A President, His Wife And Misogyny By Raymond Nkannebe

Aisha Buhari is no doubt a beautiful dame. Give it to her. But then history has shown that good looks accounts for almost nothing in the political chessboard. That is, when it comes to the turf of politics, beauty of whatever kind, takes the back sit. The only time as far as this writer can recall that beauty formed part of our socio-political discourse was in the early eighties. Precisely in 1982 when politicians spoiled for the 1983 elections. And it was when the fire eating strong man of Kano politics- late Alhaji Abubakar Rimi  was quoted to have said that “he was confident that his political party, the defunct PRP would win the votes of every Nigerian woman because of his handsomeness and that of his running Mate- Jim Nwobodo”.

That election would not hold as the military struck on the last day of December, 1983.furthermore, that the likes of Robert Mugabe, Olusegun Obasanjo, Emmanuel Uduaghan and Adams Oshiomole among others have held prolonged political offices despite what many would agree is a horrible look, is a testimony that Beauty is inconsequential in this thing called politics and politicking. In place of Beauty, it is wit and tact that matters. And that is why, when history will be written, Patience Ibifaka Jonathan would be remembered more than Aisha as the quintessential Thatcher, Merkel or even Queen Victoria. And that is the first take away dear reader, from today’s discourse.

Perhaps we should forgive Aisha Buhari. Unlike Patience Jonathan, she obviously does not know that power and politics is business. A monopoly of sort.  But if she does not know this truism, how come she also does not know that the Family too, is business? For if she had known, she wouldn’t have said the sort of things she said the other in that interview that has drawn much blood from the life of this administration and has kept many mouths occupied. For the sake of all that is good and just, who takes their husband’s dirty linens to wash in the full glare of the public? And a presidential ‘ogburu’ at that! It is in sheer agreement with the fact that family matters should not be made a public affair that even the Police in Nigeria came out with the coinage, “ Na family matter” to ward off complainants  who come to the police stations  intending to make it a pseudo-family court. Telling them to go back home and see how they can negotiate some peace. And as young couples are told, never discuss otherwise bedroom business in the markets of the state.

That is to say, on no account should family affairs be made a subject of public logomachy or objurgation. In Mario Puzo’s classic work: The Godfather, published in 1969, we learn that it is the height of folly to tell anyone outside the family what you are thinking. This is because everyday living is a continuous but subtle battle for the few resources up for grabs. And therefore telling anyone outside of the family what you are thinking, is akin to leaving your flanks open to attack and your continuous existence to the discretion of your opponent. The unwritten rule therefore is: however bad it may be on the home front, we are to carry on as though bliss is pervasive within while alternating divergent trouble-shoot mechanisms to earn the bliss. In the realm of politics, it is a no-brainer. You cannot spill the beans abroad.

Aisha Buhari in her naivety, seem not to appreciate all of this. And unwittingly constituted herself into an opposition element against her spouse goaded by the fact that she was speaking the truth but oblivious that in politics and power, honesty is not a virtue. In doing that, it became obvious that she, after 27 years of marriage to the Daura politician, does not understand the chemistry of the man she has shared the ‘other room’ with, for almost three decades.

Not only was her grouse with the spouse uncalled for, it was also not a legitimate one. She came across as an advocate of cronyism whining and crying that her Buhari would not imbibe the unofficial policy of “no contribution no chop”. She is not happy that those who made inputs into the presidency of her husband have been relegated to the background while those who were not instrumental in the process or even suffered the need to pick up their PVSs were literally woken up from their slumber to take up juicy positions in her husband’s government. Said the dame, “…That is what I am saying. Those that know they don’t have voters card, they should give chance to those that have; they are the ones that struggled and knows what we want to do…..they didn’t even work for it…” Nothing could be more infantile. Apparently, in saying that, she betrayed the fact that her husband’s plagiarized but popular “ I belong to everybody, I belong to nobody”  mantra at his inaugural address made no sense to her. For her, it was just another of those political platitudes. The traditional politics of settlement was for her, a rule of thumb. She was ready to compromise standards provided “those who worked” were happy.

