Buhari felicitates with Nigerians at Christmas

President Muhammadu Buhari has felicitated with all Nigerians, especially the Christian faithful on the joyous occasion of the 2015 Christmas.

A statement issued on Thursday by Presidential Media Adviser, Femi Adesina, reads: “On this occasion of the commemoration of the birth of Jesus Christ, let us all rededicate ourselves to the virtues of peace, love, honesty, justice, equity, piety, humility and service to others which he taught.

“There can be no doubt that a greater manifestation of these virtues and ideals in our lives will immensely help us to become a more united, peaceful, secure and progressive nation.

“Let us also reach out in love and compassion to fellow Nigerians who are in distress at this period of our nation’s history.

“I particularly urge you all to remember victims of terrorism and insurgency in the country, especially Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs).

“The Federal Government will continue to collaborate with state governments and other stakeholders to ease the harsh conditions in IDP camps, while the ultimate objective remains to quickly put an end to insurgency and return the IDPs to their homes.

“We must never again allow any group to hold the nation to ransom under whatever guise.

“Let us also not allow current socio-economic and security challenges to dampen our expectations for a better Nigeria.

“This administration has taken a number of measures to restore hope to our people. The 2016 Budget defines our commitment to giving Nigeria a new lease of life.

“Our change slogan is not a campaign gimmick but a promise that must be kept. We are determined to bring about tangible changes in the lives of our people.

“In this regard, efforts will be intensified to recover stolen funds, block revenue leakages and enthrone due process, transparency and accountability.

‘Public office is a public trust that must be held to the highest ethical standards.

“I wish all Nigerians a Merry Christmas.

“Please drive carefully.”

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Dogara Preaches Peace, Unity At Christmas…. Calls On Nigerians To Extend Love To IDPs

The Speaker of the House of Representatives, Rt. Hon. Yakubu Dogara, in a statement issued by Turaki Hassan, his Special Adviser on Media and Public Affairs, felicitated with Nigerians – especially Christians – on the occasion of this year’s Christmas and prayed that God’s peace be multiplied upon the nation. He said Nigerians have every reason to thank God for witnessing yet another Christmas, despite all the challenges facing us as a nation.

“Christmas is a period for us to individually and collectively reflect on who and what made Christmas necessary, and on our values, virtues and ideals of unity, peace, Godliness and tolerance which Christ advocated and exemplified during his earthly ministry.”

“I call on Christian faithfuls to embrace the reason for Christmas and imbibe these virtues and ideals, and to key into the current administration’s change agenda for the peace, unity and development.”

“In spite of the challenges we are faced with, I urge all Nigerians to have abiding faith in the fact that by working together, we will surmount these challenges and forge ahead as a nation.”

“On our part, the House of Representatives is determined now, more than ever, to enact people-oriented legislation that will help guarantee the much needed and desired change in all facets of our national life.”

“I enjoin Nigerians to continue to pray, support and cooperate with the present government to deliver on its mandate so that our country will once again occupy its place of pride in the comity of nations.”

?The Speaker also urged Nigerians to use the occasion of Christmas to be their brothers’ keepers by reaching out to displaced people in various camps across the country.

While assuring that the Federal Government is doing all within its powers to expeditiously resettle displaced persons in the country, he emphasized the readiness of the National Assembly, and the House of Representatives in particular, to partner with any organisation, group or person to build and rehabilitate areas devastated by the activities of Boko Haram insurgents, especially in the North East.

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Fuel Scarcity: Buhari Apologizes To Nigerians, Says Pump Price To Remain At N87

President Muhammadu Buhari on Tuesday apologised to Nigerians over the continued fuel scarcity being experienced across the country, blaming the long queues that have returned to fuel stations on the activities of speculators and those resistant to change.

“The fuel queues being experienced is as a result of market speculation and resistance to change by some stakeholder,” the president said.

Buhari further promised Nigerians that there would be no increase in the pump price of petrol.

He made the pledge following fears by Nigerians that the Federal Government may scrap fuel subsidy which will result in an increase in the cost of the premium motor spirit, popularly called petrol.

