Recession: Nigeria Must Stop Borrowing – Atiku

Supreme Court To Hear Atiku's Appeal August 20
A file photo of former Vice President Atiku Abubakar.

 

Former vice-president Atiku Abubakar says Nigeria needs to stop borrowing to avert sliding into a further recession.

Atiku, on Sunday, in a series of posts on his official Twitter handle reacted to Nigeria’s economic slip into recession.

In his statement titled, ‘We Must Exit This Recession With Precision,’ Atiku said it is a very heavy heart that he received the news which confirms that for the second time in five years, Nigeria has entered into another recession.

He said the nation must stop borrowing for anything other than essential needs adding that, the more the country keeps borrowing, the more it stands the risk of defaulting.

READ ALSO: Recession: SERAP Asks Buhari To Cut Cost Of Governance

“The more we borrow, the more we will need cash to make interest and principal payments, and the less cash we will have to make necessary investments in our economy and our people.

“If we keep borrowing, we stand the risk of defaulting, and that will make recession a child’s play because we will lose some of our sovereignty,” he said.

Atiku also called on President Muhammadu Buhari to heed to the patriotic counsel given by himself and other well-meaning Nigerians on cutting the cost of governance.

 

 

See his full statement below…

We Must Exit This Recession With Precision.

It is with a very heavy heart that I received the confirmation that for the second time in five years, #Nigeria has entered into another #recession.

Heaviness of heart, because this could have been avoided had this administration taken heed to the patriotic counsel given by myself and other well-meaning Nigerians on cutting the cost of governance, saving for a rainy day, and avoiding profligate borrowing.

Yes, the COVID19 pandemic has exacerbated an already bad situation; however, we could have avoided this fate by disciplined and prudent management of our economy.

Be that as it may, it serves no one’s purposes to quarrel after the fact. We must focus on solutions. Nigeria needs critical leadership to guide her back to the path of economic sustainability.

We cannot afford hand wringing and navel-gazing. We must act now, by taking necessary, and perhaps painful actions.

For a start, the proposed 2021 budget presented to the National Assembly on Tuesday, October 8, 2020, is no longer tenable.

Nigeria neither has the resources, or the need to implement such a luxury heavy budget. The nation is broke, but not broken. However, if we continue to spend lavishly, even when we do not earn commensurately, we would go from being a broke nation to being a broken nation.

As a matter of importance and urgency, every non-essential line item in the proposed 2021 budget must be expunged.

For the avoidance of doubt, this ought to include estacodes, non-emergency travel, feeding, welfare packages, overseas training, new vehicle purchases, office upgrades, non-salary allowances, etc.

Until our economic prospects improve, Nigeria ought to exclusively focus on making budgetary proposals for essential items, which include reasonable wages and salaries, infrastructural projects, and social services (citizenry’s health, and other human development investments).

Additionally, we have to stimulate the economy, by investing in human development and increasing the purchasing power of the most vulnerable of our population. Only a well-developed populace can generate enough economic activity for the nation to exit this recession.

We must invest in those most likely to be impacted by the effects of the recession, the poorest of the poor. As well as stimulating the economy, this also ensures that they do not slip further into extreme poverty.

For example, a stimulus package, in the form of monthly cash transfers of ₦5000 to be made to every bank account holder, verified by a Bank Verification Number, whose combined total deposit in the year 2019 was lower than the annual minimum wage.

For example, a stimulus package, in the form of monthly cash transfers of ₦5000 to be made to every bank account holder, verified by a Bank Verification Number, whose combined total deposit in the year 2019 was lower than the annual minimum wage.

Now, how will this be funded? By more profligate borrowing? No. I propose a luxury tax on goods and services that are exclusively accessible only to the super-wealthy. A tax on the ultra-wealthy to protect the extremely poor.

A practical approach to this is to place a 15% tax on all Business and First Class tickets sold to and from Nigeria, on all luxury car imports and sales, on all private jets imports and service charges, on all jewelry imports and sales, on all designer products imported, produced or sold in Nigeria, and on all other luxury goods either manufactured or imported into Nigeria, with the exception of goods made for export.

