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President Buhari’s Farewell Speech: Nigeria Better Than Before; Calls Tinubu ‘Best Candidate’



President Buhari, AfDB president woo global investors

My fellow Nigerian brothers, sisters and friends of Nigeria.

2. I address you today, in my last assignment as a democratically elected President of our great and well-endowed nation, with a deep sense of gratitude to God, a great deal of appreciation to the Nigerian people and a modest sense of fulfilment.

3. Today we mark and celebrate another peaceful transition of power from one elected government to another in our steady march to improve and sustain Nigeria’s democracy.

4. This year we witnessed the most keenly contested Presidential Elections since the first Republic and this demonstrates that our democracy is getting better and more entrenched with each election.

5. We must as a nation improve and sustain gains we make in the electoral process, on an incremental basis for Nigeria to take its rightful place among Nations.

6. Our democracy provides for, allows and encourages seeking redress for perceived injustices, enabling some candidates and political parties that did not agree with the results to go to court.

7. Irrespective of the outcome of the various cases, I urge all parties involved to accept the decision of our courts and join hands to build a better Nigeria.

8. I salute the doggedness and resilience of all the Presidential Candidates and their political parties for believing in our judicial system by taking their grievances with the election results to court.

9. In the course of the campaigns, we had argued and disagreed on how to make Nigeria better but we never disagreed or had any doubts that Nigeria has to be better.

10. As your President, I call on all of us to bring to bear the strength of our individualism, the power of our unity, the convictions of our beliefs to make Nigeria work better and together with one spirit and one purpose.

Christmas: Buhari vows to uplift quality of life of citizens

Muhammadu Buhari

11. To my brother, friend and fellow worker in the political terrain for the past ten years – Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu -, I congratulate you on the realisation of your dream, which was propelled by a burning passion to put Nigeria amongst the leading nations of the world.

12. You have indeed worked for this day and God has crowned your efforts. I have no doubt that your passion for excellence, reliance on competence, fairness in relationships, commitment to equity, loyalty to the country and desire for Nigeria to be globally relevant would come through for you, under God’s guidance, as you lead our country to levels higher that I am leaving.

13. You are the best candidate among all the contestants and Nigerians have chosen well.

14. The last eight years have been an exciting experience in my desire and commitment to see a Nigeria in which public goods and services are available, and accessible within a united, peaceful and secure nation.

15. Fellow Nigerians, on the strength of your overwhelming support for me and my political party, I started this journey with a great deal of promise and expectation from you. I never intended to be just politically correct but to do the correct things that will make meaningful impact on the lives of the common Nigerian.

16. This high expectation was not misplaced because, like the ordinary Nigerian, I had grown tired of watching the country progressively moving away from the path of correctness.

17. To ensure that our democracy remains resilient and our elected representatives remain accountable to the people, I am leaving behind an electoral process which guarantees that votes count, results are credible, elections are fair and transparent and the influence of money in politics reduced to the barest minimum. And Nigerians can elect leaders of their choice.

18. We are already seeing the outcome of this process as it provided an even playing field where persons without any political God-Father or access to money defeated other well-resourced candidates.

19. The Nigerian economy has become more resilient due to the various strategies put in place to ensure that our economy remained afloat during cases of global economic downturns.

20. You would all recall the supply chain disruptions and economic downturn that the world witnessed between 2020 and 2022 as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. The deftness of our response to the pandemic still remains a global best practice.

21. Furthermore, we increased the ability of the poor and rural Nigerians to earn a living, provided more food for millions in our villages and gave our women opportunities to earn a living.

22. Young men and women in urban centres were also supported to put their skills into productive use. Our administration also provided an enabling environment for the private sector to engage in businesses for which their return on investments is guaranteed.

23. The private sector proved a strong partner in our drive to build a resilient and sustainable economy as evidenced by the growing number of turn-key projects in various sectors of the economy.

24. In the course of revamping the economy, we made some difficult choices, most of which yielded the desired results. Some of the measures led to temporary pain and suffering for which I sincerely apologised to my fellow countrymen, but the measures were taken for the over-all good of the country.

25. Mindful of the need to ensure adequate infrastructure to drive economic growth, we completed age-long projects and processes notably amongst which are the Petroleum Industry Act, completion of some power projects, completion of the second Niger bridge and various important roads linking cities and states.

