President Bola Tinubu has made many selections that have gotten many pundits talking since his inauguration as Nigeria’s 17th leader on May 29th. Perhaps the most significant and contentious decision was his selection of Mallam Nuhu Ribadu as National Security Adviser (NSA).
His appointment has sparked debate and controversy in Nigeria’s political scene over his skills and capabilities to handle such a critical post. While some supporters of Ribadu have praised the selection as strategic, others fear that Ribadu may be a square peg in a round hole for this critical post in national security.
According to his admirers, Ribadu, a former Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), has a remarkable track record in the fight against corruption. During his time at the EFCC, he oversaw high-profile cases and the recovery of large sums of embezzled public funds. To be fair to the former police officers, despite his obvious shortcomings, he performed reasonably well in his capacity as EFCC boss. However, the NSA’s involvement does not necessitate media appearances. What the media says about you as NSA is the least of your concerns. He was constantly dependent on the media to carry out his duties as EFCC Chair, but the NSA job calls for a distinct set of qualifications.
Critics are most concerned about Ribadu’s lack of direct experience in national security and intelligence concerns. The position necessitates a thorough understanding of complicated security issues, counterterrorism measures, and diplomacy. It entails giving the President advice on crucial matters pertaining to foreign policy, national defence, and intelligence collecting. While admirable, some critics contend that Ribadu’s experience in law enforcement is insufficient to prepare him for the complex duties of the NSA.
Furthermore, Ribadu lacks the mystique of the NSA. While some of his harshest detractors have claimed that he has been more of a politician vying for the Adamawa state governorship in recent years than a former law enforcement official, others believe that being ambitious isn’t always a negative thing as long as he gets the job done. Ribadu’s current focus isn’t on landing a job, though. Ribadu seemed more eager to pose for pictures and greet guests in his workplace.
While courting the media is not necessarily a negative thing for an NSA, doing so when the country faces a variety of security concerns, such as insurgency in the Northeast, sectarian disputes, and increased criminality, demonstrates an apparent lack of direction.
Terrorists in various sections of the country, particularly the South-East, appear to have accelerated the pace of their operations recently. High-ranking military officials have been kidnapped or killed under Ribadu’s supervision. Numerous young girls from the Federal University in Gusau were abducted in broad daylight. There seems to be a general increase in insecurity across the nation, and the NSA doesn’t seem to be acting in concert to address it.
Addressing these challenges effectively necessitates not only a thorough grasp of security issues, but also the ability to coordinate activities among multiple security agencies, increase intelligence sharing, and establish plans to protect the nation. But who is going to tell Ribadu all of this?
On the plus side, Ribadu’s nomination may offer a new perspective to the national security establishment, as well as a commitment to transparency and accountability. His standing for honesty and fighting corruption might aid in fostering a culture of discipline and professionalism inside the security services.
This is an important and valid point. This writer recognises Tinubu’s efforts to “demilitarise” our politics. Since 1999, no former soldiers have been appointed to cabinet positions. The majority of Nigerians believe that the position of NSA is only open to former generals, therefore few people are aware that a retired police officer may be nominated to the role. Despite this, the author isn’t completely convinced of Ribadu’s abilities to be an NSA.
However, it remains to be seen whether Ribadu can bridge the gap between his expertise in anticorruption efforts and the complexities of national security. Success in this role would likely depend on his ability to quickly acquire the necessary knowledge, build strong working relationships with security agencies, and adapt his skill set to the demands of the NSA position.
Mallam Ribadu’s appointment as NSA has generated diverse opinions. While his anticorruption track record is commendable, concerns persist about his suitability for the national security role. As he continues in this critical position, he should know that the nation will be watching closely to see how he navigates the challenges and contributes to Nigeria’s security and stability.
Olalekan Adigun, a political analyst writes from Abuja.
Residents in Enugu Lament Soaring Transportation Costs, Urge Government Intervention
Enugu residents are grappling with the escalating transportation expenses within the metropolis, leading to widespread hardship and a surge in pedestrian commuters. The removal of fuel subsidies and the absence of palliative measures in the past five months have compounded the challenges faced by the people.
