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Saga of Magu Confirmation

Inibehe Effiong
Barrister Inibehe Effiong

On Thursday December 15, 2016 the Senate of the Federal Republic of Nigeria held an executive session during which it rejected the nomination of Mr. Ibrahim Magu as the Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) by President Muhammadu Buhari based on an adverse ‘’security report’’ authored by the State Security Service (SSS).

Unsurprisingly, the decision of the Senate has triggered controversy on whether Mr. Magu can validly continue in his capacity as the Acting Chairman of the EFCC in the light of the disapproving decision of the Senate. This intervention seeks to offer clarification on the issue based on the enabling and relevant legal authorities.

On the mode of appointing the Chairman of the Commission, the relevant statutory provision is Section 2(3) of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (Establishment) Act Cap. E17 LFN , 2004. It provides thus:

‘’The Chairman and members of the Commission other than ex-officio members shall be appointed by the President and the appointment shall be subject to the confirmation of the Senate.’’

The above provision subjects the appointment of the Chairman of the Commission by the President to the concurrence and confirmation of the Senate. We submit that the EFCC (Establishment) Act does not expressly provide for the position of an Acting Chairman of the Commission, it only provides for a substantive Chairman.

Flowing from the above, two issues necessarily arise for determination:

Where does the President derive the power to appoint an Acting Chairman of the Commission?; and
Can Magu continue to act as the Acting Chairman of the Commission despite the rejection of his nomination, having regards to Section 2(3) of the EFCC (Establishment) Act quoted above?

In resolving the twin issues formulated supra (above), the provisions of Section 11 of the Interpretation Act Cap. 123, Vol. 8, LFN, 2004 are apposite. For clarity and ease of reference, the said provisions are wholly reproduced infra (below):

11. Appointment

(1) Where an enactment confers a power to appoint a person either to an office or to exercise any functions, whether for a specified period or not, the power includes−

(a) power to appoint a person by name or to appoint the holder from time to time of a particular office;

(b) power to remove or suspend him;

(c) power, exercisable in the manner and subject to the limitations and conditions (if any) applicable to the power to appoint−

(i) to reappoint or reinstate him;

(ii) to appoint a person to act in his place, either generally or in regard to specified functions, during such time as is considered expedient by the authority in whom the power of appointment in question is vested.

(2) A reference in an enactment to the holder of an office shall be construed as including a reference to a person for the time being appointed to act in his place, either as respects the functions of the office generally or the functions in regard to which he is appointed, as the case may be.

Before proceeding to examine the ramifications and effect of the elaborate provisions above, it should be borne in mind that the Interpretation Act is a special piece of legislation that gives direction on the meaning of words, expressions and interpretation of the provisions of all other laws enacted by the legislature. Where there is an interpretative lacuna or controversy in a statute regarding the meaning and application of certain words, expressions and or provisions, the Interpretation Act is usually resorted to by the courts for succor.

It is our firm contention that the President has the requisite vires (powers) to appoint an Acting Chairman of the EFCC. We reference Section 11(1)(c)(ii) of the Interpretation Act in support. The said provision has clothed the President with the authority to appoint another person to act in the place of a substantive Chairman of the EFCC. Unlike the appointment of a substantive Chairman which requires the confirmation of the Senate, the President does not need the confirmation of the Senate to appoint an Acting Chairman of the Commission.

On the second issue, we submit that the decision of the Senate to reject the nomination of Magu for the position of substantive Chairman of the EFCC has no upsetting consequence in law on his earlier appointment as the Acting Chairman of the EFCC by President Buhari on November 9, 2015.

The Interpretation Act does not specify the term of office or period for which the acting chairmanship is to subsist. Section 11(1)(c)(ii) of the Interpretation Act seems to give the appointing authority the discretion to determine how long the acting or temporary appointee is to serve. This reasoning appears inevitable given the use of the expression ‘’during such time as is considered expedient by the authority in whom the power of appointment in question is vested’’ in the cited provision.

