Why We Have Not Sent 2016 Budget Details To Presidency – NASS… Asks Buhari To Wait Till Mid April

Details of the budget will not be available for President Muhammadu Buhari until mid-April, lawmakers said yesterday.

Presidency sources said Buhari will not assent to the document unless the details are attached because the lawmakers merely sent a summary to him.

The Senate Appropriation Committee is working on the details.

House of Representatives Appropriation Committee Chairman Abdumumin Jubrin said there was nothing unusual in passing the budget and sending the details to the President later.

He said this was done during former President Olusegun Obasanjo’s tenure.

According to him, given the “lots of omissions” and being the most difficult budget we’ve ever dealt with”, the least the executive should do is to be grateful to the lawmakers.

”I think if they’re not thanking us, they cannot throw stones at the National Assembly,” he added.

Jubrin said: “We in the National Assembly believe that this is the most difficult budget we have ever dealt with. Of course, you all recall that the Medium Term Expenditure Framework ( MTEF) came very late; we accepted it, we dealt with it. The budget itself came late; we accepted it and we dealt with it.

“The budget has had a lot of challenges, which have to do with multiple budget details and, of course, ministers, heads of MDAs coming to disown their budgets. There were other key omissions in the 2016 budget that the National Assembly had to deal with.

“ In some instances, we discovered that budgetary allocations were not in tandem with the policy thrust of the Federal Government, which is part of the responsibility of the Appropriation Committee, to look into that and try to align the allocations to match the policy thrust of government.

“And, of course, we saw a lot of omissions, inadequate provision for personnel across board.

“I’ve explained to you several times that the case of Prisons ration that was reduced far below the federal Government approved rates. We talked about the NYSC where only 210,000 members were captured as against 260,000. All these we did our best to see how to address these issues and a lot also could not be addressed.”

He said other areas the National Assembly intervened was to align the budget with the security thrust, anti- corruption drive and economic diversification Programmes of the government

Most members of the Senate Committee on Appropriation met for over two hours yesterday to harmonise the controversial budget. Many of the 14 members attended.

The meeting was held in the office of Senator Mohammed Danjuma Goje, its chairman.

A member of the Committee claimed that “the intention of the National Assembly was to transmit highlights of the 2016 budget while work continues on the details.”

The committee member who spoke in confidence further claimed that “there is no doubt that the budget as presented by Mr. President was full of errors and repetitions which made work on the Appropriation Bill more cumbersome.”

He said: “ We were in a fix few days to the passage of the 2016 budget when the National Assembly Budget and Research Office (NABRO) brought copies of the booklet they published, which contained errors they discovered in the 2016 budget.

“We had to agree that highlights of the budget be passed and transmitted to the Presidency while we withheld the details so that we can cross check the claims of NABRO in the booklet. From the look of things, it will take another two to three weeks for us to conclude work on the budget. We are not alone; financial experts are also involved in the scrutiny.

“As has been said by a top government functionary on some other national issues, we too are not magicians to correct an Appropriation Bill full of errors and outright distortions in a day.

“You can see that we are working round the clock to give the country an implementable budget.”

The NABRO booklet contains errors, repetitions and padding in the fiscal document.

It involved alleged fresh padding of over N500 billion contained in the budgetary proposals for Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) and the Service Wide Votes.

NABRO said it published the document to give technical support to members of the legislature by pointing out some errors in the budget.”

It said: “Given the current challenge of abnormalities in the 2016 budget proposal where projects are repeated more than once in the budget, and others undefined, NABRO rose to the occasion by providing the legislature with an accurate and inclusive review of the line items in the 2016 appropriation bill.”

Goje declined to speak with reporters yesterday on the fresh round of controversy on the budget.

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Kachikwu Sets April 7 To End Fuel Scarcity, Apologises Over ‘Magician’ Comment

Nigerians have wrested an apology from Minister of State for Petroleum Resources Emmanuel Ibe Kachikwu over the biting petrol scarcity that keeps many at the pump for hours.

