Festus Adedayo: A Columnist Gone Rogue, By Laolu Akande

Mr. Festus Adedayo’s article above is a sad descent into the gutter by this gentleman. When a professional columnist of Adedayo’s age and experience puts his reputation behind outright fiction and absolute mischief, usually it is a sign that the poor fellow is compromised. This is the sad reality we face today and it is truly troubling.

But let us give Mr. Adedayo the benefit of the doubt. Let us assume that he has some facts to support the reckless insinuations and innuendoes in his article.

He should then be able to answer the following questions.

He claimed that the Vice President, together with some Redeemed Church ‘accomplices’, gathered to pray at some place unstated in his home State of Ogun, at a date that was not indicated, for the purpose of interceding for the VP to become President, and by extension, hoping for, or seeking the death of the President.

So where exactly in Ogun State did this prayer session take place, and when? Was it in a church, in which case there would likely be an audio recording? Who are the prominent pastors or other persons involved that can testify to what transpired – what are their names? Who is the “strong Buhari ally” who made a surprise appearance at the gathering and brought the story back to Mr. President? If, as Adedayo claims, the VP has been hounding and haranguing this Buhari ally since then, why is it so difficult for him to cry out and publicize his strange discovery?

Who primed Onnoghen to “package Buhari inside a judicial casket” during the 2019 elections? And to whose benefit? If, for any reason, the Buhari election was nullified by the judiciary, how would that benefit his running mate, since they contested on the same ticket?

These asinine stories put together by Mr. Adedayo betray a more evil motive. The Vice President’s commitment to the service of the Nigerian people under the leadership of President Muhammadu Buhari is unrelenting. But there is a desperation in some quarters to create a division between the President and the Vice President. It appears that they need some well known press names who are prepared to write anything. But for what reward? One wonders. They clearly found one here, as the writer’s jaundiced article bumbled from the realm of baseless claims to outright fiction.

We do not expect an apology from Mr. Adedayo to the Vice President. This is the style of these professionals gone rogue. They are prepared to smear others and stick to their vile stories. Their conscience seems unperturbed by their reckleness. But, again, we give him the benefit of the doubt, let him answer the questions we have asked.

Laolu Akande

Festus Adedayo: A Columnist Gone Rogue, By Laolu Akande

Mr. Festus Adedayo’s article above is a sad descent into the gutter by this gentleman. When a professional columnist of Adedayo’s age and experience puts his reputation behind outright fiction and absolute mischief, usually it is a sign that the poor fellow is compromised. This is the sad reality we face today and it is truly troubling.

But let us give Mr. Adedayo the benefit of the doubt. Let us assume that he has some facts to support the reckless insinuations and innuendoes in his article.

He should then be able to answer the following questions.

He claimed that the Vice President, together with some Redeemed Church ‘accomplices’, gathered to pray at some place unstated in his home State of Ogun, at a date that was not indicated, for the purpose of interceding for the VP to become President, and by extension, hoping for, or seeking the death of the President.

So where exactly in Ogun State did this prayer session take place, and when? Was it in a church, in which case there would likely be an audio recording? Who are the prominent pastors or other persons involved that can testify to what transpired – what are their names? Who is the “strong Buhari ally” who made a surprise appearance at the gathering and brought the story back to Mr. President? If, as Adedayo claims, the VP has been hounding and haranguing this Buhari ally since then, why is it so difficult for him to cry out and publicize his strange discovery?

Who primed Onnoghen to “package Buhari inside a judicial casket” during the 2019 elections? And to whose benefit? If, for any reason, the Buhari election was nullified by the judiciary, how would that benefit his running mate, since they contested on the same ticket?

These asinine stories put together by Mr. Adedayo betray a more evil motive. The Vice President’s commitment to the service of the Nigerian people under the leadership of President Muhammadu Buhari is unrelenting. But there is a desperation in some quarters to create a division between the President and the Vice President. It appears that they need some well known press names who are prepared to write anything. But for what reward? One wonders. They clearly found one here, as the writer’s jaundiced article bumbled from the realm of baseless claims to outright fiction.

We do not expect an apology from Mr. Adedayo to the Vice President. This is the style of these professionals gone rogue. They are prepared to smear others and stick to their vile stories. Their conscience seems unperturbed by their reckleness. But, again, we give him the benefit of the doubt, let him answer the questions we have asked.

Laolu Akande

The Man Malam Mamman Daura

History of Journalism in the North will remain incomplete without the mention of Malam Mamman Daura. As Editor of the New Nigerian, the then most influential newspaper in Nigeria, Malam Mamman Daura wrote one of the best articles and editorial that captured the country’s attention throughout history.

Growing up, Malam Mamman Daura was a stickler for excellence and after his basic education in Katsina, he was identified among his peers and found worthy to be sent to UK for higher education by the then Northern Regional Government.

He went ahead to study English Language, English Literature, Latin and British Constitution at Advanced Level at Bournemouth College. He was then admitted to the elitist Trinity College, Dublin (The Irish equivalent of Oxbridge) and received a Bachelor’s degree in Economics and Politics and a combined Masters degree in Public and Business Administration. He returned home and joined the mainstream civil service.

“Before going to England,I worked as a programme Assistant in the Nigerian Broadcasting Corporation, in Kaduna. My schedule was: News Reader and Producer of Talks.” Malam Mamman Daura recalled in his personal reminiscences on Nigeria @50, which was published by DailyTrust in 2010.

As a businessman, Malam Mamman Daura was extremely successful. He was a key driver of the northern Nigerian industrial revolution of the late 1970s and 1980s; with local and international partners and investors – setting up and managing the following industries: Kaduna Aluminium Ltd, Kaduna Machine Works, Boots Nigeria Ltd, United Nigeria Textiles Ltd (UNTL), Funtua Textiles (FTL), Arewa Textiles, Nortex and Finetex.

Also, the Kaduna Furniture and Carpets Company (KFCC), which was at one time the largest furniture manufacturing company in West Africa. The KFCC furnished Transcorp Hilton at inception and several of other big companies and banks in the country.

The man Malam Mamman Daura has been a critical pillar of transparency and integrity. In the 1980s and 1990s, he was honored several times by the Kaduna State Government for constitency in remitting the rightful amount of corporate taxes as well as personal income taxes.

The chairman of LEADERSHIP Group Limited, Sam Nda Isaiah describes Malam Mamman Daura as a man who takes personal integrity very seriously. “While he was a businessman, his uncle, friend and close confidant Col. Muhammadu Buhari was the Federal Commissioner of Petroleum at the time.

“Malam Mamman Daura refused to have anything to do with the oil industry. And, in fact, of all his board appointments at the time (and he sat on several dozens of blue chip and multinational boards), he never sat on the board of any oil company.

