Tag Archives: Nigeria

Can Buhari fix Nigeria?

African Arguments

Can Buhari Fix Nigeria? – By Richard Dowden

Muhammadu Buhari, the new president of Nigeria, is starting from point zero. The country has all but come to a sudden halt. Schools, hospitals and the civil service have closed down. Shops have run out of goods. The street markets are empty. Most will not see the inauguration of the new President on TV. Much of Nigeria has been switched off.

For years these mobsters – and complicit politicians – have prevented Nigeria having its own oil refinery, making billions importing fuel and receiving a subsidy so that Nigerians can have cheap fuel (much of it is smuggled to neighbouring countries thereby messing up the economies of the region and depriving Nigerians of the real value of their oil). The oil bosses are now on strike, refusing to import fuel until the government gives them 200 billion Naira – about £6.5 billion. The government is offering 159 billion Naira. Until then Nigeria is halted. Will the lights and mics be on for the re-inauguration of Muhammadu Buhari? They may be in Abuja but will Nigerians elsewhere be able to watch it on TV?
I know they say that today’s Buhari is a very different man to the tough disciplined soldier who overthrew an elected but corrupt government in 1983. Then he had corrupt officials locked up and criminals shot on Bar Beach in Lagos. It was a scary time for Nigerians but most now admit they got up an hour earlier and made sure they were “on seat” on time. The streets of Lagos and other cities were suddenly clean and tidy when he ordered Saturday morning clean ups.
Buhari saw the epitome of the corruption of the previous regime to be the Minister of Transport, Umaru Dikko. He fled Nigeria and came to Britain.

At that time an Israeli company was building the Nicon Noga Hilton in Abuja and, as part of that deal, Buhari employed Mossad operatives to find and kidnap Dikko and bring him to justice in Nigeria. In July 1984 the Isrealis found Dikko in London and grabbed him outside his house in Bayswater. They bundled him in to a van, drugged him and put him in a crate accompanied by a doctor. The van drove to Stansted Airport. But police had been alerted and when the crate arrived Dikko was rescued and four Israelis and a Nigerian major were arrested and jailed.
A part of me wishes the old Buhari would re-emerge – just for a couple of weeks. Countrywide swoops could net the Big Men and what might fall out of their pockets if they were turned upside down could replenish the state coffers. If he had a few tried and shot on Bar Beach I would not wave a protest banner outside the Nigerian High Commission. The rape of a rich country which has one of the highest infant death rates in the world – 74 per thousand – is no small crime.
But there is no sign that President Buhari will do anything dramatic. He has had a lifetime to prepare for this job and he has gathered good people around him. His second coming to power in a peaceful and properly conducted election promises clean and better governance. But first he needs to change the prevalent mood of cynical selfishness in Nigeria. It is the opposite of the optimism and communalism that I find abounds in most of the rest of Africa.

So what does Buhari need to do? The immediate priority is energy for the economy. This is essential if the country is not to be held to ransom by the crooks. He must build – or rebuild – the oil refineries, regulate the energy sector and bring in investment and good management. But with the oil price hitting new lows, this is the perfect time to restructure the industry and look elsewhere for alternative energy sources for wealth creation.
Buhari’s vision must be a big one to inspire Nigeria’s billion people – two billion in 2050. A former general, a Muslim from the north, he has a reputation for simplicity of lifestyle and a straightforward management style. National confidence will help people invest and create jobs for a fair and prosperous future. He should be able to reinvigorate the army, demoralised by years of neglect, and working with Cameroon and Niger, destroy Boko Haram in north-eastern Nigeria.

First, he must reunite Nigeria. The North South divide has never been wider – not least because of the upsurge in militancy from Boko Haram. Nigeria has been steadily devolved in recent years, which is a good thing, but the centre must still hold so that no region is neglected and marginalised – a major cause of ethic and religious tensions.
Second, inspire Nigerians to be proud of their country and less cynical and selfish. I called the Nigeria chapter in my book ‘Look Out World’ because if it got its act together it could change West Africa, Africa and the world. As the biggest economy in Africa it can transform the rest of West Africa through trade.

Third, he must bring good investment and development to Nigeria – potentially one of the richest countries in the world. Nigeria has it all, extensive underused fertile land, almost every mineral known to man under its soil, easy physical access to markets east and west. Above all it has a dynamic, energetic young population hungry for a future. That means investing hugely in education, health and job creation.
Fourth, he must take the lead in the continent. When Thabo Mbeki ruled South Africa and Olusegun Obasanjo lwas president of Nigeria they were continent-wide leaders and could make stuff happen anywhere in Africa. Today the continent has no continent-wide leaders. Buhari has the opportunity to step forward into at least a region and hopefully a continent-wide role.