Dr. Kachikwu, who appeared before the Senate Committee on Petroleum Resources (Downstream) noted particularly that his comment that he is not a magician to cause fuel queues to disappear overnight was not meant to insult Nigerians.

The minister said the “I’m not a magician” comment was made jocularly and never intended to slight Nigerians.

The comment attracted the ire of Nigerians, including All Progressives Congress (APC) National Leader Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu, who insisted he must apologise to Nigerians.

Kachikwu said he shared the pains Nigerians are going through to get fuel. He is working round the clock to resolve the problem, he said, but rejected the call for him to resign. The fuel queues will disappear by April 7, Kachikwu promised.

He also explained reasons for the scarcity and the plans to wriggle out of it.

He said: “I share the pains of Nigerians. I feel that pain everyday when I walk the streets. On Easter day, I was in Lagos monitoring fuel distribution and the depots. I have given 24 hours attention to the problems.

“I have continued to work with one sole purpose which is that every problem must have a solution and I think that is the reason I was picked.

“I do apologise for the comment that I made jocularly with my friends in the press about being a magician and it offended Nigerians. Itwas not meant to be, it was a side jocular issue.

“I did go on to explain what needed to be done. I did not know that it would create the kind of hyperbole that it did.

“Let me first admit that I am not a typically experienced politician. I am a technocrat. I come to work.

“Some of the phraseologies that I may use, while being acceptable in the arena in which I play obviously will not be acceptable in the public political arena.

“So if anybody’s sensibilities were offended by those, I totally apologise.”

”I share the pains of Nigerians. I feel that pain everyday. I worked the streets and those who are following my trajectories since I resumed office would see that even on Christmas Day, I was at the refineries.

“Like I said on the Easter Day, I was in Lagos, monitoring fuel distribution at the depots. I have given 24/7 attention to the problem in this industry which were unbelievable.

“I have continued to work with one sole purpose in mind, which is that every problem will have a solution.

”I am a very humble person even imagining the thought that I dictate to Nigerians. I am not somebody like that.”

On the reason for the current fuel scarcity he said: “Let me put the reasons for the scarcity in three categories. First, what did I meet? When we came in August, this country had arrears of unpaid subsidy claims that were in excess of N600 billion which were not paid for over a year.

“So, progressively over a period of eight months, prior to my coming on board, people have been staying away from importation not at a heavy level but by about 10 to 15 per cent of allocation were not being met. But there was hope that ultimately, if the subsidy regime continues, they would get paid. So, some people continued to import, but by the time we came in, people had reached a breaking point and most of the companies didn’t have the liquidity even to go to the banks and open letters of credit and that became a major issue, and we succeeded in paying, late October last year, the N500bn subsidy.

“Some element of the subsidy like the foreign exchange components, remained unpaid, which has been carried into this year’s budget. It became clear to me that having regards to the difficulty that we faced in terms of paying for the subsidy, the country can no longer, quite frankly, afford subsidy payment.

“We were faced with the challenge of ensuring supply of petroleum products without the need for a subsidy regime. As of January 1 this year, the country is no longer paying subsidy, saving us a cumulative of over N1trillion in a one year period. That was the first major issue.

“Second major issue was that once the N600bn subsidy money was paid, the ability of marketers to import the product became a challenge because they could not raise letters of credit and up to this point that still remains a major issue.

“So even if they wanted to import, they needed letters of credit and adequate foreign exchange cover. Some of them were owing arrears of liabilities as a result of commitment I had made on petroleum importation prior.

“So, whatever money they had was taken by banks to offset certain obligations. Going forward now, they didn’t have money to import fuel again. What that meant was that by late August last year, we moved from the expected obligation of the NNPC to bring in 50 per cent of the national consumption of about 45 to 50 million litres per day but we now have to cover a 100 per cent platform because nobody was bringing in the product, the consumption was still static and we needed to cover the gap.

“We took up that challenge without increase in crude allocation, without any excess allocation as it were and we have to work exceedingly hard from August last year to cover the gap but we didn’t cover it 100 per cent because we didn’t have the ability to do so. So, the gap we could not cover was responsible for the queues. That was responsible for the 80 per cent of the problem.

