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I Cease to be A Civil Servant- Yushau A. Shuaib

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Written by yashuaib
Asagba of Asaba, Professor Chike Edozien is a detribalised and patriotic traditional ruler

Yushau A. Shuaib with First Class Igbo Traditional Ruler, the Asagba of Asaba, Prof. Chike Edozien during a special event in the King’s Palace in 1993

Exactly 20 years ago in October 1993, I received the Best Writer and Researcher Award while serving as a member of the National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) in Delta State. Impressed by some of my writings and research efforts, Governor Olorogun Felix Ibru consequently offered me automatic employment in the Government House, Asaba as Public Relations Officer in the state Civil Service.

A few months later, another double award of automatic scholarship and NYSC National Honours Award was announced for me by the Federal Government of Nigeria. The honour by the Federal Government also went with an offer of automatic employment in the federal civil service that was not subject to either federal character principle or space availability.

Since then I had found myself working in various organisations as either Press Secretary or Head of Public Relations as I continued to write official Press Releases and personal opinion articles. Some of those organisations include Federal Ministries of Information, Finance, Health, National Assembly, Revenue Mobilisation Allocation and Fiscal Commission (RMAFC), National Press Centre and finally National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA).

Since April 2013 when I was recalled from NEMA due to the influence of Nigeria’s Finance Minister, Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala who had earlier spoken to me on phone alleging that I accused her wrongly in one of my writings, I had made up my mind about the civil service that I had served diligently and professionally without allowing myself to be influenced or intimidated by anyone.

In the course of these past months, my salary was suddenly stopped without any official notification to that effect. I had been summoned, issued letters of queries and confronted with verbal threats in the vain hope that I would retract the write-up and tender an apology. Of course, I stood my grounds in the same way that I had politely declined the minister’s request during the telephone conversation.

Finally on Thursday October 3, 2013, I received a letter of retirement from the Federal Civil Service, which was backdated to June 20, 2013. Though the letter erroneously referred to me as Assistant Chief Information Officer (ACIO) (because as of fact, I had been promoted a Chief Information Officer (CIO) with effect from January 1, 2012), it contained the charge that I was retired for criticising a public officer.

After consultation with my family members, all of who believe that my life is more precious than political and administrative scheming, I accepted my disengagement from the civil service effective today (October 9, 2013) leaving my traducers in the ultimate court of the creator.

I must extend my gratitude to the government of the state where I started my journey in the civil service and its people and to the Federal Government for finding me worthy to be a civil servant of the Federal Republic and allowing me to serve in various capacities in the last twenty years. I have received tremendous support and encouragement from editors of both mainstream media and publishers of online media across the country all of who also showed keen interest in the recent development. I will never be able to show enough gratitude to you all.

I understand the weaknesses inherent in the public service but must express tremendous appreciation for the concern and understanding displayed by some officers in the public service and top members of the Federal Civil Service Commission. For personal reasons, I declined to accede to their friendly advice that I should take certain actions that might enable me keep my job in the service but which I believe would assail my conscience.

Finally, I thank all my colleagues, friends and admirers who have been my pillars of support. I put my trust in God Almighty and rest assured in the solemn belief that Nigeria shall be great.

Yushau Shuaib

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About the author

yashuaib

Yushau A. Shuaib is an award winning public relation professional. He is popularly called Idiagbon during his university days, He has distinguished himself with several credible awards in the field of public relations. Notable amongst them are Campus Writer of the year, Alhaji Sabo Mohammed Best Student in Public Relations, Delta State NYSC Merit Award, Automatic Scholarship for the Best Corps Writer, Head of State National NYSC Honours Award, NIPR Public Relations Person of the year in Kano/Jigawa State and the Young Achiever of the year from a Business, among others

32 Comments

  • Mr. Shuaib, you know and you are aware that what you did was very long. There is no justification for your action and you therefore deserved the booting to teach bad people lke you out of the civil service

    • Ogwa or what did u call your name,i belive u dont know, what u are saying,u re acusing shauib that, what he did is wrong?but is fact,we shld not afraid of truth no matter how bitter is. Dont worry leave them to God. Better way will be open for u.

  • If one door did not closes, another one will not open. Almighty Allah will make a better way for you where there is no way.
    Stay blessed,
    Lanre Aminu, National Coordinator, Oodua Youth For Good Governance and a Personal Assistant to the Governor of the state of Osun

  • Every right thinking person must be very proud of you and the position you have chosen to defend your integrity. More grease to your elbow

  • While your bosses, the direcors in the civil service and political office holders are afraid of calling the bluff of power that be, your admirable doggedness and fearlessness as stand you out. Weldone

  • This madness must stop one day. yashuaib God should be your streghth. You are a detribalised Nigerian from the collection of your article which I read in your blog. AS an Igbo woman I am very proud of you. I didn’t see you doing anything wrong. God will protect you the more

  • Don’t mind her. We learn she wants to contest in the next election where she may have the chance of sacking every civil servant that come her way, shameless and lousy minister using ethnicity to fight innocent public worker

  • Almighty Allah will be ur strength! There is purpose for everything that happens in our lives, God will open the door of mercy for you wherever you go. Nigeria will be good one day. We are proud of u.

  • You may be intelligent, you may be hardworking, but, there are rules for work in the civil service. If truth be said, you are proud and arrogant. If the minister condescended to call you means you actually had a chance to continue your career but, you know, “Pride goes before a fall.”You are damn too low in the cadre to take on a minister.
    I wish you well.

