GOVERNOR CHIBUIKE ROTIMI AMAECHI IS THE WINNER!

GOVERNOR CHIBUIKE ROTIMI AMAECHI IS THE WINNER!
By Cham Faliya Sharon

They said he was pencilled down to be appointed as Secretary to the Federal Government (SGF) or perhaps as Chief of Staff to the President, but then, as it turned out, he got neither. Also, as it later turned out, there was never a conversation anywhere, either between Rotimi Amaechi himself with another person or between President Muhammadu Buhari himself with anybody, that Rotimi Amaechi was being considered for either of the two positions.
However, because rumour is always a rumour, and usually takes a life of its own, this rumour rattled all of Rotimi Amaechi’s enemies and detractors about the possibility of the man becoming such a Big Man occupying the office of either the SGF or the CoS to the President, and quickly they went to town to pull all the stops they could pull to make sure he gets neither of the positions.
Let me quickly say that it might have been possible that President Buhari may have toyed with the idea and possibility of appointing Rotimi Amaechi into any of those two important offices, but the very people in southern Nigeria today hypocritically attacking President Buhari that he didn’t cede the office of SGF or CoS to their region were the very people who foolishly or tactically or in both ways caused the positions to slip away from their grasp.
All the pro-Jonathan and pro-corruption people in southern Nigeria who considered Rotimi Amaechi as an enemy for daring to fight against their “brother” Goodluck Jonathan out of the office of President started making noise, blackmailing President Buhari to probe Amaechi over corruption allegations if Buhari’s anti-corruption war is to be considered as serious, and to underscore the seriousness of their determination to wrestle Rotimi Amaechi to the ground, they used the instrumentality of the current impish occupiers of the Rivers State Government House to send a strong petition to the EFCC against him, and they even published it on several full pages of several Nigerian newspapers, and considering that the EFCC under President Buhari has already taken a life of its own, they promptly demanded for documents, which officially means Amaechi has come under probe, and which also means, his detractors have succeeded in massaging Buhari’s sense of integrity to technically knock out Rotimi Amaechi from being considered (for now) into Buhari’s powerful kitchen cabinet.
Well, for now, they may be jubilating that they have engineered the “failure” of Amaechi from clinching a plum job in Buhari’s government but they are the ultimate losers without them possibly knowing it. Now, apart from wailing and railing against President Buhari, who were they thinking Buhari will consider into those offices from their region when they were busy plotting against Rotimi Amaechi in vengeance for the failure of their corrupt Jonathan? Therefore, it is just and natural that while southern power brokers and their followers were busy back-stabbing one another, President Buhari was left with no option than to look elsewhere, and that’s how the SGF and CoS positions went to northern minority tribes who have never ever had the privilege of securing such jobs before. In fact, I even learnt that Buhari decided to appoint Mr. Kachikwu as the MD of NNPC without letting it known to anybody in his area because if he had given a hint about it to persons from that area, they would have inundated him with petitions on full pages of newspapers condemning Mr. Kachikwu. And, of course, we see such stuff on newspaper pages almost daily. Certain people seem to love back-stabbing one another a great deal.
Needless to say here that the same trick of sophisticated blackmail was used against former Lagos State Governor, Babatunde Fashola, by people who are supposedly close to him. But this is not about Fashola; I will treat his own case in a separate piece like this.
How is Chibuike Rotimi Amaechi the winner in this soap opera?
When the history or story is being told of how patriotic Nigerians chased away Goodluck Jonathan, the most notoriously corrupt and evil ruler this country has ever had, Rotimi Amaechi’s name will feature prominently in all the chapters of the story on how he contributed significantly in chasing out that vile dictator out of power, and Amaechi’s triumph over Jonathan and his gang started from the Nigerian Governors Forum election up to the failure of Jonathan and his wife in removing him as Rivers State Governor using Police Commissioner Mbu, and 5 out of 32 state lawmakers in conjunction with some Niger Delta terrorists, which then means Rotimi Amaechi’s name will always be remembered for goodness, courage and valour while the names of Goodluck Jonathan and his supporters will always evoke memories of corruption, malevolence, mischief and cowardice. Shall the country ever forget the 16/19, 5/27, 7/19 and the Goat/Yam theorems? Never, and neither will the stolen trillions!
History is already kind to Amaechi, and that’s why he should continue to celebrate his triumph over those moral destitutes. Of all the former, and even serving Governors in Nigeria today, Rotimi Amaechi has become more popular and famous. Hardly is there any political discussion in Nigeria today without Amaechi’s name being mentioned. His prospects are brighter and better, and therefore he is the winner.

