Buhari Replies Wife Over BBC Interview, Says She Belongs To My Kitchen

President Muhammadu Buhari has reacted to the interview his wife granted to the BBC where she made scathing remarks concerning the president’s decision in government.

Aisha Buhari had in an interview with BBC’s Naziru Mikailu, said she may not back her husband at the next election unless he shakes up his government.

She further declared that Buhari “does not know”most of the top officials he has appointed, and that the government had been hijacked by some persons deciding presidential appointments.

“The president does not know 45 out of 50, for example, of the people he appointed and I don’t know them either, despite being his wife of 27 years,” she said people adding that those who do not share the vision of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) were now appointed to top posts.

“Some people are sitting down in their homes folding their arms only for them to be called to come and head an agency or a ministerial position.”

But reacting to the First Lady’s comment, Buhari who is on a three-day visit to Germany laughed off his wife’s comments about him, saying, “I don’t know which party my wife belongs to, but she belongs to my kitchen and my living room.”

His comments to reporters in Germany prompted German Chancellor Angela Merkel, standing at his side, to give him a short glare and then laugh.

In his comments to reporters, Buhari also said he hopes his wife will remember that he ran for president three times before succeeding on the fourth effort. “So I claim superior knowledge over her and the rest of the opposition, because in the end I have succeeded. It’s not easy to satisfy the whole Nigerian opposition parties or to participate in the government.”

Buhari, who was briefly a military dictator in the 1980s, was elected in his fourth run at the presidency in 2015 on the back of a coalition that includes former foes and opportunists who abandoned the former governing party of defeated President Goodluck Jonathan.

Buhari has not said whether he will run again in 2019.

“He is yet to tell me, but I have decided as his wife that if things continue like this up to 2019, I will not go out and campaign again and ask any woman to vote like I did before. I will never do it again,” Aisha Buhari said.

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

Oyegun Replies Tinubu’s Allegation, Says “Nobody Has Money That Can Buy My Conscience”

The National Chairman of the All Progressives Congress, Chief John Odigie-Oyegun, on Friday responded to allegations levelled against him by the party’s National Leader, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu.

Odigie-Oyegun, who, in a statement issued in Abuja, said all members of the party must respect its constitution, stated that nobody had the money to buy his conscience.

The media office of Tinubu, had in a statement issued few weeks ago, accused Odigie-Oyegun of derailing from the party’s ethos and faulted his role in the APC governorship primary in Ondo State, which was won by Chief Rotimi Akeredolu (SAN).

The statement had said, “(Odigie-) Oyegun has dealt a heavy blow to the very party he professes to lead. It is an awful parent who suffocates his own child for the sake of a few naira.”

But the national chairman in his first comprehensive response to Tinubu’s allegations, described the allegations as reckless and baseless, adding that it was an insult on his person and hard-earned reputation.

He stated, “Nobody has the kind of money that can buy my conscience or make me do injury to an innocent man. In all the primaries conducted under my watch as national chairman, I have strived to ensure a free, fair, transparent and credible process. The 2016 Ondo State APC governorship primary was not an exception. There must be internal democracy in the party and our constitution must be respected by all.”

Odigie-Oyegun also responded to an allegation that he overruled the decision of APC’s National Working Committee, which reportedly had majority of its members present voting in favour of cancellation of the result of the primary.

He said that the minutes of the NWC meetings, which were held from September 19 to September 22, showed that the committee did not vote in favour of cancellation of the primary as claimed by Tinubu.

Odigie-Oyegun said the allegation made by Tinubu’s media office “was a figment of someone’s wild imagination.”

He said, “On Thursday, September 22, 2016, being the final day for submission of candidate by political parties, the NWC discussed the possibility of voting having finished deliberation on the 2016 Ondo State APC Governorship Primary  Appeal Committee Report because members in support of cancelling the primary results were still strident in their position.

“A member of the NWC, however, drew the attention of the meeting to its previous decision in which the report of the primary election committee was adopted while the appeal committee’s was set aside. The implication of this decision, he reasoned, was that a decision to submit the name of the winner of the primary election was already taken unless the NWC would now wish to reconsider its earlier decision.”

Odigie-Oyegun said he agreed with the submission of the member and ruled that the previous decision of the NWC be upheld.

He also faulted an allegation that the names of “over 150 valid delegates were excised to make room for an equal number of impostors.”

He stated that the Ondo State delegates’ list was compiled in strict compliance with the party’s constitution. Odigie-Oyegun said that only qualified delegates were included on the list.

