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Buhari Has Failed, No Hope, APC Lied Against Jonathan, PDP, Says Sen. Kanti Bello

 

BelloBuhari

President Buhari, Sen. Kanti Bello

Senator Kanti Bello is a former Senate Majority Whip, who represented Katsina North Senatorial District on the platform of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) before joining the defunct Congress for Progressive Change (CPC), one of the legacy parties that formed the APC.

 

How will you assess the Buhari administration in the last two years?

I will be frank with you. This is the first interview I am giving in the last two years. I have decided to be quiet. The reason is simple: this is our government and I contributed a lot for the government to be formed, both at the state and national level. I did it not for personal gain, but I thought it would be the government that would assist the ordinary people; a government that will turn round the economy.

I am a very practical person. I thought that a government when it comes to Buhari, will be able to put smiles on the faces of Nigerians. I know that there are some difficulties; I know that the price of oil has gone down. I know all that but the human expectations, of the ordinary people, the way the government works, I can say 90 per cent of Nigerians are disappointed. And the simple reason is this; when we voted for this government, we believed, it was not only corruption that we wanted it to stop. We also felt that ordinary people should have enough to eat; they should have work to do. We expected some of our factories, especially up North here, would be revitalised. But look at what is happening. I can tell you, no nation with 120 million people can live and be a great nation when it has to import the food it will eat and it has to import clothing. We have the land, a favourable climate. We have the sunshine. So, there is no reason we should be importing food and there is no reason why we shouldn’t be clothing ourselves. The reason is simple; there is no agenda to get things done.

Are you still an APC member?

Yes

Are you saying your party didn’t have a blueprint of what to do when it took over power?

Well, I don’t see its implementation. Tell me one. For example, power generation and transmission are one of the problems met by Buhari. Up till today, how much are we generating? 4,000 megawatts? It hasn’t gone beyond that! Is it not a disgrace for a government that is supposed to be moving forward? Up till now, our factories, our industries are dead, our people are poorer. Look at our economy, it has been so bad; the exchange rate, they say it has been improving. Improving? From N160 to a dollar, now it is N368 to a dollar. Is that an improvement? Two years ago, it was N160 to the dollar. Is that something to be proud of? It reached almost N500. We thank the acting president, because each time he comes in, there seem to be some improvements in the way things are done. We don’t know why it is happening that way. Maybe it is his luck, but there are some little improvements.

You mean, each time the vice-president takes charge in the acting capacity, you see improvement in governance?

Yes, I see little improvement.

Are you insinuating that Buhari lacks the capacity for the office?

Well, even if he has the capacity to do it, he didn’t do it. Look, some of us have to be honest with ourselves, I have nothing against Buhari but the ordinary people of this country are suffering today.

Let me be frank with you, in Katsina, where I come from, people are finding it difficult to eat three times a day, not even two times. Things are difficult. The economy is so bad, whatever you are buying, and inflation has tripled. A bag of maize that used to sell at N4,000 when Buhari took over is now selling at N16,000 and at that price, people aren’t getting it to buy.

I am a practical person. Do we look at all these and continue to praise the government? No! Yes, we praise the government when it comes to Boko Haram, it has reduced its activities in the North-East and there is some stability in parts of the North with regards to the bombings—it has reduced drastically or virtually gone. Yes, there is something good there but then after it has gone, there is kidnapping. People are being kidnapped and murdered. We aren’t safe, you cannot even travel from here to Kaduna without feeling that something can happen to you. You see, we have got rid of one evil and another has come in.

So, all we are saying is that Buhari and his APC government hasn’t solved our problems. I am part of that government and I apologise to the masses that our economic policy is a failure. We have scored 50 per cent on security but certainly, the economic policy of the government has failed the masses, because I am part of the masses. People aren’t living well in this country. That’s the truth.

But, your party always attributes the poor state of the economy to mismanagement by the immediate past administration; it claimed it inherited huge liabilities from the PDP. What is your take?

No, come on! That’s not true. We kept quiet about it because we thought they were saying the truth. Look, how much money has the APC government now collected from the anti-corruption they are doing.

Where is the money? Nobody is accounting for the amount of money they have retrieved from people. Each time you hear so many billions. With that, there should have been some improvement. So, you cannot continue to blame the PDP. After two years, you are still blaming the previous government and you have only four years. Now, we have spent over 50 per cent of the time blaming PDP. I think something is wrong with us. So, I think it is the high time our party stopped blaming [Goodluck] Jonathan because the ordinary people somewhere with their anger are even saying that the Jonathan government was better. That’s the truth. We are afraid to come out and that’s why some of us don’t even speak, we worked hard and we believed in what we were doing, we thought things would be better, but incompetent people are put in charge and of course, some people are behind the scene controlling Buhari.

You are making an insinuation about a cabal, but the Presidency has always insisted that there is no cabal?

What the hell are you talking about there? No cabal? Well, if there is no cabal, the Buhari I know, I always wonder if he can behave the way these people are behaving. My reason: I have known Buhari since 1960 when I was a very small boy. He was my head boy in secondary school and the Buhari I knew, the Buhari I invited to come and play politics, I think he shouldn’t have been behaving the way he is behaving.

The people that are appointed into positions, everybody knew in this country, they aren’t the first class. For example, even this anti-corruption, the very first day it was reported that Babachir Lawal, the suspended Secretary to the Government of Federation (SGF) was allegedly involved in a shady deal and there was evidence to that effect, the Buhari I knew would have sacked him but he couldn’t do it. It was later I learnt that the man was suspended by the acting president.

The Buhari I knew has no reason to keep Ibrahim Magu. If Magu was alleged to be corrupt by the DSS report, so many people have been investigated and jailed because of DSS report, so is the DSS report supposed to be implemented, half-heartedly and selectively? For some people, it is right, for others, it isn’t. And nobody is saying anything. Now, the same DSS is saying that Magu has a case to answer and the Senate is saying it cannot confirm Magu and the government, the one I thought is honest enough, is still keeping that man. What for? Is he the only Nigerian that can do the job? I have nothing against Magu; I don’t even know him but is he the only Nigerian that can occupy that office? There is supposed to be credibility in what government does. You keep telling me that they inherited a bad economy, why did Nigerians elect Buhari in the first place? Is it not because we felt Jonathan wasn’t doing the job and that he should come and correct it? That’s the reason why we elected him. We didn’t elect him for jokes; we didn’t elect him to give excuses. We elected him to correct things. Why is he not doing it? You see, we were quiet, because we didn’t want to talk, not because we thought what they were doing was right, but because we believed we should give him a chance for two years if there will be an improvement. But I am sorry to say I am disappointed.