It is an elementary principle of statutory interpretation that where the words and expressions used in a statute are clear and unambiguous, they must be given their natural and ordinary meanings unless to do so would lead to absurdity or inconsistency with the rest of the statute. See the recent decision of the Supreme Court in Okoye v. C.O.P. (2015) 17 NWLR (Pt. 1488) 276 at 320. The expression ‘’during such time as is considered expedient by the authority in whom the power of appointment in question is vested’’ is clear and unambiguous.

In the instant case, the President is the appointing authority under Section 2(3) of the EFCC (Establishment) Act. He is the person vested with power under Section 11 of the Interpretation Act to appoint an Acting Chairman in lieu (in the absence of) of a substantive chairman. Accordingly, Mr. Magu will continue to act as the chairman of the EFCC if his retention is considered expedient by President Buhari. It does not lie in the mouth of the Senate to say what is expedient in the circumstance. The parameters for determining the expediency of Magu’s continued acting leadership of the EFCC belongs to President Buhari.

However, we submit that there are two identifiable limitations or exceptions to the power of the appointing authority under Section 11 of the Interpretation Act to determine the duration or tenure of a person appointed in an acting capacity based on what is considered expedient by the appointing authority. These exceptions will be shown using the present case of Ibrahim Magu.

First, we submit that Magu cannot legally serve in an acting capacity BEYOND the term permissible for a substantive chairman of the Commission. Section 3(1) of the EFCC (Establishment) Act states that ‘’the Chairman and members of the Commission other than ex-officio members shall hold office for a period of four years and may be re-appointed for a further term of four years and no more.’’ It would be absurd for anyone to suggest that a person who is appointed in an acting capacity can serve in that capacity beyond the statutorily allowable tenure for the substantive appointee. The President’s power to appoint an Acting Chairman of the EFCC under Section 11 of the Interpretation Act is derivable from and only incidental to his power to appoint a substantive Chairman under Section 2(3) of the EFCC (Establishment) Act. Therefore, Magu cannot continue in his acting capacity beyond the four years term (in the first instance) allowed for a substantive Chairman.

Second, it is our humble view that Magu’s tenure as the Acting Chairman of the Commission MUST BE LESS THAN the four years period stipulated for a substantive Chairman. The gravamen of this contention is that the words ‘act’ and ‘acting’ when used in relation to a position, by their ordinary grammatical and juristic meaning presupposes a state or status of temporariness as opposed to permanency. Few dictionary definitions will suffice. The Interpretation Act does not define ‘act’ or ‘acting’. The Oxford Advanced Learners Dictionary, 6th edition, page 11 defines ‘acting’ as ‘’Doing the work of another person for a short time…’’. Law Guide, (www.thelaw.com) an online legal source, defines ‘acting’ as ‘’Temporary performance. Frequently referring to a temporary position performing and carrying out the duties of an office without actually holding the position.’’ Lastly, the Merriam-Webster Dictionary, online version, variously defines ‘acting’ as ‘’performing a job for a short time’’ and ‘’holding a temporary rank or position’’.

Does the law give recognition and effect to dictionary definition of words in the interpretation of statutes? The answer is in the affirmative. Reference is made to a recent decision of the Court of Appeal in Alechenu v. University of Jos (2015) 1 NWLR (Pt. 1440) 333 at 361, paras. C-D, where the appellate court, per BDLIYA, J.C.A., held inter alia: ‘’Where words used in a Statute are not defined therein, a resort to the dictionary meaning of such words is permissible…’’

The totality of the above exposition is that a person who is appointed into a position in an acting capacity cannot exhaust or complete the full term of that office or position. A person can either be appointed in an acting capacity to complete the remainder term of the substantive appointee whose office has become vacant either by reason of death, resignation, removal or for other cause OR to occupy the position temporarily pending when a substantive appointment is made. Anything other than this is legally indefensible.

