Civil Society Group Want President Buhari To Order The Immediate Release Of DSS Report On Magu

By Adenike Lucas

A civil society group have urged President Muhammadu Buhari, PMB to direct the Department of State Service, DSS to publish its report on the culpability of Mr Ibrahim Mustafa Magu, the acting chair of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC.

Transparency for Social Justice and Equity, a non-governmental organisation that works to uphold the human right of Nigerians, expressed concerns about Mr Magu’s alleged connection to Air Commodore Umar Mohammed (Rtd) whom the DSS had arrested and recovered $1.5 million dollars, confidential document from the EFCC, Office of the President and Arms Deal Committee in his Maitama home.

In an article first published by This Day on the 10th of June, Mr Muhammed is accused of fronting for Mr Magu.

A source had previously revealed to this blog that the retired Air Force officer who remains in custody is alleged to have run a blackmailing and extortion cartel using the classified documents found in his home. Mr Muhammed is said to have implicated Mr Magu during questioning.

The Civil Society Organisation who made note of this allegation were worried that “Mr Magu was still allowed to be heading the anti-graft agency despite this alarming level of accusation.”

The group states that “we are worried that despite details provided by the arrested Air Commodore Umar Muhammad (Rtd) who is said to be fronting for a senior EFCC and Office of the National Security Adviser official, Mr Magu was still leading the agency.”

According to the Secretary of the group, Mr O. Williams, “President Buhari must look beyond what Mr Magu may be portraying himself to be, and take the bull by the horn, in order to have a total war against corruption.”

The coalition of Nigerian Youths for Change Initiative had also accused Mr Magu of awarding the sum of N43m to his crony and DSS suspect retired Air Pilot Muhammed, for the furnishing of a Maitama residence, which he recently moved into.

In a statement signed by its National Coordinator, Mr Oladimeji Ayo, said at a time “the country is facing economic downtown, with most cabinet members of PMB unable to cater for their accommodation challenges,” the EFCC chair was not being prudent.

Mr Ayo who called for Mr Magu to be relieved of his job explained that Mr Magu “led EFCC is not different from his predecessor, Mr Ibrahim Larmorde whose tenure witnessed the outright stealing of N1trillion Naira of recovered funds by the commission- an allegation that made Mr Lamorde disappear from public scene instead of defending himself before the Nigerian Senate.”

Mr Williams agreeing with Mr Ayo said: “It is now clear that Mr Magu is not fighting corruption with sincerity as envisaged by PMB, but projecting his interest at the detriment of the country’s predicament.”

Meanwhile, the DSS which did not have the chance to SCREEN Mr Magu before his name was submitted to the Senate, is yet to publish the full report on the activities of Mr Magu. The group is now demanding that the President “orders” for them to do so.

Mr Magu is presently expecting to get confirmed by the NASS upon resumption today, Tuesday, 20th September 2016.

Well-meaning Nigerians have been calling on the government of President Buhari to avoid the future embarrassment which for sure Mr Magu is ready to make the regime face as a plan ‘B’ in the event he is not confirmed by the Senate.

Last month, regular staff at EFCC made a complaint of bullying against their boss but they said “Nigerians thought it was a joke.”

Now, they say “even the seconded Policemen at EFCC are now complaining bitterly to the Inspector General of Police, Mr Ibrahim Idris that Mr Magu was maltreating them.

They also accused him of “impunity and money laundering.”

One noted that the desperation of the troubled leader of the anti-graft agency is such that he was “blackmailing first class Emirs in the north”.

Insiders also say that Mr Magu launched a media war against those he believes might be working against his bid to be made the substantive chair of the EFCC.

Alhaji Aba Kyari, the Chief of Staff to the President; Mr Abubakar Malami SAN, the Attorney-General of Federation and Abulrahman Dambazau, the Minister of Interior; Mallam Mamman Daura et al are amongst those Mr Magu believes are working against him.

To get back at them, he has sponsored false article on the US based online website, Sahara Reporters about them.

In the latest onslaught of sponsored article via Sahara Reporters, Mallam Daura is accused of writing the “plagiarised Obama speech” read by President Buhari but government sources who corroborate Garba Shehu’s (SSA, Media & Publicity to the President) statement on the issue say that Sahara Reporters is “peddling lies.”

Yesterday, the pioneer chairman of the EFCC Mallam Nuhu Ribadu gave insiders willing to expose Mr Magu, a big boost when he has said that “whistleblowers must be encouraged and protected.”

EFCC staff say Mr Magu is not fit to lead the commission because of the challenges he has been presenting himself to the public.

Those present at a Lagos symposium where Mr Magu presented a written paper “This Is Our Chance” questioned the authenticity of his University Accountancy Degree.

One person said: “when you ask him, sometimes he’d say he went to Ahmadu Bello University, ABU Zaria another time, he says he graduated from University of Maiduguri.”

Another lambasted him for not being able to read a well written paper that was given to him days back. They say he has “become an embarrassment to himself and the government.”

[easy-social-share buttons="facebook,twitter" counters=0 style="button"]

Buhari, Osinbajo, Lawmakers, Others Earn N2.295bn In One Year

President Muhammadu Buhari, his vice, Yemi Osinbjo; ministers and other political appointees have earned N2.295 billion as official salaries and allowances in the last one year, Economic Confidential can report.

