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Buhari Hasn’t Run Any Successful Business Ever – Atiku |The Republican News

Buhari-Atiku2

Former Vice President, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar, Preisdent Muhammadu Buhari

Olusola Fabiyi, Abuja

 

The 2019 presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party, Atiku Abubakar, has accused President Muhammadu Buhari of never being a successful businessman.

In a statement from his media office in Abuja on Tuesday, Atiku said, “The open, democratic and free and fair election (something alien to the APC, according to Buhari’s own wife) on Sunday of His Excellency, Atiku Abubakar, as the Presidential candidate for the PDP has clearly left the APC in a state of panic and confusion.

“On Sunday, the Buhari Campaign Organisation launched the first weak salvo. And on Monday, the APC’s National Publicity Secretary unleashed his own knee-jerk reaction, accusing Atiku of being desperate.

“Our response to the APC is to ask who is desperate between a Muhammadu Buhari who said, ‘If what happened in 2011 should again happen in 2015, by the grace of God, the dog and the baboon would all be soaked in blood’ and an Atiku Abubakar who said, ,‘Love and peace should not only be preached, but must also be put into practice for the sake of sustaining the peace in our land’?

“It is left for Nigerians to judge, but even a blind person can see that Nigeria has been ‘soaked in blood’ ever since she was unfortunate enough to have fallen under the leadership of a man whose words are destructive and never productive.”

In his response to the APC’s demand for Atiku’s scorecard in public office, the statement said, “Some of Atiku Abubakar’s achievements as Nigeria’s Vice President are that as head of the National Council of Privatisation, he superintended over the GSM revolution that saw Nigeria go from 50,000 to 100 million GSM lines, has added 500,000 direct jobs to the Nigerian economy and attracted $27bn to our GDP. Our question to President Buhari and the APC is how many jobs have they created?

“Another of Abubakar’s achievements is the successful privatisation of many public enterprises that hitherto consumed government resources without yielding a profit. In response, we ask President Buhari how many loopholes in public expenditure has he plugged? The spectacular failure of the 419 Nigeria Air is still fresh in the memory of Nigerians.

“Finally, the APC spokesman had the guts to question His Excellency, Atiku Abubakar’s source of wealth.

“We wish to remind APC’s National Publicity Secretary, Yekini Nabena, that Atiku Abubakar is not like President Buhari who has never run a successful private business throughout his life.

“Unlike Muhammadu Buhari, Atiku Abubakar is an expert job creator who has founded many successful and thriving businesses including the American University of Nigeria, Yola; a microfinance bank that has moved 45,000 families out of poverty and Rica Gado, a livestock feed company that has significantly reduced instances of herdsmen/farmers clashes by providing a business-friendly solution instead of asking Nigerians to give up their lands for cattle ranching or face death, as the Buhari government did.”

The statement added that unlike President Buhari, Atiku does not believe Nigerian youths are lazy. “How could he when 25,000 out of his 50,000 employees are youths,”? he asked.

It urged the Buhari Presidency and the APC to mention even one successful private endeavour that the President had successfully run.

“And by private enterprises, we are not referring to 150 cows that never increase in number, year in year out,” the statement added.    (Punch)

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2019 Presidential: Atiku Begins Search For Running Mate |The Republican News

Niyi Odebode, Olusola Fabiyi, Olalekan Adetayo, Ihuoma Chidozie, Simeon Utebor, Adelani Adepegba, Chukwudi Akasike, Leke Baiyewu, Etim Ekpimah, Olaleye Aluko, John Charles, Peter Dada, and  Justin Tyopuusu

Former Vice President Atiku Abubakar on Sunday at the main bowl of Adokie Amiesimaka Stadium, Port Harcourt, Rivers State, won the presidential primary of the Peoples Democratic Party.

Hardly did Atiku emerge as the winner than the talk of his running mate started.

Investigations by our correspondents showed that the search might have been limited to the South-East region of the country.

However, in the election, Atiku polled 1,532 votes out of total of 3,221 votes, representing almost 50 per cent of the entire delegates’ votes.

His closest rival, Governor Aminu Tambuwal of Sokoto State scored 693 votes, while the President of the Senate, Olusola Saraki, came third with 317 votes.

A former Governor of Kano State, Alhaji Rabiu Kwankwaso, scored 158 votes; a former Governor of Jigawa, Sule Lamido, polled 96 votes, while a former Minister of Special Duties and Inter Governmental Relations, Alhaji Kabiru Turaki (SAN) scored 65 votes.

A former National Caretaker Chairman of the PDP, Alhaji Ahmed Makarfi, polled 74 votes; a former Governor of Sokoto State, Attahiru Bafarawa, scored 48 votes; a former President of the Senate, Senator David Mark, polled 35 votes; a former Plateau State governor, Jonah Jang, scored 19  votes, while Dr Datti Ahmed scored five votes.

How Atiku won

Facts have emerged that Atiku won the primary through block votes from the South-East, some states in the South-South and North-East.

It was also gathered that there was no state in the country where Atiku did not score considerable number of votes.

It was learnt that Atiku was not the favourite of some governors in the South-South who had a soft spot for Tambuwal, to become the standard bearer of the PDP.

It was, however, gathered that the alleged gang-up against Atiku from emerging the candidate of the party was thwarted by delegates’ votes from some of the states from other regions, apart from the South-South.

The National Legal Adviser, Peoples Equality Congress for Atiku Abubakar, Mr Agu Aguma, and a leader of PEC, Chief Bestman Festus, said Atiku had proved that he was an experienced politician who understood political intrigues and horse trading.

