By Sunny Igboanugo
It is not unusual to hear some people in obvious overdrive of satiation, heckling and mocking – Peter Obi will never be President of Nigeria in his lifetime. Of course, it is coming from divergent quarters – the purveyors and patrons of the current state capture that are currently tightening their vice grip on Nigeria, their various supporters blinded by primordial sentiments – mostly pecuniary and ethnic.
Take Reno Omokri for example. Hours after the verdict of the Presidential Election Petition Tribunal (PEPT), which affirmed the declaration of Bola Ahmed Tinubu as winner of the 2023 presidential election, he went all and about with this same mantra. Of course, only a few of the spectators of his current monologue and lone dance in the street like an inebriated village drunkard, would fail to understand where he is coming from.
Many, who are now quite conversant with his ways, would easily decipher that his constant solo attacks on Obi, is his own pitch to break into the camp of President Tinubu for what he could get, after successfully doing so with Atiku Abubakar, former Vice President and Tinubu’s opponent.
Just as he had tried the same trick with Muhammadu Buhari, Tinubu’s predecessor and met a brickwall, owing substantially to the aloofness of the former President to stimuli around him no matter how virulent, he might be thinking that a more amenable Tinubu, would be different and would be the next meal ticket, now he seems to have realised that Atiku might not be offering very much, as could be seen in his less than passing interest in that camp.
So, the issue is not about the likes of Reno, his likes who are pitching for a job. It is also not about those already at the table where he wants to break into, currently devouring the sumptuous meal that the Nigerian commonwealth offers. It is rather about the outsiders who, though, are not in the two categories are imbued with either partisan or ethnic interests, even as they are as hard hit as the rest of the suffering mass with the realities of the crises of today’s Nigeria.
They are the ones to be pitied. If only they knew the truth. If only they knew that Obi has since moved on to where he came from – the higher plane of serving humanity. If only they knew that for Obi, the battle is quite different – different from the quest of power for its sake – rather than power to do good. If only they knew that for Obi, it is not about the acquisition of wealth, obscene, garish, insatiable wealth, mostly stolen from the common purse, but that earned from the sweat of the brow and using same to pull the society up by its booths strap. Then, they would know to whom they would direct their spikes.
Yes, Peter Gregory Obi, has moved on. He had always told those, who cared to listen that the 2023 presidency, where he was the presidential candidate of the Labour Party (LP), was not really for or about him but for Nigerians – that he had actually come to help. His idea was that since he had used his personal resources to try and better the lives of those around him, the presidency would offer him the greater opportunity of a wider spectrum – to use the enormous resources available in Nigeria to create a country that would be brimming hot with goodies. That had always been the intention.
Indeed, as he exhorted his followers, a few days ago not to give up, he would also not drop the gauntlet in achieving that aim. But in the event that the forces of darkness, with help from within and without, succeed in their evil plot to capture the country, he would simply return to basis – going about doing good with the little at his disposal.
That was exactly what he proved last week when he presented a cheque for N10 million at the foundation-laying ceremony of the Department of Midwifery and Public Health Nursing of the Millennium College of Nursing Sciences of the Awka Anglican Communion, Anambra State, a project he promised he would be part of till fruition, after donating N40 million to Faith Specialist Hospital, where the College is domiciled, all aimed at enhancing the Diocese’s overall initiatives in strengthening its healthcare facilities.
Hear him: “My motivation for this gesture stems from my belief that healthcare is one of the critical developmental needs of any society. I encourage support of institutions like the Church in their ongoing efforts to develop these vital areas. I want you to understand that these facilities do not solely benefit the bishop and his priests but rather the entire populace of the state. I therefore pledge my commitment to the project. I’ll also leverage my connections to secure funding from my friends for this purpose.”
Alexander Ibezim, Anglican Bishop of Awka and the Archbishop of Niger Province, while commending the former Governor of Anambra State, for consistently demonstrating his commitment to the welfare of the masses, cited his past accomplishments in the state, such as the return of schools to churches and massive financial support to the schools as well as substantial financial support for healthcare, as exemplary actions that other leaders should emulate when genuinely dedicated to serving the people.
“You’re a builder of both individuals and institutions. Your investments in education and healthcare dramatically transformed the landscape of these vital sectors within the state,” the obviously elated cleric, added.