The development is coming at a time the Federal Government kick-started a national orientation campaign premised on the “Change begins with me.”

The report obtained by the Economic Intelligence magazine, showed that the official remunerations of the President, Vice-President, cabinet ministers, Secretary to the Government of the Federation and the Head of Service of the Federation, among other chief executives, were in tandem with the approval of the Revenue Mobilization, Allocation and Fiscal Commission, RMAFC.

The packages include annual salaries, accommodation, vehicle maintenance/fuel, personal assistant, house maintenance, domestic staff, entertainment and utilities allowances. Other allowances are constituency, hardship, newspapers and monitoring.

A critical examination of the report indicated that the President has an annual basic salary of N3.51 million, Vice President N3.03 million, while ministers, Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Head of Service and chairmen of boards of statutory agencies have N2.02m respectively.

As for members of constitutional bodies, special advisers, speech writers, directors general, Accountant General of the Federation, permanent secretaries, CEOs of agencies and INEC Resident Electoral Commissioners, each has an annual basic salary of N1.9 million.

The report shows that only the President and the Vice President in the Executive arm of government enjoy the hardship allowances of 50 percent each of their annual basic salaries; 250 percent as Constituency Allowances and enjoy other perks to be provided (TBP) by government.

These benefits to be provided to the two leaders include, but not limited to the following: accommodation, furniture, domestic staff, personal assistants, utilities, newspapers, vehicles, entertainment, maintenance and estacode.

Meanwhile, other appointees, including ministers, advisers, permanent secretaries and INEC Resident Commissioners are entitled to 200 per cent of their annual basic salary for accommodation; 300 percent for furniture; 75 percent for vehicle maintenance and fuel; 25 percent for personal assistant; 75 percent for domestic staff; 45 percent for entertainment; 30 percent for utilities; 15 percent for newspapers, and 20 percent for monitoring.

While the President and Vice President’s duty tours and estacode will be provided by government, other officers have fixed rates.

The estacode allowance per day for minister, SGF, Head of Service and Chairmen of Board is $1000 per night on foreign trip, member of constitutional bodies, $900 per night; special adviser and speech writer, $800 per night, while permanent secretary, director general and INEC electoral commissioner take $600 per night each on foreign trips.

[easy-social-share buttons="facebook,twitter" counters=0 style="button"]

President Buhari And The Status Quo, By Moh’d Buhari Adamu (Ardo)

As you watch television today, read the newspapers, listen to radio, sit at “Mai shayi/Mai suya” joint, or pass by somewhere, you run into many issues regarding this president Buhari’s administration, most of which are negative comments you would rather not hear about. There is no doubt that everyone else would like to live in a society where people are committed to peace and security, where people hesitate to oppress or harm one another, where there is religion tolerance and respect for each other and honouring words from one another. Such an environment, ensuring a structure of relationships shaped by respect and love, is everyone’s dream.  But the case is different here in my dear country, Nigeria. Therefore, those who are sincerely willing to live in a society where peace, security and freedom prevail, should waste no time in taking action and be willing to make certain sacrifices no matter how little because looking at the rate at how things are going now, this government could lose points and confidence from its people.

Nigeria is a great nation endowed with talented people and resources but due to the lack of visionary leadership, we always find it difficult to thrive to the level of competitiveness. Many regimes had came and passed and each came with different economic agenda that was aimed at mobilizing human, material and natural resources of the nation to achieve a goals of national life. Sadly, after more than fifty years of reforms, Nigeria has painfully remained a public-sector led economy with a bloated government presence in every facet of national life, mono-economy with preponderant influence of one commodity in determining the nation’s revenue-expenditure profile and the balance of payment position, an extractive and primary economy that produced unrefined raw materials for export, either in the form of agricultural products or crude oil, and an economy with a weak and unsteady national currency that has been the whipping boy of the international financial community.

Before 2015 elections, Nigerians were hopeful that in the midst of all the challenges-insecurity, hunger, kidnappings, corruption and lack of confidence in government- facing the country, the incoming administration of Gen. Muhammadu Buhari would reinstate the system because of his known quality in leadership, untainted personality which also aligned with the change mantra that people were yearning for. Despite the fact that there are many elements of the past administrations in the retinue of his change mantra, people were hopeful that ousting PDP was not only an option but a collective choice by the majority of the people. More often than not, people are most likely bend to what will happen rather than what had happened especially where there is more expectation from whom the due is given. Predictability makes it possible to anticipate what will happen if certain actions are undertaken. The dream was for a bold and audacious change that will fundamentally, structurally and massively change the attitudes of the Nigerians and transform the national economy, secure the polity, care for the underprivileged, and provide responsible and responsive leadership in Nigeria. This has been seen in Gen. Muhammadu Buhari’s campaign manifestos in full-throated clarity. Change is a gradual process and given the fact that Nigerians are not used to basics the Buhari’s administration is faced with critiques from different angles. Nigerians are used to having easy money, given that the previous administrations did not have financial prudence, there was too much money in the hands of individuals or some organizations that were meant for public services but turned out to be managed and spent at their disposal. Nigeria is endowed with both human and natural resources enormously but because corruption has been the order of the day, the resources become the loot for those who are privileged to have access to the coffers of government and manipulatively decide who gets what and how. Nigeria was described as a Gangster’s Paradise where you pay a bribe to see a key official in an establishment or even to acquire a signature. You pay a bribe to get a job. You pay a bribe to get the passport. You pay bribe to get contracts. You pay bribe to get your entitlements. Change was what Nigerians were yearning for.