  • Yushau, While you were at NEMA you are not one to indulge in smear. I don’t know what your problem with the Finance Minister was, but I’m dead sure the fallout is a case of our public figures overreaching themselves and wanting to play God. You’ve done we’ll and have nothing to worry about. It’s only in dysfunctional systems like ours that talented people get cast aside to massage egos of politicians and people in power. Goldfish have no hiding place. It’s a matter of time before lots of offer for your services come from more serious, goal driven establishments. The minister can thump her chest that she edged you out of government work. But that’s how far she can get. The things that matter most, your life and skills are still with you.

  • Congrats for the courage in successfully pulling out of the prison yard of Public Service with many devil servants abound

  • The Lord is your strength. Like the late Chief Bola Ige put it, you have ceased from being an Evil Servant as from today.

  • This is sad! Our leaders don’t want the truth 2 be told… I believe that God gave you that position, for you to make a difference and impact lives. Now, that phase of your life is over and I believe you are on course to a much brighter and fulfilling life. Continue to speak up! Nigeria desperately needs people like you. May God continue to bless and prosper you..ameen. By the way, I wish you a happy birthday today. Congratulations.

  • Yashuaib, I just got a call from a mutual friend informing me of this development. It’s sad how these people think of themselves as gods. Well I believe in you. Shine on boss.

  • My good friend, colleague and oga, you will continue to walk tall and tower above your enemies. But, have you noticed that you have contributed greatly to this great country already. I bet you that your best is yet to come as God will surprise you and shame your detractors.Congrats.

  • I am proud of you my brother.

    “…AND IN ALLAH, LET ALL TRUE BELIEVERS PUT THEIR TRUST.

    It was nice working with you. I really learnt and gained from your humility.

  • Free finally from stifling, constricting bureaucracy, you are on your way to realizing your full potential. God be with you, my brother.

  • People’s Daily Editorial
    Yushau Shuaib: Killing a fly with a sledge hammer

    In April this year, Mallam Yushau Abdulhameed Shuaib, then a Chief information Officer in the federal civil service incurred the wrath of the Minister for Finance, Dr Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala. His article, touching on some activities of the minister did not go down well with her and the minister took the extra-ordinary step of calling the civil servant directly on phone to lodge her complain. As it turned out, that phone call was the beginning of chain of actions that would eventually force Shuaib out of service. It is a sad end to the career of an obviously talented writer who strayed in a service where men of his talent are held suspect or are even unwelcome.

    The civil service in Nigeria operates a code which abridges the constitutionally guaranteed freedom of speech for the citizenry. Given this reality, Shuaib should have been more circumspect in putting his talent to use while still in service. History has shown that Nigerian civil servants of his talent often run into political tsunami while putting pen to paper.

    Even then we do not see what was so offensive in the article in question that would provoke a minister, a powerful minister at that to engage a low profile civil servant in a wrestling bout. There are rules of engagement for erring civil servants and we do not believe these rules were applied in the case of Yushau Shuaib.

    The former civil servant was a staff of the ministry of information on posting to the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA). If he erred, disciplinary action against him should have been initiated by the agency to which he was posted or the supervising authority of that agency or even the ministry that posted him out. It is rather shabby that the minister of finance had to engage him in an indecorous shouting match.

    We also find it disturbing that the letter of retirement from the Federal Civil Service issued to Yushau on Thursday, October 3, 2013, was backdated to June 20, 2013. The retired officer also complained that the letter erroneously referred to him as an Assistant Chief Information Officer (ACIO) when in fact he had been promoted to Chief Information Officer (CIO) with effect from January 1, 2012. The reason for his retirement is that he criticized a public officer.

    Why was a letter issued on October 3rd backdated to June 20? When was the decision to retire him taken? What was the official rank of the officer at the time of his retirement? Why was his salary stopped even while he was still in service? What is the penalty for a civil servant who criticizes a minister? Is it retirement? Was proper procedure followed in procuring the retirement of this officer? Have we not killed a fly with a sledge hammer?

    These and many more questions will agitate the minds of discerning Nigerians as Yushau Shuaib goes into premature retirement.

  • How Okonjo lweala Sacked Yushau A Shuaib
    By Adeola Aderounmu

    If you are in doubts about the stupidity of civil or government service in Nigeria, you should follow the recent development that led to the sack of a civil servant called Yushau A Shuaib. Let me explain.

    I have never met Shuaib before and I am not looking for to our meeting. But I remembered that he wrote a rejoinder to my story about how 80 000 Nigerians could perish overnight due to a certain dam that was neglected or abandoned somewhere in Nigeria.

    In that article, I’d asked several questions on the preparedness of NEMA should the accident occur. In his rejoinder, Shuaib defended NEMA and did his job as the press officer of the agency.

    I did not overflog the issue but today we all knew how Nigerians perished in that flood and other floods around Nigeria. The bottom line is that government or government agencies are ill-equipped for management of disaster. Worse still is that the government of Nigeria due to neglect and low-mental abilities are the architects of these tragedies. A dam or functional drainages could have availed much is many of the Nigeria flood disasters.

    Anyway moving on, 2013.

    As I later found out Shuaib writes every now and then also on the Nigerian Village Square. In one of his recent stories he criticized the Nigerian Finance Minister, Okonjo-Iweala. It’s hard for me to actually believe that one government officer can criticize another albeit a senior and a minister whom he described as Nigeria’s most poweful woman-invariably. I didn’t know that there exist one who was more powerful than Patience Jonathan.