Aguma said Atiku who knew that some persons were working against his candidacy decided to engage states without PDP governors to drive his ambition.

The legal practitioner said it was good that Atiku won the PDP primary, noting that he was the most qualified and experienced to defeat the candidate of the All Progressives Congress.

He said, “Although some interests, including governors, had wanted an alternative candidate, the programme Atiku outlined for the socio-economic development of the country, his restructuring agenda, coupled with his good plans for the youth, job creation, stood him out.”

Investigations by our correspondents revealed that nearly all delegates from Ebonyi State voted for the former Vice-President.

It was also learnt that Atiku and Tambuwal shared the votes of the delegates from Enugu State.

However, Atiku beat Tambuwal in the allocation of the votes of delegates from Imo, Abia and Anambra states, according to sources among the South-East contingent.

One of the delegates, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said Tambuwal’s closeness to some governors in the zone was what prevented Abubakar from recording a clean sweep of the votes of the South-East delegates.

“Most of us from the South-East cast our votes for Atiku Abubakar, I know for a fact that Ebonyi delegates voted massively for him.

“Atiku got the backing of majority of the delegates from the other states in the zone, although Tambuwal was able to record a considerable number of votes.

“One of the governors (in the South-East) has a close relationship with Tambuwal and that had a major influence on the way delegates from the state voted, otherwise Abubakar would have recorded a clean sweep of the votes from the zone,” the delegate said.

He added that alleged cash inducement of the delegates by the aspirants before the commencement of voting had no effect on the outcome of the convention.

Why Tambuwal failed

Investigations by one of our correspondents showed that Tambuwal, who had been projected to win, was rejected at the convention by the delagates because of the alleged overbearing attitude of the Governor of Rivers State, Mr Nyesom Wike.

The former Speaker of the House of Representatives was also said to have failed to break into the ranks of the Board of Trustees of the party.

“When the BoT asked its members not to ally with any presidential candidate,  Atiku appointed some members of the board into his campaign organisation,” a member of the board told one of our correspondents.

Another source said that the insistence by Wike that the convention must hold in Port Harcourt despite opposition by some members of the National Executive Committee of the party, made those opposed to Tambuwal to increase in number.

It was learnt that some delegates and their sponsors, extended their anger at Wike to Tambuwal.

The source said, “Some believed that Wike wanted to impose a presidential candidate on the party.

“Some northern delegates met and vowed not to allow southerners to impose a candidate on them.”

A source also said that his ability to stand against the ruling All Progressives Congress and his deep purse to finance the presidential election worked for Atiku.

A top source said, “We all know that Atiku can considerably finance the campaign with little donations from party members.  We don’t think Tambuwal has such capacity.”

Search for Vice Presidential candidate begins

But hardly did Atiku emerge as the winner than the talk of his running mate started.

Investigations by our correspondents showed that the search may have been limited to the South-East region of the country.

However, some states in the five states that made up the zone might have reportedly been disqualified.

For instance, Anambra, where Senator Ben Obi who was a former running mate to Atiku hailed from, was said to have been disqualified.

The reason, according to authoritative sources, was because the state had produced two former speakers, two former presidents of the Senate, one vice president and a President.

Also, Enugu State which is a PDP-controlled state, was said to have produced a former national chairman of the PDP.

It was also reportedly argued that the state had produced the deputy president of the Senate for the past seven and half years.

For Imo State, the argument for its non-consideration was that it had produced a former deputy speaker of the House of Representatives and had also produced a president of the Senate.

The race, according to sources close to the party,  is between Abia and Ebonyi states.

South-West not foreclosed

However, another source said the search for a suitable running mate had not been completely taken out of the South-West.

He added that the party would not impose any candidate on Atiku, saying that the PDP would only serve as a guide, by “putting into consideration all political variables that would enable us win in 2019.”

Nigerians yearning for PDP, says Atiku

Meanwhile, in his acceptance speech, Atiku, said Nigerians were now aware of the capabilities of the APC.

The presidential candidate explained that the APC administration had mismanaged the economy of Nigeria, adding that the PDP must be more committed to the country’s growth.

Atiku expressed the need for the party to be committed to solving the challenges facing Nigeria as a country.

He said it was not enough for the PDP to identify the problems plaguing the nation, adding that there must be commitment towards resolving them.

Atiku said, “Nigerians are now yearning for the PDP to return to power because they have been able to test the APC and they know the difference. We have been able to identify the challenges afflicting the people and we must proffer solutions to them.

“It is not only one man’s job and that is why we must work together to achieve our goal.”

Maintaining that the PDP must not be intoxicated by power should it win the presidential election in 2019, the candidate said he had garnered experience after working as the vice-president to former President Olusegun Obasanjo.

According to him, “I will not be standing where I am today if my former boss (Olusegun Obasanjo) had not made me the vice-president. All the experience I got then will impact on our government when we win. I give tribute to him (Obasanjo).”

Jonathan, Ekweremadu, SMBLF, others hail Atiku

Former President Goodluck Jonathan, the Deputy President of the Senate, Ike Ekweremadu; the Southern and Middle Belt Leaders  Forum, and the  PDP have hailed the emergence of Atiku as the presidential candidate of the PDP.

The PDP in a statement on Sunday by its National Publicity Secretary, Mr Kola Ologbondiyan, said that the orderliness, transparency and credibility of its presidential primary should serve as a lesson to the Independent National Electoral Commission and the APC on how elections should be conducted in present day Nigeria.