The legal implications of the two exceptions espoused above are that Mr. Magu can continue in his position as the Acting Chairman of the EFCC at the pleasure of President Buhari. However, the President in deciding the expediency for the continued retention of Mr. Magu in an acting capacity must ensure that Magu’s acting tenure does not exceed, but is actually less than the four years period stipulated in Section 3(1) of the EFCC (Establishment) Act.

As a postscript, the President is at liberty to re-submit Magu’s name to the Senate for re-consideration and possible confirmation. The Senate’s decision whether to accept or reject the nomination is absolute, provided same is done in conformity with the constitutional requirement for quorum and the Standing Orders of the Senate.

The fight against corruption in Nigeria is being trivialized. President Buhari should bear in mind that if he fails in his anti-corruption campaign, he has failed in everything. It is indeed a tragic irony that the very infamous Senator Bukola Saraki-led Senate, with all its scandals and embarrassing pedigree, is lecturing President Buhari on corruption.

The fact that the alleged indicting security report which formed the fulcrum upon which the Senate acted in rejecting Magu’s nomination was authored by the SSS, an agency under the presidency, loudly evinces the apparent lack of coordination and effective leadership in the country. It is either President Buhari is not in charge of his government or he is trying to use corruption to fight corruption.

The troubling message from this unsettling scenario is that Nigeria is far from being salvaged. We can only hope that the evil forces in the corridors of power will not completely pollute and destroy our nation.

Thank you.

Inibehe Effiong is a Lagos based Legal Practitioner and Convener of the Coalition of Human Rights Defenders (COHRD) and can be reached at: inibehe.effiong@gmail.com

 

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Information

Uproot Corruption: Control Information

A Few Outstandingly Bad Eggs

We are faced with monumental levels of corruption in Nigeria today.  In the armed-forces, the civil service, the judiciary, legislature, and even the private sector, corrupt practises are rife.  People that are remunerated to defend the interests of institutions and organisations turn around to undermine, and in some cases, destroy the very offices that granted them leverage and a livelihood.  In the Badeh case, one is amazed, and galled, at just how easily one person could corrupt and fleece the air force, and by extension Nigeria, of so much, and for so long! But he is just one among many others like Dasuki et al.

 

Reducing Corrupt Practises in Government by Controlling Information

Some years ago, my family and I were driving past Hyde Park Corner in London.  Suddenly we spotted three outriders and a Jaguar approaching. As the small entourage sped past, we spotted the Prince of Wales (Charles Windsor) in the back seat of the Jaguar – and he waved at us!  We did not know they were due to pass by, neither did we notice their approach. But his security detail would have seen us, long before we saw the prince, and they would have made preparations for most outcomes of any encounter. Much more valuable than the limited armoury on the Jaguar and the small weapons of the outriders and escorts, was the information about the route and likely risks.  This informational vantage-point afforded the prince and his entourage the confidence to travel with a lightweight security detail.  Without it, they would need a battery.

Break Corruption Chain

 

The Nigerian, the World

Now, one would be remiss to imagine that there is something egregious about the Nigerian psyche. Allow me to illustrate.  Sometime last year, residents of St Albans discovered a caveat in parking laws. They quickly took advantage of it, causing chaos in the city centre. The point here is that Nigerians are not any worse off than humans in other parts of the world.  The residents of this city, like other human beings, spotting a lacuna in law, enforcement, or justice, elevate personal interest over the public weal.  These folk acted, as Nigerians, or other humans would when authority is absent.  The focus here though is not on law, enforcement, or justice.  Rather it is the means whereby signals and constraints can be visibly availed to personal interest, and thereby to prevent and preempt a conflict with the greater good, and the law.