    What Shuaib wrote about Okonjo-Iweala in that story (Still on Okonjo-Iweala and Controversial Appointments) are the things we already know about Nigeria: appointments are based on ethnic groups, favoritism, nepotism, man-know-man, tribalism and all sorts of useless codes that are peculiar to Nigeria.

    Okonjo-Iweala is not the first Nigerian Minister or influential person to appoint or recommend her tribes men and women into top positions. This has been the stupid norm in Nigeria. Shuaib’s men from his part of the (useless) country have done the same and are probably still doing that at this moment.

    Even the president pulled his men from his tribes and region into positions of privilege across Nigeria. Some of Jonathan’s tribesmen that I know were pulled from their oversea postings to come back to Nigeria to serve with him.

    If I describe Nigeria’s politicians or top public servants with derogatory words like stupid, useless, corrupt and senseless, you know some of the reasons.

    Shuaib’s sin did not make him a saint among the ranks. Though some people will give him a pat on the back for daring to criticize the government he serves. That’s a rare Nigerian attitude. I’m still in shock he actually took Okonjo-Iweala to the dryers.

    Shuaib was damn right in his article. He could probably have added that what Ngozi Okonjo Iweala did is the same that everybody is doing in Nigeria so that the attack is not targeted at only Ngozi.

    I’m wondering if Ngozi will try to sack me or if she has ever wondered who this online warrior is. I have criticized her many times because I know she is a big crook. If she can tell me where she and Obasanjo kept Abacha’s loot, I may start to believe her. She’s a bloody liar.

    Even Ezekwisili has taken her time to comment on my story about how she plundered the ministry of Education. Nigerian ministers, commissioners, president and top public servants are all crooks. Otherwise they would have stopped looting and start ensuring that social justice and equality are promoted.

    Today in Nigeria under the watch of people like Ngozi-Okonjo Iweala, ASUU is on strike and education is brought to a halt. Their children and families are abroad so what do they care? Health care is grounded as these fools in power continue to mismanged Nigeria’s money. Ask me, who is managing Nigeria’s wealth as the looting and non-accountability continues? Who is the Minister of Finance and Economic Planning as more and more Nigeria drops below the poverty line?

    It won’t make sense for any Nigerian top politician or Minister to try and convince me that he or she is not a crook or a thief. I mean only those who are targeted are exposed. As long they remain relevant to their niche or accomplices, the cover up is huge.

    So Ngozi may also come out to deny the story that she sacked Shuaib. I made the title of this story up of course! I am a blogger! I mean, when Shuaib had not written about Ngozi, his job was intact. When he wrote about Ngozi, his life turned upside down and then he was sacked. Then someone will tell me that Shuaib was sacked by the government and not Ngozi as if government is a person per se. If Ngozi did not react to the story by calling Shuaib on the phone, then I can say Shuaib was duly sacked because he is no longer relevant in service.

    These are the types of things that make Nigeria a real jungle. You criticize a Minister, the minister does not like the criticisms (which is different from the Minister issuing a statement to defend herself) and you get sacked! One would have expected an educated Minister to show that what Shuaib wrote were malicious and not to confirm our fears that this is what happens in Nigeria and that change and hope are not in sight.

    Dictators are everywhere in Nigeria and NOI is one of them.

    Shuaib should never think that I have written in his defense. I am sorry that he lost his job but I know with his connections, he may be back in government big time someday or he may try his hands in the private sector. He will succeed because he has the connection and the pedigree. Even the opposition government can offer him a big deal because he is leaving service loaded with government secret. He will be useful in election smearing campaigns.

    And tomorrow someone may write that Shuaib was sponsored! In Nigeria impossible is nothing!

  • YUSHAIB SHUAIB: ANOTHER PACK OF LIES AGAINST OKONJO-IWEALA

    It will be recalled that two weeks ago, Saharareporters published a story which alleged that the Coordinating Minister called the Publisher of THISDAY to demand the sack of one of his editors over a story which she did not like.

    As the Publisher confirmed later, the Minister made no such call and made no such demand.

    Now, as part of the same campaign to tarnish the image of the Minister, reports are being circulated that she ordered the Federal Ministry of Information to effect the retirement of Mr Shuaib Yushau, former head of information at the Nigerian Emergency Management Agency.
    Like the first story there is no truth in the allegation.
    It is public knowledge that Mr Shuaib, a civil servant, wrote an opinion article in which he made false and libelous allegations against the Minister for which he refused to apologise.
    He was subsequently taken before a disciplinary panel by his home ministry, the Federal Ministry of Information.
    The Coordinating Minister did not influence the process in any way. His recent sack is on account of additional actions which Mr Shuaib should be bold enough to disclose. The Minister was not the issue.
    As the Information Ministry stated in April when he was initially redeployed: “The Honourable Minister of Finance didn’t authorise the redeployment and doesn’t have to do so. Such matters are within the purview of the Public Communication and Human Resources Departments”.

  • FUSTER CLUCK OF STUPIDITY
    Ola Folarin

    Jonathanism – refusing to see that the nation does not think as you do and fooling yourself that it does.–known to cause delusions of grandeur.

