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”It Will Take A While Before Nigeria Will See Another Political Leader Like Buhari” – Femi Adesina

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President Buhari turns a year older today. His Special Adviser on Media and Publicity, Femi Adesina, wrote this piece, listing the reasons people love and admire President Buhari.

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“That’s him, that’s him,” the two old women, wrinkled and bent with age, exclaimed. You could see wonderment and fulfillment in their eyes. And as if on cue, they both began to cry.

It was in Bauchi earlier this year. President Muhammadu Buhari was visiting to commiserate with the people on the ravages of windstorm, which had destroyed many homes and other property. As he waved at the tumultuous crowd, the two women saw him, perhaps for the first time in their lives. And so great was their satisfaction, their pure joy, that they began to cry.

That is the kind of emotion that courses through millions and millions of Nigerians when they behold their President, the honest man (mai gaskiya), the man of integrity, man of accountability, one whose word you can take to the bank. The man who loves them, and they love and trust in return.

Don’t misunderstand me. Not all estimated 196 million Nigerians share this sentiment. Not possible. There are those who are passionately opposed to the President. They are a very vocal minority, who abhor his integrity, hate his sense of accountability, and even want him dead. But we are not talking about those who Fela Anikulapo-Kuti called “opposite people.” On this day of his 76th birthday, we are talking of the teeming masses who love Buhari, and who can go to the ends of the earth for him.

Why do they love Buhari? Or better still, why do we love Buhari? The old, the young, men, women, boy, girl, the strong, the infirm. Why do we love the tall man from Daura? For many reasons.

I have said it before, and say it again. It will take a while before Nigeria will see another political leader with such ability to pull an unsolicited and uninduced crowd like Muhammadu Buhari. Anywhere he goes, he doesn’t have to procure the crowd. They turn out in their numbers to see and hear him. They will trek from Africa to China, walk from Cape Town to Cairo, all to see, hear and cheer the man they love.Why?Many reasons. He is an honest man. My father, that stern educationist, who ran the home and the schools he administered with an iron hand, used to tell us: “Honesty is the best policy.” That was true over 50 years ago when he drummed it into our ears, and it is still true today. And will remain true tomorrow, and forever. That is why we love Buhari. He is an honest man, who will tell the truth to his own hurt.

At a recent meeting with governors, while discussing the seemingly knotty issue of minimum wage, the President told them to level with him. He said he knew that general elections were by the corner, “but I don’t like to lie to anybody. I will still like to tell Nigerians the truth, and nothing but the truth, as to what we can truly afford to pay.” Consultations are still ongoing.

Some people will give you fibs, just because they want to hoodwink you, and get your votes. They will announce that they’ve increased the salaries of fictitious workers, even when truly they are owing many of their employees. But not President Buhari. Nothing for him is a matter of life and death. Truth is the best thing in a man’s keeping. Make yourself an honest man, and there is one rascal less in the world. That is why we love the man.

Accountability. I will never forget a promise Buhari made to the crowd at a campaign rally in Lagos in 2011, when he ran with Pastor Tunde Bakare of Latter Rain Assembly. Two honest men. “Every kobo that comes into the treasury will be used for the good of Nigerians.” That’s the accountable man, who would not dip his hands into the treasury for private gains, who will not line his pocket at the expense of the people. That is why we love him.

Just over a week ago, I met a man who was an accountant at the Petroleum Trust Fund (PTF), when the then Gen. Buhari was chairman. Executive Chairman, who could do anything he wanted, since the place was awash with billions of petrol money.

“I told him his salary would be N200,000 monthly,” the man recounted. “He said it was too much, since he still drew pension from public coffers as a retired General and former head of state. I don’t know how he calculated it, but he said he would rather be paid N84,000 monthly. And that was what he earned.”

Yet some people say don’t follow this honest man. Till he has one tooth left in his mouth, and is bent double over his walking stick, we will, no matter what they say. Honesty is still the best policy. Today, tomorrow, and forever.

See all the positions he has held in this country. Governor of North-east, then made up of what is now six states. Minister of Petroleum for over three years. Head of State for 20 months. Chairman of PTF for many years. Yet he remains a man of modest means. That is why we love him.