But today this administration is one year and four months old but there is little change in the country contrary to what people were expecting. It is quite recommendable that the issue of insurgency has been degraded. The major challenges this administration is faced with now is socio-economic and maladministration from all the arms of government which has been the paramount problem of Nigeria. This administration needs to put some active machinery in place to tackle the sufferings people are going through. The president needs to build a strong team of people with insight and high degree of interdependence towards achieving the goal for which they hold themselves accountable. The central idea here is that this administration should focus on creating avenues and economic packages to enhance the welfare of its citizens rather than the blame game because we the optimists are also affected by it. We all know what corruption could do to a country and we know that it is obvious that president Buhari came in to rescue Nigeria, he may not have done much to save the situation but he means well for this country which is a known fact to even those who are born to wail. We shouldn’t be criticizing subjectively. Yes! We are going through hardships. But still to blame Buhari on almost every current hardship is either hatred or ignoramus. Because there are some people that no matter what they can criticize, they have the mindset that Nigeria can never be salvaged. Need I to remind you of the causes of our current problems? Just of recent administrations, Olusegun Obasanjo, within eight years, earned #17 trillion from crude oil sales. He left 45bn dollars in the external reserves. Despite the economic meltdown, Yaradu’a made it to be $64 dollars within just one year and left $47.7bn in external reserve. Jonathan administration witnessed an oil upswing when crude sold foe over 100 dollars per barrel, earning #51trn within five years. But the Jonathan’s administration squandered the oil revenues and depleted the reserves left by its predecessors. Buhari’s administration inherited just #32b and a huge external debt of 63bn dollars and the crude sales at 37 dollars per barrel which has been increased to about 48 dollars just recently. These are facts that can be verified. And looking at these facts and other circumstances one would know where our current hardships emanated from. Also our state governors also contribute to the current hardships. Every person is entitled to his opinion but there is an opinion that lacks substance. We have to do away with subjective criticisms and look closely to ourselves whether or not, in one way or the other, maybe we are contributing to our own problems by disregarding some of our fundamental religion teachings and ideologies. We must also learn to imbibe the culture of being productive. I believe that since many countries had gone through recession and came out stronger; Nigeria too will overcome the hurdles and come out stronger than ever before. Singapore metamorphosed from a third world country to an industrialized country. Malaysia, from a commodity exporting country became one of the biggest economies in Asia today. Both India and Brazil did it. If Japan, a country devastated by World War II and devoid of natural resources can become a leading industrialized nation, why not Nigeria that is rich in human and natural resources? It all happened to those countries because of quality in leadership. And in President Buhari, I see that leadership. What he needs now is our prayers, patient and perseverance. Because we all know there are some people in this administration who pretend to be part of the change while actually they are not. They are just a subterfuge, sabotaging the good will of this administration. And by God grace they can be exposed by anxiety or the zeal and strong determination of this administration toward fighting corruption and injustice.

May Allah continue to bless our dear Nigeria!

[easy-social-share buttons="facebook,twitter" counters=0 style="button"]

Cossy Orjiakor Name Cats After Buhari, Jonathan

Barely one month after a man, Joachim Iroko, who named his dog Buhari, was arrested and remanded in prison, popular Nollywood actress, Cossy Orjiakor, has named her two cats Buhari and Goodluck.

Not withstanding the fact that the Nigeria Police arraigned Iroko of “committing an offence contrary to and punishable under Section 249 (d) of the Criminal Law of Ogun State, Nigeria, 2016, by writing a name, Buhari, on a dog and parading same in the Hausa section of Ketere Market, Sango, the nollywood actress did not hesitate in naming her cats.

“My cats, Buhari and Goodluck, (are) discussing the Nigerian economy (and) dollar rate,” the actress wrote on her Instagram page, @cossyorjiakor.

She expressed her readiness to be arrested for naming her cats after Buhari, Goodluck.

“All I want is a good-looking sexy police officer with Donald Duke’s (former governor of Cross River) face; Uti Nwachukwu’s eyes; PSquare’s chest and D’Banj’s ‘no long thing.’ He should come with sexy handcuffs.

“And he (the policeman) should have an English accent like Jim Iyke. All I want is a super-handsome police officer with six-packs and stamina to arrest me this morning (Saturday) and take me to Aso Rock prison; and serve me Aso Rock food because ‘Mummy Victor Market’ is too expensive these days.

“If it is a policewoman, then she must have fat, soft buttocks and big tits. I must be high on some cheap stuff this morning,” she said.

[easy-social-share buttons="facebook,twitter" counters=0 style="button"]

Buhari Orders Sanction Of Speechwriter For Plagiarising Part Of Obama’s Speech

President Muhammadu Buhari on Friday said the speechwriter responsible for plagiarising the United States President Barack Obama’s 2008 victory speech will face disciplinary action.

The Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity, Mallam Garba Shehu, in a statement said that the similarities between certain paragraphs in Buhari and Obama’s speeches were too similar to be coincidental.

The statement read in part, “President Muhammadu Buhari has ordered that prompt and appropriate disciplinary action be taken against those responsible for a wrongful insertion in his speech delivered on September 8, 2016 at the launch of the ‘Change Begins with Me’ campaign.

Shehu blamed the action on some overzealous workers and apologised on their behalf.

He also said that a deputy director in the presidency had accepted responsibility for the action but added that the oversight would be investigated and the appropriate punishment would be meted out to the official.

Shehu urged Nigerians to look beyond the error and not allow the gaffe to distract them from the core message of change.

He added, “There was a mistake by an overzealous worker and we regret that this has happened. Already, a Deputy Director in the Presidency has accepted responsibility for the insertion of the contentious paragraph.

“This serious oversight will be investigated thoroughly and appropriate sanction meted. The Presidency wishes to state in the clearest possible terms that it regrets this unfortunate incident and will ensure that this does not happen again.

“President Buhari urges Nigerians to look beyond this incident and focus on the message of change which the country needs in order to restore our cherished value systems.”

[easy-social-share buttons="facebook,twitter" counters=0 style="button"]

Buhari Plagiarised Obama’s 2008 Victory Speech

President Muhammadu Buhari has been accused of plagiarising  a part of the ‘Change begins with me’ campaign speech he delivered last week.

Adeola Akinremi, a columnist, was first to make the allegation, saying Buhari’s speech bore marked resemblance with the one delivered by Barack Obama in his November 2008 presidential election victory speech at a rally in Grant Park in Chicago, Illinois.

“President Muhammadu Buhari made a terrible mistake last Thursday. He plagiarized President Barack Obama’s speech to launch ‘change begins with me,’” he wrote in his column.

“So you didn’t notice that our president lifted from Obama’s 2008 victory speech and passed it off as if the words were his own?

“The argument will rage, but the moral problem of plagiarism on a day Mr. President launched a campaign to demand honesty and integrity from the people is what we should concern ourselves with.

“I’m not a wailing wailer and I don’t like the downfall of any man but I also don’t like to be deceived. The very last thing you should do when you’re launching a campaign like this is to be dishonest with the people.

“As Buhari talked down on Nigerians during the launch of the campaign spearheaded by no other person, other than the Minister of Information, Alhaji Lai Muhammed, known for his trash-talk, particularly for the opposition, I started following the speech line-by-line.

“I was alarmed to make the discovery. It was a scandal that escaped the attention of our newspapers. It is one of two things: either people don’t pay particular attention to Buhari’s words or we are a nation of anything goes.”

The paragraph alleged to have been lifted by Buhari read: “We must resist the temptation to fall back on the same partisanship, pettiness and immaturity that have poisoned our country for so long.

“Let us summon a new spirit of responsibility, spirit of service, of patriotism and sacrifice, Let us all resolve to pitch in and work hard and look after, not only ourselves but one another, What the current problem has taught us is that we cannot have a thriving army of rent seekers and vested interests, while the majority suffers.”

Meanwhile, Obama’s words in 2008 were: “In this country, we rise or fall as one nation, as one people. Let’s resist the temptation to fall back on the same partisanship and pettiness and immaturity that has poisoned our politics for so long.

“So let us summon a new spirit of patriotism, of responsibility, where each of us resolves to pitch in and work harder and look after not only ourselves but each other. Let us remember that, if this financial crisis taught us anything, it’s that we cannot have a thriving Wall Street while Main Street suffers.”

Attempting to explain how Obama’s speech may have been plagiarised, Aderemi said: “When you use another person’s work without acknowledgement, you have plagiarized. You simply pretend as if it is your own. It is unethical. It makes a mess of the campaign from the start. That is what Buhari has done, nobody will believe in the ‘change begins with me’ campaign, because it was built on lies.

“Now, this is what I think must have happened, an incompetent speech writer handed the speech to Buhari with no fact checking method by the president’s men that should have saved the president from this embarrassment.

“I know this that with the vast opportunity provided by the internet, it’s so tempting to plagiarize, but the same internet provides opportunity to discover plagiarists.

“It’s particularly troubling that the president has no inspiring words of his own other than to steal from someone. And this, it is pathetic that this “change” conversation is taking new dimension from what we expected.”

Contacted by TheCable, Garba Shehu,  senior special assistant on media and publicity to the president, declined to discuss the matter over the phone, saying he would rather send an email.

The email is still being expected.

But a professor of English Language at the University of Abuja, who did not want to be named, described plagiarism as an offence not to be tolerated any where in the world regardless of the perpetrator.

“Plagiarism is an offence no matter who commits it; it is a fact,” he said. “Plagiarism is not tolerated by anywhere and for whatever reason. Its an offence.”

[easy-social-share buttons="facebook,twitter" counters=0 style="button"]

Buhari Backs Constitutional Amendment To Free LGs From State Control

President Buhari has advised local governments to produce a bill that would make them free from the control of states.