    President goodluck Jonathan’s decision to appoint Dr Okonjo-Iweala has nothing to do with equality for women in Aso Rock or Nigeria at large! He appointed her for the same reason he does everything… POLITICS! She is qualified and definitely a liberal woman, but he appointed her because she has in the past expressed the opinion that Aganga hasn’t gone far enough to “stimulate” (the correct word is “destroy”) this economy thru monetizing the debt and holding interest and unemployment rates artificially low which hides the true state of this economy from the public at large. She continued these policies and many more to the detriment of the Nation’s working population. With PhD in Economics (just like Christine Largarde and Janet Yellen,)she was tipped for the IMF top-job before France’s “power-frau” Christine Lagarde was favoured and nominated. The Managing Director Of a world Organisation like IMF must be constantly subjected to criticism and derision.The ability to defend ones standpoints, reply critics and turn hardline antagonists to fan is a major characteristics of the holder of public office.Characteristics which our dear Mrs Iweala knows nothing about. For Publishing an article depicting the factual state of Nigeria’s Gross Domestic Product(GDP) which is at variance to Iweala’s compromised data, Thisday Newspaper’s Saturday Editor Mr Lawrence Ani was reportedly sent on indefinite suspension without pay. This can only happen in Nigeria where political office holders act like Lords of the Manor and trample on people’s right.
    http://saharareporters.com/news-page/nigerias-finance-minister-okonjo-iweala-forced-thisday-publisher-sack-editor

    Unfazed with the barrage of criticisms which followed her actions and bouyed by the power her words convey Mrs Iweala descend heavily on Chief Information Officer of NEMA for criticising her lopsided recruitment exercise which favoured applicants from her state and Igboland than any other region in the country. Yushau Shuaib was hounded, threatened, queried,demoted and eventually retired for nothing other than saying the truth.One will expect Mrs Iweala to use confirmable facts to defend her recruitment exercise and distribute it to the media. Unlike Iweala , Yushau Shuaib is a passionate Nigerian who excelled in almost everything , was offered job after Youth Service and rose through the ranks to become Chief Information Officer of NEMA. Shuaib’s career in the Federal Civil Service was cut short for criticising our Harvard-trained amazon.Pheeeww!!!!! When you evaporate a lifetime of hard earned knowledge,experience, work and wealth from the average Nigerian, he will take it personal. I honestly commend Yushau Shuaib for accepting this monumental injustice as a sacrifice for the betterment of our Nation. People like Iweala populate our Nation and are the real clogs in the wheel of Nigeria’s progress.

    When I saw Jonathan’s talk and then Iweala’s… I got the same realization I’ve had before, that these PDP’ers don’t listen to Youths speak.. .they get their information second hand, like cancer from 2nd hand smoke. The PDP is like a huge pile of festering boils poisoning the body politic. Nigerians need to grow courage and slash these stinking boils before they completely destroy the country.

    We can not allow federal executive to use repression as a tool of governance, that would set a precedent that will not end with this administration. I believe women should be paid at the same scale as men for the same job, I believe in equal rights for all citizens, I believe we need environmental regulations so corporations are not free to pollute at will, I believe that the financial regulations should have some teeth as has already been proven that *Victoria Island* is incapable of self regulating their greed, Subsidies should Support self sustaining businesses, the country’s tax burden should NOT fall solely on the backs of middle ,Lower And impoverished class workers. I believe in supporting education, I believe in funding infrastructure, I believe in what made this country great and Do Not support selling voices to the highest bidder. I Do Not believe starving children is a legacy of a civilized society. Nigeria can set the right idea in trying to bring a sense of balance to these inequities and it will never be perfect. Do not let perfect be the enemy of good. There will always be flaws and abuses but the abuses are not restricted to poorest of the citizenry as has been proven. Abuses will be directed to the executive and the country’s leadership untill our Good gets better and better becomes best.

    It’s time for the adult in Mrs Iweala to re-emerge, suppress this testosterone-fueled adolescent anger and outburst fueled by desperation ( to retain her Seat) and her insane lies about unemployment and state of the economy. Mrs Iweala is pulling her skirts up too high and nobody is enjoying the view. DISGUSTING !!!!!!

    If they are not stiffling any voice of criticism, they’ll be offering laughable excuses for their undefendable mistakes. Like a cluck of stupidity, their noise makes neither sense to them nor to any listener. With seven(7) air mishaps and almost 200 lives wiped out,the Minister of Aviation (Stella Oduah)called it “an act of God”. Latest of which reminds me of Fela Anikulapo’s classic song “Double Wahala for Dead Body”. That the ill-fated Aircraft was allowed on Nigeria’s airspace is worrisome and depletes travellers confidence in Nigeria’s aviation sector. Ms Oduah expend more time and resources on uplifting Airports infrastructure completely neglecting the condition of those aircrafts.She is not helping grieving families with her careless and unguided statements especially against a former Aviation Minister who took her up on the issue.She has been raining unending abuses on Femi Fani-Kayode for asking questions and criticising airport facelift projects instead of improving the quality of aircrafts on Nigeria’s airspace.No matter how Ms Oduah past this type of bilge it does not erase the facts.Improving Airport Aesthetics is quite different from improving Safety standards. Safety standards save lives. Instead of expanding her fuster cluck of stupidity, Ms Oduah must(as a matter of urgency) concentrate on the worthiness of most aircrafts in Nigeria. That’ll increase confidence in the sector and ultimately save lives.

  • Yushau Shuaib — A Victim Of Executive Hooliganism?
    Ahmad B. Kaita on October 15, 2013 in Leadership Newspaper

    The recent controversial sacking of one Yushau Shuaib, a chief information officer with the Federal Ministry of Information is, to say the least insensitive and unsophisticated and one of those cheap moves usually engaged by cabinet ministers to cover each other’s back. Shuaib has to go for daring to ask questions that even those technically involved with running the finance ministry could dare not ask.

