In Defence Of Abba Kyari, Pmb Chief Of Staff, By Chukwudi Enekwechi (JP)

President Muhammadu Buhari’s Chief of Staff Malam Abba Kyari has been described in several quarters as a consummate technocrat, team player and dyed- in -the wool loyalist of the Buhari ideals. Some schools of thought describe such ideals as Buharinomics.  Yet his legendary patriotism and service to the country have been misinterpreted in some quarters, hence the reference to a non-existent ‘’cabal’’ in the Presidency. On the contrary, what they erroneously term as a ‘’cabal’’ if looked into critically is the ability of the president’s chief of staff to manage the affairs of the Presidency with prudence, accountability and sense of responsibility.

Even for his critics they acknowledge, the brilliance of Malam Abba Kyari. Firstly, he is a University of Warwick-trained Sociologist, University of Cambridge trained lawyer and a holder of Master’s degree from the same Cambridge University as well as an accomplished journalist. This man of letters also worked for the reputable law firm of Fani Kayode and Sowemimo and also an editor with the New Africa Holdings Limited Kaduna. 

From 1990 to 1995, Kyari was the Secretary to the Board of African International Bank Limited. Later he was elevated as an executive director at the United Bank for Africa from where he rose to become the managing director and Chief Executive of the bank. Abba Kyari has over the years garnered experience in the oil sector as he successfully emerged as a director of Exxon Mobil Nigeria.
From the foregoing there is no iota of doubt that the president’s chief of staff comes from a solid background of hard work, experience, sound education and devotion to the service of country. His foray in the public and private sectors have added to position him well for the pivotal role he is playing in the polity under the President Muhammadu Buhari administration. He has never wavered in his commitment toward the task of nation-building and he believes that President Muhammadu Buhari will successfully rebuild Nigeria for the good of all.

It is therefore surprising that a few disgruntled individuals and vested interests will latch on to the opportunity of a sponsored protest to cast aspersions on the person of the president’s chief of staff, Malam Abba Kyari for no justifiable reason. First and foremost there is no empirical evidence that a ‘’cabal’’ actually exists in the presidential villa. Perhaps there is a misconception about the workings of the inner recesses of government especially at the highest levels in Nigeria. 

Abba Kyari occupies a sensitive position that requires absolute loyalty to the president and he has not shirked in this responsibility, and the assessment of his performance rests with the president – his employer and principal. It is indeed doubtful if outsiders are in a better position to score the performance of a consummate technocrat and policy maker like Abba Kyari better than the president who hired him.

For the avoidance of doubt, Abba Kyari remains a strategic player for the overall growth and development of the country leveraging on the commitment of the Buhari administration towards making Nigeria work again. Like his boss he has not relented in pursuing the ideals for which the administration came into office. Such ideals are encapsulated in the security of the country; bolstering the economy and combating corruption mostly in the public sector. Now the reality is that these three areas are constantly receiving attention, hence the progress in infrastructural development and rapid economic growth across the country.

It is pertinent to remark that the Buhari administration work as a team and they have recorded significant milestones, and it is only fair that credit is given to the man whose office is the hub for realising the lofty objectives of the administration.

While protests are acceptable in a democracy, it is expected that the privileges and rights of people in power are equally respected. In the case of Abba Kyari he has not violated any known Nigerian law and going by the commendations of his principal he has lived up to the expectations of his high office. 

As President Muhammadu Buhari begins his second term in office Abba Kyari as a major player in the administration will help to actualise the execution of various programmes and projects across the country which will help to ease the pains inflicted on Nigerians by past corrupt administrations.

As things stand, with the level of commitment being exhibited by the likes of Abba Kyari and Malam Garba Shehu in the Buhari administration, Nigeria is on the path of rapid socio-economic development over the next four years.

By Chukwudi Enekwechi (JP)
An Abuja based Journalist
Member Buhari Media Organisation
Kwechis19@yahoo.com

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Jibrin: Undisputed Kingmaker of Nigeria’s House of Representatives, By Idris Omolabake

The story of the emergence of former Speaker Yakubu Dogara and his successor, Femi Gbajabiamila, will be incomplete without adequate mention of the exploits of Abdulmumuni Jibrin, an influential member of the House of Representatives from Kano State.

Jibrin has succeeded in ‘installing’ two different speakers of the House of Representatives in two different circumstances, first through a rebellion against the establishment; and the other in enforcing the position of same establishment.

In 2015, the youthful Jibrin who only joined the House in 2011, played prominent role in the leadership tussle between then ‘Equity Group’ headed by Yakubu Dogara and the ‘Loyalist Group’ headed by Femi Gbajabiamila. That struggle eventually produced Dogara as Speaker, thereby causing a major rift within the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC).

Fast forward to 2019, Jibrin who served as the Campaign Director General for the election of Gbajabiamila like he did for Dogara in 2015, has also delivered the incumbent Speaker. This is a feat exclusive to him as no one person has delivered two speakers consecutively in the history of Nigeria’s House of Representatives.

Who is Abdulmumuni Jibrin?

Abdulmumin Jibrin is a Nigerian politician and a 3rd term member of Nigeria’s House of Representatives from Kofa, Bebeji LG, Kano state. He is 42 years of age. He was at various times chairman House Committee on Finance, Appropriation and Land Transport with oversight on Nigeria’s revenue, expenditure, railways and rail projects respectively. 

He is a globally trained business executive, academician turned politician. He holds a BSc, MSc and PhD in Politics, Diplomacy and International Relations from University of Abuja and Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria. He was at various times trained at the London Business School, Harvard Business School and SBS- Swiss Business School- Zurich Switzerland where he obtained SEP, PLD and MBA respectively. He is an Alumnus of the Harvard, London and Swiss business schools. 

Prior to joining politics, Abdulmumin played an active role in the private sector as Chairman/ CEO Green Forest Group LTD running a Nigerian conglomerate in diverse fields.  He served as Chairman (Nigeria) of Turkish construction giant Tasyapi and Chairman Abuja branch of Nigeria-British chamber of commerce. He also lectured at the university with publications to his credit. 

A consummate mobiliser, Abdulmumin was the Director, Media and Strategic Communication of the Women and Youth Presidential Campaign Team and most recently, Director General of Femi Gbajabiamila for Speaker campaign council. He is a public finance and foreign policy expert and has shown significant interest and contributed to improving Nigeria’s revenue and expenditure process. He has won numerous awards and he is a fellow of many professional bodies including the Chartered Institute of Finance and Control. 

He is a Paul Harris fellow of Rotary international.  He holds the traditional tittle of Jarman Bebeji conferred on him with the approval of the Kano Emirate Council. It is a tittle reserved for the courageous and generous.

Political Career:

Prior to his emergence on the federal parliamentary scene, Jibrin had been involved in national politics especially during the presidential campaigns in 2003 and 2007. In 2011, Jibrin won election to represent Kiru/Bebeji Federal constituency under the Platform of the PDP, and later decamped to the newly formed All Progressives Congress (APC) in 2014. It is worth noting that he led the first set of 37 lawmakers who defected in a massive swoop that shook the political landscape. Not surprisingly, he won re-election into the House under the new platform in 2015.

