I Will Work Harder In My Second Tenure, Buhari Tells ACF Leaders

 

President Muhammadu Buhari has pledged to work harder in his second tenure by providing security, improving the economy, creating jobs, fighting corruption and upgrading infrastructure.

He said this on Wednesday when he received the leadership of the Arewa Consultative Forum (ACF), at the State House in Abuja.

“This is my last lap. I will try and work even harder than I have done. I assure you that I will not let you down. I pray that my best will be good enough,” he said.

The President, who thanked members of the ACF for their consistent and dogged support, said he remained appreciative of their goodwill.

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Speaking on behalf of the ACF, the Chairman of the Board of Trustees, Mallam Adamu Fika, said the organisation had visited to congratulate President Buhari on his re-election.

Recalling some strategic projects important to the North and the country as a whole abandoned up until 2015 such as the Baro Dry Port and Mambilla Hydro Power station, Mallam Fika said:

“It is pleasing to note that since then, the Baro Dry Port has been commissioned, while some other projects have been reactivated and are now being implemented.”

“We pray that those organs of government charged with the responsibility for the implementation will double their efforts to ensure that these projects are executed fully to their logical conclusion within reasonable time,” he added.

 

Buhari’s Endorsement Splits Arewa Consultative Forum

Arewa Consultative Forum Endorses Buhari For Second Term
President Muhammadu Buhari speaks during a meeting at the State House in Abuja

 

 

The endorsement of the presidential candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Muhammadu Buhari, by the Northern socio-cultural group, Arewa Consultative Forum (ACF), has split the group as some members have kicked against the decision.

Speaking in Makurdi, the Benue State capital, on behalf of the ACF in the North Central zone, a founding member of the forum who is also a lawmaker in the Benue State House of Assembly, Audu Sule, said the endorsement was in breach of the constitution of the forum.

Mr. Audu Sule who made reference to parts of their constitution noted that the forum explicitly agrees that it is a non-political organisation, and wondered why the forum would adopt a member when other members and Northern Nigerian citizens are also standing in the same election with President Buhari.

The ACF in a statement by its chairman, Musa Kwande, on Tuesday announced the group’s endorsement of President Buhari for a second term ahead of the presidential election scheduled to hold on Saturday.

He noted that the ACF came to the decision after carefully studying the antecedents of the major presidential candidates, the manifestoes and policy documents of their parties, alongside the need for social, political and economic stability in the country.

READ ALSOArewa Consultative Forum Endorses Buhari For Second Term

“The decision on who to elect should not be based on any form of inducements, mob hysteria, intimidation or false promises, but by calm and deliberate consideration of the candidates’ qualities of leadership, performance and moral standing in their public and private lives,” he stated.

The ACF explained that President Buhari deserved a second term to consolidate on his achievements, given the strides made by the Buhari administration to improve and reposition the nation economically.

Arewa Consultative Forum Endorses Buhari For Second Term

Arewa Consultative Forum Endorses Buhari For Second Term
President Muhammadu Buhari speaks during a meeting at the State House in Abuja.

 

The Arewa Consultative Forum (ACF) has endorsed President Muhammadu Buhari for second term ahead of the presidential election scheduled to hold on Saturday.

The forum announced its support for the President in a statement by its acting Chairman, Musa Kwande, on Tuesday.

It noted that it carefully studied the antecedents of major presidential candidates, the manifestoes and policy documents of their parties, alongside the need for social, political and economic stability in the country.

The ACF explained that this made it come to the conclusion that President Buhari deserved a second term to consolidate on his achievements.

It added that its stand was informed by the strides taken by the Buhari administration to improve and reposition the nation economically.

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Some of the steps highlighted by the forum include the multi-billion Dollar Mambilla hydropower project, the exploration of oil in Gongola Basin of the Benue through the Baro inland port, the North East Development Commission, and the ongoing rail line projects nationwide among other critical infrastructural development projects.

