The current situation in the country may be difficult, particularly with regard to the economy, but Nigerians must exercise patience as the Buhari administration explores ways to get Nigeria out of the woods.
This appeal is coming from a former head of state in Nigeria, General Yakubu Gowon, who gave the assurance that the President is doing his best to make things better.
The elder statesman who was speaking in Lagos, added that all should continue to be hopeful of a turnaround soon.
The recent raid on judges, has caught the attention of many, among which is Information Analyst, Babatunde Ogunsanwo, who says “corruption is engraved all around us, including the Nigerian constitution”.
He came to this conclusion while analyzing statistics from the Global watch-dog on Corruption, Transparency International, that looks at corruption across several countries.
Mr. Ogunsanwo made the comments on Friday, while speaking on Channels Television’s Breakfast show, Sunrise Daily.
He stressed that it is only in one section of the entire Nigerian constitution that one can find the mention of the word ‘ideas’ while a larger portion lays emphasis on corruption.
Analysing corruption in Nigeria, he said Transparency International carried out a survey which showed that “63% of Nigerians say judges are corrupt” meaning “6 out of every 10 judges are corrupt”.
According to him, the survey says 73% of the legislature, both at federal and state levels are corrupt, while 96% of the police are corrupt.
It also went on to say 94% of political parties are corrupt while religious institutions were not left out of the survey.
Following this analysis, he came to the conclusion that “there are dangerous proportions of corruption in Nigeria”.
Mr Ogunsanwo went back in history and said corruption started almost 5 decades ago, when Aguiyi-Ironsi gave his maiden speech.
He stated that one of his reasons for taking over power was “corruption”.
In 1975 when Murtala Mohammed also took over from Yakubu Gowon, “the major reason was equally corruption.
“Our performance of corruption based on Transparency International right from 1999, reveals something dangerous,” he asserted.
“Even as at then, there was only one country, (Cameroon), which was more corrupt than Nigeria”, he said.
Still analysing the rate of corruption in Nigeria under various regimes, he said every leader who had ever attempted to fight corruption has failed woefully.
President Muhammadu Buhari on Tuesday in Daura called on Nigerian youths, particularly those from the South-East, to take their minds off the actualization of Biafra and promote national unity.
Receiving over 100 National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) members serving in Daura local government area, in his residence, President Buhari pledged his unalloyed commitment to the unity and prosperity of Nigeria.
He urged them to remain focused in life, pursue their dreams and reject those fanning embers of discord and disintegration of Nigeria.
Speaking specifically to corps members from the South Eastern states, the President said: “Tell your colleagues who want Biafra to forget about it.”
“As a military commander, I walked from Degem, a border town between the north and the east, to the border between Cameroons and Nigeria.
“I walked on my foot for most of the 30 months that we fought the Nigeria-Biafra civil war, in which at least two million Nigerians were killed.
“We were made by our leaders to go and fight Biafra not because of money or oil, because oil was not critical factor then, but because of one Nigeria.
“So if leaderships at various levels failed, it was not the fault of the rest of Nigerians who have no quarrel with one another.
“So please tell your colleagues that we must be together to build this country. It is big enough for us and potentially big enough in terms of resources.
“Those who work hard will earn a respectable living. I have seen this country, I fought for this country and I will continue to work for the unity of this country,” the President said.
The President, who specially recognised corps members from the Niger Delta and South-Eastern states serving in Daura, praised the vision of former President Yakubu Gowon in setting up the scheme in 1973.
The President said that the scheme has creditably promoted national unity and cohesion by exposing young people to the uniqueness and cultural diversity of Nigeria.
“I asked for those from the other extreme of Nigeria because I very much appreciate the NYSC scheme and whenever I see General Gowon, I always thank him for that.”
In his remarks, Mr Egbewumi Adebolu, the Corps Liaison Officer in Daura, thanked the President for the honour of receiving them and making their stay in Daura memorable.
He said the youths strongly believed in the programme of the President to reduce unemployment and create jobs for more Nigerians.
Adebolu thanked the President for his personal gifts of cows, bags of rice and cash to corps members in the community for Salah celebration.
