Video: President Buhari’s Minister, Senator Aisha Alhassan Endorses Atiku’s Presidential Ambition

Minister of Women Affairs, Senator Aisha Alhassan, recently surfaced in a video where she publicly endorsed former Vice President Atiku Abubakar’s ambition to contest for the 2019 Presidential election.

Recall that in July 2017, Senator Alhassan had visited the Chairman, National Caretaker Committee of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, Ahmed Makarfi at the PDP headquarters in Abuja.

 

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Atiku, Danjuma, Dangote, Jadesimi, Others Named Nigeria’s Top 10 Maritime Operators

The Top10 magazine, Nigeria’s foremost publication that celebrates the top of the best in all areas of endeavor, has released the list of Nigeria’s top 10 maritime leaders, under the title, “Nigeria’s Maritime Top 10”.

In the latest edition of the magazine which looks at the stakes and contributions of indigenous maritime operators, the magazine lists the top 10 investors shaping local participation in the sector.

Top on the list are former vice president, Atiku Abubakar, who is the founder of Intels Nigeria; General T.Y Danjuma (rtd), chairman, Five Star Logistics Limited and NAL-Comet Shipping; Chief Oladipo Jadesimi, founder of Lagos Deep Offshore Logistics Base (LADOL) and Alhaji Aliko Dangote, founder and chairman of Greenview Development Services Limited.

Others on the list are Adesuyi Haastrup, chairman, ENL Consortium Limited; Emeka Ofor, chairman, Inland Container Terminal Nigeria Limited; Aderemi Makanjuola, chairman, Caverton Offshore Support Group; Taiwo Afolabi, founder of Sifax Group of Companies; Alhaji Bamanga Tukur, chairman, Daddo Group of Companies and Captain Emmanuel Iheanacho, chairman, Genesis Worldwide Shipping Company Limited.

Mr. Tony Iji,  publisher of  The Top10,  said in a release that, “In line with our tradition of celebrating 10 leading lights in every sector of the society, this edition of the magazine focuses on the top 10 Nigerian investors who are shaping indigenous participation in the maritime industry”. He said the major criteria for selection were market leadership of the operators, investment in infrastructure, as well as contribution to industry growth and economic development of Nigeria.

“In an industry dominated by foreigners, celebration of local investors who have distinguished themselves in contributing to the development of the sector is our little way of encouraging those who are working towards indigenous control of the industry”, Iji said.

He said the maritime sector was very critical to the economic development of Nigeria, hence the need to pay special attention to what happens in the industry, in view of the need to strengthen local participation. He also said in spite of its potential as a major driver of the economy, studies have shown that the industry is largely dominated by foreigners, to the detriment of indigenous operators. This notwithstanding, some indigenous operators have demonstrated capacity to increase local participation in the sector by investing in the required infrastructure and technologies to handle big and lucrative businesses such as lifting of crude oil, and other capital intensive operations.

“Our intention, therefore, is to identify and celebrate the top 10 industry leaders who have made the difference in the drive towards establishment of indigenous control in the operation of the Nigerian maritime industry”, Iji said. “These industry leaders comprise magnates that have built enormous operating capacities in various aspects of the business and, in them, rest the hope of increasing the participation of indigenous operators in the Nigerian maritime sector”.

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Atiku Braces For 2019, Commence Consultations With PDP

Former Vice President and Chieftain of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC), Atiku Abubakar, is reportedly leaving no chance to play as he has already commenced secret talks with Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) over an alleged return to the party and assurance that he will be handed the party’s ticket to contest the 2019 presidential election.

According to one PDP source, “The secret discussions are ongoing with a wing of the leadership of the PDP and this has encouraged the former vice-president to start consultations with critical leaders in the northern and southern parts of the country.

“However, Atiku has informed the PDP leaders who have approached him to guarantee him the nomination of the party for the presidential election before he can leave the APC, as he does not want to be messed up for the third time,” ThisDay reported.

Another source in the party explained that despite Fayose’s declaration at the weekend, the Ekiti governor was most likely positioning himself to secure the vice-presidential ticket of the PDP.