“Even when GMB became the PTF chairman, none of his companies participated in any contracts. Not that it could have been wrong for him to have served in any of the boards of the oil companies or have delved into the business himself, or even his companies participating in the PTF, but he was just who he was. And that is the level of discipline and integrity of the man i have come to know very closely.”

That Malam Mamman Daura lives an exemplary family life is by all accounts evidenced in his relationship with his children, wife and his uncle, President Muhammadu Buhari, among others.

In her tribute to her father, Fatima describes him as a man who has touched many lives in his unassuming way. She also describes Malam Mamman Daura as someone who taught them contentment and patience.

“Patience in adversity, patience in moments of lack and patience with the vicissitudes of life.” She said.

The man Malam Mamman Daura is a technocrat, an intellectual and a journalist without parallel. He trained many, inspired many. He rose to be the Managing Director of the New Nigerian, and was nominated by the federal government to be a member of the constitution drafting committee under the chairmanship of Chief Rotimi Williams.

The Director General, National Broadcasting Commission, Is’haq Modibbo Kawu recalled in retrospect: “Malam Mamman Daura’s home in Kaduna was where we gathered during the evenings, whenever i was back home for weekends. That offered me a peak into several sides to his person… He would not fail to ask about your family, work and then show a genuine concern about the state of the country.”

As Malam Mamman Daura clocked 80 on Saturday, president Buhari said his “footprint on the development of the country, and quintessential attention to family values, will always be remembered and appreciated.”

Leader of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Asiwaju Bola Tinubu also celebrated the veteran journalist and entrepreneur.

He said: “A man of great character, you have been a resourceful pillar of support for our president, Muhammadu Buhari. Many have rightfully described you as imbued with immense talents, your character, however, remains an inspiration to me in particular.

“Our country is lucky to have you at this particular time. I’m highly honoured and privileged to know you because knowing you is a wonderful thing.

Indeed, Malam Mamman Daura, is a true son of Nigeria and an inspiration of millions of youth. Sadly, most youth “hardly ever know the real man beyond the persona that they themselves have constructed in the social space,” Modibbo Kawu noted.

“We are fortunate that elders like Malam Mamman Daura are still very much with us, whose experiences, sense of loyalty and easy manners, remain veritable fountains of knowledge. We can paraphrase the words of Professor Hampate Ba, that old people like Malam Mamman Daura, remain living libraries.”

Governor Abdulrahman Abdulrazaq: Redefining and Reinventing Governance, By Tobi Matthew

Kwara State Governor Abdulrahman Abdulrazaq

For over a decade, the wheels of affairs in the State of Harmony was manned by a group of people who prioritized their individual gains over the growth and development of the State they had the mandate to protect and serve.

No doubt, the aforementioned setbacks incapacitated Kwara State for the said period of time, making her incapable of attaining her full potentials among her contemporaries created in 1967, and other frontiers in the committee of States.

In 2015, democracy afforded the good people of Kwara State another opportunity to elect leaders of their choice to paddle the canoe of their darling State at various levels of government – at the polls, the people of Kwara State voted Governor Abdulrahman Abdulrazak to end the over a decade of maladministration and bring about the much desired growth and development in the State. Inarguably, this was done with high optimism that the new dawn illuminating light away from the darkness of the past would take the State to a greater height.

Expectedly, we must not fail to make concise comparison between the former administration and the incumbent – this will be a guide and also help our strategic planning geared towards surpassing the achievements of the past administration.

Thus far, the good foundation being laid by the Governor Abdurahman led administration in Kwara State, in its first 100 days in office, has now being reinforced by the recent forwarding and subsequent screening of list of commissioners to form the cabinet by the Governor and the legislature respectively.

The nominees, adjudged by many public and political analysts as the finest in the history of the State, owing to the fact of all-inclusiveness, youth/gender balance (with women taking more than 56%), and the touch of technocracy and political experience is another pointer that the new administration is ready for real business of good governance.

It is no fallacy that during past administrations, political appointees were not selected on merit and competence – a majority of them were political stooges, political thugs, and those deemed “experienced” but with no positive impact in governing the affairs of the State as manifested in the rot inherited by this administration. It was one of the darkest periods in the State Of Harmony – Interestingly, the good people of Kwara State survived that period and came out stronger and better, leaving their political tormentors and those who looted the treasury of their State to the wrath of their maker.

Alhaji Abdulrahman Abdulrazaq, knowing the importance of having competent members in his cabinet and his led government by extension, decided to assemble youths and women with brilliant ideas, who are passionate about Kwara and have everything to give in to take the State to prosperity – through an all-inclusive and transparent process.

The painstaking screening session of the nominees which was characterized by rigorous questionings by the legislators and apt responses by the nominees, not only portrays the independence of the Kwara legislature but also brings out the kinds of personalities recruited into the Governor’s cabinet.

This no doubt, would consolidate the gains of the Governor on a solid foundation already established in preparation to finally begin the implementation of his administration’s policy to serve the people of the State through his people oriented policies. This move was a great deviation from the wish-wash process of selection that ushered in incompetent politicians who inflicted backwardness in our dear State, in the past.

To this submissions, it is pertinent to commend Governor Abdurahman’s lead for good governance in the State Of Harmony. Today, the coast is now clear for the new administration to unleash its various panacea for the quagmires facing the State of Harmony in tandem with peaceful coexistence, growth and development for better governance in a sustainable manner.

Tobi Matthew is on Twitter: @tobbiematthew

Re: Mamman Daura’s Birthday Celebrations in London

Tekenah refer to the editorial by Desert Herald Newspaper published on Saturday November 10, 2019 in respect of the 80th birthday celebration of Mallam Mamman Daura held in London.

The paper is of the opinion that “what happened in London is shameful, insensitive, highly provocative especially for the poor and a clear contradiction of what the APC government is preaching for almost 5 years now”. 

Mamman is a personality of no mean character. He is a decent man who over the years earned his wealth with which he has survived his family. He is not known to be a strong member of the ruling political party in Nigeria. There is no constitutional prohibition to have his birthday celebration outside Nigeria.

Mamman Daura has been a responsible citizen of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, to the extent that there has been no issue between him and any financial crime agencies in Nigeria. He has the right to chose where to celebrate his life, moreover, it is not with any public funds as everyone present at the celebration bought their flight tickets.

Thus the negative image being portrayed in the editorial is wrong and unfounded. Going by the records, the Editor in Chief of the Desert Herald Newspaper, Tukur Mamu is biting the hand that fed him because Mallam Daura had provided moral and monetary support to him in Kaduna.

Therefore, Tekenah consider the judgement of Desert Herald as unwarranted, harsh and spiteful. I consider it highly deserving that Desert Herald do a retraction of their comment and apologize to Mallam Mamman Daura. Failure to do these may lead to further actions against the Desert Herald as may be deemed proper by the celebrant. 