26. Our battle to ensure that all Nigerians live in a safe and secure environment has achieved considerable results. As I complete my term in office, we have been able to reduce the incidences of banditry, terrorism, armed robbery and other criminal activities considerably.

27. To sustain the gains made so far, I call on all Nigerians to be more vigilant and support the security agencies by ensuring that our values defined by being your brothers’ keeper govern our actions.

28. Up-till now, I still grieve for our children still in captivity, mourn with parents, friends and relatives of all those that lost loved ones in the days of the senseless brigandage and carnage. For all those under unlawful captivity our Security Agencies are working round the clock to secure their release unharmed.

29. Fellow Nigerians, you know how dear the desire in my heart is, to rid the country of corrupt practices that had consistently diminished our efforts to be a great country.

30. I did pursue this commitment relentlessly, in spite of the expected push back. I am happy that considerable progress had been made in repatriating huge sums of money back to the country and also taken over properties illegally acquired from our common wealth.

31. To improve service delivery, we began the implementation of a number of reforms aimed at producing an Efficient, Productive, Incorruptible and Citizen-oriented (EPIC) Federal Civil Service and the results are beginning to show.

32. On the international scene, Nigeria’s influence continues to grow as exemplified by notable Nigerians occupying headship and leadership positions in renowned global bodies.

33. Our democracy is built on and continues to thrive on the principles of separation of powers. The leadership and members of the National Assembly deserve my appreciation for their patriotism which did not detract from their roles as a check to the executive arm.

34. I also want to use this opportunity to express my appreciation to a good number of Nigerians who provided their support and encouragement to help me navigate the exciting journey in moving Nigeria forward.

35. I cannot and will not forget the millions who prayed for me during my illness in my first term of office. I am constantly praying for you and for Nigeria to thrive in peace.

36. As I retire home to Daura, Katsina State, I feel fulfilled that we have started the Nigeria Re-Birth by taking the initial critical steps and I am convinced the in-coming administration will quicken the pace of this walk to see a Nigeria that fulfils its destiny to be a great nation.

37. I am confident that I am leaving office with Nigeria better in 2023 than in 2015.

38. I thank you all. And may God Bless the Federal Republic.

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100 Days Mark: Contraband Goods Won’t Be Able To Get Into Market – CGC



…Wale Adeniyi Pledges to Adopt and Deploy Geospatial Intelligence in Tackling Illicit Traders***

When an Intelligent and highly informed Acting CGC with Zero tolerance for Smuggling is in the Driver’s Seat, woe betides every potential Smuggler. Bashir Adewale Adeniyi (MFR) in a One -on- One opens up, as he marks his 100th Day in Office, and vividly gives a picture of why Nigerian Smugglers may soon run out of business, as he pledges to leverage Technology, particularly, Geospatial Intelligence!

Excerpt please:- 

The C.G.C, we appreciate the unimaginable depth of Commitment you have brought to your mandate. You have been everywhere and for three weeks, even daring journalists could not keep pace with you. So our first question would be, how has it been, manning and justifying the onerous responsibility that comes with this very hard mandate? 

Well, we thank God, even though, it’s not been easy. 

But, it’s something that one has been used to, in terms of the pace and in terms of the depth of those visits all over. 

Though it hasn’t been easy. But then, these are familiar places for us. These are places we know. We know the strategic importance of some of these places. And we know how strategic; the kind of critical success factor it constitutes.

So we have to visit them. You know that Zone A accounts for virtually 70 percent of our operations.  It accounts for more in terms of revenue. So, unlike in those days when you can do Zone ‘A’ in two, or three days, you need more than a week to do Zone A now.

So that was how I had to be everywhere. The ports, the airports, the border stations. For those that I could not complete during that visit, I  came back, took a breather, and came back to work in Abuja. After a week or so, I went back to complete them.

You also know of those strategic borders in the north and the northwest, and then, I needed to go to those places and have a first-hand feel of what was happening there.

 Unfortunately, while all this was going on, we had an unfolding situation in Niger (Republic) and a significant decision that needed to be implemented.  And that entailed a very tough decision about our borders. And since this decision was taken, it has to be implemented.

The implementation has to be evaluated and assessed periodically. So that we could present the report of the monitoring to Mr. President. So, there was no choice.

 The pace was definitely frenetic at the beginning. And I thank God for His grace, for good health. We were able to accomplish all of that to the glory of God. 