The prize of success is clear for all to see. So is the route. An African friend once (deliberately) misquoted Barak Obama to me: “Yes we can. But we don’t”. Buhari might also change that slogan: “Yes we can – and we will.”
Richard Dowden is Director of the Royal African Society.

Nigeria – Buhari sworn in as president


CJN swears-in Buhari as President

President Muhammadu Buhari


Thirty one years after being ousted in a military coup, Muhammadu Buhari has been sworn-in by the Chief Justice of Nigeria, Justice Mahmud Mohammed, as the new civilian President of Nigeria.

The inauguration of Buhari, a retired General, who won the March 28 presidential election on the platform of the All Progressives Congress, brought to an end the 16-year reign of the Peoples Democratic Party on the political landscape of the nation and the five-year Presidency of Goodluck Jonathan, who became President in May, 2010.

Mahmud swore-in Buhari, who became the Head of State in a December 31, 1983 coup that ended three-month second term reign of Second Republic President, Shehu Shagari, at 10.51am on Friday, marking the beginning of his four-year tenure.

The new President took his oath of office and oath of allegiance, watched closely by Dr. Goodluck Jonathan, who was stepping out of office, about 12 minutes after Prof. Yemi Osinbajo took his oath as the new Vice President.

Osinbajo replaces Namadi Sambo, who became the Vice President to Jonathan in May, 2010.

Jonathan and Buhari subsequently performed the official handing over ceremony by receiving and releasing the National Flag and the Defence Flag, to give authority to the new President’s office as the President, Federal Republic of Nigeria and Commander in Chief of the Armed Forces.

Several foreign Presidents and representatives of governments graced the occasion, held under the scorching sun at the Eagle Square, Abuja, which was filled to capacity. Some guests had to watch the ceremony standing.

Secretary of State John Kerry led the US delegation while notable African Presidents include Jacob Zuma of South Africa; Robert Mugabe of Zimbabwe; John Mahama of Ghana; Yayaha Djameh of Gambia among several others.


Nigeria’s President Buhari promises change at inauguration

A historic day for Nigeria as new president Muhammadu Buhari is sworn in
Muhammadu Buhari has been sworn in as Nigeria’s president, promising to bring “increased prosperity” to Africa’s most populous country.

He is the first opposition figure to win a presidential election in Nigeria since independence in 1960.

“I belong to everybody and I belong to nobody”, he told cheering crowds at the inauguration in the capital, Abuja.

He vowed to tackle “head on” the issues of corruption and the insurgency from militant Islamist group Boko Haram.
Mr Buhari, a former military ruler, has taken over from Goodluck Jonathan, who had been in office since 2010.

Godless militants’

At the inauguration ceremony at Abuja’s Eagle Square – Mr Jonathan handed over the constitution and national flags before Mr Buhari took his oath of office.

In his first speech as president, Mr Buhari reiterated his commitment to tackle Boko Haram, whom he described as “a mindless, godless group, who are as far away from Islam as one can think”.

Will Ross, BBC News, Abuja:


Nigeria”s new President Muhammadu Buhari rides in a motorcade while inspecting the guard of honour at Eagle Square in Abuja

President Buhari said Nigeria now had “a window of opportunity to fulfil her potential”

As soon as Muhammadu Buhari was sworn in the invited guests in Eagle Square rose to their feet, danced and sang their new president’s name. As he was then driven around in an open vehicle, people rushed forward to record the moment on their phones.

This was a time for celebration not just for supporters of the new leader but also for Nigerians who are proud that their country has witnessed this historic transition. By conceding Goodluck Jonathan steered the country away from violence. We will never know how close Nigeria was to the precipice.

Moments after Muhammadu Buhari was sworn in thousands of excited young men ran through the security barriers to Eagle Square and pressed up against the perimeter fence cheered their new leader. It was a stark reminder that so many in Nigeria are expecting change, including jobs, from President Buhari.

As Mr Jonathan is driven away I would not be surprised if he has a sense of relief and feels an almighty weight has just been lifted off his shoulders.

Mr Buhari also announced plans for the Nigerian military’s command centre to be moved from Abuja to the strategic north-eastern city of Maiduguri, which is closer to areas where the group operates.

He said Boko Haram could not be said to be defeated without rescuing the more than 200 Chibok girls, whose capture last April sparked a global campaign to bring them back home.

“This government will do all it can to rescue them alive,” he said.

Mr Buhari said the Nigerian economy was “in deep trouble”, identifying “insecurity, pervasive corruption… and seemingly impossible fuel and power shortages” as key concerns.