‘Wata Rana a Sha Zuma, Wata Rana a Sha Madaci’: Tribute to Baba at 80! By Fatima Daura

Malam Mamman Daura

To be like the rock that the waves keep crashing over. It stands unmoved and the raging of the sea falls still around it.” – Marcus Aurelius

Today, I pay tribute to an extraordinarily special man. A humble human being who is fazed neither by criticism nor by praise. A gentleman who is unperturbed by fortune or loss. An individual who is content with little and unimpressed by wealth, power or position. A person who is averse to publicity and showmanship; self-effacing; austere and always simply dressed — customarily in white.

This man lives a simple life that is far from the garish and the gaudy; which is exemplified by his casual, but certain, non-judgemental disdain for the ostentatious. 

Today, I celebrate a man that I am proud to call my father, Malam Mamman Daura.

This tribute is about my father, ‘My Baba’, the real Malam Mamman Daura: son, husband, father, and grandfather. The actual version. The authentic version. The one that exists in real life — who has touched many lives in his unassuming way. Not the sponsored-social-media-created version who is preposterous and larger-than-life.

As Baba himself would say when we would express concern about the persistent and unjustified character assassination of his person – “Do not worry. If Allah knows the truth; that is all that matters.” I would want to provide another perspective — the genuine perspective and a true portrayal of the man my father is. This account stems from who and what my siblings and I, and our mother know him to be…

My Baba is a simple, yet, complex man. A man of a few words — which often makes him come across as standoffish. He is highly engaging when he is in his comfort zone – with family and a few close friends. With his late younger brother Baba Sani, I recall with such fondness their daily raucous and wheezy-asthmatic laughing sessions as they shared their inside-jokes. Both men would always end up dissolving into laughter — like old car engines, —whenever they were in the same room.

Baba is conservative, yet liberal. Conservative in his political leanings and gender roles at the home front. However, he is the perfect gentleman. He is chivalrous to a fault, and a gracious human being, who personally serves others food before serving himself —whenever they eat at his table. 

The conservative that Baba is makes his public displays of affection extremely rare — atypical of northern men in his age group. However, from his consistent actions and teachings over the years, we have never doubted that he loved us. 

If you make the mistake of telling Baba you have a headache, he will continue to ask you about that same headache for many days. When we were younger, there was no limit to how he would play and engage us when he was available and otherwise preoccupied. He would play ‘Riyo-riyo’ with us – a game where we would all hold hands and form a circle and sing ‘Riyo-riyo, o ririyo gib’ and then put our right feet forward into the circle with a thump. This was done continuously and when he sang ‘Riyo riyo o ririyo kwangarya’ we were all supposed to stamp our right feet out of the circle. The person who made the mistake of thumping his or her right feet inside the circle would be laughed at. Nevertheless, there were no winners or losers in this game, which was played in two sets of three, two and one. Of course, being young children at the time, Baba could not keep up with our energy and would stop the game after a while.

During Sallah (Eid) celebrations we would have lalle (Henna) applied on our hands and feet – and oh did Baba despise the smell of lalle! With such irreverence, we would shove our lalle dyed feet unto Baba’s nose and face and he would struggle to push us away. When we would not stop, he would grab us and rub the stubs on his freshly shaven chin on our faces and foreheads; prickling our fresh cherubic faces, and we would scream and that was how he would finally get rid of us. However, when he was not in the mood, as you entered his living room, one piercing glare was enough, or without saying a word, he would point to the door and we would immediately leave. When we did not get the message, or when he was expecting visitors, he would say to us “Make yourselves scarce!” — and we would subsequently take flight. 

Once we started to grow up, Baba’s conservatism set in. He no longer used to hug us when he returned from trips. We no longer used to rush to say ‘Baba oyoyo!’ It became a more measured ‘Baba sannu da zuwa’, sometimes with a handshake. By the time I was 17 years old, I had gotten used to not hugging Baba. For the first time in my life, I had not seen my father in 8 months at a stretch when I went to college after secondary school. When Baba came in, instinctively, I rushed to hug him — forgetting that I had stopped that habit many years earlier. Baba held me by the shoulders and said to me “You are much too large for this!” stopping me in my tracks. We both laughed over it. 

Baba is also liberal – in the sense that he married only our mother — when polygamy was the norm for his demographic group. Together they had six of us – five females, and a male. In our household, there was always a sense of equality in the rights, privileges and disciplinary actions — especially in the educational opportunities afforded to all of us. My brother often mentioned when we were growing up that once his friends or acquaintances realised that he was the only male child, they assumed that he was treated with higher regard – which he always countered with much conviction that it was indeed the reverse case. During our weekly special family lunches at home, usually on Fridays or Saturdays, with food from the Arewa Chinese restaurant, he would always be the last to eat — after he had served our mother, the girls, then our brother — he would then serve himself. 

Baba never once talked or pressured me nor any of my four sisters about marriage. He allowed me to get married by my choice and on my terms – just before I turned 26, and after I had completed my master’s degree, national service and working for nearly two years. 

Not outrightly religious, Baba has lived and continues to live the exemplary life of sabr (patience), shukr (thankfulness) and tawakkul (trust in God) – the core virtues of the Islamic faith. Baba is also of impeccable rectitude – honest and decisively upright but is neither sanctimonious nor overcritical. Mama has told me how one of his childhood friends frequently re-iterated to her “Mamman duk ya fi mu” (Mamman is better than all of us). 

In the 1980s and 1990s, he was honoured several times by the Kaduna State Government for consistency in remitting the rightful amount of corporate taxes as well as personal income taxes. Because he declared and paid the correct amount of personal income taxes in amounts much more than people of known stupendous wealth did — he was generally thought to be much wealthier than he really was. He served as the Chairman of a Committee during the 1994 Constitutional Conference – which lasted almost one year; and when the conference ended, committee members and chairpersons were allocated choice residential plots in Abuja by the then Federal Government. Baba rejected the plot given to him – citing that he had served his country and that he was adequately remunerated with accommodation and sitting allowances and therefore did not deserve the plot. He also indicated that he did not need the plot. Until today, this is the essential character of my father – not bothered much about asset acquisition, or the things that he does not ‘need’. In conversations I have had with him over the years, he has hinted to me that if one makes the pursuit of money and material things one’s focus, then one would never have peace. Baba’s motivation was always on setting up industries – to create jobs and accelerate development; but not primarily to create personal wealth. 

Not one given to socialising, Baba is almost always at home with his family. He is either found reading in his study or sitting alone in his living room in deep thought or with his television tuned to the news, sports, documentaries or nature channels. Occasionally he watches classic movies – he especially enjoys watching British Classics like Laurel and Hardy, Charlie Chaplin, Mind Your Language and the Carry On series. In the afternoons, you would usually find him — to use his exact words — “watching an enthralling game of cricket and sipping on a spiffing cup of English tea!” He calls Darjeeling ‘the Rolls Royce of Teas.’ 

