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It’s Not Compulsory North Must Return Power To South In 2023 – Babachir Lawal Ex-SGF

THE immediate past Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF), Babachir David Lawal, has given a graphic picture of how the Governor of Adamawa State, Jibrilla Bindow, betrayed President Muhammadu Buhari which led to the poor performance of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in the state during the presidential and governorship elections.

Lawal said Bindow, right from the onset, pitched tent with the Presidential Candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Al- haji Atiku Abubakar, who Bindow believed, sponsored his governorship in 2015.

Lawal said: “Part of what led to this out- come was a historical position that the government of Bindow had on several occasions publicly declared that their government was a government of Atiku. It is on record that in so many fora, his supporters, his henchmen had said it in his presence and he didn’t take any step to deny it.”

Lawal also dwelt on the 2023 presidency, saying that the constitution did not say that power must leave the North in 2023, even as he said every part of the country was qualified to produce a president for the country. Among other issues, Lawal opened up on the issue of marginalization by the Igbo under President Buhari in the sharing of National Assembly leadership positions, declaring that the agitation by the Igbo is genuine, but the basis defective. He spoke more on these and others in this interview with AID- OGHIE PAULINUS in Abuja.

What went wrong that the APC didn’t win the presidential and governorship election in Adamawa State despite big names like you, General Buba Marwa (retd), wife of the President, Aisha Buhari, Mr Boss Mustapha, Governor Bindow, Mallam Nuhu Ribadu and others?

I don’t know. We tried our best. Big names don’t mean big votes. We went into this election as a divided party in the state. It has been so for almost two years and you would recall that most of the so-called big names you mentioned had protested the way and manner the party was being run.

By who?

By the governor who hijacked the party structure and his loyalists and which we said was being run wrongly. And we had protested this over and over. I led several delegations to the national party chairman with some of these members you just said in the group, to complain about the manner the congresses were being organised. So, we were doing this being mindful of the fact that the presidential candidate of the PDP is an indigene of Adamawa State; a man who at one time won the governorship election of the state before he migrated to become the vice president of the country. This is by no means a small position, and obviously, would have some supporters in the state. And he will be, maybe not desperate, but he will deploy enormous resources to see that at least, he wins his state. This is the norm in every country where politics like ours is being played. So, it is not therefore surprising that the president didn’t win, but he didn’t lose either because the margin was very small and it is thanks to the combined efforts of these people you have mentioned that we were able to reduce the margin to what people call almost insignificant level.

Who do you blame for this defeat? The national chairman or…?

The national chairman doesn’t vote in Adamawa State.

 

Because you said that you led several delegations and nothing was done…

It is not a matter of blame. In the end, it is the decision of the voter as to how to cast his own vote. And obviously, if a party goes into an election factionalised, the message to the voter will not be unitary and therefore, probably, even demoralising to the rank and file of the party. So, the zeal to mobilise the voters to vote might not be that much. It is not about blame. It is about the voter in Adamawa State deciding to vote where his heart is.

On the presidential election, do you have evidence to say that Governor Bin- dow worked for Atiku rather than President Buhari?

Part of what led to this outcome was a historical position that the government of Bindow had on several occasions publicly declared that their government was a government of Atiku. It is on record that in so many fora, his supporters, his henchmen had said it in his presence and he didn’t take any step to deny it. I remember at one of their road launching somewhere in Adamawa State, the then-led Chief of Staff, made a long speech in which he insisted that Adamawa State Government was for Atiku. Now, we did also point out the fact that the governor himself had claimed that it was Atiku’s money that facilitated his victory at the polls. He had said that on several occasions. We have also had cause to protest that in Bindow’s government, there were about seven serving com- missioners who were very close to Atiku, including his own daughter. Without regard to their merit as qualified indigenes, but I mean, their political inclinations in normal politics will disqualify them from participating in an APC government. But the governor didn’t think so.

Why didn’t he lean on the Atiku’s backing to win the governorship election?

You see, in a democracy of our type, I

think the person that got this very, very well was the president who admonished the voters to vote for candidates of their choice. In my previous interview with you, I did mention that in 2015, we propagated the principle of APC. That is, from top to bottom, APC, on our understanding that the president would need such a cohesive team to perform. But to our dismay, as the political drama was play- ing out, it was in fact, the APC legislators that were fighting the government to a standstill. So, it didn’t make sense, therefore, to repeat the same principle in which just because somebody is in APC, vote for him whereas as we have seen, they ended up being the most vociferous enemies of the president.

