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Alleged Yorubanisation Agenda: Tunubu Can’t Neglect The North – Shagari



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The controversy over the allegation of ‘Yorubanisation agenda’ leveled against the Tinubu administration just took a twist as a top northern politician, Bello Bala Shagari, faulted the claim, saying, rather, northerners are among the most powerful appointees at the federal level. Shagari, a grandson of former President Shehu Shagari, calls the claim of ‘Yorubanisation agenda’ hearsay.

He adds: “The truth is, even if anyone’s tries, the North cannot be neglected in terms of appointments as a result of its political relevance. As far as the eyes can see, northerners are well grounded in Tinubu’s government, as well as other sections of the country.

So, it is just hearsay”. A group which described itself as promoting the emancipation of the northern economy, Arewa Economic Forum, had accused President Bola Tinubu of ethnic bias in the selection of appointees into crucial positions in the economic sector.

The forum said the appointments showed that the President had special consideration for people from his South-West region, especially those with links to Lagos State. “We are afraid to state that a situation whereby the appointees in crucial economic sectors are not only from the South-West but also connected to the Lagos axis suggests a deliberate ‘Yorubanisation’ and ‘Lagoslisation’ of the polity,” Chairman of the forum, Ibrahim Shehu Yahaya, had said.

The Human Rights Writers Association (HURIWA) echoed similar sentiment when it said: ”Key appointments traversing the nation’s crucial security, judicial and economic sectors are now unabashedly cornered by the South-West region”. Shagari, in this interview, also addresses many arguments against the policy direction of the Tinubu administration. The former President of the National Youth Council of Nigeria, NYCN, also speaks on the implications of former President Olusegun Obasanjo’s recurring alarm about the perceived failure of liberal democracy in Africa. Excerpts:

As someone who campaigned for President Tinubu, how do you feel about the impression that his policies only succeeded in increasing hardship in the land?
To say that President Tinubu’s policies have increased hardship in the land is akin to stating that medicine is bitter or that injections are painful. Naturally, remedies may not always be desirable, but they are necessary for wellness. It is too early to pass judgment. Let’s allow the medicine to take effect first. After all, the ailment Nigeria is suffering from wasn’t contracted on June 12, 2023, when President Tinubu assumed office. The President inherited a substantial amount of baggage from the past administration, and in spite of that, the economy is beginning to recover and investor confidence is restored. But whatever we are going through now is something we must go through sooner than later. So President Tinubu has saved us from further deterioration and future suffering.

Some people will argue that it is the same APC that is ruling the country, why should believe that this administration will be any different?
Despite sharing the same party name, there’s a stark contrast between President Tinubu’s approach to the party and ex-President Buhari’s demeanor. And their leadership style differs. Electing a different party might not necessarily bring about a change in leadership style or policies, unlike the distinct ideological differences seen in American political parties. It is always about the man on the ticket in Nigeria. President Tinubu’s actions convey that he is engaged in a different political approach. And if you look at the Tinubu led government, you’ll see that there are no key persons from the past administration except a few. It is an almost completely different set of people. The man is visionary, he has a goal and knows how to achieve it.

The assessment in some quarters is that Tinubu’s team including ministers and advisers do not really inspire hope. From what you have seen so far, are you hopeful?
The opposition may always voice contrary opinions, but Tinubu’s administration stands out for its unprecedented inclusion of youth and women, embodying a commitment to innovative and inclusive governance. Critics often overlook the results-oriented nature of this setup. Take, for instance, the Minister of Communication and Digital Economy, Bosun Tijani, a former APC critic, appointed based on merit and a drive for outcomes. Bosun and I had once had exchanges on Twitter conversations about the APC government but here we are today. Another illustration is Khalil Halilu, a 32-year-old heading the National Agency for Science and Engineering Infrastructure, showcasing young talents excelling in their respective fields. There are several others. President Tinubu strategically positions these individuals in the tech and communication sector, demonstrating leadership through recognizing strengths and assigning appropriate responsibilities. So, Tinubu’s team not only instills hope but also serves as an inspiration.

In terms of balancing, there is disquiet across the country over what was described as Yorubanisation of appointments by Tinubu. How do you react to this?
Frankly, the perception is unavoidable and this is why. If the former occupants of some particular offices in the past administration were northerners, and another administration comes, will it be fair to replace them with another set of northerners? That is where the problem is. The precedent was set somewhere. In my own opinion, the President has even tried. Look at the setup of the Service Chiefs for instance. It was equally distributed even with the section of the country that didn’t really vote for him. While this perception may take time to correct, the evident equilibrium in appointments suggests a commitment to fostering inclusivity and fairness.

Still on balancing to reflect or better still accommodate Nigeria’s diversity, would you say Tinubu has been fair to the North in terms of appointments?
Some of the most powerful people in Tinubu’s government are northerners. And what does it matter anyway? The geographical origin of appointees becomes inconsequential when considering past instances where concentrating security architecture favored the North but did not alleviate its insecurity. The truth is, even if anyone’s tries, the North cannot be neglected in terms of appointments as a result of its political relevance. As far as the eyes can see, northerners are well grounded in Tinubu’s government, as well as other sections of the country. So it is just hearsay.

