President Muhammadu Buhari has called on political parties, candidates, and security agents participating in the Edo governorship election to uphold democratic standards during the poll.
A statement by the Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity, Mr Garba Shehu, on Thursday quoted the President as saying that failure to abide by the rules would truncate efforts to achieve free and fair elections.
“I am passionately committed to free and fair elections, but my own commitment is not enough if other actors at ground zero refuse to abide by the rules,” the President said.
“I want to see democratic standards in the country raised higher at every level, but these cannot be achieved when politicians resort to do or die methods to gain power by any means or machination.”
According to the President, the do-or-die mentality to politics is a threat to free and fair elections because the actors are more focused on winning than caring about a fair outcome that reflects the will of the people.
Apart from the parties and their candidates, the President called on security agents and electoral officials to remain neutral.
That way, he said, they would be able to “ensure free and fair elections and avoid any action(s) capable of compromising the integrity of the elections.”
The Edo governorship election is scheduled for Saturday, September 19 with 14 candidates in the race.
After a heated campaign, the President expects all participants to follow the rules.
He also restated the importance of free and fair elections to the country.
“Conducting free and fair elections is one of my main concerns for our democracy, and I want this commitment to be one of the legacies I will leave behind when I depart office,” he said.
President Muhammadu Buhari has signed the Nigeria Police Bill, 2020 into law.
In a statement by the Special Adviser to the President on Media and Publicity, Femi Adesina, the President in a memo dated September 16, 2020, communicated his assent to the Bill to the National Assembly, through the Clerk of the legislature.
“The Act repeals the Police Act Cap. P19. Laws of the Federation, 2004, and provides for a more effective and well organized Police Force, driven by the principles of transparency and accountability in its operations and management of its resources”.
The statement added that the Act establishes an appropriate funding framework for the Police in line with what is obtainable in other Federal Government key institutions, enhances professionalism in the Force through increased training opportunities, and creates enduring cooperation and partnership between the Police Force and communities in maintaining peace and combating crimes nationwide.
President Muhammadu Buhari has given an assurance that Nigeria will support the consolidation of democracy in West African countries.
The President stated this on Thursday when he received President Roch Marc Christian Kabore of Burkina Faso, who was on a one-day official visit to Nigeria.
He said, “We are keeping tabs on situations in countries that have elections ahead. We know the countries that are calm and the ones where there have been unfortunate casualties. We will always support those who have elections ahead so that things can go smoothly”.
Burkina Faso holds legislative elections in November, this year.
President Kabore, who chairs the Economic, Trade, and Liberalization Scheme of ECOWAS, said he was in Nigeria to discuss crucial sub-regional issues with President Buhari.
These include the convening of a joint commission meeting between Nigeria and Burkina Faso, reported trade difficulties among Nigeria, Ghana, Republic of Benin, and the Niger Republic, and the way forward.
President Kabore commended President Buhari for what he called “strong leadership and support” displayed by the Nigerian leader in his capacity as Chairman of COVID-19 response in West Africa.
“I must also applaud your strong leadership against terrorism in the sub-region,” the Burkinabe Leader said.
On the situation in Mali, he expressed hope that the summit held in Accra, Ghana, on Tuesday, would yield positive results, stressing: “We need cohesion all over West Africa.”
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.
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.
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.
Laolu Akande has defended the Federal Government following the outcry that met the hike in electricity tariff, insisting that things will get better with time.
Akande, the Senior Special Adviser (SSA) to Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, believes it is in the best interest of Nigerians.
“The people that we are negotiating with in labour, they are Nigerians. We will show them the evidence,” he said on Channels Television’s Sunrise Daily, Tuesday, while responding to a question on how the Federal Government will negotiate with labour unions who have rejected the tariff increment.
“The superior logic is what is going to determine the fate of our nation; the thinking, the transparency; the honesty and the commitment. We are confident Nigerians will understand what we are doing and where we are going.”
The meeting called by the Minister of Labour, Chris Ngige with the Trade Union Congress (TUC) and the Nigerian Labour Congress in attendance held at the Banquet Hall of the Presidential Villa in Abuja.
Channels Television learned that the meeting which is at the directives of President Muhammadu Buhari is to discuss solutions to the recurring labour issues with a view to finding an end to incessant industrial actions.
President Muhammadu Buhari on Tuesday held a virtual meeting with members of the Presidential Economic Advisory Council (PEAC).