Speaking on Thursday when he hosted officials of the Association of Local Governments in Nigeria (ALGON) at the presidential villa in Abuja, Buhari said the freedom of local governments from the stranglehold of states would better the lot of Nigerians at the community level.

He described the frosty relationship between states and local government as “a very serious constitutional problem”,  saying a constitutional amendment was urgently required to address the issue.

“The relationship between the three tiers of government is not a very nice one, especially that between the local governments and the states,”he said.

“The states feel like they own the local government, if they are of the same party. It is worse if they are not.

“This is a very serious constitutional problem and unless there is absolute clarity and transparency, the relationship will continue to be exploited against the interest of the ordinary people of the country.”

Buhari also acknowledged the request by ALGON for the release of $3.2 billion “wrongfully” deducted by the administration of former President Olusegun Obasanjo for the settlement of foreign debts in 2005.

[easy-social-share buttons="facebook,twitter" counters=0 style="button"]

PDP Is Shameless For Asking Buhari To Quit —FG, APC

The Federal Government and the All Progressives Congress have berated the Peoples Democratic Party for demanding the resignation of President Muhammadu Buhari.

The Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, and the National Secretary of the party, Mai Mala Buni, in separate statements on Thursday, said the PDP was bent on returning Nigeria to “years of looting.”

Mohammed,  in a statement on Thursday by his Special Adviser, Mr. Segun Adeyemi, said the PDP was shameless.

He described the   former ruling party as a shameless irritant, which was bent on distracting the government from its rescue mission and returning the country to ‘’Egypt.’’

Mohammed stated, ‘’We are on a rescue mission to resuscitate Nigeria after the PDP left it in a coma, and the noise from the same PDP seems designed to sabotage the rescue efforts. But we are not deterred.”

The minister said if the PDP had understood the meaning of shame; it would not have dared to even make a single comment on the economy that it did everything to kill.

He added, ‘’While the PDP was emasculating Nigeria on all fronts, including social, economic and political, the rapacious party was deceiving Nigerians by giving them the illusion of growth and prosperity.

“Instead of showing remorse and rebuilding itself to a strong opposition party, the PDP has continued to blame the successor Buhari administration, which is left to pack their mess. The PDP undertakers have continued to engage in a blame game, when they should be hiding from the shame they brought upon themselves and the nation.”

Mohammed added that what the PDP had consistently put up as a vibrant economy under its watch was nothing but a bubble that was buoyed by massive corruption and chronic incompetence.

He stated, “They keep saying we should stop talking of the past, yet the past will not stop rearing its head. They keep saying we should no longer refer to the past, but how can we forget so soon that our foreign exchange reserves plummeted from $62bn in 2008 to $30bn by 2015, at a time when oil prices were at a historic high, reaching a level of $114 per barrel in 2014.

“The candid truth is that we failed under the successive PDP administrations to save for the rainy day, and we need to constantly remind ourselves of that so that we won’t repeat the mistake.

“Take the Excess Crude Account, which fell from about $9bn in 2007 to about $2bn in 2015; the argument that it was the state governors who depleted the account does not hold water since there were governors in place when the account was being built up.

“Worse still is the fact that up to $14bn in revenues from the Nigerian LNG remain unaccounted for, and indeed until the Buhari administration came to office, state governments never got any allocations from this source of fund which properly belongs to the Federation Account.

“The naked fact on the revenue front is that there was just a failure of leadership. This was compounded by the non-transparent uses of funds. We are all witnesses to the sacking of a Central Bank Governor because he raised the alarm about $20bn that had gone missing.

‘’We are indeed still trying to recover huge sums looted from the national treasury under the PDP’s watch, with $15bn stolen from the defence sector alone. Perhaps most painful is that because of the way funds (about $322m) returned from Switzerland were mishandled, we now have to accept conditionalities before our stolen assets are even returned to us.”

Mohammed said one of the achievements that the PDP had been touting was that it reduced the nation’s national debt.

“However, at the time that we were earning such large revenues from oil, we only managed to double our external debt from $5.6bn to $10.7bn between 2011 and 2015.  The case of domestic debt was even worse, almost tripling from N888bn to N2.1tn in the same period.

“Even these figures mask the extent of unpaid obligations to contractors and the huge plethora of uncompleted projects on which money continued to be spent without visible results. Payments to contractors stopped several years ago while not a single dollar was contributed to the Joint Venture activities. Over N4.5tn was spent on fuel subsidy in just two years under the PDP!”

On its part, the APC described the call by the PDP for Buhari’s resignation as  ridiculous.

The national secretary of the party, in a statement in Abuja said the call was a desperate attempt by the PDP  to return Nigeria to the path of reckless fiscal policies.

The statement partly read, “The PDP faction by its demand to return the country to the years where looting of the public treasury was the order of the day  has taken its orchestrated plot to deflect attention from the economic mess it left behind to new insensitive and shameless heights.

“Instead of this charade by the PDP, we advise the PDP leaders and their cronies to apologise to Nigerians and toe the path of honour by returning the public funds stolen under their watch.

“While the PDP attempts to fraudulently re-write history and misrepresent facts on its misrule of the country, Nigerians are traumatised on a daily basis on disclosures of the startling level of pillage of the country’s commonwealth perpetuated under its watch.”

