Weekly political notes

Bishop Matthew Hassan Kukah

2019: CAN Denies Instigating Christians Against Voting Muslims
The Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) has denied instigating Christians to vote for only Christians in the 2019 general elections.

Speaking on Wednesday, in Abuja, CAN’s national secretary, Musa Asake, said the association could not have asked Christians to vote only Christians because “it was not the right way to go”.

“Where did they get that one? I don’t know which CAN they are referring to; but for us at the national body we have not said anything like that because it is not the right way to go,” Mr. Asake said.

A group, Muslim Rights Concern (MURIC), had in a statement on Tuesday, accused CAN of instigating Christians against voting for Muslim politicians, especially President Muhammadu Buhari.

MURIC said in its statement signed by the group’s director, Ishaq Akintola, that Nigeria had done enough harm to itself by failing to uphold the country above religion and ethnic sentiments and called on Christians as well as Muslims to vote according to their conscience.

This denial is of no consequence or necessary at this point, considering that both Christian and Muslim leaders are guilty of making unguarded religious and political utterances. Such utterances in most cases expose their biases in the affairs of the country. It is disappointing that they forget that such inciting and provocative utterances are capable of plunging the country into crisis.

Instead of being sincere, unbiased, patriotic and altruistic, religious leaders have become more political than the politicians. They are deeply involved in politics, hiding under the cover of religion to operate.

But unfortunately, just like the politicians, they are neither exemplars nor pacesetters in the society. Many see them as opportunistic leaders, who are using religious positions to feather their nests at the detriment of their followers and the country.

Fixing Nigeria Requires More Than God-fearing Leader – Bishop Kukah
The Catholic Bishop of Sokoto Diocese, Matthew Kukah, on Tuesday, said fighting corruption and fixing Nigeria required more than a God-fearing leader.

Kukah said this at the launch of a book titled “The Shadow List’’ written by Todd Moss and organised by the African Centre for Media and Information Literacy in Abuja.

He said to fight corruption and build the nation was not just about goodwill, but about getting to the root of the matter and tackling it head-on.

“I have said it severally; let Nigerians keep saying they want a God-fearing leader. Nigeria does not need a God-fearing leader, because God-fearing has become an excuse to appeal to Nigerians and win elections. Governance in Nigeria is a criminalized enterprise and a criminalised state cannot progress; so we must come to terms as to why it is that this country is in such low portion.”

This is vintage Kukah; a man who calls a spade a spade. Kukah, by this statement may have stirred up hornet’s nest. He has invariably made it known to Nigerians that the country is yet to have a true God-fearing man as a leader. This is despite claims by the politicians that they are God fearing.

Kukah was not far from the truth that “God- fearing” has become a gimmick for politicians to win elections. If anybody is in doubt, the actions and inactions of political leaders are enough evidence. How will a true God-fearing leader emerge in a country, where religious leaders have joined the fray, all in a bid to meet up their obligations, life style and remain relevant?

This is a country where religious leaders lack the moral authority to criticise or condemn erring political leaders because they are compromised. So what does Kukah expect in a country, where there is high level of moral deficit? This is despite the proliferation of religious bodies and worship centres.

2019: Buhari Group Begins Nationwide Rallies
The leadership of the Forum of Non-Governmental Organisations in Nigeria (FONGON) has said it will from next, Tuesday, begin national mobilisation nationwide for President Muhammadu Buhari as part of activities to convince him to seek re-election in 2019.

National Coordinator of the forum, Mr. Wole Badmus, told newsmen on Tuesday, in Abuja at a rally that the coalition, comprising 200 NGOs, with membership of three million, including students, women, artisans and youth groups, among others from across the country, would start the rally in Abuja before moving to all the six geo-political zones.
“It will be a rally like no other. We have come together to rally support for President Muhammadu Buhari’s administration because we believe strongly that it has, since assuming office on May 29, 2015, performed creditably in putting Nigeria on the path of growth and development,” he said.

Well, this is another job for the boys and political jobbers. It is not new and unexpected. After all, there is acute hunger and unemployment in the land and man must eat. Not many Nigerians have forgotten the Transformation Ambassadors of Nigeria (TAN) led by Chief Ifeanyi Ubah. They campaigned vigorously for President Goodluck Jonathan’s reelection in 2015, but Jonathan failed the election.

