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BREAKING: Buhari Is In A Trance – Soyinka |The Republican News

Wole Soyinka

Nigerian writer Wole Soyinka at “Le Conversazioni” on Capri, July, 2012

Gbenga Adeniji

Revered playwright, Prof. Wole Soyinka, has said President Muhammadu Buhari is in a trance.

Soyinka, while reacting to a question on the three things he would tell the President if he meets him, stated, “I will say Mr. President you are in a trance.”

He added that the sooner the President got out of the trance, the better for the nation.

Asked the form of trance the President was in, the Nobel laureate said, “I don’t know. So many unforced errors. Take for instance the suspended Executive Secretary of the National Health Insurance Scheme, Usman Yusuf,  reinstated by the President.

“What is that about? What is going on?”

Soyinka had earlier held a press conference in Lagos on the state of the nation titled ‘Nomads and Nation: Valentine card or valedictory rites.’   (Punch)

Details soon.

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I Warned Nigerians About Buhari: He Lacks 5 Critical Elements Of Leadership – Yakasi

Tanko-Yakasai
Alhaji Tanko Yakasai, 92, a chip from the old block, served as President Shehu Shagari’s Liaison Officer to the National Assembly. In this interview, he reviews the state of the nation and critically dissects the arguments for restructuring. He submits that insinuations of northern objection to restructuring are unfounded upon the claim that the blueprint for the process has itself been etched on imaginations that have not been properly articulated.
Yakasai also pooh-poohs moves to delineate the Middle Belt from the North saying that the concept of a Middle North toeing a separate political path as unrealistic. Yakasai who supported President Goodluck Jonathan against Muhammadu Buhari in the 2015 presidential election concludes by saying that his warnings that Buhari lacked five critical elements of leadership have crystallised for all to see.
Excerpts:

What is your evaluation of Nigeria in the past 12 months?

By and large, I will say things were as they were before, except that at the end of the year, the price of crude oil has appreciated considerably, and that impacted on the economy of oil-producing countries including Nigeria. The result was that we got more money and this can be seen from the way our foreign reserve is now augmented; it’s higher than what it was before; otherwise everything is more or less the same. But in some cases, things were less than what they were a year before.

How has the controversy of Buhari’s ill health, Biafran agitation, and agitation for restructuring affected our unity?
As a matter of fact, I won’t say it had affected the polity very much because when President Buhari was sick, he delegated power to his deputy and he discharged his duty creditably, and I think the efforts by Professor Osinbajo at the time the President was away for treatment actually made things to improve, most especially if you look at the crisis in the Niger-Delta which actually led the Acting President to undertake a visit to the area, and as a result of that visit and the consultation he had with the stakeholders and opinion leaders, the crisis decreased.
So the crisis in the area was reduced to the minimum. You remember the vandalism of pipelines to refineries and depots which affected the generation of power in the country during the crisis stabilised because of that deft move by the Acting President. That act made the governance within that period hitch-free when the President was away for treatment.

Why is it that Nigerians still find it difficult to live together as one?

No, no, Nigerians are living together as one without any difficulties.
In all honesty, take a visit to Enugu and find out if there has been a clash between the host and their guest communities. Take another visit to Ibadan, Ogbomosho, Abeokuta or any part of South-West and find out whether there was any clash between the local people and guest community. Come to Kano, Katsina or Sokoto and other big cities in the north apart from areas where the insurgents have taken roots; you don’t find the local people having clashes with other Nigerians. Nigerians are living in peace with one another, and unfortunately, it is the elites who have access to the media that are creating a crisis which is non-existent.
The issue of restructuring is a matter of public opinion especially for the elites who have access to the media and are generally the ones who are creating tension by speaking carelessly. The agitation for restructuring is an expression of personal opinion by the individual, and they are entitled to their opinion, and interestingly, most of those engaged in the shouting match on restructuring are doing it from the position of Northern phobia. Throughout the period dedicated to the debate, I have not seen a single northerner that was opposed to restructuring Nigeria.
The only thing I know was that most people from the north ask for details, and until today, no one has come out with a clear blueprint on what restructuring is all about. We are in a democratic setting; we have provisions on how things should be done. What the north is simply asking for are the details. It is our legislators – both national and states – that are empowered to effect a change in our constitution, and there are clear positions on how many of them can do that legally. It is the right of an individual to initiate a bill through the legislator on any grey areas he or she wishes to effect a change, and as I speak to you from the time this debate resurfaced, to date, nobody has done anything in respect of that either to the state Assembly or National Assembly proposing whatever changes that he or she would like to introduce into the Constitution of Nigeria.
They are intellectuals who are simply busy for nothing; because they have nothing to write about, they write to massage their ego, even though there are more pressing problems confronting Nigeria; the problem of poverty, unemployment, developmental programmes, good roads, sustained power supply, industrialisation, mechanisation of our agriculture, fertiliser, application of insecticides to check bumper harvests and nobody is talking about all the myriads of problems, yet, you are talking about restructuring, and not a proposal that would bring succor to the citizens.

