Sowore Takes Presidential Bid Roadwork To Emir Of Kano

The surprise presidential aspirant Omoyele Sowore is putting in the foot and road work towards his 2019 bid. In less than a week, the Sahara Reporters publisher has visited Ibadan, Abuja and now Kano.

Addressing the Emir of Kano at his palace on Monday, the presidential aspirant descried the Emir as a “disruptor” who disrupted Nigeria’s banking system and put away many “thieve” and looters” while he was chairman of the Central bank. Sowore however remarked that sadly many of those are now back as chairmen of their own banks. He told the Emir that as a young Nigerian, he is not willing to wait for four years before taking his place in destiny. Adding that the time for the youths in Nigeria to is in may 2019

Likening himself to the Emir, Sowore said he was taking up the mantle to disrupt the status quo in order to make Nigeria the greatest nation in Africa.


President Buhari Announces Second Term Bid

President Muhammadu Buhari on Monday told the National Executive Committee of the All Progressives Congress (APC) that he will be seeking the party nomination to fly the party flag in the 2019 presidential election.

Plateau state governor, Simon Lalong who briefed the media at the end of the party’s shortest NEC meeting ever that the President informed the meeting that in view of the resolution of the tenure elongation issue and the adoption of the report of the Technical Committee, he will be seeking nomination for re-election.

The NEC meeting which started with the arrival of the President at about 11.02 and the introduction of members present ended at about 11.55 am when the President departed the APC national secretariat.

City People

Ogun Calls For Investment In The State’s Abundant Solid Minerals

The Ogun State government has appealed to investors to invest in the abundant solid minerals available in the state.

The Commissioner for Commerce and Industry, Otunba Bimbo Ashiru who made this call at the 2018 Ogun State Investors Forum, explained that the State has several industrial minerals which investors should consider.

bimbo Ashiru
Otunba Bimbo Ashiru

He said in 2016, Nigeria mined 43.4 million tonnes of solid minerals in which Ogun State alone produced 16.3million tonnes, representing 37.65 percent among the 36 States of the federation.


Ashiru also emphasised that Lafarge Africa Plc, Dangote Cement, Purechem Cement and other cement plant domiciled in the State, produced over 20 million metric tonnes of cement annually.

The commissioner also noted that the State has the largest steel industry in the country and urged automobile industries to take advantage of this to establish their factories.


The Executive Secretary, Nigerian Investment Promotion Council (NIPC), Mrs. Yewande Sadiku, pointed out that a total of N5.4 billion investment announcement has been made for Ogun State in petrol chemical, solid minerals, agriculture and manufacturing. He implored the state government to provide the necessary infrastructure to ensure that the entire investment announcement made by NIPC become a reality.

The state governor Ibikunle Amosun had at the forum revealed that 304 new investments were recorded in the state in the last seven years.



Nigerian Army Disowns “Sergeant Bako” Says Name Does Not Exist On Military Personnel List

The Nigerian Army has disowned one ‘Sergeant’ David Bako, who claimed in a viral message on social media over the weekend that the abduction of 110 girls from Government Girls Secondary School, Dapchi, Yobe state, on February 19 was staged by officials of President Muhammadu Buhari administration.

Sergeant Bako had confessed to being part of a 16-man team who rehearsed and hatched the abduction of the schoolgirls for a lump sum of N80 million. He claimed some top loyalists of President Buhari were part of the scheme.

However, in a statement on Sunday, Brigadier General Texas Chukwu, Army’s Director of Army Public Relations, said there was no officer with the name David Bako either as a serving or dismissed in the list of personnel of the military.

Nigerian Army

He, therefore, urged Nigerians to disregard the confession of Mr. Bako who also claimed he had traveled out of Nigeria to avoid prosecution on the account of his revelation.

The statement reported in Sahara Reporters reads: “The attention of the Nigerian Army has been drawn to a news report making round on Facebook and other social media to smear and drag the Nigerian Army into politics of calumny by mischief makers, that one deserted Sergeant David Bako leaks how Dapchi Girls abduction was planned in the villa and executed with N80 million.

“The information was said to be provided by Sergeant David Bako who claimed to be deserted soldier and one of the abductors of the Dapchi School Girls.

“The Nigerian Army, therefore, put the record straight that it has crosscheck it records and cannot find anyone call Sergeant David Bako who neither serves in the Army, deserted or dismissed. The Nigerian Army, therefore, disassociate itself with such fictitious report and request the public to disregard the confession made by the so call Sergeant David Bako who has not been in the Army at all.

“It is imperative to know that these baseless and inane allegations are not new in the cyberspace, knowing the fact that we are in the age of information warfare. Open Source Intelligence reveals that the website with country code top-level domain (ccTLD) .eu used in publishing stories is obviously fake and therefore not correct.