He further said that none of the aspirants or the appeal committee had submitted to the NWC, names of delegates who were not qualified to be on   the list, but were included.

The national chairman also stated that the NWC had not received names of presumed qualified delegates, who were not included on the list used for the primary.

Odigie-Oyegun recalled that Tinubu’s media office alleged that he used a “prayer interlude”, which he initiated, to “secretly excuse” himself from the NWC meeting.

According to the allegation, it was during the interlude that he submitted Akeredolu’s name to the Independent National Electoral Commission as the candidate of the party.

Odigie-Oyegun said, “The allegation is high fiction and an insult to the intelligence and sensibility of the respected NWC members present at the meeting. We do not and have never engaged in prayer interludes/sessions outside the usual opening and closing prayers. The prayer being referred to must be the closing prayer for the meeting.

“The party’s NWC’s decision to reject the 2016 Ondo State APC Governorship Primary Appeal Committee Report was taken on Tuesday, September 20, 2016 in an executive session after careful and exhaustive deliberations. The minutes and rejection were confirmed by the NWC on Thursday, September 22, 2016.

“The NWC, in its four-point resolution, rejected the appeal committee’s recommendation on the grounds that the report was fundamentally and fatally flawed. The NWC observed that the appeal committee contradicted itself when it admitted in its report, ‘In making the above recommendations, one is not unmindful of the fact that there may have been substantial compliance in the conduct of the exercise,’ but still proceeded to recommend the nullification of the primary election.”

According to him, the NWC, in its four-point resolution, also faulted the failure of the appeal committee to invite the national secretariat as the custodian, to authenticate or otherwise, the source of the disputed delegates’ list.

He also noted that the appeal committee did not invite the Chairman or members of the Ondo State Governorship Primary Committee to clarify issues relating to the allegation of manipulation of the accreditation process.

Odigie-Oyegun said that the appeal committee relied totally on unsubstantiated evidence in the petitions it received to recommend the nullification of the primary.

“This is against the principle of natural justice and fair hearing,” he added.

He further said, “The NWC observed a serious contradiction in the appeal committee’s report in respect of the number of the accredited delegates. Whereas the primary election committee’s report indicated that 2,774 delegates were accredited, the appeal committee’s report erroneously recorded it as those who voted in the election, thereby acting under the false impression that there was over-voting in the exercise. The actual total number of votes cast was 2,754, as clearly recorded in the primary election committee’s report.

“The issue of fresh primary did not arise as the NWC had already rejected the appeal committee’s report in view of the stated flaws and upheld the election. In any case, any fresh primary was already time barred. By the timetable released by the Independent National Electoral Commission, all governorship primaries and issues related ended on September 19, 2016.”

He said that at the meeting, voting on a fresh primary was unnecessary and never took place in view of the NWC’s rejection of the appeal committee’s report.

Odigie-Oyegun stated, “The foregoing are facts backed by the minutes approved by all NWC members that attended the meetings held in respect of 2016 Ondo State APC Governorship Primary Election Appeal Committee Report.”

The national chairman added that the NWC was confident that the Chairman of the Ondo State APC Governorship Primary Election Committee and Governor of Jigawa State, Abubakar Badaru, conducted a credible and exemplary exercise.

He said that he was setting the records straight “in view of the misinformation and false reports that have been fed to the media and that have pervaded the public space.”

The national chairman appealed to leaders and members of the party at all levels to explore internal dispute resolution mechanism in addressing their perceived grievances “instead of resorting to the media to vent their spleen.

“There are enormous challenges in delivering the party’s 2015 election promises to Nigerians. On the immediate horizon is the task of winning the governorship election in Ondo State. We cannot afford to be distracted by the present contentions.”

Odigie-Oyegun said that despite the media attention that had been generated by the disagreements in the aftermath of the Ondo State governorship primary, the party had already commenced wide consultations with stakeholders, with a view to resolving the political differences.

“The APC national leadership remains united and solidly committed to the task of winning the Ondo State governorship election to save the people of the state from the misrule of the Peoples Democratic Party,” he stated.

Attempts to get the spokesman for Tinubu, Mr. Tunde Rahman, did not succeed as he did not pick calls to his mobile telephone nor respond to a text message sent to the phone.

Punch

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

Tinubu Replies Tunji Abayomi, Says He Never Relied On His Advice To Choose Buhari

Dear Tunji Abayomi: It is said that to err is human. By your letter to me, it seems that you seek to remind me that I am human.  Of this I am constantly reminded. I know I have made my share of mistakes. But my progressive inclination remains firmly rooted. However, by your pained and inaccurate letter, you have proven that you are human too.

