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No Apologies For Attacking Buhari In My Articles – Adedayo



No Apologies For Attacking Buhari In My Articles - Adedayo

I was just informed a few minutes ago of the withdrawal of the appointment offered me as the Special Adviser on Media and Publicity to the Nigerian Senate President, Dr Ahmad Lawan. I had hitherto enjoyed every of the diatribes provoked by the appointment. I was told it was the most discussed issue in Nigeria in the last few days. Of course, it was not humanly possible for me to read the over 5,000 tweets and thousands of comments on other social media. As at the time of writing this, the issue was said to be the most-discussed in Nigeria on the social media. Said to be the brainchild of some hired Rottweiler dogs loyal to some lords in the APC, a campaign dubbed #sackfestus adedayo was mounted immediately and within hours, had given birth to thousands of recruits. Many of the commentators who took liberty to harangue me have no idea of who I am and went on a railroaded binge to dress me in an alien robe.

Of a truth, I am a venomous critic of President Muhammadu Buhari, with no apologies. Tinubu, Adams Oshiomhole, Ibikunle Amosun, Bukola Saraki and several others have been on the receiving end of the unkind temper of my pen. But call my attention to five pieces I did in dispraise of Tinubu, I will call yours to the three I did in his praise, at very grave danger to my life and career, even though Tinubu can’t pick me up in a crowd. Someday when he and I meet, I hope to tell him the consequential bullet I once bit for his sake. Since 1998 when I began column-writing, I have a graveyard of public personalities whom my cudgel has whiplashed for perceived infractions in power. Give me 10 pieces I wrote in uncomplimentary review of President Buhari, I will give you 20 I did in utter vilification of Jonathan, his ministers and those close to him. One thing my traducers don’t know is that I have no attachment to those criticisms. I am like a prophet; once I deliver my message, I move on.

What those who are vilifying me for always writing against government should have done was to rise from their laziness and conduct an x-ray of my writing. In my close to 20 years of public sphere intervention, I am a rabid anti-establishment person. I believe that in establishment lies the plague of the Nigerian state and my writings reflect this much. Even though I am anything but a saint, I believe that government should reflect the highest moral echelon of society and those who run it should make covenant of chastity and fidelity with themselves.More fundamentally is that my pen knows no friend nor foe. Very early in my writing career, I learnt that I could go far in the people’s heart if I sided with the public against government. This was abetted by my philosophy degree background which teaches me to always look for disorder, even in order. I am a natural pessimist and see pessimism in optimism. Anyone who does a critical assessment of my journey as a columnist will see this without any equivocation.

I doubt if any government has received greater unfavourable reviews from my pen than the Olusegun Obasanjo government. His ministers were weekly captives of my acidic pen. His Chief Press Secretary, Chief Tunji Oseni, upon once inviting me to the monthly Presidential Media Chat, told me to my face that he regretted inviting a rabid anti-Obasanjo journalist like me to the event. Chief Bola Ige, God bless his soul, was the first recipient of my column’s bile in the government. He wrote Page 9 while I wrote Page 3 of the Sunday Tribune, with his Uncle Bola’s Column, even as Attorney General of the Federation. A few weeks after the ministers’ inauguration and they were given Wardrobe allowance, I flagellated all of them, including Chief Ige, a known acolyte of Chief Obafemi Awolowo, who owned the medium. When Chief Ige reacted to my attack and spoke of me in bad light, I took him up again and almost insinuated that he was senile. Rather than take further umbrage, he apologised to me. This was the Ige who, one day when I went to his house, in the company of other colleagues, once commended my writing.

Very few people know that the governor of Oyo State, Seyi Makinde, is my friend. A few weeks ago, I rudely dragged him to the public square over his decision to cancel the N3000 school fees in the state, so much that those who know my association with him asked if there was a dissonance in our relationship. If you rummage through the archives, you would see lacerations on the body of former Vice President Atiku Abubakar, products of my unkind jabs. It began from 1999. If I have written 100 articles referencing Abubakar, we may barely find three that are positive about him. Apart from seeing him on the television, I probably saw him once in my life in the crowd. Former governors Niyi Adebayo of Ekiti State, Olusegun Osoba, Adebayo Alao-Akala, Rashidi Ladoja received unkind tackles from me. I am very close to Governor Rotimi Akeredolu of Ondo State, but the day I felt his decision was against my people of Akure, I wrote against him. Rummage through the archives, you would see how I pounced on Senator Bukola Saraki severally with my pen; you would think we once sparred over possession of same woman. The truth is, my writings are political party and tribe-blind. I detest injustice, politics and run away from politicians as much as I can. One thing you cannot accuse me of being complicit of is the vermin that has eaten into the fabrics of my journalism profession. While I am not a saint, I have never blackmailed anyone in my life and I have very scant veneration for the god of Mammon.

