Climate Change Takes Toll On French Oyster Farmers

 

Gulping down oysters have long been a favourite New Year’s Eve ritual for the French, but as winters get warmer and summers get drier many growers to worry there will soon be fewer of the prized mollusks to go around.

“Twenty years ago, we’d be shivering in the warehouse while preparing the holiday orders. Today it’s 15 degrees (60 Fahrenheit),” says Brittany oysterman Mathieu Le Moal, his sleeves rolled up in front of a tractor carrying dozens of bulging oyster sacks.

“We don’t have seasons anymore — but oysters need all four,” Le Moal adds. “They need the winter, it’s when they can rest, use less energy.”

Inside a wooden hanger redolent of salt and the sea, around a dozen of his workers are sorting, weighing and packing oysters into crates in the Brittany port of Cancale.

Le Moal and other farmers along this stretch of France’s Emerald Coast say the long drought which struck swathes of the country this summer took a heavy toll, leading to smaller harvests and smaller shellfish.

Without summer rains that wash crucial minerals into the oyster beds, “there’s no plankton, the main food for oysters, so they don’t grow,” explained fellow oysterman Bertrand Racinne, weaving his way between baskets and stacked crates.

“In the end, we have oysters but not enough of the big ones,” said Racinne, who like most growers sells more than half his yearly production in December.

Cold weather normally encourages a needed rest for oysters to mature, said Yoann Thomas of France’s IRD research institute.

But this winter has so far been unusually warm and, paradoxically, too rainy.

Rains may bring minerals that favour plankton growth — but they also mean the mollusks spend too much energy eating.

This year’s harvest are likely to start the spring “fragile and vulnerable”, warned Racinne.

“We’ve found that periods of extreme mortality (more than 25 percent of oysters) come several months after mild and rainy winters,” Thomas said.

Germs thrive 

“Ten grams fewer for each one, that makes a difference in sales,” said Philippe Le Gal, president of the CNC national shellfish producers’ association.

In 2017 the roughly 4,500 oyster growers in France sold 100,000 tons, at an average price of 5,000 euros ($5,700) per ton.

“Oyster farmers will see volumes down by 20 to 30 percent this year,” Le Gal said. “Climate warming is starting to have an impact.”

Warmer water temperatures are also a risk because they facilitate the spread of viruses that are especially harmful to oyster larvae, or spat, and young oysters.

Scientists point in particular to a Herpes virus, OsHV-1, that has been present in French oyster waters since 1991 but has become more aggressive recently, for reasons still unknown.

Since 2008, up to 75 percent of young oysters have been lost in some years, said Fabrice Pernet at the Ifremer ocean research institute in Brest.

“Oyster farmers had found a solution by putting ten times the amount of spat in the water in autumn, when the virus is not active,” Pernet said.

But warmer waters would reduce this window of opportunity, he said, and new pathogens could arrive if carried north by fish and other sea life fleeing rising temperatures further south.

Adding to the challenges, rising ocean acidity requires oysters to spend more energy in building their shells, Pernet said.

 ‘Still magnificent’ 

Erratic and extreme weather conditions are likely to become more frequent unless aggressive steps are taken to limit climate change caused by human activities, scientists warn.

“By 2035 the abnormally high mortality episodes that currently occur every ten years risk happening every two years,” Pernet said.

Not every oyster farmer is convinced, however, saying the bigger risks are pollution, oyster beds that are becoming too densely packed and the increased use of genetically modified species.

“Mortality rates change every year, depending on the region… but nobody can really explain why,” said Alexandre Prod’homme, another grower in Cancale.

But if warming and weather patterns become increasingly volatile, French farmers might have to start changing their growing seasons or move their beds north or further out to sea, Pernet said.

“Oysters aren’t going to disappear… but they’re probably going to have to migrate,” he predicted.

For now, most growers say they’re going to wait and see.

“We’re not sure about anything regarding the impact of global warming, we’re waiting for more scientific research,” said Daniel Coirier, president of the shellfish association for the Poitou-Charentes region.