Buhari, while addressing a joint session of the National Assembly during the presentation of the 2016 budget of N6.08 trillion, said the pump price of petrol will remain at N87 “for now”.

“Indeed tough decisions must be made but this does not mean that we would increase the level of pains being felt by Nigerians.,”? he added.

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Dogara Appeals For More Patience With APC Govt… Says Party Won’t Disappoint Nigerians

Nigerians will soon begin to reap dividends of the promises made by the All Progressives Congress (APC)  when the 2016 budget is passed into law, Speaker of the House of Representatives, Hon. Yakubu Dogara, has said.

Dogara, who called on Nigerians to exercise more patience with the APC-led government which he said inherited empty treasury and baterred nation, said last six months cannot be used to judge the performance of the Muhammadu Buhari-led administration.

A statement issued by his Special Adviser on Media and Public Affairs, Turaki Hassan, on Saturday, said Dogara spoke when he paid a visit to the Emir of Misau in Bauchi state, Alhaji Ahmed Suleiman in his palace.

The Speskera maintained that president Buhari is facing enermous challenges but that he is determined to surmount those challenges.

Nigeria, according to the Speaker, is passing through difficult times and that the citizens need to show more understanding and patience as damages done to the country will take time to fix.

The speaker told the emir that the 2016 budget will soon be presented by the president and assured that the appropriation bill will contain promises for the masses.

Dogara argued that it is only after the budget is implemented and government fails to deliver that the citizens would have the right to criticise, but assured of better days ahead.

“We cannot afford to disappoint you and the mandate you gave us. Give us and the president maximum support and we shall not disappoint you,” he assured.

According to him, “change is a gradual process, with patience we will bring the desired change and development you clamour for”.

Responding, Emir Suleiman expressed gratitude to the Speaker for thr vidit and said it was the first time that Misau emirate received a sitting speaker of the House.

He also prayed for success of the present administration.

 

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$2billion Arms Deal: Ignore PDP’s Diversionary Tactics – APC Tells Nigerians

The ruling All Progressives Congress (APC), has urged Nigerians not to be distracted by the PDP’s ploy to discredit the anti-corruption corruption war embarked upon by the Buhari led administration.

A statement issued by the National Secretary of the party Mai Mala Buni, said the PDP has shown that it is uncomfortable with the war against corruption by the President.

While giving a tacit support for anti-corruption crusade to avoid incurring the wrath of Nigerians, the statement said the PDP engaged in some ambiguous semantics to call for “an honest, holistic, and total war against corruption.

“The body language of the PDP was clear on Sunday that it was uncomfortable with the ongoing probe of some of its stalwarts who are being investigated for looting the treasury with impunity. The opposition party must realize that the day of reckoning has come, there is no more hiding place for corrupt elements which it harbours in large number.

“The APC wishes to place on records in clear terms that the President is focused, unwavering, non- selective and ready to fast-track the trial of corrupt public officers. Only the guilty ones are jittery and unconvinced that the war is winnable.  Under six months in office, President Buhari’s administration has put some public officers on trial across party lines.

Mala Buni said the PDP rather than finding faults with the APC’s anti-corruption agenda, which has received international rating, the party should remove the moth in its eyes by prevailing on some of its high-ranking members, who are under investigation, to cooperate with relevant agencies.

“Nigerians should not be swayed by the latter day anti-corruption recipes of the PDP. These are mere diversionary tactics to earn undeserved sympathy after its government had grounded Nigerian economy to a complete halt.

“This is not the time for any National Truth Commission; it is time for probe, justice, and recovery of slush and looted funds.  We do not want any party to hide under any kangaroo commission to cover up its dirty leanings. Today, many Nigerians cannot afford three square meals because of the mismanagement of the economy by the previous administration”.

The party maintained that the PDP is overwhelmed by the shocking details of corruption which characterized the last administration, the opposition party demanded a probe of how the All Progressives Congress (APC) funded its Presidential Campaigns for the 2015 General Elections.

“The PDP knew that APC fought and won its electoral battle basically on the goodwill of the masses. We did not fund our campaign with slush or corrupt funds, we challenge the opposition to provide evidence to the contrary.

