Buhari Resumes Distribution of N20,000.00 COVID 19 Palliatives To The Rural Poor
Suspends Magu, Acting Chairman, EFCC, From Office Over Alleged Corruption
By Stephen Ubanna
Goodwin Obaseki, the People’s Democratic Party, PDP, governorship Candidate, who had won the keenly contested September 19, 2020, governorship election in Edo state, south n-south Nigeria and subsequently sworn in for a second term office by Esther Edigin, the Chief Judge of the state appears to have set the ball rolling for the running of the new government.
This is evident with the appointment of Osarodion Ogie, Lawyer and former political ally of Adams Oshiomhole, a former governor of the state who rose to become the national Chairman of the ruling All Progressive Congress, APC, before he was shown the way out by some aggrieved party members who had dragged him to Court last year.
Ogie,had served as the Commissioner of works under the then Oshiomhole Admnistration but was appointed as the Director General of the Obaseki’s Campaign Organisation in the 2016 governorship election in the state, with his influence.
He may have abandoned Oshiomhole to work for Obaseki in the 2020 governorship election to beat Osgie Ize-Iyamu, a Clergy man and the APC governorship Candidate in the election. Hee may have been Compensated by Obaseki for his loyalty by appointing him as the Secretary to the state government while other key political appointments were put on hold until the first week of February, 2021.
The governor was said to have made Ogie’s appointment public through his official twitter handle. Many believe that Obaseki may have appointed Ogie ,following the death of Olu Garuba, a former Secretary to the state government last January. The death of Garuba, was a big blow to baseki who was standing in for re-election bid in September 19, 2020.
He had said that his contributions to the development of the state Civil Service was Commendable, believing that Ogaie, who had been in the system could easily take up from where late Garuba had stoped.
He had promised to bring in experienced hands into his new Administration as pat of efforts ‘’to Consolidate on his first term achievements of rapidly developing the critical energy sector, housing , digital and road infrastructure, in order to further so solidify the state’s status as the choice of investment destination in the country’’.
The choice of Ogie as the Secretary to the state government may have given him a breather to say that his government will preserve the environment and public facilities that would make the state more functional to adapt to the challenges of Climate change and rural-urban migration .
While Obaseki and other governors are making plans on how to develop their states, President Muhammadu Buhari, has given the nod to Hajia Hadiza Ahmed, minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning , who in turn had directed Godwin Emefiele, the governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria, CBN, to resume the disbursement of the N20,000.00 conditional cash transfer to poor women resident in rural Communities in different parts of the country to cushion the adverse effect of the Wuhan Town in Hebei Province of the Asian country of China emerged coronavirus, popular COVID 19.
The government was said to have started the Conditional transfer of the funds process in Bauchi, home state of the country’s late Prime minister, Abubakar Tafawa Balewa, currently being governed by Bala Muhammed, a one- time Senator of Federal Republic of Nigeria.
The COVID 19, palliative, according to the minister was designed ‘’to provide succor for the poorest and most vulnerable women in rural Communitie across the country’’.s. Paulen Tallen , a one-time deputy governor in Plateau state, north central Nigeria, and now minister of Women Affairs and Social development had said that over 1,000 women are expected to receive the grant during the first phase of the disbursement of the funds to the beneficiaries in the state.
As a prelude to the disbursement of the funds in the state, Hajia Sadiya Onar-Farouk, the iminister of Humanitarian Affairs , Disaster Management and Social Development , on the orders of the Katsina state born Nigerian President had inaugurated the Committee for the Disbursment of the funds in Gombe , north east Nigeria on Thursday, November 5, 2020. She had said that the grants was part of the social intervention programmes of the Buhari Administration to improve the living standards of vulnerable people in the country.
The minister who could not hide her feelings had said that the N20,000.00 Conditional cash transfer funds was a ‘’one –off grant to support women, widows and vulnerable families that needed help to help them earn a living and support their households’’. In giving the Financial support to women, Taullen, the minister of Women Affairs and Social Development had stressed that ‘’women play important role in the society’’, urging the beneficiaries to ensure that they ‘’ use the money judiciously’’.
The commencement of the disbursement of the Conditional cash transfer funds in Bauchi, brings to two states, in the north east alone that had benEfited from the funds,.Recall that residents of the Kwali Area Council of the FCT had started receiving their own before it was stopped midway. At present 34 states, spread in five geo-political areas of the south east, south west south-south , north central, north west and some Area Councils of the FCT, including Adamawa, Borno, Taraba and Yobe, the remaining states in the north east are yet to benefit from it.
The National Bureau of Statistics, NBS, may have provided the opportunity for the Nigerian government to come out with the bold initiate to give financial grants to the women living below the poverty level across the country to support their families. The NBS, had said that 40% or 83 million of the country’s population live below the poverty in the rural areas.
