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Buhari Will Get More Votes From Nigerians In 2019 – Usani |RN

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President Muhammadu Buhari

Judex Okoro, Calabar

Minister of Niger Delta Affairs, Pastor Usani Uguru Usani, has said that President Mohammadu Buhari would garner more votes in 2019 than the previous one.

Pastor Usani said this, in Calabar, during the official inauguration of the executives of the Usani Youth Movement at the weekend.

He said the votes would come from the common man who is pleased with his performance.

Usani also said those critical of the President are criminal elements that are afraid of what awaits them in his second coming, adding that their propaganda will be of no effect in next year’s elections.

According to him: “All the abuses and propaganda we hear on the radio is made by the criminals who are afraid of what awaits them during the president’s second term but the common people know that the president is working and deserves to continue, hence the votes the president will garner in 2019 will be more.

“The victory of the president in next year’s election is not in doubt. The second term of the president Buhari administration will show the coming to fruition of the several programmes currently being put in place by the president.”

“In terms of human capacity building, I know that the government has trained over 500 youths in human capacity development and various vocations particularity in the state and these youths have been empowered with between 300, 000 and 500, 000,” he stated.

The minister also enjoined youths to collect their PVCs and get involved in the political development of the country in order to make the future of the country better than what it is today.

Earlier, the chairman of the event, Henry Egbe Ayuk, commended the youths for their commitment, enthusiasm and interest in self-development.

On his part, the Commissioner representing Cross River in the Niger Delta Development Commission, Sylvester Nsa, enjoined the youths to have mentors and not godfathers because whereas the godfather sells positions and arms the youths, a mentor teaches the mentee how to fish and encourages him to have a viable future maintaining that the Minister embodies a good mentor for the youths of the State

The movement is made up of youths spread across the 18 local government areas of the state.  (The Sun)

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Buhari’s Anti-corruption Panel Lambasts Presidency, Judiciary, Says AGF, Others Unserious About Graft War

 ItseSagay
Chairman, Presidential Advisory Committee Against Corruption, Prof. Itse Sagay (SAN)

..says AGF, others not serious about graft war

•Lawyers sponsor judges’ children’s weddings –Sagay

ENIOLA AKINKUOTU

Two prominent members of the Presidential Advisory Committee Against Corruption in Abuja on Saturday picked holes in government’s handling of the anti-corruption war.

Speaking in Abuja at a programme organised by the National Association of Seadogs (the Pyrates Confraternity), the Chairman of the panel, Professor Itse Sagay (SAN), and member, Professor Femi Odekunle, attributed recent setbacks suffered by the administration in the prosecution of corruption cases to the fraudulent activities of compromised elements in the judiciary and legislature, and a lack of diligence on the part of some senior government officials.

The Chairman of the committee, Prof. Itse Sagay, said the President and his team must come up with new ideas to fight corruption.

He said the judiciary was concentrating more on technicalities rather than the spirit of the law and justice.

Sagay said, “The Federal Government, particularly the President and Vice-President, who were elected into office principally to eliminate corruption, must go back to their drawing board, search and scan the constitution and other laws to draw the requisite irresistible power to deal firmly with this terrible scourge of our times – otherwise we are all dead.”

The senior advocate said the National Judicial Council was not equipped to look into corruption cases against judges. He said the primary duty of the NJC was to address judicial misdemeanour.

The PACAC chairman said before 1999, Nigeria had many incorruptible judges like Justice Kayode Eso, Justice Chukwudifu Oputa, Justice Mohammed Bello, Justice Chike Idigbe, Justice Adetunji Adefarasin, Justice Mason Begho and others

Sagay, however, said corruption pervaded the judicial system after the return to democracy in 1999 when judges started hearing election petition cases.

He noted that many senior advocates had corrupted and compromised judges to the extent that some of the advocates now pay the school fees of children of judges.

Sagay added, “Today, some judges actually solicit for money. They don’t even wait to be offered money. One of the judges that have been asked by the NJC to go back to work is a constant solicitor of money. He writes to counsel, ‘my mother died yesterday, I need money to bury her.’

“Two months later, ‘my daughter is getting married next month, I need money to organise a wedding: Another month, the same judge will write, ‘my uncle has just been made a chief and I need to make a contribution, send money.’

“This is written to lawyers and the lawyers gladly contribute. In fact, there is a long list of lawyers now who have to go to the EFCC at least once a month to explain why they had to send so much money to the account of one judge or the other who demanded money.

