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Who Owns Linda Ikeji’s Pregnancy?



Rumour mill has suggested that the much publicized pregnancy that the celebrated blogger, Linda Ikeji, has been flaunting in the last couple of days allegedly belongs to a Lagos big boy, who lives in Lekki. His name was given as Sholeye Jeromi, a supposedly close associate of the Minister of State for Petroleum.

Is he, is he not? We leave the conclusion to you.

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What Legacy Can Buhari Leave?




By Eric Elezuo

The euphoria that heralded the coming of Muhammadu Buhari in 2015 was heart deep. The retired general rode on the goodwill of Nigerians, and the popular consensus that the then president, Dr. Goodluck Jonathan had failed in his five years of presiding over the affairs of Nigeria. But it did not take long before the Nigerian public understood that they have been sold the wrong dish, in fact a dish more substandard than what was previously obtained.

Buhari’s first display of mediocrity was his inability to appoint an executive council to run the country. It took a whopping six months before the first round of ministers were announced. To make matters worse, Mr. President was in and out of the country, shuffling from one hospital to another trying to cure an ailment shrouded in secrecy till date. The president was out of the country for a cumulative 150 days, among which was a 90 days stretch.

When it was obvious that Buhari was completely cured, demystifying the earlier notion of the leader of the Indigenous Peoples of Biafra (IPOB), Mazi Nnamdi Kanu, who claimed that the president had died overseas while a foreign replacement, who he called Jibril from Sudan, was forced on Nigerians, it still unfortunate as nation seem to remain on auto-pilot. The allegation of his supposed death has yet to be proved till date.

Across board, the more vocal voices and dissenting minds have unequivocally agreed that there is not much for the soldier-turned civilian president to leave as a legacy in comparison to his previous three predecessors; Chief Olusegun Obasanjo, AlhajiI Musa Yar’dua and Dr. Goodluck Jonathan. Much as Buhari is of the same stock with Obasanjo, analysts believe that both men are poles apart in terms of achievements and enduring legacies.

Chiding Buhari just after the 2023 Presidential Election in a letter, Obasanjo had said that Buhari’s sole legacy will be tainted unless he made some major adjustments to the outcome of the presidential elections. But as expected, Obasanjo was predictably ignored, putting to jeopardy any strand of legacy that can link to the former maximum ruler.

Hakeem Baba-Ahmed, in an article titled Buhari’s Legacy, and published in the Vanguard of March 15, 2023, observed that:

“You would think exiting on the back of a thoroughly disputed election, for a man who came to power following an uncontested electoral victory and a textbook peaceful transition will be the ultimate dishonour that will define the character of an eight year leadership, but you will be wrong. There is a long list of failures that would precede the elections fiasco, and it might not be entirely uncharitable to assume that the president had one of those rare moments when a past flashes through a life, and you are made to clutch at one redeeming star out of a long line of gloom: support INEC to conduct an election that may get the nation to think his eight years did not exist.

“In those eight years, poverty and corruption and insecurity, the three scourges Buhari said he would fight have fed fat on weak leadership and swamped the nation. He had lowered the bar on good governance so effectively it will be difficult to see how it can be made lower. It would take a generation to retrieve bits and pieces of the nation that have drifted apart owing largely to incompetence and insensitivity in managing pluralism. The transition from him to the next good president(s) may test the nation’s resilience, and its surviving the stresses from recovering lost ground may reveal whether its foundations have been irretrievably damaged by the pure poverty of ideas that was the hallmark of the Buhari administration.”

With just two months for Buhari to exit the seat of power, stakeholders, analysts and the general public are digging deep to unearth what Mr President can be remember for other than policies that have polarised the nation into ethnic and religious divide where ethnic militants and secessionists have risen with vocal voices resonating across the globe. There was, and still is Nnamdi Kanu’s IPOB, Sunday Igboho’s Yoruba Nation among others. These groups are consequences of marginalisation and barefaced ethnic profiling, especially with the people of the Southeast, who were accused and are being punished for not supporting Buhari during the elections.

During the campaigns, Buhari and his co-travellers have pinpointed Economy, Security and corruption are their key areas of concentration, but eight years down the line, poverty, insecurity and corruption have quadruple in every guise, and Nigerians are the worse for it.