You have been a friend and will continue to be. Thus, I can dispense with needless formality so that we can get to the crux of the issue. Your career is that of a lawyer and activist. I appreciate all that you have done in the pursuit of a more just and democratic Nigeria. However, your letter to me is an impetuous display unbecoming a man of your status and a man seeking the highest leadership position in his state. And as a lawyer, you well know that one cannot seek equity without having done equity.

In writing the letter, you appear to have been bitten by a bug that often blinds the objectivity of a man. You have been bitten by an ambition that you fear you shall not be able to realize. In your pursuit of office, you have sought my support and influence. When you sought that support, you thought it proper and democratic to do so. If I had signalled my support for you, I am sure that you would never have written this letter alleging that I was undermining the democratic will of the people. You would have been pleased with me, I suppose.

However, because that support has not been forthcoming, you fear that the support you wanted may now go to a rival candidate. In your judgment, my support for you would have been democratic. Should I support another, then that same support is now to be considered dictatorial and unfair? Frankly, dear friend, I do not see the objectivity in your analysis or the merit in what you claim as your injury. If you seek a person’s support, you cannot in good conscience turn around and object that such support should never be given to another person. Your position is more undemocratic and unfair than what you accuse me of. Your words attack me for being undemocratic when in reality your heart attacks me for not giving you what you want.

I have participated in elections for decades for myself and others. Some have been won. Some lost. Never, however, have I asked a friend for support than condemn for giving the very support I sought of them to another person. To do so is not to stand on principle but on bruised pride.

You said I seek to deny your democratic right. It is you who seeks to grab mine. If not mistaken, I believe I am a member of the APC. I have a right and duty to support the candidate who I believe will best represent the party. What your letter is really saying is that if I don’t support you, I should keep my mouth shut. You complain of a purported meeting I had to discuss the coming primary in Ondo. Do you deny me and other APC members now the right to assembly and talk. Had you heard that the meeting had anointed you, I doubt you would have written the first word of the letter you sent to me.

But here I want to give you and others a clear assurance that you may rest more at ease. I reserve the right to support any candidate I wish because no one has the right to take this away from me. However, I will also do everything in my power to ensure the primaries are free and fair and that there will be no undue influence on the process. The candidate who can garner the most support and votes will win. Since its inception, the APC has run the cleanest and most transparent primaries in the history of this nation. The just-concluded primary in Edo is further evidence of this. My dear friend, I leave you free to run and win the primary. If you do, I shall congratulate you and support you in the general election. However, you must respect my rights as well and leave me to my own conscience to support who I will support. And to show interest in whom I wish.

I also need to correct what appears to be a mistaken impression on your part about the 2015 election. Your letter seems to indicate that it was on your advice that I backed President Buhari. You assume too much credit and should be more guarded in your assertions. As a veteran in the political arena, I do not make important decisions lightly.  I make final political decisions and calculations on my own after deep reflections and consultation with many people from many perspectives.  I can assure you, dear friend, that I trust my own political counsel more than yours and that I have numerous other advisors whose advice I weigh more than yours. After all had you so much influence over me in the presidential election, it would mean you surely should have greater influence over me when it comes to the primary in your state.

I do appreciate your passion and concern for the welfare of the people.

Yet, you are not the only one who feels this. The love of the people is not exclusive to you, Tunji. My entire life has been devoted to the betterment of the people and of this nation. Lagos is a much better place because of what we have tried to do, and I pray that it will be better still.

Many worked hard and long and sacrificed much, even more than you, to bring in the new federal government. We did not do this as a sport but to improve the lives of the people. You need not lecture me about the plight of the people. Their right to a better life is what motivates me. I do not doubt your love for the people and this nation. Yet, you have no right to doubt mine for you do not love these people and this place more than I do. Of that, I can assure you.

I am a democrat. I am ready to for the chips to fall where they may after and open and fair primary in Ondo. Instead of welcoming this, it appears you are afraid of it. Instead of fighting me who is but one man with no vote, you should be fighting for votes and support. Your letter to me was woefully misplaced and inappropriate. Still, I wish you the best and may democracy and the people’s will prevail above all else.

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

Alleged Assassination Plot: MEND Replies Former President Jonathan

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

House Replies Jibrin, Says He Manufactured Allegations Because Of His Sack

The House of Representatives has reacted swiftly to the statement credited to the the former chairman of the House Committee on Appropriation, Honourable Abdulmumuni Jibrin.

