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Gambo: The Uncommon Naval Chief Making the Difference – By Philip Agbese

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The announcement didn’t come as a surprise. It was greeted with widespread jubilation in the Naval Headquarters. They sang and praised him to the high heavens. Even though not much was known about this gentleman officer in the public space, there was no doubt that a new sheriff was in town in the Naval headquarters.

Vice Admiral Auwal Zubairu Gambo, the Chief of Naval Staff, is a man of few words but plenty of actions. He walks the talk and abhors mediocrity. His penchant to work is infectious. I recall several instances when our paths crossed at several fora. He always painted a picture of an introvert.

He would make comments in passing and leave it there. But to my astonishment, most times, the recommendations or takeaways from such stakeholders gathering would manifest in a week or weeks in the operations of the Nigerian Navy. That was how responsive and proactive he has always been.

The primary responsibility of the Nigerian Navy is to protect the nation’s maritime environment of about 84,000 square nautical miles. The nation’s maritime area of interest includes the entire Gulf of Guinea (GoG), about 574,800 square nautical miles spanning 2,874nm from Senegal to Angola.

It won’t be out of place if the Chief of Naval Staff is labelled a silent achiever. His style is different and a departure from the past. He is uniquely different in his style. This much has been responsible for the successes recorded in the operations of the Nigerian Navy in securing our waterways in recent times.

For example, the efforts of the Nigerian Navy in the protection of our waterways have been outstanding. It is on record that the smuggling, Illegal Unreported and Unregulated Fishing (IUUF), insurgency, hostage-taking, human and drug trafficking have been reduced to the barest minimum.

Given the sustained operations and exercises the Navy has continuously carried out against the numerous maritime illegalities, the latest piracy report from the International Maritime Bureau (IMB) recorded a drastic reduction of piracy in Nigerian waters and the GoG.

According to the report, piracy in the GoG and Nigerian waters is now on a record low, as pirates’ activities in the first nine months of 2021 are the lowest reported in 17 years. And this bears testament to enhanced maritime security and response coordination measures adopted by the Nigerian Navy in recent times.

In my opinion, this is in line with the renewed operational policy of the Nigerian Navy that emphasises “leveraging all factors of national location, technology, training, teamwork and synergy to re-energise the Nigerian Navy and enhance her as a well-motivated and ready naval force in the discharge of her constitutional mandate and other assigned tasks in fulfilment of national security objectives”.

On record, the Nigerian Navy had contributed tremendously to the freedom of navigation in the Gulf of Guinea by strengthening coordination in the fight against insecurity for socioeconomic activities among member states to thrive.

There have also been collaborations between the Nigerian Navy and other strategic partners to enhance maritime security. For example, in the last couple of months, the Nigeria Navy has brought to bear its dominant status in the West African region by sustaining an aggressive presence in the nation’s maritime environment, leading to the drastic reduction in acts of criminality in the Gulf of Guinea.

The Nigerian Navy has concluded collaboration efforts with the Ghana Navy to combat piracy further, and maritime crime in the Gulf of Guinea as plans are ongoing to establish a standing multinational task force in the Gulf of Guinea. The Nigerian Navy recently hosted the maiden virtual sea power for Africa. The symposium brought together 33 African Navies and six other foreign Navies.

Since his appointment, these and many more initiatives were embarked upon by the Chief of Naval Staff, Vice Admiral Gambo. Lest I forget, the contributions of the Nigerian Navy in the war against insurgency in Nigeria have also been commendable.

It is thus necessary to state that the last year has been a beehive of activities in the Nigerian Navy. The various operational reforms introduced within this short period have placed the Nigerian Navy in a prime position to fulfil its constitutional mandate. These are indeed no mean feats. The Chief of Naval Staff has demonstrated that we can make a difference in every endeavour only if we are committed and patriotic.

Vice Admiral Gambo has lived up to expectations by displaying an uncommon commitment to improving the operations of the Nigerian Navy, and some of us are not surprised with the turn of events. I can bet that President Muhammadu Buhari is as much impressed.

I also gathered from reliable sources within the Nigerian Navy that in the annals of the history of the Nigerian Navy, Vice Admiral Gambo has proven to be one of those that prioritised the welfare of naval officers and ratings. Under him, it was stated that there had been a sustained emphasis on training and sophistication of its operations.

For example, the Nigerian Navy recently acquired a new hydrographic and oceanographic research vessel, NNS LANA, to replace the previous one, which was decommissioned ten years ago. The ship is expected, among other benefits, to allow the Nigerian Navy to have a better knowledge of its maritime territory and its exclusive economic zone; enhance coastal and deep-sea scientific research and studies; provide assistance and supplies to other boats, as well as helicopter winching and towing of ships.

