TUKUR Buratai, chief of army staff, on Monday, stated that the Defence Headquarters, DHQ, did not declare the Indigenous People of Biafra, IPOB a terrorist organization in the country. The Army Chief made the denial in Abakaliki during the official launch of Operation Python Dance II, he argued that what the Defence Headquarters did was a pronouncement on IPOB added that the statement of the military gave room for the right steps to be taken on the matter. According to Buratai, the action of the Federal government concerning IPOB was right and that the military did not over step its bound towards the protection of lives and properties in the country. “You have to get it very clear. First of all, what the Defence Headquarters did was to make pronouncement. It wasn’t a declaration per se. But this has given room for the right step to be taken. I think the government is doing the right thing. “It is not that we are overstepping our bounds. We are still within the limits. And I ensure you that what the military said was to set the ball rolling and to bring the awareness to the public that this is what this organization is all about. I’m happy that the government has done the right thing right now. The Chief of Army staff, General Tukur Buratai further assured the people of the Southeast that the Army will abide by the rule of law and rules of engagement in carrying out the Exercise Egwu Eke II which kicked off on Saturday in the region. Also in a courtesy to Governor David Umahi of Ebonyi state who was represented by his Deputy, Dr. Kelechi Igwe, the Chief of Army Staff noted that the exercise was targeted at improving the security situation of the zone which according to him, was very strategic to the security of the country. According to him the exercise will help to bring about the much needed peace and security and also be used to train the Military in basic internal security. “They army have taken into cognizance the security of the people in deployment of it’s personnel for the operation”. He said the army in carrying out the operation will liaise and work with other security agencies in the region. “The army is very sensitive to the cultural norms of the people and will abide by all the rules of engagement and code of conduct that have been laid down which is quite in tandem with the Constitution”. According to him, some of the activities of the exercise will include Patrols, indoor battle exercises, Civil-Military cooperation activities like medical outreach, sanitation, donation of books to schools etc. He therefore appealed for understanding.View items...
Former Nigeria President Chief Olusegun Obasanjo on Tuesday threw another bombshell and asked President Muhammadu Buhari not to seek re-election in 2019. In a special press statement entitled, “The Way Out: A Clarion Call for Coalition for Nigeria Movement”, Obasanjo claimed Buhari has performed far below expectation and should honourably “dismount from the horse”. Obasanjo urged the President to join the league of the country’s former leaders whose “experience, influence, wisdom and outreach can be deployed on the side line for the good of the country.” Obasanjo, a two-term president on the platform of Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), said he felt disappointed by Buhari, whom he supported during the 2015 election over then incumbent and candidate of his former party, Goodluck Jonathan. Obasanjo had written a condemnatory open letter in December 2013 titled “Before it is Too Late”. where he highlighted the numerous failings of the Dr.Jonathan administration. The former leader argued that his decision to go against Jonathan, at the time was the right one as events in the last three years have since proven, was for the good of the nation and nothing personal. “Even the horse rider then, with whom I maintain very cordial, happy and social relationship today has come to realise his mistakes and regretted it publicly and I admire his courage and forthrightness in this regard,” Chief Obasanjo said. “He has a role to play on the side line for the good of Nigeria, Africa and humanity and I will see him as a partner in playing such a role nationally and internationally, but not as a horse rider in Nigeria again.” Likening the state of the nation to lice-invested clothes, he said the country’s fingernails is stained with blood as it tries to kill the lice by pressing them in-between two fingernails. According to him, in order to make sure that our fingernails remain blood-free we must do what it takes to rid our clothes of lice. “The lice of poor performance in government – poverty, insecurity, poor economic management, nepotism, gross dereliction of duty, condonation of misdeed – if not outright encouragement of it, lack of progress and hope for the future, lack of national cohesion and poor management of internal political dynamics and widening inequality – are very much with us today,” he wrote. “With such lice of general and specific poor performance and crying poverty with us, our fingers will not be dry of ‘blood’,” he added. While thanking Buhari for the effort of his administration in rolling back the Boko Haram insurgency and his fight against corruption, Obasanjo said Buhari has ultimately failed in other areas where he had thought he would be efficient. The octogenarian, who bagged a PhD over the weekend, admitted he knew President Buhari was weak in handling the economy, he went ahead and voted for him because at the time “it was a matter of ‘any option but Jonathan’” and because he thought Mr Buhari would appoint qualified Nigerians to help out in that area. He slammed Buhari for turning a blind eye to corruption within his government saying it amounted to condonation and cover-up saying whoever is “going to justice must be with clean hands.” He also berated President Buhari for allowing the clashes between herdsmen and farmers to go “sour” and messy saying the endorsement of the President by some governors to seek re-election barely 24 hours after 73 people who were killed by herdsmen in Benue State were given mass burial was “a sad symptom of insensitivity and callousness.” Obasanjo however reserved his harshest words for what he described as Buhari’s clannishness, lack of understanding of the dynamics of politics, and his tendencies to pass the buck of his government’s inadequacies to the immediate past administration. “But there are three other areas where President Buhari has come out more glaringly than most of us thought we knew about him. One is nepotic deployment bordering on clannishness and inability to bring discipline to bear on errant members of his nepotic court. This has grave