She alleges that a cabal was running her husband roughshod and calling the shots within the presidency and tells us to watch our TV screens if we need to know them as she would not tell us the ‘essential ingredients’ of this cabal. She didn’t even put in a word for her husband’s lopsided appointment that is diametrical to the Federal Character Principle; what would have been a more nationalistic grouse, but rather was pained that cronyism was not imbibed by her husband. She signs off threatening not to support this spouse come 2019, if he chooses to throw his hat into the ring. In her delusion, she thinks her beauty was instrumental in bringing the government to power. Perhaps she must have thought the pictures of her (doing what she probably knows how, to in the kitchen—turning bean cake (Akara balls) in certain Nigerian suburb), that was widely circulated in the media during the campaigns moved many Nigerians into voting the Buhari-Osibanjo ticket. Altogether, she confirmed the fears of many- that she would go down as one of Nigeria’s most unpopular ‘first lady’.

But no sooner had she finished her political “insider trading” than her husband entered appearance. This time, in far away Germany, where at a joint press conference with German Chancellor, Angela Markel, in Berlin, true to his characteristic nature of committing colossal gaffes outside our shores, president Muhammdau Buhari in a political joke (assuming we want to concede the damage control spin set about by Garba Shehu and co.) that would not be forgotten in a hurry, told a stunning audience that she does not know what political party his wife belongs to. But most certainly that he was sure, “she belongs to his kitchen, the living room and the inner room”. Coming at a time when top contender for the United States president job, Donald Trump has been picketed and harangued for his obscene comments about the feminine gender, PMB carelessly enlisted his name in the annals of infamy. The Washington Post correspondent, Ishaan Tharoor would draw a parallel between Trump and Buhari saying in a post for the tabloid, “If you think Donald Trump has problems, consider those of Nigerian president Muhammadu Buhari…”

Buhari’s rather brash reaction to say the least, was not only uncivilized to be heard of the leader of a country in the 21st century, it betrayed him as not being a good crisis manager. He should have known that family business must not be brought to the public domain even though they have political undertones. He could have shrugged the question and thereby saving himself the colossal pitfall that became his response.  He had more than a thousand ways to wriggle himself out of the corner he was boxed, but alas he was not the smartest of presidents. And in a rather misguided manner, shot himself in the foot in a never-before-seen answer to a question.

Whatever the presidential media team wants us to believe, truth is that Buhari’s riposte to his wife’s strictures on the trajectory of his government feeds from a rapacious and misogynistic maniac that labels the woman as an object to be thrown about with no need to be factored into the workings of the larger society. Little wonder why we have seen fewer women dotting the corridors of his government unlike the previous administration. That is to say, in Buhari’s social thought, the woman should be preoccupied with the tasks of cooking and making babies for her spouse—that myopic and often traditional perception of the feminine gender which is a stone throw from gender abuse.

At the end of the day, the first family made a mess of themselves to the consternation of too many country men and women with Aisha stirring the hornet’s nest. They did not only take care of their dirty linens in the local corridor, they did so through the international media making global headlines for the wrong reason. What would have been a successful outing in Germany was therefore eclipsed by the discordant tunes that the president and his Aisha traded offshore. And while we must blame both husband and wife for such faux pas of international magnitude, it is Aisha Buhari who should take the heavier knocks for not knowing where and when to ventilate her grievances. And whose moments of verbal incontinence set all these stones rolling.

 

Raymond Nkannebe, a Legal practitioner and Public affairs commentator can be reached via RaymondNkannebe@gmail.com. Twitter @RayNkah

 

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VIDEO: President Buhari ‘Jokingly’ Disses Wife Over BBC Interview

President Muhammadu Buhari elicited laughter at a joint press conference with German Chancellor Angela Merkel yesterday when he responding to a question about an interview granted by his wife, Aisha Buhari, to the BBC.

The president jokingly said, “I claim superior knowledge compared to [my wife] and the opposition,” mentioning his three failed campaigns for the presidency of Nigeria over a 12-year period before he won on his fourth attempt.

He said his wife belongs to the his kitchen, the living room and the other room.

The video below captures the president’s exact words.

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Four Reasons President Buhari Is Visiting Germany

There are four major reasons highlighted by the presidency why President Muhammadu Buhari of Nigeria has embarked on a three working days visit to the Federal Republic of Germany.

