Re- Aisha Buhari Right On NSIP, By Justice Bibiye

The leadership Newspaper article with the caption ”AISHA BUHARI RIGHT ON THE NSIP” published on Tuesday, July 23, 2019, represents nothing but a hatchet job executed in the guise of investigative journalism to smear the image of an unquestionable character in the person of Mrs Maryam Uwais MFR.

It is becoming clearer that those opposed to sound reforms that insist on strict adherence to best practices in the implementation of the National Social Investment Program NSIP have intensified their hate campaign aimed at provoking a transition that could pave way for a new dispensation which might be favorably disposed to processes that encourage shady deals at the NSIO.

At a time when there is seeming vacancy in most public offices, one is not surprised at such antics by a few desperate people who would go to any length to secure appointments or government contracts to satisfy their selfish interest. But what is mind boggling is perhaps the fact that Leadership, one of Nigeria’s leading National dailies, could allow its medium to be used by detractors to propagate outright falsehood with the evil intention of tarnishing the reputation of a highly respected Nigerian who has over the years maintained an unblemished record in both private and public practice.

Basic media concepts presuppose that a good piece of journalistic work must be guided by certain key elements including objectivity, fairness, accuracy, balance and factuality. Unfortunately, Leadership Newspaper sacrificed these ethical considerations on the alter of mediocrity just to protect a narrow interest.

It is, therefore, sad and most regrettable that such wild allegations against seasoned government officials who have exhibited strong character, diligence, integrity, honesty and transparency in their service to the Nation could be fabricated and made public without any concrete evidence to back up what we consider a hoax. How can a supposed investigative report, which ideally should be an outcome of in depth research, draw hasty conclusions based on hearsay?

It is also pertinent to reinforce the fact that Mrs Maryam Uwais, a brilliant lawyer and human rights activist was among credible Nigerians called to National Service to help drive the change Agenda of the APC government under the leadership of President Muhammadu Buhari .

In 2016, Mrs Uwais was sworn in by President Buhari as the Presidential Adviser on Social Investments. By virtue of this portfolio, she automatically took charge of the National Social Investment office NSIO, which coordinates all components of the Social Intervention Programs of Government. The NSIO is domiciled in the office of the Vice President, who has strictly supervised the implementation of the SIPs since inception three years ago.

Unlike some public officials who see government appointment as an opportunity to feather their nests and serve personal interest, the appointment, for Mrs Uwais, was a rare privilege to effectively deploy public resources to a project that was borne out of genuine concern for the poor and most vulnerable people in the country. The ultimate goal of the program is to close the poverty gap in the country through financial inclusion for rapid economic growth.

To ensure that those in whose interest the Program was designed feel the impact of the social intervention initiative, Mrs Uwais upon assumption of office, put in place structures as well as instituted reforms aimed at promoting transparency, probity and accountability in the execution of the SIPs. The outcome of this laudable leadership approach is evidenced in the outpouring of testimonies by those whose lives have been transformed positively by government’s social safety net schemes.

Millions of Nigerians have been taken off the poverty line due to smooth and transparent implementation of the SIPs, which remain a major success story of the current democratic dispensation.

The NSIO, under the supervision of Mrs Uwais was structured in manner that eliminates all forms of sharp practices, corruption and abuse of due process in resource distribution to beneficiaries or award of contracts. The program execution template set by Mrs Uwais while she was in office as Special Adviser on SIP places the NSIO, which she directly coordinates in a position where it cannot award contracts or make payments directly to beneficiaries or contractors. Till date, payments and contracts award are done by the Ministry of Budget and National Planning with several local and international institutions and groups, including the World Bank, working as partners and monitors of the program. Indeed, the template placed to safeguard transparency appears to have incensed certain individuals, who were unable to access the funds or provide favors to a privileged few, is the primary reason why some individuals appear intent on replacing Mrs Uwais with one of their own. Change never comes easy.

To say that Mrs Uwais has manipulated the process for selfish interest is rather unfortunate and a disservice to a woman who has devoted her time, energy and intellect to the service of her father land.