“But even if they’re not as big, our oysters are still magnificent, and top quality!”

AFP

The Change We Have In Nigeria Is From Bad To Worse – Sani

The National Chairman of Action Democratic Party (ADP) believes that there is a negative change in Nigeria.

Yabagi Sani who was one of the guests on Channels Television programme, Channels Forum held on Tuesday, faulted the President Muhammadu Buhari-led administration in its campaign promise to deliver change in Nigeria, noting that the situation in the country has retrogressed.

“If we talk about change (in Nigeria), yes there is a change, I think from bad to worse. Because every indices we want to look at it, we have retrogressed in such a manner that you will not believe that it is the same Nigeria we had three years ago,” he said.

READ ALSO: Change Is Taking Place But There Is A Long Way To Go – Utomi

Recalling the crises which accompanied the All Progressives Congress (APC) Congress held across the nation, Sani described this as a mockery of Nigeria’s democracy.

“This is a government that lacks capacity, they lack credibility and organisation. Under the PDP, people were engaged. Even though that government had it own shortcoming in terms of managing corruption, that was the shortcoming of that government but not as bad as we have in the case today.”

Yabagi Sani on Channels Forum.

Putin Wishes Russians ‘Changes For The Better’ In 2018

Russian President, Vladimir Putin

Russia’s President Vladimir Putin wished his compatriots “changes for the better” in 2018 in his traditional televised New Year’s address Sunday.

“Let the New Year bring changes for the better in the life of every person and every family,” Putin told Russians in a speech aired by state television and reported by Russian agencies.

Residents of the country’s most easternly region of Kamchatka will be the first to hear the speech that is shown a few minutes before midnight in each of Russia’s eleven time zones.

The Russian leader addressed “special wishes” to “all of those who are working now, fulfilling their military or professional duty,” agencies reported.

He also thanked Russians for “believing in themselves and in our country.”

He also wished “peace and prosperity to our great Russia, the dear and only one.”

Putin has been in power since 1999 and seeks a historic fourth presidential term in March 2018 elections. He is widely expected to win the vote that would extend his rule until 2024 and make him the longest serving Russian leader since dictator Joseph Stalin.

Russia will also host 2018’s football World Cup, one of the world’s largest sporting events.

AFP

Corruption, Poor Leadership Responsible For Africa’s Poverty- IFAD

Corruption, Poor Leadership Responsible For Africa’s Poverty- IFADHead of the International Fund For Agricultural Development (IFAD), Dr Kanayo Nwanze, says Africa is a leader in world poverty and hunger, as a result of lack of committed leadership and rampant corruption.

Dr kanayo was speaking at the UK’s house of lords on Wednesday.

According to him, despite its rich natural resources including arable land, Africa still generates only 10% of its agricultural output while spending some 35 billion Dollars on food imports each year.

The head of the UN agency then challenged African leaders to stop talking about change but rather, deliver it, particularly investments in small-holder agriculture.

Mr Nwanze who believes the future of agriculture lies in the hands of the continent’s young generation, also called on the youths as well as the government, who he has asked to create an enabling environment.

Change Is Not One Man’s Business – Governor Bello

Niger, Head of Service, Governor Bello, ChangeNiger State Governor, Abubakar Bello, has called for more commitment and support for the ‘Change Begins With Me’ campaign of President Muhammadu Buhari, insisting that the attitudinal re-awakening initiative is not a one-man business.

Governor Sani Bello gave the charge in Minna, the state capital during one of the activities to mark the country’s 56th Independence celebration.

The Governor, who said that more lip service is paid to the campaign, maintained that for the country to achieve the desired change, all citizens must deliberately and consciously work towards it.

“We all have been shouting the change slogan but I am disappointed because the change is not yet with us.

Whether you are a doctor, policeman, civil servant, politician or a judge, the change is about everyone.

“The day the Nigerian Police and the judiciary will uphold the law is the day things will change for the better.

“We must move away from the way we have been doing businesses; we must pity those that don’t have and those who cannot help themselves. Everyone has a role to play”.