[easy-social-share buttons="facebook,twitter" counters=0 style="button"]

Buhari, APC And The Road To 2019 By Abiodun Komolafe

All things considered, I think Nigeria has been punched into coma and only God can bring her back to life!

From the man who opted for a bag of rice in exchange for his son; to the pregnant woman who stole N300.00 to answer the call of a normal symptom of pregnancy, there is a rise in Nigeria’s socio-political temperature and no one really knows where Nigeria is headed. Warningly, inflation rate is on the high side and our Gross Domestic Product (GDP) growth rate is unsmiling either. From the cosmetic to the substantive, politicians have chopped our country into pieces with each of the parts selfishly kept to themselves even as the gladiators continue to fight in another person’s corner. Dollar gets worse with each passing day, which in turn deeply traumatizes the fortunes of our country.

Even as a Buharist whose fierce support for ‘Change’ has been unflinching, I believe it’s time government clipped the wings of this trajectory of sham and uncertainty that is capable of corrupting our national cohesion and national peace. The threatening trend of poverty-inspired suicide cases among Nigerians calls for concern and  the Muhammadu Buhari-led administration must find resourceful means of destroying this deadly temple of want and turpitude before it springs into something else. In strict terms,  Nigerians are tired of  the ritual of wringing hands in lamentation. So,  relevant authorities must devise creative means of putting value on intentions before a line damages an entire song.

2019 is around the corner and ahead of this politically-charged and highly volatile socio-economic environment lies a fiercely-loyal-but-highly-critical support base.  As we are aware, one of the biggest challenges in running Nigeria’s socio-economic landscape is that of ensuring that best practices are employed in creating ventures for the economy to pick up. However, the irony of our policy somersault in this part of the world is that it sympathies with the criminals but penalizes the victims. Basically therefore, the fear of failure should encourage the Buhari to travel back to the past, look at the risks, weigh benefit options, then make decisions which show greater consistency, courage and determination in preventing ‘Change’ from being a threat to our survival.

Again, being in a recession is not a death knell. But, beyond economic jargons, actions taken to navigate through the temporary setback is what matters. United States of America, United Kingdom and Canada, have at one time or the other in their chequered history hit this bottom but they all came out of it, possibly bruised but unbowed. South Korea, incidentally, Asia’s fourth largest economy, is currently having her technical dose of it while South Africa, Africa’s touted largest economy, narrowly escaped it in the second quarter of this year. So, what Nigeria needs at a time like this is a bit of creative wake-up by introducing higher dimensions of consciousness into the complexities of governance.

With the benefit of hindsight, Buhari comes across a very different, special leader with a magnetic and personable charisma, divinely positioned to rescue Nigeria from the damaging and dangerous remnants of the past. But, in his efforts at righting past wrongs, he should always remember that rumblings of dissent or wrangling of misery among members of his party can gravitate into a catalyst for implosion. So, he will be doing internal democracy a great deal of good if, within the dictates of the law, he deals with situations that are incapable of promoting unity within its rank with a long spoon.

For a fact, Nigerians are never in doubt of  Buhari’s ability to move the country up out of  the fantasy of ancestral authority and the excitement of collective captivity that have become predatory threats to her survival into a hub of business and cultural opportunities. Along this line is the saga of unpaid salaries which is currently rocking no fewer than 27 states. Government needs to proactively  solve this problem before the next General Election if the ruling party must retain the confidence of this integral part of the electorate. Also in need of renewed vigour in its prosecution than it is witnessing at the moment is the anticorruption war, lest political principalities, terrorists and businessmen shortsightedly exploit its manifest weakness as a bargaining tool for access to power in 2019.

Contrary to claims in some quarters, Nigeria’s large and diverse voting public is not always the classroom professor or the parasitic analyst but the poor folk out there who is even ready to die for a cause he believes in. So far, this class of Nigerians has been the president’s strongest pillar of support and most-treasured asset. The toxic truth is that things are currently not looking good for them and this is as a result of government’s rather biting policies. It is therefore in the president’s interest to roll out practical solutions that can help lighten their yokes and give them some sense of direction before things get out of hand. If he succeeds in doing this, then, Buhari will be chasing  a place in the record books as the best president Nigeria ever had!

I’ve commented elsewhere that the way the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) is preparing for the battle of 2019 has not been all that encouraging and the party has to address this particular temptation, especially, now that ovation is still ascending.  Elections in some parts of the country have shown that infrastructure development without an accompaniment of its human complement often carries along with it tremendous negative consequences and this may not be the best for a party that is seeking relevance in the consciousness of the people.  In my considered view, a situation in which committed members are treated as permanent beggars precariously scrambling for crumbs under the table of some clique is not a strong point in the defence of progressive party politics. It is interesting to note that quite a large chunk of  its patriots who committed financial and material resources towards its success in the last general election are still out in the open, with their innocence shattered and their expectations plummeted. Unfortunately, there has been no strong statement coming from the president or the National Chairman of the ruling party who by law is its operational head.