The party said the process showed that the INEC had been responsible for the electoral crises in the country.

Ologbondiyan said the process through which Atiku emerged also showed that Nigerians, irrespective of their individual and group interests, were capable of holding peaceful and credible elections.

He said, “The success of our presidential primary followed our strict adherence to democratic rules and principles of transparency and fairness, which has eluded the nation since President Muhammadu Buhari-led licentious administration assumed office.

“Nigerians are no longer in doubt that our compromised electoral umpire under the Buhari administration is ostensibly culpable for injecting rancorous situations that create openings for violence, manipulations, inconclusive polls and outright rigging of elections.

“We invite the whole world to note that the PDP conducted its presidential primary and a clear winner, Atiku Abubakar, emerged, without any disagreement or reliance on heavy security, showing that Nigerians are peaceful, orderly and desirous of credible processes at all levels of political engagement.”

Atiku is Nigeria’s next president, says Ekweremadu

While congratulating Atiku, Ekweremadu said the PDP presidential candidate was the next President of Nigeria.

The Senate deputy Speaker, who congratulated other aspirants and the PDP on the primary which he described as “crucial and rancor-free,” noted that all the aspirants were qualified to lead the nation.

The senator, in a statement by his Special Adviser on Media, Uche Anichukwu, said, “I join our teeming party faithful and supporters to congratulate Alhaji Atiku Abubakar, the incoming President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, by God’s grace, on his nomination as the standard-bearer of the PDP in the 2019 presidential election.

“This is a watershed and a momentous occasion for the PDP and indeed the nation. More important in the race was the transparent, free, fair, credible, and peaceful process.”

Dickson, Ortom, others hail PDP candidate

Bayelsa State Governor, Seriake Dickson and the Benue State Governor, Samuel Ortom, also congratulated Atiku on Sunday.

A statement by the Special Adviser to Governor Dickson on Media Relations, Mr Fidelis Soriwei, said the governor made the comment while speaking on the emergence of the former vice -president as the presidential candidate of the PDP.

The statement read in part, “Let me congratulate the former Vice President and now the Presidential Candidate of our great party, (PDP), Alhaji Atiku Abubakar, for his resounding victory in a free, fair, transparent and credible primary election.

“Let me also congratulate the National Chairman and all members of the National Working Committee of our party, and Dr Ifeanyi Okowa and his team for their hard work and the good job they have done.

“He (Atiku) can build bridges of understanding and unity and form a great team to address the challenges that are facing our country. We look forward to working, collaborating and supporting him in that onerous responsibility.”

Also, Ortom said the credible conduct of the presidential primary election was a confirmation that the PDP was a party that truly practised transparency and internal democracy.

In the same vein, a former National Auditor of the Peoples Democratic Party, Ray Nnaji, said with Atiku’s emergence, the PDP could defeat the incumbent Buhari.

Speaking shortly after the announcement of the results, Nnaji said, “With Atiku’s emergence as PDP presidential candidate, Buhari will face a stiff battle in 2019.

“Atiku has all it takes to defeat him – he has been in the party (APC) before and I am sure he still has his people there.”

Victory well deserved – Saraki

Also, Saraki described the presidential primary that produced Atiku as the best since the inception of the PDP, adding that the former VP’s emergence was well deserved.

Saraki, who came third in the exercise, promised that the former aspirants would work with Atiku to ensure that the PDP won the 2019 election.

In his comment, the PDP National Chairman, Uche Secondus, called on INEC to learn from the PDP.

He said, “We invite INEC to lift from this template and know that elections can be conducted without intimidation and harassment. We will carry out the most civilised campaign in this country to reclaim power.”

Meanwhile, Governor Wike on Sunday congratulated Atiku after he was announced the PDP candidate.

The Rivers State governor assured Atiku and other PDP stakeholders that he would continue to work for the success of the party while commending the PDP delegates for ensuring a successful convention.

Atiku’ll take Nigeria to greater heights – Jonathan

Also, former President Jonathan congratulated Atiku,  describing him as a man who had the capacity to take the country to greater heights.

Jonathan, in a text message to Atiku, said “I congratulate His Excellency, Atiku Abubakar, Waziri Adamawa, and by the grace of God and the votes of Nigerians, the next President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.

“Our party members have spoken and have nominated you as the candidate for the forthcoming presidential election.

“I am convinced that you have all it takes to take Nigeria to greater heights and transform her into a hub for prosperity and happiness. Congratulations.”

The PDP National Legal Adviser, Mr. Emmanuel Enoidem, also said Atiku would take power from Buhari.

Enoidem, who said Atiku was the most experienced aspirant in the race, added that he was the foundational leader of the present democratic experience in Nigeria.

Also, Governor Ifeanyi Okowa of Delta State said Atiku would leverage on his track record as an entrepreneur and an employer of labour to grow the nation’s economy.

The governor in his goodwill message to Atiku on Sunday by his Chief Press Secretary, Charles Aniagwu, said the ex-vice-president’s victory was victory for the party and Nigerians.

Learn from PDP, SMBLF tells INEC

Reacting to Atiku’s victory as the PDP candidate, the SMBLF enjoined INEC  to take a cue from the opposition party’s convention, saying the courts would not be filled with petitions and there won’t be post-election violence if elections were free, fair and credible.