Stella Chinwe Okunna, who was not only Obi’s Chief of Staff as governor, but his ears and eyes in many of his undertakings, thereafter was neither less enthusiastic nor short of words in praising her former boss, while praising the church as well for its dedication to initiatives that improve society, recalling how his vision during his tenure as governor, aligned with global developmental goals.
“Under his leadership, the healthcare sector was completely revitalised. Before his tenure, Anambra had no accredited health institutions, but during his time, the state gained many, including two accredited hospitals. Through Obi’s partnership with the Church, institutions like Iyienu Hospital, Ogidi, Holy Rosary Hospital, Waterside, Onitsha, St. Charles Borromeo Hospital, Onitsha and St. Joseph Hospital, Adazi-Nnukwu now have accredited Schools of Nursing, School of Midwifery, and Schools of Health Technology,” she said.
Recalling his significant support for the establishment of the School of Nursing at the Diocesan Hospital of Amichi Anglican Diocese, and efforts to the elevation of Iyi-Enu Hospital to a University Teaching Hospital, she added: “It was Obi’s government that initiated the construction of Chukwuemeka-Odumegwu Ojukwu Teaching Hospital from the scratch, equipped it, and secured accreditation.
“His administration also built 10 new maternity and child care facilities in remote areas of the state, and purchased close to 100 ambulances for selected Anambra hospitals. Rehabilitation of 15 General Hospitals in the 3 Senatorial Zones of the state, building of over 120 Primary Health Centres across various communities in the state. His achievements were so outstanding that he won first prize in the Bill and Melinda Gates prize for Polio immunization.”
Presently, Obi has moved to the Supreme Court to try and retrieve the mandate Nigerians gave him on February 25, after the September 6 PEPT verdict. It is going to be another attempt in the struggle to save the polity and gift the people the New Nigeria, he has always promised. No doubt, the forces with evil agenda would continue trying to stop him.
But, win or lose, ranting of Omokri and his gang or no, be it known that he has since moved on. Unlike his contemporaries, whose paths are clogged with the numerous barriers of dirty wealth or its vulgar display, he has since won the battle long ago by shedding the weight in more accumulation and the gnawing hunger for more and more and settled for giving and more giving. That’s why, he’s going about doing good!
Igboanugo, is the publisher of WhirlwindNews
Sanusi’s acquittal of Tinubu: When truth is coloured by ‘vested interest’
I couldn’t believe that it was Sanusi Lamido Sanusi that spoke on Sunday in the manner he was quoted to have spoken at a religious event in Abuja. I’m sure those who invited him to the programme must have been surprised too that of all the things he said, he completely exculpated President Bola Tinubu of blame from the current suffering in the land.
The former Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) is known to shoot straight from the hips and with some rare courage that could only be attributed to his parentage. After all a king does and says what and as he wishes.
Indeed, it was this same courage that put him in trouble and ended his plum job as the nation’s number one banker when he openly exposed the rot that he suspected was going on with the government of Goodluck Jonathan, President of Nigeria at the time, who ordered his removal in 2014 after the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) fraud saga.
Even after ascending the throne of his forebears as the 14th Emir of Kano, it was the same courage that put his monarchy in harm’s way when his lacerating criticisms became too much for Abdullahi Ganduje, former Governor of Kano State, that he had to move against him by first, splitting his kingdom into four emirates as part of a pushback that culminated into his dethronement and eventual banishment from the state.
Just this December 8, 2023, while speaking at the Bank Directors Summit organised by the Bank Directors Association of Nigeria (BDAN), Sanusi was on song as usual, when he again turned to the NNPC, now a private company for accountability, virtually questioning the whereabouts of the dollar it is earning, which the country is supposed to rely on for most of its foreign exchange undertakings.
Hear him: “We are no longer paying subsidies so where are the dollars? It was under recovery during the subsidy era and that has been stopped, so where is the money? This was the issue I raised for which I was suspended, well you can suspend me again. The NNPCL is the most opaque oil company in the world.
“When I was in the central bank for 15 years, they had not been audited. We have to follow the money from production to export to return, where is the money going? We paid N11trillion in subsidy and there is no accountability up till now. The National Assembly called the NNPCL to bring the documents, but they refused.”