It can also conduct geophysical studies, search and rescue operations, and patrol duties. The ship is equipped with state-of-the-art modern survey equipment and a well-equipped 7.6m surface vehicle for shallow water surveys. Furthermore, the vessel has an Automatic Weather Station, AWS, wet and dry laboratories, scientific and technical workshops, and operating and processing rooms for survey data.

Another area worthy of mention is the U.S Coast Guard training exercise with the Nigerian Navy on Maritime Law enforcement, a part of a series of cooperation between the two countries in the fight against piracy. The training explored various internationally recognised techniques and procedures for maritime law enforcement at sea safely and professionally.

To think all of these happened in just one year in the saddle is most notable that one wonders what to expect in the months and years ahead. Be that as it may, I wish to state that Vice Admiral Gambo has been writing his name in gold in one year at the saddle. He has set the navy on the path of progress and helped to ensure that the nation’s territorial waters are not only safe, but economic saboteurs are denied the opportunity of constituting themselves as clogs in the wheels of our progress. This is on the heels that Maritime security has already become a global concern in the present world. Severe threats could be posed if maritime security is jeopardised, as proven by many incidents of such kind.

In conclusion, the Nigerian Navy made significant strides in its operational activities and exercises in the past year under the dynamic leadership of Vice Admiral Auwal Zubairu Gambo. Notable successes were recorded in the number of hours at sea, anti-piracy/sea robbery, anti-COT/illegal bunkering, and anti-smuggling operations, as well as in NN’s contribution to joint operations in the hinterland.

Vice Admiral Auwal Zubairu Gambo is indeed a lesson in leadership. The past year has proven this, and we must give credit to whom credit is due. I say a big congratulations to this silent achiever.

Agbese is a security and human rights expert based in the United Kingdom.

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Tinubu: Sowore Got It Wrong – By Sadiq Abubakar

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Wannabe activist and purveyor of Revolution Now, Omoyele Sowore needs urgent help. Sowore needs saving from himself, and Nigerians have to be saved from his warped perception of reality. The self-styled activist took to Twitter a couple of days ago to malign a frontrunner among the All Progressive Congress (APC)presidential aspirants and former Lagos State Governor, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu in a move that rolled his lack of depth and mischief into one puke-inducing flop. He got it wrong and should have corrected the wrong impression he created had he the lightest iota of honour.

Sowore tweeted about a video of Tinubu’s intervention on the insecurity bedevilling the country in a manner that attempted to cast the APC Presidential candidate in a bad light. Tinubu had in the video recommended massive recruitment of the youth into the military to counter the scourge of terrorism and banditry that the country is facing.

Right thinking Nigerians already know the import of massively recruiting the youth into the military, which would be a win-win situation for the country. However, for the sake of the few brain-damaged people that see Sowore as an activist or a messiah, the importance of such recruitment is tremendous.

First, as Tinubu rightly explained, terrorists, bandits and other criminals are practically in competition with the government and organized private sector to recruit unemployed youth. Recruiting these youth into the military immediately makes them unavailable to people with the intent of indoctrinating them into lives of vices and crime. This will practically reduce the number of criminals the country has to combat by up to half; the flip side is that these numbers of recruited youth then become available to counter those that have fallen on the wrong side of the law.

Secondly, by employing such youth, more money will filter into the system and consequently improve the economy of individuals. This is one of the best approaches to wealth distribution yet, it puts money in the pocket of young persons without it seeming like handouts.

Additionally, there is the added advantage that more young persons will have combatant training, which would tilt the odds against terrorists now believing every Nigerian they decide to abduct is fair game. Even when these youths eventually leave the military, they remain in a position to coordinate their communities to repel marauding bandits and other criminal elements.

Furthermore, in peacetime, these youth can be deployed to undertake non-combatant roles like providing agro-support, engineering works, and emergency and rescue services. One would have thought that a Sowore, who posture as an international citizen, would know that this is the practice in several countries that have large military populations for peacetimes.

Tragically, Sowore got it wrong on his tweet that he attempted to use to disparage Tinubu. The APC presidential hopeful got it right, as he mostly does, and the Revolution Now pretender is way out of his league. He is totally incapable of the kind of nationalistic thinking that Tinubu brings to issues pertaining to Nigeria.

Unfortunately, there are going to be more of such misguided and malicious tirades from Sowore in the coming days, weeks, and months until the 2023 Presidential Election is conducted, and he is again proven to be a comedian, a calling at which he has proven to be a charlatan. There is a well-established pattern that is worrisome. Sowore has fully deployed the publication arm of his business, Sahara Reporters, as a tool for attacking Tinubu’s reputation. Sahara Reporters has committed itself to frame all discourses about Tinubu from a subjective perspective intended only to damage his reputation.

