Presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar, has reacted to the inclusion of two billionaire businessmen, Aliko Dangote and Femi Otedola in the All Progressives Congress, APC, Presidential Campaign.
Atiku said the move was an act of desperation on the part of Buhari and the APC.
The former Vice President spoke through one of his Presidential Campaign spokesperson, Kassim Afegbua.
According to Atiku, it would have served Nigerians better if the businessmen were included in Buhari’s economic management team to avail him their wealth of knowledge on how to create jobs.
Atiku said, “These people are businessmen, not politicians. These are the kind of people Nigerians expect to see in the economic management team because of what they have done for this country.
“He (Buhari) is simply out to blackmail them because by the time they fund his campaign, he will turn around and call them corrupt businessmen.
“Nigerians can now see for themselves what we have been talking about all this while and we call on them to vote out this grossly incompetent administration, whose stock in trade is blackmail of perceived enemies.”
Meanwhile, the Presidency, through the Special Adviser to the President Buhari on Media and Publicity, Femi Adesina, has clarified Dangote’s position in the list.
According to Adesina, Dangote not being a card carrying member of the APC cannot be on its Presidential campaign council.
In a terse statement last night, Adesina said, “It has become imperative to further clarify the status of Alhaji Aliko Dangote, named under the sub-head ADVISORY MEMBERS in the All Progressives Congress, APC, Presidential Campaign Council announced on Friday, December 28, 2018.
“Africa’s richest man, not being a card-carrying member of APC, cannot, and is not member of the PCC.
“He is also a member of the Peace Committee, and thus cannot be in a partisan campaign council.”
Nigerians will need to pray and hope for a quick resolution or agreement between the Federal Government and the Nigeria Labour Congress if the on going back and forth is any thing to go by.
The Federal Government on Friday, urged the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC), to discard the December 31 ultimatum over lingering disagreement between organised labour and state governments on the proposed N30,000 national minimum wage.
Minister of Information, Lai Mohammed, made the appeal while speaking with State House correspondents, after a closed door meeting with President Muhammadu Buhari at the Presidential Villa, Abuja.
The organised labour had on Thursday, given the ultimatum following Buhari’s statement that a “high powered technical committee” would be set up, to device ways to ensure that implementation of new minimum wage would not lead to an increase in the level of borrowing.
However, the NLC President, Ayuba Wabba, who addressed newsmen on Thursday, expressed organized labour’s reservation over President Buhari’s position, saying that setting up a technical committee could not be a condition for passing the minimum wage report to the National Assembly.
“We reject in its entirety the plan to set up another `high powered technical committee’ on the minimum wage. It is diversionary and a delay tactics,” he had stated
But Mohammed, who described the NLC as “a very patriotic union”, said he was confident the organized labour would not do anything that would embarrass the government or Nigerians.
He said: “The Nigeria Labour Congress is a very patriotic union and I am very confident that they will not do anything that will embarrass the government or do anything that is going to worsen the situation.
“Continuous engagement I think is the key, we will continue to engage them and I think they do also fully understand what the challenges are, and both parties are determined to ensure that a common ground is arrived at which will be comfortable for all.”
The national chairman of Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, Prince Uche Secondus has described Nigeria as a country in distress, saying that it has collapsed under the watch of the ruling All Progressives Congress, APC.
“Our country is in distress. Our economy has collapsed. Security has collapsed. Badeh was killed because there is no security; you can see where we are today.
“Buhari is not in charge. He is not worried about what Nigerians are suffering. He is passing the bulk. Atiku will not pass the bulk; he will take full responsibility of the economy and the country.
“We must weep for our country. In the last three years, we are lagging behind in virtually every sector.
“APC is dancing on the grave of farmers killed by herdsmen. Farmers no longer go to their farms. Atiku’s priority is to provide security and the next thing is to unlock the abundant potentials of the country”, Secondus assured.
Atiku promised to introduce reforms that would decongest the Lagos ports and make other ports in Calabar, Warri and Onne more functional to aid the ease of doing business in the country.
“I am giving you my words that whatever can be done to improve business in this country which is in the confinement of our laws, I’ll do it. If we really want to make Aba the hub of business in Africa, we must listen to people like you and the challenges you’ve enumerated for me are very evident.”
Senate President, Bukola Saraki, on Wednesday, fired at the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC), hours after President Muhammadu Buhari was booed as he presented the 2019 Budget.
In his statement posted on his official Facebook page, Saraki noted that Nigerians have witnessed stunted growth in their respective businesses, lost their jobs during the recent recession and lost innocent citizens to insurgency in parts of the North East.
He wrote: “The last three-and-a-half years have been eventful ones at the global level and in our domestic economy. From dips in oil prices to major shifts in the economic landscape, crude oil production shut-ins and security challenges, the economy and Nigerians have been directly impacted by these events.
“Many businesses closed down and many people lost their jobs during the recent recession. In the same period, we lost innocent citizens to insurgency in parts of the North East, thousands were displaced, and many lives also lost due to clashes between farmers and herders, in addition to the general hardship unleashed by unstable economic winds.
“The recovery from the recession is still fragile. The fundamentals underlying the recovery remain weak, and if unchecked, can lead to dire consequences. The economy still runs on oil and very little progress has been made in terms of diversification.
“As a result, the expansionary budget policy in effect since 2016, which was aimed at raising spending and stimulating growth in the economy, was not matched by achievable revenue targets. The corollary is higher and rising deficit as well as a considerable debt burden, all due to an unsustainable fiscal stance.
“The under-performance of independent revenues is straining government’s ability to meet its expenditure, especially investments in critical infrastructure. This further exposes government to higher deficit levels which have been largely financed by borrowing.
“To be clear, two scenarios will play out if we do not deal decisively with challenges to revenue. These would be to: i. accommodate higher debt with higher repayment costs, which is not sustainable; ii. reduce the capital budget, which would mean a slow-down in government investment in critical infrastructure.
This, again, does not aid growth or economy development.
“It is for these reasons that the National Assembly required that the 2018 Budget proposal and future ones be accompanied by a Finance Bill, which would give credence to the financial proposals of government.