Let me shoot this question: You would recall that in the past, there was a time when some of the officers from Kaduna, Katsina side, and especially Kano, were alleged to be tinkering with hard drugs. What is the situation now?  How do you intend to handle such a situation in the future?  

I think it’s a national malaise. It’s a problem. It’s a big problem that has its national dimension. It’s not just about the North. During the course of my tour, we had so many seizures. We equally conducted some targeted sting operations around the southwest border.

 We knew that once the border in the north against the Niger Republic was closed, there would be attempts to divert one or two things towards the southwestern border. So we did a covert operation around all of these places, targeting the diversion of food items.

But then, we got so many seizures of ammunition and drugs. 

So we can’t deceive ourselves that Nigeria is a transit country for those drugs. A number of those things are going to be consumed in Nigeria.  

Whether they are done in the north, or whether they are done in the south or in the east, it doesn’t really matter. The fact is that a good number of those drugs are finding patronage in Nigeria.

And it does call for concern. So whichever organisation is hit by that scourge must take very definitive and deliberate action to manage it. 

So we’ve had that situation in the past, when so many of our young officers were caught on the wrong side of drug abuse and the management then took a hard decision to say, look, these are people who will still be of use to their society, to the Service, and to their nation. 

 And the decision was taken to rehabilitate them. And working with some other government agencies and partners, we were able to do that.

That was an era, some 6, 7, 8 years ago. If you are presented with the same situation now, I am not too sure if that decision, the same decision will be taken. 

But then, it was a management decision taken at that time, and we have to respect the wisdom of those who are in the management.

If you are going to leverage on IT and technology, automatically you must also start thinking of the days when Customs was heavily endowed with helicopters and things like that. So I may ask, what exactly is the situation with the helicopters now? Especially now, that you are focusing at leveraging on IT and on technology?

If you look at Customs operations as it has evolved over the years; we started with people bringing hand-filled declarations to Customs Long Rooms.

From there we progressed to people typing them, and then you move them from one place to another, one window to another, all of that, in a very long room. 

But gradually, with the introduction of automation, we started reducing those processes and things like that. And everywhere in the world, Customs operations are undergoing that kind of digitalization. So we are also not resting in Nigeria to ensure that we become fully paperless in our transactions.

And we are already on course on that journey.

 If you look at how we started: people bringing in cargo, the ships coming in, the aircrafts coming in, the national summits progressing into, doing manifests electronically…

Now, we don’t have the kind of big manifests that we used to have in striking seats in those days any longer. Now when the manifest comes in electronically, importers through their agents can make their declarations also online.

When declarations are made online, you can do assessments online, and then you get your notice of payment, and then you can make your payments online. So all of these have been done. When a release is done, it can be communicated to the terminal operator electronically.

Similarly, Exit Notes can be generated electronically; the shipping company can send you what you are going to pay, and then you pay it electronically and all of that. Also, the payment system has equally undergone a complete transformation. 

So in all of these, there could be some interventions in between one process or the other. Look at terminal operators for example. 

When you finish your clearing and a release is communicated to terminal operators, terminal operators may now have Customs Agents coming over their window, collecting Release Notes, the TDO (Terminal Delivery Order), what do you call it, and then… on and on. 

Some aspects may not be automated. But we are also finding ways in which we can have APIs between us and all these other agencies. So,it would be just like plugging into our system, so that once we release, we can release to them and then it is automatic.

So, it is a process. 

With all the stakeholders in the system, using these tools, these innovations are to enhance our jobs, to make our jobs more efficient, so as to create a better experience for our importers of course, and for our exporters.

 So, that’s how far technology can help us.

 But more importantly, technology can also help us now to go behind the scenes and conduct a number of audits, and to do some kind of investigations.

And because all these things are done online, it’s easier for us to also use technology to take a second look at what we did yesterday, what we did last week or, what we did last year, and to ensure due processes were followed. Or to double-check, whether there are some contraventions and things like that. 

So, we are also strengthening those parts by making sure that those post-clearance audits are inculcated in our system.

 Outside of those systems, when you talk about enforcement, it is also possible that we will integrate more technology into our enforcement.

For instance, if you look at the issue of our checkpoints, Stakeholders for some time now, have been complaining that from Seme to Lagos, depending on who is counting, what time they are counting, or who they counted with and things like that… Any number between 40 and 80, that’s what they’re flying. 

