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Pendulum: Setting New Agenda For The Next Federal Government Of Nigeria



By Dele Momodu

Fellow Nigerians, by the 29th of May, two thousand and nineteen years after the death of our Lord Jesus Christ, the present government of President Muhammadu Buhari would have fully completed and exhausted four incredible years in power. It would have been four years of however you wish and want to describe if, good or bad, fantastic or useless, depending on which side of the political divide you belong. As for me and my house, it no longer matters. Truth is constant, no matter how much pretentious we may be. Is Nigeria now much better than Buhari and his team met it? The answer is yours to decide. Will Buhari perform better in the next four years, the answer again is nebulous. All I know is that Nigeria has already dashed four years of excuses and blames to President Buhari. Assuming he truly had to build a foundation for a stronger, healthier and more prosperous Nigeria, I believe he has had sufficient time to do so. But if he continues to wallow in self-pity, then God bless NIGERIA.

Anyone who says Nigeria is making good progress in the most important areas of life that affects and impacts the people, as it looks at the moment, certainly lives on another planet. On the issue of security, economy, social infrastructure, health, education and general well-being, problems abound, whether one scores the President low or high on the performance stakes. Is there a solution to the intractable problems? My answer is an unequivocal YES. Running a country, no matter how complex and complicated, is no rocket science. So, what is the problem right now. My answer is BUHARI. And what is the solution? My answer again is BUHARI. The Nigerian President wields such enormous powers that he can turn water into wine, and a man into woman, and this is no blasphemy. Even science is already doing these things, which tells us there is nothing under the sun that cannot now be achieved, except possibly the resurrection of Jesus Christ. If Buhari makes up his mind to change his modus operandi, many things would change instantly.

The first solution has to do with the management. A good management team does wonders, no matter the inabilities and incompetence of the leader. Conversely, a bad management team will run the establishment aground, no matter how brilliant and diligent the leader is. Buhari must therefore agree and decide to assemble the brightest stars from every part of Nigeria for the common good of Nigerians. He can pick form any and every sphere of the society, politicians, professionals, academics or a blend of these. That is his choice. What is important is that his squad must be one of round pegs in round holes. His current line-up has been the weakest in the history of governance in Nigeria. I do not blame the President wholly for this, because some of the choices he had to make may have been foisted upon him, particularly, at the beginning of his administration, when he was in somewhat of a position of weakness as he had to accommodate several interests and pressure groups. However, as time went on, the excuses and justification afforded the President for picking the dregs and plumbing the depths in his manpower search became less and less tenable. Merit, diligence and competence appeared to have been sacrificed on the altar of the nebulous principles of federal character and ethnic balancing, as more and more lopsided appointments were made to benefit one section of the country on the false premise that they were under-represented in government. After a while, this pretence was abandoned wholesale and the Government simply proceeded on the basis of “I don’t care” and “bloody fool to you all”! Of course, this is not the way to get the best out of any government team and it is Nigeria that has suffered in the critical areas. When President Buhari decides to embrace merit and meritocracy, competence and capacity, diligence and assiduousness, performance will improve at all levels. The President must put an end to the parochialism and nepotism that is currently ravaging Nigeria. If he fails to see the debilitating effects of the way Nigeria is presently configured, then there is no hope of a greater Nigeria in sight, in the near future. Nigeria cannot continue to run on primordial sentiments and expect to catch up with the rest of the civilised world in the foreseeable future. That is the sad reality.

Next, Buhari must encourage Democracy to thrive. A system in which the President seeks to play God and control both heaven and earth is a total humbug that cannot augur well for anybody, not least the President himself. The attraction of Buhari for most of his supporters pre-2015 was his supposed simplicity, frugality and ascetic discipline, but there is nothing to suggest that he has reduced the prodigality of the past in so far as others are concerned. The Presidential jets are still crisscrossing the skies at the slightest opportunity. Buhari still can’t build or upgrade just one hospital to international standards. As I write this, he has flown to London in search of medical solution to his personal and undisclosed ailments. While it may be justified by his supporters and hangers-on that his absence has not grounded the wheels of governance, truth is Nigeria needs a more energetic, visionary, focused and hands-on leadership at this point in time. While he is on what I will call his “working vacation” – that is, until he tells us otherwise because of the unabashed desire by his aides to cling on to unbridled and wholesale power at all costs through their abuse, misuse and disuse of the office of the President  – the Nation is in a somnambulistic state, which is not helped by the fact that the first term is fast coming to an end and his team has become a lame-duck one.