2015 speakership election…

In 2015, the APC just like in 2019, zoned the position of Senate President to the north-east geo-political zone and specifically chose Ahmed Lawan while the post of Speaker, the south-west zone was favoured with Gbajabiamila anointed. However, the rebellion against the party’s position led by immediate past Senate President, Bukola Saraki and the Equity Group in the House of Representatives where Jibrin played prominent roles, eventually led to a defeat of the choices of the party. Suffice to say that it was same Jibrin who nominated Dogara for the post on that historic day thereby culminating months of chaperoning an arduous campaign that eventually paid off.  

In the political preambles to the election, Jibrin reportedly led a walk out of the mock primary organized by the party at the International Conference Centre, Abuja. This much was amplified in an apology letter he wrote to former APC national chairman, John Oyegun in 2018, when he needed forgiveness and a relaunch into reckoning after a political drought that almost ended his public life. He wrote then: “I recollect with deep regret and pains and can still hear the echo of your voice in the make-or-mar meeting at the ICC shouting “sit down Jibrin, sit down Jibrin, Jibrin sit down” ” you dare not walk out of this hall Jibrin”! Sen Lawali Shuaibu watched helplessly with the box of ballot meant for the mock elections as I forced myself up, stood my grounds, made my points, held the hands of Yakubu Dagara, and pulled him out of the hall.”

Jibrin and his group were able to garner votes across the two political parties to pave the way for Dogara to emerge speaker. After the election, he was offered the chairmanship of the Appropriations Committee of the House, a position that became the springboard to the travails that bedeviled him for much of that 8th assembly.

Budget controversy and suspension from the House…

Jibrin’s journey into the wilderness kicked off with his resignation as the Chairman House Committee on Appropriation as announced by the Speaker on Wednesday, 20th July, 2016. He described the speaker’s speech announcing his exit as the chairman of the committee as “a misrepresentation of the facts, false, mischievous, unfair and a calculated attempt” to bring his name to “disrepute.” That disputation led to weeks if not months of rancorous exchanges between him and the leadership of the House.

Between late July and early August, 2016, Jibrin visited several law enforcement and anti-corruption agencies of government including, the Department of State Services (DSS), the economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), the Independent Corrupt Practices Commission (ICPC) and the Nigeria Police with a wounding petition that contained purported gross misconduct on the part of the accused lawmakers. But it was unclear if any of the agencies acted on the documents submitted with so much fanfare.

Before he was eventually banished by the House, Jibrin was left in the cold as 10 principal officers of the House rallied in support of Dogara and denounced Mr. Jibrin. Incidentally, Femi Gbajabiamila, then Majority Leader who was at the time thought to be a political enemy of the Speaker as a result of the previous, bitter speakership battle that lead to the emergence of Dogara, also joined the body of principal officers in denouncing Jibrin. It is however, worth noting that the Lagos lawmaker now speaker, had spoken against the suspension of his Kano counterpart, describing the decision as illegal and unconstitutional.

Furthermore, Jibrin’s party, the ruling APC warned him to ceasefire but Jibrin was defiant and continued his onslaught against the House leadership. He even refused to appear before a disciplinary committee set up in September, 2016 to investigate his claims of budget fraud against the leadership claiming the investigation was a witch-hunt. On September 28, 2016 the grand finale of the Jibrin saga played out as the House Committee on Ethics, Privileges, and Public Petitions swiftly concluded its investigations and submitted its report a week after the commencement of the probe.

The Committee’s recommendation that Jibrin be suspended for 180 legislative days was adopted by the entire membership of the House in plenary. He was also barred from positions of responsibility in the House till the end of the 8th assembly. Like the fighter that he is, Jibrin filed an action in court to challenge his suspension.

Whistle-blower banished to the cold…

Despite his suspension and subsequent ‘relocation’ to London, Jibrin refused to pipe down on his attacks on the leadership of the House and maintained forthrightness on the matter. 

Even when Jibrin completed his suspension, he still could not resume his duties as a federal lawmaker as the House insisted on an apology which he bluntly refused to offer.

However, on Tuesday, 13th March, 2018 Jibrin finally decided to end his long drawn battle with the House leadership. The following day he was ushered into the green chamber in a manner that demonstrated conciliation and mutual forgiveness. On his return, Jibrin said: “Lessons were learnt by both parties; the leadership and the victim. Lessons on the part of leadership and lessons on the part of members.” Incidentally, the court at about this time, ruled that his suspension was unconstitutional. He was subsequently appointed as Chairman of the House Committee on Land Transport and his entitlements hitherto withheld, paid in full. 

2019 elections and the Parliamentary Support Group…

Upon resumption at the House in 2018, Jibrin convened the Parliamentary Support Group PSG, with the mandate of full loyalty to President Buhari. Notably, the group was already in existence in the Senate. It was seen as a demonstration of courage by his colleagues. Thus, Jibrin even led over 100 members of the House to pay solidarity to the President in 2018 at a time when the National Assembly Joint executive session issued a 13-point demand to the President. Jibrin had earlier described it as a “PDP executive session” prompting a reproach from the House. Former member, Sunday Karimi moved a motion calling for sanction against Jibrin who just returned from suspension.

Interestingly, the new group also had a subtle leadership tussle with Gbajabiamila who in his position as the Leader of the House, was automatically leader of the APC caucus. The PSG reportedly made attempts to undermine Gbajabiamila, even though jibrin, in a tweet attempted to diffuse the tension by saying: “Against the back drop of the media reports, I wish to state that there is no crack in the APC caucus. We have internal issues, and there is nothing unusual about it. However, the issues will be resolved internally. We have one caucus, and Femi is the leader.”

2019 election and Jibrin’s declaration not to re-contest

Jibrin won his re-election in a resounding fashion. He took to Twitter to declare that he will not be re-contesting the post of House of Representatives member again, saying “victory against all odds…the hardest in all elections I ran. Exhausted and utterly worn out! It’s additionally an emotional exit as this shall be my final contest for the House of Representatives.” For Jibrin, the 2019 election was not without some controversy as he was arrested in connection with an alleged attack on Sen. Rabiu Kwankwaso’s convoy.

The 2019 speakership election

Jibrin supported the aspiration of the current Speaker and was promptly offered the position of the Director General of the Campaign, in recognition of his knack for political dexterity, hard work and antecedence of success. Off to work he went, canvassing, persuading, and deploying carefully crafted political strategies that eventually paid off on June 11, 2019.

Jibrin perhaps gave the longest nomination speech ever when nominating a Speaker, engaging in a charm offensive to woo members across party lines on the day of election. Although many pundits predicted the 2019 tussle for speaker would replicate the 2015 scenario, but it turned out the rebellion had lost a fighter in Jibrin.

The same manner he was at the forefront of the action in 2015, he was at the forefront of action in 2019. Bringing energy, doggedness and organization to the Campaign, something probably missing in 2019.