But why has the debate on restructuring refused to die since 1966?

No, I’m a student dialectics. Find out the number of newspapers we have in Nigeria.
Put together, how many copies do they produce in a day compared to the totality of Nigerians, and the percentage of those that read newspapers. From my findings, they are not up to 10 per cent; that is to say that 90 per cent of Nigerians don’t read newspapers, therefore all this noise on the pages of newspapers, and few in the radio with its technical reach, reaches out more to the communities than the newspapers; yet the debate is not on the radio, maybe in the television, but how many people watch television? Very very, few. So this exercise in futility by the elite does not affect ordinary Nigerians.
But tell me, what has the debate done to Nigeria? Did it change their lifeclass, thought pattern and what have you?

It is not the whole country that is involved. It is just a microscopic few who are not up to 10 per cent of the population of Nigeria who are busy misleading themselves.

Don’t you think that your position is informed by your background as a northerner?

No, no I’m not against restructuring, and I challenge anyone to produce a single northerner that is against restructuring. The simple fact about the debate is that we don’t know their definition of restructuring.
You cannot oppose something blindly; you have to fully comprehend what the other man wants to enable you to decide whether you will key into it or jettison the idea as balderdash. The north is asking the proponents of restructuring for details to enable them to take an informed decision. The North reserves the right to be consulted by these few people because of the strength of their population and size because head or tail, they will be more affected, but instead, they choose to consult people from the imaginary zone they call Middle Belt.

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I Failed In ‘Aspirational’ Goal To Unite Americans, Obama Tells Young Leaders

 

Amber Phillips, Juliet Eilperin
President Barack Obama visits with youth leaders Monday at the University of Chicago to promote community organizing, his first formal public appearance since leaving office.© Scott Olson/Getty Images President Barack Obama visits with youth leaders Monday at the University of Chicago to promote community organizing, his first formal public appearance since leaving office.
CHICAGO — In his first public appearance since leaving the White House in January, President Barack Obama told young leaders here Monday that “special interests dominate the debates in Washington” and that he had failed to realize his “aspirational” goal of uniting Americans in red and blue states.

“That was an aspirational comment,” the former president said of his famous 2004 Democratic National Convention speech, prompting laughter from the audience at the University of Chicago. He added that when talking to individual Americans from different political backgrounds, you learn that “there’s a lot more that people have in common” than it would appear. “But, obviously, it’s not true when it comes to our politics and our civic life.”

Obama, who has kept a relatively low public profile since the end of his second term, did not mention President Trump during his opening remarks at the event. But he said he was determined to galvanize younger Americans to do more politically because they were the ones best positioned to bridge the current political divide.

“The single most important thing I can do … is prepare the next generation of leadership to take up the baton,” said Obama, who sat onstage, wearing a black suit, white button-down shirt and no tie, with half a dozen activists in their teens and 20s.

All of the panel members were Democrats except for one Republican, University of Chicago undergraduate Max M. Freedman. Asked by Obama whether he has a hard time being heard on a college campus as a Republican, Freedman replied, “You can expect some level of ostracization from certain people.”

