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JUST IN: Igbo leaders endorse Buhari for second term

Leaders of the All Progressive Congress (APC) in the south-east have endorsed President Muhammadu Buhari for a second term.

Speaking with State House correspondents on Monday, Ogbonnaya Onu, minister of science and technology, who led a delegation to Buhari, said the president has done enough to merit a second time.

The delegation comprised Rochas Okorocha, governor of Imo state who was represented by Eze Madumere, his deputy, serving members of the national assembly, former governors, all the ministers from the south-east, members of the national working committee and national executive committee of the APC.

“The APC leadership in the south-east met on December 31 last year and endorsed the president for a second term,” he said.

“We have come today to reaffirm that and to assure Mr. President that the party is working very hard to win future elections.”

The minister said Buhari was very happy with the calibre of people that were in the delegation.

“He was very happy because you can see the caliber of people in this delegation, a very high-powered delegation,” he said.

“The president was very happy that such a delegation thought it fit to visit him.”

Asked if the meeting which was less than 10 minutes was all about politics and nothing on what is bothering the south east, Onu said, “Oh yes. We first commended the president on the efforts he is making to make sure that there is development in the south-east.

“For example, the major roads that run through the five states, if you take the Enugu-Port Harcourt Road, Enugu-Onitsha-Owerri road, this administration has worked very hard.

“I travelled by road to Port Harcourt on the 12th of this month and I can tell you that very significant improvements have taken place. In the past, it used to be promises, but now it’s action.

“The second Niger Bridge in the past was a promise but now there is action on that very important bridge which is not just for the south-east but for the whole country as a matter of fact.

“We also thanked him because the people of the south-east are very enterprising people, so when you are building a railway network, it is important that all major commercial towns are linked up by rail and also gas distribution. And the president gave direct instructions that this should be done and we are very happy. Is not just good for the south-east is good for the nation.”

The delegation also asked Buhari to name an asset after former Vice-President Alex Ekwueme who died in London last year.

“We also thanked the president for the role the federal government is playing under his leadership on the burial of one of our very great sons, former vice-president of this great nation, Dr. Alex Ekwueme,” he said.

“And we told him that the people of the south-east will be happy if a national asset is named after him as a way to show that the nation is also appreciative of his important contributions to nation-building.”

Buhari approves payment of pension to retired Biafran police officers

Succour has come the way of police officers who served in the defunct Biafran Police during the 30 months Civil War as President Muhammadu Buhari has approved the payment of pension to those who were granted presidential pardon in 2000.

The Pension Transitional Arrangement Directorate ( PTAD ) yesterday announced that about 162 of such retired police officers and 57 next of kin of those who died will be paid their pension benefits in the first phase of the payment with effect from tomorrow in Enugu.

A statement from the PTAD management said after their pardon, a verification exercise was conducted for them by the defunct Police Pension office and recently by PTAD and the Police Service Commission.

The statement reads: “The general public would recall that Nigeria witnessed an ugly Civil War between July, 1967 and January, 1970 and as a result of that unfortunate period in our history, some members of the Armed Forces, the Nigeria Police and paramilitary officers who took part with the secessionist were dismissed from the service.

“The dismissal of those officers was commuted to retirement in the year 2000 through a Presidential Amnesty granted on May 29, 2000 by the Administration of the then President, Olusegun Obasanjo.

“A verification exercise was conducted for the pardoned officers by the defunct Police Pension Office and recently PTAD on one hand and the Police Service Commission on the other.

“Despite the presidential pardon and verification of these officers, many of them remained unpaid years after the pardon. However, the present administration under the able leadership of President, Muhammadu Buhari has graciously given approval for the payment of pension entitlements to these officers and their next of kin.”

Restructuring not same as break-up, Afenifere tells Buhari

 

The pan-Yoruba socio-cultural group, Afenifere, and its northern counterpart, the Arewa Consultative Forum, on Sunday, disagreed on President Muhammadu Buhari’s Independence Day’s broadcast.

Buhari had, in the broadcast, said irresponsible groups had hijacked the restructuring debate, decrying what he called the folly of “hot-headed” youths.

The ACF said the broadcast was timely, but Afenifere said the advocates of restructuring meant well for the country.

The National Publicity Secretary of the Forum, Alhaji Muhammad Biu, told one of our correspondents in Kaduna that the broadcast was a scorecard of the President’s administration on security, economy and corruption.