Buhari cannot, in all honesty, deliver on much of the myriad of problems bedevilling our beloved country, in his present state, no matter how much he and his handlers pretend and suggest that all is well. I said it in the past that I saw no reason Buhari can’t make the ultimate sacrifice by handing over to one of the younger folks in his ruling party. That ship has since sailed with his re-election. However, it is distressing that a man who was so willing to do so, now seems incapable of handing over to his able and veritable deputy, even on a temporary basis. I wonder aloud what really goes on with men, especially when they grow older. They appear to be more stubborn and recalcitrant. In as much as it pleases God, it has been possible for President Buhari to fulfil his life ambition not just once but now twice. God has been too kind and generous to him. He brought him back from the jaws of death, like the Biblical Lazarus. What more can a man ask from God? Anyone can be sick. It is not a crime to be under the weather, but it becomes offensive when a man’s personal problems lock down the combined potentials of fellow citizens. No man is an island. Buhari is not perfectly fit, so be it. We’ve witnessed the same scenario before when President Umaru Musa Yar’Adua was very ill. This same Buhari suggested at the time that Yar’Adua ought to pity Nigeria, by resigning. Why is it now so hard for Buhari to heed his own advice as freely given to his kinsman? In addition, anyone who loves Nigeria would readily admit that our challenges are too grave to be abandoned in the hands of someone whose medical records are far from being perfect. Nigeria needs a healthy virile man at the helm of affairs to complement an intelligent, talented and hardworking executive. Patriotism demands that everyone should put nation above selfish interests. I have no doubt that Buhari is a Patriot.  He has served this country well in the past as a soldier and even as a politician. That patriotic zeal and fervour that endeared him to the nation is now being put to the ultimate test. It is up to him to decide what his final legacy will be on this matter.

Buhari has been a great servant of his nation and has served commendably in many capacities. The country has been grateful for his services. Like all mortals, he has his faults, but he should know that he lacks the capacity to take Nigeria to the much-vaunted next level. I really don’t see how a man can give what he doesn’t possess. Without mincing words, the generation of Buhari is not just dying, it is long gone, and totally out of vogue. I should say that the same goes for most of his traducers of the same or similar age. They simply have lost touch with the times and are living on past glory. That is not what the present generation of Nigerian technology driven youths want or need. Most of those goading the President on are only doing so for their own personal interests. Using a sporting analogy, the best sportsmen must retire when the laws of diminishing returns begin to slow down and affect performance. My appeal to Buhari is a sincere one borne out of my genuine concern for the direction Nigeria is headed.

The biggest appeal of Buhari in 2015 was the expectation that he would improve security, help save Nigerians from incessant and reckless killings wreaked by hoodlums and demonic souls and stamp out terrorism. But this has not been the case. If relative progress has thankfully been made in tackling the menace of Boko Haram, although we are not yet singing Uhuru, the qualified victory has been wiped out by other insurgencies, lawless militancy and wild extremism. And it is clear that Buhari has become so obviously incapable of dealing with them and the scourge they represent. Sadly, in some instances, like the herdsmen imbroglio, the administration seems complicit, especially in the manner it seems to condone their excesses. So, is Nigeria going to watch, helplessly, with arms akimbo, while the country continues to haemorrhage to death? The conspiracy of silence is so apparent in the critics that used to harass and terrorise previous governments. Now, suddenly, everywhere is quiet, those strident voices and cacophony of noises have decided to go on holiday, even though not much has changed. I keep asking myself, why? Whilst it is true that the President has been re-elected and handed another four-year mandate, it is not every right that must be enjoyed without other considerations. There must be dissent, as there must be assent! When the vocal critic silences itself and cultivates self-censorship as its philosophy, the immolation of both the critic and the leader is nigh. History will always be kind to any leader who can resist the allure of power and act in a way that many others won’t.

