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Why I did not attend presidential debate, by Buhari

The President and Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, who is also the APC Presidential Candidate in the forthcoming Presidential Election, President Muhammadu Buhari, could not attend the Presidential Debate organised by the Nigeria Election Debate Group and the Broadcasting Organisations of Nigeria which held today, Saturday, January 19, 2019 for the following reasons:

Firstly, out of several opportunities afforded our candidate to interact with the Nigerian people directly by different organisations, our presidential candidate has taken full advantage of another town-hall meeting organized by another group which held on Wednesday, January 16, 2019. He was also joined at that town-hall meeting by our Vice-Presidential candidate who is also the Vice-President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, Professor Yemi Osinbajo, SAN. Nigerians from all walks of life who were physically present and through on-line platforms asked uncensored questions which were adequately answered. It was also transmitted live by various broadcast networks in Nigeria.

Why I did not attend presidential debate, by Buhari
Buhari Osinbajo Kadaria

In addition, the busy and hectic official and campaign schedules of Mr. President clashed with this programme. Today, Mr. President commissioned the Baro Inland Water Port in Niger State and campaigned in Niger and Plateau States where his time was over-stretched by the tumultuous and mammoth crowds in both States, (as seen by Nigerians on live television) and only returned to Abuja late this evening.

Whilst we thank the organisers for the invitation, we want to assure Nigerians that we shall continue to hold these debate groups and Nigerians in high esteem which our candidate has demonstrated during past election debates when he honoured similar invitations. Nigerians will also recall that a few weeks ago, our Vice-Presidential candidate, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo, also attended the debate organized by the same organisations.

Lastly, we note the statement of the candidate of the PDP, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar who actually came for the event and left the venue when he did not see Mr. President, who is our candidate. According to him, he would not want to “attack” Mr. President in his absence.

It should now be obvious to Nigerians that for Alhaji Atiku Abubakar and the PDP, this election is all about attacking the person and programmes of Mr. President and not about proffering their own solutions to the problems they created during their sixteen years of misrule, maladministration and looting of the nation’s resources. When they cannot see President Buhari to attack, the content of their campaign becomes hollow, empty and “full of sound and fury, signifying nothing”. Now that Atiku Abubakar had a unique opportunity to explain to Nigerians his own vision and mission without a President Buhari in the picture, he ran away. Afterall, he has his own eight years of crass and grand corruption as Vice President to defend before the Nigerian people.

On February 16, 2019 we urge Nigerians to demonstrate to Alhaji Atiku Abubakar and the PDP, through their votes, how empty indeed their campaign has always been and to vote massively for President Muhammadu Buhari and Prof. Yemi Osinbajo, SAN who have started the rebuilding process of our great nation.

Thank you.

FESTUS KEYAMO,SAN, FCIArb (UK)

Director, Strategic Communications,

APC Presidential Campaign Council.

Assets seized from corrupt politicians will be sold, says Buhari

President Muhammad Buhari says houses, companies and other property seized from “corrupt” politicians would be sold and the money kept in the treasury.

The president said this in Kaduna during the All Progressives Congress (APC) presidential campaign rally on Friday.

He said fighting corruption in a democracy is not easy.

He recalled that upon becoming a military of head in 1984, he arrested all corrupt politicians and detained them and after investigations, their property stolen were seized.

He however regretted that the seized property were returned to them after he was overthrown.

Buhari who spoke in Hausa language said: “Fighting corruption in a democracy is difficult, you know what I did before (as a military head of state). I arrested the big men and detained them and I ordered for investigation,” he said.

“Those who were found to have stolen, we seized their stolen things from them. Only two people were not not corrupt, the two of them have died – Bilyaminu Usman, education minister and Mallam Adamu Ciroma, former Central Bank (CBN) governor and minister. They were not found guilty.

“After my government was overthrown, the seized property were returned to thieves. I was arrested and detained and the stolen property was returned to the thieves.

“As God we have it, I am back again. This has strengthened my faith and by the grace of God, all those who looted this country, we will follow them one by one and arrest them.

“All the property that have been seized from them; houses and companies would be sold and the money will be ploughed back into the treasury. When I was arrested, they returned the property to them, this time around we will sell the stolen property.”

Buhari presides over emergency FEC meeting

President Muhammadu Buhari is currently presiding over a special meeting of the Federal Executive Council (FEC) at the Council Chamber of the Presidential Villa, Abuja.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that FEC meeting usually holds on Wednesdays but late last year, a Special FEC meeting was convened on a Friday to discuss and approve the 2019 budget proposal.

However, the agenda of today’s meeting which started at about 3.20 p.m., is unknown.

Attending the meeting are Vice-President Yemi Osinbajo, Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Boss Mustapha and Head of Service of the federation, Winifred Oyo-Ita.

