The Nigeria Army Council on Friday approved the promotion of 227 senior officers from various ranks to their next ranks.
Those promoted, according to the army spokesman, Col. Sani Usman, include 21 Brigadier Generals to Major Generals, 93 Colonels, including Usman, to Brigadier Generals and 113 Lieutenant Colonels to Colonels.
“Those promoted include Brig.- Gen. CM Abraham, Acting General Officer Commanding (GOC) 2 Division; Brig.- Gen. Obono, Acting Corps Commander, Nigerian Army Artillery Corps; Brig.-Gen. PJ Dauke, Acting GOC 3 Division and Brig.-Gen. A A Nani, Acting GOC 8 Task Force Division, as well as Brig.-Gen. JB Olawunmi, Acting Coordinator, Nigerian Army Aviation Corps.
Other Brigadier Generals are CC Okwonkwo, Commander 48 Task Force Division Engineers; MSA Aliyu and AM Jalingo, who were promoted to the rank of Major Generals, among others.
“Among the Colonels promoted as Brigadier Generals are IY Dogara, EO Aikhomu, Aminu Bande, IFD Briggs, PA Alamba, UU Bassey, UT Musa, AS Ndalolo, AI Taiwo, Y Hassan, IOO Olotta and UT Utaru.
Others include the Acting Director Army Public Relations, Col. SK Usman, Acting Director of Chaplain Service (Roman Catholic) Col. CC Iroegbu, Acting Director of Chaplain Service (Protestant), Col. DD Danfulani, and Acting Director Islamic Affairs, Col. SG Mustapha.
Usman said that promotion in the Nigerian Army was an annual exercise for qualified personnel who distinguished themselves over stipulated period of time.
“Earlier in the year, the Nigerian Army carried out several promotion exercises for other categories of its personnel.
“These include the Junior Non-Commission Officers (JNCOs), Senior Non-Commission Officers and Warrant Officers category, as well as Junior officers from the rank of Second Lt. to Lieutenants to Captains and from Captains to Majors,” Usman said. (NAN)
...arrests 244 suspects
The initiative of Dangote Group in sanitizing activities of its drivers engaged in illegal haulage has continued to yield results as its National Patrol Unit has over a period of time, arrested 244 suspects for various offences inimical to operations of the company.
Còordinator of the unit, CP Magaji Abdullahi (Rtd), gave the indication at a press briefing on Tuesday, at Dangote Cement Factory in Obajana, Kogi state.
He said out of the number, 109 have been convicted and jailed while others are being remanded in prison custody for tarnishing image of the company, among them a kingpin, Samaila YAKUBU believed to be leader of the syndicate that specialized in stealing DANGOTE Group trucks in connivance with drivers.
Samaila, notorious for terrorising company trucks along South east and South south axis was former staff of Dangote Cement Transport Operations Ibese before he was dismissed, and impersonating as Recovery Officer of Dangote Group thereafter.
Abduĺahi said the unit recovered 5 stolen trucks following directives by president/CEO of DANGOTE Group, Aliko Dangote to curtail rampant cases of theft of company products, properties and trucks.
The unit also observed incessant reports of missing tyres and spareparts by drivers and took necessary measures including census of such items while the trucks were being dispatched and checking the items of all the fleet on the return trip.
Abdullah called attention of the public and those who buy used tyres to the type of truck tyres of DANGOTE Group, which he said showcases DO and DI inscriptions followed by some figures and should not be patronized.
The coordinator called on security agents to support DANGOTE Group's effort by arresting those who break laws of the company such as reckless drivers, drivers who diverted from approved routes and those unauthorised persons who drove Dangote trucks.
The unit was established in August, 2016 to monitor DANGOTE drivers, reduce incidence of accidents by the fleet and protect road users.
In The Spotlight
"We will write this for all to read. Anyone, soldier or not, that kills the Fulani takes a loan repayable one day no matter how long it takes" - Mallam Nasir El Rufai, 2012.
I will never forget these words. How I wish that my friend and brother, Governor Nasir El Rufai, expressed the same level of angst, cold rage, chilling resolve and passion for vengeance after the murder of millions of defenceless and innocent non-Fulanis, including women and children, in his own Kaduna state and indeed all over the country since the coming to power of the Buhari regime one year and seven months ago.