“The 1999 Constitution and the Electoral Act have provided guidelines on campaign funds, we are ready to account for every kobo spent any time we are requested to do so. We are a party noted for managing scarce resources, we are not a wasteful party like PDP.

“APC governors were not compelled to finance our presidential campaign under any guise. And no one has been made a minister in this government to cover up slush funds used for President Buhari’s campaign. The PDP must be daydreaming. If it had such allegations, why did it keep quiet during the screening and confirmation of all ministers by the Senate in its hallowed chamber? The opposition should stop crying over split milk. The era of politics of desperation is gone for good.

“No feeble attempt to discredit Buhari’s administration will work again. The PDP has tried all antics and failed. We urge the opposition party to join the change train in the overall interest of Nigeria”, he said.

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FG Asks Nigerians To Prepare For Tough Austerity Measures In 2016

The federal government has asked Nigerians to prepare for tough austerity measures in 2016 as a result of some economic moves being put in place ahead of the coming new year.

Minister for Budget and National Planning, Senator Udoma Udo Udoma, who disclosed this during the consideration of the 2016, 2017 and 2018 Medium ? Term Expenditure Framework (MTEF) at the Senate today, said it was important that substantial reductions were made on the spending pattern in order for government to be able to put in the much expected change.

“In preparing the MTEF, we seek a dramatic shift from spending on recurrent to spending on capital aspect of the budget. It is going to be tighter for everybody. All non-essential expenditure would be cut out.? We will reduce the overheads by 7 percent?. ?We are beginning a journey of change and change has to start with the clarity of purpose of where we are going?,” he noted.

Explaining this position further, Minister of Finance, Kemi Adeosun, told the joint committee ? of the National Assembly during the consideration of the MTEF that all Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) would be strictly monitored to avoid wastes.

She said government would take necessary steps to ensure that whatever money was being taken from the account of any MDA? was done electronically. She added that the new measure will minimise waste and ensure transparency in government spending.

The Finance Minister equally disclosed that measures had been put in place to compel revenue generating MDAs to remit all funds they generate to the treasury. “?The era when an agency generates money and spends 99 per cent of it is over,” she added.

Speaking further on what the expenditure framework seeks to achieve, Udoma said the MTEF was prepared in such a manner as to combat the economic challenges ahead stressing that “challenging times need firm and robust response. This is what the MTEF represents.? It was also designed to create better governance and to turn things around and promote economic prosperity for the people.”

On sources of funding for the N6 trillion 2016 budget, the Budget and National Planning Minister, revealed that priority will be given to Internally Generated Revenues (IGR). “We will also look at the accounts of agencies and sweep those surpluses that might not be on essential things that we want to focus on,” he said. Udoma however told the lawmakers in very clear terms that “ultimately we must borrow N1.8 trillion to fund this budget apart from all those adjustments we are trying to make.”

Executive chairman of the Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS), Babatunde Fowler, assured that the Service “will increase revenue by over one trillion” adding that “we are targeting N2 trillion from VAT?.”

In his own submission at the meeting, Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) governor, Godwin Emefiele, said that ?stability of prices would be guaranteed in addition to ensuring stable exchange rate. He also revealed that the apex bank was willing to further devalue the naira from N197 to N199 as recommended by the Senate committee.

“In the last 12 to 15 months, we have seen a massive drop in commodity prices especially oil that affects Nigeria, has significantly affected the country’s revenue. That has placed some pressures on the reserves and that also resulted in the speculators and rent seekers in the market. What we did at that time when naira was N155 to a dollar, precisely late 2014, was to adjust the currency and move it from N155 to N197 to a dollar.

“We have through that arrangement, depreciated the currency by about 22 percent. Depreciation or devaluation in its own impact, adverse on the country. The objective is to make export cheaper to encourage it but unfortunately we don’t have export. Our export had dropped in the last 10 years, very drastically.

“We are currently trying to grapple with the impact of the adjustment of the 22 percent devaluation. We should work with N197 and see to the performance of the exchange rate management structure that we have put in place. We are willing to engage the National Assembly in closed session on our foreign exchange management strategy.