The  Governor  expressed  displeasure with the way some doctors and nurses relate with patients in public hospitals in the state. He stressed that with such attitude, there cannot be service delivery.

“At the general hospitals, if you see the way some patients are treated by nurses and doctors, it is inhuman, to the extent that the sickness of the patients often times degenerate.

“Nigerians must shun corruption; we must be dedicated in the discharge of our duties with strict adherence to the ethics of our professions and callings,” he said.

He advised both political appointees and civil servants to turn a new leaf for a better Niger state and Nigeria, adding that change is not just with the administrators.

“Everyone has a role to play, from the Governor to the last political appointee, we must move away from the old ways.

“We must also desist from employing family members who do nothing at the  expense of the state.”

Gov. Sani Bello attributed the economic challenges facing the country to greed, stressing that Nigerians are their own problems.

He reaffirmed the resolve of the present administration to ensure the development of a new Nigeria and called on the people to support government policies and programmes.

He stressed that the present status of the state as a civil servant’s state is nothing to be proud of.

“We must make Niger state commercially viable. To come out of the present economic  predicament,  we  must  all  come  together  to  find  workable  solution through  creating  alternative  sources of  income for  the  state,” he concluded.

Nigerians Should Change Their Consumption Pattern – Oshiomhole

 Economic Recession, Nigerians, Change, Consumption Pattern, OshiomoleAs part of the measures to get out of the current economic recession, Governor of Edo state, Adams Oshiomhole says, Nigerians may have to change their consumption pattern.

Mr Adams Oshiomhole who is of the opinion that the current difficulties the country is facing is self-inflicted, says the only way to address this challenge is the adoption of policies that will enhance local production and reduce pressure on the nation’s reserves.

He said this while on Channels Television breakfast programme, Sunrise Daily.

He also expressed that Nigerians cannot expect change within a short time, when there has been a back log of problems long before the current administration.

“There has to be a time lapse between when you formulate policies on the basis of what you found on ground, and when the benefits of those policies begin to manifest, If it takes 60 years to get to this terrible state we are in, why would anybody think that under 15 months of a new government, we will fix it?”, he added.

The Governor addressing Nigerians, said we must all identify the issues in the system, as everyone had contributed to the current state of rural poverty.

He said “the nation’s consumption pattern has been so distorted by the few who have access to stolen money” such that everywhere you go in the country, we have imported foods.

He reiterates what the government has said that “Nigerians would have to go through a re-orientation, such that we don’t learn to perfect the act of consuming what we don’t produce, particularly those things that we can actually produce”

Oshiomhole further stated that the whole essence of moving the economy from state involvement, towards private sector involvement is so that the private sector could be structured in such a way that they do not have to import all the things they currently do.

According to him, If we are going to move from being a nation that consumes what it doesn’t produce, but is capable of producing, then the government must redirect investors properly to the agriculture sector.

Dogara, Lasun Commemorate With Nigerians On New Year

DogaraThe Speaker of the House of Representatives, Hon. Yakubu Dogara, has assured Nigerians that the year 2016 offers a real opportunity for change in the country.

In a New Year message signed by his Special Adviser on Media and Public Affairs, Turaki Hassan, the Speaker praised the unshakable commitment of leaders at all levels of government to a better Nigeria.

He cited the pro – people 2016 Budget of President Buhari’s administration which is before the National Assembly adding that “when passed into law and faithfully executed, will not only lift the common man from abject poverty, it will also usher in the much needed opportunities for innovation and investment that are the engines of economic growth and prosperity.”

The Speaker who expressed hope that happy times will be here again, however, maintained that, “the people must go to work to make it happen, as government alone cannot solve all our problems”.

“Democracy and governments do not build nations but it’s rather citizens of democracy who must take up the tools of democracy and embrace the opportunities created by their government that build the nation of their dream,” he added.