The proceeds of this tax should be exclusively dedicated to a Poverty Eradication Fund, which must be managed in the same manner as the Tertiary Education Trust Fund, or the Ecological Fund.

I further propose that a 1% poverty alleviation tax should be legislated by the National Assembly on the profits of every International Oil Company operating in Nigeria, and international airlines doing business in Nigeria, which should also go towards the proposed Poverty Eradication Fund.

It is inhumane for us as a nation to increase the cost of goods and services that affect the poor, while keeping the cost of luxuries fairly stable. We must flip this, and flip it immediately.

And above all, Nigeria must stop borrowing for anything other than essential needs. Again, for the avoidance of doubt, borrowing to pay salaries, or to engage in White Elephant projects, is not an essential need.

This is particularly important as we need cash at hand because the world and our economic and development partners are also focused on helping their home economies overcome the effects of COVID19. We must be our own saviors.

The more we borrow, the more we will need cash to make interest and principal payments, and the less cash we will have to make necessary investments in our economy and our people.

If we keep borrowing, we stand the risk of defaulting, and that will make a recession a child’s play because we will lose some of our sovereignty.

I urge the administration of President Muhammadu Buhari to swallow its pride, and accept its limitations, so that they can open their minds to ideas, without caring who the messenger is.

For as Deng Xiaoping said, “It doesn’t matter whether the cat is black or white, so long as it catches mice.”

Atiku, Saraki Congratulate Biden On Election Victory

A photo combination of former Vice President Atiku Abubakar and former Senate President Bukola Saraki.

 

More congratulatory messages have continued to pour in for former Vice-President Joe Biden following his projected victory in the United States presidential election.

As Nigeria, the United Kingdom, and France among other countries and prominent leaders congratulate Biden for the feat recorded, former Vice President Atiku Abubakar and former Senate President Bukola Saraki have also made their voices heard.

In a statement on Saturday, Atiku described Biden’s victory as well-deserved and anticipated the age-long collaboration between Nigerian and the U.S. in the course of the advancement of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness for the people.

“Nigeria and the United States are two nations, united by a common language.

“Indeed, the first major trip by the leader of an Independent Nigeria was July 25, 1961, White House visit of the golden voice of Africa, the late Sir Tafawa Balewa, under President John F. Kennedy,” he said.

The former vice president believes Nigeria and the world have much to learn from Biden’s victory, especially from his statement that he would not be a president for only those who voted for him.

He urged the U.S. president-elect to build on the relations between the two counties, especially on widening the African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA) for seamless interplay with the African Continental Free Trade Area (ACFTA).

According to Akitu, it is only by fair trade that Africa will fulfil its potential and a prosperous Africa is good for the United States and the world.

“In electing a man rich in experience, the great people of the United States of America have done the world a great service and I also look forward to your global leadership in the war on terror, and partnership with Nigeria to end the terror and poverty-related insecurities that we face,” he said.

Saraki also congratulated Biden and his running mate in the election, Kamala Harris, who is on course to be the first African-American Vice President and the first female to hold the position.

Read his tweet below:

#EndSARS: Atiku Asks FG To Reform Police, Make It More Civil

Supreme Court To Hear Atiku's Appeal August 20
A file photo of former Vice President Atiku Abubakar.

 

Former Vice President Atiku Abubakar has asked the Federal Government to reform the Nigeria Police Force by making it more civil.

He made this call in Minna on Monday after meeting with former military President, Ibrahim Babangida.

“There is a need for them to reform the Police, actually to make it more civil,” Atiku said while condemning police brutality in the country.

Atiku noted that it’s wrong for police personnel to face unarmed civilians in a democratic setting with guns.

“I had issued a statement supporting the reform of Police and of course also the disbandment of the SARS.

“I was trained by the Police and I know the kind of work they doing now is not the type of work they are trained to do actually.