It is obvious that Buhari himself understood his inept handling of the nation’s affairs in the concluding eight years, and vowed to make amends with the conduct of the 2023 general elections, and leave a lasting legacy. This was sold to Nigerians that the elections will go down in history as the best conducted and transparent election. Nigerians bought it, and were ready to forgive Buhari for his eight years of lukewarm administration if only he could get the election matter right, and allow them vote candidates of their choice. But that was not to be; the election proved to be the very opposite of what it was intended to be, recording massive rigging, violence, harassment and voter intimidation. The trump card for the election hidden in the Biometric Voter Authentication System (BVAS) and the IReV became a ghost of itself as INEC bypassed both and allotted votes and results as it pleases. Buhari’s intended legacy flopped. And he is no in a hurry to find out why. Rather he kowtowed INEC’s and his party’s stand of ‘go to court’ if you are not pleased.

As it stands today, Nigerians have been suffering a tripod menace since anyone can remember; there is scarcity of petroleum products, especially the petrol motto spirit with motorists and commuters queuing endlessly at filling stations and paying exorbitant prices where the product can be found. The naira redesign polity has inflicted untold hardship to homes and relationships. Many have reported lost their lives in their quest to get naira which the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), mopped up with commensurate release of the new notes. People therefore, have to buy naira to spend naira. At a stage, the Punch reported that a total of 13 people had died protesting against the new policy. Even after an intervention by the Supreme Court to delay the rollout, President Buhari held on to his position. He showed flagrant disrespect for the judiciary.

Except of course legacy means leaving behind the positives, Buhari will sure be remembered for leaving behind a legacy of a nation soaked in its own blood; a nation where ethnicity and religion have been weaponised to kill its own citizens; a nation that took a million steps backward for every attempted one step forward. It is loudly rumoured that most of the areas taken by Boko Haram before Buhari came to power are becoming peaceful today, analysts ask why the transfer to the northwest as banditry is making waves unabated.

According to Tukur Abdulkadir, a professor at Kaduna State University, “Insurgents now controlled villages, and again, tens of thousands have fled the violence.

“If they could deal decisively with Boko Haram, people are still perplexed and bewildered as to why it has become so difficult for the Nigerian security agencies and the government of Muhammadu Buhari to tackle the problem of banditry in the northwestern part of Nigeria,” he said.

According to dw,com, which quoted a Lagos-based financial consultant, Shuaibu Idris, “To further exacerbate the situation, more and more young Nigerians are left without a chance after finishing their studies. Creating jobs and boosting the economy was another one of Buhari’s promises back in 2015.

“When President Buhari took over, our inflation rate was somewhere around 12% to 13%. Today we are talking about 21% to 22%. Can we say he has done well? Clearly the answer is no.”

Similarly, he pointed out that exchange rates for the naira as well as the national debt load had gone up significantly, while unemployment figures were also increasing.

What did the Buhari administration do to counter these developments? Conditional cash transfers and loans to farmers were among the policies. But they often turned sour, not helping to create jobs, Shuaibu Idris pointed out.

However, some believe that the president has done his best as is his slogan, owning to quite a number of policies implemented. But it is not farfetched that the implementations have been poor. They argue that there are many projects that have been abandoned for decades in Nigeria that he has either succeeded in completing all his or he is on the verge of completing. Like the prominent Second Niger Bridge. The bridge, a brain child of the Jonathan administration is yet to be completed the humongous amount of money pumped in notwithstanding. It is hoped that the bridge will witnessed full functionality before the May 29, 2023 handing over date.

But speaking on behalf of the government a few weeks back, the Minister of Information and Culture, Mr. Lai Mohammed, said Buhari has done well. He said beyond infrastructure, the Buhari administration is leaving a legacy of a social investment programme that is unprecedented in Africa and had enhanced the quality of life of the beneficiaries.

“Our pace-setting social investment programmes like N-Power, School Feeding, Conditional Cash Transfer and GEEP (Government Enterprise Empowerment programme) have benefitted millions of our citizens, both young and old, and this can neither be trivialised nor denied,” he said.

The minister said the Buhari government has also put Nigeria on the path of self-sufficiency in many staples, including rice.

He said fertiliser blending plants in the country have increased from 10 in 2015 to 142 while the number of rice mills has increased from 10 in 2015 to 80 presently.

The minister said that based on the achievements, Nigeria, which was the number one export destination for rice in 2014, according to Thai authorities, is now ranked 79.

On security, he said the Buhari administration has revamped the sector in the face of unprecedented challenges in the country.

“Today, the Nigerian military is being restored to its glorious past, thanks to Mr. President’s foresight and doggedness in re-equipping the various services,” he said.

“And this has made it possible for the military to tackle insurgency and all other security challenges facing the country.

“As you can now see, this military has been recording successes after successes.”