The meeting, which took off at noon in the Council Chambers of the State House, has in attendance physically the Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning, Mrs. Zainab Ahmed, Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) Governor, Mr. Godwin Emiefiele, and the Minister of Humanitarian Services and Disaster Management, Sadiya Farouq.
Members of PEAC attending virtually are the Chairman, Prof. Doyin Salami: Vice-Chairman, Dr. Mohammed Sagagi; Prof. Ode Ojowu; Dr. Shehu Yahaya; Dr. Iyabo Masha; Prof. Chukwuma Soludo and Mr. Bismark Rewane, and Dr. Mohammed Adaya Salisu.
President Muhammadu Buhari extends heartfelt condolences to the government and people of Borno State on the passing of Emir of Biu, Alhaji Mai Mustapha Umar Aliyu.
The President also commiserated with the Royal Family and the Biu Emirate Council on the death of His Royal Highness who for 31 years had the privilege of leading the people of Biu with diligence and dedication.
In a press statement on Tuesday by the Spokesman to the President on Media and Publicity, Femi Adesina, Buhari affirmed that the Emir who was a strong advocate for peace and development in the North East region demonstrated visionary leadership that was very evident to all, including his efforts to modernise Biu by supporting the establishment of educational institutions in the community.
The President notes that the Emir’s style of servant leadership for over three decades earned him the trust and respect of his community, contemporaries, and Nigerians from diverse political, social, and religious leanings.
He believes that the Emir’s good works will continue to be remembered and cherished in his community and the wider region of the North East, praying Almighty God to grant the soul of the departed eternal rest and comfort to the people of Biu during this time of mourning.
The Nigerian Working Group on Peacebuilding and Governance is asking President Muhammadu Buhari and state governors to commence a dialogue process to address the rising security challenges in the country.
The group said in a statement that Nigerians are suffering from the double menace of insecurity, as well as the impact of the coronavirus pandemic on their standards of living.
Signees of the statement include a former chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Professor Attahiru Jega, the former Catholic Archbishop of Abuja; John Onaiyekan, and a former Chief of Army Staff, retired general Martin Luther Agwai.
According to the group, “Nigeria, like the rest of the world is battling the coronavirus pandemic. However, citizens in Nigeria are facing double the suffering because they also have to contend with rising insecurity and violence across the country.
“The Nigerian government must immediately address the rising insecurity if it is to succeed in the fight against the pandemic.”
Their position comes on the heels of former President Olusegun Obasanjo’s accusation suggesting that the Buhari administration is driving Nigeria into becoming a failed and divided state.
“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,” Obasanjo stated in a speech titled ‘Moving Nigeria Away from Tipping Over’ at a consultative dialogue attended by various socio-cultural groups in Abuja.
Tanzania and Uganda signed an agreement Sunday to commence construction on a 1,445-kilometre (900 mile) oil pipeline through East Africa that conservation groups say threatens livelihoods and fragile ecosytems.
The project focuses on oilfields in landlocked Uganda discovered in 2006 and proposes pumping the crude to the coast via a pipeline across Tanzania at an estimated cost of $3.5 billion.
The multi-national plan is led by French petroleum giant Total in partnership with China’s CNOOC and struggling British group Tullow Oil, which is seeking to finalise selling its stake in the venture.
“This is a very crucial project for our people,” said Tanzanian President John Magufuli, who signed the agreement paving the way for the pipeline in his home town of Chato alongside his Ugandan counterpart Yoweri Museveni.
“Our signing today is a crucial step towards implementing the project which will not only create jobs, but also promote cooperation within the region, and stimulate economic development in areas the pipeline crosses.”
Work is scheduled to start by the end of the year on the East African Crude Oil Pipeline to exploit oil discovered near Lake Albert discovered in 2006. Reserves in the area are conservatively estimated at some 1.7 billion barrels.
“We want our people to work fast and start this project,” said Museveni at the signing ceremony.
After years of talks discussing the relative merits of different routes out to the Indian Ocean, Uganda announced in 2016 it would run the pipeline through Tanzania, not Kenya.
The enormous pipeline will run south of Lake Victoria to the port of Tanga near the Kenyan border.
Last week, a report by the International Federation for Human Rights (FIDH) based on studies with Oxfam said the project would affect more than 12,000 families and communities had no idea if their land would be lost.