“Third issue is that of pipeline vandalism. We met pipelines that were in comatose, for instance Mosimi was not working. This morning, after a three months intensive work with private partners, we’ve just been able for the first time, to recover the Escravos to Warri pipeline and about a month ago, we recovered the Brass to Port Harcourt pipeline. For the first time, we will be able to pump crude to the refineries without the need to use vessels which are extremely expensive which I stopped as soon as I came. For the first time in six years, we are trying to recover the pipeline.

“We have 18 depots across the country. 90 per cent of them are not in a state of use. They have not been maintained. They have been abandoned for years. Money was needed to work on them. But we have advertised for joint partners to come in and work with us to put in the required facilities to get depots working and get pipeline repaired. But through hard work we have been able to recover some pipelines from Mosimi up to Ilorin but with a few punctured points. The crude pipeline from the South to the North again being recovered. The absence of the pipelines makes movement of the products from Lagos taking up to a week.

“Because the importers are not bringing in the product, the logistics of the NNPC had been expanded, creating great nightmare for us. Not only do we bring in the product but we also lighten it and take it to the storage tanks of the majors and some cases if you notice, we also are taking intervention trucks and taken products into the stations of this individuals because if they do not sell and the stations are empty, it is a challenge. NNPC basically over extended itself in terms of what it was set up to do and what it has the capacity to do.

“Lack of infrastructure too is affecting us because we are moving up to 3, 000 trucks round the country everyday this is not the best way to circulate or distribute products in a civilised world but that is the only option that we had. NNPC was losing N40bilion every month when we came but this had been reduced to N3billion by December last year. We met a company with a debt profile of N4trillion and with that of NPDC which is about N1trillion. The access to open up letters of credit continues to be a challenge.”

On diversion of products by marketers he said, “Marketers are diverting the product, some days we load 300 trucks from Lagos coming to Abuja and one third of that, are dissipated into areas where people could make quick returns and so they won’t get to Abuja. We do not have a computerized system that will enable us to track every truck that is loaded from our depots. We are however working on this. It has not been there for 20 years.

“We are currently working very collaboratively with the oil majors that is upstream producing companies to see how they can sell us foreign exchange for the naira components they would require for their local operations. When they bring in the foreign exchange, they give us the first call. We are using that module to cover up the foreign exchange gap. We are also working collaboratively with the CBN within the limits of what it can tolerate to give us a little bit of foreign exchange.

“Additionally we also brought in the DSDP programme because the number of litres of consumption as a nation was spectacularly false. We were carrying figure of 55 million litres per day that was geared towards creating opportunities for people to make more money during the subsidy regime. We did analysis and we discovered that we were consuming 45 million litres which means that we are saving about 10 million litres per day.

“April begins the DSDP programme which will save us $1billon a year. This means that the contract upon which we were importing fuel in the past was extremely faulty. Once that begins from April 2, we have commitment of much more arrival of the product.

That covers the 60 per cent that our crude allocation can deal with. There is still that 40 per cent gap which importers had got to bring in. That is being worked on through the collaboration of oil majors and the CBN.

“We are also setting up, for the first time, strategic reserves in this country of close to about two million tonnes to provide products always. That would be operational as from May. It would contain between five to seven cargoes of fuel as a reserve. Once we do that, we should be away from the incessant fuel crisis that we have.

“We expect that between now and about the 6th to 7th of April, the fuel queues will disappear, the DSDP will begin and the foreign exchange allocation will see us smoothly through the track.

“The refineries will be working and the volumes they would be producing will be sent to the strategic reserves to address difficult times. In April we are expected to get to get 150 per cent of the volumes that would be needed. A lot of that will go to storage tanks. Hopefully that should sort out the problem.”

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Report of Missing 2016 Budget, An Award Winning ‘April Fool’ Stunt – Dogara

As outrage continued to trail the reportedly missing 2016 Budget presented to the joint session of the National Assembly on Tuesday, December 22, 2015, by President Muhammadu Buhari, Speaker of the House of Representatives, Yakubu Dogara, has described the reports as “an incredible and award winning April fool stunt.’

