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Aisha Buhari – Coming In From The Cold By Francis Nmeribe

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My first impressions of Her Excellency, Hajiya Aisha Buhari was in the 2015 when Buhari was campaigning for his election. I wondered those days how such a pretty well educated sensuously gentle, smiling and alluring lady would be married to Muhammadu Buhari who in my opinion is a clearly cut-out sadist. In those days, I did not know about the fact that Muhammadu Buhari had put away his first wife – according to stories – for receiving financial support from General Ibrahim Babangida, who was then Military President who had toppled him in 1985 while he was in detention. When I heard that, I felt comforted with my feelings of the spirit of sadism in Major General Buhari.

Fast forward 2016, President Buhari became terminally ill. While the stories flew around I watched with keen interest to find her playing a central role in the care of her husband, the President but I did not see any sign of her. I remember worrying aloud in the talks that were going around about the President’s health and the fact that Nigerians do not have any update on him – “what of the President’s wife”. I did not get any answers.

My first inkling that something must be fishy was when within one week of Nigerians in London and Lagos pretesting to be informed about the President’s health, the “president” returned to Nigeria. When the news of his arrival was broken, I turned on my television and noticed the “president” descending gallantly from the presidential jet. I don’t know why, but my first thought was to see beautiful Aisha beside him. And given that President Muhammadu Buhari had been brain dead for 103 days, I was expecting him in a wheel chair or assisted down the aircraft stairs. But no, the “president” was walking gallantly down the stairs. I felt thankful for the expert medical capacities of British doctors and medical system.

While still struggling to wrap my head around all that, I kept watching out for Aisha Buhari around her husband in these auspicious moments and that wish has not been granted till today.

Then kara-gbim, a video starting trending online where the adorable – Aisha Buhari – left the purpose of the event she was addressing to ask whether there are no more men in Nigeria that only a few people have hijacked the government of Nigeria. She repeated many times on that video “where are the men of Nigeria?” For some time thereafter, we were to hear nothing again about Aisha Buhari for many months.

Then one day, from nowhere and at an unconnected event, Aisha Buhari told the world over another trending video cut out from an address she was giving at an event she was attending, that she would not campaign for President Buhari’s reelection in 2019. Her principal reason was that “some people have hijacked the “president’s” government. We were to get one of the most ridiculous and laughable response credited to the “president” stating that Aisha Buhari was on her own and that “she belonged to the other room”.

Another embarrassing and unbecoming video was to come out of Aso Rock where Aisha was furiously shouting and querying why while certain doors to “president’s” living area were locked. In that video she was so loud and furious in a manner totally unbecoming of the wife of a president who ought to be more decorous and of course, more respected to have everywhere of interest and fancy for her to be cleared for her. After all, she is the wife of the “President” of Nigeria for crying out loud. I felt personally embarrassed as a citizen of Nigeria and wondered why a person occupying the place of the wife of the President would suffer such humiliation. I consoled myself with the joke – “those doors she is complaining might not be part of the other ‘room’” she belonged to.

Shortly after that Aisha Buhari’s shouting about being locked out, she was out of the scene for some months. I used to wonder aloud then where she is while her “husband” is ruling Nigeria so badly. I used to ask if she could not give him our feedback. Then I saw a video of her return to Nigeria and while responding to the news reporters’ questions, she said in a clearly mocking tone that “she took her annual leave to go be with her children and when she returned, she took another time off to also be with the children”. Meanwhile, if you viewed the video you would see two concerned women who like hawks were peeping from both sides of Aisha Buhari, clearly worried. I wondered about their concern and worry as if they want to ensure that she does not make a statement that would “cause problem”. I really could not understand it.

A question was asked about the “shouting” in Aso Rock and she acknowledged that it was her and noted that she was expressing frustration with the way things were going.

Of course, this narrative must include the fact that rumours were abound that she was having a hard time with Abba Kyari, then Chief of Staff to the “president”. I just wondered how the wife of the President of a big country like Nigeria would be having problem with a Chief of Staff and that Chief of Staff is still around the President. That to me is totally unacceptable. In my opinion, any disrespect on the wife of the President is disrespect on the President and the country.

Fast forward to 2020, Abba Kyari, Chief of Staff to the “president” dies. While the death news was still at rumour stage, Aisha Buhari seemed to have just walked in from the cold. Stories started making rounds that she has reassigned the Chief of Staff’s office staff. Next, stories of her ordering all those from Aso Rock who attended Abba Kyari’s burial; in contravention of the Corona Virus burial protocol, including Garba Shehu, not to come into Aso Rock and to self-isolate started circulating.

Rumours kept coming out of Aso Rock that Aisha Buhari is now in charge. And throughout, no word was heard from President Muhammadu Buhari to set records straight.