“Based on our findings the website was registered on the 14 of April 2017 and the last update was on the same date and will expire on the 14th April 2018, we are very familiar with reports of this nature and will advise the general public to disregard such claim and desist from sharing such information on the New Media as this is against the Nigerian Cybercrime Act 2015.

“However, it is really worrisome to the level at which some people could condescend so low to fabricate facetious allegation against the Nigerian Army and the military at large for cheap political gains or simply an act of pure wickedness, thus the public should disregard such facetious allegation.

“The Nigerian Army wishes to reiterate its commitment to remain apolitical and non-partisan in the discharge of its constitutional roles. We would also like to reaffirm our unconditional support and obedience to civil authority as well as reassuring Nigerians that these Fifth columnists will not succeed in their mischief as they will be fished out and dealt with accordingly.”

Similarly, the minister of information, Mr. Lai Mohammad had dismissed the confession of the alleged deserter, claiming no such name exists in the Army database.

He said: “I can tell you categorically that this David Bako is fake. There is no such soldier in the Nigerian Army. There was no conspiracy anywhere. The intention of those behind the disinformation and fake news is to cause disaffection between Christians and Muslims, and between Southerners and Northerners.”

Your Economic Blueprint Does Not Help Ordinary Nigerians – Bill Gates Addresses Nigeria’s Leadership

Microsoft Founder Bill Gates at the special and expanded National Economic Council, held in Abuja on Thursday tasked Nigerian leaders to sincerely invest in not just infrastructural development but also human investment.

The philanthropist who is currently the second richest man on the planet – after Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos also said  Nigeria has the ability to approach ‘upper middle-income status’ like Brazil, China and Mxico, but added that achieving this status depends on ”the choice Nigerian leaders make”.

Gates, who is also the founder of Melinda and Bill Gates Foundation was speaking under the theme  “Role of human capital investment in supporting pro-poor and economic growth agenda”.

Please read the full text of his speech:

Your Excellency Muhamadu Buhari, President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria; Professor Yemi Osinbajo, Vice President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria; Senator Bukola Saraki, Senate President; Honorable Yakubu Dogara, Speaker of the House; Your Excellencies, executive governors of the Federal Republic of Nigeria; Royal fathers; Distinguished ladies and gentlemen. And as you say in Nigeria, all other protocols observed. Thank you for welcoming me to Nigeria.

I’ve been coming here regularly since 2006, and I’ve always felt welcome. Nigerians usually greet me warmly. The first time I met the Sultan of Sokoto, I was honored that he greeted me with the gift of a white horse.

At some point during every visit, though, some brave person eventually asks me—very politely—”Why are you actually here?” It’s an understandable question. Most American technology guys don’t wander around Nigeria learning about its health system. But I think I have a good answer.

When we started Microsoft 40 years ago, we wanted to build a successful business, but we also wanted to make people’s lives better. We believed computers could revolutionize the way people lived and worked. But back then only big companies could afford them. We wanted to give everybody access.

As I got older, traveled more, and learned more about the world, I realized that billions of people had a problem that computers couldn’t solve. They lacked the basics of a good life: food, shelter, health, education, and opportunity.

And so I started my second career with my wife Melinda. With the money I’d been lucky enough to earn at Microsoft, we started working toward a different goal: a healthy and productive life for everyone.

That’s why I come to Nigeria, and that’s why Melinda and I will continue coming for as long as we are able. Our foundation’s biggest office in Africa is here. We have committed over $1.6 billion in Nigeria so far, and we plan to increase our commitment. We have strong relationships with the federal government, state governments, businesses, NGOs, and civil society organizations. We are eager to support you as you work to make Nigeria a global economic powerhouse that provides opportunity for all its citizens—as you strive to fulfill this country’s immense promise.

I’m blown away by how much Nigeria has changed in the past decade.

Consider the technology sector. That energy I talked about during the early days of Microsoft, our passion and our eagerness to take risks…. That’s the same energy that powers technology hubs across Nigeria like Co-Creation and Enspire.

The novelist Chimamanda Adichie, who my wife especially admires, captured the country’s spirit when she said her fellow Nigerians have “big dreams and big ambitions.”

This line graph of Nigeria’s per capita GDP shows where those dreams and ambitions can lead. With the exception of the recent recession, the slope goes straight up. As a result of this growth, Nigeria is now the biggest economy on the continent. You are rapidly approaching upper middle income status, like Brazil, China, and Mexico.

But growth is not inevitable. Nigeria has unmatched economic potential, but what becomes of that potential depends on the choices you make as Nigeria’s leaders.

The most important choice you can make is to maximize your greatest resource, the Nigerian people. Nigeria will thrive when every Nigerian is able to thrive.

