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60TH ANNIVERSARY LOGO AND THE APPROPRIATENESS OF THE INTENT By Hashim Suleiman

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Nigeria at 60 Logo

As is customary with Nigerians over negativity that we are working hard to curtail on a daily, the well advertised and chosen Logo by popular vote from Nigerians was again put to criticism by naysayers and I found that most unfortunate to say the least.

Those who accused the portrait quoted Alrosa to have said that  “The Dynasty is the largest polished diamond with the best clarity characteristics throughout the Russian jewelry history,” they also quoted President Muhammadu Buhari to have said that “he was informed that the selected option depicts our togetherness; a country of over 200 million people, whose natural talents, grits and passion glitter like the precious diamond we are,” shortly before unveiling the logo. What on earth is the difference between the portrait and the intent it was meant to portray as was highlighted by the President.

Furthermore, worthy of note is the fact that the logo was a popular choose from Nigerians and a democratic setting will only respect such choice and a well intended one for the good of the nation. Attempting to spite Nigerians over their choice of what they considered the most appropriate to showcase who they are as a nation only goes to show how much some of the elitist class are hell bent on setting a narrative of nothing works around here and they have always failed and have failed again this time around.  

What will bother someone even more is the fact that some of these naysayers are the masters of copy and paste whether through their social media handles or the number of times they have had to apologize over publishing inappropriate stories et al. The choices of the majority cannot be subject to ridicule by a hypocritical minority who are themselves not any better. Some of us will stand to speak for such emptiness.

We are in a digital world and a simple search for a word like ‘best diamond’ could produce the image of the diamond in question which has been touted to be the largest polished diamond ever. How on earth is such a honest intent a crime if not in Nigeria where we love to politicize anything and everything no matter how cheaply. If the honest Nigerians and their choices could be a little vulnerable with such misleading stories, the reasonable elites should be made to understand better.

In saner climes, the Ministry of  Communications and Digital Economy should be given a thumbs up for letting the choice of what we are to celebrate to be conducted in a democratic manner where our true picture of ourselves will be depicted. Such has been done, the message has been passed and the intention was sincere for the love of nation.

I have always clamored for continuous conversation over national issues so that cheap issues like these can be discussed and curtailed for the sake of deterrence. We must as a people be seeing to be promoting oneness and unity and not disseminating information that will further divide or diminish love for country while the blame will be apportioned to Buhari whose intention is as noble as letting Nigerians choose what they feel best depicts what they see themselves to be after 60 years of nationhood.

The politicians should sheath their swords once again, 2023 is still a little far away. Now is time for nationhood and celebration of 60 hearty years of a diamond of a people that we are and that was well captured in the Logo for the 60TH anniversary celebration.

Hashim Suleiman

oneheartnaija@yahoo.com

ISA ALI PANTAMI AS THE ORIGINAL GAME CHANGER By Hashim Suleiman

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Dr Isa Ali Pantami, Minister of Communications and Digital Economy.

Let me start this piece on remembrance of the Amazon Dr Dora Nkem Akunyili who died of uterine cancer in 2014. Her popular saying of “A society grows great when old men plant trees whose shade they know they shall never sit in” still resonates with so many compatriots. She was indeed a great loss to Nigeria. 

Dora Akunyili was a professor of Pharmacology from the University of Nigeria Nsukka, she worked with Muhammadu Buhari’s PTF as a zonal secretary for four years where she was an integral part of the PTF’s medical programme and he excellence in such activities led to her recommendation to Olusegun Obasanjo for appointment as NAFDAC Director General in 2001 where she served till 2008 and since then Nigerians understood what NAFDAC stood for and the drug manufacture and retail industry has had sanity till this date. Her contributions to that sector were legendary, her management skills over erudite professionals and aides like Pharm. Hashim Ubale were awesome and they formed an exemplary synergy that saw to the success of their mission for the benefit of nation. 

Stories like that of Dora form a perfect preamble for my topic of today which seeks to showcase excellence and individuals who make a major mark in societies by planting trees whose shades they may never sit in. Dora met an existing Agency and injected energy and vigor for the actualization of its mandates. Isa Ali Pantami originated a brand new ministry and formulated its agenda and has since taken over the governance space within a span of one year, if this is not genius then what could ever be. It is actually the absolute definition of Game Changer.

In the past, the Game Changer slogan had been used to classify an individual who formulate strategies for winning elections by political parties albeit through the wrong means and that has been an unfair utilization of such an awesome adage. Well, now that we have found someone who suites into the definition of the adage, Nigerians would appreciate better what it means to be a Game Changer.

Before the emergence of Dr Isa Ali Pantami as the minister of Communications and Digital Economy, Nigerians including me only regarded the ministry to be somewhat duplicating the responsibilities of the Ministry of Information, but he was brought to the fore to make us understand otherwise. The only visible activities were those of NCC and NITDA and the latter’s activities were also courtesy of the Game Changer’s role as the Director General of it. There was no coordination between the various parastatals or any agenda over any item that relates to the mandate of the ministry.