The only good thing about this so far is that those who know are aware that Sowore’s attacks on Tinubu, whether on Twitter, Sahara Reporters, or any other platform, are not driven by a patriotic zeal of an activist who wants the best for Nigerians. Sowore’s tirades against Tinubu first became noticeable after the former Lagos State Governor called his bluff when he attempted to blackmail Tinubu with the threat of publishing a list of Abuja property that he thought belonged to Tinubu.

In the years that have followed since Tinubu called Sowore’s bluff by refusing to succumb to blackmail since he did nothing wrong in the first place as his hands are clean, the publisher of Sahara Reporters has published one lie after the other in the expectation that one would stick. As providence would have it, it turned out that it is Sowore that is continually exposed as a fraud – whether as an activist or a journalist.

Instead of futilely attempting to ridicule Tinubu, Sowore should focus more on his comical entry into the 2023 presidential race. Perhaps his website, Sahara Reporters, would have created more brain-damaged people that will vote for him to increase his vote from the ridiculous 33,953 he polled in 2019 Presidential Election.

While at it, Sowore would do well to reach out to the neocons he is running errands for and impress on them that after years of being their agent of destabilization, their goal of breaking Nigeria remains unattainable, especially with a Tinubu presidency impending. A Tinubu presidency would do great things for the youth as it would give its all to address unemployment, which is the greatest challenge the youth face. If Sowore does not understand this then there is no way to help him.

Abubakar wrote this article from Kaduna.

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Pam: Appraising an uncommon achiever at NCPC – By Abraham Adekunle

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Following the approval of the appointment of Rev Yakubu Pam as the Executive Secretary Of Nigerian Christian Pilgrims Commission (NCPC) by President Muhammadu Buhari, there have been tremendous positive improvement in the Christian-Muslim relationship across the nation.

One would debate less on such turnover because of the personality that stood as a gap bridge. Rev YAKUBU PAM is a man of peace and a great patriot who has used his current position to preach peaceful co-existence amongst Nigerians. At a time the country’s corporate existence is being threatened by insurgency, insurrection and other criminal Vices, it takes men of courage like Pam to speak out in support of one, united, and indivisible Nigeria. He is a notable personality who has refused permitting self-appraiser in being in the spot light for any reason.

Rev Yakubu Pam has proven himself an excellent man, a man of good faith and integrity before his appointment as the executive secretary of the Nigerian Christian Pilgrimage Commission. With heading other bodies of the Christian faith, including the Northern part of the-Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN), Inter-Religious Council; and the Internally Displaced Persons, Rev Yakubu Pam had shown Nigerians what a peaceful man he is.

In a country where tribal war seems to abound and issues seem to come up regularly, Rev Yakubu has remained detribalized, being for the unity and peace of the nation rather than choose a side of the nation to belong to.
Rev Yakubu Pam is an excellent leader as since his appointment by the president of the federal republic of Nigeria on the 26th of June, 2020, he has led judiciously, showing a true example to the people about what a leader and a good man of God, a good citizen of the nation should be like.

He is a quintessential leader, a teacher and a peace lover as he advocates for peace with every chance he gets. He is a man who has never taken his service in God’s vineyard for granted, he has been serving faithfully since 2020 and still is, even till now.

When one looks at his profile, one can see that his journey of faith and service did not begin today. It has been a journey that had long been in play, with the many Christian education that the reverend got as he grew in faith and in person.
Service like this requires great personalities. People who are careful in dealing with men, knowing that their position was chosen by God and no one else, we have seen men battled storms but later prevailed, but many have attained the positions of this height, and loose faith of their humble beginnings. The Reverend has however retained his humility, keeping in mind God’s role in his life and growth.

The commission is blessed to have been led by Rev Yakubu Pam as he has since then impacted the nation in many ways. His appointment has set many records for high standard of leadership in Nigeria which has led many stakeholders acclaim to this fact severally in conferences and the likes. It is amazing what God can do using a great leader, Reverend Yakubu Pam has shown himself as the great man who constantly contributes to easing the plight of the people.

The Reverend is a leader that listens to the people and hears their voices, and then speak out on their behalf on several occasions. He has spoken up about the killings in the North, urging and pushing for a better government. The people’s plight has always been his plight,

Rev Yakubu has restored transparency to the commission and since then has set the pace for better leadership in other parts of the country. He restored the people’s faith in the having religious leaders in politics and having them deliver and promptly too.

He has also been termed an icon of peace which is a fact that cannot be disputed. He has worked endlessly since his appointment as the executive secretary of the Nigerian Christian Pilgrimage Commission, we all know this, since his appointment he has also won a bunch of awards to further solidify the fact that he is not just anybody and he isn’t a man who doesn’t know how to go about working properly.

