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Sunday, 31 May 2015

MEMO TO MUHAMMADU BUHARI, PRESIDENT, C-in-C. 2   Your Excellency, I am praying that as you have finally assumed office as the 4th Democratically elected President in this 4th Republic.........

 Your Excellency, I am praying that as you have finally assumed office as the 4th Democratically elected President in this 4th Republic, that you will do well, much better than the already very high expectations. That's why I made the three simple recommendations to you last week that you choose the best lieutenants to support the implementation of your vision for Nigeria. After you have determined what you want to achieve for Nigeria or where you want to take Nigeria to in your four years, I believe that you know that your next most critical assignment is to find the men and women to whom you will commit the implementation of your vision. This is always the most critical function of a Chief Executive Officer( CEO), which you have become as the CEO of the enterprise called Nigeria Inc. If you get this wrong, sir, you may have to carry more burden than is necessary and your vision may be under achieved. I know that you came to power on the platform of a political party and you will  be 'sharing' offices and requesting governors and other party leaders to nominate those who will work with you and for you in the executive branch of government. I know there is something called Zoning and Federal character. I really do not have much problem with that in our type of federation and given the level of our development as a Nation. My only suggestion is that only the BEST from any zone or state or Local Government Area should be appointed to any given position, whether they are professional Politicians or Technocrats. I believe that there are excellent People everywhere, but many may not want to or indeed may not know how to lobby. So I wish that you do a talent hunt for key assignments and please interview your appointees, especially those that will report to you directly. My further humble plea is that if you need to hire somebody to build a skyscraper for our Country, we need to know the height of the building he has built in the past. Learning on the Job is not bad if we had the time to wait or the resources to waste in the trial and error that happens with learning on the job.The work that Nigerians expect you to do is so important, urgent and Herculean that you can neither take chances or outsource your key responsibility.
  My second issue of 'Political will' should not be much problem. You are famed for having that in sufficient quantity and I pray that you never run short. There are many countervailing forces that will try to undermine you and test your resolve. If you do not want anything personally for yourself and you have determined to make all the sacrifice for Nigeria, then the WILL,  will remain intact. On my third matter of the fear of God, I will remain praying and trust that many other Nigerians will be praying that you enthrone righteousness in governance. My Holy book tells me that 'when the righteous are in power, the people rejoice, but when the wicked bear rule, the people mourn'. I pray that Nigerians will not mourn during your tenure.
  Your Excellency permit me to turn to a few other critical matters in this my memo especially as it touches on our Economy. As a patriotic Nigerian( kindly permit the boast) and one who has spent a reasonable part of my adult life in advocacy for good governance and accelerated economic development of our Nation, I believe that your success is our collective success and therefore any one who has ideas ( hopefully good) can present them and you may accept or reject  depending on how such ideas support or detract from your vision. You may therefore wish to consider the following suggestions( which are in no way novel ) as you mount the saddle.
  1. Full Deregulation of the Down stream Petroleum Sector
 I join those who have suggested this should be included in your inaugural address. But whether it is or not, I believe this should be one of your first actions. Luckily or fortuitously I may say, the Nation has been fully prepared for this to happen. In the last three weeks or so, Nigerians across the Country have confronted the worst consequences of lack of a fully deregulated down stream petroleum sector. The suffering we have gone through even to buy 'subsidized 'fuel at up to Four hundred Naira per liter has prepared us to accept full deregulation, where there will be full availability and yet the price will be lower than two hundred naira per liter . The savings from the subsidy can be applied to infrastructure or other critical social services that will benefit all Nigerians. And if we believe, that the subsidy scheme is frought with corruption,fully deregulating refined petroleum prices, should be seen as a critical fight against corruption. Please sir, you will need to do this now and remove this burden from our backs. President Goodluck Jonathan tried to do it in 2012 but it looked as if Nigerians were not quite ready and so was only partially successful.I believe they are ready now, more so that no political party seems to be in any position to take advantage as was the case in 2012. If we do not do it now, it may become much more difficult, if the price of crude recovers further  in the international market. Please recollect that we spent close to 2 trillion Naira in subsidy payments  in 2011 and nearly I trillion yearly ever since then. Our economy can no longer afford this burden and the drop in the international oil price presents us with the Best opportunity to end this economic travesty.