“It’s an incredible and award winning April fool stunt.

Describing the reports of the missing 2016 Budget as a hoax that came too early in the year, Dogara who took to his Twitter handle, @doyakubu said: “1st April arrived too early this year on Twitter. 2016 Budget estimates stolen at NASS? Pretty funny stuff!

“The budget is in the custody of the Clerk to the House of Representatives. I can confirm no one has broken into his office.

“Each of the two Houses got a copy of the Budget estimate,” said the speaker.

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Diezani Alison-Madueke Barred From Leaving UK Until April 2016

Former Minister of Petroleum Resources Mrs Diezani Alison-Madueke will not be able to leave the United Kingdom (UK) until April, next year.

That is when the investigations into allegations against her are expected to have been concluded, Judiciary sources said.

She is expected to be arraigned before the magistrate for alleged money laundering and bribery,

Mrs Alison-Madueke was arrested last week along with four others by the United Kingdom’s National Crime Agency (NCA).She was granted bail. Her international passport was, however, seized.

On Monday, the London  Westminster Magistrate’s Court on Marylebone Road approved the holding of the £27,000 cash seized from her, following an application brought by the NCA under the Proceeds of Crime Act in the UK.

The court also ruled that the cash can be held for six months – till April, next year when she is expected to be arraigned after investigations.

It was learnt yesterday that the court also granted the order that she should remain in London while investigations last.

Mrs Alison-Madueke will only be able to travel after an application has been brought before the court and approved.

She had previously denied any wrongdoing when it was alleged that $20b of oil money had gone missing when she was in office between 2010 and 2015

The NCA, which leads the UK law enforcement’s fight to cut serious and organised crime, is working in league with the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) in the probe of the former minister.

Last Friday when Mrs Alison-Madueke was arrested in London, her Abuja home was raided by the EFCC.

The NCA has national and international reach and the mandate and powers to work in partnership with other law enforcement organisations to bring the full weight of the law to bear on serious and organised criminals.

The Proceeds of Crime Act says: “The Proceeds of Crime Act 2002 (“POCA”) sets out the legislative scheme for the recovery of criminal assets with criminal confiscation being the most commonly used power.

“Confiscation occurs after a conviction has taken place. Other means of recovering the proceeds of crime, which do not require a conviction, are provided for in the Act, namely civil recovery, cash seizure and taxation powers.

“The aim of the asset recovery schemes in POCA is to deny criminals the use of their assets, recover the proceeds of crime and disrupt and deter criminality.”

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INEC Fixes April 25 for Taraba Guber Run-off Election

The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has fixed Saturday, April 25 for the run-off election between Darius Ishaku of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and Senator Aisha Jummai Alhassan of the All Progressives Congress (APC).

This is coming as normalcy finally returned to Jalingo, Sunkani in Ardo Kola Local Government Area and Gembu, headquarters of Sardauna Local Government Area.

The Head of Department, Enlightenment and Publicity, Mr. Phebian Yame, who announced the date for the election during a briefing at the head office of the commission in Jalingo, said the date had been communicated to all the parties involved.

INEC had declared the gubernatorial election in the state inconclusive and ordered that based on the fact that cancelled votes in the election were more than the margin between the votes polled by Ishaku who came top in the election and Alhassan who was runner up.

The margin between Ishaku who polled 317,198 votes and Alhassan who polled 262,386 votes was 54,812, while the cancelled votes were 127,125.

In declaring the elections inconclusive, the returning officer, Prof. Kyari Mohammad, explained that the Constitution of Nigeria and the Electoral Act stipulate that when  the difference between the total cancelled votes in an election is higher than the margin between the first and the second person, elections should be declared inconclusive and a run-off should be conducted.
The run-off election would be conducted in all the 165 polling units of Donga Local Government Area as well as some polling units in Bali, Karim Lamido, Takum, Ussa, Wukari, Yorro and Zing.

