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Ihedioha, Uzodinma and Peter Obi Saga

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By Henry Ekpe

The Politicking for 2023 general election has commenced. And prominent sons and daughters of Igbo extraction must participate in the exercise.

While some of them jostle for political positions at the National level, others will also get involved at the States, including those to be voted to move as People’s representatives at the National Assembly.

Recently, three prominent sons of Igboland namely His Excellencies Rt Hon Emeka Ihedioha, Hope Uzodinma and Peter Obi have been in the news for different reasons.

While Obi is gunning for the Presidency, Uzodinma is the incumbent Governor of Imo State, and Ihedioha is a former Governor of Imo State, and now a private citizen.

Obi as a Presidential candidate of a political party, Labour party, has all the reasons to be trending now.

Uzodinma as a sitting Chief Executive of a State ought to be current because of his position.

So, why is Ihedioha who is a former Governor, and not running for any position now, be occupying the Media space with these other two? It shows something significant. A gold fish has no hiding place!

Currently, there is the news making the rounds about Ihedioha’s visit to the United States of America USA, linking the former Governor to the prospect or otherwise of Mr Peter Obi, and his Presidential ambition.

A Prof  Uzodinma Nwala  was alleged to have circulated a short script where he wrote  that Ihedioha visited USA to market the Presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, Alhaji Atiku Abubaka,  instead of selling Mr Peter Obi of the Labour Party who is Igbo.

However,  Ihedioha has denied that allegation. He made it clear that he went to USA to meet the people of Mbaise Nation in Diaspora, particularly those in USA.

His mission Ihedioha maintained, was to thank them for their support, before, during and after his seven memorable months as Governor of Imo State. And to also remind them that he did not forget their previous supports and therefore appealed for such supports in the future, should he call on them.

Corroborating Ihedioha, some other prominent fellows present at the occasion have also said that at no time did Ihedioha deviate from the major thrust of his visit: thanking Mbaise Nation in USA.

However, this is a political period when all manners of politicking takes place.

Both those in the ring, and spectators are out to unleash the tactics for which the game is known for. Much as it always said that politics is a dirty game, we still have seen people play it with decency and decorum and still reach the height made for them by God.

Ihedioha is the league of the rare gems who have reached certain level in their political careers without carrying too many ugly luggage.

Therefore, trying to link Ihedioha with Peter’s Obi Presidential ambition is obnoxious and frivolous. It holds no water, and very illogical.

 First of all, politics is a game of interest, where people of like minds congregate to pursue their set goals under one political platform.

Emeka Ihedioha has been a member of PDP since the party came into being in 1998. Even though many known political Heavy weights in Nigeria have ported from one political party to the other, Ihedioha has been rooted in PDP.

Ihedioha has remained in PDP, where he rose as a member of House of Representatives, to Chief Whip, Deputy Speaker and Speaker of House of Representatives respectively and then Governor of Imo State.

Therefore, Ihedioha could be described as a partisan politician, who is a member of a given political party; PDP. And he has not denied that yet.

In that case, it would sound stupid and silly for anybody to think that should Ihedioha meet an audience that is favourable for him to expose his political leanings, he should not sell himself and his party, PDP.

Yes, Mr Peter Obi, the former Governor of Anambra State is now running for Nigerian Presidency under the Labour Party. He was the former Vice Presidential candidate of PDP in the last election. It is his choice, nobody should hold that against him.

Today, he has left PDP, and joined Labour Party, where he is executing his personal ambition to be the President of Nigeria.

Obi, as I know, does not want anybody to ascribe his project as that of  only Igbos, because he is running a Pan Nigerian election, which cuts across age, region, religion and all.

I am also aware that before Obi joined the race, there was no concerted agreement from Ndigbo that they were sending him out to vie for the position for Ndigbo.

And neither have  Ndigbo arrived at any agreement that all their children must be in one particular party.

Therefore, it will be disastrous to Obi for anyone to give his Presidential ambition ethnic bent. And he has repeated that in various fora.

Indeed, Obi remains an Igbo son, no doubt, and if he wins the Presidency, will become the President of Nigeria.

But it must be realized that as Obi guns for his ambition, it doesn’t stop other Igbo sons and daughters from pursuing their own political targets, in whatever political parties, since it is first a personal interest before being a collective interest.