Before the coming of this administration Nigeria was already very insecure-life was just one a penny. Would you say there’s been an improvement in the last five months?

It is too early to judge. But if we must, at least, there hasn’t been a single case of kidnapping between Abuja-Kaduna highway since the coming of the new administration. This was very prevalent. There is also significant peace in the Niger Delta, even in the South- East. So something different is happening already and it is felt all over the country.

The National Security Adviser, Nuhu Ribadu, recently said kidnapping has replaced armed robbery. Now, if you look at the demographic that perpetuates these crimes, it is the youths. How can this government discourage youths from such crimes?
The man is adept at his role. While I can’t assert closeness with the NSA, I’ve known him personally long before his appointment, and I’m familiar with his character. He enjoys a notable reputation; his standing requires no introduction. Presently, he’s actively involved, particularly with matters concerning young people. A telling sign of a forward-thinking leader in today’s context is their engagement with younger generations, indicating a readiness to adapt to the evolving times.

He adopts a distinct strategy in tackling Nigeria’s security challenges by not only addressing the symptoms but also delving into the root causes through socio-political solutions. While sharing this insight sparks caution, his recognition that relying solely on combative efforts won’t be enough is a hopeful sign. Nigerians would be wise to await results. Six months in office is relatively brief in the political landscape. The damage incurred over decades, for obvious reasons, cannot be swiftly undone. Despite criticisms of his approach, it begs the question: How can he effect change if he follows the same path as his predecessors? Does the same thing others have been doing? On our own part, we will do anything to support him.

Lately, elected officials on the platform of opposition parties have had their victories nullified on grounds analysts have faulted. This has given rise to the suspicion that APC is indirectly moving against the opposition, using the judiciary…

The responsibility to address this lies with the judiciary. Courts are transparent spaces, not hidden chambers. If you bring an APC analyst, he will also convince you that the courts are right. Analysts have their biases. But it is nothing new. Anyone who loses in court will cry foul. At times, success in elections isn’t solely about winning the votes. One might secure victory through dishonest means, and sometimes they field inept lawyers prone to court errors. When such mistakes occur, resulting in client losses, they begin to cry foul.

Our courts base rulings on presented evidence, making the ability to prove one’s case crucial. So even if you’re right and you cannot prove it, you will be wronged. I think that is a systemic problem. It has nothing to do with APC. And APC will take advantage of any mistake anybody makes in court just as anybody else. That is politics. Unfortunately for the opposition, our new chairman is not willing to leave any stone unturned.

Former President Obasanjo has for the umpteenth time, said liberal democracy has failed in Africa. Do you subscribe to that, if yes, how well do you think Nigeria’s democracy can become better?
I respect President Obasanjo a lot. He is an elder statesman. I think there’s nothing wrong with what he is saying other than he is saying it to the wrong audience and at the wrong time, especially since coups are sweeping across Africa, and West Africa in particular. Additionally, the President of Nigeria who doubles as ECOWAS Chairman is struggling to maintain democratic rule in West Africa. The statement is not helpful at this moment. Nigeria has a very strong democracy which has survived since 1999. President Obasanjo himself ushered democracy in 1979 and was the pioneer benefactor when it returned in 1999. And without the democracy we have today, we won’t get the chance to debate the kind of reforms he is preaching about. But these kinds of rhetoric in the past have often invited coups in the country, and Nigeria will not endure military rule again.

You aspired to lead Abuja Municipal Area Council, AMAC, last two years. What really happened, and do you still have such an ambition?
It was an idea suggested to me by a friend of mine by the name of Jibril Sule and I became excited about it. In Nigeria, the unique opportunity for residents to run for political office exists solely in Abuja Municipal Area Council ,AMAC. My connection to AMAC runs deep as my grandfather, who initiated its development in 1979, held a fervent passion for it. His first official assignment when he became President was to visit the proposed area where Abuja city was to be built, which is now the Municipal. While I don’t feel entitled, I expected to be familiar, yet that wasn’t the reality. Although I’ve always been a member of the APC since 2014, I registered my membership in Shagari Local Government in Sokoto. Fortunately, the APC primaries coincided with the 2021 revalidation, allowing me to register in Abuja and relocate my polling unit. Campaigning with the support of then-party chairman Governor Mai Mala Buni and Governor Yahaya Bello, my team gained momentum. However, some AMAC party members conspired against me, falsely labeling me a foreigner. Despite the advantage of united non-indigenes, the rift deepened. Governor Bello personally urged me to withdraw for the party’s sake, which I did. But we eventually lost the elections to PDP. Since then, I’ve lost interest.

There are prominent members of PDP in your family, including Mukhtar Shehu Shagari and Aminu Shehu Shagari, how did you find yourself in a different political party?
Well, it is said that we are the masters of our fate. Ultimately, everyone bears responsibility for their choices. I hold both of them in high esteem. However, we have different political views, even though now, one of them, Mukhtar Shagari has joined the APC. But, it’s noteworthy that another family member, Muhammad Jabbi Shagari, serves as the Commissioner of Finance in Sokoto State and is also a member of the APC.