As soon as he was unveiled the minister, he quickly sought the approval of the President for the reengineering of the ministry to align with its core mandate and today an average Nigerian can quickly describe what the ministry is about and what it stands for. The various tertiary institutions are appreciating the importance of digitalization and are keying in to his digital policies by embracing the various interventions he created while at NITDA while others are demanding for the deployment of the interventions to their institutions. The industry players in the telecom sector now feel the pulse of regulation around their nerves and they feel more need to be serious more than ever. I am sure your mind can picture how a game has been transformed over here.

Pantami has also changed the game of leadership by institutionalizing the spirit of teamwork. All the parastatals in his ministry move with him as a team and that has helped in articulating and synergizing his agenda amongst all of them and such has visibly led to the increase in ICT’s contribution to GDP for three quarters in a row. The camel breaker was the inclusion of the Nigerian Identity Management Agency to his roll of parastatals which finally made us understand how serious he was of truly setting an unprecedented stage for Nigeria’s actualization of digitization for economic prosperity.  If you’re looking for a definition of game changer, look no further.

Progressive governance stories are meant to be brought to fore in such time when the citizenry have found it hard to differentiate between rent seeking and participation in government policies. For example, the subsidies and free services are not sustainable and funds need to be freed for the provision of the so many infrastructures that are being worked upon amongst others. Young people then need to understand to take advantage of the digital sector that has been rejuvenated. It seeks to create wealth through ingenuity. People like Dr Isa Ali Pantami should inspire hope that government is working to make a brighter future for the citizenry but the buy in of the citizenry is also paramount. We have to quit laziness and get to work.

Next time you’re confused about the meaning or understanding of a Game Changer, I have provided you a case study here.  

God Bless Nigeria.

Hashim Suleiman

oneheartnaija@yahoo.com

Digital Economy: X-Raying The Nigeria Government Enterprise Architecture (NGEA) As an Enabler of Digital Transformation in the Public SectorBy Mubarak Umar

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As Nigeria, through National Information Technology Development Agency, (NITDA), under the supervision of Ministry of Communications and Digital Economy tends to prioritise the use of digital technologies in government activities to streamline and integrate workflows and processes for the purpose of effective data and information management, enhancing public service delivery, as well as expanding digital channels for engagement and empowerment of people, has launched one of its long-awaiting project, Nigeria Government Enterprise Architecture (NGEA).
The government has identified NGEA as a key enterprise and technology best practice to put a full stop into perennial challenges and complexity associated with IT deployment across Federal Public Institutions. NGEA enables Federal Public Institutions to evolve and translate their capabilities into government-wide enterprise change while leveraging digital technologies and innovations. This is coming on the heels of global acceptance of e-Government as a critical resource for maximising value creation for various stakeholders in the political, legal, managerial and administrative chain.
NGEA specifies the principles, practices, standards and policies that guide the way capabilities are evolved over time and continue to deliver results even under a continuous change of political, administrative, and economic activities. It also provides an integrated and long-term view of the Federal Government’s enterprise strategic goals as related to structure, people, finance, data/information, business processes across all lines of businesses/mandates, functions and services and their relationship with information technology and the external environment with the aim of deriving maximum benefits from the use and adoption of digital technology in government.
It could be recalled that NITDA presented the NGEA framework around March 21st, 2019, a document conceived out of necessity to address government-wide ICT challenges that are hindering the realisation of expected values from every ICT investment. It provides a clear road map for Government Digital Transformation (GDT) in the public sector.
The Agency embarked on a series of reforms to bring efficiency into government use and adoption of Information Technology systems in accordance with its enabling law, NITDA Act 2007.
Feedbacks from the stakeholders’ engagement revealed that implementation of the framework cannot be effective without data on the current state of IT deployment in the Federal Public Institutions (FPIs), i.e. Ministries, Departments, Extra-Ministerial Departments and Agencies of Government at Federal, State and Area Council levels.
Accordingly, NITDA surveyed One Hundred (100) FPIs to collect a baseline data that will adequately establish the current state of IT in government AS-IS (resent state of the organization’s process, culture, and capabilities) and provide insights into closing the existing gaps hindering attainment of Government Digital Transformation Agenda TO-BE (how the organization’s process, culture, and capabilities will appear in the future.) In addition, the outputs of developmental policies and programs targeted at closing existing gaps and improving the inefficiency of IT systems in the public sector were gathered.
President’s Muhammadu Buhari in his speech during annual eNigeria Conference emphasised the need for the public service to be highly competitive, innovative and digitally-enabled to deliver public services and effectively drive government programs and policies.
Buhari directed that Digital Transformation Technical Working Groups (DT-TWGs) be established in Federal Public Institutions (FPIs) as e-Government Champions and part of the digital governance structure for the implementation of Nigeria e-Government Master Plan (NeGMP) and National Digital Economy Policy and Strategy (NDEPS).
This is in line with Presidential Executive Order 005, part of the present administration’s deliberate efforts and strong commitment to strengthening the role of Science, Technology and Innovation in the country’s socio-economic development.
Dr Isa Ali Ibrahim (Pantami), FNCS, FBCS, FIIM, Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, is championing this long-term strategy and road map for restructuring government processes, through the deployment of IT processes efficiently in the public sector with the goal of achieving Whole-of-Government for effective public service delivery and attainment of Government Digital Transformation in Nigeria.
Last week, he (Pantami) inaugurated the Digital Transformation Technical Working Groups (DT-TWGs) and the Nigeria Government Enterprise Architecture (NGEA) portal (www.ngea.gov.ng) aimed at institutionalising governance structure which will be responsible for coordinating the implementation of National Digital Economy Policy and Strategy (NDEPS), National e-Government Master Plan (NeGMP) and any digital transformation-related activities in the public sector at the Federal level.
Pantami asserted that the DT-TWG will be an instrument to the implementation of four pillars in NDEPS. The pillars are Developmental Regulations, Service Infrastructure, Soft Infrastructure and Indigenous Content Promotion and Adoption.
In his words, He said: “Service and Soft Infrastructure are critical to achieving appropriate deployment of government digital services and to strengthen public confidence in the use of digital technologies and services. Digital Transformation Technical Working Groups (DT-TWGs) are to support the Federal Government to develop citizen-friendly digital platforms in support of service innovations and digital transformation for digital Nigeria.
It is worth to note that at the beginning of framing the implementation of NGEA, the Nigerian e-Government environment is in a Silo State where there is a barrier in communication, information exchange and interoperability of IT systems between and across Public Institutions. The result of the survey conducted at the Strategic Capacity Building Programme for Chief Executive Officers of Federal Public Institutions on August 09, 2018 revealed this. The scenario made it difficult for Public Institutions to collaborate where cross-portfolio services are required. It is also making IT deployment and solutions costly in any attempt to initiate seamless communication, interoperability and integration of IT systems between government institutions.
According Director General of NITDA, Mallam Kashifu Inuwa Abdullahi CCIE, Digital Economy requires adaptive policies, strategies, regulations, standardised infrastructure, globally competitive workforce, carefully orchestrated and coordinated digital governance structure. Without appropriate digital governance, it becomes difficult for digital investments and implementation to meet strategic objectives and expectations.
To address these difficulties, the NGEA proposed an operating model that has two value propositions – One Government (whole-of-government) and autonomy of each Federal Public Institutions (FPIs) to make certain decisions around business processes, digital services and applications. The 7 layers of NGEA which are Business, Service, Data, Application, IT Infrastructure, Security and Performance are centred around people, processes and IT. Each layer has high-level expectations for FPIs and as well specifies best practices, standards, tools, reference models and recommendations that will help achieve the value propositions and citizens’ expectations for government digital services.
To continued.