Why are you so pessimistic? You mean you don’t see the hope of improvement in Buhari’s administration, in terms of performance?

No, I don’t think there is much we can achieve. Look, two years into an administration is enough to make a landmark, because he has been looking for this job for so many years. Four times and he came in without an agenda, only to bring in some little boys who know nothing?. Incompetent people were given appointments.

Incompetent people? Can you be specific?

No. You think about the people he appointed, from the ministers, to heads of parastatal-agencies. Are they the best? I don’t have to name anybody. Why should I?

You are saying Buhari cannot effect positive changes, but the national chairman of your party, John Odigie-Oyegun, keeps saying the man is the best; that the 2019 ticket has been reserved for him. What do you have to say?

Oyegun can be as sycophantic as he wants, but the truth of the matter is that some of us are going to look for a Nigerian that’s going to address the economy. Our problem is the economy and we are going to shop for a Nigerian who can help us solve it. You see, every generation has to face some challenges and our challenge now in this country is the economy. It isn’t a question of Buhari coming to fight insecurity; it isn’t corruption anymore because you can only be corrupt when there is something to eat. Yes, it still thrives because nothing is going on and there is an allegation that it is thriving under Buhari, only people that they dislike are being arrested. Let me give you a typical example. Even this fight against corruption, it seems to be one-sided. They said they arrested a former governor of Sokoto State, Attahiru Bafarawa because he collected N100 million campaign money, but the same campaign money, I was made to understand, was collected by Tony Anenih and he wasn’t arrested. Is Anenih’s own different from that of Bafarawa? I don’t like anything that looks sectional and we are going to look for a Nigerian with no vendetta at all that wants to serve this country.

You are from Katsina. Can you mount the podium in your state and tell the people to reject Buhari at the poll?

Of course, why not? I was the one who went to Katsina to say Buhari was the best. Are the Katsina people not hungry now? Are they rich, because Buhari is the president? Look, I have told you, I have nothing against Buhari as a person, get that very clear. But his government hasn’t worked the way it should and we should be honest enough to say it. Are you saying because Buhari is president, Katsina people are now buying a bag of maize for N4,000? Are they very happy that bag of rice is now cheaper? Are they happy because the clothes they are wearing are now cheaper? Look, we are talking about reality and I am a practical realist. We have nothing against Buhari, we like him, he is from our state, but we also like ourselves more than Buhari. Our children have to live well, have to get a better education. Why am I not accusing Katsina State government, because it is doing their best but unfortunately at the federal level, things aren’t working the way they should. The Federal Government is supposed to show the way for the states to follow and it is most unfortunate that they aren’t doing it and some of us have to say it. That’s the truth; I don’t care what they say on the social media when they read this interview. We are going to look for a Nigerian that’s going to change this economy and help the masses.

Do you think the APC can still win the election, repeat the 2015 success story?

The way they are going, I don’t think so. What APC are you talking about? I have been there and I contributed a lot to the development of the party. But from day one when they formed the government, neither the government nor the party has invited us for a meeting. I think people are fed up with the party, let me be frank with you. They are just living in a fool’s paradise, thinking that people are very happy.

Let me tell you, we have a vice-president, who is now acting president; let me be frank with you, if there is no Buhari, he becomes the president and that’s what the Constitution says. Let us give him the opportunity to serve. I am not judging Buhari on a tribal basis, if I wanted to be tribalistic, I will say he is the best thing that ever happened to Nigeria like some people have been saying but that’s not the truth. I repeat, I have nothing personal against Buhari but the system is drifting; the government is sinking. We are in a mess.

You have dismissed your party, the APC as a failure. Is there an alternative platform, because all the dominant opposition parties are in crises?

You are wrong. Look, I am telling you what is a party? If you want to define a party, it is a congregation of people. Of course, we accused PDP as a congregation of corrupt people, who were clueless. But some of these clueless people, some of these corrupt people are now in APC. They are there and they have taken over the party. So, if some of us decide to go and do something else and we get the right congregation of people to come in, then we have a party. Party is about people. There is a saying that the number of people in the market defines its importance, not the number of stalls in the market. So, that’s the truth. People will decide, it isn’t a question of party now. Nigeria has to be salvaged, economically. We cannot continue this way, because if we continue this way, where are we heading? We have to get people with the right economic sense, patriotic people who will come and solve this problem.

You said “the Buhari I knew’’ the other time.Are you of the opinion that he is being held captive by certain people?

I suspect so. It hasn’t made sense to me, because there are certain things I personally discussed with him and he told me, “okay, it will be done.” The Buhari I knew, if he gave you his word before, he would do it. But, he has changed. So, I believe that something is wrong. Maybe, his mind is no longer the one I knew, but I cannot determine, because since he got to power I haven’t been to the Villa. I only met him once in Katsina and we discussed.

Have you been shut out or you refused to pay him a visit?

Do you walk into the Villa just like that? You have to seek for appointment, isn’t it? Nobody will ever give Kanti Bello appointment; they don’t want to see my face there, because I had been a PDP person. After working for APC for four solid years: from PDP to APC. After working so hard for it, I was shut out. That’s the type of government we have.

What is your take on agitations for the restructuring of the country? Certain groups like IPOB and MASSOB are actually demanding for its outright balkanization?

Let us be honest with ourselves, we have seen it in Southern Sudan now which is a new country. Are they better off? The truth is that they aren’t. Why people are agitating for restructuring is simple: if you are hungry and you aren’t sure of the future of your children, then you start calling for restructuring. You have to look for an alternative. So, they think the country will be better if restructured. That’s their thinking. I have no grudge against that but I believe it is wrong.