Maybe learning from the 2015 election of speaker, Jibrin in an interview with Channels Television, disclosed that he had no agreed compensation deal with Gbajabiamila. He even ruled himself out of the post of Leader of the House, the next most powerful position after Speaker and Deputy Speaker. In a further show of humility and modesty, he related his feeling in a tweet thus: “Twice lucky…it’s fair to say hard work, courage and commitment BUT honestly I have been so many times lucky…really nothing special about me. Just your regular guy! Best wishes to Yakubu Dogara and congrats to Femi Gbajabiamila. God has been so gracious…humbled!”

Political future…..

After the emergence of Gbajabiamila as Speaker, all eyes have been on Jibrin. What does he want? What will he be offered? Insiders in the Gbajabiamila camp revealed that everyone is confused about what to do with Jibrin. He has held the two most important committees of Finance and Appropriations consecutively with a wide scope of oversight covering almost every sector. The two committees are even referred to as the 11th and 12th Principal Officers in the House. There is also strong whispering within the House that the Kano Born politician may consider an immediate return to his private business or the university to pursue his professorial ambition. The next few days or weeks will tell.

In the long term however, there are other options for Jibrin: maybe he would seek to be governor of Kano or choose to go to the senate. Whatever choice or moves he makes, one thing is certain: opponents will only underestimate him at their own peril.

Omolabake, a public analyst, writes from Abuja

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KOGI 2019: Making A Case For Kogi West And Tunde Irukera, By Bala Haruna

The race to the gubernatorial elections in Kogi State this year is intense and peculiar for several reasons. Apart from the fact that the incumbent has betrayed the trust of the people with non-performance that has made it impossible to pay workers’ salaries and execute projects, the issue of fair play and equity among the various zones have come to the front-burner. Of the three zones in the State, only the West – the second largest ethnic group, have never ruled the State. Therefore, it becomes pertinent to dissect the credentials of a prominent son of Kogi-west and what his candidacy portends for the State.

Babatunde Irukera, the present Director-General of the Consumer Protection Council (CPC) comes across as the perfect alternative to Gov. Yahaya Bello. A cosmopolitan and a technocrat with vast international exposure and connection will be the breath of fresh air that Kogi desperately needs at this trying times. It will be recalled that he contested the 2015 elections but as a faithful and loyal party man, he stepped down at the last minute for Late Abubakar Audu. What happened in that election is now history as Audu, the presumed winner passed on before the official declaration of results while his Kogi-west deputy, James Faleke was eventually prevented from ascending the throne based on some alleged lacuna in the electoral act. However, not a few people believed that Kogi-west was schemed out of the Governorship by vested interests. Compensating Kogi-west with the All Progressives Congress (APC) gubernatorial ticket now becomes imperative in the interest of justice and fair play. Given the level of resentment the people of the confluence State have for the incumbent and by extension the APC, the party needs to field someone deemed a break from the norm with a record of performance in both public and private sector, that is where Irukera comes in. Born on the 4th of September 1968 in Kaduna state, Irukera hails from Egbe, Yagba West. He studied law from the prestigious Obafemi Awolowo University, Ife and upon graduation in 1989, he proceeded to the Nigeria Law School in Lagos in 1990.  In 1995 he proceeded to the United State of America, where he carved a niche for himself as a successful Immigration expert in 1996 after passing the Washington State Bar examination at first sitting, a year after arriving America.

In 1997, he started a partnership ( Thomas & Irukera) which ultimately became Partners, Attorneys & Counsellors, both in Chicago. As DG of CPC, he is responsible for the daily management of the Council and leadership in fulfilling its mandate to protect consumers and secure remedies when consumer rights are violated. His record of advocacy and cases in favour of consumers is outstanding and provides the clarity that both the Council and industry need in ensuring due regard for customer service and protection of consumer rights. Irukera has to his credit key sector related consumer protection advancements including advising the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority with respect to its role in sector consumer protection. He led the initiative in developing current aviation consumer protection regulations as well as the Passenger Bill of Rights. He also led the team that revised existing aviation economic regulations and superintended a comprehensive regulatory and parliamentary investigation into anti-competitive behaviour by foreign airlines. He has also provided capacity-building and advisory services to federal agencies and other clients with respect to competition/antitrust issues. He co-authors the Nigerian chapters in a range of competition/antitrust-related widely regarded international publications. Apart from his intimidating credentials, what stands him out is his strong corporate network which he has garnered over the years as DG CPC. This will come in handy to develop Kogi State as corporate organisations will find Kogi State a viable destination to do business with Irukera in the saddle. The APC already bedevilled with a string of gubernatorial losses in Adamawa, Bauchi, Imo, Oyo, Sokoto and just recently Zamfara – adjudicated by the Supreme Court, cannot afford to gamble with Kogi State. The people of the State groaning under the current leadership of Gov. Bello are yearning for a viable alternative to liberate theState. The APC must not by its acts of omission or commission handover the State to the opposition. The party can reinvent itself by fielding a man of integrity, competence and charisma like Babatunde Irukera. Indeed, the party can kill the proverbial “two birds with a stone” – placate Kogi west to entrench equity and give the State afresh start with Irukera. The way to redemption can’t be better defined. Bala Haruna, a political analyst and Kogi State Indigene wrote from Abuja.

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This Country Recently Became Africa’s Largest Economy. Now It’s Too Big for Businesses to Ignore, By Melissa Cook

From a market on Lagos Island, Nigeria, the skyline of the city of Lagos is visible. Among many companies, there is a great deal of nervousness around investing in Nigeria.

Nigeria has overtaken South Africa as Africa’s largest economy. And with over 200 million people, it is the largest market in the continent, its population nearly twice the size of Ethiopia (110 million) or Egypt (102 million).

Yet among many companies, there is a great deal of nervousness around investing in Nigeria. One business development officer of a large company told me recently: “We’re not in Nigeria; one of our guys heard you can’t go there.”

This kind of second hand hearsay is a risky way to make proper business decisions. When firms make what we refer to as accidental decisions—those based on media reports or anecdotal evidence—it is hard to effectively quantify and manage risks.

Nigeria is definitely a challenging place to operate. But ultimately, the nation is too important to ignore.

Investment by the United States in Nigeria is Growing

Foreign direct investment stock from the United States into Nigeria was $5.8 billion in 2017, up 32.8 percent since 2016, according to the U.S. Trade Representative. However, a significant chunk of U.S. FDI in Nigeria and the continent goes into the resources sector.

The Commercial and Investment Dialogue with the Nigerian government, originally recommended by President Obama’s President’s Advisory Council on Doing Business in Africa, is now in full force, and earlier this year, the U.S. Commercial Service hosted the USA Trade Fair in Lagos, Nigeria—attended by more than 4,000 delegates. Many of America’s biggest firms were out in force, as were smaller names in the agribusiness, aviation, consumer, energy, industrials, and security sectors.

Now, other countries are starting to catch America’s lead—notably the Chinese.

China’s Africa Strategy Presents a Formidable Challenge

China is using all of its political, industrial, and financial might to build deep connections in Africa. Engagement is strategic, multilateral, and well-organized under the biennial Forum on China-Africa Cooperation and the Belt and Road Initiative.