“You cannot face unarmed civilians in a democracy with guns in any of the world. It is only in this country. So, it is totally unacceptable,” the ex-president said.

Atiku’s comment comes a day after the Inspector General of Police, Mohammed Adamu dissolved the Special Anti-Robbery Squad in the country.

Adamu’s announcement followed days of widespread protests by Nigerians demanding to scrap of the unit which had gained notoriety for brutality and human rights violations.

#EndSARS: I Strongly Condemn Use Of Force On Protesters Across Nigeria – Atiku

 

Former Vice President, Atiku Abubakar, has condemned the use of force on #EndSARS protesters across Nigeria. 

In a series of tweets on Saturday, Atiku also called on relevant authorities to ensure the youths are heard.

The former vice president asked that all incidents of excessive use of force by security agencies against protesters are investigated.

His comments come on the heels of several reports of violence wrought against the protesters and other citizens, the latest being the killing of a young man in Ogbomoso.

The victim named Jimoh Isiaq was shot during a protest in Ogbomoso, though he was not a part of the protest.

READ ALSO: #EndSARS: Trey Songz, Big Sean Join Nigerians In Protest Against Police Brutality

While many say the bullet which killed Isiaq was from the police, the force claim they only used canisters of tear gas to disperse the crowd.

Several videos making the rounds, however, show security operatives firing live arms at those calling for the scrapping of the Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS).

In reaction to the use of force against those protesting, Atiku was of the opinion that the fundamental rights of Nigerians to freedom of assembly and freedom of expression must be protected at all costs.

“Nigerians should be provided with a non-toxic environment for #EndSARSProtests.

“It is their constitutional right and an ingredient of democracy.

“They deserve to be heard and not killed or maimed,” Atiku tweeted.

Atiku who had in a previous tweet noted that SARS has morphed into an oppressor of the Nigerian masses said he stands with all those who are peacefully protesting to end police brutality in a bid to enthrone a new policing order that underscores the interest of the citizens.

The elder statesman commended the tenacity of protesters who he described as brave youths who have stayed out on the streets all day and night to make their voices heard.

Nigeria’s Future Depends On Our Commitment To A Common Destiny – Atiku

 

Former Vice President, Atiku Abubakar, says Nigeria’s future depends on the nation’s commitment to a common destiny. 

In a statement on Wednesday, Mr. Atiku said the nation is in dire need of healing.

“We must foster unity and douse the tense atmosphere which is breeding feelings of alienation. We must promote freedom of speech and freedom after the speech,” the elder statesman said.

Atiku also said that force alone is not enough to defeat separatist agitations in Nigeria. He advised the government to do everything to address issues that have given rise to various agitations.

He appealed to separatist groups to lay down their arms in the interest of the nation, arguing that taking up arms against the nation will further harm the country’s growth.

READ ALSO: It Makes No Sense For Oil To Be Cheaper In Nigeria Than Saudi Arabia – Buhari

Further appealing to the dissidents, the former vice president was of the opinion that “If Nelson Mandela could reconcile with those who imprisoned him for twenty-seven years, we can reconcile with those who have disagreed with us.

“I call on those who have taken up arms against Nigeria to have a rethink. Whatever differences they may have with the rest of Nigeria, whether religious, ethnic, or political terror, violence and separatism are not the way. Let us learn from history.

“In Ireland, Israel, and the Balkans, such groups have seen the wisdom in giving up the armed struggle for participation in the political process. There is much wisdom in the saying that to jaw-jaw is better than to war-war. We must accept the reality that we are all brothers and sisters sired by our fatherland.

“We cannot defeat separatist groups by force of arms alone; we can only defeat separatism by making all Nigerians feel they belong. This is only possible when we live up to the words of our national motto: Unity and Faith, Peace, and Progress.”

In the spirit of Nigeria’s 60th Independence Anniversary, Atiku called on the federal and state governments, to release all political prisoners and detainees, and to discontinue the prosecution of such individuals.