According to a presidential media aide, Mr. Femi Adesina, the discussions of Buhari with Gernamy will cover the following areas:

  1. Further cooperation between the two countries on security matters especially as it affects the North-Eastern states of Nigeria.
  2. The humanitarian situation of Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) in the North-East of Nigeira
  3. The rehabilitation of the North-East vastly destroyed by the activities of the Boko-Haram sect
  4. Enhancement of Economic ties between Nigeria and Germany. To this end and In furtherance of the administration’s objective to attract more foreign investment and create economic opportunities in the country, President Buhari will participate in a Business Forum in Berlin with leading German companies already active in Nigeria and other prospective investors.

According to Adesina, President Buhari is committed to deepening relations with Germany and building on the very cordial relations both countries enjoy in several areas of bilateral cooperation including the fight against terrorism, economic relations, rebuilding of the North east, support for IDPs, vocational training, energy partnership and cultural relations.

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Chibok Girls: Tinubu Hails Buhari, Says President Won’t Rest Until All Girls Are Set Free

National leader of the All progressives Congress (APC), Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu, yesterday hailed President Muhammadu Buhari over the release of 21 of the Chibok schoolgirls.

Tinubu said he is sure that President Muhammadu Buhari will not rest on his oars until all the Chibok girls in captivity have been rescued.

In a statement by his Media Office, Tinubu said: “The news of the release of the 21 Chibok girls came to me as a delightful relief. I congratulate the families of these young ladies who have endured so much anxiety and pain on account of this horrendous experience. I am also grateful that these budding young stars now have the opportunity to again pursue their dreams and aspirations. I know there is road to recovery and readjustment ahead, but I am confident that the support of their families, our communities,and the assistance of our many collaborators at home, and internationally provide the tools required for this.

“I also congratulate and thank President Muhammadu Buhari for his steadfastness and dogged effort in ensuring the release of these girls. I salute our gallant men and women in uniform who continue to make sacrifices on our behalf and have remained focused in the hot pursuit of the terrorists.

“I commend all Federal Government agencies- the DSS, the NIA- and indeed our lawmakers and our other partners who remained dogged and worked assiduously to secure this release.

“It is a great day for our nation and humanity when as shown there, we demonstrate that every life is vital and must be fought for, no matter what it takes. I know that the joy of this outcome will inspire and encourage the government and all concerned to do everything within human possibility to secure the release of our other daughters who are still in captivity.

“This President, I am assured, will not rest on his oars until all the girls in captivity are freed and returned to their families.  Security and ending the Boko Haram insurgency remains atop the agenda of the APC-led government and I am happy that the evidence is there to see that progress is being made on this front.”

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Photos: Vice President Osinbajo Meets Released 21 Chibok Girls

Vice President Yemi Osinabjo this evening received the released 21 of the nearly 300 girls abducted by the extremist sect Boko Haram on April 14, 2014, from a secondary school in Chibok.

The meeting took place at the president villa in Abuja, where the wife of the vice president, Dolapo Osinbajo and many other government officials attended.

READ: How 21 Abducted Chibok Girls Were Released

The girls released in a series of negotiations between the Nigerian Government and the Boko Haram brokered by the International Red Cross and the Swiss government,” were earlier today transported to Abuja after they were picked at Banki, a border town in Bama local government area of Borno State.

Below are photos from the meeting.

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Malawi President Yet To Return Home Several Weeks After Attending UN Assembly In New York

Since his last appearance at the UN general Assembly on Sept. 25  where he delivered a speech at the summit, Malawian President Peter Mutharika has yet to return to his home country.

Rumours are swelling that Mutharika, believed to be 76, has stayed back in the United States because he’s gravely ill and seeking medical treatment.

On Monday, Minister of Information Malison Ndau wrote on the official Malawi government Facebook page that citizens should “IGNORE THE RUMORS; THE PRESIDENT IS FINE” and warned that under Malawi law it is illegal to spread falsehoods about the president’s health.

“Spreading false rumors about the health of the President is a criminal offense and unless this behavior stops forthwith, [the] government will not hesitate to bring to book those responsible for this irresponsible, malicious and damaging rumor-mongering which is clearly aimed at spreading fear and panic among law-abiding Malawians,” he wrote.

It is not abnormal for heads of state or other governmental leaders to extend their U.N. trips for other meetings in Washington that couldn’t be squeezed in during the busy week in New York. But it is also not entirely abnormal for them to seek medical treatment in the U.S. either. Now questions remain about why Mutharika has been gone for quite so long, and why the government has not published video or photo evidence of him in “very robust health,” as he is described in Monday’s statement.