Let no one be surprised that in the months ahead, more groups will emerge to campaign for Buhari’s reelection. This is even when Buhari has not publicly told anybody that he will seek reelection in 2019. But it will not be out of place if some of Buhari’s allies and aides are the ones behind all these projects; just to hoodwink or convince him to seek reelection in 2019. But how far they can go or succeed with this will be known in the months ahead. It is hoped that this group is aware that by law, it is not yet time for campaign rallies. But can INEC sanction them? Your guess is as good as mine.

APC Senator Says El-Rufai Committee Deceiving Nigerians On Restructuring
All Progressives Congress (APC) Senator, Shehu Sani, has criticised the report of a committee constituted by the party to look into the issue of restructuring.

The lawmaker said there will be no restructuring in the country before or after 2019 elections. The Governor Nasir El Rufai-led committee on restructuring submitted its report to the National Working Committee of APC on Thursday.

Speaking on Tuesday, Sani described the report as a ‘political gimmick’ by the El-Rufai-led committee.

He said the report was aimed at diverting people’s attention from a letter written by former President Olusegun Obasanjo.
“El-Rufai APC restructuring committee is self-serving, political gimmick aimed at diverting attention from Obasanjo’s letter.”

Shehu Sani is at it again. It is not hidden that Sani is not having the best of relationship with his state governor, Nasir El-Rufai. But that is not enough for Sani to condemn everything that has to do with El-Rufai.

Even if there will be no restructuring before 2019 or after, APC leadership and El-Rufai’s committee deserve commendation for their efforts. At least, they have shown commitment and it is left for Nigerians to put National Assembly on their toes to implement the report.

Sani should know where to draw the line. After all, he never criticised, opposed or condemned the National Assembly of which he is a member for rejecting devolution of powers in the proposed constitutional amendment. It is time for Sani to tell his colleagues in the National Assembly to buy into the idea of restructuring by amending the constitution in line with the clarion calls by Nigerians to restructure the country. This will show the genuine patriotism in Sani.

EFCC Lacks Power To Probe State Finances, Says Court
The Federal High Court, Ado Ekiti Division, has ruled that the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) lacks power to investigate finances of a state as appropriated by the House of Assembly without a report of indictment from the legislature.

Justice Taiwo Taiwo, in a judgment delivered on Tuesday, held that only the House of Assembly and the auditor-general of a state are legally empowered to monitor and investigate the finances of a state.

In a suit between the attorney general of Ekiti State and EFCC, among 17 others, Justice Taiwo ruled that under a federation, the federal government cannot serve as an overseer or auditor-general regarding the finances of a state.

Hmmm, even though, it is wrong to criticise judgment of a court, this particular judgment will raise more questions than answers. If it is not thoroughly argued at the Apex Court, it might give governors and State Assembly members leeway to mismanage states’ funds unfettered and recklessly.

By this judgment, it is the responsibility of citizens to get their legislatures to oversight state finances. This responsibility must not be abandoned. Also with this ruling, the ability for federal agency to pry into states finances might be curtailed.

Kwankwaso Shelves Kano Visit

Former Kano State Governor Rabi’u Musa Kwankwaso on Tuesday shelved his planned visit to Kano State.

He was scheduled to be in the state for a political rally that would have clashed with a separate rally planned by another faction of All Progressives Congress (APC) led by the state governor Abdullahi Ganduje.

Addressing a press conference in Kano, a former Secretary to Kano State Government, Dr Rabi’u Sulaiman Bichi, said Kwankwaso cancelled the visit following intervention of some well-meaning Nigerians.

While it is wrong for anybody to stop Kwankwaso from visiting his state, it is also not right for Kwankwaso to visit the state when the political cum security atmosphere is not ripe. This demands common sense and patriotism, not intervention from any quarter. It is the responsibility of the security agents to protect Kwankwaso and his supporters in the state every time.

Neither Kwankwaso nor his estranged political godson and successor, Ganduje will be at the receiving end if crisis erupts during the visit, it is the ordinary man on the street who will be exposed to harm. It is time for Kwankwaso and Ganduje to sheathe their swords and allow peace to reign.

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