Sir, is that not a kind of anti-party statement?

At 63 years old in a country like Nigeria with about 90 political parties, am not afraid of pitching my tent with any political party. I mean, if as an individual, if by chance or by mistake, somebody gets the APC ticket and decides not to follow the APC manifesto and decides not to do some developmental goals in line with the APC constitution, in line with the APC manifesto, I don’t think it makes sense for my state to continue to be a state of underdevelopment. It is a state of penury, so I can’t continue to support somebody just because he says we are in the same political party. It is not religion. Political party is not religion. Even in religion, people do change faith.

Is there any agreement with Fintiri, maybe he will join APC later?

I don’t know much about Fintiri. I first came into contact with Fintiri when he was Speaker and was working to impeach Governor Nyako, the then APC governor decampee. And I was one of those the party assigned the responsibility of working to frustrate the impeachment. It was at that time I first heard of his name and subsequently, told to frustrate that impeachment process.

But I was not likely to do so. After that of course, he later became acting governor for three months or less than three months. But I am not a state party man.

Can APC ever rise again in Adamawa?

Definitely! Part of the consequences of what has happened is APC trying to rebrand itself in our state. And definitely, we will learn our lessons from what has happened in the last four years. We will rebuild our party, we will reorganise our party with the belief that even those in our party who probably misadvise the governor or probably advised him wrongly whether deliberately or not, would have learned their lesson and will now be able to rebuild a party that am sure definitely, we will reclaim our mandate in 2023. This I am very sure of.

With the struggle for leadership positions in the 9th National Assembly, do you fear that the APC might lose control of the legislature like it did in 2015?

APC didn’t lose the legislature in 2015. Obviously, those who emerged as leaders, except one, were APC members. It was just the candidates themselves that were a dis- appointment to the government. They per- formed in a way that bears that out. Now, I am not a senator, I don’t have votes in the National Assembly. I believe majority of the senators in this 9th Assembly are people that are matured, grandparents, experienced in politics and have learnt their lessons from what happened in 2015. And my expectation is that they will try to avoid those pitfalls and choose leaders that are APC in nature, APC in party, APC in conviction and committed to the manifesto of the party and committed to support the government to succeed, a gov- ernment in which they are a part because the National Assembly is part of the government.

There are concerns that only the National Chairman of the APC, Adams Oshiomhole and APC National Leader, Bola Ahmed Tinubu, are the two people pulling the strings in the party. Do you agree that the party has been hijacked by powerful forces ahead of 2023?

Truly, if they pull strings, those strings do not include my own tail. I don’t know what strings they are pulling. As I have just told you, as I have learnt from Adamawa State, and which I continue to say, getting the nomination of the party to contest election is a completely different ball game from the general election because the electorates have their own minds and they have their own PVC and it is not a colony owned. It is one man, one PVC and one vote.

There are insinuations that the North may not cede power to the South in 2023. Do you believe this?

I don’t attend any meeting in which a so called north takes decisions. If there is such an organization that takes those decisions, they don’t invite me. For obvious reasons, I am a democrat and I believe every part of Nigeria has qualified candidates for the presidential. Every part of Nigeria! Indeed, I don’t see why the… even if it is in the north, if we say the Northwest has produced a presidential candidate, the Southwest had produced one, I don’t see why the North Central can- not produce or the Northeast cannot produce just as South-South, Southeast, Southwest and even Northwest can still produce. The constitution doesn’t say it is prohibited. And as I said, I believe every zone, every state, has capable people that can run this country effectively.

Do you believe in the principle that deputies should always succeed their principals like Osinbajo succeeding Buhari in 2023?

It is not in the constitution, so it is not a principle. Principle of what? It is not in APC constitution, it is not in the national constitution, it is not in the Bible, I don’t know whether it is in the Koran; I don’t know. So, I don’t see how it became a principle.

From the way you are sounding, you are speaking as if in 2023, there is no hope for the southerners at all?