  2. Resist the Temptation to Reverse or Halt the Deregulation of the Electric Power Sector
It is true that many Nigerians have expressed dissatisfaction with the lack of significant improvement with the power situation since the GENCOS & DISCOS were sold to private investors. Many have questioned the benefit to Nigeria and I have heard comments suggesting that it is not rocket science to provide electricity. It will hurt our ability to attract foreign investment, should we do any thing that may suggest a reversal. For many years the Nation invested so much in the power sector and the out put has not been commensurate to investment. Having sold the assets, we are at least no longer required to take money from our National purse to run NEPA. Again every attempt to deregulate and privatize publicly run businesses is in my opinion a good effort to fight official corruption from its root. What is advisable is to complete the un completed power projects like that in the Mambila and then privatize them. Thereafter, we incentivize the private sector to take over building new plants, including the Transmission Company of Nigeria(TCN). Given dwindling government revenue, we must be sure that we spend the scarce resources only in areas exclusive for government, like Security, law and order or where the Private sector finds un attractive. Your excellency, I am aware that you made a lot of promises during the elections, but you can not fulfil all of them through public sector spending. You will need to effectively court the Private sector to help you in several areas.
   3. Please Go ahead and reduce the size and cost of Governance
It has been pleasing to hear that you intend to reduce the number of ministers. That will be good but how will you deal with the constitutional requirement of at least one minister from a state?I support scrapping the minister of State position if feasible. But even if this is difficult, there is so much that can be done to reduce Recurrent expenditure which is 'eating up' our national budget and getting worse year after year. First, please do not let  the Academic Staff Union of Universities(ASUU), the Non-Academic staff union of universities(NASU) and the Nigeria Medical Association(NMA) and such other "selfish" trade unions and professional organizations run circles over you. They are among the unions that drag every government down the path of extra budgetary spending through strikes, blackmail and arm-twisting. Second As I had indicated in the first part of my memo to you last week, kindly resist the urge to proliferate, committees and commissions. And in doing this, you will need to carry along the National Assembly that seems to attach an administrative machinery to every law, creating new public bodies with virtually every new legislation. Please go ahead and merge many of the existing agencies. If an existing agency is not delivering its mandate, then sack its leadership or restructure or reform such agency, rather than setting new ones. This is where your surfeit of political will comes into play .
  4. Please Do Not allow abandoned Projects
 One of the good things that the Outgone government tried to do in my view was that they pursued projects from previous administrations. I know we have a different party in government. But it is still the same Country and the same people. Money already invested in these projects belong to the People. If you wish to probe any such unfinished projects, please do so speedily and punish any malfeasance, but minimize loss of momentum. President Umaru Yardua( of blessed memory) halted several of President Obasanjo's projects( especially in the Power sector),some in concert with the National Assembly and after nearly two years of enquiry and rigmarole, nothing was achieved, rather we lost momentum and the Nation suffered for that. I believe a critical essence of handover notes is to show status of ongoing projects. Thereafter, it will not be difficult to prioritize them and pursue their early completion for the benefit of our People.
  5. Kindly Resolve the Stagnation/Decline in the Petroleum Upstream Sector
I do not quite understand why the National Assembly has failed to pass the Petroleum Industry bill after over Seven years. The 6th assembly failed to enact the law. The seventh has finished and yet failed to enact the bill. Is it political intrigue or crass lack of understanding of the criticality of that sector to the National economy? I feel pain in my heart, each time I hear that the Oil sector majors are divesting and selling their assets. I feel a sense of loss, when I read that Angola, Ghana, Equatorial Guinea and many smaller African Countries have become more attractive for oil sector investors than my beloved Nation. I have often wondered if no one really cared that we were imperiling the economic future of our Country? So sir, kindly make this a priority to see this bill through within the first sixty days of your administration. Or am I tasking you too much? Okay Sir, I will stop here this week and complete my memo next week.