He noted that the ACF advocated peaceful and meaningful dialogue on all issues of national importance and the use of democratic institutions to achieve better results.

The ACF’s spokesman stated, “The President’s independence anniversary speech was timely and appropriate considering the issues raised. It was a scorecard of the Buhari administration on security, economy and corruption which was the hallmark of his campaign promises.

“On the issue of restructuring, we totally support the position of the President which has been our position all along.

“Agitations that come with threats and intimidation have no place in our present democratic dispensation. The ACF will therefore support any restructuring that comes with clarity of purpose, just, fair and equitable to all sections of the country.”

But Afenifere’s National Publicity Secretary, Yinka Odumakin, in an interview with The PUNCH, said Buhari should distinguish between the two camps and take the necessary steps to salvage the nation.

He stated that Buhari was promoting those working for the break-up of the country by ignoring the demands of Nigerians for restructuring.

Odumakin added, “He should separate those agitating for restructuring from those calling for a break-up of the country. I think he is confusing restructuring with break-up.

“Those calling for restructuring are those working to avert the breakup of Nigeria while those opposed to it are the ones working for the break-up of the country.

“Let the President deal with restructuring; if he does not listen to the agitations for restructuring, he is promoting those who are working for the break-up of the country.”

A northern elder statesman, Dr. Junaid Muhammed, said the speech by the President was “not realistic,” noting that some of the claims of Buhari were not true.

Muhammed, a Second Republic member of the House of Representatives, said, “Frankly speaking, the speech is not realistic. There is nothing and there was nothing meant to be spectacular or unique about the speech of the 57th anniversary. It is celebratory. Where we have a leader who is articulate or is in a firm control of the government, the speech could have been an avenue to mobilise and regain the confidence of the people.

“As far as I am concerned, there is nothing in the speech to energise, galvanise or persuade me. The government muddled up a speech that should be about matters of national importance with personal reminiscences of being a young officer. This romantic lamentation does not have a place in this speech.

“Some of the claims the President made were clearly dishonest. For example, he claimed that his agricultural policies have been a success. As far as I am concerned, that cannot be true because I don’t even know the policies.

“If I don’t, I am sure millions of other Nigerians don’t know too. When you see the functionality of a policy, you know it is working.”

A civil society group, Concerned Nigerians, said the President’s actions and comments gave rise to the agitations for restructuring, insisting that Buhari’s appointments were sectional and promoted nepotism.

The National Coordinator of the group, Deji Adeyanju, attributed the agitations for secession by the South-East youths to Buhari’s style of governance and actions.

“The President should look all around him; the Director General of Department of State Services is from his village; the people in charge of INEC are his kinsmen and all the service chiefs are from the North.

“If he looks around him, he would find the answers to why people are making the agitations for restructuring,” he added.

Adeyanju called on the President to practise unity through his conduct, noting that he portrayed himself as a sectional leader by overlooking the ultimatum by the northern youths to the Igbo while coming down hard on Igbo youths calling for secession.

Buhari, Osibanjo, Oyegun, others for APC Abia mega rally

President Muhammadu Buhari, Vice President Yemi Osibanjo, All Progressives Congress (APC) National Chairman, John Odigie Oyegun and other ranking members of the party are expected to participate in the party’s mega rally in Abia State.

The State Publicity Secretary of the party, Comrade Benedict Godson while speaking with newsmen on Monday in Umuahia, the state capital after the inauguration of the party’s Contact, Mobilization/Rally Committee said that the event would hold in the state capital in October.

Godson said that the essence of the planned mega rally was to present new members of the party including former Governor of the state, Dr. Orji Kalu, Chidi Onyeukwu Ajaegbu, immediate past President Institute of Chartered Accountants of Nigeria (ICAN), Dr. Sampson Uche Ogah, CEO Masters Energy and former Abia PDP governorship aspirant in 2015 election, Chief David Ogba Onuoha, MD of defunct Bourdex telecommunication and Abia North Senatorial candidate of the All Progressives Grand Alliance, MD of defunct Hallmark Bank and brother to former senate president (Adolphus Wabara), Mark Wabara among other Abia political big weights who will be presented to the public at the event scheduled to hold at the state capital.

According to Godson, the rally was preparatory to the party’s efforts to woo more supporters ahead of the 2019 general election.

Earlier in his speech, state chairman of the party, Hon. Donatus Nwankpa who stressed that the party’s doors were wide enough to accommodate others who may join the party even after the rally charged the committee to work hard in order to make sure that the event was a success.

