Last week had its exciting moments. However, six stories made our pick. Top of the pack include the strong reservations expressed by the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) against the new Companies And Allied Matters Act (CAMA), and the decision by the Nigeria Bar Association (NBA) to disinvite Governor El-Rufai from its annual conference.
While you may have followed these stories with some excitement and or misgivings, we shed more light on why they matter. Enjoy!
1. CAN fights CAMA
On Thursday, August 20, the leadership of the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) described as satanic the Companies and Allied Matters Act (CAMA) 2020, which recently received President Muhammadu Buhari’s assent.
In a statement by Pastor Adebayo Oladeji, the special assistant, media and communications to CAN President, Rev Dr Samson Ayokunle, the Christian body dubbed the act satanic, adding that “the law, to say the least, is unacceptable, ungodly, reprehensible and an ill-wind that blows no one any good. It is a time bomb waiting to explode,” it added.
Why it matters
The rumblings over CAMA 2020 might just be the clearest indication yet that not enough was done in terms of consensus building or that some level of insincerity may have attended the shaping of the law by those who had the responsibility to upgrade the thirty-year-old act.
Are Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs), especially CAN, afraid to commit to highest levels of transparency and integrity in the management of their organizations? Has government forged an underground plot to muzzle civil society organizations by smuggling the dead NGO bill into CAMA?
It must be said that every conceivable answer creates probable scenarios. What is certain, however, is that the operations of these NGOs, including churches, involve huge sums of money transfers, some of which end up being laundered into private accounts.
Also incontrovertible is the fact the Buhari administration has become considerably jittery and uncomfortable with rising opposition, driven essentially by NGOs demanding transparency and accountability.
As trust is erased, a hardening of positions is to be expected as clamour for amendment or jettisoning of the act gathers momentum. The stalemate may persist as government digs in to see if NGOs can and will sustain their opposition to CAMA 2020.
2. NBA benches El-Rufai
The governor of Kaduna State, Nasir El-Rufai, on Thursday, August 20 got embarrassed after the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) withdrew its earlier invitation to him as one of the speakers at its upcoming 2020 Annual General Conference (AGC).
The rejection of El-Rufai followed a petition initiated by one Usani Odum, on change.org which read, “The senseless killings in southern Kaduna must stop. The political correctness of Governor El-Rufai on national TV is diversionary. It is a reversal to have him speak to lawyers on security when Governor (Babagana) Zulum of Borno State a better person can do so. We may not be able to do anything to stop the killings, but we can stop the governor from speaking at the NBA-AGC to show our disapproval of the manner he has handled the situation!!”
Why it matters
The reactions that have trailed the dis-invite of El-Rufai show how dangerously the country’s fault lines are widening. The reservations expressed by some lawyers appear to have taken ethno-religious colouration.
Could it be a coincidence that a split in the ranks of the NBA have been championed mainly by the northern chapters of Jigawa, Bauchi, the Muslim Lawyers Association of Nigeria (Kaduna), and the Supreme Council For Shari’ah in Nigeria (SCSN)?
The pro-El-Rufai elements seem to have forgotten that the NBA NEC comprises of the statutory membership of all past presidents and general secretaries and three members each, from each of the body’s 125 branches.
The worrisome developments will be fuel to those who believe that the claim to one Nigeria is a fluke.
3. Oshiomhole’s theory of a pig
Adams Oshiomhole, the former All Progressives Congress (APC) national chairman, on Tuesday, August 18 fought back attacks by a chieftain of his party, the director-general of the APC Governor’s Forum, Salihu Lukman.
Speaking to State House Correspondents, who asked him to respond to recent attacks on him by Lukman, shortly after his meeting with President Muhammadu Buhari at the Presidential Villa, Oshiomhole said, “You want me to engage in a fight with a pig? If you engage in a fight with a pig; the pig already is stained by its nature and you will wear your white garment, and in my own case, khaki to go and wrestle with a pig? I will not.”
Why it matters
The snide remarks by Oshiomhole, in response to Lukman, are an indication that the deep rooted quarrels between some blocs of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) are not thawing.
