It Is Unfair To Say Buhari Ignores Victims Of Attacks In Nigeria – Presidency

Presidential aide Garba Shehu has refuted claims that his principal pays less attention to victims of attacks in the country. 

He spoke on Friday while responding to the debates generated following President Muhammadu Buhari’s condolence visit to the United Arab Emirates over the death of the country’s president Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan.

“Those Nigerians should be told that they should look at all of the facts. I have accompanied the president to Sokoto on a condolence visit after a major incident,” the aide said on Channels Television’s Politics Today. 

“However, it is unfair also to make the conclusion wrongly that he had not paid attention or had not visited. He had been to Maiduguri quite a number of times,” he added.

READ ALSONRC Cancels Resumption Of Train Services On Abuja-Kaduna Route

He said: “I accompanied him to Zamfara. He spoke to the governor, parliamentarians, religious and traditional leaders.

“I accompanied the President to Benue State. He addressed the governor in the Government House, Makurdi, after a major incident. I accompanied him to Jos after a crisis.

“So, did the President go to all the places where there have been incidents of violence or killings? No, he did not go.”

“It depends on what Nigerians choose to look at. The president has been responsive and he has been discharging the obligations that rest upon him as the president and commander-in-chief, in dealing with all of these matters. He has not cut short in any way.

“The point I want to make is that the administration has been very responsive. You just mentioned the railway incident in Kaduna, and this last week, the incident in Kano of an explosion.

“The vice-president of Nigeria was in both places. This country has one presidency. If the president is not there on account of engagements and the vice-president is there, let us take it that the presidency of Nigeria has attended to those matters.”

Buhari is expected back to the country this weekend.

Negotiations Ongoing To Rescue Victims Of Kaduna Train Attack – Presidency

The presidency says negotiations are ongoing to rescue those abducted on the Kaduna-Abuja rail line earlier in the year. 

Presidential aide Garba Shehu said this on Friday while reacting to the suspension of the resumption of operations on the rail track.

“Of course, we are aware that there has been resistance from family members of those who have been taken captive,” he said when he featured on Channels Television’s Politics Today.

“This is expected. This then should act as a pressure on all of the people who are involved in the ongoing discussion with the terrorists to ensure a safe release of those that are being held.”

He explained that the government is committed to ensuring that those affected by the attack and still in captivity will be released alive even though the negotiations might be difficult.

“The position of the government has been stated and restated over time that the success of any operation would be determined by the number of recovery of human beings alive and well; not at the return of dead bodies,” he maintained.

READ ALSO: NRC Cancels Resumption Of Train Services On Abuja-Kaduna Route

‘Improvement In Security’

This Kaduna-bound train was attacked by armed gangs on March 28, 2022.

 

Mr Shehu said the government wants normalcy to return to the Kaduna-Abuja route, noting that there is an improvement in the security of the area.

“Yes, there is an improvement in security. The air surveillance has been announced by the former Minister of Transportation (Rotimi Amaechi) and the President, as far as we know, has okayed the electronic monitoring and surveillance platform that would ensure that there is the tracking, far and near, of all that is going on along the rail track; not only between Kaduna and Abuja but even Ibadan and Lagos,” the media aide stated.

“So, I believe that people are doing what it would take to put those appliances in place so that total safety would be ensured.”

To buttress his point about the safety of the rail track, he said he would have been on board had the services resumed as planned.

“If the trains had resumed, I would have been on the train because I believe that I have received enough assurances from the Ministry of Transportation and security services that they are safe,” the presidential aide said.

Political Ambition: Appointees Who Don’t Resign Will Have Someone Decide For Them – Presidency

The Presidency on Thursday has said government appointees who do not resign to pursue their political ambition “would have someone decide for them”.

Presidential spokesman Garba Shehu said this hours after President Muhammadu Buhari directed members of his cabinet and other government appointees nursing political ambitions ahead of the next election to resign.

“We are dealing with a government policy, a government directive, a circular of the government issued by the Secretary to the Government of the Federation duly approved by the President [which] clearly states who is to go,” he said in an interview on Channels Television’s Sunrise Daily. 

“So, I think that in a few occupied offices like that, you make the decision by yourself otherwise, someone would decide for you. So, that’s the point.”

READ ALSOBuhari Orders FEC Members With Political Ambitions To Resign

 

According to him, the instruction to resign is clear, stressing that they were appointed.