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April Polls: President Jonathan Should Not Abandon PDP Governors By Obinna Akukwe

Reports reaching me from various camps of PDP candidates for Saturday’s governorship elections shows that President Goodluck Jonathan has abandoned his party men to their fate , following his shocking defeat in March 28th presidential polls. Some PDP leaders and candidates have told me that Jonathan had left them to their fate and they are considering further mass defections, if their efforts to secure victory in Saturday’s governorship polls fails.  From Lagos to Abia, Imo, Akwa Ibom, Ebonyi, Kaduna, Jigawa and Sokoto, the story is the same. The complaints of party men is that Jonathan had not deployed enough logistics to help secure a victory for the PDP in the forthcoming polls. There is also another complain that Jonathan had not called many of the aspirants to know the extent of their preparations. This is not good for democracy.

Goodluck Jonathan should not despair beyond measure over his failure at the polls. At least he got more glory in defeat than the five years he assembled and surrounded himself with some praise singers, sycophants and looters masquerading as aides, friends, relations and cronies.  Jonathan had also lost over N1 trillion naira between February 14th and March 28th when he deployed lots of state and privately stashed resources to rescue his sinking presidency.

He should take solace that he did not make the mistakes of Babangida, also the entire nation is celebrating him even in defeat. Therefore, it is time for him to ginger up his party men, stem the gale of defections, and ensure that they are given enough support for Saturday’s polls. This support should not include rigging of elections and harassment of voters.

It is unfortunate that even the PDP National Chairman Adamu Muazu have not deemed it fit to call a properly constituted NEC meeting where the party should energize themselves for the polls. This is happening to Jonathan because he has nobody in that party that can rally people round at this point in their evolution process.

After the PDP defeated the then APP in 1999, and Obasano formed a Government of National Unity, the National Chairman of All Peoples Party, Mahmud Waziri, who has eleven governors under him, stupidly resigned to take up the post of a Minister of Inter Party Affairs. Years later when Don Etiebet became APP Chairman, he was more interested in working for the PDP than building his party.

In contrast Bola Tinubu re- built Alliance for Democracy (AD), after his fellow governors were deceived by Obasanjo and rigged out in the South West. He formed Action Congress (AC) which later became ACN as governor when AD was infiltrated by the ruling party. He singlehandedly built ACN from a party in charge of Lagos State to one in charge of seven States. Buhari abandoned the All Nigeria Peoples Party (ANPP) and formed his own Congress for Progressive Change (CPC) in 2010 and the alliance of Tinubu and Buhari  between 2013 and 2014 was the beginning of the fall of the ruling PDP .

It is highly irresponsible for Jonathan’s party chieftains, including Buruji  Kashamu, Tony Anenih, Adamu Muazu, Bode George, Edwin Clarke to despair and abandon the party to her fate.

Apart from Jigawa State where Governor Sule  Lamido is trying to install a successor at all costs,  Akwa Ibom State where  Governor Akpabio, is putting in all efforts to ensure victory for PDP, Kaduna State where Vice President Sambo is deploying all arsenals to ensure that Governor Yero is not disgraced, and Sokoto State where former  governor Bafarawa  and current NSA Sambo Dasuki are working tirelessly to ensure that Senator Wali defeats Tambuwal, and Enugu State where the opposition has no chance against Uguanyi, the rest of the states have been abandoned to the APC. In Lagos State, Timi Agbaje is not getting enough boost to make the election victorious for him. This is irresponsible from a ruling party. It shows that PDP is just an assemblage of charlatans and fair weather men who cannot stand for anything when the chips are down,

Since 2003, I have always supported a Buhari Presidency because I believe that corruption is Nigeria’s greatest problem. I have also known that this theory of his Islamizing Nigeria is a grand lie which originated under Obasanjo in 2003 and elevated to the highest height in the just concluded presidential poll. This does not mean that the ruling party should not show character in the remaining election and secure significant victories.