When I said every area can produce a president, where do you get this conclusion? I just said every part of Nigeria can produce a president, a competent one. I know so many. Being a cosmopolitan man, I know Igbos not less than ten that can successfully run this country; I know Yorubas that can do, I know Ijaws that can do, I know Hausas that can do, I know even Kilba. Hey myself, my friend, I can be president of this country. I consider myself quite competent to do so from a small tribe of 300,000 people. There are so many such tribes that can produce good, competent leaders all over Nigeria.

For the second time, the Southeast is already shouting of marginalization under Buhari in the sharing of National Assembly leadership positions. Do you think their complaint is genuine?

Personal to me, their complaint is genuine, but their basis is defective.

How do you mean Sir?

I keep telling you I am not a member of the National Assembly. But my understand- ing of their rules is that you must be a rank- ing member. That is to say you must have been a member before, and therefore, has knowledge of how the place operates. But if the goodwill is there, somebody must begin somewhere. I mean, if the goodwill is there and the desire to unite the country and make everybody feel a sense of belonging is there, you can bend over backward, modify the rules and even a green horn can take one of the leadership positions. However, be that as it may, it is also true that in a political party contest, those who delivered the votes are en- titled to the perks of the office.

But in this case, the Southeast even has a ranking lawmaker.

The Southeast?

Yes. Dr Orji Uzor Kalu was in the House of Representatives and now going to the Sen- ate. He is a ranking lawmaker.

Yeah. I didn’t know that. He was in the House?

Yes

And he was a governor.

Yes. And he was a governor. Is he not eminently qualified?

He is qualified. Maybe not eminently, but he is qualified. Maybe not eminently, but he is your boss. He is qualified.

Why are you removing the eminently?

Because as I said, the qualification criteria is subjective. If you like, you can say hey, how are you going to give the Senate President to Abia in which the president didn’t get much votes, the people don’t believe in the APC and they believe in a different political party that lost? So, how do you dissuade the worries and the feeling of marginalization by those who overwhelmingly voted for the party? These are the reasons why they voted for the party and they are entitled to the perks of the office, the benefits of the office be- cause they delivered the votes. Without the mandate of the overwhelming votes of those people, we would not have won the election. So, that is why I am saying that on the face of political party system, those who delivered the votes are entitled more to rewards of their votes. Those who delivered few votes are still entitled to, but in principle, the minimum constitutional requirements. But if the good will is there, why not? You can bend over backward and say hey, these are our brothers. You can still give it to them.

Don’t you think by giving the position of Senate President to the Southeast, it will win more followers to the APC?

This type of thing, you know they say I am too troublesome. But you see, the APC has won presidential election. Even in spite of the minimal votes it got from the South-east, it still won. The APC, as it is, you have to go like searching for a needle through a haystack to be able to find one elected per- son from the APC in the Southeast. And there are zones that have hundreds of elected members. So, you want to jump them where you have people and people where you can choose from and go and start…?

Should it be done on that basis?

I don’t think you heard me. I think you have a preconceived mind. You want your boss to be Senate President. I don’t mind, he is my friend. We are not discussing personalities, but if you want us to do… Uzor Kalu is my friend and among all those contesting for this thing, I think he is the closest to me. But I am pointing out the realities to you, the realities of politics. I don’t say ok, let me give you the presidency so that you can vote for

me. Vote for me and then you get what you are looking for. It has always been the case with the Southeast. They go their own way which they are entitled to doing and then they come round and say marginalization in an election in which they marginalised themselves. They marginalised themselves in this election. They went for PDP which lost. No-body forced them to vote PDP. But they lost. So, that is politics. Politics is a game of risk. You lose, you sit down and watch through the window when people are chopping on the dining table. So, they shouldn’t blame anybody on marginalization.

How do you assess the Buhari government on its three point agenda in the last four years and what do you think should be done differently in the second term?

It is an unfair statement because for two years, I was an active member of the government; the Secretary to the Government which people say is the engine room of the government. So, to ask me how we have per- formed is like asking a mother whether her son is smart.

What is next for you politically? Are you looking at the presidency in 2023?