It is important to state that the National Social safety Net Project NASSNP is a World Bank Assisted initiative. What this implies is that its execution and implementation processes and procedures must follow laid down guidelines of the World Bank known for operating in line with International Best Practices. One would then wonder how a single government official could influence the World Bank to compromise its work ethics by recruiting an “unqualified ” official to occupy a sensitive position in a project it supports.

Mr Apera Iorwa who succeeded Mr Peter Pakpa as the Coordinator of the National Social Safety Net Office got the job after meeting the necessary requirements of the NSIO and World Bank for that position. Mr Apera came first amongst those who applied and got interviewed for the job, otherwise the World Bank wouldn’t have accepted him as the National Coordinator. He is not a stooge of the former Special Adviser, neither was he brought in to carry out any hatchet job for anyone as alleged in the Leadership report.

The report alleged that Mr Peter Pakpa was frustrated out of office because he refused to, among other things, compromise the World Bank Procurement due process, which according the reporter was not in the interest of the former SA. The same report also claimed that Mrs Uwais, with the help of some World Bank Staff foisted Mr Iorwa on NASSCO. The question Leadership and its sponsors should answer is: How possible is it for the World Bank to assist in bringing on board an “unqualified” candidate to replace a senior government official who had refused to undermine its guidelines for procurement?

The allegation that Mr Iorwa prefers to work with consultants instead of career civil servants holds no water as recruiting consultants to perform specific tasks for government is a routine practice which does not breach any public service rule. The NASSCO Coordinator made this clear in his response when contacted to react to these bogus allegations.

According to him:

“The Federal Government of Nigeria appreciates the fact that there might be certain skills set that might not be readily available within the civil service; and in such instances, consultants could be employed to fill such gaps.”

Regrettably, the falsehood being spread by Leadership Newspaper and its cohorts runs contrary to reports by the various independent monitoring groups beaming their searchlights on the SIPs.

For instance, Africa Network for Environment and Economic Justice (ANEEJ), a Non-Governmental Organization which is working with six other NGOs and over 500 monitors has been monitoring the disbursement of the Abacha loot after it entered an agreement with the Federal Government to do so. The group after its review dialogue summit in May this year, reported that disbursement of the funds under the National Conditional Cash Transfer Program NCTP has been successful.

It further states:

“Spot checks had been conducted on 30,778 beneficiaries relating to funds disbursed in the August-September payment cycle in 11 States, with the exercise spanning over a period of two weeks. Findings are that 78% of the respondents reported receiving the base amounts of N5,000 (Five Thousand Naira Only), whereas only 20.4% had not been paid, for sundry reasons. The funds were however, fully accounted for. Furthermore, 96.4% of the beneficiaries interviewed confirmed that they were satisfied with the grievance redress process, even though delays were reported in the feedback timeline, in a few instances.

Recommendations for further improving the processes were included, and ANEEJ commended the excellent cooperation and working relationship between the Office of the Vice President (through the National Social Investment Office), the Federal Ministry of Justice and civil society, which had contributed to the high level of transparency in disclosure, in line with the Global Forum on Asset Recovery (GFAR) principles and commitments. This was a welcome departure from the past experiences, in respect of efforts at monitoring assets recovered in 2005 and 2006….”

Another report published in June 2019, by Action Aid Nigeria, one of the independent groups monitoring the NSIPs also confirmed the huge impact the various components of the Program is having on the beneficiaries.

“ActionAid Nigeria acknowledges that the N-SIP contributes in addressing the problems of out-of-school children and youth unemployment in Nigeria and knows the programmes are impacting on the lives of Nigerians albeit at different levels. We believe more Nigerians can be reached if the voted funds are released, because the intentions are good and commend the highly competent technical staff of the NSIO led by Mrs. Maryam Uwais for the job done so far. Based on our experience, the National Social Investment Office listens to feedback from the CSOs and many other stakeholders, that is why AAN is happy to be part of the process and encourage all Nigerians to take interest in how the programmes are being implemented in their locality….”

ANEEJ and Action Aid Nigeria reports align with the recommendations of several other independent monitoring groups that have been following the implementation of the SIPs since 2016.