The person who nominated me for this office under contention will bear me witness: I told him point blank when he intimated me of the proposed nomination that I had sworn never to do the job of a publicist again in my life, after my two experiences in government. It is a job that almost asks for your life; where you have no respite of any kind. More importantly, all my life, I have never lobbied for any office. Second is that, I believe that my stints in government have almost killed the deposit of writing talent in me. Judging by my beginning as a writer, today I should be one of Africa’s most-read fiction writers. Meeting Senate President Ahmed Lawan in Abuja rekindled my hope in Nigeria. Like me, he is tribe-blind. He is also very unassuming and cerebral. He interviewed me and another candidate as if we were in a doctoral defence class and settled for me as his choice. Nigerian politicians have a lot to learn from that gentleman and his politics of blindness to tribe and political party affiliation. He told me he wanted excellence and would pick whoever among us he saw as equating that score.

I have read all manner of lies concocted against me on the social media by politicians, all because they want this job at all cost. I do not have any problem with that. One post said Tinubu gave me a Lexus jeep. Those who are close to me know how mendacious this is as I have never even entered such Luxury in my life. That I was considered for the job is enough happiness for me and that, in my life, I would see a Nigerian like Lawan who has such pan-Nigerian mindset, is a great accomplishment.

I was told the job has been withdrawn. I thank Lawan for the offer. He will be my model of a good Nigerian forever. If those who spearheaded the attack thought it would silence me in my bid for a good country, they have another think coming. I can never be silenced. I will always advocate for a good country; whether it hurts Buhari or anyone. If I had finally settled for the job, I would have been doing it at a great cost. I am right now a student of the Nigerian Law School and the rules forbid my working while a student. I would have had to walk away from a painful studentship I embarked upon last November that will come to an end in about two and half months from now. It is providence in action that I am not going to have the job.

To those who spearheaded it, I have no space in my heart for any acrimony against them. It has further strengthened my belief that we must rid Nigeria of hate and politics of the stomach. One thing that Nigerians who read my column should be rest assured of is that I will never waver on the side of power or any politician in government for a pot of porridge. This is my creed.

According to Bob Goldstein, “a principle isn’t a principle until it costs you something.” I am happy that this is what my quest for a good society, through my writing, has cost me.

Dr Adedayo is a member of the Tribune Editorial Board

Credit: Tribune

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NCC To Auction 5G Spectrum 13th December, Sets Conditions



The Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) has said all is set for the official auctioning of the 3.5 Gigahertz (3.5 GHz) spectrum for the deployment of Fifth Generation (5G) technology in Nigeria on December 13, 2021.

A statement signed by the commission’s Director of Public Affairs, Dr. Ikechukwu Adinde, said it is adopting Ascending Clock Auction format, which is software-based, while a mock auction has been slated for December 10, 2021, as a precursor to the actual auction on December 13, 2021.

According to the statement, the Information Memorandum (IM) recently presented to the Commission at a stakeholder engagement forum provides information, conditions, obligations, financial implication, timelines and other necessary details on the planned 3.5Ghz spectrum auction.

‘‘The IM also explains the rollout obligations of the would-be eventual winners of the spectrum licence auction, whose reserved price has been pegged at $197.4 million (N75 billion),” the statement said.

‘‘The IM also states that only licensees, who make down payment of 10 per cent of the reserved bid price and with 100 per cent regulatory compliance would be allowed to participate in the auction while licensees with outstanding debts that have secured NCC’s approval for a payment plan will be allowed to participate in the auction.’’

The auction comes with a 10-year spectrum licence and a minimum requirement of an operational Universal Access Service Licence (UASL), but new entrants or licensees without a UASL will be required to obtain a UASL operational license to be qualified for the 5G licence.

The eventual licensees will have a rollout obligation plan spanning a period of 10 years, beginning from the date of award of the licence. Between the first and second year of the licence, the operators are expected to rollout service in, at least, one state in each geo-political zone.