By the way, will Buhari seek a 2nd term in office? For now, the sky is cloudy and response can be confusing! Constitutionally, it is his right! Yet, it is his call! Well, while opinions may differ as to the propriety or otherwise of adventures in power,  Abraham Lincoln, Franklin Roosevelt, Lee Kuan Yew, Robert Mugabe, Nelson Mandela, Jerry Rawlings, Thabo Mbeki, Jacob Zuma, even, Goodluck Jonathan have provided varying shades of opinions on this topical issue. Though what these people earned or did not earn for themselves in terms of untainted esteem and unrubbished sympathy is left for historians to ponder, it is my sincere desire to dig deeper into this area of special interest in my subsequent interventions.

Reckless temperaments! Hateful instincts! Appearance of impropriety! Why are the people hungry and  angry? Why are they poor and unfed? How come we have suddenly become a decadent and polluted society swimming, irresistibly, in a dysfunctional economy, culture of recklessness and pattern of hypocrisy? For God’s sake, why do people delight in profiting from others’ misery and why are the led preferably kept in perpetual poverty for them to continue slaving and serving the  purpose as dictated by the master? On the other hand, how come the abolition of Navigation Act, which shipowners had once predicted would be the ruin of British Shipping, eventually turned out to be one of the greatest periods of expansion in the history of shipping in Britain?

May the Lamb of God, who takes away the sins of the world, grant us peace in Nigeria!

*KOMOLAFE writes in from Ijebu-Jesa, Osun State, Nigeria (ijebujesa@yahoo.co.uk)

 

Abiodun KOMOLAFE,

020, Okenisa Street,

PO Box 153,

Ijebu-Jesa, Osun State.

[easy-social-share buttons="facebook,twitter" counters=0 style="button"]

What Buhari Told Experts, Others At The Emergency Economic Retreat

President Muhammadu Buhari on Thursday, September 15, held an emergency meeting with experts and ministers of the federation, to look into ways exiting the present recession facing the country.

Delivering his speech, the president gave insight into what to expect in the 2017 budget being proposed by the ministry of budget and national planning.

The president said the proposed budget, which has already been approved by the Federal Executive Council (FEC) but has not yet been presented to the national assembly, is focusing largely on pumping funds into capital projects to get the economy running again.

Below is the full text of his speech:

I am delighted to be here with you at this Ministerial Retreat on the Economy and the Budget.  The theme of the Retreat which is “Building Inter-ministerial Synergy for Effective Planning and Budgeting in Nigeria” is very apt and timely, especially as we are in the process of developing the 2017 Budget.

Over the years, there has been a mismatch between planned targets and budgetary outcomes at the National and sectorial levels.  The Federal MDAs have not also benefited significantly from working together and building consensus around common national objectives.  This has impeded growth and development of the country.

It is in this context that this Retreat has been designed to discuss issues around the State of the Economy and build consensus amongst Cabinet Members and top Government officials.  The Retreat will also serve as an opportunity to have a general overview of the economy and discuss the framework for the 2017 Budget, its key priorities and deliverables.

This Retreat is coming at a critical time in our economic history, when the Nigerian economy is in a recession, with significant downturn in performance in various sectors.  It is with regard to the importance of this Retreat that I decided to sit through the first part of the session to listen to the views from experienced economists and development experts on how best to implement our plans to rid the country of its oil dependence and to diversify the economy and bring the country out of the current economic recession.

This is in line with our Administration’s determination to lay a solid foundation for growth and development as outlined in the Strategic Implementation Plan (SIP) of our Change Agenda.

Given that this Retreat is a lead-up to the 2017 Budget, my expectation is that we will come out of the these sessions with a determination and common position on how to have improved synergy amongst the various Ministries and Departments for the effective formulation and implementation of the 2017 Budget.

I also trust that the breakout sessions will enable you to discuss extensively amongst yourselves, the details of the four sub-themes and come up with practical solutions on the way forward in order to come out with a set of prioritized projects and programmes that will fit into the 2017 Budget.

In this regard, let me inform you that because of the need to focus on our key priorities, some Ministries may get significantly less capital allocation than they received in 2016, while others may get significantly more.

You may notice that some key non-spending agencies, such as the Infrastructure Concession Regulatory Commission (ICRC), the Bureau of Public Enterprises (BPE), the National Sovereign Investment Authority (NSIA) and the National Pension Commission (PENCOM), are participants at this Retreat.

This deliberate inclusion underscores the commitment of this Administration to leverage on private sector resources, through Public Private Partnerships (PPP) and other arrangements, in order to augment the scarce budgetary resources at our disposal and to accelerate investments in building critical infrastructure.

Indeed, the challenges we face in the current recession require ‘out-of-the-box’ thinking, to deploy strategies that involve engaging meaningfully with the private sector, to raise the level of private sector investment in the economy as a whole.

We are confident that the level of private investment will grow as we are determined to make it easier to do business in Nigeria by the reforms we are introducing under the auspices of the Presidential Committee on Ease of Doing Business.

Let me reiterate that this Government will continue to strategize on how we can turn the current challenges into opportunities for our nation and especially for our vibrant youth on whose shoulders lies the future of this nation.  This is why we have embarked on measures and actions that will open up the opportunities we have seen in the Power, Housing, Agriculture, Mining, Trade and Investment, Information Communication Technology (ICT) Sectors, Tourism, Transport and other sectors.