Expectedly, detractors would not take cognizance of the success stories emerging as a result of the professional and transparent approach adopted in the management of the Social intervention programs in the last three years. They have instead, chosen the path of shame and dishonor to pick holes even in areas where there is resounding success.

But the consolation for those being persecuted unjustly is the fact that TRUTH is like LIGHT which will always PREVAIL over DARKNESS.

Justice Bibiye is the communications manager at the National Social Investment office NSIO.

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Aisha Buhari Kicks Off Tuberculosis Awareness Campaign In Abuja

The wife of the President, Mrs Aisha Buhari has kicked off a Tuberculosis awareness campaign ahead of the world TB day next week.

At the ceremony in Kobe Village, a suburb in the Abuja Municipal Area Council, Mrs Buhari called on those experiencing more than two weeks persistent cough to go for TB test to ascertain their status.

Mrs Buhari who expressed her passion towards combating the air-borne disease said appropriate logistics would be deployed to put an end to TB before the 2035 deadline by the world health Organization.

The Minister of State for Health, Doctor Osagie Ehanire outlined some of the efforts made by the ministry to eradicate TB to include the nationwide expansion of TB diagnostic and treatment capacity, scale up of TB screening at community and facility level, and training of various categories of healthcare workers among others.

The high point of the event was the unveiling of a mobile treatment center by Mrs Buhari and wife of the Vice President Mrs Dolapo Osinbajo.

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Aisha Buhari As Catalyst For Buhari’s Victory, By Chukwudi Enekwechi JP

Mrs Aisha Buhari is the wife of Nigeria’s president and commander in chief, Muhammadu Buhari GCFR. She is acknowledged nationwide and globally as not only a delectable beauty, but endowed with brain and brawn. She periodically steps into the national consciousness when it appears there exists a yawning gap between the powers that be and the Nigerian people.

Oftentimes she takes sides with the people and insists that the president should not lose sight of the mammoth support of Nigerians that propelled him to the highest office in the land.Many Nigerians have even described her as an amazon and a wife of inestimable value. Most times her interventions have helped to crystallise any fogginess as far as her husband’s leadership is concerned.

She is famous for telling truth to power with a view to impacting on the lives of most Nigerians.Aisha Buhari is not only sound academically but has a grasp of the English language usually associated with the queen of England. She is urbane, sophisticated, caring and able to read the signs of the times politically.

Until she joined the political fray by setting up the Women and Youth Presidential Campaign Team, the second term bid of President Buhari was tottering on the shenanigans of powerful political forces who had one axe to grind with the system or the other or so it seemed, yet she was able to discern the shady and unclear horizon and immediately stepped in to bridge the gap.

This singular act helped to galvanise the entire gamut of the All Progressives Congress political hierarchy to key in and align seeing and realising that victory was possible. She not only took the gauntlet but she led the way to mobilise Nigerians towards supporting her husband to serve Nigeria for the next four years.

In the end both the Presidential Campaign Council and the Women and Youth Campaign Team complimented themselves towards the realisation of the ultimate goal- re-election of President Muhammadu Buhari for a second term.

Apart from her regular interactions with the masses across the country, she exhibited uncommon leadership by interfacing with different political leaders who at the nick of time pitched their tent with the ruling party despite the opposition they faced from their past political allies.

Perhaps it can be said that the tone for her future political role in the Buhari presidency was set when the governor of Imo state Rochas Okorocha rolled out the red carpet in Imo state and galvanised Imo women to march for her at the Dan Anyiam stadium in Owerri. That was the first and last mammoth show of support by a state government for Aisha Buhari, until recently when she stepped into the political arena to lead the re-election campaign of her husband.

Today her efforts in seeing to the realisation of the president’s second term has come to fruition and she deserves adequate recognition. This is what we seek to achieve with this piece. She is not only a leader of men, women and materials but she is an asset to the president and Nigeria as a whole.