The country’s power supply crisis was “a national shame”, he said, which had brought “darkness, frustration, misery, and resignation” to Nigerians.
Muhammadu Buhari in focus:

Muslim from northern Nigeria, aged 72

Military ruler of Nigeria from 1984 to 1985, deposed in a coup

Seen as incorruptible

Poor human rights record

Survived apparent Boko Haram assassination attempt

Profile: Muhammadu Buhari

Handing over the reins of power

Buhari’s to-do list

The president rounded off his speech with a quotation from Shakespeare, before issuing a final rallying call to Nigerians: “We have an opportunity. Let us take it.”

Among the guests at the ceremony were US Secretary of State John Kerry and African leaders including Zimbabwe’s President Robert Mugabe.

Nigeria – chance of reprieve from Buhari for death row soldiers


Boko Haram crisis: ‘Buhari hope’ for Nigerian death-row soldiers


Court Martial in Abuja. 2 Oct 2014

Femi Falana has been critical of the courts martial, which were held behind closed doors

Boko Haram

Why Boko Haram remains a threat

Boko Haram: What next for the rescued?

Who are Nigeria’s Boko Haram Islamists?

Is Islamic State shaping Boko Haram media?

Nigeria’s incoming president may review the death sentences of 66 soldiers convicted for refusing to fight Boko Haram, a lawyer has said.

Femi Falana told the BBC that Muhammadu Buhari had promised to review all operations against the militants.

He said that he was now confident the soldiers, who said they lacked weapons to take on the Islamist insurgents, would not be executed and face justice.

This week it was revealed another 579 soldiers face trial over indiscipline.
Army spokesman Sani Usman said the courts martial, currently taking place in the capital, Abuja, were to ensure professionalism in the army.

The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) has said that the Boko Haram insurgency, which began in 2009, had caused “one of the most serious humanitarian crises in Africa”.

‘State negligence’

Mr Falana, who is a prominent human rights lawyer and represented some of the 66 sentenced to death for conspiracy, cowardice and mutiny last year, said the Nigerian government had failed to adequately equip the units fighting the insurgency in the north-east.

“They [the soldiers] did not sign to commit suicide but to fight for their fatherland and since the government did not make weapons available, they were unable to fight,” he told the BBC’s Newsday programme.


General view of school in Yola, Nigeria, where victims are recovering (May 2015)

Hundreds of people have recently been rescued from Boko Haram captivity

“The sentences are awaiting confirmation but we are taking steps to ensure that no soldier, no officer in Nigeria is executed on account of the negligence of the Nigerian state in motivating the soldiers to fight and equipping them.”

He said that outgoing President Goodluck Jonathan “had refused to assist to the request of the convicted soldiers to review their matter”.

“So happily the incoming government of Gen Muhammadu Buhari has promised to review the entire operations in the north-east region and we are confident that the cases of the officers and the soldiers will be reviewed so that justice will be done to them.”

Earlier, he told the Associated Press news agency the courts martial were a “travesty” as they were held in secret and evidence supplied by some of the accused indicated corrupt officers often diverted money meant for salaries and arms.

Despite a state of emergency in three north-eastern state, Boko Haram managed to take over many towns and villages last year.

It was only from the end of January, with military backing from Chad, Cameroon and Niger, that the army began to recapture territory.

However, sporadic attacks and violence have continued.

“Whole communities have fled their villages and endured unimaginable suffering… even if the fighting stopped tomorrow, it will take years of investment and painstaking work to rebuild livelihoods and services,” ICRC president Peter Maurer said after a trip to the north-east.

Help was also needed for the victims of sexual violence, amid widespread evidence the militants raped some of the kidnapped women and girls, he said.

The group is still holding many women, girls and children captives including 219 schools girls it kidnapped from a school in Chibok in April last year.

Nigeria moves Boko Haram survivors


Nigerian army ‘relocates’ 260 Boko Haram survivors

A child rescued from Boko Haram in Sambisa forest is seen at the Internally Displaced People's camp in Yola, Nigeria on 3 May 2015.
Hundreds of people rescued by the Nigerian army are being held at a camp in Yola

The Nigerian army has relocated at least 260 women and children recently rescued from the militant Islamist group Boko Haram, officials say.

They were taken from a camp in the north-eastern city of Yola and flown to an unspecified military facility.

The women will receive medical help and support as part of their rehabilitation process, the BBC has learnt.

The government is said to be worried that some women may have been radicalised while in captivity.

Camp officials said there were suspicions some of the women had been communicating with militants.