Jibrin was yesterday removed from the house appropriation committee where he was the chairman.

But in apparent reaction to his removal, Jibril released a statement, which was also posted on his twitter account on Thursday asking for the resignation of Speaker Yakubu Dogara and other members of the House leadership.

He accused Dogara of wining with the president and dining with the president’s enemy particularly on the 2016 budget issue.

But the House in a statement by Hon. Abdulrazak Namdas
Chairman, Media and Publicity said the statements by Jibrin are simply issues manufactured by him because he was removed from his position as appropriation committee chairman.

The Statement reads in full:

Our attention has been down to media statements made by the former Chairman of House Appropriation Committee, Hon Abdulmumuni Jibrin wherein he made wild allegations against the House of Representatives and it’s leaders.

We wish to say that it is the prerogative of the Selection Committee of the House  to appoint and remove Committee Chairmen.That power has been so exercised in the case of Hon. Abdulmumin Jibrin as chairman of Appropriation Committee. 

Most of the allegations on the 2016  budget process and his opposition to immunity of Presiding officers  are non issues and mere after thought manufactured simply because the House relieved him of his position.

If he had all these ‘facts’ before ,why didnt he make them public? Why is he doing that now?

Hon. Abdulmumin Jibrin, like any other member of the House knows that there are conventions and precedents as it relates to budgets and projects for principal officers of the National Assembly . Why is he making it an issue now? In any case, he is entitled to his opinion as a Nigerian and as a legislator while acting within the laws of Nigeria and rules of the House. 

We must make it abundantly clear that he was not removed because of his support or otherwise on immunity bill. Afterall he is not the only one who opposed the bill. 

The bill is still pending before committee on review of constitution and it has to be voted upon by each and every member of the House, get Senate concurrence, endorsed by two-third of the 36 State Houses of Assembly and be assented to by the President. It is a cheap blackmail on the part of Hon. Jibrin to even insinuate that he was removed because he opposed immunity bill.

He should not distract the House from giving legislative support on  important issues facing the government concerning the revival of the economy, insecurity in the country, pursuit of anti-corruption measures, poverty alleviation, infrastructural development etc. The Nigerian people are simply not ready to waste their time on personal issues and personal egos of our leaders. We should face the urgent tasks before us for which we were elected.

Signed

Hon. Abdulrazak Namdas
Chairman
House Committee on Media & Publicity

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

Get Your Record Straight, Niger Delta Avengers Replies Buhari’s Media Aide

Out of the blue, a group calling itself the Niger Delta Avengers, NDA spouts. They kill soldiers and policemen. They kidnap and kill oil company workers. Piracy on the high seas. They asked oil companies to stop operations and pack out of the Niger Delta region.
They blow up oil pipelines, power and other infrastructure. They attack and kill prominent individuals, ransacking homes up and down the coastal areas, including lately, Lagos and Ogun states. All these for what”. Garba Shehu (The Tribune online, 2016).

We want Garba Shehu (Senior Special Assistant to the president on Media and Publicity) to go and get his record straight. Niger Delta Avengers have not killed and kidnapped oil workers, we are not into sea piracy, and we have never killed Policemen. The Buhari led Government knows the people attacking soldiers and killing policemen. It’s their sleeper’s agents that are doing it, so they should stop tagging Niger Delta Avengers to killing, kidnapping, ransacking of policemen, soldiers and individuals in the region

On Negotiation

We the Niger Delta Avengers have not negotiated with anyone. So we don’t know where Mr Garba shehu and General Babagana Munguno, the National Security Adviser are getting their information from.  If they have been negotiating with any body it clearly shows they had been negotiating with fraudsters and their (national security agency) created militant group.

Brig.Gen Mudoch Agbinibo
Spokesperson.

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

No Cabal In My Govt, Buhari Replies Saraki

President Muhammadu Buhari has dismissed the allegation by Senate President Bukola Saraki that a cabal had hijacked the government.

In a strongly worded statement by Mr Femi Adesina, special adviser on media and publicity, President Buhari said the allegation was a mere invention of Saraki and “is not even worth the paper on which it was written, as anybody can wake from a troubled sleep, and say anything”.

“This claim by Senator Saraki would have been more worth the while, if it had been backed with more information. If he had proceeded to identify those who constitute the “government within the government,” it would have taken the issue beyond the realm of fiction and mere conjecture.

“But as it stands, the allegation is not even worth the paper on which it was written, as anybody can wake from a troubled sleep, and say anything.