How I wish that he could have learnt a lesson or two from other Nigerian leaders of Fulani extraction who are far more restrained, mature, experienced, knowledgeable and responsible than him like Vice President Atiku Abubakar, Senator Ahmed Makarfi, Hon. Minister Kabiru Turaki, Hon. Minister Hadi Sirika, Governor Sule Lamido, Col. Abubakar Dangiwa Umar, General Aliyu Gusau and countless others that careless and ill-advised assertions, vicious threats and a lack of decorum and restraint have no place in public discourse and could lead to unimaginable consequences including the loss of innocent lives. After all, we are ALL Nigerians.
Given the circumstances I am constrained to write the following for all to see: the spilling of innocent blood in the name of vengeance, religion, ethnicity or anything else is expensive and it comes with a heavy price.
Those who willfully shed it will face the consequences of their actions. They will pay a heavy price from generation to generation both in this world and in the world to come.
Given all the horror stories of murder and butchery that we hear about in Kaduna state today things have certainly got out of hand and every Nigerian, whether they be Christian or Muslim, ought to be deeply concerned.
Such is the carnage and wasting of innocent lives that I cannot but support the columnist Sam Omatseye's call on Christians in southern Kaduna to rise up and use all lawful means to defend themselves from what can, to all intents and purposes, only be described as genocide.
I also support the appeal to the Christian Association of Nigeria to use all lawful means to assist and support them and I commend the gallantry and resilience of the Southern Kaduna's People Union (SOKAPU) who have consistently spoken out and resisted the evil that the good people of southern Kaduna have been subjected to over the years.
I also commend the efforts of men like Bishop Matthew Hassan Kukah, Pastor Temitope Joshua, Apostle Suleiman and numerous others who have consistently urged restraint when it comes to such matters but who, at the same time, have always insisted on justice and equity for the oppressed, the poor, the weak, the vulnerable and the deprived.
For as Thomas Jefferson, one of the great founding fathers of the United States of America once said, "when injustice becomes law, resistance becomes duty".
Self-defence, like self-determination, is a fundamental and inalienable human right and those that take pleasure in mass murder and carnage must be resisted and stopped.
Those that kill, maim and destroy their fellow human beings and compatriots in the name of ethnic and religious hegemony and under the guise of cattle-rearing and herding cows must be brought to justice.
When the International Global Index identified a group that they described as the "Fulani militants" and "herdsmen of Nigeria" as the "fourth most deadly terrorist organisation in the world" the international community was shocked and many world leaders expressed their concern and outrage.
It was only in Nigeria that we took it in our stride and that people found it difficult to comprehend the implications or appreciate the dangers and complexity of the challenge that we were faced with.
It was also only in Nigeria that the government brushed the matter under the carpet and refused to disarm the murderous terrorists or even condemn their actions.
It was only in Nigeria that everyone hid under their beds and ran for cover and refused to say it as it is even though they all knew the truth.
It was only in Nigeria that the blood and the lives of the numerous victims of the Janjaweed-style marauders and murderers were regarded as being less precious and less sacred than the blood of their tormentors and killers.
The fact of the matter is that this is a major issue and a collective challenge. This fight is beyond politics: it is an ancient struggle which is being fought in pursuance of an ancient cause.
Worst still it has an international and global dimension. Simply put, it is essentially about the supression and systematic destruction and humiliation of the so-called "lesser peoples" and supposedly "inferior ethnic nationalities" of the hybrid mega-nation called Nigeria.
It is about the enslavement, the breaking of the will, the total subjugation and the complete annihilation of an entire people and various ethnic nationalities within that mega-nation.
It is about the forced aquisition of the land, culture, destiny and souls of others, ethnic and religious domination and good old-fashioned conquest.
That is the monuemental challenge that we are faced with in Nigeria today by those that covertly commissioned and armed the herdsmen and that are using them to do a dirty job.
Yet few wish to admit let alone discuss, hear or publish such bitter truths in our country. And those of us that are willing to do so are insulted, attacked, maligned, persecuted, threatened, ostracised and labellled as rebels and dissidents simply because we have cultivated the strength and courage to identify the problem, speak the truth and stand up for the weak and the oppressed.
The tyrant forgets that truth and timely counsel is worth its weight in gold. He forgets that it is better to have an honest and vocal opposition than to have a false friend.
He forgets that he either controls those in his inner circle and his numerous courtiers, security chiefs, Ministers and advisors or they will end up controlling him and pushing him to fatal error.
We his subjects try our best to keep quite and ignore the commission of atrocities that we see in our nation every day by his security forces and his blood-thirsty and blood-curdling kinsmen that have constituted themselves into a well-armed reserve army and a formidable and murderous ethnic militia.
Instead of speaking out boldly and loudly or protesting in the streets we choose to keep the peace and stay at home and pray.
