Presidency Lauds Swift Confirmation Of Cabinet Nominees By The Senate

The Presidency praises the diligence of the Senate in confirming the ministerial nominees, whilst also ensuring a swift and efficient process.

The people of Nigeria want results, and with this list of ministers, we are confident they shall be delivered. Specific portfolios shall be assigned with the inauguration of the cabinet.

This is a fine, capable and committed group of individuals. Working together, they shall help achieve what we all want and labour toward: a secure, prosperous, corruption-free nation in which nobody is left behind, and talents can flourish.

The executive approaches this 9th National Assembly with a renewed spirit of openness and enthusiasm. Where once we sometimes found impasse, we welcome collaboration; where once suspicion took hold, together, we shall demonstrate mutual trust.

Scrutiny should never mean deadlock but proper governance. And with a new swathe of national legislators and ministers, we are confident the executive and the legislature can – in partnership – unleash the change Nigerians deserve.

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Presidency Welcomes IRI/NDI Report On 2019 Elections With Reservations

The Presidency welcomes, with reservations, the joint report of the International Republic Institute (IRI) and the National Democratic Institute (NDI) on the 2019 general elections in Nigeria and recommendations for the 2023 general elections.

It is instructive that President Buhari clearly won this vote and the report in no way disputes that fundamental fact.

President Buhari won by almost 4 million majority, with a 14% margin.

However, the most important thing in an election is that it reflects the will of the people which in our circumstances was acknowledged to have been a success by ECOWAS Observer Mission and YIAGA AFRICA whose parallel vote tabulation verified INEC’s presidential election result as announced. This we achieved.

We have developed a tradition of improvements in our electoral process through enforcement of our electoral law which resulted in the prosecution and conviction of electoral officers that were found wanting in compromising our electoral process.

We, however, agree notwithstanding, that there are improvements that must be made in the process for the future. The sheer size, terrain and remoteness of certain regions do pose serious logistical challenges.

They also pose a problem for electoral observers: across a country of over 190 million, only 40 observers were deployed to observe just 16 states + the Federal Capital Territory (Nigeria has 36 states).

It was unfortunate that the election was postponed yet imagine if the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) had gone ahead unprepared. The delay undoubtedly resulted in a lower turnout.

Because they are registered to vote in their place of birth, and not where they live, many Nigerians could not make arrangements to travel back again.

But the fact still remains that major democracies of the world have equally recorded worst turnout in modern history.

The effect of voter turnout, at any rate, is a two-way traffic that affected both sides equally.

To pretend otherwise is wrong considering that in 2015, the INEC postponed the election by six weeks under a PDP President, whom – as an incumbent – it was said to help at the time. It didn’t make a difference. Similarly, neither did it aid the sitting President in 2019.

It is amazing that the electoral observers recommended that electoral laws are enforced, and perpetrators of crimes punished and at the same time implicitly criticise the removal of the Chief Justice of Nigeria for failing to disclose his assets as required by law. Which would they prefer?

The law is a matter of principle that takes its course regardless of time and circumstances. It is never a matter of convenience and indeed remains functional, operational and enforceable without due regard to the electioneering process.

As we have already said, we are committed to reviewing our electoral laws and processes, like every democracy across the world should.

We intend to build on the innovations of this election that facilitate inclusiveness and participation, such as providing braille for blind people to cast their votes among other innovations.

This election was won by the candidate who received the most votes. We value the report’s recommendations. We can assure they shall be assessed and evaluated.

Garba Shehu
Senior Special Assistant to the President
(Media & Publicity)
June 18, 2019

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Presidency Welcomes EU And Other Suggestions On Improving Elections In Nigeria

The Presidency has welcomed the report of the European Union (EU) on the 2019 general elections in Nigeria, promising to analyse it fully and act on the recommendations.

The Presidency notes that the EU observers had been invited to the country by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), and welcomed by the government of President Muhammadu Buhari.

This was a clear indication of the administration’s good intentions, commitment to a pure democratic process, and desire to improve for the next elections.

The EU noted in their report that there were marked improvements from previous elections, although stating that more work needed to be done.