consequences on performance of his government to the detriment of the nation. It would appear that national interest was being sacrificed on the altar of nepotic interest. What does one make of a case like that of Maina: collusion, condonation, ineptitude, incompetence, dereliction of responsibility or kinship and friendship on the part of those who should have taken visible and deterrent disciplinary action? How many similar cases are buried, ignored or covered up and not yet in the glare of the media and the public? “The second is his poor understanding of the dynamics of internal politics. This has led to wittingly or unwittingly making the nation more divided and inequality has widened and become more pronounced. It also has effect on general national security. “The third is passing the buck. For instance, blaming the Governor of the Central Bank for devaluation of the naira by 70% or so and blaming past governments for it, is to say the least, not accepting one’s own responsibility. Let nobody deceive us, economy feeds on politics and because our politics is depressing, our economy is even more depressing today. If things were good, President Buhari would not need to come in. He was voted to fix things that were bad and not engage in the blame game.” To Obasanjo, President Buhari and his party, the All Progressives Congress do not have the solution to the country’s problems. According to Obasanjo, President Buhari is not healthy enough to withstand the rigour associated with running a country like Nigeria neither does his party capable of providing the answer needed to sail the country through its difficulties. Obasanjo thus asked Buhari to step down at the end of his first term with honour and dignity and attend to his health. He urged him not to listen to “self-serving so-called advisers who would claim that they love him more than God loves him and that without him, there would be no Nigeria.” “President Buhari needs a dignified and honourable dismount from the horse. He needs to have time to reflect, refurbish physically and recoup and after appropriate rest, once again, join the stock of Nigerian leaders whose experience, influence, wisdom and outreach can be deployed on the side line for the good of the country. His place in history is already assured. Without impaired health and strain of age, running the affairs of Nigeria is a 25/7 affair, not 24/7. “I only appeal to brother Buhari to consider a deserved rest at this point in time and at this age. I continue to wish him robust health to enjoy his retirement from active public service. President Buhari does not necessarily need to heed my advice. But whether or not he heeds it, Nigeria needs to move on and move forward,” he said. “I have had occasion in the past to say that the two main political parties – APC and PDP – were wobbling. I must reiterate that nothing has happened to convince me otherwise. If anything, I am reinforced in my conviction. The recent show of PDP must give grave and great concern to lovers of Nigeria. “To claim, as has been credited to the chief kingmaker of PDP, that for procuring the Supreme Court judgement for his faction of the Party, he must dictate the tune all the way and this is indeed fraught with danger. “If neither APC nor PDP is a worthy horse to ride to lead Nigeria at this crucial and critical time, what then do we do? Remember Farooq Kperogi, an Associate Professor at the Kennesaw State University, Georgia, United States, calls it “a cruel Hobson’s choice; it’s like a choice between six and half a dozen, between evil and evil. Any selection or deflection would be a distinction without a difference.” We cannot just sit down lamenting and wringing our hands desperately and hopelessly. Coalition of Nigerians Having ruled out the PDP and the ruling APC of possessing the panacea to the malaise that ails the country, Chief Obasanjo therefore called for a movement he termed Coalition of Nigeria, which he offered to be a part of, to wrest power from the present ruling class and lead the country into the path of rebirth. “We can collectively save ourselves from the position we find ourselves. It will not come through self-pity, fruitless complaint or protest but through constructive and positive engagement and collective action for the good of our nation and ourselves and our children and their children. We need moral re-armament and engaging togetherness of people of like-mind and goodwill to come solidly together to lift Nigeria up. This is no time for trading blames or embarking on futile argument and neither should we accept untenable excuses for non-performance. “Let us accept that the present administration has done what it can do to the limit of its ability, aptitude and understanding. Let the administration and its political party platform agree with the rest of us that what they have done and what they are capable of doing is not good enough for us. They have given as best as they have and as best as they can give. Nigeria deserves and urgently needs better than what they have given or what we know they are capable of giving. To ask them to give more will be unrealistic and will only sentence Nigeria to a prison term of four years if not destroy it beyond the possibility of an early recovery and substantial growth. “The development and modernization of our country and society must be anchored and sustained on dynamic Nigerian culture, enduring values and an enchanting Nigerian dream. We must have abiding faith in our country and its role and place within the comity of nations. Today, Nigeria needs all hands on deck. All hands of men and women of goodwill must be on deck. We need all hands to move our country forward. “We need a Coalition for Nigeria, CN. Such a Movement at this juncture needs not be a political party but one to which all well-meaning Nigerians can belong. That Movement must be a coalition for democracy, good governance, social and economic well-being and progress. Coalition to salvage and redeem our country. You can count me with such a Movement. Last time, we asked, prayed and worked for change and God granted our request. This time, we must ask, pray and work for change with unity, security and progress. And God will again grant us. Of course, nothing should stop such a Movement from satisfying conditions for fielding candidates for elections. But if at any stage the Movement wishes to metamorphose into candidate-sponsoring Movement for elections, I will bow out of the Movement because I will continue to maintain my non-partisan position. Coalition for Nigeria must have its headquarters in Abuja. “This Coalition for Nigeria will be a Movement that will drive