Former Head of State, General Yakubu Gowon (Rtd.) has appealed to the Federal Government to do all at its disposal to bring an end to the economic recession which Nigeria is currently grappling with.
General Gowon made the call on Wednesday at the palace of the Ooni of Ife, Oba Adeyeye Ogunwusi, Ojaja II, in Osun State.
He told reporters in Ile Ife that he was optimistic that the team put up by the Federal Government can come up with a solution to the crisis.
The former Head of State, who declined to speak further on the state of the economy, however admitted that the masses and businesses were going through a tough time.
He urged President Muhammadu Buhari to find a way to restore the confidence of the people in the economy and the country at large.
“Let the current authority find a way out of the current economic crisis. The Minister of Finance, Kemi Adeosun, has been telling us what they have been doing to get the economy strong again. She said all will be well by September. Let’s wait till then.
“I have left government for a long time, so I may not really know what the problem is. The current administration should do whatever they can to solve the economic challenge. They should find a way to restore confidence in citizens and the nation at large by fixing the economy.”
The story of Chief Ernest Shonekan’s life is one centered on merit, humility and service to humanity, and that was re-echoed when the British-trained lawyer, industrialist, Baba Isale of Egbaland and former Interim President of Nigeria turned 80.
The celebrant, who takes his Christian faith seriously together with his dear wife Margret and their lovely children, began the special birthday event with a thanksgiving service at the Cathedral Church of Christ, Marina in Lagos
The occasion saw several important guests honouring Chief Shonekan in a service officiated by the Primate of the Church of Nigeria, Anglican Communion, Most Reverend Nicholas Okoh.
The special guests include former Head of State, General Yakubu Gowon and wife Victoria; former Vice President, Chief Alex Ekwueme and wife Helen; Governor of Ogun State, Ibikunle Amosun and wife Olufunso, the Deputy Governor of Lagos State, Idiat Adegbule.
Others are former Minister of Defence, General Theophilus Danjuma and wife Senator Daisy; Chairman of FCMB, Otunba Shubomi Balogun and wife Adebutu; and the Alake of Egbaland, Oba Micheal Adedotun Gbadebo amongst others
Indeed, it was a special day as they joined him on the altar for thanksgiving and then sang a special birthday song for him.
Students from his Alma Mata, CMS Grammar School Lagos, also did a special presentation in his honour.
The social part of the celebration kicked off right away with veteran juju music maestro, Ebenezer Obey, dishing out some of his evergreen tunes in honour of the celebrant and to the delight of his A-list guests.
More important guests joined the party, like ex-President Olusegun Obasanjo; the Ooni of Ife, Oba Adeyeye Enitan Ogunwusi and wife Olori Wuraola; former Governor of Kano State, Rabiu Musa Kwankwaso, and former Governor of Lagos, Chief Mobolaji Johnson.
Business mogul, Chief Razaq Okoya and wife Shade; Justice George Oguntade and wife; Chairman of Doyin Group, Mr Samuel Adedoyin; and the Senior Special Assistant to President Muhammadu Buhari on Foreign Relations and Diaspora, Mrs Abike Dabiri-Erewa, also shared in the fun.
Chief Ernest Shonekan was born on the May 9, 1936 in Lagos. He is a British-trained lawyer, industrialist, and was the former Chief Executive of the United African Company of Nigeria Plc (UAC), before he was appointed as Interim President of Nigeria by General Ibrahim Babangida on August 26, 1993.
Chief Shonekan’s transitional administration only lasted three months before General Sani Abacha took over on November 17, 1993.
Meanwhile, former Head of State, General Yakubu Gowon, has dismissed any potential threat to Nigeria’s unity as a result of the activities of some pro-Biafra group.
General Gowon, who noted that Nigerians have put behind them the ugly memories of the 1967 civil war, pointed out that those behind the protests were youths who have no idea what the war cost Nigerians.
The elder statesman was speaking in Lafia, the Nasarwa State capital shortly after a malaria eradication campaign visit to Governor Tanko Al-Makura.