He added that the current administration has ensured inclusiveness, especially in the areas of infrastructure and social development.

The minister said there is no state in Nigeria that has no road, bridge or housing project irrespective of party affiliation.

He added that while other administrations pampered corrupt people, the Buhari government exposed and put them on trial.

“Whereas the immediate past administration came up with such programmes as Treasury Single Account (TSA) and Integrated Payroll and Personnel Information System (IPPIS), they were implemented largely on paper until we came on board and ensured total implementation,” he said.

“The EFCC, the ICPC and other anti-corruption agencies have gone beyond merely arresting and prosecuting alleged corrupt officials to institutionalising the fight against corruption through various programmes.”

Not many bought into the minister’s analyses, as there is nothing to show for any bogus achievement mentioned.

But stakeholders believe that there could be one last area Buhari could write his name in gold and cause Nigerians develop amnesia over his humongous failures. They unanimously agree that the area is the judiciary.

Popular opinions has it that the judiciary must be allowed a free hand to decide cases even as the election petitions are on the front burner.

Consequently, the world watches with keen interest to see if matters of the court will also be mishandled as the INEC conducted-elections, and that may mean that Buhari may go down in history as the Nigeria president without a tangible legacy to his name. But someone said God forbid!

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You’re Full of Resourcefulness and Impact, Buhari Hails Tony Elumelu at 60




By Eric Elezuo

President Muhammadu Buhari has felicitated with the Chairman, Heirs Holdings and United Bank for Africa Group, Mr. Tony Elumelu, as he clocks 60 years, saying that the avowed entrepreneur is an embodiment of resourcefulness and impact.

Buhari’s congratulatory message is contained in a statement signed by his Special Adviser, Media and Publicity, Mr. Femi Adesina, and made available to The Boss.

The president praised the audacity of the ‘distinguished banker, economist and philanthropist’ in the world of business, bringing to light how he has stood out among competitors to uplift the life of the ordinary Nigerian in particular, and African in general, noting that he was in 2020 ranked among the World’s 100 most influential personalities by Time Magazine.

“President Muhammadu Buhari rejoices with distinguished banker, economist, and philanthropist, Tony Elumelu, CFR, on his 60th birthday, March 22, 2023, sharing joy and warmth of the occasion with the entrepreneur, who was ranked amongst World’s 100 most influential personalities in 2020 by Time,” the statement read.

Buhari further acknowledged Elumelu’s “combination of youthfulness in style, broadness in networking, with both old and young, and the passion in pursuing and realizing dreams that the entrepreneur continually projects, graciously guiding others to nurture their business ideas to reality, especially in meeting societal needs and rendering value,” while joining the family and friends to offer thanksgiving to God for all that his life is worth, as well as wishing him long life, good health and wisdom.

Read the statement in full:

“President Muhammadu Buhari rejoices with distinguished banker, economist, and philanthropist, Tony Elumelu, CFR, on his 60th birthday, March 22, 2023, sharing joy and warmth of the occasion with the entrepreneur, who was ranked amongst World’s 100 most influential personalities in 2020 by Time.

“President Buhari felicitates with Chairman of the United Bank of Africa (UBA) Group on the milestone, affirming the honor and pride that the benefactor has brought to Nigeria, and Africa, with his achievements, lighting the way for many to grow through inspiration, mentorship and training, with focus on raising generation of entrepreneurs.

“The President believes Elumelu’s benevolence typifies his humble background and upbringing, starting out as a young banker, daring to dream of a modern and technologically friendly financial institution, Standard Trust Bank, and leading one of the biggest mergers with the UBA, which made history and strengthened the economy.

“President Buhari notes the combination of youthfulness in style, broadness in networking, with both old and young, and the passion in pursuing and realizing dreams that the entrepreneur continually projects, graciously guiding others to nurture their business ideas to reality, especially in meeting societal needs and rendering value.

‘As the Chairman of Heirs Holdings, Transcorp and Tony Elumelu Foundation clocks 60, the President joins family members, particularly his wife, Dr Awele Elumelu, in thanksgiving to God for all the resourcefulness and impact, with brighter future ahead.

“President Buhari prays for long life, good health and wisdom for the Humanitarian.”

The Man Tony Elumelu

Tony O. Elumelu is one of Africa’s leading investors and philanthropists.

He is the Founder and Chairman of Heirs Holdings, his family owned investment company, committed to improving lives and transforming Africa, through long-term investments in strategic sectors of the African economy, including financial services, hospitality, power, energy, technology and healthcare.