Let us take a look at information and how it is abused at the lowest levels of society.  Special focus is given to the public service, where much of the corrupt practises in Nigeria today is engineered.  In almost every institution of government, the citizen accesses services provided by an authority, physically and by submitting and/or receiving documents.  However, having initiated the dialogue by handing in said documents, both the citizen and the authority become disconnected from an intermediary, and often frustrating, process.  The citizen has to plead or pay corrupt officers to glean so much as an update on the current status of the process.  The authority, whether by omission or commission, remains unaware, and perhaps, justifiably aloof, to the process and the pending documents.  In the time that plays out, the citizen is frustrated and fleeced, and the perception of the authority suffers damage.

Document Management

This does not have to be so!  Technology that can be deployed to short-circuit this routine hijacking of information by scurrilous middlemen.  In this case, something as simple as a document management system (DMS).  This allows for the electronic management of all documents passing through an institution or organisation.  Where properly implemented, this would free citizens from having to be physically present to interact with an authority.  The system provides continued visibility for citizens and the authority, after the document(s) have been submitted to the process.

One immediate side-effect should be increased activity.  Since a lot of time is saved from each transaction, there is opportunity to invest those savings in other transactions with government or an organisation. An astute government could also proviso access on availability of tax identification for validation. The auditing function within the institution could thereafter leverage historical records.  The performance of systems, as well as those responsible for delivering services can be analysed to gauge the perception, accessibility.

Beyond technology though, is motivation and goal.  It would be credulous to read this and immediately jump out to hire a technology firm to advise and implement.  Equally unwise would be to buy some DMS software and do-it-yourself.  If those advising and/or implementing the solution have divergent motivations, or their objectives do not match those of the leadership, even a noble initiative such as this will fail. That would be a tragedy.  Leadership that desires to see better service delivery, must entrust the introduction of enabling technology to partners that share same motivation.

Caveat

Having chosen like-minded partners who, for whatever reasons, share the vision of the institution or organisation, there will still be work to do, during and after the implementation.  Technology by itself is not enough, it must be evolved, and audited from time to time to ensure that it is still functional and satisfactory. Medieval castles of were not sufficient to keep out invaders or keep prisoners in.  Likewise, information management systems will be subject to assault from those that have lost revenue due to its introduction, or those that stand to gain from its demise.  That should never be a disincentive though.

If institutions such as the CIA, KGB, Mossad, and organisations such as Microsoft, Google, EBay, Apple, etc are still standing today despite the attacks that they face daily, any institution or organisation should have hope.  Attackers usually measure the assault to fit the calibre of the target.  As long as those with the vision invest a little more time, effort and resource than those seeking to undermine the system, all should be well.

To ensure that the new technology is accommodated, changes may be required to legislation, rules, or code of conduct.  The case of card readers and the 2015 general elections is a lesson to all.  When we dare to fight corruption, the corrupt fight back. Beyond fighting corruption though these changes offer other benefits.  The flip-side of this brass coin is pure gold.  Information may be power but information can also be very valuable!  But that is a story for another day.  We should take control of the information that drives our public services to reduce corrupt practises, improve our services, and perhaps generate some revenue along the way.

 

Yes We Can

The problems of our present conundrum are not intractable, we however need imagination, resilience and more belief in our own selves to solve our own problems.  Together we can.
May God bless Nigeria; amen.
Viva New Nigeria!

Oyewole, Olanrewaju J (Mr.)
Secretary General
Nigeria Abroad
No 66
London SE18 3PD
+44 [0] 793 920 3120
Twitter: @NewNigerian
Email: postmaster@nigeriaabroad.org

Mr Oyewole is a social and political commentator, blogger. He is a technology consultant with significant experience in the UK security sector. He has participated in key IT initiatives for the UK police and army.

Categories
Information News

Yale Award to Okonjo-Iweala – I Object

Recently, our honourable coordinating minister of the economy was awarded an honorary doctorate by an Ivy league institution. The award has proved to be controversial, especially for some Nigerian observers. Here is what I have to say. Yale University has a right to honour whoever they deem deserving. However, in doing so, they should refrain from dragging third parties in on the side of a misrepresentation of reality.