On Monday, Malawians commented on Ndau’s Facebook post demanding answers. “When you are not informing people as to why the president is still not coming back far beyond the activity for which he travelled, you invite such speculations,” one user wrote.

“The million dollar questions haven’t been answered and that makes the whole statement useless,” added another. “The questions are, what is he doing in the US and when is he coming back? What official duties that cannot be mentioned?”

The Embassy of Malawi in Washington, D.C. did not immediately respond to FP’s request for comment.

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Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos Wins 2016 Nobel Peace Prize

Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos has won the Nobel Peace Prize for his work in achieving a peace deal with the FARC rebels and ending a 52-year-long conflict.

Santos’ win came as a surprise after Colombians voted “No” to an agreement he signed with Marxist rebels to end 52 years of war.

Reuters reports that Santos had promised to revive a peace plan even though Colombians, in a referendum on Sunday, narrowly rejected the accord. Many voters reckoned it was too lenient on the FARC guerrillas.

The Nobel Peace Prize, a gold medal, a diploma and a cheque worth 8 million Swedish crowns ($930,000), will be presented in Oslo on December. 10 at a ceremony tp mark the anniversary of the 1896 death of prize creator Alfred Nobel, a Swedish philanthropist and scientist.

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Full Text Of President Buhari’s Speech At LEADERSHIP Awards 2016

ADDRESS BY HIS EXCELLENCY MUHAMMADU BUHARI, PRESIDENT, COMMANDER-IN-CHIEF, FEDERAL REPUBLIC OF NIGERIA, AT THE LEADERSHIP ANNUAL AWARDS AND CONFERENCE, HELD AT THE TRANSCORP HILTON HOTEL, ABUJA ON OCTOBER 6, 2016.

PROTOCOLS:
I am most delighted to be part of this occasion organized by the Leadership Newspapers Group to honour Nigerians who have excelled in their chosen fields of endeavour.

  1. Let me hasten to congratulate my joint award winners, my predecessor, His Excellency, President Goodluck Ebele Jonathan, GCFR and Professor Attahiru Jega, the former Chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission, as “Leadership Person of the Year”.
  2. The events of 2015 which the Leadership Newspaper has chosen to bring to the fore today, marked a watershed in the political history of our country.
  3. Those of us who were participating actors in the elections were led by the higher ideal of the future of our great country and the well being of our people rather than the mere desire of politicians to win elections.
  4. It is, therefore, our commitment to this ideal, the patriotic zeal of President Jonathan, the impartiality of the electoral umpire, INEC and exemplary conduct of the political parties, foreign pressure and other actors that we collectively disappointed the prophets of doom who had predicted the disintegration of the country after the 2015 general elections.
  5. Our democracy has been strengthened by the outcome of the 2015 elections as our people now have more faith in the electoral system in the sense that their votes would count when choosing political leaders at various levels. We, the political class should build on the experience of the 2015 elections to nurture our democracy.
  6. I wish to felicitate with the other award winners for the recognition accorded them by the Leadership Newspapers. It is my fervent hope that the awards will encourage all those recognized today to remain committed to good behaviour in their various endeavours to justify this recognition and serve as inspiration to others.
  7. The Leadership Newspapers have been in the forefront of promoting democracy and positive values that are necessary to achieve national consensus on the issues that tend to challenge our unity and progress as a nation. We commend the Leadership Newspapers Group and its publisher, Sam Nda-Isaiah for standing firm on the path of patriotism, justice and fairness.
  8. Our participation in today’s ceremony is therefore, a mark of confidence in the brand of journalism practiced by the Leadership Newspapers Group as it is a public acknowledgment of the contributions of the media to our administration’s agenda to defeat terrorism and violent extremism in the country, fight corruption and diversify the economy to create jobs for our teeming population and generally improve the standard of living of Nigerians.
  9. I expect the Nigerian media to join our government in pursuit of these goals not just to criticize to prove their independence.
  10. The media must continually see itself as true partner in the task of nation building and thus act in the spirit of patriotism at all times in the important role of informing the people of the country.
  11. On our part, our doors are wide open to media inquiries in line with the transparency and anti-corruption stance of our administration.
  12. Once again, I congratulate the award winners today and thank the Leadership Newspapers Group for the honour done to us.
  13. I thank you for your attention.
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PHOTOS: President Buhari Receives Leadership Man Of The Year Award

President Muhammadu Buhari was on Friday presented with the Leadership Newspaper Man of the Year Award.