Chinese construction firms are building road, rail, port, communications, mining, and energy projects funded by loans from The Export-Import Bank of China or state-owned banks, using Chinese machinery, and with Chinese operators often operating the asset after completion.

Source: UNCTAD World Investment Report 2018
Chinese business development teams visit Africa’s toughest neighborhoods to establish relationships—often long before most American executives have even considered an investment in the country in question. Headlines trumpet Chinese “investment” in Africa, but much of this is actually lending, rather than equity investment. International experience is helping Chinese firms improve their product quality, service delivery, and technological capabilities every day, making them ever-stronger global competitors.

The key to China’s success on the continent is that designing “good enough” equipment for the price their customers will pay. A Chinese-made truck starter will fail after a fraction of the starts a North American truck operator considers normal—but it will also cost a fraction of the price. Likewise, a Chinese-designed smartphone will work on local networks, enjoy long battery life, run the right apps—and come at an affordable price. Despite recent political hiccups, Huawei is the dominant supplier of communications and networking equipment on the continent. Africans benefit from the firm’s low-cost vendor financing, ultra-advanced technology, and turnkey service for modern network installations.

In Nigeria, Demand Exceeds Supply

Nigeria is famous for its power shortages. With only about 5GW of grid power available (on a good day), it’s no surprise that there is an estimated 20GW of captive, backup, and household-level power installed by the private sector.

But this isn’t just a risk. It’s also a business opportunity.

In 2011, Nigeria privatized the power generation and distribution portions of its electricity industry. Performance is well below expectations so far, thanks to gas supply shortages, below-contract tariffs, and poor cash collection. The opportunity? Most manufacturers run their own captive power plants—and they’re investing in advanced gas-fired turbines, high-efficiency production equipment, and renewable energy capacity. Households need prepaid electric meters, energy-efficient appliances, and more cost-effective standby generators.

The continent is becoming a big beneficiary of China’s large-scale investment in renewables—which are now vastly cheaper than they were just a decade ago. In Nigeria, solar, wind, and mini-hydro are rapidly filling in the gaps where grid power is unavailable. Local micro- or mini-grids can deliver power to light homes, charge phones, refrigerate medicines, preserve harvested produce, and bring the internet to schools.

In Nigeria, as elsewhere in Africa, the financial services sector is undergoing a transformation. Mobile money accounts are increasingly popular, led by M-PESA in Kenya. Mobile money has boosted economic activity and brought millions into the financial services sector.

African financial-technology entrepreneurs are testing innovative—and potentially disruptive—services. Where regulations allow, entrepreneurs and mobile operators are introducing low-cost mobile payment, investment, insurance, savings, loans, and cross-border money transfer services using the latest technology.

According to the World Bank, small- and medium-sized enterprises create an estimated 4 of every 5 new jobs in emerging markets, yet traditional corporate banks are still focused on serving large corporate customers.

Can You Create Long-Term Shareholder Value Without Africa?

This isn’t a simple question, but it has to be asked as part of any long-term growth and risk analysis.

Public capital markets are relentless in pushing for short-term earnings and returns. Set aside today’s imperative to meet quarterly earnings expectations, ignore for a minute the potential for activists to disrupt your investment programs because they don’t see an immediate ROI on your long-term strategic investments.

The long-term survival of a business depends on its ability to adapt, grow, and participate in the global economy of the future—and countries like Nigeria are part of this story.

This article was culled from https://www.brinknews.com/this-country-recently-became-africas-largest-economy-now-its-too-big-for-businesses-to-ignore/

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Democracy Day: Show Of Shame By Past Presidents, Heads of States, By Ladidi Mohammed

Shunning June 12 Democracy Day celebrations is the clearest indication that most of our past Presidents and Heads of States were only about their selfish goals and not about Nigeria. They will do everything possible to make Nigerians know they are sulking; this includes shunning Democracy Day celebration.

The skewed thinking of many Nigerians and their joy that former Presidents and Head of States did not attend the Democracy Day celebrations is a pointer to our problems. Not only is their joy misplaced, it is very ridiculous.

As past Presidents and Heads of States who have claimed at different times that the June 12 election was wrongly annulled, one would expect that even if they failed to declare June 12 as Democracy Day, they will at least grace the maiden celebration.

But not our past Presidents and Heads of States, they have their own agenda and they do not want to see Nigeria celebrate anything. What is more appalling is that some of them have claimed to be true democrats, how can this be?

Their actions and utterances show that they were never democrats, speak less, leaders. A leader is a person who defines and exhibits moral and ethical courage and sets an example for everyone else. What kinds of example have this lot set?

It is often said that true leadership is all about developing people and helping others reach their full potential, please how have our past Presidents helped Nigeria to reach its goals? The election is over, the case is in court, that does not mean that they should carry their hate and divisive embryo everywhere they go.

Nigeria is much more than an election and Nigeria is in dire need of true leaders, leaders who do not politicize everything. What is more painful is that African leaders graced the occasion that our own past Presidents shunned. What an irony, Nigeria who claims to be the ‘Giant of Africa’ displaying its problems in open glare.

I think it is a shame on all the past leaders save for General Yakubu Gowon who I believe was unavoidably absent. As for President Goodluck Jonathan who many applauded for his big heart in the 2015 election, I think he might be losing the plot. We know who Chief Olusegun Obasanjo is and we have seen how he is trying to drag Nigeria down because of selfish reasons.

Only yesterday Babagana Kingibe confirmed that Obasanjo was one of the architects of the annulment of the June 12, 1993 presidential election.
President Jonathan should not go down that route. He should not allow the same democracy that he preserved remember him in the negative. He is the reason why President Muhammadu Buhari can declare June 12 a Democracy Day.

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Why Arc. Bulama Is The Best Man To Serve As Next National Secretary Of APC, By Engr Joseph Achebo

The parameters of what constitutes a nation goes far beyond population demographics, it transcends ethno-religious proclivities or other iterations of social stratification. A nation is a deliberate conurbation of people, who have chosen to come together for the betterment of all, and the detriment of none.

Our nation may have officially come into being in the decades leading up to independence in 1960. However, our intrinsic national identity has been spawned, shaped, and nurtured by great men of vision, our forbears, who have laboured tirelessly to forge our national identity, arriving today at what we call Nigeria, our fatherland.

Back in the 1940s and 1950s, when our progenitors and founding fathers such as President Nmandi Azikiwe, Prime Minister Abubakar Tafawa Balewa, Chief Anthony Enahoro, Chief Obafemi Awolowo and others negotiated our freedom from the British Empire with the promise to run a government of the people, uphold justice and maintain the freedom of the press.

As time passed on, and before the demise of our said founding fathers, they expressed their disappointment over the decay and loss of confidence in the government of Nigeria. They were shocked and astonished at the deterioration in the educational system, judiciary, legislative and the Executive systems of Government. They lamented and admitted that this was not the future they had anticipated for a country they fought so hard to liberate from the tyranny of our colonial masters.

However, although our great nation has weathered tumult and turmoil, shaking the sociopolitical and economic underpinnings of Nigeria to its very foundation, regardless, we remain undeterred. We as a people remain undeterred because even as other generations before us have produced leaders of renowned reputation to stir us back on course, there are still national warriors living in our generation, and Arc. Bulama is one such national warrior.

