Emmanuel Onwubiko: Nigeria’s leadership curse stinks


 

Two weeks ago or slightly more, Abuja the federal capital territory was invaded by some 200 well armed Islamists who apparently may have been permitted by those who command and control the armed forces of Nigeria to destroy one of Nigeria’s newest prisons known as Kuje medium security prisons so as to free their fellow terrorists detained but never tried or well secured from escaping.

These terrorist invaders successfully executed their assignment, freed their members and over 800 other inmates of the detention facilities and allowed by the current administration to melt back into the society to God knows where.

When this infamy and the greatest testimony to demonstrate that President Muhammadu Buhari’s administration has thoroughly mismanaged Nigeria’s national security, happened, we all made the usual noises on social media in condemnation of this apparent sabotage of the nation’s security by the Federal Government that allowed this disgraceful invasion to occur.

The belief is high that this attack was staged and that some persons in authority were in the know before, during and after it took place.

This is because we were told by Nasir El-Rufai the governor of the terrorised Kaduna State that the Federal Government knows who the terrorists are and where they are but has refused to degrade, decimate and destroy them from the face of the earth. Why? More questions than answers.

The Kaduna State governor who himself is not a good man going by his hatred of religious pluralism in his choice of cabinet and his deputy governor in which he displayed mundane consideration and preferences for his kinsmen of same religion against the state character and against the obvious fact that Kaduna is a multi religious and multi ethnic state, therefore has offered Nigerians the clearest evidence of collusion/conspiracy between officials of the current federal government and the terrorists tearing Nigeria apart and majority of who share same ethnicity and religion with President Muhammadu Buhari and all the heads of internal security institutions chosen by President Muhammadu Buhari based on nepotism and his passion for elevating his religion and tribe above every others in a nation of over 300 ethnic nationalities.

It’s two weeks after Abuja was attacked in the most audacious way, President Muhammadu Buhari did not fire any of his officials who played one negative role or the other that permitted the crime against Nigeria’s national security to occur in this technology driven century. Curiously, the Army battalions guarding the prison were pulled out few hours before the Islamists invaded the prison facility. If this doesn’t convince you about well organised government’s sponsored sabotage of national security, what else would?

The President also has not even constituted any sort of judicial inquisition. He does not care and won’t do nothing because aside this scandal, his 7 year long administration has masterminded over one thousand unbelievable scandals that can only happen in a rogue state. The mess is total because no sector of the National economy is spared of this gross incompetence and dereliction of duty under the active watch of a slumbering, weak and compromised federal government. Few hours back, the Central Bank hiked interest rate and what this means is that businesses that may need to borrow money or raise capital to support their businesses for greater profitability, can now no longer do that without sweat and paying through their nose.

This development will be explored in this piece that is done to remind Nigerians that although the Country is now thoroughly messed up by President Muhammadu Buhari, but the docility we the people of Nigeria manifests amidst this spectacular failure of governance is in itself another sign that we are simply willing accomplices in this growing mess.

But first let us say that the mismanagement is both micro and macro. Every aspects of our political life at the national and subnational levels are not spared of this miasma of leadership curse. I won’t dwell on the deliberate killings of Igbo youths by some Igbo state governors like that of Imo in collusion with the armed forces that behave like a rogue entity in the South East, but let me use the collapse of governance as the reference point or what prayer warriors of the pentecostal hue call POINT OF CONTACT for this reflection.

And in Abia, what other ways to demonstrate the apparent sabotage of governance than citing what has just befell the usually boisterous and lovely Abia State Polytechnic- an institution that has in over two decades or at least since its founding, has produced many great people who are shaping the society and ruling their World in many fascinating ways.

The sad news just emerging is that due to the incompetence and criminal dereliction of his governance responsibility as governor, the Abia State Polytechnic, Aba, has lost its accreditation from the National Board for Technical Education (NBTE) for failing to pay staff salaries and allowances for over 30 months.

In a statement issued on Tuesday, a spokesperson for NBTE, Fatima Abubakar, said the accreditation was withdrawn because the polytechnic had not shown any commitment to offset the arrears and ensure regular payment of salaries.

“It is, therefore, with utmost sense of responsibility that the board has decided to withdraw the accreditation status of the polytechnic to safeguard the quality assurance mechanism of the board,” Ms Abubakar said.

The NBTE official said the governing council and management of the polytechnic made several failed promises to settle the backlog of salary arrears.

She explained that regular salary payment was a key component of the board’s normative instruments for quality assurance in the polytechnics, technical, vocational education and training (TVET) institutions.

Ms Abubakar also mentioned that the board had drawn the attention of the polytechnic’s management to the consequences of failing to pay salaries, including the suspension of quality assurance visits.

“The board went the extra mile of writing to Governor Okezie Ikpeazu of Abia state, informing him of the dire situation of the polytechnic, but all to no avail,” she added.