Growing up, we had the best of times. Baba worked extremely hard and for long hours and was a prosperous industrialist with major stakes in textiles, manufacturing and banking – so we lacked nothing. While he did not care so much for material things, he gave us the best of everything. As little kids, we would often fly First Class to London on the then British Caledonian Airways and lodge at The Churchill Hotel. So these days, when I have to plan to purchase an economy ticket to London, I think back and I am grateful for what I had as a child. In the mid-80s, we would vacation in Nice (the south of France) and Amsterdam. Perhaps because Baba grew up with so little, often going days without much food, he spared nothing to ensure our utmost comfort. If not for our mother’s corrective spankings and strictness, I think we would have turned out utterly spoilt brats!

Thankfully and for our own good, Mama did not give in to his pleads to stop spanking us when we were naughty. We really did have the best of everything; but most importantly, we had love! Baba did all this to please us, but he was and is still not one to be affected or controlled by worldly things. Contrary to popular opinion, Baba possesses neither millions in bank accounts nor choice properties in Abuja or anywhere else – in fact, he owns only two houses – his family homes in Kaduna and Daura. 

A minimalist, Baba’s choice of clothing has always been modest. Since mobile phones came into existence, he stopped wearing watches. When he used to wear watches – he wore a simple, leather bracelet timepiece. Most of Baba’s personal staff have been with him for 20, 30 and even up to 40 years. Many of them only leave when they get too old or when we were separated by the cold hands of death – a confirmation of his kindness, generosity and magnanimity. 

The quintessential stoic, Baba is unruffled by provocation. I doubt that in my 40 plus years of existence, I have heard him raise his voice or blurt out invectives or harsh reprimands even when justified. Baba never shouts at anyone —his aides and domestic workers inclusive. I remember when I got married and Baba was giving me final words of advice before my departure from home and as I sobbed he said to me “ki yi hakuri, ki yi kamar Maman ki. Shekaru talatin da muke tare bamu taba fada ba” (Be patient like your mother, we have never fought in the 30 years (then) that we had been together). I was shocked! When I was younger, I truly believed that they never used to fight or disagree at all — and I cannot thank them enough for that – for that is a great gift to give to your children. 

As I grew older, I understood that there was no way a marriage would have no conflict, and that they just did a good job in hiding theirs from us. A few weeks after I got married, I asked my mother if they had never fought before – and she said that he was telling the truth. She said that it was not because there were no avenues for quarrels, but because he would just not let the quarrels to occur. She told me that there were conflicts of course and disagreements, but he had never raised his voice at her or engaged her in a squabble. She also said that she would sometimes intentionally provoke him just to get a reaction, but the dignified gentleman would just not budge! Ka ji Maza! 

Baba’s sense of humour is legendary – and his use of adjectives unparalleled. He is at his best when he playfully dishes out abuses at us – when you put on weight he would whisper not to you but to another sibling “X tayi yi monumental kiba” (X has put on monumental weight) or say with much gender insensitivity “you are growing in all directions.” About an extremely corrupt figure, he would say, “dedicated thief”, when you irritate him, he would call you a “confounded nuisance.” One of Baba’s favourite sayings is “if you pay peanuts, you get monkeys to work for you” – to stress that if a job pays very little, it attracts the least competent hands. I remember many years ago, I was reading a poorly written article – almost unintelligible due to the numerous grammatical, spelling and every conceivable error inherent, and he said to me – “If you read that article to the end, it will un-educate you!” 

Baba once told me that sometime in the late 1970s, when he was the Editor of the New Nigerian newspaper, he conducted what he described as a highly engaging interview with the late Alhaji Mamman Shata – arguably the most renowned and most prolific Hausa singer and griot. He then wrote what he said was one of the best articles of his writing career – full of praise for Mamman Shata as he was memerised by the singer’s personality – his quick wit, talent, humour and general take on issues. At the last minute, he said that he stopped the article’s publication because, again, in his exact words: “bani so ya yi mani waka!’’ (I do not want him to sing [a panegyric] for me) 

As a son, Baba adored his late father – Alhaji Dauda Daura (Alhaji Babba), the first Durbin Daura (The Durbi of Daura). Alhaji Babba was of Kanuri ancestry; after an infamous family feud, his great grandparents and other family members migrated from Kukawa in northern Borno to Mirriah in Niger Republic with some finally settling in Daura. Baba used to call his father ‘Alhaji nawa’ (my Alhaji) as if he was his alone. He would call Alhaji Babba every single day or night without fail when landlines were finally operational in Daura. As one of us (children) entered his living room, he would blurt out with much emphasis – zero (pronounced zee-ye-ro in an exaggerated Queen’s English manner) six-five, and then whoever it was would complete with ‘five-seven-zero-zero-six (065-57006) – also mimicking the zee-ye-ro pronunciation. It was an instruction to go to the telephone and keep dialing until the line went through to Daura and to ‘his Alhaji’. Those under 35 years may not remember those telephones where dialing required ringing the numbers round and round and the difficulty we endured in those days with getting connected to other states, especially the rural areas.

When Alhaji Babba’s health failed, and after an unsuccessful medical trip to the UK, Baba brought him back to Kaduna to our home where he was nursed until he passed away in October 1993. His death took a toll on Baba – he lost considerable weight and bore a sad countenance for many months. After the Durbi’s passing, the then Sarkin Daura (Emir of Daura), late Muhammadu Bashar conferred Baba with the title of Durbi – much to his chagrin as he despises anything that brings attention to himself and most especially the pomp that accompanies royal titles. Up until today, over 25 years since the title was conferred upon him – the official turbaning has not be done; due to Baba’s reluctance. When my mother wants to provoke him, albeit jokingly, she would call him Durbi, and he would give her the side glare, and she would laugh aloud while he would maintain a straight face! 

With his mother – Hajjá Sa’a, being her first surviving child and her being a Fulani woman, she was not expected to show him much affection and she did not. He spent more time with his paternal grandmother than he did with his mother and therefore was not very attached to her as his other siblings were. I observed their relationship to be very formal, but it was obvious how proud of her son she was. Just like Alhaji Babba, Baba would also do anything for his mother – never going against her will. I believe that I made up for the closeness lacking in their relationship, as I was the apple of her eye – the warmth and affection that she was unable to show to her son; she showered on me. I think Baba inherited her sharp intellect. Hajja Sa’a was also a woman of few words.

However, when she did speak; she demonstrated incredible wordsmithery and the ease and speed at which she would add and subtract large numbers indicated what a mathematical genius she would have been had she gone to formal school. Hajja Sa’a died in September 1996 in Daura after a very brief illness. 