The ACF stressed that the capacity to tackle security challenges, fighting corruption, and boosting the economy by way of diversification away from over-dependence on oil, and the integrity of the President to raise the image of Nigeria in the comity of nations was important in the election.

The statement read, “The decision on who to elect should not be based on any form of inducements, mob hysteria, intimidation or false promises, but by calm and deliberate consideration of the candidates’ qualities of leadership, performance and moral standing in their public and private lives.

“The ACF is, therefore, of the view that certain attributes such as clarity of thought, unity of purpose, content of character and morality of the candidates, their leadership qualities, performance and general acceptability of the candidates contesting for not only the office of the president of the Federal Republic of Nigeria but also for other elective offices should guide voters in making their choices.

“ACF also calls on the politicians and their supporters as well as the electorates to avoid all forms of violence before, during and after the elections.

“This is because violence is never a solution to any grievances. It not only destroys our democratic process but also lives and property. Democracy is a contest of ideas and reasons.

“Also, ACF urges the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to live up its promise and assurances for credible, free and fair elections.”

2019 Elections: Arewa Consultative Forum Pledges Neutrality

2019 Elections: Arewa Consultative Forum Pledges Neutrality
(File) An electorate casts his vote in an election held in September 2018.

 

The Arewa Consultative Forum (ACF) has said that it will not endorse any particular presidential candidate for the general elections in 2019.

The acting Chairman of the forum, Mr Musa Kwande, stated this on Thursday when he received the presidential candidate of the Peoples Trust Party (PT), Mr Gbenga Hasim, at the ACF National Headquarters in Kaduna State.

He insisted that the forum would not align itself with any political party or candidate, including the incumbent President, Muhammadu Buhari of the All Progressives Congress (APC), and former Vice President Atiku Abubakar of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).

Kwande explained that it would be totally unfair to endorse any candidate or support any political party since the majority of the contestants were from the North and also sons of the region.

He said rather than supporting any candidate or political party, the body would continue to remain neutral and non-partisan but focus on promoting peace, unity and interest of the northern region.

The ACF told the PT candidate that Nigeria’s democratic terrain at the moment required an individual who has an articulate and thorough blueprint that would lift the country to be among the comity of great nations.

In his remarks, Hasim assured the Kwande and the forum that he would work towards restoring the country in its rightful place of development if elected as president.

He also promised to revamp the economy, unite the people, restore the security of lives and property of citizens, and create millions of jobs for the youths, among others.

ACF Urges FG to Probe $16bn Power Sector Spending

The Arewa Consultative Forum (ACF) has joined in the call by some Nigerians on the Federal Government to probe the alleged mismanagement of $16billion invested in the power sector between 1999 till date.

In a statement issued on Monday by its national publicity secretary, Muhammad Ibrahim Biu, ACF said the call for probe of the power sector has become necessary considering the harm which corruption has inflicted on the nation and the promise by the current government to fight it.

Biu in the statement said public officials, no matter how highly placed, must account for their malfeasance while in office. He added that the probe will serve as a deterrent to others and instil prudence in managing the public office for performance.

READ ALSO: Orji Kalu Attacks Obasanjo, Says Ex-President Only Thinks For Himself

“From 1999 to date, the promises made by our political leaders to improve the power supply have mostly been observed in the breach.

“The National Assembly had sometimes probed the alleged corruption associated with the power supply, but Nigerians are yet to know the fate of that probe,” the statement read in part.

ACF also expresses worry over lack to bring to justice those found guilty of mismanaging public funds.

“Most worrisome is the lack of the political will to bring to justice those found guilty by the probes which have unfortunately continued to encourage corruption by making it a way of life and culture,” the statement said.

ACF Asks FG Not To Implement Confab Report

The Arewa Consultative Forum has asked the Federal Government not to accept or implement any of the recommendations of the 2014 National Conference.

The northern socio-political group is alleging that the Confab recommendations were made by a group of un-elected delegates saying it will be undemocratic for anyone to canvass for the implementation of the report.