Nigeria up and forward. It must have a pride of place for all Nigerians, particularly for our youth and our women. It is a coalition of hope for all Nigerians for speedy, quality and equal development, security, unity, prosperity and progress. It is a coalition to banish poverty, insecurity and despair. Our country must not be oblivious to concomitant danger around, outside and ahead. Coalition for Nigeria must be a Movement to break new ground in building a united country, a socially-cohesive and moderately prosperous society with equity, equality of opportunity, justice and a dynamic and progressive economy that is self-reliant and takes active part in global division of labour and international decision-making. “The Movement must work out the path of development and the trajectory of development in speed, quality and equality in the short- medium- and long-term for Nigeria on the basis of sustainability, stability, predictability, credibility, security, cooperation and prosperity with diminishing inequality. What is called for is love, commitment and interest in our country, not in self, friends and kinship alone but particularly love, compassion and interest in the poor, underprivileged and downtrodden. It is our human duty and responsibility so to do. Failure to do this will amount to a sin against God and a crime against humanity.”
Football legend, George Weah, has been sworn in as the 24th President of the Republic of Liberia. Weah took his oath of office at exactly noon inside the 35,000 capacity Samuel Kanyon Doe Sports Complex in Monrovia. At least eight African Heads of States, including President Muhammadu Buhari represented by Vice Present Yemi Osinbajo, and international soccer stars witnessed the ceremony. The last peaceful transfer of power between two democratically elected presidents took place in Liberia in 1944, when president Edwin Barclay was replaced by William Tubman. Many Liberians regard the 51-year-old as a hero for his incredible rags-to-riches tale. He was born in a slum in Monrovia, but found fame in international football. Weah has promised to eradicate corruption in the country of four million people and bolster the weak economy, Al-jazeera reports. Monrovia is highly dependent on exports of iron ore and rubber, which have recently plunged in prices. The country is also trying to overcome the effects of the Ebola outbreak, which left more than 4,000 people dead. Liberia is one of the poorest countries in the world with 80 percent of the population living on less than $1.25 a day. Speaking at the Samuel Doe Stadium in the capital, Monrovia, Weah said: “I will do more than my fair share to meet your expectations – but I ask you to meet mine, for I cannot do this alone.” Mr Weah also used his inaugural speech to praise Liberia’s strong ties with countries like the US and China, stressing their importance in helping reach the country’s full potential. He also spoke of the European Union, telling the tens of thousands who had gathered to watch him become president today that the continent would “always have a special place in my heart”. Mr Weah played football at clubs in France and the UK during the late 1980s and 1990s, becoming the first African to win the coveted Fifa World Player of the Year and Ballon d’Or. “Without Europe, George Weah would not be standing here. I have spent many years of my life in stadiums, but today is a feeling like no other,” he said in a report by BBC.
Former Governor of Jigawa State, Alhaji Sule Lamido on Monday, said that he was not desperate for the position of Nigeria’s president in the 2019 general elections. Lamido said this in Abakaliki when he led his campaign team on a courtesy visit to Governor David Umahi. The former governor said he would accept the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) decision on its torchbearer for the election. Lamido urged the party to concentrate on nominating its best candidate for the position, noting that the party is blessed with talented and patriotic Nigerians who would represent it and the country equitably. “I will administer a new direction for Nigeria if nominated because I aspire to unite Nigerians and make the country prosperous and secure. “I believe that I am qualified to win the party’s nomination because I am a party man by history and character with the party giving me everything I am in life. “The party discovered me from my obscure village in Jigawa, made me its state chairman and after I lost initial bids to become the state governor, made me Nigeria’s foreign affairs minister during a period of its pariah status. “The party further made me the state governor and I want to presently pay it and the country back with selfless service that would unite, reconcile and prosper the citizens,” he said. He urged the governor to give all aspirants that would be visiting the state equal attention, noting that all of them including himself, belong to one large family. “We are around nine aspirants jostling for the position presently but the emphasis should be on the nomination of the best man that would be seen as the country’s torch bearer. “The party is looking upon its governors for direction and as the convention to pick its candidate approaches, it should concentrate on reclaiming the confidence reposed in it by Nigerians,” he said. The former governor thanked the party faithful for standing by it through its trying times, noting that those who decamped were ungrateful and lost touch with its ideals. “The decampees who include former governors, ministers, legislators among others, are those who were hitherto unknown until the party gave them the platform to be known in the country. “The loss of the 2015 elections was bitter because members from the northern part of country were seen as infidels with some flogged, their houses burnt including my office,” he stated. He noted that as president, he would permanently check the farmers and herdsmen clashes among other crisis points in the country and ensure that every part of the country gets a fair share in the polity. Gov. David Umahi, who is the chairman of the South East Governors Forum, commended Lamido for his doggedness and noted that the PDP was in the right direction with the way aspirants pursued their ambitions. “Aspirants into various offices in the last national convention toured the country to show they were serious over their ambitions and it is pleasing that presidential aspirants are towing the same line. “This will ensure that those who would eventually occupy the offices would realise that they actually competed for it and wound not take the losers and party’s generality for granted,” he said.