If you invest in their health, education, and opportunities—the “human capital” we are talking about today—then they will lay the foundation for sustained prosperity. If you don’t, however, then it is very important to recognize that there will be a sharp limit on how much the country can grow.

You see this risk in the data. From the point of view of the quality of life, much of Nigeria still looks like a low-income country.

Let me give a few examples.

In upper middle income countries, the average life expectancy is 75 years. In lower middle income countries, it’s 68. In low income countries, it’s 62. In Nigeria, it is lower still: just 53 years.Nigeria is one of the most dangerous places in the world to give birth, with the fourth worst maternal mortality rate in the world, ahead of only Sierra Leone, Central African Republic, and Chad.One in three Nigerian children is chronically malnourished.

I do not enjoy speaking to you this bluntly when you have been gracious enough to invite me here. But I am applying an important lesson I learned from Alhaji Aliko Dangote. Recently, Aliko and I were having a conversation with several governors about their states’ official immunization rates. Aliko’s way of stressing the importance of accurate data was to tell us, “I didn’t get rich by pretending to sell bags of cement I didn’t have.” I took from that that while it may be easier to be polite, it’s more important to face facts so that you can make progress.

On immunization, you are already living that lesson: last year Nigeria revised its immunization coverage numbers downward to reflect more accurate sources, and I applaud you for those lower numbers. They may look worse, but they are more real, which is the first step toward saving and improving more lives.

I urge you to apply this thinking to all your investments in your people. The Nigerian government’s Economic Recovery and Growth Plan identifies “investing in our people” as one of three “strategic objectives.” But the “execution priorities” don’t fully reflect people’s needs, prioritizing physical capital over human capital.

To anchor the economy over the long term, investments in infrastructure and competitiveness must go hand in hand with investments in people. People without roads, ports, and factories can’t flourish. And roads, ports, and factories without skilled workers to build and manage them can’t sustain an economy.

In preparation for my visit, I asked a research institute at the University of Washington to model Nigeria’s economic growth under three scenarios related to health and education, the core of how economists define human capital.

Here you can see Nigeria’s per capita GDP growth from 2000 until today. If current education and health trends continue—if you spend the same amount in these areas and get the same results—per capita GDP flatlines, with economic growth just barely keeping up with population growth.

If things get worse, it will decline. Unfortunately, this scenario is a very real possibility unless you intervene at both the federal and state levels. Because even in the worst-case scenario, your national income level is about to make you ineligible for certain kinds of development assistance and loans that you’ve been relying on to fund your health system and other priorities. Without more and better spent domestic money, investment in your people will decline by default as donor money shrinks—a lose-lose scenario for everyone.

However, if you commit to getting better results in health and education—if you spend more and more effectively—per capita GDP will stay on its remarkable pre-recession trajectory.

This is the scenario we all want: Nigeria thrives because every Nigerian is able to thrive.

And the data makes it clear that this scenario is entirely within your reach.

What do I mean by investing in your people? I mean prioritizing health and education, the factors included in the model I just showed you. I also mean continuing to open up opportunities in the agriculture and microenterprise sectors, as the government has proposed in the ERGP. I mean creating the conditions where Nigerians can reach their goals while adding value to the economy—the win-win scenario.

Our foundation doesn’t invest directly in education here, but the World Bank World Development Report that just came out makes it clear that education leads to improvements in employment, productivity, and wages.

Today, though, more than half of rural Nigerian children can’t read and write.

The conclusion is inescapable: Nigeria’s economy tomorrow depends on improving its schools today.

The same is true of health, our foundation’s primary focus area.

In 1978, Dr. Olikoye Ransome-Kuti, who later became the Nigerian minister of health, helped establish primary health care as the global standard. We now know that a strong primary care system takes care of 90 percent of people’s health needs.

Tragically, 40 years after Dr. Ransome-Kuti helped other countries set a course for the future, the Nigerian primary health care system is broken.

The evidence for this can be found in the epidemic of chronic malnutrition, or stunting. As the name suggests, chronic malnutrition is not a disease children catch. It is a condition that develops over time because they are deprived of a diverse diet and the services a strong primary health care system provides.

The consequences of stunting are devastating. Though stunted children are defined as shorter than average, we’re not particularly concerned about their height. What we’re concerned about is their brains, or what Akin Adesina calls “gray matter infrastructure.”

This is a picture of the brain of a single normally developing infant. And next to it is a picture of the brain of a single chronically malnourished infant. Every brain and every child are different, but you can clearly see the difference in the number of neural connections in these two brains. And once this kind of damage is done, it’s very hard to repair.

In Nigeria, one in three children is chronically malnourished and could therefore be at risk. This is a tragedy for each one of these children; it is also a huge blow to the economy. According to the World Bank, addressing the stunting crisis in Nigeria would add almost $30 billion to the GDP.

So what will it take to solve stunting? It will take a focus on agricultural development, nutrition, and primary health care.

