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Criticisms from Tinubu’s men: ‘Juvenile fulminations of non-juvenile people’ – Chimamanda

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“I’ve seen a few things that people have sent to me and it’s kind of been amusing to read the juvenile fulminations of non-juvenile people,” were the exact words with which popular novelist and activist, Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, pushed back against her critics in the All Progressives Congress (APC), who went after her for trying to discredit the February 25 presidential election.

The renowned novelist, had last week fired a letter to Joe Biden, US President not to give credence to the flawed election that produced Asiwaju Ahmed Bola Tinubu as winner by recognising him, while at the same time questioning the rationale for the congratulatory message already sent by the State Department, which ought to know how bad the election was.

But, her efforts had earned her the vitriol of the APC, with Festus Kenyama, Femi-Fani Kayode and Bayo Onanuga, all spokesmen of the APC Presidential Campaign Council (APC-PCC), not only attacking her person, but also urging the POTUS and his go ernment to ignore and even thrash the letter because it was worthless.

But reacting to the criticisms, while appearing on Prime Time, a current affairs programme on Arise Television, she dismissed the verbal lashing that came with it as not useful adding that as a Nigerian, she had the right and duty to speak out on matters concerning her country.

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Hear her: “I don’t think it is useful criticism. I should say first of all, that I’ve never been fazed by criticisms. I wrote this knowing fully well that there would be criticisms from certain quarters. I seen a few things that people have sent to me and it’s kind of been amusing to read the juvenile fulminations of non-juvenile people.

“But that said, I actually tried very hard and I should say that I have two homes – I have a home in Lagos and I have another home here in the US. I’m very often here. I tried very hard to get my PVC and the reason I tried very hard is because I’d been assured that technology would save us – that it had worked in Osun, worked in Ekiti and I think in Anambra – that it would save us. So, I really tried. So, we should also talk about how difficult it was to collect PVCs and how that in itself is a form of voter disenfranchisement. And so, I had done the first part, but I couldn’t collect my PVC. So, yes, I did not vote. But my not voting does not mean that I can’t comment on an election. I’m a Nigerian citizen. Every Nigerian citizen has a right to have an opinion about this election.

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“So, when people say that BVAS worked but IReV didn’t work, which is sort of a way of countering the accusation that technology was manipulated, really, the response is, both have to work for the election to be credible. So, BVAS was about making sure that we didn’t have ghost voters and that people who were there actually voted. But that defeats the purpose if you then do not upload the results. You’ve made sure that the real people voted. But those results, we can’t see them in real time, we cannot see them as Prof. Yakubu Mahmood said. He said, and I’m going to quote him because I’ve read it so many times that the public would be able to view the polling unit results as soon as elections are finalised on election day.

“So, I think that is an important thing to talk about and address with the Nigerian people. The Electoral Act, gave INEC the legal backing to have electronic transmission of results and did say in a format that INEC would decide. And we know that format because the Chair of INEC told us what that format would be when he said results would be uploaded at the end of voting from the polling units. That was not done. And it seems to me strange to sort of deflect from that important issue and talk about how someone is not in Nigeria. Those are not the point. The point is what happened?”

She also dismissed any worry about possible legal implications, against the backdrop of threats that she would be sued for her utterances, arguing that any fair-minded person in Nigeria, who was honest enough would acknowledge that the rumours are circulating, was justified given the nebulous nature of the entire process and the silence of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) that conducted the election.

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“No, I’m not worried at all,” she said, adding: “Again, I think these are what is trying to deflect from what is important and what it is at stake. It will be very useful if people are able to point out what is untrue in the letter.

“I think it is important. We all know these stories about people who complained about how what we voted at the polling units is not what we saw in the result. Yes, there are anecdotes. But I think that gave us useful insight into what happened in that election in a way that all of those anecdotes become a kind of tidal wave of truth-telling. I think the rumours surrounding this election are part of the story this election.

“If you leave a gap in information, people will fill that gap. It is how human minds work. Again, this our country is such a low-trust society and people are so desperate to believe in something and we believe in this election but it doesn’t work out well and nobody gives us convincing reasons. Of course people are going to rumour about people being compromised. Also, our political landscape is steeped in people being compromised. So, I’m not worried about that.

“I think any fair-minded person in this country who is honest will acknowledge that these rumours are circulating. I stated very clearly that there are no evidence for them, but I do think it is important to see in the story of this election that many people are starting to think that what explained what happened is this compromising.

She condemned those trying to tint her position in tribal colours, arguing that terms like “tribesman” with which her identification with Peter Obi, the presidential candidate of the Labour Party (LP), was being seen, were such an outdated and strange expression, which said much about whoever was using it.

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“I think that kind of accusation is a practice of what psychologists call projecting. You’re doing something, but you accuse someone else of doing it even though they’re not.

I did not support Peter Obi because he’s Igbo as I am. I’m a person who does not take positions lightly. And so, while I very much admire Peter Obi and respect him, there are so many Igbo men I admire and respect, but I’ll never vote for them for President, because I don’t think they’ll make good President. My support for Peter Obi is actually rooted in real things. It’s rooted in my faith in his ability.