“It is one way of establishing credibility in projected revenues. It is imperative, therefore, that a 2019 Finance Bill is submitted to the National Assembly for consideration and approval.”
The Presidency has dismissed the recent utterances by former President Olusegun Obasanjo a sign of confusion not worthy of attention.
Speaking to journalists in Abuja on Wednesday, presidential Spokesperson, Garba Shehu said that whoever “Obasanjo chooses to support at the 2019 elections is irrelevant.’’
He noted that the former president had publicly changed his mind on the matter so many times over the past few months alone.
He said: “former president Obasanjo denounces one person today and supports that same person the next day.
“When it pleases him, he brings God into the matter and uses that as his excuse for whatever position he has chosen.’’
Shehu added that he was not surprised that newspapers reported Obasanjo expressing neutrality at a weekend forum, only for the former president to express a completely different stance after a day or two.
“We have learnt not to take his utterances seriously anymore.
“We know that the slightest wind can make him change his mind again.
“After all, this is the same man who publicly tore his party registration card barely four years ago, and he now claims to be backing the same party,’’ Shehu added.
The National Chairman of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Adams Oshiomhole, has denied making uncomplimentary remarks against the person of the First Lady, Hajia Aisha Buhari, on the social media.
In a statement issued yesterday by his Chief Press Secretary, Simon Ebegbulem, the APC chairman described the report credited to him as making uncomplimentary remarks against the person of the First Lady, as “false and mischievous.’’
“Our attention has been drawn to the malicious and misleading statement credited to the National Chairman of the APC, Adams Oshiomhole, against the person of the First Lady Hajia Aisha Buhari, on the social media.
“We want to state that it is the handiwork of mischief makers. At no forum did the National Chairman made such uncomplimentary remarks against the person of the First Lady,” he said.
The statement said that it is part of the fake news from the pit of hell being propagated by highly unscrupulous elements of the PDP and their cohorts, knowing well that they have lost the forthcoming general elections.
The statement added, “Unfortunately for the PDP, all their efforts to cause disaffection among members of the ruling party have failed. As we speak, both the first lady, the National Chairman of the APC and other leaders of our party enjoy cordial relationship and working in unison to ensure that the PDP looters do not return to power.
“We urge the highly discerning people of our great country to disregard the misleading comment currently on the social media as it is not only fake but equally untrue.’’
Oshiomhole, who blamed the PDP for the report, said the party “has chosen to remain the lying party it has always been.”
In a Statement released today through the Office of the Head of Civil Service, President Muhammadu Buhari has approved the appointment of nine new Permanent Secretaries in the Federal Civil Service.
The Head of the Civil Service of the Federation, Mrs. Winifred Oyo-Ita, said they will be sworn in and assignment of portfolios at a yet to be determined date.
The successful Federal Permanent Secretaries and their states of origin are
1. Dr. Bakari Wadinga (Adamawa),
2. Dr. M.K. Dikwa, (Borno),
3. Dr. Ajani Magdalene N. Olor (Delta),
4. Umakhihe Ernest Afolabi (Edo) and
5. Mbaeri Maurice Nnamdi (Imo).
6. Babatunde Lawal (Lagos),
7. Festus Yusuf Narai Daudu (Nasarawa),
8. Abel Olumuyiwa Enitan (Osun) and
9. Dr. Musa Hanafi Moriki(Zamfara).
The International Criminal Court, ICC, has said it was examining the farmers-herders crisis in Nigeria. This crisis which should have been the primary responsibility of our President is now about to be handled by an international body. The Lead prosecutor of the ICC, Fatou Bensouda, who disclosed this at The Hague, Netherlands, while presenting the annual report of ICC activities for 2018, on Wednesday, said the ICC was examining available information to determine whether there was reasonable basis to believe that the crimes allegedly committed fall under its jurisdiction.
In the preliminary examinations report, which addresses many countries, including Nigeria, the ICC said from January to June 2018, over 1,300 people were killed and 300,000 displaced as a result of clashes between herders and farmers in five states.
The report stated: “From January to June 2018, over 1,300 people were reportedly killed as a result of violence between herders and settlers in Plateau, Benue, Nasarawa, Adamawa and Taraba states and about 300,000 persons were displaced.
“Furthermore, the office received communications on attacks allegedly carried out by herders and Christian settlers in the context of the violence in Nigeria’s North Central and North East geographical zones.
‘’This violence, which has been observed by the office since 2016, is often referred to as a conflict between herders and Christian farmers, stemming from limited access to water, land and other resources.”
The report, which noted that violence in the country, grew worse between 2017 and 2018, stated further: “The escalation of violence in late 2017 and 2018 is reportedly the result of the rise of ethnic militias and community vigilantes and the passage of grazing laws in some of the affected states that reportedly imposed restrictions on herders, among others.”
“Militias are also reported to have clashed with security men deployed in the affected area to address the deteriorating security situation.
“Some of the attacks on civilians were allegedly committed by criminal gangs involved in cattle-rustling that were subsequently blamed on herders.
‘’The Office has reviewed these communications and continues to gather additional information to determine whether there is a reasonable basis to believe that the crimes allegedly committed in this context fall under ICC jurisdiction.”
Investigations into the bribery allegation against Kano State Governor, Abdullahi Ganduje may never see the light of the day again as a High Court in Kano State has ruled that the House of Assembly has no power to probe the matter.
Ganduje had been under a probe by the assembly over video clips showing him allegedly receiving kickbacks from some contractors.
The governor Ganduje had approached court and challenged the power of the lawmakers to investigate him.
The presiding judge, Justice Ahmed Badamasi, yesterday averted that the first and second defendants, (the assembly and its seven-man investigative committee) lacked powers to investigate the matter.
He ruled that the defendants could not investigate the bribery allegation against the complainant.
Badamasi declared that the publisher of the online newspaper, Daily Nigeria, Jaafar Jaafar, that released the video clips, should have handed them over to the police or any anti-graft agency as they are the only bodies that have powers to investigate bribery allegations.
“An order of injunction is hereby made preventing the parties from conducting further investigation in respect of the matter,” he ruled.
Badamas, who backed his judgment with Sections 128 ( 2) and 129 of the constitution, declared that the assembly had no right or power to conduct criminal investigation against the governor.
