OPINION: BUHARI’S GOVERNMENT FOR BUHARI’S HOMETOWN

I chanced on a senior politician from Katsina in Katsina State who felt so disappointed and absolutely disgusted with the state of insecurity in the Northern States and especially his home state that he told me that almost the greater percentage of the people feeling the impact of the mass slaughter/massacre as he calls it are simply fed up with the President who hails from the same state.

I quickly reminded him that since the year 2015 that his kinsman came to power that he has concentrated all major infrastructural and institutional projects in Katsina state.

I also reminded him that the President has staffed the Presidential office with persons who are largely from Katsina State. I showed him the empirical evidence to prove my assertions.

He looked at me with a considerable sense of disappointment that I displayed what he calls overwhelming lack of understanding or wilful ignorance of the topography of Katsina state and then he wasted no time to reel out the few projects that the federal government built around Katsina city by previous administrations and stated with certainty that virtually all the bulk of the projects that I mentioned were located within Daura Emirate which is the direct ancestral homeland of the President.

My friend said the entire staff of the President that I mentioned are from his state are the direct biological relations of the President and then shockingly told me that the President is the most NEPOTISTIC leader that Nigeria has ever had since the amalgamation of the North and the South by Lord Lugard in 1914.

This very senior politician from Katsina in Katsina state is not alone in the North among those that hold such an opinion about the style of the current President because long before today that i met with this my friend, the Kano state born politician and a second Republic House of Representatives member Alhaji Junaid Mohammed had thoroughly listed out the number of Buhari’s blood relations who are holding top Federal Government appointments courtesy of their big brother Major General Muhammadu Buhari (rtd).

Junaid Mohammed said that Muhammadu Buhari’s relatives are the ones dictating policy in Aso Rock for 170 million Nigerians, adding nepotism to the festering allegation of narrow mindedness levelled against the president, who critics say surrounds himself with Northerners in running national affairs, so says an online media.

Junaid Mohammed, politician and Second Republic lawmaker, named at least seven relatives of the president who are the POWER behind the throne in the Villa – apart from the heads of all vital security agencies who are from the North.

In a telephone interview with TheNiche from his base in Kano, Mohammed accused Buhari of giving key positions to his cousins, nephews, and in-laws, and is therefore guilty of the corruption he is trying to fight.

Mohammed, a hardened critic of former President Goodluck Jonathan, and originally a supporter of Buhari, said nepotism compromises Buhari’s ability to rule the country well, fight corruption, and deal with rogue lawmakers who pose a threat to his administration.

“Both the president, particularly his principal adviser, his nephew, one Mamman Daura; then the Chief of Staff [Abba Kyari], who in fact was brought up by Mamman Daura, including most of the incompetent ministers, are not cut out to work harmoniously in a political environment with the legislature.

Buhari, he said, being surrounded by his own relations who are not politicians. They are not even members of the APC (All Progressives Congress) but dictate policy, especially Mamman Daura. So I can see no peace, I can see no cooperation, and God save Nigeria.”

Junaid Mohammed continued: “But unfortunately, for the country and for Buhari’s legacy himself, he has packed the government, and especially the Presidency, which is really the centre of power, and made it top heavy with his own relations.

“There are many people who are his own cousins in the Presidency. In my own understanding of history and politics, this is what you call nepotism. And if you are against corruption, you cannot be nepotistic.

“So it is really a contradiction for Buhari to have, for example a nephew of his, the son of his elder sister as the Minister of Water Resources [Hadi Sirika] now Aviation.

“He has another niece of his, the elder sister of [Sirika], who is now a national commissioner in the INEC (Independent National Electoral Commission), Amina Zakari.

“They are trying to bury their tracks. But Buhari nominated her even before he became president when Jonathan asked him to nominate somebody to represent the North West (in INEC) and he km that woman.

“And then Mamman Daura, virtually runs the government. He has a veto power. There have been instances when Buhari gave written approval for things to be done, and that man went and stymied, threw the paper away.

“He has become such a tyrant in the Presidency. He is a nephew to Buhari. His father is the elder brother of Buhari, even though the (age) difference between them is about three years, his father is an elder brother to Buhari and they grew up together.

“[Abba Kyari] was brought up by Mamman Daura. His father left him with Mamman Daura to go to Borno, his original state where he was a village head.

“And for all intents and purposes, he is a son of Mamman Daura. He is now the chief of staff to Buhari. His name is Abba Kyari.

“Then [Kabir Daura] the personal assistant to Buhari himself, is the son of Mamman Daura.

“And then the ADC (Aide de Camp) to Buhari is married to the granddaughter of Buhari’s elder sister. His name is Colonel Lawan Abubakar.

“Now with this bloody mess and this disarray and terrible scandal, how can Buhari hope to keep the country in check, and fight corruption and the terrorists?”