Assuming that my plea would not be heeded, and that the next four years would again be a game of seat-warming, one should set some agenda for this government. I have touched on a few critical areas. But there are several more, where issues need to be addressed if indeed, we are going to the Next Level of progress, and not regress!

The priority areas should be how to tackle the spate of senseless killings, improve the economy, upgrade our educational systems, break the jinx of power outages and work urgently on healthcare. The poverty level in Nigeria makes it easy for young ones to become desperately disillusioned and take up arms against their fatherland. This has been compounded by the ritualistic four-year election cycle of abandoning youths employed as thugs once elections are over. The devil finds very bad work for idle, fitful hands!

Lastly, unless we reduce the excesses of government and its operatives and make funds readily available for those with talents, we will find out that we are sitting on a tinderbox. The devastating consequences for our country can only best be imagined. Let it not be the case of the Emperor who fiddled while his country burnt.

Bashorun Dele Momodu OVATION International +234 805 506 9220

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Fuel Subsidy Removal: FG, Labour Meeting Ends in Deadlock




Talks between the Federal Government and organised labour over the removal of fuel subsidy ended in a deadlock on Wednesday as they failed to reach a consensus following the hike in petrol pump prices to over N700 from N195 per litre by oil marketers.

The hours-long meeting which was held at the Presidential Villa was to, among other things, prevent a labour crisis following the recent increase in the petrol pump price occasioned by the discontinuance of petroleum subsidy.

Earlier on Wednesday, the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation Limited said it had adjusted the pump price of Premium Motor Spirit to reflect the market realities. The agency, however, failed to state the new prices of petrol.

However, several retails outlets sold the product between 600 and N800 in Lagos, Abuja , Ogun and some other states.

The National Public Relations Officer, Independent Petroleum Marketers Association of Nigeria, Chief Chinedu Ukadike, pointed out that the hike in the cost of PMS would trigger galloping inflation in the country, stressing that some outlets in the South-East were currently dispensing the product at N1,200/l.

Ukadike stated, “Once NNPCL retail stations have adjusted their pumps to reflect the new price, there is nothing you can do about it; that is the new price. As I speak with you, all of them are now selling at the new prices. The situation is so bad, that somewhere in Ebonyi State our members informed us that it is now N1,200/litre.

“We thought the President would remove the subsidy through a seamless means because the source of this petrol is the NNPCL. They are the ones subsidising petroleum products, they are the people who use their revenue to subsidise this product.’’

The IPMAN spokesperson expressed worry over the rate of increase in inflation and hardship that would come as a result of the latest hike in petrol price.

“This hike in petrol price will definitely lead to galloping inflation and will worsen the hardship already being faced by the Nigerian masses. It is not something to cheer about. It came as a surprise and in the coming days, we will see the very harsh ripple effects,” he stated.

Meanwhile, Ukadike has called on the Federal Government and the NNPCL to give other marketers the opportunity to start importing petrol in order to create competition in the sector.

“The NNPCL is importing and has not given people the opportunity to join them in importing so as to see whether private sector operators can import the product cheaper or not. So there is no competition. In a deregulated regime, there must be competition, everyone with capacity should be allowed to import,” the IPMAN official stated.

When asked whether other marketers could resume imports since the government had finally deregulated petrol prices, Ukadike replied, “Marketers can import, but let me tell you some of the factors militating against this. The first is that there won’t be availability of dollars.

“You will source your dollar from the parallel market and if you are not careful in doing this, and you go into the importation of petroleum products, you might not ‘come out of it alive’ at the end of the day.

“So what we are saying is that those advantages that NNPCL has, should be shared with other major importers of petroleum products. If it is through crude buy-back, they should let us know so that independent players such as IPMAN members can come together and be able to use it in the buy-back model.’’

He added, “For independent marketers, the most important thing is that there should be availability of petroleum products, and the government should open up the space for importers and investors to come in.”