Nwankpa who recalled how the immediate past government in the state barred the incumbent President Buhari from making use of public facilities during the campaigns and the use of state’s machinery to frustrate efforts of the founding fathers of the party in the state to reach out to intending in 2015.

The state chairman of APC maintained that he was sure that the people in the party and the popularity of the party in the state, that they were going to produce the next Abia governor.

He restated that the party would not zone the governorship position in the state to any zone, stressing that the party through an open and credible primaries would present candidates who are willing to serve Abians and deliver dividend of democracy to all parts of the state.

“A governor is like a father with many children. He loves the children equally and shares his wealth to them without favouring anyone. APC will produce a governor and leaders that have the interest of their subjects at heart. We are not going to promote godfatherism, but to present candidates based on their acceptability by the people who will elect them through a credible primary.”

Chairman of the committee and deputy chairman of the party, Chief Ogumka Adiele promised that they were going to do the work entrusted in their care with their best.

Adiele assured that the committee would make sure that more people would join the party before the event holds, stating that they would make sure it became a success.

Other members of the committee including Hon Acho Obioma, former House of Rep member and chairman Akoka Federal College of Education Governing Board Council, Chief Oxford Wabara and others pledged their commitment in ensuring that they work cooperatively with the committee’s chairman to produce a positive result.

 

Why Buhari’s government is failing – Ango Abdullahi

The spokesman of the Northern Elders Forum (NEF), Prof Ango Abdullahi, has blamed the failure of President Muhammadu Buhari’s to bring visible development to the people on the political system in the country.

According to him, Buhari is a good man who found himself in a wrong system that hamstrung the realization of his good intentions for the country.

Abdullahi, however, said Buhari should welcome politicians who wish to vie for the Presidential ticket of the All Progressive Congress (APC) ahead of 2019 general elections as the outcome of the party primaries and the main election would be a way of assessing his own performance in office.

He told Sun newspaper: “You see, the problem is the system. Buhari may be a good person; he could be a gentleman who wants to work honestly but in a wrong system. It was a system of military fiat when he was a head of state, but the system he finds himself now does not allow him to manoeuvre.

“He has to cross many hurdles and checkpoints at the National Assembly and his party before he can execute anything meaningful, and all these squabbles are not based on principle but personal interests, either at party level or at constituency or at the level of the judiciary.

“All this really will make it impossible for a good person or committed person to operate effectively in this country in the manner which will accelerate development. Perhaps, you might ask the question if we can really change?

“Buhari might not have failed, but the system of government that he is operating in has substantially failed in the same manner as the ones before it.

“You see the fact that Buhari is incumbent does not automatically confer on him the candidature of the party in the next election if there is internal democracy in the party. The fact that you are a sitting president does not mean other members of the party cannot contest against you. If I were Buhari, I will welcome competition in my party.

“This is an opening for democracy in my party and I will ask people to come and test their popularity. If he has done well, people will re-elect him. This is a confirmation he has done well and that both the party and voters trusted him. I criticize all political parties for the system they employ in conducting primary elections.

“The one I am most familiar as good was the one used by Social Democratic Party (SDP) in 1992, that was a direct primary election, where every member of the party has a chance to come and vote for who will represent him as a councilor, chairman, governor or president. In direct primaries, all parties have chance to come, cue and vote or elect any person of their choice.

“But the current delegate system brings nothing except corruption. Once the parties are corrupt, certainly, government must be corrupt, this is what is happening now all over the country.”

Only ill- health will stop Buhari in 2019 – Amosun

 

The number of governors rooting for President Muhammadu Buhari ahead of the 2019 general election increased on Saturday with Ogun State Governor, Ibikunle Amosun, saying only ill- health will stop the President from seeking re-election in two years time.

The governor stated this in Abeokuta shortly after attending a book launch put together to mark the one year anniversary of the death of renowned educationist, Chief Lamidi Sofenwa.

The book titled: “Lamidi Ayinla Sofenwa: Quintessential Gentleman and Educationist: A Biography” was written by Olasumbo Martins; ‘Dele Sogbesan and ‘Biodun Odetoyin.

It was reviewed by Dr. Taofiq Salisu.

Amosun said considering the huge debt the country was plunged into before Buhari’s administration came on board, Nigerians should know that a lot work has been done to put Nigeria back on track.

He said: “If President Buhari and his administration had not come in time with rescue mission, only God knows where Nigeria would have been today.