Some of us thought once we had Buhari, this talk won’t happen again. But unfortunately, it has remained with us, because people aren’t happy and we need somebody who is going to help the economy to be better. It isn’t impossible. We need somebody who is a detribalized Nigerian. Maybe it is difficult to get but we will, with a lot of hard work, efforts that can heal the wounds, so that after 2019, nobody will be thinking about restructuring again. That’s what we need

Any regrets inviting Buhari to politics?

I really regret it now, because I thought it is going to be better than what we are having now. That’s why I couldn’t speak for two years because you cannot bring somebody and say he is the best, work hard for him and after one year you say he isn’t good. Is it fair? But after two years and looking at it, I can talk. I hope he gets well, comes back and finish his two years. Whichever way, I don’t see much out of it anyway, because the first two years have been wasted, nothing to show for it. My regret is what I would tell the ordinary people I convinced to vote for Buhari.

What if he says, he is seeking a fresh mandate in 2019?

Let him come back and be well. We pray for him to come back in good health. He has every right to seek for our mandate, but some of us also have a right to look for who will give Nigerians the best.

What if he reaches out to you and assures you that he would make amends? Will you support him in 2019?

That’s too theoretical. I don’t want to answer that question, it is too theoretical. The truth of the matter is that we are now in a mess. You don’t seem to understand how difficult it is for the masses. Is it because you live in Abuja? Look, I know what people are passing through in my village, this fasting period. People cannot eat. Now, you want me to go and tell people to forget what happened in the last two years; that it is going to be better. No, I am going to tell my people to look for an alternative, what will help your kids to go to school and be able to live a better life. The middle class is now wiped out. This country is in a hole, deep hole.  (Sunday Tribune)

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Buhari Will Shock Nigerians When He Returns, Says Tam David West |RN

From Oluseye Ojo, Ibadan

Former Minister of Petroleum and Energy, Prof Tam David-West, in this interview,  says President Muhammadu Buhari, will shock Nigerians positively when he returns to Nigeria from his medical trip to London hale and hearty. He notes that he expects him to surprise Nigerians with cabinet reshuffle and a major re-thinking of the method of governance.
He also speaks on comments of Governor Ayodele Fayose of Ekiti State on Buhari, the parable of Lion-king, the hyenas and jackals he must throw out of his “Kingdom”, the face-off between the Senate and the Presidency over the chairmanship of the Economic  and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), agitation for restructuring of Nigeria and calls for referendum, as well as his perspective on the calls that Buhari should vie for the 2019 presidential poll. Excerpts:

Many Nigerians are complaining that since President Muhammadu Buhari travelled to London on a medical trip, things have not been going in the right direction, especially in the political arena. Many Nigerians seem to have been frustrated. So, what are the shockers Nigerians should expect from him when he returns to the country?

First, when Buhari comes to the country, Nigerians will be shocked. Have you ever seen a dead man coming back alive? Many people have been saying he has died, I don’t care for them because I have contact with him every week, and I know what is happening every week. When they said Buhari had died, I said they were talking rubbish because I have evidence that he is alive.
All of the people that are talking stupidly, if you want to be responsible, make a statement based on facts. They have no facts. Look, I have the latest evidence two days ago, the man is healthy and alive. How are they going to be shocked? They will be shocked because he will come back alive, which will be the first shock. They will also be shocked that he will come back hale and healthy. They will be shocked that when he comes back, he will be the same Buhari that those that know him know – he is so humorous; intellectual Buhari. They carried rumour that he had died and he’s in the mortuary. Muslims don’t put their dead ones in the mortuary.
Then, his wife went to see him. She came back and said she saw her husband and thanked all the people that were praying for him. But sceptical Nigerians, useless and wicked Nigerians said ‘how do we know that his wife saw him?’ She said ‘ I saw my husband and you are still doubting him.
Then, they said he could not talk again. He addressed the nation on Sallah. They also said he addressed the nation in Hausa, not in English. Before that time, they said he could not speak. Now, the latest one, the Vice President, Prof Yemi Osinbajo, who is the acting president presently has gone to London and said he talked with the President for over one hour. He said Buhari was busy cracking hilarious jokes. They will be shocked because all the evil things they wished him, will never come true. They will be shocked because when he returns, it is not likely to be as usual. Second, I have this strong feeling that when Buhari comes back, there will be a major re-thinking of governance method. I trust that he will do cabinet reshuffle. But cabinet reshuffle is just a little normal thing. I think that a major re-thinking of the method of governance is the only way left for us to turn the table around, and get back the confidence of the people.
I am a die-hard Buhari fan, but I will not keep silent when I see something that is wrong. There is no doubt that a lot of people are suffering in this country, not caused by him, and some caused by him, but we supporters too can make this inheritance argument for too long that it becomes dull. We need a change and I know we can make a change. So, I have this strong feeling that there is the likelihood that there will be drastic re-thinking of the method of governance.
The third thing is restraint. He is not used to this type of set up. He is working in a democratic system. If it was the military era, he would be alpha and omega. So, if he is, things cannot be like this. But he has to think about the National Assembly. He has to think about pressure groups.
The problem with Buhari is that he trusts, and when he trusts, he is a very honest person, he will find it difficult to doubt you. I have been saying it, he has to look around himself dispassionately.  There are some people I do see around him, that are not working for his interest; they are working for themselves. They are not as clean as himself.
Fortunately, I said this before,  his great wife has come out to say the jackals and hyenas around him would be thrown out of the kingdom. And he has to do that if he has to get the steam again.

Governor Ayodele Fayose of Ekiti State has said on many occasions that President Buhari should vacate office and he should be replaced because, according to him, he is no longer capable of leading the country. What is your stand on this?

I don’t comment on irresponsible statements. Ayo Fayose is a governor. I expect him to be more responsible than what he is doing. As a governor, he has certain aura, prestige and respect due to him that we owe him. Then, if he talks irresponsibly, then he loses that respect. I don’t answer to irresponsible statements.
Ayo Fayose is a governor, I expect him to know the Constitution. Is there anywhere in the Constitution that says President should resign? What will make the President not to be in office is clear in the Constitution?
I am one of the people that drafted the 1979 Constitution. I know it inside-out. But what Ayo Fayose is saying is irresponsible if it is not in the Constitution. I don’t expect somebody of a status of a governor, that should be respected, to make a statement like that.
Ayo Fayose said Buhari is so sick that he’s on a life-support machine in London; newspapers published it. A few days ago, I was in contact with them. A man on life-support machine cannot talk.