I advise President Jonathan, Party Leader Muazu, Bot Chairman Anenih and all the big wigs in PDP to rally round for a final fight because to the best of my knowledge, their mass defections to APC will not stop them from the judgments that is coming. This support should not include rigging and harassment of voters using the armed forces. Let Jonathan not abandon his party men, at least they worked for him, though the Nigerian people thought otherwise.

Obinna Akukwe



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Fashola’s Address To Lagosians On The April 11 2015 Gubernatorial Elections

Dear Lagosians,

First let me thank you all for turning out to vote on the 28th March 2015 and for doing so peacefully to make history by electing the All Progressives Congress candidates in the Presidential and National Assembly elections.

Once again, I must address you as we approach Saturday’s elections, when you will be electing a Governor who will continue after me and consolidate on the progress we have built together.

You will also be electing members of the State House of Assembly who will make laws on your behalf to assist the Governor and his team in the Executive arm.

Although your votes will be cast for one political party or the other, let me remind you that you will actually be voting for your wellbeing, security, prosperity and future.

You will also be voting for the future of your children. You will be choosing candidates and a party that you will entrust your lives to.

Think hard, think clearly, think deeply. Ask yourselves a few questions.

Who has shown a better record and example of protecting and securing you between the political parties?

Which of the parties cares more when disasters happen?

What is the record of the parties as it relates to the promises they have made to you in the past?

Which of the parties do you see regularly and which one do you see once in a while?

Which of the parties do you see when your life or property is threatened by epidemics like Ebola or by unfortunate accidents like plane crashes?

Which of the parties is showing that you can become home-owners without knowing anybody?

Which party has responsibility for providing electricity for you, and which one is taking up the responsibility to light up your streets and communities at night?

Which of them cares more about your children and their safety?

Indeed ask yourself; which of the parties threatened you with thugs on that sad Monday of March 16th and which is seeking to protect you by supporting the police; with patrol vehicles, fuel and other equipment?

Ask yourself when last you saw the Federal Fire Service in Lagos. The proud men and women of the Lagos State Fire Service have taken over admirably.

Ask yourself who should be supporting the police and who is actually doing it?

Dear Lagosians, your choice of who to vote for will be easy if you answer these questions within yourself honestly.

Indeed, you have clear choices to make between parties that use your resources to develop your society and community on the one hand, and the party that chooses to bring money to you for distribution when election beckons.

So you can choose between schools for your children, hospitals for your community, roads for your transportation or in the alternative, you can choose to have these services monetized once in four years.

Remember, that choices have consequences and your vote will decide the choice that shapes your lives.

Dear Lagosians, it is tempting to take the right and opportunity to vote for granted. It is tempting to think that it is too much trouble.

I agree that the process can be made much easier. But it is no excuse to refuse to vote.

Out of 5.8 million registered voters and 3.8 million PVC collections, only about 1.5 million turned out to vote, on the 28th March 2015.

Think of all the pain, the effort, the sleepless nights it took to get the PVCs to you. Think of the best way to show that the effort was not wasted or in vain.

It seems to me that the best way is to have all these 3.8 Million voters come out to vote.

By refusing to vote, you surrender decision making to a few and you will be bound by the consequences of your choices.

By refusing to vote, you do a great disservice to many who have lived before you, who fought very hard at great personal costs to themselves, to earn you this right.

By refusing to vote, you dishonour the sacrifice of patriots before you who fought for the right to vote.

Remember that when they were fighting for the right to vote, they were not fighting for yesterday, they were fighting for today and tomorrow.

They have handed today to you and I, can we secure tomorrow for the next generation?

Remember that since the capital of Nigeria was moved from Lagos 24 years ago in December 1991, Lagos has been abandoned by the Federal Government.

Ask yourself when the last major new road in Lagos was built by the Federal Government. It was the 3rd Mainland Bridge completed in 1990.

The assets the Federal Government left behind almost became a burden but for our resilience to maintain them. Today the Federal Government is owing Lagos N51 Billion which remains unpaid.

This is not in accord with the spirit of the promise made to Lagos when the Federal Government first declared Abuja as the capital in 1976.