Counsel to the assembly, Mohammed Waziri, later told journalists that he would consult his clients on whether they would appeal the judgement or not.
The third defendant, who is also the state’s Attorney-General, Ibrahim Muktar, expressed satisfaction with the judgement.
With Ganduje enjoying immunity and another four-year term almost a sure bet, there appears very little that can be done to the governor who has already promised President Buhari 5 million votes from Kano in 2019.
The Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, presidential candidate, Atiku Abubakar, has reacted to claim by the All Progressives Congress, APC, National Chairman, Adams Oshiomhole that he will lose the 2019 presidential election.
Oshiomhole had yesterday said God will punish both former President Olusegun Obasanjo and Abubakar which will translate in President Muhammadu Buhari defeating them in 2019.
He had spoken to newsmen after receiving APC women leaders from Edo State in his office in Aso drive, Abuja.
The former Edo State governor reminded Obasanjo that he swore that God should punish him if he ever supports Atiku to become the president.
Reacting to Oshiomhole’s remark, Abubakar, through his Media Aide, Paul Ibe said Buhari would be retired to his Daura home town after 2019 elections.
Ibe warned that the APC National Chairman should prepare for the fate that awaits him, President Buhari and his party in 2019.
Speaking with Vanguard, Ibe said, “It is not political soothsayers like Oshiomhole that will determine the outcome of the elections but let it be known to him that President Buhari will not only be defeated, he will be retired to his beloved Daura in 2019.
“Does Oshiomhole think that Nigerians are fools? What will determine the direction of votes are the insecurity challenges, job losses, pain, anguish, and economic strangulation that this incompetent government has subjected Nigerians.
“For Atiku, it is about jobs; for Buhari, it is hopelessness. For Atiku, it is about opportunities; for Buhari, it is insensitivity. For Atiku, it is about inclusiveness; for Buhari, it is clannishness. Atiku is all about Getting Nigeria Working Again.
“So, we urge Oshiomhole to keep his peace and allow Nigerians, who have passed through hell in the hands of his principal, to cast their votes in a transparent, free and fair election.”
The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Presidential Organization has dismissed reports by the media that governors elected on the platform of the party from the South East geo-political zone were absent at the party’s rally in Sokoto on Monday, because they have no support for the aspiration of its Presidential candidate, Atiku Abubakar.
The PPCO says such insinuation smacks of ignorance and mischief on the part of those peddling it. PPCO Director of Media and Publicity, Kola Ologbondiyan, explained in a statement on Tuesday, that the Sokoto Presidential Zonal rally was for the North West geo-political zone and will be replicated in the remaining five geopolitical zones of the country.
Ologbodiyan said there is no sense in the insinuation since, going by the campaign time-table, the Presidential Candidate will visit all the zones, where all the governors elected on the platform of the party from those zones will be present.
“Alhaji Atiku Abubakar’s next port of call will be Ilorin, the Kwara State capital on wednesday where the party will hold the North Central Presidential Zonal rally which will have in attendance state governors leaders, members and supporters of the party in the zone.
“This is the same arrangement that we have for all the geo-political zones of the country,” he further explained.
He said the so-called shunning of the Sokoto rally by PDP governors of South East extraction was only a figment of the imagination of those peddling the wicked rumour.
He said he wondered why certain elements have decided to peddle falsehood about the PDP and its flagbearer, just to score cheap political points. Ologbodiyan said such negative reports about the PDP and Atiku were being sponsored by those who have become jittery at the rising profile of its presidential candidate.
“But we are undaunted because Nigerians are very discerning. In the fullness of time, the lies and those behind them will be exposed,” he said
A prophet with an Anglican church, Okechukwu Daniel Udoka has tipped Alhaji Atiku Abubakar and his running mate, Peter Obi, to win the 2019 presidential election.
Udoka, who spoke with Journalist in Awka, said Atiku’s government would heal the wounds of the country, and would be a lot better than many administrations before his.
He contradicted Rev. Fr Ejike Mbaka’s position on the fate of the PDP presidential candidate, Atiku, in the 2019 presidential election where he predicted that he will end in shame.
Udoka had in 2017 predicted the outcome of Anambra State gubernatorial election, including the first, second and third positions. He at the time said he saw the grace that put Obiano there putting him back.
Concerning the 2019 election, Udoka said, “I am privileged to watch it again. The least person not expected will take the position. Thank God the person is coming closer. And he is no one else if not Atiku.
“And God said that Atiku will be better than the four administrations before him put together.
“He will use him to bring a new Nigeria. He will use him to start the good work. Any hands that will resist the young man from entering there might not live to see tomorrow.”
The prophet told Atiku to go and celebrate and that he should seek the consent of God to guide him in his leadership when he assumes the position.
“If he consults God in all he does as a president, his leadership will be okay before God and man. He is the chosen one and the answer to the prayers of God’s people over the year.
“God said I should tell his people that he heard them. The sin they would commit is to go to the polls and not vote him,” he said.
The Wife of the President, Aisha Buhari, is technically campaigning against the All Progressives Congress, APC, ahead of the 2019 general elections, by revealing that two powerful personalities stopped her husband, President Muhammadu Buhari, from performing in office.
Aisha who spoke at a Conference, organised by Project 4+4, in Abuja, however, did not mention the specific names of the powerful persons.
The event was also attended by the Wife of the Vice President, Dolapo Osinbajo.
The President’s Wife, said that she was disappointed in men who rather than fight these two men, will go to them in the night, begging for favour.
Aisha Buhari, who urged Nigerian women to rise and fight, said: “I have realised that Senator Babafemi Ojodu, Special Adviser, Political, to the President, and Dr. Hajo Sani, and Wife of the Vice President, Mrs. Osinbajo, are not comfortable with my saying this, and want me to confine myself to my prepared speech, but we must say the truth.”
The President’s Wife, insisted that the powerful duo were retrogressive elements preventing the government from moving forward.
The First Lady, known for her frank talk when it comes to issues concerning her husband’s administration, had in October 2016, told the BBC in an interview, that her husband was being held hostage by a cabal.
“The President does not know 45 out of 50, for example, of the people he appointed, and I do not know them either, despite being his wife of 27 years.
