#EndSARS: Buhari Acted As A Father, If Not We’ll Be Talking Of Something Else – Adesina

A file photo combination of President Buhari and #EndSARS protesters.

 

Presidential aide, Femi Adesina has said his principal, President Muhammadu Buhari’s fatherly role during and after the #EndSARS protests, prevented the country from slumping into anarchy. 

“If President Buhari hadn’t exercised the restraint and tolerance of a father, at a time that even hitherto respected people instigated the protesters to carry on (and they promptly went underground when anarchy ensued), we would have been talking of something else in the country,” Adesina said in an article published on his website on Thursday.

“The rivers of Nigeria could have turned crimson, and mourning and lamentations would have suffused the land. But we are thankful for the father in President Buhari, patient and enduring, almost to a fault.”

A file photo of EndSARS protesters.

 

In the article captioned “We Have Not Many Fathers,” Adesina explained that Buhari exercised patience during and after the protests which rocked Nigeria in October.

He said the country has “many tutors, many instructors, but not many fathers. President Buhari is one, and that is why the country is experiencing relative calm today.”

According to him, even when the protests were hijacked and misdirected, the Nigerian leader was unmoved on his instructions to security agencies. Buhari, he explained, accepted the five demands made by the protesters.

“What better display of accommodation and readiness for dialogue. But the protest was prolonged, and eventually hijacked and misdirected,” Adesina added.

“But thank God for fathers, who kept their heads. No wonder it is said that what the elders see sitting down, young people would not see, even if they climbed trees. May God continue to give this country good fathers, who remain calm in turbulence, who keep their heads when others are losing theirs.”

Protests Against Police Brutality

Early last month, Nigerians took to the streets, protesting against police brutality and extrajudicial killings.

The protesters sought the scrapping of the now-disbanded Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS), a unit of the police accused of human rights abuse.

 

A file photo of buses/cars burnt by hoodlums during the violence in Lagos on October 21, 2020.

 

However, the protests continued after the disbandment of the unit with the shooting of some of the protesters in Lagos State, sparking a looting spree and destruction of properties in some parts of the country.

What Jonathan, Other Ex-Heads Of State Told Buhari About #EndSARS – Presidency

 

Immediate past President, Goodluck Jonathan, has said the root cause of the recent protests in the country had been with Nigeria for a long time. 

Presidential aide, Femi Adesina said Jonathan made the comment during a virtual meeting between Nigeria’s former heads of state and President Muhammadu Buhari held on October 23rd.

In a post on his website on Friday captioned “Inside PMB’s Parley With Former Heads of State,” Adesina who is the Special Adviser, Media and Publicity to the President, noted that the former Nigerian leader said some fundamental questions needed to be answered.

The former Bayelsa State Governor said posers like “what led to the crisis?” would help the country in forestalling future occurrences.

In what he described as “very touching,” he equally quoted most of the former leaders as saying that the #EndSARS protest which began peacefully,  was later hijacked.

“Lives had been lost in scores, countless public and private properties burnt, there was murder and mayhem everywhere,” Adesina explained.

“So, it was needful that all former leaders of the country meet to put heads together, and fashion pragmatic ways forward.”

President Muhammadu Buhari held a virtual meeting with former Presidents on October 23, 2020, in Abuja. Credit: State House.

 

After the National Anthem, he said that former Head of State General Yakubu Gowon who gave the opening speech agreed that the #EndSARS protests which began peacefully, was later hijacked by some “organized miscreants.”

Gowon equally gave some recipes for the government to consider.

Buhari who spoke next issued comprehensive details of how the protests began, and efforts made by the government to address the demands of the demonstrators.

The Nigerian leader “did not mince words that what started as [a] legitimate protest by youths, was hijacked and misdirected by enemies of the country.”

‘Frank But Effable’

Despite a history of antagonism to the President Buhari government, ex-President Olusegun Obasanjo “was frank, but affable, and no tension was discerned” and “lauded the Nigerian leader for his speech the previous night.”

Presidency Responds To Obasanjo's Failure Claim
A file photo of President Buhari with former President Obasanjo at the Presidential Villa in Abuja on February 22, 2018.

 

“On the job and economic situation in the country, he said the interventions being made were good, but not far-reaching enough for a population of 200 million people,” the presidential aide said, referencing Obasanjo.

General Ibrahim Badamasi Babangida (IBB) expressed sadness at the turn of events in Africa’s most populous nation, extending his condolences to those who lost loved ones and properties.

Although he was worried by the quality of intelligence available to Nigerian security agencies, IBB commended “the government for the efforts so far, to end the protests.”

Chief Ernest Shonekan was brief in his speech and called for proactiveness to curb similar developments in the future, stressing that such meetings should hold often to proffer solutions to national issues.

‘Funding Of Security Agencies’

General Abdulsalami Abubakar also harped on the need for better intelligence on the part of security agencies and believes there is a need for more collaboration with the international body.

Adequate funding for the police is also crucial to safeguarding the country, General Abdulsalami Abubakar argued.

 

“Funding of security agencies should also be looked into, while the media should be adequately engaged,” the former head of state added.

A Hated Unit

At the onset of the month, many Nigerians took to the streets, demanding the scrapping of the Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS), a unit of the Nigeria Police Force (NPF) hated by many in Africa’s most populous nation.

READ ALSOTinubu Visits Sanwo-Olu, Demands Thorough Probe Of Lekki Shooting

The now-defunct unit of the police was accused of human rights abuses and extra-judicial killings, a development which the demonstrators say had been going on for years.

Despite the scrapping of the unit by the Inspector-General of Police (IGP), Adamu Mohammed, the protesters stayed on the streets, citing similar pronouncements (scrapping of SARS) which were made in the past but came to nothing.

Deadly Dimension

Things took a dangerous dimension on Tuesday last week when armed soldiers opened fire on the protesters in the Lekki area of Lagos State.