The administration of President Buhari will work with all Nigerian citizens, state institutions, parties, civil society, the media and other experts to make sure that the improvements recommended by the EU are implemented, and that these areas of concern are addressed.

It is noteworthy that INEC is in receipt of a number of recommendations that form a part of the EU report.

The Presidency assures that the Commission is in safe hands and happy that they are currently engaged in root and branch reviews of the 2019 general elections and will input lessons learned into its recommendations for electoral and constitutional reforms.

We believe that the commission conducted a good election and will continue to improve on its processes and procedures.

While it is regretted that the elections in a few parts of the country witnessed some violence, among other shortcomings highlighted by the EU, we note however that none of these hitches affected the overall outcome of the elections.

Thankfully, EU did not question the results of the presidential election.

This is further proof that the polls reflected the overall will of Nigerians, and that the world is solidly behind the election of President Buhari for a second term.

Garba Shehu
Senior Special Assistant to the President
(Media & Publicity)
June 15, 2019

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Buhari: Why And How He Won, By Garba Shehu

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

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

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Amount Of Foreign Currency Flooding The Country Alarming, Says President Buhari

President Muhammadu Buhari has expressed astonishment at the huge amount of foreign currency flooding the country intended to influence the general elections beginning on Saturday.
 
Speaking during the Federal Executive Council, FEC meeting Wednesday, the President accused some politicians of flouting money laundering regulations in their desperate bid to capture political power.
 
President Buhari, however, commended the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC for successfully tracking the money in “millions of United States dollars.”
 
The EFCC success followed the presidential directive to investigative agencies to probe a number of high profile cases.
 
Reassuring the nation of his administration’s determination to wage a relentless war against money laundering and terrorist financing, the President again appealed to Nigerians, especially politicians to place the interest of the country above all others, as they troop out to cast their votes in the coming elections.
 
Garba Shehu
Senior Special Assistant to the President
(Media & Publicity)
February 21, 2019

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President Buhari Will Campaign For All APC Candidates, Says Presidency

The Presidency says President Muhammadu Buhari, who is the leader of the All Progressives Congress (APC) and its presidential candidate in the forthcoming general elections, will campaign for the party and all its candidates.

A presidential spokesman, Malam Garba Shehu, made this known in a statement while reacting to media enquiries over the hosting of Gov. Ibikunle Amosun of Ogun by President Buhari at the Presidential Villa, Abuja, on Sunday.

Amosun was accompanied by the Ogun state governorship candidate of the Allied Peoples Movement (APM), Abdulkadir Adekunle Akinlade, during the visit.

The statement read: “Following repeated media enquiries on the matter, the Presidency wishes to state in clear and unmistakable terms that as a party leader and a candidate on the platform of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in the coming elections, President Muhammadu Buhari will campaign for the party and all its candidates.

“This, however, does not mean that he, as the nation’s leader, will decline courtesy calls or offers of support from citizens including candidates flying the flags of other parties.

“There is no doubt that the President has no competition here in terms of popularity in the coming elections. But the more support he gets, the wider the margin of victory there will be.

“So please let there be no confusion about this. President Buhari is APC. He will campaign for all APC candidates, but he welcomes support and endorsements.’’

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Presidency Warns PDP To Stay Off Buhari’s Family

The Presidency has warned the opposition Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, not to make the family of President Muhammadu Buhari a campaign subject in the 2019 elections.

In a statement issued on Wednesday, Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity, Garba Shehu said the PDP should rather address consequences of their 16-year of rule in Nigeria than bring the President’s family into the 2019 elections.

“The PDP leadership cannot afford to make family an issue in this campaign. Need I say more? The only thing I want to add is that PDP is engaging in mud-slinging because it finds it easier than speaking on their despicable 16-year record in the course of which they abused the trust of Nigerians…They made a mess of everything including the economy, security, and infrastructure. It has come to the destiny of President Muhammadu Buhari to correct their mistakes.

“The PDP doesn’t see anything beyond grabbing power, power at all costs. It is an irony that a party that boasted as being the largest in Africa is now begging small parties for alliances. A Presidential contest is more than the issuance of daily press releases containing falsehoods,” Shehu said.

He however, stated that if the PDP wants to make family the issue in the coming elections, the APC would gladly accept the challenge.