A functioning primary health system has six features.

Adequate funding.Good facilities located in the right places.Skilled and dedicated health workers.Ample stocks of essential equipment and medicines.Patients who know about the system and want to use it.And a mechanism for collecting the data needed to improve quality.

I believe the Nigerian primary health care system is not adequately funded. But it also doesn’t get the most out of its current funding. I want to re-emphasize that last point about data. More transparency would lead to more accountability, which would strengthen governance, leadership, and management, which would improve quality across the board.

I visited a health clinic in Bodinga LGA in Sokoto yesterday, and it reminded me why I do this work. I’d like to ask all of you to spend one hour at a health center in the next month. I think you’ll see how the system can be improved—and how much good it will do when it is.

I know Nigeria can build up its primary care system, because I’ve seen what you accomplish when you meet health challenges head on.

As many of you know, we’ve been very close partners in your fight against polio.

As you can see on this graph, the hard work of hundreds of thousands of local leaders and health workers since the turn of the millennium has paid off. Nigeria has not had a case of wild polio virus in more than a year.

But the graph also shows that you’ve reported zero cases before, only to learn that the disease was still circulating in tiny pockets hidden by insecurity. It would be catastrophic to let your guard down when you’re on the verge of eliminating the disease once and for all.

I believe—because I have seen your work in the field as recently as yesterday—that you will do what it takes to end polio in Nigeria. We will be here, working side by side with you, until you do.

Though health is our foundation’s primary area of expertise, it’s not the only thing we do, and it’s not the only thing I mean when I say Nigeria should invest in its people. Healthy people need opportunities to thrive.

One of the most important of these opportunities is agriculture, the sector that nourishes most Nigerians and supports half the population, especially the poorest.

The agricultural sector is a pillar of the Nigerian economy. It accounts for a large proportion of your GDP, and during the oil price collapse and recession, it helped cushion the economy. But it still has a lot of potential to grow.

The majority of Nigerian smallholder farmers lack access to the seeds, fertilizer, and training they need to be more productive, and they lack access to the markets they need to profit from their labor.

The government has taken important steps to fill these gaps, with both more investment and a series of smart policies to encourage private sector investment.

These reforms lay the foundation for a booming agricultural sector that feeds the country, helps end chronic malnutrition, and lifts up tens of millions of smallholder farmers. I urge you to build on this good work.

One of the barriers that continues to prevent smallholders from thriving is their lack of access to finance. Like good roads, finance connects farmers to opportunity, yet only 4 percent of Nigerian farmers currently have a loan to grow their business.

In a country where three quarters of people have mobile phones, digital financial services provide a solution to this problem. In fact, digital finance offers the potential to boost the economy from top to bottom.

Right now, more than 50 million Nigerian adults are at the whim of chance and the informal economy. With access to digital financial tools, they can cope better with disasters that threaten to wipe them out, build assets and a credit history, and gradually lift themselves out of poverty.

Consider the impact this would have on businesses. Of the 37 million micro, small, and medium enterprises in Nigeria, more than 99 percent are micro. Their lack of access to finance is a leading reason why these businesses can’t grow. With digital payments, savings, and credit, they will finally have the resources to plan for the future.

According to the best estimates, digital financial services will create a 12.4 percent increase in Nigeria’s GDP by 2025. Meanwhile, oil accounts for about 10 percent of Nigeria’s GDP. Imagine adding another oil sector and then some to the economy, but one whose benefits spread far and wide and reach almost every single Nigerian.

There is another benefit to digital financial services that will make everything I’m urging you to do much easier: it will vastly improve the government’s ability to tax and spend efficiently.

Let me pause for a moment to say, I am confident that one thing you’ve been thinking as I’ve been talking is that, while you would like to spend more on health and nutrition and education and agriculture, you don’t have the money to do everything. I appreciate the fact that what you can spend is a function of what you raise.

Nigeria’s government revenue as a percentage of its GDP is by far the lowest in the world, at 6 percent. That makes investing in your people difficult. The next lowest country, Bangladesh, collects 10 percent of its GDP. If you got yourself up to second-to-last in the world, you would have an extra $18 billion to budget. Obviously, you’re aiming higher than that, but it gives you some idea about the scale we’re talking about.

We want to support you in your work to mobilize more resources to invest in your country. That’s why our foundation is working with the Nigeria Governors’ Forum to help states track internally generated revenue.

Ultimately, raising revenue to invest in growth will require delivering on the government’s commitments to the Nigerian people, and convincing them that they will get a return on their taxes.

Right now, Nigeria’s fiscal situation is at what you might call a low equilibrium. In return for low levels of service, people pay low levels of tax. We hope to help you reach a higher equilibrium rooted in effective and transparent investments in people. This equilibrium would trigger a virtuous cycle.