Others are Chief of Staff to the President, Malam Abba Kyari, National Security Adviser to the President, retired Maj.-Gen. Babagana Munguno as well as cabinet ministers and some presidential aides.

CJN: South South governors warn Buhari over ‘dictatorial tendencies’

South-south geopolitical zone governors in Nigeria rose from an emergency meeting in Abuja on Sunday evening with a warning to President Muhammadu Buhari to stop his dictatorial tendencies and his continued assaults on the institutions of state. The governors also call on the Chief Justice of Nigeria (CJN), Justice Walter Onnoghen to ignore summons of the Code of Conduct Tribunal, and the provocative calls for his resignation.

The governors who met to discuss the summons and impending trial of Justice Onnoghen also warned of the massive arms build up by the ruling party, All Progressives Congress (APC) in the Niger-Delta in the build of to next month’s general elections. They accused APC of planning a break down of law and order in the zone.

Below is the communique issued by the governors after their meeting:

“An emergency meeting of the governors of the states of the South South geopolitical zone, held at the Bayelsa State Governor’s Lodge, Abuja on Sunday, January 13, 2019.

The meeting, called at the instance of the Governor of Bayelsa State, the Honourable Henry Seriake Dickson, who is also Chairman of the South South Governors Forum, was attended by the Governors of Cross River State, Rivers, Akwa Ibom, and Delta States.

The meeting deliberated on the recent happenings at the Supreme Court involving the Chief Justice of the Federation, Justice Walter Onnoghen and resolved that the action against him constitutes a setback to the gains of the nation’s democratic experience of 20 years.

“We note that under Section 158(1) of the 1999 Constitution, the National Judicial Council, has ample powers to deal exhaustively with matters pertaining to allegations of misconduct and discipline of Judicial officers. Specifically, the NJC has the powers and clear procedures for investigating allegations, and recommending appropriate sanctions or disciplinary measures against judicial officials as a matter of first instance before any further steps. The judicial pronouncements in the cases of FGN Vs Justice Sylvester Ngwuta of the Supreme Court (January 9, 2018) and Justice Ngajinwa Vs FGN 2017 at the CCT have given validation to the express provisions of the constitution on this issue.

We note that the attempt to drag the CJN to the CCT is also a grave and dangerous escalation of the assault on institutions of state including the National Assembly and the judiciary We believe that the President, Muhammadu Buhari has a constitutional responsibility and huge moral obligation to defend our democracy.

Therefore, we consider this step, which is directly aimed at humiliating the nation’s highest judicial officer and a prominent son of the region, as totally unacceptable as it is reflective of the South South story of endless marginalization and intimidation. The unceremonious removal of former Acting Director General of the Department of State Service, Mathew Seiyefa and his replacement is still very fresh.

We note that the unfortunate action against the CJN further reinforces the perception that the Buhari administration has no regard for the sentiments of Nigerians, in particular the people of Niger Delta, and the rule of law It is a fact that this administration has a penchant for flagrant disobedience of and disregard for legitimate and valid court orders.

We expect President Buhari to know that democracy cannot survive without respect for the constitution, strict adherence to the rule of law, and separation of powers as enshrined in the constitution. We strongly believe that the regrettable development at the Supreme Court at this critical time, when preparations for the general elections are wobbling (with serious concern about INEC and security agencies) is capable of causing avoidable anxiety, tension and possible breakdown of law and order in the country.

We note further that the action undermines confidence not only in the judiciary but also the electoral process that has already commenced, in view of the pivotal role that the judiciary plays in the process of electoral adjudication. We affirm President Buhari should know that the continuous assault on critical institutions of state is a defining feature of a dictatorship, and that the President is obliged to live up to his word that he is a born-again democrat, as he assured Nigerians in 2015.

Based on the foregoing, we hereby call on the President:

1) To condemn without any equivocation, this assault on the CJN and the judiciary especially coming after similar assaults on the National Assembly, to save the country from this embarrassment and global contempt.

2) We call on the CJN to ignore this so-called Court summon from the CCB and the provocative call for his resignation in some quarters. While we are not opposed to a genuine fight against corruption, such an action must always be anchored on the rule of law.

We also decry the massive buildup of arms by APC leaders and members across the Niger Delta with the intent to cause mayhem and a general breakdown of law and order during the elections.

Dated this day January 13, 2019

Signed   The Honourable Henry Seriake Dickson, Governor of Bayelsa State   HE Nyesom Wike, Governor of Rivers State   HE, Sen.  Prof.  Ben Ayade, Governort of Cross River State   HE Udom Emmanuel, Governor of Akwa Ibom State   HE Sen. Dr. Ifeanyi Okowa, Governor of Delta State.