2023 AND RELIGION AS TWINS By Hashim Suleiman

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The last week had been agog with the El-Rufai/NBA saga, an event which further exposed the realities and depth of the fault lines that are existent in us. As soon as the dis-invitation came, the matter took a religious coloration with the core northern Muslim lawyers calling for boycotts of the NBA conference, on whether their boycotting the conference would or had any effect on the success of the conference is a conversation for other times.

Whilst El-Rufai was busy assembling the former Emir of Kano to clarify his non bigoted nature, his kinsmen did not stop in anyway to continue to push the narrative that the matter was an entirely religious matter. In fact, some headlines have it that the core northern Muslim lawyers have formed a parallel New Nigeria Bar Association ( NNBA). Again, whether such an association and its proprietors have what it takes to grow it to the statutes of NBA is another analysis we could come to in times to come, perhaps.

But in all of it, the events showcased our realities and an inkling to what could be expected in the 2023 election permutations where religion will be the biggest player. The saga above was a litmus test towards buttressing how much religion will play in the selection and combination of candidates for the 2023 elections.

Mr Yakubu Dogara had been readmitted into the APC weeks ago and the nation predictably assumed it to mean an arrangement for his becoming a vice presidential candidate to Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu for religious balancing. The suggestion came preemptive from the people, another point to buttress how much the 2023 elections was all about religion and balancing. The Dogara matter went so loud that the man had to come out to denounce vice presidential aspiration as his reason for rejoining the APC.

Remember also that the People’s Democratic Party is by the corner waiting to see the possible religious arrangement by the APC so they could arrange theirs with religion also forming the crux. Atiku Abubakar had since endorsed the launching of the Atiku TV brand as well as the Atiku Kawai 2023 and these are signals that he will certainly seek the candidacy of the PDP at least to go into primary elections with other candidates. Situations like these leave the APC with more thinking to do regarding the religious balancing because a Muslim northern candidate from PDP makes the combination from the APC who are likely to go for a South West candidate very difficult. Perhaps if it is going to be a Muslim south westerner, then his VP has to also be a Muslim northerner and one with strong standing.

It was out of deep thought that I presented Dr Isa Ali Pantami as near perfect fit for the 2023 presidential permutations and the above situations could provide a further insight plus being happy for the vindication on a daily. 2023 elections are going to be so tough that predictions will be very difficult and strategies especially the religious balancing and utterances will have to be top notch. It is advisable for the players to employ knowledgeable and strategic individuals who could have very little room for mistakes.