“Some lawyers do it out of a sense of obligation while some lawyers do it for consideration of future favours. It just shows you how (low) our judges have sunk.”

Sagay said his committee had drafted a bill for the ‘Forfeiture of Assets and Properties, procured by unlawful activity (proceeds of crimes)’ which will empower courts to order forfeiture of properties by a person without the person being convicted.

The senior advocate said he had advised anti-graft agencies to use non-conviction based assets recovery system to fight graft in some peculiar cases.

He said in such a situation, anybody who was found in possession of huge sums of money, whose source he or she could not explain, would be made to explain themselves in court.

Sagay said this approach was used by the EFCC in the case against Patience, the wife of former President Goodluck Jonathan, whose $15m has been forfeited to the Federal Government and is now battling to save the $5m found in her bank account.

The PACAC chairman added, “If you are seen to be living beyond your means of livelihood, the anti-graft agencies could apply for temporary forfeiture of funds and properties and you would then be made to appear in court to explain yourself.

“That bill is already before the National Assembly but we are not even waiting for it to be passed. A part of the EFCC Act empowers the agency to do this and it is already being done in the case of Patience Jonathan’s $15m.

“You will recall recently that when $5m which she owns was frozen in her account but was later unfrozen due to technical issues, the EFCC went back to court to apply through this non-conviction based forfeiture and got it frozen again. Now she has to come to court to explain how she got it.”

Also speaking, Odekunle, in particular, questioned the commitment of the Attorney-General of the Federation, Abubakar Malami (SAN), to the anti-graft war and also raised a doubt about the integrity of the Chairman of the Code of Conduct Tribunal, Mr. Danladi Umar, who discharged and acquitted Senate President Bukola Saraki of all 18 charges levelled against him, on Wednesday.

The professor of criminology also questioned the resolve of the Chief Justice of Nigeria, Justice Walter Onnoghen, to help the Federal Government in the fight against corruption.

The event titled, ‘Feast of Barracuda’, had ‘Critical Review of the Anti-Corruption War in Nigeria: Strategies, Challenges and Prospects’, as its theme.

While exploring the theme, Odekunle, raised eight salient questions which he said members of the public must answer in order to put the recent failures of the anti-graft war in proper perspective.

He asked, “Does the Presidency realise that routine crime prevention and methodology, instruments and processes are not adequate in fighting corruption in this country? That is, does the Presidency realise that fighting corruption must be a ‘rofo rofo’ fight? That it is not a question of due process, long process, fair hearing and all those that will give you technical justice instead of real justice?

“It is said that he who comes to equity must come with clean hands. In this regard, I ask, what were the details and the resolution of the EFCC matter on Danladi Umar’s bribery case? I don’t know, I’m just asking. Does the DSS possess any information about Danladi Umar on the use or abuse of hard drugs?

“Is there any record that Danladi Umar had been driving and crashing his car under the influence? These are questions that I don’t know the answers to but I want you to investigate.

“Is the Attorney-General of the Federation, who is to lead the anti-corruption fight, going by the way things have been going in the past two years, as committed as others who could have done the job better?

“I have no answers but I believe if they are answered, it will give us an insight into the cause of our current dilemma in the fight against corruption.”

Odekunle urged the Federal Government to use unconventional methods in the fight against corruption, saying it would never win if it continued to use what he described as conventional methods.

He said since the corrupt elite controlled the judiciary and the legislature, this group of people would continue to protect its own.

Odekunle added, “So, all this arrangee between the judiciary, the legislators, and people are saying, ‘We don’t want the APC to be destroyed, Saraki is our own, let us settle our own, party supremacy is better’, we must moderate that.”  (Punchng.com)

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Ex- Governor Of Kaduna, Umar Slams Buhari Over Dasuki, Jonathan’s Ill Treatment

From Noah Ebije, Kaduna

Former military governor of Kaduna State, Colonel Abubakar Dangiwa Umar (retd) has hit the Federal Government over the ordeal of erstwhile National Security Adviser (NSA), Col. Sambo Dasuki (retd).

    His continued detention, according to him, was beyond anti-graft war, as he claimed Dasuki was  being punished because of his loyal service to former president Goodluck Jonathan.

In a statement issued yesterday,  Umar  also expressed sadness at the continued villification of Jonathan, who he said was the most maligned Nigerian former head of state, despite all he has done for the country.

To buttress his witch-hunt claim,  Umar drew attention to the series of court rulings ordering the release of the ex-NSA boss, but which the government has flouted.