He explained that the reason Atiku may already have the backing of PDP chieftains stems from the fact that he is widely regarded as the most prepared for the presidency and is also considered acceptable to several constituents in both the southern and northern parts of the country.

The source added that Atiku was not unaware of the question surrounding his age, adding that the former vice-president is prepared to make his medical certificates for the last 10 years public to allay any concern about his health.

He also revealed that now that Atiku had been approached by PDP leaders to return to the party, the former vice-president was seriously considering the proposition, but is awaiting Buhari’s return to the country to enable him meet with the president before taking a final plunge.

“Right now the former vice-president is waiting for Mr. President to return. He wants to hold discussions with him, presumably to ascertain if Buhari will contest in 2019.

“Once he gets a clearer picture on the direction of things, he will take a final plunge as to whether to return to the PDP or remain with APC,” the source said.

ThisDay

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Senate Blockage Of Power Devolution Bill Is Saddening, Says Atiku

Former Vice President Atiku Abubakar, has described Senate blockage of bill on devolution of power to states as “shocking and saddening.”

Atiku, in a statement from his media office in Abuja, described the failure of the All Progressives Congress (APC)-led Senate to approve power devolution as a betrayal of the party’s promise.

According to him, “This blockage of the Bill by an APC-led Senate majority is a betrayal of our party’s pre-election promises. It was an important vote and I’m shocked by some so-called progressives’ visceral and cynical opposition to restructuring.”

He argued that “instead of building the foundations for a true federation, a small group of so-called progressive senators decided to stick with the new party line, pretending they didn’t know what restructuring was all about, and that even if they knew, it couldn’t be done.

“I think this is disingenuous. I think it is a sad day for our party. But I am confident the APC will learn the right lesson from this self-inflicted defeat, and remember the mission and mandate given to us by the people.”

“Let me be clear. Restructuring is no panacea to all our nation’s problems. But devolving resources and responsibilities from an overbearing, unresponsive, and ineffective federal government to the states is the first step we must make if we are serious about putting our nation back on track, and our people back to work,” he said.”

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Ex-VP Atiku Abubakar Speaks On Why He Supports Restructuring

Former Vice President Atiku Abubakar has attributed the rising tension and agitations in the country to the concentration of shared resources to a particular federating unit in the country.

Abubakar, who spoke yesterday at Nsukka during a public lecture organised by the Senior Staff Club of the University of Nigeria (UNN), stated that the rising tension and agitations in the country could be checked with a restructured polity that could meaningfully engage the people on productive activities.

According to him, the report of the 1995/96 Constitution Drafting Committee was not what was eventually released and foisted on the people of the country in 1999.

He stated further that Nigerians accepted the constitution because they were desirous of returning the country to democracy.

The former Vice President stressed that any serious government could initiate and conclude restructuring programmes that could impact meaningfully on Nigerians in six months, especially those that do not require constitutional amendment.

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The Hypocrisy in the Hue and Cry for Restructuring By Abu Abdulrazaq

The most popular mantra in Nigeria today is “Restructuring”. Check the dictionary, and what you will find will certainly not give you the Nigerian understanding of the term.

To many Nigerians, restructuring means decentralizing the government at the centre and devolving more powers to the states which constitute the federating units. Some prefer to call it True Federalism while others simply refer to it as Resource Control. It envisages a system whereby the states will generate their own funds and contribute a percentage to the federal government to take care of issues like national security and foreign policy, unlike what obtains today where the federal government “owns” the mineral and natural resources in the land and the revenue derivable from it, and “shares” monthly subventions to the states.

When referred to some countries of the world where such system is operable, it smells nice. However, in governance and world politics, there is no one-size-fits-all system. That is to say, what may be a virtue in a clock may be sheer incompetence in a barometer. Some countries are doing very good with democracy, others are doing pretty much well with monarchy, while some others are excelling with a hybrid of both.