NBC N5m Fine, ‘A Naked Attempt To Gag The Media’ – Atiku

A file photo of former Vice President Atiku Abubakar. Photo: Channels TV/ Sodiq Adelakun.

 

Former Vice President Atiku Abubakar has condemned the fine of N5 million imposed on a Lagos-based radio state – 99.3 FM Nigeria Info by the National Broadcasting Commission (NBC).

In a statement he personally signed on Thursday, he asked the NBC to drop the penalty against the station, describing the reason given for its action as an attempt to gag the media in the country.

The former vice president disagreed with the nation’s broadcasting regulatory agency with its argument that the interview that the station had with a former Deputy Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Dr Obadiah Mailafia, constituted any infringement and exposed the media outfit to trading in hate speech.

He argued that whether or not, what Mailafia during the programme aired on the radio station was a false claim, it was not the responsibility of the NBC to impose a sanction for a comment made by an individual.

Atiku stressed that the former CBN deputy governor had been quizzed and released by law enforcement agents, adding that they were at liberty to prosecute him in court if they were not satisfied with his explanations.

He insisted that it was wrong to make a scapegoat of the media platform which provides opportunities for citizens to ventilate their views.

READ ALSO: NBC Fines Radio Station N5m For Unprofessional Broadcast

The former vice president also called on the NBC to review the hate speech prohibition code, saying the interpretation of same was offensive to the notion of free speech

Read the full statement by the former vice president below:

We are compelled to react to the Nigeria Broadcasting Commission code concerning infringement on hate speech and the operational style that media houses should employ to conform with the new regulation.

While there is no disputation over the fact that hate speech portends an existential threat to the enterprise of journalistic reporting and, in fact, inhibits the workings for a free society, it is absolutely repugnant that powers that be would instrumentalise the prevention of hate speech as a means of constricting free speech.

It is globally acknowledged that one of the core functions of the mass media is to inform the society on all ranges of issues, not even to the exclusion of national security issues.

The mass media has a role to play in ensuring that all possible shades of opinions are given access to the media platform.

In many advanced democracies the world over, criminals on even wanted lists of law enforcement agencies have reached out to the media to express their opinions about the crimes that they had perpetrated and the media space was not denied to them.

As a matter of fact, it seems somewhat contradictory that a country like ours, which is in the throes of national security skirmishes, would choose to shrink media access to critical information.

It is not known if any society had won the war against terrorism by placing a restriction to access to information, in the way the NBC had done.

In a particular reference to the penalty handed down to the operators of 99.3 FM Nigeria Info, we disagree wholeheartedly with the argument of the NBC that the interview that the station had with Dr Obadiah Mailafia constitutes any infringement or if at all it exposes the station to trading in hate speech.

Whether or not what Dr Mailafia said on the radio station was a false claim, it is outside of the objectives of a responsible regulatory framework to sanction a radio station for a comment an individual made, more so that the personality in question, Dr Obadiah, had been quizzed and released by law enforcement agents.

If for any reason the authorities are not satisfied with his explanations, they are at liberty to prosecute him in court, but not to make a scapegoat of the media platform that provides opportunities for citizens to ventilate their views.

The claim by the management of NBC that “this (the penalty) is expected to serve as a deterrent to all other broadcast stations in Nigeria who are quick to provide platform for subversive rhetorics and expositions of spurious and unverifiable claims, to desist from such”, is a naked attempt to gag the media in Nigeria.

We, therefore, call on the Nigeria Broadcasting Commission (NBC) to cause a review of the hate speech prohibition code because the very interpretation of same is offensive to the notion of free speech which is an essential ingredient of participatory democracy that Nigeria operates.

We also demand of the NBC to drop the penalty against the operators of 99.3 Nigeria Info FM on account of the fact that the penalty is at best ill-thought out.

Lastly, we want to refresh the memories of the generality of Nigerians that the Nigerian media has been in the frontline of the vanguard in the fight against military rule and restoration of a democratic order. In other words, it is very disappointing that under the watch of the All Progressives Congress (APC) the media is, yet again, being targeted for extermination.