The forum in a statement on Sunday by Yinka Odumakin (South West), Senator Bassey Henshaw (South South), Prof. Chigozie Ogbu (South East) and Dr. Isuwa Dogo (Middle Belt), reminded Atiku about his commitment to the restructuring of the country.

The forum said, “The election of Atiku from a keenly contested primary election in what is generally seen as a free and fair process is a breath of fresh air to the democratic project in Nigeria which appeared threatened by manipulation of processes in intra-party conduct and general elections.

“It is never too early to remind the presidential candidate of the clear commitment to the fundamental issue of restructuring he has made overtime and which the former Chairman of the Caretaker Committee of the Party, Senator Makarfi confirmed as the party agenda.

“It is clear today that no amount of good governance can get Nigeria out of the woods without a proper structure that can restore Nigeria to productivity under federalism.”

Buhari’s aides tackle Atiku

But some aides of Buhari on Sunday took to the social media to tackle Atiku.

Shortly after the declaration of the result, Buhari’s Personal Assistant on Social Media, Lauretta Onochie, took to the social media where she claimed that Atiku’s emergence had made the job of the president’s team easier.

Onochie claimed that the Vice-President ran away from the All Progressives Congress to avoid contesting against the president in the primary.

She also alleged that Atiku spent more money than his co-contestants before he emerged the winner of the contest.

She wrote, “Alhaji Atiku Abubakar outspends Saraki, Tambuwal and others, wins the PDP presidential ticket for 2019.

“Congratulations Alhaji Atiku Abubakar. You have outspent the rest. You have a new toy. But believe it, it is only a dream.

“Bearing in mind that you can’t go to America to represent us at the United Nations, nor meet with Nigerians in America, our job is made easy.”

Also, the spokesman for the Buhari/Osinbajo Campaign Organisation, Mr Festus Keyamo, said with Atiku’s emergence, Nigerians would choose between a candidate with credibility crises and one with an unblemished record.

Keyamo posted the message on his Twitter handle.

“We welcome H.E. Atiku Abubakar to the 2019 campaign trail. Nigerians will now decide between a candidate with a history full of credibility crises, damning reports on corruption, both home, abroad and from his former boss and another candidate with an unblemished record in public service,” he wrote.

Jubilation in Taraba

But there was jubilation in Jalingo the capital of Taraba State on Sunday following the declaration of Atiku  as the presidential candidate of the PDP.

Hundreds of youths and women took to the streets with posters of Atiku Abubakar singing and dancing.

One of the jubilant youth, Collins Bonzena, told one of our correspondents that Atiku’s position on restructuring, security and job creation was the basis for their support for him.

He stated, “Atiku has the experience and the capacity to rule Nigeria.  Remember he was the vice president of this country for eight years and his experience in the private sector will make him a good President.

“Atiku has a blueprint on how to grow Nigeria, tackle insecurity and restructure the country to give us true federalism which is key to our development and that is what we need at the moment,” he said.

Also reacting, the National Coordinator of PDP Loyal Group, Mr. Dennis Shima, called on Nigerians to support Atiku’s candidature for a better Nigeria.

Ijaw’ll support candidate planning restructuring – IYC

The Ijaw Youth Council has said it will support any presidential candidate that plans to restructure the country and remove the marginalisation of the South-South people from the oil and gas benefits.

The IYC President, Pereotubo Oweilaemi, on Sunday stated this while congratulating the presidential flag bearers of various political parties in the 2019 general elections.

Oweilaemi said the Ijaw’s stand on restructuring was intact, calling “for the federating units to control natural resources in their respective domains and let them in turn pay royalty to the centre as practised by America and other advanced democracies.”

He said, “The IYC, which is the umbrella body of Ijaw youths worldwide, will mobilise its men and women to support any presidential candidate that supports restructuring of this country that is currently being managed with resources from the Niger Delta while our people are treated with disdain.

“The present situation is where our people are wallowing in misery while those who do not know the colour of crude oil are living in affluence. The IYC will no longer support any government or leader that tries to treat our people like second class citizens.”

We will still decide who to support – Afenifere

The pan-Yoruba socio-political organisation, Afenifere, said it would sit down and decide who it would support for the presidential election.

The group, which had earlier hosted Atiku in Akure, the Ondo State capital, had promised to support any presidential candidate that believed in restructuring.

Speaking with our correspondent in Akure on Sunday, the Secretary General of the Afenifere, Bashorun Sehinde Arogbofa, described Atiku as a politician who had paid his dues in Nigerian politics.

He, however, noted that there was a need for the opposition to come together to defeat the ruling party.

He said, “When we compare Atiku with others, you will see him as somebody who has paid his dues. Among politicians and our former rulers, Atiku has made his marks.

“Before the PDP primary, Atiku came to Afenifere and promised to restructure the country; and we have said that anybody who wants to restructure with all seriousness, such a person will be our candidate. Now that he is in, Afenifere will still sit down to decide.”   (Punch)

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2019 Elections: Keyamo, Onochie Say Defeat Of Atiku Will Be Easy | RN

Festus Keyamo said with Atiku’s emergence, Nigerians would choose between a candidate with credibility crises and one with an unblemished record.

Juliana Taiwo-Obalonye, Abuja

Personal Assistant to President Muhammadu Buhari on Social Media, Lauretta Onochie, has declared that Atiku Abubakar’s emergence as Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) candidate for the 2019 election has made the job of the President’s team easier.

Also, the spokesman of Buhari/Osinbajo Campaign Organisation, Festus Keyamo, said with Atiku’s emergence, Nigerians would choose between a candidate with credibility crises and one with an unblemished record.

