Ex-presidential aide, Bugaje, accuses Tinubu led govt of losing focus

Ex-presidential aide, Bugaje, accuses Tinubu led govt of losing focus

In a recent interview with Vanguard Newspaper, former presidential aide Dr. Usman Bugaje offered an assessment of Nigeria’s governance landscape, addressing a range of pressing issues from the performance of the Tinubu presidency to the intricacies of resource ownership and parliamentary oversight.

Bugaje’s commentary was marked by a clear-headed presentation and analysis of issues, reflecting his deep understanding of Nigeria’s political dynamics. He minced no words in expressing his concerns about the direction of the current administration, stating:


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“It is rudderless. We don’t even seem to have any idea of where to go or where they are going. They came with a promise of fixing the country and, apparently, they did not do their homework. They think they know, but it is now clear that they don’t know.”

Bugaje criticized what he perceived as a lack of vision and policy coherence within the Tinubu administration, highlighting the deepening socio-economic challenges facing the country under its leadership.

Regarding the role of the National Assembly, Bugaje expressed dismay over alleged corruption and malfeasance among lawmakers, stating:

“A serious leader could have stopped it. What kind of irresponsibility is that? How come it was even paid for before the budgetary approval? Couldn’t the president have stopped the process even for the symbolism of it? Is that not an insult to NASS?”

Bugaje’s remarks extended to the contentious issue of resource ownership, particularly Nigeria’s oil reserves. He argued against the notion of oil-producing states, asserting:

“The idea that there is an oil, gold, or copper producing state is out of either ignorance or impunity. The real provision is that ownership of everything under the ground within the Nigerian territory is vested in the Federal Republic.”

When asked to clarify on a statement he once made that 78% of oil belongs to the North, Bugaje said, “I did say that the oil belongs to the North. However, let me explain. As we know, the constitution has made it very clear that oil and any other resources belong to the Federal Republic, yet you find some ignorant people talking about their oil. So, I said if we match that argument, we can still claim that the oil also belongs to the North. Why? Because 78% of oil in Nigeria is offshore. Due to the crisis and the environmental issues of taking oil from the land, most oil companies have found it more economical and peaceful to go through the sea. While in government, I was part of the team that was involved in the Gulf of Guinea talks (laws of the sea).

“What rule did we use? We used the United Nations Convention of the Law of the Sea. And what did it say? It says that every state that has a border with water would have an exclusive area, meaning a zone that is exclusive for it to do its own economic and security activities, protecting its land, its territory, and fishing. But, where a country wants to extend that beyond the permitted nautical miles into the sea, there are rules and regulations that would provide for how far it can go into the sea. What is the major factor that gives it mileage into the sea? It is the landmass.

“Whatever we get into the sea is as a result of our landmass as Nigeria. Now, if you divide the landmass in Nigeria, 78% of the landmass of this country belongs to the North. As you know, the whole of the South-East states can be put inside Niger. You can also put another five states in Niger and there will still be space. One state in the North can take more than two of the spaces of the total South-East. The North has the landmass. What I am saying is that if 78% of that landmass gives you that mileage into the sea where your oil comes from, the 78% of whatever mileage we get into the sea can therefore be claimed because the 78% landmass belongs to the North which is the majority. That is the argument. If they are not satisfied with this ownership, they can go to the National Assembly requesting a change in the constitution. That way, they can make the resources wherever it is found that of the state.”

Bugaje’s analysis underscored the constitutional framework governing resource allocation and highlighted the need for adherence to legal provisions to prevent exploitation and abuse.

As Nigeria grapples with complex governance challenges, Bugaje’s insights serve as a clarion call for transparency, accountability, and inclusive governance practices.

His remarks resonate as a reminder of the urgent need for systemic reform to address the country’s pressing socio-economic issues and chart a path toward sustainable development.

In Bugaje’s own words, “The tragedy is that the few may not be near the kitchen cabinet so you end up with people who are just there for nothing.”


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