It was not a mistake or a fluke  that Abiola a southern Muslim was paired with Kingibe a northern muslim in 1993. The decision was out of critical research on the demography of the nation vis a vis religious considerations. As for Asiwaju Tinubu, it even becomes easier because he will becoming into the game with performance and progressive capital as well as ample presence of Christianity in him with Deaconess Remi Tinubu being one and same as him. Should he choose to become a king maker and anoint his loyal man Pastor Osinbajo, Dr Isa Ali Pantami will be appropriate in all the situations. Perhaps, Dr Isa Ali Pantami ascendence in religious and governance affairs have a date with destiny, time shall tell.

As for PDP, their best bet at coming close to clinching victory is the presentation of a northern Muslim candidate for president with a sound Christian deputy from the south who could be able to neutralize Ashiwaju’s hold to some extent. Even at this, with an Isa Pantami’s vice presidency, the calculations will be a little tougher for them, time again shall tell.

Political pundits like us wish to bring all these realities to fore in order that politicians and other compatriots can understand the need to reduce emotions in dealing with issues and accept reality and objectivity. For me, a Muslim- Muslim or Christian- Christian combination may be an opportunity for us to find our unity again as a nation. We have defeated some insinuations with the fact that Buhari has not yet Islamized Nigeria and will never do. The same religion combination could be an opportunity to finally bury some of these insinuations that are devoid of research and analysis on people’s antecedents and capabilities.

In the entire situations, all will be well that ends well.

May the best team emerge for the benefit of the nation.

Hashim Suleiman

oneheartnaija@yahoo.com

ONE YEAR AT NITDA; KASHIFU AS A VINDICATION OF YOUTH EXECELLENCE IN GOVERNANCE By Hashim Suleiman

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Kashifu Inuwa Abdullahi, DG/CEO NITDA

Let me refer to my September 16, 2019 article tagged ‘Pantami, Kashifu and the beauty of vision” where I had identified KashifuInuwa as an individual who had understood clearly the vision of Dr Isa Ali Pantami and had equally chosen to fly with it to fruition. It is also a practical knowledge that people could actually be good carriers of vision and supportive but may not make good leaders, however, Mr Kashifu has today proven to be good in both fronts having stayed a year in office as the Director General of the National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA).

What Kashifu has showcased from transition to becoming DG till today sits very well with our expectation at #30PercentOrNothing because while were asking for a 30% affirmative action for the youth, we were also very clear as to the sort of youth that should be brought on board if the expected youth excellence and energy were to manifest, we therefore thank Kashifu for vindicating our message which was borne out of critical research. 

I was pained the other day when I was having a conversation with an elder brother and I accused his age group for failing to provide mentorship to us and thereby leading to a scarcity of critical youths who can measure up to the leadership gaps that are being created on a daily. He responded to me by mentioningcertain youths who have held leadership positions in recent past and have not done well enough to satisfy the expectations of a youth. I had to explain to him how the recruitment process mattered a lot, it never meant that simply appointing a youth was synonymous to performance but rather the careful selection and appointment of youths who have had personal history of zeal, vision and hunger for success. In this area again, Mr Kashifu has measured up and has in fact provided a template for such kinds of selection going forward in order that the big deficit being created in leadership in Nigeria and Africa can be bridged. 

Remember how he was a key player in the piloting of the Dr Isa Pantami’s digital journey in 2017 and there couldn’t have been a better way of consolidating such efforts after the ascendance of Dr Pantami to Minister ship than the eventual appointment of Kashifu as the substantive DG of NITDA which in my opinion is the most critical Agency in the Digital Economy campaign. Because the selection and appointment was right, the performance in one year has also matched the expectation.

From a year after Dr Pantami became the DG of NITDA, commissioning of various completed projects started and they have continued till today and we can lately see how all the other parastatals under the Ministry of Communications and Digital Economy are working to outdo each other in terms of delivery of projects to be commissioned by the Hon. Minister. Little wonder why during the commissioning of the 11 Digital Economy projects by Dr Pantami on 11th August, 2020, the Chairman of the Projects Commissioning Committee Mr AyubaShuaibu had while presenting the welcome address described MrKashifu as a progressive per excellence and finally referred to him as ‘Mr Progress’. This is an indication that the good things people do resonates in the minds of fair and discerning individuals. 

So far, I have not gone into the crux of Mr Progress’s achievements in one year. In the beginning from his first speech to the personnel of the Agency where he appeared in a deep blue suit which was well sewn to fit and matching shoes to present a man well dressed and ready for digitization. The speech also matched dressing by declaring his wish to first turn the edifice into a smart one that was expected of an ICT Agency. Talk is cheap they say but the way to understand a serious leader is he who walks the talk and NITDA is today a smart office that could be presented to anyone as being Nigeria’s ICT regulator talk less of the improved zeal and corporate appearance of the personnel themselves. The Nigerian parlance will tell you the seriousnessof an individual is in the ‘packaging’.

Basically, NITDA has become an Agency that represents a sector which it regulates; there has been introduction of dress code to ensure appearances are in consonance with the building and the ICT sector in general. The commissioning of the rejuvenated smart office structure which was performed by the Honorable Minister Pantami last Monday was well publicized and it was amongst the series of projects that the Hon Minister has been commissioning week in week out. 

Further to this, the man has enhanced the Cybersecurityinfrastructure through the commissioning of the new CERRT office which is more equipped to track cyber threats to the nation. Little wonder why NITDA kept alerting Nigerians on various threats and scams that were prevalent during the COVID-19 pandemic lockdown period. 