We as a people cannot afford to relegate such an important woman in the scheme of things especially as she remains unassuming, simple, loyal to her husband and Nigeria, and is committed to using her elevated position to improve the lives of ordinary Nigerians.Therefore as we celebrate the re-election of President Muhammadu Buhari, Nigerians owe it an obligation to give honour to whom it is due.

Lest we forget, she played a significant in drawing the attention of the country to the many ills ailing our country among them infrastructural deficit in the South East and this has enabled the president to look inwards and seek permanent and endurable solutions to the boiling issues.

Aisha Buhari incidentally does not seek for publicity or the plaudits of the street, but she is reputed to tell truth to power and this has largely contributed to the success of her husband’s administration, and enabled Nigerians to reap the dividends of democracy as in infrastructure, fight against corruption and the revolution we now witness in the agricultural sector.

The latest news is that Nigeria now leads Egypt in rice production and nobody can doubt that Nigeria is witnessing food security.It is pertinent to remark that this is the first time a wife of the president is being applauded by all and sundry and across the political spectrum and the reason is not farfetched- her altruism, courage and commitment to equity and justice. In the weeks and months ahead Nigerians are expectant that her past interventions will influence the choices of the Buhari administration in appointments and governance generally for the greater good of Nigerians.

We recall that she was the advocate of compensation to those who worked assiduously towards the election of President Buhari in 2015.

Gladly, President Muhammadu Buhari has laid the necessary foundation for the repositioning of the country and the next four years offers a window of opportunity for inclusiveness and even distribution of infrastructural amenities across the country.

Chukwudi Enekwechi JP Member, Women and Youth Presidential Campaign Team Kwechis19@yahoo.com 08176281883

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Let Nobody Deceive You, Aisha Buhari Tells Party Faithful

The wife of the President, Aisha Muhammadu Buhari, has urged women and youth in the country to vote for continuity in this year’s general election so they could continue to enjoy the peace and prosperity of the All Progressives Congress (APC) government.

“Don’t allow anybody to deceive you,” she said at a rally this weekend in Ibadan.  “Vote for Buhari, vote for continuity so that all of us can benefit immensely from this government.”

Represented by the wife of the Vice President, Dolapo Osinbajo, at the rally organised by the Women and Youth Presidential Campaign Team in the South-West, the First Lady said the APC government should be allowed to continue the good work it has been doing for four more years.

Oyo State Governor Abiola Ajimobi and his wife Florence (she serves as the coordinator of the Women and Youth Presidential Campaign, South-West) hosted the event held at the Liberty Stadium, Ibadan.

Among other dignitaries present at the stadium, which was filled to capacity, were Ekiti State Governor Dr Kayode Fayemi,  Governor Adegboyega Oyetola of Osun State,  Minister of Information and Culture Alhaji Lai Mohammed, Minister of Health Prof. Isaac Adewole, Dayo  Adelabu, and Taslim Folarin. 

The wife of the Ekiti State Governor, Mrs. Bisi Fayemi, who is the South-West Zonal Chairperson of the Media Committee of the APC Women and Youth Presidential Campaign, as well as Hajiya Salamatu Baiwa, National Women Leader of the party, also spoke on the occasion, advising women and youth to vote for APC to have a better Nigeria.

Hon. Abdulmumini Jibrin PhD
Director of Media and Strategic Communication Women and Youth Presidential Campaign Team

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Eschew Thuggery, Violence During And After Election, Aisha Buhari Tells Owerri Youths

Wife of the President Mrs. Aisha Buhari has appealed to youths to eschew thuggery and violence during and after the forthcoming elections.

Mrs. Buhari represented by wife of the Vice President Mrs. Dolapo Osibanjo gave the charge in a message to the South East APC Women and youths rally held in Owerri.

Mrs. Buhari urged the people of the zone to vote massively for APC to enable the party to complete the good works it started.

She described APC as a women and youths friendly party pointing out that policies like N-Power, Trader-moni and School feeding programme of the federal government had significantly reduced unemployment in the country.

Mrs. Buhari called on youths to not only come out en masse to support the APC but to ensure they protect their votes.