This brings me back to Ihedioha. Now, should Ihedioha dump PDP, where Peter Obi was before now, and move to Labour Party, or even APC, when his conscience has not told him so?

In the same vein, while Peter Obi sells himself and his party, should other Igbo sons and daughters not also do same for their parties?

When Ikemba Ojukwu was in All Progressives Grand Alliance, APGA, were there no other Igbo prominent sons and daughters in PDP and ANPP?

When Dr Nnamdi Azikiwe was the Leader and Presidential candidate of Nigeria Peoples Party, NPP, were the likes of  Dr Chuba Okadigbo and  Dr Kingsley Mbadiwe not in National Party of Nigeria NPN?

For sure, for anybody to link Emeka Ihedioha to the success or failure of Peter Obi’s Presidential election is lazy and wicked argument.  Peter Obi is our brother, and is free to pursue his political ambition , while his other brothers and sisters are also free to seek elsewhere for political survival.

It must also be stated here that PDP, abinitio, had reserved the Vice Presidential position for Obi, no matter who emerges PDP Presidential candidate, provided such a person is not from the Southeast.

Many people had also wondered why the PDP chose a Northerner as Presidential candidate.

It must be noted here that since 1999, apart from the few years Yarauda spent on seat as President, the South had occupied Aso Villa more than the North since the inception of PDP. He who preaches equity must first check if his hands are clean. After President Yaradua died, Chief Olusegun Obasanjo took over, and then Dr Goodluck Janathan. All from the South.

And again, as a political party in opposition, what concerns PDP more is how to win back power in 2023 and then the issue of Zoning will resurface.

When going to battle, you don’t bother about the place of birth of the best General in your Army. What should be important is which among them will win the war.

Where those rooting for Igbo Presidency should have directed their gaze is at the All Progressive Congress, APC, the ruling party, which made it clear that its Presidential ticket will go to the “South”.

As a ruling party, it is more easily realizable in APC, because the party controls the power at the centre, and in most States.

Rather than cede the ticket to Southeast, the party still went to Southwest, even as the Vice President, Yomi Osinbajo is still in office for Eight years. Leaving the Southeast abandoned.

The Governor of Imo State, Senator Hope Uzodinma instead of backing Igbo Presidency, was the one that submitted the form for Senate President, Ahmed Lawan, when Ogbonnaya Onu from Ebonyi State,  Emeka Nwajiuba and Okorocha from Imo State were all running  for APC Presidential ticket.

None of the Imo State Aspirants got a vote. And now, Gov Uzodinma has turned Senator Ahmed Tinubu’s Spokesman, defending him which led Reuben Abatti to attack the Governor and attracting Odium to Imo State and its citizens.

A few days ago, Uzodinma also promised President Buhari that APC will deliver in all the States they already have incumbent Governors.

How many Igbo people have asked Gov Uzodinma why he is openly supporting a Yoruba candidate when an Igbo man is running for Presidency in Labour Party?

Can you blame Uzodinma, when his party has a Presidential candidate too? You want him to leave Tinubu and campaign for PDP or Obi of Labour Party?

Therefore, those going after Ihedioha for expressing his fundamental Human Right of Association are missing the point and are ignorant.

Politics is not played with emotion. Politics is a game of interest, where you will be recognized. You don’t join a particular party because your friend, mother or father is there.

Chief SG Ikoku challenged his father, Alvan, in an election and heavens did not fall.

Follow whom you want to follow. It is your right. And also allow others to exercise their own right too.

Ihedioha since 1999 has a political party which many know is PDP.  Under PDP, his political stock rose, and has continued to rise till date. And he does not want to leave the party. It is his personal decision and must be respected.

I am sure that if Peter Obi had consulted Ihedioha before leaving PDP he would have advised him otherwise. And since Obi did notv even participate in the PDP Presidential Primaries, it is therefore an assumption for anyone to say that Ihedioha would not have advised Imo Delegates to vote for him.

It therefore, remains in the realm of imagination of what would have happened.

Therefore, Ihedioha has neither offended Obi in any way nor Ndigbo,  since it is Obi that has decided to abandon Ihedioha in PDP and charted a new course elsewhere.

What should concern us is if Ihedioha’s pedigree has dwindled.

Is there a criminal case hanging on his head? Has he lost his followership and Industry as a politician? Has he ever disgraced Igbo Nation?