Many believe that if the government had kept to its promise of starting the COVID 19 palliative disbursement last March and not stopping the process after the disbursement to the first set of beneficiaries in Kwali Area Council of the FCT, got it.
They noted that the distribution of the COVID 19 pALLIATIVE could not have dragged on to November 2020. Note that the North American country of the United States, US, under the otgoing Donald Trump and other COVID 19 affected countries including the United Kingdom, UK, had supported their people to overcome the adverse effects of the lockdown but Buhari and his Federal Executive Council, FEC, are still struggling to pay N20,000.00, which is not up to $25 since March, 2020. The US, government had disbursed $1,000 to the American citizens cushion the effect of the COVID 19 lock down in the country.
There are fears in both official and unofficial circles that the Kleptocrats in the Buhari government may sabotage the government efforts. Ali Ndume, a Senator of the Federal Republic of Nigeria and Chairman, Senate Committee on the Army who had been on the news in the recent both positively and negatively, believes that he has good plans for the country but being betrayed by some Kleptocrats in his government. He noted that the Kleptocrats , who had formed he majority in the government are the one betraying the commendable policies that he had planned to implement over the last six years of his Administration.
He noted that there is no way the government which had had come in with three major agendas, to secure the country, fight Corruption and to provide basic infrastructural facilities like road construction networks and reliable power supply could have succeed with such such Kleptocrats who are everywhere. Given an insider information,
he noted that the implementation of certain policies as put forth by the President was basically where the problem lies. An aggrieved Ndume , who could not hide his feelings had said that that the Nigeria President could not do everything all alone , which had informed why he had to appoint some other persons to act in various capacities either as ministers or MDAs, Chief Executive officers, but regretted that some of them have failed ‘’ to deliver on their jobs’’.
The recent call on Buhari, the President and Commander –In-Chief of the Nigerian Armed Forces to sack Gabriel Olonisakin, an Army General and Chief of Defense Staff, CDS, Tukur Buratai, an indigene of Borno state, a Lt. General of Chief of Army Staff, CAS, Abubakar Sadique, an Air Marshall and Chief of Air Force Staff and ibok Ete-Ekwe, a Vive Admiral and Chief of Naval Staff, confirms the claims of Ndume that some of the political appointtees including the service chiefs had failed to deliver.
The north eaSt elders under the aegies of Coalition of North East Elders for Peace and Development , NEEPD, were said to have expressed worries over the growing insecurity in the region, particular,Adamawa, Born and Yobe states, stressing that the excuses being tendered by the service Chiefs why they have not been able to defeat the Islamic Fundamentalists BokoHaram are ‘’no longer acceptable to them’’, insisting that they must be sacked for failure. Appealing to the President to implement the recent resolution of the National Assembly asking t him to rejig the country’s security architecture by removing the service Chiefs as a way of improving the security in region which they had described as ‘’so bad’’.
Zana Goni, who was said to have signed the resolution of the north east elders that was said to have been presented to Presented to the President at the Villa was emphatic: we are tired of the service Chifs, sack the service Chiefs now. The north east elders may have spoken the mind of Nigerians when they said , that ‘’the nation has been distressed by mindless killings of its citizens by BokoHaram terrorists, bandits and kidnappers .
According to them ‘’ these had resulted in indescribable agony, anguish and torment to Nigerians’’. But the President appears not to be a hurry to sack the service Chiefs, fueling speculations making the rounds that there may be something holding them together which are not privy to the government.
He may have bowed to pressure from different quarters to suspend Ibrahim Magu, a Commissioner of Police, and former acting Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission,
The surpension may have further been ade pssible with the DAMNING security report by the Department of State Security Service, DSS, and OVERWHELMING evidence by Abubakar Malami, Attorney General and minister of Justice aginst him.
The suspension order which was said to have been handed down on the embattled EFCC, acting Chairman , may have cemented by the preliminary report of the Presidential Panel headed by Justice Ayo Salami to probe the various allegations of Corruption and other dirty deals leveled against him which was very revealing. He was said to have been grilled for several hours at the Villa to extract information from him before been taken to police Custody.
Magu’s suspension from office may have encouraged the Code of Conduct Bureau, CCB, headed by Muhammad Isah, a Professor, to invite for interrogation over alleged Corruption involving a breach of Code of Conduct for public officers.
A letter inviting by the CCB, was said to have been sent to him on November 2, 2020. He was said to have been directed to appear with copies of his asset declaration Form since he joined the Public Service.
Aware that he no longer had the backing of the president who has suspended him from offic,e, he has no option but to appear before the CCB, to answer to all the allegations of Corruption and dirty deals while in office and be set for want of to nail him.. There is no gainsaying the fact that if found guilty he may be heading to jail, which may make him the first anti-graft Chief Executive officer, CEO, that may be jailed since its inception about two decades ago.