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USAfrica: Obiano’s 2nd term in Anambra offers hope in governance. By C. Don Adinuba

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Obiano’s 2nd term in Anambra offers hope in governance
By C. Don Adinuba

Special to USAfrica [Houston]  @USAfricaLive

Since the relationship school, closely associated with Peter Drucker, made a robust comeback in the 1990s among leadership and management researchers, top management schools around the world have displayed a greater interest in the role of passion in the success of organizations.

The resource-based view (RBV) in strategic human resource management argues that a fundamental difference between high achieving organizations and average ones is the passion difference. While ordinary firms are run by people who work without passion, super performing organizations have members who go far beyond the call of duty to deliver the goods.

Two expressions which are closely associated with passion by organizational members are deliberate practice and stretch. By deliberate practice, applied psychologists refer to the fact that people who put in greater effort than most of their competitors. Stretch in management science is a term first used in 1990 by General Electric under Jack Welch to refer to a task that seemed initially impossible but eventually got done.

Passion is extremely important in political leadership, too, especially in crisis situations and transformation of societies. Passion, sometimes referred to as commitment, is the heart of nationalism. One of the critical success factors for the phenomenal transformation of South Korea, Singapore, Taiwan, Hong Kong and other southeastern societies is the passion of the people and their leaders. Nationalism is now regarded as one of the core Asian values. We all saw how everyday people in South Korea brought out highly cherished personal assets like trinkets and sold and gave the proceeds to the government to enable it to weather the storm when their country’s economy went into a tailspin in the late 1990s. Western scholars, who used to mock the Asian countries for their acute nationalism, have since acknowledged that nationalism was a key factor in the quick recovery of Asian nations and territories from the profound currency crisis. That Biafra survived for a whole 30months during the Nigerian civil war of 1967 to 1970, despite all the great odds, owed to the passion of the people.

The first thing which struck new members of the Willie Obiano administration in Anambra State as they assumed office on Monday, March 25, was passion writ large. In fact, the passion thing had become manifest three days earlier, on the first day of the two-day retreat to prepare the members for the task ahead. The governor arrived at the retreat when most of the commissioners, special advisers, permanent secretaries and heads of the agencies were still eating. Because he uses no siren, the governor took most people by surprise. On the second day, he also arrived ahead of the time.

Obiano sat through the two-day retreat, taking notes, contributing to every discussion on the scintillating presentations by Chukwuma Soludo, ex Central Bank of Nigeria governor; Osita Ogbu, an economics professor and director of Development Studies at the University of Nigeria, Enugu Campus, who is a former chief economic adviser to the president and chairman of the National Planning Commission; Ibrahim Magu, head of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission; Daniel Okafor, a director of the Code of Conduct Bureau; Bismarck Rewane, the chief executive of Financial Derivates, a Lagos-based consulting firm; Macaulay Atasie of Nextzon, also in Lagos; Twinkle Oruware, an engineer and management consultant in Ibadan, Oyo State; Collins Onuegbu, a software consultant; and Fela Durotoye, an exceptional motivational speaker . Each presenter provided sufficient food for thought.

Passion was also at display on the day the new appointees were inaugurated. Just before the inauguration, a short ceremony was conducted for those who worked with Obiano in his first term. John Emeka, the Anambra State deputy governor from 1999 to 2003 who was to serve under Obiano as Commissioner for Science and Technology, delivered a soul-stirring speech which was apparently spontaneous. Far from showing bitterness for not being reappointed like most departing members of the council, Emeka told Obiano: “I will cherish participating in your government every day of my life. People of Anambra are very proud of you. This is why they voted for you overwhelmingly in the last November 18 governorship election”. Turning to the new members of the council, the ex deputy governor said: “You must prove your mettle from Day One. He is accessible and amenable. He wants you to disagree with him because he knows you are no robots; he likes good, healthy debates”. Like other members of the outgoing council, Emeka received a certificate of merit, a lapel pin of the state and all his entitlements right there.