Mazi Sam Ohuabunwa OFR

Sunday, 24 May 2015


Your Excellency, I must begin by joining most Nigerians to congratulate you on your success at the March 28 Presidential elections. You truly deserve to be congratulated. Perhaps except for the late Chief Obafemi Awolowo , the Nation has not found any politician who has labored so much to be given a chance to govern Nigeria. I know that Chief Awolowo tried about three times or possibly four times( if we add the alleged treasonable felony). But despite his spirited efforts, he could not make it. Some Nigerians insist he is the best President Nigeria never had. Well... But in your own case you succeeded at the 4th attempt. You have indeed set a record. What is more is that you are the first Military man to subject himself to this democratic exercise this long. It was difficult to imagine that a Soldier would have the patience.Chief Olusegun Obasanjo tried once and got it on a platter of gold, tried a second term and got it on a gritty platter of Iron. His plan for a third attempt or term was aborted on the Floor of the Senate. General Ibrahim Badamasi Babangida tried twice or so, but most were half hearted, as he readily gave in to his competitors at the primaries for one reason or the other without real fight, and he actually never faced the general electorate even once. But you won the primaries of the different parties you crisscrossed on your determined way to the Presidency and faced the General Nigerian electorate four grueling times. You are indeed a strong man and your determination to govern Nigeria has no part two( as Nigerians are wont to saying).
  And all these efforts were after you had been a military Head of State which you became through a coup d'├ętat. So,it is not that you have not tasted power at the presidential level, it is not that you have not seen the challenge of trying to change a Nation that needed plenty of change and it is not that you have not seen how slippery and treacherous Nigerians are when you work with them. After all, it is your followers or lieutenants, some who are still lurking around that over threw you from office. I know that you are aware that some of those who are shouting 'sai Buhari' today will be among those who will shout 'down Buhari' sometime in the future. I therefore believe that you know the risks involved in trying to govern or lead Nigeria but you have decided to discount them.
Therefore, there must be something you want to do so badly that has pushed you to this point. And you know that it has been a very costly journey to you and to the people of Nigeria. When I think of the amount of money that you and your supporters have spent in the four electoral cycles, I shiver. Must be very decent sums, especially in the 2015 elections. I also will like to believe that you are aware of the sources of all the 'investors' in your Long drawn presidential bid. I am thinking of the opportunity cost. What of the number of people who have lost their lives these years supporting your cause, including those who died recently celebrating your eventual victory. The human cost has been humongous. I do not know any Nigerian leader whose electoral success has been watered by the blood of so many Nigerians.
   Your excellency, your assumption of office in a few days time as the 4th democratically elected President in the 4th Republic is a watershed historical development. You know why you badly need this opportunity. Some you have spoken of during the campaigns. But since, there is always some difference between electioneering campaign promises and reality, we are anxiously awaiting your inaugural speech on the 29th of May from the Eagle square. I suspect however, that speech may not say all you would like to say,because, it will be reviewed by other people in the party who would want you to be politically correct. That is reasonable but to be sincere to you, many Nigerians will want the speech to be original not a window dressing. They want to know what is really in your mind and why the Nation has made the tremendous sacrifices that brought you to power.
  We know that the expectations are quite high and I had advised that you do not try to dampen the expectations of Nigerians. Yes, you can ask for patience but you will need to martial your plans to reach the key important goals in a manner that Nigerians can understand and identify with. We expect a clear VISION statement for Nigeria, to be achieved in your tenure. Thereafter, we will have to undertake a comprehensive and coordinated program to sell the vision to Nigerians and get them to fully support its implementation. This must be your vision, not one imposed by any think Tank or consultant. Competing for this position four consecutive times, indicate to me that you are fully prepared for this job. It has been said that no previous President had adequately prepared for the Job. Obasanjo was begged by the military leaders to become President, against his will, perhaps to compensate South West Nigeria for denying Abiola the position. Obasanjo picked Yardua, to become President, perhaps to compensate North West for the for the ' untimely' death of the elder Shehu Musa Yardua  who died in Abacha's prison. Obasanjo picked Goodluck Jonathan in the place of Peter Odili to become Vice-President and Divine intervention moved him to become President .None of these men had any meaningful preparation for the position they eventually occupied.