He expressed confidence that the campaign was being driven by just a few people and that majority of the Igbo people do not share the view.
While admitting that they protesters had the right to express their feelings he stated “with Biafra it is finished”.
One of those who had direct dealings with Chief Obafemi Awolowo is General Yakubu Gowon.
The former Head of State was in Ikene to commiserate with the Awolowo’s family on the death of mama HID Awolowo, whom he described as a dependable, selfless person who stood solidly behind her husband, Chief Obafemi Awolowo, when he was imprisoned during the political crisis that rocked the then western Nigeria.
Members of the delegation included former judge of the International Court of Justice, Prince Bola Ajibola, Arthur Mbanefo, Richard Okafor, Chief Olanihun Ajayi, Professor Funmi Soetan, Prof. O .O Akinkungbe and Mr Olatomiwa Ashaolu.
The former Head of State recollected with nostalgia the life and times of the late matriarch of the Awolowo dynasty.
He recalled the role HID Awolowo played in convincing her husband, Chief Obafemi Awolowo to join his government as Finance Commissioner.
He expressed sadness about the passing away of HID Awolowo, describing her as a great and distinguished woman who loved him and his wife, Victoria.
Former Head of State, General Yakubu Gowon, has demanded an apology from Amnesty International to the Nigerian military over accusations of inhuman treatment in its fight against the Boko Haram sect.
The elder statesman admitted that there might exist instances where military operations have raised human right concerns but said that the military never engages in ‘slitting of throat’ of any person whether civilian or terrorist as peddled by the international human rights group.
General Gowon was speaking at the National Defence College Course 24 inauguration lecture.
On June 3, 2015, Amnesty International released shocking videos where they claimed that more than 7,000 suspects died in military detention from torture, starvation as well as evidence of the military slitting the throats of some of the men and boys.
That accusation did not go down well with General Yakubu Gowon (Rtd) as he described the accusation as unfair to the Nigerian Army.
“They are accusing the Nigerian armed forces of doing all sorts of atrocities like cutting the throat of the Boko Haram people whereas it is the Boko Haram people that were doing that exercise and I have seen many videos of what they were doing to poor innocent Nigerians in Gwoza area.
“For them (Amnesty International) to accuse Nigerian military of doing that, certainly is wrong because the Nigerian military were never trained to do that sort of exercise. It is absolutely false, wrong and they should not make such an accusation.
“They should apologise to the Nigerian military and to Nigeria,” he said.
The elder statesman also identified internal discord among security agencies, inadequate welfare and questions of indiscipline as some of the reasons why the armed forces have not completely overcome insurgency in the country.
The Federal Government, has however said that is now a forgotten issue. The Permanent Secretary at the Ministry Of Defence, Ismaila Aliu, in a chat with Channels Television, expressed confidence that the military could win the war on terror within three months as mandated by President Muhammadu Buhari.
“By all indices, we might even beat the deadline, but one thing is that information sharing is very important. Civilians need to give us information to address certain security challenges,” he said.
The Chief Of Army Staff, Lt. Gen. Tukur Buratai also shared the same optimism, describing the military’s progress within the first month as “fantastic” and an indication that the war can indeed be won in three months.
Kano residents, friends and relatives and traditional rulers across Nigeria and beyond converged on Kano Government House on Saturday for the official coronation of the Emir of Kano, Muhammadu Sanusi II.
Emir Sanusi was selected the 14th Emir of Kano following the death of his predecessor Alhaji Ado Bayero in June 2014.
At the coronation ceremony, the Emir promised to serve the emirate with the fear of God and in accordance with Islamic Teachings.
The occasion was to officially turban Muhammadu Sanusi II and hand over a staff of office to him.
The Emir was sworn in by the Chief Imam of the Kano Central, Professor Sani Zaharadden, witnessed by the former Heads of State, General Yakubu Gowon and General Muhammadu Buhari, Governors of Niger, Zamfara, Yobe, among others.
The occasion was also attended by the Sultan of Sokoto, Oba of Lagos and the Emir of Damagaram in Niger Republic among other Traditional Rulers.