    Perhaps, Dr. Okonjo-Iweala’s larger than life media personality is so intimidating to many that she does not usually get challenged whenever she decides to engage the public using phantom figures and charts to prove Nigeria is getting out of poverty while food is still miles away from the table. It was therefore an unexpected experience when Shuaib picked her policies to pieces.

    For the Finance minister to have placed a personal call to a “lowly” chief information officer to complain about his right to express his opinion, such opinions must have hit a raw nerve. I was left wondering, why the duo of the Finance and Information ministers were more disposed towards a scandalous and reversible option of sacking Yushau Shuaib when they could easily achieve better result without exposing themselves to ridicule by simply answering the posers thrown by him. Now Shuaib is sacked and nothing is forthcoming as an explanation of the dangerous attitude with which Dr. Okonjo-Iweala runs the Finance ministry which he meticulously enumerated in his article.

    One could easily assume both ministers, drunk with a constant mantra for due process and rule of law will exhibit a little of their convinction to seek for redress if, by any chance they felt Dr. Okonjo-Iweala is maligned or offended by Shuaib’s article which, by the way contains nothing but simple basic home truth the government doesn’t want to hear. Shuaib put his job and honour on the line to write what he wrote because of his conviction of the factual accuracy of the issues contained therein. I expect the best anyone could do is to pick him up on that in a competent court of law.

    One may even ask, what happened to the culture of “rejoinder?” Yushau Shuaib gave the federal government an excellent opportunity to look itself critically from the mirror of Nigerians which definitely gives different images with what they see from the eyes of their cronies. I admire Okonjo-Iweala’s courage for even daring to call Shuaib when she does not have the answers to his posers. She might have assumed he is just another cheap Nigerian commodity that can be persuaded to eat his words. This is a new phenomenon Nigerian leaders have to contend with. Seems like there is a general consensus by shortchanged Nigerians to take their destiny in their hands by subjecting their leaders to leadership tests and refusing crumbs that come in whatever shape or denomination.

    Today Yushau Shuaib may be a sacked civil servant. Laughable as it it may seem, Dr. Ngozi should have referred her desire to be brutish to the case of her former boss who escaped the hangman to became a president. If she and Minister Labaran Maku really believed they have the power of life and death on innocent Nigerians who feel courageous enough to use their constitutional right to say where and when leaders went wrong then, they truly need to get ready to sack all the civil servants in the employment of the federal government.

    If only they could come down their high horses and engage diplomacy and decorum, there is a lot to learn from intelligent and honest people like Yushau Shuaib by even people like the Finance minister with an “out of of this world” image, albeit imaginary. For Minister Maku, one is always left confused trying to reconcile him with the “activist Maku” of those days who have since abandoned his earlier conviction for something entirely against any known leadership culture.

    Interestingly, these are the same people hoping to sell the president to a nation traumatized by their deeds and misdeeds. I wonder how many votes the duo of Okonjo-Iweala and Maku could gather that Shuaib could not scatter with the stroke of his pen. Ordinarily, one should assume the two should have the combine intelligence to know that Shuaib is better contained within the radar of the federal government. There are some people that you should just not make enemies of and Yushau Shuaib is one of them. And certainly, this war is far from being over. Maybe when it gets messier, we may get to know what is making the two ministers jittery. Meanwhile, let’s hope for a blissful Eid-el Kabir.

  • My Oga Idiagbon, My Great BUKITE Ambassador, Wallahi we are very proud of you, May Allah in His infinite Mercy will see you through and make it easy for you. Posterity will judge you for the cogent courage, dexterity and unwavering optimism you exhibited will be a food for thought to the upcoming youth of our great country.

  • Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala: The Story Of A Vindictive Minister By Abdullahi Yunusa
    By Abdullahi Yunusa

    Call her Nigeria’s de facto Vice President or Prime Minister and you won’t be faulted at all. For her sake, a peculiar ministerial nomenclature was created just to differentiate her personality and ministerial portfolio from others. She is no other person but the smooth-talking Finance Minister, Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala and Coordinating Minister of the Economy, an additional assignment that has no constitutional backing.

    Most Nigerians know her more as “Madam Statistics”, who in responding to the cry of starving poor masses in a country literarily flowing with milk and honey would reel out statistics of Nigeria’s ‘bourgeoning’ economy. She is so familiar with statistics that she challenges even the unlettered to assess the President Goodluck Jonathan’s government based on verifiable statistics from the National Bureau of Statistics and not by the growing and biting poverty in the country.

    She is a Super Minister. Her colleagues, based on directive from the ‘Oga at the top’, take whatever she dishes out, whether good or bad, hook, line and sinker. One can summarily refer to her to as the “alpha and Omega” of the Jonathan administration. Like the Queen of England, she does no wrong. The Finance Minister operates like the Lord of the Manor. While it is considered a taboo to go against Mr President’s directive, such limitation is not applicable to Mrs Okonjo-Iweala. Like a typical Nigerian “Oga at the top”, this former World Bank staff expects absolute loyalty from her staff, colleagues and people who are even older than her even when she doesn’t deserve it.

    She’s so powerful a Minister that she could superintend over the affairs of ministries outside her jurisdiction. Yes, this untoward act can only be possible in a President Jonathan’s Nigeria. One cannot really explain a situation whereby a Minister in charge of the Finance Ministry could call for the sack or redeployment of civil servants in a different ministry for very unexplainable reasons! This is the question that stares many in the face. If one single Minister, obviously with the tacit support of the “Oga at the top” has the monopoly of knowledge and is armed with needed managerial and administrative acumen to oversee other ministries, then its senseless hiring other ministers to carry out similar tasks.