Furthermore, the DG had taken special interest in educating Nigerians about the opportunities the pandemic had presented. He highlighted so much how the new normal was an opportunity for the ICT sector to think outside the box and harness the opportunities to replace the vacuum created with technological tendencies. Such awareness coming from a regulator has permeated the public and has since manifested and the increased utilization of technology for activities is evidently on the increase. 

Unfortunately, this space will not be enough to enumerate the ample strides that the young professional has exhibited but the one year milestone was enough for us to see an individual who looked the part regarding the ideal expectation of young people in governance. It also behooves on us to echo such to a public that is in deficit of young leadership that was capable of managing the polity following the exit of the elder statesmen.  

We shall continue to be on the lookout for young appointees who have chosen to distinguish themselves by delivering those qualities which are expected of young people especially as relates to performance and shift away from the norm but on this occasion give it up for Mr Kashifu Inuwa Abdullahi for admitting himself into the Leadership Hall of Fame with hisstellar performances in a one year milestone that embodies many more to come for benefit of nation. 

God Bless Nigeria!

Hashim Suleiman

Twitter- @oneheartnaija

REVOLUTION AS ATTEMPT TO SHIFT THE GOAL POST By Hashim Suleiman

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Revolution

The past week has been greeted  with discussions regarding the protests by the RevolutionNow movement over their non satisfaction with the happenings in the country and therefore calling for the resignation of the government. This here is the part I totally disagree with.

We are all in this country when elections come and present opportunity for people to queue behind their preferred candidates and vote and equally work to protect their votes considering realities associated with vote rigging and what have you. Such requires thorough  awareness  to achieve but what you see during elections by the electorates and those who should know better is brigandage and insults over who one supports as against love for country and national interests.

Some of us have shouted to the heavens that citizens must up their sense of reasoning and ensure criticality and participation in a democracy because once a choice has been made then you’ll have to learn to live with it for a constitutional term of four years because even the process of impeachment that has been provided is a near impossibility. People have voted, their choices have been announced and for anyone to stand up and ask for the resignation of a democratically elected government smacks of mischief and hypocrisy which leaves some of us to wonder what we really want as citizens or whether we could genuinely blame the government over the state of the nation.

The question to ask is where all these revolutionaries have been during electioneering campaign that they didn’t present a candidate for the election or at least create awareness to the citizens in the same manner over the need to vote a candidate they deemed would better fulfill all of the issues they are advancing in their current protests. Better still, they could infiltrate the political parties and influence their choice of candidates at primary elections levels. Protesting for resignation at such a time is nothing but an attempt to shift the goal post in the middle of a game and that is cheating.

Situations like these have made a lot of us to echo our concern over the viability of the Civil Society Organizations and a proper understanding of their roles in the advancement of democracy and development in our country. Have they looked at a need for Quality Control of their activities with a view to taking stock and identifying areas that need to be worked upon for enhancement. Where’s the place of research and development in line with the realities of the current times as well as the mentalities of the citizenry. Not to forget cultural and religious considerations too.

Democracy as a form of government is still a work in progress, there’s not any perfect model for it. Everyone works to perfect it in line with their realities and what works for them. We cannot be attempting to foist borrowed policies or expectations on ourselves, we have to learn to be realistic. To expect Nigeria’s democracy of just about 20 years to be as good as a 300 years American democracy is being very far away from objectivity.

Going forward, the Civil Society can channel more of their energies at trying to engage the various sectors of the government that are not functioning as expected e.g INEC, Security Apparatuses, Regulatory Agencies et al. This also has to be done with utmost professionalism and facts at hand coupled with alternative suggestions including providing human resource if necessary. Further to this has to be engagement of the citizenry over the need to pick more interest in the democracy and participate in it for the right reasons devoid of rent seeking and brigandage. If objective minds can flood the democratic system, there will be less possibilities for emergence of wrong people in all the various classes of political positions and such will guarantee a political space with less likelihood for meaningless and impossible calls that add up to nothing.

We everyday pray for a better and a more discerning nation.

Hashim Suleiman

Twitter-@oneheartnaija.

THE EID, THE DEVELOPMENTS AND THE NEED FOR HEALING ByHashim Suleiman

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Let me wish my fellow country people  a happy celebrations for a well spent Eid-El Kabir in my opinion. I considered it a well spent one owing to the level of well wishing I saw from people of differing faiths both on social media and on personal account. It indicated a great improvement to understanding for tolerance which had always been hoped for through insisting that there can be unity in diversity. Various high placed Christians including pastors, presidential and governorship individuals wished the Muslims a happy Eid and honestly I felt elated.

Even though the positives and the opportunity they afforded us to measure the progress of our unity is enormous,  you cannot rule out some flashes of negativity which could also serve as a lesson to future endeavors. On the sallah day, there was a report of kidnappings incidence on the Abuja-Kaduna expressway and it dashed the optimism of those who had thought such was over but again for some of us who have hopes and faith, we shall continue to believe that with a common resolve and love for country, we shall overcome all these negativities that tend to put a spanner on the wheel of our progress.