To forge ahead, and for Nigeria to take its proper place among the great nations of the world, unity is key. As a nation we must aim for and stick to a singular determination and goal of pulling our different parts together, drawing from the talents and the wells of human resource from each and every State, to ensure full representation across the board, and to strengthen our collective resolve.

For this lofty but achievable purpose, APC needs a national secretary of very high intelligence, intellectual exposure, ebullient personality, ethical predilection, and unique character to helm the secretariat of the party.
The best man for the job, who fits the iterated criterion is none other than Arc. Bulama. The nation and indeed APC is at the cross roads and at this stage in our journey as a nation and a party, we need a man of high educational credentials, and who is also possessed of exceptional amiability. A friend to all, a welcome personage in all gatherings in all the six geopolitical regions. A Godly man, with an exemplary family, sound in the Holy Scriptures and who inherently has a firm grasp of the importance of tolerance. That man is Arc. Bulama.

Everywhere he goes he represents the good face of APC and along with his modernist approach and open door policy, everyone feels comfortable and carried along. Having him as party secretary would go a long way towards achieving true party cohesion which is a badly needed attribute in APC today.

Not only is he already widely recognized in the party and the nation as a whole for these stellar qualities, there are feelers from all quarters that people want him at the engine room of the APC. The party leaders and members alike have unanimously chorused him as the next National Secretary of APC.

With Arc. Bulama as the national Secretary of APC, we can all be rest assured that the labour of our heroes past shall never be in vain. Providence has given us a man of his calibre for such a time as this. We must arise and answer the call of the people, they deserve the best of APC, and with Arc. Bulama as national party secretary today, we are assured of a greater tomorrow.

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Economics, Economist, Financial Times And Nigeria, By Garba Shehu

One would imagine that business papers like economic success stories; apparently not. Instead, they feast and thrive on negatives. Financial Times, for instance, is worried about a government policy that is enabling boom in rice production in Nigeria. And the Economist is panicky about toothpick manufacturers springing up following tariffs that protect local manufacturers to get off the ground and compete globally.

Both papers only see negatives. Specifically, Economist dwells on out-of-date statistics. Deliberately it turns away from the positives as it will complicate already tailored narratives. Some foreign correspondents keep the storyline simple: Africa is home for all bad things: poverty, disease and crime. And unremitting bleakness lives on the continent, and success is the aberration.

Since only negative reports on Africa make it to the international media, a backward picture of a nation is painted succinctly and efforts at growth in different ramifications, both investment and diplomacy are ignored. From the content of these stories, readers must be baffled that Nigerians know toothpicks, let alone be able to manufacture them.

The fact remains that with squeeze in media budgets there are not enough knowledgeable foreign correspondents based on the continent to report accurate news and uphold journalistic standards. And the parachuting style clearly defies ethics and quality. To cut cost, many media houses rely on the expedience of technology. The highly revered and sacrosanct fact-checking skill of journalism slips as a result. Anyone with a laptop is trusted as credible source. Cogent arguments no longer have a place, instead we have jumbled and emotive criticisms.

For instance, the Financial Times declares proudly that President Buhari failed to spur rice growing, whilst stating that production was at record levels up 60 per cent in 2018 from what we had in 2013. The Economist talks about overdependence on oil, yet criticises policies such as subsidies or financial incentives that allow local businesses to compete and diversify the economy. It frowns at power shortfalls, but turns around to attack Alhaji Aliko Dangote – the man building the world’s largest oil refinery and improving power infrastructure in Nigeria.

Fundamentally, the foreign correspondents fail to appreciate context – understandably if they have to cover a large “patch’’ with shoe-string budgets, but never-the-less it is impermissible as facts must remain sacred. The Economist states that the economy was “sputtering’’ when President Buhari’s first term began in 2015, and still concluded he made a “bad situation worse”. “Sputtering’’ sounds euphemistic. The reality is that the economy was on its knees. The overdependence on oil, paired with impending global commodity crash, made the entry into recession at the beginning of the term inevitable. Now, however, the first quarter growth of 2019 has been the strongest.

The International Monetary Fund (IMF) recently said analysts and onlookers must recognise “how deep the shock” was to the economy. As a famous American business magnate observed: “Only when the tide goes out do you discover who’s been swimming naked.” Indeed, Nigeria had been awash in oil dollars (over $100 a barrel), yet previous governments failed to add muscle to the economy.

Since the recession struck (crude oil went below $40 per barrel), the government has taken measures to redress weaknesses in our economy. The IMF goes on to praise the strong diversification in the economy and welcome the focus on public investment. For instance, the government has spent record figures on infrastructure in the past two years and capital expenditure is now around 30 per cent of the budget, rather than inadequate 10 per cent in 2015.

There has also been a drive to self-sufficiency where possible. It makes no sense for Nigeria to import rice, yet foreign shipments were dumped to maintain dependency. Farmers needed help: strategic tariffs were applied to allow for initial competition, whilst the Central Bank of Nigeria financial initiatives allowed growers to access capital for fertilizer and equipment. Over the past three years, production has risen year-on-year. Nigeria, as of 2018, is Africa’s largest producer of rice. Self-sufficiency has almost been attained.

From reading some foreign articles, you would be surprised to find these success stories mentioned; amazed that anyone would cheer the decision on tariffs to ward off desolation. And the failure to see or present any achievement perpetuates stereotypes that serve as disincentives to Foreign Direct Investment and partnership.

Granted, there are challenges in Nigeria. The country is a large and diverse nation with structural challenges that have been passed down through decades. But foreign reports ignore the complexity, and instead offer platitudes as solutions. This diminishes the difficulties facing those in governance: they must merely “stamp out corruption” or “improve governance” – common advice amongst those quick to criticise, but barren in tangible and measurable solutions.

Similarly, we are told to “harness the vim of Nigerians’’ – which is true. But this seems obvious as to even need mentioning. It is – to be sure – how you do that. We in governance have no illusion about this. Vim is harnessed when a nation has decent infrastructure that connects the economy, and thousands of miles of road have been constructed, as well as the expansion and upgrading of colonial-era railway network. When children have good education; we are currently ensuring 9 million free school meals daily across the nation and it has boosted enrolment and attendance. And when business reforms create enabling environment; already Nigeria has gone up 24 places in Ease of Doing Business ranking since 2018, and the country is currently one of the top 10 global reformers, which is good news!

Garba Shehu is Senior Special Assistant to the President, Media & Publicity.

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Four Things Prof. Yemi Osinbajo Means to Nigeria, By Nathaniel Adoji

  1. Hope for Nigerians (through the Social Investments Programmes): Vice President Yemi Osinbajo oversees what is regarded as the largest social investments programme in sub-Saharan Africa. The National Social Investment Programmes (N-SIP) comprises of the N-Power Programme, currently employing 500,000 graduates; the GEEP loans (Market Moni, FarmerMoni andTrader Moni), providing credit to over 3 million Nigerian traders, artisans and businessmen; the Home Grown School Feeding Programme, feeding over 9.5 million children in public schools in 31 states nationwide; and the Conditional Cash Transfer programme, putting disposable funds in the hands of over 300,000 of the poorest families in Nigeria.