Growing up, while Baba was not one to play music (although he told me that he once had an enviable collection of classical music records and classic Hausa music tapes); without realizing, we made a lot of good acapella music with him as the composer and lead singer and us as the background choristers, the ‘yan amshi. When things did not go the way we expected them to, Baba would often sing the words of Jan Kidi to us: 

“Wata rana a sha zuma,

wata rana a sha madaci,

haka duniya ta ke,

Jaafaru mai halin mazan jiya; zauna da lafiya, mai kuli-kuli kawo na dari….’’ (Sometimes life offers us honey, sometimes life gives us bitters, that is how life is….).

These words have made an indelible mark on my psyche in my formative years, and as I have grown older, I have fully grasped the weight of those words. Whenever things do not go my way, or when they do go my way, I find myself singing “wata rana a sha zuma, wata rana a sha madaci….’’ and I feel so much better or I restrain my joy as the case may be. Baba would also often make us chant after him “may I never rest, until my good is better and my better best” – subtly, without us realising that he was instilling the spirit of excellence and strong work ethic in each and every one of us (his children). Baba taught us contentment – he would habitually say and make us repeat after him “If you can’t have what you want; want what you have.” When it was time for prayers, he would sing “haramar sallah” (prepare to pray) and we would all chorus “alwala” (ablution) – repeatedly as we all marched in different directions (to perform the ablution) only stopping the chants when we were out of sight of each other. Up to this day, Baba still sings haramar sallah to announce that it is time for prayers. 

The most important lesson that I have learnt from my father is patience. Patience in adversity, patience in moments of lack and patience with the vicissitudes of life. In the early 2000s, Baba demonstrated uncommon patience. With the new government reforms, industries collapsed and all of Baba’s business interests suffered a major blow. He went from having so much to having very little or at times even nothing at all – but he persevered. Year in and year out, things got only worse; but Baba accepted this fate with utmost grace – showing not an ounce of bitterness; and for this, he has my eternal reverence. Allah tells us that ‘’Verily, with hardship comes ease’’ (Qur’an 94:5) and indeed; with hardship came ease. 

Finally, as the saying goes, “The greatest gift a father can give his children is to love their mother” and Baba has indeed shown Mama what unconditional love is – in words and deeds, in spite of his conservatism and intrinsic inability or more appropriately shyness in showing physical public displays of affection.

My parents do have an enviable relationship – up until today, one of their favourite past times is writing palindromes. Baba would write the first sentence in capital letters and underline and Mama would complete with several verses underneath and you would find that sheet of paper casually lying around on a table or stool in Baba’s living room. Baba would come back from an unusual trip to the grocery store and buy Mama a pack of Kellogg’s Special K cereal which she loves and would say to her “here is some Special K for a special K” (in reference to her second name Kulthum). It would make her happy to no end – basking in the euphoria of a woman who knew her husband adores her.

They say nobody is perfect, but how perfect you are to me Baba! Happy 80th to a distinguished gentleman. Babarbare mai halin Fulani! Durbin Daura! Papi! The estimable, the inestimable Baba! It is an incredible honour to be your daughter. 

Ni ce, Fatima tim tim. 

 

Post Scriptum 

Malam Mamman Daura was born on the 9th of November, 1939 in Daura. He had his basic education at the Katsina Middle School and Secondary Education at the Government College, Okene. 

In the late 1960s, he was sent to the UK for higher education by the then Northern Regional Government as part of a small cohort of brilliant young northern men chosen by the late Sardauna of Sokoto, Sir Ahmadu Bello. Malam Mamman Daura studied English Language, English Literature, Latin and British Constitution at Advanced Level at Bournemouth College. He was then admitted to the elitist Trinity College, Dublin (The Irish equivalent of Oxbridge) and received a Bachelor’s degree in Economics and Politics and a combined Masters degree in Public and Business Administration. He returned home and joined the mainstream civil service.

He subsequently moved to the New Nigerian Newspapers as Editor and eventually becoming its Managing Director. Thereafter, he left to set up a private industry – The Kaduna Furniture and Carpets Company (KFCC) which was at one time the largest furniture manufacturing company in West Africa. 

Malam Mamman Daura was a key driver of the first northern Nigerian industrial revolution of the late 1970s and 1980s; with local and international partners and investors – setting up and managing the following industries: Kaduna Aluminium Ltd, Kaduna Machine Works, United Nigeria Textiles Ltd (UNTL), Funtua Textiles (FTL), Arewa Textiles, Nortex and Finetex.

He was at various times a director or board member, managing director or chairman of Hagameyer, Dunlop, African International Bank and APICO Insurance.

He also played a key role in the management of the Northern Nigeria Development Company (NNDC), Nigeria Television Authority (NTA) and Al-Huda Huda Printing Press. He was until recently, an active member of the philanthropic organisation – Gidauniyar Jihar Katsina (Katsina State Development Fund).

His political affiliations over the Republics are: the Northern People’s Congress (NPC), National Party of Nigeria (NPN), National Republican Convention (NRC), People’s Democratic Party (PDP), All People’s Party (APP), All Nigeria People’s Party (ANPP), Congress for Progressive Change (CPC) and the All Progressives Congress (APC). 

He is married to Hajia Ummu Kulthum and together they have 5 daughters, 1 son and 14 grandchildren. 

 

 

How They Gave Atiku A False Sense Of Hope, By Femi Adesina

After the Supreme Court threw out the legal challenge by Atiku Abubakar of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) on the February 2019 presidential poll last week, two things flashed across my mind. One was a song, the other, a quote from William Shakespeare’s Macbeth, which I’d read over 40 years ago.

First, the song:

The strife is o’er, the battle done,
The victory of life is won,
The song of triumph has begun,
Alleluia!

And then Shakespeare, as Macbeth was confronted by Macduff at the battlefront, and the former realised he had been fooled by the witches who had predicted that no man born of woman could ever kill him, and that he could not be defeated in any battle “till Birnam Wood comes to Dunsinane.”

Macduff told Macbeth that he had been “untimely ripped” from his mother’s womb, and was not biologically delivered as babies are. The advancing soldiers also bore before them trees they had cut from Birnam Wood, which meant the forest had virtually relocated to Dunsinane. Macbeth, confronted with defeat, had declared:

“And be these juggling fiends no more believed,
That palter with us in a double sense,
That keep the word of promise to our ear,
And break it to our hope.”

Macbeth had been fooled, just as it happened to former vice president, Atiku Abubakar, who had been hoodwinked into believing that he was president already, before the February 2019 election.

Who were those that paltered with Atiku in a double sense? Who were the people that lured him into a losing battle? Who were those who told him he was on a giant horse, not knowing that he was riding on a cockroach? Let’s do a checklist.