So, you have been speaking with President Buhari since he travelled…

(Cuts in)
I have direct contact with London, at least once a week. I may not speak to him directly but I may also hear his voice. I know people around him that are permanent with him for 24 hours. I have direct contact with them directly and indirectly.
When Buhari left the first time and came back, the doctor said he would come back for review. A day before he left for the second time in Abuja, Buhari gave audience to the Chibok Girls that were released with their parents in the full view of the press. It was a big function in Aso Rock.
Now, he left the country for London, not on a stretcher, not in a wheelchair. He walked to the plane himself. He never left Nigeria a sick man. He went there for re-check. I have gone through this myself. If a doctor examines you and he said what you come for, this is the situation, you can go, but you will come back for review; there is nothing wrong with that because I have done such before. My doctor is in London, who I will not mention. I do go there once every year for a check-up. But they would say come for re-check. Within certain period, you will go back for the re-check
On one occasion, I was to leave about two days to the last check up, but the doctor said he would not allow me to go. One of the results must be repeated. I had to stay an extra one week; that is little me, not to talk of President. So, there is nothing happening to Buhari that is strange to me.

Buhari has brought the best thing out of Nigeria, and also brought out the worst things out of Nigeria. Why did I say this? First, what best thing has he brought out of Nigeria? Buhari has shown that he can win an election in Nigeria without having money to bribe. A Nigerian newspaper, Thisday, rated different candidates for the presidency when he was contesting against the sitting president, Goodluck Jonathan, according to the largeness of their purse. Buhari was the last with a low purse. He had no money. Buhari himself had said ‘I don’t want to have anything that I cannot account for.’ There’s no money. He did not bribe, and I know that during the primaries, there’s a particular aspirant that bribed so much, even giving $5,000, to people. Buhari never gave N1, yet he won. So, that is the best Buhari has brought to Nigeria. Buhari has shown Nigerians that they should go for quality leadership. You don’t have to bribe to get their votes. It is a great thing for us in democracy.
And what are the bad things Buhari has brought out of Nigerians? Buhari has also shown that Nigerians have very bad and terrible part of their nature. Everywhere in the world, when somebody is sick, people pray for such person to get well in time; that is the normal thing. Buhari has shown that Nigerians would say “may God help you to die in time.’
Many people are saying he should die. He will not die now and he will only die when God wants him. And those of them saying he would die, they will die first. For instance, Zik (Dr Nnamdi Azikiwe) died many times. I was very close to Zik. I have his personal handwritten letters to me when I was Commissioner for Education and when I was in Bama Prisons. Babangida (Ibrahim Babangida, former military president) put me in Bama Prisons for nine months. I was in Kirikiri Prisons for two weeks…I have forgiven him, but God will judge him.
Some time ago, there was a rumour that Zik had died. I was so surprised that even influential Igbo people set up a burial committee for Zik. But they had not found out whether he had died. Some of them in the burial committee died before Zik died.
Another example is TOS Benson, a great mentor of mine. One man, a parapsychologist, who used to write a column in a newspaper, said TOS Benson would die that year. TOS Benson told him ‘you will die before me.’ The person died many years before TOS Benson died.
So, Nigerians like to wish people dead. If you wish evil for somebody, the law of karma should come to you. Those that are wishing dead, some of them will die before him.

What actually gives you the assurance that President Buhari will return to the country to continue his mandate?

What gives me the assurance is that I have the fact. I know that he will come back. With the evidence I have at the moment, I know Buhari will come back to continue his work. This time around, his style, I think, will change. He is an intelligent man. I am confident that by the grace of God that he will come back hale and healthy, and he will continue his job.

What do you make out of what the wife of the President, Mrs Aisha Buhari, said that when the Lion-king returns, he will throw out hyenas and jackals from his kingdom?


I congratulate her for it. I commend her greatly for it. I am a friend, a loyalist of Buhari. But she sees him every day. If I am concerned about the nonsense things they wished about Buhari, if I am concerned that some people around him are not working in his interest, his wife should be more concerned.
I have said it many times that some people around him are not working in his interest. So, if his wife, who is the closest to him, should make that kind of statement, it means I am vindicated. It is true. I congratulate her for it. I also pray that he should throw away the hyenas, the jackals, and the monkeys.

Who are the people you suspect are the hyenas and the jackals?

They know themselves. They asked the wife of the president and she said ‘they know themselves.’ He knows them. They know people around him who are working in the same programme with him but are working to enrich themselves. They even did it to the extent that they are spoiling his name.
One thing they don’t know is that Nigeria is a very transparent country when it comes to corruption. Whistleblowers have been in our culture right from the beginning. We don’t need a whistleblower. Nigerians don’t like corruption.

 
But the hyenas and the jackals are powerful animals and are many in the animal kingdom. When the Lion-king returns, how do you expect him to throw them out of the kingdom such that it will not affect his reign negatively?

Hyenas and jackals are powerful to the extent that they have a forest that you can’t expose yourself to. If you have God, however powerful the hyena is, the good thing is that you can shoot him. Lion, though very courageous and powerful, sometimes take cautions. If you go to the zoo to see lion, if you jump very close to a lion, he does not attack instantaneously. First, he runs away, though it will attack. This means that the lion himself is not invincible. So, the jackals and hyenas around him are not invincible. The opportunities he gave them made them hyenas and jackals. If he takes the opportunity from them, they will not be hyenas and jackals again.

At this time, many politicians have been calling on President Buhari to run for the second term in office in 2019 to complete the good work he has started when Mr President is still battling with his health. Would you rather say the calls are good or ill-conceived?