“Some people are sitting down in their homes folding their arms, only for them to be called to come and head an Agency or a ministerial position”, she had said.
The First Lady, had also threatened not to vote for Buhari, saying: “He is yet to tell me, but I have decided as his wife, that if things continue like this up to 2019, I will not go out and campaign again, and ask any woman to vote like I did before. I will never do it again.”
Also, Aisha Buhari had on Monday, October 9, 2017, condemned the management of the Aso Rock Clinic, adding that, the Health Center did not have the facilities to treat patients.
According to her, she had to visit a private Clinic, after she found out the Aso Rock Clinic’s X-Ray machine was not working.
In her outburst on the APC primaries, she said: “It is disheartening to note that some Aspirants used their hard earned money to purchase nomination forms, got screened, cleared, and campaigned vigorously, yet found their
names omitted on Election Day, these forms were bought at exorbitant prices.
“Many others contested, and yet had their result delayed. Fully knowing that AUTOMATIC tickets have been given to other people.
“All Progressives Congress being a party which cardinal principle is change, and headed by a Comrade/Activist, whose main concern is for the common man, yet, such impunity could take place under its watch.”
Meanwhile, Mrs. Aisha Buhari had earlier appealed to women to ensure the return of the All Progressives Congress, APC, administration in 2019.
She observed that during the last election, women participated fully in the voting process, and ensured that the APC was elected.
According to her, that is why the government of President Buhari came up with social investment programmes targeted at them and their children, in order to engage them and reduce the level of poverty among them.
The First Lady in a statement by her Director of Information, Suleiman Haruna, called on them to spread the good news of the accomplishments of this administration.
She said that women had been at the receiving end of the struggles of men, especially Soldiers, who had been fighting insurgency, and called on government to ensure speedy release of their entitlements, so their families do not suffer.
She commended the political group for organising the Summit, and setting the tone for other Buhari support groups, as the 2019 election campaign period opens.
The Publicity Secretary of the Imo State chapter of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Mr. Jones Onwuasoanya has resigned.
Onwuasoanya, who described APC as a cult and not a political party, accused the National Chairman, Adams Oshiomhole, of destroying the platform.
He said, “The Chairman left no one in doubt that he was not, from the onset, prepared for the task of serving the interest of members of the Party and upholding the provisions of its constitution, but to institute a most dangerous brand of feudalistic idealism and corrupted form of communism, where the whims of a few override the interest of the majority.”
The statement reads, “After a careful and sober review of events within our political Party, especially, in the last two months, I have come to the conscientious conclusion that our party, which before now was touted as the beacon of integrity, democracy and fairness, has dangerously veered off from its own Constitution, philosophies and ideological inspirations.
“Our Party has ceased to, in my own considered opinion, be a political party, but a cult, where some well-positioned members have formed themselves into a cabal of capons, with a dangerous end in mind for our dear country and its fledgeling democracy.
“I am pricked in my conscience anytime I sign off as the state publicity secretary of this party, remembering that this is a party that has woefully failed to manage its internal electoral processes in a manner that may raise hope for our democracy. Conversely, this Party has exhibited a most reckless rapaciousness against our democracy and a careless disregard for the sanctity of the ballot.
“I can no longer muster the moral verve to market a political Party, who has left no one in doubt, that its 2019 electoral plans are wholly centred on manipulation of the electoral processes and imposition of unpopular candidates on the people with the full cooperation of the electoral umpire and maybe, security agencies. I choose to delink myself from a well-orchestrated plan to institute a most ridiculous form of incompetent hegemony in Imo State and other parts of Nigeria”.
The governor of Adamawa state, Mohammed Bindow, on Monday, December 3, declared that President Muhammadu Buhari remained an unbeatable candidate for the 2019 presidential election among all the candidates currently vying for the seat.
Bindow reportedly made the declaration at the inauguration of the 2019 APC campaign team for Yola North local government area.
The report quoted Governor Bindow as saying that the provision of infrastructure nationwide by the Buhari-led administration from which the state had benefited, had given the president more popularity to get re-elected in the coming elections.
The governor reportedly mentioned five federal road projects ongoing in the state, which he described as unprecedented.
Bindow urged the people of the state to vote for the candidates of the APC from the president down to the least office in the contest.
The governor, also said that the election of APC candidates across board would help to give the party the impetus to actualise the party‘s agenda of re-writing the Nigerian history.
Femi Fani-Kayode, the former Minister of Aviation has condemned the Spiritual Director of the Adoration Ministry, Enugu Nigeria, Rev. Fr. Ejike Mbaka over his latest prediction on the presidential candidate the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, Atiku Abubakar and his running mate, Peter Obi in 2019 election.
Mbaka had during a Sunday thanksgiving service predicted doom’s day for the flag bearers of the PDP, Atiku and Obi.
Mbaka said that “if Atiku continued on the same trajectory, he and his running mate would end in shame.”
Mbaka also berated Atiku’s running mate, Peter Obi for not doing anything for his church, warning him of the consequences of being stingy.
Fr. Mbaka curiously withheld Obi’s blessing and said he would only release it after Obi had done a project for them.
Using Umahi as an example, Mbaka said: “Umahi donated 1,000 bags of rice and 1,000 tubers of yam to us, but it meant nothing to me until he handed N10 million cheque to me and promised to build a project for the ministry. This is the type of gesture we require from Obi.
“You can be promising and doing for them in Anambra. In your capacity and what God has done for you as governor, God hates stinginess. What I am saying is not to please you, but what will save your life. Otherwise you and Atiku will fail.
“Governors of Ebonyi and Enugu made donations without announcing at the altar, your own is taking time, the way you and Atiku are moving will end in shame.”
Reacting, Fani-Kayode condemned the statements by the fiery catholic priest requesting donations from political parties. The former minister described Mbaka’s actions as disgraceful, urging Catholic Church to call him to order.
Fani Kayode on his Twitter page wrote: “I am disgusted by the words of Father Mbaka. It does not matter to me which candidate he supports but what galls me is his begging for money from both sides in return for favourable prophesies.
“This is disgraceful and his superiors in the Catholic Church should call him to order.”