“The Attorney-General of the Federation is the Chief Law Officer of the state. It is within his constitutional powers to determine who has infringed upon the law, and who has not.

“Pretending to carry an imaginary cross is mere obfuscation, if, indeed, a criminal act has been committed. But we leave the courts to judge.

“To claim that President Muhammadu Buhari is anybody’s stooge is not only ridiculous, but also preposterous. It is not in the character of our President”.

Saraki spoke today after he was charged before a Federal High Court in Abuja, with forging the Senate rules used for his election and that of Senator Ike Ekweremadu last year June 9.

Charged with them were the outgoing Clerk to the National Assembly, Alhaji Salisu Maikasuwa and the Deputy Clerk, Ben Efeturi.

Saraki, who boasted that he was ready to go to jail, said what is going on right now portends danger for Nigeria’s democracy, because in his view, the independence of Legislature has been jettisoned with the alleged forgery trial.

”Over the past year the Senate has worked to foster good relations with the Executive Branch. It is in all of our collective interests to put aside divisions and get on with the nation’s business. We risk alienating and losing the support of the very people who have? entrusted their national leaders to seek new and creative ways to promote a secure and prosperous Nigeria. As leaders and patriots, it is time to rise above partisanship and to move forward together.

“However, what has become clear is that there is now a government within the government of President Buhari who have seized the apparatus of Executive powers to pursue their nefarious agenda.

“This latest onslaught on the Legislature represents a clear and present danger to the democracy Nigerians fought hard to win and preserve. The suit filed on behalf of the Federal government suggests that perhaps some forces in the Federal Republic have not fully embraced the fact that the Senate’s rules and procedures govern how the legislative body adjudicates and resolves its own disputes.

“Let it be abundantly clear, both as a citizen and as a foremost Legislator, I will continue to rise above all the persecution and distraction that have been visited on me. In the words of Martin Luther King Junior, “the ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort and convenience, but where he stands at a time of challenge and controversy.

“I will remain true and committed to the responsibilities that my citizenship and my office impose on me. Without doubt, the highest of those responsibilities is the steadfast refusal to surrender to the subversion of our democracy and the desecration of the Senate. This is a cross I am prepared to carry. If yielding to the nefarious agenda of a few individuals who are bent in undermining our democracy and destabilising the Federal government to satisfy their selfish interests is the alternative to losing my personal freedom, let the doors of jails be thrown open and I shall be a happy guest.”

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

Omisore Replies EFCC Over Arrest Warrant

Iyiola Omisore, former deputy governor of Osun state, has accused the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) of blackmail, challenging the anti-graft agency to present evidence of corruption involving him in court.

The commission declared Omisore wanted earlier on Tuesday, saying he has refused to honour its invitation to make clarification on the alleged N700 million which he collected from the office of Sambo Dasuki, former national security adviser, between June and November, 2014.

But Omisore denied the allegation, saying the agency was out to tarnish his image.

He said it had become clear that the EFCC had turned into a tool that was being used to harass political opponents of the government in power.

“If the organisation and its leadership think they have any case against me, they should come to court with their facts,” he said in a statement.

“It is now very clear that the EFCC is indeed playing out the script of persecuting and harassing perceived opposition groups in the country.

“I am not aware of any issue relating to a contract sum of N700 million. There was no issue of N700 million anywhere. If they have facts, I challenge them to bring them to court and not resort to blackmail, intimidation and victimisation.

“This act of blackmail and deliberate tarnishing the image of perceived political enemies won’t help the image of the EFCC and it won’t get it result.

“I am appealing to all human rights and civil society organisations to caution EFCC from damaging my reputation further.”

Omisore wondered how the EFCC could declare him wanted after he and the commission were involved in a law suit earlier in the day.

“How can you declare someone you were in court with at 9am today wanted the same day, a few hours afterwards?” he asked.

“We appeared in court with the EFCC asking for the permission of the court for an extension of time in the preliminary objection to a suit filed against me.

“I am appealing to all human rights and civil society organisations to caution EFCC from damaging my reputation further.”

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

Why Releasing Dasuki Is Dangerous, FG Tells ECOWAS Court

The Federal Government on Thursday told the Economic Community of West African States that it would be dangerous to release the immediate National Security Adviser, Col. Sambo Dasuki (retd.), from custody because he constituted a threat to national security.

Dasuki was re-arrested on December 29, 2015 by the operatives of the Department of State Service shortly after he was released on bail from ?Kuje Prisons, Abuja, with respect to his ongoing trial on three separate sets of charges.

