In an interview with Qatari Aljazeera during his not-so-fruitful trip to Qatar, President Muhammadu Buhari made claim of saboteurs within his government. While reading the interview report, I made attempt to reconcile the claims of the President and facts on ground to establish who really was sabotaging Buhari but I could only find two saboteurs; the first is Buhari, the second is his party and praise-singers.
How Buhari Sabotaged His Own Government:
If we are honest with ourselves, we’ll admit that President Buhari is one lucky President that didn’t inherit problems from his predecessors. For instance, he was lucky enough to inherit a power sector that has already been reformed by Jonathan’s administration and already yielding fruit. He was lucky enough to inherit a Nigeria that wasn’t plagued by ethnic clashes. He was lucky enough to inherit Nigeria’s refineries that was already undergoing infrastructural reform. He was so lucky to inherit a Nigeria that was tagged the number one growing investment haven in Africa. He inherited Youth Empowerment Schemes like YouWIN, and inherited a roadmap that has the potential to lead to permanent restructure of Nigeria, the 2014 Confab Report(which is entirely another story). All that was needed of Buhari was to consolidate on what he met on ground, and take us from where we were(as at May 2015) to where we dream to be. Not forgeting that he is the only President in Nigeria to have the luxury of governing without the distraction of election litigation.
Unfortunately, President Buhari blew away all that. Take the power sector for instance, he assumed that the improved power that came into being when he was sworn-in was due to his body language and ‘fear’ of his person by staffs and management of the various GENSCOs and DISCOs. Instead of crediting the development to reforms of the sector, and improve on the reform President Buhari deliberately refused to bring on board his own power plan nor develop the plan he inherit from his predecessor, he would rather allow the system to flow by itself in “auto-piloting mode”. Six months into his administration, Buhari merged the power sector with two unrelated sectors (works and housing) and brought in Raji Fashola, a lawyer and politician that has no clue about the sector to head the new ministry. The outcome of his mis-steps is the power failure that is being experienced in all part of the country, including Aso Rock. Perhaps, the huge budget on diesel for Aso rock was because President Buhari was prepared for his own power failure.
Buhari failed woefully to put up economic blueprint to transform Nigeria from being the fastest growing investment hub in Africa to a permanent investment haven. Instead he banked on his body language and Lai’s propaganda to do the job, as a result, we not only lost investors coming in but we lost those already in. His failure to put up economic team in his first months in office that would define our fiscal direction led to loss of investors’ confidence.
…Sabotaging Nigeria’s Religious And Social Peace
About a week ago President Buhari confirmed Nigeria’s membership in Saudi-led Islamic Coalition Against Terrorism. Justifying the membership, Buhari said “We are part of it because we have got terrorists in Nigeria that everybody knows which claims that they are Islamic”.Isn’t it an invitation of chaos to associate Nigeria with a particular religion and even make it appear like an Islamic State? Should Buhari insult the Christian community by saying that “Why can’t those Christians that complain go and fight terrorism in Nigeria or fight the militants in the South.” Does he mean that only muslims fight militants in the South South and Boko Haram terrorists in the North East? Is the President’s statement not enough to create religious tension and threaten the relative peace that we enjoy?
…Sabotaging His Own Stand On Secession
The same President Buhari that vowed that “Biafran agitators are joking with the security and Nigeria won’t tolerate Biafra” in his Aljazeera interview, is the same man that pledged Nigeria’s support for secessionist Sahrawi Arab Democratic Republic (SADR) aka Western Sahara(from Morocco) in line with several resolutions of the African Union (AU) on the right of the Sahrawi people to self- determination and independence. He is the same man that pledged “total support” for Palestinian Statehood with Jerusalem as capital. Doesn’t that reeks hypocrisy? Is the AU charter on self determination restricted to only Western Sahara or does it specifically exclude non-Muslim agitators like Biafra? Would Buhari had supported the Biafran agitation if they were predominantly muslims like the Palestinians and Western Saharans? Is Buhari’s action a panacea of peace or chaos?
Marginalising The Southern Minorities in NNPC Appointment
The recent appointment in the NNPC was a clear display of marginalisation of southern minorities whose lands and waters the oil lies and whose environment is polluted. His action is clearly an invitation to rebellion from people from the region. Who will Buhari blame if such rebellion arise?