Atiku Media Office

Abuja

13th August 2020

Loan: Atiku Says Buhari, APC Owe Nigerians Apology

Mr Atiku Abubakar addressing a press conference in Abuja on February 27, 2019.

 

Former Vice President and the presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in the 2019 general election, Atiku Abubakar, has asked President Muhammadu Buhari and the All Progressives Congress (APC) to apologise to Nigerians over what he described as reckless borrowing by the administration and how the terms of such loans could compromise the future of the country.

In a statement on Sunday, the former vice president said that some managers of the party and even the government had denied the allegations that he raised as well as the warning for caution.

But according to him, just last week, a cabinet minister confirmed the allegations.

“Now, we all are aware that Nigeria’s sovereignty may have been traded for foreign loans and God forbids our inability to service those loans, the lender country would take ownership of choice infrastructure on the Nigerian soil. No negotiation could be weaker than that!

“Nigeria had a total foreign debt stock of $7.02 billion on May 29, 2015. Today, our foreign debt is $23 billion and rapidly rising. Debt, by itself, is not a bad thing. But debt budgeted for such unproductive ventures, like the proposed $500 million upgrade of the Nigerian Television Authority and other sundry bogus contracts, is debt that leads to death. To trade Nigeria’s sovereignty for this type of profligacy is the height of irresponsibility!,” the statement read in part.

Atiku said he has long advocated for a more robust engagement of the private sector and promotion of foreign direct investment as sustainable alternatives through which government could fund infrastructure development.

Read Also: Minister Of Transportation Appeals To Reps To Stop Probe Of $500m Chinese Loan

But on the contrary, according to him, the Nigerian government under the banner of the All Progressives Congress threaded the direction of looking for cheap foreign loans in exchange for the sovereignty for Nigeria.

“Recall that former President Olusegun Obasanjo’s administration initiated a National Privatization Programme with the sole objective of ensuring that the private sector took some measure of influence in social investment portfolio and, in some instances, provided funding for infrastructure development.

“There was nothing in that plan that traded Nigeria’s sovereignty for some cheap loans which, in the light of unfolding revelations of sleaze in some departments of government, would have ended in private pockets,”.

He, therefore, stated that the government and the APC must apologize to Nigerians and make an admittance of guilt for taking the country through the throes of subjugation to another country.

Atiku Endorses Okonjo-Iweala For WTO Job

A photo combination created on July 11, 2020, of former Vice President Atiku Abubakar and former finance minister, Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala.
A photo combination created on July 11, 2020, of former Vice President Atiku Abubakar and former finance minister, Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala.

 

Former Vice President Atiku Abubakar has endorsed Dr. Ngozi Okonjo Iweala for the post of Director-General of the World Trade Organisation.

Dr. Okonjo-Iweala’s “experience and the enormous related works she has done confirms without equivocation that her leadership shall be a blessing to the WTO and the world,” Atiku said in a tweet on Saturday.

 

In early June, the WTO had acknowledged Okonjo-Iweala as Nigeria’s nominee for the post.

The former finance minister was nominated by President Muhammadu Buhari.

The current WTO Director-General, Mr. Roberto Azevêdo, has announced he will step down on August 31, 2020.

READ ALSO: Buhari Signs Revised 2020 Budget Into Law

The nominees for the post, so far, include Mr. Jesús Seade Kuri of Mexico and Mr. Abdel-Hamid Mamdouh of Egypt, Mr Tudor Ulianovschi of Moldova, Ms Amina C. Mohamed of Kenya, Mr Mohammad Maziad Al-Tuwaijiri of Saudi Arabia and Dr Liam Fox of the United Kingdom.

Dr. Okonjo-Iweala, a world-renowned economist and international development expert, has also be endorsed by the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS).

She currently sits on the Boards of Standard Chartered Bank, Twitter, Global Alliance for Vaccines and Immunization, and the African Risk Capacity.