In the early days of this administration, when oil prices had crashed to as low as 39 dollars per barrel (from as high as 115 in preceding years, stabilizing at over $100 for a long time, yet we had no savings, no reserves), it was usually a spectacle to see the President and the then Finance Minister, Kemi Adeosun, seated and apportioning funds for the week. Depending on what was in the coffers, they prioritized spending, just like traders with low capital base.

Nigeria had been run into a hole. No reserve for the rainy day, and we were being badly beaten by the rain. Yet salaries must be paid as at when due. At least 27 states could not meet their obligations, till President Buhari gave them a lifeline. And then, one day, a counsel was given at a meeting: “This is the time to ideally cut the strength of the federal civil service by at least half, as we may not be able to carry the load for long.” It made a lot of fiscal sense. But to the President, it was nonsense. “If it lies within my powers, I will ensure that no single person loses his or her job. Yes, it may be the right thing to do, looking at the state of our finances, but I won’t do it,” President Buhari said.

And you say we shouldn’t love this President? We will love him till Africa and China meet. A confederacy has arrayed itself against the honest man. A crooked confederacy. Anybody that is anybody in the pantheon of questionable character is there. Are Nigerians fools? After their eyes have been opened, will they willfully afflict themselves with blindness again? Not on their lives! The country will never go back to the slave market. Not after we have known prudence, experienced accountability, and we are are inching out of the morass in which we were soused and marooned.

For more than five decades, mere lip service was paid to diversification of the economy. But we remained a mono-product country. Oil. So, whenever the price of oil crashed in the international market, we simply crashed with it. Now gradually, and inexorably, we are on the road to a diversified economy. Wonders are being done in agriculture. Mining is flexing muscles. Manufacturing is showing prospects. All in less than four years.

What of infrastructure? The sum of N2.7 trillion spent in two years. The roads are roaring to life. The rail is snaking in. Power is powering back. Wonders are being unfolded in different parts of the country. And we shouldn’t love this President? We will, no matter what the naysayers say.

Hear pensioners rejoice: This is the best administration we’ve had since the advent of Contributory Pension Scheme 14 years ago.

Governor Dave Umahi of Ebonyi State spoke at a meeting of governors with the President last Friday. He said since the creation of the state, this was the first time pensioners were being paid, adding that pension liabilities have been cleared by about 40%. Just because there is a President that cares.

Former Nigeria Airways workers. Railway workers. Former Biafran policemen. And many others, have had their pensions paid. And we shouldn’t love the ‘birthday man?’ They should tell it to the marines.

When you have a heart for men, it is God himself that keeps you alive. We have seen a practical demonstration in President Buhari. From the brink of death early 2017, there is now an unmistakable glow in him, evidence of good health from the inside. It is God at work. No wonder wicked people came with the idiocy of Jubril of Sudan. Otiose. Hollow. Products of addled minds. That was why we ignored them, till the President himself responded to a question from Nigerians in Poland two weeks ago.

And you know what? Our love for this President is at no cost. No charge. Whether we work for him, and for him, or we don’t, the real cost of our love is no charge.

Do you know that classic song, No Charge, made popular by Shirley Caesar and Sonia Spence? It told the story of a small boy who decided to charge his mum for all that he considered favours he had done her.

“For mowing the yard, five dollars. And for making my own room this week, one dollar For going to the store, 50 cents And playing with little brother while you went shopping, 25 cents, Taking out the trash, one dollar, And for getting a good report card, five dollars

For raking the yard, two dollars, Total owed, fourteen seventy-five.” The woman looked at her son, standing there expectantly. Then she collected the paper from him, and wrote on it:

“For the nine months I carried you, Growing inside me, no charge, For the nights I sat up with you, Doctored you, prayed for you, no charge, For the time and tears, and the cost through the years, no charge. When you add it all up, the full cost of my love is no charge.”

For millions upon millions of Nigerians who love this President, it is an unconditional love. The full cost of our love is no charge. Happy birthday, Mr President.

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ISWAP abduct six girls in Chibok

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Terrorists suspected to be members of the Islamic State for West African Province (ISWAP) on Tuesday night, reportedly attacked the Yimirmigza village in Chibok Local Government Area of Borno State, abducting three young girls in the raid.