First, were they the people that asked him to run the first time? But he had the conviction to run. If he has the conviction to run again, it is over to him to make his decision. The public position is that based on the first term, I don’t think he should run again. The long and short is that whether Buhari should run for a second term or third term, the decision is purely his own. Was it the public that made him run the first time? Why should the decision to run for the second term come from the public?
But where do I stand? I stand wherever it is the way. If he wants to run the second time, will I support him? If it is his decision, I will not go against him. My duty is to point out areas he should improve on because to go for the second term, he must base it on the credentials of the first term. It has not come up in our discussion that he would run for the second term in office. But let’s assume that he wants to run for the second term. What will you do as a friend? I will tell him, let us sit down and analyse the first term. We must sit down and analyse the first term. What he had done right and what he has done wrong. Then, we talk about what the public wanted when he started and now. When we analyse that, then we will be able to identify areas that he should have done better. Do you have time to make amend so that the people will be impressed that things have turned around? These are basic questions to be asked before jumping into the issues of the second term. You don’t just jump into the second term like that, you have to analyse and come to a seasoned self-introspection to guide your decision.

Some people have advised President Buhari to resign so that he could rest. Do you subscribe to this

Rubbish. Why is it rubbish? First, there is no provision in the Constitution that says he should resign. If Buhari believes, especially after thorough medical examinations that he has gone through many times, that he should resign, it is his own decision.
Some of the people attacking Buhari, are they medically fit? Let us send them to medical examinations, whether they can come back 100 per cent healthy. Even some of them, their brains need to be tested by psychiatrists.
The way a person ceases to be president is clear in the Constitution. Why should Buhari resign? On health ground, no. If it is on health ground, he is the one that will decide that he is too weak to run the government again. The final decision is between Buhari and his doctor. If the doctor gives him a clean bill of health, who is Fayose to query him?

What will you suggest as a way forward on the face-off between the Senate and the Presidency over the appointment and confirmation of the Acting Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), Mr Ibrahim Magu?

I felt bad with what happened in the upper chamber. It made me feel ashamed and worried. I know a lot of very good people in the Senate. I know Saraki (Senator Bukola Saraki, the Senate President), I know his father (Senator Olusola Saraki). There are some very few good people in the Senate. Like in every other organisation, there are some rubbish people there too. Look at the National Assembly on television when they are debating, it is like a play case. Look at their presentations of the year 2016 on national television, compare that with British Parliament, or the Congress in the United States. You can see that the atmosphere is so different, our own is so careless.
The Vice President, Prof Yemi Osinbajo (SAN), is one of the most brilliant legal minds in the country. From his records, he was Attorney General of Lagos State and his brilliant record is there. The man is a great intellectual. He is a professor of law and a Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN). What is happening here is the interpretation of the Constitution.
He has said that Magu does not need confirmation by the Senate. That is the issue at stake; it is a constitutional matter. And his reason was that there are some appointments that do not need to be confirmed by the senate. He supported his view with Section 171 of the Constitution.
Some members of the Senate said the Vice President was wrong.

So, I expect the Senate to solve this matter by going to the Supreme Court. The ultimate interpretation of the Constitution is the Supreme Court. The Senate should tell the apex court that the Vice President or the President has acted against the Constitution, which he swore to protect. They can make the Supreme Court give it accelerated hearing. The Supreme Court can set itself to hear and dispose of it within two weeks.
So, is the President or the Vice President right? For me, when I read that section in the Constitution, I tend to agree with the Vice President, that it is not every appointment that needs to go for confirmation. I am one of the people that drafted the 1979 Constitution, I may be wrong. But if a great legal mind like the Vice President and a very well respected professor and Senior Advocate of Nigeria, says a part of the Constitution did not compel the president to do so, so, so, I will go along with him. I may be wrong.

He may be wrong too. Senate may be wrong. The only ‘person’ to decide is the Supreme Court. So, let the Senate go to the Supreme Court and challenge the Vice President and the President, de facto,  that they are violating the Constitution they swore to protect. So, let the Supreme Court rule and that will end the matter.

How can the Senate and the Presidency work together harmoniously for the growth and development of Nigeria?
What we are experiencing now is a question of personal interest and national interest. Is the President’s party not controlling the majority in the parliament? But we have a situation where the President of the Senate is from one party, the Deputy President of the Senate is from opposing party; it has never happened in the history of Nigeria and anywhere in the world. But have a very weird construction. How can they work together? Are they working for themselves or they are working for Nigeria? If all of them say they are working for Nigeria, the interest of Nigeria, which I think they should, no quarrel. So, let them address the national interest, not personal interest.

Agitation for the restructuring of Nigeria has gathered a lot of momentum from different parts of the country. Some thought leaders have been asking for a referendum on whether some parts of Nigeria should go or remain. So, what is your position on the agitation for a breakup of the country?

Some said the 2014 amalgamation of Northern and Southern Protectorates, which brought Nigeria into existence was wrong. If the amalgamation was wrong, why did we celebrate the 100 years of Nigeria in 2014? This shows that most of the points they are making are no points at all.
What we need is for Nigerians to restructure themselves. Human beings and human organisations are dynamic. You will change by time. Fortunately, a book of mine will soon be on the shelves soon. I have talked about this on June 1, 2012, at ASUU lecture in Abuja, which took over two hours. I have been writing about this since 2010.
So, a section of the country feels that one section is monopolising and marginalising the other. Specifically, the South complains of Northern domination. Northern domination is a myth, nurtured by the South, it doesn’t exist.

In my book that is coming out, I gave more than 20 examples that Northern domination does not exist.
What you call Northern domination is the weakness of the South. If they know the Constitution, no part Nigeria can dominate the country. The Constitution says to be president of this nation, in an election, win a majority of votes. Not only that, but your votes must spread across every part and you must win at least 25 per cent of the votes. We have 36 states with 19 in the North and 17 in the South. Two-third of 36 is 24. Even, if a Northern candidate wins 100 per cent of the votes in the North, which is not possible, he cannot even be the President. He still needs Southern states to give him 24 states.  So, there is no domination. The Southerners were the ones that sold out themselves. We are being hunted by this silly idea of northern domination. It does not exist.
After Aguiyi-Ironsi died, who was the most senior Nigerian Army officer? It was Brigadier Ogundipe (Brigadier Babafemi Ogundipe, who was the de facto Vice President of Nigeria during Johnson Aguiyi-Ironsi’s 1966 military government). A junior northern soldier insulted him before senior Southern Generals. Did they defend him? No. That was why he decided to be High Commissioner in London.
Yes, every organisation needs reconstruction. That is why we also have the review of the constitution. Every human organisation is dynamic and can change with time. But I cannot see reconstruction based on myth and fear and wrong reasons.
First, you said we want true federation. The Constitution is clear in white and black that Nigeria is a federation.

