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Where is Fanwo’s conscienc?

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Where is Fanwo’s conscienc?

By Stanley Ajileye

Waking up this morning, I remember my former boss, Bayo Onanuga. I will forever be grateful to him for absorbing me as a green horn, to work with him at The News. And not to him alone, but his erudite colleagues in the management team of the magazine, like Dapo Olorunyomi, (Now CEO, of Premium Times), Senator Babafemi, Ojudu (Now Special Adviser to President Buhari on Political matters); Kunle Ajibade, Still with TheNews) Seye Kehinde (Owner of City People Magazine); Idowu Obasa ( our GM then) and of course one Kabir or so, who I never met throughout my days with the magazine.
Remembering Bayo Onanuga today, is not only for the tradition of risking the hire of a green horn like me in such a dynamic media organisation, but more for some key principles with which we were moulded then as raw clay.
Bayo taught me to always do my job with my conscience well guarded.
Once upon a time, a very close friend of his who operated a travel agency had issue with Nigeria Airways. The matter was heading for the court and the man wanted to use his closeness to the Managing Director of the radical publication, to sell his side of the story to the world. The man had written the story personally, with a very loud headline akin to calling the management of Nigeria Airways a fraud. Bayo called me and handed the story over to me to investigate and work on. My discovery was directly opposite the contents of the story I got from my boss. I decided to jettison the whole story altogether, until after about a month, when my MD (Bayo) called me to know why the story of his friend had not been published. I told him, “Oga my investigation brought many facts against your friends” I told him the man belonged to a syndicate of travel agents who had consistently defrauded Nigeria Airways. “Really” Bayo exclaimed “Go and publish your findings, we can’t mortgage our conscience because of any friends”. I stormed the newsroom to put my story together for AMNews which was a daily publication of our organisation. Trust me, the headline was louder: “Fraudulent Agencies Dupe Airways” Whether Bayo and the man still continued as friends, I can’t tell.
The conscience of men is nurtured by truth.
I grew up professionally by this principle which is today deeper in me than the thickness of my skin. It is a central and fundamental principle of journalism as a profession, which was probably why The Guardian Newspaper has its motto as: “Conscience Nurtured by Truth.”
I was not privileged to watch live, the TVC interview of the Director General, Media and Publicity to Kogi State governor, Kingsley Fanwo. Someone just forwarded a clip of that assemblage of lies to me last night, and I have not ceased to wonder why a journalist like Fanwo would go on that ignominious errand, leaving his conscience bare. At a point , I began to think that the Fanwo on the screen was cloned or may be a robbot. I did not see any resemblance of someone who had been within the four walls of a newsroom.

Any man who calls what we have in Kogi State today as a ‘monumental success’, should have either his head examined or his conscience taken to the laundry or even both.
Fanwo called this hunger-ridden state a ‘monumental success’. How he came at the conclusion that, what is happening today is the change that people are yearning for, remains dumbfounding.
Among the epileptic lies of Fanwo was that the state government, in this sense of it, is not owing workers any salary; that Judiciary workers are owed only six months; that the local government operates autonomously, having full financial independence; that, this Dishonourable Assembly is independent of the Executive. I will come back to each of these lies one after the other.