Was there any time all Ndigbo agreed to be in one party and Ihedioha reneged?

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Coker – Odusote:100 Days at the Helm of NIMC

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By Walter Duru, Ph.D

It was Albert Einstein that once said that “setting an example is not the main means of influencing another, it is the only means.” That sentiment expressed by Einstein is the primary essence behind the theory of transformational leadership, which requires passion, charisma, and the ability to motivate others. Transformational leaders are usually very authentic, emotionally intelligent, great listeners, results-focused, visionary, and self-aware.

In just 100 days at the helm of the National Identity Management Commission (NIMC), Engr. Abisoye Coker-Odusote has ushered in a new era of transformational leadership, leaving an indelible mark on the organization. Her eventual confirmation as substantive Director General/Chief Executive Officer of the Commission did not come to many as a surprise.

She did not waste time to hit the ground running and showed commitment to advancing the NIMC’s mission and mandate.

Coker-Odusote has taken steps to streamline National Identity Number (NIN) registration processes, while addressing the long-standing challenges associated with identity registration in Nigeria. This, she is handling through strategic restructuring and the integration of advanced technologies with a view to significantly reduce waiting time and enhance the overall efficiency of the system.

Today, date of birth and other kinds of modifications at NIMC happen within 48 hours. The several years backlog of date of birth modifications she inherited are almost cleared, as she had given a one-month deadline for the same to relevant staff of the Commission.

Again, responses to issues and complaints, such as those whose National Identity Numbers did not hit the NIN Verification Portal are now resolved within 24 hours.

Recognizing the paramount importance of data security in the digital age, the NIMC CEO has taken steps to enhance data security by introducing robust measures to fortify the protection of citizens’ sensitive information. This includes, but not limited to the adoption of cutting-edge encryption technologies and the establishment of a dedicated cybersecurity team.

Her interest in improving service delivery at NIMC cannot be overemphasized. She has concluded plans to ensure regular training and retraining for staff of the Commission, emphasizing customer-centric approaches, to ensure a more positive experience for citizens seeking identity services.

On partnerships, Coker-Odusote, leveraging her extensive network and expertise, has forged strategic partnerships with governmental agencies, private organizations, and international bodies. These collaborations aim to enhance the NIMC’s capacity, foster innovation, and promote information sharing for the betterment of identity management.

Understanding the pivotal role of technology in modernizing identity management, Engr. Coker-Odusote has spearheaded the integration of biometric advancements and artificial intelligence into the registration and verification processes.

This not only improves accuracy, user experience and ease of enrolment, but also positions NIMC at the forefront of technological innovation in identity management. A typical example is the NIMC Contactless Biometric Solution, which delivers a best-in-class fingerprint and facial capture image output quality, powered by Artificial Intelligence. The new solution was unveiled by the commission at the 2023 Identity Day, held in Abuja on September 16, 2023.

In addition, Engr. Coker-Odusote tackled the existing backlog of unprocessed identity requests head-on. Through a combination of strategic staff deployment and redeployment, process optimization, and digitization initiatives, she has made significant strides in clearing the backlog, demonstrating her commitment to prompt and efficient service delivery.

Recognizing the crucial role played by the NIMC staff in achieving organizational goals, the CEO has developed for implementation, a robust welfare programme aimed at boosting morale and fostering a positive work environment. This includes, but not limited to training opportunities, health benefits, and performance recognition initiatives.

Furthermore, in consultation with in-house experts, elaborate public awareness campaigns are being planned, to ensure that citizens are well-informed about the importance and benefits of identity registration. These campaigns are expected to not only educate the public, but also serve to demystify the registration process, encouraging greater participation.

The NIMC DG has concluded plans to take the ecosystem enrolment forward by taking steps to deepen collaboration with ecosystem implementing partners, supporting to ensure the success and optimal performance of the Nigeria Digital Identification for Development (ID4D) Project, a Nigerian Project jointly funded by The World Bank, The European Investment Bank, and the French Development Agency.

Engr. Coker-Odusote’s strategic vision, commitment to efficiency, and emphasis on technological innovation positions NIMC for a future where identity management is not only secure but also seamlessly integrated into the daily lives of citizens.

On anti-corruption, the NIMC DG has left no one in doubt on her determination to sanitize the system, entrench a culture of transparency and zero tolerance for corruption. Apart from putting systems and structures in place to discourage graft, she is directly involved in ensuring that the cankerworm has no place in the commission.