“There are speculations and rent seeking activities in the market, but we are trying as much as possible to keep it under control and we should work with N197 because further devaluation would mean importing bigger inflation into the country. We are moderating it. However if the Senate is pushing for N199 per dollar as exchange rate, it will still within our band and I do not have any objection to it,” Emefiele stressed.

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It will Be A Disaster If APC Fails Nigerians- ?Dogara

The Speaker of the House of Representatives, Rt Hon Yakubu Dogara, has charged the government of All Progressives Congress (APC) to make conscious efforts to deliver on its promises to Nigerians, adding that it will be a disaster if it fails.

Speaking when he ?received the governor of Bauchi State, Barr. Mohammed Abdullahi Abubakar in the National Assembly, the speaker noted that it was the yearning of the people for a positive change in their lives that led to the massive support the APC got in the last general elections.

He said, “Our people have witnessed bad leadership, especially in the ?last eight years. It will be a disaster if we don’t save this situation.”

Dogara explained that the case of Bauchi is a typical example of a situation where the people gave overwhelming support to the APC in all the elections into the two arms of government because they looked forward to a better life under the change regime.

The speaker said, “Everybody knows the passion of our people in Bauchi State.? They embraced us against all odds, against the sitting governor because they feared the kind of situation in which they found themselves under the last regime and they needed change and thank God we came with this promise of change.

“To be candid, God has set for us, the platform through which we can deliver this change?. Today, 12 of our members are all of the APC, 3 of our senators are all of the APC. We have a governor who with the whole of his team, are all members of the APC. And thank God and thanks also to the President of Nigeria, His Excellency, President Muhammadu Buhari, who really saw the kind of love the people exhibited in the course of the campaigns, and to be candid, in his own way, he has discharged all the burdens a father can do to his supporters or children.

He has given us more than we deserve, I can say that, in Bauchi State. I can even list the number of appointments that we have and I am seated here as the speaker of the House of Representatives.

Why I am saying this is, it now behoves on to pull our energies together, to synergise?, to ensure that these people that the president has appointed help to ameliorate the conditions of our people.”

Urging the governor to ensure that he brings together all appointees from the state in order to harness their resources for the progress and development of the state, he noted that “If there is no leadership, this will not happen, and the difference between a bush and a garden, is just organisation. If you have a ?wonderful garden and you don’t organise it, over time it will become a bush in itself. So that therefore means that without leadership, we will not even come together, let alone bring our resources and strength together to improve the conditions of our people.”

Going further, he added: “This time around, we should be careful. Nobody has the luxury to think about himself first. It should be our people first and what will serve the interest of our teeming people from Bauchi State first, is our unity.”

Assuring him of support from the National Assembly in building the state, he stressed, “We must deliver on the promise for change.”

?Earlier, Governor M. A Abubakar, accompanied by the Bauchi State chief of staff, ?said they had come to identify with the Speaker for all the good things he has been doing to stabilise the polity.

He noted that having taken over power after 16 years of rule by another political party, the task of stabilising the polity is herculean and requires men and women who have clarity of thought to occupy the positions such as that occupied by the Speaker.

While assuring the Speaker of the state’s support in the herculean task of bringing Nigeria out of the dungeons, he lauded the crop of lawmakers in the House of Representatives, saying they will do their people proud.

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Lai Mohammed List 5 Group Of Nigerians That Will Access N5,000

Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed has identified the key vulnerable groups that will qualify for the Buhari administration’s N5,ooo allowance.

At a forum organised by The New Agency of Nigeria in Abuja today, Mohammed said:

“We have about five groups that we are talking about; we have those that we call vulnerable because they are poor, those that are vulnerable because they do not have access to basic medical care.

“We have those that are vulnerable because they live with disabilities and this group is different. But then there are young Nigerians, who are vulnerable because they lack the economic strength.

“We have plans specifically for unemployed graduates, specifically for university graduates, and this takes various forms.

“In the case of market women, we intend to advance them money through their cooperatives.”

The minister also said that graduates, who had completed the national youth service scheme, and had been enrolled in a skill acquisition programme, would be paid a stipend.

“There is an exit for the programme and it is not like this group of people are going to be there permanently,” he added.

