion in savings, in the coffers of Anambra on the same day?

Okay, there’s the point that a government was not supposed to save money in the face of yawning needs. How infantile! But, does a father pull exhaust his yam ban because his children are hungry? If yes, what does he eat during famine? Where does he get the seedlings for replanting?

But Obi’s explanation captures a nobler intention. Right from his first day in office, he began planning for the future – to save a fraction of the state earnings so that in the next decades, the state would have built a pool of massive funds with which it could finance some mega projects capable of launching the state into the status of some Asian Tigers. That was the plan as opposed to just storing money, as many assail him for. He even saved in dollars to avoid depreciation. What vision could be greater?

Yet this is the money he could have stolen conviniently like others. Obi tells anybody that cares to listen that Anambra had not bought him a sachet of pure water since he left office. Should Obasanjo have been blind to this if he was truly on a mission to rescuing Nigeria from the vice grip of the brigands and marauders in government?

It even goes further with Obi daring Nigerians to point to any land allocated to him or any member of his family, and he would halt his presidential quest. The same he declares about anyone pointing to another private house outside Onitsha where he lives.

Now, check the records of his contemporaries elsewhere, including those he is currently contesting with and determine therefrom who else comes close to possessing the right attitude and the concomitant template to pulling Nigeria from the brink in Obasanjo’s context. Are the reputations of his opponents with issues of land-grabbing and itchy fingers over public till, not public knowledge?

Are you now saying that Obasanjo, should overlook all these, just to be nice? Okay, how many times have you seen Obi travelling to London with a retinue of aides and hangers-on? Ask yourself from whence those indulging in this pastime of corralling hundreds of people into a plane to private visits abroad fund the hobby. Ask yourself what would happen when a man who could not travel from Abuja to Lagos without a convoy of cars or planeload of hangers-on to Paris would do with government money.

A simple comparison of an Obi at the airport as against Atiku or Tinubu for instance, tells the full story. Aside being a matter of lifestyle there comes a time to say that magic word – ENOUGH! Having spent almost all his life pursuing and acquiring wealth, he seems to have come to a point, where money and what it could buy, apparently means nothing. Is it not obvious that he’s imbued with the more rewarding, nobler and more satisfying goal – giving back to the society through public service?

Is it not evident that Obi has totally weaned himself of the taste for acquisition of wealth? Is it not clear that he has been able to strip himself totally of the heavy load it imposes on the less-endowed and now feels lighter and freer?

Like Solomon who did not discover the futility of acquiring women until he got to a record 1,000, not discovering the point of termination of the desire for earthly acquisition and glory, is takes a heavy toll on humanity. Only very few men attain the point in life Obi seems to be today.

Why would a departing governor, instigate and institute a life pension mechanism capable of leaving a gaping hole in the coffers of his state and leave the people poorer, even when he had used his position to catapult himself to the zenith of individual wealth outside the Solomon Syndrome? What is that bug that would make someone who shakes like a leaf, suffers from obvious mental imbalance, speech impairment and other visibly debilitating conditions, to push on for power he knows he’s completely unfit for?

Yes! It is the quest for vainglory that would push a politician to deliberately destroy the party that catapulted him to the top, destroy its essence and the unity of the larger society in pursuit of power even when everything else speaks against such a quest.

Only the likes of Obi would find it easy to look the other way from a whopping N75billion he could have pocketed with very minimal consequences. Only his likes could easily turned his back on the hundreds of millions he would have been drawing from Anambra State today, were he to be the ordinary politician.

That he has chosen the direct opposite, is what gives him the edge, Obasanjo spoke about. That edge, is the turning point for Nigeria. When Obi tells you that he’ll use government money to work for the people, it is more believable, because from the look of things, it is obvious that unlike others, he has few mouths to feed. His baggage is minimal and manageable.

Instructively, Obasanjo’s letter was to the youths of Nigeria. Having seen with the eyes of an elder, the rest is left for those young Nigerians. It is said that it’ll be the fault of the mouth that fails to speak and the fault of the ear that fails to hear. Between Obasanjo and Nigerians, which would it be?



Speak now! Catholic priests want Kaduna gov’s reaction to El-Rufai’s Islamisation comments



Uba Sani, must either officially distance himself or affirm the declaration of his predecessor Nasir El-Rufai that Muslim-Muslim executive branch leadership, have come to stay or stand up to denounce it immediately.

These were the demands from Catholic priests in parts of the North, who as they expressed disgust at the statement, which showed the former governor captured in a video, which went viral last week, practically celebrating the continuation of an arrangement, which he first introduced in 2019, and which has now been sustained with the new governor having a Muslim deputy.

Clerics from Kaduna, Kafanchan and Zaria chapters of the Nigerian Catholic Diocesan Priests Association (NCDPA), in a public letter to Sani, urged him to declare his position on what they described as political supremacism in Kaduna state and Nigeria, as part of their reactions to the video, which has raised a lot of dust.

El-Rufai, who in his speech to Muslim clerics in the state, had recounted how after instituting an all-Muslim executive in the state himself and made it permanent in the state, the arrangement was pushed through at the national level with the election of Bola Ahmed Tinubu and Kashim Shettima, as President and Vice President, respectively on the platform of the All Progressives Congress (APC).

Informing that while Nigerians were actually believed that religion was not the issue in pushing through with the ticket, when it was in fact the case, the former Governor, who spoke in Hausa, declared that the arrangement had come to stay and would last for the next 20 years at the initial stage after Tinubu, adding that the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN), had been defeated by the outcome.