If the honourable minister had been credited for achievements at the World Bank, or for work done under OBJ to exit the Paris club debt, I would have held my peace. Those are facts and they are verifiable. However, Yale overreached themselves by including the following in their statement:

“As Nigeria’s coordinating minister of economic development and minister of finance, you have tackled corruption, created a vision and path to long-term economic stability, and worked to build a culture of transparency … you have transformed the economic landscape of your nation.”

This to me is akin to Abacha’s children publishing an article on Sahara Reporters​ in which they tried to portray their late father as some great benefactor of the nation. We all lived through his times, and most of us publicly and loudly disagreed with the family and the publication.

In the same light; we have all lived through the GEJ tenure in which Okonjo-Iweala has held office. I for one cannot say that I agree with this commendation. Indeed I feel insulted, that while I am alive, Yale claims that:
        corruption has been tackled in Nigeria
        the country has a vision to long-term economic stability
        we have built a culture of transparency
        our economic landscape has been transformed

Compare these to the reports, year-on-year from:
        The World Bank
        Transparency International

Do these Yale folk take us for fools? Imagine a situation in the US where an official in one of the States leaves office with record debts, a backlog of unpaid entitlements, and broad criticism about rule of law violations and transparency issues. Would Yale deign to honour such a person? What of if this person was a federal official? Even less likely! Yale would defer the accolade, or decide against it, because of the recent record. Even though such a person might have, in the past, done things worthy of commendation.

So why do they deem it appropriate to confer this honour, at this time, and using this citation? Perhaps the Nigeria lobby in the US is still in its infancy, and they know it. Or could it be that the community takes no interest in such issues. For all the patriotism of Jews, I believe quite a few would come out to protest an award that commends Bibi for “advancing the understanding and accommodation of Palestinians in Israel and a new Palestine”. Which is not to say that Netanyahu is not worthy of commendations for other things.

In my humble opinion therefore, this award is untimely, and the citation is wrong. Yale should reconsider it, and even if they choose not to rescind it, the offending statements should be redacted and an apology offered for the misrepresentation and offence it has caused.

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Information News

A Time for Change, and the APC?

The Politics of Change and a New Nigeria
Of those privileged to have visited the UK from Nigeria, many would have made a stop in London. The city is well worth the effort and time required to take in some of its many wonders. From the structures, castles and homes in the old town, to the glistening skyscrapers that adorn the new commercial and financial centres, as well as the various modes of transport available to the Londoners of today: river boats, buses, taxis, overground trains, underground trains and even driver-less trains!

Travelling on the London underground, or Tube as it is sometimes called, it is common to hear the announcement “all change, this is the last stop for this train …”, or something to that effect. On hearing this, all commuters are required to abandon the affected train and seek other means of reaching their destinations. Should we be asking ourselves if the time to change trains here in Nigeria, and to ponder if the train we are on now can take us any further in the direction that we want to go? Have we traveled for so long on the PDP train that we have forgotten that we are now going round and round like the Circle line on London’s underground? Could it be that we need to abandon the train because, even though the engine is still running, movement has ceased?

But a change to what?
A person who is considering choices for lunch must have the ready access to more than one type of food, i.e. he/she has access and can afford the choices. Therefore, if we are to contemplate change in Nigeria today, there must be an option or alternative, and such alternative must be viable. Most Nigerians will agree that the nation is broken in a fundamental way and that major change is necessary for our corporate survival. It is also clear that time is short to effect the needed changes. So, the only disagreement across the nation is the modus or nature of the change.

Politically speaking, Nigerians have only two choices for driving democratic change. It will have to be either of the PDP or the APC, as neither of APGA, Accord, Labour, or the other peripheral parties, are national in terms of support or outlook. So, if Nigerians discount the PDP, the most likely beneficiary of a new mandate would be the APC. If change will come to Nigeria, this is probably the best opportunity for an opposition victory.