Suspension Of WAEC Puts Nigeria At More Risk, Says Atiku

Supreme Court To Hear Atiku's Appeal August 20
A file photo of former Vice President Atiku Abubakar.

 

Former Vice President of Nigeria, Atiku Abubakar has reacted to the suspension of the 2020 West Africa Senior School Certificate Examination (WASSCE) by the Federal Government.

Atiku’s reaction comes two days after the Minister of Education, Adamu Adamu announced that no Unity Schools will participate in the scheduled WAEC exams.

Speaking after the Federal Executive Council meeting on Wednesday, the Minister asked the examination body and the state governments to reconsider their decision to open for exams.

In a statement he personally signed on Friday, Atiku said the cancellation will put the country at more risks.

He pointed out that 1.5 million Nigerian youths write the West African Senior School Certificate Examination annually, adding that the abrupt cancellation of  “this examination is to set back our nation’s youth, and place them behind their contemporaries in other West African nations.”

“I urge this administration to take into account that the lives they are trying to save will be further put at risk, because if this policy is not reversed, tens of thousands, and possibly hundreds of thousands of Nigerians, will breach social distancing rules to cross over to neighbouring West African nations to write their WASSCE, rather than miss a year,” the statement partly read.

The former presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in the 2019 general elections noted that the move by the Nigerian government to curb the COVID-19 pandemic is not in the nation’s best interest.

This, he noted, is because the Federal Government unilaterally took the decision “without consultation, and thoughtful action,” arguing that it “may be counterproductive.”

READ ALSO: $70m Was Moved On Diezani’s Orders, Ex-NNPC GM Tells Court

“This is perilous because Foreign Direct Investments and other economic indicators are tied to the educational indexes of nations.

“Already, Nigeria lags behind other African nations in crucial indices, like school enrolment, pass rates, and out of school children. This action will further create chaos in the public education system and exacerbate an already bad situation,” he said.

On the way forward, Atiku wants the Federal and state governments to mobilise all available public and private infrastructures including primary schools, stadia, and cinemas, for the examinations.

In doing this, he also called on the President Muhammadu Buhari administration to “prevail on WAEC to have a staggering examination with a different set of questions for each shift.”

In doing this, the PDP chieftain believes that the government’s directives on social distancing will be achieved while candidates sit for their examination, thus describing the move as “a win-win scenario.”

 

Edo Election: Atiku Asks PDP Leaders, Members To Shun Personal Differences

A file photo of former Vice President Atiku Abubakar. Photo: Channels TV/ Sodiq Adelakun.

 

 

Former Vice President Atiku Abubakar has called on leaders and members of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) to work together for the party’s success in the forthcoming governorship election in Edo State.

In a statement on Saturday by his media aide, Paul Ibe, he called on the leaders and members to put their personal differences aside and cooperate with the PDP Campaign Council under the leadership of the Rivers State Governor, Nyesom Wike.

Atiku, who is the party’s candidate in the 2019 general elections, also commended the appointments of Governor Wike and Adamawa State Governor, Ahmadu Fintiri, as the chairman and deputy chairman of the campaign council.

READ ALSO: PDP Seeks Prayers Of Recovery For Umahi, Ortom’s Wife

He said, “The PDP couldn’t have made a better choice because Governor Wike is an outstanding and dedicated party man who has consistently worked for the success of our party.”

“Wike is eminently qualified for this important assignment, especially at these critical times when the country is desperately looking for a change from the present state of despair in the land.

“Because of Wike’s impressive track record, I have no doubt in my mind that he has what it takes to lead the re-energised, rejuvenated, repositioned, and re-engineered PDP to victory in Edo State,” the former vice president added.

He, therefore, urged the PDP stakeholders to be solidly united in the task by supporting Governor Wike in the effort to return Edo State to the path of what he described as greater development.

According to Atiku, PDP is the only party with the broadest national appeal and the capacity to save Nigeria’s unity.

Democracy Day: Atiku Calls For Reform Of Electoral Process

A file photo of former Vice President Atiku Abubakar. Photo: Channels TV/ Sodiq Adelakun.