I, B.D. Lawal, joined politics in 2003. I joined politics in the Buhari political structure to contribute my quota and effort towards making Buhari president. In 2003, my goals, my ambitions were not achieved. In 2007, it wasn’t. In 2011, it wasn’t. But in 2015, God gave us what we have always been looking for patiently and doggedly. Now, by the constitution of Nigeria, President Buhari can only be president for two tenures, two terms and by the grace of God, He has made the second tenure possible. Buhari has won the election. So, to that extent, as far as I am concerned, God has been kind to me, He has helped me achieve my ambition in politics.

Are you saying that you are done?

As far as I am concerned, my principal, primary goal of joining politics has been achieved.

 

So, every other thing is addition?

 

Every other thing is a hobby.

 

 

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Robbery In UAE: Memo To Mrs Abike Dabiri-Erewa -Peter Ekekwe |RN

abike-dabiri

Mrs Abike Dabiri-Erewa, Senior Assistant to the President on Foreign Affairs and Diaspora

The Senior Assistant to the President on Foreign Affairs and Diaspora, Mrs Dabiri-Erewa caused a serious controversy making public the names of Nigerians of Igbo extraction, who allegedly robbed a Bureau de Change in United Arab Emirates. Many Nigerians believed that it was done out of tribal hatred than working to name and shame, if not why was the same woman angry about another Nigerian, of Yoruba extraction who was executed today in Saudi Arabia for drug trafficking, without calling her name out.

So, this memo was made by the writer to remind her of many other criminals of Nigerian extraction, who were not isolated for naming and shaming, rather their names were kept secret by Mrs Dabiri-Erewa.

Below is the memo:

By Peter Ekekwe

 

Dear Mrs Abike Dabiri-Erewa,

Mine is not a very long letter. Just to commend you for the “passion” that you bring to your work.

I believe like you, that when we name and shame the bad eggs tarnishing the image of our dear Nigeria, abroad, it will deter others from a life of crime, ABROAD.

It is in this light that I appreciate your publishing the names of the 5 robbers in UAE. You gave their names as Chimmuanya Emmanuel Ozo, Benjamin Nwachukwu Ajah, Kingsley Ikenna Ngoka, Tochukwu Leonard Alusi and Chile Micah Ndumodu (Ndunagu?)
Like you rightly pointed out “these five boys are a disgrace to this country and an embarrassment “.

Unfortunately Mrs Dabiri, you simply referred to the woman executed for drugs as “A Nigerian woman “. I believe you were in a hurry to address this very pressing national issue, that you couldn’t wait to get her name.

You also in the same vein failed to inform Nigerians of the names of the other Nigerians already executed for drugs and those on death row for the same drug crimes.

While you and your team are busy unravelling the name of the “Nigerian woman executed for drugs”, permit me to give the names of those already executed and those on death row. Am sure you will agree with me that all hands must be on deck to save the image of our nation.

THOSE EXECUTED FOR DRUGS IN SAUDI ARABIA

1. Yusuf Yekini Ajiboye
2. Adebayo Adeniyi
3. Mohammed Abubakar
4. Mohammed Issa
5. Ibrahim Ciroma
6. Biola Ologunro

THOSE ON DEATH ROW FOR DRUGS IN SAUDI ARABIA

1. Idris Adepoju
2. Abdulrimi Ajibola
3. Jimoh Lawal
4. Tunde Ibraheem
5. Amode Sulaman
6. Hafis Amosun
7. Aliu Mohammed
8. Babatunde
9. Abdulrasaq Lawal
10. Yekini
11. Abubakar
12. Kawu Muhammed
13. Madinah Yahaya
14. Awalu Muhammed
15. Kafilat Oljide
16. Ayisa
17. Abdulraman Mu’azu,
18. Abdulraman Durojaye
19. Abubakar Usman
20. Sunny
21. Emeka
22. Issa.

I hope I have saved you time that you can channel towards other issues.

Thank you for all your services to our beloved country.

N/B
Forgive me for missing the “Honourable’ in writing your name.

Mr. Peter Ekekwe

 

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Fayose To Buhari: Be Ready To Congratulate Atiku |The Republican News

 

Wole Balogun, Ado Ekiti

 

Former Ekiti State Governor and South West Coordinator for Atiku/Obi Campaign Council, Ayodele Fayose, has said he was confident that his party’s presidential candidate, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar, would win yesterday’s election.