“They have launched a campaign for the Presidency, a campaign that has failed to get any traction. The whole thing is not working; that President Buhari is unstoppable,” he stressed.

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Presidency Cautions Appointees, Aides Against Extortions

The Presidency has issued a stern warning to political appointees, government officials and party men against influence peddling for corrupt pecuniary gains and other forms of extortion.

Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity, Garba Shehu, told State House Correspondents on Tuesday in Abuja that complaints of extortions of innocent people by what he called “self-serving name droppers and influence peddlers” is causing increasing embarrassment to the Presidency.

According to Shehu, “President Buhari had made it very clear since his inauguration that he won’t tolerate any form of impropriety by his appointees, aides, and government officials who abuse and misuse their offices for illegal financial advantages.”

The media aide explained that using one’s office or influence for private advantage or financial gains is corruption, warning that the President would not tolerate any conduct by anybody to use his name to extort innocent people.”

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A Dozen Reasons For President Buhari’s Re-Election, By Garba Shehu

On Monday December 17, 2018, President Muhammadu Buhari, who is seeking re-election for a second term of office, will be marking his 76th birthday and, in his own words, “still going strong.”

His age is no longer an issue in this campaign because by the will of God, not by any design, his main challenger is equally in the same age bracket. This election in February next year then comes down to what each candidate will offer.

There are many reasons why President Buhari deserves to be re-elected. I shall speak to a dozen of them here:

He is the best ever President we got so far and here are my reasons: In his character, President Buhari is a well-behaved man. He is globally recognised as an honest leader, working very hard to cure a wounded nation by righting past wrongs.  He leads from the front, that is, leading by example. He is self-confident and has a calm demeanour. In carrying out his duties, he is never impulsive; he does his duty with self-assurance and confidence.

A typical example was his handling of the theft of 105 girls from a school boarding house by the Boko Haram terrorists in Dapchi, Yobe state. Amidst sobbing, lamentation and sorrow, he stood there before the principal, distraught parents and students to give assurances, in a sharp and unbroken voice that “your girls will be brought back” (and so were they, with the exception of Leah Sharibu who, God willing will equally return).

He likes to attack problems from their roots. Few of our leaders are endowed with as much patience. He doesn’t lose his calm and composure and knows when to fight and when not to fight. When there broke a huge uproar over the assertion before the Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby and Her Majesty the Queen of England by the former UK Prime Minister David Cameron, that Nigeria was “fantastically corrupt”, President Buhari’s calm demeanour was on display. When an apology was offered, all he said was “I want no apologies. What would I do with apology? Return our stolen money.” With that, he grabbed, not only the moral high ground but the international news headlines as well.

When the President is confronted with a rankling criticism as had happened many times, he never loses his calm. He delivered a joke in response that blighted what would have been frightening episodes. One great asset he has, is his good sense of humour especially while tackling criticism or attack on his person. Many have derisively called him “Baba Go-slow”, in a clear misunderstanding of his calm demeanour, which is not a sign of inactivity but an underlying ability to think hard without losing one’s cool.

Unlike one or two of our past leaders, he has no aura of being a messiah or a saviour. President Buhari would never be seen in public breaking the code of dignity by, either slapping someone or seizing a horsewhip from a policeman to flog an audience member.

On the many occasions I have reflected on how hard my job is, I try to think of the President. One needs to put oneself into his shoes, carrying the responsibility of more than 200 million people on his shoulders, yet he is a man who maintains a steady, level headed approach towards solving problems; he remains calm and focused on his goals.

With Muhammadu Buhari as President, Nigeria is in very safe hands; he knows what is good for the country and its people.

When he won in 2015, one of his main pledges was fighting terrorism, criminality and banditry. He met the tragic situation of perpetual fighting between farmers and herders in the Middle-Belt, spreading southwards, up to the coastal states.  He sought the help of state governors for a solution but they offered very little, if any.  They were and are still divided over the issue. He pushed the police, the army and other security agencies very hard for the solution. Today, and notwithstanding the visible hands of politicians in it, he has brought the entire situation in the Middle Belt under control.  He has ended the fighting which would have brought Nigeria to destruction.