The shooting, witnesses say, resulted in the death of scores of persons but the Nigerian Army later denied responsibility for the incident.

Human rights organization, Amnesty International, however, put the casualty figure from the incident and another one at Ikeja at 12.

 

 

 

#EndSARS Protests: Obasanjo Commended Buhari’s Speech, Says Adesina

 

Femi Adesina says former President Olusegun Obasanjo commended the speech given by President Muhammadu Buhari in reaction to the violence that ensued following the shooting of protesters at the Lekki Tollgate.

The Special Adviser on Media and Publicity to President Buhari, said Obasanjo told Buhari at a virtual meeting of heads of states on Friday that he made points that are commendable.

Adesina revealed this in his statement titled ‘How EndSARS Protest Was Hijacked; Misdirected, President Buhari Tells Former Heads Of State’.

Many had believed that the Buhari’s speech came late and rather lacked empathy, however, the president’s spokesman quoted Obasanjo as saying, ”I commend the speech of last night. The nation had been waiting. You made points that I believe need to be commended. Peaceful demonstration is part of democratic practice. The demands of the genuine protesters were accepted, and you are working on implementation. We commend you.”

Adesina went on to state that President Buhari told the former leaders of the country at the virtual meeting that his government has accepted all the demands of the protesters and proceeded immediately to scrap SARS and started the process of addressing the other demands.

The spokesman said President Buhari told the former heads of state that he would not fold his arms and allow miscreants and criminals continue to perpetrate acts of hooliganism in the country.

Buhari also stated that it is unfortunate that the initial genuine and well-intended protest of youths in parts of the country against the Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS) was hijacked and misdirected.

The President recounted the initial concessions made by his administration on the demands of youths protesting against the excesses of some members of the SARS.

He recalled that the youths had demanded that the squad be disbanded, and further articulated the additional demands, including: ”The immediate release of all arrested protesters.

”Justice for deceased victims of police brutality and appropriate compensation for their families.

”Setting up an independent body to oversee the investigation and prosecution of all reports of Police misconduct within 10 days.

”Psychological evaluation and re-training of all disbanded SARS officers before they can be re-deployed; and increase in Police salary.”

The President said: ”We accepted all the demands and proceeded immediately to scrap SARS and started the process of addressing the other demands.

”Unfortunately, the protesters refused to call off the protest and engage the Government to address their grievances. Instead, they became emboldened and gradually turned violent.”

According to Adesina, President Buhari expressed concern that in the mayhem that ensued, many lives have been lost, a number of public and private properties completely destroyed or vandalized.

The presidential spokesman said his principal reiterated his pledge to Nigerians from the nationwide broadcast Thursday, affirming that his government:

”will continue to improve good governance through our democratic process including through sustained engagement.

”shall also continue to ensure that liberty and freedom, as well as the fundamental rights of all citizens are protected. Here, I want to also reaffirm our commitment to preserving the unity of this country.”

At the meeting were all living past leaders, including: Gen. Yakubu Gowon, President Olusegun Obasanjo, Gen. Ibrahim Badamasi Babangida, Chief Ernest Shonekan, Gen. Abulsalami Abubakar, and former President Goodluck Jonathan.

Nigeria Had Always Been Divided, Presidency Replies Soyinka

 

The presidency has been reacting to recent comments by Professor Wole Soyinka, suggesting that under the present government Nigeria has become more divided than ever before.

Mr. Femi Adesina, the Special Adviser to the President on Media and Publicity, says while the Nobel Laureate is respected and revered, not everything he utters should be taken absolutely.

“Professor Wole Soyinka is somebody we respect, you don’t have them too many in a country, even on a continent. Professor Soyinka is an icon, he is an avatar, we respect him, we listen to him but then we don’t take everything he says hook, line, and sinker,” the president’s special adviser said.

According to Adesina who on Wednesday was a guest on Channels Television’s Politics Today, President Buhari inherited a “terribly” divided country, one which he has been trying to reunite since he came to power back in 2015.


Obasanjo’s Comment: Not Every Criticism Should Give You Sleepless Nights – Adesina

Obasanjo Says Nigeria Is Falling Apart Under Buhari, Offers Solution

Nigeria More Divided Than Ever Before, Soyinka Backs Obasanjo


The president’s media aide said, “Nigeria had always been divided. Always. Right from amalgamation in 1914, Nigeria has always been divided. Nigeria is an inconvenient amalgamation but we have worked at it and I tell you that there is no time in the history of this country that the country was not divided but then we had kept at it and we were trying to make it work.

“As of 2015, when President Buhari came, Nigeria was terribly, terribly divided; divided along religious lines, divided along ethnic lines; divided along language, divided hopelessly, terribly and that is the division that the President had been working at. But you see that a lot of people instead of letting harmony return to this country, thrive and luxuriate in widening the gulf. They play politics with everything.”

Similarly, Adesina said not every criticism against the Buhari-led administration should be taken seriously.

Addressing recent comments by former President Olusegun Obasanjo, the media aide said all criticisms must be thoroughly looked at to ascertain what value they add to discussions around moving the nation forward.

Obasanjo while delivering a speech titled ‘Moving Nigeria Away from Tipping Over’ at a consultative dialogue attended by various socio-cultural groups, said Nigeria is falling apart under Buhari.

At the consultative dialogue attended by members of various groups, including Afenifere, Middle Belt Forum, Northern Elders Forum, Ohanaeze Ndi Igbo, and Pan Niger Delta Forum, Obasanjo noted that the country is becoming the world capital of poverty.

A file photo of Mr Femi Adesina.

He said, “I do appreciate that you all feel sad and embarrassed as most of us feel as Nigerians with the situation we find ourselves in,” Obasanjo said. “Today, Nigeria is fast drifting to a failed and badly divided state; economically our country is becoming a basket case and poverty capital of the world, and socially, we are firming up as an unwholesome and insecure country.

