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Presidency Hits Back at Northern Elders Forum, Says Group Lacks Credibility



The Presidency has reacted to the stand taken by the Northern Elders Forum (NEF), which portrays President Muhammadu Buhari as a failure, saying that the forum lacked credibility.

The Presidency said NEF was at best a one-man squad led by its Chairman, Prof Ango Abdullahi, describing NEF as the case of an army General without troops.

A State House statement by presidential media aide, Mr Femi Adesina, said NEF was all about Abdullahi and had no other credible names of worth.

The Presidency stated, “Prof. Ango Abdullahi on Sunday signed a long-winding statement on many issues relating to the North, and purportedly to the country.

“The former Vice-Chancellor signed the statement under the banner of Northern Elders Forum. Hearing that title, you would think the body was a conglomeration of true elders.

“But the truth is that NEF is just Ango Abdullahi, and Ango Abdullahi is NEF. It is a quasi-organisation that boasts of no credible membership, and its leader is akin to a General without troops.”

The Presidency recalled how ahead of the 2019 presidential poll, the NEF allegedly opposed Buhari’s bid to seek a second term by backing another candidate.

However, it said the preferred NEF candidate lost.

“NEF is merely waving a flag that is at half-mast. President Buhari steadily and steadfastly focuses on the task of retooling Nigeria, and discerning Nigerians know the true state of the nation.

“They don’t need a paper tiger to tell them anything.”

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Food for Living: Steadfastly Develop Your Craft



By Henry Ukazu

Greetings Destiny Friends,

Life can be incredibly challenging and frustrating, especially when you are not getting desired results in your investments and craft. You may have been working on a product for a while and your dream is to introduce it to the market but it’s unfortunate if it doesn’t turn out as expected.

As an entrepreneur, writer, producer, marketer, student, devoted Christian and many more, you may have experienced that secret frustration which nobody knows. It is hard to feel that way, but being consistent and believing in your craft can turn the tides around even when no one believes in you and your product. Remember, you have to believe in yourself even if no one believes in you.

As human beings, once in a while we have the feeling that makes us feel we can’t do it, that we have completely lost it, as result of background, environment, or academic qualification. Yes, these factors can influence our nature of productivity, but they are not the conclusive factors that can decide our faith.

You may have felt disappointed because a friend didn’t keep his word, a bank loan didn’t come through or an investment deal didn’t work out. All these might be legitimate reasons to back out, but the biggest question you have to ask yourself is, who defines my success or failure? Is it me or someone else? It is important to know that you have the key to your success, the universe only comes to facilitate the process for you.

 As an entrepreneur and productive minded being, you don’t need a perfect performance to succeed, all that is necessary is for you to try; even if you fail, just know that you have tried your possible best, and learnt from your mistakes.

One of the reasons most businesses fail is because they don’t have a clear-cut vision of what they want to accomplish. If you have a well-structured business and know what you really want to do, you won’t have to engage in several businesses; you’ll be concerned about a specific area.  As you plan to develop your craft, you must know the vision you have at the back of your mind. It is your vision that matters and not your mistakes and failures. Your mistakes and failures don’t define you, rather what defines you is what you have been able to achieve and accomplish.

No doubt, we all face challenges in our personal life, business, professional work environment and even in financial life. The big question is how do we manage these challenges? The first step in managing these life challenges is to have peace of mind. Once you have peace of mind despite the obvious problems, you’ll overcome any storm of life.

It is instructive to note that many people may not see your vision not feel what you feel. it’s not really up to them to see or feel it; it’s completely up to you to see and feel it.

Developing your craft entails a lot, especially when the odds don’t add up. As an advice, don’t be hard on yourself; learn to enjoy the moment; learn to appreciate every experience whether negative or positive because they are all part of the building process.

You never know the next big opportunity waiting for you. You may be at the brink of success without knowing it. There was a story of two men who were on an exploration looking for gold, Mr. A was on the brink of hitting a milestone of gold, but he didn’t know, but because Mr. B was able to strike gold and quietly left. Mr. A left his spot and re-routed to Mr. B’s position not knowing he was not far from hitting gold. If only he knew he was few strikes from hitting a goldmine, he would have remained on his position without moving to Mr. A’s position. The story had it that, assuming he had not left, he would have hit goldmine.

The story is not different from everyone of us. At different stages in our life, we all experience the feeling of giving up, especially when you must have given your best by trying to pitch your idea or business plan but it gets rejected on a continuous basis.

As mentioned earlier, don’t be hard on yourself, just be steadfast, you may be close to hitting a jackpot. As a word of advice, don’t feel bad if your work is not being accepted or a potential mentor didn’t acknowledge your work. Remember, people only identify or support projects they are passionate about.

Just continue to give your best, if anyone is destined or inspired to support your work, they’ll definitely engage or communicate with you with little or no effort from you. Trust me, if you are consistent in your craft/work, and do what is needed, you’ll succeed.