The award presentation was done by former Head of State, General Abdulsalam Abubakar in the presence of the publisher of Leadership Newspaper, Sam Nda-Isaiah among others.

See more photos below:

PRESIDENT BUHARI RECEIVES LEADERSHIP AWARD 1B. R-L; Former Head of State, General Abdusalami Abubakar presenting 2015 Leadership Newspaper Man of the Year Award to President Muhammadu Buhari. With him are Akwa Ibom State Governor, Mr Udom Emmanuel, Chairman Leadership Newspaper Group, Mr Sam Nda-Isaiah and Estu Nupe, HRH Alhaji Yahaya Abubakar held at the Transcorp Hilton Hotel in Abuja. PHOTO; SUNDAY AGHAEZE. OCT 6 2016
PRESIDENT BUHARI RECEIVES LEADERSHIP AWARD 1B. R-L; Former Head of State, General Abdusalami Abubakar presenting 2015 Leadership Newspaper Man of the Year Award to President Muhammadu Buhari. With him are Akwa Ibom State Governor, Mr Udom Emmanuel, Chairman Leadership Newspaper Group, Mr Sam Nda-Isaiah and Estu Nupe, HRH Alhaji Yahaya Abubakar held at the Transcorp Hilton Hotel in Abuja. PHOTO; SUNDAY AGHAEZE. OCT 6 2016
PRESIDENT BUHARI RECEIVES LEADERSHIP AWARD 2. Chairman Leadership Newspaper Group, Mr Sam Nda-Isaiah, former Minister of Special Duties representing Former Head of State, Dr Goodluck Jonathan, President Muhammadu Buhari (2015 Leadership Newspaper Man of the Year Award winner) and Guest Speaker and Akwa Ibom State Governor, Mr Udom Emmanuel held at the Transcorp Hilton Hotel in Abuja. PHOTO; SUNDAY AGHAEZE. OCT 6 2016
PRESIDENT BUHARI RECEIVES LEADERSHIP AWARD 2. Chairman Leadership Newspaper Group, Mr Sam Nda-Isaiah, former Minister of Special Duties representing Former Head of State, Dr Goodluck Jonathan, President Muhammadu Buhari (2015 Leadership Newspaper Man of the Year Award winner) and Guest Speaker and Akwa Ibom State Governor, Mr Udom Emmanuel held at the Transcorp Hilton Hotel in Abuja. PHOTO; SUNDAY AGHAEZE. OCT 6 2016
PRESIDENT BUHARI RECEIVES LEADERSHIP AWARD 3. 2015 Leadership Newspaper Man of the Year Award Winner President Muhammadu Buhar, Minister of Water Resources, Alhaji Sulieman Adamu, Taraba State Governor, Darius Ishaiku and Chairman Leadership Newspaper Group, Mr Sam Nda-Isaiah and Estu Nupe, HRH Alhaji Yahaya Abubakar held at the Transcorp Hilton Hotel in Abuja. PHOTO; SUNDAY AGHAEZE. OCT 6 2016
PRESIDENT BUHARI RECEIVES LEADERSHIP AWARD 3. 2015 Leadership Newspaper Man of the Year Award Winner President Muhammadu Buhar, Minister of Water Resources, Alhaji Sulieman Adamu, Taraba State Governor, Darius Ishaiku and Chairman Leadership Newspaper Group, Mr Sam Nda-Isaiah and Estu Nupe, HRH Alhaji Yahaya Abubakar held at the Transcorp Hilton Hotel in Abuja. PHOTO; SUNDAY AGHAEZE. OCT 6 2016

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President Buhari’s Cost Cutting Measures In Bullet Points, By Adnan Raji

Ø  The administration banned the procurement and distribution of conference bags, T- shirts and other souvenirs at events such as conferences, workshops, and seminars organized by Federal Ministries, Departments and agencies (MDAs)

Ø   Banned the printing of unnecessary publications and books of short shelf life which have no real value to the concerned public institutions or the citizens. Now, such publications should be on their websites which have the added benefit of wider visibility, and print only limited numbers of hard copies of such publications.