More government revenue would lead to more money to spend on health and education. Better health and education, and investment in sectors like agriculture, would lead to more productive farms and factories. More productive farms would lead to more prosperous farmers who could expand their farms or invest in other businesses, especially if they had access to credit and other financial tools. These thriving farms, factories, and new businesses would lead to more government revenue. And the cycle would start again.

Triggering that cycle will require bolder action—action you have the power to take as leaders, governors, and ministers focused on Nigeria’s future.



Nigerians are known around the world for their big dreams and big ambitions.

Together with the Dangote Foundation, we will be here to help you achieve your dreams and ambitions. You have the support of the international community. The Nigerian private sector will continue to invest. We are eager to help, but we know we can’t lead. You must lead.

I believe in the grand vision of Nigeria’s future. I believe in it because I’ve seen it. It’s represented by this line—the line that depends on healthy, educated people and the surge of economic activity they will unleash.

And that means that the future depends on all of you—and your leadership in the years to come.

Thank you.

Ogun Can Now Boast Of Conducive Environment For Investors – Gov Amosun

Ogun Gov. Ibikunle Amosun said on Thursday that his administration has provided a conducive environment to attract investors to the state.

Speaking with the State House Press Corps on the sideline of the Special National Economic Council (NEC) meeting in Abuja, Amosun said the measure contributed to the rise in the rate of industrialization of the state.

According to him, before the administration came into office investors were scared of the state and preferred to take their investments to neighbouring states, but that all the factors driving investors away from the state have been removed.

He said that his administration turned the investment climate in the state around in its first year in office.

He said that the administration ensured that the state was secure and also provided the enabling environment for investment such as the provision of infrastructure.

The governor added that the administration changed the way that “the landlords and landladies’’ in the state, the civil servants, carried out their activities by making them to adapt to the private-sector driven practises.

According to the Governor,  the federal and state budget comprised only about 10 percent to 15 percent of the GDP showing that the economy lay outside the government.

“Clearly it tells you that out there is where the money is and you must devise a means to attract it, which is what we did.

“Clearly we moved from 35th to the best five according to the World Bank and I am sure that they are releasing another report which will clearly show that Ogun is number one.

“In terms of sustainability in Nigeria we are only second to Lagos state but in the next few weeks Ogun will be where it should be,’’ he said.

The governor stated that the administration was developing human capital which would make it difficult for any succeeding administration not to follow the same path of growth and development.

“We are developing our people; we are strengthening institutions rather than personalities; governors will come and go and what we are doing in the state is that you do not need to know anybody before your business thrives.

On the collection of taxes made for Ogun by Lagos, he said that some past Lagos governors had remitted such taxes to Ogun adding that the remittance was no longer regular.

According to him, those who live in Ogun and go to work in Lagos are putting a lot of pressure on Ogun infrastructure.

“Their children attend our schools, they go to our health facilities and when they throw their refuse away we pack them, they ply our roads and the law is so clear that as residents they should be paying their taxes to us.

“We approached Lagos state and they agreed that they will be paying us.

“We told them that on a monthly basis they owe us about N800 million but they agreed that they will pay N80 million,’’ he said.

Amosun said that Gov Akinwumi Ambode had paid for about six months and stopped but said that the issue would soon be fully resolved.

Bayo Shittu’s Aide “Whistleblows” on His Boss. Requests Intervention Of Buhari, Osinbajo, Saraki, SGF Over Non payment Of Salaries


There may be trouble ahead for Communications Minister, Adebayo Shittu as one of his aides has rtaken his grief with him to President Muhammadu Buhari.

Seriously aggrieved Victor Oluwadamilare, also reported his boss to the Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, Senate President Bukola Saraki and over 50 other top government officials in Abuja including selected state governors.

The aide who, until the early March, 2018, was the Special Assistant on Media to the Saki, Oyo State born politician is said to be at war with his ex-boss over non-payment of salaries and allowances.

Victor had, on Wednesday morning leaked an official letter he sent to Barrister Shittu to the press and the missive, since then, has gone viral online.

In the letter, Victor, who was a former Chairman of the Oyo State Council of the Nigerian Union of Journalists accused Shittu of acquiring wealth and properties while refusing to pay his aides.

However, in an exclusive chat with PMParrot on Wednesday night, Oluwadamilare said the letter, which is already viral online is the smallest weapon he has in his arsenal in his battle against the lawyer turned politician.

Said Victor “I worked for the minister for 28 months without being paid. He initially said he was not happy that I was on talking-terms with another prominent politician from Oyo State, Mr Yunus Akintunde. Later he began being uncomfortable when I persistently requested for my accumulated salaries.