“The only explanation one can find for Col. Dasuki’s lengthy detention without trial is that he belongs to the wrong camp. He has also the misfortune of having served as National Security Adviser to the much vilified Nigerian president of Ijaw extraction,” Umar said.

The former military governor, however, lauded the  decision by the Federal Government  to suspend the Secretary to the Government of the Federation  (SGF), Mr. David Babachir Lawal and the Director General, National Intelligence Agency  (NIA), Mr. Ayodele Oke while being investigated without being detained. He said it was  a welcome development in the administration’s war against corruption.

The statement read: “Most fair-minded Nigerians are no more impressed and are indeed sceptical with the conduct of this government’s anti-corruption war which appears to be aimed at the neutralisation and destruction of the opposition.

“It is over one year since three law courts, including ECOWAS Court granted bail to Col. M.S. Dasuki. The Federal Government has however refused to release him citing the untenable excuse of the grievous nature of his offence. Our extant constitution is quite clear on this issue.

“The Federal Government does not have the power to determine which offence is bailable or whether an accused person is deserving of bail. It should, therefore, obey courts’ decisions and release Col. Dasuki without any further delay. His unlawful detention, campaign of calumny and pretrial publicity make it impossible for him to receive a fair trial.

“The only explanation one can find for Col. Dasuki’s lengthy detention without trial is that he belongs to the wrong camp. He has also the misfortune of having served as National Security Adviser to the much vilified Nigerian president of Ijaw extraction.

“Colonel Dasuki’s fate is tied to that of his former principal, president Goodluck Jonathan, an honourable and patriotic Nigerian who conceded defeat and congratulated the winner of the 2015 Presidential election Gen Muhammadu Buhari even before INEC declared the final results, when he could have held on tenaciously to power as is the norm in many Third World countries.

“This rare act of statesmanship which pulled the country back from the precipice has been rewarded with utmost disrespect and derision by the APC Federal Government,  President Jonathan is the most maligned Nigerian former Head of State. Col. Dasuki is paying dearly for his loyal service to this patriot. All well-meaning Nigerians must speak out against his unfair and unlawful treatment.

“We cannot afford to remain neutral in the face of this monumental injustice. When one Nigerian is unlawfully detained all of us must have the moral consciousness to feel psychologically incarcerated.

“The decision by the Federal Government of Nigeria to suspend the SGF Mr David Babachir Lawal and the DG, NIA, Mr Ayodele Oke while they are being investigated is a welcome development in its war against corruption.

“It is also remarkable and commendable that the government has decided not to detain the duo while they are being investigated. This is a welcome departure from the prevailing anti democratic process by which accused persons, particularly from the opposition camp, are unlawfully detained pending the commencement of investigations, or refused bail granted by law courts.

“There is national unanimity in support of the war against corruption which is expected to be non-discriminatory and waged by a meticulous adherence to the rule of law. For the war to be meaningful and sustainable, it must be elevated beyond a President Buhari personal struggle to a national one”.           (Punchng.com)

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Buhari Fires PenCom, BPE, CPC Heads, 29 Others |The Republican News

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President Buhari

Friday Olokor, Abuja

President Muhammadu Buhari on Thursday relieved the heads of 23 Federal Government agencies of their appointments and approved the appointment of their replacements.

Among those fired are the erstwhile Director-General, National Pension Commission, Mrs. Chinelo Anohu-Amazu; her counterpart in the Consumer Protection Council, Mrs. Dupe Atoki; and the Acting Director-General, Bureau of Public Enterprises, Dr. Vincent Akpotaire.

A statement by the Director of Press and Public Relations, Office of the Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Bolaji Adebiyi, said that the appointments take immediate effect.

Julie Okah-Donli is now the director-general of the National Agency for the Prohibition of Trafficking in Persons, while Mary Ikpere-Eta was named as the director-general of the National Centre for Women Development.

For the Nigeria Social Insurance Trust Fund, Bayo Somefun is the managing director, while Tijani Suleiman, Jasper Azuatalam and Kemi Nelson are executive directors.

Ahmed Dangiwa is the managing director of the Federal Mortgage Bank of Nigeria, while Melvin Eboh is the executive director, Organisation Resourcing; Hajiya Rahimatu Aliyu, ED, Loans Department, Securities Issuance and Market Development; and Umaru Abdullahi Dankane, ED, Policy and Strategy Loans Set-Up and Pay Off.