In a statement made available to newsmen on Saturday by Fayose’s Chief Press Secretary (CPS), Idowu Adelusi, Fayose said notwithstanding the alleged massive vote buying by the All Progressives Congress (APC), the PDP would trounce President Muhammadu Buhari, adding that Buhari should be ready to congratulate Atiku.

The former governor, who voted at his Afao Ekiti country home by 1.10p.m, said his party would go to court should the APC should rig the election be rigged.  (The Sun)

 

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JUST IN: Full Text Of President Buhari’s National Broadcast |The Republican News

President Muhammadu Buhari during his national broadcast on Thursday. Screenshot

HIS EXCELLENCY, PRESIDENT MUHAMMADU BUHARI’S BROADCAST TO THE NATION, FEBRUARY 14, 2019

Fellow Citizens,

On Saturday, February 16, 2019, you will, once again, be called upon to choose the leaders who will pilot the affairs of our great nation for the next four years. This is a constitutional right which should be freely exercised by all eligible voters.

2. I wish therefore to start by assuring all Nigerians that this Government will do its very best to ensure that the 2019 elections take place in a secure and peaceful atmosphere.

3. It was indeed such free, fair and peaceful elections that made it possible for our Government to emerge, despite the fact that we were contesting against a long-standing incumbent party.

4. And as your president and a fellow Nigerian, I ask that you come out and queue to fulfill this important obligation you have to yourselves and your fellow citizens – and to our common future.

5. Let me at this point, reaffirm the commitment of the Federal Government to the conduct of free and fair elections in a safe and peaceful atmosphere. Just yesterday, I signed the Peace Accord alongside 72 other presidential candidates.

6. I want to assure all Nigerians, the diplomatic community and all foreign election observers of their safety and full protection. Any comments or threats of intimidation from any source do not represent the position of the Federal Government of Nigeria.

7. As Government has a critical role in maintaining the democratic traditions, so do citizens. I therefore urge you all, as good Nigerians, to take a personal interest in promoting and maintaining peace in your respective neighbourhoods during the elections. This is certainly not a time to allow personal, religious, sectional or party interests to drive us to desperation.

8. At this point, I want to make a special appeal to our youth: Do not allow yourselves to be used to cause violence and destruction. The people who want to incite you are those preparing the ground for discrediting the elections. Having lost the argument, they fear losing the elections.

9. When you elected me in 2015, it was essentially in consequence of my promise of CHANGE. We committed ourselves to improving security across the country, putting the economy on a sound footing and tackling rampant corruption, which had in many ways become a serious drawback to national development.

10. Our Government spent the last 3 years and 9 months striving faithfully to keep this promise, in spite of very serious revenue shortages caused mainly by a sharp drop in international oil prices and an unexpected rise in the vandalisation of oil installations, which, mercifully have now been curtailed.

11. We nevertheless pressed on in our quest to diversify the economy, create jobs, reduce commodity prices and generally improve the standard of living among our people.

12. The damage that insecurity and corruption have done, over time, to our collective livelihood is incalculable. However, it is pleasing to note that our frontal attack on these twin evils is gaining momentum and bringing about visible progress.

13. The recovery of the economy from recession is complete and Nigeria is back on the path of steady growth.

14. The key to creating more jobs lies in accelerating this momentum of economic growth. Happily, we have succeeded in making the fundamental changes necessary for this acceleration, and we are now beginning to see the efforts bearing fruit.

15. Our ease of doing business policies and programmes are already impacting medium, small and micro industries, as well as Manufacturing, Mining and Agriculture, among other key sectors.

16. Our commitment to critical infrastructure – that is Roads, Rails, Bridges, Airports and Seaports – will create more jobs, improving the efficiency and competitiveness of our industries.

17. Many of these projects are at different stages of completion, and those who use them regularly will attest to the fact that even while construction is ongoing, they are beginning to see reduced travel times. This will ultimately translate to reduced costs and greater convenience, making transportation, and business in particular, much easier.

19. The economic recovery that we promised is well underway, as demonstrated by the recently released statistics. In 2018, the economy grew by 1.93%, with the Fourth Quarter growth being 2.38%, up from 1.81% in the Third Quarter.

20. Remarkably, the strong economic performance was driven by the Non-Oil sector, which grew at 2% as at full year. Indeed, Non-Oil growth rose to 2.7% in the Fourth Quarter of 2018, up from 2.32% in the Third Quarter. These results further underscore our commitment to diversifying the economy away from the past dependence on Oil.