The main opposition Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, has kicked off its 2019 presidential campaign at the Shehu Kangiwa Stadium, Sokoto, in front of a mammoth crowd.
The campaign is being moderated by Dino Melaye, the senator representing Kogi west senatorial district, who was recently appointed as one of the eight spokespersons of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP.
A number of high profile Politicians have addressed the crowd, asking them to vote out the current administration, led by President Muhammadu Buhari.
From Senate President, Bukola Saraki to Former Jigawa governor, Sule Lamido, the leaders all came with the same message – vote out APC in 2019.
Also present at the rally is former president Goodluck Jonathan; former vice-president Namadi Sambo, PDP national
chairman Uche Secondus, former governor Babangida Aliyu, Senator and many others.
Presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party, Atiku Abubakar, has applied for a visa to enable him to visit the United States, our correspondent learnt on Thursday. It was learnt that the former Vice-President appeared for an interview at the US Embassy on Tuesday in Abuja. Our correspondent learnt that Atiku would use the trip to make what was described as “political statement” ahead of the 2019 presidential election.
According to reports, those planning the trip with the former VP are out to use it to address some US congress caucuses, as well as a high ranking official in the Donald Trump administration. However, our source could not confirm if Atiku would also use the opportunity to address the entire congress if he makes the visit. The source said, “I can authoritatively tell you that Atiku Abubakar went to the US Embassy on Tuesday for an interview and there is hope that he will get it (visa).
“When he gets it, we will use it to make a political statement. This is because those saying he can’t travel to the US will be shamed. Apart from that, the trip will be used to sell his candidature and that of the PDP to the entire world. So, let us wait and see what will happen. The PDP and Atiku are ready for the 2019 race.
Reacting to the development, the Federal Government warned the US to be cautious about granting Atiku a visa now. It said this was necessary in order not to create the impression that the PDP candidate had been endorsed by America for the 2019 election. Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, gave the government position at an interactive session with journalists in Abuja on Thursday. Mohammed, who spoke in his office, said the government was aware of the move by the ex-VP to allegedly lobby the US to lift the visa ban imposed on him.
He said, “We understand and appreciate the fact that it is the prerogative of the US to grant a visa to anyone who applies. However, we want the US to be neutral and be wary of taking any decision that will give the impression that they are favouring or endorsing one candidate over the other. An impression must not be created that the US government is endorsing one particular candidate over the other.” The minister alleged that for years, there had been a kind of congressional bi-partisan investigation into the corruption (allegations) against certain individuals, which had made it difficult for Atiku to secure a US visa. He said, “I am sure you will all recall the Jefferson’s case and the cold $90,000 in a fridge.”
Speaking on security, the minister insisted that despite the recent setback brought about by attacks on the military, Boko Haram had been largely decimated. On the arrest of Deji Adeyanju, convener of Concerned Nigerians by the police, the minister said “being an activist or in the opposition does not protect anyone from arrest and prosecution’’. He said the case had been charged to court and it would be prejudicial to make further comments on it.
Meanwhile, the PDP has alleged that the All Progressives Congress “is already jittery because of the calamity that will soon befall them”. National Chairman of the party, Prince Uche Secondus, who spoke with our correspondent on Atiku’s application for a US visa, asked the APC and FG to be ready to accept defeat in the February presidential election.
He said, “What is their own in the visa that they are calling on the authorities of another country not to grant a private citizen? The fact is that the APC government has failed. They are already jittery. They know that the game is up and that’s why they have been running from pillar to post. Tell them that their days of deceit are over. Nigerians are tired of them and they can no longer lie or take the people for a ride anymore.”
The World Bank has projected a slow growth in Nigeria’s economy in 2018 in its latest report. According to the report on Nigeria’s bi-annual Economic Update on Wednesday, the country’s Gross Domestic Product growth is expected to hover slightly below two per cent in 2018, largely driven by non-oil industry and services.
In the report, it also stated that Nigeria’s investment in human capital compared to other nations remained very low. Titled ‘Investing in Human Capital for Nigeria’s Future’, the report noted that, Nigeria, like many other countries, had underinvested in human capital, which was quite low compared to other countries, though it did not provide any statistics.
In recognition that bold actions are required to address years of underinvestment in human capital, the government of Nigeria has established a Human Capital Working Group to develop a unified vision for human capital development and drive implementation of interventions within the ‘Investing in our People’ pillar of the Government’s Economic Recovery and Growth Plan, the bank said.
The statement quoted World Bank Country Director for Nigeria, Rachid Benmessaoud, to have said, “The World Bank welcomed the Government of Nigeria’s recent ‘Call for Action’, requesting all stakeholders to join the Government’s effort to address Nigeria’s alarming human capital outcomes.
“As a member of the Human Capital Working Group, the World Bank stands ready to support the Government of Nigeria in its bold steps to improve the lives of its citizens.”
The bank said that Nigeria’s emergence from recession remained sluggish, adding that sectoral growth patterns were unstable.
“In the second quarter of 2018, the oil sector contracted by four per cent, the usually-resilient agricultural growth slowed significantly to 1.2 per cent, impacted by the security challenges in the Northeast and Middle Belt regions,” the World Bank said.
“The non-oil industry and services, which constitute over half of Nigeria’s economy, picked-up to 3.1 per cent and 2.1 per cent respectively, driven by growth in construction, transport, and ICT.”
The Update reported that the Nigerian economy remained dependent on the small oil sector (under 10 per cent of GDP) for the bulk of its fiscal revenues and foreign exchange earnings. The statement said, “Although oil revenues are increasing with recovering oil prices in 2018, distributions from oil revenues to the three tiers of government are constrained by the petrol subsidy and other prior deductions.
“In the first half of 2018, the current account surplus surpassed four per cent of GDP, driven largely by higher oil exports, while non-oil revenue collections have come in lower than envisaged. Despite sustained efforts to improve the business environment, Foreign Direct Investment inflows remain stagnated.”
According to the Update, the fiscal deficit will likely widen in 2018 due to increased spending and sustained revenue shortfalls. It added that the current account balance was expected to remain positive, benefiting from the rising value of oil exports and limited growth of non-oil imports.
The capital account faces significant uncertainty, as external portfolio investors may exercise further caution, especially during the pre-election period, despite rising domestic yields, it added.
