Agenda for President Muhammadu Buhari
History will be made in Africa’s most populous nation, and the country with the continent’s largest economy today when President Muhammadu Buhari is sworn in as the 16th President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria. Buhari is on course to equaling the record of former Nigerian leader, Chief Olusegun Obasanjo, who served as a military head of state, and was sworn in the second time as civilian leader of the country.
For Nigerians as a whole, they will have much to celebrate as the inauguration, and that of the National Assembly in a couple of days will mark 20 years of interrupted democracy in the continent’ most populous nation.Nigerians eager to effect a change from the increasing security threat posed by Boko Haram Insurgency, corruption in high places voted for a change of governance in 2015.
Almost at the same venue where he will be inaugurated four years ago, at the Eagle Square in Abuja, President Buhari’s coming to power marked the first time an opposition party would prevail over a ruling party in Nigeria promised the nation three key areas that will form the cornerstone of his administration: security, especially in tackling insurgency; economy and tackling one of the nation’s most dreaded vices: corruption. After four years of his administration, and towards the expiration of his first tenure, Nigeria’s went to the polls on February 27 in what later turned out to be one of the most hotly contested and disputed elections in the history of the country.
Nigerians voters were divided over renewing Buhari’s mandate, or to opt for his main challenger, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar. The perceived poor leadership style of Buhari cost him significant number of voters, even in his traditional stronghold of the North West, North East and South West where his main challenger, Atiku Abubakar made incursions. His critics, especially the opposition took the APC-led administration to task, of doing little even in the key areas of their promises to the nation.
The PDP in particular maintained that the security situation has deteriorated under the present administration with herders-farmers’ crises, especially in the food chain of the country which consists of states like Benue, Taraba, Adamaw, Kogi, Adamawa ravaged by Fulani herders who always, armed with sophisticated weapons, killing and maiming hapless farmers. The crises left thousands of Nigerians killed, while crops and animals worth billions of Naira were destroyed.
They also pointed out that because of the government’s poor economic management 87, million Nigerians have been rendered extremely poor, and today Nigeria has infamously assumed the status of the poverty capital of the world, displaying India which has a population of more than one billion, compared to Nigeria’s mere 150 million.
His government was criticized for not doing much on security especially in the wake of growing rate of banditry in the north, kidnapping, robbery, etc.
All said and done, Buhari’s greatest challenge, especiall as he mounts the saddle of leadership for his second term in office is the economy whose picture does not look promising enough. Even the Central Bank warned not long ago that the nation’s economy risks going into recession.
Undoubtedly, Buhari inherited one of Africa’s most buoyant economies in 2015 before it slid into recession shortly after, recording negative growth and stagnation for more than one year. Nevertheless, it is to the credit of his administration that the country was steered out of recession.
However, Nigeria, one of the world’s most promising economies had struggled with trepid growth under Buahari. It a sad commentary that unemployment rate has more than doubled while more people have been driven into extreme poverty, especially in his tenure.
But to the government’s credit, it has done a lot in food production, especially with the introduction of Anchor Borrower’s scheme of the Central Bank of Nigeria. As a result, Nigeria is making great progress in food production especially in the production of rice, beans, maize millet, sorghum, tomatoes, etc.
There has also been remarkable progress in power generation, electricity supply and other core areas of development like railways and road construction.
DAILY ASSET expects the government to sustain these initiatives, especially the programme to ensure food self –sufficiency for the nation in the next few years. There are also high expectations in some quarters that the economy will be brought back on track in the next few years, especially with the efforts being made to win investors’ confidence with improvement in the ease of doing business climate.
It is noteworthy that investors in particular remain keen on backing the government ‘s Economic Recovery and Growth Plan[ERGP], an improved business climate. Experts have maintained that Buhari needs to carry out reforms in the exchange rate mechanism, improve budgetary implementation to propel the economy to grow to expectations.
However, one of the greatest problems facing the new administration, and why most Nigerians are skeptical of President Buhari achieving is his failure to show broad-mindedness ,accommodation, and statesmanship especially in his appointments and conduct of state affairs generally.
While his key appointments including those in charge of defence and strategic establishments are skewed in favour of the far North and a particular religion, and ostracizing other Nigerians from outside his enclave, he is aggravating his narrow prism in the conduct of state matters to his Fulani ethnic stock.
President Buhari has unfortunately degenerated into a leader, who defines Nigeria by serving and promoting the Fulani interests above every other interest.
A few weeks back, the Meyetti Allah which he was a patron was in the front burner of allegations of plans by the Buhari-led government to pay them billions of Naira to enable their members maintain the security of the nation, especially that of the North.
The idea to put it mildly was in a bad taste, and against the collective interest of the nation and underscores how the President can wittingly or unwittingly sacrifice the national interest, including the nation’s security for his parochial interest. With the controversy of the plan to make billions of Naira of tax payers’ money available to his ethnic group, who are seen more as militia behind the herders’ atrocities , especially in the Middle Belt Region of the country, came the controversial Fulani Radio Station, to be established and funded by the Federal Government. This to DAILY ASSET is ludicrous and unacceptable and condemnable,
Even if Buhari wants to improve the of of his people, he should do so within the structures and constitutional framework. Never in the history of governance of this nation, has a leader so identified with his people and even religion without regard to others’ feelings, interest and sensibilities than has Buhari done and continues to do for his tribesmen.