Controversies about Buhari’s appointments so far: Piece of advice to complaining “southerners”&word of caution to Buhari.

Last week in Adamawa state, Atiku’s daughter was appointed Commissioner for health. All I could hear from the ground of swearing in was ” Jalafeni” ! “Rankadede”! “Baba Mutun” ! ( All praise-singing, hailing, and greetings ). If it were to be Tinubu’s daughter, the very elites here will be the first antagonists, name destroyers and character assassins.

What is wrong with us here in the South and especially south west? We don’t promote our own except to pull down based on primordial sentiments?

I was almost initially critical of Buhari’s latest lopsided appearing appointments, but on the other thought, I said to myself, would Buhari not have taken into cognisance of our nature of finding faults in our own and opted for the clans he knew no dogs will wag their tails?

I have always loved the positive mentalities of the northern tribes. They are bonded once it comes to the issues that skewed in their favour especially power. This principle of say no evil, hear no evil and see no evil,works like magic with them. When will the South rise above irredentist attitudes towards their own? When are we going to see ourselves as children that needed to be scolded at home and supported outside when things go wrong?

Not particularly referring to anyone,but rather than a southerner to support his fellow southern brother to attain a particular big post,let’s say the chairman of board, all he thinks of is how to undermine him so as to gang up with his “enemies” so that he’ll give them a little support to undermine his by declaring his support for the “enemy” so that he can be supported for a mundane vice chairmanship slot. This happens often with southerners and hardly with northerners.

I know it’s constitutionally required for ministerial and other appointments to reflect national characters. However, has Buhari appointed two persons from the same state? No, he has not done that. Thus, no breach of the law yet till date.

Also, it’s even becoming obvious now that we the Southern States are not ready for the appointments. Have you forgotten that when Buhari first won election, he was moving about with Amaechi, Fashola, Fayemi & co? Before we could open eyes, people who supposed to support these guys from their states started writing petitions and asking for their probes. The northerners are not doing that to their potential appointees.

The worst factor is that if Buhari should appoint someone from Lagos, for instance, without the blessing of Tinubu, Tinubu/APC would feel slighted and aggrieved. Thus, APC states in the southwest should stop washing the dirty linens of their potential appointees in public.If we are not careful especially southwest, the fruits of our labour for the emancipation of this government will erodes us .

Let’s be wise. Ile eni lati jekute onidodo o.

That said, however, Buhari was alive when the issue of loopsided appointments by Ahmadu Bello and Tafawa Balewa in favour of Hausas and Igbos to the near total exclusion of Yorubas sparked off the polarization of the Western Region’s AG which ultimately led to the collapse of the first Republic in such a way that none of Akintola, Balewa and Bello lived to tell the story.

I know Buhari was around when the 5 majors led by Kaduna Nzeogwu and Emmanuel Ifeajuna saw lots of injustice and Nigeria and tried to put an end to that through a revolution to purge the country of evil politicians. We know those who initially rejoiced and hailed the coup later tagged it an igbo coup when it was not, with grave consequences till today, even a civil war. Kaduna Nzeogwu and Emmanuel Ifeajuna didn’t survive the civil war to tell us their side of the story.

Buhari was also around when Aguyi Ironsi’s appointments were too brazenly Igbo dominated despite the acute sensibilities and razor thin sensitivities and suspicions of an Igbo – agenda, and how it contributed largely to the fall of Aguyi Ironsi who as well did not live to tell the story.