For the Bureau of Public Enterprises, Alex Okoh is the new director-general.

The Petroleum Products Pricing Regulatory Agency has Abdulkadir Saidu Umar as the executive secretary. Ibrahim Musa Goni is the conservator-general/chief executive officer of the National Park Service.

The Service Compact has Nnenna Akajemeli as the national coordinator/CEO; while the National Directorate of Employment has Dr. Nasiru Mohammed Ladan as the director-general.

Saliu Dada Alabi was named as the director-general of the Michael Imoudu National Institute for Labour Studies; while Prof. Jef T. Barminas was appointed as the director-general of the National Research Institute for Chemical Technology.

The new Director-General of the Nigeria Institute for Social and Economic Research is Dr. Haruna Yerima; while Sunday Thomas is the Deputy Commissioner of the Nigeria Insurance Commission.

The Consumer Protection Council has Tunde Erukera as the executive secretary; while Mohammed Bello Tukur was named as the secretary of the Federal Character Commission.

For PenCom, Dikko Aliyu Abdulrahman is the director-general (subject to Senate confirmation), while Funso Doherty is the Chairman, and the executive commissioners are Akin Akinwale, Abubakar Zaki Magawata, Ben Oviosun, and Nyerere Ayim.

Umar Gambo Jibrin is the executive secretary of the Federal Capital Development Authority; while Mrs. Folashade Joseph is the managing director of the Nigeria Agriculture Insurance Corporation; and Cecilia Umaru Gaya is the director-general of the Administrative Staff College of Nigeria.

The Lagos International Trade Fair Management Board has Mrs. Luci Ajayi as the executive secretary; the Nigeria Export Processing Zones Authority has Emmanuel Jimme as the managing director; the Nigeria Lottery Regulatory Commission has Lanre Gbajabiamila as director-general; while Jalani Aliyu is the director-general of the Nigeria Automotive Design and Development Council.                  (Punchng.com)

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We Won’t Make Public Cost Of Buhari’s Medical Bills, Says Federal Government

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President Muhammadu Buhari

Olalekan Adetayo, Abuja
The Federal Government on Wednesday said despite pressure from groups and individuals, it would not disclose the amount spent on President Muhammadu Buhari’s recent medical treatment in London, the United Kingdom.
The Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, said this while answering reporters’ questions at the end of the weekly meeting of the Federal Executive Council at the Presidential Villa, Abuja.
Buhari had been under pressure to disclose the amount spent on his 49-day medical treatment in London, saying it is still important for the citizens to know the cost of the President’s medical treatment abroad.
The Punch had in line with the Freedom of Information Act sent a letter to the Presidency requesting it to provide for public consumption Buhari’s medical bills incurred in the UK.
But Mohammed said the request should be considered on the basis of national security and morals.
He said he was not aware of anywhere in the world where the President was forced to divulge his medical bills.
The minister said even the FOI Act excluded issues bothering on national security.
Mohammed said, “This matter (the President’s medical bill) has come several times and our position on the matter is quite straight forward.
“What are the President’s conditions of service? What are his entitlements in terms of his well-being and health care? The state is supposed to take responsibility for these.
“We believe that asking for how much has been spent on the health of the President is an issue that we should weigh very well both for national security and also for moral issues. I don’t know why we must divulge such very sensitive information.
“I might be wrong but I don’t have experience else where that the President of any country will be ill and be forced to disclose how much the state has spent on his health.
“Yes, there is Freedom of Information Act but it is also carved in such a way that when such information is likely to endanger national security, I think it is an area that is not covered.”
The Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project, Centre for Anti-Corruption and Open Leadership, Human rights lawyer, Mr. Femi Falana (SAN), and the Campaign for Democracy, among others, had said it had become imperative to release the President’s medical bill in the UK because his administration rode to power on the pedestal of transparency, anti-corruption promise and change and therefore could not afford to hide such information from the public.
Buhari had written the Senate that he would embark on medical vacation for 10 days, between January 23 and February 6, 2017 and that Vice President Yemi Osinbajo would act on his behalf.

However, a second letter written to the Senate on February 5 informed the lawmakers of the President’s wish to extend his leave indefinitely. The letter had stated that the extension was to enable him to complete and receive the results of a series of medical tests.                (Punchng.com)

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Buhari’s Anti-corruption War Empty Without Amaechi’s Trial-PFN Leader

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Ovie Okpare, Warri

The Vice President, Pentecostal Fellowship of Nigeria, Bishop Simeon Okah, has called for the trial of a former Rivers State Governor and current Minister of Transportation, Mr Rotimi Amaechi, for his alleged involvement in corruption while serving as governor of the state.