…His Inaction On Fulani Herdsmen/Terrorists
Fulani herdsmen have graduated from being social and environmental nuisance to full blown terrorists. Killing scores in the most gruesome manner in Agatu(Benue state), Mile 12(Lagos state), and Abia state, yet the government of Buhari has refused to permanently address the issue. It is even shameful that IGP Solomon Arase would tell us to our faces that the Agatu casualty is “overrated”. Is the President inviting ethnic conflict or a civil war before he will act?
Who/What Has Buhari And APC Not Blamed?
Since May 29, 2015, this administration of change(as claimed) has turned into an administration of blame. They blamed Jonathan for all that happened during his government and also blame him for all that is happening now that he has left power. They blamed innocent civil servants for their(government) own failure to put up a sane budget proposal. They blamed the Supreme Court Justices for their own failure to present better argument in the governorship election cases PDP candidates won. They blamed poor oil price for their failure to come up with and implement sound monetary and fiscal policies for the economy. They didn’t just stop there, they blamed God for the collapse of the economy. They blamed oil price for their own failure to meet their campaign promise. Now they are blaming saboteurs. Who are the saboteurs if not Buhari and his army of praise-singers?
Who will they blame next? Like I told some people on Palmchat network, I just hope they don’t shift their blame to the unborn generation.
May God Bless Us All and Bless Nigeria.
President Tinubu Orders Immediate Settlement of N342m Electricity Bill for Presidential Villa
President Bola Tinubu has directed the prompt settlement of a N342 million outstanding electricity bill owed by the Presidential Villa to the Abuja Electricity Distribution Company (AEDC).
This move comes in response to the reconciliation of accounts between the State House Management and the AEDC.
The AEDC had earlier threatened to disconnect electricity services to the Presidential Villa and 86 Federal Government Ministries, Departments, and Agencies (MDAs) over a total outstanding debt of N47.20 billion as of December 2023.
Contrary to the initial claim by the AEDC that the State House owed N923 million in electricity bills, the Presidency clarified that the actual outstanding amount is N342.35 million.
This discrepancy underscores the importance of accurate accounting and reconciliation between entities.
In a statement signed by President Tinubu’s Special Adviser on Information and Strategy, Bayo Onanuga, the Presidency affirmed the commitment to settle the debt promptly.
Chief of Staff Femi Gbajabiamila assured that the debt would be paid to the AEDC before the end of the week.
The directive from the Presidency extends beyond the State House, as Gbajabiamila urged other MDAs to reconcile their accounts with the AEDC and settle their outstanding electricity bills.
The AEDC, on its part, issued a 10-day notice to the affected government agencies to settle their debts or face disconnection.
This development highlights the importance of financial accountability and responsible management of public utilities.
It also underscores the necessity for government entities to fulfill their financial obligations to service providers promptly, ensuring uninterrupted services and avoiding potential disruptions.
Abuja Electricity Distribution Company Issues Ultimatum to 86 Government Agencies Over N47bn Debt
The Abuja Electricity Distribution Company (AEDC) has issued an ultimatum to 86 government agencies, including the Presidential Villa, owing a collective debt of N47 billion.
The notice comes as a response to the prolonged failure of these agencies to settle their outstanding electricity bills.
According to the public notice released by the AEDC management, some of the highest debts are attributed to prominent entities such as the National Security Adviser (owing N95.9 billion), the Chief of Defence staff barracks, and military formations (indebted to the tune of N12 billion).
Also, several ministries, including the Ministry of the Federal Capital Territory and the Ministry of Power, have sizable outstanding bills.
The AEDC has expressed its frustration over the inability of these government bodies to honor their financial obligations despite previous attempts to facilitate payment.
In response, the company has warned of imminent disconnection of services if the outstanding debts are not settled within 10 days of the notice.
The outstanding debts are attributed to various factors including the devaluation of the naira, cash scarcity resulting from demonetization programs, high inflation rates, removal of fuel subsidies, and foreign exchange challenges.
These financial burdens have adversely impacted the operations of the AEDC, contributing to a loss of N99 million in foreign exchange alone.
As the deadline for payment approaches, government agencies are under pressure to address their outstanding debts to avoid service disruptions.