Nine ministers, who are contesting for various positions at national and state levels, are affected by the new directive. Already, some of them have resigned to pursue their political ambitions.

The spokesman’s comment came on the heels of criticisms over the cost of nomination and expression of interest forms for the All Progressives Congress (APC) presidential ticket.

While he believes aspirants can source money by various means such as donations from their supporters, the presidential aide said it is not the place of the presidency to investigate the sources of funding.

“Now the question is, how do they get 100 million and where did it come from? I think this is a question that should go to each individual aspirant on how they save all this money or how they collect it,” he said.

“For your interest, you know that I have seen someone who was yesterday saying he had quit the race after online contributors gave him up to N83 million. So, it would seem to me that it is not such a difficult task to ask people to donate and then the money comes in as soon as they open their wallets, so that could be their explanation.

“In a few cases, we have seen people come forward to say this is the group that has bought the form, if you like, go and challenge them but that’s their own claim.”

Buhari Won’t Investigate How APC Aspirants Got N100m For Presidential Forms – Presidency

Garba Shehu says it is not the president’s duty to investigate the purchase of forms by politicians.

 

The presidency has said that President Muhammadu Buhari will not investigate how individuals within the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) got a hundred mission naira (N100m) to purchase their presidential forms.

In an interview on Channels Television’s Sunrise Daily on Thursday, the Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity, Garba Shehu, noted that it is not necessary for the president to carry out a probe. He said that there are anti-graft agencies and even journalists whose responsibility it is to carry out such probes.

READ ALSOBuhari Orders FEC Members With Political Ambitions To Resign


“This sort of scrutiny is largely up to the civil society, and you the media. Ask questions, go to them,” the president’s aide urged.

“To ask the president to launch an investigation, where does that take us? I don’t think that is the right way to go.”

Addressing the president’s latest directive regarding appointees seeking political office, Mr Shehu said contrary to what some might have thought, the directive that ministers, heads of agencies, and other appointees seeking elective offices should resign their appointments, is not in line with the section 84 of the Electoral Act.

“He made no reference to section 84, he simply gave the directive and I think it’s clear that as the head of the executive arm of government, he owns the executive authority and power to decide,” Garba Shehu noted.

According to him, ministers seeking to have a consultation with president Buhari before resigning will be able to do so on Friday, however, the directive still stands.

As regards the presidential ambition of the Central Bank Governor, Godwin Emefiele, Mr Shehu said the directive is clear and that it is left to Emefiele and his legal counsel to determine what is applicable within the tenets of the constitution.

“Does he consider himself the head of an agency or parastatal or consider himself a member of the ministerial department? I expect that he and his lawyers will determine what is applicable for them,” the president’s special media aide reckoned.

Buhari’s May 29 Handover Date Is Sacrosanct, Presidency Replies Clarke

A file photo of Presidential spokesman, Garba Shehu

 

The Presidency on Tuesday said President Muhammadu Buhari will unfailingly hand-over the reins of the country on May 29, 2023.

In a statement, presidential spokesperson Garba Shehu said the president was committed to ensuring a proper democratic transfer of power.

The statement was made in response to the comments made by a Senior Advocate of Nigeria, Chief Robert Clarke.

Clarke had asked the President to extend his term by six months.

READ ALSO: Moghalu Picks Up ADC Presidential Form

“Chief Robert Clarke, a very well-respected elder may be sincere in his wish for the President to extend his term by six months,” Shehu’s statement said.

“We wish to categorically restate that the President will step down on May 29th, 2023, after serving two terms – as per the constitution.

“Having been the first recipient of a democratic transfer of power from an incumbent administration to an opposition candidate in Nigerian history, the President is committed to extending and entrenching democratic values across the country. He shall, in turn, hand the privilege of serving the people of Nigeria to whomever they choose through free, fair and credible elections.

“However, Chief Clarke is right to say that without security, Nigeria would not likely realize its true potential as a peaceful and prosperous nation. That is why it has been at the core of this administration. The results are there for all to see. Boko Haram have been forced back from controlling whole swathes of this country. Internally Displaced Persons are now returning to rebuild their communities. These achievements have been accomplished through the bravery and determination of the Nigerian armed forces and the fortitude of the people of our nation.