If a particular president comes from a particular area and he’s taking all the powers to himself, is it his fault? You go and challenge it in court. He supposed to obey the Constitution, which he swore to obey and protect because we are in a federation.
In a federation, the states have their powerful rights. The states are not depended like a parasite on the federal government. But states have allowed the federal government to be powerful because state governors that should fight for their rights secretly go and get patronage from the centre, and they keep quiet. I know what I am talking about.
If you say the centre is too powerful, who made the centre powerful? If a particular president wants to take more powers from the states, it is left for the states to challenge him in court that it is against the Constitution.

Also, they said they want reconstruction because Nigeria is not a true federation. Reconstruction alone cannot give you true federation. The true federation is that we should insist that the Constitution must be respected. The Constitution has already provided for it. If you stayed in your house, a thief came to take your television, you did not talk, it is when the thief has run to the street that you are shouting thief, thief, thief. Why didn’t you stop him from taking your television set?
They also said we should go back to the 1963 Constitution. They are ignorant of the 1963 Constitution. When we were drafting the 1979 Constitution, all the 49 of us were given a copy each of the 1963 Constitution. Any one that is saying we should go back to the 1963 Constitution is an enemy of Nigeria.
The copy of the 1963 Constitution was given to us each to study, and write out what we think is wrong there, that we should change. We spent more than one month working on the 1963 Constitution and why it is not good for Nigeria.
Some people have said the states should be converted to six. Chief Emeka Anyaoku (former Secretary General of Commonwealth of Nations)  just said eight units. They surprised me and disappointed me. The Constitution is clear that states can come together. There is a constitutional provision for state merging together. The conditions are in the Constitution. So, there is nothing new that they are saying. Let them give me convincing reasons.

The 2014 National Conference, there is nothing from that confab that is so strange, though there are big brains there. But why should your country pay you millions of naira for every sitting when you want to do something in the interest of your country?
We did 1979 Constitution, none of us was given one kobo. None of the 49 of us had the sitting allowance. They only paid for our transport and accommodation. But those that were at the 2014 Confab, the country paid them in millions and fed them too. But one day, they were so childish that they said the food they gave them was not enough for children, and they protested because of food. Tell me, you cannot be the serious person now. There is nothing they said there that is a panacea.
Nigeria does not need any more national conference. Let us set up a body that will go to the archives, bring all the reports of conferences we have had so that we can work on them.
This is why I don’t support restructuring. How can the 36 states be merged into six geographical regions? To me, it does not make sense. Have you ever seen somebody, who after he enjoyed political independence, would voluntarily say take my independence, he does not want to be independent again? Freedom is part of the basic aspect of people. You cannot convert the 36 states to six or eight just by fiat.

On the referendum, sometimes people don’t convince me that they understand the rule of the referendum. Some of them even suggested that we should have sovereign national conference and thereafter, we will have a referendum. It is stupid. After a sovereign national conference, you don’t have referendum again. The two cannot go together. Whatever is said at the sovereign national conference is permanent, and I don’t support that. I have not supported it over the years because why should sound 170 million people surrender their rights to few hundreds of people to decide their fate and whatever they decide will be sacrosanct as the Quran or the Bible. Anything that comes out of sovereign national conference cannot be changed again. National Conference can say Tam David-West, from today on, you are a woman, not a man.
So, all the reasons they are giving for restructuring, I am not impressed. It is not that there is no need for it. But they have not impressed me. What Nigeria needs is restructuring themselves. We must think of Nigeria and believe in Nigeria for the good of Nigeria.
If you make every village in Nigeria a state, some families will still complain of marginalisation. Until the people operating it changed their orientation to say that we could all work together. If you are talking of marginalisation, what will I, an Ijaw man, say? We are the most marginalised.
In Nigeria, we are too full of formula. We always look for a panacea to solve our problems. The problem with Nigerian is Nigerian.

Poverty, is no doubt, prevalent in Nigeria, though Nigeria is said to be coming out of economic recession. Many have lost their jobs. It is likely that Nigerians will pay more for electricity tariff to enjoy more power supply and pump price of petroleum products. Nigerian expect Mr President to do something about it when he comes back. What would you advise him to do?

I will be the last person to support an increase in electricity tariff. I will be the last person to support the increase in petroleum pump price. The petroleum price should come down. I am saying it loud and clear, I have already discussed it with Buhari, he knows where I stand. Anybody that is suggesting that we increase petroleum price is an enemy of Nigeria. Most of them that are suggesting the increase is not paying for petrol. The state is paying for their petrol.
On economic recession, when I listened to Minister of Finance, I used to laugh when she said the economic recession will end in eight months. I don’t believe you. Is it magic? You don’t take economic recession by magic or by wish. What have you don’t to the economy that will make the recession to stop? You are not the only country that went through a recession. America went through the worst recession. In the 1930s, America was finished. Recently former US President, Barack Obama, before bringing us the stimulus formula. We talk, we don’t act. I don’t believe the recession is finished. If the recession is finished, I challenge the Minister of Finance if she says the recession will finish in few months time, if it is true, I will go and hold a party for her in Abuja. I don’t believe them. In fact, I have to see it physically that something is changing. People are suffering. It is a wicked government that can add more suffering to the people. Government exists for the interest of the people.
Edmund Burke said a government is a contrivance of human wisdom, and human beings have the rights to expect that the government should satisfy that wisdom. Any government that cannot serve the interest of the people and give greater happiness to the greater number of people is a failed government. I will not be part of it. I will never support it and I know Buhari will never support it. (The Sun)

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Buhari Must Not Die, He May Not Be Stable Until End Of His Term- Primate Elijah Ayodele

babatunde-elijahayodele

Primate Babatunde Elijah Ayodele

• SAYS, ‘KANU WILL NOT LEAD BIAFRA’

By Olakunle Olafioye

AS a follow up to his earlier prediction on why Ali Modu Sheriff must be stopped as PDP chairman, foremost Nigerian seer and cleric, Primate Babatunde Elijah Ayodele, in this interview reacts to last week’s Supreme Court verdict, which returned the Ahmed Makarfi-led National Caretaker Committee as the lawful leadership of the party.