This was vintage Sanusi, piercing the boil at the ripening point. But, last Sunday, it was different. The boldness, forthrightness and courage appeared to have gone to the market. How could anyone on earth, when even a little baby learning to talk is blabbing his name, acquit Tinubu of blame in the current parlous situation in Nigeria, let alone a Sanusi, who has travelled beyond the legendary seven seas and seven forests to see it all? But that was what he attempted to do.
Hear him: “If I am to be fair and just to President Bola Tinubu, he is not to blame for the current hardship. For eight years, we were living a fake lifestyle with huge debt from foreign and domestic debts. The Central Bank of Nigeria owes over N30 trillion, which resulted in debt service surpassing 100 percent. I can’t join other Nigerians criticising Tinubu on the current economic hardship, and I am not saying he is a saint free from wrongdoing, but in this current economic situation, President Tinubu is not to be blamed. I will also speak if I see any wrong economic policy of the Tinubu administration in the future.
“It’s injustice for anyone to blame the Tinubu administration for the current economic hardship because there is no other alternative than the removal of the fuel subsidy. After all, Nigeria cannot even afford to pay the subsidy. In the last eight years, the Central Bank continued to print more money, and the Naira continued to depreciate. There is too much naira in circulation because the CBN is printing the currency without restraint.
“The economy was poorly managed, and they are not willing to take advice; in the last eight years, apart from sycophancy, nothing has been done; those sycophants are those buying the dollar at the rate of N400 and selling it at the rate of N600 to N700. A boy who has no record of service has a private jet and owns houses in Dubai and England just because he is buying dollars at so a rate and selling them.”
Phew! What the ex-CBN boss failed to do however is to take a simple peek into the Tinubu Presidency in the last eight months. Yes, he had no option about subsidy removal and perhaps equally had no option about floating the Naira, the two immediate culprits in the current economic crisis. But what about the other decisions he took? What about the other activities?
Was it Buhari that appointed 50 ministers he currently has in his cabinet? Or has the royal father forgotten what it would cost to maintain each of the extra 13 ministers and their aides? Was it Buhari that asked Tinubu to borrow foreign currency to purchase a N5billion worth of a yacht for himself? Was it Buhari that budgeted N28billion for purchase of vehicles for the Presidential Villa? Were there no vehicles there before?
Pray! Was it Buhari that ordered another set of vehicles at the cost of N1.5billion for the First Lady, an office that is not recognised by law? Was it Buhari that released the presidential plane from the fleet for Seyi Tinubu to transport himself to Kano to watch the game of polo? Don’t we know the cost of fuelling the jet alone? Was it Buhari that took a historic 1,400 delegates to the climate change summit in Dubai?
Okay, since Tinubu should be overlooked, in what other sane country of the world would a government official still keep his job after asking for a N1.8billion for the inauguration of a 37-man committee to fix minimum wage? What was the N500million the selfsame Tinubu approved for? Was it to engage Elon Musk as a consultant or to drink tea or coffee specially prepared in Fiji with special properties capable of resetting people’s brain?
Yes! Let’s excuse the monarch for failing to notice the rot in government. Perhaps he was too busy to hear details of the Betta Edu scandal and missed one of the elements, where a whopping N4billion was budgeted to verify recipients of the Federal Government’s poverty alleviation largesse. Has he asked any questions about whereabouts of the savings from the subsidy removal?
If he did, he would have gotten a snippet of how the President has been dishing them out like a drunken sailor, outside what goes into private pockets from direct stealing by his appointees in various offices, who now see the country as a bazaar ground.
A video has just emerged of Femi Falana (SAN) while speaking at this year’s memorial of the late Beko Ransome Kuti, revealed to the world how the same Tinubu, shared a whopping N123billion to governors to fight 2023 to fight COVID-19. This was the same pandemic that the World Health Organisation (WHO), declared over in May 2023. Yet by December, Nigeria is still fighting it with such a huge amount.
“Do you know what I’m talking about? Last December, they gave out N123billion to fight COVID-19. Furthermore, and this must be our demand from here – this regime, must – even if we have to go to the streets on this because it is so fundamental – must warehouse the gains of subsidy removal and channel it towards alleviating the poverty of our people.