A further reason for the President’s re-election is the success he has recorded fighting terrorism. If numbers count, bombings and killings have drastically been reduced under the Buhari administration.

Specifically in the North-East, the Nigerian Armed Forces have scaled up their act pushing the Boko Haram terrorists to the very fringes of the Lake Chad and with the on-going revitalisation of the Multi-National Joint Task Force, MNJTF, the ability of the terrorists to launch attacks and retreat into neighbouring territories is being addressed.

Arising from the successes achieved, the El-Kanemi Warriors Football Club has returned to their home base in Maiduguri. Emirs of Askira, Uba and other towns have returned to their palaces. Public secondary schools have resumed in 2016, two years after closure. All roads leading to and out of Maiduguri have been reopened.

Sambisa forest has been retaken; Arik Air and other airlines now operate scheduled flights to Maiduguri. The Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) said 2017 marked the most peaceful Christmas. Of the many who were taken against their will by Boko Haram, about 20,000 terrorists have been released, including 106 Chibok girls, 105 of the Dapchi school girls, Police women and University lecturers.

Under the Buhari administration, three Air bus helicopters and another three Dauphin helicopters were provided for the Air Force; 18 new aircraft acquired and 13 previously unserviceable planes reactivated. In addition, 12 Super Tucano aircraft are also on order from the United States.

The administration has set up a Naval outpost in the Lake Chad and established the 8 Task Force Division in Monguno to further strengthen the 7 Division and the Operation Lafiya Dole in the North East.

Another reason for his re-election in his undeterred commitment to rid Nigeria of systemic corruption. Grand Corruption, by which leaders will ask the Central Bank to bring out money to be shared across the table has by now been abolished.

The new whistle-blowing policy has so far yielded N13.8 billion from tax evaders and N7.8b, USD378 million, £27,800 recovered from public officials.

The increased oversight of ministries, departments and agencies has been addressing the issue of poor remittance by the MDAs; the Presidential Initiative on continuous Audit has flushed out 54,000 fraudulent payroll entries with savings of N200 billion.

The administration has expanded the coverage of the Treasury Single Account, TSA which implementation now stands at 92 per cent. By this, the administration has a comprehensive overview of cash flows across the entire government. It has ensured the deployment of the Bank Verification Number (BVN) system to verify the basis of payments to beneficiaries and vendors and has created the Assets Tracking Managing Project to allocate, identity, assess and evaluate all the measurable and un-measurable assets on real time basis.  A central Asset Register to keep a record of all government assets is now in one place, the Ministry of Finance.

In 2016, the President enlisted Nigeria into Open Government Partnership and a National Plan of Action (2017 -19) is already in place. This aims to deepen and mainstream transparency mechanisms and citizen’s engagement in the management of public resources.

In addition, the creation of Efficiency Unit to spearhead the efficient use of government resources and ensure reduction in recurrent expenditure has brought about savings of about N34 billion from travel and transport in 2016, and N10 billion in 2017.

In the oil and gas sectors, NNPC has been publishing its performance chart monthly and the administration made a saving of USD 1.7 billion by negotiating down accumulated cash call arrears in its joint ventures.

Without any controversy, President Buhari is deservedly christened as the champion of infrastructure. This administration has demonstrated a single-minded commitment to upgrading Nigeria’s transport, power, housing and health infrastructure.

Two major rail projects have been completed and commissioned: Abuja metro light rail and the Abuja-Kaduna rail. Lagos-Ibadan is due early next year. Lagos-Kano has been signed and Lagos-Calabar and Port Harcourt-Maiduguri are being negotiated.  About 500 roads are being constructed and hundreds of kilometres of roads are being rehabilitated.The second Niger Bridge is under construction, Abuja-Kaduna-Zaria-Kano expressway is being constructed while Lagos-Ibadan as well as the East-West road, Lagos-Port Harcourt expressways are being expedited. Federal spending on works has grown from N18.1 billion in 2015 to N394 billion in 2018. The Abuja Airport runway was reconstructed within a six week period. Several water projects long abandoned have been completed and more than 70 ecological fund projects have been awarded and completed.

Power sector has witnessed a phenomenal growth within this period. Generation capacity has increased to 7,000MW; transmission capacity is now up 8,000MW and distribution 5,222MW from 2,690MW.