The Federal Government on Thursday called two witnesses ?to oppose a fundamental human rights enforcement suit filed before the ECOWAS Court by Dasuki seeking his release from the custody of the DSS.

Through its ?witnesses and its lawyer, Mr. T. D Kabiru, who led the witnesses in evidence, the Federal Government said on Thursday that Dasuki was being held because he constituted threat to national security.

It added that the ex-NSA was also being held owing to his involvement in the over $2bn arms funds scam.

It also said given his pivotal role in the $2bn scam and the calibre of top politicians that had been fingered in the alleged fraud, Dasuki was also being kept in custody for his own safety.

It said with the quantum of  arms and ammunition alleged to be illegally kept in the ex-NSA’s  home in Abuja and recovered by security operatives, there was the general apprehension that he possessed more, which the state had yet to discover.

It argued the Dasuki’s detention was justified based on the intelligence and security report in the disposal of the nation’s security agencies, and  that national security superseded individual’s security.

? The lawyer said, “The position of the defence, which is not controverted by the applicant, is that the arms and ammunition recovered during the search (at Dasuki’s home) are not the only arms and ammunition in the possession of the applicant.

“There is fear that he has more.

“There is intelligence report that some are yet to be recovered. That we fear he has more is a ground to hold him. There are ongoing investigations which are revealing fresh facts concerning him.

“The right of an individual cannot supersede the security of a country when there is intelligence report to suspect the conduct of the individual.”

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

Presidency Replies UK Telegraph Over Alleged False Publication

Re: Con Coughlin’s April 12 Telegraph report on Nigeria’s war on terror

Our attention has been drawn to a piece published in your paper, by one Con Coughlin, identified as your Defence Editor, and titled, ‘Nigeria using UK aid to persecute president’s political foes rather to fight Boko Haram.’

The piece is not only full of factual inaccuracies, it also betrays a shocking level of ignorance of Nigeria and the country’s ongoing war against terrorism.

Mr Coughlin’s editorial tactic is to quote unnamed “senior officials” and “Western diplomats” and “Western officials” and “political opponents” making fact-free and unfounded statements. It also appears that he sought out only those opinions which suited and reinforced his disgracefully false headline. Nowhere in the piece is there anything that suggests he attempted to contact the Nigerian government for its own side of the story.

Coughlin writes that “American officials are also angry that $2.1 billion of aid given to the Nigerian military to tackle Boko Haram has not been properly accounted for.”

It does not occur to him that the $2.1 billion he refers to was budgeted for and wholly spent by the government that President Buhari and his party defeated in the March 2015 presidential elections, and that one of President Buhari’s priorities has been investigating the misuse of those funds.

It also does not appear to occur to Mr. Coughlin that the “political opponents” he is falsely accusing President Buhari of “targeting” and “persecuting” are actually on trial on account of how they spent the $2.1 billion in question. Mr. Coughlin is equally unaware of the fact that the investigating panel set up by Mr. Buhari to probe the $2.1 billion recently published a preliminary report that confirmed that much of that money was indeed looted or mis-spent by the accused persons, and that the government has started to recover the funds.

Coughlin accuses President Buhari’s government of attempting to cover-up the abductions of 400 women and children “abducted last year by militants from the Nigerian town of Damasak.”

This is absolutely untrue. The Damasak abductions he’s referring to, which were recently widely reported, took place, not “last year” as he says, but in late 2014, well before Mr. Buhari was elected President of Nigeria. (And, by the way, Mr Buhari came to power on May 29, 2015, not July, as Coughlin reports).

A simple search by Mr. Coughlin of his paper’s archives would have revealed these facts. A simple fact-check by his copy-editors would have spared the Telegraph the embarrassment of publishing this drivel.

There are several other inaccuracies and baseless statements in the piece, but Mr. Coughlin is too enamoured of his anonymous sources to realise they might be misleading him, or be as ignorant about the situation as he is. The suggestion that Boko Haram is going “from strength to strength” is an eminently laughable one; not even Nigeria’s opposition party would make such an absurd claim.

Since President Buhari took office, schools in Borno State, shut for more than one year under the previous government, have reopened. The same applies to the airport in Maiduguri, shut down in December 2013 after a devastating Boko Haram attack on the nearby military airbase.