The Presidency has appealed to former Speaker of the House of Representatives, Mr Ghali Na’Abba, to take a second look at Muhammadu Buhari administration’s achievements since its inception on May 29, 2015. Malam Garba Shehu, the Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity, made the appeal in a statement issued in Abuja on Monday. The presidential aide, who was reacting to Na’Abba’s media interview on President Buhari, said the appeal had become imperative so as to change his (Na’Abba) negative opinions as published by a media. Na’Abba had during an interview with a TV presenter, Osasu Igbinedion, vowed not to support Buhari in his bid to be re-elected in the forthcoming presidential election slated for Feb. 2019. The former speaker, who also revealed that Buhari had alerted members of the Board of Trustees of the All Progressives Party (APC) in Nov. 2017 of his intention to seek re-election, said his decision not to support the president was due to alleged Buhari’s failure “to add even an inch of value to democracy’’. However, Shehu, who narrated Buhari’s achievements, urged Na’Abba to spare time and study them in order for him to change his negative impression. The achievements read in part: “Nigeria exited its worst recession in decades. After five quarters of negative growth, the economy bounced back into positive territory. Agriculture was one of the stars of 2017, posting consistent growth levels even throughout the recession. “Also, inflation fell for 10 consecutive months during 2017 (February to November). “The Naira stabilised against the dollar, after the Central Bank introduced a new Forex window for Investors and Exporters. The stability has attracted billions of dollars in portfolio investments since April 2017. “On the back of a stable Naira and increased investment inflows, Nigeria’s stock market emerged one of the best-performing in the world, delivering returns in excess of 40 per cent. “Nigeria saw bumper food harvests, especially in rice, whose local production continues to rise significantly (states like Ebonyi, Kebbi, Kano leading the pack, with Ogun joining at the end of 2017). The price of a 50kg bag of rice – a staple in the country – has fallen by about 50 per cent as local production has gone up. “The Federal Government launched a N701 billion Intervention Fund (‘Payment Assurance Programme’) aimed at supporting power generation companies to meet their payment obligations to gas and equipment suppliers, banks and other partners. “The impact is being felt, the amount of power being distributed is now currently steady at around 4,000MW and generation now put at 7,000 MW, higher than ever recorded. “The Federal Government began paying pensions to police officers who were granted Presidential pardon in 2000 after serving in the former Biafran Police during the Nigerian Civil War. These officers, and their next of kin, have waited for their pensions for 17 years since the Presidential pardon. “Nigeria rose 24 places on the World Bank’s Ease of Doing Business rankings, and earned a place on the List of Top 10 Reformers in the world. “Nigeria’s foreign exchange reserves grew $40 billion, reaching the highest level since 2014. Nigeria also added, this year, an additional $250m to its Sovereign Wealth Fund. Also, Nigeria’s trade balance crossed over into surplus territory, from a deficit in 2016.’’ The presidential aide revealed that Nigeria had successfully issued two Eurobonds (US$4.5bn), a Sukuk Bond (100 billion Naira), a Diaspora Bond (US$300m), and the first Sovereign Climate Bond in Africa, raising billions of dollars for infrastructure spending. He said the federal government had inaugurated a Tax Amnesty scheme expected to raise hundreds of millions of dollars in additional revenues when it closes in March 2018. He also disclosed that the government had successfully commenced implementation of a Whistle blowing Programme that had so far seen recoveries of tens of millions of dollars. On the Social Investment Programme which he described as Nigeria’s most ambitious social welfare programme ever – rolled out across dozens of states, Shehu said currently, 5.2 million primary school children in 28,249 schools in 19 states are being fed daily. He stated that under the programme 200,000 unemployed graduates had enlisted into the N-power Job Scheme, and a quarter of a million loans already distributed to artisans, traders, and farmers). “The number of Nigerians facing food insecurity in the northeast