And yet, if you talk to all these agencies, including Customs, they will tell you that look, because of the terrain, people can come in through the Creeks; they can burst out at Badagry, they can burst out at Agbara, they can burst out at Elassa, or they can go all the way to Lagos Island and come into all the markets through the Creeks and things like that!

So, it does make sense, as some would say: yes, if they’re coming through Idiroko, they can also come through the Creeks of Ipokia, and then from there, they can get to Ojoo Road, and boom, they’re out there in Lagos…!

I can go on and on.

But we have technology that can help us to map all these routes and help us to identify (in all these), where are the convergents, where do all these routes converge.

So even if you want to come through the Creeks, yes? There is no Creek that leads straight to, say, this or that particular market in Lagos or Ojoo Road. 

Again, let’s say: it is Alaba Market that you are going to; You must first come out somewhere. So, (it’s like) If you’re coming through this, you must (first) come out somewhere. In other words, we can now use geospatial intelligence!

Geospatial is a co-occurrence of elements of geography and then space. 

So, all the various landmarks, the markets, the bridges, the buildings, the rivers, it has taken care of all of them. So if in our operations, we have a geospatial map of the entire place, by using those tools, we can be able to determine what is the convergence point of all these places.

*The starting point: a decoration by Vice President Shettima, a gesture that instantly sent core maritime stakeholders, into wild, but justifiable exhilarating euphoria!

So, instead of deploying patrols, and checkpoints to track all these places, you can now concentrate on the convergence points!

That means: Oh, okay, if you are coming by the creeks: Welcome! It’s okay because we have people, somebody around the very important points.

And, if you are coming by the road; Welcome.

 It becomes okay, even if you went through any routes in so far as your destination is this Market or that.

So, even if you are coming out through Iba. It will still be welcome! That’s a typical way in which geospatial intelligence can help us. 

We are already beginning to familiarize Customs decision-makers, the Controllers, the ACGs, and the DCGs, with the potential that is inherent in the use of this technology. And when they are sufficiently educated on this, it won’t be difficult for them to use it as a basis for making decisions.

And then, those decisions can now be passed on to the Patrol Officers. And they too, we are also now going to expose (patrol officers) to those tools.

 There are some little, little things that people also need to understand. They need to understand Map reading. This is the map of each Area. These are the routes. These are the roads. How would people (Smugglers) come? Why would they prefer to pass through each particular road?

 If these people are aware that there is a Customs checkpoint in Gbaji, then Where are the other routes they can take? Questions like that must be asked…

So, they need to have some elements of map reading skills. They just need to understand how to use some navigational aids. So if you get caught up somewhere and you don’t know where you are any longer, but if you have some navigational aids and maps, you’ll be able to say, okay, let me track. 

Either we go back to our base or ask: where’s the nearest river? Where’s the nearest telecom mast or where we can get network? Where’s the nearest police station? You know, all those kinds of things. So, they need to also get their knowledge of these.

So this is a whole menu of how technology can make us truly effective. This is technology that is otherwise, also used in other fields of human endeavor. 

It is being used in rescue management, disaster management, agriculture, fighting Climate Change, and things like that. 

But we have found its applicability in Customs operations, especially in postmortem. That’s why we are embracing it. And we are positive that we are going to get very good results in that!

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100 Days Mark: We Are Set To Reposition, Restore COWA’s Glory- Kikelomo Adeniyi



… As COWA President unfolds a stunning vision of a body envisioned to touch lives and restore Smiles!

The President of the Customs Officers’ Wives Association (COWA)), Kikelomo Adeniyi is determined to restore the past glory of the body.

 In an exclusive interview with the Maritime First, the COWA Arrowhead acknowledges the setbacks members contend with, even as she emphasizes her determination not only to restore the past glory but to set it on enviable new heights in the shortest time possible!

The COWA President spoke against the backdrop of the 100th Day in Office.

Excerpt please:-

 We commend you, for the noteworthy enthusiasm and unspared commitment you’ve brought to the office. For a good number of years, COWA operated on very low frequency. Some said it was in Comatose. Some said it was half dead and had to be resuscitated. As the COWA President, how has the task of trying to restore COWA’s glory been since you adorned the mantle of leadership?

Yes, like you said, COWA had been half-dead for some time, before we came in June. But before then, I think some COWA members had gathered themselves and honestly tried to resuscitate the association.

I must say that they did what they could at that time. That effort started around October last year. They did a little empowerment here and there just to keep COWA going. But it’s not the same when the leadership or the head is not in total support of what we do.