    Having taken time to offer a few explanations on the personality of Mrs. Okonjo-Iweala and the enormous powers she wields as Finance Minster and Coordinating Minister of the economy, let’s now focus on the issue this piece intends to address. As you read through these lines, two personalities from both the private and public sectors have since been controversially disengaged from service for very spurious and puerile reasons courtesy of our all powerful and indispensable Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala. These two personalities were basically given this inhuman treatment for daring to stand on the side of truth and for blatantly refusing to call tricycle a motor car.

    The two personalities in question here are Mallam Shuaibu Yushau, who until the time things fell apart was the Head, Media and Information Unit of the National Emergency Agency (NEMA) and Mr. Laurence Ani who until the period his employers, Leaders and Company, Publishers of Thisday titles suspended him, was the Saturday Editor of the paper. Though the ‘sins’ of these gentlemen are similar (they both chose to stand on the side of truth by refusing to call a spade a shovel), but the treatment they got varies.

    Mallam Yushau, aside being a civil servant is equally a consistent public affairs commentator as his strong and objective views have become regular on the pages of local and international dailies as well as online sites. He believes in the potency of communication as a lubricant for oiling societal wheels, without which a society could grind to a halt. It is this realization that has continued to drive him to consistently offer his views on wide range of issues, especially as it relates to the masses. He combines this onerous task of dishing humanity with necessary information needed for personal growth with his official assignment as a Federal civil servant. To borrow from the dictionary of story tellers or feature writers, trouble started when Yushau, in line with his resolve to draw public attention to practices capable of igniting crisis in the financial sub-sector of the economy that he stepped on toes. As usual, Yushau innocently wrote against the gradual ‘Biafranization’ of appointments into public service by the Finance Minister, Mrs. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala. He didn’t only advise the Minister not to rubbish her rising global profile by stooping low to promote an ethnic agenda, but equally warned of the huge consequences of her actions. Ironically, instead of commending Yushau’s forthrightness and possibly get a pat on the back for the good done to Nigeria and herself in particular, the minster rather chose to wield the big stick or kill an ant with a sledgehammer.

    Minister Okonjo-Iwaela swore never to allow this resourceful government information manager go scot-free. She vowed to use everything, including getting Mr. President’s approval to either sack Yushau or be redeployed to Borno state! Yes, that was the extent to which Madam Finance Minister took her anger to. Even though the public officer in question was not a staff of her ministry, she employed all means just to make sure that Yushau’s wings were clipped or completely chopped off. Informed sources at the Presidency said while the angry Minister of Finance wanted Yushau out of the public service radar, Yushau’s boss and minister of Information and National Orientation, Mr. Labaran Maku stood his ground that he couldn’t afford losing one of the ministry’s competent communication managers to an ego battle. His stance however didn’t go down well with Madam Minster and her collaborators who insisted Yushau must be dealt with. To calm frayed nerves, Mr. Maku had in his wisdom and in the interest of the nation redeployed Yushau back to the ministry where he held sway as the head of Features and Economic Desk before Yushau himself tendered his resignation letter.

    As you read through these lines, Yushau’s promising, result-oriented and enviable public service of more than two decades has rather ended abruptly! For daring not to recant, for refusing to speak from both ends of the mouth, for stubbornly failing to call a rake a hammer and for choosing never to act like a coward, he left the civil service prematurely.

    In all sincerity, Mallam Yushau Shuaibu hasn’t lost anything. His conscience, which he prides as his invaluable asset remains intact. Unlike others in similar circumstances, he chose to stand by the harmless advice he offered our Powerful Finance Minister. I pity the Nigerian public service for losing Yushau rather controversially. Undoubtedly, the Nigerian nation has invested much into this man, and when it was time to meaningfully offer himself for general good, power shylocks who felt personal interests supersedes national considerations ensured he leaves the service. I weep for my dear country. It is a sad development all together that we feel unperturbed losing our best hands for very selfish reasons. This is one injustice that all well-meaning Nigerians must all rise up to challenge. Silence would amount to endorsing the rascality of leaders as various levels of governance. We must all rise in defence of citizen Yushau.

    Another Nigerian who is presently languishing at home, courtesy of Madam Finance Minister’s overbearing dominance is one Laurence Ani, the erstwhile Saturday Editor of Thisday Newspaper. Like Yushau. Mr Ani, a trained media manager refused to play to the gallery by reporting issues about the minister the way they happened.

    What landed Laurence Ani in trouble was a report filed by one of Thisday’s business correspondents, James Emejo, which cited data that indicated a drop in Nigeria’s Gross Domestic Product. The report had it that Thisday publisher; Mr. Obaigbena had tendered apology to the Minister with a “promise to sanction the editor for daring to publish a story that reflected poorly on the minister’s management of the economy.”

    As you read through these lines, Thisday Saturday Editor has been on indefinite suspension.

    Madam Finance Minister is fast gaining popularity for the wrong reasons. Like a typical Nigerian leader, Madam Minister always expects media practitioners to be fair to them in their reportage. They don’t really care. All they want is to be praised even where they should be literarily taken to the market square for some strokes of cane.

    For how long will Madam Finance Minister continue to use powers at her disposal to tear ordinary Nigerians who dared call her bluff into shreds?

  • Women who are more powerful than Jonathan
    October 27, 2013 by Allwell Okpi

    Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala
    Right from when the negotiation to bring her from the World Bank started, it was obvious that Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala was bound to wield so much power in Jonathan’s government.