He also speaks on the agitation for Biafra being championed by the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) among other boiling issues.   

In your predictions published on August 14, 2016, you alluded to the fact that only the faction of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) led by Ahmed Makarfi could revive the party. Now with the Supreme Court having ruled in favour of the former Kaduna State governor, is that an indication that the party will bounce back?

We have just started. With Makarfi back in the saddle, PDP will be on its way to gradual recovery if they take the right steps. As it is PDP needs proper cleansing. Makarfi can still bring the party back but if the party brings the wrong person for the presidential election in 2019 the party may not win. Then, APC will now have crisis with Makarfi returning except they are able to put their house in order and re-strategize if the party is to retain power. At end of the day, it may neither be APC nor PDP that will get central if they fail to present sellable candidates.  I don’t want to talk about candidates now; at the appropriate time, I will reveal that.

What I am saying is that Makarfi can still stabilise PDP. What happens in Osun does not mean that PDP is back. They should reorganise the party properly and do the right thing in the party. At the same time, APC is cracking. If APC wishes to retain the Presidency they should also ensure they put their house in order. Then the vice president’s life is in danger but God will see him through. Many things will still be exposed to the plots against him. There are so many things we don’t see now; the vice president is struggling against the cabal. As it is now the villa is vacant.

What do you mean by this?

We still need to pray very well for Buhari to recover quickly. He may not be stable until the end of his term. I am also seeing a big referendum coming in Nigeria but I cannot see when or how it will come because God did not show me that. Honestly, Buhari needs prayers. His family needs to pray very well for him. I am not saying the medical treatment he is receiving will not work, but it is not the lasting solution. It is only God that can sustain his life. Buhari must not die because if he dies it will affect a lot of things in the North. But I see the national flag being flown at half mast but I don’t know where that is coming from. Oyegun’s seat is shaking. His position will be in crisis if Buhari fails to continue.

The agitation for the state of Biafra is still on. What is your view on it?

Nnamdi Kanu’s life is at risk especially because of the way he talks, his misuse of words. Forget about all he is doing, let him continue to pray to the dead souls. Kanu will not lead Biafra. Biafra vision may be actualized in the nearest future, he will not lead the Igbo to actualize the vision. He is taking some wrong steps that will fail him to actualize his dream as a leader of Biafra. Then the Igbo should not expect the Presidency in 2019. Their time has not come. I am talking as a prophet, not as a politician. Kanu is still going to face a lot of challenges and if he is not careful enough, he may miss it. He must be careful so that he doesn’t lose his life in the cause of this struggle. He needs to be extremely careful and watchful.

There will be election in Anambra although there will be crisis. If the governor remains steadfast with his party APGA God can help him to sustain that seat but he if he attempts to take wrong steps, he will see the other side of the voters. In a nutshell Nigeria is sitting on time bomb.

No party can do it. That is why I said Buhari should leave the issue of corruption because if we continue to play money politics, the fight against corruption will continue to be a mirage, even the EFCC cannot effectively fight corruption under the current arrangement until we stop money politics.

The Badoo crisis in Ikorodu seems to defy security solutions and many people believe it is more of a spiritual challenge. What is your view on this?

Let me say that the police have been trying their bit. They are not spirits, the residents are also doing their bit but the step they are supposed to take is to continue arranging prayer programmes involving churches and mosques and pray to God to arrest those behind the Badoo killings. I said it in 2013 that terrorism is coming to Lagos. This is part of the terrorism. Yet we still need to be more security conscious in Lagos.

There are other things that will follow. The security operatives just need to be ready to contain it. Christian association needs to come together, organize vigils for three days to make sure that Badoo is rooted out of Ikorodu. I am telling Lagosians that very soon those behind it will be exposed and Ikorodu will be free from this crisis. (The Sun)

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Leave Buhari Alone – Youth Group To Governor Fayose |The Republican News

 

BuhariSick

President Muhammadu Buhari

 

The Buhari Youth Organisation, Lagos State Chapter, has urged Gov. Ayodele Fayose of Ekiti State to stop negative comments about President Muhammadu Buhari’s health.

The State Coordinator and the General Secretary of the organisation, Mr Waheed Odunuga and Mr Adekunle Aderibigbe, respectively, made the appeal in a statement they jointly signed on Friday in Lagos.

According to them, the governor should have left behind the 2015 Presidential election outcome and move forward in the interest of the nation.

“It is obvious that President Muhammadu Buhari is receiving treatment.

“The Acting President, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo, has further reassured Nigerians that President Buhari would soon be back. So, there is no need for Fayose to create a hospital album for himself’’.

“The governor should desist from wasting time and resources to shop for pictures for the album of the ailing president that adds no value to his people,’’ he said.

The organisation urged Fayose to harness the inherent natural resources of his state and facilitate mechanised farming with well-irrigated lands to produce various cash crops.

According to them, that will attract investors from within, like Kebbi partnered Lagos State, to produce LAKE Rice.

The duo said that every state governor should be concerned about the welfare and security of the people.

“Every state governor should be saddled with the responsibilities of providing health care facilities, education, security of lives and properties and conducive environment for businesses to thrive.

“Most essentially, states need to generate revenue as the people; especially the poor, are looking up to them for dividends of democracy.’’

(Source: NAN)

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BREAKING: Osinbajo Flies To London, Meets Ailing Buhari |The Republican News

 Buhari-and-Osinbajo
         File PHOTO: President Muhammadu Buhari and Prof. Yemi Osinbajo

Olalekan Adetayo, Abuja

The Acting President on Tuesday left Nigeria for London, United Kingdom, where he is scheduled to meet ailing President Muhammadu Buhari.

Buhari left the country on May 7 for the British capital where he is currently receiving medical treatment.

He had, in a communication to the two Chambers of the National Assembly, indicated that only his doctors would decide the duration of his medical trip which is the second one this year.

Our correspondent learnt that Osinbajo travelled to London to see the President shortly after he presided over the Quarterly Presidential Business Forum held at the Presidential Villa.