Just recently, in what one may describe as a sting operation, she paid an unscheduled visit to the Federal Capital Territory office of the commission, where she is reported to have arrested some staff for allegedly extorting money from Nigerians, even as she has maintained that enrolment was free.

Her devotion to supporting the policy direction of the present administration by strengthening the issuance of the NIN for access to service is not in doubt.

Speaking on Coker-Odusote’s first 100 days in office as NIMC CEO, Project Coordinator, Nigeria Digital ID4D Project, Musa Odole Solomon described her as a vibrant, results-focused leader, determined to make a difference in the Commission.

“She has taken steps to build bridges of collaboration between NIMC and partners within the country’s identity ecosystem. These collaborations aim to enhance the NIMC’s capacity, foster innovation, and promote information sharing for the betterment of identity management in Nigeria.”

“The collaboration is also focused on enhancing handshake with institutions involved in the country’s identity ecosystem, with a view to deepening integration with the country’s Identity Management System.”

“In 100 days, she has taken the lead in working with the Nigeria Digital ID4D Project to speed up project implementation process, especially, processes geared towards the extension of NIN enrolment to hard-to-reach areas, women, persons with disabilities, and marginalized groups, thereby fostering inclusion and access to social services.”

“She has introduced some innovations that I consider very progressive, and things are moving very well. The Nigeria Digital ID4D Project is happy to work with her, as she has shown that she has all it takes to assist us succeed.”

Responding to a question on his impression about the NIMC DG’s leadership style and the future of the relationship between NIMC and his organisation, Chairman, National Population Commission (NPC), Hon. Nasir Isa Kwarra stressed that the relationship between NIMC and NPC has become more robust under Coker-Odusote’s leadership as NIMC CEO.

“I want to say that the National Population Commission has a long and robust collaborative partnership with the National Identity Management Commission (NIMC) in our efforts to harmonize and integrate biometric databases for planning and development of our country.”

“However, this partnership has become more dynamic and robust with the assumption into office of Engr. Abisoye Coker-Odusote as the Director General of NIMC. She has shown an unparalleled commitment and passion in working with the Commission, not only in registration of births and deaths, but also the upcoming population census. She comes across as a thoroughbred professional and innovator who will give Africa’s greatest nation a deserved identity profile for national unity, security, and development. I am more confident in the future of the Identity Management Commission under her.”

Responding to a question on the new grounds covered at the NIMC ICT, Director, IT/Identity Database of the Commission, Chuks Onyepunuka has this to say:

“Our DG is pragmatic, proactive, result-oriented and visionist. Her achievements in ICT in NIMC in the last 100 days include, but not limited to: “launching of self-modification and enrolments services to ease and simplify the processes for enrolment services; driving the clearing of about 3 million backlog of enrolment records awaiting manual adjudication within 3 weeks; decentralization of operations with objectives of ensuring that we are closer to the enrolees and adequate coverage in the nooks and crannies of the country.”

“Others are improvement in the process of engaging and revalidating our Frontend Enrolment Partners (FEPs); improvement in our ICT policies, processes and procedures; resolution of 95% challenges/issues affecting our window enrolment software (Res-Web) and commenced the integration and harmonization with National Population Commission, Nigeria Immigration Service and Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS).”

Adding her voice, NIMC’s Director, Business Development and Commercial Services, Mrs. Carolyn Folami described the DG as a thoroughbred professional, committed to resetting the Commission for the good of the nation.

“It has been only 100 days, but it seems she has been here far longer, as within this period, we have achieved a couple of goals towards resetting the NIMC agenda and resettling the NIMC staff for productivity.”

“Starting with the planning and commencement of training of all staff, to the commitment to all Front-End Partners (FEP) to revalidate the business model for fair play and payment. She is very keen on stakeholder engagement and has secured the buy- in of our harmonisation partners for effectiveness. She is professional, thorough, dedicated, and above all, kind to all.

Adding his voice, Monitoring and Evaluation Specialist, Project Implementation Unit, Nigeria Digital ID4D Project, Dr. Emmanuel Akogun argued that Coker-Odusote’s first 100 days in office were characterised by “dynamic, focused and results – oriented leadership,” adding that there is steady progress in NIN enrolment, with “103,500,000 Nigerians and other legal residents captured in the NIMC Database.”