“In April last year, what the three tiers of government – Federal Government, state government and the local governments shared was N655billion. When subsidy was removed, since June, according to the Minister of Finance, Wale Edun, there’s no month that less than N1trillion was shared. You can quote me on this, in June last year, what they shared was N1.9trillion. People were embarrassed! Where is this money coming from, where did you see this money? They had to save N900billion.”
Perhaps the same Sanusi also missed that the 469 federal lawmakers, each got their own share from the same largesse – N200million each for Senators and N100million for House of Representatives, for the purchase of Christmas rice for their constituents. The fact that nobody seemed to benefit from the largesse, clearly informs the hollowness about Sanusi’s position.
Imagine what channelling the subsidy removed from petrol to subsidising public transportation could do to the economy. Imagine the gains derivable from procuring additional 500 vehicles per state, through public-private partnership to provide cheap transportation? But no! The money would rather go to governors, NASS members and government officials who are likely going to pocket them.
Yet Sanusi says nobody should blame Tinubu. Come to think of it, at what point did Buhari and Tinubu cease being political Siamese twins? Virtually all political moves Buhari took since their coming together, had always had Tinubu’s imprimatur and vice versa. Never for once did Tinubu condemn or speak out against the issues Sanusi spoke about.
Even in the 2019 election, when it was obvious that Buhari was completely bereft of all elements that would enable him hold office, didn’t Tinubu and others continue to prop him up, resulting in the eventual disaster that he turned out four years after. Didn’t Tinubu tell the world that he would continue where Buhari stopped? Even now that Buhari is no longer in power, how much of his footprints have Tinubu erased? Is he not digging deeper into the hole Nigeria has since sunk?
What about that boy that has no experience, that has now bought a private jet and owns houses in Dubai and England just because he is buying dollars at so a rate and selling them? Has Tinubu asked him to account for his deeds? Shouldn’t Buhari himself be standing in the dock at this moment to answer questions the same way Godwin Emefiele, Sanusi’s successor is doing now?
I have since taken time to revisit Sanusi’s elaborate treatise, on August 18 2013, where blamed vested interests for the ills of Nigeria. My conclusion is that he has also caught the same bug and now, perhaps, as a Lagos Home Boy, there’s too much affinity with Tinubu and perhaps too much more at stake for him to avoid the poison of that phenomenon. Too bad!
My name is Sunny Igboanugo and I’m The Tiny Voice!
Yes! If NFF says it’s for Tinubu, don’t blame S’Eagles for losing AFCON!
By Sunny Igboanugo
There is no doubt that the most underwhelming performance of the Super Eagles in the African Cup of Nations (AFCON), 2023, the 34th edition, was Sunday’s final match with the host nation’s Elephants of Cote D’Ivoire, who eventually won the trophy, for the third time, equalling Nigeria’s records as three-time champions.
The question on the lips of many, has remained, was this the same Super Eagles that dealt with the Indomitable Lions of Cameroun, its traditional foe in African football, so decisively in the round of 16, before piping Angola after another superlative performance in the quarter finals. What then happened thereafter?
Doesn’t the answer to that question look simple and quite obvious? Isn’t it clear that it was at the moment the envisaged victory was now being tailored to fit into a President Bola Tinubu triumph that things started getting awry? Yes, the Nigerian Football Federation (NFF), had already started telling all ears that cared to listen that if the trophy was won, it would be for the President.
Hear Ibrahim Gusau, the NFF President: “You heard what he said. He said, ‘Boys go there, believe in me. You don’t have any problem and whatever issues you are facing, just believe in me. Go and do the job and you’ll see the result. That’s exactly what he told them; you can see them doing the job.
“By the grace of God, I know he is going to reward them handsomely, which has never happened before in the history of Nigeria. We promised him that we were going to give him the trophy, and by the grace of God, we are going to do just that.”
Reiterating the NFF’s promise to deliver the trophy to Tinubu and called on Nigerians to continue supporting the team, he added: “We have just two matches to go and by the grace of God we will continue to do what we are doing. We call on all Nigerians to pray for us because prayer is the key to whatever we are doing. So, we call on all Nigerians to continue to support us with prayers.”