21. Other indicators confirm the economy’s steady recovery. Our monthly food import bill has declined from $664 million in January 2015 to $160 million as at October 2018. Inflation fell from 18.72% in January 2017 to 11.44% in December 2018. Our External Reserves have risen from $23 billion in October 2016 to $43.12 billion as at 7th February 2019.

22. Now that the recession is well behind us, our next task is to redouble our efforts, accelerate the growth and use it to create even more jobs for our people.

23. The Executive Orders, No. 5, and No. 7 issued by me, and the recently approved National Infrastructure Maintenance Policy demonstrate our commitment to accelerated job creation and infrastructure development.

24. We believe that Governments cannot simply proclaim jobs into existence. Job creation will only expand as a result of economic policies that enable the private sector to flourish, and this is the approach our Administration has taken.

25. Executive Order No 5, which Promotes Nigerian Content in Contracts, as well as Science, Engineering and Technology, will preserve and prioritize job creation for our citizens.

26. Executive Order 7, on the Road Infrastructure Development and Refurbishment Investment Tax Credit Scheme, seeks to mobilize private capital and capacity for infrastructure development.

27. It responds to the demands of manufacturing and industrial complexes which wish to construct access roads without waiting for government, so long as they are allowed to recover the cost from taxes they would have paid to government.

28. We expect that this approach will boost industrial expansion and rural development, consequently creating more jobs for our people.

29. Similarly, our recently issued Maintenance Policy targets artisans, carpenters, welders, tailors, painters, bricklayers, electricians, plumbers, landscapers and many more Ordinary Nigerians at the base of our economic pyramid who will get regular and large-scale opportunities to improve themselves.

30. It is an economic solution that also brings the relevant artisans and professionals into long term sustainable employment to maintain our Schools, Court Rooms, Hospitals, Police Stations, Federal Secretariats and other Public Buildings.

31. Human Capital Development has also been a key priority for this Administration, which has increased investments in health and education. Innovative measures have been introduced to complement the traditional budgetary allocations to the relevant Ministries.

32. For instance, Nigeria Sovereign Investment Authority has invested US$21 million in three healthcare projects as a Public Private Partnership with three Federal medical institutions. These include two modern Medical Diagnostic Centres located at Aminu Kano Teaching Hospital, Kano and the Federal Medical Centre, Umuahia; as well as one outpatient Cancer Treatment Centre in Lagos University Teaching Hospital, Lagos – which I commissioned on 9th February 2019.

33. Of course, our radical commitment to developing Critical Infrastructure is the foundation upon which we will deliver an all embracing national prosperity and a shared commonwealth.

34. There is no country that aspires to greatness without spending massively on its Critical Infrastructure. Rather than the discredited policy of ‘stomach infrastructure’, which could only benefit a few for a little while, we are focused on real infrastructural development for the growth of our economy and the long-term benefit of all Nigerians.

35. When you voted for our message of CHANGE, you invited us to assume office and depart from that bad and most regrettable choice. We have responded by making a choice for real infrastructure of Roads in every State, Housing in 34 States, Power Stations across Nigeria, Rail from Lagos to Kano.

36. The choice that now confronts us is whether we want to continue with real infrastructure development, which is the road to prosperity and jobs or return to the era of ‘stomach infrastructure’.

37. Agricultural Self-Reliance and Food Security is also a choice we made in fulfilment of your mandate for change.

38. Our Presidential Fertiliser Initiative has resulted in savings of US$150 million in foreign exchange due to local sourcing of inputs at 16 Blending Plants. It has also conserved N60 billion in Subsidies as well as supported tens of thousands of farmers and agro-dealers nationwide.

39. Our Anchor Borrowers’ Programme has substantially raised local rice yields from as low as two Metric Tonnes per hectare, to as high as eight Metric Tonnes per hectare.

40. Through this programme, the Central Bank of Nigeria has cumulatively lent over N120 billion to over 720,000 smallholder farmers cultivating 12 commodities across the 36 States and Abuja. Targeted crops and livestock have included cattle, poultry, fish, cassava, soybeans, ground nut, ginger, sorghum, rice, wheat, cotton and maize.