Furthermore, it is important to note that who you are is different from what you are. Who you are is what you are created or destined to do, what you are is the work you do. Maintaining steadfastness in your craft really entails a lot. It’s a process. It’s just like in mathematics, it is not your answers that matter but your steps , formulas and analysis that made you arrive at the answer.

In conclusion, it is pertinent to note that there are many stories littered in the internet of many great men who failed many times before they succeed, so don’t get strained when your plans don’t work. Stay strong and positive.

Henry Ukazu writes from New York. He works with the New York City Department of Correction as the Legal Coordinator. He’s the author of the acclaimed book Design Your Destiny – Actualizing Your Birthright To Success and President of He can be reached via

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Opinion: ‘Zero’ As Weak-Point



By Tolulope A. Adegoke

“Everyone has a weak point which connotes ‘Zero’. In every Hero, there lies a Zero; just like, in every King lies a kid… We must always work on our loopholes to become better so as not to be drowned in the valley of life (doom). Therefore, starve (silence) your weak-point (Zero) to develop the Hero in you!” – Tolulope A. Adegoke

Some individuals would be painted on the canvass of weak point to describing how it limited them from being a Hero to the end. This is not to spite anyone, but it is for us to learn from the events which surrounded them and how they reacted to it. Weakness is a quality or a feature that prevents someone or something from being effective or useful. Some carefully selected great men in the bible and the world today who were considered Heroes of their time, and eventually fell as a result of their individual weaknesses.


Moses, a good example was called by God to the lead the Israelites out of Egypt (from slavery). The exceptional grace on his life made him a HERO. The Lord used him to perform many miracles in Egypt and through him, God afflicted the Egyptians with the ten (10) plagues and the Lord also used him for great miracles in the wilderness and in parting the red sea (Exodus 33:22-23). Moses became so great a man and spoke to God mouth to mouth and was the only man to see God from behind. God Himself testified that he (Moses) was the meekest man on Earth, yet, it was ANGER (weak-point) that terminated his mission of leading the Israelites into Canaan land (the Promised land) Exodus 17, Exodus 32:19-20. The congregation of children of Israel journeyed from the wilderness of sin, after their journeys, according to the commandment of the Lord, and pitched in Rephidim: and there was no water for the people to drink. Wherefore the people did chide with Moses, and Moses said unto them, why chide ye with me? He went up to God, and tendered the complaints of Israelites; God instructed him to take the elders of Israel and his rod, to smooth the rock for water, but Moses struck the rock instead as result of anger and the water gushed out massively which killed many Israelites. Also, it came to pass, as soon as Moses’ anger waxed hot, and he cast the tables out of his hands, and brake them beneath the mount. At the end, Moses only saw the Canaan land from afar but didn’t get there.


Samson is another good example to be used here to describe the flaws of mighty individuals, in spite of his great strength, was later destroyed. Samson, a man born, destined to be a saviour to Israel (Judges 13), he was the most powerful man on Earth who could face 10,000 soldiers all alone, and he killed a lion with his bare hands. During his time, the Philistines were afraid of Israel. He was a man filled with power and the grace of God, but lusted after a strange woman (Delilah), which against God’s instructions led to his destruction. His power ended on the laps of Delilah when he revealed the secret of his power (his hair) to her (Judges 16); the great Samson became a toothless dog and a mockery of many.

Jose Mourinho

In the circular world Jose Mourinho, who is one of the most respected coaches in football history in history in his generation often called ‘the Special One’ won several titles for different clubs in different countries of the world among others are Porto FC, Chelsea FC, Inter Millan FC, Real Madrid FC, Manchester United FC. He is a coach with different /unique strategies and techniques, and one of the best coaches in the world; however, his styles/approach may not always be acceptable (applauded) in the mainstream of football management.

Jose Mourinho, a public figure, lacked something that stands as blemish on his white garment and loopholes on his outfit which can be regarded as “pride of the tongue” (he could not tame his tongue) and temperament, by belittling other people’s achievements, which is often called “mind game”. He accused Raniair of being incapable of winning any trophy, but when you compare him with Raniair (who was also a very good coach), Mourinho has more financial support, which gave him edge over Raniair. Recently, Mourinho appeared insecure with his desperation for respect from all quarters. He could be seen or heard moaning about lack of respect from the English Press that Arsene Wenger who had not won the League in 18years is far more respected than him who last won the Premier League 20months ago… He publicly pronounced Arsene Wenger as “Professional in failure”. Respect is earned, not commandeered!

Some football lovers across the world now disagree that Mourinho is not the ‘Special One’ because of the several factors of character failure surrounding his identity. Most especially, the recent incidence that happened between him and Chelsea FC’s Chief Medical Doctor, Eva Carneiro, while he was a manager at Chelsea FC, Jose Mourinho publicly insulted the doctor due to the fact that she was treating a player of team who went down on the pitch (Eden Hazard) when the Chelsea FC team were down by 3goals against Manchester City FC; this caused a commotion in the Chelsea team and made a lot of football lovers to refrain their respect for Jose Mourinho. This is why he couldn’t make an in-road back to Chelsea FC. I believe Jose Mourinho has realized his shortcomings, he is now trying to control his temperament and tongue.

