Reflections on another empty presidential speech, By Emmanuel Ogebe, Esq

Posted by News Express | 17 April 2020 | 1,298 times

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•Emmanuel Ogebe

Major General Buhari had another opportunity to address the nation on Monday but it was another missed opportunity. Even the British Prime Minister who was hospitalised in the ICU and out has given more substantive speeches in the same two week timeframe as Buhari.

Below are some of the key things the president could have taken the opportunity to mention in his address:

Xenophobia against Nigerians in China – the president could have acknowledged this issue of concern and stated efforts by his administration to protect citizens this threat

Repatriation – the president could have shed light on his plans if any to return some citizens stranded abroad back home

Today is the anniversary of the Chibok abductions six years ago. The president could have used the opportunity to update on his administration’s efforts to recover the 100+ missing schoolgirls and Leah amongst others. It is noteworthy that he promised to set up an investigation into the abduction but after five years in power, he has failed to do so. Chibok is the world’s longest running mass abduction and the girls have now spent a longer time in captivity under Buhari (4 years 11 months) than under Jonathan (11 months.)

He could have addressed the massive Chadian onslaught that pushed back on the terrorists and laid to rest concerns that the Nigerian Army is not carrying its weight in the battle front.

He could have addressed the controversial issue of the Chinese medics imported into Nigeria despite the flight ban and clarified their cost and mission.

He could have condoled the families who lost members to the overzealous actions of security forces enforcing the stay at home order

It is strange that while addressing the nation on Easter Monday, the president did not deem it fit to wish the nation a “Happy Easter!” The grave omissions above indicate a president who is neither in tune with issues of urgent national concern or aware of the mood of the nation. Even his remarks re COVID_19 were inadequate

It is unclear how the social register will be updated to an additional 1 million households when already there are serious doubts as to the veracity of the alleged 2.6 million currently on the register. A presidential aide had controversially claimed on national TV that records could not be disclosed of those given money to because of a FOIA law she was unable to cite and because the poor don’t want to be seen as poor. The secretive disbursement is antithetical to accountability and could just unleash the pipeline for further looting.

Buhari said previously they are distributing 20,000 COVID19 palliative to the poorest of the poor. Nobody knows who these people are. He didn’t address claims that it is four months arrears of their 5K per month cash transfer not any new COVID19 palliative.

Buhari also previously announced that he will provide feeding to school kids in schools that are closed as a COVID19 response. Here’s the issue: - the children are already safely in their parents’ homes. You want to bring them out to expose them to COVID19 infection. - the parents are already feeding their kids so you are not providing any solution to a problem. What you need to do is provide support to the parents to sustain what they’re doing. The children have not been impacted by the lockdown like their parents. Government bureaucratic wastage and corruption in providing the school feeding would be averted for greater impact through the parents. This policy only opens the floodgate for the Humanitarian Affairs minister to spend billions without oversight. If the Buhari govt – admitted that there was corruption in its social investment programs – admitted that donated dambino food aid from Saudi was looted and sold under the oversight of Minister Sadiya who is now in charge of school feeding, how can they be expected to properly account for $1 million a day school feeding program when schools are closed?

The president did not mention a report that he is withdrawing money from Nigeria’s Sovereign Wealth Fund to fight the pandemic. Shell Oil Company paid $5.63 billion to the Nigerian government in 2019 – the highest taxes they paid out of 28 host-governments countries in the world.2nd and 3rd to Nigeria are Malaysia $3.84 billion, and Norway ($3.07 billion). But Nigeria’s Sovereign Wealth Fund has been ranked by the IMF as the second worst wealth fund on earth with barely $2 Billion. Norway has more than $1 Trillion in its Sovereign Wealth Fund yet Nigeria collected more taxes from Shell Oil than Norway did!

Indeed at a point, Norway considered paying out $30,000 to each citizen as the fund amounts to $200,000 per citizen.

That’s how sensible government initiatives work.

In conclusion therefore, it is clear that we have a president who is neither in touch with Nigeria’s present or engaged with Nigeria’s future. Rather he is caged in Nigeria’s past.

Last week, MG Buhari reportedly pardoned several dead people in consistent continuation of his mind boggling and blistering incompetence.

Firstly he pardoned Prof Ambrose Alli whom his own regime as military dictator had fraudulently convicted.

Subject: ex-Supreme Court Justice’s new Autobiography Indicts Buhari’s Tribunals that convicted recently pardoned Ambrose Ali

Amidst reports of the posthumous pardoning of late Prof Ambrose Alli amongst others, it is noteworthy that the recently published memoirs of renowned former Supreme Court Justice J.O. Ogebe raised concerns about the Tribunals that convicted him during the military regime of Major General Buhari.

Excerpts from the new book “Justice Under the Shadow of the Almighty, autobiography of a distinguished jurist”:

“In May 1985...Justice Idoko...had been appointed a Justice of the Court of Appeal as a reward by the Federal Military Government for participating in the Military Tribunal set up to probe politicians by Buhari’s regime. Some of us judges strongly felt we should not participate in the tribunals which were headed by military officers instead of judges. It was an insult to the judiciary. Nobody will contemplate a situation in which a Judge is made a Commander of the army at the war front instead of an experienced military officer.

The Federal Military Government was aware of the misgivings of most judges; consequently, they decided to reward all the judges who participated.”

Secondly Buhari pardoned Pa Enahoro who had already been pardoned by the regime of Gen Gowon. Unless MG is now pardoning mortal sins of mankind so they can make heaven, it is unheard of that a dead person who is already pardoned is repardoned!

This latest goof just goes to show how woeful a failure MG Buhari is. His fixation with the dead from appointing over half a dozen of them into his government some years ago continues even now.

At this rate, if nothing changes, he will be the death of Nigeria.

Recommendation

The Jonathan administration introduced a National ID card which was also a UBA linked MasterCard. To date it provides the only secured and assured means of accessing the majority of Nigerians financially.

A responsible government could authorise the disbursement of cash support to millions of citizens transparently and effectively through this or the BVN portal.

•Emmanuel Ogebe is Managing Partner of US NIGERIA LAW GROUP, Washington, DC, USA. 


Source: News Express

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