Yet, unabated, the horror show simply goes on and on. The nightmare continues to unfold and the black flag of death, destruction and carnage is hoisted higher every day.
No-one is spared in this bloodfest of terror and butchery. Today it is the defiant Biafrans and the good people of the south-east that are being shot, slaughtered, tormented and "cut to pieces" and tomorrow it is the good people of Agatu and the Middle Belt or the residents and farmers of the south-west and the Niger Delta.
And in all this our response is nothing but fear, trepidation and weakness. Our collective resolve to stand against evil has long been broken. We continue to bite the bullet, take the pain, reign in our rage, maintain our stoic and cowardly silence and encourage those that seek to avenge their loved ones and kinsmen to do nothing, to remain calm and to leave it all to God.
Yet there are some things that are beyond the pale and that cannot be ignored. When those that are charged with the responsibility of protecting us and bringing those that kill our kith and kin to justice are complicit in the barborous actions of the terrorists we cannot remain silent. And if we do God Himself will judge us.
When a sitting Governor like Nasir El Rufai can boldly and openly say "tell them (meaning the terrorising and murderering Fulani militants and herdsmen) that the governor is a Fulani like them and give them this money" you are encouraging murder and empowering murderers.
When you talk like that you are provoking the sensitivities and rage of every non-Fulani in your state and in the entire nation.When you say such a thing you are rubbing raw salt in a fresh wound and you are plunging a sharp and long butchers knife deep into the hearts of the loved ones of all those that were murdered and mutilated in your state and elsewhere by those barbaric killers that you have described as your kinsmen and friends.
When you speak so callously and with such insensitivity you are murdering and butchering the murdered and burchered victims all over again, rubbishing their memory, insulting their families and pissing on their graves.
When you say that you have paid your Fulani brothers and kinsmen from Chad, the Niger Republic, Mali, Senegal, the Camerouns and God knows where else money to stop them from coming to our country and your state to kill our Christian brothers and sisters in southern Kaduna instead of bringing them to justice for shedding innocent blood it means that you are a murderer as well.
When you talk like that it means that you are what is known as an "enabler" or as an "accessory after the fact" in law and you are nothing but an accomplice to and friend, sponsor and sympathiser of mass murderers.
It means that you are not just a murderer but you are also a genocidal maniac. Worse of all you know very well that the money that you have publicly admitted to giving them will be used to buy more deadly weapons and ammunition which will then be used to slaughter, maim, kidnap and terrorise even more innocent and defenceless people from your constituency and elsewhere in Nigeria.
If it is not Shiite Muslims that are being killed in Kaduna today it is our brothers and sisters in southern Kaduna. Not only are they massacred but they are also buried in unmarked mass and shallow graves where pigs feed off their carcasses and decaying flesh.
How wicked and heartless can we be to one another? Where is the milk of human kindness? Where is compassion and mercy? Where is justice, succour and protection for the poor, the deprived, the unconnected and the needy?
For God sake the killing must stop. I implore you in the name of God to use your powerful office to defend the oppressed and to protect the voiceless in your state and not to encourage or support the predators who feed on human flesh and who take pleasure in the destruction, suffering and misery of others.
Those that bathe in the blood of the innocents and that delight in indulging in cruelty and crushing the bones of the weak may have today but tomorrow belongs to us.
As the leader of the American-based Nation of Islam movement, the respected Honorable Minister Louis Farrakhan, once said,
"God is on the side of the weak, the oppressed. God is never in favor of the tyrant! And fighting against tyranny really is obedience to God. So God will have His way, no matter what the jury or government does. But if they are wicked enough to deny these families justice, then God will answer—and I fear the terrible nature of His chastisement. Be warned".
For those that are in power today in Kaduna and Nigeria a word is enough for the wise. Our God is alive and He rules in the affairs of men. Vengeance belongs to Him: He will repay.
Permit me to conclude the first part of this write up with the words of Senator La'ah who represents the people of southern Kaduna in the Senate.
In a statement he issued to newsmen on Wednesday 4th December the Senator asserted that Governor El-Rufai has been able to identify the killers and their locations.
He added, “This will lead to their sponsors in Nigeria and other places. Nigeria should then use its diplomatic relationship and extradite these murderers of its citizens, plunders and arsonists to face justice in Nigeria.
“After Governor El-Rufai’s term in office, it should be possible to prosecute him for being an accessory to mass murder, since he has refused to reveal these findings to the rightful authority for actions to stop the evil that is spreading to many states today.