Buhari was around when his candidacy which had not had a too good appeal in his three previous attempts had its appeal suddenly boosted by many factors, inclusive of GEJ’s open and brazen sectional proclivities especially as elections drew closer. Jonathan too did not live politically to tell the story.

Buhari should therefore realize that some mistakes may be innocently made as Nzeogwu, Balewa, Ironsi and GEJ probably made, but that the perception it generates is sometimes easily erased even if those mistakes are later reversed.

He should not allow those southerners who loathed him and wished him dead to later have a reason to say “Didn’t we tell you?, we told you before, we warned you about this,hasn’t it happened now ?” to those who drummed up support for him at the risk of their lives.

In conclusion,the buck stops on PMB’s table thus he should wisely make, and be allowed to make his choices, afterall he shall be judged on performance not who he worked with.

A word, they say, is enough for the wise!

As a proud member of Collective Children of Anger and a 97 percenter, a dedicated Buharist and a Buhari Voltron, I can only wish that the end will justify the means.

(Copied from different friends but expertly synchronised, seasoned and blended to that perfect post by yours truly – Nostra II )

Dr. Michael Adeyemi , a medical doctor, author, blogger, writer, political, social and public affairs analyst-cum-commentator, social critic, sports enthusiast and rights activist, writes from Lagos Nigeria

He is the author of ” REVOLUTION IN NIGERIA : THE PROLOGUE ? ” available on http://www.amazon.com

Muammar Gaddafi’s Controversial Visits To Nigeria

The late strongman of Libya, Muammar Gaddafi was a man given to outlandish displays and some really bizarre behaviours. From claiming he built the world’s safest car, using a white glove on his left hand to deliver jabbing insults to fellow Arab leaders to moving around with a battalion of armed virgins, Gaddafi was a master of drama. He unleashed some of his most dramatic instincts on his really unusual visits to the Federal Republic  of Nigeria. Before I proceed any further, let me state that Gaddafi expressed total disrespect to his Nigerian hosts, embarrassed the Nigerian Head of State but by the time he left Nigeria, the same head of state gave Gaddafi the country’s highest honours – Gaddafi is one of the very few non-Nigerians to be garlanded with the Grand Commander of the Federal Republic, GCFR (others of Nelson Mandela of South Africa, Emperor Haile Selassie I of Ethiopia and Akihito, Emperor of Japan). So what happened when Muammar Gaddafi came to Nigeria and why was Nigeria in soup over his visit? Read on.

OVERZEALOUS EMBARRASSMENT:  Gaddafi's bodyguards prevented Abacha from getting too close to him.

MEGA EMBARRASSMENT: Gaddafi’s overzealous bodyguards prevented Abacha from getting too close to him.

THE GADDAFI-ABACHA TACKLE & DEBACLE

In May 1997, the Nigerian permanent mission to the United Nations in New York was putting up spirited attempts to save Nigeria from being slammed by an array of multilateral sanctions from some of the most powerful nations on earth. These countries were mad at Nigeria for violating a crucial UN resolution that prohibited Libyan flights to and from the UN member nations. Gaddafi had visited Nigeria in that month and his visit stained Nigeria in the international community. We will get back to the sanctions issue later. For now, we go straight to his visit to the country and how it happened.

From the 8th to 10th of May, 1997, Muammar Gaddafi was on a visit to Nigeria and Niger Republic (he was awarded the GCFR on the night of Friday, 11th of May in Abuja by the Abacha government at a state banquet in Abuja, Abacha also honoured President Ibrahim Bare Mainnassara of Niger Republic, who had accompanied Gaddafi on his trip to Nigeria). He flew into the two countries with all the splendor of a king. As soon as Gaddafi landed in Nigeria, there was a massive torrent of criticisms from the press (there was nothing like social media back then so only the newspapers slaughtered the Libyan leaders in their acidic editorials), religious leaders and members of the diplomatic corps slammed the Abacha government for allowing Gaddafi to enter the Nigerian airspace. Gaddafi came to Nigeria at a time when things were really tensed under the Abacha regime. Terrorists set off bombs in Ibadan and Onitsha killing five people and destroyed a mosque close to the Onitsha Bridge, the bombs went off when Muslims were having their jumat prayers, three died instantly. Many people were mad at Abacha for his madness already perpetuated in the country but were doubly maddened that he allowed a rogue leader like Gaddafi enter Nigeria. There was so much noise all over the place about the visit but the funny thing was that the visit was not even an official one. Gaddafi was not in the country to see the Nigerian government or greet the head of state.