Ø  Issued specific guidelines that would reduce the cost of printing invitation cards, programme of events, brochures, folders and notepads. Amongst the guidelines are that they should be in black and white and limited to only one page and in the case of brochures, they should be streamlined to contain only essential information.

Ø  Established the Efficiency Unit (E-Unit) in the federal ministry of finance to ensure that all government expenditure is necessary and represents value for money. The Unit will undertake programmed reviews of all government overhead expenditure with a view to reduce wastage, promote efficiency and ensure quantifiable savings for the country.

Ø  The administration slashed the number of ministries from 42 to 19 by merging some ministries in a view to cut cost and make them more effective

Ø  50% reduction of President and Vice –President Salaries.

Ø  Selling of 2 Presidential jets

Ø  Reduction of entourage to international events.

Ø  Abolishment of the first lady office

Ø    Reduction of state house budget

Ø  Closing down of 9 foreign missions to cut cost

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My UN Outing, by President Muhammadu Buhari

As you are aware, my delegate and I arrived in New York on Saturday, 17th, September and successfully concluded scheduled activities during the High-Level Segment of the 71st Session of the United Nations General Assembly yesterday, 23rd September.  This is my second visit to the United Nations Headquarters since I took office as President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria in May, 2015.

While in New York, I participated in a series of meetings and side-events.  I had bilateral meetings with some World Leaders and attended major events including the “Welcoming Reception” hosted by the Secretary-General and Mrs. Ban Soon-taek, and the Secretary-General’s Official Luncheon on Tuesday, 20th September.

Of special note was my address to the World Leaders at the General Debate on Tuesday 20th which was the principal assignment of the visit.  In that speech, I sent a clear and direct message to world leaders on a number of important issues notably:

(i) I highlighted the need for the international community to work together to liberate humanity from poverty, save our planet     from the devastation of climate change and rid the world of terrorism for a more peaceful and prosperous future;

ii) Turning to our problems at home, I mentioned that the plight of Internally Displaced persons (IDPs) arising from Boko Haram terrorism is of particular concern to us.  For this reason, we have taken concrete steps to address their humanitarian needs and to ensure that necessary conditions are established to enable the voluntary return of the displaced persons to their homes in safety and dignity;

(iii) I acknowledged that Nigeria as a developing country has been adversely affected by the global economic downturn.  However, we are undeterred     and have embarked on a wide range of reforms in our efforts to diversify our economy and shift emphasis to mining, agriculture, industrialization,     infrastructure development and the creation of the enabling environment for Foreign Direct     Investment;

(iv) To that effect, I noted that our strategic objective is to stimulate the economy, restore growth and accelerate recovery by taking measures to reduce the cost of governance and increase expenditure on infrastructure and ensure environmental best practices;

(v) I emphasized that fighting corruption remains of prime importance to our administration and that our efforts in fighting corruption are yielding positive results including significant stolen assets recoveries;

(vi) In this connection, I noted that speedy and unconditional return of stolen public assets     should be the focus of the anti-corruption conference to be hosted by the US and UK in     Washington next year;

(vii) On the subject of Climate Change, I told my audience that we are determined to implement the strategies in our Intended Nationally Determined Contributions (INDCs), which will foster low carbon economy and sustainable growth in building a climate     resilient society;

(viii) Again on the subject of the environment, I informed world leaders that in furtherance of our commitment to environmental sustainability, Nigeria had launched the clean-up of Ogoni land in the Niger Delta, based on the 2011 Environmental Assessment of the area by the United Nations Environmental Programme (UNEP);

(ix) I acknowledged the importance of youth in national development and underlined our commitment to harness the potential of the increasing youth bulge and that we must take advantage of the numbers and creative energy of young people who are in the majority.  Further to this, I called for the establishment of a specialized UN agency for youth development at the international level, to achieve this strategic objective;

(x) On the Isreali-Palestinian issue, I reiterated Nigeria’s position in support of the Two-State solution with Palestinian rights to statehood in conformity with numerous Security Council Resolutions; and

(xi) Finally, I called on Member-states of the United Nations to redouble their efforts for the reform of the organization.  I reiterated Nigeria’s call for the reform of the UN Security council to reflect equitable and fair representation and greater transparency, legitimacy and inclusiveness in its decision making.  I stressed that Africa should be adequately represented in the reformed Council in the permanent member category and added that Nigeria stands ready to serve Africa and the world on a reformed Council to advance international peace and security.