Tony is the Chairman of pan- African financial services group, the United Bank for Africa (UBA), which operates in 20 countries across Africa, the United Kingdom, France, the UAE, and is the only African bank with a commercial deposit taking presence in the United States. UBA provides corporate, commercial, SME and consumer banking services to more than 35 million customers globally. He also chairs Nigeria’s largest quoted conglomerate, Transcorp, whose subsidiaries include Transcorp Power, one of the leading producers of electricity in Nigeria and Transcorp Hotels Plc, Nigeria’s foremost hospitality brand.

He is the Founder and Chairman of Heirs Oil & Gas, an upstream oil and gas company, whose assets include Nigerian oil block OML17, with a current production capacity of 50,000 barrels of oil equivalent per day and 2P reserves of 1.2 billion barrels of oil equivalent, with an additional 1 billion barrels of oil equivalent resources of further exploration potential. Heirs Oil & Gas is committed to creating resource based added value on the African continent.

Tony is the most prominent champion of entrepreneurship in Africa. In 2010, he created The Tony Elumelu Foundation (TEF), the leading philanthropy empowering a new generation of African entrepreneurs, catalysing economic growth, driving poverty eradication and driving job creation across all 54 African countries. Since inception, the Foundation’s flagship programme has identified and catalysed nearly 16,000 entrepreneurs and created a digital ecosystem of over one million Africans, as part of a ten year US$100m commitment to fund, mentor and train young Africans.

The Foundation is increasingly sharing its unique ability to identify and access young entrepreneurs across Africa, with institutions such as the European Commission, United Nations Development Programme, the International Committee of the Red Cross and other global development agencies, implementing thematic programmes that have focused on women and fragile regions. His businesses and the Foundation are inspired by Tony’s economic philosophy of Africapitalism, which positions the private sector, and most importantly entrepreneurs, as the catalyst for the social and economic development of the African continent.

Tony sits on a number of public and social sector boards, including the World Economic Forum Community of Chairmen and the Global Leadership Council of UNICEF’s Generation Unlimited. In 2020, in recognition of his business leadership and economic empowerment of young African entrepreneurs, he was named in the Time100 Most Influential People in the World, and recognised with Belgium’s oldest and highest royal order. In 2022, TIME again recognised Tony with its inaugural TIME100 Impact list, honouring him alongside six global leaders who have gone over and beyond to move their industries – and the world – forward.

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Supreme Court Judgment: Buhari, Emefiele Mum As Naira Crisis Persists




By Eric Elezuo

More than one week after the apex Supreme Court ruled that the old N1000 and N500 notes be allowed to exist side by side with the newly redesigned notes, President Muhammadu Buhari and the Central Bank governor, Mr. Godwin Emefiele, have remained silent, and unable to give Nigerians the directives to follow amid prolonged suffering occasioned by the cash crunch.

On March 3, 2023, after a long drawn legal battle between some state governors against the Federal Government, the Supreme Court had ruled that the validity of the N200, N500, and N1,000 Naira notes be extended till December 31 when they would have been easily eased it.

A seven-member panel of the court led by John Okoro unanimously directed that the CBN must continue to receive the old notes from Nigerians, stressing that the directive of President Muhammadu Buhari for the redesign of the new notes and withdrawal of the old notes without due consultation is invalid.

Reading the lead judgement, Emmanuel Agim, a member of the panel, also condemned the President’s disobedience of the court’s February 8 order that the old N200, N500, and N1,000 notes should continue to circulate alongside the new ones.

He said the president’s broadcast of 16 February that only N200 notes should remain legal tender made Nigeria’s democracy look like a mere pretension while democracy is replaced with autocracy.

He said: “It is not in doubt that the President refused to comply with the order of the court that the old 200, 500, and 1,000 naira notes should continue to be legal tender,” the court said.

“Interestingly, there is even nothing to show that that the President’s directive for the release of N200 notes was implemented.

“I agree that the first defendant ought not to be heard when the president has refused to obey the authority of this court.

“Disobedience of order of court shows the country’ democracy  a mere pretension and now replaced by autocracy. This suit is meritorious.”

Recall that the CBN in October 2022 introduced what many has labelled a controversial monetary policy which birthed newly redesigned 200, N500, and N1,000 notes with tight deadline to mop up the old notes from circulation. A January 31 deadline was initially set for the complete mopping up of the old naira notes. The policy and its implementation was challenged at the Supreme Court.

As envisaged, the policy led to scarcity of currency notes, bringing untold hardship to millions of citizens in an economy significantly driven by the informal sector with a large proportion of unbanked persons.