It is obvious Kingsley Fanwo did not rehearse his lies well before he left Lokoja for TVC in Lagos, or before entering the studio to meet Ayo. His eloquence in the studio was the best show of contradiction I have watched in a lifetime.
To start with, he said the administration of Governor Yahaya Bello is a silent achiever, who does not believe in the commissioning of projects. Yet, he could not mention one project that the administration has completed in three years. The best he reeled out (which are even contestable) are at various percentages of completion. So why not just come out to tell the word that his projects are ongoing? It is dubious to say he does not believe in the fanfare of projects commissioning, when we were all witness to his deceptive commissioning of the already commissioned project of his predecessors, some of which were executed and commissioned when the governor was probably in primary or secondary school.
Another contradiction is the self ego thrust on the unending staff verification exercise, which Fanwo claimed led to the elimination of thousands of highly paid ghosts, saving the state of monthly drain of billions of naira. He however forgot to imagine the big question that singular mouth apollo will bring to people’s mind. How were his so-called “corrupt” predecessors, who were paying so much to ghosts still able to pay salary that Bello could not pay after eliminating the ghosts? Fanwo need to return to TVC and tell the world, where the money is going. We need to know, maybe this administration only substituted the ghosts with bigger ones.
Another contradiction, Fanwo said the government is a continuum, ( true talk) but how do we explain the refusal of their government to pay for services rendered to the government before he came to office, just because the services were rendered to PDP government? It is on that same strength that Fanwo posited that the government of Governor Bello is not owing salary because it met five months arrears when it assumed office. I wish to correct Fanwo, Wada government was owing workers only two months when this administration came in. Wada deliberately refused, (to his own discredit anyway) to pay the months that followed his loss at the poll. I remember the issue of salary that was prevalent during Wada was the contention on the non payment of the approved minimum wage at the Local Government.
If the Bello’s administration is insisting on not taking responsibility on the liabilities of past administration, it should cover its face with both hands for collecting the financial assets that the past administration worked for, like Paris Club refund and several billions of naira this government received from the Federal Government as refund on federal roads constructed by past administrations. Why can’t Bello pay the debt he met from the money he met?
Closely related to this is his lie on the autonomy of the local government. Does Kingsley still remember the meaning of autonomy? Kogi State is the only state where local government has been manned by governor’s appointees for a whole term of almost four years. And we know that the subvention of the local government is managed by the governor. I have a personal experience with a particular local government in Kogi West. I did a media job for the local government, the payment was approved before Governor Bello brought in his mal-administrators. The total sum for the job is a little less than half a million naira. Such a little sum cannot be paid by the local government because the governor must approve it first. And the governor has refused to take responsibility for liabilities of past governments. He is only interested in their assets. At a point someone disclosed to me, that whenever the governor wants to pay local governments, he usually sends a template to the administrators spelling out how to utilise same. And it is normally for payment of salary arrears in very funny percentages. That is Fanwo’s definition of autonomy.
On security challenges, I don’t want to play ‘foul’ like Fanwo. I will give it to Bello that he did credibly well until the months preceding the last elections when, the proliferation of firearms procured for election purposes took over the state. Today, cases of armed robbery and kidnapping is more pronounced than it was four years ago. It is in the news that on daily basis, between 8-14 cases of kidnap are recorded on Kabba-Obajana-Lokoja road. People in fake army uniforms armed with Ak-47 and pump-action, a reminder of those used to prosecute election violence across the state recently, carry out these dastardly acts. Fanwo’s Kogi State is the same state where a Local Government administrator allegedly hung a pump-action on his shoulder, parading polling boots. Ours is surely an abnormal state.
So, before Fanwo hails this administration on security, he should remember that the boys they kitted are back on our roads.

Where Fanwo played another foul was on the independence of the legislature. Perhaps he said that to impress Ayo the anchor of the programme ‘Stand Points’, We in Kogi know the truth. Even Ayo was not deceived. He was only playing along. A case of “Oba irepe, maa tan mi kin maa tan e”). Why did Fanwo not mention one decision the legislature has taken against the interest of the executive in the last three years?
Is it the same legislature that we all know sleeps in the left pocket of the governor? Could Fanwo probably be talking of the legislative arm where the governor determines who holds what office? Is it the same legislature that is made to line-up like kindergarten school boys for table payment by the governor’s men? If that is the kind of autonomy Bello wants for Kogi judiciary, that is generating the ongoing imbroglios, I will encourage the Kogi Judiciary not to give in. In Kogi today, we have two arms of government: the Judiciary and the reckless Executive. The Judiciary should pls keep up the fight, resisting every instrument of blackmail. Well, my talk on Kogi legislature is for another day. At the beginning of this administration, I saw what was happening and I wrote about the Dishonourable members of Kogi Assembly. It was about three years ago, I remember after releasing the write-up, the current speaker called me in furry to dissociate himself from the blanket of a name. Anyway, another stuff on our dishonourable members is loading….