Okah said the ongoing anti-corruption fight of the President Muhammadu Buhari-led administration would not be taken seriously if “the likes of Amaechi and other cabinet members alleged to have stolen billions of naira belonging to their states for the 2015 general elections were not being tried.”

The cleric stated this on Thursday while addressing journalists at a press conference ahead of the 2017 Flock of Christ Mission World Convention taking place in Enerhen, Delta State.

Okah, who is also the South-South PFN Chairman, said Nigeria had remained underdeveloped because of corruption.

He warned that the youths would soon rise against their leaders if economic hardship and corruption were not thoroughly tackled by President Buhari.

He said, “Nothing has changed in the anti-corruption fight since President Buhari took over. The system which the Federal Government is using to fight corruption is not thorough. If it was, Rotimi Amaechi would not be walking as a free man in the streets. He (Amaechi) should be tried. He’s from the South-South; I’m also from the South-South.

“He was a governor who operated Rivers State as if it was his father’s personal business. He operated without a Chief Judge. He operated without the court for about four years. He’s the one the All Progressives Congress is parading as a saint. Is this not one of the things that destroyed this country?”    (Punchng.com)

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President Buhari Also Being Treated For Crohn’s Disease, An Intestinal Sickness

A source familiar with President Muhammadu Buhari’s medical treatment in London has revealed to SaharaReporters that, apart from a lingering prostrate flare-up and other chronic conditions, the Nigerian leader has also recently been battling with a persistent “internal organ” problem, a fact this website reported on Sunday.

The source attributed President Buhari’s inability to eat as well as his progressive loss of weight to Crohn’s Disease, a medical condition that has affected his digestive system.

According to the source, Mr Buhari had had parts of his colon removed in 2013 and also had another operation to have haemorrhoids, swollen veins near the human rectum, removed in 2016 in London during one of his secret trips to seek urgent medical treatment.

The latest revelation appears to validate a claim by Mr Buhari’s wife, Aisha Buhari, to the effect that her husband was dealing with “internal organ failure.”

In interviews, several doctors in Nigeria and the UK told Saharareporters that the fact that Mr Buhari was an outpatient indicated a condition consistent with Crohn’s disease. Two of the doctors stated that it was likely that President Buhari’s course of treatment for his prostate and other issues led to a complication and worsening of his Crohn’s disease. SaharaReporters had reported that Mr Buhari also has prostate cancer that was first treated by UK doctors shortly after the Nigerian leader lost the 2011 presidential election to

Crohn’s disease is an inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) that causes inflammation of the lining of the digestive tract, leading to abdominal pain, severe diarrhoea, fatigue, weight loss and malnutrition. Inflammation caused by the disease can affect different areas of the digestive tract in different patients, but doctors interviewed for this report disclosed that it usually occurs in the intestines, where the inflammation caused by Crohn’s disease often spreads deep into the layers of affected bowel tissue.

Doctors also revealed that Crohn’s disease can be both painful and debilitating, and sometimes may lead to life-threatening complications. “When it occurs in younger people, there is a higher chance of future complications than in older patients,” one doctor told our correspondent. He added that the disease “often worsens with age.”

According to the doctors consulted for this report, while there is no known cure for Crohn’s disease, palliative therapies can greatly reduce its signs and symptoms and even bring about long-term remission. Some of the doctors stressed that, with proper treatment and management, many patients with Crohn’s disease are able to function well.

The doctors stated that the cause of Crohn’s disease is largely unknown. However, one doctor said the condition was likely due to an abnormal response of the immune system. Food or bacteria in the intestines, or even the lining of the bowel, may cause the uncontrolled inflammation associated with Crohn’s disease.

The doctors disclosed that the inheritance pattern of Crohn’s disease was also unclear, noting that several genetic and environmental factors are often at play in the occurrence of the disease. According to one doctor, the condition tends to “cluster in families.” He explained that having an affected family member was deemed to constitute a significant risk factor for the disease.       (SaharaReporters)

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Osinbajo Not Performing Better Than Buhari, Says Presidency

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Acting President, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo

Says Osinbajo still consults Buhari on major issues

Olalekan Adetayo, Abuja

The Presidency on Monday said it was wrong for anybody to be claiming that the Acting President, Yemi Osinbajo, has been performing better than President Muhammadu Buhari since the President started his extended medical vacation. 