The inauguration was followed immediately by the first Executive Council meeting which the governor led, and he spoke for about four hours on various topics without leaving his seat for a second and without notes. He remembered the minutest detail of discussions held at the last Exco meeting on March 5.Throughout the long hours the first Exco meeting lasted, he left no one in doubt that he genuinely believes in his mantra of “achieving more with less”.

The governor was passionate during his meeting with the board of the Anambra Broadcasting Service (ABS) two days later. Having built the most technologically advanced radio and television stations in Africa, he demanded that the TV channel go digital in less than three months and that it do 24-hour broadcasting which has to be available on DSTV, the popular pay channel operated by Multichoice of South Africa. Expressing disgust at the quality of buildings at the ABS, he said work would soon begin on the construction of tall and elegant buildings there. Turning to me, he declared: “We must learn how to use our land resource very efficiently, since the state is the smallest in the country in terms of land mass, after Lagos. Even so, erosion has reduced our land mass considerably. See how Singapore, Israel, Hong Kong and Taiwan use their limited lands to create wonders”.

The meeting with the ABS board had hardly ended when he entered the weekly Security Council meeting where he dominated the environment. Members of the council include not just the state police commissioner, the DSS director in the state, the Civil Defence and security Corps commander, the army and naval commanders in the state, the Commissioner for Information and Public Enlightenment, the governor’s special adviser on security, his special assistant on security and head of the state vigilante who is a respected retired police commissioner, but also heads of the Customs Service, the Immigration Service, the Prison Service, and the Federal Road Safety Corps.

Obiano invites some other people to participate in the security council meetings depending on the issues for deliberations; this time a representative of the traders unions attended because of some market issues. The governor takes security so seriously that he counts the number of road blocks by security agents and the number of soldiers and policemen manning each at any point. He even noticed that some sandbags used by the police in remote riverine communities sharing border with Kogi State were torn and ordered their replacement.

The next day, he ran straight from Onitsha where he was attending the Maundy Thursday mass in Onitsha, as part of the Christian Holy Week of Easter, and headed straight to the Alex Ekwueme Square in Awka where he handed over 40 vehicles from the Innoson Vehicles Manufacturing firm in Nnewi to security agencies. He promised an additional “100 made in Anambra vehicles soon to the agencies to ensure our state remains the most peaceful in West Africa”. Val Ntomchukwu, the Deputy Inspector General of Police who represented IGP Abubakar Idris on the occasion, said: “Other states should emulate Anambra which has become the country’s safest state. The governor means every word he utters”.

I have never seen the Anambra people so optimistic of their state as they have been in the last few months. Having been in office for just two weeks, I now have a better understanding of why Chukwuma Soludo, Bart Nnaji, Victor Umeh, Chris Okoye, Okey Ndibe and even Emeka Anyaoku and the Obi of Onitsha encouraged me to go to Anambra State and make my contribution to the development of the state, after my initial hesitance. Babatunde Fashola, the Minister of Power, Works and Housing, calm , cool and very measured as ever, spoke about Obiano the way I have never heard him praise any governor. Anambra State provides a glimmer of hope for Nigeria.

Adinuba is Commissioner for Information and Public Enlightenment, Anambra State.

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AFRICA

U.S calls on Nigeria to investigate killings of Shiite muslims by soldiers

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The United States embassy in Nigeria said on Thursday it was “concerned” and called for an investigation after supporters of an imprisoned Shiite cleric were killed in clashes with security forces.

The Islamic Movement of Nigeria (IMN) said 49 of its members were killed this week after the army and police fired live bullets at crowds who marched near and in the capital Abuja, calling into doubt the military’s official death toll of six.

“The United States embassy is concerned by the deaths resulting from clashes between Nigerian security forces and members of the Islamic Movement of Nigeria in areas surrounding Abuja,” said the US embassy in a statement.