“There’s a significant empathy gap, not just here, but everywhere… We’ve cloistered ourselves,” Freedman said. “Civic engagement, at some point, will require a level of civility.”

During his time in office, Obama relished holding town halls with young people while traveling overseas. Monday’s event had a similar feel, as he asked the socially active members of the panel why they got involved in politics. Ramuel Figueroa, an undergraduate at Roosevelt University who had served in the military before starting college, said activists need to “connect personal problems to policy issues” to get people invested in elections.

“If you’re working two jobs and can’t afford day care, it’s not because you’re lazy,” Figueroa said. Of activists he said, “You need to demonstrate some connection.”  (The Washington Post)

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Obasanjo Not A Good Role Model Leader -Comdr Omessa |The Republican News

Navy Commander Dennis Omessa (retd.), in this interview with BAYO AKINLOYE, talks about how he was framed by Gen. Ishaya Bamaiyi and his goons in the 1995 phantom coup. He also speaks about how former Presidents Olusegun Obasanjo and Goodluck Jonathan scuttled the implementation of the Oputa panel recommendation

When did you join the army?

I joined the Army on June 28, 1970 as a Regular Corps 12 Officer. I was the chief instructor of the naval faculty in Jaji.

What do you know about the 1995 coup?

I am sure you mean the 1995 phantom coup. On March 2, 1995, I was in my residence when one Lt.-Col. Aka came to me saying that I was wanted at headquarters in Kaduna by Gen. Ahmed Abdullahi. I asked him why he would want to see me. I explained to Aka that I was not an armed robber but a naval officer. I followed him. They took me to Kaduna and kept me in a guest house and I was wondering what the problem was. I met another military officer and asked why I was brought to the guest house. He said they were arresting people involved in a coup. I told them that, as far as I was concerned, there was no coup.

In the evening of that same day, they moved me to another guest house, ‘Kangaroo’ I was kept in an air-conditioned big room with a television and radio. I had all I needed. I was wondering if they were sure there was a coup and I was arrested based on that. In the room, I was listening to a radio commentary. If there was a coup, would I be allowed to listen to the radio? A military officer came to me saying, ‘Oga, I know you.’ I replied him, ‘You know me for what? I don’t know you.’ He further explained how he got to know me and I eventually recalled having met him. He said to me, ‘Oga, let me tell you the truth, there was no coup. Na lie.’ So, later they came for me, put me in handcuffs and I was led away to another place. Then the investigation started; I was called in for interrogation one Saturday night.

What did they say was your offence?

The panel said I was charged with a coup for making a comment. I asked them what the comment was. They said that when one Lt.-Col. Bamgbose was arrested, I was complaining. But I didn’t know any Bamgbose. They asked me to go out. Later, they told me that I was displeased with the arrest of Bamgbose and claimed that I made a comment calling for his release. The truth is that I never made any comment like that. I didn’t know the officer and the officer didn’t know me. That alleged coup was a blatant lie. Eventually, all of us that were framed in the phantom coup were freed, with people like Col. (Gabriel) Ajayi and Col. (Olusegun) Oloruntoba severely tortured. Col. Ajayi went through hell. I was not tortured. Nobody touched me. People like Gwadabe and Emokpae were tortured. Bamaiyi and his cohorts were too wicked.

We learnt you were not happy with former Presidents Olusegun Obasanjo and Goodluck Jonathan.

Ex-President Olusegun Obasanjo set up a panel but failed to implement the recommendation of the panel, despite spending eight years in power. He was succeeded by President Umaru Yar’Adua, who tried to implement the recommendation of the panel in 2009; unfortunately, he died. When he died, I think our file was handed over to his successor, ex-President Goodluck Jonathan. But Jonathan was dilly-dallying with the document. He was busy adding other names like (that of former Bayelsa State Governor, Diepreye) Alamieyeseigha and Gen. (Oladipo) Diya. These ones enjoyed all benefits approved by the Federal Government; they were cleared of every wrongdoing. It is not fair. This is selective justice.