“On this 2019 for me, the only thing that can probably prevent Mr. President from contesting is ill -health because if not for this administration of President Muhammadu Buhari only God knows where Nigeria would have been today.

“As humans, we quickly forget things. If we could be fair to this administration, they came in at a time the country was plunged into a very deep end and imagine where the country is today. We were in recession and now we are out of it and it not easy to get to this point.

“Again, I am saying it, the only thing that can stop Mr. President is ill- health. But as we can see today, Mr. President is back, rejuvenating and very soon, it would be clear for everybody to see that Mr. President is so well now.

“Meanwhile, nobody will take the fact that from the three cardinal points he set for himself, this administration has been doing tremendously well in the area of security. We all know that nothing good can happen in any country without adequate security.

“Yes, some people are saying Boko haram has not yet been conquered but if you look at America and put into consideration how many years it took them to win the war against Osama Bin Laden among others you will know that this administration should be applauded as far as security is concerned.

“The same thing in our economy. Just look at our agriculture for instance, it has never been this good. At least I am a governor and this is my seventh year. This is the first time that Nigeria is truly diversifying.”

Buhari vowed to serve just one term – Aisha Alhassan

Women’s affairs minister Aisha Alhassan has promised to quit if President Muhammadu Buhari decides to seek re-election, claiming the ailing leader had earlier vowed to serve only one term.

Alhassan said she would back former vice-president Atiku Abubakar for the presidency at the next election in 2019 rather than the incumbent.

“If today Buhari decides to go for re-election… I will go and kneel before him and tell him, ‘Father, I’m grateful for the opportunity you have given me to serve in your cabinet but you know Atiku is my mentor, staying around you will portray me as a hypocrite and I’m not one’, that is if Atiku declares his interest to contest,” she told BBC Hausa radio.

Speculation has been rife in Nigeria about whether Buhari, 74, will stand again, after he has spent much of the year in a London hospital with an undisclosed illness.

The government maintains he is back at work, although he has kept a low profile since returning from the British capital last month.

Buhari has skipped and cancelled weekly cabinet meetings, chairing his first gathering of senior ministers in five months last week.

Alhassan disclosed her allegiance on Wednesday after being asked whether Buhari had told anyone he planned to run in 2019.

She said: “In 2015 prior to the election, when Buhari decided to contest following intense pressure, he declared that he was going to serve one tenure, that is four years.

“And to date no-one can claim Buhari has expressed any desire to stand for re-election in 2019.”

Buhari made Alhassan women’s minister after she narrowly failed to be elected to run the eastern state of Taraba, making her the country’s first female state governor.

Abubakar, whom Buhari beat to be the All Progressives Congress (APC) party’s presidential candidate for 2015, nominated her for the ministerial post.

The former customs service chief, 70, who served as vice-president under former president Olusegun Obasanjo in the 2000s, is widely tipped to try again for the top job.

He has been touring the nation to drum up support but senior APC figures maintain Buhari remains the candidate to beat, should he decide to contest.

Alhassan made no further comment when asked about her remarks by AFP.

Nigerian politics is largely dependent on patronage, with little to separate the main parties other than personalities.

In 2015, the Peoples Democratic Party haemorrhaged support because ex-president Goodluck Jonathan allegedly reneged on an apparent pledge to serve just one term.

A slew of lawmakers switched to Buhari’s APC, ensuring the first opposition win in Nigeria’s history.

 

 

Buhari calls off FEC meeting

 

President Muhammadu Buhari has again called off Wednesday’s Federal Executive Council meeting.

Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, said in a statement that the meeting was called off due to the inability of the government to prepare for the weekly meeting.

In a statement issued in Kano on Tuesday, the Minister said the two-day public holidays declared for the Eid-el-Kabir celebrations left little or no time to prepare for the weekly meeting.

Last week when the meeting held, the Federal Government approved the Mambilla hydro project that will be handled by a consortium of Chinese companies at a cost of $5.79bn.
NAN

Buhari not going to US, says Lai Mohammed

Minister of Information, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, , says the news being circulated via a parody Twitter account and an old NTA news video that President Muhammadu Buhari is travelling or has travelled to the US is fake.

In a statement issued in Lagos on Sunday, the minister urged Nigerians to disregard the news.

The statement was signed by the special adviser to the minister, Segun Adeyemi.