Character counts, when it comes to issues of life! Character failure is a total failure!

After many failures in December, 2015, he was sacked as Chelsea FC’s manager and replaced by Guss Hindick because he could no longer meet up with desired expectations.

A successful person would always fit into a psychological pattern, the same goes for an unsuccessful person. The exhibition of character tells much about them all!

Everyone has a weak point which connotes “Zero”. In every Hero, there lies a Zero…just like the saying that: “there is a kid in every king (vice versa). We must therefore, always work on our loopholes to be better so as not to be drowned in the valley of life (doom). Starve (silence) your weak-point (Zero) to develop the Hero in you!

Learn and Apply. Thank you!

Watch out for the Book titled: “The Power of an Empowered Zero” (From Zero to HERO) by Tolulope A. Adegoke. Foreword by Dr Yomi Garnett (CEO/Chancellor, Royal Biographical Institute, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania U.S.A., U.K., Abuja, Nigeria.) Edited by Ola Aboderin.

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Social Media, Nigeria and Fight Against Fake News



By Joel Popoola

Nigeria’s largest social media platform is finally fighting fake news – but not in Nigeria

Whatsapp is Nigeria’s biggest social network and can be found on the phones of 85% of Nigerian social media users, but too often the platform is used to spread dangerous misinformation.

During the last Ebola outbreak, Whatsapp users were told to bathe in saltwater to protect themselves from the deadly disease. As a result, at least two people died.

The recent COVID-19 outbreak has been no different, with raw onion, olive oil, garlic and shaving all preposterously peddled as a “miracle cure” in a pandemic which has already claimed the lives of almost 1000 Nigerians.

This week, the app has finally taken action to stop the spread of fake news on its platform by introducing a magnifying glass icon next to messages forwarded at least five times.

By clicking on the icon users can quickly search the internet to see if the claims are true.

But not in Nigeria.

So far, only users in Brazil, Italy, Ireland, Mexico, Spain, the United Kingdom and the United States are able to use the fact-checking service.

If people weren’t already using the internet to verify claims like ”the disease which has killed over 700,000 people around the world can be stopped in its tracks by leaving an onion on your carpet” before forwarding them to their friends and family, I’m not sure how much an emoji is likely to change – but at least it’s something.

But it is incredible that over 20 million Nigerian users are being excluded from this service – not least given the comparatively low levels of digital literacy in our nation compared to countries where the fact-checking facility is being rolled out.

Ultimately, Nigeria needs a high profile national digital literacy campaign to help social media users to better critically consider the information they see online.

With so much political information being shared online – much of it just as unreliable as the medical advice above – our democracy depends upon it as much as our health and safety.

This campaign must come hand-in-hand with a renewed effort to build a digitally-skilled workforce for the twenty-first century – with the World Bank estimating that less than one percent of African children currently leave school with basic programming computer skills.

We also need to remove data charges from online educational resources.

Whatsapp is Nigeria’s biggest social network simply because users do not need to use much data to access it. The fact the government remains indifferent to calls to make this the case for learning resources, especially when so many youngsters need helping catching up with their schooling after the disruption of the coronavirus, is impossible to understand.

Until then, we need social media companies to take the necessary steps to protect their users from fake news and harmful half-truths. And at the Digital Democracy campaign, which I lead, we’re already doing our bit.

Our free Rate Your Leader app allows voters to get vital information direct from their elected representatives, person to person, straight from their smartphone.

If they think the information they get isn’t reliable or honest, they can rate the source of that information accordingly, directing their neighbours to information sources which are reliable and credible.

At the same time, politicians can get potentially life-saving messages straight to people in their communities, as well as building a more accurate picture of what matters most to the people they serve.

My inspiration for the app came after spending time in Britain, where local politicians are much easier to contact than we are used to in Nigeria. I even managed to meet the Speaker of the British Parliament as a Nigerian living 300 miles away from London!

A lot of the time in Nigeria, we have no idea who our local leaders are and how we are supposed to contact them – and many of them seem happy to keep it that way!

Apps like Rate Your Leader are designed to tackle this, and help move our nation towards a new era of democratic transparency and accountability.

The digital age has the potential to reconnect people and politics without politicians or the people they serve ever having to leave their sofas.

Sadly, when it comes to being signposted to trustworthy information online, it is hard to escape the sense that the major social networks are once again allowing Nigeria to fall behind.

Joel Popoola is a Nigerian tech entrepreneur and digital democracy campaigner and is the founder of the free Rate Your Leader app. You can reach Joel on Twitter @JOPopoola or on

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