Both presidential aides took to the social media to tackle the former vice president shortly after he emerged the presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party for the 2019 elections.

Abubakar was earlier in the day declared the winner of the party’s primary which was held in Port Harcourt, Rivers State.

Onochie through her verified @laurestar handle alleged that Atiku ran away from the All Progressives Congress to avoid contesting against Buhari in the primary.

According to her, the fact that Atiku cannot go to the United States of America nor represent the country at the United Nations, has made his defeat at next year’s polls easier.

She also alleged that Atiku spent more money than his co-contestants before he could emerge winner of the contest.

She twitted, “Alhaji Atiku Abubakar outspends Saraki, Tambuwal and others, wins the PDP presidential ticket for 2019.

“Congratulations Alhaji Atiku Abubakar. You have outspent the rest. You have a new toy. But believe it, it is only a dream.

“You ran away from facing President Buhari in a primary, now you’ll meet him at the presidential elections. Ntor!

“14.8 million people made President Buhari their candidate, 26,584 people made Atiku their candidate.

“Bearing in mind that you can’t go to America to represent us at the United Nation, nor meet with Nigerians in America, our job is made easy.

“Sai Baba Buhari. 2019 is settled. God bless Nigeria.”

Keyamo posted the message on his verified Twitter handle, @fkeyamo, “We welcome H.E, Atiku Abubakar to the 2019 campaign trail.

“Nigerians would now decide between a candidate with a history full of credibility crises, damning reports on corruption, both home, abroad and from his former boss and another candidate with an unblemished record in public service.

Onochie also responded to Keyamo’s tweet, saying, “Spot on. Nigerians have new trade currencies.

“Credibility and integrity. Our candidate, Muhammadu Buhari has both in abundance Nigerians will trade with him.

“Nigerians will not trade with Atiku Abubakar. He has neither credibility nor integrity. His currencies are counterfeit.”  (The Sun)

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Though In Presidential Race, I Don’t See Myself As A Politician – Sowore (AAC Presidential Aspirant |RN

SOWORE         Omoyele Sowore, AAC presidential aspirant

In this interview, Sowore gives the full account of the “drama” that played out when he visited the Ooni of Ife recently.

Ayo Alonge

 

The convener of ‘Take It Back Movement’ and presidential aspirant on the platform of African Action Congress (AAC), Omoyele Sowore, has said that he is not afraid to be in the presidential race even when the action might pitch him against some politicians he has had to fight in the past.

In this interview, Sowore gives the full account of the “drama” that played out when he visited the Ooni of Ife recently. He also bared his mind on the state of the nation, the forthcoming general elections and his unrelenting quest to unseat President Muhammadu Buhari in 2019.

How was the transition from being an activist and a social crusader to being a core politician to the extent that you are now in the 2019 Presidential race?

I do not see myself as a politician, and I have not in any way transited from being an activist to a politician. I know what it means to be called a politician in Nigeria. You have to be corrupt and all that. I only see myself as a revolutionary leader. As such, I have not derailed from my core activism. People like Obama are never called politicians. Nelson Mandela was never called a politician till he died.

On the whole noise on Take-It-Back everywhere on the social media, what are you actually taking back?

I am taking back our country and dignity and all that has been taken from us that could have made us a better country. We are taking back what the minority has taken from our country. We are taking back our education sector, road infrastructure and everything else that you can take back. Even in the US, Barack Obama is part of the campaign that is bent on taking back what belongs to the people.

Using your media platform, you have had to expose a lot of corrupt politicians. Does it occur to you that this same set of people might come for your jugular at this time?

To ask if that is going to be a barrier is the very reason I came out to contest. I am not afraid of them.

What do you hope to do differently, if you become the next president?

I want to make this country different so that we can meet up with other nations all around the world, in terms of poor infrastructure and the way we fight corruption. We want to cause a revolution that will better the lots of Nigeria in agriculture, tourism, and many more. These are the basics. If you follow very closely, you will see that I have been the one initiating the ideas that have now become a big topic of discussion for politicians.

Could you talk about what really transpired in the palace of the Ooni of Ife where you were reportedly teargassed?

We were invited to meet the Kabiesi by 12 noon that day and we arrived at 11:48 a.m. Three hours later, we were still left unattended to.

You mean you were actually invited, and not that you chose to pay him the visit on your own?

If you are not invited, you can’t go into the palace. So, we were actually invited. Three hours later, we were still waiting when I had so many other engagements. Three hours after, nobody explained anything to us as to why we were kept waiting for so long. I respect him a lot. If he was kept waiting, even in the US, I will be the first person to protest against that. So, we were introduced and I went to him and bowed which is what I do to all the traditional rulers that we meet and have met, including the Emir of Kano and the Alaafin of Oyo, even the Olofa of Offa. The person that was moderating the event got upset that I didn’t prostrate for the Oba and you could see that he was so annoyed with us. I was given the microphone and I told the Oba my mind. I said, I wish someone explained to us why we were kept for over three hours. I am a very honest person and I told him that my way of protesting that was to come before you and bow. And I said now that you have explained, we will pay you homage. We were about a hundred that were in the palace. We did that and yet someone said that I didn’t roll on the floor. This was after we prostrated to everyone all around the palace. As we were doing the last prostration, they just teargassed us. I thought it was a joke, but the person who was doing it did not stop. We just couldn’t breathe and even one of the female students with us just passed out. We went out to catch some fresh air and as we did, some guys were already waiting for us and started pushing and manhandling me. I was surprised and asked if that was actually the palace of the Ooni of Ife. So, I turned back to go to complain to him that I had just been assaulted. It occurred to me that this was the same thing they did to Bola Ige before he was killed. He was assaulted at the palace of the Ooni of Ife. I asked the Kabiesi what’s going on. I’m your guest and even if you are upset with me, you can’t treat me like this. We were still gasping for breath and the Ooni said they should take me to a private room, but I refused. I said if anything will happen to me, let it happen to me right in your presence. I heard you wanted to meet a young presidential aspirant like me and that is why I came. At a point, he was insinuating that one of us did the teargassing. That was weird. He also said that the reason I was attacked outside was because people thought that I was leaving him in anger. How do you justify people being attacked for whatever reason within the sanctity of your palace? Anyway, we completed the event and headed for OAU because we needed to meet with the students who were already angry that we were attacked. I had to calm them down and we can back to Lagos.