“New challenges have arisen and tackled in turn – whether it’s the National Livestock Transformation Plan to alleviate herder-farmer clashes, the elimination of the leadership of ISWAP, or new efforts to combat banditry. Till the last day of the administration, the security of the citizens shall remain the administration’s paramount concern. We shall finish the job. Yet, in any case, respect for the constitution and Nigerians’ democratic rights remains the best path to securing and then maintaining peace.

“Yet there are others, such as Chief Afe Babalola, that believe elections should be suspended, with the current elected government replaced by an interim unelected administration. This, he claims, is necessary to create a new constitution for the people, made possible, paradoxically, by ignoring their democratic rights. Down that path lies crisis and instability.

“Instead, this administration proposes something entirely simpler: honouring the constitution and people’s right to decide.”

Power Generation Now 13,000 MW, Says Garba Shehu

 

The Senior Special Adviser on Media and Publicity, Garba Shehu, has said that Nigeria now generates up to 13,000 megawatts of power.

“We aspire to do 20,000 or 30,000 megawatts of power, and as we speak today, we have over 13,000 availability. It’s remarkable, why don’t we look inwards and put measures in place to use out the 13,000 that is available,” Mr Shehu said on Channels TV’s Sunrise Daily on Friday.

He made the comments while discussing some of the administration’s successes and what it plans to still do in the final lap before 2023.

Read Also: Buhari Determined To Deliver Major Projects Before Leaving Office – Presidency

Mr Shehu also stated that contrary to popular opinion, the President is determined to make the last push for major policies; infrastructure and projects that he believes must be delivered before he leaves.

Speaking further about President Buhari’s plans come 2023 and reacting to some of his comments in a recent interview, Shehu said: “the president can be very casual sometimes in speaking and jovial and jocularly; I think this is what people fail to understand of him. They need to understand how in the first place he was persuaded and pressured to even run in the first instance.

“He had served as governor, minister and military Head of State and that’s the highest it could get. He had retired home and Nigerians came and said you are the right person for this moment, we need you. It took some persuasion.

“So, yes, it is right for the person to say he has given his best and when the time is up, some other person will take over”.

No Crisis Over Budget Between Executive And Legislature, Says Presidency

A photo combination of President Muhammadu Buhari, Senate President Ahmed Lawan and Speaker Femi Gbajabiamila.
A photo combination of President Muhammadu Buhari, Senate President Ahmed Lawan, and Speaker Femi Gbajabiamila.

 

The Presidency has denied reports suggesting that the executive and legislative arm of government might be at loggerheads following an episode on Friday at the State House during the signing of the 2022 Budget and Finance Bill by President Muhammadu Buhari.

Emerging reports had suggested that the insertion in the 2022 Appropriation Act, of 6,576 new schemes worth about N37 billion by the National Assembly, was causing a rift between the two arms of government.

However, the spokesman for the President, Garba Shehu, in a lengthy statement on Sunday evening said while it is true that Buhari expressed disagreement with the insertions and many of the other alterations, still, the president and the parliament have not fallen out.

READ ALSOWike Condemns Bandits’ Attack In Sokoto

According to him, President Buhari frowned at a couple of things including “reduction in the provisions for many strategic capital projects to introduce ‘Empowerment Projects’,” but, “innumerable lies are being spread about the president being ‘angry’” at the lawmakers and lashing out at the parliament.

Mr Shehu said there is no rift between President Buhari and the National Assembly, adding that both arms of government are working amicably for the good of the nation.

Below is the full statement as put out by the president’s senior special assistant:

“The Presidency wishes to clear the air regarding the widely-viewed/reported episode on Friday, December 31st at the State House during the signing of the 2022 Budget and Finance Bill by President Muhammadu Buhari; specifically on the insertion in the 2022 Appropriation Act, of 6,576 new schemes worth about N37 billion by the National Assembly.
While it is true that the President expressed disagreement with these and many of the other alterations, including the “reduction in the provisions for many strategic capital projects to introduce ‘Empowerment Projects’,” innumerable lies are being spread about the President being “angry” at, had “blasted” or “lashed out” at the Parliament. This cannot be farther from the truth.
As the President of the Senate, Dr Ahmed Lawan said shortly after the budget-signing ceremony, disagreements as the ones listed by the President are normal in the everyday Executive-Parliamentary relationship because, as he explained, “executive and legislative judgements don’t always have to be the same.”
While we note that there are people who are trying to create a fiasco between the two arms of government on account of the budget, we assure that they will, in the end, be disappointed. The Executive and the 9th National Assembly have since moved away from the wild, destructive political games of the past, conducting themselves in a way that puts national interest supreme in their decisions. We doubt if there is a patriotic citizen who wants to see the return of the operating environment engendered by the 8th Senate when an elected government was held in chains, held hostage to the desperate political ambitions of a clique, and the public denied needed services including that which impinged on national security. Happily, the 9th National Assembly is more about policy than politics.
Under the constitution, both arms of government are coequal and at the same time, independent and interdependent. The rule of the game is cooperation and the President, as a democrat fully accepts this.
Rationale for Assenting to the 2022 Appropriation Act:
Mr. President was clear and candid in expressing his reservations with the numerous changes to the 2022 Budget made by the National Assembly, which would hamper its implementation. However, to respond to critics that question why assent to the Budget if it was so severely tampered with, we wish to respond as follows:
(1) Need to Save Value-Additive Projects, Programs & Policies:
Although over 10,733 projects were reduced and 6,576 new projects were introduced into the budget by the National Assembly, there are tens of thousands more provisions in the 2022 Budget, all of which, when efficiently and effectively implemented, will have significant developmental impact on the lives and livelihoods of ordinary Nigerians.
Given Mr. President’s commitment to improving the lot of the Common Man, it was felt that it would not be wise to throw away the baby with the bathwater. Ongoing Capital Projects, Critical Recurrent Votes, Priority New Projects – all feature in the 2022 Budget and Mr. President’s forbearance in assenting to the Budget will save these provisions from implementation delays and other challenges.
(2) Dealing with Modern Democratic Norms:
President Buhari is a democrat who deeply believes in the supremacy of the Constitution, with its checks and balances across the three arms of Government. In terms of the passage of legislations like the Appropriation Act and other Money Bills, the National Assembly has equal responsibilities with the Executive. Indeed, if Mr. President had declined assent to the 2022 Appropriation Bill, the National Assembly has powers to override the President’s veto if they can drum up a 2/3 majority vote. This is the constitution. Happily, this situation has not arisen during the tenure of Mr. President’s Administration, and the Executive’s relationship with the Leadership of the 9th National Assembly is much improved over what happened with the 8th National Assembly. It is on account of his confidence in the strength of this excellent working relationship that Mr. President has directed that an Amendment Budget Proposal should be prepared and submitted to the National Assembly, once they return from their recess. It is hoped that the National Assembly will carefully consider and approve the 2022 Amendment Budget Proposals, once presented to them in due course, for the benefit of all Nigerians.
It is important therefore that, in place of “anger” or confrontation, President Buhari showed the democracy-loving side of his personality as he signed the budget at the same time calling for dialogue with the parliament to resolve the contentious issues.
The Presidency under Muhammadu Buhari and the parliament under Lawal and Gbajabiamila are committed to a good neighborly relationship and this or any other disagreement between the two arms of government will not alter the dynamics of that relationship.”

2022 Budget: Buhari Will Not Hamper Implementation Despite Changes – Garba Shehu

A combination of photos of President Muhammadu Buhari and the National Assembly complex in Abuja.

 

President Muhammadu Buhari will not hamper the implementation of the 2022 budget despite the numerous changes made by the National Assembly.

This is according to a statement issued by the Senior Special Assistant to the President, Garba Shehu, on Sunday.

President Buhari had on Friday morning signed the budget into law and expressed strong reservations on what he described as worrisome changes made by the National Assembly to the 2022 Executive Budget proposal.

Two days after, the presidential spokesman dismissed reports of a crisis between his principal and the federal lawmakers.

READ ALSO: Buhari Signs 2022 Budget, Decries Changes Made By NASS

He noted that while it is true that the “President expressed disagreement with these and many of the other alterations, including the “reduction in the provisions for many strategic capital projects to introduce ‘Empowerment Projects’,” innumerable lies are being spread about the President being “angry” at, had “blasted” or “lashed out” at the Parliament. This cannot be farther from the truth.”

“Mr. President was clear and candid in expressing his reservations with the numerous changes to the 2022 Budget made by the National Assembly, which would hamper its implementation,” the statement read.

See the full statement issued by Garba Shehu below:

PRESIDENCY: NO CRISIS OVER BUDGET BETWEEN EXECUTIVE AND LEGISLATURE, THERE WILL BE NONE

-REPORTS OF BUHARI ANGER WITH NATIONAL ASSEMBLY FICTIONAL.