Our family believes in individual choice, and my father never enforced a specific party affiliation on me. I campaigned vigorously for the APC, aligning with my political convictions. Vanguard.

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Kushi Hosts Media Parley, Reaffirms Fintiri’s Commitment To Achieving Sets Target




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A media parley which bought about stakeholders and press men in the media industry was held in Yola, the capital city of Adamawa State.

The event which took place at command guest house was organized by the Principal Special Assistant to the Governor of Adamawa State on media and communications, Mr George Kushi.

Kushi while delivering his speech informed that the idea of the parley was a way to keeping the press and the populace abreast with current activities of government.

He stresses that contrary to the assumed notion that governors who have won elections for the second time renege on promises of embarking on projects, Governor Ahmadu Umaru Fintiri has proved them wrong by continuing with the implementation of numerous like impacting project to achieve the set target.

Kushi enumerated construction of the super highway, the road links at Bajabure, payment of gratuities, empowerment programmes, remodelling of the shopping complex, payment of Senior Secondary School final year exams fees amongst many projects that have direct bearing on the common man

In his remarks at the event, the Chief of Staff Government House, Yola, Dr Edgar Amos who was represented by Dr Adamu Babikoi, special adviser to the governor on good governance enumerated more achievements recorded by the Fintiri led administration.

On her part, the state commissioner for information and strategy, Hon Neido Geoffrey gave the assurance of open doors on the part of government to always provide answers to any questions the media and the public might need to know.

The special adviser to the governor on communications and strategy, Dr John Ngamsa explained government’s role in tackling issues of climate change and the drive towards tackling insecurity as well as the efforts of the Fintiri led administration toward sustainable wealth creation and good governance.

Contributing, the Chief Press Secretary to the Governor. Mr Humwashi Wonosikou highlighted more of the government’s poise to achieve its 8 points agenda, he further reveal the intention of governor Fintiri to maintain the pace in developing until every sector is touched where everyone in the state will benefit.

The parley which broke into an interactive session saw journalists asking relevant question and seeking clarifications on so many aspect regarding the administration.

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Flooding: JDPC Yola Diocese Distributes Relief Items To 1,500 Victims In Adamawa




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No fewer than 1,500 victims affected by flooding got assorted items including wash kits, soaps, Jerry cans and other items meant to promote hygiene were distributed by Justice Development Peace Commission (JDPC) Yola Diocese.

Speaking during the distribution of the relief package, on Thursday in the state capital, the director of JDPC Yola diocese, Rev father Morris Kwairanga noted that the items were provided by USAID through IOM.

He said the essence of sharing the package is to ensure that the victims maintain good hygiene to prevent them from contaminating diseases.

He told newsmen that the beneficiaries were drawn from four local governments of Yola South, Yola North, Girei and Numan.

The cleric added that in addition to the items distributed, another component of the project which involved cash transfers will be implemented in the course of time.

“There will be another component of the intervention which is cash transfer. All the beneficiaries here will be disbursed some cash through their banks,” he said.

He said the items are being distributed under strick supervision and control to avoid shortchanging the beneficiaries adding that all the items have been brought forward for onward distribution directly to the beneficiaries.

Kwairanga called on anyone who observed any act of dishonesty during the process or felt shortchanged to report directly to his office so that the complaints will be looked into.

Appreciating the gesture, one of the beneficiaries, Felicia Monday expressed happiness with the intervention saying it will go a long way at ensuring development of hygiene.

She promised to utilize the items for the purpose they were brought urging other beneficiaries to also utilize the items judiciously.

Also speaking, the village head of Gwadabawa, Inuwa Hamman thanked the donors for the unparalleled gesture.

Hamman who vouched for the integrity of process involved in screening the beneficiaries said all the critical stakeholders were carried along to ensure only victims were selected.

He called on the beneficiaries to utilize the items judiciously to promote health and hygiene in their communities.

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Eid-el-Fitr: Adamawa Revenue Board Chair, Njabari Felicitates With Gov Fintiri, Muslims




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The chairman Adamawa State Revenue Board, Hamman Adama Njabari has congratulated Governor Ahmadu Umaru Fintiri and Muslim faithful in the state on the occasion of the 2024 Eid-el-Fitr, marking the end of the Ramadan fast.

Njabari, in his Sallah message made available to this platform, urged Adamawa people, especially Muslim faithful, to continue devoting themselves to prayers for unity, peaceful coexistence, and the progress of the state.

“I congratulate all Muslim Ummah for the successful completion of the fast in the holy month of Ramadan and Eid-el-Fitr celebration, ” he said

He called on people to continue keeping faith with the leadership of Governor Ahmadu Umaru Fintiri, assuring that the state would continue to witness the type of greatness desired by citizens.

Njabari acknowledged that the efforts of the Governor Umaru Fintiri led administration to improving the revenue are yielding results, and advised people to pay taxes as and when due for the progrees of Adamawa.

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