Given the clearly challenging economic backdrop, the Update suggested certain key policy reforms would be important to support macroeconomic resilience for Nigeria. These include, among others, the acceleration of the economic diversification agenda, the reform of petrol subsidy regime to improve the fiscal space, improvements in the domestic revenue (particularly non-oil) to reduce volatilities in government revenues and increased investment in human capital for a truly sustainable growth.
Nigeria have suffered great poverty since the President Muhammadu Buhari led government came into power and it may get worse in 2019, warns former Minister of Foreign Affairs, Mr Odein Ajumogobia (SAN).
He said Nigeria had in the last four years witnessed a continuous downward spiral in the poverty index, saying, “There is every indication that just as 2018 was worse than 2017, 2019 will be worse than 2018.”
According to him, available statistics have shown that in each of the last four years, the country’s per capita Gross Domestic Product progressively declined.
“It is a sobering thought – if the statistics are to be believed – that we should have, at this stage, overtaken India with the number of extremely poor households in Nigeria, a nation with one sixth of India’s 1.2 billion population,” Ajumogobia said in Lagos on Friday during a colloquium held to mark the 25th anniversary of a commercial law firm, Kenna Partners.
The colloquium, with the theme, Footprints in law and society, towards a paradigm shift, was chaired by the first female Senior Advocate of Nigeria, Chief ‘Folake Solanke.
Ajumogobia chided President Muhammadu Buhari for his suggestion at the last annual conference of the Nigerian Bar Association that the rule of law must bow to national security.
The SAN warned that without respect for the rule of law, “inclusive development and growth would continue to elude us in our downward spiral of poverty and chaos as we continue to, regrettably, to bask in our dubious distinction as the poverty capital of the world!”
In her address, 86-year-old Solanke, worried about the large number of political parties registered by the Independent National Electoral Commission to participate in next year’s general elections.
“Something must be done to weed out the political parties to a minimum. In the United States of America, there are two political parties, but in Nigeria, 80 of the 91 registered political parties want to produce the next President. Something is wrong with our Electoral Act; we must go and look at Section 222 and do something about it,” Solanke said.
Justice Amina Augie of the Supreme Court, who delivered the anniversary lecture, warned politicians against weakening public institutions for selfish reasons, saying it will haunt them.
The Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, has on Friday, reported President Muhammadu Buhari and the ruling All Progressives Congress, APC, to the United Nations, UN, over an alleged plot to scuttle the 2019 general elections.
Below are photographs showing the National Chairman of the PDP, Uche Secondus, submitting a report to the Special Representative of the UN Secretary-General for West Africa and the Sahel, Mohammed Ibn Chambas.
President Muhammadu Buhari, has said that Leaders who undermine the economy by denying workers their benefits, while stuffing their personal accounts with public funds, will not escape the current anti-corruption dragnet.
The President stated this when he received the All Progressives Congress, APC, delegation from Benue State, led by Senator George Akume, at the Presidential Villa, Abuja.
President Buhari stressed that the Federal Government’s bailout to States and Paris Club funds, were basically to alleviate the sufferings of the people, describing their misappropriation as unjust and unfair to workers.
He said: “I honestly do not know how people sleep when workers have not been paid. The workers have to pay rent, buy food, send their children to school, and they have healthcare to take care of.
“I assure you that my main interest is all Nigerians in all parts of the country. “Therefore, if anybody who tries to create any impression that I prefer any group across ethnicity or religion, let him dare me by being caught red-handed stealing public funds. I will deal with him.’’
Speaking further, the President told the APC delegation that the Federal Executive Council, FEC, had been monitoring the plight of workers across the country, and the utilisation of the bailout and Paris Club funds by some States.
“I thank you for your courage to come and see me. This visit has resuscitated our morale’’, he said.
Following the eventual disclosure by the Nigeria Police Force, that Michael Adikwu, the principal suspect in the deadly bank robbery attacks in Offa, Kwara State, on April 5, 2018, is dead, the President of the Senate, Dr. Abubakar Bukola Saraki, has called on the Presidency, to institute a judicial inquiry into ‘how and when’ the suspect died.
In a statement by his Special Adviser, Media and Publicity, Yusuph Olaniyonu, which was made available to newsmen, Saraki noted that the new disclosure by the Police, has vindicated his earlier claim that the suspect had been murdered in Police custody, and that the investigation was politically motivated to implicate him (Senate President), Governor Abdulfatai Ahmed of Kwara State, and a few others.
He stated that the inquiry would help to thoroughly examine and interrogate how the investigation into the robbery incident was conducted by the Police, and whether the investigation followed the normal process and complied with global best practices.
He added that the Police needs to confirm why it took them so long to make the disclosure about the death of the principal suspect, after they categorically denied it at the time he (Saraki) disclosed the information, and it was reported in the Media.
“It should be recalled, that when we mentioned it that the principal suspect had been murdered, and that investigation into the Offa robbery attack was politically motivated and targeted at implicating me and other individuals, the Police Public Relations Officer, Jimoh Moshood, said: ‘Michael Adikwu is in Police custody. You know that he is the one that led the killing of 22 people. The fire arms that were carted away, he is helping the Police in the investigation to recover them. There is a State in the South-West where they kept him. I cannot mention the State. It is in one of the South-West States’.
“The fresh facts have now thrown more light into why there had been inconsistencies in the various statements by the Police. The Police initially told the Attorney-General of Kwara State, that the principal suspect was alive, and they only later reluctantly disclosed that he died in the course of arrest. How can a suspect confirmed to be in custody, now be said to have died in the course of arrest? This contradiction shows a deliberate attempt to cover up something.
“It is obvious that the Police have orchestrated the information they gave to the public on the Offa robbery, only to tarnish the image of the Kwara State Governor and myself. We are calling for a public inquiry, to probe the issues of extra-judicial killing, the cover-up of this killing, with the aim of framing up some individuals for political purpose, and politicising of criminal investigations. The facts need to be laid bare.
“The inquiry may help to further document and define the terms of handling of suspects in Police custody, and how to prevent extra-judicial killing of suspects, for whatever purpose. There is need for transparency in investigations into all cases, and our methods should comply with global standards. We should discourage situations where Police politicise investigations, and deliberately set out to frame some individuals.