It was recently reported that a coalition of young aspirants against Buhari hit the rocks. Why do you think that happened?

There was no coalition that I am aware of. I attended an event of young aspirants in a hotel in Abuja. I wanted to convince one of the young aspirants to join our train. When next we got to the conference, I met over 18 young aspirants and when they proposed the coalition to me, I said I cannot be part of it, but I can always attend their meetings on the basis of availability. I told them straight up that I don’t trust coalitions. One of the things we agreed on was that the individual aspirants needed to go and obtain their nomination forms from their different parties so that we know that we are dealing with people who have parties. We later got to Charley Boy’s house, upon my suggestion. We got there and some people started coming up with some strange ideas and that was how people started making vows. We also agreed to protest for the extension of voters’ registration and PVC collection, but when the day came, they didn’t show up. All I am trying to say is that I was never part of any coalition. I am surprised that they are saying I was part of the coalition. They even cooked up a propaganda saying that I was defeated by Fela Durotoye. I knew from the beginning that it won’t work.

In your view, what indices are there to determine the conduct of the 2019 elections?

Over 40 million people are registered to vote in this election as announced by INEC. The last election was won by about 14 million. That tells you that we have a lot of disgruntled people. That’s one. Another is that people are tired of the two major political parties, which are marred by corrupt practices. You will see a shocker. People want their country back, but we know that there is a plan to rig the election, but I will tell you something. The person that won Ekiti in 2014 didn’t win the presidential election. The person that won the presidential election in 2015 didn’t have as much money as the then incumbent, President Jonathan. If you look at all these parameters, you can readily point to where things are heading to.

What winning strategies do you have in place to win in 2019?

People are ready to bet their lives to get what they desire. I have touched 29 states, reaching out to people and I have no doubt that we will win. Not only would we win, we would also have set up a strong political base in the country. In terms of the concrete ideas, maybe you should leave that out. Let me not unravel that. You know in this part of the world, people steal ideas a lot and there are no consequences for such. Just like there are no consequences for stealing money.

Voting-buying is prevalent in the political system today. How do you hope to match money for money in the contest, particularly as the presidential race is competitive in terms of spending money?

We are not going to be involved in that. That’s not who we are. We are selling ideas. People who buy ideas are going to last longer than people who take money. When you take money, you are foregoing your next road, hospital, salary, etc.

What is the future like for the Nigerian youth taking over leadership, against the backdrop of the Not-Too-Young-To-Run mantra?

I believe that there must be a generational shift. Democracy must pass through different levels for it to be well consolidated. We have started by removing the military usurpers. We must also have a situation where the minority has a say and the majority has their way. If that doesn’t happen, democracy becomes a fait accompli. There must also be a party-to-party transfer of power. The final process is a transgenerational handing over of baton. The old generation must give way for the younger generation.

How do you mobilise funds for your campaign?

We do that openly. We are using technology. This is a tech-driven campaign. We are crowdfunding. We go online and ask people to donate voluntarily. So far, we have raised over $70,000. Some even donate through our account with our bank here. Sometimes, I get donations from friends and I also put in my own money. Because we are not buying Gala, Ankara and branded rice, it is costing us less. With a dollar, we can have more impact than our opponents with a thousand dollars.

What is your next option, if you don’t win?

I don’t see how we won’t win that election. The country, Africa and the entire world are looking forward to it. Our liberation can get the rest of Africa liberated too. If I don’t win, that could be a product of providence and I will be sad.    (The Sun)

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2019: Foreign Investors Withdraw N435.41bn From Nigerian Stock Market |RN

 

The nation’s stock market has shrunk in recent months following the exit of foreign investors as the 2019 general elections approach, FEYISAYO POPOOLA writes

Foreign portfolio investors have pulled out billions of naira out of the Nigerian stock market in recent months amid bearish sentiments, primarily due to the approaching elections.

According to the latest data from the Nigerian Stock Exchange, a total of N435.41bn was withdrawn from the market from January to July this year, compared to an outflow of N236.32bn in the same period in 2017.

The total value of equities listed on the NSE has taken a beating, closing at N11.88tn on Friday, as against a peak of N16.154tn on January 19.

The market capitalisation rose from N13.617tn at the start of the year as a result of greater impetus from the recovery in global oil prices, increased domestic reserves, greater foreign exchange market stability and declining inflation.

“Once there is any cause to fear, portfolio investors sell out their shares and they come back when the environment is better; all of these create a lot of volatility in the market and may be one of the reasons why we do not have a lot of initial public offerings in the country,” the Associate Director, Capital Markets, PwC Nigeria, Alice Tomdio, told our correspondent.