Hon. Dogara urged all Nigerians to abhor the culture of passivity and apathy which only produces docile citizenry saying that, “if our people expects that CHANGE means to be docile and allow government alone to bring progress and build our nation, they expect what never was and never shall be.”

Dogara advised that it’s time Nigerians take responsibility for their own lives and work towards making Nigeria great again in order to avoid over dependence on government, saying that, “a democratic government should always depend on its citizens as the reverse will only amount to slavery”.

“On our part, the National Assembly must also go to work as the central institution of democracy through which the will of the people is expressed.

“As parliamentarians we can no longer afford to remain observers or mere onlookers but actors. Our work is more urgent than before because the change we seek must not be anchored on the quick sands of expediency, but on the enduring solid rock of legislative frameworks that deal with corruption, eliminates gender based violence, strengthens democratic institutions, reinforces human rights and good governance.

“We must also not fail the nation in ensuring effective scrutiny of the national government to ensure implementation of all legislative frameworks,” he said.

While suing for peace and unity among Nigerians, irrespective of regional, ethnic, political or rel‎igious affiliations, Hon. Dogara urged the citizens to be security vigilant and support the fight against terrorism and sundry crimes in the country.

“As 2016 dawns with hopes anew, filled with promises of a brighter tomorrow; with courage, faith and great effort we shall achieve all we desire. I wish all Nigerians a happy and prosperous New Year and pray that our nation attains greater heights in the New Year,” the Speaker said.

In the same vein, the Deputy Speaker of the House of Representatives, Rt. Hon Sulaimon Lasun Yusuf, also said that there is serious hope for a better Nigeria, if the people support and cooperate with President Buhari in his anti-terrorism crusade.

Hon. Lasun said that the stage is set by the All Progressives Congress-led government to give a radical approach to the development of Nigeria.

He said that “Nigeria is on the threshold of regaining its full potentials because that is what we deserve and the signs are beginning to show.

“It is my appeal to Nigerians that we support the government of the day as it tries to address some of the fundamental problems confronting the growth of our country like unemployment, unstable power, deplorable roads and unacceptable healthcare delivery, Lasun said.”

Speaking on the Presidential media chat held on Wednesday night, the Deputy Speaker said that from the tone of the President, “Nigerians should be rejoicing that at last they have a leader who is ready to take them to the promise land”.

General Muhammadu Buhari Receives Certificate Of Return

Inauguration ceremony for newly elected Nigerian President BuhariNigeria’s President-elect, General Muhammadu Buhari, has received his Certificate of Return from the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC).

General Buhari was declared the winner of the Presidential election in the early hours of Wednesday.

Before handing over the certificate to General Buhari, the Chairman of INEC, Professor Attahiru Jega, pledged that the commission would continue to do its best, under all circumstances, to ensure free, fair and credible elections.

He acknowledged the contributions of some stakeholders to the conduct of the elections.

After receiving the certificate, General Buhari made an official acceptance speech.

“Victory For Nigeria”

He said that his administration would listen to all Ngierians.

“I am most grateful to God for this day and hour. I feel honoured by Nigerians.

“The official announcement by INEC was a moment that Nigerians were waiting for.

“Today, history is being made and change has come.

“My team and I shall faithfully serve you.

“There shall no longer be a ruling party again. The APC will be your governing party.

“We shall never rule over the people as if there are subservient to the government. Our long night has passed and the day light of new democratic governance has broken across the land. This, therefore, is not a victory for me or one man or even one party.

“It is a victory for Nigeria and for all Nigerians,” he said.

“Another Form Of Evil”

General Buhari thanked Nigerians for giving him an opportunity to serve, promising that his administration would tackle the challenges of insecurity, corruption and economic decline.

“I will give my best in tackling these problems. Your obligation does not end in casting your votes. I seek your voice and input in tackling these problems,” he promised.

The President elect also emphasised that his administration would not tolerate corruption.

“We shall strongly battle another form of evil that is even worse than terrorism — the evil of corruption. Corruption attacks and seeks to destroy our national institutions and character. By misdirecting into selfish hands funds intended for the public purpose, corruption distorts the economy and worsens income inequality. It creates a class of unjustly-enriched people.