For those who had reservations because of his low performance in his first tenure, his Fulanisation of his government, apologies to Chief Obasanjo, will see more Nigerians losing faith in his administration to make this nation a better place for all Nigerians in his second tenure.
Buhari still has more time to retrace his step and go the path of his predecessors who served this country with sense of patriotism and purpose or go down as one that came only came to serve and promote his ethnic group alone, rather than the entire nation that gave him their collective mandate.
Flood: Where Federal Government Dropped the Ball
About 31 states of the federation are currently affected by flood. In the list are: Abia, Imo, Rivers, Bayelsa, Kebbi, Adamawa, Anambra, Gombe, Jigawa, Kaduna, Kogi, Niger, Ekiti, Enugu, Delta, Benue, Ogun, Ondo, Oyo, Sokoto, Kaduna, Kano, Kwara, Lagos, Taraba, Yobe, Nasarawa and the Federal Capital Territory (FCT).
In the front row of the devastation are Bayelsa, which is almost totally inundated, given its low lying topography, so also Rivers, Nasarawa, Kogi and Benue.
He acknowledged that the disaster had impacted farmlands across the 31 affected states, making the 2012 flood incident pale in weight and significance and the present one worst in annals, at least as far as the memories of the victims can take them.
On her part, Sani-Gwarzo’s supervising minister, Sadiya Umar Farouq says approximately 2,776 persons have been injured and 612 persons dead across the country due to the devastating effects of the floods. Putting more numbers to havoc, Farouq said that 181,600 houses have been partially damaged and 123,807, damaged totally. In addition, 176,852 hectares of farmlands she disclosed have been partially damaged while 392,399 hectares are damaged totally.
With the damage, all the crops in the farmlands in the flooded areas of the affected states have all perished, heightening the fear of increased food shortages in the country. In Nasarawa State for instance, the over $15 million worth of Olam Rice Farm, covering 4,500 hectares of land was destroyed alongside some physical farm infrastructure such as dykes, canals and drainage worth $8 million.
In all of these, Sani-Garzo revealed that the interventionist ministry has only been able to reach out to about 300,000 of the victims with food and non-food items. This figure, Farouq clarified, spread across 31 states of the federation.
This is paltry by every measure for a disaster which well-meaning Nigerians have called that it should be designated a national emergency by the federal government or at least that the government sets up a presidential relief committee for the victims’ support.
While no such far-reaching drastic measures was considered, it became rather agonizing seeing that the responses of the national government to the widespread disaster, lacked life and spirit. While federal government’s palliatives are manifestly sparring and slow in coming, the three months period within which President Buhari wants the Minister of Water Resources and his Transportation counterpart alongside state governments to afford him a Comprehensive Plan of Action for Preventing Flood Disaster in Nigeria could be anything but urgent in the face of the deaths and devastation.
Some states at the moment have as many as 12 temporary displaced peoples camps, spread in school premises and worship centres, all crawling with people whose bedrooms can now only be accessed with canoe.
Even a visit to any of the worst-hit states by President Muhammadu Buhari could have sent a signal of empathy to the affected being the leader of the nation. But we saw none of it. Not even to Nasarawa and Kogi-states which are contiguous to the federal seat of power-much less the far-flung Bayelsa, Delta, Anambra, Imo, Kano, Adamawa, Rivers and Benue. This is even as nearby Lokoja, the Kogi State capital, was cut off from the rest of the country by the flood for two long weeks, triggering fuel scarcity and cost additions to the runaway food price inflation in the FCT.
Buhari’s disinterest to empathize with the citizens with a visit ran counter to calls by different groups and tendencies in the country on him to go and fraternize with the broken and bereaved citizens. The Pan Niger Delta Forum (PANDEF) which wanted him to come to any of the states of Bayelsa, Delta and Rivers states, to see for himself the level of damage and destruction caused by the flood noted that such aligned with the practice of other national leaders when natural disasters strike their countries and citizens.
DAILY ASSET strongly feels that the federal government underestimated the carnage caused by the flood or perhaps initially felt unconcerned about it, given that Nigerian Meteorological Agency (NiMet) gave early warning about the flood, by pointing to increased rainfall this year and release of water by Cameroonian authorities in its Lagdo Dam which usually inundates River Benue and its tributaries and communities along its flood plains. It needs to be pointed out, however, that no circumstance or reason can excuse a government for leaving its citizens in the lurch or to stew in their own juice.
Apart from the early warning, what was the next proactive measure the federal government took in trying to protect the lives and properties of the citizens in flood endangered communities? The answer is none!
National Defence College Graduates 2,549 Participants in 30 Years – Commandant
The Commandant, National Defence College (NDC), Rear Adm. Murtala Bashir, said the college has graduated no fewer than 2,549 participants from within and outside Nigeria in its 30 years of existence.