It said Osinbajo still consults with Buhari on major national issues on a regular basis. 

The Special Adviser to the President on Political Matters, Babafemi Ojudu, said this in an interview with State House correspondents.  

While describing those behind the argument as thoughtless, Ojudu described it as a ploy by the opposition to cause an unnecessary ‎division. 

He said the President and Osinbajo enjoy a joint ticket and they were both elected based on the manifesto of the party which they have been implementing since their inauguration. 

The presidential aide said, “The same people who said we never had an economic team, no policy, nothing are the ones saying this. 

“It is now that the policies we are implementing are maturing and they are seeing the result. It is not a question of one person being better than the other person.

“There is nothing that has been done since the Vice-President started acting that is not something that started far back in the past. A good example is the Niger Delta initiative. 

“The President called the Vice-President and said ‘I am giving you the mandate, go into the Niger Delta and meet with everyone who is a stakeholder, all the communities, talk to the militants and make sure you solve this problem for the benefits of Nigerians.’

“We are losing 1.2 million barrels of oil per day, all the gas pipelines powering the turbines are being blown up. And the President has said unless and until we resolve this problem we will not get out of recession. The VP took up the mandate and went to the Niger Delta, it is the initiative of Mr President not that of the Vice-President.

“These are mischief makers, those who do not wish this country well, who are always promoting crisis, who will not allow the people to benefit from this democracy. They are the ones promoting this kind‎ of divisive tendencies.”  (Punchng.com)

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Buhari’s Powerful Aides Bar Ministers, Family, Friends From Seeing Him

 

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President Muhammadu Buhari

 

Lekan Adetayo

Family members, friends and senior government officials who attempted to call or pay visits to President Muhammadu Buhari in the United Kingdom are having a difficult time getting access.

SUNDAY PUNCH can authoritatively report that four aides of the president control access to President Buhari, who is on extended medical vacation in the United Kingdom.

The aides are the President’s nephew, Mamman Daura; the Senior Special Assistant to the President on Domestic Affairs, Sarki Aba; Buhari’s Chief of Staff, Abba Kyari; and Personal Assistant to the President; Tunde Sabiu.

Our correspondent learnt that anyone who wants to telephone or see the president in London must get the approval of one or more of the four aides. The only two individuals who are exempted from seeking permission to visit Buhari or call him are Acting President Yemi Osinbajo and First Lady, Aisha Buhari.

SUNDAY PUNCH gathered that the First Lady is said not to be happy with the way the aides have been managing access to her husband. The first lady’s relationship with the president’s aides has not always been cordial. In October last year, Aisha granted a highly controversial interview to the British Broadcasting Corporation, in which she alleged that a cabal had hijacked her husband’s government.

According to a source in government, who spoke on condition of anonymity, Buhari’s wife had voiced her displeasure to close friends and associates that the cabal she complained about were still the ones in charge of her husband in London.

“The First Lady is not with him permanently in London, which should normally not be the case. She has had a few clashes with the cabal and she is not happy that they are also firmly in control in London. That’s why she goes and comes. She is not happy with the atmosphere over there.”

Sunday PUNCH gathered that these individuals have turned down numerous requests from the President’s friends, associates and members of his cabinet to see him.

Since Buhari extended his medical vacation on February 19, those who have visited him in his Abuja House residence in London include the Senate President, Bukola Saraki;  Senate Leader, Ahmad Lawan; Speaker, House of Representatives, Yakubu Dogara, Deputy Speaker, Yusuf Lasun; Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu; Chief Bisi Akande; Ogun State Governor and Ibikunle Amosun.

It was gathered that the visits were initiated by the guests who made requests which had to be reviewed by the president’s aides. Daura was present during the Tinubu and Akande’s visit. Daura, who holds no political office in the present dispensation, has repeatedly been touted as the most powerful person in the present government, prompting Buhari to publicly declare late October 2016 that, “I’m in charge, not Mamman Daura.”