Let me also drag us back to a recent happening that could be tied to my topic for today which was the appointment of Mr Femi Fani Kayode to a traditional title in Shinkafi emirate and such generated a lot of concern from all quarters which I’m sure also touched Fani-Kayode himself. The incidence went very far in enlightening us over the crass display of bigotry without any cause for it because you could easily get caught in the sort of the web Fani-Kayode was caught in where the same people he demonized choose to pay him back with utmost kindness. We must work as a people to defeat bigotry and usher love and the level I saw during this Eid was commendable and can be improved and consolidated upon.

Again, just recently, the issues canvassed by Mallam Mamman Daura, the acclaimed leader of the PMB cabal over the zoning of presidency generated a lot of concern notably from the Niger Delta and Middle Belt elders amongst others but some people got worried over their silence on the fleecing going on at the NDDC. Could this imply that these elderly people have not learnt much over the years on the need to be more discerning and at-least showcase some level of patriotism and elder statesmanship even if once. In fact I was speaking with a Bayelsa elder brother recently and we got talking about the issue and his response was impressive that it left me speechless. He opined that it justice and equity is what we truly clamor for, then the North Eastern part of Nigeria had never been president both in military and democracy and should then be given opportunity to take a shot at it this time around. But the question is, would such elders and their ilks be ready for such an objective conversation? They should in my opinion.

Finally, let me touch on Mr Presidents comments particularly the one on betrayal of trust by appointees. Some of us have long ago clamored to the President for the appointment of strong and competent characters to critical positions, political compensations to less qualified people can be left to the less critical areas. What’s happening in terms of the betrayal is a result of such negligence and the only way out is to take a stock of the appointees and weed out those who’s performances do not match the expectations of them.  The people the president was referring to are those who lack strength in character and never believed in the vision of the president from day one. They don’t even know what to do talk less of attempting to do it, they are excessively greedy to allow the appointment of critical aids who can help them out so they rather crash the ship with their incompetence. Wishes are that Mr President will see reason to take a stock and do the needful so we can utilize the remaining three years to consolidate on the many gains in other sectors which will culminate in writing Mr President’s name in gold in the anal of history.

There are indeed positives and areas to improve upon.

May the Lord make us witness the next Eid with more progress to analyze about. God bless Nigeria.

Hashim Suleiman

oneheartnaija@yahoo.com , Twitter- @oneheartnaija

HADEIJIA EMIRATE: THE JIGAWA GIANT THAT HAS REFUSED TO LEAP By Hashim Suleiman

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Emir of Hadeijia, Alhaji Adamu Abubakar Maje

Before the advent of democracy, the northern Nigeria recognizes dichotomies using emirates. Certain first-class emirs control some other local governments and such territories that were under an emirate were regarded as emirate bearing the name of the parent emirate. However, such kinds of emirates have now been simplified to signify Senatorial Districts and my own Senatorial District which is Jigawa North East AKA Hadeijia Emirate has been an unsung giant that has simply refused to roar for obvious reasons. Let me attempt to speak you through the prospects, developments,and current efforts. Come with me.

The emirate has a rich history even from the then Kano State. It was top of the pride of the then Kano State, the Emir was remarkably close to the Emir of Kano after it had been incorporated into the Kano Province in 1906. The emirate became such important owing to its economic potentials of arable lands that could cultivate almost all grains including the especially important Rice and Sugar Cane. Further to these is the popular River Hadeijia which provides support to cultivating the crops mentioned as well as providing an opportunity for fishing activities. 

Consequent upon the above economic potentials as well as the large scale territory that the Emir of Hadeijia superintends over which includes the very ancient Garun Gabas and Auyowhich form an integral part of the Hausa history, people were naturally attracted to the region and made it become very popular in the northern region of Kano and Jigawa State of today. This has also made the region to become economically important to the subregion of Jigawa North East as well as the northern Yobe States and some parts of Borno State. It has become a hub for distribution of goods to Yobe and BornoStates as well as from those places to other parts of Nigeria. Remember the much availability of Fish in the area too. 

Owing to all the above endowments that have continued to attract people to the area on migration or otherwise, the Hadejia emirate has naturally established herself to be the most politically important Senatorial District in Jigawa State. It had produced very notable statesmen like Hassan Hadeijiawho worked as a kitchen cabinet member of the Sardauna of Sokoto and the very recent Air Vice Marsha Hamza Abdullahi who was very prominent and close confidant in the IBB regime. These are few of so many others numerous to mention here. These individuals have again attracted popularity to the emirate. 

Upon all of the lofty introduction to the emirate, you will be shocked to hear that the emirate has not governed the state even once owing to the inability of the people of the region to form a common front because that is the only reason that can stall the dominance of the state since the TIV and Igala of Benue and Kogi States have done but the Igala lost it with Yahaya Bello due to the demise of Abubakar Audu. It is unacceptable that Hadeijia emirate with all the political and economic advantage has refused to take its right place of being the dominant force in the Jigawa pollical game. 