Sadly, the political elite in our country have succeeded in beguiling the masses, especially the teeming army of so-called social media activists, to believe that restructuring is a button you push, or a switch you flick, and all of Nigeria’s problems and contentious issues will be automatically solved. But things are not always as easy as they appear to be. There is a vast dichotomy between theory and practical.

For instance, the British government held a referendum on the 23rd of June, 2016 on the issue of seceding, as it were, from the European Union, otherwise known as BREXIT. The majority of the citizens (53.4%) voted in favour, as against 46.6% who voted against. The then prime Minister, David Cameron, who was against the move, honorably stepped aside to pave way for a Theresa May to come in and implement BREXIT. But today, after more than a year, the entire country is still stuck in a quagmire – not able to move forward and not able to BREXIT. That is happening in a clime that is acclaimed to be saner than ours and more politically enlightened and sophisticated.

Back home, in the part of the country I hail from (the oil-rich Niger Delta), my fellow countrymen believe devolution of fiscal power to the states will automatically translate into rapid rural and urban development. I urge them to read the story of South Sudan. They share a lot of similarities with us and there is so much to learn from their unfortunate tale.

When the likes of Ibrahim Babangida (who only a few years back infamously referred to the restructuring debate as a no-go area) and Atiku Abubakar are now calling for restructuring as the only panacea to the myriad of problems bedeviling our country, then it is enough to understand that the politicians are at it again. Nobody should struggle to convince me that these men mean well for Nigeria as a country. They had the opportunity at the highest levels and capacities to serve the country and we all know how they fared.

Otherwise, in a country where more than half of the states are non-viable, a country where the internally generated revenue (IGR) of the clear majority of its states hovers around a paltry 200 million naira per month – from which they are expected to pay salaries/pensions, settle other recurrent expenditures, and embark on developmental projects – who calls for devolution of powers to the states? Seriously, who does that?

The present form in which Nigeria is structured may be very defective, but corrupt realities cannot be changed by immature strategies based only upon good wishes and intentions. Let us focus on achieving the low hanging fruits first, to stave off hunger, poverty, diseases, unemployment, etc., and salvage us from the abyss of underdevelopment.

Restructuring cannot be achieved by fiat or mere presidential/parliamentary pronouncements. It involves a painstaking process of constitutional amendment or overhaul, which must be consented to by both chambers of the National Assembly and the thirty-six state Houses of Assembly in the federation. Knowing our peculiarities, it is a process that may not be accomplished in the next 10 years, as it entails resolving quite a number of contentious issues as they affect various groups and interests. This is what our shameless leaders, who have insulated themselves up to their tenth generations from poverty with ill-gotten wealth brazenly stolen from public treasury, are calling us to endure for the next couple of years if not decades.

It is true that the journey of a thousand miles starts with a single step. But the undeniable fact remains that while this excruciating process will be ongoing, the poor will continue to wallow in extreme penury and destitution, whereas the rich will not drop a single item from their weekly shopping list.

After these contentious issues may have been resolved, if they will ever be, huge volumes of reports will be written, committees will be set up to review the reports, and other committees will be set up to review the review of the previous committees. And from there it will pass on to the implementation stage that will span for another 10 years, at the minimum, as our lazy governors will take their time to get used to the new reality of having to generate their own revenues from within, rather than the usual practice of dispatching their Commissioners of Finance to Abuja every month end to literally “share” from the “national cake”. Mind you, that will in no way affect their lifestyles. They will continue to lavish in opulence, ostentation and extravagance, while they preach forbearance and perseverance to me and my fellow ordinary countrymen and women.

In fact, it will only end up being a prolongation of our already overextended suffering.

Fellow Nigerians, we are used to the repeated sermons of patience and perseverance from our leaders. And whenever it seems like they want to finally attend to the plight of the ordinary man, they come up with long term plans that are unachievable, at least by their likes. Many years ago, the late General Sani Abacha came up with Vision 2020 with all its promises of making Nigeria an Eldorado of euphoria and utopia by the year 2020. Somewhere down the line, President Goodluck Jonathan came up with Vision 20:2020 with its reassuring promises of making our country among the largest 20 economies in the world in the year 2020. We are barely 3 years to 2020 and that vision is still very bleak.