“We urge government of Nigeria authorities to conduct a thorough investigation of the events and to take appropriate action to hold accountable those responsible for violations of Nigerian law. We urge restraint on all sides,” it added.

Amnesty International said on Wednesday it had “strong evidence” that police and soldiers used automatic weapons against IMN members and killed about 45 people.

“We have seen a shocking and unconscionable use of deadly force by soldiers and police against IMN members,” said Amnesty’s Nigeria director Osai Ojigho.

Nigeria, Africa’s largest economy, is almost evenly split between a mostly Muslim north – which is predominantly Sunni – and a largely Christian south.

Experts have warned the government that a heavy-handed response to the group risks sparking conflict in a volatile region where poverty is widespread.

IMN leader Ibrahim Zakzaky has been in custody since 2015, when an army crackdown killed 300 of his supporters, who were buried in mass graves, according to human rights groups.

Zakzaky is facing a culpable homicide charge in connection with the 2015 violence, and is in jail despite a court order granting him bail. ref: AFP

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BrkNEWS: America under threat of terrorism by mail; suspect quizzed

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The discovery of pipe bombs mailed to prominent Democrats, CNN and a liberal billionaire has put the United States on edge and sent law enforcement officials scrambling to prevent any more packages from reaching their targets.

The hunt for a serial mail bomber began late Tuesday night when Secret Service personnel conducting standard mail screenings found a pipe bomb inside a plain manila envelope with a bubble-wrapped interior addressed to former secretary of state Hillary Clinton.

A similarly packaged bomb was found hours later in mail addressed to former president Barack Obama.

Neither bomb got close to its intended target, and neither contained a written message, according to law enforcement officials.

At least seven suspicious packages were sent in New York, Washington and Florida, including to prominent African American Democrats, Obama’s attorney general Eric Holder and Maxine Waters, a California lawmaker.

Waters was sent three packages, according to the FBI.

The envelopes were marked with computer-printed address labels. Each listed Debbie Wasserman Schultz, former chairwoman of the Democratic National Committee, as the sender.

Those targeted were a virtual litany of US President Donald Trump’s favourite subjects of criticism in tweets and at campaign rallies, from his “lock her up” slogan for Clinton to his denunciation of CNN as “fake news”.

From the White House, Trump initially appealed for unity, saying “acts of political violence” have “no place in the United States”.

“Those engaged in the political arena must stop treating political opponents as being morally defective,” he later told a campaign rally in Wisconsin, before switching his criticism back to the media.

The attacks began on Monday when police “proactively detonated” a pipe bomb found at a residence in New York’s suburbs owned by billionaire philanthropist and Democratic donor George Soros, who’s often portrayed by conservatives as a secretive bankroller of liberal causes.

Officials described the devices as attempted acts of terrorism and cautioned that the number of bombs – and intended victims – could grow.

“This investigation is of the highest priority for the FBI,” FBI Director Christopher Wray said.

One such package used an incorrect address for Holder, and it was “returned” to Wasserman Schultz’s office in Sunrise, Florida, where it was intercepted, according to officials.

Photos by AP

Authorities do not believe she had anything to do with the packages and think she was a potential victim.

The bomb addressed to former CIA director John Brennan was found in the mail at CNN’s office in New York.

Since leaving the government, Brennan has been an outspoken critic of Trump; he is an on-air analyst for NBC News and MSNBC, rather than CNN.

The Secret Service intercepted the package addressed to Clinton at the home she shares with her husband, former president Bill Clinton, north of Manhattan on Tuesday, and a second package addressed to Obama’s Washington home on Wednesday.

Law enforcement officials described the devices as PVC pipes stuffed with explosive material and shards of glass.

They were wrapped in electrical wire and tape, but they provided no detail on how they would have been detonated.