The minister said one of the numerous parody Twitter accounts in his name — “@MohammedLai”, was used to disseminate the fake and ludicrous news that claimed that President Buhari was due to leave Nigeria for the US on Monday ”to condole with President Donald Trump over the floods in Houston”.

Also, he said, an old NTA News video being circulated on social media claimed that Buhari had already left for the UN General Assembly in New York.

“This is a 2015 NTA News video that was repackaged to look current, and to give the impression that the President left Daura, where he is celebrating Eid el-Kabir, directly for New York,” he said.

Mohammed said Nigerians should disregard any news credited to any account in his name, either on Twitter or Facebook.

“Numerous parody accounts have been opened in my name on the two platforms, when indeed I have no Twitter or Facebook account,” he said.

The minister recalled how the same parody Twitter account was used to circulate a fake report that he sharply criticised Sen. Dino Melaye for attending the Notting Hill Carnival in the UK.

He said these two instances highlight the dangers posed by purveyors of fake news and disinformation, and vowed that the federal government would soon fish out those behind the shenanigans.

He added that “fake news, disinformation and hate speech are the antics of the naysayers, those who are pathologically opposed to this administration.

“That is why we are urging Nigerians to be more discerning and to double check any information emanating from Social Media.”

Buhari urges Nigerian elite to make sacrifices for nation’s unity

President Muhammadu Buhari on Sunday charged the elite in the country to make meaningful sacrifices that will engender unity and progress of Nigeria.

He made the call while hosting Muslim faithfuls to a lunch as part of events to mark the Eid-Adha (Sallah) celebration at the Presidential Villa, Abuja.

Buhari, who was represented by Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, said that the Federal Government was committed to the promotion of the country’s unity and will do everything to ensure that Nigeria remains one indivisible nation.

He said “Our nation’s elite must recognize that we must all make sacrifice for the country to move forward and united.

“God has planned that we remain one indivisible nation strongly united. All the noise we here today is part of the building process of Nigeria.

“All we are hearing today are the noises of that great nation that God is about to give birth to.

“Mr President is unable to attend because he is celebrating Sallah at home in Daura. He has not been in Daura ‎for over a year now. So, this is an important home going for him.

“The significance of this celebration is the willingness Abraham to make the great sacrifice ‎of possibly the dearest thing to him, his son Isaac.

 

“Obviously, anyone who knows anything at all about the kinds of things that…..it is willingness to ‎make a great sacrifice. And Abraham (Ibrahim) was able to make that sacrifice. And he made it in order to be able to fulfill his own destiny and the destiny of his people,” he said

 

He added, “The message today is that our nation’s elite, Muslims, Christians and all ethnicity must recognize that we also must make sacrifices, the sacrifices that are necessary ‎to attain the destiny that God has brought unto our people.

“I am one of those who is extremely confident that our nation ‎will remain united. Because I am convinced that God’s plans and purpose for Nigeria is that we would be the preeminent black nation in the world.

“This is the type of country that God has ordained. ‎Where we have diversity of opinions, diversity of ideas. People saying their own things here and there. But, He has also planned that this country will remain together, and that we’ll be a nation that is gifted just as we have the oil, the gas, and the most arable lands than most continents.

 

“This is a country that has all of what other countries will travel and spend money ‎looking for the sort of resources that we have. All of the tourism resources that we have people will travel everywhere looking for it.

 

“Is a nation of men and women so creative and prosperous. That we will feed the entire continent and create opportunities ‎for the world.

 

“All the different ethnic groups are important in that arrangement. On every ethnicity, incredible minds, brilliant and creative people doing all manner of things.

 

“Our energies and resources shouldn’t be spent again on debate about division. Our manifest destiny is to be a great nation, not to be a nation where we are talking about division.

 

“We must focus out time, our energies and our resources on being that great nation that God has called us to be. I think we have started building that country already.

 

“Despite all the noise that we hear, all that noise is part of the building. Everybody knows that you cannot have birth without noise. No woman delivers a baby without some noise and without some pains.” he stated

The President also explained that the noise currently being heard in some sections of the country we eventually lead to birth a great nation.

 

“What we are hearing today are the ‎noises and the pains of that great nation that God is about to give birth to,” he added.

 

Present at the event were the minister of Interior Abdulraman Danbazau who represented the wife of the President, Aisha Buhari, Senior Special Assistant on National Assembly (Senate), Senator Ita Enang, Senator Osita Ozunaso and Chief Segun Oni who represented the chairman of the All Progressives Congress (APC), John Odigie-Oyegun among others.