They will be housed at the military facility under the Countering Violent Extremism (CVE) Programme which is part of the government’s so-called “soft approach” to combating terrorism.

Backed by soldiers from Chad, Cameroon and Niger, the Nigerian army has managed to liberate a number of towns from the militants since they launched a military operation in February.

However, sporadic attacks and violence have continued, with thousands killed in the last year alone.

‘Serious humanitarian crisis’

Some 275 women and children were brought to Malkohi camp in Yola on 2 May, after their rescue from a Boko Haram camp in the Sambisa Forest.

At the time, the women said some members of their group were killed when the militants pelted stones at them because they refused to run away as the army approached.

While 260 of them have now been moved, some are still being treated in a hospital in Yola, according to the BBC’s Nigeria Correspondent Will Ross.

A spokesman for the government body managing the camp, Sani Datti, told the AP news agency that he was aware soldiers had removed the group. But said he had no more details of what he described as an “entirely military affair”.

Separately on Thursday, the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) said the Boko Haram insurgency had caused “one of the most serious humanitarian crises in Africa”.

General view of school in Yola, Nigeria, where victims are recovering (May 2015)
Recent captives were rescued from what is thought to be the group’s last Nigeria stronghold

“Whole communities have fled their villages and endured unimaginable suffering… even if the fighting stopped tomorrow, it will take years of investment and painstaking work to rebuild livelihoods and services,” ICRC president Peter Maurer said.

He has just returned from a trip to the two north-eastern cities of Maiduguri and Yola, where thousands of people have fled the violence.

He said the charity was seeking an additional $65m (£41m; €58m) to support its operations in Nigeria as well as in Chad, Cameroon and Niger, where the fighting has spread.

Further support was also needed for the victims of sexual violence, he said, amid widespread evidence the militants raped some of the kidnapped women and girls.

About 1.5 million people have been displaced and hundreds more abducted since the group launched their violent uprising in 2009. More than 15,500 people have been killed in the fighting.

The group is still holding many women, girls and children captives including 219 schools girls it kidnapped from a school in Chibok in April last year.

The name Boko Haram, loosely translated from the region’s Hausa language, means “Western education is forbidden”.


Nigeria – Buhari praises Jonathan’s acceptance of electoral defeat


Jonathan’s acceptance of defeat averted crisis, says Buhari


President-elect, Maj. Gen. Muhammadu Buhari

The President-elect, Muhammadu Buhari, has commended President Goodluck Jonathan, for conceding defeat at the March 28 presidential election.

The News Agency of Nigeria reported that Buhari gave the commendation in Abuja on Thursday when he received Nigerien President Issoufou Mahamadou on Thursday. He said Jonathan’s action turned around Nigeria’s nervous political process.

He said, “The Nigerien president purposely came to congratulate me on my victory and President Goodluck Jonathan for the maturity and statesmanship that he exhibited by accepting that he had lost the election.

“His (Jonathan’s) action actually doused tensions and averted crisis in Nigeria.

“Not only Africa but the world has commended the President for that because if he had disputed the election, there would have been crisis in the country.

“That is what people don’t want, not only Nigerians but other countries. So, he came to commend President Jonathan for his courage and statesmanship.”

He said Mahamadou had also come to show solidarity and acknowledged Nigeria’s importance on the continent.

Buhari said but for colonialism, Niger and Nigeria and all countries living along the border would have been one as they shared similar cultures, religions and mannerisms.

“As he rightly puts it, if Nigeria sneezes, the rest of Africa catches cold because of its importance, population and resources.

“So, Nigeria and Niger Republic are one entity as one singer from Niger puts it in his lyrics. We share a 1,500-kilometre long border with Niger which stretches from Chad to Sokoto, and all the people living along the borders on either sides are same people.

“The colonialists separated these people when they partitioned Africa at the Berlin conference in 1885. They separated the Fulani, Kanuri and the Hausa from their brothers who are presently in Niger.

“They separated the Yoruba of Nigeria and the ones in Benin Republic. They also separated the Fulani and other tribes who were living together as one along the Cameroon border.

“So, all these countries around us were a single entity with people of similar culture and religion before they became separated but time has changed and we thank him for reminding us of our history of brotherhood.”

Earlier, Mahamadou had said he was in Nigeria to convey the gratitude of Niger Republic to Nigerians for the peaceful conduct of the elections held in spite of challenges.

“President Jonathan conceding defeat and this act will have a lasting impact and influence on politics in Africa, West Africa and Africa at large.

“So, I’m here both to congratulate the president-elect and the people of Nigeria for the smooth conduct of the elections,” Mahamadou said. 