The end of January deadline initially set for ending the legal tender status of the old Naira notes was extended to February 10 as the supply of the new notes fell far short of the volume needed by citizens to meet their most basic needs across the country.

On February 3, three state governments – Kaduna, Kogi, and Zamfara – citing the hardships the continued scarcity of naira notes brought to their people – sued the federal government at the Supreme Court for a reversal of the policy.

Five days later, the court issued an interim order suspending the implementation of the deadline set by the federal government, and directed that the old and new Naira notes should continue to circulate pending the resolution of the case.

Unmoved by the court’s order, the CBN insisted that the old notes had stopped being legal tender after the February 10 deadline while the scarcity of the new notes persisted.

But the final judgement of March 3, which allowed the old naira notes back into circulation has been kept on mute mode by the executive as neither the president or the CBN governor has given a clear cut directive as to the next step to take. This act has returned the masses to the pre-judgment era and money has remained scarce and standard of living a total mirage, especially for families that depend on daily transactions to make a living.

At various banks across the country, customers line up endlessly to collect cash, but are disappointed at the end of every day. A cross section of the customers, who spoke to The Boss, lamented that appearing at the banks has remained a daily routine, and after each day, it remains a tale of woe as the much sought after naira notes are nowhere to be found.

But some customers, who were able to get access to the bank vaults lamented that they were paid the old bank notes, which in rejecting tried to lodge it bank with the bank. But the banks themselves rejected it.

“So the old bank note is just good to give to the customer, but cannot be deposited in the banks,” an angry customer lamented. Those that risked taking the money to the markets or to buy one thing or another are still telling sad stories as its rejection remains paramount. Yet, Buhari and Emefiele have remained silent.

“I don’t understand why Mr President and CBN governor would keep silent this long on a matter this sensitive. Yes, the Supreme Court has ruled. Am I the executive that will execute the judgement? Is it no longer the duty of the executive to execute judgements of the courts?” Another customer querried.

In the same vein, DailyPost reported that a public analyst and economist, Dr. Charles Imole expressed dissatisfaction over the continued silence from President Muhammadu Buhari and the Central Bank of Nigeria Governor, Godwin Emefiele days after the Supreme Court judgment validating old Naira notes till 31 December.

According to Imole, the economic situation showed that the nation is drifting aimlessly.

“The Supreme Court gave a verdict and 5 days later, nothing has been done to officially give effect to that verdict by the President or the CBN Governor. What kind of nonsense is this? The nation just appears to be drifting and coasting aimlessly. How long will this madness continue?” He tweeted.

Meanwhile, The Punch gathered on Friday that cash had dried up in most banks in Lagos and Ogun states due to what senior bankers described as the inability of the CBN to supply them with new naira notes.

It wrote: “A branch manager of a Tier-1 bank told Saturday PUNCH that his branch last received cash last week Tuesday, adding that bankers were also frustrated about the currency crisis affecting the nation.

“The Lagos-based branch manager said, “There have been no supplies of new naira notes to my branch and other neighbouring branches this week. The last supply we got was N5m last week Monday and another N5m the following day. Members of our bullion van team have been on standby throughout this week awaiting signals to come to the CBN to pick cash, but there has been no signal. The N10m we got last week didn’t last up to Wednesday.

“Following the Supreme Court judgment, we were initially paying out the old N1,000 and N500 notes deposited with us and which had not been deposited with the CBN to desperate customers, but we had to stop when the customers came back to complain that people were not accepting the old notes from them.”

“Another senior banker corroborated this, adding that his first generation bank had not been supplied new naira notes to disburse to customers.

“He said, “Even me as a banker, I can only boast of N100 as I am speaking to you. We have not been supplied with cash this week. The Nigeria Inter-Bank Settlement System Instant Payment platform is not working; the digital payment systems are overwhelmed. When you see crowds at our branches now, we are not giving them cash, what we are doing is to deal with complaints arising from digital payments.

“I think it is deliberate not to supply naira notes to the banks because the government and the CBN don’t want politicians to mop them up. Politicians are desperately looking for cash to pay their agents now. I know of a candidate for the Lagos State House of Assembly, who has launched a passionate appeal to his friends to raise money to pay his party agents, who were not paid after the presidential and National Assembly elections and threatened not to take part in the governorship and state House of Assembly.”

It is still not known how much longer Nigerians will be made to go through the sorrow of naira scarcity or how much longer their patience will linger as reports of unavoidable deaths, illnesses and many other vices have made the rounds as a result of the naira scarcity, and Buhari and Emefiele’s undignified silence.

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