While there is definitely a widespread dissatisfaction with the PDP and Dr Jonathan, this does not automagically translate to support for the APC. Unless the APC can articulate a clear linkage between Nigeria’s present problems and the failures of the ruling party, the party may struggle at the polls. The APC must be alive to the reality that people and parties lose power, they do not relinquish it. Another big challenge for the opposition is the fact that the electorate is mostly poor, uneducated and/or young, and will be easy prey for misinformation and monetary inducement. Voters must be persuaded that the APC is a live and beneficial alternative to the status quo; “live” here means that an APC vote could transform into electoral victory, and “beneficial” indicates that there is a clear potential of new or increased gain that would accrue to the voter on account of an APC victory. Elections are emotive and relational; both the message and the messenger must be appealing to secure loyalty of the voter right up to the polling booth.

Strategising for Electoral Victory:
One area in which previous APC candidates, and the party as a whole, have been incredibly short-sighted is in the planning and execution of electioneering strategy. It is vain to complain about rigging when it is clear that manipulation of votes is a primary device of incumbents in Nigeria. Rather, opposition parties must prepare and articulate a clear electioneering strategy to a core caucus within the party. The strategy must be very confidential, so that a DSS raid does not land the crown jewels in the hands of the PDP. It should lay out detailed plans that the party has for securing the majority of popular votes, as well as counter-plans for thwarting the rigging machinery of the ruling party.

Opposition parties must be very careful in building an electioneering strategy team. The team must be a mix of strategists, party executives, and street-level activists, so as to attain a balance of intellectualism, political sophistication and street-wisdom. Each member must have strong loyalties to the party or the success of the strategy, i.e. there must be a direct benefit/loss for every member should the party win or lose the election. This team will be the equivalent of an elite special-forces unit in an army. While most of the team will be card-carrying members of the party, it may be wise to bring in some external consultants with innovative ideas that will help distil/energise the strategy.

Having come up with the electioneering strategy, the next thing will be to prosecute it with vigour, determination, and agility. It would be credulous to believe that everything will go according to plan, but a bloc of supporters that are chaperoned by activists, who in turn are directed by a strategy team, have a much higher chance of success than a rabble of thugs and paid-per-day voters. The strategy and a significant part of its execution occurs pre-election, on election day the icing should be put on the cake, the party that wins would normally have gained an advantaged position before election day.

Before elections the priorities are mobilisation, risk assessment, and the pre-emptive deployment of consolidation or mitigation plans. This will involve detailed analysis of voting history, demographics, reconnaissance and logistics; the goal being to assess the opportunities and threats and to deploy resources appropriately in terms of type, time and proportion. On election day the priorities shift to mobilisation and facilitation of voting, execution of locational psychology, and the gathering of evidence. Win or lose, the gathering of evidence is key at every polling station, it is the only way that a party can independently satisfy itself of the veracity of any pronouncements made by the INEC. The evidence will also provide invaluable data for future strategy, and fuel for a post-election strategy. However, a detailed electioneering strategy is out of scope here, but all aspiring candidates need one, especially when in opposition. A word here though will suffice for the wise: election victory will not be served on a plate; only those that contest it can win it!

So What Happens If the Opposition Wins?
An APC/opposition victory would be a seminal moment in the history of Nigeria. But could it be more than that, could it be more than another flash in the pan of African and indeed black history? The desire for positive change in the social economy of the nation has never been so high. Nigerians have been pressed beyond endurance these last two decades. While the rest of the world has advanced, Nigeria has regressed. Many lives have been blighted, many lost, and large numbers living as though dead. The weight of expectation on any new government will therefore be very high. Unfortunately, these are inauspicious times, there are monumental infrastructure deficits across the country, oil prices are falling, record numbers are unemployed, and the security situation is so bad that Boko Haram may be approaching Abuja by the time the next president is sworn in this May.