41. As a result, we have seen a remarkable rise in the production of key agricultural commodities. I am pleased to note that in major departmental stores and local markets, there has been a surge in the supply of high quality Nigerian agricultural produce.

42. Behind each of these products, are thousands of industrious Nigerians working in factories and farms across the nation. Our interventions have led to improved wealth and job creation for these Nigerians, particularly in our rural communities.

43. Again, these outcomes have been a major departure from the previous focus on consuming imported food items, which literally exported our children’s jobs to food-exporting nations, whilst depleting our precious foreign exchange reserves. This, of course, caused a closure of our factories while keeping open other peoples’ factories.

44. The choice made by this Administration to assist farmers directly and promote agriculture in every way possible has gone a long way to enhance our food security while enabling us to tackle poverty by feeding over nine million children daily under our Home-Grown School Feeding Programme. It also puts us clearly on the road to becoming a food secure and agriculture exporting nation.

45. Next to Agriculture, we are focusing on Manufacturing Sector. The Purchasing Managers Index, which is the measure of manufacturing activities in an economy has risen for 22 consecutive months as at January this year, indicating continuous growth and expansion in our manufacturing sector.

46. I will conclude by going back to where I started: that our choices have had consequences about employment and cost of living.

47. In making your choice this time, please ask yourself whether, and in what ways, others will do anything different to address the issues of Agriculture, Infrastructure, Security, Good Governance and Fighting Corruption.

48. If they are only hoping to do what we are already doing successfully, we are clearly your preferred choice.

49. Think carefully and choose wisely. This time, it is a choice about consolidating on growth for Jobs and Prosperity.

50. February 16th is all about a choice. But it is more than a choice between APC and the opposition. It is a choice about you, it is a choice between going back or keeping the momentum of CHANGE.

51. The road to greater prosperity for Nigeria may be long, but what you can be assured of is a Leadership that is not prepared to sacrifice the future well-being of Nigerians for our own personal or material needs. You can be assured of my commitment to remain focused on working to improve the lives of all Nigerians.

52. Thank you very much for listening. God bless you, and may God bless the Federal Republic of Nigeria.

 

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Nigeria’s External Reserves Drop By $1bn In 13 Days |The Republican News

                                                           Naira and dollars

’Femi Asu

The nation’s foreign exchange reserves have dropped to a seven-month low, losing $1.02bn in the 13 days to Monday, latest data from the Central Bank of Nigeria showed on Wednesday.

The external reserves, which stood at $44.30bn on September 28, fell from $44.02bn on October 2 to $43bn on October 15.

The reserves, which rose to a high of $47.865bn on May 10, have dropped by $4.86bn in five months.

As of March 5, the reserves stood at $43.12bn, up from $42.75bn on March 2, according to the CBN data.

Last week, the International Monetary Fund said Nigeria needed to be cautious about the use of its foreign exchange reserves, saying oil prices could decline at any time.

The IMF, in its latest Regional Economic Outlook said tighter global financial conditions resulting from faster-than-envisaged monetary policy normalisation in advanced economies, or a sudden shift in investors’ sentiment could constrain financing and growth for many sub-Saharan African countries.

“Higher US interest rates and a stronger dollar also heighten risks, as observed historically in emerging and developing economies. In particular, the probability of a large reversal in foreign flows in sub-Saharan Africa is significantly higher the US interest rates go up,” the fund added.

The Director, Corporate Communications, CBN, Mr Isaac Okorafor, explained early this month that the external reserves had been going down recently because of higher yields in the United States.

Okorafor, however, gave an assurance that at the current level of $44bn, the reserves were sufficient to take care of the nation’s import bill for 17 to 20 months, much more than the three-month standard recommendation.

According to him, some foreign investors who have gone to emerging markets to take advantage of the high yields have had to go back to the US because of better opportunities there at the moment.

“The drop in our forex reserves is basically as a result of the capital flow reversals arising from rising interest rates in the United States. You will recall that the Federal Reserve has been raising rates and has even given guidance that this would continue in the near term,” he added.   (Punch)

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I Lack Constitutional Powers To Create Cattle Colony – Buhari |The Republican News

Buhari-Muhammadu

President Muhammadu Buhari

Tony John, Port Harcourt

President Muhammadu Buhari has said he lacks the constitutional power to create cattle colonies across the country, under the Land Use Act of 1978.