“And these manifestations are the products of recent mismanagement of diversity and socio-economic development of our country. Old fault lines that were disappearing have opened up in greater fissures and with drums of hatred, disintegration, and separation and accompanying choruses being heard loud and clear almost everywhere.”

In reaction to Obasanjo’s comments, Adesina argued that “not every criticism should give one sleepless night”.

According to Adesina, there is no government that Obasanjo has not criticized.

“Obasanjo has criticised every government since the Shehu Shagari government that succeeded him in 1979. The only government he has not criticised is the Olusegun Obasanjo government”.

The media aide added that Obasanjo has a right to air his opinions, he, however, stressed that it is in the Buhari government’s right to take the former president’s reproval or dismiss them as mere claims aimed to detract from a performing administration.

AfDB: Obasanjo Hails Buhari Over Adesina’s Re-Election

Adesina Visits Buhari
President Muhammadu Buhari greets AfDB President Akinwumi Adesina inside the Presidential Villa on Thursday… September 10.

 

Former President Olusegun Obasanjo has commended President Muhammed Buhari’s led Federal Government for the support given at ensuring the successful re-election of the President of the African Development Bank (AfDB), Dr. Akinwunmi Adesina.

Obasanjo, in what appeared to be his first official reaction, since Adesina’s re-election penultimate week, also thanked some past and present African leaders for their supports during the period.

The former President made these disclosures when the leadership of the Freelance and Independent Broadcasters Association of Nigeria (FIBAN), led by the National President, Desmond Nwachukwu paid him a courtesy call at his Olusegun Obasanjo Presidential Library (OOPL) Pent House residence in Abeokuta, Ogun State capital.

Obasanjo who was responding to remarks made by the FIBAN President on the support given to Adesina, added that education played a vital role in the success so far made by him and other Nigerians doing the country proud in their different endeavour.

“I must commend the Federal government for the support given to him to get this second term ticket. You know that the former President, Goodluck Jonathan recommended him before this new government came on board. The government could have rejected him. So, I must commend the President for supporting him all through.

“Also, let me acknowledged and commended some of my colleagues, the 14 former Presidents in Africa for joining me immediately I drew their attention to it. Some present Presidents also deserved commendations too,” Obasanjo said.

The former President emphasized on the importance of education, noting “if Adesina had not gone to school, no matter the innate ability God might have given him, he would not have got to where he is today.

“So, the first thing is how do we get about 14m children, who are out of school now back to school. 14m children who should have been in school, undergoing education training that will make them contribute to the development of the country in the near future.

“It is having a good education, that will make them a good product to market in the global world like Adesina. Not only him, we have several like him, including the AFRISM President, Dr. Oramah,” Obasanjo said, even as he observed that the country’s present image was not fairing to assist these potentials.

Obasanjo appreciated the members of the Association for the visit, moreso for the commendation on his support for the AfDB President.

The FIBAN national president had earlier disclosed that the former President’s penchant for grooming talents for leadership positions led to the emergence of Adesina, and as such, “the association is therefore using this opportunity to congratulate you on the historic re-election of Adesina.

“And we are ready to make our doors opened for you to equally tap from many of our qualified members for such leadership positions.”

Nwachukwu also hinted that the proposed School of Broadcasting in Abeokuta is to be named after the former President.

On the entourage of the President were the 2nd National Vice President, Hellen Okon, Member of the Board of Trustees Gbenga Adebayo-Oladunni, Veteran Broadcasters Ibiyemi AJADI and Asamu Akinrinde.

Others include Femi OMILANI – Chairman, Ogun State chapter, Adekunle Abolade, Chairman, Osun State Chapter, and Seun Awodele of the Oyo State Chapter among others.

You Made Us Proud, Buhari Tells AfDB’s Adesina During Visit

President Muhammadu Buhari and AfDB President, Akinwumi Adesina (left), exchanging greetings during the meeting. Photo: [email protected]

 

President Muhammadu Buhari on Thursday received the President of the African Development Bank (AfDB), Dr Akinwumi Adesina in the Presidential Villa, praising him for his performance and successful re-election.

The President especially commended Dr Adesina for supporting Africa in general and Nigeria in particular, especially in terms of addressing infrastructural deficits.

“There can’t be sustainable development without infrastructure. Our efforts should be seen in the context of lack of resources, but you do your best to support us. I wish you all the best in your final term,” President Buhari said.

It was Adesina’s first visit to the President since he was elected and sworn in for a second term at the helm of Africa’s top bank and the Nigerian leader used the occasion to explain his reason for backing him for the job in the first case.

Buhari says Adesina has made the country proud. Photo: [email protected] Nigeria.

 

“I have told so many people why I backed you,” President Buhari said referencing questions about why he picked Adesina who served as Minister of Agriculture under the Goodluck Jonathan-led PDP administration.

“In 2015, in your first term, you were a Minister with the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) government, and I was of the All Progressives Congress (APC). But you are a good Nigerian. So I recommended you the first time. You proved to be competent, you made us proud, and I recommended you the second time.”

 

The AfDB President is thankful to Nigeria for “giving him oxygen” when he needed it the most. Photo: [email protected] Presidency Nigeria.

 

Dr Adesina had overcome stiff opposition last month to win an unprecedented 100% votes from the regionals and non-regionals that make up the Bank and was inaugurated for a second term of five years as AfDB President on September 1.

In the face of the opposition, he received strong support from Nigeria and several other places and people who praised him for performance.

A Proud Citizen

The AfDB President thanked the Nigerian President and people for their support, saying he was proud to be a citizen of the country.

“Home is where dreams are born. Home is where nurturing is provided. It is where support is given for the realization of dreams. I am glad to belong here,” Dr Adesina said.

