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Ovy’s Pasteries

Ovy’s Pasteries
Ovy’s Pasteries Baked Chinchin



Thursday, August 13, 2020


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When George Orwell detailed out the injustice that characterised the Russian revolution in his  famous book, 'The Animal Farm' in 1945, little did we anticipated that such betrayal, crass injustices and nepotism could be witnessed in Africa in the 21st century under the watchful eyes of a leader who took an oath of allegiance to the constitution while holding a Holy Qur'an. In the lslamic literatures, a leader shall give account of his leadership before his creator even if he hadn't sworn to an oath of office and oath of allegiance to the constitution.

It is therefore expected that a leader while delegating his authority to his appointees, should realise that he can't delegate his responsibilities. It therefore behoves on him to devise an effective mechanism to monitor and evaluate the actions of his subordinates ministers to who such presidential powers delegated from time to time to avoid abuse of powers. 

Abuse of office and excesses of some of the appointees of government officials under the present administration calls for a thorough condemnation if nation building is to be achieved with effective patriotism.

Permit me to use some expressions like region, geo- political zones, federal character, core north, area, etc. When Sardauna was the premier of northern region, indigenes of the region of different minority  ethnic background and  faith worked closely with him satisfactorily. Ebira people were one of such that enjoyed his fair treatment and provided is with sense of justice and belonging. It was his sense of justice showed his subjects that welded the northern region together so tightly that every section of the region was fairly treated and development was recorded under his watch. His personal interest never overtook his regional interest.

Under his watchful eyes then was one north and one Arewa and nobody was treated a second class citizen. The next generation after him created conflicts, divide and rule system and segregation of the region with such terms as core north, 'cikeke dan Arewa'  meaning real northerner, merely to feather their personal interest. What has been the developmental level of the north after the demise of Sir Ahmadu Bello, the late Sardauna of Sokoto?

The people of North Central geo- political zone have been used and dumped by the selfish leaders that took over the mantle of leadership in the north. History has taught us  that the bulk of those who fought the last civil war on the federal side we're  mainly from this neglected zone. The people of the old Cross River province have always aligned politically with political parties or movement instead of that of their kit and kin of the Igbo extraction owing to perceived injustice meted out to them in the past by their lgbos past leaders who were privileged to be at the corridors of power.

Of particular interest to me is the injustices meted out to my good people of Ebiraland in the central part of Kogi State. Our late Paramount Chief of blessed memory was a close ally of the Sardauna and stood by the latter through tick and thin death separated them. Ebira people that worked in various parts of the old north either as District Officers (DOs) performed creditably. The likes of late Malla Abdulmalik Atta, Abdulaziz Atta, Dr Abdulmumumi Atta, Abdulrahman Okene, Raji Abdallah, George Uru Ohikere,to mention but a few left good legacies behind such that we beat our chest that they made us proud.

Ebira people are now being treated as outcast in many parts of North, particularly in the public service. Our culture has always been to strive hard to be the best amongst equal whether in academic or public service. But when they are due for their rights, they are often shortchanged crudely without any explanation and just reason. 

Of recent,  a sister  in the FCT High Court of  Justice was compulsorily retired when she had more years to serve and against her desire to continue in service till her retirement age, but the powers in FCT judiciary saw her as a threat to his desire to bring into the system 'his own people'.


In Kaduna Polythecnic, another elder in bursary unit was redeployed to the classroom to give way to his Junior and eventually retired.The most recent one was the removal of the Academy Provost of the Nigerian Defence Academy, Kaduna, (Prof Ahmed A Adam Okene) who was duly appointed in June to that office ( having gone through the competitive processes) in acting capacity. Equally worrisome to many of observers is that the candidate imposed by the Minister of Defence is from his home state (Kano) and didn't take part in the initial competitive process as a candidate neither does he possess the required competences demanded of the office of Academy Provost. 

He was brought in after the important part  of the appointment had been concluded. It's like the minister who was part of the process of appointing Prof Adam forgot that he had an unqualified candidate from Bayero University,Kano to be smuggled into the office until he was to issue a confirmation letter to the acting Provost who had been acting since June this year.

'According to information available to LEADERSHIP,  the Minister of Defence Major General Bashir Salihi Magashi (Rtd) scuttled the legitimate process of appointing a substantial Academy Provost for the Nigerian Defence Academy (NDA) by insisting on the appointment of Professor Isa Garba of the Mechanical Engineering department Bayero University Kano (BUK) despite not participating in the processes for such appointment.

'Five Professors with requisite academic qualification from the academy were invited to submit their curriculum vitae, their case study, mission and vision for consideration to be appointed as Academy Provost of the institution.

'Those invited include, Professor David Oluwatoba Alabi of political science department, Professor Sunday Olawole Okeniyi of Chemistry department, Professor Sydney Chinedu Osuala of Maths and Computer department, Professor Jonathan Maduka Nwaedozie of Chemistry department and Professor Adam Okene Ahmed of History and War studies all staffers of the academy.

'After the processes commenced, Professor Nwaedozie was disqualified on grounds of age in which case if appointed he would have attained the age of retirement before the expiration of the tenure. All the invited Professors commenced the processes which included screening and physical interviews with one Professor Ahmed topping in all of the processes for consideration.