Receiving the staff of office from the governor, the Emir promised to rule in accordance with the tradition.
“I thank everyone for attending this occasion, especially the governor for selecting me. I assure you that i will lead you in accordance with Islamic teachings and with the fear of God irrespective of your tribe or religion.”
The Kano State Governor, Rabi’u Kwankwaso, who described the Emir as a man of humility and justice also says that his selection followed a series of consultation with kingmakers and other concerned authorities who authenticated that the Emir was a kind and generous man.
After the Emir was kitted, he was shown to the people of Kano Kingdom.
It is a major activity that follows the coronation and it gives the District Head and other Traditional Rulers the opportunity to pay homage to the Emir.
Former Head of State, General Yakubu Gowon, appears miffed at the continuous bashing of the Nigerian armed forces in the face of the growing threat posed by the Boko Haram sect.
Therefore, he has challenged the military to urgently correct the negative impression about them and their operations.
While acknowledging that the military has records of competence to boast about, General Gowon, whose message was delivered by former Lagos State Military Administrator, Brigadier-General Buba Marwa (Rtd), assured the military of his support as it continues effort to flush the insurgents out of Nigeria.
He was speaking in Abuja against the back drop of reports suggesting that soldiers were fleeing from militants in the north-east.
President Goodluck Jonathan has heaped encomiums on former Head of State, General Yakubu Gowon, describing him as a worthy, steadfast and iconic feature of Nigerian history.
In a congratulatory letter to General Gowon on the occasion of his 80th birthday, President Jonathan said that the nation would always owe the former Head of State a huge debt of gratitude for successfully managing and guiding Nigeria through an unfortunate civil war out of which it emerged as an even stronger and more united nation.
“As you deservedly celebrate this noteworthy anniversary on Sunday, October 19th, 2014, I join your family, friends, protégés and well-wishers in celebrating you and thanking Almighty God for the unique and richly fulfilled life He has blessed you with these past 80 years.
“Over the years, you have continued to use your exalted position to engender bridges of love and harmony across the country; availing successive governments of your wise counsel, and demonstrating your unwavering faith and willingness to partner with us in our quest to bequeath to our collective posterity, a nation of which we can all be proud. Nigeria owes you a huge debt of gratitude,” President Jonathan wrote.
The President wished General Gowon very happy 80th birthday celebrations and prayed that Almighty God would continue to bless, guide and protect him.
The Former Minister of Education, Mrs Oby Ezekwesili, has stated that for Nigeria to surmount its current socio economic and political challenges, Nigerians must demand a new and normal social contract from its leaders.
Ezekwesili made the call in Abeokuta, the Ogun State capital, while delivering a lecture titled ‘Renegotiating Nigeria’s Social Contract after 100 Years of Nationhood’ marking the 80th birthday celebration of Nobel Laurette, Prof Wole Soyinka.
Ezekwesili, who also advocated on good governance, challenged the citizenry to live up to their responsibilities by putting their leaders on their toes in re-positioning the country’s path of sustainable growth.
She said; “It is not Nigerian to be known as an underperforming country, it is not Nigerian to be known as a corrupt country, it is not Nigerian to be known for every negative label.”
The lecture put together by the National Association of Seadogs, formed by Professor Wole Soyinka in 1948 at the University College Ibadan, was aimed at promoting good governance, social justice, and the advancement of democratic ideals.
It was also to honour the man fondly called “Kongi” by friends and admirers whom to them remained a different personality.
Ogun State Governor, Ibikunle Amosun, referred to the celebrant as “a colossus of our current era”, he added, “the Government and the people of Ogun State are proud of Professor Soyinka, our illustrious son.”
The Catholic Bishop Of Sokoto State, Mathew Kukah, said, “I’m not assessing him on whether he’s a good footballer or whether he plays tennis well, I’m concerned with what church he worships in, if he worships at all, I’ve only come to celebrate what I consider the greatest human being to come out of our continent.”
In his remarks at the occasion, former Military Head of State, Yakubu Gowon, expressed confidence in the future of the country despite current challenges. He said that he believes in Nigerians being able to keep the country together.