Malcolm Brady, a former Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives official who spent decades investigating bomb suspects, said federal agents were carefully poring over the packages for any clues they may hold as to the identity or location of the sender.

“You have to be extremely careful when you examine this stuff, because a piece of tape could have a fingerprint on it,” Brady said.

Most mail-bombing suspects are “loner types”, said Brady, who added he doubts this bomber made a mistake when he used a bad address for Holder.

“That looks like an intentional manipulation of the system, to try to get it to go to the congresswoman (Wasserman Schultz). I strongly suspect he wanted that package to go to her. That suggests he’s really focused on her.”

The US Postal Service operates a sophisticated imaging system that photographs the outside each piece of mail processed across the country and can be used to determine the specific location of where it was sent.

That’s how federal officials were led to a woman who sent the poison ricin through the mail to Obama and then-New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg in 2013.

The envelopes and packaging materials themselves will also be closely scrutinised.

“It will be a treasure trove of forensic evidence,” said Anthony Roman, a private security and investigations consultant.

“As human beings, we are filtering off our DNA everywhere we walk, everywhere we sit.”

Even the most careful bomber is likely to leave behind genetic material that could be used to identify them, especially traces of sweat, saliva or skin cells. There may also be fingerprints or hair.

But it may not be that simple to catch the culprit.

There have been times, such as with the recent spate of bombings in Austin, Texas, as well as with the notorious Unabomber, when each device had a different “signature” in an attempt to throw off authorities or as the person making the devices tested and finessed their technique.

The Washington Post, Agence France-Presse, Associated Press, Reuters

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USAfrica: Showdown in Lagos 2019 as Tinubu rallies against Gov Ambode

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By Chido Nwangwu @Chido247

The national leader of the All Progressives Congress Bola Tinubu has publicly disowned his political ‘godson’, the Governor of Lagos, Akinwunmi Ambode.  A few hours ahead of the APC primaries today October 1, 2018, Tinubu endorsed his opponent, Babajide Sanwo-Olu, alleging Ambode deviated from the  planning model for Lagos written during Tinubu’s first term, 1999-2003. 

USAfricaonline.com correspondent in Lagos saw several of Ambode’s posters all over the neighborhood of Bourdillon where Tinubu resides.

The same Sunday of September 30, Ambode characterized his opponent as a fraud and felon in the U.S. “He is not fit to secure the ticket of the All Progressives Congress (APC). The embattled Gov alleged that Sanwo-Olu was arrested for spending fake dollars in the US and has gone for mental health rehabilitation in Lagos. Here are excerpts from his press conference:

We have never responded to the campaign of calumny on social media. We have one family in APC. The aspirant being put up to compete against us is not a fit and proper person to take this job.”

I have done everything in the last three and half years to serve people selflessly and to serve the poor.

This particular aspirant is somebody that has been arrested for spending fake dollars in a nightclub in America, and he has been detained for months.”

He doesn’t have the competence to do what he is being propelled to do. This is somebody that has gone for rehabilitation before. The records are there at the Gbagada General Hospital. We don’t want to go too far. Our leadership should have a rethink.”

I plead with our leaders to have a rethink, It is not about me, it is about the opportunity that APC has.”


WHY I’M OPPOSED TO THE RETURN OF AMBODE

Special to USAfrica & USAfricaonline.com

[On October 1, 2018], our party and the people of Lagos will have an encounter with destiny. We shall hold our governorship primary.

With the holding of direct primaries to elect governorship candidates in Lagos and other states, the APC takes a groundbreaking step toward greater internal democracy and progressive governance for the benefit of all people.

While our party is young, it has grown fast and has travelled far in a short time. This speaks well of the character of you, the party’s rank-and-file members.

What, in other nations, has taken political parties generations to achieve, we have done in a few brief years. No other party in Nigeria dare attempt what we have already dedicated ourselves to do.

I thank and commend all APC members and all Lagosians who have lent their support to this historic and humane mission upon which our party has embarked.