There is therefore no gainsaying the fact that Engr. Abisoye Coker-Odusote’s first 100 days as CEO of the NIMC have been marked by a series of commendable achievements.

At this point, one can confidently say that with Engr. Bisoye Coker-Odusote as Chief Executive Officer, NIMC is in safe hands.

Her recent confirmation as substantive Director General/CEO of the Commission is clearly an act of patriotism by the Nigerian President, Bola Ahmed Tinubu.

However, as she commences a full tenure of office, following her recent confirmation, one expects that the standard is not lowered.

As she marks 100 days in office this week, the most challenging part of Abisoye Coker-Odusote’s journey as Chief Executive Officer of the NIMC is the need to sustain the successes recorded, remain focused, deepen stakeholder engagement and public enlightenment, check corruption, strengthen systems and structures, be fair to all, while supporting the policy direction of the present administration.

Deliberate steps must be taken to ensure the sustenance of the war against extortion at NIMC.

Again, a deliberate plan should be in place to ensure a more robust stakeholder collaboration, particularly with those involved in the country’s identity ecosystem.

Elaborate, sustained communication and public enlightenment activities are required, taking advantage of the conventional and unconventional channels of communication to inform, educate and mobilize the citizens on the need for all to register for the NIN. This requires a deliberate strategy and strategic implementation.

Finally, a deliberate inclusion strategy must be in place and vigorously implemented to ensure that no one is left behind.

As the DG continues to lead with passion and purpose, NIMC is poised for even greater accomplishments under her guidance.

Indeed, NIMC is in safe hands!

Dr. Walter Duru (Assistant Professor of Communication and Multimedia Design) is a Communication/Public Relations Strategist, Researcher and Consultant. He could be reached on walterchike@gmail.com

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Ministry of Finance Incorporated: Can Takang Deliver?

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Walter Duru, Ph.D

Nigeria’s President, Bola Ahmed Tinubu has just appointed a new leadership for the Ministry of Finance Incorporated (MOFI), an asset holding and management company under the Federal Ministry of Finance, with mandate as the sole manager of all federal government investment interests.

According to a statement by Presidential Spokesman, Ajuri Ngelale, former Finance Minister, Dr. Shamsudeen Usman is reappointed as Chairman of a 10-man Board of Directors of MOFI, while Dr. Armstrong Ume Takang is also reappointed to serve as the Managing Director/CEO of the organisation.

The other appointees include Tajudeen Datti Ahmed, Executive Director, Portfolio Management; Femi Ogunseinde, Executive Director, Investment Management and Mrs. Oluwakemi Owonubi, Executive Director, Risk.

The non-executive directors are Mr. Ike Chioke, Ms. Chantelle Abdul, Mr. Alheri Nyako, Mr. Bolaji Rafiu Elelu and Mrs. Fatima Nana Mede.

To describe the team as perfect is an understatement, as, when something is described as sweet, it is also important to state what it tastes like. The crux of this article is the appropriateness of the person of the Managing Director, Dr. Armstrong Ume Takong, saddled with the responsibility of the day-to-day running of the organisation.

In the ever-evolving landscape of finance and governance, the appointment of a CEO/Managing Director plays a pivotal role in shaping the trajectory of an organization.

Dr. Armstrong Takang emerges as the ideal candidate for the leadership role at the Ministry of Finance Incorporated, bringing with him a wealth of experience, a proven track record, and a vision for transformative change.

Dr. Takang’s academic background, marked by advanced degrees in Computer Science, Finance and Business exposure/experience, sets the stage for his understanding of the intricate dynamics within the financial, business and investment sector(s). He is well equipped with strategies for exploring progressive solutions to economic challenges.

With an impressive career spanning over decades, Dr. Takang has honed his leadership skills in both public and private sectors. His tenure as the Chief Executive Officer of a leading multinational corporation showcased his ability to navigate complex landscapes, implement strategic financial planning, and drive sustainable growth. These experiences uniquely position him to bring a fresh perspective to the Ministry of Finance Incorporated.

One of Dr. Takang’s standout qualities is his commitment to transparency and accountability. In an era where financial governance is under intense scrutiny, his track record of implementing robust financial controls and ensuring adherence to international standards is commendable.

This commitment to transparency not only fosters trust but also aligns with MOFI’s mission to uphold the highest standards of fiscal responsibility.