*The COWA President, Kikelomo Adeniyi

 If the support is not total, you know there’s no way we can truly ot totally achieve our objectives. 

You know that for COWA, our objective is very simple. It’s to support families of Customs officers, and also to foster the bond between wives of Customs officers so that they can have good friendship and understanding. And that has been it. 

Since we came on board we’ve tried to come together and sensitise them on what COWA should actually be. Because I believe that if we understand what we’re doing, then we’ll do it right.

So that was the first thing we tried to do: Sensitising. Providing enlightenment about COWA.  

So I can say within the past three weeks, we’ve been able to come together. We’ve elected our executives. Our board of trustees also has been effected.

*The COWA President, Mrs Kikelomo Adeniyi, with the Comptroller General of Customs, Bashir Adewale Adeniyi, during COWA’s visit to the Customs Management to solicit support and collaboration.

We paid a visit to the CG last week. Just to inform the management of our vision; to let them know how they can come in and support COWA, so as to take it to a really enviable level; and they’ve assured us of their support. We have so much to do. We have so much, yet undone. So that’s where we are now.  

We are looking at how to meaningfully touch the widows and their children.

It is a great vision to seek to touch the widows and children of hardworking officers who departed suddenly. How do you intend to provide the succour? Do you intend to be paying school fees or, some other general welfare? 

Providing succour is very important, so like you said, succour is the first thing. The first step is making them feel wanted by supporting them in every way, especially emotionally. It is on top of our priority.

When they are stabilized, when they are settled emotionally, I believe that they can stand on their feet and conquer the world. So succour is very important. 

*The COWA top hierarchy in a group photograph

But, I’m particularly passionate about children.

On my own, I visit orphanages, I try to touch the little ones around me. I take my children to orphanages, sometimes during their birthdays, so that they can have an understanding that the kind of life they have, some don’t have it.

I have been doing that. 

For widows, it’s a painful thing when you suddenly lose a partner. It’s even more painful when you cannot carry on with what both of you were doing when the other person was alive.

We also believe that if we take care of the children, you are already touching the widow. Like a Yoruba adage puts it: a child’s good health gladdens the mother. So, I believe that if you take care of a child, you have taken care of the widow; and this could be by paying the school fees.

So, by supporting their children’s educational needs and all that, you have taken away some part of the pain.

When COWA takes the burden of school fees; and in addition explore issues of what the widow would feed on, the bereaved family can gradually stabilise.

  I still believe that that same child can better off the life of the widow, later.

Dr. Beta Edu, currently the Minister of Humanitarian and Disaster management has been thinking along the same line. Do you have any desire in future for collaboration with Dr. Beta Edu in respect of widows in particular?

Yes, yes. Of course, we are already thinking of working along that path. And that’s why we’re planning on meeting with certain relevant associations that share goals like us. A good example is the POWA (Police Officers Wives Association), and, NAOWA (Nigerian Army Officers Wives Association).

They’re already deep in pursuing these honourable goals that we want to do. We could also learn a few things more, from them.

 We’re going to connect and be part of some of these women’s associations in Nigeria. In the past, we understand that when they send letters to us, they don’t get any response from us.

So they feel COWA is not working. 

That is why we’re trying to, create awareness in that regard so that they know that we’re back and we are back for good. So we will be working with them.

 Let me ask the last question, this is September, by December, from your own calculations, and your own vision, what would COWA, under your watch must have accomplished?

 Between now and December?

We are taking a trip to Lagos next week. And we are also going to some of these border stations of the Nigeria Customs Service.

 I am already working with the Chairpersons in those border areas to try to gather students that they feel are, you know, really doing well in their academics, for a sponsorship programme.

We must also identify and register those, who otherwise, will not be able to afford WAEC. Though the exams are coming up maybe in May next year; they need to register for it now. 

So, those are part of our plans for now.

 Aside from supporting their education, we are also going to be doing a lot in the health sector.

We will be facilitating a lot, health-wise. 

So in any case, from now till December, we are going to work and achieve a lot in the area of education. Especially, with maybe, a little empowerment here and there, before the end of December.

Essentially, we have fine-tuned the vision on the drawing board: largely, in terms of what we must achieve. As well as all that is achievable. 

We are already working on goals concerning the needs of the children.