“Such an illegal yet powerful force soon comes to undermine democracy because its conspirators have amassed so much money that they believe they can buy government. We shall end this threat to our economic development and democratic survival. I repeat that
corruption will not be tolerated by this administration; and it shall no longer be allowed to stand as if it is a respected monument in this
nation,” General Buhari said.

 Read full speech below.

The Die is Cast

Acceptance Statement by General Muhammadu Buhari, GCFR, President-Elect of the Federal Republic of Nigeria April 1st, 2015.

Muhammadu Buhari acceptance
Focus words of General Muhammadu Buhari’s speech

I am immensely grateful to God for this day and for this hour. I feel truly honoured and humbled that the Nigerian people have so clearly chosen me to lead them. The official announcement from INEC was the moment the vast majority of Nigerians had hoped and been waiting for. Today, history has been made, and change has finally come. Your votes have changed our national destiny for the good of all Nigerians .

INEC has announced that I, Muhammadu Buhari, shall be your next president. My team and I shall faithfully serve you. There shall no
longer be a ruling party again: APC will be your governing party. We shall faithfully serve you. We shall never rule over the people as if
they were subservient to government.

Our long night has passed and the daylight of new democratic governance has broken across the land. This therefore is not a victory
for one man or even one party. It is a victory for Nigeria and for all Nigerians. Millions of you have worked for this day. So many have
risked life and livelihood; and others have died that we may witness this moment.

And it is with a very heavy heart that I report many deaths and injuries amidst the jubilations yesterday. We send our sincere condolences to the families and friends of those who lost their lives; and wish speedy recovery to those who suffered injuries. I appeal to all our supporters to celebrate this victory with prayers and reflection instead of wild jubilation.

May the souls of those who died rest in peace. Let us take a moment of silence to honour all of those whose sacrifices have brought us to this fine and historic hour. As the results of the election have shown, their labour has not been and will never be in vain. Democracy and the rule of law will be re-established in the land.

Let us put the past, especially the recent past, behind us. We must forget our old battles and past grievances—and learn to forge ahead. I assure you that our government is one that will listen to and embrace all.

I pledge myself and our in-coming administration to just and principled governance. There shall be no bias against or favouritism for any Nigerian based on ethnicity, religion, region, gender or social status. I pledge myself and the government to the rule of law, in which none shall be so above the law that they are not subject to its dictates, and none shall be so below it that they are not availed of its protection.

You shall be able to go to bed knowing that you are safe and that your constitutional rights remain in safe hands. You shall be able to voice your opinion without fear of reprisal or victimisation. My love and concern for this nation and what I desire for it extends to all, even to those who do not like us or our politics. You are all my people and I shall treat everyone of you as my own. I shall work for those who voted for me as well as those who voted against me and even for those who did not vote at all. We all live under one name as one nation: we are all Nigerians.

Some unfortunate issues about my eligibility have been raised during the campaign. I wish to state that through devotion to this nation, everything I have learned and done has been to enable me to make the best possible contribution to public life. If I had judged myself incapable of governing I would never have sought to impose myself on it. I have served in various capacities and have always put in my best.

But despite the rancour of the elections, I extend a hand of friendship and conciliation to President Jonathan and his team. I hereby wish to
state that I harbour no ill will against anyone.

Let me state clearly that President Jonathan has nothing to fear from me. Although we may not agree on the methods of governing the nation, he is a great Nigerian and still our president. He deserves our support and permanent respect by virtue of the office he has held.

This is how an honourable nation treats its servants and conducts its affairs; and this is how Nigeria should be.

I look forward to meeting with President Jonathan in the days to come to discuss how our teams can make the transition of administrations as efficient as possible.

Here, I want to thank my party for selecting me as its candidate. I thank our party leaders and members for the steadfast contributions
they made to bring our dream to fruition. I thank INEC, the police and all other government agencies for performing their tasks in a proper manner and for refusing to be induced to undermine the election and the democratic process.