From the third to fifth year, they are obligated to cover all the zones. Between six to 10 years, they should cover all the states in the country, according to guidelines set out in the IM.

Speaking on the planned roll out, Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, Prof. Isa Ali Ibrahim Pantami, said the Ministry has been working closely with the Commission to ensure that necessary spectrum resources needed for the deployment of 5G network in Nigeria to accelerate the nation’s digital economy space is made available.

The Minister said the 3.5GHz is the most popular spectrum band used globally by regulators and operators for the deployment of 5G technology, and it seems the only band available in Nigeria for immediate use by operators.

On his part, he Executive Vice Chairman of NCC, Prof. Umar Garba Danbatta, listed the various steps diligently taken by the Commission that culminated in present status of the 5G deployment plan.

He also highlighted the potential benefits from investment in 5G deployment to potential operators and investors in the country.

According to him, “Nigeria has an estimated population of 214 million, with an average growth rate of 2.6% annually. Approximately 76.46 per cent of the population is under the age of 35. In line with these demographic changes, internet penetration grew from 3 per cent in 2004 to 73.82 per cent as at September, 2021, and broadband penetration increased from less than 10 per cent in 2015 to 40.01 per cent in September, 2021.”

With the increase in mobile usage brought about by Fourth Generation (4G) technology and network performance, he said that 5G technology will leverage on this momentum, bringing substantial network improvements, including higher connection speed, mobility and capacity, as well as low-latency capabilities.

Meanwhile, the Association of Licensed Telecoms Operators of Nigeria (ALTON), among others, called on the government to continue to make the operating environment more conducive for the existing and prospective licensees in the telecom ecosystem, in order to enable Nigeria to fully harness and harvest the derivable benefits of mobile technology in the country.

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Sowore Condemns Attack On Home Of Joe Igbokwe



Human rights activist, Omoyele Sowore has condemned the attack on the residence of Joe Igbokwe, the Special Adviser on Drainage and Water Resources to the Lagos State Governor, Babajide Sanwo-Olu, in Nnewi, Anambra State.

“I totally and unequivocally condemn the attack on Joe Igbokwe family house on Nnewi by arsonists. Nothing should be done to silence Mr. Igbokwe in a democratic society,” Sowore posted on Facebook.

Recall that the country home of the chieftain of the All Progressives Congress (APC) was on Sunday set on fire.

Igbokwe in a Facebook post accused members of the Indigenous People Of Biafra (IPOB) for the incident.

“IPOB invaded my house in Nnewi about now. I am sure they raised (sic) down my house giving the jerrycans of petrol being offloaded from their sienna via CCTV. To God be the glory I am still alive,” Igbokwe posted on Sunday afternoon.

The APC chieftain also shared a video from the aftermath of the attack, with an accompanying caption that reads: “Here it is. My Home in Nnewi has been sacrificed. No life was lost. To God be the glory.”

Hours after he posted the video, he deleted it from his Facebook page as well as the initial post.

Over the past weeks, unidentified gunmen have targeted known prominent names in the South-East.

Most of the attacks have been blamed on the members of IPOB, whose leader, Nnamdi Kanu, is in detention over charges of treason.

The IPOB leadership has, however, distanced its members from the attacks.

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Is America’s Democracy On The Decline?



By Habib Aruna

With the United States presidential election just more than a month away, the world is watching with an unusual frenzy and animated indignation the campaign between the incumbent, President Donald Trump of the Republican Party and his challenger, former Vice President, Joe Biden of the Democratic Party.

The concern of the world and indeed, lovers of democracy on what is playing out in a country regarded as the bastion of democracy all boils down to the erratic and demagogic behavior of a leader, who was supposed to be the leader of the free world. Rather, the United States President in the past three and half years, has conducted himself in a manner that is starkly different from conventional norms and tradition. He has indeed constituted himself as the real danger to the more than two centuries democratic experiment.

For a President that told the world in his January 2017 inauguration speech that he was going to pursue an America first policies, most of his utterances and actions have been antithetical to democratic principles and values. Trump has eroded all the gains made under President Barack Obama that was supposed to ensure global peace and security, and even went as far as to take side with the Russian ruler, Vladimir Putin, who is widely seen as a threat to global democratic order.