He was in Nigeria for a religious purpose – to open the Kofar Mata Mosque in Kano State. Although the Nigerian government would later deny its role in the whole visit (Niger Republic also denied knowing anything about Gaddafi’s coming saying they did not have a radar system to detect an aircraft in its airspace or its country of origin), the fact was that the entire thing was meticulously planned with the full involvement of the Abacha regime which was advised against the trip and almost cancelled it. Abacha gave his approval, said Nigeria should be allowed to choose its friends, damned the consequences and warnings of the international community and they awaited the arrival of the Libyan colonel. His landing would be an unbelievable carnival with extravagant fanfare probably never before seen in the history of heads of state visiting the nation.

Gaddafi’s grand arrival was at the Mallam Aminu Kano International Airport, Kano. Troops were deployed to the airport and security measures were thoroughly beefed up. In a madness-filled manner characteristic of many Nigerian governments, all domestic and international flights were suspended 24 hours to the arrival of Gaddafi. The ‘bloody’ civilians who were unlucky enough to have shops within the vicinity of the airport were ordered to vacate the premises. Airport taxi services were banned and heavily-armed soldiers took over the airport (the madness don tey). By the time Gaddafi, the ‘emperor of the heavens’ landed, it was gbabestic to say the least. The guy Ronald Reagan referred to as the ‘Mad Dog of the Middle East’ landed with almost 1,000 people in his entourage. They were made up of journalists, security operatives and others, all Libyan. And Gaddafi did not come with one aircraft. He arrived with SIX. He brought his own Mercedes-Benz limousine and full stock of Libyan food, there was no eating any food provided by Nigerian hosts, he came with his own food. But the worst was yet to come and if not for some luck and fate, some people would have been killed. What happened?

It was Gaddafi’s overzealous security operatives and bodyguards. They disregarded every law in the book relating to the reception of a foreign head of state or dignitary. Normally, Nigeria was supposed to be responsible for providing security to a visiting head of state but Gaddafi’s security people would have none of that. They shoved their Nigerian counterparts aside and took over  all the strategic points at the stops at the airport in Kano and at the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport. Gaddafi’s visit was beginning to look like an invasion of a sovereign nation as Nigerian forces helplessly looked on as Gaddafi’s army took over the posts at the Kano State Government House and even the Kofar Mata Mosque that Gaddafi had come to commission. But Gaddafi was not even done yet.

He refused to drive in the car provided by his host, which was against the traditions of diplomacy. The greatest shocker came when Gaddafi started addressing his audience in Kano. He told the adulating crowd of frenzied Nigerians in a tone that was a call to arms, saying:

‘From this year, we are going to mobilize our Muslim brothers all over the world to counter the malicious Western propaganda and insult. ‘

He did not stop there. He also blasted his enemies saying:

The UN is controlled by the greatest enemy of the human race which is the United States, while the Zionists are now approaching and are about to take over the holy city of Mecca.

The crowd went mad with deafening roars. Gaddafi went on and on punching the air with his clenched fist. Some Nigerians felt like they were in the presence of God. He mesmerized his fans who saw him as a kind of messiah. The high point of the whole event, which really pissed off many Nigerians, was the insult landed on General Sani Abacha, the Nigerian head of state and host. Gaddafi’s bodyguards were so overprotective of their strongman that they actually stopped Abacha from getting close to Gaddafi (see picture). It was a complete PR disaster for the Abacha regime as many Nigerians laughed like crazy in the corners of their bedrooms without electricity while others were simply shocked that their head of state could be treated with so much disdain in his own country by a foreigner. Although Abacha himself looked every inch irritated with the whole thing and his Chief Security Officer (CSO), Major Hamza al-Mustapha got involved in a scuffle with the Libyan bodyguards over the matter, that did not stop the Abacha government from awarding Gaddafi with the highest national honour of Nigeria, the Grand Commander of the Federal Republic, GCFR. I wonder what he must have been thinking of Nigerians on his way back to Tripoli. But Gaddafi would return to Nigeria to unleash an even greater controversy. Before we talk about his second visit, how did Nigerians take to his visit in 1997?