Under President Buhari, 30 per cent of the budget allocation is for capital spending, an unprecedented allocation of N2.7 trillion was made for infrastructure in 2016 and 2017 fiscal year.

Obviously, there is so much the nation can gain from the President’s long term thinking when it comes to the diversification of the economy.  He has promoted agriculture, solid minerals and manufacturing to the point that the economy is increasing its resilience even as it grows and consolidates.

His policies have brought down inflation by about half of what it used to be three years back; external reserves have grown and exports in 2017 were about 70 per cent more than what they were in 2016. Agriculture grew by 180 per cent last year; raw materials export by over 100 per cent and there was 27 per cent growth in manufactured goods. Six million new tax payers were added to the tax base. Ease of doing business report has moved Nigeria up by 14 places; tax revenue in 2018 is projected at N2.529 trillion, that is 42 per cent increase over the 2017 figure.

Under the Presidential Fertilizer Initiative, 16 moribund and under-performing blending plants have been revitalised, producing 12.7 million bags of NPK Fertilizer in 2017.

Landmark initiatives in the promotion of the economy include the stabilisation of the currency, the Naira making for a predictable exchange rate; the merger of the official and unofficial rates in the markets, helping in the stabilisation of the microeconomic environment; the achievement of agriculture and national food security and driving industrialisation through the Small and Medium Enterprises in line with the Economic Recovery and Growth Plan, ERGP. This administration invented and is implementing the biggest ever social investment programme on the continent, feeding 10 million children in school and engaging 500,000 graduates, now going up to one million, in nation building.

As a compassionate leader and administrator, President Buhari approved N54 billion for the payment of 33 per cent of outstanding pensions arrears and claims, with some of these going back to 2010 when the minimum wage was increased to N18,000. Under this scheme, 3,542 pensioners in the liquidated Delta Steel Company have been placed on pension; 9,216 of NITEL pensioners are now pay rolled; Retired Biafran Police officers dismissed by the Federal Government in 1971 have been paid; those of the New Nigerian Newspapers and many others have received gratuities and are now placed on pension.

The compassionate side of the President has equally given so much to state governments in distress. This was to enable them meet salary and pensions obligations. Most, if not all have received Budget Support Facility, Paris Club refunds, Infrastructure Loans, Loan Restructuring Facilities with the Central Bank and other commercial banks, and a reduction in their monthly debt service burden.

In just under four years, President Buhari has shown clearly that he can steer Nigeria above politics, religion and ethnicity. He has delivered on all promises: security, economy, corruption and infrastructure. We have a strong leader with a mass appeal who is seeking a renewal of his mandate in accordance with the Constitution.  He is one of the most influential leaders in today’s world, considering how he brought OPEC and non OPEC Oil producers to cut their losses and bring up fallen oil prices.  He is leading the continent in the war against corruption. President Buhari is a gift, not only to Nigeria but to Africa and the world. He deserves a second term to consolidate on-going achievement.

HappyBirthdayPMB

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

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President Buhari, WAEC And PDP’s Toxic Air, By Garba Shehu

The West African Examinations Council, WAEC, Friday, said the controversy concerning President Muhammadu Buhari’s school certificate is embarrassing and felt a sense of duty to produce and deliver to him a confirmation and attestation of his results, in form of a duplicate certificate.

This is a god-sent, with WAEC being a non-political entity. This should put to rest the absurd allegations by the People’s Democratic Party, PDP, brought up again and again, that he did not attend a secondary school.

The unreasonable position of the PDP had been sustained all along in spite of testimony by classmates who read with him in school and graduated together, and that fact that a court of law had given a ruling on the matter.

In 2014-2015 when they raked up the issue, I remember that it took the courage of the then college Principal to issue a statement of results from available records. In doing so, he defied the ruling PDP government in the state which asked him not to.

At the time we got the results sheet, reports said that the government had determined to send arsonists to burn the school to ashes so that the existing records will be obliterated.

This was against the backdrop of the shocking claim by the Army Records office in Lokoja, that they didn’t keep any records of General Buhari as a military officer.
Curiously, the Army Records office had once come under Muhammadu Buhari, as Military Secretary who, during his tenure streamlined the records of the entire officer corps, and could not, by any stretch of imagination, have left his own records in a mess. General Alani Akinrinade (Rtd) reportedly dismissed this mischief as an insult to the military.