Daura travels with the president and is often seen with him. Daura is believed to belong to the legendary ‘Kaduna Mafia’, an influential group of young northern Nigerian intellectuals, civil servants, business tycoons and military officers residing or conducting business in the former northern capital city of Kaduna. The group reportedly influenced government policies during the military era and previous civilian administrations. Other famous members of the group were Adamu Ciroma, Ibrahim Tahir, Mahmud Tukur, and former Central Bank of Nigeria Governor, Adamu Ciroma; former Minister of Internal Affairs, Ibrahim Tahir; former Minister of Commerce and Industry during the Buhari-Idiagbon regime, Dr Mahmud Tukur; former Sultan of Sokoto, Ibrahim Dasuki;  former Head of the Technical Committee on Privatisation and Commercialisation, Hamza Zayyad; a former minister, Umaru Mutallab; former presidential aspirant and number-two man, General Shehu Yar’Adua; a former Vice-Chancellor, Ahmadu Bello University, Professor Ango Abdullahi; Professor Jibril Aminu and others.

Kyari is known to be one of the President’s closest aides.  He plans Buhari’s schedules while ministers are said to queue in his office to see the President. Kyari’s influence became clear to many during a retreat organised by the presidency for the then ministers-designate. While declaring the retreat open on  November 5, 2015, Buhari said, “In addition, all communications and appointments from you (ministers) to the Presidency should be routed through the Office of the Chief of Staff as it is the normal (procedure) in this presidential system.”

While much is not known about Sabiu, who was appointed shortly after Buhari’s election, he is reportedly related to Daura. Sources in the government told our correspondent that the President ‘feels relaxed’ around him and has a lot of trust in him. The same was said of Aba, who was described as ‘quiet but one of the few people that can make anyone see the President.”

Presented with the names of the aides controlling access to the president, a source in the presidency confirmed the list. The source, who spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorised to speak on the subject, said, “The names you have are accurate and they are the ones controlling access to the President in London, even in Nigeria. Some ministers, aides and service chiefs tried to talk to the President on the phone, but they turned them down.

“The few people that have seen the President only saw him because they agreed to it. If they didn’t, it would never have happened, apart from Governor Amosun, who everyone knows is one of Buhari’s best friends.”

The source refused to give the names of those whose requests to see Buhari were turned down.

Meanwhile, Buhari on Saturday spoke with his Special Adviser on Media and Publicity, Mr Femi Adesina, on the telephone for the first time since he embarked on his extended medical vacation on January 19.

Adesina, who felt elated about the development, confirmed the conversation on his Facebook page and Twitter handle.

He had during previous interviews said he was only speaking with those around the President.

Giving details of his discussion with the President, Adesina said Sabiu called him at exactly 2.43pm and asked that he hold on for the President.

On recognition of the President’s voice, Adesina said he screamed and said, “Mr President, I have missed you. How are you, sir?”

He continued, “He (the President) first laughed. That familiar laugh. Then he said, ‘I am still resting. Thank you for holding out against mischief makers.’

“I said it was my duty, the very least I could do, adding how happy I was to speak with him. He asked, ‘How is your family?’

“I said we were fine, and he asked me to extend his greetings to them. ‘I hope to call you again,’ Mr President said, and I bade him farewell, adding ‘Best wishes, sir.’”

Adesina described the telephone conversation as a defining moment for him.

He said, “It was a defining moment for me. For more than a month, I had always spoken with aides who are with the President in London.

“Not once did I ask them to take the phone to him, deliberately so, because I didn’t need to speak with him to validate the fact that he was alive. And since he is on vacation, he has a right to his privacy.

“Of his own volition, President Buhari spoke with me. It made my day. Even if he hadn’t done so, he would have remained my President, my leader, and my man. Any day.”  (Punchng.com)

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PDP, Others React As Buhari Says He Needs Longer Time To Rest

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Niyi Odebode, Olusola Fabiyi, Olalekan Adetayo, Friday Olokor and Leke Baiyewu

The Peoples Democratic Party and major groups, including the Nigeria Voters’ Assembly and the National Association of Resident Doctors, on Tuesday, differed on the latest development on President Muhammadu  Buhari’s medical vacation.

While the NVA said the President’s statement on his health was a message of hope, the PDP said it wished the President well.

The NARD said his absence could create some gaps, which could lead to power play at the federal level.

Buhari had, on Tuesday, said the results of a series of checkups he carried out in the course of his medical vacation had shown that he needed longer period of rest.

He said this necessitated his staying back in London longer than initially planned.

The President said this in a four-paragraph statement made available to journalists by his Special Adviser on Media and Publicity, Mr. Femi Adesina.

Adesina did not disclose how long the President’s “longer period of rest” would take.

He, however, thanked Nigerians for their prayers and good wishes while assuring them that there was no cause for worry.

The statement read, “The President is immensely grateful for the prayers, show of love and concern.