“When I came in June, you received me, and I shared my successes, and the difficulties facing me. You listened and said you would stand by me. And you did. You not only stood behind me but also beside me. No greater honour for a man than for his Commander-in-Chief to be his Supporter-in-Chief, and his Defender-in-Chief,” he added.

Adesina said Nigeria gave him air, “when I badly needed it in my lungs,” and pledged to always support the country in his private capacity, and as AfDB President.

Adesina was inaugurated for a second term of five years as AfDB President on September 1. Photo: [email protected] Nigeria.

 

He then asked for a round of applause for the President, which was truly resounding.

AfDB Probe: Ex-Liberian President Sirleaf Congratulates Adesina

A file photo of President of the African Development Bank, Akinwunmi Adesina
A file photo of President of the African Development Bank, Akinwunmi Adesina

 

 

A former Liberian President, Ellen Sirleaf is the latest in the list of those congratulating the President of the African Development Bank (AfDB), Dr Akinwunmi Adesina after he was cleared of corruption allegations levelled against him by an anonymous group.

Sirleaf said the declaration of Adesina as innocent, came as expected, according to a tweet on her official handle, Thursday night.

“We rejoice that, as expected, AfDB President Akinwumi Adesina has been declared fully innocent of all accusations by the Independent Panel headed by Mary Robinson,” the former Liberian leader said.

READ ALSO: Olumide Akpata Declared NBA President-Elect

 

Earlier in the week, President Muhammadu Buhari had in his message to the AfDB chief, said Adesina’s exoneration is further validation of his competence and integrity to lead the institution.

 

A file photo of President Buhari (right) and AfDB president, Adesina.

 

The Nigerian leader said the conclusion of the review should finally draw a curtain on the allegations that created distractions for the entire institution for a period and serve as an impetus for more diligence in handling responsibilities while fuelling the zeal to deliver on the promises of a greater Africa.

 

Cleared Of Corruption Charges

 

An independent panel of experts, headed by former Irish president Mary Robinson, on Monday completely cleared Adesina of all charges in an investigation that has spanned seven months.

The panel of three experts also had the Gambia’s Chief Justice Hassan Jallow and the World Bank’s integrity vice president Leonard McCarthy as members.

Dr Adesina became the first Nigerian to helm the AfDB in 2015 — but a 15-page report in January claimed that under his watch the bank had been tarred by poor governance, impunity, personal enrichment, and favouritism.

In May, the Ethics Committee of the Board of Directors of the African Development Bank (AfDB), charged with investigating the charges cleared Adesina.

But the United States, which is one of the bank’s biggest shareholders, demanded an independent investigation into the allegations.

The outcome of that investigation was the same – Adesina was exonerated.

“The Panel concurs with the Committee in its findings in respect of all the allegations against the President and finds that they were properly considered and dismissed by the Committee,” Monday’s report concluded.

FG Has Not Dissolved Interim Management Committee Of NDDC – Presidency

A file photo of Mr Femi Adesina.

 

The Presidency says it has not dissolved the Interim Management Committee of the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC).

This position was disclosed in the early hours of Friday by President Buhari’s Special Adviser on Media and Publicity, Femi Adesina.

Adesina said there is a statement purportedly signed by him which has been making the rounds that the Federal Government has dissolved the Interim Management Committee of the NDDC.

He adds that the publication is an action by the Merchants of fake news.

The spokesman urged Nigerians to disregard the report, stressing that the communication did not emanate from the media office of the President.

In recent times that have been calls by the National Assembly for the dissolution of the Interim Management Committee and the return of the NDDC to the Presidency for direct supervision.

This comes on the heels of revelations into the financial recklessness in the NDDC.

On Thursday, the Senate ad hoc committee investigating the NDDC said the agency had spent N1.3 trillion within four years, with some of the spending unlawful.

The committee revealed the figure during the presentation of its investigative report before the Senate days after the acting NDDC Managing Director, Prof. Kemebradikumo Pondei, slumped at a public hearing.

In the report read by the Senate Committee Chairman, Senator Olubunmi Adetunmbi, the NDDC spent the N1.3 trillion between 2015 and May 31, 2019.

Many of the expenses, Adetunmbu said, were extra-budgetary.

He added that the Committee observed process errors and infractions, as well as substantial payments, were made to staff in the form of unjustifiable allowances.

He said the committee observed process errors and infractions, as well as substantial payments, were made to staff in the form of unjustifiable allowances.

The investigation further revealed that the NDDC paid 4.9 billion Naira to staff for numerous allowances including COVID-19 relief, tour duty allowances, overseas travel, and international scholarships.

Curiously, the payment for overseas travel and scholarship was during the lockdown and cessation of flights abroad.

The committee also observed that the ministry of Niger delta is culpable if negligent supervision of the NDDC.

It further noted that the performance of the interim management committee IMC is a major issue as the record of the IMC has not shown any record of prudence and it should be dissolved.

Service Chiefs: Presidency Will Do What Is Right At A Given Time – Adesina

A file photo of Mr Femi Adesina.

 

Femi Adesina, the Special Adviser to President Muhammadu Buhari on Media and Publicity, says his principal will tend to the issue of the service chiefs when the time is right. 

Adesina stated this on Wednesday when he featured on Channels Television’s Sunrise Daily.

His statement comes on the heels of calls by legislators, seeking the sack of the service chiefs.

Reacting to the calls, Mr Adesina said the appointment or sack of Service Chiefs is a Presidential prerogative.

The spokesman added that President Muhammadu Buhari, in his capacity as Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces, will do what is in the best interest of the country at all times.

READ ALSO: Insecurity: Gov Masari Should Have Resigned With His Cabinet – Mahdi

The Senate Tuesday adopted a resolution calling on the Service Chiefs to resign or be sacked due to the multi-pronged security challenges in the country.