'Prof. Ahmed until his appointment to serve as Acting Academy Provost is the director of linkages and collaboration of the academy whose impressive performance and emerging top in all of the processes got him the appointment as the Acting Academy Provost pending his confirmation as substantive.  A competent source who will not want his name in print confirmed that the Governing Council of the Academy under the Chairmanship of the Honorable Minister Magashi confirmed the appointment of Professor Ahmed who was the acting Academy Provost awaiting his official letter as substantive.

'Then came the twist, when Professor Garba who was not part of the processes from the unset emerged from no way and the same Minister who presided over the governing council meeting that confirmed Professor Ahmed it was gathered ordered that he (Prof. Garba) be interviewed and all of a sudden a letter through the Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Defence was sent to the academy for him to be confirmed as substantive Academy Provost of the NDA. According to another source, the sudden decision to appoint Prof. Garba as substantive Academy Provost of the NDA may have come as directive from the Presidency which many equally doubted.

'To some, it is a case of nepotism in view of the fact that the Honourable Minister of Defence is from Kano State, the NDA Commandant is also from Kano State and perhaps wanted someone from the Ministers state to be the Academy Provost for reasons best known to him and hence why Professor Garba who is also from Kano State was brought in after the processes have been completed.

Meanwhile, sampled opinion of persons working within the Academy is that of mixed feelings, while some viewed it as corruption of the highest order, others said it was a case of nepotism and wished President Muhammadu Buhari will intervene and put a hold to this injustice and nepotic act by the Minister and also revert to the status quo by ensuring that the man who participated in all the processes and earlier appointed in acting capacity and confirmed by council awaiting official letter be allowed to serve in substantive capacity. Some averred unequivocally that Prof Ahmed is eminently qualified for that position and that he has both academic and administrative capacity to bring a turn around and build on the legacy of the immediate past provost, while doubting the administrative capacity of the Ministers preferred candidate (Professor Garba).

'Part of the processes also was that and election in which other Professors including Associate professors were asked to elect from one of the four candidates and Professor Ahmed was elected and then it was gathered a memo was accordingly sent to the Ministry of Defence for the substantive appointment of Professor Ahmed whom the council had earlier confirmed awaiting official letter.

'It was gathered that when Professor Garba was interviewed, he was found unappointable on a number of counts, first that he has not attained the number of years as an academic professor which should not be less than 10 years as a Professor to be so appointed as Academy Provost, and secondly that he lacks the administration capacity and knowledge, since he has never been a head of department, neither has he been a dean or academic director but only served as a sub Dean in the university and same report was sent to the Ministry.

'Meanwhile, towards the end of June, 2020 the Academy Council in an meeting Presided by the Honourable Minister of Defence with Service Chiefs and Permanent Secretary of the Ministry met and it was recommended that Professor Ahmed be confirmed as substantive Academy Provost only for the same permanent Secretary sending a letter to the NDA appointing Professor Garba as substantive Academy Provost.

'When contacted the Academy public Relation Officer Major Abubakar Abdullahi said the appointment of Provost lies with the NDA board which the Commandant is only a member.

'Appointing Academy Provost (AP) lies with NDA Board which the Commandant is only but a member.  The Board has the final say on who to appoint AP based on his competence, experience and qualification”.When contacted, the Special Assistant Media to the Minister of Defence Mohammad Abdulkadri declined comment on the alleged nepotic appointment of the Minister’s kinsman to head the Academy.

'Also the Permanent Secretary Ministry of Defence Sabiu Zakari when contacted said the appointment followed due process. He said Prof Garba was interviewed with the other four members though then he was not  the Permanent Secretary of the ministry.

This is one of the injustices that my people suffer in the public service not on account of merit but crude use of power and connections within the corridors of power. Unfortunately we have a president who cannot act within his powers as certain group of people close to him  have arrogated part of his powers to themselves since he came to power. My people are predominantly members of APC and gave the party massive votes in 2015 and 2019. Don't we deserve to be given out fair share of the spoils of opportunities? We are being shown not to be part of the 'core North's after the votes have been aggregated. Have we become slaves of the north? Most of these northern states have records of Ebira people who had served them diligently in the past when they had no manpower. I'd this how we are being rewarded in return? What will the posterity say in future?

 A very brilliant star of accounting background from Okene once attended an interview in Kaduna in the eighties. He was armed amongst other qualifications with a first class degree and master from ABU and ACCA but told to his face that 'they needed a true northener even if he has a common diploma in Accounting'.  What perception do you expect this star to think of the concept of the North or Arewa? Certainly that there is nothing a monolithic north. It exists only in the eyes of most politicians of northern extraction when our votes are needed to capture the centre.So the concept of middle belt comes into play? I have just given few examples here to support my case. More cases abound in the military and para military. 

Injustice and insecurity are the consequences of lack of justice, absence of rule of law and due process.The federal government  under the leadership of President Muhammad Buhari needs to rise to the occasion to correct this  anomaly or else it will be taken to be the general consensus of the leaders of the north that Ebira people be given this unfair treatment despite the contribution of our late leaders to the development of the northern region. Not correcting  this wrong and injustice will give credence  to the addition of Nigeria  to Wikipedia's list of   failed states. A stich in time saves nine to avoid replicating the dirty pig in the Animal Farm in the north. I rest  my case awaiting the action of Mr President.

By Mal. Sheidu Obajenwu

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