Junaid Mohammed’s accusations of nepotism against President Muhammadu Buhari pales into insignificance if you take a closer look at the dizzying speed that ministries and government agencies have since set up strategic national projects in all parts of Daura thereby creating the impression that Buhari’s administration is for BUHARI’s hometown.

The race for which Federal Government’s agencies will be the first to set up institutions in Daura kicked off even before the President appointed his cabinet with the setting up of multimillion Naira worth Helipad inside the Daura Countryside of President Muhammadu Buhari.

One of those ministers is that of education who was reported to have indicated that the Federal Polytechnic Daura had taking off in January 2020.

The Minister of Education, Adamu Adamu had said the proposed Federal Polytechnic Daura in Katsina State commenced academic activities by January.

Adamu had then in 2019 said the institution is to take off in its temporary site – Government Day Secondary School, Daura as allocated by the state government.

Then comes the announcement that the Katsina refinery would be ready in 2021 as stated by Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Ibe Kachikwu (as he then was) said the approved private sector driven Refinery in Mashi, Katsina State will be completed in 2021.

Mr Kachikwu, who made this known to State House correspondents in Abuja said the refinery would have the capacity to produce 150, 000 barrels per day when completed.

Mr Kachikwu and the Nigerien Minister of Energy, Foumakaye Gado had on Tuesday signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between Nigeria and Niger Republic on the construction of the refinery at the Presidential Villa, Abuja.

“However, presently, we have mentally structured our minds for a three-year period to finish the work on the refinery but that depends on what we find during the technical studies.”

And then the near moribund National Directorate of Employment whose impacts are absent in all other parts of Nigeria in the South said it had trained 1000 women in Katsina in 2018.

The National Directorate of Employment (NDE) has distributed cosmetology packs and cash component to 1000 women trained on cosmetology in Daura town in Katsina State.

The Director General NDE Dr, Nasiru Mohammed Ladan Argungu made the distribution at the skills acquisition centre Ganga Daura recently. According to Argungu each of the beneficiaries will be supported with five thousand (N5,000) as start-up empowerment for enterprise creation.

He said, NDE had invested heavily in Katsina State within the last three years in the area of Agricultural park Sabuwa,
Agricultural Skills Training Centre Katsina, vocational skills acquisition Daura, Kurfi, Jibia, Funtua and Rimaye as well as Traditional weaving skills centre at Agayawa village.

Argungu said reasonable number of youth have benefitted much from the NDE Graduate Attachment Programme (GAP) and the Graduate Coaching Scheme (GCS) in the state.

The military institutions are not left out in the race to build projects in Daura to please the President and his hometown.

Around August of last year, President Muhammadu Buhari inaugurated the Air Force Reference hospital in Daura, Katsina State.

The President during the commissioning on assured of his support and commitment in ensuring that the hospital becomes fully functional and accessible to all Nigerians.

He believed that the commissioning of this hospital is another critical milestone recorded by the nation’s armed forces.

According to the President, the medical facilities deployed to the hospital are enough to cater not only Daura people but also those coming from the neighboring Kano, Kaduna, Abuja and even overseas for medical attention.

Last Month it was reported that the Federal Government has approved N2 billion for the establishment of a medical school at the Federal University, Dutsin-ma (FUDMA), Katsina State.

The Vice Chancellor of the university, Prof. Amarya’u Bichi, disclosed to the News Agency of Nigeria shortly after assuming office.

Transportation ministry wouldn’t want to be accused of not knowing that Buhari’s administration is for BUHARI’s hometown and so they are building a massive N18 bullion worth Transportation University in Daura.

Chibuike Amaechi the minister of transportation even preempted critics by saying that he has no regrets building the multibillion institute in Daura, Buhari’s hometown.

With joy, President Muhammadu Buhari last year in Sadanmu, Daura Emirate Council of Katsina State, inaugurated the construction of the N18 billion University of Transportation to be completed in the next one-and-a-half year.

Buhari, while performing the groundbreaking ceremony, said the newly-established institution would bring rapid development to the transport sector as well as generate both academic and non-academic employment opportunities for Nigerians.

He spoke just as the Minister of Transportation, Mr. Rotimi Amaechi, said he had no regret situating the university in Daura, the president’s hometown, as the town is in Nigeria and not in another country.

Buhari stated that the University of Transportation, which will be the first in Africa, will pave the way for the domestication of railway engineering and bridge the technology and skill gap in the railway and transportation sector.

According to him, “This university and Rolling Stock Assembly plant projects have demonstrated the commitment of Messrs. CCECC to having a long-term relationship with Nigeria and thus create more avenues for collaboration between the parties and will no doubt assist the enhancement of the bilateral relationship between China and Nigeria”.

The president added that the university would enable Nigeria to domesticate railway engineering and transportation.