I wish to reassure its teeming youth that this Government would remain steadfast in its effort to ensure greater progress and prosperity for you.

While Government is taking the lead in the task of repositioning our economy for Change, we cannot achieve this completely by ourselves. We will need, and we ask for the support and cooperation of the private sector’s domestic and foreign investors, the States and Local Governments, the National Assembly and the Judiciary as well as all well-meaning Nigerians in this important task. We are confident that working together, we shall succeed.

Finally, I trust that the cabinet members will learn from the experiences of the Resource persons and facilitators to prioritise their sector programmes and projects to bring the country out of the current economic recession and place it on the path of growth and development.

I therefore urge the Honourable Ministers and other senior government officials here present, to actively participate in the Second Technical Session, which I believe will provide you with deeper insight into the complex issues that will open opportunities for you to identify critical priority projects and programmes for the 2017 Budget.

At this juncture, may I formally recognize and acknowledge the presence of the array of experts invited to serve as resource persons and facilitators at this Retreat.  I am confident that Ministers and Senior Government officials will benefit immensely from your expertise and wealth of experience.

I wish you all fruitful deliberations and look forward to receiving the report of the Retreat.

Thank you.

[easy-social-share buttons="facebook,twitter" counters=0 style="button"]

Economy: Stop Blaming Jonathan, Kukah Tells Buhari

The Catholic Bishop of Sokoto Diocese, Bishop Matthew Kukah, has President Muhammadu Buhari and his officials to stop agonising the past administration and take full responsibility for the task of retrieving the economy from the recession it has slipped into under his watch.

Speaking at a dinner organised by the Ondo State Government after the 2016 Catholic Bishops Conference of Nigeria which held in Akure, the state capital on Wednesday, Kukah said Nigerians did not vote for him to complain about previous government but to perform better than his predecessor.

The clergymen said the president ought to prevail on his aides to stop passing the buck over the prevailing economic challenges and pay more attention to telling the people what his administration was doing to pull the economy out of recession.

He said, “We didn’t  vote a government to complain about yesterday, if we wanted yesterday the new government would not be there. The previous government didn’t only do bad things; he did a lot of good things.

“I think the business of government is not our business; our business is, the previous government did bad, that is why we voted a new government. It is really about taking responsibility. No matter how much you praise or abuse (former President Goodluck) Jonathan, he is no more the President of Nigeria. I think that people must understand that you take power to solve problems not to agonise.

“We are not asking you to change the whole world, but Jonathan created problems: we are now riding a train between Abuja and Kaduna now; the train wasn’t there before. Things that Jonathan did that can help Nigeria, let’s continue with them. The bad things that Jonathan did and those who deserve to go to prison should go to prison. “

Kukah added that the only way the current administration could succeed in fighting corruption was to first solve the problem  of poverty and inequality in the country.

“I still believe that unless we get to the root cause of poverty and inequality, which are really the evidences and symptoms of corruption; you can talk of fighting corruption all the rest of your life and very little is going to happen.

“Sending people to prison will only be useful if it puts bread on the table of the people, “ the Catholic cleric said.

In his remarks at the dinner, the Ondo State Governor, Dr. Olusegun Mimiko, reiterated his call for the restructuring of Nigeria to reflect the needed true federalism as the only panacea for the development of the country.

Mimiko expressed worries that the Federal Government was biting more than it could chew with the larger percentage of the resources at its disposal to the detriment of the federating units.

The governor posited that the problem of corruption facing Nigeria could be addressed with the right policy.

He called for the prayers of the religious leaders in the country to tackle inter-religious conflicts, noting that the (conflicts) might lead the country to more danger that might be difficult to overcome.

“Government has the responsibility of bringing these bigots to book. We are not comfortable with what the bigots are doing. What they are doing is most worrisome in Nigeria. The Church has a major role to play by praying for Nigeria,” the governor added.

 

[easy-social-share buttons="facebook,twitter" counters=0 style="button"]

Emir Sanusi Advises Buhari On How To Tackle Recession

Emir of Kano, Muhammad Sanusi II, has asked the government of President Muhammadu Buhari ?to consult experts in tackling the current economic crisis.?

Speaking during the traditional Sallah Durbar (Hawan Nasarawa) which held at the Kano Government House, the emir said ?consulting experts would help in enunciating ?appropriate solutions to the crisis, and reduce the hardship of the people.

??He asked Nigerians, irrespective of religious beliefs and political inclinations, to continue praying for economic growth and development of the country.?

While urging urged the people of Kano to remain law-abiding and be their brother’s keeper, irrespective of their religious or ethnic background., the emir called on wealthy Nigerians to support the less-privileged in order to alleviate their sufferings.?

He also appealed to the state government to help the people acquire skills? that would make them self-reliant.?

In his remarks, Hafiz Abubakar, acting governor of the state, said paying salary of workers was not a privilege but an ?obligation, which the state had continued to meet.

He pointed out that the economic crunch had made it difficult for at least 28 states in the country to pay workers’ salary.?

Abubakar said the state government was spending N62 million weekly for the feeding ?of boarding school students across the state.?

?He called on the people to continue to pray for peace, unity and progress in the country.

[easy-social-share buttons="facebook,twitter" counters=0 style="button"]