The Presidency wishes to clear the air regarding the widely viewed/reported episode on Friday, December 31st at the State House during the signing of the 2022 Budget and Finance Bill by President Muhammadu Buhari; specifically on the insertion in the 2022 Appropriation Act, of 6,576 new schemes worth about N37 billion by the National Assembly.

While it is true that the President expressed disagreement with these and many of the other alterations, including the “reduction in the provisions for many strategic capital projects to introduce ‘Empowerment Projects’,” innumerable lies are being spread about the President being “angry” at, had “blasted” or “lashed out” at the Parliament. This cannot be farther from the truth.

As the President of the Senate, Dr Ahmed Lawan said shortly after the budget-signing ceremony, disagreements as the ones listed by the President are normal in the everyday Executive-Parliamentary relationship because, as he explained, “executive and legislative judgements don’t always have to be the same.”

While we note that there are people who are trying to create a fiasco between the two arms of government on account of the budget, we assure that they will, in the end, be disappointed. The Executive and the 9th National Assembly have since moved away from the wild, destructive political games of the past, conducting themselves in a way that puts national interest supreme in their decisions. We doubt if there is a patriotic citizen who wants to see the return of the operating environment engendered by the 8th Senate when an elected government was held in chains, held hostage to the desperate political ambitions of a clique, and the public denied needed services including that which impinged on national security. Happily, the 9th National Assembly is more about policy than politics.

Under the constitution, both arms of government are coequal and at the same time, independent and interdependent. The rule of the game is cooperation and the President, as a democrat fully accepts this.

Rationale for Assenting to the 2022 Appropriation Act:

Mr. President was clear and candid in expressing his reservations with the numerous changes to the 2022 Budget made by the National Assembly, which would hamper its implementation. However, to respond to critics that question why assent to the Budget if it was so severely tampered with, we wish to respond as follows:

(1) Need to Save Value-Additive Projects, Programs & Policies:

Although over 10,733 projects were reduced and 6,576 new projects were introduced into the budget by the National Assembly, there are tens of thousands more provisions in the 2022 Budget, all of which, when efficiently and effectively implemented, will have significant developmental impact on the lives and livelihoods of ordinary Nigerians.

Given Mr. President’s commitment to improving the lot of the Common Man, it was felt that it would not be wise to throw away the baby with the bathwater. Ongoing Capital Projects, Critical Recurrent Votes, Priority New Projects – all feature in the 2022 Budget and Mr. President’s forbearance in assenting to the Budget will save these provisions from implementation delays and other challenges.

(2) Dealing with Modern Democratic Norms:

President Buhari is a democrat who deeply believes in the supremacy of the Constitution, with its checks and balances across the three arms of Government. In terms of the passage of legislations like the Appropriation Act and other Money Bills, the National Assembly has equal responsibilities with the Executive. Indeed, if Mr. President had declined assent to the 2022 Appropriation Bill, the National Assembly has powers to override the President’s veto if they can drum up a 2/3 majority vote. This is the constitution. Happily, this situation has not arisen during the tenure of Mr. President’s Administration, and the Executive’s relationship with the Leadership of the 9th National Assembly is much improved over what happened with the 8th National Assembly. It is on account of his confidence in the strength of this excellent working relationship that Mr. President has directed that an Amendment Budget Proposal should be prepared and submitted to the National Assembly, once they return from their recess. It is hoped that the National Assembly will carefully consider and approve the 2022 Amendment Budget Proposals, once presented to them in due course, for the benefit of all Nigerians.

It is important therefore that, in place of “anger” or confrontation, President Buhari showed the democracy-loving side of his personality as he signed the budget at the same time calling for dialogue with the parliament to resolve the contentious issues.

The Presidency under Muhammadu Buhari and the parliament under Lawal and Gbajabiamila are committed to a good neighborly relationship and this or any other disagreement between the two arms of government will not alter the dynamics of that relationship.

Garba Shehu

Senior Special Assistant to the President

(Media & Publicity)

January 2, 2022

Buhari’s Aide, Garba Shehu Recovers From COVID-19

A file photo of Presidential spokesman, Garba Shehu.

 

The Senior Special Adviser to the President on Media and Publicity, Garba Shehu, has recovered from COVID-19.

Shehu announced his recovery in a Facebook post on Wednesday, barely a week after he confirmed his initial positive status to Channels Television.