The Social Investment Programmes are the most successful social investment programmes ever implemented in Nigeria. Designed, promoted and managed by Vice President Osinbajo, they have lifted millions of Nigerians out of poverty. Indeed, the N-SIPs are giving hope to millions of Nigerians nationwide and helping them to improve their lives.

It is not surprising that only a week ago, President Muhammadu Buhari commended him for the success of the programmes – like the World Bank and many more. The commendations are evidence of hard-work, transformational policies and dedication. They are deserved as well.

  1. Improving the Economy: As a recession seemed inevitable in 2016 – giving the absence of any savings by previous administrations, falling of the price of oil in the international market, the destruction of Nigeria’s oil assets by militants, and the monotonic nature of Nigeria’s economy – Nigeria needed a team to steer the ship out of the storm. And Prof. Osinbajo provided the lead of this team.

Vice President Yemi Osinbajo is the head of Nigeria’s Economic Management Team. His leadership was able to bring the country out of its worst recession to hit it in decades. Since the country’s exit from the recession, he has overseen the economy grow from negative, and headed to a double digit, even beyond the predictions of the IMF and the World Bank. The journey with his captainship has been a steady and sure rise: diversification has been successfully pursued, with increased inputs now being seen from the non-oil sectors in our GDP and revenue; the country’s foreign reserves have doubled in just four years; the minimum wage increase is set for implementation despite Nigeria’s low earnings from oil; these and more show a focused, dogged, resilient and witty economic management team – led by Professor Osinbajo.

The Niger Delta New Vision, which is the blueprint of the Buhari administration to develop the Niger Delta, is being spearheaded by the Vice President on behalf of President Muhammadu Buhari. His leadership and forthrightness to ensure development was clear for all to see during his tour of the region and meetings with Niger Delta elders. Osinbajo’s leadership acumen has not only helped rebuild the trust of many who had been skeptical of the Federal Government’s New Vision, it has also contributed in no small measure to the peace and stability in the region. This has greatly helped to improve oil revenue that had suffered greatly from past restiveness, and so the country’s economy.

Also, the Vice President is chair of the Presidential Enabling Business Environment Council (PEBEC), which was inaugurated in July 2016, as the administration’s flagship initiative to reform the business environment, attract investment and diversify the economy to reduce the nation’s reliance on oil. Since its setup, PEBEC has spearheaded reforms that have improved the nation’s economic environment through its Ease of Doing Business reforms. This ensured Nigeria moved up 24 places on the World bank’s Ease of Doing business index and earned the country commendation as one of the top 10 reforming economies in the world. Also, the Vice President has helped launch the administration’s Energizing Economies project which provides solar power to markets and economic clusters for small businesses and petty traders and so, drives economic growth.

  1. Leadership: Seen as youthful, agile, contemporary and versatile, Vice President Yemi Osinbajo stands out as the significant link between Nigeria’s young population to the President Buhari administration. And he doesn’t stop at that. He is a mentor to hundreds of young Nigerians through his platform, Act Now Group. His aides are comprised mostly of a tech-savvy generation of young upwardly mobile youths. Osinbajo gladly welcomes opportunities to mentor young people to become excellent in their respective fields and contribute their quota to nation-building. He walks the talks and is a bridge-builder, for both the young and old generations.

As Nigeria’s number two citizen he has taken positions that prove his deft appreciation of leadership: he took the role of mending the fence of feuding members of his party APC. As Acting President, he took hefty but pertinent decisions: he appointed a Chief Justice where there was a vacuum, he unflinchingly sacked a recalcitrant head of Nigeria’s security services, he signed Executive Orders to improve Nigeria’s business community. As a lawyer and Senior Advocate of Nigeria, he is a leader of thoughts who has left indelible marks of astute thoughts in Nigeria’s jurisprudential space. His prominent role as Head of Nigeria’s Economic Management Team needs no second mention.

Just recently, in demonstration of true leadership, the Vice President temporarily delayed his trip to the airport for an official assignment to engage with some Abuja residents protesting on the highway over alleged land grabbing by members of the Nigerian Army. He subsequently met with leaders of the community and also Nigerian Army to ensure the issues are resolved amicably. Osinbajo has displayed such exemplary leadership on many occasions.

Vice President Yemi Osinbajo means leadership to Nigeria today – cutting across professions, ethnic groups and age demographics.

  1. Bringing people closer to government: From Oyo to Owerri, Maiduguri to Yenagoa, everywhere he goes, Vice President Yemi Osinbajo has a way with people that instantly magnets them to his inborn charm and aura of personality. Whether in the wide corridors of power, in the narrow passages in marketplaces or wading through flooded areas around Nigeria, Professor Osinbajo is at home with both the high and mighty, as well as the low and ordinary Nigerians. Simply put, Osinbajo’s deep connection with people goes deeper than the surface. It is neither for the camera or for the klieg lights or for photo-ops, just the epitome of a man whose life and career has been built on the foundations of championing social causes well before his university days, and giving back to society through his talents, skills, and resources.

Recently, during the launch of the Home-Grown School Feeding Programme in Ekiti State, the Vice President was pictured sitting with one of the schoolgirls in her classroom while the pupils enjoyed their meal. Like a dotting father, Osinbajo leaned closer to listen to what the little girl was saying at the time. Later that day, he tweeted, “She spoke, I listened. She was the boss of me today ?.” It felt like a photo-op moment, but it was more than that. It succinctly captured a man devoid of airs, one who embodied the essence of true leadership driven by compassion and genuine concern for people’s welfare. Everywhere he goes, his connection with people is evident. Everywhere he goes, it is evident that people, Nigerians, simply love this man. Sometimes, the crowd is so overwhelming, that Osinbajo’s security and protocol struggle to contain them. True compassion cannot be masked in photo-ops. Osinbajo is the real deal. He brings a human face to governance like never seen before from one holding the Number 2 position in Africa’s most populous country.

At countless events, despite his busy itinerary and schedules, and retinue of security, Osinbajo takes out time to listen to a child, a young or old man or woman, who wouldn’t have had a whiff of opportunity to come close to him in any situation. He listens to everyone, regardless of status or social class. Whether it was that woman that was moved to pray for him in the market, or a group of three generations of a grateful family he visited during one of his family chats, or the excited mai suya who couldn’t believe his eyes that Nigeria’s Vice President actually stopped by his stall to engage him in a conversation and then purchase his wares, or those group of starry-eyed kids who surrounded him and listened with rapt attention, or those excited young men and women who just wanted to take selfies with this great man; Osinbajo’s deep connection with people shines through.

Osinbajo brings that quality of compassion into political leadership and governance, he goes to meet the people where they are, bringing government closer to ordinary people. He loves to be there, to feel the pulse of the people, with the people, so that he could help them to make their lives and situations better.

Nathaniel C.Adoji

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Prof. Babagana Umara Zulum, Borno State Governor-Elect; From Grass to Grace

From a very humble background, he trekked 7km daily to school in Mafa, in Borno State and covered same distance to help his father, a peasant farmers on his farm.