Olusegun Obasanjo, and his foreign cohorts. The former president was the one that ruined Atiku Abubakar the most, when they fought a bitter battle as they served together in government. Obasanjo wrote books, granted interviews, where he poured vitriol on his former deputy. He described him in words that won’t make you buy Atiku for ten kobo. In fact, he said God should punish him if he ever supported Atiku for president. And that lasted for about ten years.

Suddenly, with just months to the 2019 election, Obasanjo came singing another tune. He said he had forgiven Atiku, and started calling him “my President in waiting.” Were Nigerians fools? Can you approbate and reprobate at the same time? Can you strip a man naked in the marketplace, and cover him up in the bedroom? The damage would already be done. And so it was with Atiku.

Yes, Obasanjo has some clout, particularly internationally. He swung into action, trying to mobilise the international community behind his candidate. Some people followed him, and Atiku thought the deed was done. But they didn’t reckon with the hurricane called Muhammadu Buhari. The cyclone force was too strong, and it simply cleared everything in its path. It was a bitter lesson that the challenger learnt too late.

Obasanjo had always decided who should, and shouldn’t be president, right from the first time he left power as a military ruler in 1979. He was instrumental in some ways to the emergence of Shehu Shagari, Umaru Yar’Adua, and Goodluck Jonathan, as presidents. He also contributed to pulling them down later with his mouth. By this year, Nigerians were simply tired of the overbearing attitude of the Ota chicken farmer. They thus refused to buy the candidate he had earlier rendered toxic, and was selling to them in borrowed robes.

Who fooled Atiku again? The Atikulators. And who are they? People who flocked after the candidate for many reasons, none of them altruistic. They were those who didn’t like Buhari, either because of ethnicity, language, religion, or the man’s aversion for corruption. They wanted business as usual, and it should be anybody but Buhari. So, they followed Atiku, not because they loved him, but they would have also followed a goat, if they had been told that the animal could get Buhari out of power. They put their money on the wrong horse, gambled, and lost.

Before the election, you saw and heard the Atikulators everywhere, boasting of how they were going to wrest power in the country. They were all over the place. In offices, marketplaces, churches, mosques, schools, on television, radio, newspapers; almost in all traffic lanes of life. And they fooled their principal. He backed them up with piles and tons of cash, in major currencies of the world.

To quote President Buhari, “they spent so much dollars, that the currency became devalued.” For Atiku, anything that money cannot do is not doable. Money answereth all things. He threw in more and more. But for the Buharists, it is not about money, not even a bottle of soft drink or water. It is about conviction. It is about integrity and accountability. It is about building a new country, devoid of greed and rapacity. So we followed the Mai Gaskiya (honest man) all the way. Nothing could be articulated against him. Not possible.

Again, the marabouts, prophets, some pastors and preachers. Yes, let me group them together, including the witches and wizards. They formed a confederacy, and said Atiku would win. Who is it that says anything when the Lord has not spoken? The marabouts collected money handsomely, and pronounced Atiku king. They did not tell him he would be king on an empty throne. The preachers, across the major religions, because of personal hatred, and possibly inducement, gave evil and false messages.

They began to proclaim that Atiku was the messiah, when God had not said so. And the PDP candidate believed them. He felt there was no way he could ever lose the election. But he didn’t know that lying tongues were in action. The preachers had become inhabited by lying spirits, modern day Zedekiahs, who prophesied falsehood (1 Kings 22:11). They led Atiku to political perdition.

The social media. Populated by people with an exaggerated sense of worth, they think they can do and undo. I call them the vocal minority. If you followed only the social media before the election, you would think the All Progressives Congress (APC) government at the centre was gone. They filled the landscape with so much wailing, till they became wailing wailers. We will do this, we will do that. Mere shooting of breeze. Superfluity of nothingness. Arrogant impertinence. The Buhari people simply kept their peace, while online warriors, most of who had no permanent voters cards (PVCs) continued to fire blanks.

A very credible and scientific study had showed before the polls that social media would account for only between nine and 11 per cent of the ballots. And not all of the votes would go to PDP. The two major parties would share it. But from the noise online, you thought Atiku had coasted home. He, too, must have believed the lie. He paid dearly for it with a broken heart.

The coalition that thought they owned the country. They also fooled Atiku. They include politicians, businessmen, high net-worth people. They had never failed in anything before. If they showed you a red card, you were out of the game. God’s judgment, no appeal. Such people massed behind Atiku. Those who had corruption cases before the courts, those who had lost power and were forlorn and disconsolate, those who had always profiteered from the system and who felt that Buhari had closed the sluice gate, they all came together. Buoyed by Atiku’s promise that he would empower his friends when he got power, they were already licking their lips. Soon, our snouts would be in the honeypot again, they told themselves. But those who felt they were Nigeria’s landlords had long been given quit notices by Buhari, and ejected. Atiku thought they were still somebody, and learnt the hard way. What a pity!

Wrong permutations. That was also Atiku’s downfall. It is an inexorable truth that it is only the person/party that builds the bigger coalition that wins the Presidency in Nigeria (and almost everywhere else). But before the election, Atikulators had come with this jejune permutation. They would sweep the South-East, the South-South, the North-Central, share North-East and North-West, as well as South-West. And Atiku would coast home. True? Well, dreams don’t cost anything. The dream eventually became a nightmare.

Wrong strategy. It is on good authority that the winning strategy of the PDP had been based on a data hack. That was why they fought tooth and nail for electronic voting, because they were allegedly in league with international forces that were adept at the manipulation of election results. The plan was to intercept results as they were transmitted electronically, and record them for PDP. But it is said that if the abiku has learnt to die in a dry season, the mother too would learn to bury it during the rainy season. The rest is history.

Many other forces fooled Atiku that space would not permit one to mention. People who promised access to the electoral commission’s server, when none existed in the true sense of the word. Some elements in the judiciary, who had made false promises. And the lawyers. Yes, we can’t but talk briefly about them.

Lawyers are professionals. They must ply their art, and make profit from it. They are learned people, while the rest of us are only educated. However, morality is everything. Why egg on your client, when you know he had the most useless case in the world? Nigerians knew Atiku lost the election.

Lawyers too knew it. But man must chop. They encouraged the PDP candidate to go to court, despite knowing that the prayers were weak and improbable. Senior Advocate of Nigeria, Festus Keyamo, said the suit was the worst he had ever seen in Nigeria’s history of election petitions. But the lawyers convinced Atiku otherwise. He lost at the Court of Appeal level, but there was probably more money to be made. So they encouraged a trip to the Supreme Court. Another ill-fated journey.