“President Buhari wishes to reassure Nigerians that there is no cause for worry.

‘”During his normal annual checkup, tests showed he needed a longer period of rest, necessitating the President staying longer than originally planned.”

The President of NARD, Dr. Onyebueze Ugochukwu, urged Nigerians to pray for the quick recovery of the President.

He prayed that the Acting President would sustain the fight against corruption and insurgency.

Ugochukwu believed that the absence of the President would create some gaps in communication, decision-making and implementation.

“These gaps may lead to some internal bickering and power play. This is bound to happen when those in his management team depart from project Nigeria to pursue personal interest,” he stated.

Aso, the National Publicity Secretary of the Yoruba socio-cultural group, Yinka Odumakin, said the cabal around the President would put pressure on the Acting President, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo.

He said, “The implication of his long stay is that the country would technically pause for the period he is going to be away. There would be a lot of power play with the cabal around the President, breathing down the neck of the Acting President with  ‘the President said’ even when he did not say. They may even sign things in his name knowing that the Acting President does not have regular access.

“We are in for a season of dual Presidency as the power bloc around the President will maximise this season. The President should be commended for transmitting power to his deputy unlike Yar’Adua, who did not transfer power or possibly had his transmission seized by the cabal.”

In his reaction, the President of the NVA, Mashood Erubami, in an interview with The PUNCH in Abuja, said Nigerians should be happy that the evil wishes of some unnamed enemies for the President had not come to pass.

He said, “We should thank God for the message from the President; a message of hope, which should be well managed to advance the cause of good governance.

“Hitherto, Nigerians were worried that the President was not communicating directly with them as they had to rely on good faith with third party information.

“Now that he can be quoted to have said he will stay longer to rest well before he returns, he is only being truthful and honest with Nigerians. We should all be happy that the evil wishes of the enemies of progress have not come to pass.”

Also, the Executive Secretary Anti-Corruption Network, Ebenezer Oyetakin, lauded the President’s statement.

He said, “I am sure that if the situation gets to the extent that he can no longer be the President, the Buhari that I know will obviously take the path of honour and be the first to so declare. Nevertheless, he has obtained annual leave legally; he has transferred Presidential power to his Vice-President as required by the constitution and has informed Nigerians.”

The national leadership of the PDP said it would continue to pray for Buhari.

The Acting National Publicity Secretary of the party, Mr. Bernard Mikko, stated this in an interview with one of our correspondents in Abuja on Tuesday.

Mikko stated, “The President’s request should be viewed in accordance with our statutes. Though the terms of his vacation have not been made clear to most Nigerians, most Nigerians wish him well. No patriotic Nigerian will wish his President otherwise.

“He can be excused within the ambit of the law. I don’t know the status of his health and can’t comment on his physical or mental suitability.

“From the age of 50, who is 100 per cent healthy?”

Saraki briefs Senate on visit to Buhari

Meanwhile, the Senate President, Bukola Saraki, on Tuesday, briefed members of the Senate on his trip to the United Kingdom to visit Buhari.

Saraki, Speaker of the House of Representatives, Mr. Yakubu Dogara; and the Majority Leader of the Senate, Senator Ahmad Lawan, had on Wednesday, last week, met with Buhari, who is on leave in London, attending to his health.

When the lawmakers resumed from a three-week recess on Tuesday, the Senate President, during the plenary, first read Buhari’s letter to the legislature on the extension of his leave.

Saraki had received the letter during the recess. It was dated February 5, 2017, the last day of the President’s initial 10-day leave.

The letter read, “Further to my letter dated January 18, 2017, in which I notified the distinguished Senate of taking part of my annual leave.

“During my leave, I took the opportunity to have routine check-ups and consult my long-standing doctors in London.

“In the course of the routine examinations, certain test results indicated the need for a course of medications and further appointments have been scheduled for next week.

“I am, therefore, notifying the Distinguished Senate that I am extending my leave until the doctors are satisfied that certain factors are ruled out. In the circumstances, the vice-president will continue to act on my behalf.”

After reading the letter, Saraki said, “Further to the correspondence from Mr. President, let me also use this opportunity to brief my colleagues on the visit. I led a delegation of myself, the Honourable Speaker and the Majority Leader to visit Mr. President, Buhari, on Wednesday, February 15, to convey the greetings and best wishes of the National Assembly and I am happy to report that we met the President in good spirits; in good health; chatty as usual; and conveys his best wishes and hopes to be back very soon.”   (Punchng.com)

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