But the area that gives me much joy, is the broad area concerning the bigger picture. On daily basis, we have been exploring the possibility of delving into primary and secondary schools projects.

The COWA as a body had attempted to build a school before here in Abuja. We are exploring possibilities of partnering with the Nigeria Customs Service, to ensure that we obtain the relevant assistance in making that vision a reality.

Though this vision goes beyond your question,, I can also highlight it here. You must appreciate the fact that most of the children of Customs officers are presently in private schools all over the country and the kind of fee structure that they pay in these schools puts unnecessary pressure on those officers and their families, to maintain their kids in those schools.

I sincerely believe that if the Customs could put up good schools, noteworthy schools that would offer quality education, even if it means Customs providing some subsidy so that Customs officers can comfortably put their kids in those schools without cutting serious holes in their pockets, then the relevance of COWA would be significant, felt. 

I am strongly focused on that vision.

But, I equally recognise the need to first create a very strong structure for the COWA.

Such a strong structure seems to be currently, missing. It was the missing link in the previous past administrations of COWA.

From my understanding, it was like everything revolved so much around the personalities that were running COWA. So, I am working at putting emphasis on those structures, rather than on the individuals, as prescribed by the Constitution.

On that pedestal, the first pillar is the Board of Trustees. 

COWA has therefore identified very credible people within and outside the Service. Some of the very senior officers of the service were cast to be in the Board of Trustees.

That process is ongoing and almost completed.

In addition to this, within ourselves, we have had engagements and consultations to identify capable hands that will run the association as members of the executive. I can tell you for free, that we have successfully been able to put such an executive in place!

 Now, the structure is up and running at the national level. So, I want to concentrate and replicate this on the Zonal and the Area levels.

The Zonal Chairman of Zone A had come for a briefing. We had extensive discussions. And based on the discussions with the Chairman of Zone A, I will be having an operational tour soon.

The Operational familiarization tour of Zone A would afford me the opportunity, to meet directly with these officers. That is, the core members.

From the feedback so far received, members are enthusiastically waiting. They are waiting to receive, they are waiting to contribute towards the realization of that mission. 

Presently, there are also a number of other things that we have been looking at, to make COWA different.  

In terms of the modus operandi, COWA essentially, is largely dependent, on getting money from the Customs. 

And since COWA is positioned, and registered as a non-government organization, a non-profit making organization, you know, the first challenge that we must face; and definitely the first challenge we must find a way to overcome, is to make COWA independently funded and to get such funds in a sustainable manner.  

Consequently, we have come up with a number of innovations to ensure that this can be done.

Number one, we are planning a fundraising, through which people can contribute funds.

Number 2, there are a lot of business proposals that we have been discussing with our executive.

 One of it is the running of businesses that would bring in money for the association in a sustainable manner.

And to get all of these, one of the things we are targeting is to get our Secretariat back. 

 Customs took it over some years ago. We want to get the Secretariat back. 

Secondly, one of the properties of COWA is a hall. After the inspection, we feel that the hall can be conveniently renovated and put to good use. Thereafter, it can become a source of credible funds for the association.

We are equally studying how we can, maybe also, put up a plaza in any of the commercial places where Customs can give COWA land, and then, through genuine partnership, we can begin to bring money in a very sustainable manner. What else can I say for now?

Thank you, for your questions on what we can do between now and December. The truth, however, is that we are already looking, at the bigger picture. For the long haul is actually far more important to us…!

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100 Days Later: Industry Watchers Savour Beauty of Round Peg in Round Hole!



A Sonnet is not a Sonata. Everything is what it is and not another. And even when it is another, it is still what it is…. And so, when the Government appointed a highly revered Retired Army officer, certain aspects of trade facilitation suffered. But the most directly hit was COWA.

In case you can’t remember, COWA simply means the Customs Officers Wives Association. 

The hippo growls and its mother responds instantly. The Goose cackles. The goat bleats. Even the mouse squeaks, and uniquely, the mother responds. But, for Nigeria Customs Operatives, for eight years, the wonderful appointment of a retired army officer as the Customs Comptroller General, totally denies them the other wings, to fly with.

The Nigerian Army has NAOWA. The Nigeria Police has POWA. For the Customs, the COWA was truly in limbo. And so, from the angle of objective industry watchers, the appointment of a square peg into a round hole, no matter how smooth or strong, is anathema. 