THE REACTIONS AND THE AFTERMATH

The explosive outbursts that followed Gaddafi’s visit to Nigeria in 1997 were firmly condemning and they came from different sources. Even before Gaddafi was barely out of Nigerian airspace, the criticisms were very vocal and clear. The Christian clerics were some of those with the most vociferous condemnations of the visit of the troublesome leader from Libya.  CAN demanded audience with the head of state to register their displeasure. Archbishop Olubunmi Okogie, serving as the Catholic archbishop of Lagos said the irresponsible call of Gaddafi to Nigerian Muslims to reject all things that were not of Islam was capable of causing a full-blown religious crisis in the country. Sunday Mbang, the President of the Christian Association of Nigeria queried the government saying:

‘Why did they invite him (Gaddafi) to come and cause trouble in Nigeria? Why did they allow him to come? We should not add problem to problem. Anybody who thinks he can fight the Western world is living in a fool’s paradise.’

Mbang also said the careless words of Colonel Gaddafi were capable of throwing the country into a major religious crisis. The Northern Christian Elders Forum, NORCEF, demanded an apology from Gaddafi on behalf of the Nigerian Christian populace for his very provocative speech. NORCEF made the demand in a communique issued after a meeting in Kaduna and signed by its chairman, Chris Abashiya and secretary, James Andy. NORCEF insisted Gaddafi exploited his visit to rubbish and humiliate Christians and Christianity. The communique read:

To blatantly and arrogantly deny that Jesus Christ is the son of God is to strike at the very heart of Christianity, which could have been motivated only by the evil desire to provoke, in order to disturb the peace and the transition programme. We have witnessed extensive bloodletting and destruction for much less. We too are human and our patience is not inexhaustible.  Clearly, Colonel Gaddafi’s objective is suspect (and is designed) to cause violence, death and destruction in our land.

But it was not only the Christian clerics raining criticism on Gaddafi. The media was even more articulate and thorough in its lambasting. On 19th of May, ThisDay wrote:

Gaddafi is an international outlaw whose activities are viewed in civil circles as an anathema. For another, Libya is not a model in matters of democracy, human rights or good governance. Nigeria’s romance with Gaddafi then leaves much to be desired….Rather than be a diplomatic mileage, the Gaddafi visit is a huge disaster which the Nigerian authorities may not be able to get over very easily.

The paper also questioned why Gaddafi should be given the GCFR, the same honour given to the country’s founding fathers like Nnamdi Azikiwe and Obafemi Awolowo. However, New Nigerian, a newspaper that was owned by the federal government praised and defended the visit saying it strengthened African unity and that Nigeria and Libya shared a lot in common. The paper said:

Gaddafi’s visit, for us, was much more than a diplomatic episode but an event that serves to signal the powerful unifying instincts of the Africans, even in the face of the barriers put up by the enemies of the continent. The tone of his discourse was, of course, informed by the Islamic interpretation of global realities but nevertheless the global import of the message can hardly be lost upon all of us living in the so-called developing world and particularly Africa, regardless of religious and political leanings. Whereas these issues of development cooperation could have been the plank in evaluating the Gaddafi visit, it is regrettable that otherwise responsible religious leaders seized the opportunity to generate unnecessary controversy and whip up sentiments. It smacks of indiscretion and empire hangover for the western powers to seek to interpret a brotherly visit by two sovereign African nations’ leaders to another in terms of its foreign policy. If the United States and its allies have a quarrel with Gaddafi, they should not be allowed to suggest to us that we should have nothing to do with him.