I was literally ashamed to hear Fanwo’s submission on the last election. He said the result of the state assembly election, reflects People’s mind towards Gov. Bello. Well, Fanwo may be right if he is talking of the actual figures and not the dubiously announced results. It is a common knowledge that it is only the Speaker, Matthew Kolawole, that truly won his constituency. I will now want to dwell on this subject of litigation.
My big question to my brother Fanwo, is why he wants to eat his future and lick the plate now? I don’t know if Fanwo has a child that is of age, who can independently access information on this state. I can imagine such a child and his or her mother sitting back in their living room, shaking their heads with mouths open as they watched a lying daddy and husband on TVC.
After watching that unfortunate clip, I have continued to wonder if Fanwo’s conscience was in the back pocket of the trouser he sat on during the TVC’s engagement

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Opinion

SARS and SWAT as a metaphor for a failed government: Thumbs up for our visionary Nigerian Youths!

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SARS and SWAT as a metaphor for a failed government: Thumbs up for our visionary Nigerian Youths!

By Chief Mike Ozekhome, SAN.

For decades, I had strindently beckoned on the Nigerian youths to join some of us patriots in the dangerous Nigerian trenches, to win the heart and soul of Nigeria, and take  their destinies in their own hands. Many of the rulers of today have tenaciously glued themselves to government (like aradite), either directly or indirectly. They stay put in Aso Villa through their proxies, minions, acolytes, agents, servants, friends, school mates, kinsmen and kins women, or even kindred family members. Some of these sit – tight rulers were only in their 20s and early 30s when they were already military Generals, Governors, GOCs, Brigade Commanders, Ministers, Commissioners, etc. They have never had any professional or occupational address. Only political addressses. General Yakubu Gowon, for example, was only 32 years old when he prosecuted the 3 year bloody Nigerian fraticidal civil war as a military General and Head of State . And wait for it: he was a mere  bachelor. He only married his wife, Mrs Victoria Gowon, when he was already Head of State. Late Dr Matthew Mbu was minister of Labour at a mere 24; and High Commissioner to the UK at 25!. Today is an age where the youths are still struggling through tears, sweat, pains, pangs, blood and sorrow, to go through 100 or 200 level; or merely gain ordinary admission into our tertiary institutions.
SARS or SWAT, by whatever name called, are the same 6 and half a dozen; the same moinmoin, akara and beans; the same Hamlet and the Prince of Denmark. For the entire lifespan of this clueless and highly propagandist government, I have been screaming on roof tops about its bad governance style and its irredeemably corrupt posture. I dripped oceans of ink, writing tons of articles, press releases and giving countless lectures. I made dozens of television and radio appearances on possible solutions or panacea to our national malaise . I was ignored, barely tolerated. Some rabidly politically partisan persons were even unleashed on me as raving attack dogs. Their social media cliques, those Prof Wole Siyinka derisiveky described as “crawling but unseen Internet millipedes” (some of them grand mothers and grand fathers), insulted any and every Nigerian that dared criticise their deity, nay, their infallible god, President Buhari. Kakaaki were used to herald his exit from and entry into Nigeria. Aircraft maintained by Nigerian tax payers’ money were packed for months at Heathrow Airport, while their pilots and crew luxuriated idly in 5 star hotels. They all patiently awaited the full recovery from health challenges of their idol and totem of messianic redemption. The government, through its attack dog, the EFCC (where is Magu today? ; the ephemerality of power!!! ), then decided  to intimidate, browbeat and overaw me. I refused to bend to their arbitrariness, whimsicality and capriciousness . I valiantly criticised, critiqued and interrogated the impunity of this government. I challenged raw power and dared the viciousness of the government and its awesome security aparatchic. I knew I was on the right path. Thank God He has kept me safe under His bedspread canopy, from their rampaging goons. Some government apologists and spokespersons came roaring, but defensive. They said the Buhari government was the best thing to have ever happened to Nigeria. They wondered why we couldn’t see what they were seeing. To them, there is no hunger, desease, squalor, depression or melancholy in the land. These were merely simulated by haters of Buhari and his government. These views were merely peddled by corrupt politicians and ‘defenders’ of corruption. Indeed, ‘corruption was fighting back’. They said ‘Sai Baba’ was the messiah Nigerians have been patiently waiting for. I reminded Nigerians of Buhari’s first disastrous outing between December 31, 1983 and August 27, 1985. It was indeed the locust years. It was 20 months of regrets, gnashing of teeth and mass poverty. It was an era when Nigerians were openly flogged on their bare buttocks in the name of War Against Indiscipline ( WAI). It was a  shameful era when Decrees 2 and 4 reigned supreme; an era of detentions without trial; when truth was punished once it embarrassed the imperious government of the day. Tunde Thompson and Nduka Irabor are still alive to narrate their horrific