He acknowledged the cooperation and understanding of all stakeholders in the implementation of federal government projects, especially state governments.

Buhari said his administration would continue to create job opportunities through the establishment of indigenous industries and would reposition the transport sector, especially the construction of rail lines, roads, and other transport-related utilities.

According to Buhari, the project is expected to have multiplier effect on the economy and on Nigerians.

“In light of the clear advantages of this university, I wish to commend on behalf of the good people of Nigeria, Messrs China Civil Engineering Construction Company (CCECC) which is building this university as part of their corporate social responsibility.

“In addition to this, I wish to put on record and commend CCECC for the willingness to establish, also, the Rolling Stock Assembly plant in Kajola, Ogun State whose groundbreaking took place on November 9, 2019,” he added.

Earlier, Amaechi had defended the need to build the university and why Daura was picked as its site.

“We realised that education is key to the building and maintenance of of all these infrastructures. I engaged CCECC.

“I insisted on the University of Transportation. Today, we are here for the groundbreaking ceremony of the university.

“When we sited the factory at Kajola, there was no noise; nobody debated about it; nobody abused us for it. Nobody influenced me to site this university here.

“Anybody who accuses me of being a sycophant; let me admit it in advance that I am a sycophant. And if you know the president very well, you will know that sycophancy does not sit well with Mr. President.

Amaechi continued: “Daura is in Nigeria. It is not in any other part of the world. It is not in Niger; it is not in Biafra; it is not in Mali; it is in Nigeria; so, what is wrong in siting a University of Transportation in Daura. I have no regret citing this university in Daura”.

Well, we have been told that Daura is in Nigeria and so there is nothing wrong if all of Nigeria’s money are used to turn the place into another Abuja.

It is in that light that Buhari’s administration is currently constructing a new 330kv/132kv substation in Daura, Katsina State as part of its plan to strengthen and boost power supply to the North West region of the country.

Speaking during a courtesy visit to the Emir of Daura, the Minister of Power Sale Mamman lamented that the region experienced one of the worst supply of electricity in the country.

He explained that the Daura Substation is only the third of such Power infrastructure in the whole northern region adding that such miserable situation was unacceptable and could not enhance the socio-economic development in the region.

Then the Army has also joined the growing list of agencies rushing to set up projects in Daura, Buhari’s Hometown, even as the town will have Battalion Barracks.

“Lt Gen TY Buratai announced that works and provision of infrastructure will soon commence on the proposed permanent site of the 171 Battalion located in Daura. ”

The Chief of Army Staff, Lt Gen Tukur Buratai, has commended the commitment and achievement of troops deployed at forwarding Operating Base at Daura in Katsina State for combating armed banditry, cattle rustling and kidnapping among other menaces during Operation Harbin Kunama III and ongoing Operation HADARIN DAJI in the North-Western part of Nigeria.

The army chief stated this when he visited the base on August 15, 2019, a statement by the army disclosed.

He also disclosed the Nigerian Army’s plans to replicate the “noble concept of Super Camp” in the region, with the aim of projecting offensive patrols, raids, ambushes and other combat missions to tackle the security threats occasioned by the activities of bandits and other criminals elements.

He added that provision of logistics to enable troops to perform effectively remained his top priority.

“Lt Gen TY Buratai announced that works and provision of infrastructure will soon commence on the proposed permanent site of the 171 Battalion located in Daura.

He informed them of the introduction of ‘boots and polish’ allowances, among other welfare packages to boost troops morale, encourage hard work and professionalism.

“There was loud ovation when Buratai conducted troops at the base to a series of push-ups,” the statement said.

In another development, the army chief along with the Chief of Defence Staff, General A.G. Olonisakin, and other service chiefs attended the commissioning of Nigerian Airforce Reference Hospital in Daura and thereafter paid Sallah greetings to President Buhari.

The President Muhammadu Buhari has approved a rail line from Kano to his hometown in Daura.

The rail will run from Kano to Jibia local government areas of Katsina state, Minister of Transport, Rotimi Ameachi disclosed.
Amaechi disclosed the news in Abuja at The Osasu Show Symposium — which bothers on the economy and its effects on the less privileged.

“Government said concession this narrow guage, and we have successfully done that to the extent that we are able to sign an agreement with GE. By October GE will take over the narrow guage and begin to run from Port Harcourt to Maiduguri.

What this trend shows is that the constitutional oath of office sworn to by Mr. President is not being adhered to because the oath obliges the President not to allow his Personal or tribal interest to becloud his national governance decision. The building of almost one hundred major federal institutions and projects in one town of Daura only because it is the hometown of the President is a total negation of the constitutional position of the President of Nigeria as someone who should be fair to all constituencies irrespective of his own personal advantage or interest.

*** Emmanuel Onwubiko is with the Human Rights Writers Association of Nigeria.