He paid his secondary education and National Diploma (ND) were self sponsored. He attended Unimaid for B.Agric working as commercial taxi and farm produce driver, still couldn’t afford hostel accommodation.

Prof. Zulum extended his commercial driving trade to Lagos, precisely at Alaba-Rago to raised his tuition fees for MSc program, 3weeks after resumption. He returned to Maiduguri for his PhD program, moved through the ranks until his appointment as Professor in 2014.

Zulum have more than enough family challenges that he couldn’t afford to built a house of his own but lived in rented apartment until recently. He returned to his rickety car after office as Provost, Ramat Poly, Maiduguri.

In 2015, Zulum was appointed pioneer Commissioner for Reconstruction, Rehabilitation and Resettlement by Shettima, who told a gathering in Maiduguri last week that one of his attractions to Zulum was the fact that despite being in control of billions of naira for reconstruction of thousands of homes, schools and hospitals, “[He] neither bought a personal house nor a personal car for himself. He also came under attack from Boko Haram twice, but didn’t stop in his efforts to rebuild substantial parts of Borno.

The State and the Party got him a house and car after he emerged as the party flag bearer of APC, and to this humble and very trustworthy Prof, nothing has changed. “All offices are temporal as days of democratic offices are numbered before our emergence, why the excesses.”

Congratulations Prof. Umara Zulum, may the Lord ease your new tasks, guide and guard you. May your administration witness peace and progress for the good people of Borno State.

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Waziri Bulama: The Rise Of A Political Mogul

I sit and ponder at my Country Nigeria. I  muse and turn over in my mind how a series of the game plan by citizens, policy and decision makers has brought us to an administration which deserves a standing ovation. 

On the far side of this layout  are the APC chieftains, the likes of *Comrade Adams Oshiomole, Arc. Bulama Waziri and Bola Tinibu* amongst many. Now in a colony of political intellects,  with APC at the climax of mending loose ends within the party, I am coerced into anticipating greatness for Nigeria. Amongst this cluster however is a munificent man worthy of recall.A man who has perfused time and strenght into this province. *Arc. Waziri Bulama*.Having served the party for over a decennium, he has made manifest of his interest for the APC national secretary. 

Bulama who is very calm, and articulate will certainly complement the chairmans personality, which heavily weighs toward innovation and reliability. If the decision makers make the right decision by shortlisting Arc. The two will unequivocally  make APC a Brobdingnagian establishment.   

As a stakeholder of the party , a woman , a youth and a member of Bulama Support group, i am optimistic that this will happen. when i joined this noble cause it had just few members, within a span of one week i witnessed volunteers from all corners of the six geopolitical zones troop in thousands. 

I have seen immense hope in their eyes,  they yearn and thirst for Arc. Waziri to become the APC National Secretary. What took me aback is The secretary of BSG Comrade Paul Oyiborolume, and members of the group who have invested their time, resources and energy into the campaign for Waziri.

The Founder of BSG Alhaji Ibrahim Waziri and head of strategy and planning along with members of the committee are at the apex of the whole lot, mobilising volunteers and paying homage to all corners of the country. This gesture is one that deserves an acknowledgement of merit. As an observer and partner i am obliged to give an enthusiastic recognition to the group. Thus, Bulama is a man we are proud of.

It is to no surprise that Comrade Adams along with stakeholders of the party made a redoubtable and distinguished resolute in the campaign by selecting Bulama at the Zenith of the presidential campaign. 

However, the APC which has whirled around President Muhammadu Buhari since inception will need to make tough , quick yet strategic conclusions as to who they hand pick for National Secretarial role. 
With the exit of Baba Buhari in 2023 the party will have to construct robust leadership structures that will give it a unifying footing before this time. As a Nigerian and member of BSG, i anticipate that APC will put to use Arc. Waziri Bulama to serve as the National Secretary for the party.

My reasons span from the fact that he is cerebral, modern, calm and has wisdom the party will definitely make good use. He  has moved solidly from the grassroots to the steep incline of Nigerian politics. He gives us hope as a young people in Nigeria.

Ms Farida Adamu Co-chair Media &Publicity Bulama Support Group

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Buhari: Why And How He Won, By Garba Shehu

President Muhammadu Buhari, who came to office in a seismic political shift that swept out of office 16 years of continuous rule by the People’s Democratic Party, PDP recorded yet another resounding victory to win a second term in office, leading his closest rival by a record-setting four million votes.