Senators made the call during plenary in reaction to a motion by Senator Ali Ndume.

Senator Ndume moved his motion on the back of the recent ambush of soldiers in Katsina and the alleged voluntary resignation of many soldiers.

According to the Senator, both developments and others are worrying.

Despite his concerns about the security situation, Senator Ndume did not call for the dismissal of the service chiefs, neither did he demand that they should step aside.

The call for them to step aside was made following an additional prayer to his motion in the course of deliberations.

Senator Francis Fadahunsi made the call for the service chiefs to step aside as part of his contributions to the discourse on the motion.

Other senators okayed the move and passed the resolution for the service chiefs who have been in office since July 2015 to step aside.

The Senators also mandated a joint defence, army, navy, airforce, police and interior committee to engage with the military to ascertain the state of affairs of the armed forces.

Buhari Does Justice To Every Part Of The Country – Adesina

A file photo of Mr Femi Adesina.

 

Femi Adesina, the Special Adviser to President Muhammadu Buhari on Media and Publicity, has insisted that his principal has been fair to all regions of the country.

Adesina’s statement comes on the heels of claims and accusations suggesting that President Buhari has been nepotistic in his dealings within the five years of his administration, with some stating that the administration has not been fair to people from the South East.

Reacting to the claims, Mr Adesina says the President has from the onset of his ambition to serve Nigeria, carried everyone along.

According to the presidential aide, some people have simply closed their minds, eyes, and ears, and have concluded in their minds that the President can just do no good.

In an article titled ‘Buhari & S’East: Arthur Eze nails it,’ Mr Adesina said that the President, within his 5 years in office, has funded “69 different projects being undertaken by the Federal Government in South East alone, all amounting to about N680 billion.”

He further argued that Buhari cannot be said to dislike the South East, in the 2007 presidential election he picked former Speaker, House of Representatives, Chief Edwin Ume-Ezeoke as his running mate, after he had picked the late Chuba Okadigbo in 2003 for the same position.

The presidential aide recalled that when former Vice President, Dr Alex Ekwueme fell ill, “President Buhari arranged his evacuation abroad by air ambulance. When he eventually passed on, he was given a most befitting national burial. Do you do that for people you don’t like? Hardly.”

Adesina said that Buhari is a man that “gives every man his due, every region what they deserve. Fairness to all.”

READ ALSO: Buhari Affirms Magu’s Suspension, Directs Mohammed Umar To Take Charge

Below is the full statement by Adesina.

BUHARI & S’EAST: ARTHUR EZE NAILS IT

There’s a wise saying in Yoruba land, which goes thus: “If you like, feed the entire city with pounded yam, egusi soup and stockfish on a daily basis, there’ll still be people who won’t like you.”

Let’s be honest and frank with ourselves. There are some people with primordial antipathy towards President Muhammadu Buhari, despite the man’s strong commitment towards transforming every part of the country. Some people have simply closed their minds, eyes and ears, and the President can just do no good.

President Buhari, however, equally has very committed loyalists in every part of the country, not minding some people who have chosen to believe the worst things, and addled their minds in the process.

Last weekend, wealthy businessman and philanthropist, Chief Arthur Eze, struck the nail on the head. He looked deeply at his own South East region of the country, and came out with a conclusion: “The President is man of the moment for the Igbo and the entire South East.

“President Buhari has demonstrated uncommon goodwill towards the people of the South East geopolitical zone, and should now rest assured of our unalloyed support and loyalty.”

Bull’s eye!

But what did Chief Eze see, that brought him to such conclusion, though he had been a supporter of the President for some time? Roads. Bridges, Akanu Ibiam International Airport, Owerri Interchange, Zik’s Mausoleum, great infrastructural projects that the region has not seen in a long while, if at any time.

In late 2018, Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, unfolded a minimum of 69 different projects being undertaken by the Federal Government in South East alone, all amounting to about N680 billion. Of course, top on the list is the Second River Niger Bridge, which was built with mouth in the 16 years of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) in power. The project is about 48% gone, and billed for completion in first quarter of 2022.

You have the Enugu-Port Harcourt road. Enugu-Onitsha road, and at least 67 other projects. The list is in the public domain.

Just recently, President Buhari approved a Zonal Police Headquarters (Zone 13) located at Ukpo Dunukofia, in Anambra State. It was inaugurated during the week, and will go a long way in addressing the security concerns of people of the region.

Now, do you do all these for people you don’t like? Not at all.
It is disingenuous for anyone to claim that President Buhari does not like any part of the country, most especially the South East.

When the former Major General joined the political fray in 2002, and contested for President in 2003, who was his running mate? Former Senate President, Dr Chuba Okadigbo,
a true Igbo son.

In 2007, who ran with Buhari? Another true Igbo son, and former Speaker, House of Representatives, Chief Edwin Ume-Ezeoke.

And when former Vice President, Dr Alex Ekwueme fell deathly ill, President Buhari arranged his evacuation abroad by air ambulance. When he eventually passed on, he was given a most befitting national burial. Do you do that for a people you don’t like? Hardly.

After Ekwueme’s burial, Dr Chris Ngige, another illustrious Igbo son, came to the Federal Executive Council meeting, and gave the appreciation of the region to the President. What did Buhari say?

“I’ve only done what the Constitution prescribes should be done for a former Vice President. In flying him abroad when it became necessary, in giving him national burial, I just did what should be done for a former Number 2 man in the country.”

That is President Buhari for you. He gives every man his due, every region what they deserve. Fairness to all.

Evergreen is the testimony of retired Ambassador Ignatius Olisemeka about the then General Buhari, shortly before the 2015 presidential election.

“Without ever knowing or meeting me, Buhari gave me a chance,” the Ambassador, then 83 years old, wrote.
“As I now write, I have never met him one-on-one. We have never spoken to each other. It is an extraordinary experience of an unusual man.