Thousands of Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) have now started returning home. Last Sunday, El-Kanemi Warriors Football Club played its first game in its home base of Maiduguri in more than two seasons. Until now they had been forced to play home games outside the region, on account of security concerns. There are several more examples of how the people of the region are finally getting a chance to rebuild their lives, as the Nigerian Armed Forces and a Multinational Joint Task Force continue their work of routing the terrorists.

Mr. Coughlin not only sounds like a spokesperson for the very people whose corruption and mismanagement allowed Boko Haram to bring Nigeria to its knees – and whose disastrous legacy President Buhari has spent the last one year redeeming Nigeria from – he is also guilty of failing to observe the most basic rules of responsible journalism.

Mr Coughlin needs a refresher course on responsible journalism as much as he needs a crash course on Nigeria. Until he submits himself to these, we’re afraid he will continue to embarrass not only himself, but also the revered British media institution that is the Telegraph.

Garba Shehu
Senior Special Assistant to the President
(Media & Publicity)
April 13, 2016?

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

I stand By Ranking Of Kings, Alake Replies Awujale… Produces Documentary Evidence

The royal diatribe between the Alake of Egbaland, Oba Adedotun Gbadebo and the Awujale of Ijebuland, Oba Sikiru Adetona, worsened yesterday with the Alake insisting that the Awujale remained the last in the echelon of major Yoruba traditional rulers.

Alake said his earlier listing of the Awujale as occupying the last position after the quartet of the Ooni of Ife, Alaafin of Oyo, Oba of Benin and Alake of Egbaland “was supported by documentary evidence and I therefore stand by my position”.

Oba Adetona, at an event in Lagos last Thursday, claimed among other things that the Alake was a junior chief in Egba forest under the Alaafin and that Alake is also of the same status with some Ijebu obas such as the Ebumawe of Ago -Iwoye who are under his (Adetona’s) jurisdiction.

But yesterday, Oba Gbadebo, who spoke through 22 Egba chiefs, including 15 Ogboni chiefs who gathered in Ake Palace, Abeokuta, the Ogun State capital, to reply Adetona, said the ranking of the Yoruba traditional rulers was carried out in 1937 by the then Ooni of Ife.

Reading a prepared speech signed by the Balogun of Egbaland, Chief Sikirulai Atobatele at a briefing, the Baaroyin of Egbaland, Chief Layi Labode, said the ranking took place at the Central Native Council meeting in Lagos and was chaired by the Governor – General, Sir William Macgregor.

Labode added that those in attendance at the said 1937 meeting in the Government House, Lagos, were the Ooni of Ife, the Alaafin of Oyo, Oba of Benin, Alake of Abeokuta and the Awujale of Ijebu – Ode.

He said their concern about Awujale’s comment is predicated on the monarch’s “self – indulgence to churn out outright historical falsehoods in the presence of knowledgeable Nigerians”.

Labode said “historically speaking, Alake was higher by salary differentials paid by the Colonial Government” at the time.

According to him, the Alake of Abeokuta earned £2,250 while the Awujale of Ijebu – Ode earned £1,700 during the colonial era.

“Awujale (claimed he) made several calls to Alake to confirm if Alake actually made the statement on Yoruba Obas ranking. Awujale also claimed that Oba Rilwan Akiolu, the Oba of Lagos, also contacted Alake on the same issue which Alake again denied.

“(The fact) both Awujale and Oba of Lagos actually called Alake on the ranking of Yoruba Obas, Alake responded that his ranking was supported by documentary evidence and he therefore stands by his position,” Labode said.

The Baaroyin of Egbaland and Media aide of the Alake also refuted claims by Oba Adetona that the Alake was a junior chief in Egba forest under Alaafin where he (Alake) fled to Ibadan and later to Abeokuta and met the Osile, Olowu, Agura and Olubara on ground.

Labode said, on the contrary, 20 Alakes had reigned in Egba forest prior to the founding of Abeokuta, explaining that that there was also no Alake who fled to Ibadan or took refuge there.

According to him, the Egba arrived and settled in Abeokuta in 1830 with the first Alake installed in 1854 followed by the Olowu in 1855, the Agura in 1870 and Osile in 1897.

He stressed that by the Egba United Government Proclamation of February 1, 1898, and approved by the then Governor of Lagos, the Egba cabinet had Alake as President, Osile Minister of Justice, Agura Minister of Communications and Works and the Olowu, the Minister of Finance.

He also noted that some of the comments on Alake by Oba Adetona were “uncalled for and neither civil nor decent,” but said the Egba chiefs would not “defile the sacred Yoruba traditional institution and therefore, refrain from trading insult with a highly regarded monarch of his (Awujale’s) status”.