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“Actually, I got to know Peter Obi years ago when he came to pay homage to my parents because he got to know that my father was the first Professor of Statistics in Nigeria and that my mother had retired as the first female Registrar of the University of Nigeria. So, this man just arrived and said he wanted to pay homage. I was very impressed by that because it showed me how much he values education.

“Then he becomes governor of Anambra State and he takes Anambra State to number one in Education. I remember being impressed by the story of how he had given his personal telephone number to all of the senior prefects in secondary schools in Anambra, which also showed me that he’s interested in what ordinary people think. You just don’t want to hear from the ministries, you want to hear from the students about what is really happening.

“Then his focus on security. He really tackled kidnapping in Anambra. And I also remember that he really clashed with the Anambra elite, when he was tackling insecurity and kidnapping. That showed me that he’s very decisive. He has a bit of a stubborn streak. He’s very focused on things. That’s really why I support him. So, this idea of ethnicity is just really a way of deflecting. Let’s focus on what really matters. It’s unfortunate. Can I just say that it’s only one part of the spectrum that is politicising ethnicity and I think it is very unfortunate. I don’t think most people in Nigeria really care about ethnicity as much as they care of having a country that works.

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“We want good leadership. We want the hospitals and the schools and the roads to be good. That affects everyone – Igbo, Yoruba, Ijaw – everyone.”

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Tough economy: Trouble in APC, as staff plan strike

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A loud grumbling has enveloped the 40 Blantyre Crescent, Wuse, Zone 2, Abuja, headquarters of the All Progressives Congress (APC), where staff across different departments are threatening to down tools in protest of poor welfare and biting economic hardship.

Daily Trust, is reporting that the staff are specifically asking the party’s top echelon to make provision for their housing and other allowances, stressing that the economic situation of the country had become quite unfavourable to them.

The paper quoted one of the staff, who spoke on condition of anonymity, as saying that the party’s executive members had left them to suffer, while taking home humongous amounts of money as salaries and allowances.

Though Abdullahi Umar Ganduje, National Chairman of the party, is said to have commenced payment of N35,000 provisional wage award to them in January 2024, they argued that the largesse would in June, and they would be back to square one and therefore, they needed more stable welfare packages.

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In a swift riposte, Felix Morka, spokesman of the party, was quoted as dismissing the agitation, saying: “Those matters I don’t really discuss them. As you can see, there are many important things to discuss; at the national level, in Edo State. We are battling with all that. So, any in-house matters are not my focus right now.”

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BREAKING: Davido ups the ante, doles out N300million to orphanages

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David Adeleke Nigerian music sensation, otherwise known as Davido is stamping his giant feet with which he has mesmerised his audience across the world in the arena of philanthropy, with an announcement of a fresh donation of a whopping N300million to some orphanages across the country.

The latest is an increase of N63million up from the N237million the popular singer, who disclosed the largesse in a statement on his social media accounts on Tuesday, dolled out last year as part of the gesture in what is now turning out a yearly programme since it started a few years ago.

The gesture is coming at a time Nigeria is under an intense weather of deprivation and poverty, with the prices of food and other commodities hitting the roof and citizens, unable to afford basic items mostly going to bed on empty stomachs as a result.

In recent weeks, demonstrations had erupted in many parts of the country, including Niger, Kano, Ogun and Oyo States, where residents trooped into the streets to demand an end to the parlous situation, which they blamed on the insensitive policies of the government of Bola Tinubu, the Nigerian President.

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The singer, who first gave out N250m to 292 orphanages in October 2022, said the this year’s donation would be done through The David Adeleke Foundation (DAF), adding: “I and my foundation pledge the sum of 300 million Naira to orphanages around Nigeria … as my yearly contribution to the nation. Details of disbursement tomorrow.”

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BREAKING: Tinubu set to probe Buhari’s N23trillion Ways and Means debt

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At last, President Bola Tinubu, may be going through the N23trillion Ways and Means debt obtained by his predecessor, Muhammadu Buhari, with a fine comb to determine what the funds, which is attributed to a major part of the current debt overhang in the country, went into.

The Nation, quoted Wale Edun, Minister of Finance and Coordinating Minister for the Economy as revealing this much to participants at the ongoing Public Wealth Management Conference organised by the Ministry of Finance Incorporated (MoFI).

Besides, the Minister reportedly said the Federal Government would also present a bill to the National Assembly, soon to authorise the removal of “all taxes and levies that constitute nuisance from the country’s tax system, as a measure to wean itself from future Ways and Means indebtedness.

The government, Edun added, will vigorously pursue policies that will allow it harvest revenue in real time from Government Owned Enterprises (GOEs) and Corporate entities.

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It was also on the same day that the Minister explained that Tinubu’s administration inherited a surge in food and general commodity prices from the previous government, but emphasised the government’s commitment to reducing food prices and tackling the nation’s high inflation rate.

Outlining the measures government was taking in tackling the situation, he revealed that, the government had released 42,000 metric tons of grains, with an additional 60,000 metric tons scheduled for release soon.

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