“With the facts on ground, the issues that should be unearthed by the inquiry include: When exactly did the suspect die? How did he die? Why was the Police denying the facts of his death, when they knew he had died? At what point did the Police Leadership know of the death? Why are the Police covering up the facts? We believe the answer to these questions will help the country to address the issue of human rights abuse, extra-judicial killing, manipulation of criminal investigation to achieve political ends, deliberate attempt to cover up some facts, and how skewed investigation of crime can impact on successful prosecution of suspects”, he added.
Bukola Saraki stated that, now that the Police have commenced prosecution of the remaining suspects in court, there should be diligent and prompt prosecution, so that justice can be transparently done to both the victims of the Offa robbery and the accused persons.
Former President Goodluck Jonathan has been slammed as a liar by Borno State Governor kashim Shettima for not stating the full story of the Chibok girls investigation in his new book titled ‘My Transition Hours.’
Interestingly, the book has sparked huge controversies even before it hit the book stores as some of the personalities mentioned in the book, which was presented on Tuesday as part of Dr. Jonathan’s 61st birthday ceremony, are disputing some facts in the work.
The former president explained that the abduction of the Chibok girls was contrived to embarrass him and make him lose the 2015 election.
“In clever attempt to sweep under the carpet, incontrovertible facts surrounding the April 14, 2014 Chibok abduction, former President Goodluck Jonathan has deliberately omitted in chapter four of his new book, an investigative report submitted to him in June 2014, by the presidential facts-finding committee he constituted in May, 2014, which was mandated to gather evidence-based facts and circumstances on the abduction,” Shettima has said.
The former president had indicated that the schoolgirls’ abduction was a product of conspiracy by the then opposition All Progressives Congress (APC), in connivance with Borno State government. He also accused the Borno government and then President Barack Obama’s administration in the United States of undermining efforts to rescue the Chibok girls in 2014.
Shettima, in a statement released by his Special Adviser on Communications and Strategy, Malam Isa Gusau, said Jonathan never believed there was ever an abduction until rescue efforts were late, the “the former President’s elementary book of tales fell short of the courage required of him to publish findings by his own panel in chapter four of his book, he said.
Gusau quoted the governor as saying: “The whole of Tuesday night, I took the pains of reading His Excellency, former President Goodluck Jonathan’s book, My Transition Hours, from the first to the 177th page. I took particular interest in chapter four (the Chibok school girls affair) which has 42 paragraphs written on pages 27 to 36.
“I was amused that despite admitting in paragraph 15, that he had (in May 2014) constituted a Presidential Fact-Finding Committee under Brig. Gen. Ibrahim Sabo and many others “to investigate” the Chibok abduction, former President Jonathan refused to mention any part or whole of the findings by that panel which had submitted a highly-investigative report to him on Friday, June 20, 2014.
This was after the panel held investigative meetings with the then chiefs of Defence Staff, Army Staff, Air Staff, the DG, DSS and IGP, met all security heads in Borno, visited Chibok, met with parents of abducted schoolgirls, met surviving students, interrogated officials of the school and the supervising Ministry of Education, interrogated officials of WAEC and analyzed all correspondences.
“What has become very clear is that the former president decided to sit on facts in his custody while he published, in an elementary standard, a book of fiction designed to pass guilty verdicts on anyone but himself, with respect to the open failures of his administration to rescue our daughters and in tackling the Boko Haram challenges.”
The governor declared that by refusing to publish any part of his own panel’s findings on the Chibok abduction, Jonathan’s book was nothing short of “a presidential tale by midday”.
Shettima recalled that for for the records, “on Tuesday, the 6th of May, 2014, President Jonathan had inaugurated multi-agency/stakeholder fact-finding panel under the chairmanship of Brig.-General Ibrahim Sabo (rtd), a one-time Director of Military Intelligence and also appointed a secretary from the Niger Delta.
President Jonathan single handedly selected all members of that committee which included his trustees amongst serving and retired security officers from the Army, DSS and Police; representatives of the UN and ECOWAS, representatives of the Chibok community, local and international civil rights organisations, representatives of the National Council on Women Societies, the Nigeria Union of Journalists, amongst other persons he trusted. For almost two months, the probe panel undertook forensic assessment of all documents on the entire issues, held investigative meetings with parents of the schoolgirls during a visit to Chibok.
“The panel held separate one-on-one investigative meetings with myself, the then Chief of Defence Staff, Chief of Army Staff, Chiefs of Air and Naval Staff, met the then Director General of the DSS and the Inspector General of Police, all of whom were appointees of President Jonathan.
“The panel interrogated officials of Borno Government, including the Comof Education and the school principal. The panel also held investigative meetings with heads of all security agencies in Borno State, including security formations in charge of Chibok. At the end, the panel submitted its report directly to President Jonathan on Friday, the 20th of June, 2014 in Abuja. President Jonathan has refused to make public the findings submitted to him.
“I was expecting the findings in his book but he has deliberately swept that report under the carpet. However, I remember that on June 24, 2014, the ThisDay Newspaper claimed to have obtained a copy of the panel’s report and published as its lead, that painstaking findings by the Presidential panel had indicted the military under Jonathan’s watch and completely absolved the Borno State Government of any blame regarding the Chibok abduction.
“The newspaper went further to say that the panel actually commended efforts of the Borno State Government in its commitment to the fight against Boko Haram as testified by heads of security establishments,” the statement from Gusau said.
Shettima also said it was clear to him after reading the former president’s book that he still lives with poor understanding of issues under his presidency. The Governor cited that, for instance, Jonathan’s claim on page 31 that Boko Haram wanted a Muslim President rather than him as Christian was laughable since the insurgents actually began their deadliest attacks in Borno under the regime of late President Umaru Musa Yar’Adua, a Moslem from northern Nigeria.
“We know for a fact that as vicious cycle of evil, Boko Haram fighters do not care about the religion of their targeted victims. They attack mosques and churches. They are lunatics who regard anyone who doesn’t share their ideology as an infidel. So, I wonder how the former President didn’t take time to understand the biggest challenge under his presidency,” Shettima said.