“The opposition of the north to the implementation of the recommendations in report of 2014 National Conference is not so much because of any legal consideration as to its legitimacy, but also because the selection of the conference delegates was skewed against the north in numbers, considering its population,” the National Publicity Secretary of the Forum, Muhammad Ibrahim Biu, said.

This is coming in the face of the increased debate over the implementation or otherwise of the Confab report as well as calls for a national restructuring.

Kaduna State Governor, El-Rufai was also in support of the idea that the Confab report should not be implemented.

Furthermore, he described those calling for a restructuring as mere opportunists adding that the Buhari-led government does not believe that the implementation of the report is a good place to begin.

“The National Chairman of our party will restate that commitment and we are discussing it and as I said, President Buhari and Osinbajo’s government has taken very concrete steps rather than rhetoric to actually move in that direction and we are going to move in that direction but we do not believe that the basis for it is rhetoric and opportunism, we do not believe that the 2014 CONFAB report is a sensible basis to even begin,” he stated.

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Meanwhile, among those who have an opposing view is Legal Practitioner, Isaac Anumudu who believes that the implementation could resolve a lot of problems bedeviling the nation.

He then stated that even if the Confab report cannot be implemented in its entirety, it was possible to take on aspects of it that are very critical.

Read Also: Markarfi Disagrees With El-Rufai Over Confab Report

Factional National Chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Ahmed Markafi also expressed support for the idea of restructuring, noting that the implementation of the Confab report is infact a good place to begin.

IDP Funds: Arewa Forum Wants Fair Hearing For SGF Lawal

Babachir LawalThe Arewa Consultative Forum (ACF) has called for fair hearing for the Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Mr Babachir Lawal, in the allegation of abuse of office leveled against him by the Senate.

After its National Executive Council meeting on Wednesday, the ACF National Publicity Secretary, Muhammad Ibrahim, said “the forum remains on the side of justice for all and therefore supports the probe of the SGF on the corruption allegations levelled against him”, saying such will give him fair hearing.

The forum also demanded constant security surveillance and intelligence gathering around troubled areas of Kaduna, Zamfara and Taraba states where lives and property have been lost, to forestall future occurrences.

Mr Ibrahim said: “It is not in the character of the ACF to take sides on allegations of corruption against any government official or private individuals without proper investigation. The rule of natural justice demands that before you pronounce any body guilty of an allegation, you must give him a fair hearing.

“The anti-corruption war cannot be applied selectively, all are subject to thorough investigation. Those found culpable are punished in accordance with the law.

“We, therefore, support the courage of President Muhammadu Buhari to investigate allegations of corruption against top government officials of his administration. This clearly demonstrates his total commitment to doing what is right irrespective of who is involved. It is our hope that the Attorney General of the Federation will avail the officials concerned a fair hearing in the interest of justice.

“ACF is equally calling on Nigerians to support President Buhari in this very difficult anti corruption war. The challenges are enormous which requires collective duty to put all hands on deck to save our dear country from insecurity and corruption”.

On the killings in Kaduna, Taraba, Zamfara and Benue states, Mr Ibrahim the ACF expressed concerns, saying it is worried about the recurrent communal clashes between farmers and herdsmen in some Northern States like Zamfara, Taraba, Benue and Kaduna.

“This seemingly intractable security challenge in the north which have continued to hinder our socio-economic development is disturbing and unacceptable.

“The recent communal clashes in some communities in Gassol Local Government Area of Taraba State and that of Jama’a and Kauru Local Government Areas in Southern part of Kaduna State where innocent lives were killed and property destroyed, are worrisome and condemnable.

“So, in consideration of these and other insecurity situations in the region, ACF in collaboration with Sir Ahmadu Bello Memorial Foundation is proposing to host a Northern Security Summit in February next year that will address the numerous issues of cattle rustling, kidnapping, communal clashes etc. The Summit is aimed at complementing the efforts of Government to finding lasting solutions to the problems.