We are democrats in the truest sense of the word. As such, we forever search for what is good and right for the people. With this ideal as our guide, tomorrow’s primary cannot be shaded by selfish ambition or the perceived personal grievance between this or that person. Something much greater waits in the balance. What is at stake is nothing less than the future of the people of this state and how we can best maximise our collective destiny.

By resort to direct primaries, the party places the people’s future soundly in their hands. As democracy would have it, you shall be the authors of the party’s nomination and hopefully our next state government.

I trust in the wisdom of the people and will abide it. However, as a leader of the party and as a former governor of our beloved and excellent Lagos, I would be remiss if I did not make a few observations regarding the primary.

My goal is and shall always be a better Lagos. To this objective, I have dedicated the greater part of my public life. Roughly 20 years ago, a corps of dedicated and patriotic Lagosians, put aside personal interests and rivalries, to put their minds and best ideas together for the good of the state. Out of this collaborative effort, was born a master plan for economic development that would improve the daily lives of our people.

Bestowed on me was the honour of a lifetime when I was elected to be your governor in 1999. My administration faithfully implemented that plan. The government of my immediate successor, Tunde Fashola, also honoured this enlightened plan.

 

Where state government remained true to that blueprint, positive things happened. During my tenure and Governor Fashola’s, Lagos state recorded improvements in all aspects of our collective existence, from public health to public sanitation, from education to social services, from the administration of justice to the cleaning of storm and sewage drains. Businesses, large and small, invested, hired millions of workers and thrived.

All Lagosians were to fully participate and justly benefit from the social dividends and improvements wrought by this plan. From the common labourer, to business leaders, to professionals and our industrious civil service. We all were to be partners in a monumental but joint enterprise. None was to be alienated. None was to be left out. And none were to be pushed aside. This is especially true for those who contributed so much to our development, whether as a business leader who has invested heavily in Lagos, the homeowner who struggles to pay his fair share of taxes or as someone employed in the hard work of keeping our streets and byways clean so that others may go about their daily tasks unimpeded.

I make no pretence that the master plan is perfect. It can always be fine-tuned. However, whenever a government departed from this plan without compelling reason, the state and its people have borne the painful consequence of the improper departure.

To ignore this blueprint for progress in order to replace it with ad-hoc schemes of a materially inferior quality contravenes the spirit of progressive governance and of our party. Such narrowness of perspective does not bring us closer to our appointed destination; it takes us farther from that destiny.

For reasons unknown to me and most Lagosians, we have experienced such deviations from enlightened governance recently.

This trend is that which most concerns me as the primary nears. We must arrest this trend before irreparable harm is committed against the people and their future. For the record, let it be known that I shall vote in this primary because I see it as one of extreme import to our state and our party. Just as I shall vote, I equally urge all party members to do so.

We must vote in a manner that returns Lagos to its better path, the one that promises a just chance for all to enjoy the fruits of our prosperity. We must always pursue our goal of a Lagos energised by creative dynamism, tolerance of others, and guided by a leadership capable of extending a collegial hand to all stakeholders, far and wide.

I am encouraged by the emergence of a candidate in this primary who has served the state in senior positions in my administration, the Fashola administration and even in the current one. While possessing a wealth of experience and exposure, he is a young man endowed with superlative vision and commitment. Most importantly, he understands the importance of the blueprint for development. He esteems it as a reliable and well-conceived vehicle for the future development of the state. He also knows the value of reaching out and working with others in order to maximize development and provide people the best leadership possible.

With people like him at the helm, the state will write the proper history for itself.

When the final word is given let it be said that we want all Lagosians to look to the future with the hope and optimism that our best days remain before us and not behind us.

We walk into this primary strong and confidently believing in the right course we are to take. We shall emerge from this primary even stronger and more confident that we have taken that course by returning Lagos and our party to their finest path.

Signed:
Aswiaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu

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