After doing his conscience’s duty by daringly releasing those results, the then government of Katsina State punished the Principal by stripping him of his seniority and posting.

As we said in a number of past statements, the matter of the President’s qualification to run for office is a non-issue, nonetheless feasted upon by the PDP which has stopped thinking and have nothing to offer to Nigerians.

Based on arguments that “education gives a human being the power to discriminate between right and wrong,” the 1999 Constitution stipulates a minimum educational qualification for citizens who intend to contest for elections at all levels, which requires that they must possess a secondary school education or its equivalent.

The provision above has itself come under serious re-examination by scholars who argue that the possession of a secondary school certification does not necessarily mean that a person is intelligent. It is equally argued that it is a mistake to assume that a person with a certificate has higher knowledge or intelligence than the one who doesn’t have.

In an article published by the Daily Trust a day or so ago, Professor Shehu Zuru quoted Wendy Sherman, the author of the book Not For The Faint Heart, that “courage and integrity are critical attributes that you cannot acquire from a classroom because they are the inert fabrics of human conscience that dictates the power of the negative and the power of the positive.”

As far as his educational career is concerned, President Buhari attended the Katsina Provincial Secondary School, before enrolling in the Nigerian Military Training College, NMTC Kaduna (1962), renamed Nigerian Defence Academy, in 1964.

As narrated by Major-General Sani Saleh (Rtd), “I worked at the Nigerian Defence Academy so I know the processes. You cannot get in with a forged certificate, it is impossible.
“At the time (Muhammadu Buhari enrolled), the army was still controlled by the British…Nigerian Army was a select and (an) elite organization, we had very few Army Officers at that time. I don’t think the whole Nigerian Army Officers were up to 50. You can imagine what it takes for you as a Nigerian to be one of those…and today, somebody will be accusing you that you don’t have a certificate.”

From NMTC, Muhammadu Buhari went to the Mons Officer Cadet School, Aldershot, United Kingdom (1962-63), the Defence Services Staff College, India (1973) and thereafter, United States Army War College, which upon completion, awarded its graduates a Master’s degree in strategic studies.

In the belief that the nation has the right to know the educational details of their president, Candidate Muhammadu Buhari laid bare everything and tendered an affidavit in respect of the WAEC certificate.

The masquerades wielding the real power behind the PDP, some of whom played an active part in his overthrow as military Head of State in the mid-eighties are deliberate in keeping this issue alive. As a thoroughbred, toughened general, he won’t cry out that his home and office were vandalized by scoopers when they threw him out of power.

In meeting the eligibility for the contest in 2015, President Buhari presented the WAEC results and the other degree and non-degree related results. He went through the verification process in the party, the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC and the court. He ran and won against the PDP.

With these, the unnecessary controversy should have ended. It is equally hard to fathom how such a dead issue should get the type of attention given it by the media, considering the many matters of serious concern to the citizens – internal security that was given a short shrift for 16 years by the PDP; the diversification of the economy by focusing on key sectors (apart from oil) that can create jobs and generate revenue such as Agriculture, Solid Minerals and Manufacturing which the Buhari administration is keenly doing; the ongoing pursuit of more reforms and better governance; bolstered efforts towards poverty alleviation; ending corruption and insurgency and ploughing the savings therefrom to put in place needed infrastructure and so forth.

Do they know that Nigeria Airways, NITEL and other pensioners they left in the cold, unpaid when they sold public assets to cronies or to themselves are getting their dues under this dispensation? If these things had been done when the oil price was as high as US$140 per barrel, Nigeria would not be in the current predicament. We would not have suffered when we had no cash reserves but we had regular supply of power, a good rail system, good roads and good housing. These are the issues dear to the hearts of our people.

In its political fight for 2019, the PDP is not relying on the big issues of the day -security, corruption and jobs but on small, distractive matters that take little or no account of national interest. But what do you expect of a group that has stopped thinking, just blowing hot, toxic air, indulging in divisive politics and is raking up sectional issues so that the people will forget the real issues of corruption, infrastructure, security and economy for which they have no plans?