Although the Abacha government pretended to overlook Gaddafi’s actions, it was actually greatly embarrassed by the whole incident. The Abacha government had to issue a directive to NTA headquarters to downplay the uncomfortable religious sermon that Gaddafi delivered. NTA headquarters then quickly issued the same orders to its stations across the country. But the directive was useless because unknown to the Nigerian government, Gaddafi came with journalists from South Africa with open broadcast vans with which they beamed the whole event to Libya and all of Europe in a further demonstration of his defiance of Nigeria and whoever ruled it. Abacha and his officials were also embarrassed by his snubbing and total disregard for the security arrangements they had put in place for him. In Gaddafi’s view, Nigerian security agents were not up to standard.

The US was livid with rage over the visit and although Nigeria tried to defend itself at the UN, citing the religious nature of the visit, which was the only exception allowed in the UN embargo, the 15-member UN sanctions committee ruled that Gaddafi’s visit to Nigeria and Niger Republic by air was a violation of the UN’s five-year-old embargo on Libya. Abacha’s government drafted former head of state Ernest Shonekan to lead a delegation to Britain and use his vast British connections to help placate Britain. Nigeria was already under devastating sanctions over poor human rights records. But discussions collapsed when the British government banned all registered aircraft in Nigeria from operating flights to Britain. Although it cited safety reasons, Nigeria would have none of it and also retaliated by banning British Airways from operating flights to Nigeria. That was the fallout from Gaddafi’s first visit.

THE SECOND COMING OF GADDAFI

By the time Gaddafi arrived Nigeria for his second coming in November 2006, his ally, Sani Abacha was long dead and Olusegun Obasanjo was the president. Gaddafi was in Nigeria to attend the first-ever African-Latin American Summit. But as usual, Gaddafi’s entry to Nigeria was not without drama. He landed with about 200 of his all-female Amazonian Guards, all heavily-armed. The number in his entourage was not the issue but the sheer number and size of the weapons alarmed his Nigerian hosts. The Nigerians insisted there was no way Gaddafi was going to be allowed to leave the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport and attend the summit with those weapons. Then the arguments started. At a point, Gaddafi got mad and stormed out of the airport lounge to walk all the way to the city center, 40 kilometers away. It was not until the Nigerian President Olusegun Obasanjo intervened that Gaddafi’s security guards agreed to keep the weapons in the official Libyan jet and Gaddafi was persuaded to return to the airport lounge. The incident attracted the attention of the local and international media. The summit came and went. But Gaddafi was not done yet. In March 2010, he said Nigeria should be divided into two, one for the Muslims and another for the Christians, leading the Senate President David Mark to call Gaddafi a mad individual. Although Gaddafi is gone now, killed by his enemies, his relationship with Nigeria is best described as stormy. Even if not many will regard him as a friend of the country, he lies today in his grave in the Libyan desert as a Grand Commander of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.

FULL CREDITS: Naijarchives

Why Niger State Is Indebted To Senator David Umaru

Why Niger State Is Indebted To Senator David Umaru

Senator David Umaru

As a non-resident indigene of Niger state, I made a habit of constantly keeping track of the political events there. In this torturous practice, I got to know the principal actors of the politics of my dear state. I saw a state languishing under the seeming dominance of the PDP government, with the opposition parties clearly boxed to the corner. Ours was a predictable politics of the ruling party that considered itself invincible and the opposition parties resting on the shoulder of an uncompromising personality.

A whistleblower

In Niger, that person who stood up to the tyranny of the ruling party was Barrister David Umaru, a two-time gubernatorial aspirant and victim of the PDP’s notorious rigging schemes. Though Senator Umaru contested results of the guber elections and, despite failing to have them judged as the frauds they were, being victories obtained through widely-witnessed electoral malpractices typical of the PDP, he didn’t bow out of politics. He remained a frontline critic of the state government, exposing its frauds, ill-considered policies and brazen misappropriation of public funds.