“I was sitting on my desk in the Ministry of External Affairs, 40 Marina, Lagos, in 1984, when I received a letter appointing me Ambassador to the United States of America. My place of origin did not matter… My religion did not matter. I had no worthwhile contacts with Dodan Barracks…”

That’s the same Buhari that revisionists would want us to believe is nepotistic, myopic, insular, and who would never appoint a non-Fulani into any position of substance. Tufiakwa!

I remember something they twisted against the President in 2015, and which they have stuck stubbornly and irrationally to, despite our many clarifications.

We were in Washington, USA, on an official visit. And the President met with Nigerians based in that country. A question came on how he would fill political positions, since he got less than 5% votes in some parts of the country.
The President said in politics, it made sense to reward those who voted for you, more than those who didn’t. If you got 95% votes in some areas, and 5% votes in others, it stood to reason that those who voted more should get more positions. Then he added: “But the Nigerian Constitution forbids any leader from doing such, and I will do as the Constitution prescribes.”

What did mischief makers do? They took the video recording of the earlier part of the President’s speech, cutting off the part where he balanced it. And they began to share it far and wide, just to portray nepotism. They repeat it till tomorrow, despite many explanations, simply because it suits their heinous purpose.

Despite the sparse number of votes in the South East in 2015 and 2019 elections, would we be right to say the entire region is arrayed against the President? Not so. After the 2015 election was won, I remember a piece I wrote in Daily Sun Newspaper, under the headline, ‘Igbo Heroes of Change.’ I mentioned people who contributed significantly to the Buhari victory like Chief Ralph Obiora, Dr Chris Ngige, Chief Orji Uzor Kalu, Hon Juventus Ojukwu, Osita Okechukwu, and many others.

Also today, we have great admirers of the President from the South East, and some of them will stand by him through thick and thin. I am talking of people like Joe Igbokwe, Dr Uche Diala , Peter Claver Oparah, Emeka Oparah, Dr Kelechi Nwagwu, Zara Gift Oyinye, Jewel Ifunaya Chika, Dr Emmanuel Nwusulor, Anozie Emeka, Abuchi Anueyiagu, Egondu Okorie,and uncountable others, which space won’t permit me to mention.

For President Buhari, when he does anything in any part of the country, he does it because it’s the right and fair thing to do. Most of the 69 projects going on in the South East had been awarded before 2015. But they were never funded. The President reversed the trend, and most of them are proceeding apace, and will be legacies by the time the man exits from office.

President Buhari has his eyes on history, and he will have his place in the pantheon of honor. At the onset of COVID-19 and its devastation on the economy, I was glad to hear him instruct the Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning, Zainab Ahmed: “No matter what happens, salaries of workers must not fail, pensions must not fail, and funding of infrastructure must not stop.”

Don’t you like the commitment of this President? I sure do.

I commend Chief Arthur Eze for being forthright and true about the President and the South East. Coming a week after Governor Nyesom Wike of Rivers State expressed similar sentiments about the fairness of the President, it’s time for those in entrenched positions to open their eyes and see, open their ears and hear, lest they become perpetually blind and deaf. Willfully so.

President Buhari does justice to every part of the country. Those who had imbibed a lie should now wake up, and smell the coffee.

In the course of his administration, President Buhari has been accused of being a nepotist, especially when it comes to making appointments.

There are some persons who believe that most of the appointments made under President Buhari were lopsided and tailored to favour a particular section of the country over others.

Those who are of this opinion believe that the country has already become “dangerously polarised” under the present administration.

While some think that President Buhari has not been fair especially regarding his appointments, there are others who think that he should be given a chance to justify his appointments.

The proponents of this view say people should not be quick to criticise President Buhari, arguing that there are pieces of evidence which show that those chosen are delivering on the jobs for which they were picked.

Buhari Could Have Dealt With Wike And Fayose But He Let Them Be – Adesina

A file photo of Mr Femi Adesina.

 

 

Mr Femi Adesina says President Muhammadu Buhari refused to move against Governor Nyesom Wike of Rivers State and former Governor of Ekiti State, Ayodele Fayose because of his role as the father of the nation. 

The Special Adviser to the President on Media and Publicity said his principal did not make a move because he is a father willing to tolerate his many children, irrespective of their differing idiosyncrasies, propensities, and predilections.

In an article published on his website, Mr. Adesina said Wike, was particularly combative, truculent, if not at times insulting; but the President did not let that influence his decision.

Adesina argues that Buhari did what was right, fair and just, irrespective of party affiliations, or personal inclinations.

Below is the full publication by Mr. Adesina.

It came like a bolt out of the blue. Early this week, Rivers State Governor, Nyesom Wike, issued an advertisement, which went in a completely different direction compared to what he had always said of President Muhammadu Buhari.

The Wike we knew was either usually crying wolf where there was none, alleging that the Federal Government wanted to kill him, or claiming that he was not answerable to the central government at Abuja in any way, or even pontificating that the President and his political party, the All Progressives Congress (APC), had failed the country in diverse ways.

If not for the maturity, and the avuncular attitude of President Buhari to all state governors, it would have been easy for one to conclude that he and Wike were enemies. Forsworn ones.

There was also the then Ekiti State Governor, Ayo Fayose, who had formed a tag team with Wike in the anti-Buhari tendency. The President could have dealt with them in many ways, either overtly or covertly, but he let them be. He was a father ready to tolerate his many children, irrespective of their differing idiosyncrasies, propensities and predilections.

A couple of weeks back, the Federal Executive Council (FEC), of which President Buhari is the Chairman, had approved the refund of N148 billion to five states in the country for repair of Federal roads. They included Rivers, Cross River, Bayelsa, Ondo and Osun.