  All those who seemed prepared for the job were denied- Azikiwe, Awolowo, Abiola, Falae, Ogbonnaya Onu and Odili. You are to the best of my knowledge, the only one who seemed prepared for the job and wanted it, fought for it, got it and is alive to consummate it. Your Excellency, this is why you are unique, this is why expectations are high and this is why you must hit the ground running with your vision. I do not think  you need TOO much advice from any one, so that no one unduly dilutes your vision. I also will be surprised if you go ahead to set up too many committees. Most of what you need to do to change the country are already well known to you and to your transition committee. There is much literature on what is wrong with Nigeria and how Nigeria can be changed. Many books have been written including mine- NIGERIA: NEED FOR THE EVOLUTION OF A NEW NATION that have outlined practical strategies and plans of action to move Nigeria from a third world to the First World as Lee kwan Yew did in Singapore.
  What I believe you need sir are first, to find Enlightened, Experienced, Patriotic,Dedicated and Honest Nigerians to support you in implementing your Vision; Secondly, the Political will to take hard decisions and  thirdly the fear of God to be fair to all. I am praying.
  Mazi Sam Ohuabunwa OFR

Sunday, 17 May 2015


Most Nigerians agree that we need change in many aspects of our national life and national institutions. But in my mind, if there is one place, we needed urgent and revolutionary change, it is in the Nigeria Police( Force or Service). This is because Nigeria Police is fully symptomatic of what is troubling Nigeria and therefore, if we get the Police right, many other matters will fall into place. For example, our perennial low position on the Transparency International global  Corruption Perception Index (CPI) is influenced strongly by the pathetic picture of our Policemen extorting money from drivers in the full glare of the public. It must however be pointed out that this is an embedded culture of the Nigeria Police,which has long characterized the force, almost from creation. We often blame the colonial masters for many of our national maladies. Was this a carry over from the British Police? I have my doubts.
  This matter has troubled me for many years and I had taken a few actions to see if I could help stop this practice without any iota of success while putting my life at risk.First was as a primary school pupil in the early 60's in Portharcourt. We often passed through a Police Check point on our way to and fro from School. We often would watch as a lorry, or bus driver would be flagged down and while the driver was being interrogated, the conductor would run to a spot and drop some money. Perhaps they were afraid to collect personally then,unlike now that some Policemen, collect cash, count it and return change while everybody is on the queue, watching, waiting and cursing. Even as primary school pupils we felt there was something repugnant about this practice. So one day  we decided to raid the cash collection point. We succeeded in taking out the cash bank but before we could spring to safety, they caught up with us and beat the hell out of us and seized our school bags. Now when I look back, I thank God that the Police at the Check points or on patrol in those days did not carry alms, otherwise we may have been casualties of 'accidental discharge' or may have been charged with "unarmed" robbery.
 My second attempt was when one Inspector General of Police(IGP)came to town in the early 2000's blazing fire, threatening fire for fire . I was impressed. He said he would reform the police and curb corruption in the police. I fell in love. One Christmas season, I was driving my family home when I came to a police Check point somewhere between Portharcourt and Aba and I noticed a Policeman collecting money from drivers openly. I was stung. 'Is this man not aware of the campaign by the fire for fire IGP?'.I parked my car, ignored the protestations of my wife and went to talk to the policeman. 'OC, why are you doing this?, have you not heard of the warning of your new IGP ?' ' Na who be that?' he queried me. He then went on to answer his question' Na that thief? No mind the man. That one na thief. Me I no be thief. Na beg I dey beg. If you get , you give me, if you no get, I go let you pass'. I shook my head and walked back to the car to continue my journey. My visibly angry wife asked me what transpired and I told her. She thanked God that the man was calm and not agitated and begged me to stop risking my life, more so when I had her and the kids in the car.