Other meetings and events where I participated and addressed World Leaders at different fora included the following:

• High-Level Plenary on addressing Large Movements of Refugees and Migrants on Monday 19th;

• African Union Peace and Security Council Meeting on Monday 19th which dealt with the situation in the South Sudan;

• Meeting hosted by Mrs Theresa May, Prime Minister of the United Kingdom on the threat of Modern Slavery (Trafficking in People) on Monday 19th;

• SDG Moment: to mark the 1st Anniversary of the adoption of the 2030 Agenda and the Sustainable Development Goals, on Tuesday 20th;

• The US-Africa Business Forum on Wednesday 21st, during which there was a Spotlight on Nigeria which afforded me an opportunity to speak on “Nigeria’s Economic Reforms for Growth.” I tried to attract American investors to Nigeria;

• My participation at a High Level meeting to  commemorate the 30th Anniversary of the Declaration on the Right to Development, on Thursday 22nd reflects the administration’s commitment to ensure that every Nigerian is afforded opportunity to develop his/her abilities and be enabled to contribute to the development of our country, Nigeria.

In continuation of our drive to diversify the economy, create a safe and peaceful environment for development to thrive in Nigeria, I met with the following notable World Leaders:

• HE Mr. Ban Ki-Moon, the UN Secretary-General;

• HE Mr. Jacob Zuma, President of South Africa;

• HE Mr. Macky Sall, President of Senegal;

• HE Alassane Ouattara, President of Côte d’Ivoire;

• HE M. François Holland, President of France;

• HE Mr. Barack Obama, President of the United States of America;

• HE Mr. Johann Schneider-Ammann, President of the Swiss Confederation;

• HE Mr. David Granger, President of the Republic of Guyana;

• HE Mr. Roch Marc Christian Kaboré, President of Burkina Faso;

In all those meetings I advanced Nigeria’s case and called for international cooperation.
The US-Africa Business Forum organized on the margins of the General Assembly was timely.  I addressed the meeting, which had in attendance a significant group of important CEOs.  Discussions focused on how they can collaborate with us to diversify our economy, which will in turn drive development, job creation and general business development in Nigeria.

In continuation of my effort to attract Diaspora skills back home, I also met with a group of Nigerian Professionals living in US who have distinguished themselves in their various fields of specialization ranging from health, aeronautical engineering, customs, law enforcement, economics, business, law, education to politics.  I extended an invitation to them to join us in our effort to develop our country.  They in turn expressed genuine desire to contribute positively to the growth and development of our country.

Another issue that is very important to me and our country as well as our region is the importance of drawing international attention to the adverse effects of Climate Change in Nigeria and in our region. As you will recall, last year 12th December, 2015, I joined other World Leaders to conclude what is now called the Paris Agreement on Climate Change.  On Thursday 22 September, I signed that Agreement at the United Nations Headquarters.  Soon after the signing ceremony, we had an important meeting to discuss the issue of Environmental Sustainability.  In Nigeria, this is a serious issue and my administration is making very genuine efforts to address the negative effects of climate change in order to build a clean and sustainable environment for our people and the future generation.  The “Ogoniland Clean Up” which I launched and the effort to recharge the shrinking Lake Chad were subject of discussion at the meeting.

Yesterday, as part of my last major activity in this 71st Session, I participated in an event which the Secretary-General of the United Nations organized on the “Humanitarian Crisis in the Lake Chad Basin – A Turning Point.” President Idriss Déby of Chad and President Mahamadou Issoufou of Niger also participated in the event.  As countries of the Lake Chad Basin area, we examined strategies to increase regional and international attention as well as mobilize support in response to The Lake Chad Basin crisis.

No single country and surely not the four most affected countries, can muster the tremendous financial resources required to turn around the very dire situation of the Lake Chad Region.  The millions of people whose daily livelihood have been placed in jeopardy are depending on us to find succor for them. I am happy to note at the sessions, some countries notably the United Kingdom and USA pledge additional support in the tune of US $391 million humanitarian aid for the Lake Chad region.