dropped by half, according to the Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO). “The Nigeria Customs Service recorded its highest-ever revenue collection, crossing the One Trillion Naira (N1,000,000,000) mark. (The target for 2017 was 770 billion Naira (N770,573,730,490); 2016 Collection was just under 900 billion (N898,673,857,431.07). “The Joint Admissions and Matriculation Board (JAMB), under the new management appointed by President Buhari in 2016, remitted N7.8 billion to the coffers of the federal government. The total amount remitted by JAMB between 2010 and 2016 was N51 million. “2017 was also the Year of Nigeria’s Agriculture Revolution, embodied by the successes of the Presidential Fertiliser Initiative (PFI) and the Anchor Borrowers Programme. More than a dozen moribund fertiliser blending plants were revived under the PFI this year. “Finally, this administration has laid the foundation for a 2018 that will be Nigeria’s Year of Infrastructure. A number of important infrastructure projects, in power, rail and road, are scheduled to come on-stream or inch close to completion next year.’’ The presidential aide expressed the hope that this litany would clear all doubts about Na-Abba’s claim that Buhari had done nothing for Nigeria. “Even a beetle-eyed critic cannot pretend not to notice the tremendous progress in the area of security and the war against corruption. “Before President Buhari was elected, Nigerians were living on their nerves and the entire country, including Abuja and Na’Abba’s Kano were almost barricaded because of the daily Boko Haram terrorist attacks on innocent people. “Before the President was sworn into office, the terrorists were so bold that they could successfully attack the Police Headquarters in Abuja and army barracks in the Northeast”, something he described “as monumental national disgrace of historic scale”. “With the better equipped more motivated security personnel under President Buhari, the Boko Haram terrorists have been so militarily crippled that they no longer have the capability to take and occupy any Nigerian territory as was the case under the former PDP administration,’’ he added. On corruption, Shehu stated that Buhari had demonstrated extraordinary courage by going after former military chiefs for their involvement in corruption. “If the President could go after fellow soldiers, what more evidence do we need to prove that the President is bold and sincere in fighting corruption?’’ On the claim by Na-Abba that the president has not added value to democracy in three years, Shehu said: “The sense we have is that the Honorable speaker was confusing the political environment as had existed in the past, with this period when the President has shown a total commitment to the independence of the two arms of government, namely the Parliament and the Judiciary. According to him, the charge that democracy is now being undermined has therefore no basis against President Buhari’s impeccable democratic credentials.
Nigerian Mission in South Africans says indigenes responsible for the violent attack on Nigerians in Durban and other areas have been apprehended and arraigned in South African Court on Monday, Jan. 22. The Nigeria Consul General in Johannesburg, South Africa, Mr Godwin Adama, disclosed this in a statement made available to the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Abuja on Monday. The Consular officers from the Nigerian Consulate-General in Johannesburg and the Nigerian High Commission in Pretoria were in Durban to witness the court proceeding. Two policemen were arraigned in court and the case was adjourned till Monday, Jan. 29 while the accused were refused bail and remanded in prison custody. According to the Consul General, the late Okori was killed in Durban, Kwa-Zulu Natal Province, South Africa on Friday. “We condemn in strong terms the barbaric acts and call on the South African authorities to intervene and put an end to this ugly trend. “We also call on Nigerians to continue to be law abiding, as we work towards obtaining justice for the family of the deceased,’’ he added He stated that investigation was also going on to unravel the cause of the death of another Nigerian killed in Rustenburg, Northwest Province, South Africa, on January 20, 2018, in circumstances yet to be ascertained. “While we await the outcome of the judicial proceedings, we want to, once again, appeal for calm and rectitude among our nationals in the affected areas,” he said.