“I do not want to fight anybody. Not even Barrister Shittu. He was my boss, and I respect him. All I want is for him to pay me my accumulated salaries. To the best of my knowledge, he is owing me N11.7 million. Initially, it was N14 million. Last week, whenhe saw that I was adamant, he asked his cronies to pay me one million naira in two tranches. So, this week, he sent in a letter to disengage me. He attached another draft of N1.3m.”

Oluwadamilare elaborated further on the issue of letter and counter-letter between him and his boss.

“I wrote him first. But he was not around to personally receive the letter from me. So, I waited till Monday before I gave him. The letter was taken to the office on March 12. So, when he sent in the letter disengaging me this week, I told him I did not want any trouble with him insisting that I just need to be paid my entitlements.

“It was one of the Minister’s trusted aides, Tajudeen Kareem that leaked the letter of disengagement I was given to the media. That was when I decided to leak my own too. That document I released is a 19-paged document. I still have more.

“If I am paid my entitlements, the firework will end, if not, I still have more to tell President Muhammadu Buhari and others about Barrister Shittu. But if he pays me, the battle will end immediately.”

PMParrot’s attempt to reach Barrister Adebayo Shittu via his 09053666666 did not yield any result.

Read the full text of Victor Oluwadamilare’s letter to the Minister here:

March 12, 2018
Chief Abdur-Raheem Adebayo Shittu
Hon. Minister of Communications
Federal Ministry of Communications,
Federal Secretariat,
Dear Sir,
I am writing on behalf of myself and my colleague, Sheik Tajudeen Imam, Special Assistant (Special Duties), renowned Muslim Cleric and leader, whom you appointed to assist you 25 months ago.
I am constrained, once again, to formally request for the payment of my accumulated emoluments totaling FOURTEEN MILLION NAIRA (N14million), due at the end of March, 2018, from you.
You will recall that your letter referenced HMC/026/Vol. 11/17, dated 23rd November, 2015 and titled: APPOINTMENT AS SPECIAL ASSISTANT (MEDIA) TO THE HONOURABLE MINISTER OF COMMUNICATIONS, stated among others in paragraph 3 that: “Your monthly emolument will be decided in line with the existing practice”. (Annexure 1)
Sir, for many months, running into years despite many verbal reminders, nothing has been done on this matter–you gave many promises which never materialised. I was forced to mention the issue of non-payment of my emoluments to a number of your friends and close associates, who promised to talk to you on the imperative of paying the emoluments of your aides. Indeed, I got several feedbacks on your promise to address the issue, but, after many months nothing happened!
Prior to your appointment as Minister of Communications by President Muhammadu Buhari, GCFR, via a letter dated 16th November, 2015 with reference no. SGF.12/S.6/XI/808 (Annexure 2), I had set up what I called: ADEBAYO SHITTU MEDIA OFFICE (Annexure 3) in Ibadan. My personal office, 36 Ososami Street, off Oke-Ado, Ibadan, was made available to the media office for your 2019 gubernatorial ambition at no cost to you.
I did not stop at that, I recruited and enlisted the support of seasoned journalists and experienced media managers, to coordinate and chart a media plan for your political ambition, ahead of your other competitors. I was the Chairman and convener, for which I spent my personal resources. Some of the members are:
i) Dele Ogunsola
ii) Wale Adele
iii) Bola Ogunlayi
iv) Tawfiq Akinwale
v) Marouf Yusuf
vi) Femi Popoola
vii) Winlade Adisa
Following your unexpected and dramatic nomination and eventual appointment, you called me on phone one Saturday in November, 2015 and requested that I should liaise with members of the Adebayo Shittu Media Office to nominate one of us to be appointed as SA Media for your new appointment then.
An emergency meeting of the group was promptly held. At the end of extensive deliberations, the group unanimously settled for me and my name was officially sent to you. This formed the basis of my appointment as Special Assistant (Media), alongside other aides appointed then in November, 2015. So, I represented a formidable group and other interests.
If I was so appointed, and having worked conscientiously with considerable impact on your tenure in office in the past 27 months and some weeks, it is imperative that I should be remunerated commensurably genuinely “in line with the existing practice”.
The existing practice copiously referred to in my letter of appointment (Annexure 1) could not be in the realm of individual whims and caprices, as the matter is a settled issue in the Federal Civil Service rule and procedure in Nigeria.
According to a subsisting Federal Government circular from the office of the Secretary to the Government of the Federation with Ref. NO.SGF.12/5.6/1.1/23 (Annexure 4) titled: RE: APPOINTMENT OF SPECIAL ASSISTANTS AND PERSONAL ASSISTANTS, addressed to All Honourable Ministers, Head of the Civil Service of the Federation and all Federal Permanent Secretaries, it stated that the Special Assistant to the Ministers should be on Grade Level 16 Step 4. Other Associated Allowances were also clearly stated.
In summary, the total emoluments due to me as a duly appointed Special Assistant amounted to N252, 300. 41 per month. This is inclusive of two Domestic Servants, who are expected to be on Level 3 step 8, according to a Consolidated Public Service Salary Structure (CONPSS), prepared by the National Salaries, Incomes and Wages Commission (Annexure 5).
Sir, be informed that your inability or inhuman refusal to arrange for prompt payment of my emoluments for over two years, no doubt, has not only made life very uncomfortable for me and my household, but had equally made me a laughing stock among my contemporaries and media practitioners.
Even though, principal officers of the Ministry, at the inception of your tenure made spirited efforts to convince you on the “existing practice” of settling SAs emoluments, you apparently refused bluntly.
Conversely, while you deliberately made me to suffer working for you under the most excruciating condition of deprivation, you have been living in indescribable opulence.
Your obvious insensitivity and lack of compassion for me and my other colleagues have done incalculable damages to our persons and families. Some of them are:
i) My health has deteriorated badly because I could not adequately finance my medical upkeep
ii) I have been a squatter in Abuja since 2016, having lived in a hotel for many months with outstanding debts till date.
iii) For close to one year now, there has been an unresolved feud with my wife because of my inability to effectively fulfil my marital responsibilities and family upkeep.
iv) My first daughter, from all indications, may not be able to enlist in the NYSC Scheme in April, 2018 because of my failure to adequately fund her education.
v) My second daughter had lost one calendar year in the University because of my inability to pay her school fees and other incidentals as at when due.
vi) My other children of school age, have been traumatized and discouraged in their educational pursuit because of the irregularity in the payment of their school fees, with its attendant backslash.
vii) Your conduct has made me a perpetual debtor, with over N3million debt hanging over my neck from sundry creditors.
The irony of the above situation is that while you effectuated stagnation in my life and development (and that of others) by your deliberate ploy and insensitivity, you were doing well for yourself and your family. It is evident to all that your life has witnessed unprecedented turn-around, albeit illicitly, considering the thrust and mission of the Buhari Administration on corruption in public offices.
Thus, in a space of 29 months in office and from ground zero in 2015, you now have no fewer than 12 luxury houses in Abuja, Lagos and Ibadan and a few months ago, you bought a brand new N93 million Printing Press. You have bought over 25 luxury vehicles for yourself, family members, concubines and cronies, outside the eight official vehicles attached to your office.
In the same vein, you have expended substantial amount of money, far above your legitimate earnings as a Minister in the Buhari Administration, on your gubernatorial ambition in Oyo State, while you have equally sponsored no fewer than 22 members of your family and cronies including under-aged children to the Holy Land in Saudi Arabia and lesser Hajj (Umrah) pilgrimage. Of course, everyone in Oyo State knows about your investments that run into hundreds of millions of naira, in your less than three years in the office–these are currently scattered all over Oyo State!
While it is your right to do whatever you like with such stupendous resources at your disposal in less than 30 months as a Minister of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, my concern is that what is good for the goose is also good for the gander. My belief, in this regard, is that a sincere leader should grow up with his followers legitimately. Ironically however, you are shockingly unperturbed by whatever happens to your aides, making the welfare of those who work with you a nullity.