The Head-of-State at the time, the late Gen Murtala Muhammed, said then and I quote him:

“…Lagos will, in the foreseeable future, remain the nation’s commercial capital and one of its nerve centres. But in terms of servicing the present infrastructure alone the committed amount of money and effort required will be such that Lagos State will not be ready to cope.

(But we have coped at great sacrifice)

“It will even be unfair to expect the state to bear this heavy burden on its own. It is therefore necessary for the Federal Government to continue to sustain the substantial investment in the area. The port facilities and other economic activities in the Lagos area have to be expanded.

“There is need in the circumstances for the Federal Government to maintain a special defence and security arrangement in Lagos which will henceforth be designated a special area. These arrangements will be carefully worked out and written into the new constitution. Kaduna and Port Harcourt are to be accorded similar status and designated as Special Areas…”

Sadly, no Federal Government and indeed not the PDP Government has done anything to redeem that promise for the 16 years it was in power or to protect Lagos.

Instead of assisting Lagos, they attacked her. If you remember FERMA, in 2006, the same PDP seized your Local Government money and resisted the attempt to bring Government closer to you by creating more local Governments.

On Monday 16th March 2015, the same PDP continued in their tradition of assaulting Lagos. Their supporters took over a major road in Lagos and threatened your peace and security.

On Wednesday 18th March 2015, the President-Elect, Muhammadu Buhari came to Lagos and said Lagos will receive compensation for the role she has played in maintaining Federal Government Assets.

Yesterday on Tuesday the 7th of April 2015, he was here in Lagos in his first political engagement since he became President-Elect and he reiterated his commitment to support Lagos.

This is what I will vote for. This is what I urge you to think about as you vote on Saturday.

This is the place that every Nigerian calls his home. It is the home of displaced people. It is the place where the homeless arrive and are made welcome.

It is the place where generations of Nigerians have arrived without knowing anybody but have, through the opportunities and inclusion, become somebody.

This is the place where the Late Chief Adeniran Ogunsanya and Owelle Dr. Nnamdi Azikiwe consummated the handshake across the Niger and played politics without bitterness.

Tell those who try to divide us that our greatest strength has always been our diversity.

Tell them that you feel safe here, and that I have continuously assured you of your safety as the basis of our mutual co-existence.

Tell them that our waterways have been assets of prosperity and sustenance, for transport, recreation and fishing and they will remain so.

Let nobody now attempt to re-write that history for you.

When they reel out false statistics about Lagos, please ask them the statistics about the places they governed for 16 years.

When they reel out statistics, please remind them that those statistics don’t stand in isolation, they are the burden of a whole nation and many parts of West Africa that Lagos state bears.

When they promise you heaven and earth, remember their broken promises on power, security and many more.

Ask them to show you a plan, if they can produce one, which is doubtful, ask them whether they have implemented it elsewhere.

Tell them that you have seen the Lagos Development plan for 2012 – 2025, that the Lagos Light Rail Project, the Adiyan Water Works Phase II of 75 Million gallons a day, the solar power for all schools and many more which are part of the plans for you and your children and which are already being implemented.

Tell them that you will vote to keep a plan that you can see, that is already working, instead of a plan that you have not seen.

Ask them what happened to Vision 20:20, to the 7-Point Agenda and to Transformation.

Tell them that your bird in hand will not be traded for a dozen unseen birds in the bush.

Tell them that this election is not about money, tell them that it is not about ethnicity and it is not about religion.

Tell them that this election is about the place you call your home, the place you earn your living and the place where your investments are the safest.

Tell them that you will not play ethnic or religious politics with your survival. Tell them that you will not vote with anger.

Tell them that you will vote with common sense and for experience.

Tell them that you have seen Lagos survive without Federal support, and you wish to see her flourish with Federal support.

That will be the most historic thing you will have done, putting Lagos in the centre with your votes.

History and tomorrow beckons. Don’t turn your backs.

Babatunde Raji Fashola, SAN

Governor of Lagos State.

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