Furthermore, Dr. Takang’s innovative approach to problem-solving sets him apart as a forward-thinking leader. His past initiatives, such as spearheading digital transformation in financial processes and advocating for sustainable financial practices, underscore his ability to embrace change and leverage technology for efficiency gains.

In an era where agility and adaptability are crucial, Dr. Takang’s progressive mindset positions MOFI for success in the face of evolving economic landscapes.

As a leader, Dr. Takang places a premium on talent development and team collaboration. His previous roles have seen him cultivate high-performing teams by fostering a culture of continuous learning and collaboration.

This emphasis on human capital is pivotal for the MOFI, ensuring that it can effectively navigate the challenges of an ever-changing global economy.

Beyond his professional acumen, Dr. Takang is known for his civic engagement and commitment to corporate social responsibility. His involvement in community development projects demonstrates a holistic understanding of the impact businesses can have on society. His previous positions, leadership roles and achievements speak volumes for him.

Prior to being MOFI’s CEO, Takang was the CEO of Growth Alliance Partners (GAP), a pan-African firm focused on providing post-investment value-add services to Private Equity backed businesses. He helped to turn around several businesses to create shareholder value.

His decades-long career in investment consultancy and public reforms traverses the public and private sectors across Africa, and in the US, where he worked at the New York Office of the KPMG.

He was Team Lead for a Private Banking Group, managed the Integrated Financial and Economic Management Information System (IFEMIS) Project in Nigeria, and led the Voluntary Asset and Income Declaration Scheme (VAIDS).

Many do not know that Dr Armstrong was pivotal in designing and implementing several national initiatives like the Integrated Payroll and Personnel Information System (IPPIS), the Office for Nigerian Content Development in ICT under NITDA, the ICT component of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC)/Nigeria Financial Intelligence Unit (NFIU), among others.

He is not new in the political environment, particularly, within the Ministry of Finance. He was Special Adviser to the Honourable Minister of Finance, Budget, and National Planning, as well as Lead of the MOFI Transformation Team. It is a terrain that he is very conversant with, and this will ease stakeholder engagement, particularly, when there is a proper stakeholder management strategy in place.

Dr. Armstrong Takang’s appointment as the CEO of MOFI is a strategic move toward ushering in a new era of financial leadership, inclusivity, and discipline in managing public investments.

His blend of academic excellence, extensive experience, commitment to transparency, innovative thinking, and emphasis on talent development makes him the perfect fit for steering MOFI towards greater heights.

There is no gainsaying the fact that the leadership of MOFI, as announced, is a perfect combination. The transformations that MOFI has experienced in the last eleven months, under the leadership of Dr. Shamsudeen Usman as Chairman, and Dr. Armstrong Takong as Chief Executive Officer is evident and must not be paused.

As the financial landscape continues to evolve, Nigerians expect that Dr. Takang’s leadership must not only meet the challenges of the present, but proactively shape the future of financial governance.

It is safe to conclude that Mr. President’s decision to reappoint the duo of Shamsudeen Usman and Armstrong Takong is an act of patriotism.

Permit me to also single out Mr. Ike Chioke, the Group Managing Director at Afrinvest West Africa Limited, who also made the list, as a non-executive director.

With the calibre of persons on the present MOFI leadership team, failure is not an option.

MOFI is expected to support the Federal Government’s efforts towards addressing economic challenges, while spurring the renewal of the economy. There is no better time to be relevant.

Expectations are very high, and Nigerians are in a hurry to see results. Let Federal Government’s investments work for the country.

The time to act is now!

Dr. Chike Walter Duru (Assistant Professor of Communication) is a communication expert, researcher, public relations, and stakeholder engagement consultant. He could be reached on: walterchike@gmail.com.

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Unmasking Real Enemies of President Tinubu: The Deafening Silence on NLC/TUC Strike, By Walter Duru, Ph.D

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In the political arena, the adage “keep your friends close and your enemies closer” is often wielded as a shield against potential adversaries. However, for President Bola Tinubu, it seems the true enemies may not be those openly opposing him, but rather those who remain silent in the face of critical issues.

The ongoing Nigerian Labour Congress (NLC) and Trade Union Congress (TUC) strike present a crucial litmus test, revealing the concealed adversaries that surround the Nigerian President.