“I thank Almighty Allah for my speedy recovery from COVID-19,” he said in the social media post. “My prayers and deepest respect are for all of you, who prayed, called or texted expressing your concerns for me.

“May all of our countrymen and women still afflicted with the virus fight this scourge with all their might and get well soon.”

READ ALSO: I Don’t Have COVID-19, Says Lai Mohammed

Reports had emerged that some of President Muhammadu Buhari’s aides have gone into isolation after they tested positive for COVID-19.

While the number of those infected could not be ascertained, Shehu told Channels Television on Saturday that he had contracted the disease.

Despite being fully vaccinated, he disclosed that he had mild symptoms of the disease – a trait connected with the omicron variant.

On the other hand, the Minister of Information and Culture, Lai Mohammed, stated that he was neither in isolation nor receiving treatment for the disease, contrary to reports suggesting he was positive for the virus.

Reacting to the COVID concerns within the Presidential Villa, another presidential spokesman, Femi Adesina, said there was nothing abnormal about the President’s aides testing positive for COVID-19.

Adesina, who is the Special Adviser to the President on Media and Publicity, stressed that they were just humans like every other person.

“They can fall sick, they can contract the virus, and the virus can also disappear,” he had stated in an earlier interview with Channels Television. “The fact that we are presidential aides does not make us immune to certain things. If there is a virus that is ravaging society, well, it can touch anybody.”

Electoral Act: Buhari Is Protecting Nigeria’s Democracy, Says Garba Shehu

Presidential spokesman Garba Shehu appeared on Channels Television's Sunrise Daily on February 1, 2020.
A file photo of Garba Shehu.

 

The Senior Special Assistant to President Muhammadu Buhari, Garba Shehu, has given further insight into the President’s decision to withhold assent from the Electoral Act (Amendment) Bill 2021.

In a statement on Tuesday, Mr Shehu said the move is part of efforts to protect the democracy of the nation and the President will do whatever he can to protect it.

“It is worth noting that, as one of Nigeria’s largest political parties, the ruling APC is one of those that stands to benefit from a bill that favours wealthier parties. But it is not the job of this government to protect the APC. It is the job of this government to protect Nigeria, her people and her democracy,” the statement read in part.


RELATED:

[Electoral Bill] Buhari’s Decision Not The End, Says Adesina

Buhari To Sign 2022 Budget On Friday


President Buhari had last Tuesday declined assent to the Electoral Act Amendment Bill over the direct primaries clause.

In a letter sent to the National Assembly, the President cited several issues with the clause, including legal, economic security challenges.

He added that it would also impact negatively on the rights of citizens to participate in the government as constitutionally ensured.

Another of his aides, Mr Femi Adesina had reiterated the concerns of the President, stating that he had sourced the opinions of several stakeholders before arriving at the decision.

“Nigeria’s strength as a nation and its status as one of the wealthiest economies in Africa with one of its highest standards of living owes above all to its proud democratic processes, which are enshrined in the Electoral Act of 2010.

“It is this act which the new bill seeks to amend. These amendments have been presented as a means to enhance and build upon our democratic processes. After careful review, the President’s Office has found that the opposite is true,” Mr Shehu reiterated in his statement on Tuesday.

Read his full statement below.

In Amending The Electoral Act, The Nation First, Always First For Mr. President

The President’s decision to withhold assent from the Electoral Act (Amendment) Bill 2021 has come under scrutiny from media and political circles.
This is quite correct because it is a decision that will impact all Nigerians. The President’s Office has decided, therefore, to issue an official statement to make its position clear.

Nigeria’s strength as a nation and its status as one of the wealthiest economies in Africa with one of its highest standards of living owes above all to its proud democratic processes, which are enshrined in the Electoral Act of 2010.

It is this act which the new bill seeks to amend. These amendments have been presented as a means to enhance and build upon our democratic processes. After careful review, the President’s Office has found that the opposite is true.

Rather, the proposed amendments entail significant legal, financial, economic and security consequences for all Nigerians, principal among which would be a severe spike in the cost of holding primary elections by parties – integral to democracies the world over.

And who would shoulder these costs? The Nigerian taxpayer of course, and who would benefit? Only the richest of political parties. At a time when the nation is seeking to extricate itself from the economic mire of the worst global health crisis in living memory, whatever other merits the new bill may have, now is not the time for such frivolous spending of public money.