I also wish to thank religious Leaders, traditional leaders, the media, labour unions, Civil Society organisations, organised private sector,
youths and students for their roles in this election.

Here, I want to thank my party for selecting me as its candidate. I thank our party leaders and members for the steadfast contributions
they made to bring our dream to fruition. I thank INEC, the police and all other government agencies for performing their tasks in a proper manner and for refusing to be induced to undermine the election and the democratic process.

I also wish to thank religious Leaders, traditional leaders, the media, labour unions, Civil Society organisations, organised private sector,
youths and students for their roles in this election.

I give special thanks to President Obama and his timely intervention and support for peaceful and credible elections in Nigeria and for
sending Secretary John Kerry and other United States officials. The European Union – especially the United Kingdom, France, Germany and other nations that were actively involved in ensuring the success of this election are equally appreciated. My sincere thanks to the United Nations Secretary General Mr Ban-Ki Moon. The Commonwealth, China, India and other Asian and Gulf states are also hereby appreciated.

Finally our brothers in the African Union and ECOWAS have truly and clearly shown and demonstrate their commitment to our
democratisation process. Former Presidents John Kuffour, Amos Sawyer, Bakili Muluzi and his team are well appreciated. I must also
add my appreciation for the role played by civil societies, national and International observers, other world leaders in ensuring that Nigeria holds free and fair elections.

I assure all foreign governments that Nigeria will become a more forceful and constructive player in the global fight against terrorism
and in other matters of collective concern, such as the fight against drugs, climate change, financial fraud, communicable diseases and
other issues requiring global response. I want to assure our fellow African nations that Nigeria will now stand as a more constructive
partner in advancing the matters of concern to our continent, particularly with regard to economic development and eradication of
poverty.

Former head of state and president Chief Olusegun Obasanjo, General Yakubu Gowon, Alh. Shehu Shagari, General Ibrahim Babangida, Chief Ernest Shonekan and General Abdulsalami Abubakar deserve commendations for their statesmanship and words of caution and counsel for peace during the tense moments of this electoral period.

Most of all, I thank the people of Nigeria for reposing their confidence in me at this trying moment. Our nation wrestles many challenges including insecurity, corruption, economic decline. I pledge to give you my best in tackling these problems.

The good people of Nigeria, your obligation does not end with casting your ballot. I seek your voice and input as we tackle these problems.

This will not be a government democratic only in form. It will be a government democratic in substance and in how it interacts with its
own people.

No doubt, this nation has suffered greatly in the recent past, and its staying power has been tested to its limits by crises, chief among
which is insurgency of the Boko Haram. There is no doubt that in tackling the insurgency we have a tough and urgent job to do. But I
assure you that Boko Haram will soon know the strength of our collective will and commitment to rid this nation of terror, and bring
back peace and normalcy to all the affected areas. We shall spare no effort until we defeat terrorism.

Furthermore, we shall strongly battle another form of evil that is even worse than terrorism—the evil of corruption. Corruption attacks and seeks to destroy our national institutions and character. By misdirecting into selfish hands funds intended for the public purpose, corruption distorts the economy and worsens income inequality. It creates a class of unjustly-enriched people.

Such an illegal yet powerful force soon comes to undermine democracy because its conspirators have amassed so much money that they believe they can buy government. We shall end this threat to our economic development and democratic survival. I repeat that
corruption will not be tolerated by this administration; and it shall no longer be allowed to stand as if it is a respected monument in this
nation.

I ask you to join me in resolving these and the other challenges we face. Along the way, there will be victories but there may also be
setbacks. Mistakes will be made. But we shall never take you for granted; so, be rest assured that our errors will be those of
compassion and commitment not of wilful neglect and indifference.

We shall correct that which does not work and improve that which does. We shall not stop, stand or idle. We shall, if necessary crawl,
walk and run to do the job you have elected us to do.

I realise that the expectation of our people today is as high as their commitment to change has been strong and their belief in us
unshaken. While we pledge to begin doing our best without delay, we would like to appeal to them to appreciate the gravity of our situation, so that we become more realistic in our expectations.