“This is from the outcome of Newspapers’ and online captions quoting governor El -Rufai as saying that he has had to trace some of the murderous Fulani herdsmen that have been killing defenceless innocent Southern Kaduna natives and destroying their villages, the news sources said that after tracing them, he told them that he was also a Fulani man and paid them sums of money to stop the massacre, burning and tearing down of scores of communities in Southern Kaduna.
“That not done with, the Governor also uttered a very bizarre threat that he has compiled for arrest and prosecution, names of persons asking the people of Southern Kaduna to defend themselves against the obvious inability of the Chief Security Officer of the state – Governor Nasir El-Rufai – to secure their lives and property and save them the trauma of being under perpetual fear of further unprovoked violence.
“Knowing how swiftly he reacts to any untoward issue unfairly thrown at him in the media, I have waited for days to hear or read a rebuttal from him but to no avail.
“This therefore confirms these unfortunate utterances as truly that of the governor of Kaduna State, Mallam Nasir el-Rufai.
“I wish to state that these statements are not only unfortunate, callous, insensitive, crude and demeaning of his office and intelligence, it throws him up as a bigot and hater of Southern Kaduna and we are holding him as an accomplice in the ongoing genocide in Southern Kaduna.” (TO BE CONTINUED).
In The Spotlight
The recent Governorship elections in Edo and Ondo states threw up a number of issues about the politics of succession in Nigeria. In Edo state, you would think it was the then incumbent Governor Adams Oshiomhole seeking re-election. He campaigned more than the candidate. He danced, waved the broom, his party’s symbol, far more enthusiastically than the man who wanted the office. He even did more to put down the opposition and any likely threat to Godwin Obaseki’s ambition. His pretty wife was always in tow during the campaigns, and did she dance? Oh yes, she did too. Godwin Obaseki’s emergence as the candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in that election caused much disaffection within the party. He was said to be Oshiomhole’s anointed candidate with the allegation that everything was being done to ensure his victory at the polls. Oshiomhole had his way. Obaseki is now Governor of Edo State.
The incumbent Governor in Ondo State also did as much if not more to manage the politics of succession in the just concluded Governorship election in that state. He anointed the candidate of his party, followed him everywhere, and “fought” for him, even in the courts and on the streets of Akure. The election was more about Dr Olusegun Mimiko and what he wanted. The situation was not helped by the fact that Mimiko’s choice, Eyitayo Jegede, SAN hails from the same Senatorial district with him, but by far the biggest problem was the division within the PDP, which produced two candidates on the same platform for the same election, with the courts having to decide mid-way and at the late hour, with a superior court overruling the lower court. This confusion created a scenario whereby Jimoh Ibrahim emerged for a while as the party’s candidate, only to be dismissed through a court order two days to the election.
This did not bother the businessman-lawyer-politician, though. Giving the impression that he was not so desperate to be Governor, he declared that his mission was to make it impossible for Mimiko to achieve his goal of installing an anointed successor. On the eve of the election, he urged his supporters and the people of the state to vote for the candidate of the APC. Under normal circumstances this would be considered an anti-party activity but the PDP is right now in such a confused state as a political party - its ranks are filled with disloyal, one-leg-in-one-leg-out members. For this reason, in Ondo state, the PDP defeated itself from within even before the election. Mimiko can also be held responsible for his chosen candidate’s defeat. He overplayed his hands in the febrile politics of succession in the state.
There is perhaps nothing new about incumbents, at state, local and national levels, showing interest in who succeeds them. Being politicians, they could plead that they are duty bound to support their party’s candidate, but where the problem lies is the desperation that attends the choice of such candidates, beginning with the party primary. In the United States, which is an example that can be readily cited, President Barrack Obama openly supported the candidacy of the Democratic Party standard bearer, Hillary Clinton, but he did so only after she had won the nomination. If Bernie Sanders had been the party’s choice, he would still have received President Obama’s support out of loyalty to the party. In other words, it would be difficult to speak of an incumbent American President or Governor anointing a successor and imposing that successor on the party and the electorate.
This unacceptable abbreviation of democratic choice and of democracy itself occurs routinely in Nigeria. Once upon a time in this country, an incumbent President boasted that he did not know who his successor would be, which was fine, but what was not fine was his simultaneous declaration that he was very certain about those who would not be allowed to succeed him. The same President eventually chose his own successor. In Ekiti state, following the election in Ondo state, Governor Ayo Fayose has been quoted saying what has happened to Mimiko cannot happen to him in 2018: he is so sure he would determine his own succession fortunes. And if he could be so confident, where does that leave the democratic process? Truth is: the average Nigerian politician’s faith in democracy is dishonest. He believes the people can be bought. The people themselves are very good at complaining but they seem more committed to election-day monetary inducement than their own rights. Whatever gains may have been recorded in terms of electoral integrity and civic power is sadly being eroded by poverty.