 My third attempt was a few years ago when a well educated Igbo man was made IGP. I was thrilled and believed he would share my disdain for this demeaning police conduct. I went to him. After congratulating him and thanking God for bringing our 'own' person to this important post, I begged him to leave a legacy and etch his name in gold. I told him to do all in his power to stop Policemen from collecting money from road users in the glare of the Public. I explained to him what damage that was doing to the image of the Police and the Nation as a whole. I went further to assure him, that as the Chairman of the Nigerian Economic Summit Group( NESG) then, that I would use my influence in the Organized Private Sector to raise a foundation that would monthly, release an amount equivalent to all the money that the police would collect at the road blocks. I told him that the money could be released to state commissioners of Police for easy disbursement to all the formations. In otherwords, the police would not lose much if at all. They could be guaranteed a minimum of 'extra income ' contributed by the private Sector, whom they were serving, if only they would stop collecting 'egunje' on the roads. I was shocked that my IGP brother was not enthused by this my 'innovative ' proposal. I had hoped that he was going to ask me for a guarantee or would request that we passed the entire monthly allocation to the Headquarters for onward transmission down the line, so that no one would be left out. Rather, he went on to defend the Police, telling me that the Nation had the police they deserved. He turned down my offer and I was heart broken.
  In my submissions since then I have consistently asserted that we needed a new Nigeria Police. That if possible, we should dissolve this Current Police formation and create a new one from the scratch. My colleagues tell me it is not possible. But this regular decapitation of the top leadership has not worked and I still believe that it will not work. During the 5year reign of President Goodluck Jonathan, he had 6 IGPs, and yet it is debatable if there is any significant change. Every new IGP will entertain us with his wish list and some would leave the Police worse than they met it. And remember that I am focusing so far only on the matter of extortion on the highways and even on the 'low ways' where 'Okada' drivers and bicycle riders are the victims. I have not talked of crime prevention/ control or operational effectiveness. That is another major subject for another day.
 And this is why, I would wish that the new IGP Solomon ARASE would prove me wrong, that changing the IGP and a few DIGs and AIGs can cause a meaningful change in the moral tone and operational effectiveness of the Police. Perhaps . Given the circumstances of his appointment, in the twilight of this present administration , given the speed with which he was confirmed( less than 3weeks as acting IGP), given the actions he has already taken,and given the wind of change gathering momentum to be unleashed on the Nation, perhaps he could do the 'impossible'. I am pleased that he has harped on staff welfare as his primary focus. I pray that he truly means it and that he will pursue it. We have heard the stories of the wickedness in the Nigeria Police. Every year, so much is budgeted, yet little gets to the police stations. There was a time, you would buy your own stationery to write a statement in the police station. There was a time, we were told that Police men bought their uniform and booths from their meager salaries or from the proceeds of 'egunje' . I want to pray that IGP Solomon ARASE ( the man with three masters degrees) will bring these stories to an end. I pray that he, the Police service commission and the Ministry of Police Affairs will rehabilitate the Police barracks and make them decent places to live and raise normal children not 'barracks' children.
  I do not know what will happen when General  Muhammadu Buhari  assumes office. What ever may happen, IGP Solomon ARASE must use whatever time he has to leave a legacy. Short or long, let it be recorded that when he was the IGP, the Nigeria Police stopped extorting road users and stopped demanding and accepting money in the glare of the Public. After, President Goodluck Jonathan's unprecedented conceading  of defeat, that will be the next development that will surprise the World and raise Nigeria's Status and respect even higher. I am praying.
Mazi Sam Ohuabunwa OFR

Monday, 11 May 2015


Since General Muhammadu Buhari was elected President on the 28th of March, he has used every opportunity he could find to try and dampen the expectations of Nigerians from him and from the incoming government. When I heard it the first time, I said well.... But having heard him say it a few more times, I am getting worried. He has personally been carrying out this campaign and has been very direct about it. Indeed he has been trying to recruit other leaders of the All Progressives Party( APC) to join him in this de-marketing effort. And it is troubling me that he is not being cautious about this as he tells us to our faces that he wants to dampen our expectations. I believe he could be more subtle about it.