Mohammed told his interviewers that the Federal Government will take advantage of the vast opportunities in the agric, solid minerals, and real sectors to create jobs for Nigerians.

“All we are waiting for is the 2016 Budget to be put in place“, he said.

The minister said that the present administration would invest massively in developing infrastructure because it would be difficult to create jobs without such investment.

“Job creation, which is our major promise, is going to be realised and all we are waiting for is the 2016 Budget to be put in place. This administration is going to use the instrumentality of agriculture, solid minerals, and the real sector to create more jobs for Nigerians.

`By the time the 2016 budget is released, you will see clearly that the emphasis on this government is to bring out as many people from abject poverty, create jobs, and also present an environment that will encourage entrepreneurs.”

“You cannot create jobs without investing massively in infrastructure and I know that what we are aiming at this year is to ensure that most of our spending will be on infrastructural development. I think last year the country did about 60 per cent only in capital expenditure; we hope that we will do at least 30 per cent this year in capital expenditure.

“This government is committed to investing in our youth; this government is interested in bringing out millions of Nigerians out of abject poverty.

“By the time the 2016 budget is released, you will see clearly that the emphasis on this government is to bring out as many people from abject poverty, create jobs, and also present an environment that will encourage entrepreneurs.”

Mohammed, who noted that between 60 million and 80 million Nigerians live below the poverty line, reiterated the government’s commitment to assisting “vulnerable groups” through its social intervention programmes.

“It is not that in the past there have not been attempts at poverty alleviation, but it would not be at the scale we are aiming.

“We are embarking on these massive social interventions so that we will talk of millions of Nigerians that will be rescued from abject poverty.

He also assured of the government’s readiness to work closely with persons with disabilities and to create a more accessible and enabling environment for them.

“We can make persons with disabilities in our society very productive by giving them the right incentives and we are looking into making public areas accessible to them,” he said.

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Nigerians Will Soon Get The Change They Voted For, FG Tells CSOs

The Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, has assured Nigerians of better times ahead, saying they will soon get the change they voted for. ”This Government will not give excuses. The painstaking and methodical approach by the Buhari Administration, its deep analysis and understanding of the challenges and the recent inauguration of the cabinet will herald a new dawn,” the Minister said at a meeting with representatives of Civil Society Organizations (CSOs) in Abuja on Tuesday.

He said that in the next few days, the Administration ”will start firing from all cylinders, starting with the unveiling of the 2016 budget”. ”Nigerians will witness measurable and impactful progress in all spheres of governance. We shall not abandon our social intervention policies such as one meal a day for school children and the payment of 5,000 Naira each to vulnerable Nigerians. We are committed to lifting millions of Nigerians out of poverty,” Alhaji Mohammed said.

On how the Administration will fund its programmes, in view of the drastic fall in the price of crude oil, the Minister said it would be through the diversification of the economy, plugging of leakages as well as exploiting and widening the country’s tax base without necessarily raising taxes.

”A comparative analysis between Nigeria and South Africa will drive the point home. In 2013, with a population of 160 million and GDP of $510 billion, Nigeria collected $30 billion in taxes, whereas South Africa, with a population of 54 million and GDP of $366 billion, collected $74 billion in taxes.

”In 2014, Nigeria, with a population of 170 million and GDP of $535 billion, collected $26 billion, while South Africa, with a GDP of $350 billion and population of 54 million, raked in $70 billion. From the figures, it is obvious that if only we can widen our tax base, we do not need to raise taxes to increase our tax revenue,” he said

The Minister commended the CSOs for the role they played during the last general elections, saying the organizations, especially those grouped under the Situation Room, contributed hugely to the success of the polls. He said the Buhari Administration will carry the Civil Society along in its efforts to change, for the better, the country’s fortunes.

”That is why we have started our engagement with you this early. Therefore, this will be the first in a series of engagements with the Civil Society. We see you as credible, and we see you as patriots, who are genuinely interested in the welfare of the people,” the Minister said.

In his speech on behalf of The Situation Room, Mr. Clement Nwankwo urged the Federal Government to tackle growing national issues with the urgency that it deserves.

”Expectations are very high amongst Nigerians for the changes promised by General Buhari during the campaigns. The need to deliver on campaign promises is against the background of the complete lack of public trust in government and its institutions,” he said.