Sadly, after the Supreme Court threw out the case, Atiku was not gracious enough to throw up his hands in surrender. He called the judiciary all sorts of names. An opportunity missed to prove that he is not a sore loser and power monger. Where would he go next, World Court? Or as somebody has jocularly said, he may just decide to go to the lawn tennis court.

Femi Adesina is special adviser to President Buhari on Media and Publicity.

Osinbajo: Who is Scared of a Professor?, By Eniola Opeyemi

Twice God says that in King David he had found ‘a man after my own heart’ (1 Samuel 13:14, Acts 13:22). David was one of God’s favourites. David was a man who had a fondly relationship with God, and was constantly seeking his will for his life. Same can be said of Professor Yemi Osinbajo.

The rise and rise of Professor Yemi Osinbajo is no doubt a reflection of God’s blessings on him. His hardwork and loyalty, giving hope not only to the academia but also to professionalism in the nation, his service and art of management are fruits of this blessing. Nigeria’s political terrain has harbored the best script writers, actors and actresses whose precedents have put the nation as one of the most politically tensed countries in the world. Yet Osinbajo stands out in the midst of this pile as distinct and worthy.

Professor Oluyemi “Yemi” Oluleke Osinbajo (born 8 March 1957) is a Nigerian lawyer and politician who is the current Vice President of Nigeria, and has been in office since 29 May 2015. He is also a Senior Advocate of Nigeria, Professor of Law and until his inauguration as Vice President, a Senior Partner with SimmonsCooper Partners, a commercial law practice.

Osinbajo is a key player in the President Muhammadu Buhari’s led administration. He has played the lead as the head of the Economic Management Team and saved the country from a recession and the crisis that ensued, putting the economy on track; he has also been instrumental to ensuring sanity and peace in the Niger Delta – he made shuttle trips to the region to engage with its leaders and call for peace in the region. 

The Redeemed Christian Church of God Pastor does not shied away from difficult jobs. His visits to the Niger Delta region in the heat of militancy spoke volumes of his charisma and commitment to duty. His narrative was that the young men in the region must be “properly engaged” to stop them falling into the easy preys of being recruited by militant groups or participating in illegal refining of crude oil.

Nigeria’s economy is struggling to become less dependent on oil — which makes up more than 70 percent of GDP — while various security threats continue to plague the country. These include the Boko Haram insurgency in the northeast: the group has been largely contained by Nigerian and regional military forces, but continues to launch guerrilla attacks and suicide bombings on a not-infrequent basis.

According to CNN, “Nigeria, Africa’s most populous nation, improved its ranking on the latest World Bank ease of doing business index.”

The country now ranks 131 on the World Bank’s Doing Business 2020 index, released Wednesday. The West African nation moved up 15 places from its 2019 spot and has been tagged as one of the most improved economies in the world for running a business. These have been possible through the relentless efforts of the Vice President.

If we are to go by the records, Vice President Osinbajo deserves our gratitude and not humiliation.

Nonetheless, the cabals influence in Nigeria’s politics cannot be underrated as they perform more functions behind the scene than most elected and appointed officials, some of these cabals surrounding the President have constantly choosen to put the Vice-President under their control, owing to avoidance of seeing him overshadow their prowess in the affairs of the nation. But rarely would you see Osinbajo comment on this, showing maturity, professionalism and the figure he presents in the church, consequently, the vice – president has continually paid his loyalty to his boss which has paid off with his popularity waxing stronger in Nigeria’s political scene.

Just recently, the powers around the President showed to have something hidden as regards the Vice – President. In every political and non – political setting, it is expected that the deputy acts in the absence of his/her boss, this was however not the scene here.

It has been said that Abba Kyari, the Chief of Staff to the President has been deciding all that happens in the Presidency, including the exclusion of the First Lady, Mrs. Aisha Buhari, from getting closer to her husband to render necessary advise.

As reported, just recently in Kastina, the Chief of staff was cautioned for breaking the protocol in a programme the Vice-President attended.

The latest of it all is the sacking of some of the Vice President’s aides. An online newspaper, Daily Nigerian, had reported that about 35 of the aides were sacked.

While clarifications are needed as to the relationship between the Chief of staffs and these allegations, it will be good that a truce is sought and made, and any belligerence laid to rest in the best interest of the country.

Nigeria would be great irrespective of the tribe or powers that make up its leadership. There is no need to be scared of a Professor.

Eniola Opeyemi writes from Lagos State

Takeaways From Buhari’s Visit To Saudi Arabia, By Garba Shehu

The President participated in the Future Investment Initiative, which was christened “Davos in the Desert”. Apart from attending the summit, which had a debating format for global leaders, investors and innovators to  compare notes and share ideas, President Buhari held extensive talks with the Kingdom’s rulers, King Salman bin Abdulaziz and his son, the powerful Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, MBS.

The Presidents meetings with the two prominent rulers marked an important upswing in relations between Nigeria and the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.

As part of his engagements at the FII, President Buhari joined Presidents Mahamadou Issoufou of Niger Republic and Uhuru Kenyatta of Kenya in a plenary session to discuss the topic: ‘‘What’s Next for Africa? How will Investment and Trade Transform the Continent into the Next Great Economic Success Story?’’.  

In his arguments, President Buhari said the vigorous implementation of key reforms by his administration in oil and gas, farming and agriculture as well as the country’s vast human resources, made mostly of “young men, women and able-bodied persons” and the country’s rich land and mineral resources eminently positions her for substantial capital inflows. He said the economy holds great promise of win-win for investors.

The President highlighted some key achievements of his administration and expressed a strong determination to use agriculture and ICT as vehicles to attain the target of lifting 100 million Nigerians out of poverty in the next ten years.

On the sidelines of the conference, President Buhari held strategic meetings with the leadership of Saudi Oil and Gas group, the country’s Sovereign Wealth Fund and Public Investment Fund, PIF. On the directive of the King, who had a meeting with the Nigerian leader to discuss friendly and strategic relations between both countries, the world’s largest oil operating company, ARAMCO came to ask the President and his team a simple question: “What can we do for you?’’

In response, President Buhari requested ARAMCO to visit Nigeria and carry out a diagnostic assessment of the Nigeria National Petroleum Corporation’s (NNPC) refineries, pipelines and other infrastructure.

He wanted ARAMCO to deploy its technical expertise “to improve the efficiency of the oil and gas industry in Nigeria.” The company’s Chairman, Yassir Al-Rumayyan, who doubles as the head of the PIF, expressed the company’s determination to promote business investment through the use of modern technology across the energy sector in Nigeria. For those who know, the head of the Saudi PIF has the capacity to invest five billion dollars in a country within a month.

The President instructed the Minister of State, Petroleum Resources, Timipre Sylver, Minister of Industry, Trade and Investment, Niyi Adebayo and GMD of NNPC, Mele Kyari to work with the Saudi Arabian investment company to expedite action on modalities for collaboration and actualization of the aspirations of the leaders.