His party, the All Progressives Congress, APC gained the highest parliamentary majority in the Fourth Republic in the Senate and the House of Representatives, giving the President an ample room to carry out reforms he wished to carry out, but was outmaneuvered and frustrated by the Eighth National Assembly.
While campaigning for the 2015 general elections, President Buhari’s All APC made promises to end Boko Haram terrorism and secure the country for it to be efficiently managed; to restructure the economy, halt its downward slide and create jobs and to fight corruption because, as the president repeatedly says, “if Nigeria doesn’t kill corruption, corruption will kill Nigeria.”
His climactic victory against the then incumbent Goodluck Jonathan, his strong message on the three issues as listed above, his practical and serious approach helped to awaken a nation misled by characters who placed self above nation for sixteen years and more.
The Buhari administration has established for itself an anti-corruption reputation and has been in office nearing four years without a major scandal.  The African Union has on account of this, selected the President as the continent’s anti-corruption champion.
The Buhari administration can pat itself on the back for this achievement when it is viewed against the established culture in which corruption is the norm.
To win the war against corruption and institute transparency in the affairs of government, the Buhari administration introduced a number of fiscal reforms and plugged several leakages.
In the firm belief that the party was not mistaken about the problems facing the country, Candidate Buhari went into the February, 2019 campaign on the same issue platforms. The President and his party looked certain of victory from the sea of crowds that attended his political rallies all over the 36 states of the federation. He was the only candidate to have campaigned at least once in each state and the Federal Capital Territory.
These rallies attracted large crowds, mostly of the poor who are trusting in his impeccable qualities of honesty and integrity, and have bought into the idea that he will quickly push their country onto the top by lifting up the economy, creating jobs, securing the nation and ending the nightmarish corruption which had become the order of the day. Some of the events were marked by incidents of road accident, podium or building collapse and stampede leading to tragic losses of life.
At many of those well-attended rallies, the venues fell short of the people gathered. Thousands of supporters outside tried to barge into the inner rings of the venues. Pleas were not heard by surging crowds which resorted sometimes to throwing chairs, sachet water and bottles into the no-man zones in front of the stage.
It was evident from the commencement of the campaign that President Buhari had a a two-pronged election strategy, one to showcase the achievements of his administration in its first term and two, to cash in on his popularity with the lower rungs of the population. 
The party itself doubled down on President Buhari by zeroing in on his image as a diligent, coolheaded and incorruptible leader. In that enduring appeal, the APC saw a trump card going into the election.
Nobody can question President Buhari’s achievements. They are there for all to see.
The administration has significantly curtailed corruption to the point of abolishing what is called “grand corruption.” Given Treasury Single Account,TSA, the Integrated Payroll and Personnel Information Scheme, IPPS, the Bank Verification Number, BVN number and Whistle Blower schemes, it is no longer possible for people in authority to, for instance, request the withdrawal of millions, or sometimes billions of Naira or US Dollars to be shared among party members as was the practice under the past administrations. To boot, the Buhari administration has signed onto the global Open Government Partnership, OGP.
Reforms are being carried out in the justice sector with a number of domestic legislations and international agreements to facilitate the identification, tracing, freezing, recovery and forfeiture of ill-gotten assets.
The administration’s primary sectors of agriculture and solid minerals have experienced growth of 180 and 565 percentage points respectively. Nigeria has today achieved near self-sufficiency in rice production.
Government has launched a series of funding and capacity development initiatives to support Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises.  The work of the Presidential Enabling Business Environment Council (PEBEC), inaugurated by President Buhari in August 2016 has resulted in moving Nigeria up 24 places on the World Bank’s Ease of Doing Business rankings, and earning a place on the list of 10 most improved economies.  In this regard, the administration has issued a number of Executive Orders on improving efficiency in the business environment and promoting local content.
The Buhari administration has also demonstrated a single-minded commitment to upgrading and developing Nigeria’s transport, power and health infrastructure.
Road projects are ongoing across every state of the country, with many of these projects having been abandoned for many years.  
The country’s narrow-gauge rail network of 3,500 Kms is currently being upgraded; Abuja’s light rail system has been completed and commissioned with a link to the Abuja-Kaduna rail line, which has equally been completed and launched.  The Ibadan-Lagos standard gauge rail is being test run.  Ibadan-Kano has been awarded.
The administration has successfully reconstructed the Abuja Airport runway, completed and commissioned new terminal buildings in Port Harcourt and Abuja with Lagos, Kano, Enugu and the others soon to be inaugurated.
Several water supply projects and dam/irrigation projects have been completed and many more on the way to being delivered.  About 100 ecological projects have been awarded and completed in the six geopolitical zones.
The Buhari administration has more than doubled power generation capacity.  It has increased generation to 8,100 MW and expanded transmission to more than 7,000 MW capacity, and has successfully deployed thousands of solar power systems to rural and urban households.
This is an administration that has been investing in people. It has introduced a social Investment Programme (SIP), which so far, has four components.  These are the N-power employment scheme that is hitting 500,000 this year, the home grown school feeding program that feeds more than nine million school children across the federation, the Government Enterprise and Empower Program, GEEP giving out interest-free loans to millions of market women, traders, artisans and farmers and the conditional cash transfer, CCT which pays N5,000 monthly to the poorest and most vulnerable households in the country.
In dealing with security, one of the first major steps by the Buhari administration was the revitalisation of the Multi-national Joint Task force, MNJTF aimed at combating transborder crime and the Boko Haram insurgency.  The MNJTF has the support and participation of neighbouring countries Niger, Chad, Cameroon and Benin, in addition to Nigeria.
On the day of his inauguration, the President had directed the relocation of the command and control centre of the Boko Haram war to Maiduguri, the epicentre of the insurgency.
The military has since proclaimed victory over the Boko Haram terrorists, following the capture of their operational and spiritual headquarters, “Camp Zero” in Sambisa Forest.
So far, more than one million displaced persons have returned to their homes and communities.  About 20,000 hostages have been freed. One hundred and six (106) Chibok Girls, abducted in April 2014 and 105 Dapchi Girls abducted in February 2018 have been released and reunited with their families
In the area of diplomacy and international relations, the Buhari administration has re-established Nigeria’s position and influence in regional and global arena. 
As a political leader, Muhammadu Buhari enjoys three formidable assets– his record as a disciplined former Army General, his reputation as an honest leader who has not allowed corruption to flourish under his watch when he served as a state Military Governor, Minister of Petroleum and Military Head of State and the public perception of his record as one who stands for and by the truth, Mai Gaskiya.
The main opposition to President Buhari, the Peoples Democratic Party failed to realize how much these qualities meant to ordinary Nigerians; they did not reckon with the disillusionment of the citizens with their perceived acts of commission and omission for the 16 years they were in power.
They must by now, have realized with a with benefit of hindsight, that demonization and denigration of an individual does not bring in poll dividends. In their campaigns, they chose to demonise and denigrate Muhammadu Buhari as President. It did not pay.
Before and after this election, there is no face in the opposition who can match President Buhari’s inspiring character and personality. Many, including this reporter believe that it wasn’t the rail, road or achievements in the power sector that won this election for President Buhari. No doubt, these and many others are important. They may have added a bit here and a bit there. But what won it for him, was the focus by the voter on the single most important factor of Mai Gaskiya.
 Mallam Garba Shehu is the Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity

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Bulama: A Square Peg In A Square Hole, By Segun Tomori

As the race for who to succeed the former National Secretary of the All Progressives Congress (APC) and Governor-Elect of Yobe State, Mai Mala Buni heats up, one name has featured prominently amongst party stakeholders in the APC – Arc. Waziri Bulama. Bulama, a top contender for the post in last year’s national convention had stepped down for Buni in deference to party leaders in the North-East as a loyal party man.

Aside his intimidating credentials which has seen him rise to the position of the Deputy Director-General (Coordination) of the APC Presidential Campaign Council (PCC) 2019, amongst other strategic roles in the party in recent past, what strikes one about him at first sight is his humility, calm disposition yet impeccable grasp of issues that concerns the inner working of the APC.

While the battle has been won with the victory of President Muhammadu Buhari, a lot needs to be done not only to justify the people’s confidence in the party, but also strengthen it as a viable platform for the future. At present, most analysts posit that the APC is still a conglomeration of strange bedfellows and yet to transit into a close knit party. Others infer that President Buhari is the only unifying factor within the party. Unfortunately, Buhari has only 4 years left as President, hence the party must begin the process of reengineering itself to be formidable enough to continue its winning streak. That is where Arc. Waziri Bulama comes in.

Combined with the sagacity, vision and energy of the Comrade Chairman, Adams Oshiomhole, Bulama brings vast experience, intellectual acumen and excellent inter-personal skills to the table. With both men at the helm of affairs at the APC national secretariat, APC is poised to reinvent itself, evolve greater cohesion in the party and assert its supremacy in Government formed by the party both at Federal and sub-national levels.

The APC has a “Next Level” manifesto which is expected to guide the policy direction of the incoming 2nd term administration of President Buhari. Bulama having served at the top echelon of the Presidential Campaign Council (PCC) will be better positioned to assist the President with requisite human and material resources within the party that will bring the lofty manifesto to fruition.

Bulama’s impeccable credentials and qualities is not lost on party stakeholders as he has already garnered support of majority from his North-East zone amongst other influential leaders across the country.

There is no gainsaying the fact that Arc. Waziri Bulama is the perfect “Square peg in a square hole”, that’s why we are with him and we trust that the APC won’t hesitate to utilise this invaluable asset as it’s next National Secretary.

Segun Tomori is the Chairman, Media & Publicity Committee of the Bulama Support Group.

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