It has become my yearly ritual to spend the last 10 days of Ramadan in solitude. I consider it as an occasion to get closer to the Supreme Creator. All through this phase, I usually retreat from work, media, and other daily activities as much as I can. During this period, I will ordinarily ignore more or less a lot of activities and focus on my spiritual progression and connection with God. However, this year was bizarrely not the same as many events happened in torrents and that made it very tough for me to stay completely secluded for the 9 nights and 9 days.
Few days before my decision to give the ten-day seclusion a shot, there were sentiments, views and counter observations on the perceived President Buhari’s sluggishness or gradualness in giving Nigerians the change he promised. I held a view that the President should start doing something fast especially on the issue of insecurity. If I was asked about this issue a day before I embarked on the leave, I would have said ‘not sure’ or better still stayed neutral. However, with major news that found their ways into the venue of my seclusion, I am sure of my position now. My sincere conclusion is that PMB is unquestionably attending to issues in their relevant due course and just within ten days, our President seems to be radically changing the perception of both the pessimists and the cynics.
Termination of Appointments
Within those days, President Muhammadu Buhari terminated the appointment of the Director-General of the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency, Mr Patrick Ziakede Akpobolokemi. He was asked to hand over the management of NIMASA and all government property in his possession to the most senior officer in the agency who will remain in charge until a new Director-General is appointed.
Also, President Buhari recalled all ambassadors appointed by former President Goodluck Jonathan after three years of service abroad.
With these development, if a question were to be asked about the speed of governance of PMB from the likes of former Foreign Affairs Minister, Chief Ojo Maduekwe (Canada); Chairman of the Goodluck Jonathan Presidential Campaign Organisation in the 2011 election, Dr. Dalhatu Tafida (UK); Professor Ade Adefuye (USA); widow of the late Ikemba Nnewi, Chief Emeka Odumegwu-Ojukwu, Bianca (Spain); and former deputy governor of Oyo State, Mr. Taofeek Arapaja (Jordan) I doubt if they will agree with anyone that PMB is administratively slow. Just in one month!
As if that was not enough, within the period of staying away from the media, President Muhammadu Buhari approved the dissolution of the Governing Boards of all federal parastatals, agencies and institutions. Until the boards are reconstituted, Chief Executive Officers of the affected parastatals, agencies, and institutions will have to refer all matters requiring the attention of their boards to the President through the Permanent Secretaries of their supervising ministries.Though, the dissolution does not affect Federal Executive Bodies listed in the 1999 Constitution, it however, covers administrative or technical committees and other similar organs established by the now dissolved boards.
Sacking and appointments of Service Chiefs
Within the same period, President Muhammadu Buhari relieved the former National Security Adviser, Mr Sambo Dasuki of his appointment, just as he did with the service chiefs.
The President appointed Major General Abayomi Gabriel Olonishakin as Chief of Defence Staff, Major General T.Y. Buratai as Chief of Army Staff, Rear Admiral Ibok-Ete Ekwe Ibas as Chief of Naval Staff, Air Vice Marshal Sadique Abubakar as Chief of Air Staff, Air Vice Marshal Monday Riku Morgan as Chief of Defence Intelligence and Major General Babagana Monguno (rtd.) as National Security Adviser.
In a related development, President Muhammadu Buhari appointed Mr Abdullahi Muhammadu as the new Commandant-General of the Nigerian Security and Civil Defence Corps. Muhammadu succeeds Dr. Ade Abolurin, who has retired from the service.
Insecurity in the Country
Within these said ten days, SSS operatives surrounded the ex-NSA Sambo Dasuki’s houses. Personnel of the State Security Service, SSS, laid siege on the private residence of the immediate past National Security Adviser, Sambo Dasuki, in Asokoro district of Abuja. Few months ago, Dasuki was so powerful that he started the bid for the postponement of the proposed Feb 14 and 28th general election, and against all other voices of reason, he had his way. His proposition became the law. It was therefore not surprising when I read in his: My 24-hour SSS Ordeal that he saw the move as plot by the State Security Service (SSS) to implicate him in an alleged security breaches.