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Aisha Buhari’s ADC In SSS Custody Over Alleged N2.5 billion Fraud

Wife of the President, Mrs. Aisha Muhammadu Buhari has ordered the arrest of her Aide De Camp (ADC), Sani Baba-Inna over allegation of N2.5 billion fraud.

Aisha Buhari had alleged that Baba-Inna received huge donations from politicians and business people on her behalf and kept the cash to himself.

The ADC, who is a Chief Superintendent of Police, is presently in the custody of the Department of State Services (DSS).

Spokesperson of DSS, Peter Afunanya confirmed that Baba-Inna is in their custody, saying “He was handed over by the Police and investigation is ongoing.”

The ADC had earlier been investigation by the Police and his house raided.

“Shockingly, investigators only found N1,200 cash in the House. His bank account was also investigated and had only a balance of N30,000 while the transaction records showed that most credits to the account were his salaries and allowances,” a source said.

The police, it was gathered, concluded that Mrs Buhari must have been wrongly informed as there was nothing to show or prove that such huge sums of money was in the custody of Mr Baba-Inna.

An associate of Mr. Baba-Inna said the police contacted those named as donors of the controversial funds but that they all denied making the donations attributed to them.

“For instance, one of those named was the Inspector General of Police himself,” the source said. “But the IG said he has never passed any money through Baba-Inna.”

When Mrs Buhari was informed of the outcome of police investigation, the source said the first lady flared up and accused the police of colluding “to protect one of their own”.

She then reportedly asked the State Security Service (SSS) to take over the case and get her money back”.

 

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Aisha Buhari Donates Food, Grinding Machines At Sallah

The wife of the President, Mrs Aisha Buhari, on Wednesday donated nutritional food items to patients of Aisha Buhari Maternal Clinic in Daura.

Mrs Buhari, who had a stop-over at the clinic to commemorate her Sallah celebration with the patients also visited the Post operation and General ward.

In another development, the wife of the President also donated undisclosed amount of money to 200 grassroots women in Daura to enable them set up their businesses.

Mrs Buhari, who made the symbolic presentation of the cash on Wednesday, said the gesture was aimed at empowering grassroots women to be self-reliant.

The wife of the President who inaugurated Daura office for grassroots women initiatives also donated groundnuts grinding machines to the women.

She said that the centre would be used as an avenue to reach the women in the grassroots where they would be economically self-reliant.

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Aisha Buhari Bags Honorary Doctorate In Humanities

The wife of the President, Mrs. Aisha Buhari has been awarded a Doctorate in Humanities by Sun Moon University in South Korea.

This was disclosed by Professor Hong Young-Shik of Political Science Department of the University, who led a team to pay a courtesy visit on the wife of the President, on Thursday at the Presidential Villa, Abuja.

Professor Hong said the award was in recognition of Mrs Buhari’s dedicated service to humanity.

“The humanitarian activities of Mrs. Buhari have caught the attention of the world and the Senate of the Sun Moon University, especially her outstanding work with women and children.”

The University, he said, identifies with her efforts through her pet project, the Future Assured programme.

Professor young-Shik said further that Mrs. Buhari and her husband the President are showing good leadership example to humanity.

The letter conveying the award states: “I have been directed to notify you, Your Excellency, on the decision of the University to confer on you, a meritorious Doctor of Humanity (Hon. Causa.) Recommendations came from various sources and these were verified.”

The letter listed some of her interests as IDPs, families of fallen heroes and educational justice, describing these as efforts that align with the University’s culture of promoting good governance.

Responding, on behalf of Mrs Buhari, Senior Special Assistant to the President, Dr. Hajo Sani, who received the delegation on behalf of the wife of the President thanked the University for recognizing the humanitarian activities of Mrs. Buhari, especially to women and children through the award of Doctor of Humanities (Honoris Causa).

She said Mrs. Buhari accepts the award, dedicating it to Nigerian women and children.

She promised to continue the good work she is doing through Aisha Buhari Foundation and Future Assured Programme.

“Mrs. Buhari has impacted thousands of lives of less privileged and vulnerable Nigerians through health, education and empowerment initiatives as well as social protection,” she said.