But an apparently thoroughly upset Catholic priests, in an open letter on Thursday, said: “Having soberly considered the contents and implications of such communication by a former state governor who is known to be your close ally, we feel compelled to write you, to know where you stand with regard to the commotions Mallam El-Rufai intends to propagate and perpetuate in our state,” the letter reads.

“We write you today because we are responsible stakeholders in the affairs of our beloved state with our own congregations and followers. Mr governor, we do not intend to conclude that you are in agreement with all the content of the former governor’s utterances, as you have given no explicit reason to suggest so (yet), even though you were present at the occasion! We therefore earnestly expect your direct official reaction to the utterances of your predecessor in office.”

Continue Reading


Buhari spent more than $19billion on revamping four refineries without result – Nasarawa gov



Barely two weeks after his exit, the records of former President Muhammadu Buhari, have come to to the fore with one of them indicating a damning verdict, as he was said to have sunk a whopping $19billion in trying to rehabilitate the nation’s four refineries, without anything to show for it.

Abdullahi Sule, Governor of Nassarawa State, who used the former President abysmal failure to make a case for supporting the removal on petroleum products, compared the huge wastage to the amount Dangote refinery, cost to give Nigeria a facility with the single chain production in the world.

None of Nigeria’s four refineries, located in Kaduna, Port Harcourt, and Warri is currently operational despite the huge amount sunk to resuscitate them, most of the funds borrowed from foreign lending agencies, the latest being the securing of $1.5million loan for that of Port Harcourt.

Bemoaning the situation, the governor, said: “Look at how much the President Buhari administration spent on fixing the refineries. In the eight years, he spent more money than the $19 billion that Dangote spent in building a refinery. That is one and a half times the size of our three refineries combined.”

A guest on Sunrise Daily, a breakfast programm of Channels Television on Thursday, Sule, pinned the payments of subsidy on Nigeria’s non-functional refineries, adding: “From the government side, I think we didn’t do a good job. When the (former) President (Buhari) came in in 2015, prices of crude oil dropped by less than 30 dollars. At that time, there was zero subsidy.

“Our three refineries in Nigeria today have a total of 450,000 barrels per day, Dangote is 650,000. He spent $19 billion on building it. We spent, not building a new one, but in maintaining these refineries; more than $19 billion in eight years, yet they have not been maintained.”

The Dangote Refinery, Africa’s biggest oil refinery, which took off in 2017, drew Nigerians and global personalities in different fields of life, including four African Presidents at its commissioning on May 22, 2023 by Buhari.

Sule, who also lamented the complexity of maintaining the refineries due to their diverse components, added: “The refinery is actually a component for water, crude, and diesel, about five or six different components that constitute a refinery. The moment the government says we are going to spend $2 billion this year on the refinery. The $2 billion is spent and as far as the President is concerned, they have given $2 billion.

“Now when it goes to the three refineries that we have in Port Harcourt, Warri, and Kaduna. Then they say, you now take $700 million, you now take $800 million – by the time they take that, it goes to fix maybe only one component out of the four components that are all bad. The ideal resolve would have been to allocate the major funds to one of the refining states to fix it totally before allocating the remainder to the other states.

“So, zero work is done. These are the true realities of what is happening, and that is why none of the refineries is working. These are truly the problem, we have not really managed this thing well.”

Continue Reading


Japan goes tough on asylum seekers, enacts new law to check abuse



Despite desperate attempts to block it, including a ruckus, which broke out in parliament Japan went ahead on Friday to enact an immigration law that would see the government deporting failed asylum seekers, even with members of civil society, joining in the pushback.

The law gives refugees only three chances to try after which they would face deportation, unlike before when applicants could stay in Japan during the decision process, regardless of the number of attempts they made to secure refugee status, reports, say.

The revised law will “protect those who must be protected while strictly dealing with people who have violated rules. There are many people who misuse the application system to avoid deportation,” Justice Minister Ken Saito, was quoted as saying, adding that this had persisted even when such people were not fleeing danger or persecution.

Last year, Japan accepted just 202 refugees out of some 12,500 applicants, and separately allowed 1,760 people to remain in the country due to “humanitarian considerations,” including more than 2,400 evacuees from Ukraine under a different framework.

Activists staged rallies against the revised law, but a protest from the opposition bloc in parliament was voted down by the ruling coalition, which holds a commanding majority.

“It is intolerable to deport people, even if they have criminal records, to countries that may violate their human rights” and where “their life and freedom would be in danger”, the Tokyo Bar Association said this week.

The ruling Liberal Democratic Party says the revisions will bring better access to medical care and accommodation options for people whose asylum applications are pending.

Japan’s immigration detention conditions have been under scrutiny since the 2021 death of Wishma Sandamali, a 33-year-old Sri Lankan woman.

Sandamali was not an asylum seeker but had been held for overstaying her visa after seeking police protection, reportedly to escape an abusive relationship.

Her family are seeking compensation of more than $1 million from the government over her death.

Sandamali reportedly complained repeatedly of stomach pain and other symptoms, and campaigners allege she received inadequate medical care.

Controversy and political pressure over the incident led ruling lawmakers to drop a push to enact similar legal changes to immigration rules two years ago.

Shoichi Ibusuki, a lawyer for Sandamali’s family, told AFP on Thursday that the revised bill was “equivalent to having a button to execute those who seek refuge by deporting them”.

“Japan’s refugee recognition system is not working,” he said, with officials turning down applications quickly, sometimes without face-to-face interviews.

Amnesty International also said in March that Japan should scrap the proposed revision to immigration laws, calling the country’s detention policies “harsh” and “repressive.”

Continue Reading