Nigeria – PDP moves against Fani-Kayode

Premium Times

PDP moves against Fani-Kayode, orders probe of ex-Minister

Femi Fani-Kayode

Femi Fani-Kayode

The Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, has ordered the immediate probe of one of its members, and former minister, Femi Fani-Kayode, for criticising the party’s leadership and calling for its resignation.

The party said Mr. Fani-Kayode should be sanctioned for launching a media war against its leadership.

Mr. Fani-Kayode, alongside the Ekiti State governor, Ayo Fayose, and some other PDP members, have blamed the leadership of the party for PDP’s defeat in the recent national elections.

Mr. Fani-Kayode, who was the spokesperson for President Goodluck Jonathan’s presidential campaign team, on Tuesday accused two unnamed members of the party’s National Working Committee of working for the opposition All Progressives Congress.

In a dramatic response Wednesday, the party ordered the PDP in Osun State, Mr. Fani-Kayode’s home state, to immediately investigate and punish the former minister.

In a letter signed by its National Secretary, Wale Oladipo, the party mandated the PDP in Osun to first establish whether Mr. Fani-Kayode has been a “registered and financial member”.

If Mr. Fani-Kayode is a member, the party said, he should be punished severely, otherwise, he should be treated as a usurper.

The party also summoned its deputy national organizing secretary, Okey Nnadozie, to explain the whereabouts of the party’s money which was supposed to be paid to state chairmen of the party at the last national convention.

The party said Mr. Nnadozie should appear at the party’s office in Abuja on Thursday.

The NWC also said it has set up a seven-man disciplinary committee headed by Micheal Abdul.

Tony Okeke, former acting National Publicity Secretary of the party is to serve as Secretary of the committee.

The Committee will be inaugurated on Tuesday, May 26, 2015 at the National Secretariat of the party.

The NWC also expressed the party’s complete confidence in the National Publicity Secretary, Olisa Metuh, and commended him for his “outstanding performance, exemplary commitment and sacrifices”, particularly in the ways and manner with which he conducts the affairs of the Publicity Directorate in projecting the positive image of the party and its government.

Meanwhile, the NWC has said it would confirm on Thursday whether the Chairman of its Board of Trustees, Tony Anenih, has resigned or not.

On Wednesday, the Spokesperson of the PDP, Olisa Metuh, announced the resignation of the party’s Chairman, Adamu Mu’azu, citing his health as reason.

A source within the PDP had earlier informed PREMIUM TIMES Mr. Anenih would also resign alongside the ex-chair.

In a text of the resolution of the NWC meeting on Wednesday, the national secretary, Wale Oladipo, confirmed the “Voluntary resignation” of Mr. Mu’azu.

He said “on the correct position of the status of the Chairman of the Board of Trustees of the PDP, Chief Tony Anenih, the NWC will make its position public tomorrow, Thursday, May 21, 2015”.

The NWC also confirmed that Mr. Muazu’s deputy, Uche Secondus, is acting as the National Chairman of the party, in line with the provisions of sections 45 (2) of the PDP constitution.

It also said Mr. Secondus will serve as chairman “pending a replacement from the North East zone”.


Nigeria – PDP National Chairman resigns


PDP National Chairman Mu’azu resigns, Secondus takes over

Alhaji Adamu Mu'azu


The Deputy National Chairman, Peoples Democratic Party, Chief Uche Secondus, has taken over as the acting National Chairman of the party.

This followed the resignation of the party Chairman, Adamu Muazu, who threw in the towel on Wednesday on health grounds.

The PDP National Publicity Secretary, Olisa Metuh, who confirmed this to journalists at the Wadata Plaza secretariat of the party, commended Muazu for his services to the PDP and love for the nation.

He said, “I can confirm that we have received the resignation of the National Chairman, Alhaji Adamu Mu’azu. I can confirm that the chairman, who had health challenges, stayed on for the primaries, for the campaigns and the elections and after consultations with his family, and in his personal interest, he had decided to resign.

“This party commends him for his services to the party and for his love for the nation. We wish him well. We will not forget him. In line with the constitution, the  Deputy National Chairman, Prince Uche Secondus, has taken charge of the affairs of the party as acting national chairman of the party. The constitution does not recognise a vacuum.”

Metuh said Secondus would be in charge pending when a replacement would be appointed from the North-East.


Embattled National Chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party, Alhaji Adamu Mu’azu, on Wednesday resigned from his position.

This was confirmed to The PUNCH by the Deputy National Publicity Secretary of the party, Alhaji Abdullahi Jalo, in a telephone interview.

Jalo said, “It is true, Mu’azu has resigned. I can confirm this to you, he resigned today.”

He however declined further comments.