The award ceremony is expected to take place in South Korea later in the year.

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President Buhari Urges Governors To Support Wives’ Humanitarian Activities

President Muhammadu Buhari has commended wives of Governors for the various humanitarian activities they carry out in their states.

He made the commendation when wives of state governors paid him a visit under the auspices of the Northern and Southern Governors Wives Forum at the Presidential Villa on Saturday 26th May, 2018.

President Buhari assured the governors’ wives of his support and assured them that he would canvass more moral and financial support for them.

“I appreciate the role you are playing as your work helps in pricking the conscience of the people.” He especially commended their work on the IDPs and disadvantaged children as well as the fight against drug abuse.

President Buhari also encouraged them to interface with Central Bank of Nigeria and Federal Ministry of Agriculture over new and existing opportunities that women farmers and entrepreneurs can take advantage of.

The wife of the President, Mrs. Aisha Muhammadu Buhari, speaking at the occasion, underscored the complementary role that wives of Governors play in supporting the programmes and policies of their husbands, stressing the need for the governors to encourage them.

She highlighted areas where efforts are more pronounced as girl-child education, child abuse, women and youth empowerment and health promotion.

“Äs mothers of the states, wives of governors have the ears of women and youths; this is so because they run programmes that directly touch these categories of Nigerians” she said, calling on the President to support their work.

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2019: ‘I Support My Husband’s Call To Service,’ Says Aisha Buhari

As the 2019 presidential election approaches, wife of the President, Mrs. Aisha Buhari has declared full support for the aspiration of President Muhammadu Buhari to seek a second term in office.

She made the disclosure in Lagos, while receiving the  Vanguard Personality of the Year 2017 award.

Speaking through her daughter, Halima Buhari Shettima, who received the award on her behalf, Mrs. Buhari said:  “Let me use this opportunity to state that I support my husband in this call to service and will continue to do so.”

The president’s wife, in her short remarks, thanked the management of Vanguard Media Limited “for this unexpected award, in recognition of my humanitarian efforts towards improving the health and welfare of Nigerians, particularly women, children and less privileged.

“As we are all aware, Nigerians elected this administration based on the trust and confidence they have in my husband; I, therefore, feel that we are here to serve Nigeria to the best of our ability.”

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Aisha Buhari, NASS Converge On Abuja For Peace Conference

The Wife of the President, Hajiya Aisha Buhari, National Assembly members and other 3,000 delegates will converge at the All Nigerian Women Leaders Conference on Peace Building and Conflict Resolution on Monday, March 19 in Abuja,

Mrs Nma Love Onyechere, Executive Secretary, Centre for Gender Studies International, made this known in a statement on Monday in Abuja.

She said that the four days conference will hold from March 19 to March 22 at the Shehu Musa Yar’Adua Centre.

She said that the conference with the theme: “Peace in Nigeria; A Collective Responsibility,” is organised by the Centre for Gender Studies International in collaboration with the National Orientation Agency (NOA).

According to her, the conference is for Nigerian women to critically discuss the way forward to ensuring peace in the country.

Onyechere said women’s equal participation in peace processes is an essential ingredient for lasting peace and true reconciliations.

She added that the conference was a practical step to mobilise and educate Nigerian women to join efforts at all levels to support the peace process of government at all levels.

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Aisha Buhari Advocates Increased Women Participation In Politics

Wife of the President, Mrs. Aisha Buhari has called on more women to participate in politics, so as to make it easy to actualize the 35 percent affirmative action.

Mrs. Buhari made the remark while receiving All Progressives Congress, APC State Women Leaders, who paid her a courtesy visit on Monday at the Presidential Villa, Abuja.

She called on the Women Leaders to mobilize female members of the APC across the country and also encourage candidates with capacity for leadership and integrity to contest for elective positions in order to achieve this.

The wife of the President commended the Women Leaders over the unity they have exhibited, saying it has given her courage.

“It is this unity that has led you to come up with a forum to speak with one voice. I hope this unity will endure, even among women at the state level and at the grassroots. I urge you to continue to support the activities of the party,” Mrs  Buhari said.

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