experiences of their seering gulag days. This was the better – forgotten days of mass scramble for unavailable essential commodities ( “essenso”). Commodities, such as bread, milk, sugar, tea, flour, eggs, rice, beans, palm oil, meat, vegetable oil, pepper, tomatoes, tarodo, tatashe, fuel, kerosene and even garri, simply disappeared from Nigerian homes. The present fawning and bootlicking Buharists and Buharideens would hear none of these historical facts. They argued that the maximum dictator had changed completely from his autocratic and totalitarian nature and had suddenly undergone some form of Saul – to – Paul trasfiguration, to become a born again democrat. To them, Buhari would even teach Abraham Lincoln the true meaning of democracy (not Lincoln’s1863 Gettysburg Declaration). These obsequious sycophants and flatterers readily showed us Buhari’s newly well starched agbadas and babaringas, expensive eye glasses and designer wristwatches and skin shoes, as signs that he had undergone permanent metamorphosis. I told them it was never possible for a leopard to change its spots, just as it was impossible to jump into the river without getting wet. So, the youths were getting agitated and tired. They had been out of school for many months. The Covid-19 lock – down had compounded their problems. Young girls took to prostitution, standing by the kerbs of major hotels on cold lonely nights, looking for paying’ customers’, to eke out a living with their suffering parents. Many of the youths, frustrated, travelled across deserts and seas seeking greener pastures and  perishing in the process. Some took to internet scams, becoming ‘yahoo boys’. Eye-serving anti-graft agencies went after them with the ferocity of a hurricane Katrina. They were happy to display these boys as a diadem of their ‘achievements’ on their so called ‘war against corruption.’ Meanwhile, they were merely pursuing butterflies while their house was on fire. They conveniently turned their eyes away from the real pen robbers, the historical revisionists, the re-looters of recovered loots. They readily forgave any Nigerian politician who decamped from the opposition to their party. Like Naaman  the leper who dipped himself in River Jordan 7 times and became cleansed of his leprosy , such thieves of our common patrimony became deodorised of their lecherous and thieving sins. The despondent youths watched with amazement from the sidelines, how their future was being stolen bare-facedly, by instalments, by shameless fathers, grand fathers and great grand fathers, whose children were idling away in ivy schools abroad. They knew the day was nigh for them to bare their fangs. They had become tired of broken promises, smothered hopes and    serial deceptions. They suddenly remembered Thomas Jefferson’s immortal words:” when governments fear the people, there is liberty. When the people fear the government, there is tyranny. The federal government is our servant, not our master “. They became convinced about another Abraham Lincoln ‘s famous quote : “you can fool all the people some of the time, and some of the people all the time, but you cannot fool all the people all the time “.
The youths feel cheated by a government driven by executive lawlessness, legislative thievery and rascality and judicial injustice, where justice is rationed to the highest bidder, especially money – wielding and influence – peddling political bucaneers. They became more convinced that SARS killings, extra judicial murders, accidental discharges, illegal toll – collecting road blocks, extortions and police brutality and bestiality, would never stop except they acted. They knew it was time to take charge as a mass movement that required no leadership that would easily compromise and sell to government nichodemously at night.They couldn’t understand why the NLC would suddenly capitulate after raising hopes of mass action by angry Nigerians against a compassless non – performing government. The youths knew they were already on the ground, and that he who is already on the ground fears no further falling. They knew they would go below ground zero, far far below India, as the poverty capital of the world, except they acted. They were convinced Nigeria does not deserve to be the number 148 out of 180 most corrupt countries in the world, and number 3 in West Africa. They could no longer tolerate the ceaseless banditry ravaging the country ;  the increased boko haram insurgency, heightened kidnappings, murders, armed robberies and suicides. They became tired of joblessbess, stigmatisation as” lazy youths”, when all they desire is fair and equal opportunities to actualize their dreams in a directionless and unsympathetic contraption called Nigeria They knew enough was enough, because their “mumu don do”. So, the Nigerian youths have been on the streets and in the trenches for nearly 2 whole weeks now, and still counting, using “#ENDSARS” as a metaphor and allegory of a failed, wobbling, groggy, fumbling and crumbling government and nation. I commend the Nigerian youths for standing up to their rights, with eternal vigilance as the only price they have to pay for their liberty (Learned Hand). Never again will any government take the civil populace, the people, for granted. The people are the real owners of power. Those in government are their servants. The dog wags the tail. The tail does not wag the dog. Kudos to the Nigerian youths, as they continue their genuine struggle of liberation and emancipation from despotism, fascism, autocracy and absolutism. God bless the Nigerian youths. God bless Nigeria.