We will govern for you and in your interests. Your vote was not wasted.

This is not the first time Nigerians have cast their votes for us, and this is not the first time they have been counted; but this is the first time that the votes have been allowed to count. With the help of God, we pledge to do our utmost to bring forth the Nigeria you seek.

Thank you for your patience and attention.

General Muhammadu Buhari, GCFR
President-Elect,
Federal Republic of Nigeria

Buhari’s Eligibility: Court Adjourns Hearing Till April 22, 23

BuhariThe Federal High Court in Abuja has adjourned hearing in all cases questioning retired General Muhammadu Buhari’s eligibility to contest in the 2015 presidential elections, to the 22nd and 23rd of April.

The court also dismissed the application filed by two other parties one Ebunoluwa Adegoruwa, a human rights activists and another Chukwuma Ochu seeking to be joined in the suit.

Trial judge, Justice Adeniyi Ademola said the applicants are no more than meddlesome interlopers seeking to waste the time of the court and as such their applications concerning Buhari’s eligibility are frivolous and is thereby struck out.

The two parties before the court had approached the court to be joined as defendants in the suit.

While Mr Adegoruwa premised his application on the grounds that he is a pro-democrat who wants to ensure that all parties are granted equal rights, Mr Uwa told the court that his application is on the grounds that General Buhari is his candidate in the 2015 presidential elections and if he is disqualified he will be disenfranchised.

Buhari’s eligibility to contest in the forthcoming elections has been a bone of contention since he emerged the All Progressives Congress’ candidate.

On March 19, the court reserved ruling till  March 23 to decide whether it has jurisdiction to hear the suit filed by one Chukwuwike Okafor and Donald Daunamigba challenging Buhari’s eligibility to contest the 2015 general elections.

At the resumed hearing of two suits filed by Chukwunweike Okafor and Donald Daunamigba, their lawyer Mike Ozekhome (SAN) told the court that he had received a number of preliminary objections and applications for joinder in the suit.

He, however, asked the court for accelerated hearing in view of the fact that the general elections are barely a week away. According to him the court should consolidate all applications in the suit and decide on it, together with the substantive suit.

On March 24, the court ruled that all pending applications and the originating summons would be taken together in the suit challenging Buhari’s eligibility in the forthcoming March 28 presidential election.

Counsel to the plaintiff, Mike Ozekhome, who replied on point of law, argued that the parties seeking to join are interlopers and he canvased for accelerated hearing.

While counsel to the APC, Lateef Fagbemi, faulted Ozekhome’s position, he maintained that the mode of service on his client is faulty, stating that the court lacked the jurisdiction to entertain the suit.

Counsel to Muhammadu Buhari , Mr Abubakar Malaki, also aligned with the position of the APC.

After listening to all parties, the presiding Judge, Justice Adeniyi Ademola, fixed the 25th of March to rule on the application for joinder.‎‎

Buhari Meets Organised Private Sector, Reels Out APC Manifesto

Muhammed_Buhari_At_Lagos_Private_Sector_MeetingThe presidential candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in Nigeria has met with the organised Private Sector in Lagos State, reeling out the ‘APC manifesto’, which he said was the product of a survey that took over 6 months to develop.

General Muhammadu Buhari told the gathering on Monday that if elected, he would maintain periodic and regular series of meetings with the stakeholders to enable the government get informed advice from them on what should or should not be done to advance business interests.

Highlighting the party’s economic plans, General Buhari said that the policies would be governed by the highest consideration of how they could create jobs.

“Equipping and resourcing our security personnel, for example, will not be limited to provision of arms alone, but uniforms, boots and accoutrements, are enormous opportunities for textile production, garment making and shoemaking.

“Power supply is the minimum that we can seriously commit to in order to quickly galvanise the economy back to productivity.

Buhari_Speech_Focus_With Organised_Private_Sector_In_Lagos
Focus words from General Muhammadu Buhari’s speech at the meeting with the Organised Private Sector in Lagos.