Buhari has also stated that his administration was determined to build an equitable and progressive society, where Nigerians can look forward to the opportunities for realising their full potential without hindrance.

He declared this yesterday, while speaking at the South-South Zonal meeting of the National Committee of Buhari Support Groups (NCBSG) in Port Harcourt, Rivers State.

President Buhari, who spoke through his Special Adviser on National Assembly Matters, Senator Ita Enang, said provisions of the Land Use Act of 1978 gave powers to state governors and local government chairmen to control land in their domains.

He said: “When Nigeria was one region or state, that was before Nigeria was formed as a country, we had cattle routes running from Chad, Niger and others down to the Atlantic. When Nigeria became four regions, we had cattle routes in each of the regions. 

“When Nigeria created states, each of the states made laws to regulate rearing of animals. In 1978, under Chief Olusegun Obasanjo, as head of state, March 28, I think I am correct, the Land Use Act was made. Under the Land Use Act, the President of Nigeria has power to control lands in Abuja only. 

“Under the Land Use Act, each state governor, under Section 2 of the Land Use Act, land in urban areas of each of the state of the federation shall be vested on the governor. Now, subsection 1(2b) says land in the rural areas shall be vested on the local government chairman of that area”, Buhari explained.

He further said that the commitment of his administration to lay the foundations, informed its actions in tackling “theft, diversion and misappropriation of public funds but steadily diversifying the economy for sustained growth and tackling the myriads of security challenges bedeviling the land. He said, “As a government, we are committed to laying the foundations upon which an equitable and progressive society can be built, in which all citizens can look forward to the opportunities for realising their full potential without let or hindrance. 

“This informed our actions in tackling theft, diversion and misappropriation of public funds, gradually, but steadily diversifying the economy for sustained growth and tackling the myriads of security challenges bedeviling the land.

“While it is still work in progress, we are confident that the amount of work done in the first 32 months of this administration, points to a new solid foundation for building the Nigeria of our dreams. 

“Not only did we ease out of an inevitable recession in record time, our revenue profile, our foreign reserves and foreign investments are all on the rise again; and we have mobilized contractors back to project sites across the country, including the South-South Zone”, the President said

In his welcome address, former member of the House of Representatives,  Ogbonna Nwuke, said Buhari has proven to the people of South-south and South-east geopolitical zones of the country, that he is a friend and not an enemy.

Nwuke described Buhari as a Niger Delta brand for the 2019 presidential election.

In his welcome address, former member of the House of Representatives,  Ogbonna Nwuke, said Buhari has proven to the people of South-south and South-east geopolitical zones of the country, that he is a friend and not an enemy.  (The Sun)

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Buhari Lost Grip Of The Country, As Nigeria Has Become Theatre Of War – Sen. Shehu Sani |RN

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Senator Shehu Sani

Senator representing Kaduna Central Senatorial district, Shehu Sani has said that incessant killings in the last three months in the country was a manifestation that President Buhari was losing grip of governance.

Speaking through Order 43 of Senate rules, he blasted those he described as opportunists in the Villa to tell Nigerians the truth that Buhari was failing in governing the nation.

The lawmaker lamented that Birnin Gwari and Chikun local government areas in Kaduna state which borders Zamfara State in North West, were part of his Senatorial district and have been under siege in the last three months.

According to him, criminal killings in those local governments have become a daily affairs, saying that there was need for permanent military base in the affected areas.

“Mr. President, distinguished colleagues, some villages in Birnin Gwari and Chikun local government areas have been sacked and villagers have relocated to the local government headquarters in the last three months.”

“Two days ago, about 7 people have been killed without media coverage and as you know, government only take actions on killings that are widely publicised.”

“I am deeply concerned that government is losing grip of the country as the country has become a theatre of war.”

Sani wondered at how some officials of government would attribute killings to ethnic and religious sentiments, saying that something was fundamentally wrong, if Nigerians were not able to blend after 100 years of amalgamation.

Reacting, Deputy Senate President, Ike Ekweremadu said, said it was important for the issue of security to be taken seriously by government.

He recalled that Senator Kabir Marafa had raised a similar issue happening in Zamfara, saying something must be done as soon as possible.

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