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North: The silver lining through Zamfara gold

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North: The silver lining through Zamfara gold

By Yusuf Abubakar

It’s not all gloomy after all for the North. Away from the dark cloud of insecurity fostered by the insurgents and banditry activities, comes the rays of light across the horizon. First came the cheering news of the discovery of oil, gas and condensates in Gombe State and the stretch of Gongola basin by the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation(NNPC) and its sister agency, the Department of Petroleum Resources(DPR), which threw the doubting thomases who believe nothing positive could come from the region off balance in 2019.

The landmark uncovering of the treasure specifically along Kolmani River region at the border community between Bauchi and Gombe States, ought to have ordinarily silence the anti-north elements, but some still questioned the effort, describing the breakthrough as political. However, the planned exploration of the oil and gas from the basin for commercial purpose would clear all misconceptions, even as it would no doubt put the affected state on the list of oil producing states with consequent fallout.

As the region basked in the euphoria of the oil discovery comes another silver lining from Zamfara through its rich gold deposits which has hitherto fuelled bandit activities in that state. The bandits, as it was widely reported, were taking advantage of the situation by acquiring gold at cheap rate and use same to acquire arms and ammunitions for their nefarious activities.

But as it were, Governor Bello Matawalle is turning the tide against these agents of darkness and their sponsors. The governor had approached the nation’s apex bank, the Central Bank of Nigeria(CBN) and by extension the Federal Government for the possibility of boosting the mining sector in the state under the anchor-borrower scheme. The bank will invest the sum of N5 billion for the state to supply it with gold as a proceeds of the investment over time, while under the arrangement, the state government is to purchase the gold from the miners and supply it to the bank.

Already, the federal government has commenced the process of licensing the companies that have indicated interest in mining in the area. What this means for the state is that the gold will no longer be used to fuel the activities of the bandits with the governor stylishly cutting their hold on the supply chain. The second fundamental advantage Matawalle’s gesture throws up is that the state government would have more fund to embark on more projects as he works relentlessly to build a new Zamfara State.

But as usual, those who were profiteering from the seeming lucrative “banditry business” were uncomfortable with the turn of event and have resorted to campaign of calumny against the governor. The sworn anti-north elements are fuelling the misconception that the state government is taking over the minerals within its domain, even as it is public knowledge that mining is exclusive right of the federal government. Their charade has needlessly attracted resources control agitators who are already shouting themselves hoarse in response to the mischief.

But they are bound to fail because the governor’s action is within the ambit of the law as due process was followed in the purchase of gold from artisanal miners. “Individuals, corporate bodies, including states and local governments, are free to buy any mineral product, as long as you go through the normal process. We have what we call private mineral buying centres. We issue licensees so that anyone that is interested will come to us, and once you meet the criteria, we give you a license to purchase these minerals.