Indeed, it further highlights the on-going intrigues to clip the wings of Oshiomhole even though his traducers have since shoved him out of the central power structure.
The emerging scenario raises very serious questions. Is Lukman acting alone or is he a front for those who are determined to render him politically irrelevant, both at the federal and state levels?
The sustained attack on one of its own, if not intended to diminish Oshiomhole, can only mean that there are APC elements surreptitiously supporting the re-election bid of Governor Godwin Obaseki of the PDP in Edo State. A major argument in this regard lies in Lukman’s interrogation of Oshiomhole’s role in Osagie Ize-Iyamu’s campaign efforts and his calls for him to quit the train.
It may be safe to posit that the sustained attack on Oshiomhole is part of the 2023 permutations, forcing him to deny that he was angling to return as party chairman.
4. Abubakar plays the ostrich
Nigerians were asked on Thursday, August 20, 2020, by the governor of Jigawa State, Mohammadu Badaru Abubakar, to stop blaming President Buhari for the hardships in the country.
Abubakar, who spoke during the commissioning of digital economy projects in Abuja said, “Buhari is not responsible for the high cost of food but past leaders, who did not reserve for the future economy. I urge Nigerians to come out and speak the truth. They should go to the truth of what really happened from inception. He is not the one who killed the rabbit, he was asked to carry the dead rabbit.”
Why it matters:
Governor Abubakar, believing that he was defending President Buhari, may have unwittingly reinforced the feeling by most Nigerians that the economy is in a mess and that the administration has failed to alleviate the sufferings of countrymen, five years down the road.
His position also confirms the hypocrisy of the ruling class who, like the ostrich, choose to bury their heads in the sand while exposing their rear. His tenuous arguments should serve as a reminder that the buck stops at the president’s table. Anything contrary would mean elevating propaganda to the level of a statecraft.
5. Diri’s sack
The governor of Bayelsa State, Douye Diri got shocked on Wednesday, August 17 following the ruling of the State Governorship Petition Tribunal that nullified his election as the governor of the state.
Ruling on a petition by the Advanced Nigeria Democratic Party (ANDP), which argued that it was unlawfully excluded from participating in the election, the Bayelsa State Governorship Petition Tribunal nullified the election that produced Diri of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) as governor and ordered the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to conduct a fresh election in Bayelsa State within the next 90 days.
Why it matters
Governor Diri’s travails illustrate how dynamic the game of politics is, and that power could be very transient. The development further shows the supremacy of law and the strategic place it occupies in constitutional democracy.
Without the pronouncement of the courts, Diri may never have become governor as he did not win the popular votes. Same judicial process ousted him!
The Diri saga shows clearly that the country’s electoral laws and processes still have gaps that need fixing, especially in the area of interpretations. It also means there are still lessons for INEC to learn, even though these will come from the interventions of the higher courts.
6. Akpabio sings on NDDC
The Minister of Niger Delta Affairs, Senator Godswill Akpabio, on Thursday, August 20 described the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC), a ministry he presides over, as a cesspit of corruption.
Noting that the commission got about N15 trillion in 19 years without anything to show for it, the minister, who spoke when members of the Independent Petroleum Marketers Association of Nigeria (IPMAN) visited him in Abuja, demanded that the probe of the NDDC should not be limited to the period under his leadership but should instead start from the inception of the agency in 2001.
Why it matters
Akpabio restates the obvious and confirms what many Nigerians had always known about NDDC being a home to thieving politicians.
Given paucity of data in the country, the figures quoted by him may just have scratched the surface, meaning that Nigeria could have lost well over N15 trillion in 19 years.
The revelations more than justify the calls for a forensic audit. However, a successful audit of NDDC may be impossible if it is not independently conducted. With Akpabio and members of the National Assembly already fingered in the monumental corruption, it is a surprise they are still pontificating instead of recusing themselves.
The other surprise is that the President has continued to permit a snail speed in the race to cleanse a rotten agency where accused persons are positioning as judges in their own case.
The looting of NDDC is expected to continue without a conscientious and transparent effort to halt the decay.
Have a great week ahead as QuickRead makes a return next week Sunday.
By Ebere Ndukwu…
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