“After nearly two decades of oil exploration, many communities fear the worst is yet to come,” wrote Rashid Bunya of the Foundation for Human Rights Initiative, one of the NGOs that helped compile the reports based on two years of impact studies.
Critics say the project will affect delicate ecosystems that host rich sources of biodiversity. In Uganda, the drilling is located in several natural reserves, one of which extends to Murchison Falls, the country’s largest national park.
Tanzania says the project will create 10,000 jobs and that more than 90,000 people would be compensated to pave the way for the pipeline.
The Presidency wants former President Olusegun Obasanjo to help in proffering solutions to the problems plaguing the country instead of being Nigeria’s “divider-in-Chief.”
While reacting to the recent outburst by Obasanjo that Nigeria is becoming a failed state, the Presidency in a statement on Sunday, called on him to quit critiquing the President Muhammadu Buhari government.
“In his most recent statement, former President Olusegun Obasanjo attempts to divide the nation while President Muhammadu Buhari continues to promote nation-building and the unity of Nigeria,” the presidency said.
“The difference is clear. From the lofty heights of Commander-in-Chief, General Obasanjo has descended to the lowly level of Divider-in-Chief (to adapt the coinage of Time).”
Obasanjo, according to the Presidency, should “once again sheath the sword and rest the pretentiousness about the Messiah that has (mis)led him to pronounce often wrongly, as he disastrously did in the 2019 elections, about the life and death of Nigerian governments.”
It restated that Buhari’s comments on West African leaders sticking to their constitutionally allowed terms is for the good of the region.
While accusing Obasanjo of a failed attempt at elongating his tenure when he was in office, the Presidency called on him to stop the “mushrooming of a poisonous atmosphere of ethnic and religious nationalism.”
“Surely, he must have disappointed many of his local and foreign admirers by showering commendations on a few extremist groups who have vowed to shun the invitation to the National Assembly to participate in the process of constitutional amendment,” the presidency added.
While describing Buhari as a courageous leader with “rare statesmanship,” the statement hailed him (Buhari) for shunning populism and seeking the best interest of Nigerians via reforming critical sectors of the economy.
“He leads a government that has liberalized the investment climate and market access by achieving reforms that have placed the country in the list of the world’s top reforming economies,” it explained.
“Nigeria, which other nations had mocked and ridiculed for so many things that were wrong is today progressing at a pace reflecting its size and potential.”
The Presidency equally threw jabs at some politicians who, having previously failed in delivering quality leadership to the masses, are now bent on envying President Buhari.
Chief of Staff to the President, Mr Ibrahim Gambari, says the hike in prices of food items should be seen as a transient situation.
Speaking on Thursday during the national food security council meeting, held at the State House, Abuja, Mr. Gambari said the recent prices of grains show a significant decline which suggests that the decrease would soon be reflected across the country as new products are brought into the market.
He said, “Yesterday, my office as the secretariat, National Food Security Council, met with the agricultural commodity association to ascertain the root causes of the recent spike in food prices and craft mitigating strategies to what could be a potential crisis.
“Although various concerns were raised on the root cause of the increase in commodity cost, we have been informed that prices are actually on the decline as new grains have been introduced to the market.
“For example, new maize which was previously sold for N25,000 per bag is now being sold between N12,000 and N17,000, and it’s expected to fall between N7,000 and N8,000 per bag by November 2020, according to the various leaders of the agricultural commodity association. The price decline has also been experienced in millet, beans, and sorghum. The hike, therefore, is to be seen as a transient situation.
“With Mr. President being among us, as somebody who knows about farming and agriculture perhaps more than many of us in the room, we believe his presence is very instructive in addressing not just this hike and transient nature and pricing of foodstuff, but also to underscore the importance he personally and as Mr. President and his administration attaches to the issue of national food security.
“However, it is important to note that the most prevailing concern of the various leaders of the agricultural commodity association, was their demand that there should be better coordination, synergy, and cooperation across the sector. This has largely accounted for the gross misinformation and nationwide speculation which is being experienced.
“Not disregarding the impact of other value triggers such as the cyclical off-season period phenomenon, the COVID-19 pandemic, and infrastructure challenges, the importance of collaboration can still not be overemphasized.”
The diplomat said it is time that the nation pivots its attention and resources to how it can improve yield per hectare, even as key actors in the agric space are championing increased hectares under cultivation.
According to him, this new shift will be a significant boost in the government’s determination to strengthen its objective in achieving food security.