Return of Stolen Money
The news of South Africa returning seized $15 million to Nigerian government is reassuring. One will call to mind that the South African border authorities had on September 5,”014 2014, seized $9.3 million meant for the ‘procurement of arms for the Nigerian military,’ from two Nigerians and an Israeli who arrived the country in a private jet. While the furore created by the cash seizure was yet to settle, South African authorities again seized another $5.7 million transferred by Societe D’Equipments Internationale of Nigeria, to South African arms company, Cerberus Risk Solutions, for the procurement of arms. At the centre of all these illegal arms deal were Mr. Sambo Dasuki and an ally of former President Jonathan, Pastor Ayo Oristejafor.
A panic-stricken Jonathan was alleged to have sent former Commonwealth Secretary General, Emeka Anyaoku to plead with President Muhammadu Buhari not to launch an official probe on his administration. When I saw that, I just said that is new. Since the return to democracy in the country, the immediate president should be relaxed irrespective of the level of corruption noticed in his regime. Nigerians are just interested in knowing what happened to billions of public funds. The massive last-minute lootings, withdrawals and disappearance of more than $20 billion in government funds needed to be explained.
In his public plea, the ex-NSA refused to explain what he is doing with $40,000 cash, twelve (12) new exotic vehicles, out of which five (5) were bullet proofed after having failed to produce evidence of ownership; seven (7) high caliber rifles, (high assault weapons), several magazines and Millitary related gears among others. He said Nigerians should know that the invasion of his house by the SSS was a sheer witch-hunt. However, he refused to listen to Nigerians during the election postponement saga. A man who was in charge of the security of the country with billions of Naira spent only to have the situation worsen should be ready to explain what went wrong.
Well, within this few days the judiciary image got a boost when Justice E.Chukwu of the Federal High Court in Abuja admitted former Governor of Adamawa State, Muritala Nyako, his son, Senator Abdul-Aziz Nyako as well as Abubakr Aliyu and Zulkifikk Abba to bail with the sum of 350 million Naira each!
A Federal High Court in Abuja also granted a former Governor of Imo State, Ikedi Ohakim, bail with the sum of N270m forN270m fraud allegedly perpetrated in 2008.
Justice Adeniyi Ademola in his ruling on the bail application, filed by Ohakim, also ordered the prosecuting agency, the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission to submit the passport and other travel documents seized from the former governor to the Deputy Chief Registrar of the court.
PMB and his deputy, Professor Yemi Osinbajo agreed to collect 50% of the salary paid to his predecessor. The president equally turned down an offer by the Federal Government to procure five new armoured Mercedes Benz S-600 (V222) cars for his use. The cars which total cost is put at about N400m were planned to be purchased by the State House. Describing it as a waste of scarce resources, the source said Buhari told the permanent secretary that the cars he inherited from former President Goodluck Jonathan were good enough for him.
Economy and Power
The country’s foreign reserve also has risen by $2.89b in one month under Buhari. The Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria, Godwin Emefiele disclosed that the current administration under President Muhammud Buhari has been able to increase Nigeria’s foreign reserve from $29 billion to $31.89 billion in just one month.
Similarly, the Management of Transmission Company of Nigeria (TCN) announced that the nation has achieved a new electricity transmission peak of 4545MW through its national network. This, of course can be attested to by ordinary Nigerians who are already experiencing significant improvement in power supply.
The closest that the country ever achieved was its power transmission peak of 4517MW which was attained on 23rd December, 2012. This is associated with the fact that electricity wheeling to the Distribution companies has improved to over 4000MW due to improvement in fuel supply to the power generation plants.
If you think PMB is too slow, please take ten days leave from media and other sources of information and news. The volume of events, changes, sacks, appointments and economic development indicators and heartening court pronouncements will certainly proof you wrong.
Balogun is a Policy Analyst and Social Commentator