The hope of working with you to properly project you and Oyo State at the Federal Executive Council that came with nostalgic feelings has been dashed. You did not only mess us up by dashing our hopes and aspirations, you inflicted on us injuries that are of permanent nature and of odious dimension. You bruised our psyche, you rubbished our ego, you wasted our time, you exposed us to hardship, you almost destroyed our humanity, you reduced our worth before our wives, children and acquaintances and above all, if not for God, you almost turned us to beggars in Abuja.
While we were suffering under your gross insensitivity and primitive meanness, your sing-song and alibi to the unsuspecting public, both in Abuja and Oyo State, has been that we collect estacode even if you are not paying salary. Your insidious wickedness was so brazen, and, it is a provocative travesty that would make the globally condemned experience of blacks in Apartheid South Africa a child’s play.
You may wish to note, sir, that there are two payments made to me which could be linked to you in respect of my outstanding emoluments.
Tuesday, February 6, 2018, the sum of N500,000 was transferred to my Access Bank Account under the name of Ademola Lawal.
Tuesday, February 6, 2018, the sum of N500,000 was transferred to my Access Bank Account by one SA’ADU A. SADIQ & SONS.
With this development, you have paid me the sum of N1million, out of my accumulated emoluments till date, remaining the sum of N13million at the rate of N500,000 per month.
To all intents and purposes, my demand for N500,000 monthly payment may seem incongruent to the provisions of the Consolidated Public Service Salary Structure (CONPSS) and the Federal Government Circular (Annexure 4 & 5), but it subsists when one considers the following:
i) Your body language and subsequent reactions showed that you have a clandestine motive to deny us our entitlements.
ii) The letter written to me by your former Special Assistant (Admin), Mr David A. Awotunde, titled: PAYMENT OF MONHTLY EMOLUMENT TO HONOURABLE MINISTER’S AIDES and dated 10th June, 2016 (Annexture 6), is quite instructive.
I discountenanced the letter and its content because of its inconsistencies. It is strange and curious that you could succumb to the evil machinations of the “spin doctors” around you then, who suggested that you should convert a N3million largesse sharedby your aides at that point in time into N100,000 monthly emolument for a few of us. Not only that the said money was ‘paid’ in advance to cater for the months up till April. Isn’t that novel and ridiculously curious?
The innuendoes contained in the said letter to the effect that I was entitled to N100,000 monthly is not only laughable as a notable professional and graduate of more than THREE DECADES, but also an embarrassment to your person and the totality of the Federal Government. This suggestion, and on the basis of the fact that I learnt you are currently computing how much is due to me, is a wish that could not stand the test of time as my entitlements in this regard do not fall within your whims and caprices, and, no matter how powerful you think you are now because of your timed appointment, it will be an exercise in futility.
I believe you are well aware that it is customary for political office holders to enjoy Severance Allowance which varies from 200 – 300% of Annual Basic Salary. The allowance is usually pro-rated after a minimum of two years tenure.
Undoubtedly, when all these factors and others which I’m holding back, are put in perspective, my demand for N500,000 monthly emolument should be regarded as very modest.
Since there is ‘’A time to keep silence, And a time to speak’’, I had the rare grace of keeping silent in the face of your inhuman and unwarranted tyranny for almost 28 months, but the time to speak out for my entitlements is NOW.
It is quite regrettable that you have manifested in all your relationships with many of those who helped build you up to where you are today reveling as a lord and conqueror with unbridled abandonment. It is disappointingly befuddling that you have become the ironical epitome of Mayor La Guardia who once said that ‘’anyone, who extends his hand of fellowship to me, stands the risk of losing a few fingers’’.
Thus, while you have been living in sudden and extremely outrageous opulence as a public servant at the expense of your dutiful and hardworking aides, you seemingly forget your pitiable socio-economic status and experience in Oyo State before you got this job as you have all of a sudden become insulated to common sense, justice and fairness, the mantra on which many people sheepishly believed in you in your struggling days–including myself.
It is quite bewildering that the fact that you collect your salary every month and regularly does not strike any right cord in you that your aides too deserve a better life by way of their own legitimate emoluments.
Hon. Minister, since your inauguration you have collected over N50 MILLION as salary, travelling expenses on the coffers of the Ministry runs into several millions of naira, while you have collected estacodes in excess of $800,000–little wonder, you’re derisively referred to as ESTACODE MINISTER in the Presidency. Yet, you inhumanly find it very convenient to ignore the legitimate entitlements of your aides! In this regard, be informed that you are like an ostrich that buries his head in the sand in delusion that it has hidden itself from the prying eyes of the public.
It is regrettable that as a member of the Nigerian Bar, justice, fairness and equity, the tenets on which the noble profession is pillared, do not matter to you; as a supposed ‘staunch’ Muslim, fear of God is a strange word to you–you have indeed proved that you are a wolf in sheepskin, particularly to the unsuspecting members of your Islamic Faith and other Nigerians, who erroneously see you in the mould of President Muhammadu Buhari.
Unfortunately too, as a Chief of Olubadan, the famed Yoruba family values have taken a flight into oblivion in your scheme of things just because you are in a most ephemeral position as an appointee of His Excellency, President Buhari, a globally acclaimed leader of impeccable character and pedigree.
More disturbingly, your proclivity and debasement of humanity via your unprecedented maltreatment of your appointed aides has become falteringly odious as a member of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) with the change mantra; as a member of the FederalExecutive Council, your fraudulent practices is novel and as a Community Leader, deceit is your way of life. The view that your conduct is a disgrace to Islam and mentoring in Nigeria is only an attestation to your greed, insensitivity, vindictiveness, avarice, wickedness and above all, self-centredness.
Dear Minister, after all said and done, I have one advice for you. Please, it will be in your best interest not to play to the gallery and listen to the counsels of your ‘spin doctors’ to either ignore me or take me on. The best and dignified way out for you on this issue of my outstanding entitlements is to access funds from your various ‘sudden’ investments and pay me in full. Like the celebrated former Lagos State governor, Mr. Babatunde Raji Fashola, SAN, once said, ’’I hope my loyalty will not be put to test’’. In the same vein, I hope my resolve to collect my entitlements in full will not be put to test by you.
Any grandstanding in this matter, to say the least, will be embarrassingly suffocating, as I will leave no stone unturned to retrieve my emoluments in full.
Enough should be enough for the WISE.
Victor Oluwadamilare