*CGC Wale Adeniyi, MFR

And that is one area where successive Governments have failed Nigerians. Check the Ministerial list, a lawyer was often made to head either the Power, Energy industry; or Agric. Sadly, neither the crops nor the grids understand either the constitutional provisions or its subsections’ grammar.

Over time, the crops wither and the grids collapse. 

The Government consistently plays politics with the masses. In one breath, it speaks of agape love. In another breath, it pursues policies that are directly and indirectly against the common man.

Only this Government is different. It is Altruistic. It has removed subsidies and given us palliative. Yesterday, the palliative distributors brought three bags of rice to the OKE-BADAN Community. The Community is a very large one. It couldn’t even be rationed amongst just the elderly women who hardly go out, let alone buy fuel. 

But, at least, this government brought something. Other governments didn’t bring anything, except on paper. One Government did it’s own so fraudulently, that the succeeding heir, publicly disowned it’s statistical data. Same data it probably used, to feed children and school pupils, legitimately incarcerated under the parents, via the COVID-19 Order. Yet, it expended billions of Naira feeding tiny, tweenies’ mouths, tucked behind closed doors. Our consolation: God forgives those who seek for it!

It is great when organisations fly with both wings intact. It is like a child, naturally nurtured, under the rich and cautious attention of both parents.

*Late Abdullahi Dikko Inde

In this regard, both the NAOWA and the POWA, amongst others were lucky. They exude confidence. It underscores the symbolic significance of the other wings. MKO Abiola saw this a long time ago; no wonder he painfully announced, that a bird does not fly with one wing!

COWA took a direct hit. Its ebullience and vibrancy could sustain it in the first two years. At the end of the first four years, its neglect and malnourishment had become pronounced. It was gaunt and looked haunted! In the sixth year, it atrophied and went into Comatose…!

But, those who think it was only COWA that suffered are myopic. COWA suffered. The Service also suffered. Very seriously. Things that could be resolved via dialogue were perceived as insubordination. The top hierarchy of the Association of Nigerian Licensed Customs Agents once visited, to beg for consideration, over a trade facilitation matter. Despite their prayers, they came back to Lagos, from Abuja, with a conclusion that it was a mistake, making the trip, in the first instance.

The Service had two gunboats, specially crafted to deter and punish Smugglers operating on the high seas. One was called the Pride of Customs. Indeed, a huge pride. The second was named the ‘Group of Nine’. The name was historically, symbolic. It tells volumes of the Service’s preparedness to defend its integrity on the Sea, which was once rubbished, by daring criminals, resulting in the devastating deaths of nine Customs Officers’.

Both gunboats were expected to be deployed into deep-sea patrol, surveillance, interdiction and reconnaissance on water. They had since stagnated and remained, like ‘dodo’ in one quiet location.

According to recent Maritime Reporters (MARAN), the two vessels were procured at the cost of about N180 billion. It was procured under the impressive regime of Dikko Inde Abdullahi. For about eight years, the boats were ‘quarantined’ at the Marina Jetty, near the Federal Palace Hotel, Lagos, to corrode, gather moss, and probably soon become wrecks!

ALI: Why Customs Attained Only N2.6trn, Out of 2022 Revenue Target of N3.1trn
*Former Comptroller General of Customs, Col. Hameed Ali (rtd)

MARAN says N5 billion was annually earmarked to maintain it. Don’t ask how they got their details. It is the glory of Governments to hide it’s files. It is the glory of Journalists, to unravel it…!

Now, if you put N5 billion in about eight places and you designate it as taxpayers’ sweat, perhaps, one may also begin to understand the quantum of mistakes the Government incurs, whenever it fails, to put round pegs in round holes!

Now, make no mistake about this: it was not that the former lord of the Manor didn’t achieve a milestone feat. Of course, he very much did and should be mentioned.

The issue, however, was that the trillion Naira revenues were garnered in, with several limbs and businesses in tatters. The regime was more, into waging unending wars against corruption. Some other important issues immediately took the back seat. Customs duty and classifications, like shipping, are technical. Specialised tasks. Nemo dat quo non habeat! A man cannot give out, what he has not!

Capt. Solomon Omoteso and Niyi Adeyemo, both of blessed memory, did not mince words in their accounts of what killed the Nigeria National Shipping Line… It was majorly via Political appointments; and the unrepentant art of appointing square pegs, into round holes!

So now, they savour the beauty and the victory. For finally, a round peg is now truly assigned, to professionally man, a round hole…!

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