When incumbent executive political office holders insist on anointing their own successors in Nigeria, they can hide under three justifications. The first is that they have a legacy to protect, and that they have an idea who the right person is to protect that legacy. But this is absolutely wrong. It is not the duty of the incumbent to protect his or her own legacy, except through literature. If the legacy is strong enough, it should endure within the system. The end-and-start-again profile of Nigeria’s succession politics owes in part to the weakness of institutions. Our civil bureaucracy is one of the worst in the world. It is driven not by memory or best practices but eye service. Legacies also do not seem to endure because of the endurance of the politics of hate. When a new Governor assumes office, his first priority is to make his predecessor look bad. That is standard Nigerian practice. But the incumbent trying to prevent this possibility by anointing a successor has not helped either. In Lagos, Anambra, Cross River, Akwa Ibom Adamawa, Zamfara and Kano, we have seen how anointed successors eventually turned against their Godfathers. The best answer to the legacy issue is for every incumbent to perform so well while in office that certain things would be so obvious that they cannot be erased.
The second justification is that as the leader of the ruling party in the state, or in the country, the incumbent must protect his political relevance by having a say over what happens when he leaves office. The interpretation is that the Nigerian politician is very egoistic. Give him Executive powers and he begins to appropriate the kind of divine powers with which kings used to oppress the people. He is surrounded by sycophants who disorient him daily, with long lists of enemies from whom he needs to protect himself, in and out of office. He gets lured into a trap, he is overtaken by paranoia, and he makes mistakes thinking he can exercise proprietorial rights over the democratic process. Many have been disappointed. There is no point mentioning names from 1999 to date.
The third justification is that everything must be done to prevent the opposition from seizing power. Opposition politics in Nigeria is hoisted on a platform of enmity, including the fear of probes, even if no former Governor or President has been successfully probed or jailed by any successor since 1999. When our politicians are in the same party, they relate as friends, when they are in opposite parties, they relate as enemies, particularly if the parties involved are influential and capable of winning. Most of the people in the APC today who are branding the PDP as evil made their name as politicians inside the PDP. Jumping from one party to the other and switching colour and emotions like the chameleon means absolutely nothing to the Nigerian politician; their morality is majorly that of a professional prostitute. It is never about what the people want. And so, preventing the opposition is an empty excuse because the same Godfather who is imposing an anointed candidate today could join another party tomorrow, and the anointed could also head in another direction or adopt another Godfather. This is a perfect illustration of how devoid of character and principles Nigerian politics is.
What is left then? What is left is the more compelling argument that the reason Nigerian political incumbents are so desperate to anoint successors is because they are afraid of their own shadows. They want to cover their misdeeds, so they struggle to rule by proxy. They want to remain relevant, and continue to have access to state resources, patronage and privileges. They want to play God. They have secrets they want to hide. The politics of succession in Nigerian politics thus constructed has never worked. Its architects and promoters have been disappointed in many cases more than once. The landscape is littered with tales of treachery. Some Godfathers were so badly treated by their anointed successors they could no longer visit their states for four years at least. There are some ex-Governors who thought they got the best man to succeed them whose only reward has been abuse and neglect.
The lesson not learnt is that being a Godfather has at most, short-term benefits. Incumbents often underrate one thing: that the successor will also acquire his own ego. New influencers are bound to surround the new incumbent and they will advise him to assert his independence and not to be anybody’s “boy-boy”. Even when the anointed successor swears to an oath, as often happens, it doesn’t take long before one of these Pastors goes to him, offers to cancel the oath and anoint him as the new Spiritual Leader of the state! Have you ever heard of any politician who died because he swore to an oath with a Godfather?
The way we recruit Governors these days is bad. The lesson for every incumbent is to get things right. Nigerian democracy is still at the level of the visual and the personal. It is trapped at the level of needs. The people appreciate and remember what they see and what touches them directly. That is why on election day, or the night before, when they are given the “Naira sandwich”, their political mind immediately focuses on how at that particular moment a particular party or candidate has met their needs. The challenge of Nigerian democracy remains how to free the people from this base level, and confront them with more significant and indelible achievements that they can see, feel and touch, and which the politics of succession or hate can neither destroy nor traduce. If anyone understood this very well, Awolowo did, Ahmadu Bello did, Michael Opara did, Sam Mbakwe did, Obasanjo did, Jakande did, Onabanjo did, Ajasin did…we’d talk about more contemporary examples some other day.
By Reuben Abati