It is no news that President Tinubu, a seasoned politician with a significant footprint in Nigerian politics, has weathered numerous storms. Yet, the recent labour strikes have cast a spotlight on a different breed of adversaries – those within his inner circle who fail to provide candid advice.

The absence of truth-tellers, willing to speak their minds on the best course of action, poses a grave threat to Tinubu’s political legacy. One of the primary culprits contributing to the discord surrounding the strike is the dearth of transparent communication within the president’s camp.

The real enemies are not those who challenge him but the individuals who, out of fear or self-interest, avoid addressing the pressing issues at hand. This lack of open dialogue and constructive criticism perpetuates an environment where missteps are not only likely but also inevitable.

The NLC/TUC strike has unfolded as a test of leadership for President Tinubu, demanding a thoughtful and decisive response. However, the deafening silence from those close to him serves as a stark reminder that true loyalty should manifest in truth-speaking, especially when it is most needed. It is within this vacuum of honest counsel that the genuine enemies of President Bola Tinubu find refuge, allowing potential solutions to slip through the cracks.

In the realm of politics, the ability to navigate and resolve challenges is paramount. The NLC/TUC strike underscores the importance of confronting issues head-on and developing effective strategies to address the concerns of the Nigerian people.

Mr. President, the truth is that Nigerians are suffering. Six months after removing fuel subsidy, the fact that nothing serious has been done to ameliorate the sufferings of the people suggests that the present administration had no concrete plans before announcing the removal of fuel subsidy. Nigerians are dying of hunger and life has become most unbearable. The crime rate is increasing daily, and things are getting from bad to worse. Many state governments are irresponsible in their management of the affairs of their states. They care less about the wellbeing of their citizens and impunity reigns supreme in some of the states.

The NLC National President, Joe Ajaero was assaulted in Imo State by persons known and identified. It took threats of strike action for the Inspector General of Police to announce that it was going to investigate the issue, among others. The issues are enormous. The list is very long. For how long shall we continue like this?

While one agrees that some of the issues were inherited from the last administration, the truth is that the President knew the situation of the country when he applied to govern. He, in one of his addresses, accepted same, when he stated that no one should pity him. Excuses are therefore not acceptable.

Sadly, while some great brains within the President’s circle make efforts to guide aright, by suggesting workable solutions to the issues, many seem not interested in getting the issues resolved.

By turning a blind eye to dissenting voices within his circle, President Tinubu risks being led astray by misguided advice and a lack of diverse perspectives. The enemies of the President are not limited to those who openly oppose him but extend to those who prioritize personal gain over the well-being of the nation.

The failure to provide candid feedback on the NLC/TUC strike is indicative of a deeper malaise within the political landscape – a culture of sycophancy that stifles the growth of leaders and hinders progress.

To combat these hidden adversaries, President Tinubu must actively cultivate an environment that encourages open and honest dialogue. Constructive criticism should be embraced rather than shunned, as it serves as the bedrock for informed decision-making. The true enemies are not those who challenge his authority but those who undermine it by fostering an atmosphere of conformity and silence.

In navigating the complexities of the NLC/TUC strike, President Tinubu’s strength lies in his ability to surround himself with advisors who prioritize the nation’s interests over personal agenda. The enemies within are the individuals who, knowingly or unknowingly, contribute to a culture of complacency, shielding him from the inconvenient truths that demand attention.

No doubt, the real enemies of President Bola Ahmed Tinubu are not the external forces seeking to undermine him but the internal voices that remain silent in the face of critical challenges.

The NLC/TUC strike serves as a poignant reminder that a leader’s strength is measured not only by the allies who rally behind him but by the truth-tellers who dare to speak against the tide.

The President’s legacy hinges on his ability to discern between loyalty and sycophancy, acknowledging that the latter poses a far greater threat to his administration’s success than any external opposition.

Procuring restraining orders of courts to stop strike actions and protests, without addressing the issues is not the way forward. It adds no value to the discourse. It rather ridicules the system.

It is therefore time for the President to watch his men closely, to distinguish between his true loyalists and sycophants. 

Mr. President, please, address the labour issues now. Ignore the sycophants. They are your real enemies. Those politicizing the issues are enemies of Nigeria and as such enemies of my President. 

The time for selection is now!

Dr. Chike Walter Duru is a Public Relations Strategist and Consultant. He could be reached on: walterchike@gmail.com.

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