Also present were Bameto of Egbaland, Chief George Taylor, Balogun of Ilaho, Chief Adebayo Soyoye, and the Ilagbe of Egbaland, Chief Akin Akinwale.

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

Federal Roads: ?Boroffice Replies Mimiko, Insists Ondo Govt Lied

The senator representing Ondo North senatorial district, Prof. Ajayi Boroffice has fired back at the Ondo State Government over its reaction to the controversial sum of N11bn allegedly spent by the state government on federal roads in the state. 
In a statement issued on Monday by his media aide, Kayode Adeniyi, the senator said the reaction of the Mimiko-led administration to his honest observations raised more questions than answers.
“The Media Office of Distinguished Senator (Prof.) Ajayi Boroffice has noted the reaction of the Ondo State Government, through its Commissioner of Information, Kayode Akinmade, to the appeal made by Senator Boroffice to the Federal Government on the need to exercise circumspection on the issue of reimbursement of funds reportedly spent on federal roads to the Mimiko-led government. The twin-ground of appeal are: firstly, it was in view of the conflicting figures emanating from the governor and his appointees. Secondly, it was due to the fact that most of the federal roads, for which the Mimiko-led administration is seeking reimbursement, are presently death traps that require the urgent intervention of the federal government. 
“Therefore, the underlisted points must be stated: That the reaction of the governmernment falls short of gubernatorial mien. It was an hogwash from a sloppy commissioner who glaringly failed in the cruel bid to muddle up issues with his expressed befuddlement and confusion. Obviously, he knows little or nothing about the government he speaks for.
“Meanwhile, the insinuation that Senator Boroffice is working against the interest of the state? is false and misleading. That was a poor shot at blackmailing the federal lawmaker for his honest observations. Why is the government seeking to wipe sympathies from the people like a forsaken-crying baby? A man who has been at the forefront of attracting the intervention of federal government to fix bad roads in Ondo State cannot be said to be working against the interest or hate the same state . He should also not be expected to keep mute when there is a coordinated plan to defraud the federal government.
“Obviously, it is a known fact that the N11bn claimed to have been expended on federal roads in Ondo State is an accumulated figure from past administrations. Of course, the Mimiko-led administration couldn’t have claimed it single-handedly spent N11bn on roads when roads are not built inside a dome – the official conduit pipe to siphon public resources. The emphasis of the government on an obvious fact is therefore a mere distraction. It doesn’t address the issue of conflicting figures.
?”Putting the record straight, Senator Boroffice noted that on Tuesday, 10th of November 2015, Governor Mimiko claimed that the state government was owed N7bn on federal roads. Senator Boroffice also noted that on Thursday, 29th of January 2015, the state commissioner for Works, Gboye
Adegbenro? said? that N11bn was spent on federal roads. Presently, Akimade has claimed part of the N11bn incurred by the state government had been paid three years ago with a N9bn balance yet to be paid. If this administration were to be a transparent one, should it take the observation of Senator Boroffice to bring it to public domain that it received N2bn in 2013? Indeed, if the state government was paid N2bn out of N11bn in 2013, why did a commissioner for works, Gboye Adegbenro, claimed the amount yet to be received by the state government was N11bn in 2015? Was the money received without the knowledge of the state commissioner? Was it received through the backdoor?  Or did Adegbenro deliberately lie to the people on behalf of the government? Considering the fact that Akinmade has said #9bn is the balance yet to be paid, why did Governor Mimiko claim it was N7bn in November, 2015? Does it mean Governor Mimiko made an uninformed comment? Who should the people believe between Governor Mimiko and Akinmade? Who is in charge?  
“Rather than reconcile figures, the commissioner has only confirmed that indeed, the figures brandished by the Governor and other officials of the government ?are conflicting. ?A competent government official would not seek to wave off issue of accountability and transparency by resorting to political innuendoes. That is being clever by half.
“As clearly analysed above, Akinmade needs to acquire basic rudiments of arithmetic as much as he needs fundamental knowledge of space technology.
“On a reiterating note, Senator Boroffice maintains the view that most of the affected roads are death traps and the people of Ondo State would prefer the federal government to fix them rather than pay such funds to an administration that detests accountability and transparency.
“?Finally, given the established conflicting figures as admitted by officials of the Ondo State Government, the federal government should exercise caution on this issue. And the Hon. Rotimi Ameachi-led team should make its report and recommendations available to the public”, the statement read.
[easy-social-share buttons="facebook,twitter" counters=0 style="button"]