He was our eye to the excesses of the Niger state government between 2007 and 2015, when, as karma would have it, he defeated governor Mu’azu Babangida Aliyu in his bid for the Senate.

Looking back, I doubt anyone deserves praise for keeping the opposition alive in Niger state more than him. Some of us only got to realise the massive corruption and lack of transparency that wracked Governor Mu’azu Aliyu’s administration through Umaru’s whistleblowing, and the many advertorials he sponsored in major national dailies, which the government couldn’t refute. All they could do was the usual barrage of personalised attacks instead of convincing the people whose mandate they abused that Umaru’s revelations were untrue.

Umaru against them all

We were all witnesses to political aspirants who stepped forward to vie for the office of the governor and disappeared when that couldn’t be realised. We saw Engineer Mustapha Bello, who only remembered he’s a politician and that certain responsibilities are expected of him only in election years.

We saw Malam Isah Ladan who joined the race spraying wads of money as though he owned a mint, and then disappeared, with nothing heard about and from him again, when his ambition wasn’t achieved.

We saw Malam Sani Musa 313, Senator Isah Mohammed, Engineer Y. Y. Sani, and several other guber candidates who came to the scene and quite predictably disappeared when that dream met a brick wall.

These, from their antecedents, were the people we could describe as political opportunists, something not attributable to Umaru who, despite the electoral losses, remained resilient in the struggle to oust the PDP in Niger state.

This exemplary trait of Umaru is the reason I was quite shocked when I saw some damning essays authored by semi-literate and amnesic hacks and sycophants who really had no idea of the role the man had played in levelling the political ground for the APC in Niger state, investing his personal resources as first a stalwart of the ANPP, and then its evolution into the CPC.

He is, as agreed by a number of us at various political forums, the Muhammadu Buhari of Niger state, only that, unlike Buhari, he doesn’t have the advantage of the membership of a dominant ethnic group and religion. Thus, his advocacies, aside from championing political liberations, were frustrated by resistance to frustrate him based on ethnic and religious sentiments and identifications.

The theme of the recent attacks on the person of David Umaru was his agitation that a member of his senatorial district be made the secretary to the government (SSG) of Niger state based on a clear constitutional requirement for fair representation of the members of all senatorial districts in government.

The rationale for this, as outlined by all thinking Nigerlites, is: since the governor is from Niger North, his deputy from Niger South, the third highest executive officer, one with marked administrative responsibility, and not just advisory role, ought to be from the Niger East. This was all Umaru asked for, and this also was the agitation of the obviously politically side-lined people of Niger East who, like me, see the office of the chief of staff allocated to them as unfair compensation despite giving Governor Abubakar Sani Bello the bulk of his votes, the highest of the three senatorial districts, in the election that brought him to power.

Dues still unpaid

What stirred the hornet’s nest was that the governor has chosen a member of his own senatorial district and local government area as the SSG, rousing a feeling of marginalisation, which the people of Niger East had endured all the while.

Nigeria is a polarised state, and so is Niger state. This is why we must be intelligent in dismissing Umaru’s observation as ethnically-based advocacy, with some even accusing the man of tribalism and, elsewhere, someone even embarrassed himself pointing out that the senator isn’t from Niger state. Even Buhari, despite not being massively supported by the Igbo, remains sensitive to their plights, and has appointed an Igbo as head of the nation’s biggest and most relevant institution, the Nigerian National Petroleum Commission.

That Umaru cries for representation of his people in the Senate is a legitimate discharge of his duty, not just as a conscious politician among a people not fairly represented in government but also as a senator elected by these people to protect their interests.

You don’t expect a Niger East senator to carry the problems of the people of other senatorial districts, which also have their representatives at the legislative chambers, on his head. And the irony of this is, even the governor of Niger state, whose decisions some endorsed ignorantly, is a product of a quota system based on the state’s zonal arrangement.

The people of Niger state, including the governor, owe David Umaru a debt of gratitude and respect, for his political resilience in keeping the opposition alive at the time those attacking him now were dining with the powers that be!