    With her position as the coordinating minister for the economy (a new position created for her) and Finance Minister, Okonjo-Iweala, who is currently 83rd on Forbes’ global list of powerful women, calls the shots as far as Nigeria’s economy is concerned.

    While doing that, she has called the bluff of many including state governors and the National Assembly without any consequence.

    The state governors, who have complained about the shabby way the minister treat them, have called for her removal while the Academic Staff Union of Universities has called her a ‘dictator.’ But no matter the protest, Okonjo-Iweala remains a darling of the President.

    The sacking of Mr. Shuaib Yushau as the Head, Media and Information Unit of the National Emergency Management Agency, after he wrote what was considered a critical article against Okonjo-Iweala, further showed that the minister was not to be messed with.

    The article entitled ‘Still on Okonjo-Iweala over Controversial Appointments’, published on March 6, called on the minister “to ensure that appointments into important positions should be done in credible and transparent manner that can withstand public scrutiny.”

    Similarly, Mr. Lawrence Ani, was reportedly suspended indefinitely from his job as Saturday Editor of Thisday Newspaper for publishing a story that cited data that indicated a drop in Nigeria’s Gross Domestic Product under Okonjo-Iweala’s watch.

    In 2011, against the opinion of the majority of Nigerians, Okonjo-Iweala and the Minister of Petroleum Resources, Diezani Alison-Madueke, insisted on the removal of fuel subsidy, and literally ordered it on the outset of 2012, resulting in the Occupy Nigeria protest.

    Okonjo-Iweala, who also served as finance minister and foreign minister under President Olusegun Obansanjo and as a Managing Director at the World Bank, was born on June 13, 1954 to Professor Chukuka Okonjo, who is the Obi (traditional ruler) of Ogwashi-Uku.

    She graduated from Harvard University in 1977, and earned her Ph.D. in regional economic development from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 1981.

    She is married to Ikemba Iweala from Abia State.

  • ANDREW AZAZI, YUSHAU SHUAIB, FESTUS ODIMEGWU AND THE REST OF US

    Written by Raheem Oluwafunminiyi

    The inquiry of truth, which is the love-making, or wooing of it, the knowledge of truth, which is the presence of it, and the belief of truth, which is the enjoying of it, is the sovereign good of human nature. –- Francis Bacon

    When Uthman Dan Fodio, the great Islamic scholar who initiated the Sokoto Jihad of the early 19th century observed that “conscience is an open wound,” he was not merely identifying a puzzle but also working a simple solution around it, stating that “only truth can heal it”. Dan Fodio knew the
    efficacy of truth; he understood it as the bedrock of any just society and ensured that truth remained the opium of the masses. Without truth, confusion and tribulations was sure to take centre stage. No doubt, if Dan Fodio were to be alive today, he would have been shell-shocked and heartbroken at the way his progenies had sacrificed truth at the altar of perfidy.

    When we look back at the history of the jumbled collection called Nigeria, we would discover that truth has always found no way near our developmental strides and our collective aspirations as a people. It is because we have not yet told ourselves the basic truth about how we have arrived at our particular parlous state of affairs today in this country, hence the reason we are yet to find solutions to where the rains began to beat us. A situation whereby every political office holder is bound by the truth which his oath of office demands and upholds it to the best of his ability, the babel of confusion and deceit which the spokesperson of the Aviation Minister and head of the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) have come to typify for our nascent democracy wouldn’t have occurred. At a time our aeroplanes have become flying coffins and in return killing innocent souls and with the swift procurement of two bullet proof cars because there was a threat at the life of a minister or because it was procured to shuttle foreign dignitaries (heaven knows which of the two to believe), is it not right for those involved from top to bottom to for once speak the truth and heal the wounds such malfeasance had caused our collective sensibilities? For how long would we continue to remain inept when only the truth could salvage an annoying situation? For all the salt we are worth and for the sake of our African “giantness”, should it not be proper that truth must always take centre stage in any of our dealings and actions? Why should the vast majority of Nigerians be made to go through so much pain when someone, who in his bid to empower or better the lot of the people, is quickly criticised and removed from his position which he had suffered and worked diligently to earn only because he decided to uphold the truth? For as long as we have planted the seed of lies into the way we run our politics, the country will continue to face iniquities which she may never come out off.

    Not many will forget the late National Security Adviser, Gen. Andrew Owoye Azazi when he some time ago shocked not only the political class but the vast majority of Nigerians with a rare but sincere statement. The statement credited to him was quite shocking because despite the duties of the NSA being totally apolitical and the purview of that office politically and expediently ensconced within the presidency, the late Gen. Azazi stirred the hornet’s nest to an astounding public with his damning statement linking the security challenges faced by the country to the undemocratic machinations and Machiavellian brand of politics of the ruling party. He did not spare the People’s Democratic Party PDP, as he traced the origin of the church, police headquarters and United Nations buildings bombing, suicide attacks, senseless shootings and killings by Boko-Haram to the “politics of exclusion of the PDP in the region”. The late Gen. Azazi was categorical about the fact that the source of insecurity unprecedented in the history of the country began “when there was a declaration by the current president that he was going to contest.”

    It is not all the time policy makers in Abuja speak the truth or stay true to the oath of their office. The late Gen. Azazi, however, chose to pursue his differently and therefore, went all out to remind the vast majority of Nigerians how sincere very few individuals at the corridor of power could be, especially at a time when truth should not be suppressed while insecurity desecrated the long years of peace most parts of the North was known for. Gen. Azazi eventually paid the ultimate prize for speaking the truth and nothing but the truth and had to be forced out by powerful forces within the ruling party. With the further escalation of insecurity in the country vis-à-vis the kidnappings, senseless killings, armed robbery and a total onslaught by Boko Haram on innocent sleeping students among others; Gen. Azazi would be smiling in his grave today, having been vindicated but sad at the same time that his sincerity was taken for granted.