  Yes expectations are high. Who is to blame for this? Ordinary Nigerians?. Certainly not. The President-elect and his party ran a high-pitched campaign, that dwelt on change and the evolution of a new Nation. They made many promises that excited Nigerians and motivated them to go to the polling booths in their millions. They voted and are waiting for the realization of the promises and the fulfillment of their hopes. But the President-elect seems to be dampening and dousing their hopes. As one of the Nigerians who have high hopes for the evolution of a new Nation, I am rather distressed by this effort to dampen my hopes. And I know a few Nigerians who like me are eagerly waiting for the 29th of May to be ushered into a new Nation.
 Yes perhaps what the President-elect is trying to communicate is that things will not all change over night. That's reasonable and I believe most Nigerians understand that.  And perhaps he is asking for some patience as he begins to 'rework' the Nation. That also is reasonable. But asking us to have some patience and to understand that everything will not change overnight is not the same thing as dampening our expectations. First, I do not think that he is the one to be carrying out this campaign personally. He should find other means of gently telling Nigerians that the change will come slowly and why. Secondly, he should sequence his actions and assure Nigerians that certain changes will occur soon and that others may take longer. I believe most Nigerians will understand and appreciate that.
  But regularly announcing and harping on the fact that he wants to dampen our expectations leaves a sour taste in the mouth. It may be misconstrued to mean that he is trying to retract the promises he made or that he is saying that those promises can not easily be fulfilled or the promised actions are impossible . When for example, he cites, the drop in oil prices as an excuse for trying to dampen our expectations, then people retort that the oil prices began to fall since July 2014 and he was still making these promises up to the 26th of March 2015. And as a past Head of State, he should know that prices of oil go up and down and should have factored those in his promises. And they are therefore wandering if these are excuses to say, the expected and promised changes were only made to win elections. Please Nigerians want change, they have been promised change and they must have it.
  Let us have more soothing and acceptable ways to communicate that some of the changes will take some time without dampening the expectations or making Nigerians feel that they have committed an error by taking him by his words.  For example, this is what I have been doing in my constituency. One of the promised changes that really excited my wife is the promise to make one Nigerian Naira equal to one US dollar. My wife has been persuading me to wait for May 29th before I go to the Bureau de 'chanji' to buy dollars to send to our son who is studying in the United States of America. When she heard the President-elect say over and over again that he wanted to dampen the expectations of Nigerians, she came complaining to me that "Ndia abiakwala ozo with akuko-ufe" (these people have come again with fairy tale). She began to feel disappointed.  I then told her that the President-elect was not repudiating his electoral promise,that he was actually asking for some time to bring these promises to reality. Then she asked, "how much time does he need?"I said, that he had not said so but that it could be a few months or a few years. She yelled " what! few years?". I did my best to calm her and got her to agree that we can go and buy dollars now at about 220 Naira to the dollar and send to our son. I assured her that before the next fees were due in six months, may be the General would have fulfilled his promise. She demurred, but I finally convinced her that the President-elect is a man of Honour and that he would not promise anything he was not going to do nor promise anything which he thought was impossible. "Let us see what you will tell me in six months time". That was how I resolved this matter of electoral promises, and dampening of expectations with one of my very important constituents. At least for now.
   Mazi Sam Ohuabunwa OFR.

Sunday, 3 May 2015


  I am insistent on my assertion that the 2015 Elections have changed Nigeria. And I am excited about it as I look forward daily to the manifestations of this change starting with the uncharacteristic post election peace ushered in by President Goodluck Jonathan. Since 1999 when President Olusegun Obasanjo ushered in the 4th Republic, it has been difficult to seperate the ruling Party from the Presidency. The President is regarded as the Leader of the Party, and carries on as the alpha & omega. He is the one who chooses the party chairman and he decides when he ( the party chairman) should go, sometimes after a sumptuous lunch of Pounded yam and egusi soup in the Chairman's house . He is the one who chooses who will run for any elective post at the primaries. When he says anything, nobody else can oppose him and if any dares to oppose, he will be expelled for anti-party activities. The President was the Party and the Party was the President.