She said more focus ought to be placed on encouraging the participation of domestic investors in the capital market.

According to her, the current ratio of foreign investors to domestic investors is still quite healthy as foreign portfolio investors participate primarily in the secondary markets.

She stated that it was normal for earnings release or government action to cause a big swing in the activity of foreign investors.

With a significant decrease of 64.68 per cent in total foreign transactions from N102.41bn in June to N36.17bn in July, domestic investors outperformed foreign investors by 50.48 per cent in July.

The domestic transactions, according to the NSE, were largely driven by the 55.48 per cent increase in the retail domestic participation, which recorded N29.12bn in June and N65.42bn in July.

Between 2011 and 2015, foreign transactions consistently outperformed domestic transactions; however, domestic transactions marginally outperformed foreign transactions in 2016 and 2017, accounting for 52 per cent of the total transaction value last year.

Also, foreign transactions, which stood at N1.539tn in 2014, declined to N1.025tn in 2015 and N518bn in 2016, but increased significantly by 133 per cent to N1.208tn in 2017. This accounted for about 48 per cent of total transactions last year.

Over an 11-year period, domestic transactions decreased by 62.46 per cent from N3.556tn in 2007 to N1.335tn in 2017, meaning more foreign investors were dominating the market.

However, there was a significant increase in domestic transactions in 2017 by 111 per cent from N634bn recorded in 2016 as portfolio investors withdrew.

The President, Independent Shareholders Association of Nigeria, Sir Sunny Nwosu, said the economic policies of the country were responsible for the exit of foreign investors.

He noted that if the policies were favourable, investors would come around and if otherwise, they would flee.

Nwosu stated, “It is not even advisable for them to stay at this point because there is no assurance we can give them as elections are approaching; they need to be very careful about their money. These investors have been in this country since and have enjoyed a lot; they are not willing to gamble with their money now.

“When the situation in Nigeria is showing a doom time because of the elections, they will all go away and wait until after the elections. They want to make sure that the economic situation does not affect their investments, whereby they will lose money.”

The Partner, Corporate Finance Practice, PwC Nigeria, Andrei Ugarov, stated that more emphasis ought to be placed on Foreign Direct Investment instead of Foreign Portfolio Investment, describing the former as more beneficial to the country.

He said, “When things are not so good and are shaky, portfolio investors leave immediately; it is very easy for them to sell off their shares and move out; whereas, if you have invested in a private company or industry, it is more difficult for you to leave because you have a longer-term view.

“So, from the development and sustainability perspective, the focus should really be on direct investment. Although it is also good to have portfolio investors, that should not be the end objective.”

According to him, currency control is also a major issue for portfolio investors because when uncertainty about getting their cash out exists, there will be uncertainty about putting cash in.

Ugarov stated that currency control and uncertainties could be the reason why there was a scarcity of portfolio investors as well as a lack of adequate foreign exchange.

The Managing Director, Cowry Asset Management Limited, Johnson Chuwku, said the only thing the government could do to reduce the exit of foreign portfolio investors was to reduce political tension in the country.

According to him, the government needs to give assurance that the coming elections will be free and fair, and that the two major political parties will not create war.

He noted that if the confidence of the public was not restored, there would be a problem.

Chukwu said, “The major thing driving portfolio investors is not necessarily that the economy is weak; the economy is still quite strong.

“The underlying thing is that quoted companies are performing very well. But because portfolio investors are always weary about tensions in third world countries, they are not willing to risk being caught in a crossfire of political parties.”

According to him, the only thing that can restore the confidence of the investors or give them the assurance to stay is if the tension is being moderated by ensuring that the outcome of the elections will be acceptable by the citizens.

He said another thing that could moderate the exit of portfolio investors was the increase in yield of Federal Government’s short-term instruments.

“If the yield spikes, it can attract those that have very high appetite for risk to come back into the country,” Chukwu added.

He stated that increase in yields could only be used to complement a moderated political environment, adding that a reduction in political tension remained key as increased yields could not sustain investors’ confidence on its own.   (Punch)

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2019 Election: PDP Panel Grills Saraki, Atiku, Makarfi, Others On Thurday |RN

                                     Saraki, Atiku and Tambuwal

Olusola Fabiyi, Abuja

The Peoples Democratic Party Board of Trustees panel set up to discuss the possibility of having a consensus presidential candidate among the aspirants will meet with them  (the aspirants) and also screen them on Thursday, The PUNCH has learnt.

The 12-man panel, which is headed by Senator Walid Jibrin, is expected to first meet in the morning of Thursday before inviting the aspirants for the screening.

Authoritative sources within the board told our correspondent in Abuja on Monday that all the 13 presidential aspirants had been contacted for the screening.

The aspirants are a former Vice President, Atiku Abubakar; Governor of Sokoto State, Aminu Tambuwal;  Governor of Gombe State, Ibrahim Dankwambo;  a former Governor of Kano State, Rabiu Kwankwaso;  and a former Governor of Sokoto State, Attahiru Bafarawa.

Others said to have been invited are President of the Senate, Bukola Saraki;  a former President of the Senate, David Mark;  a former Minister of Special Duties and Inter-Governmental Relations, Tanimu Turaki  (SAN); a former Governor of Plateau State, Jona Jang;  and a former Governor of Kaduna State, Ahmed Makarfi.