Mr. Nwankwo listed ”urgent symbolic steps and quick wins” to be urgently implemented by the government as including transparency and openness of loot recovered from officials of the immediate past regime, openness of the national budget, sale of some of the presidential jets, zero tolerance for impunity and the probe of the FCDA land swap.

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‘There Is Nothing Like Subsidy, Obasanjo Created It To Cheat Govt’ – Ex-minister

A former minister of Finance, Chief Anthony Ani, has faulted the petroleum subsidy scheme, describing it as a ruse, calling on government to instead “get the nation’s refineries right.”

Speaking in an exclusive interview with The Guardian, Ani said, “there is nothing like subsidy in Nigeria. Obasanjo did that to assist people to cheat this nation. We had a situation where one person was given the sole right to import diesel, yet we could have produced the diesel.”

He said: “What is happening is that the template Obasanjo brought in for petroleum products was importation-based. I, and Aminu Saleh and Buhari drafted the Petroleum Trust Fund (PFT) law and it was based on production. Let us go back to production. When you produce, you have by-products and those by-products are even more expensive than your barrel of oil. Therefore, if you do the production costing properly, you will find out that the cost of production of your litre of oil is much less than what we are importing.

“Therefore, let us go back to the issue of changing the template to that of production. What we are doing now is that the driver in this country is subsidising what is produced in petro-chemicals and fertilisers because all the by-products go there, and they are going there at zero cost. Whereas, if you do it properly, you will find out that what is going into petro-chemicals, the costing is even more expensive than a barrel of oil. So, let’s get our acts right.”

The former finance minister also faulted the recent call by former Central Bank Governor, Sanusi Lamido Sanusi, for an increase in Value Added Tax (VAT), adding that “government will collapse in no time,” if the suggestion is followed.

“I am sure and I hope President Buhari would not do this,” said former KPMG Chairman and former Minister of Finance under the Sani Abacha government, Etubom Anthony Ani.

“We don’t need to increase VAT because all we need do is send people to the local governments to collect it. At the moment, consumers pay VAT. You have to consume. And individuals are the ones who consume, not goats or trees. These individuals stay in various local governments of Nigeria. Let the VAT collector go to the local governments. The VAT is waiting for him to be collected. I estimate that we will be having about N3tr annually, if the VAT man goes to the local government. We don’t need to increase VAT; let us collect what has not been collected,” said Ani, who is also a former President of the Chartered Institute of Accountants.

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Tell Nigerians the Looters, Amount Returned, Fayose Tells Buhari

Ekiti State Governor, Mr Ayodele Fayose has carpeted President Muhammadu Buhari’s claim that many of those who looted the public treasuries in the government of former President Goodluck Jonathan had started returning the stolen funds to the government, saying the President should rather stay at home to govern the country instead of junketing around the globe and acting like a saint before the international community.

The governor challenged the President to tell Nigerians how much was returned and the looters who returned the stolen funds, adding that “Since the purported looted funds belong to the Federal Republic of Nigeria, it ought to have been paid into the Federation Account and shared by the Federal, State and Local Government.”

Special Assistant to the Governor on Public Communications and New Media, Lere Olayinka, said in a statement issued in Ado-Ekiti on Thursday that Governor Fayose advised President Buhari to tackle the collapsed economy of the country headlong instead of going from one country to another, casting aspersion on Nigerians with his sing-song of fighting corruption.

He said the President’s attitude was yet to change from that of 1984 when he was military Head of State, adding that; “Buhari’s statement in Tehran, Iran that it was easier for him as a military Head of State in 1984 to arrest corrupt individuals and put them in protective custody was a pointer to the fact that he has not changed from the dictator that he was then.

“The truth is that Buhari did not fight corruption in 1984. Rather,
he persecuted great Nigerians, especially the likes Chief Adekunle
Ajasin, Chief Ambrose Ali, Chief Bisi Onabanjo, Alhaji Lateef Jakande and Chief Bola Ige, who served the people meritoriously.