National Leader of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Asiwaju Bola Tinubu has advised Fulani herdsmen to embrace modernity and stop killing people. The former Lagos governor also said the herdsmen have no right to cling to the obsolete nomadic way of life by killing others. ”The crux of the matter is that the nomadic way of life is fast becoming obsolete. Large scale nomadic practice does not belong in this day and age. This is reality and it is inescapable. ”Thus, herders have no right to cling to this way of life by killing others. Government must stop their violence but also offer them a viable new way of life by moving them toward more modern, non-nomadic cattle rearing,” Tinubu stated. Tinubu who was represented by a former Commissioner for Finance in Lagos State, Olawale Edun, at the Daily Trust dialogue, said killings by Fulani herdsmen is not a recent occurence. “It is important that we place the current crisis in proper context. No one should pretend that this evil just suddenly appeared from nowhere. We have been living and dying with this lethal situation for many years. ”In years past, there have been herdsmen attacks smaller than this. There also have been attacks larger than this. ”The current hue and cry against these killings is hopefully a sign that we are maturing as a nation. That we shall no longer countenance the wanton destruction of human lives no matter the religion, ethnicity or origin of the victims or the villains. If so, maybe this nation is coming of age and none too soon. ”As such, this outcry is as welcome as it is overdue. We should have been agitating in this manner 5, 10, 15 years ago. Lives would have been saved. For reasons I cannot completely fathom we have come late to the point of strong, collective outrage at this bloodletting. Yet, all in all, late is better than never in this regard. ”This spirit of compassion and care must be enshrined in our political culture because it is integral to national greatness and democratic progress. True patriotism requires that you love more than the concept of Nigeria. You must love the people who comprise this nation, whether they worship in a church, mosque, and shrine or not at all. ”Over the course of history, nations have faced crises more crimson than this. Through wise policy, many nations emerged from the thicket better situated to realize their better destiny. These nations and their people are no better than us. We can and we must do the same thing. Against this backdrop we must take prudent action. It is incumbent on the federal government to do what past governments neglected to do. We must forget our age-old prejudices in order to resolve this problem. What we need is serious committed action. At its essence, this crisis was not born of religious or ethnic hatred. It is about a shrinking amount of grass and water. In recent years the desert has expanded, consuming land once used to graze livestock. This pushed cattle herders farther and farther south to collide with the farmers who were there. Ecological peril spawned economic conflict which descended into violence. This violence has taken on religious, ethnic and regional consequences because of the identities of the parties involved. This tragic episode tolls a caution to us all. Left to fester, this problem expanded to assume dimensions that now tremors the body politic. This is what too often happens when dire problems are left unattended. Now, the current administration is moving to arrest the lethal situation. I welcome the deployment of more law enforcement and military into the troubled areasThese security measures will stem the immediate violence and loss of life. As we commend these security measures, we must not lose sight of the fact that the problem bears an economic origin. Thus, agro-economic policy initiatives must help shape the lasting solution. The crux of the matter is that the nomadic way of life is fast becoming obsolete. Large scale nomadic practice does not belong in this day and age. This is reality and it is inescapable. Thus, herders have no right to cling to this way of life by killing others. Government must stop their violence but also offer them a viable new way of life by moving them toward more modern, non-nomadic cattle rearing. To resolve this lethal problem, government must implement a multi-dimensional policy that encompasses security, agro-economic, educational and emergency relief elements. This is the art and mastery of governance that our nation and its complex problems require. The APC leader also identified 8 measures the Buhari administration must take to develop the country. ”In addition to mending this rupture of peace, I believe those who seek to enshrine good governance must boldly act to improve the quality of life of the people.” “1. We are a populous nation with large, ever-growing cities. We need to provide jobs for this expanding urban population. This means we must press forward with a national industrial policy by fostering strategic industries that will provide employment into the foreseeable future. 2. We need a national infrastructure plan that envisions a coherent and integrated infrastructural grid, as no national economy may grow beyond the capacity of the infrastructure that serves it. This particularly is true of electrical power. 3. We must reject the notion of orthodox economics that governmental balancing of budgets or surpluses are always good. In our case, following this mainstream approach may lead to perpetual stagnation and deter us from the brave steps required to promote true development. In this regard, an immediate opportunity to provide stimulus to the economy while simultaneously alleviating the hardship of retirees and old-age pensioners presents itself, through the comprehensive tackling of outstanding pension payments. While what is needed is a holistic review and reform of the disjointed social security and welfare apparatus, a good place to start would be the clearing up of existing pension arrears and the establishment of a framework for averting their future build-up. The wider task of comprehensive social security reform would inevitably require a high-level body to review and advise on the harmonization of various initiatives and deductions from workers’ payrolls in the name of welfare, such as pension contributions, national housing fund, national health insurance etc 4. Monetary policy should move toward lower interest rates to make credit is more accessible to business and the consumer. This will spur industrial investment and help us reach more conducive levels of consumer demand. It also will dissuade people from corrupt temptations. The need to pay for homes and other costly items in one lump sum payment is a strong invitation to corruption. For example, if mortgages and credit instruments are more available to the judiciary, jurists would be able to purchase homes, decent care and other items considered the basic amenities of modern life via long-term installment payments that can be met through their salaries. Able to purchase these things properly and thus afforded a comfortable life, jurists would be less vulnerable to improper inducements. 5. The government-backed home mortgage system must be re-structured and land conveyance more streamlined make mortgages and all forms of landed transactions are easier and less bureaucratic. This will increase the wealth of the nation and improve the efficiency of land use. It also opens the door to affordable housing for millions of families now beyond the reach of owning their own homes. 6. Agriculture remains the backbone of the nation. We must help the common farmer by improving rural output and incomes. Here, we must revive an old policy that served us well. We must return to commodity exchange boards which will allow farmers to secure good prices and hedge against loss. An agricultural mortgage loan corporation should be inaugurated to further promote these goals. 7. To achieve better levels of overall governance, we need to re-balance the duties between federal and state governments by giving states more power, authority and resources. 8. Last, Government must be sufficiently bold to begin a process that will ultimately result in a government-backed pension plan for all elderly Nigerians, this is something akin to Social Security which all great nations provide for those of advanced age.”