Others expected at the meeting are a former Governor of Jigawa State, Alhaji Sule Lamido; Dr Datti Baba-Ahmed and Usifo Stanley.

It was gathered that the aspirants would be persuaded to have meetings among themselves and see if they could agree on a consensus candidate.

Jubril, who will chair the meeting, confirmed to our correspondent that the board would meet with the aspirants.

“We will meet them on Thursday in Abuja, but I will not tell you the location.

“We are talking with the aspirants and I have hope that they will all work together for the progress of our party which will make us win the presidential election in 2019,” he said.

It was gathered that the aspirants had, however, made up their mind not to drop their ambition.

A member of the BoT said that the aspirants “do not want to hear anything about consensus or stepping down for anybody at all.”

But another board member said that the aspirants could still strike a deal among themselves before the October 5 and 6 dates for the presidential convention.

Investigations by our correspondent showed that the PDP is looking for a presidential candidate that will be able to deflate the support base of President Muhammadu Buhari in the northern part of the country.

A member of the National Working Committee of the party, who spoke with our correspondent on condition of anonymity, said the party would prefer a candidate that would break Buhari’s popularity in the north.

He said, “We are praying to have a candidate that will be loved by the entire country; a nationalist, who will see the entire country as his base.

“We also want a candidate that is loved by the north, where we have zoned the ticket to. We need someone that can break the support base of President Buhari.  That is just it.”

‘Killings, kidnappings caused by injustice’

Meanwhile, Lamido, on Monday alleged that heinous crimes such as killings and kidnapping were increasing due to injustice in the country.

Lamido spoke with journalists after he met with the forum of Southern and Middle belt leaders in Abuja at the residence of an Ijaw leader, Chief Edwin Clark.

He said, “The culture of governance is deteriorating because of the absence of justice, which should be the anchor of governance but it is not in Nigeria anymore.

“That is why you are seeing all these kidnappings, Boko Haram attacks, killings in Taraba, Adamawa, Zamfara, Sokoto and all over Nigeria.

“This country is not being run according to law and order; there is nothing like justice in Nigeria. Therefore, Nigerians feel that this country is not good anymore.

“This government is trying to bury the contributions of our founding fathers; integrity and honesty are not new in our vocabulary.

“Before Buhari there was integrity; there was Tafawa Balewa, Obafemi Awolowo, Aminu Kano and Nnamdi Azikiwe. These are people of honour and integrity. He (Buhari) has never for once paid tributes to our founding fathers.”

He regretted that President Buhari had breached the constitution by openly declaring that he would favour those that voted for him more than an area where he had fewer votes in 2015.

Lamido said, “More than anything, we are going through a period of injustice. In other climes, he (the President) will be impeached because he said he would work in favour of where he got 95 per cent votes and do less where he got five per cent”

“What is happening now is because this country is sick; we are looking for justice. We want a Nigeria where everybody will feel a sense of belonging, not nepotism anymore.”

The President-General of Ohanaeze Ndigbo, Chief John Nwodo, spoke on behalf of the forum.

He said, “Our people are deeply upset by the state of affairs in the country. Our country is at a crossroads where leadership is critical; so we have invited you here to tell us what you have for Nigeria.

“We seek restructuring of Nigeria to address the problems confronting us. We seek answers to how your policies will address all these.”

Mark seeks Abdulsalam’s blessing

Also, a former Head of State, Gen. Abdulsalam Abubakar (retd.) on Monday received Mark, who asked for his support for his presidential ambition.

Abdulsalam said Mark remained one of the capable hands needed to lead the nation out of the woods.

He said Mark had over the years demonstrated unwavering commitment to his fatherland.

He said, “Both as a military officer and politician, Senator Mark has proved to be a reliable and competent administrator.

“The nation would benefit from his wealth of experience if given the mandate to be President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.”

Abdulsalam said he was pleased to note that the PDP was putting its house in order and playing the role of an opposition party, hoping that the 2019 elections would be free, fair and credible.

He counseled political parties, aspirants and supporters to play the game according to the rules, adding that only the wishes of the people would endure.

Earlier, Mark told his host that he was prepared for the contest believing that his track records of meritorious services to the nation had put him in a better stead to lead the nation.

The meeting later went into a closed door that lasted for about two hours.  (Punch)

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IBB To Saraki: I’ll Endorse Your Presidential Ambition |The Republican News

Saraki-IBB

Saraki and IBB

Babangida said in supporting Saraki’s presidential bid, he was only returning a favour the senior Saraki paid him during his own presidential ambition.

John Adams, Minna

Former military President General Ibrahim Badamasi Babangida has thrown his weight behind the presidential ambition of Senate President, Dr. Bukola Saraki.

Babangida said in supporting Saraki’s presidential bid, he was only returning a favour the senior Saraki paid him during his own presidential ambition.

“it is my turn to do what your father did to me,” Babangida said when Saraki visited him in Minna, on Saturday, as part of his nationwide campaign tour for the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) convention.
Babangida also added that he will treat Saraki as his own son and ensure that he succeeds in his bid.

He pointed out that “I will rightly observe that you are my son, for coming to pay a courtesy visit. I remember when I was still in office, I spoke with your father, Oloye Saraki, who always provided advice on a number of things attached to this country.

“He always made himself available to me, to give advice and encouragement which will move the country forward. Your visit is historical. Now, it is your time and turn to come to me and I will do just that.”

Earlier, Saraki told General Babangida that Nigeria is now at a crossroad following the high level of hunger, insecurity and killings across the country.  (The Sun)

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