The AEDC remains steadfast in its commitment to ensuring that all entities fulfill their financial obligations, underscoring the importance of prompt payment for uninterrupted electricity services.
Mali, Niger, and Burkina Faso’s Exit from ECOWAS Raises Economic Concerns
Plans by military-ruled Mali, Niger and Burkina Faso to break away from a West African bloc have the potential to backfire on their already fragile economies and exacerbate widespread food insecurity.
The trio of nations are all landlocked and among the poorest in the region, with annual per-capita gross domestic product of less than $1,000.
Exiting the Economic Community of West African States places them at risk of losing access to a $702 billion market, and exposes them to increased tariffs and restrictions on the movement of goods and financial flows.
“The military coup leaders who control Burkina Faso, Mali and Niger have managed to score the silliest own goal since the UK voted for Brexit,” Charlie Robertson, head of macro-strategy at FIM Partners, said in an emailed note. “They take out 8% of Ecowas’ GDP and lose access to markets like Nigeria and Ghana, which together have a GDP of $467 billion.”
Ecowas members benefit from the free movement of goods, capital and people within the bloc. While trade between its 15 members is dominated by Ivory Coast, Ghana and Nigeria, and remains relatively small at about $277 million — or about 15% of the total they conduct — it has the potential to grow to as much as $2 billion over the next few years, the International Trade Centre said last year.
Sub-Saharan Africa has seen nine successful military coups since 2020, and Ecowas has been pushing for a return to civilian rule among those within its ranks. It suspended Niger, Mali and Burkina Faso and imposed far-reaching economic and diplomatic sanctions on them, but the latter two nations have since been readmitted to the bloc and relations had been regularized.
Nigeria, which holds Ecowas’ rotating chairmanship and generates more than half its GDP, said it deplored the juntas’ actions, which amounted to “public posturing” and would deny their populations the right to free movement and trade, according to a statement from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
Mali’s Foreign Minister Abdoulaye Diop defended the decision to leave Ecowas, saying it posed a threat to his nation and that its push for elections to be held was hurting its people.
“This decision was in our best interest in order to protect our interests and work with friendly countries,” he told public broadcaster ORTM on Monday. “We’re not alone, we have Niger and Burkina Faso.”
Besides putting trade at risk, the three nations’ ability to access credit will also be impacted — they are all reliant on the regional market for financing because they can’t access international capital.
Mali and Niger defaulted on their domestic debt in 2021 and 2023 respectively after they lost access to the regional market. Burkina Faso has retained access, but if it is withdrawn its credit rating may be downgraded because of the increased risk of it being unable to refinance its commercial debt, S&P Global Ratings said in an emailed note.
“It’s a bit early to assess what the impact is going to be,” Pierre-Olivier Gourinchas, the International Monetary Fund’s chief economist, told reporters in Johannesburg on Tuesday. “In general, having an integrated economic area is something that’s going to be favorable, conducive to trade and conducive to higher growth. Moving away from this is going to have the opposite effect.”
The juntas haven’t indicated whether they intend leaving the West African Economic and Monetary Union, which seeks to promote financial integration in West Africa and regulates a regional central bank and the French-backed common West African franc that’s used by eight countries. Such a move would make it very difficult for commercial banks to continue operating.
“The impact of exiting the WAEMU – which is not Moody’s baseline expectation – would have credit-negative implications for regional banks across the monetary union,” Mik Kabeya, a Moody’s Investors Service vice president and senior analyst, said in an emailed response to questions.
On Sunday, Ecowas said it was ready to find a negotiated solution to the “political impasse.” It hasn’t followed through on previous threats to reinstate elected leaders by force.
“Putting the threat of military intervention on the table without the desire to follow through, was a show of weakness, not strength,” Joachim MacEbong, a senior governance analyst at Stears Insights, said in an emailed response to questions. “It has probably emboldened the regimes to think they can negotiate.”
Mali and Burkina Faso are scheduled to hold elections this year, according to agreements they struck with Ecowas. Niger has complicated talks with the bloc, preventing its mediators who visited the capital, Niamey, last week from leaving the airport.
The juntas “want to stay in power,” Ibrahima Kane, Executive Director of Open Society Foundations Africa, said by phone from Dakar, Senegal’s capital. “Naturally they will try to get maximum from the bargain.”
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