Abia State has unfortunately witnessed one of the most brazen heists of their public funds by several past and current officials to the extent that nothing works anymore in Abia State except dysfunctionality, criminality and terrorism spareheaded by strangers such as armed Fulani terrorists and bandits who are actually protected by the Army of Nigeria whose operatives are more interested in killing Igbo youths than go after Fulani terrorists killing and maiming people in the South East.

Infact the Army has allegedly provided residences for these terrorists in their barracks located in the South East as the information goes which hasn’t been denied. Enough on the state of insecurity and the abysmal failures of governance at state level. Let’s dwell a bit on the sad news from the Central Bank of Nigeria whose governor committed the political suicide of joining partisan politics but still kept his badly administered job which has made the value of the National currency of Nigeria as worthless as that of Zimbabwe.

The new angle to the rot in the evonomy is that the Monetary Policy Committee of the Central Bank of Nigeria on Tuesday again raised the Monetary Policy Rate from 13 per cent to 14 per cent.

This came barely two months after the MPC, during its bi-monthly meeting in May, raised the benchmark interest rate from 11.5 per cent to 13 per cent.

The interest rate hike came barely one week after the National Bureau of Statistics put its June inflation figure for the economy at 18.6 per cent, the highest in five years. Inflation had hit 17.71 per cent in May, 2022.

The MPC had left the MPR unchanged for over two years. However crippling inflation, worsening purchasing power and their attendant effects on the economy appear to have forced the CBN to effect policy changes.

Speaking shortly after a two-day MPC meeting that started on Monday, the Governor, CBN, Mr Godwin Emefiele, argued that a new rate hike was necessary to put the economy on track.

Emefiele, who spoke in Lagos, said the MPC noted with concern the continued aggressive movement in inflation, even after the rate hike at its last meeting.

Speaking on the development, a professor of Capital Market and Chairman of the Chartered Institute of Bankers of Nigeria, Abuja Branch, Prof Uche Uwaleke, said, “The hike in the MPR in quick succession from 11.5 per cent to 13 per cent in May and now to 14 per cent could signal panic on the part of the CBN and heightens uncertainty.

“This policy stance may not necessarily curb inflationary pressure given the pressure is not coming from monetary factors.

A professor of Economics at Covenant University, Ota, Jonathan Aremu, said the decision of CBN’s MPC reflected an economic theory that stated that for an economy to remain robust, the quantity of money in circulation must reflect the volume of production and consequently the volume of trade/transactions.

Aremu said, “One thing I wanted to say is that it may not be the monetary policy alone they need to adjust, but they should look into the productive sector of the economy because if it happens that there’s too much money, when there is also much goods, then the price would not increase. So, there is what we call the quantity theory of money that equates the volume of money in an economy to the volume of goods.”

He further stated that the CBN would not be able to solve the problem of inflation by merely increasing the cost of borrowing because people would not have enough money to produce goods and services to be able to afford products in the economy.

According to Aremu, who is a former Assistant Director of research at the CBN, the apex bank’s move to mop up the money in the economy through rate hikes reflected a poor monetary policy in the first instance, since it was the CBN that was responsible for the volume of money in circulation.
Then, when we reflect on the state of insecurity in Nigeria, what manifests is that there is definitely something happening that most people aren’t sure yet but for me, I think there is a coordinated attacks targeting Christians which the present federal government is aware of but does nothing to prevent it may be because there is a high preponderance of Islamic extremists holding very important security posts under President Muhammadu Buhari.

The majority of the security institutions are controlled by persons of Fulani origin same as that of the majority of the armed non state actors killing, maiming, destroying Churches and kidnapping and killing Priests of the Roman Catholic Church.

What do we even want to talk about that hasn’t been degraded in value and essence and destroyed by the current administration?

The rot is so much. Is it the Nigeria Police Force that is free from these insiders sabotage and shows of shame? Not at all.

A newspaper did a comprehensive news coverage on the police of Nigeria which it titled as: “For bribes, Police truncate sexual violation cases, deny victim justice”, and in the part 4 of this very elaborate reportage published on the 1st April 2022, the newspaper reports thus: “Dickson said that when he and other activists stepped into the matter, they discovered that the police painted the picture that the survivor fell from a ‘rooftop,’ and got a ‘deep cut’ in her private parts. “The ‘deep cut’ was still bleeding, and this was even a week after the incident before we stepped in.

The child had been taken to the hospital and the doctor confirmed that there was penetration and there was semen.

I don’t know how to explain semen inside of a child that fell from a ‘rooftop.’ We told the DPO to transfer the case to the State Police Headquarters, but he refused.

Defilement cases are not handled at the division level; it is usually at the state’s headquarters and from there to court. It’s only the court that has the right to set free the perpetrator,” said Dickson.

He noted that after confrontations and hostilities, the division reluctantly transferred the case.