The governor advised Jonathan to write another book on account of his presidency which should contain “the facts as have been presented to him, regarding the Chibok abduction rather than the fiction” he made public yesterday.
President Muhammadu Buhari has assured that all ongoing Federal projects in the South East will be funded, saying that the seven-month delay in passing this year’s budget will not serve as an excuse.
Speaking at a meeting with South-East Governors and Deputy Senate President, Ike Ekweremadu on Wednesday, at the State House, President Buhari pledged that the Federal government will sustain the support to the South-East in terms of infrastructure.
‘‘I assure you that we are doing our best and will not default on the agreements signed on ongoing projects,’’ the President told the delegation led by Deputy Senate President Ekweremadu.
President Buhari explained that part of the noticeable problem in the delay in the execution of the capital projects was caused by the budget hold-up.
‘‘When you sign, and you don’t pay, they (contractors) can legally jerk up their costs. This is part of the problem.
‘‘The infrastructure budget is a deficit budget. The borrowing plan was only approved three weeks ago and all ministers and departments of government have been instructed to forge ahead. We must not find excuses for delaying the projects.
‘‘Developing infrastructure is the best thing we can do. When the roads are okay, the rails are established and there is power, Nigerians will flourish in their businesses,’’ he said.
President Buhari, who was accompanied to the meeting by the Secretary to the Government, Boss Mustapha, the Minister of Science and Technology, Dr Ogbonnaya Onu, the Minister of Industry, Trade and Investment, Dr Okechukwu Enelemah, the Minister of Labour and Employment, Senator Chris Ngige, the Minister of Transportation, Rotimi Amaechi and that of Power, Works and Housing, Babatunde Fashola, responded from point to point on all the issues raised by the Governors, to their satisfaction.
On the undulating surface of the Akanu Ibiam International Airport, Enugu, the President assured that it will be addressed in the new budget.
He also spoke of government’s serious interest in the new Port-Harcourt-Maiduguri standard gauge railway which transverses several states including those in the South East.
The Minister of Transportation gave assurance that this project, the single most costly rail project at USD 12 billion, will soon be coming to the Federal Executive Council (FEC).
The Ministers were directed to follow up with the private sector on key projects in the region, including the South East Dry Port and the Geometric Power Plant in Aba, with a view to untangling the problems causing their delayed take-off.
Speaking on behalf of the Governors, Governor Dave Umahi of Ebonyi State said they had come specifically to thank the President for the award of the contract for the major component of the second Niger Bridge at the cost of N206 billion. ‘‘The project is the dream of our people and it has become a dream come true.
Our people said we must come and thank you. Your Excellency, Mr President we are grateful Sir,’’ he said.
Thereafter, Governor Umahi while enumerating some challenges confronting the Governors to the President said:
‘‘out of mutual respect, we have come to you as a caring leader to listen to us.’’
Other Governors on the delegation were Okezie Ikpeazu of Abia State, Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi of Enugu State and the Deputy Governor of Anambra State, Dr Nkem Okeke.
The National Chairman of the All Progressives Congress, APC, Adams Oshiomhole, met and shook hands with his recent arch-enemy, Senate President, Bukola Saraki, at the launch of ex-President, Goodluck Jonathan’s book, “My Transition Hours”. Both Leaders shook hands and posed for photographs.
According to Sources that it was really a shocking moment, as the participants were expecting the two Politicians to clash.
Recall, that 24-hours before the event, Adams Oshiomhole had vowed to bury Bukola Saraki’s political career, in 2019. He vowed that Saraki’s dynasty will be neutralised during the forthcoming 2019 general elections.
Earlier, Saraki had attacked Oshiomhole, calling for the immediate resignation of the APC National Chairman, over the bribery allegations rocking the ruling party’s just concluded primaries.
President Muhammadu Buhari, is currently facing the biggest embarrassment of his entire political career, as the 2019 general elections draw near.
This came as the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, attacked Buhari for allegedly stealing the Rex Institute’s “Next Level” logo and mantra as his 2019 campaign mantra, and presenting it to Nigerians as his idea and creation.
The National Publicity Secretary of the party, Kola Ologbondiyan, in a statement, revealed that the Buhari Presidency is a fraud syndicate that thrives on deception, lies, false performance claims, certificate forgery, and corruption, while always trying to take credit for the achievement of others.
Ologbondiyan added that the PDP is however, not surprised that Buhari, in his desperation, could go as low as patronising plagiarism and false credit claims, since it is clear that he lacks the competence to initiate and articulate an original blue print for leadership.
According to him: “This shameful plagiarism by the Buhari Presidency has further sunk him into self-inflicted public opprobrium, from which he has not recovered since the demonstration by Nigerians, that he does not have his acclaimed WAEC certificate, and had to procure an attestation, which Nigerians also discovered to be a forged document.”
The PDP maintained that Buhari has over time shown that he cannot be trusted, adding that, the President heads the most corrupt administration in the history of our nation.
“A perusal of President Buhari’s 2019 campaign document, reveals that apart from the stolen logo and mantra, the document is replete with false claims, spurious projections and unsubstantiated figures, in the bid to again beguile Nigerians ahead of the election”, the party said
Shehu Sani, the Senator representing Kaduna Central has replied critics of President Muhammadu Buhari for describing Goodluck Jonathan as a true democrat.
President Buhari on Tuesday, hailed his predecessor, Dr Goodluck Jonathan, for conceding defeat following the 2015 general elections, describing him as a true democrat.
Buhari stated this while speaking at the launching of Jonathan’s new book titled “My Transition Hours”.
Represented by the Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Boss Mustapha, the president said Jonathan’s act of courage had made him a patriotic leader and earned popularity among Africans and other leaders.
However, Sani in a post on Twitter questioned those against Buhari’s encomiums.
He noted that despite Jonathan’s failures during his adminstration, he proved himself as a ‘True Democrat’.
The Kaduna lawmaker wrote:
“Some people are not happy or comfortable whenever PMB praises GEJ for conducting a credible elections and peaceful handover;
I wonder if that didn’t happen where will they be?
“GEJ undoubtedly failed in a number of areas, but he has proven himself as a true democrat and patriot.”