Of the five states, only Ondo and Osun belong to the APC. The other three are of the opposition People’s Democratic Party (PDP). Rivers, under Wike, was particularly combative, truculent, if not at times insulting. But the President did not let that influence his decision. He did what was right, fair and just, irrespective of party affiliations, or personal inclinations.

Rivers State got the highest figure of N78.9 billion, and I remember some people asking me why the President should give such money to a governor who would call him names the next day. But that was where Wike surprised everybody. Last Monday, he issued newspaper advertisements with the title, ‘Thank You Our Dear President.’

Dear President. False? True. Was it the Printer’s Devil? Not so. The Governor boldly appended his signature to the document.

He thanked the President for approving the refund, noting: “Mr President has by this remarkable and heart-warming gesture shown not only your love for the Government and people of Rivers State, but also, demonstrated expressly that you are, indeed, a President for every State of the Federation and all Nigerians.”
False? True. Printer’s Devil? Not so.

The Governor went on:

“I assure you that the Rivers State Government is willing and ever ready to cooperate and partner with the Federal Government to advance the developmental aspirations of Rivers State in particular, and our nation in general.”

On seeing the above, I am sure millions of people must have cleaned their eyes, wondering if they were reading correctly. Having satisfied themselves that there were no cataracts, they went ahead:
“I wish to, therefore, appeal to Mr President to kindly oblige us a State visit when invited, to see what we have accomplished for the State and our people with the money.”

Wike, inviting President Buhari on a State visit. False? True. Printer’s Devil? Not so. He meant every word of it, and therefore appended his signature.

Many times, I had responded as spokesman to the President, to wolf cries by the Rivers State Governor. At a point, I began to ignore such cries, just as I did to Fayose before him. Mr President simply took all the wild allegations in his strides, and continued working for the country, all parts of the country.

In January 2018, there had been vicious killings in some parts of the country. States affected were; Benue, Taraba, Plateau, Yobe, Rivers and Zamfara. The President decided to embark on sympathy and solidarity visits to the states. All the Governors were receptive, except Wike, who said the visit was a smokescreen, meant to revive the dying APC in Rivers State.

“Apart from Jesus Christ, we don’t know of anyone who has risen a dead thing. APC is a dead party in Rivers State. No matter how you fast and pray, it will never wake up, “ he had said.

Again, he declared at another time, talking of the President: “We are the only state that the Federal Government refused to pay us our money used to execute Federal projects, because I don’t go to see him in the night, and I won’t go. He is not my friend, he is not doing well…”

When about 20 people were killed on New Year Day 2018, in Omoku area of the state, and the President wanted to visit, Wike demurred. He said there were killings everyday all over the country, and it meant the President must visit every State on a daily basis.

The circle has turned fully round, and Governor Wike is inviting the President to visit. He says he’s “a President for every State of the Federation and all Nigerians.” Wonderful!

Some people say it is N78.9 billion that is working, and the Governor is clearly inebriated by that windfall. But I don’t think so. Rivers is by no means a poor state. The amount is handsome, no doubt, but the state is oil rich, and can hold her own when it comes to finances. I rather choose to believe that Governor Wike had been playing a curious kind of politics all along, and now, fairness and justice have touched him in a positive way.

“He is not my friend, he is not doing well, ‘ he had said. Now, he is calling the man “our dear President “ asking him to be “assured of our profound esteem.” Wonders, indeed, shall never end.

There are millions upon millions of us round the country, who love President Buhari, and believe in him. We are called Buharists, and we have no apologies. They abuse us, deride and malign us, at times, they even threaten us. But we remain who and what we are: Buharists. Come rain or shine.

Why do we love the President, and unconditionally too. Is he a flawless, perfect man? Does he run a perfect, flawless government? Not exactly so, and I’ve not seen any in this world. But we stand by him, through thick and thin. Like Dr Okolo Oteri Eme, one of the Buhari Amazons posted on Facebook earlier this week, “We do not support him because we like him but because he gives us solid, verifiable reasons to love him on a daily basis.”

I see a man with solid integrity, honesty, sense of accountability, in a forest of crooked, perverse people, and you ask me not to follow him? I will follow him from Benin to Beijing, from Cape to Cairo, anywhere, everywhere.

I see a man bringing enduring change to agriculture, to infrastructure; roads, rail, bridges, airports, laying a $2.8 billion gas pipeline, money he could have craftily diverted for himself and for generations unborn, and you ask me not to believe in him? #We Believe! Ask Maryam Shetty, another Buhari Amazon.

I am glad Governor Wike has now seen what we had seen long ago, some of us as far back as 1983. And he has realized that it was time to stop the kind of politics he had played all the while.

My friend, Lorenz Mba, summed it all up in a message he sent to me on Wednesday. “For those who constantly maligned PMB, and called him all sorts of unprintable names, N78.9 billion is your answer. You simply won’t give those you hate N78.9 billion. I see that this gesture has truly humbled Nyesom Wike.

Politics is all about propaganda. I salute PMB for his show of maturity in all these grandstanding by Southeast and South-south politicians. Go to Enugu-Port Harcourt Expressway, Onitsha-Enugu, 2nd Niger Bridge today. Talk was cheap. PMB showed up. Enough of rhetoric, Biko.”

We said it that President Buhari hates no part of the country. He has come to serve, and not to be served. He is fair and equitable to all. But they said our mouths were smelling, and we should shut up. Governor Wike has now vindicated us. We are glad. We Believe!

Graft Allegation: Ignore Calls For An Independent Investigation Of Adesina – Obasanjo

 

Former President, Olusegun Obasanjo has called on the board of the African Development Bank to ignore calls for an independent investigation of Akinwumi Adesina by the US treasury secretary.

Chief Obasanjo argued in a recent communique that the call negates the ethics of the Bank.

Obasanjo also called on former African leaders to collectively issue a press statement in support of the laid down procedures used to evaluate the allegations against the President of the Bank, Dr. Akinwunmi Adesina.