Aisha Falode, NFF Executive Board Member, was even more emphatic, when she added: “We got that mandate, ‘go win the cup for Nigeria,’ and we are on the way to doing that. It is a mantra of a renewed hope. A renewed Super Eagles for a renewed Nigeria with one mandate; to bring the 2023 AFCON trophy back to Nigeria for Nigerians to celebrate. That’s what we are going to do. We are on our way to the final. We love Nigeria.”
Now, what would you do if you were a Super Eagles player, hearing this? First, the direct interpretation of this mindset is that your victory would be used to advertise and endorse a bad government that has seen to the suffering of your parents, brothers, sisters, uncles, aunts, friends and Nigerians in general. Would you go ahead and do it?
Imagine the picture of William Troost Ekong, or Ahmed Musa, handing the AFCON trophy to Tinubu at a time that a bag of rice is at N77,000 or the Naira is at N1,580 to a dollar. What message would such a picture be sending to that young iyaloja at Katangwa Market, who was threatening on a now viral video that if Nigerian workers did not march into the street to protest the hardship in the land, women traders with her would be ready to “open our ny*sh and breast to protest in the streets,” because the suffering is too much?
To any keen observer, the evidence that the Super Eagles players were not too cozy with Abuja, could have loved to be excused from the monumental mess it has made of Nigeria since last year, was splashed in that viral video in their dressing room with them keenly embracing Nwankwo Kanu, and practically ignoring the Vice President, Kashim Shettima, who was there with them after the semi-finals match with South Africa.
It was in a subsequent video that the players were seen embracing the same VP and having photo-ups with him, in what looked quite arranged, because their countenances, which appeared quite placid, did not betray any form of excitement or emotions similar to that shown to the former Eagles striker and two-time African Footballer of the Year (AFOTY).
So, if you ask me, I would safely assume that the loss on Sunday was deliberate for the reason cited above. In fact, from the look of things, they could have thrown the trophy early enough with the Bafana Bafana only that the South African side, probably failed to take the chances thrown at them.
Last Sunday, the Ivorians, a team that practically rose from the ashes of defeat, losing two matches at the qualifying stage, one to Equatorial Guinea, with a whopping 0-4, saw the chances being thrown at them by the Super Eagles, who never lost a single match before then and seized it.
Those who might argue that it is conspiracy theory, should remember that these are the same players, who in their various clubs conspire to deliberately lose matches, to get their coaches sacked, or to protest over one issue or the other. So, there is nothing strange in their actions, if actually true.
Nobody should forget that the players are Nigerians as well. Yes, they may be billionaires in foreign currencies, but Nigeria is their country as well. So, they are open to the daily taunting and embarrassment that the nation has become in recent years to the rest of the world. Even if they could afford to take care of themselves and their immediate families and communities, they cannot totally be insulated from being victims of the odious situation in the country one way or the other.
So, it is apposite to expect them to reject any plot to put them in the mix as agents to enhance the rot in the country. They may not have a voice or the powers to stop anything, but they could at least refrain from being enablers, knowing the consequences.
Yes! From the buildup trajectory in government, it is obvious that the Super Eagles would have handed Tinubu the weapon to confront those presently holding his feet to the fire over his sole responsibility for the horrible state of affairs in the country.
It is true that since the loss, the whole is nation grieving. The entire country went silent from that dark night and has remained so ever since. The foods and drinks many were enjoying before the thunderbolt suddenly turned sour and tasteless in their mouth. Many more even literally abandoned theirs on the table out of immense grief. Too bad!
But what would have been the alternative? The flipside would certainly have been graver. For months, if not years, the complaints of Nigerians would have been met with how Tinubu won the AFCON as a defensive mechanism by the army of Presidency goons and their likes elsewhere. Wouldn’t that have been worse than not winning AFCON, whose euphoria could only last for mere days and fizzle out?
In 2014, then President, had tried to inelegantly incorporate the name of Blessing Okagabare into his campaigns to shore up his sagging image for the 2015 presidential election. But the celebrated Nigerian track queen and Olympic medalist, would have none of it and quickly called him out.
Just like she told the President then to leave her out of his plans, it might be that the same message has just been passed to Tinubu by the Super Eagles – Oga Jagaban, alias Emilokan, leave us out of it – look elsewhere! And what a patriotic message, if so!
My name is Sunny Igboanugo and I’m the Tiny Voice!
Nigeria in distress: Peter Obi’s solution, the only solution
By Sunny Igboanugo
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