Ahead of the 2019 general elections, the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) in Ebonyi, on Wednesday sought collaboration of National Union of Road Transport Workers (NURTW), for easy movement of personnel and electoral materials. Prof. Godswill Obioma, the Resident Electoral Commissioner (REC) in Ebonyi, who spoke at a meeting in Abakaliki with NURTW members, said the collaboration was necessary in order to ensure successful elections. Obioma, who described NURTW as critical stakeholder, said effective collaboration with the union was needed to ensure successful movement of men and materials. According to him, the meeting is convened to map out strategies and actions necessary for effective engagement of members of the union. “The INEC in Abuja has directed states to carry out preparatory inventory of what the commission needs for smooth and successful conduct of the 2019 general elections. “This meeting with the union aimed at boosting our partnership and collaboration is part of the preparatory inventory. “The meeting will foster greater cooperation and commitment which will ensure that only those people who are trustworthy and credible will be engaged in the transportation services during the elections. “There are 1782 poling units in Ebonyi, and the implication is that not fewer than 1782 sound vehicles will be needed to convey our men and materials to these voting areas. “You can see why the union is very important and indeed a critical stakeholder in the electoral process. “The commission must count on you to enhance timely and effective distribution of the electoral materials to the various poling units,” Obioma said. He said that the commission would engage the officials of the 29 branches of the union operating in Ebonyi in similar interactive meeting. The NURTW’s State Chairman, Mr Ewa Oko, who led other officials of the union to the meeting, commended the REC for the timely initiative. He said that the meeting would assist both organisations to work out areas of common collaboration and cooperation as well as strengthen grey areas. Oko said that the union has been supportive of the commission in previous elections and had always mobilised its members during elections. “We are going to cooperate and collaborate with the commission to ensure that 2019 general elections become a huge success in Ebonyi in terms of transportation of materials and men to various polling units. “If NURTW says yes; then you know that our yes is our yes. We have assured our support and cooperation to the commission for the success of the elections in Ebonyi and we hold on to it,” Ewa said. He said that the union had launched operation ‘show your voter card’ explaining that members who were yet to register and obtain their Permanent Voter Cards (PVCs) were not allowed to attend the union’s meetings. “We in NURTW are taking the 2019 elections very seriously. We launched operation show your PVC which makes it compulsory for members to show their voter cards before they are allowed to sit in our meetings. “If you don’ t have your voter card we send you out of our meeting ,because you are not a good citizen,” he added. The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the meeting inaugurated a seven – man INEC / NURTW transport joint sub-committee to work out modalities for effective engagement of the transporters.
Deputy Governor of Kano State, Prof. Hafiz Abubakar has vowed not to support Governor Abdullahi Ganduje for a second term in office, come 2019. In a leaked audio which is causing trouble in the state chapter of the All Progressives Congress (APC), the deputy governor who was a lecturer at the Bayero University in Kano before he was picked to serve as deputy governor, said he was tired of the shenanigans of his principal and longed to return to the classroom in 2019. Prof Abubakar reported said in the leaked audio which had gone viral: “When they were campaigning for election, my picture was juxtaposed with the governor (Ganduje), president (Muhammadu Buhari) and our leader Engr. Rabiu Musa Kwankwaso. “But today at my birthplace, my picture was replaced with somebody else’s picture. What have I done to my birthplace? I do not deserve this even as a university lecturer at Bayero University, where I hope to return in 2019 at the expiration of my tenure. “Pray for me to return to the university by May 2019, and this is what I’m fervently asking from Allah. Those who want to continue should go on, but my prayer is to go back to Bayero University. “I will not be part of a system whereby the leadership of my party, APC, would be formed at my Mandawari ward, my birthplace, and my blood brother was removed without anyone consulting with me. “I did not bring myself here. I was engrossed in my academic activities when I was picked as the deputy governorship candidate. God that chose me is not sleeping. Whether I am in the university, God knows the best. I pray to him to choose the best for me”. Reacting to the leaked audio, Governor Ganduje expressed “shock” over the turn of events, Daily Trust reports.