Inevitably, the usual voices are making themselves heard, with cynical claims of election rigging and so on. This is nothing new. We heard their self-serving cries of fraud in 2015, when we saw the first peaceful transfer of power in independent Nigeria’s history. Then again in 2019, when President Buhari was re-elected with a lead of over three million. We will hear them again in 2023.

Until then, the President will do whatever he can to protect this county’s democracy, and that includes withholding assent from this Bill. It is worth noting that, as one of Nigeria’s largest political parties, the ruling APC is one of those that stand to benefit from a bill that favours wealthier parties. But it is not the job of this government to protect the APC. It is the job of this government to protect Nigeria, her people and her democracy.

To those that would rather that limited public funds be spent on politicking during this time of global crisis, we say: cease these cynical games. Tell the Nigerian people openly what you want. Put your – or rather their – money where your mouth is.

Buhari’s Spokesman, Garba Shehu Tests Positive For COVID-19

A file photo of presidential spokesman, Garba Shehu.

 

The Senior Special Adviser to the President on Media and Publicity, Garba Shehu has tested positive for COVID-19 and is undergoing treatment.

Shehu, who confirmed this to Channels Television on Saturday, however, said he feels fine.

He explained that has mild symptoms of the disease – a trait connected with the omicron variant, adding that he has gone into isolation and would go for further tests to ascertain his status.

READ ALSO: Nigerians Join Christians Worldwide To Celebrate Christmas

The President’s spokesman who is fully vaccinated also affirmed that the Permanent Secretary at the State House, Tijjani Umar, and a few others in the Aso Rock have also undergone COVID-19 tests.

He, however, said he has no knowledge of their results.

This comes three days after the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) confirmed 4,035 new cases – the highest single-day figure to be reported since the outbreak of the disease in the country in February 2020.

As authorities declared the fourth wave of the pandemic, the NCDC also confirmed 1,940 and 1,356 fresh infections on Thursday and Friday respectively.

As of 7 pm on Saturday, Nigeria has confirmed a total of 234,709 cases and of the figure, 212,237 infected people have recovered from the disease while 2,993 others have died.

While 19,479 cases are active across the country, the NCDC said it has collected and tested 3,751,696 samples.

Electoral Bill: Buhari Will Inform NASS Of His Decision, Says Presidency

A file photo of Presidential spokesman, Garba Shehu

 

President Muhammadu Buhari will inform the National Assembly of his decision on the Electoral Act Amendment Bill, a presidential spokesperson has said.

The much-anticipated bill which was passed by the Senate and the House of Representatives on November 6 empowered the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to transmit results electronically.

Constitutionally, the President is expected to sign or withhold his assent to it within 30 days which elapsed on Sunday; Buhari is yet to indicate his decision on the proposed legislation.

But speaking during an interview on Channels Television’s Sunday Politics, the Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity, Garba Shehu said his principal owes no obligation to make his decision public despite the provision of the constitution.

READ ALSO: INEC Requires N305bn To Conduct 2023 Elections, Says Yakubu

“The President will be communicating with the National Assembly whenever he decides whether yes or no. I am not in a position to tell you ‘yes or no’. Given the way things are done, the President would have completed his consultation,” the presidential spokesman said.

“And as I said, it would be disrespectful of the National Assembly, for me at this time, to say this is the content of the president’s communication, assuming that the communication has been sent to them. So as I said, allow them to resume, I believe that the president will not act in breach of the Constitution. No, he will do what is right.

“The constitution says the president must sign within 30 days, the constitution did not say that there should be the disclosure of that decision within 30 days to the public when the disclosure to the National Assembly has been made.”

Members of the National Assembly are expected to resume plenary on Tuesday and embark on the Christmas and New Year break soon after.

Also speaking, Rivers State Governor, Nyesom Wike, said President Buhari does not have any excuse for not signing the Electoral Act Amendment Bill.

He argued that contrary to claims that the President is holding back due to the quagmire over direct and indirect primaries as embedded in the bill, the main issue remains the electronic transmission of results.

“The ruling party in their conspiracy is trying to deceive Nigerians that the mere inclusion of the direct primaries in the electoral act amendment bill is the problem why the President does not want to sign or why he has refused to sign.

“The major issue is the transmission, the electronic transmission of results,” Wike asserted.

The governor added that because there are opportunities for clauses in a bill to be further amended, the President has no excuse why he could not have signed the bill and called for sections to be revisited.