NNPCL, the sole importer of petrol into Nigeria for several years running, confirmed the hike in petrol price in a statement and a new pricing template released to marketers nationwide.

But the move has sparked a groundswell of anger across the nation with the Nigeria Labour Congress demanding an immediate reversal of the decision.

The union also said it would hold an emergency meeting on Friday on the fuel price increase which had triggered hoarding and scarcity across the country with attendant rise in transport fares, goods and services.

The fuel price hike by the oil firm is coming 72 hours after President Bola Tinubu declared in his inaugural address on Monday that the subsidy regime had ended.

To pacify the growing anger over the situation, the FG hastily summoned some labour leaders to a meeting at the Presidential Villa, Abuja, on Wednesday evening.

The meeting had in attendance the NLC President, Joe Ajaero and his Trade Union Congress counterpart, Festus Osifo, former NLC President and immediate past governor of Edo State, Adams Oshiomhole, Permanent Secretary, State House, Tijjani Umar, Head of Service of the Federation, Dr Folashade Yemi-Esan, Group Chief Executive Officer of the NNPCL, Mele Kyari, and others, however, ended in a deadlock as the labour and government teams failed to reach a consensus.

Speaking at the end of the meeting, Joe Ajaero, said “As far as labour is concerned, we didn’t have a consensus in this meeting.”

He faulted the NNPCL over an official release published hours earlier reviewing the petrol pump price in its filling stations nationwide.

He said the move puts the labour unions in a difficult position on the negational table.

“That’s the principle of negotiation. You don’t put the partner, ask them to negotiate under gunpoint. The prayer of the NLC is that we go back to the status quo, negotiate, think of alternatives and all the effects and how to manage the effects this action is going to have on the people. If it is an action that must take off.

“The subsidy provision has been made up to the end of June. And before then, conscious people, labour management, and the government should be able to think of what will happen at the end of June. You don’t start it before the time,” Ajaero said.

The Punch

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Breaking: Founder, DAAR Communications, Raymond Dokpesi is Dead




By Eric Elezuo

The Founder of DAAR Communications, owners of the foremost radio and television stations in Nigeria, Raypower and African Independent Television (AIT), High Chief Raymond Dokpesi, is dead.

Reliable sources said the High Chief died while exercising on a treadmill on Monday afternoon.

The source said Dopkesi suffered a stroke some weeks ago.

Details soon…

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I Stand on Rule of Law, with Our Candidate, Atiku Abubakar, PDP, Says Dele Momodu




By Eric Elezuo

Frontline journalist and Director of Strategic Communications of the Atiku/Okowa Presidential Council in the just concluded Presidential election, Chief Dele Momodu, had said that he remains a loyal member of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), and will always stand on the side of rule of law, and with the party’s presidential candidate, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar.

Momodu made the revelations in a statement he signed himself, noting that the last election, which brought Asiwaju Bola Tinubu to power, was savagely manipulated by the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC).

He praised the steps Atiku, and the presidential candidate of the Labour candidate, Mr. Peter Obi, have taken in seeking legal redress.

The statement in details:


My position on the state of our country NIGERIA is simple and straightforward. I’m a loyal member of PDP who owes absolute allegiance to Nigeria and its Rule of Law. My political party PDP and others passionately hold the view that the last Presidential election was savagely manipulated by the ruling party APC and the cases are already in courts. Nothing will make me abandon my party on the altar of convenience and profit. Win or lose, I will continue to stand on this principle without any malice or prejudice against those who think otherwise. Democracy is a game of choice and I’m resolutely standing by our candidate, the former Vice President ALHAJI ATIKU ABUBAKAR (GCON) who has taken the honorable and peaceful step of going to court to seek redress. This is the only way we can deepen our hard earned Democracy. Sacrifice is not always convenient but painful.

I salute and respect The Wazirin Adamawa and others like my dear friend and Brother, former Governor Peter Obi, the Labor Party Presidential candidate, for promoting the best tenets of Democracy in Nigeria and I’m willing to encourage them rather than discourage their onerous quests…


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