He is working, we see it. He is speaking up, he is not a hypocritical leader, he speaks for Justice and for peace and oneness which are things that this nations seems to lack most of the time. Reverend Yakub Pam has been one of the most accountable leaders that NCPC has ever had, his accountability is seen and has been recognized by all, indeed he has the traits of an excellent leader.

People have often felt being a religious leader in a political setting woud corrupt the minds of the leader and make the aid leader adopt characters that are unheard of in the religious setting, but this hadn’t been the case with Rev Yakubu, he has proven to us over and again that a Christian can be in politics and still let God use him, still let God lead , a Christian can be in politics for service, to serve God and the people. He is changing the narrative and it is purely amazing.

Humanity is nothing without selflessness, or a dying world redeemable without a savior. Rev PAM is a man with great optimism that brings to the position more than 30 years of leadership experience in the Christian Community, coupled with a deep understanding of promoting Inter-religious harmony and conflict resolution in the Northern parts of the country. Rev Yakubu is a living legend to be reckon with.

Adekunle wrote this piece from Toyin Street, Ikeja, Lagos.

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Northern APC Youth, women in mother of all rally to Villa, adopts Tinubu as Consensus candidate

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Millions of women and youths from across the nineteen northern states in Nigeria today converged on Abuja and marched to the Presidential villa to demand the adoption of All Progressive Congress, APC National leader, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu as the consensus candidate of the party in the forthcoming Presidential election. 

The Nigerians said Tinubu is the only person fit and capable among all those that have been declaring their intention to turn around the economy of the country. 

Led by Patriot Yakubu Dauda, they said the APC Youth and Women in the 19 Northern States of the federation have been actively involved in the activities of the party through several ways that have positioned the party firmly in the hearts of the people.

He said, “We wish to inform Mr President that we have also been actively mobilizing support for the party at the grassroots levels across the 19 northern states in preparation for the 2023 general elections.

“The response of the people has been encouraging. We wish to use this medium to inform Mr President that the APC as a party has continued to have a stronghold amongst the people who have been beneficial to the various social security initiatives implemented across the country in critical sectors such as agriculture, education and health.

“Mr President, in the course of our daily engagements, across the northern states, we have been inundated with an astronomical level of support for the presidential aspiration of Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu. His acceptance level amongst the grassroots is phenomenal. One might be tempted to think he has his origin from the North.

“As a group with a vast network amongst youths and women in the 19 northern states in the county, including the Federal Capital Territory, we can say without fear or favour that Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu is widely accepted as the prime candidate for our great party in the coming 2023 general elections. This is on the heels that he has been able to build bridges across the country in service to the country and humanity through ways too numerous to mention” he added

The group said after extensive deliberations and consultations, the APC Youth and Women in the 19 Northern states, including the federal capital territory, have elected to adopt Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu as the consensus presidential candidate of the APC in the 2023 general elections.

Dauda saud It is the firm conviction of the group  that the candidature of Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu is well in place for guaranteed victory for the APC because of his broad appeal across religious groups and ethnicities.

“The candidature of Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu is such that it resonates with the ordinary man and woman on the street. They see him as their role model, and he has indeed touched their lives in ways too numerous to mention.

“Mr President, the adoption of Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tunubu as the consensus presidential candidate of the APC is a national concern for the party and its teeming supporters. They are desirous of not just ensuring the party comes out victorious at the general elections but also a president that would sustain the tempo of your laudable initiatives.

“Mr President, as the leader and father of our great party, we are grateful to God for gifting you to Nigeria when the country was on the verge of annihilation. You indeed remain God sent to Nigeria.

“It, therefore, becomes imperative that our great party presents a candidate in the mould of Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu, who has the clout and all other requirements to sustain those laudable initiatives of this present administration.

“Mr President, may we humbly use this medium to inform you that there is a need for your kind and urgent intervention towards adopting Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu as the consensus presidential candidate of the APC. In our opinion, this would go a long way in positioning the party for electoral success come 2023” he added

Dauda added that there is no gainsaying that Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu is a well-loved and adored Nigerian whose antecedence speaks volumes of selfless service to the country right from 1999 in his capacity as the executive governor of Lagos state.

“Mr President, we must not also forget the numerous contributions of Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu to the formation and sustenance of our great party, as it is on record that he has been selfless without fail since our great party come into existence.

“The Concerned APC Youth and Women in the 19 Northern States, including the Federal Capital Territory, supports the candidature of Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu for the 2023 presidential elections in the country.

“We are convinced beyond reasonable doubt that all stakeholders in our great party would adopt the endorsement of Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu as the consensus candidate of the party for the presidential elections.

“Mr President, we thank you for your selfless service to the country. We pray that God continues to bless you with wisdom and understanding as you pilot the affairs of our great nation” he added

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