In the last ten years we have had course to witness the advent of two very important persons in the emirate, namely Hashim Ubale Yusufu and Mohammed Babandede, while the former has provided ample investments in the region which in turn provide employment of labour, the latter has used his position to secure jobs for the teeming youth in the Nigerian Immigration Services. Infact, they have proved to be truly patriotic of the emirate and have given numerous people hope of better days ahead. To cap up their efforts, a younger version of them has emerged in Kashifu Inuwa Abdullahi and he has within the short time of ascending provided numerous interventions that combines with the ones mentioned above and presenting Hadeijia in a very positive light. 

While all of the above provide hope for the teeming people of the emirate, someone has to echo to them all to understand that nothing can come out of working in silos or allowing other regions of the state to continue to have the notion that we cannot be a political threat because we can easily be deceived into working against one another. The 21st century is too complicated for how cheaply we have let ourselves and serious amends must be made. I am personally in a wondering mode as to how we had always been left out in the scheme of things. 

The three pillars mentioned above currently appear to be those the people in the emirate are talking about and rightly having their hopes tied to. This piece is meant to echo to all concerned over the need to forge a common front and place Hadeijia Emirate where it rightly belongs which would be in fairness to the intent of history. Awareness to the people of the region in this regard is also particularly important to achieving the desire. 

Those who are opportune to read this could also share with the Royal Highness, the Emir of Hadeijia on these prospects and the almost lateness of not achieving it. Hadeijia is too big to be left behind in the political setting of Jigawa State. 

May God bless Hadeijia Emirate

May God bless Jigawa State

May God bless Nigeria.

Hashim Suleiman

oneheartnaija@yahoo.com

FAKE NEWS AS NEW POLITICAL STRATEGY By Hashim Suleiman

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I was having a conversation with a journalist colleague yesterday morning over the trending report on the alleged involvement of the Vice President in Ibrahim Magu’s alleged corruption largesse. I was asking his opinion on why the sudden surge in such kinds of baseless allegations especially following the just past one on Dr Isa Ali Pantami the penultimate week. We both wondered about it along with a few people present and concluded it to resemble blackmail on the duo and certainly for political reasons. Just today, again same people have turned on the Attorney General on a baseless allegation over purchase of a house for his son who had just gotten married; the Attorney General had since debunked the allegations as had the duo of Osinbajo and Dr Pantami. 

The journalist colleague of mine was then lamenting over how he was becoming discouraged about the profession and such could lead to him quitting for other ventures. His reason was anchored on the infiltration of the profession by quacks who are daily not agreeing to understand how journalism must contain a lot of investigative additive. Fake news and slander had taken over the industry and were capable of discouraging serious professionals from increasing their appetite for the profession. 

I however, brought him to speed about the realities of the current times where not only the journalism profession was experiencing such kinds of challenges. Take a look at the political class where for a long time the supposed intellectuals and credible people have refrained from participating. Such has left us with albeit opportunistic nobodies and street touts taking over the sector. Till today, majority of the youth see participation in politics as a disadvantaged or less privileged venture wouldn’t it then be fair for us to continue to manage those we have left with the monopoly of the ownership of the venture?

So I informed him that having an impression of leaving the profession because of the prevalence of fake news and what not’s was akin to the political scenario I painted in the paragraph above. I informed him that the sector needs their likes now more than ever assuming that he is as credible and capable as he is portraying himself to be. You know in Nigeria, people who complain become even worse when given opportunities to serve.Even if the National Assembly were to embark on a journey to control the social media, there was going be needs for professionals with the appropriate know how to help arrive at a workable legislation. Therefore, there was a need for more thoroughbred professionals as against quitters. 

But to even break down the issue of Fake News further, it was very needful for all to recognize that the only functional sector of the economy of Nigeria was the political sector and they are in control of all other sectors who must act in their whims and caprices. However, these sectors are tilted to as much knowledgeable as the political class was thus the seeming bastardization of so many sectors including journalism.  It was a long time some of us have been shouting about the need to embrace intellect and strategy in politics, however, the greed of the politicians coupled with fear of involving intellectuals by the largely dull political class has resulted in very less strategic politics and a very much myopic one. 

Take a look at what happened to the Judiciary lately when in the build up to the governorship primaries of Edo State there were barrages of court cases been churned out like the hilarious Mike Asukwo portrayed in his cartoon to appear like an auctioning of injunctions where the highest bidder goes home with the juiciest judgment. This is what the largely myopic Nigeria’s political class can do to an institution. 

In view of the foregoing, it was very important for Nigeria’s to note that Nigeria’s democracy is indeed growing albeit at a slower rate and the need for strategy in politics is increasing due to the increased interest. However, the veterans in the political game who have amassed enormous wealth but lack strategy or strategists prefer to use the funds to compromise institutions as against employment of critical strategists. This has resulted in fake news and blackmail becoming a political strategy for such people especially in bringing down intellects who have chosen to join the political space. They are at least wise enough to know that majority of the voting population are gullible. 

Don’t even assume that all those who spew these stories are quacks in the industry; some of them are just not strong enough to resist the inducements that come from the clients. And the earlier we understand how long we will live with such the better because until the political class has been sanitized through the infiltration of sane and intellectual individuals, the current political class will continue to utilize their heavy chest to influence all sectors to their advantage. 

As for the new entrants into politics, those who come in with integrity and intellectual capital, they should recognize that the fake news and blackmail strategy will not stop against them, if they are seriously interested in remaining in the game, they must invest heavily in a robust strategic communication team who can beat the spreaders of fake news at their game!