The activist said: “The child was bleeding and wore adult diapers, which continued to be bloodstained. Just imagine the pains of that three-year-old child. The child repeatedly stated that Samuel gave her chocolate sweet and brought out his peepee and rubbed something on it and put it inside her weewee.

Today, the case is now in court. The little girl has testified, the doctor has testified, but the police have refused to come to testify. The case was held last month, but the police didn’t come to testify because according to the girl’s mum, the police said they had not been given money.”

The media platform also asked experts if
SGBV cases get truncated because some of these police personnel were untrained on how to investigate such sensitive cases?

A human rights lawyer, Abiodun Kolawole, esq, principal partner of Crown Cannan Attorneys Chambers, explained that Section 4 of the Nigerian Police Act, states that the police are to investigate any issue that has to do with crime and that it behoves them to handle rape and defilement cases as crimes and do due diligence.

Amnesty International, in its latest report, said experiences shared by survivors showed that some conducts of police officers do not comply with international human rights law and standards, as well as the provisions of the Nigerian Police Act.

In the report, survivors alleged that while reporting to police as first responders, to have encountered victim-blaming, dismissive treatment, financial extortion, embarrassing questions, gender stereotyping and a lack of empathy from the police. The report further states: “In some instances when survivors report rape, the police advise survivors and perpetrators to settle the case outside the criminal justice system.”

A Deputy Commissioner of Police (DCP), who didn’t want his name mentioned because he was not authorised to speak, explained: “These police personnel know what to do, but they do rubbish things like settling defilement or rape cases because of money!

Some collect money from both the survivors and perpetrators. Sometimes, the survivors and family collect money for the settlement, not because they want to, but because they have been threatened and are afraid for their lives.

These kinds of police personnel believe such can never happen to them, but it can! Part of the law is to ensure survivors get justice and if they’re being threatened, police are supposed to arrest the threats!” The DCP further explained that aside from receiving complaints, the Human Rights desks in police formations and stations were supposed to ensure that all the sections observe HRs compliance in line with the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.

He added: “The Administration of Criminal Justice Law covers many procedures in investigations like detention, statement taking and arrest.

This, together with the Police Act and Regulations and Code of Conduct for law enforcement officials, the Nigerian Constitution, among others, are enough for these personnel. All these statutes are all-encompassing and there are no deficiencies in the laws. We even have specific laws like the Violence Against Persons (Prohibition) Act, 2015 (VAPPS) and in Lagos, there is the protection against domestic violence law of Lagos State. The officers need to be more professional, that’s all. The laws are sufficient.”

He said that police personnel drafted to gender desks had been trained on how to handle issues that have to do with SGBV, but “they refused to allow the training to enter them…”

It would seem that the present federal government is so good at destroying important services and institutions that were set up long before it came. The destruction of these institutions is catastrophic if you look at how SERVICOM is no longer effective in addition to many interventionist agencies such as the Public Complaints Commission, Police Service Commission, Human Rights Commission have all been compromised and destroyed.

By way of drawing the curtain to a close on this reflection on the phenomenal leadership inertia in Nigeria under the current administration, let us recall the show of shame going on amongst government officials including the President who has since abdicated his functions as the President on the lingering shut down of public Universities that has entered the fifth month.

The President has only just woken up from slumber and is quoted as asking the minister of education to bring the strike to an end within two weeks.

This same President has gone on several globetrotting bonanza that bears no relevance to our wellbeing not minding that millions of our youth are not in school because his administration can’t agree on how best to abide by a contractual agreement entered into between government and University lecturers.

Aptly, a reporter says the end may be in sight to the over five-month old strike in Nigerian public universities as President Muhammadu Buhari Tuesday directed the Minister of Education, Mallam Adamu Adamu, to resolve the prolonged strike embarked upon by the four university-based unions and report back to him within two weeks.

President Buhari gave the directive after receiving briefings at the State House, Abuja, from relevant government Ministries, Agencies and Departments (MDAs) involved in resolving the face-off with the university unions.

So you mean there is a President in Nigeria and public schools closed down due to trade union related disputes and for five whole months, the President did not direct his ministers to take steps to get the schools reopened? Is this incompetence, wickedness or both?

Recall that the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) had proceeded on one month warning strike on February 14, 2022, while other unions also withdrew their services after that as a result of the alleged inability of the federal government to meet up with their demands.

The three other unions that embarked on strike are the Senior Staff Association of Nigerian Universities (SSANU), the Non-Academic Staff Union of Allied and Educational Institutions (NASU) and the National Association of Academic Technologists (NAAT). Is there an end to this fantastic leadership curse in Nigeria? Only time can tell.

EMMANUEL ONWUBIKO is head of the HUMAN RIGHTS WRITERS ASSOCIATION OF NIGERIA and was NATIONAL COMMISSIONER of the NATIONAL HUMAN RIGHTS COMMISSION OF NIGERIA.

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