“Is Buhari justifying the imprisonment of Dr Alex Ekwueme, who was only the Vice President or All Progressives Congress (APC) leader like Chief Bisi Akande, who only served as a Deputy Governor?”

While urging the President to stop acting like the sole-administrator of Nigeria and the only honest man among Nigerians, Governor Fayose said “Nigerians are desirous of concrete developments, not rhetoric about fight against corruption that is only being used to persecute perceived political enemies of the President both in the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and within the APC.

“As at today, Nigerians are faced with serious hardship occasioned by prolonged fuel scarcity that the Federal Government does not have any solution to. Multi-national companies are laying-off thousands of workers while contractors working for the Federal Government have left their sites. Yet, what we get to hear from the President is noise in foreign lands about non-existing fight against corruption.

“Honestly, this President should get to work and stop lying to
Nigerians and the international community.”

 

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FG’s Economic Policy Focused On The Ordinary Nigerians – Buhari

African countries require a paradigm shift away from trickle down economics because significant portions of the populations are extremely poor necessitating some attention to social investment, according to President Muhammadu Buhari.

In a speech delivered by the Vice President, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo, SAN, on behalf of the President at the 67th Foundation Day Anniversary and 2015 Convocation of the University of Ibadan, he explained that “Conditional cash transfers to the poorest segments, universal primary healthcare schemes, school feeding programs can energize local economics and create important multipliers in the economy.”

The President who is the Visitor to the university, observed that in Africa, “we are constantly reminded that we are the last frontier for socio-economic development,” adding however that extreme poverty, and attendant depressing literacy, infant and maternal mortality statistics are daily reminders of how poorly the political, business and intellectual elite “in our nations have responded to the major issues of development so far.”

Speaking about Nigerian federal government specifically, the president stated that “the major focus of our economic policy is the ordinary man, especially youths. The focus of every policy is job-creation. The question that decides the priority of our policies is how many jobs will this create.”

He disclosed that the country’s next budget “will focus on the rapid development of critical infrastructure, roads, rail transport, the power sector and technology. We cannot bring about the much needed economic growth and prosperity without putting in place the necessary infrastructure.”

He added that the “diversification of our economy is for us not mere rhetoric. We are determined to develop agriculture and the agro-allied value chain.” Besides, the president noted that the promotion of entrepreneurship is crucial and we are cleaning up the process of providing capital to Small to Medium Scale Enterprises.”

Inspiring confidence, President Buhari declared that “despite the sharp drop in oil earning and the downturn in the global economy, we are convinced that the future of Nigeria is very bright indeed.”

The President also threw a number of challenges to the university congregation event which witnessed the installation of the 7th Chancellor for the University of Ibadan, Alhaji Muhammadu Sa’ad Abubakar, the Sultan of Sokoto conducted by the Vice President, Prof. Osinbajo as the representative of the President as Visitor.

Focussing on the economic indices, President Buhari noted that “we are confronted with the phenomenon of GDP growth while unemployment figures rose.” And then he asked rhetorically, “for the intellectual elite, my question is what are the great ideas on economic policy that will ensure that while we are building the industrial and technological base for the future, we are able to address the questions of extreme poverty of the largest numbers of our people?

Continuing he said “what is the economic model that will ensure inclusive growth,” asserting that the times call for an “uncommon creativity.” According to him, examples from even well-developed western economies like the US have shown that “the monster called the economy cannot be allowed to prowl the streets with its free-market struts without the leash of a trainer. So we must ask ourselves some tough questions.”

In another instance, the president challenged the intellectuals in the continent to come up with the counter narrative that will overcome those of terrorists and violent extremists. According to him, “how do we at an intellectual and philosophical level challenge the morbid ideologies that inform the terrorist movements all over the world?

The President then reassured that his government is committed to responsible and responsive governance. According to him, the zero-tolerance level for corruption “is firm and without exception,” stressing that “we will insist that both the public and private sectors must be held to the highest standards of transparency, accountability in dealing with the Nigerian people.”

Dignitaries at the UI convocation event where the new Chancellor and the longest serving Vice Chancellor of the university, Prof. Ayo Banjo were awarded honorary doctorate degrees included the Governor of Oyo State, Senator Abiola Ajimobi.

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