God bless Nigeria. 

Hashim Suleiman

oneheartnaija@yahoo.com

THE CHEAP AND POVERTY STRICKEN BLACKMAIL ON DR ISA ALI PANTAMIBy Hashim Suleiman

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I have always been worried about how the media and politicians have turned to spreading a poverty mentality as a mode of attacking successful people most times for political blackmail. Even though they have succeeded with the public to a large extent, it is high time that some of us begin to make the public aware of some of these games especially knowing fully well the sort of damage some of these baseless insinuations could make to the society and its moral fabric.

This evening of 3rd July, 2020, Sahara Reporters came up with such kinds of cheap blackmail and this time it was on someone I hold dear and one that could make a damage to a very revered institution of ours. They went as far as posting some houses and purported them to belong to Dr Isa Ali Pantami and I wondered how that was news even if it was true but I then remembered the poverty stricken mentality of lots of the public who could give it some meaning and such inspired my write up for this evening.

Let me take us back to 2016 when the President declared his assets and then there was argument in the public on whether he owned a house in Aso Drive or other places in Abuja and I personally wondered how as a nation we have reduced ourselves to wondering why a former Head of State and an elder statesman would own a house or a few houses, was he supposed to be living under a bridge simply so he will satisfy Nigerians. The United States of America is usually our benchmark for comparison and I see so many beautiful houses on the streets of Washington and New York, must all of them be proceeds of corrupt practices? That is if we are insinuating owing houses is synonymous to corruption or ill act.

These same narrative has been set and has affected a large chunk of the populace even though a large chunk of it is an opposition to President Muhammadu Buhari because of his position on anti corruption. They have succeeded in making everyone feel like it’s a crime to make money. Part of the shout about poverty from all parts of the country is resultant from this because even people who make legitimate money and have philanthropic tendencies have chosen to keep their money to themselves and not share because of fear of such kinds of mischievous interpretation and a gullible public who could accept it as their truth.

For how long will such kind of narratives be continued to be spread while it affects the psyche of the populace into believing that it’s a crime to be rich, successful or wealthy. Young people now shun from getting into businesses and making money because of narratives like these. This is the basic reason why laziness has become the hallmark of the youths. Their most potent trade is to buy airtime and share mischievous stories like those of Sahara Reporters on purchase or not of homes.

After reading such kinds of stories whether true or lies, has anyone sat or attempted to make a research over what life Dr Isa Ali Pantami has lived before venturing into public service. Why should sharing a picture of a home just translate into something abnormal? When are we ever going to fill up the large deficit in critical thinking that has been bedeviling us and eating deep into the fabric of the society.

The much I have known Dr Isa Pantami has been of working at the prestigious Madina University where he must have made some savings from his earnings and his lifestyle never portrays that of somebody who is extravagant with money meaning he could keep savings for a long time. Furthermore, he has been a Director General at the National Information Technology Development Agency, a position that naturally attracts a good salary that could make good savings. He has made several travels outside the country on official duties that could fetch the country goodies and such travels attract statutory allowances that could again make good savings. He has also been a minister for almost a year now and must have legitimately earned remunerations for the position and also add to his savings. Would it then be a crime if such an individual chooses to live a moderately good life from his savings. This is assuming if the allegations of the bought house is true but there was no iota of evidence to prove the ownership of the purported property.

Dubai, one of the most visited destinations by Nigerians has Sheikh Al Makhtoom as its king and he owns a palatable palace and several businesses and companies, they not proceeds of corruption. Infact his countries anti corruption crusade is strong enough to have captured Ray Huspuppi who was flaunting funds he could not account for, now this one right here is bad, let Sahara Reporters concentrate on such and their likes and stop spreading lies to imply that it’s a crime to utilize legitimate earnings.

The lesson the youths have to learn from such shenanigans is that of desisting from notions which suggest its wrong to work hard, make legitimate earnings and also utilize them for wellbeing. We must work as a unit to defeat platforms who continue to spread poverty stricken mentality as a norm.

Finally, President Muhammadu Buhari has to continue to be wary of platforms which continue to spread narratives that suggest utilization of legitimate earnings as synonymous with ill doing. What such narratives are aiming is to deplete the Presidents team of the star lights and thereby setting the stage for failure and then they celebrate. They also wish to take away strong people from critical sectors so they can plant their pliable individuals who could embezzle for the entire club including the owners of the platforms who spread such kinds of blackmails. For their information, Nigeria and it’s citizens are daily getting wiser past such cheap blackmail. As for the President, he can help them write a script of such kinds of cheap blackmails, he has seen tons of them. The owners of the platforms that spread such empty allegations have not come clean over the request by their political parties for audit on crowd funding of seeking elective positions. He who comes to equity must come with clean hands.

As for Dr Isa Ali Pantami, it is within his God given right to utilize earnings from business and life advancement for the betterment of his wellbeing and that of his family, there is nothing wrong with that even though we cannot authenticate the ownership or not of the purported property. All legitimate earners are also free to do same.

May the Lord continue to increase in wisdom to discern.

Hashim Suleiman

oneheartnaija@yahoo.com