  With President Obasanjo's proclivity to dominate and subjugate his environment, I am not sure if this was according to the party constitution or simply his style of doing business, which I believe derive significantly from his very successful military commands and career. And having set the standards, the Presidents after him carried on along those lines with differing intensities, but certainly less dictatorial given that the two presidents after him have been civilians with no 'acquired military dictatorial syndrome'. Even then the party officials seldomly exercised independent actions and did their utmost to follow the President's cue, spoken or by body language. The major advantage in this was that, open conflict between the Presidency and the Party was minimized . But the major disadvantage was that the president was made to be a demi-god and did not have the advantage of being saved from making grievous errors by the party.
  During the past week, that seems to have changed. President-elect, General Muhammadu Buhari showed his hand, some how earlier than expected. He was said to have banned the Africa Independent Television (AIT )from covering his activities. It was said by his media spokesman that he had some 'ethical and moral' issues to sort out with  the electronic media house. Many People have since concluded that it was because AIT carried certain documentary that was adversarial to the General during the electioneering campaigns. Well I do not know if that is the true and only reason. If that reasoning is correct, then it could be expected that he would also ban the NTA, because, I saw the same documentary relayed on the NTA. So it may not be the only reason. There could be other reasons covered under the 'ethical and moral' issues classification.
  When the news broke, it was natural that those who had predicted that General Muhammadu Buhari would be the General that he was and is, and that he would brook  no nonsense from any quarters and would not tolerate 'excessive ' media freedom immediately went to town shouting, 'did we not say so!'. There was a potential that this development would have dominated discussions across the Nation and may have diverted the current National focus on an orderly and seamless transition.
 But within a few hours of this alleged presidential-elect-order, the All Progressives Congress(APC) Party weighed in. The National Publicity secretary issued a statement countermanding the President-elect's order. I was thrilled but waited to see if the countermand would stand. And as I am writing this from Banjul-The Gambia, I have not read that Garba Shehu or any one else from the President-elect's office has issued another statement insisting on its earlier ban, except a latter day release suggesting that The General did not know what his aides were doing and was actually supporting the action of the Party. Also, I have not read or heard that the AIT crew or journalists have been arrested or physically barred after the first incident, especially after both the crew and the AIT founding chairman have insisted that it was their constitutional right to freely cover any news including that concerning the President-elect and that it was going to be unlawful to be prevented or banned from doing so.
  This immediate intervention by the Party calmed nerves, mine inclusive, because I believe that the incoming administration should not do anything that will distract it from focusing on the tasks ahead. More importantly, it must retain the support of most Nigerians as long as possible in order to carry out the herculean tasks ahead of it. Any action that might remotely suggest a gagging of the Press or abridgements of freedom of speech or a reminder of 'decree 4' will in my estimation undermine the current goodwill expressed by many Nigerians at the polls. Today, Nigerians take freedom of speech more seriously than they did in 1984. Yes, the honey moon will end certainly when the changes begin to bite but it must not be terminated prematurely.
 And this is why I am impressed with this show of party supremacy by the leadership of APC. The party must have felt that the President-elect had been wrongly advised and that such pronouncement was likely going to hurt the party and indeed the President-elect also. I do not know if they had the opportunity to discuss the matter with him before countermanding the ban but from latter day reports It is great to know that the President-elect saw the party's point of view and supported it. But the fact that it was the party that issued the countermand, rather than the President-elect retracting the banning order, is suggestive that the party would still have gone on with its conviction,even if the President-elect had reservations or different opinion.
  To me, this is the right way to go. It protects our democracy and is in favour of the People. It could be that the party was able to achieve this because the President-elect has not assumed executive powers. May be or may be not, but I hope not. But even if it were so, it should sign post to the President-elect that the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria does not have absolute powers and that his actions will not only be bound by the constitution but he must be guided by the party, the National Assembly and the civil society. And should he ever be tempted to play 'god', the party must act quickly to remind him that he is still human and at the best, the first among equals. This is a great responsibility which I can see that the APC is poised to discharge fully. When the Oba of Lagos slipped, they quickly 'disowned' him and that helped matters. That is a type of the change that is desirable.
  Mazi Sam Ohuabunwa OFR