A recent observation by a correspondent from the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) revealed that many residents are now resorting to daily treks covering considerable distances due to the prohibitive cost of transportation. The removal of fuel subsidies and a recent slight increase in petrol prices have exacerbated the already burdensome situation.
Commuters voiced their concerns about the hardship brought about by the surging transportation costs. They noted that the price of Premium Motor Spirit (PMS) commonly known as petrol has risen from the official price of N650 per litre to N665 and N670 in most fuel stations across Enugu. In the Nsukka and Oji River areas, petrol prices range from N670 to N680 per litre.
Transporters like Mr. Obinna Ezinwa, who plies the Gariki–Holy Ghost axis of Enugu, expressed sympathy for the people but cited the high cost of fuel and daily government levies, which have reached N400 per day, as reasons for the elevated transport charges. He emphasized the inability of transporters to influence the situation due to the prevailing high fuel costs.
Tricycle operators, including Mr. Jude Okoli, highlighted that the cost of transportation had surged by over 100 percent, leading to a shift in fare rates. Commercial tricycles, which previously charged N50 for even short distances, now demand a minimum of N100 per passenger.
The dire situation extends to school children, with pupils trekking several kilometers to and from school due to the inability to afford transportation costs. Residents criticized the lack of government intervention, especially considering the removal of fuel subsidies five months ago. They called for transport palliatives, especially for civil servants, who are among the least paid in the country.
Despite the approval of palliatives by the federal government for all states, Enugu residents claim they are yet to experience the positive impact of these measures. The prevailing difficulties underscore the urgency for the state government to address the transportation challenges and explore avenues for attracting Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) to alleviate the burden on its citizens.
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Public Distrust in Abuja Elected Officials: A Deep-Seated Problem
The Federal Capital Territory, Abuja, continues to grapple with a major issue that has long contributed to public skepticism – a profound lack of trust in elected officials. This sentiment has persisted over time, further eroding public confidence.
When people are asked to pinpoint the most significant problem with the government today, the House of Assembly, Executives, Judiciary, politics, corruption, and undue external influence frequently top the list. A prevailing perception among the public is that elected officials are out of touch, self-serving, dishonest, and driven by personal interests, casting doubt on their commitment to prioritize the city’s well-being over their own agendas. While some officials do prioritize their Area Councils’ interests, many others do not.
These negative traits are not unfounded, particularly in the context of FCT-Abuja. Area Council Chairmen are often seen as “Emperors,” unattainable to the very constituents who put them in office. It is indeed baffling to consider an Area Council Chairman who scarcely visits their office as a guest and rarely spends more than two hours in their elected capacity. It’s a matter of great shame.
The most glaring issue with elected officials in Abuja, in the eyes of many residents, pertains to their integrity, ego, and honesty, as well as concerns about how they truly represent their constituents. The influence of special interest money and the self-aggrandizing attitudes of these officials rank at the top of the list of named problems. Some perceive them as dishonest or untruthful. These concerns are echoed by a significant portion of the public.
The public’s consensus is that most elected officials in Abuja are out of touch with the population and are primarily concerned with their political careers. They carry themselves with an air of superiority, only seeming to humble themselves during campaign seasons. While they may be seen as ‘intelligent,’ the public opinion is that they lack ‘honesty.’
In the eyes of the general public, elected officials in Abuja aren’t significantly different from the average person when it comes to intelligence or work ethic. However, they are viewed as considerably less honest, egotistical, somewhat less patriotic, and somewhat more selfish. Assessments of their honesty, in particular, are significantly more negative.
The unapproachable demeanor of these “dictators” in chairman’s clothing cannot be overstated. Even prominent figures like President Bola Ahmed Tinubu have not created such an inaccessible space for themselves. The welfare of the masses is often low on their list of priorities. They show little interest in addressing pressing issues affecting their localities, choosing instead to sit comfortably and allocate contracts to themselves and their associates. Even when presented with the pressing concerns of their communities, they often dismiss them as unimportant if they do not align with their personal interests.
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