When Ibrahim Gambari was appointed new Chief of Staff, the rumours kept coming that Aisha Buhari is trying to tell him what to do and all through that rumour, the “president” said nothing.

And now, just this last week, Aisha Buhari is reported to have taken police officers attached to her along with her children to go and attack one of the “president’s “powerful” personal assistants who is also a nephew of President Muhammadu Buhari leading to gun shots inside Aso Rock – an unprecedented unbecoming behavior for the wife of the President of Nigeria. As wife of the President she does not need to be in front of such infamy. She can get whatever she wanted done through the President. What she needed done should be discussed with the president in the bedroom and the President himself would give those orders which no human being could fail to obey. How can Aisha, the beautiful wife of a tough talking and threat spitting President Muhammadu Buhari be exposed to such dirty job as having to personally go to force a personal assistant to the president to go home and isolate himself – a mandatory protocol legally and lawfully required of people who have traveled in Corona Virus endemic area like Lagos.

To me this is totally unkind, irresponsible, unbecoming and inhuman of any man at all not talk of the President of Nigeria. The tough question is: “how come?”

When I first heard this story, I dismissed it as fake and concocted news. Events were to unfold later to prove that the incident actually took place.

This to me is unbelievable. I am embarrassed, to say the least, that the incident is true. I have been asking myself since last week when the news broke out – “WHERE IS AISHA BUHARI COMING FROM” – “from the cold?”

Francis Nmeribe is a civil and industrial security professional and writes from Lagos.

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Opinion

DOGARA TO APC: A Homecoming From The Other Home By Adamu Bello

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To Dogara and his likes, every political party is a home. PDP and APC are like maternal and paternal grandfather’s Household. To them, like in a perfectly competitive market, there are no barriers for entry or exit.

Rt. Honorable Yakubu Dogara was a PDP stalwart who later crossed over to APC during the merger formation, where he contested and won the 2015 election.

After a serious tug-of-war between the executive and legislative arms of government, while he was the Speaker of the House of Reps coupled with the series of disagreement with the then Bauchi State governor, Dogara dumped APC for the opposition PDP, where he also contested and won the 2019 election.

Not far in the journey, the romance between Dogara and PDP hit the rocks again, owing to the purported disharmony with Kauran Bauchi and 2023 political calculations. Speculations thicken that the ruling APC tempted him with the Vice Presidential slot in the forthcoming election, hence the reason for his defection.

Whatever may be his reason, cross carpeting is not atipycal in Nigerian politics. Professor Jonah Onuoha, aptly described Nigerian politicians as a crop of people, who have no sense of shame and are only out to seek personal gains above serving the people. Our politicians are synonymous to scavengers.

In a country where defection is a norm, Nigerians were not perplexed by Dogara’s decision to stage a homecoming from his other home. Even more so, Nigerians are expecting other self centered politicians to follow suit, because it happens more than one can shake a stick at.

Before 2019 elections for instance, no fewer than 14 senators, 37 members, triplet of Sokoto, Benue and Kwara state governors alongside many APC heavyweights like Atiku, kwankwaso, Saraki, and Dogara himself defected to PDP in pursuit of their selfish interests. Neither for patriotism nor for the compatriots. Masses are always secondary in their equations.

Whether or not Dogara accomplish his mission in this precedented homecoming, Nigerian democracy is further relegated to the ridicule. The practice of free entry and exit into our political parties like a market square not only embarresses Nigeria’s democracy in the international community but also casts a huge shadow of doubt over the country’s future.

I wish Honourable Dogara returned home for good.

Adamu Bello Mai-bödi
Writes from Gidado Bombiyo residence
K/kaji Azare

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Opinion

Social Media: It Has Now Become Attention Media By Yusuf Abba-Kyari

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Social media has now become almost the direct opposite of what it used to be. We used to login to a social network to interact, share ideas and find lost acquaintances on social media (remember Yahoo messenger chat rooms?) with people from other parts of the world.

Lately it has become more of attention seeking media. We travel to a nice place, post on social media. Attend an online training, post it on social media. Graduate from school, post it. Any minor detail, post it. It has also turned into an advertisement tool for products and services and big companies are making a fortune on us.

As human beings, we like to show others the little accomplishments we’ve had at any moment just to draw attention to ourselves and the funniest thing (to me) is, we’re hardly who we say we are on social media. While I am in no position to tell people what to post or not to, we should do it (in my opinion) for the right reasons.

According to some psychologist, the more hours we put on social media, the higher our anxieties and insecurities become. So we become lonely and depressed by the day. This is due to the amount of people’s lives we feed ourselves everyday.

My advice; check your phone’s usage of social media apps. If you are active for more than two to three hours a day combined, then you are using too much.

Try to reduce your screen time. It’s good for your eyes, it relaxes your brain, it frees your soul and you will become more focused on the most important things in your life.