It was further learnt that the Acting President’s trip was at the instance of Buhari.

The Senior Special Assistant to the Acting President on Media and Publicity, Mr. Laolu Akande, confirmed Osinbajo’s trip to London in a message on his Twitter handle.

Akande said Osinbajo would meet Buhari in London and return to the country immediately after the meeting.

He wrote, “AgP Osinbajo meeting with President Buhari in London today, and returning to Abuja immediately afterwards.”  (Punchng.com)

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Mamman Daura, Great Asset To Buhari’s Government, Nigeria, Says Group |RN

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Mallam Mamman Daura

By Doris Obinna

President Muhammadu Buhari’s nephew, Alhaji Mamman Daura, has been described as an asset to Nigeria, at a time experience, commitment and patriotism are needed to stabilise governance.

Coordinator of a socio-political group, Forum for Nigeria’s Unity and Progress (FNUP), Alhaji Suleiman Danladi, said Daura means well for the country and has done much for the progress of the Federal Government and Nigeria in general.

He said those who demonise Daura are people who feel he is a stumbling block to their plots to manipulate those in government.

“Alhaji Mamman Daura is a stabilising force in government. He has worked behind the scene to ensure there is stability in the current Federal Government. But he has been largely misunderstood. And those who do not mean well for the country are demonising him because they know with him, it will be difficult to manipulate top officials of government,” Danladi said. The forum’s coordinator said Daura does not head any cabal in the government, but a patriotic Nigerian, who wants President Muhammadu Buhari to succeed in office.

He said: “I don’t know about a cabal in government; what I know is there are people whose interest is to make Buhari succeed. If you follow the career of Alhaji Mamman Daura, you will see that he has always worked for the good of the country. He has always taken interest in the things President Buhari does and has always helped in his little way to support him.

“During Buhari’s government as military head of state, he functioned in an advisory capacity, which is what he does now. He is a patriotic Nigerian.” Danladi said only those close to the government would know what Daura has been doing to ensure progress and unity in the country, saying that history would judge him well.

“At a time when there are so many agitations in the country, Mamman Daura has played a key role in dousing tension. Only a few people will know the series of meetings he has held with leaders of other ethnic groups in the country at this trying times. With his relationship with people across the country, he has been able to get various ethnic groups’ leaders to work together for the unity and stability of government and Nigeria,” Danladi said.

Daura, is a journalist from Katsina State, was an editor of the New Nigerian Newspaper and served as the holding company’s managing director.

During former President Olusegun Obasanjo’s government, he was briefly a member of the Justice Oputa panel charged with investigating human rights abuses in the country. He also served on the Dina committee in 1968 and the Aboyade technical committee in 1977, which dealt with the intractable revenue allocation.

During the Buhari’s military government, Daura played key advisory roles. He had served as head of the African International Bank and chairman of the board of the Nigerian Television Authority (NTA), among other strategic positions.  (The Sun)

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Buhari’s Illness Stops 10 Foreign Envoys From Assuming Duty In Nigeria |RN

President-Buhari
                           President Muhammadu Buhari

Olalekan Adetayo and Adelani Adepegba

The medical vacation of President Muhammadu  Buhari has prevented no less than 10 foreign ambassadors from resuming duties at their respective embassies in the country.

Findings by SUNDAY PUNCH on Saturday indicated that the envoys had been unable to present their letters of credence at the Presidential Villa due to the absence of the President, who has been out of the country for about two months.

However, a government official who spoke on the condition of anonymity because he was not authorised to speak on the matter, told one of our correspondents that the Acting President is available to take up any assignment on behalf of the President.

“I am not aware of any ambassador not being able to start work. The Acting President is available to take on any assignment on behalf of Mr President,” he said

However, Sunday PUNCH gathered that the ambassadors-designate affected include those of the Republic of Bangladesh, Egypt, Vietnam, Republic of Benin; Mexico; Greece; Togo and Thailand. It was gathered that their letters of credence were specifically addressed to Buhari hence the inability of the ambassadors-designate to present them to Acting President Yemi Osinbajo.

The letter of credence is the instrument by which a head of state exercises his power to appoint ambassadors and ministers to other countries and it is signed by the sending head of state and is usually addressed to the receiving head of state.

The letter is handed over by the diplomatic representative at his first audience with the head of state.

Sources said that one of the envoys, the Egyptian Ambassador-designate to Nigeria, Mr. Assem Hanafi, had been unable to present his credential to Buhari since February 2017 when he came into the country.

It was gathered that his Mexican counterpart, Mr Alejandro Elizondo, has also not been able to present his credential to Buhari several weeks after he arrived in the country.

It was learnt that the ambassadors-designate had not been given any appointment for the presentation of their credentials to the President on account of Buhari’s vacation in London.

Our correspondents learnt that the inability of the envoys to present their credentials had made it impossible for them to carry out their responsibilities.

A senior official in government confirmed the development but begged for anonymity. He said, “The affected ambassadors-designate have been unable to perform their responsibilities since many of them arrived the country many weeks ago.

“They cannot attend any official programme or speak on behalf of their countries. With their current status, they cannot even use the diplomatic pennant on their official cars because they are not full-fledged ambassadors yet; they are literally stranded.”

But the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Geoffrey Onyeama, said he had directed the envoys to resume.

He, however, did not say when he gave the directive.

“We have informed them, they may resume duty,” the minister said in an SMS last night.

When confronted with the names of the affected envoys, a source in the Presidency urged our correspondents to cross check with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs if all the processes leading to the presentation of letters of credence to the President had been concluded in the cases of the ambassadors.

“We all know that there are processes involved. It is only when you cross check with the ministry and discover that the processes have been completed that you can start looking at the direction of the Presidency as the possible cause of the delay.

“As it stands, you may need to confirm this in the ministry first,” he explained further.

Meanwhile, the Federal Government has deployed 45 non-career ambassadors-designate in their countries of accreditation.

They would, however, not resume until the countries of assignment send the letter of consent accepting their nomination.

The Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Amb. Olusola Enikanolaiye said the ambassadors-designate would soon resume at their respective countries of assignment once the necessary diplomatic and administrative processes were completed. (Punchng.com)

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