“We commend the efforts of the affected state governments in their unwavering commitment to the pursuit of peaceful co-existence through dialogue and peace building processes among the communities in their States.

“We urge the Security Agencies to step up surveillance and intelligence gathering to forestall future occurrences,” he suggested.

The ACF spokesman, however, expressed the groups condolences and sympathy to the families that lost their loved ones during the incidents.

The Senate had called for Mr Lawal, over his involvement in a 223 million Naira contract, meant for the humanitarian crisis management in the northeast Nigeria.

In an interim report by the Senate’s ad-hoc committee investigating the mounting humanitarian crisis in the northeast, the committee stated that the Presidential Initiative on the Northeast awarded contracts to top government officials, friends and family members.

The investigation of the committee further showed that a 223 million Naira contract was awarded to Rholavision Engineering Limited, which is anchored by the SGF to carry out information and communication technology services.

Youth Group Condemns Attack On Oil Installation In Niger Delta

Oil-TheftA youth group under the auspices of Conference of Leaders of Ethnic Nationality Youth Organization of Nigeria has condemned all acts of economic sabotage in the country with particular reference to the recent attack on oil installations in the Niger Delta.

The group, which is drawn from the youth arm of all the socio-cultural group in the country including Arewa Consultative Forum, Ohanaeze Ndigbo and Afenifere, paid a courtesy visit to the Imo State Governor, Rochas Okorocha at the Government House in Owerri the Imo state capital south east Nigeria.

The National President of the association, Mr Yerima Shettima, in his address urged the federal Government to halt the increasing act of impunity in the country and follow due process in handling cases of dissidence from any quarter as well as ensure that dialogue is pursued to reduce the present tension in the country.

He said youths from all over the country who have come under one umbrella are ready to collaborate with the Federal Government to move Nigeria forward as they remain committed to the unity of the country based on equity, social justice and a level playing ground for all Nigerians.

Meanwhile the host, Governor Okorocha while responding, commended the youths for coming together under one umbrella irrespective of ethnic differences to speak the truth and support the administration of President Muhammadu Buhari.

He said the unity of Nigeria is not negotiable and therefore urged the youths to continue in one spirit so Nigeria can be better for all.

ACF Urges State Governments To Grant Autonomy To LGAs

Boko Haram-arewaThe Board of Trustees (BOT) of Arewa Consultative Forum (ACF) has urged state governments in Nigeria to grant total financial autonomy to the Local Governments by giving them free hand to manage the federal allocations that are channeled to them.

In a statement signed by its Chairman, Mallam Adamu Fika, at the end of its meeting in Kaduna on Wednesday, the forum explained that the granting of financial autonomy to the Local Governments will enable them execute projects that have direct bearing on the welfare and development of the people, rather than the use of joint accounts that have in most cases become a conduit pipe for misapplication and abuse of state funds.

While advising the various state governments to respect the constitutional autonomy of the Local Government Councils, the Forum stressed that such autonomy will boost economic activities and generate employment opportunities, especially at the grassroots level.

The ACF also called on all tiers of government to address the issue of payment of back log of domestic debts, especially those owed to local contractors, workers and pensioners emoluments, which will equally revive the economic activities.

It also commended the steps taken by the Federal Government to investigate and repatriate stolen public funds, describing it as not only appropriate and timely, but will also sanitize the system and revive prudence and discipline in the conduct of public officers.

The ACF, while commending the effort of the Federal Government in tackling the Boko Haram insurgency in the north east, expressed optimism that the success being recorded by the military and other security agencies in combating insurgency in the northeast is as a result of the support and encouragement from the Federal Government and the determination of the field commanders to end the insurgency within the time frame given by President Muhammadu Buhari.

Insurgency: Buhari Faults Use Of South African Mercenaries

BuhariNigeria’s President-elect, General Muhammadu Buhari, has expressed disappointment over the hiring of South African mercenaries by the Nigerian military authorities to confront the Boko Haram insurgents in the north-east.