 

 

Former Vice President Atiku Abubakar has called for the immediate reform of the nation’s electoral process.

In his Democracy Day message, he also stressed the need to ensure the integrity of the electoral process.

Atiku, the presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in the last election, asked authorities to ensure that the votes of the people were not only counted but should count.

According to him, celebrating Democracy Day is an affirmation of the nation’s collective struggles towards a system of participatory government.

The former vice president, however, regretted that many compatriots paid the ultimate price along the line in the struggle which spanned decades.

He urged Nigerians to use the occasion of the Democracy Day to remember the nation’s fallen heroes of democratic rule, as well as the anonymous ones whom he said lost their lives as a result of bad governance.

Read Atiku’s full message below:

My Message To Nigerians On The Occasion Of The 21st Anniversary Of Democracy Day

The celebration of Democracy Day is an affirmation of our collective struggles towards a system of participatory government and acceptance of the primacy of the rule of law.

Along the line in the struggle which spanned decades, many a compatriot paid the ultimate price. While today may well be a day dedicated to democracy, it is also very well a Remembrance Day for our fallen heroes of democratic rule.

Just like the late Bashorun MKO Abiola continues to be the symbol of the June 12 struggle, there are many others like the late Chief Alfred Rewane; my mentor, Tafida Shehu Musa Yar’Adua, Alhaja Kudirat Abiola and many more too numerous to mention who lost their lives in order for us to have a democracy.

Yet, there are so many other heroes who remain unsung. They are Nigerians who have fallen victims of bad governance.

While we may have a day dedicated to celebrating democracy, it remains saddening that we have not delivered enough dividends to our people to be happy over.

Between 1999 to the present time, our democracy has thrown up all shades of characters at the leadership levels. Many, if not all of them have tried their best to deliver good governance to the country. But the results of their efforts, judging by what we have at hand today, clearly shows that our best has not been good enough thus far.

It is clear that the problem of leadership is at the epicenter of governance issues that has afflicted Nigeria since the restoration of this democratic dispensation. To get at this problem would require the voting citizens of the country to undertake a more critical evaluation of national leadership recruitment – a rare gift which democracy guarantees through the instrumentality of periodic elections.

It is when we do that, that democracy can pass as a self-correcting mechanism and when it is denied, we are left with a pseudo-democracy which is counterproductive to the notion of participatory democracy.

As we celebrate today our 21st anniversary of unbroken democratic rule, it is necessary that we canonize the memories of our heroes of democracy by expanding the application of democracy as a mechanism of good governance by making sure that ballots cast during an election are sacrosanct in order for leaders who represent the true aspirations of the people to emerge.

However, to ensure the integrity of the electoral process, that votes are not only counted, but that they do count, there is an urgent need to accelerate needed electoral reforms that will address the lapses in previous elections.

On the occasion of Democracy Day, being marked against the backdrop of the uncertainties of this season, may the sacrifices of those who gave their lives in the struggle to enthrone the democratic rule that we are enjoying today never be in vain.

Atiku Abubakar

Vice President of Nigeria, 1999-2007

11th June 2020

May 27: We Must Continue To Offer Our Children The Best, Atiku Urges Nigerians

File Photo of Atiku Abubakar

 

Former Vice President and Presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in the 2019 general elections, Atiku Abubakar, has felicitated with children on the occasion of the Children’s Day marked world-over on May the 27th.

In a tweet on Wednesday, Atiku noted that the future would be determined by the impact we create in the lives of our children today.

He, therefore, urged Nigerians to continue to fine-tune the environment to offer our children the best, particularly in education.

Also felicitating with Children, the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Femi Gbajabiamila, had earlier highlighted the importance of education on their future.

[Read Also] May 27: We Will Stop At Nothing To Give Children Quality Education, Says Gbajabiamila

He stated that the House will stop at nothing to ensure the provision of quality education for Nigerian children.

The speaker also noted that all efforts would be made to reduce the number of out-of-school children in the country.