We are tired of been fooled. What we need right now are timely interventions and rapid responses to the plight of the Nigerian on the street. The suffering in the land has reached an emergency level. We can no longer wait for long term projects. I know someone somewhere is already designing a wonderful blueprint of Vision 40:4040 which will make Nigeria the destination of choice in the year 4040. But please, we need quick fixes now to serve as emergency palliatives to our sufferings. We need immediate and out of the ordinary solutions to our challenges of hunger and underdevelopment. We do not need white elephant projects, embellished rhetorics, and classroom theories.

No politician should use us against us with this restructuring jazz. Atiku Abubakar was Vice President for 8 years, and he never knew the word, “restructuring”. Ibrahim Babangida was Head of State for 8 years and he never mentioned the word, “Restructuring”. Why now?

These crazy baldheads have used us as pawns on their chessboards for too long… But our mumu don do.

May God save us from us!

Abu Bilaal Abdulrazaq Bn Bello bn Oare

Kaduna, Nigeria

sahaabah@aol.com

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2019: Atiku Denies Enugu Integrity Group

Former Vice President, Atiku Abubakar, has denied associating with a group known as the Integrity Group.

The group was alleged to have held a mobilisation meeting in support for Atiku Abukakar in Enugu last weekend.

In a statement issued by the Atiku Media Office on Tuesday, the former vice president said the news about the Enugu event was, at worst, the handiwork of some opportunists, political jobbers and shortsighted schemers who are out to do all they can to create power struggles for nothing but, their own selfish ends.

“The Atiku Media Office wishes to state that the news report in a section of the media at the weekend in which stalwarts of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) in Enugu State, shunned a purported presidential campaign parley of former Vice President and APC chieftain, Atiku Abubakar is blatantly false.

“While we see the media as partners in progress, and do not intend to disparage them, we urge them to always carry out investigation(s) to ascertain the credibility, veracity or otherwise of stories before publishing, else they may inadvertently earn the ignominious medal of “fake news.”

“The Atiku Media Office states that the so-called Integrity Group is not known to Atiku Abubakar, the Atiku Media Office and the supposedly held parley by the group, is not known to the former Vice President.

The news about this event is, at worst, the handiwork of some opportunists, political jobbers and shortsighted schemers who are out to do all they can to create power struggles for nothing but, their own selfish ends. As such, the Atiku Media Office seeks to distance itself and the former vice president from such group or persons.”

The statement said what is of paramount importance to Atiku (presently in Saudi Arabia to perform the lesser Hajj), “at this critical stage of the life of our nation is party unity, unconditional support for the acting president and prayers for the recovery and return of President Muhammadu Buhari.

It said: “The former vice president is focused on lending his time and best endeavours to the president to ensure that the country turns the corner by overcoming the present ravaging recession and inflation and put food on the table for the average Nigerian citizen. The time for politics is yet, a while away.”

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Adamawa Emirate Council Bestow Traditional Title Of Waziri Adamawa On Atiku

Former Vice President Atiku Abubakar, has on Friday, been elevated to the position of Waziri Adamawa by the Adamawa Emirate Council.

Mallam Muawiyah Abba, the Information Officer of the Emirate Council, confirmed this to pressmen in Yola.

Atiku’s appointment to the position followed the death of the former Waziri, Alhaji Muhammad Abba in April.

The Waziri is the most senior kingmaker in the emirate and serves as close confidant and adviser to the Lamido.

Abba explained that the Council had also conferred the title of Turaki Adamawa, hitherto held by Atiku, to his son Aliyu.

“It is true that the emirate has appointed Atiku Abubakar the new Waziri of Adamawa while his son, Aliyu, is also appointed as the new Turaki Adamawa to take over from his father,” he added.

The new Turaki is also a grandson to late Lamido Adamawa, Alhaji Aliyu Mustafa.

Spokesman of Atiku, Mr Paul Ibe, confirmed the appointment, saying, “I have spoken to him (Atiku) and he confirmed it.”

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