General Buhari wondered why the military was incapable of ending the insurgency in just 14 out of the 774 Local Government Councils in Nigeria’s north-east, without the assistance of the South African mercenaries.

At a meeting with the National Executive Council of the Arewa consultative Forum (ACF) in Kaduna on Tuesday, Buhari said on assumption of office, his administration would concentrate on four major areas which include insecurity, economy, unemployment and corruption.

He added that his administration would also ensure that every Nigerian would live within his means or earnings, noting that a situation where people live above their earnings would not be tolerated.

Earlier in his address, ACF chairman and retired Inspector General of Police, Ibrahim Coomassie, told Buhari that Nigerians voted for him because they believed in his integrity, knack for transparency, accountability, honesty and commitment to security of lives and property.

Mr Coomassie further stressed that Nigeria had never experienced the level of decay, collapse of moral values, high level of corruption, crime, unemployment and impoverishment of the citizenry like in the last six years.

Groups Differ On IGP’s Sack

IGP-PoliceThe Arewa Consultative Forum (ACF) has condemned the sacking of the Inspector-General of Police, Suleiman Abba, by the Nigerian President.

President Goodluck Jonathan had sacked the Police chief on Tuesday, giving no reason for his sack.

Chairman of the forum and a former Inspector-General of Police, Ibrahim Coomasie, told Channels Television in an interview that the sacking of the IGP few days after the last general elections and just over a month to the handover of power to a new government is suspicious and raised questions of a political motive.

Mr. Coomasie noted that rather than relieving Mr Abba of his position, President Jonathan should have allowed him to continue in office until the next government comes in and determine his fate alongside other service chiefs.

He insisted that the President’s sacking of the Police chief while retaining other service chiefs has created room for suspicion on what could be the reason behind his action.

Ekiti Group Hails IGP’s Sack

While the ACF Chairman has called on the Nigerian President to explain to Nigerians, his reason for sacking the former IGP in order not to give room for speculations and allegations from different quarters, another group, the Ekiti Democratic Coalition (EDC) has hailed the removal of the IGP.

The EDC has accused Mr Abba of collaborating with the All Progressives Congress (APC) to subvert the mandate of Ekiti people that was freely given to the Ekiti State Governor, Ayodele Fayose.

In a statement signed by its Convener, Boladale Adeniyi, EDC alleged that the sacked IGP Abba and the immediate past Commissioner of Police in Ekiti State, Taiwo Lakanu, aided the APC lawmakers in their plot to remove Governor Fayose.

Minimah Denies Recruitment Of Ex-militants To Fight Boko Haram

Kenneth MinimahThe Chief of Army Staff, Lt. Gen. Kenneth Minimah on Friday denied the purported plan to enlist 10,000 ex- Niger Delta militants in Nigeria’s south-south and ex-service men to boost the fight against insurgents in the north-east.

The pan-northern socio-political organisation, the Arewa Consultative Forum had on Thursday warned the authority of the Nigerian Army against using ex-militants, who had benefitted from the late President Umaru Yar’Adua amnesty programme, under any guise to fight the Boko Haram insurgents in some parts of the north.

However, General Minimah at the commissioning of the Radio Diagnosis Centre of the 44 Nigerian Army Reference Hospital, Kaduna on Friday, asked Nigerians to discard the rumour, noting that the Nigerian military has the full capacity to rout out the terrorists.

He explained that the commissioning of the ultra-modern Radio Diagnosis Centre was part of the efforts by the Army authorities to boost the health and welfare of military personnel.

He also said the authorities of the Nigerian Army upgraded the hospital to a level four international standard given the nation’s contributions to peacekeeping across the world.

Earlier in his address, the Corps Commander Medicals of the Nigerian Army, Major General Obashina Ogunbiyi said the hospital remained the foremost tertiary and referral centre in the state which cater for both the army and civilian populace.

With the commissioning of the diagnostic centre, it is expected that the health needs of Kaduna residents and environs would be met and also reduce the high rate of medical tourism abroad due to poor health facilities in Nigeria.