There is so much work to do; the question would be where to start? In addition to a plethora of other issues, it is vital to sanitise the judiciary, else not much traction will be gained against corruption; in tandem, power and transportation must be addressed as matters of national emergency, and of course security must be prioritised. There are others such as education, health, etc. that are also important, but these can wait until the fundamentals have been stabilised. In the celebrated case of Lakanmi and Kikelomo V The Attorney-General of Western State of Nigeria and Ors (1971), the Nigerian Supreme Court held that the voluntary transfer of power by the civilian government to the military in 1966 was justified under the doctrine of necessity. Since then, governance in Nigeria has had to resort to the same doctrine to navigate tricky strictures on the democratic path. Given the present state of the judiciary, EFCC, DSS, and police, it is most probable that a new government will have to be imaginative in the extreme to use the deformed instruments of state to fix the very state itself. Will they have to push the limits of this same doctrine past its limits?

If that path has to be resorted to, said government must be careful; power corrupts, and absolute power corrupts absolutely. It is a lesson more so for the retired General who may be leading such a government. Corruption is the elephant in the room, and it goes without saying that a failure to seriously curb corruption will result in ultimate failure to move Nigeria forward. Ribadu it was that said, “when you fight corruption; corruption fights back”. However, care must be taken to ensure that Nigerians do not become the collateral damage that results from the fight between government and the agents and machinery of corruption. Good Zen is to be rid of sycophants and PDP fifth columnists; these two are more dangerous to a progressive government than corruption and all other ills – once you get rid of the rats, the snakes will also disappear.

Could this be a New Nigeria?
With the likes of Nuhu Ribadu as gubernatorial candidate under the PDP and Osinbajo as running mate on the APC presidential ticket, it should be clear to discerning observers that all the good eggs are not in one basket. For all the failings of the PDP leadership and Jonathan, there are still distinguished Nigerians in the rank and file of the party. Similarly, the presence of the likes of Buhari et al should not detract from the fact that the APC is not a church of saints. Nigeria though is served by the process that has brought these persons, and the coalition, to the forefront of Nigerian politics.

A win for the APC is likely to catapult many more progressives to the high table. Influence from the top will percolate downwards and progressives will be encouraged to come out of hiding and join the rebuilding. Similarly, as rats flee the sinking PDP ship, the original crew of visionary Nigerians that formed the party may glean an opportunity to retake the helm. If such things happen, it could usher in a truly new country; a New Nigeria that millions have dreamt of for many years, and for which several have given their very lives. It could be even much more than that. This could be the foundation for the first, truly great, black nation of the modern age. A nation led by black people, run by black people, and populated by black people, and a nation that begins to do those great and good things that hitherto have been associated with the Caucasian, the Latino, the Indian, the Chinese and the Arab.

A nation where there is rule of law, where the police is a service and not a force, where the army’s ire is felt by invaders and not defenceless citizens. A country where schools and hospitals are run by civil servants and not part-time mercenaries, a place where energy plants serve a thriving manufacturing and services sector, where roads are built and maintained, and that by Nigerians. A land in which the vote of the citizen counts and the lines of tribe and religion have been erased by shared values, aspirations and achievements. A New Nigeria that sets an example for the whole of black Africa and pulls hundreds of millions out of their nightmares and into the light of a progressive co-existence and the infinite possibilities available to all in a land so rich in every resource salutary to human existence and prosperity on this earth.

It is the prayer of all Nigerians that the forthcoming elections are credible, free and fair, and that such candidates as represents the best value for the present and future of our great nation wins.
We wish all contestants every good fortune within the bounds of our laws.
May God bless us all and usher in a New Nigeria in our own lifetimes; amen.

Jimoh Oyewole
Secretary-General
Nigeria Abroad (UK)
+44 793 920 3120
Postmaster@NigeriaAbroad.org
http://www.NigeriaAbroad.org/