The state police spokesman, ASP Sani Kamilu Mohammed who confirmed the attack, said the insurgents stormed the village at about 10 pm after the people had retired for the night and started shooting sporadically.

Mohammed added that the insurgents have made contact with the family of one of the abducted girls, telling them to forget them as they would never be released unless their commanders think otherwise.

Chibok community has been the epicenter of many attacks by insurgents beginning with the Boko Haram sect with the famous abduction of 276 students at Government Girls Secondary School on 14 April, 2014, which drew serious consternation worldwide.

Since that abduction, there have been a series of other attacks and kidnappings in Chibok, a mainly Christian community located in the southern part of Borno State.

 

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Ban Christians without PVCs from receiving holy communion, Anglican Bishop tells pastors

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The Anglican Bishop of Asaba Diocese, Justus Mogekwu, has called on Nigerian churches to insist on parishioners presenting their PVCs before participating in religious activities, including receiving holy communion.

He said it is the duty of Christians to “enthrone” good leaders by voting.

“Christians must actively get involved in politics to enthrone good governance at all levels. If men who are righteous and fear God are in power, the people rejoice,” said Mr Mogekwu during a sermon on Sunday, Nov. 14.

He added: “Pastors should ensure their members get their PVCs before they take communion and do other worship services in the household of God.”

He continued: “As communion is important to us as Christians, which makes us healthy, spirit-filled and very strong, it is such with the PVC that makes us enthrone good governance at any level.”

Mr Mogekwu then committed the coming elections into the hands of God, praying for good leaders who will move Delta State and Nigeria to a better place.

Similarly, the Delta branch of the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) demanded that churchgoers get their Permanent Voters Card before engaging in worship at their respective churches.

This was made known by Kofa Ithanasius, the CAN chairman of the Patani local government area.

The clergyman added that Christians who refused to vote during the election had committed a sin and that children of God should not murmur or complain when evil men are in power.

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A 10-Year-Old Black Girl Commits Suicide After Racist Bullying at Elementary School

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A Salt Lake City mother says her 10-year-old daughter took her own life over the weekend after being bullied at school.

 

According to an attorney representing the family, Isabella “Izzy” Tichenor, who was also on the autism spectrum, was harassed by her classmates with racial slurs, called “smelly” and teased about being autistic.

The child’s mother, Brittany Tichenor, said she reported the bullying to her teachers at Foxboro Elementary School, but nothing was done.

“We don’t take umbrage with the children,” the family’s lawyer Tyler Ayres told KTLA.

“We take umbrage with the adults who chose not to do anything about it.

The adults who were in charge there should have taken these kids aside.”

Ayres added that the family is also worried for Izzy’s siblings, who attend the same school and have faced similar harassment.

About two weeks ago, the Davis School District, which includes Foxboro Elementary School, was reprimanded by the U.S. Department of Justice for not doing enough to address the widespread racial harassment of Black and Asian American students.

A federal civil rights investigation found hundreds of documented incidents where Black students were repeatedly called the N-word and other racial slurs by their peers from 2015 to 2020.

Black children also told investigators they were referred to as monkeys or slaves by their classmates and told to “go pick cotton.”

In their own investigation, Davis School District officials admitted that discipline data showed their staff treated non-white students differently than white students. However, according to the DOJ, the district did nothing to correct these disparities.

Black and Asian American students reportedly make up about 1 percent each of the approximately 73,000 students enrolled in the district.

In a statement, district spokesperson Shauna Lund said Foxboro Elementary School “worked extensively with the family” and claimed administrators handled the family’s reports of bullying appropriately.

“We, like everyone, are devastated by the death of this child,” Lund said. “Our hearts go out to the family.

Foxboro Elementary has worked extensively with the family and will continue to provide help to them and others impacted by this tragedy.”

On Tuesday (Nov. 9), several hundred people reportedly gathered for a vigil in Izzy’s honor. The hashtag #StandForIzzy also began circulating on social media to bring awareness to the tragedy.

“Even though my baby is gone, I’m going to make sure that I stand for Izzy,” her mother said.

“And I’m going to make sure — for voices that can’t be heard like hers — that this will never happen again to any kid.”

 

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