President Muhammadu Buhari has launched his bid for re-election in 2018 in far-away Abidjan, Cote d’Ivoire when he solicited for votes from the Nigerian community during an interactive session late Tuesday night. The president is currently attending a two-day European Union-African Union (EU-AU) Summit in the West African country. After apologising for coming late to the session, President Buhari told the gathering that he had to wait for the two governors on his entourage to accompany him to the meeting so that they will convince their people to vote for him in the future. “First I want to apologise for keeping you for too long sitting, this is because I insisted on the governors attending this meeting. “This is why I came along with them so that when we are going to meet you, when you are going to meet the rest of Nigerians, if you tell them that their governors were in the company of the president, I think that will be another vote for me in the future. I’m very pleased that they were able to turn up,” Buhari stated. The president also reiterated a line in his inaugural speech on May 29, 2015 when he stated he will be for everybody and not for nobody. He said this was the reason for supporting Akinwumi Adesina to emerge as the President of the African Development Bank, AfDB, despite serving as a minister in a PDP-led administration. Buhari was reacting to Adesina’s remark earlier expressing gratitude to the president for the support he received in his bid to emerge as the AfDB president. “The President of the African Development Bank (AfDB), who forgot to mention that he was serving in the PDP government as minister but all the same I picked him and recommended him for AfDB. “I think it emphasised what I said during my swearing in that I am for everybody and I am for nobody. As long as you are a Nigerian, be prepared to be on the receiving end from me,” Buhari said. President Buhari also told the gathering that he just received “a beautiful piece of information” from the National Leader of the All Progressives Congress (APC) Asiwaju Bola Tinubu which he was never aware of. He thanked Tinubu for the information which he did not disclosed. “I also thank our leader, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu. He has brought me a very beautiful piece of information, which I was not aware of it until I sat down and read it this evening (Tuesday night). Thank you very much for your hard work and I will discuss that paper with you,” he said. The AfDB president in his speech revealed that the the Nigerian economy picked up soon after Buhari’s health challenges appeared over, adding that “so it seems there is a correlation between the President’s health and the improved economy.” “I want to thank you immensely. I want to thank God for your health because I must say that for all of us that has been a big concern. But seeing you fit as a fiddle and seeing you back in action, we thank God for that and may God continue to give you great strength. “Mr. President as you must have noticed, there is a very strong correlation between your health and the economy and when you came back the economy picked up after that. So we wish you great health so that the the economy can continue to pick. “I also want to congratulate you for the economic growth and recovery plan that you have put in place and the incredible plan that you have put in place to bring the economy out of recession and also in terms of the fact that Nigeria has moved up in the World Bank ease of doing business index. “It is to your leadership, vision and commitment that we want to from the African Development Bank commend you, Mr. President, and to assure you of our strong support behind you and your government for the efforts to try and move Nigeria forward. We are solidly behind you, you can count on that. “I also want to thank you for your leadership on the Boko Haram issue because to draw investments into Nigeria, you absolutely have to have security. “I think that securing our borders is very very important, thanks to your leadership for that. I also thank you for all the efforts you have made in the Lake Chad Basin Area. “I was with you in Paris where you led the efforts in reviving the Lake Chad Basin. As you know Mr. President, the bank is very strongly behind that. We put in $250 million to support the North-east of Nigeria rebuilding. I know you were criticized for rebuilding but I don’t see anything wrong, if things get destroyed they have to be rebuilt and the African Development Bank has contributed $250 million towards that,” Adesina disclosed
Retired Maj.-Gen. Ike Nwachukwu on Saturday re-echoed the need for the Federal Government to implement the 2014 National Conference report, saying it addressed issues of restructuring in the country. He made this known at the retreat of Southern Senators’ Forum in Calabar on Saturday. Nwachukwu said it would be injustice to Nigeria not to have recommendations of the report implemented in view of its relevance to the call for restructuring. “I had the privilege in 2005 of serving as a member of former President Olusegun Obasanjo’s Political Reform Conference and it rolled into 2014 National Conference. “I will dare to say that the amount of work put into the 2014 conference, of course, building on the outcome of the 2005 conference, produced a fantastic report. “It will be total injustice to Nigeria if the recommendations of the 2014 National Conference are jettisoned. `Most of what we are talking about today were raised there, and after several weeks of grinding discussions, the report was drafted. “I recommend it to the Nigerian legislature to take a look at and use in finding solution to our present problems,’’ Nwachukwu urged President Muhammadu Buhari to make history by heeding to the call of the people to implement the report. “I want to say to my senior colleague, President Muhammadu Buhari, that he has a fantastic opportunity in history. “He has the privilege to call a meeting of well-meaning Nigerians to take a look at the report to be able to set our country on a new path of unity, trust and better understanding. “We have a country with less ethnicism, less religiousity and we can build a country we all will want to live in. “I often wonder that if I get called by God, what I would say that I have bequeathed to Nigeria. “Here is the opportunity to bequeath to the generation coming after us a country on the path of unity, better understanding and love for one another,’’ he said. While recalling the contributions of the military to the unity of country, the elder statesman said the narrative had changed and there was a need to address some issues. He said that the military did what it did believing that that was the right thing to do to keep the country from falling apart. Nwachukwu, a member of the 2014 confab, stressed that while decrees were put in place and a new constitution written in the quest to building one united country, it had been a long time and things had changed. He pointed out that events had proven that though those intentions had kept our country united, it could no longer sustain the yearnings of the people. He said that unless “we set a new path that we will work to ensuring that we are truly our brothers’ keepers, no amount of military or writing of constitution will make us a one united country’’