If it helps promote you or your business, then convert your account to a business account. That way you don’t have to be checking up on others (unless if they are your competition). You can also work for someone as their social media managers. That way your skills set is put to good use.

Currently, I’m only active on LinkedIn and I connect with my loved ones on WhatsApp. I don’t have Twitter, Instagram, Facebook or any other social media account. My screen time is now less than two hours a day and it keeps reducing. On LinkedIn, thanks to A.I. it filters out the posts from my connections that actually post educative or relevant information that relates to my interests.

According to a survey by “We Are Social”, 63% of the global population are not active on social media. There are prominent people who do not use it. This does not affect their lives in any way and they are arguably happier than most of us. Most of the celebrities, public figures do not directly handle their accounts. They hire social media handlers. So if you can afford to, hire a social media handler.

A wise man was asked; “Why are social media platforms free?” He answered; “If you are not paying for a product, then be rest assured that you are the product.”

By Yusuf Abba-Kyari

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Opinion

The Cobra-Effect of Achaba Ban In Bauchi State By Adamu Bello

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The Cobra Effect is a term in Economics. It refers to a situation when an attempted solution to a problem makes the problem worse.

The decision to ban Achaba by Bauchi state government in an attempt to improve the security of lives and properties was well-intentioned. As Governor Bala fears, the proliferation of Yan-Achaba who are banned from other states into Bauchi State is a very big threat to our security, hence, the need for governments’ decisive action. No sane government will allow an open security threat to emanate and escalate without taking necessary measures. However, certain unintended consequences that may lead to making the problem worst must be considered before rushing into action to avoid falling into the ditch of Cobra-Effect.

The term Cobra-Effect was coined based on an incident in old colonial India. By some reasons, there were too many venomous cobra snakes in Delhi. People were dying due to snake-bites and it became scary for almost everyone to step out of their houses. The government of the day had to get into action to stop this menace and it offered a silver coin for every dead cobra. The results were great, a large number of snakes were killed for the reward.

Eventually, however, it led to some serious unwanted consequences. After a short-term decrease in cobra population, it started going up again. This was because few people began to breed cobras for the income. When the news reached the government, the reward program was scrapped, causing the cobra breeders to set the now-worthless snakes free. As a result, the cobra population further increased. The solution for the problem made the situation even worse.

This is exactly what would happen to Bauchi State if the government sticks to its decision on Achaba ban. The Achaba will eventually disappear, but the security situation would be worse in the near future, because most of the Yan-Achaba are youths with no other means to make ends meet than Achaba. They have no certificates for white-collar-job, no capital for investment and no skill for craftsmanship. Taking Achaba away from them makes them completely hopeless and idle. What do they say about idle mine? Many of them will see no option than to join criminal rackets such as stealing, burglary, banditry, kidnapping, fraud, terrorism, kidnapping, and thuggery, etc.

Many businesses such as vulcanizers, mechanics, engine oil vendors, motorcycle and spare-parts suppliers tend to suffer huge loss. When Yan-Achaba lose their jobs, the already skyrocketed unemployment in the state would increase geometrically. The ugly labor market would get fatter and uglier, and the dependency ratio on the inconsistent salary would also multiply, hence, shooting the state’s poverty rate up. This depicts the potential insecurity the state is heading into.

There are also serious unwanted consequences of Achaba ban to the governor politically. The ban is tantamount to hatching thousands of enemies amongst citizens comprising Yan-Achaba and their sympathizers. Especially with the way police officers are maltreating and extorting Yan-achaba financially under his watch. It is a sophisticated political weapon for the oppositions to use against the governor and his political party. Pundits in the state view the decision as an anti-masses and widely unpopular policy. Many are saying government should not block peoples’ source of income without providing alternative.

Talking about alternative, Bauchi state governor promised to provide 500 Keke Napep (tricycles) for Yan-Achaba as substitute to their motorcycles, meanwhile only three-fifty keke Napep are provided, whereas there are more than five thousand Yan-Achaba in the state. This shows that Bauchi state has no resources or the governor has no political-will to provide substitute for even the registered Yan-Achaba talk less of those without register.

I recommend the reversal of this unpopular decision of total ban on Achaba across Bauchi state, because the Cobra-Effect would be devastating. His Excellency should put emphasis on compulsory registration and consistent tax payment by Yan-Achaba. This would secure the state from unwanted proliferation and would create additional income for the state and at the same time keep thousands of youths occupied.

The ban should be successive, starting from the state capital with the provision of enough substitute tricycles at an affordable soft loan. After successful abolishing of the practice in the capital, the ban could then be extended to the remaining parts of the state using similar substitution procedures to avoid unwanted consequences.

This may save Bauchi state from the mysterious Cobra-Effect of Achaba ban.

By Adamu Bello Mai-bödi
Wrote from Gidado Bombiyo residence
K/kaji Azare.

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