The elder statesman who made the call in a letter dated May 26, and addressed to thirteen former African leaders, said, “If we do not rise up and defend the African Development Bank, this might mean the end of the African Development Bank, as its governance will be hijacked away from Africa”.

READ ALSO: ‘I Maintain My Innocence’ AfDB Chief, Adesina Hits Back Over Graft Accusations

He said, “We should speak against the introduction of alien practices being recommended by some parties given that such recommendation falls outside the laid down procedure, laws, rules and regulations of the Bank. It is also critical that we emphasize the need for the AfDB to remain an Africa-focused development Bank rather than one which serves interests outside Africa”.

He lamented that “Unfortunately, the US Government, through the US Treasury Secretary, has written a public letter (that was also distributed to the Press globally) to disagree with the conclusions of the Ethics Committee of the Board of Directors and the Chairman of the Board of Governors of the Bank. Instead of accepting the exoneration of the President of the Bank, they called for an “independent investigation”.

This is outside of the rules, laws, procedures and governance systems of the Bank. The US Treasury Secretary disparaged the Bank and ridiculed the entire governance system of the Bank, which has been in place since 1964. This is unprecedented in the annals of the African Development Bank Group.

The letter partly read: “I am writing to you in respect of developments at the African Development Bank. As you may be aware the President of the Bank, Dr. Akinwumi Adesina has performed very well in this position over the past five years. He has taken the Bank to great heights”.

“In 2020, he led the Bank to achieve a historic general capital increase, raising the capital of the Bank from $93 billion to $208 billion, an increase of $155 billion, the highest in the history of the Bank since its establishment in 1964”.

“I have been made to understand that the Bank also successfully raised funds from donor countries of over $7 billion for the African Development Fund 15th replenishment for low-income countries, an increase of 35%.

“Under his leadership the Bank launched the Africa Investment Forum (AIF) to mobilize massive flows of capital to Africa. The inaugural launch of the AIF held in Johannesburg, South Africa, secured 38.7 Billion of investment interests within less than 72 hours. The AIF event held in 2019 went even further and secured $40.1 Billion of investment interest in less than 72 hours. Africa has never seen these kinds of financial and investment interests”.

The former President emphasized that “The Bank has been effectively positioned as an effective global institution, ranked 4th globally in terms of transparency among 45 multilateral and bilateral institutions by Publish What You Fund, an outfit that consists of 19 developed economies. Dr. Adesina led the Bank to successfully launch at the G7 Summit in Biarritz, France, the Affirmative Finance Action for Women (AFAWA) to mobilize $3 Billion for women businesses and entrepreneurs in Africa, with strong support and resources from G7 leaders and nations”.

“The Bank has also substantially aligned its financing and operations to help accelerate Agenda 2063 and the High 5 agenda of the Bank (Light Up and Power Africa; Feed Africa; Industrialize Africa; Integrate Africa; and Improve the Quality of Life of the People of Africa) are achieving good results”.

“Over the past four years, it is estimated that 18 million people were provided with access to electricity, through ‘Light Up and Power Africa’: 141 million people gained access to improved agricultural technologies for food security, through ‘Feed Africa’; 13 million people benefited from access to finance from private sector investment projects, through ‘Industrialize Africa’; 101 million people benefited from access to better transport through ‘integrate Africa’; 60 million people benefit from improved access to water and sanitation under ‘Improved quality of life for the people of Africa’. In summary: in less than five years under Dr. Adesina’s leadership, the Bank’s investments have benefited and impacted a total of 333 million Africans”.

“You will agree with me that these achievements are commendable and the Bank has been placed in a strategic position to fast track Africa’s development”.

“Finally, under Dr. Adesina’s leadership of the Bank, it has continued to maintain its Triple A (AAA) rating by all global rating agencies over the past five years”.

Obasanjo added  that “As Africa faces COVID-19, Dr. Adesina again took bold measures to ensure the Bank can respond proactively to support African countries and got its Board of Directors to approve a $10 Billion crisis response facility to support African countries”.

“In addition, the Bank successfully launched a $3 billion ‘Fight COVID-19’ social impact bond on the international capital market, secured at 0.75% interest rate. The social bond is the largest US dollar denominated bond ever in world history. The bond is now listed on the London Stock Exchange where it has been oversubscribed at $4.6 billion”.

“Given these great achievements, Dr. Adesina was unanimously endorsed for re-election for a second term as President of the Bank by all Heads of State and Governments of the ECOWAS region. At the Africa Union Summit in February of 2020, all 55 African countries endorsed him for re-election for his second term, as the sole candidate as President of the African Development Bank”.

“Despite these achievements and impressive leadership for the Bank and passion for Africa’s faster-paced development, and his clear endorsement by all of African countries for re-election for his second term, there are some attempts, led by some non-regional member countries of the Bank to frustrate his re-election”.

“At issue are some allegations made by some whistleblowers that alleged that Dr. Adesina violated Code of Ethics as President. Dr. Adesina strongly denied the allegations as fabrications and misinformation to disparage and discredit him. The laid down due process at the Bank, the Ethics Committee of the Board of Directors, Chaired by the Executive Director from Japan and with members who represent shareholder member countries evaluated the allegations over a period of three months”, Chief Obasanjo said.

The former military leader said the Ethics Committee of the Board of Directors, after examination of each of the 16 allegations of the whistle-blowers had dismissed each and all of the allegations, as baseless and without any substantiation”.

He further noted that the Chairman of the Board of Governors of the Bank following review of the Ethics Committee report exonerating Dr. Adesina concurred with the conclusions and exonerated Dr. Adesina of all the allegations.

Mr Obasanjo was of the opinion that the Ethics Committee and the Chairman of the Board of Governors had performed their duties as laid down in the rules and regulations of the Bank, and as such, their decision must be respected.