“And that is the angle that Zamfara State is exploiting. From their own funds, they are buying gold from their people.” This clarification by the Minister of Mines and Steel Development, Arc. Olamilekan Adegbite in the face of the uproar by the elements over the matter should suffice.

It is sad that senior lawyers who should be abreast of the stipulation of the constitution have joined the misconception foray by creating discontents across the land.

They claimed that the governor’s gesture may trigger other minerals endowed states to deny federal government access to same, while urging the FG to shut down the initiate entirely. This is totally absurd and tended to give credence to the already entrenched speculations that powerful forces who were aiding illegal mining of gold deposits in the state were using bandits as alibi to shield their nefarious activities.

It is public knowledge that some highly influential and prominent personalities, including top politicians, security agents are fully involved in gold mining business in the state, thereby denying governments revenue that would have accrued from the proceed for a very long time.

More disturbing is the fact that these activities have been going on illegally without the federal government’s backing through licenses from the federal government. The situation also denied the state government any commission as its source of generating revenue directly or indirectly. A mining survey report indicated that the federal government lost about N3.23 trillion equivalent to $9billion in revenue accruable from gold exports due to the activities of illegal miners across the country, including Zamfara in 2017.

This is the anomaly Matawalle met on ground and is working hard to correct through collaboration with the federal government, and expectedly, those who have been benefiting from the situation are fighting back. it is therefore the responsibility of all well-meaning Nigerians especially pressure groups in the north to rally round the governor in the ongoing effort to make the state uncomfortable for the bandits and their sponsors who are using our commonwealth to fight us.

Abubakar is of No1, Jama’a Street, U/Rimi, Kaduna, Kaduna state.

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BudgIT: When Apologies Are Not Enough

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BudgIT: When Apologies Are Not Enough