    Fast forward to 2013 when not quite long ago, the story of one Yushau Shuaib, a former spokesperson of the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) went virile. Mr Shuaib’s problem began when in a published article in March titled “Still on Okonjo-Iweala over Controversial Appointments” pilloried the Coordinating Minister for the Economy and the Honourable Minister of Finance, Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala over appointments made into government MDAs. Mr. Shuaib did not stop there as he went further to urge the minister “to ensure that appointments into important positions should be done in credible and transparent manners that can withstand public scrutiny.” Even when such statement were sincere and spoke truth to power, those who felt offended by such statement would not take it mildly. They quickly rushed to not only terminate the appointment of Mr. Shuaib but also humiliated him out of his enviable position which he had tirelessly worked for and put much sacrificed into since 1993. Mr Shuaib’s article was just one part of an expose amidst many bedevilling the Nigerian Civil Service and MDAs. His choice of singling out the minister was perhaps his albatross; however, Mr. Shuaib couldn’t have been farther from the truth or was it not in this country that a former immigration boss was voluntarily retired because of an employment scam which was believed to have tilted towards a particular ethnic group? Have we forgotten that our Civil Service, MDAs and public organisations today are replete with series of recruitment and employment scams which unfortunately are skewed to favour particular ethnic and religious identities? Many of such recruitments are entirely biased and not based on merit and therefore, not a surprise that application for jobs still appear in outmoded forms at a time when Information Technology continues to break new grounds through online registration and recruitment feedback? Is it not a normal occurrence in this country that the sons and daughters, friends and associates of the political class swiftly get most of the jobs many of them are not even qualified for? Are we not inundated with the news on a daily basis of how according to Mr. Shuaib, “best brains,” “foreign trained,” and “foreign-based” are used as catchy phrases “to deprive qualified, competent and experienced Nigerians to aspire to top positions” because “some competitive and sensitive positions can only be filled by unique intelligent tribes?”.

    It is because few people like Mr. Shuaib who mean well for the country and “will dare tell the truth on the general feeling in the country” are not appreciated, that is why mediocrity, ineptitude, and impunity continue to ravage the country with failure and stagnation as the resultant effect. A situation where someone in government cannot speak and uphold the truth does not augur well enough for whatever transformation agenda political rabble-rousers and jobbers pretend to pursue for their pay masters. Mr. Shuaib may have been disgraced out of office, but he will remain to many Nigerians, like the late Gen. Azazi, the hero. His name will forever be etched on the sands of time and because he had learnt to pursue truth, social justice and equity, he will never be forgotten by those who according to Francis Bacon seek ‘the sovereign good of human nature’.

    Some few days back, the media was awash with the resignation of Chief Festus Odimegwu, the former chairman, National Population Commission (NPC). His resignation was not unconnected with the query handed to him over what certain vested interests claimed were ‘inciting comments’ credited to him. Chief Odimegwu’s query came amidst reports that he had alleged the 2006 census was characterised by flaws and for attempting to warn the government about the possible failure of the proposed 2016 population census. Chief Odimegwu stirred the hornet’s nest which nobody in the NPC would dare by also declaring that the country had not had a credible census since 1863, blaming the irregularity on distortion and falsification of figures for selfish and political reasons by politicians. Even when the former NPC boss diplomatically claimed his statement was based on records and evidence produced by scholars and professors of repute, nobody in the presidency cared to know or gave a damn. To them, Chief Odimegwu’s appointment “was a mistake” and he just had to leave.

    With Chief Odimegwu’s resignation, there is no doubt in the minds of many Nigerians that one of the few men who would have given a facelift to, and ensured sanctity in the way our census should be conducted in this country has been done away with. What we are left with are simply yes-men who also do not give a damn and therefore, nobody should be surprised if the 2016 census is criticized for its unreliable and ersatz results.

    It is quite an irony that we have forgotten so soon as a people that one of the reasons for the 1966 coup was the skewed national census of 1963. It was because the first post-independence election held in 1962 and conducted by a Briton; Mr. J.J Warren was cancelled as a result of public outcry that was why it was agreed it should hold in 1963. That census was mired in so much controversy that the result was not only nullified by the Tafawa Balewa regime but had to be reverted to the figures of the 1953 election. The fear of the census and its aftermath quickly led to political alliances of strange bed fellows that eventually led to the collapse of the First Republic.

    If Chief Odimegwu had spoken truth to power as one Nigerian on the unfortunate way our census had went and spoken of a way to remedy it, shouldn’t we have seen it as a means to cure one too many headache once and for all? We have sacrificed patriotism towards the nations for cheap political gains and that is why if the political class will not heed to Chief Odimegwu’s warnings, the 2016 census will only add up to the long list of never-do-well policies and waste this country is better unappreciated for.

    There is a particular saying that: tell the truth and shame the devil. When we as a people, especially the political class uphold this as a virtue, nobody would question insincerity in government. Our inability to speak the truth at all times, sacrificing it for political and pecuniary gains, will not stop making us appear as a creeping giant even when small ones are fast holding forth the mantle of greatness.

    Raheem Oluwafunminiyi, a social commentator writes via creativitysells@gmail.com

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