All in all, it was a very successful and useful session, and I would like to thank the relevant US authorities who by their efficient coordination of security and administrative arrangements during our stay in New York contributed to its success.  The men and women of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs demonstrated that we still have capable officers in our Foreign and Civil Service.  Thank you for your tireless efforts in projecting a positive image of our country, even in difficult times.

To you in the media, who went through elaborate security checks and clearance procedures to follow my activities and hectic schedule in order to keep all our people at home well informed of my meetings and engagements here in New York, you also deserve my appreciation.  Our next interaction will be in Abuja.

Thank you one and all.

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How And Why We Got Into Trouble, President Buhari Briefs Nigerian Professionals In America

They converged from different parts of the United States of America, top rate professionals all, Nigerians whom Mrs Abike Dabiri-Erewa, Senior Special Assistant to the President on Diaspora Matters and International Relations, described as “15 of the best people God ever created.”

The professionals were in New York to meet with the Nigerian President. Top flight aeronautics engineers, physicians, I.T experts, a Judge, a top policewoman, entrepreneurs, an Import Specialist at Customs and Border Protection, professors, two straight A students, and many others.

The parley provided President Buhari opportunity to bring them up to speed on how and why Nigeria got into trouble, with an assurance that with all hands on deck, including the best brains in the Diaspora, the country would bounce back in the shortest possible time.

“I am very pleased with this meeting,” President Buhari stated. “Wherever you go in the world, you find highly competent and outstanding Nigerians. They not only make great impact on their host countries and communities, their financial remittances back home also help our economy, particularly at a time like this, when things are down.

“We got into trouble as a country, because we did not save for the rainy day. For example, between 1999 and 2015, when we produced an average of 2.1 million barrels of oil per day, and oil prices stood at an average of $100 per barrel, we did not save, neither did we develop infrastructure. Suddenly, when we came in 2015, oil prices fell to about 30 dollars per barrel.

“I asked; where are the savings? There were none. Where are the railways? The roads? Power? None. I further asked; what did we do with billions of dollars that we made over the years? They said we bought food. Food with billions of dollars? I did not believe, and still do not believe.

“In most parts of Nigeria, we eat what we grow. People in the South eat tubers, those in the North eat grains, which they plant, and those constitute over 60 per cent of what we eat. So, where did the billions of dollars go? We did a lot of damage to ourselves by not developing infrastructure when we had the money.

“Talking of our military, they earned respect serving in places like Burma, Zaire, Sudan, Liberia, Sierra-Leone, and then, suddenly, that same military could no longer secure 14 out of 774 local governments in the country. Insurgents had seized them, calling them some sort of caliphate, and planting their flags there; till we came, and scattered them.

“We raised the morale of our military, changed the leadership, re-equipped and retrained them; USA, Britain, and some other countries helped us, and today, the pride of our military is restored.

“Boko Haram ran riot, killing innocent people in churches, mosques, markets, schools, motor parks, and so on. And they would then shout Allahu Akbar. But if they truly knew Allah, they would not do such evil. Neither Islam, nor any other religion I know of, advocates hurting the innocent. But they shed innocent blood, killed people in their thousands. Now, we have dealt with that insurgency, and subverted their recruitment base.

“Those who stole Nigeria dry are not happy. They recruited the militants against us in the Niger Delta, and began to sabotage oil infrastructure. We lose millions of barrels per day, at a time when every dollar we can earn, counts. It is a disgrace that a minimum of 27 states, out of 36 that we have in Nigeria, can’t pay salaries.

“But I prayed so hard for God to make me President. I ran in 2003, 2007, 2011, and in 2015, He did. And see what I met on ground. But I can’t complain, since I prayed for the job. In the military, I rose from 2nd Lieutenant to Major-General. I was military governor in 1975 over a state that is now six states. I was head of state, got detained for three years, and headed the Petroleum Trust Fund (PTF), which had N53 billion of that time in Nigerian banks.

“God has been very good to me, so I can’t complain. If I feel hurt by anybody, I ask God to help me forgive. He has done so much for me.

“After 16 years of a different party in government, no party will come and have things easy. It’s human. We need quality hands to run Nigeria, and we will utilize them. I will like to welcome you home when it’s time. But I’ll like you to be ready.”

All the Nigerian professionals pledged to contribute their quota towards re-launching their fatherland to a new dawn.

FEMI ADESINA

Special Adviser to the President

(Media & Publicity)

September 23, 2016.

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