By Adam Adedimeji

Tracka is a kind of feedback mechanism on governmental projects in Nigeria. It is meant to facilitate citizens’ access to respond to projects and programmes carried out by government’s Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) in their communities.
Tracka is one of the schemes used by BudgIT, a Civil-Society Organization, with a selftasked role to engage citizens on budgetary responsibilities from the government with a view to ensuring institutional improvement. Set up in 2014, it is said to be functional in twenty (20 ) States in Nigeria.
The activities of BudgIT, especially with reference to Tracka, showcase the beauty of democracy by enhancing open society and citizens’ participation in governmental projects. In other words, it is a manifestation of the common meaning of democracy, which entails a government with premium on the people in all manner of actions.
Provided it carries out its functions as outlined, which include monitoring government projects with a view to assessing their standards and completion as spelt out in budgetary allocations and, in turn, reaching out to relevant public offices and the concerned communities, BudgIT could be an eloquent testimony that the people in our respective communities are not puppets that have to accept whatever is dished out to them without questions or right of reply.
Recently, Tracka through its Twitter handle, @trackNG, brought its (un)doings to the public when the group alleged that Senator Adelere Oriolowo of Osun West Senatorial District got N40 million for a training programme for select persons in his constituency but ended up spending N2.5 million.
The tweet stated: “N40m was allocated in the 2020 FG ZIP (Federal Government Zonal Intervention Programme) for practical skill development and training of youths and women in fishing in selected areas in Osun West Senatorial District, Osun State. We confirmed (that) 50 participants selected across 10 LGAs (Local Government Areas) attended the training and received N50,000 (each) as start-up grant.”
Tracka’s rush-to-the-social-media comment was further amplified by The PUNCH rush-tothe-press report of September 24, 2020. Typical of how any job done in unnecessary hurry always ends up, both the social media post and the mainstream media report turn out to be a hatchet job that could misinform the undiscerning members of the public due to their deficiency in truth.
Since it is elementary knowledge that the legislature and the executives do not fuse functions especially in a presidential system of government as ours, it amounts to gross ignorance, to say the least, that Tracka appears not to know the glaring distinction between the constitutional roles of the two arms of government. While legislators enjoy the liberty of nominating or sponsoring projects through budgetary provisions, the responsibility for implementation of projects is strictly that of the executive arm.In fact, projects, whether emanating from the legislature or the executives, are domiciled in
the relevant Ministry or Agency of government responsible for the implementation of such.
In clearer terms, notwithstanding being the facilitator of the project through his legislative
input, there is no way Senator Oriolowo can be involved in the implementation of Zonal
Intervention Programme for practical skills development and training of youths and women
in fishing recently conducted in selected areas of the Senatorial District.
It follows therefore that enquiries regarding projects implementation ought to
be channelled to such relevant Ministry or Agency, except the mission of the enquirer
revolves around mischief or anything other than overall public interest.
Had Tracka not rushed to make defamatory insinuations that Senator Oriolowo had pocketed
N37.5 million, the group would have found out the actual number of persons targeted to
benefit from the programme and it would have realized that the beneficiaries are more than
fifty persons that took part at the first batch of the training programme.
Tracka would have further known the exact percentage of the budgeted amount that was
eventually released by the Ministry to the Agency in charge of its implementation.
Also, while it is true that N50,000 was disbursed to each of the fifty participants as starter-
pack after the training, it is far from the truth that only N50,000 was spent on each of the
participant.
Is it that Tracka’s network was not available or fluctuating, hence its inability to compute
logistics needs of the trainees and their trainers, such as accommodation, transportation,
feeding, workshop facilities, among other necessities? What of renting a hall for the training
and equipment provided for the participants as part of the start-up incentives?
Tracka also failed to put into its consideration that as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, it
is unwise, if not hazardous, to gather all the selected beneficiaries of the fish farming training
at one place at a time.
Obviously, it is not hard to find out that the project is slated to be done in phases and not a
one-off thing. With this, no one needs rocket science to understand that Tracka’s post that
only N2.5 million out of the earmarked N40 million was spent is nothing but a fallacy.
Was Tracka in a trance? Was Tracka just out to twist facts in order to impugn
Senator Oriolowo’s hard earned integrity and mislead the general public? The whole scenario
is antithetical to the values of creativity, insight, accuracy, excellence and accountability
enunciated to be the hallmarks of BudgIT, the parent body of Tracka.
In the course of writing this piece, precisely on Sunday, September 26,
BudgIT had apologised to the Lagos State Government for another misrepresentation in its
latest release of States Report.
In tweets after tweets, the organisation said it has retracted its graphic that listed the Lagos
State government some days ago among states with inability to meet their recurrent
expenditure.
Given that ours is a clime where those who own up to their wrongdoings are in short supply,
BudgIT ordinarily ought to be commended for acknowledging its fault and apologizing in
that regard. But then, that apology is too insignificant to have any meaningful impact on
healing the wounds caused by the organisation.Through Tracka’s spurious allegation, it is hard for one to believe that BudgIT is on a mission (as it claimed) of using “creative technology to simplify public information, stimulating a community of active citizens and enabling their right to demand accountability, institutional reforms, efficient service delivery and equitable society.”
Except the civic society advocacy group takes urgent steps to do the needful by correcting itself on this issue of 2020 FG ZIP, it is doubtful whether BudgIT would ever realize its noble vision to “see a community of active citizens that relentlessly make effective use of public information to demand accountability, geared for institutional improvement, efficient services delivery, and an equitable society.”
Indeed, with what misinformation could do to humans, BudgIT’s false information on 2020 FG ZIP is extremely dangerous not only to the constituents of Osun West Senatorial District and Senator Oriolowo but also to the FG and the Nigerian people in general. This is quite disappointing in view of the role expected of BudgIT.
This matter goes beyond Lagos State government and the 2020 FG ZIP. It transcends tendering apology in a series of tweets to only the Lagos State government. BudgIT needs to be evaluated psychiatrically.
If nothing mentally is wrong with the organization, BudgIT should apologise to Nigerians and pay appropriately for the inestimable damage its avalanche of misinformation has caused Nigeria and Nigerians.

# Adedimeji is an Abuja-based legal practitioner and can be reached through: ilovedisjob@yahoo.com

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