Bashir stated this while briefing newsmen on the college 30th Anniversary and Graduation of Course 30 Participants of NDC on Monday in Abuja.
The commandant was represented by the Deputy Commandant and Director of Studies, NDC, Maj.
He said that 216 of the participants were drawn from strategic Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs); 92 from Nigerian Police and 254 international participants from allied nations.
According to him, among the participants were people who had reached the pinnacle of their career in the various services and MDAs.
The commandant said the college deemed it necessary to mark its 30th anniversary, having been able to record landmark success stories, especially in the remit of its mandate.
According to him, the college has the mandate to train selected senior military officers, their counterparts from strategic MDAs and the police to be able to operate at the strategic level within and outside the country.
“We insist our participants understand how to use the entire gamut of elements of national power to be able to achieve strategic objectives.
“That, in a nutshell, is the mandate of the college and that is what we strive to achieve since 1992 that the college was established.
Bashir said that NDC was a key arm of National Defence Diplomacy because of its level of interaction between the college and members of the armed forces from foreign countries.
He said the college could pride itself in advancing the nation’s defence diplomacy and ultimately the national foreign policy of Nigeria.
According to him, the college, too, is a centre of excellence in the conduct of peace support operations as a strategic level.
He added that NDC was a key partner in AU and ECOWAS in advancing peace support operations, particularly as regards the theoretical components that advance the missions at the strategic level.
The commandant also said that NDC could pride itself in corporate social responsibility in its host communities such as Ushafa in terms of provision of infrastructures, medical outreach, schools and even scholarship.
He said that series of programmes had been lined up for the 30th anniversary such as sports, humanitarian activities and award night as well as graduation lecture and graduation course 30 participants.
According to him, so many of the participants have been service chiefs in their armed forces.
“This year will be honouring two of them who are current service chiefs from Burkina Faso and Uganda.
“So, when you graduate participants who rise to the position of service chiefs in their respective countries, of course you have a link to those countries because we will monitor their progresses and they remain part of us. (NAN)
In Support Of The Ban On Open Grazing
After years of indecision, procrastination and dilly dallying, the Federal Government last week took a firm decision to ban open grazing of cattle across the country. The implementation of the ban will however take-off on a pilot basis in five states of the Federation-Benue, Taraba, Plateau, Nasarawa and Zamfara.
The decision was taken by the National Economic Council (NEC) after its meeting in Abuja on Wednesday.
Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Chief Audu Ogbeh, who made the decision public on behalf NEC also said the Council equally banned the free movement of cattle and other animals across the Nigerian border from other West African countries, regardless of the relevant protocol of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) which guarantees free movement of people and goods within the sub-region.
We welcome the decision of NEC even though it is coming late in the day when the country has witnessed unnecessary spilling of blood from incessant clashes between Herdsmen and farmers nationwide.
The clashes which have become a national security concern, it is hoped will abate since the Herdsmen will by the new decision adopt to ranching which is the global best practice in animal husbandry.
We are even the more happier that the decision was not based on political or religious sentiments but a product of the report of the technical committee earlier set up by Council under the chairmanship of Ebonyi State Governor, David Umahi.
Umahi’s Committee traversed the states where the farmers-Herders clashes have been most prevalent, i.e Benue, Taraba, Nasarawa, Plateau and Zamfara states. During the fact-finding visits, the Committee met with all stakeholders including farmers, security agencies, state governors, leaders of Miyetti Allah Cattle Breeders Association of Nigeria (MACBAN) and Miyetti Allah Kautal Horel, among others.
In all the meetings, ranching was canvassed as the most enduring solution to the bloodletting occasioned by the farmers-Herders clashes. The Committee was therefore, left with no better option than recommend the ban on open grazing of cows.
The NEC decision has at long last vindicated the Benue State Governor, Samuel Ortom and his Taraba state counterpart, Darius Dickson Ishaku, both of who enacted the anti-open grazing law as a panacea to the frequent violent clashes between farmers and the Herdsmen. It can be said therefore, that the two governors understood the issues and the best solution and indeed acted appropriately. It is to their credit that NEC arrived at the same solution the two governors proffered several months earlier.
While we commend NEC for the courage to take this decision, the security agencies especially the police and the Department of State Services(DSS) must immediately commence the enforcement of this ban otherwise the Federal Government decision would pass as one of the rhetorical statements commonly associated with politicians when confronted with difficult situations.
As has been severally argued by experts, Nigeria with a little over 26million cattle should have no problem operating ranches since countries like India, Brazil, Argentina and the US with upward 100million cattle have long practiced ranching.
What more, animal scientists have since established that the nomadic cows produced less milk and poor quality meat compared to those kept in ranches.
The Federal Government should live up to its words to provide subsidies for animal husbandry as recommended by the Umahi Committee.
In our view, the subsidies should come by way of
If the NEC decision is properly implemented, Nigeria would have just began the journey towards a profitable and healthier cattle rearing business through the ranching model.
Most importantly, the NEC decision banning the free movement of
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