Another meeting of great significance, which was almost missed due to scheduling difficulties, but eventually took place because of  strong interest on both sides was between the United States team to the FII and President Buhari. The American Treasury Secretary, Steven Mnuchin, who was accompanied by Brent Macintosh, Under Secretary of the Treasury for International Affairs and Marshall Billingslea, Assistant Secretary for Terrorist Financing in the United States Treasury Department, were on their way to the airport but they had explored an opportunity to meet with President Buhari no matter how short.

They turned back to meet with the President when a space was found in his schedule, albeit late evening.At an hour when most members of his delegation had retired to their accommodations after a long day of meetings, President Buhari hosted the U S team, with the Minister of State, Petroleum  and GMD of NNPC.

Mnuchin briefed President Buhari on ongoing efforts to return looted funds including the USD 300million (N108 billion) traced to former Head of State, Gen. Sani Abacha. The Treasury Secretary also raised possibility of the U S investing in Nigeria under the new United States International Development Finance Corporation (USIDFC), which provides $60 billion for investments in developing nations.

Whether this is a response to the Russia-Africa summit in Sochi, as argued by some critics matters less to President Buhari. For him, anyone who has money and shows a willingness to help Nigeria overcome her infrastructure deficit is welcome. The President told the Americans that Nigeria will leverage on the U.S facility to address current challenges confronting her power sector as well as general upgrade of infrastructure. President Buhari thanked the U.S government for supporting Nigeria’s anti-terrorism efforts.

For the Nigerian President and his delegation, the game changer in all of the engagements was the iconic meeting with the Crown Prince, Prince Mohammed Ibn Salman who, in a special gesture and company of two others, entered the President’s suite in Ritz Carton. The Prince had offered to visit the President, instead of receiving him.

He had the same question as ARAMCO, “Your Excellency, what can we do to assist Nigeria?’’  Prince Mohammed Ibn Salman said Nigeria was already destined to be one of the top 20 economies of the world. “Saudi Arabia is eager to support Nigeria and we want to be a part of Nigeria’s journey to the top 20 economies of the world,’’ he added.

The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, which had last month announced its interest to invest USD 100 billion in India, revealed that it had so far invested 40 billion dollars in India, 10 billion dollars in Pakistan and 20 billion dollars in Indonesia. According to Prince Mohammed Ibn Salman: “We are willing to do the same in Nigeria, given the favourable business environment.” President Buhari gave an instant and firm commitment for the partnership.

Both leaders reviewed the historically strong and friendly relations between the two countries and looked at ways through which it can be formalized. President Buhari and Prince Mohammed Ibn Salman, also known as MBS, agreed to set up a joint Saudi-Nigeria Strategic Council. This Council will be made up of government officials and businessmen from both countries and the areas of focus are: economic growth and development, investments in oil and non-oil sectors, and security cooperation.

The Saudi-Nigeria Strategic Council will hold meetings twice every year. The leaders of both nations will meet at least once a year to examine progress made on decisions reached by the joint council, and take decisions on strategically important issues.

President Buhari and Prince Mohammed Ibn Salman instructed that the first assignment for the council, which is to be in place within two months, will be to establish a legal and operational framework that will facilitate investments. They also discussed regional and international developments, and in particular issues in oil and gas, and challenges of international terrorism. On oil and OPEC, Prince Mohammed Ibn Salman requested that Nigeria should stay within the quota in production.

President Buhari and the Crown Prince shared the view that with the collapse of ISIS in Iraq and Syria, the next frontier for terrorism is the Sahel region, with both leaders agreeing that the problem had grown beyond the region, and needed global leaders to come together and deal with it. Prince Mohammed Ibn Salman said he was ready to lead a global awareness campaign on the issue.

At the end of the meeting, the Crown Prince, who needed to be fully assured of the commitment from Nigeria asked another question: “Should we tell the public? “To which President Buhari answered, “Yes!”

Members of the Nigerian delegation, made up of the Governors of Borno, Prof. Babagana Umara Zulum, Katsina, Aminu Bello Masari and Kebbi State, Atiku Abubakar Bagudu and Ministers of Communication and Digital Economy, Isa Alli Pantami, Minister of State, Petroleum, Timipre Sylva, Minister of Foreign Affairs, Geoffrey Onyeama and Minister of Industry, Trade And Investment, Adeniyi Adebayo engaged business leaders with varied interests and pulled off, in many instances, potentially important deals.

Adebayo’s engagement with various Investment Funds including Asma Capital funded by Saudi Pension Fund, Saudi Investment Agency as well as Sultan of Brunei and Kingdom of Bahrain are among prospective and noteworthy ones.

President Buhari’s trip has ushered in a new age of strategic cooperation between Nigeria and Saudi Arabia, pushing relations to an upward trajectory that promotes cooperation in investment, trade, security and Intelligence and counter terrorism.

Garba Shehu is the Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media & Publicity.

Lai Mohammed Is Right, Social Media Can Set Nigeria On Fire, By Alwan Hassan

At a Press Conference on Tuesday, the Minister of Information and Culture, Lai Mohammed said that the government planned to push forward its plans to regulate activities on social media in Nigeria. 

During the briefing, the Minister’s rationale was that no responsible government would allow activities capable of setting the country on fire to continue. These activities, as we all know, include the propagation of political propaganda and fake news through social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and the highly encrypted and virtually unregulated, WhatsApp.

Nigerians have freedom of speech. However, freedom of speech has its own inherent limitations in a civilized democracy. These include placing outright policy and legislation to deter speech that is harmful to others; threatening to the peace and security of the society; or speech that is repulsive and reviled.

This means that people are free to express themselves, however, people must know that essential responsibilities are always accessories to every power and every freedom. Every citizen has a fundamental role to play to preserve the sanctity of civility and unity that binds the nation together.

Every post on social media must be within basic guidelines; every one that posts on social media must do so within established frameworks; and even government must work to preserve the intrinsic freedom of citizens to articulate their views, express their concerns and grievances, and hold the government accountable.

As the world evolves, so must we. Yes, social media can set the country on fire, however, it can also be a vehicle for good. Citizens must feel free to air their thoughts on issues; and government must also be responsive.

The internet is a double edged sword, as it can make or mar; build and destroy; and teach and unlearn. A tool can also become a weapon, yet, we must always remember that it was first a tool. Therefore, as we regulate its use, we must never lose sight of its usefulness.

This post originally appeared on NewsWireNGR on Tuesday 29, 2019. Alwan Hassan is is a public policy professional and social commentator, a politician and works in developing and sustaining strategic partnerships between governments and internal and external non-governmental organisations.

Tweets @yesmylo

mail: [email protected]