“We agree with the privatisation of the power utilities but we believe it must go further to transmission.

“After the signing and handing-over ceremonies of the power assets the real work of producing, transmitting and distributing power is really just beginning.

“The reason the success seems elusive is that apart from the signing ceremony and handing over of the power assets, the hard work to connect the various parts of the power chain, supply gas, install transformers, complete substations has not been done,” he said.

According to him, the power sector reform that his party would implement would provide direct employment, as it would require over 200,000 trained personnel to support the initiative to provide power and light up Nigeria.

“Apart from the inherent direct employment that this will give, the reduction in cost of production, the savings from self-generation by Nigerians, who currently spend a lot of their income on purchase of diesel and petrol to generate their own electricity, will reduce the burden on their disposable income.

“These savings to Nigerians from reliable electricity will help the average Nigerian spend their money on other basic necessities of life and reduce poverty,” General Buhari said.

The former Nigerian military Head of State said the party would also focus on an initiative to build a refinery in Lagos, stressing that a local refinery would create jobs locally at a Nigerian refinery instead of refineries abroad, promote local fuel supply and National security, reduce importation, with less demand for foreign exchange and strengthen of the Naira.

He said that the party would also look at other areas which include infrastructure investment in roads and highway construction from one end of Nigeria to the other.

General Buhari further invited the representatives of the group to sit with his economic team to look at the party’s proposals and develop workable policies and implementation options.

He reminded the gathering that the ‘APC Manifesto’ was a product of a survey that took the party over six months to develop.

“We spoke to over 20,000 Nigerians across the 36 states and the FCT.

“The questionnaires we issued to them and the interviews we conducted showed overwhelmingly that; Insecurity, Corruption and the Economy were the biggest worries among the electorate,” he said.

2015 Elections May Be Violent If Held In Februray – Balarabe Musa

Balarabe Musa on 2015 election/violenceFew days to the 2015 elections, the former governor of Kaduna State, Mr Balarabe Musa has called on the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to postpone the general elections on grounds of insecurity and inability of a large number of Nigerians to collect their Permanent Voter Cards (PVCs).

He made the call while speaking at a forum organised by the Nigerian Labour Congress (NLC) in Kaduna.

Musa also pointed out that the manner with which the ruling Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and the main opposition party, the All Progressive Congress (APC), are going about their campaigns, gives bad signals that the elections will not be peaceful, free and fair, if they hold in February.

He warned of a repetition of the 2011 post election violence in some parts of the country where scores of people were killed, adding that if INEC goes ahead to conduct the 2015 polls on the 14th and 28 of February a repeat will be on the cards.

Stating that the Nigerian Constitution gives room for postponement of elections, the former governor is advocating for a National Unity Government whereby all political parties will be fully represented.

He further alleged that the ruling PDP will capitalise on the trend of violence witnessed at campaign rallies across the country to rig the elections if INEC goes ahead to conduct the exercise.

Buhari’s Certificate: PDP Will Head To Court – Osuntokun

PDPThe Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has said it will indeed head to court to seek redress over the controversy surrounding the credentials of the opposition candidate, General Muhammadu Buhari, which they have insisted he provide.

“The party is going to court,” Director of PDP Campaign Council (Southwest), Akin Osuntokun, said on Sunrise Daily on Monday, noting that it was a topical issue.

Osuntokun, who appeared on the programme to discuss the 2015 elections, as well as espouse the achievements of the Goodluck Jonathan led administration, insisted that General Buhari’s failure to present his certificate implied that he had none.

He also claimed that contrary to reports that the Nigerian Military admitted that it had copies of the former Head of State’s academic records, the military only said the rule was that they had copies of all who had passed through the organisation.

“Nobody said – Buhari’s certificate is with me,” Osuntokun insisted.

However, it appears the party would have to settle its grievances in court as the electoral umpire, INEC, directed it to the judiciary, to iron out any issues it had regarding the primary school leaving certificate of General Buhari.