Indeed, more worrisome has been Trump’s constant attack on democratic institutions; chastising those who disagree with him, incessantly describing the media as fake and using derogatory language that belittle his high office on political opponents. Almost all his appointees who have resigned from the White House have all come out to tell the world how incapable he is and the threat he poses to the country and the world if he is re-elected for second term.

Before the emergence of Trump, United States Presidents have always been referred to as leader of the free world, presupposing the evident truism that the American democracy has been a global brand that nations of the world aimed to emulate. Countries and more than casual observers of world politics for more two centuries have followed with keen interest the evolution of democracy in the United States and not a few have used it as a veritable template.

More importantly, is the enviable way and manner power transits from one party to the other without rancor or bitterness. The world always awaits the reaction of losers in major elections. And what has become the envy of the world has been the obligatory phone calls often put across to winners by losers.

However, with the emergence of Trump, this vital democratic tradition of free and fair electoral process and peaceful transfer of power is about to be truncated. Like never before, something that is unthinkable is brewing in God’s own country. Interestingly, the man who took an oath to be the symbol of democracy and chief occupant of the Oval office is actively championing the debasement of the very system that brought him to power. He is doing everything in his power to circumvent the democratic process!

Trump has actively sought to delegitimize the results of the November election, falsely claiming universal mail-in voting intended to protect people amid the coronavirus pandemic is ripe for corruption although there is no evidence this is true. According to the Washington Post, in the five states that already allowed universal mail-in voting, Colorado, Hawaii, Oregon, Utah and Washington, there have been no issues with widespread fraud.

“The only way we’re going to lose is if there’s mischief, and it’ll have to be on a big scale, so be careful,” Trump said. “We do want a very friendly transition, but we don’t want to be cheated and be stupid and say, ‘Oh, let’s, we’ll go and we’ll do a transition,’ and we know that there were thousands and thousands of ballots that made the difference through cheating. We’re not going to stand for it.”

This attack claiming Democrats are trying to cheat is also baseless when it is the President who has sought to limit resources to the U.S. Postal Service to curtail its ability to handle the influx of mailed ballots.

Trump has also said he expects the Supreme Court to decide the presidential election, meaning he intends to legally challenge the results if he loses. This is the normal template of a Banana Republic, which makes the Western countries and other democracies to be worried and concern. Because what moral ground do the Western world has to preach democratic tenets around the world when the world leading democracy cannot conduct basic elections.

For sure, it is doubtful if the founding fathers that gathered in Philadelphia in 1776 ever thought there would be a President that would stretch the system they put in place to the limit. Recovering from a victory of independence over the British and trying to find a system of government that would not put legislative and executive powers in the hands of one man, the delegates were quick to embrace the Lockenian philosophy that created an executive head but with adequate checks and balances. The three organs of government, executive, legislature and judiciary were thus created.

We have to also note that the leader of the war, General George Washington who contributed his resources to the prosecution of the war, had a larger than life image and was well respected. He was unanimously made to preside over proceedings at the convention. The decisions reached by the delegates which formed the bulk of the constitution were made with the implicit recognition of the character and patriotism of Washington.

The delegates were also not unaware that noble men; men of high integrity would be voted for to occupy the highest office in the land. For instance, the constitution did not stipulate any term limits for Presidents, knowing full well that Washington will be the first president. Washington ended up serving for just two terms and by so doing setting a precedence that successive presidents have followed till today.

There is however a lacuna in the system that the constitution did not adequately address, but the founding fathers were of the belief that the system would evolve to consummate a near perfect system, if there is enough vigilance by the people to checkmate the excessive use of power by office holders. Suffice to note the eternal advice given by the oldest delegate, Benjamin Franklin to a lady who wanted to know the outcome of their meeting: “A republic madam, I hope you can keep it”.

For sure, I don’t think the founding fathers ever thought in their wildest imagination that there would be a President that will be audacious enough to break all norms and tradition, while his party looks on sheepishly and helplessly. A president that is shameless; lacks basic decency; selfish and greedy; autocratic and dictatorial; hypocritical and corrupt and above all, poses a great danger to the very foundation of America’s democracy. He has since become a laughing stock among comity of nations.

Do we still wonder why notable figures in the country, both civilians and retired Military Generals, across party lines, have openly come out to oppose his re-election, saying the future and values of their country is at stake in this election? As we await the verdict of the United States electorate on November 8, one thing that is for sure is that the world will be a better place without Donald Trump.

Aruna, a journalist writes from Ikeja

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