We call on the government to give us justice. Up to this moment, there is no implementation of the recommendation made by the Oputa panel. Our case should even be more pathetic than Diya’s own; we didn’t plan any coup. It was a set-up. Can you imagine the government clearing people like Diya, Alamieyeseigha and Gen. Adisa, and we are left to languish? It is not fair. I am appealing to the Federal Government to implement the recommendations of the Oputa panel. We need to reach some form of closure on this matter. They must realise that what goes around comes around.

Obasanjo’s attitude towards us represents the kind of leadership we have in this country. He was a victim of the phantom coup and I expected him as the commander-in-chief to have issued a directive that we should be restored to our positions and duly compensated. He didn’t do that. Instead, he set up the Oputa panel. Do you call that one a leader? No, he’s not a good example of a leader. I do not respect him again. He is not a good leader. He was an eyewitness to the fact that we were all victims of injustice and power play.

Could Obasanjo be worried that some of you might have been actually involved in the coup?

That’s incorrect. Obasanjo knew there was no coup. Even though he invited us to his office, he failed to do the needful; to ensure that we all got the benefits that we deserved. He called us to apologise that the Federal Government had not looked into the Oputa panel recommendation. He promised to look into it and implement the document. But he never did till he left. It is fair enough to credit the Oputa panel to him. It showed he meant well. But good intentions are not enough in bringing justice to those who have been treated unjustly. Yar’Adua meant well; he wanted to implement the recommendation but died in the process. It was Jonathan who messed up the whole thing (implementation of the Oputa panel recommendations). As I am talking to you now, the file of the recommendations is with the Ministry of Justice. If you go to the ministry, they will tell you more about the file. You should let them know that justice delayed sometimes can be justice denied. Some of us have died, while some are gravely incapacitated. That’s where we are right now. The Nigerian Navy’s motto says, ‘Onward together.’ When we are in the same ship or boat, if we land safely, it’s the captain that goes ashore first. But when disaster strikes, it’s the duty of the captain to see to the safety of his crew and be the last person to abandon the ship. The contrary was the case in the 1995 phantom coup saga as the captain (Obasanjo) abandoned his ‘crew’ to drown. It’s unfortunate.

Why do you think you were framed as one of the people planning to overthrow Gen. Sani Abacha in the 1995 phantom coup?

Let me tell you what I think could have led to being roped into the coup plot that never was. At that time, there were rumours that I was being considered as a military governor of a state. Some officers were saying I should be prepared that I would soon become a military administrator of a state – that was all.

What are some of the Oputa panel recommendations?

The recommendations including quashing of all charges and sentences; paying due compensations to victims and their families; promotion of the victims to appropriate higher ranks, whether serving or retired; medical examination for those who were physically and mentally traumatised as a result of torture by Abacha’s men. What have I done to deserve this injustice? I know where my colleagues are now. Why has the government failed to look into our plights? Why are we being treated unfairly?

Our pains and frustrations have been allowed to go on for more than 20 years. Why? Why should we be treated callously by those who should have known better? We dedicated our lives to serve our fatherland and what did we get in return? A thankless disengagement from the military service? We joined the military to give our best to the nation. We were falsely accused of a coup that never existed in the first place and the government, since 1999, has not deemed it fit to bring about justice in our case. Why do we repay honest people with injustice? There are people who participated in a coup attempt and were granted state pardon and enjoy their full benefits after leaving the service.

Once again, I am appealing to the Buhari administration to look into our case and let justice be done. We can’t wait forever. Some of us have died while waiting for justice. Some of us are battling with bad health due to the torture they went through in the hands of those who framed us. So, will those of us alive get justice before we die? Something has to be done to correct the evil that happened under Gen. Abacha. What else can we ask for? The 1995 phantom coup allegation was senseless. Why would the regime lock people for nothing? I think justice must be carried out swiftly now before it is too late. I have no regret serving in the military though. I have pride in the Nigerian military. It was an honour to serve my fatherland. But nobody should be repaid with injustice for serving the nation meritoriously.     (Punchng.com)

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