– Garba Shehu is the Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity

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NHIS: Due Process Must Be Followed – Presidency

The Senior Special Assistant, Media and Publicity to President Muhammadu Buhari, Malam Garba Shehu, has insisted that due process must be followed in removing the Executive Secretary of National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS), Professor Prof. Yusuf Usman from office.

Garba Shehu, who appeared as a guest on Channels Television Sunrise Daily on Tuesday, disclosed that the battle to remove the NHIS boss from office has been going on for about two years but also worried “on the failure to follow due process in removing the gentleman from office.”

Shehu also noted that the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) and the Independent Corrupt Practices Commission (ICPC), had launched investigations into the alleged corrupt practices by Mr. Usman but yet to arrive at a conclusion.

On steps taken to ameliorate the crisis facing the institution, Mr. Shehu stated that the Minister of Health, Prof. Isaac Adewole, and Secretary General of the Federation, Mr. Boss Mustapha, are on top of the situation and “trying to find a way out of the crisis.”

On whether the governing council has the right to suspend the embattled Executive Secretary, he said: “I am not a lawyer or in a position to say whether the board is right to suspend the Executive secretary.

“Did the board follow due process in suspending this gentleman? We just have to do the right thing. This whole thing at NHIS has been ethicized and politicizes. Whatever mistake this gentleman may have made, he has launched a major reform in that institution which has blocked access to major resources.

“We want to see healthcare delivered to the citizens of this country. Whatever it is that you would do, follow the due process and you will get it right.”

Recall that the governing council of the NHIS had suspended Yusuf last Thursday for alleged fraud, insubordination, criminal breach of Procurement Act, self-aggrandisement, and arbitrariness, among other offences.

However, Yusuf responded in a memo that only the President had the power to suspend or sack him. Earlier on Monday, large number of policemen were said to have accompanied the embattled Usman to his office and forced the gates opened after angry workers had blocked the entrance with their union vehicles.

Yusuf had also been suspended by the Minister in July last year and a panel set up by the ministry had accused him of perpetrating fraud to the tune of N919m.

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Travel Ban Not Political Witch Hunt – Presidency

The Senior Special Assistant to President Muhammadu Buhari on Media and Publicity, Garba Shehu, has said the Executive Order 06 signed by the President is not targeted at the opposition.

Shehu, in his explanation, said the high profile cases have been ongoing for between seven to 10 years with no end in sight.

He explained further that the essence of the Executive Order 6 was to make for speedy trials and conclusion of graft cases.

The access to the resources by the suspects had enabled them to be in a position to sometime compromise investigation, prosecution and trial.

“In the history of independent Nigeria, this is the first time any government is taking such a key decision to fight corruption.

“EO6 is not only revolutionary to the efforts to rid Nigeria of corruption but a manifestation of systemic changes that are required to to make necessary adjustments as we carry on with the war against corruption.

“The very essence of the order is to make for speedy trials and conclusion of graft cases.

“These high profile cases we are talking about have been ongoing for between seven to 10 years with no end in sight. These cases were mostly originated by administrations other than this one.

“What is clear is that the access to these resources by the suspects has enabled them to be in a position to sometime compromise investigation, prosecution and trial. In most of the cases, the courts are held in a helpless position by legal acrobatics paid for from corrupt enrichment by the suspects.

“The new measures put in place should compel everyone involved to make for a speedy conclusion of these cases. If it is your money, you have it back. If it belongs to the public, it goes back to the treasury,” the presidential spokesman said.

On the list of names being reported, Shehu said: “I want to confirm to you that we have not issued any list and we are not doing so.

“These cases are well known and to say this or that name is on it will open the door to further accusations, including trial by media.

“The Immi?gration Service and other security agencies have the mandate of the President to carry out enforcement and they will do so giving due respects to individual rights, in line with the the constitution.

“It is not a political witch hunt and it is not for politics.”

He argued that the question of the constitutionality of the Executive Order was answered by the fact that a court has given government a clean sheet.

“One of the cardinal objectives of the government under our constitution is to fight corruption. Fighting corruption is a responsibility and obligation upon the government,” he said.

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