The incoming administration of the President-elect, General Muhammadu Buhari, has bee urged to make good his promises contained his document entitled “My Covenant With Nigerians”.
General Buhari had made several promises in the document, ranging from fight against corruption, insecurity, power supply to jobs for Nigeria’s unemployed.
A Nigerian lawyer, Mr Ebun-Olu Adegboruwa, on Friday said the administration of General Buhari is expected to set up a campaign team against corruption in his first 100 days in office.
He said that Nigeria would experience a leap in terms of development if the leakages would be blocked.
“Once we can stop the leakages, the interest of the common man will be taken care of. The major thing that Nigerians want from General Buhari is to stop the leakages,” he said, emphasising that corruption had stalled the growth of the different sectors of the economy.
“The second area Nigerians will expect to see change is the power sector. In the manifesto of the All Progressives Congress, through the covenant of 100 days, we knew that Nigeria generates barely 5,000 megawatts. And they promised that in the next few years it would be increased to 20,000 additional megawatts. Every sector in Nigeria runs on Generator.
“If we tackle that, we can take the funds spent on power generation by individuals back to the country’s system. Between now and December 2016, Nigerians should have at least 18 hours of power,” Mr Adegboruwa said.
The lawyer further stressed that what was needed to actualise the promises was a willpower to implement the policies.
“The law and the will by the leaders to be able to implement it is what is affecting the sector.
“The law is blind. When you apply it to ‘A’ it must be applicable to all.
“The agenda for that administration in fighting corruption is for Professor Osinbajo to implement the template used in reducing corruption in Lagos justice system.
“They should search for credible technocrats and people of integrity to run the government.”
He emphasised that all the promises made by General Buhari during his campaign were realistic.
General Buhari had among other things promised to create a minimum of one million jobs and two million housing units every year.
“Nigerians are waiting and we want to give time for the APC to settle and we will begin to approach the issues as the time goes by.
“It is realistic that 35 per cent of appointment will go to women. The Land Use Act review, as promised is realistic. Every promise made by the APC are realistic and we expect them to deliver and we will demand that they be met even in court.
“There is a lot of goodwill that he has inherit because of the promise he made to the people. He should use the manifesto to take us forward.
“Nigerians cannot wait beyond December 2015 before we begin to see dividend of democracy running across the land.
“He (Buhari) said the economy would be diversified. He had told us that he will go through alternative means of strengthening the agriculture sector and exploration of other minerals.
“The government should leave by the expectations of the people in line with the fulfilment of the manifesto.
“There is no reason for us not to expect that something should be done,” he stressed.
A member of the APC and the Youth Leader of the party, Ismael Ahmed, expressed optimism that the General Buhari’s administration would live up to the ‘realistic part’ of the expectations.
“Many things have gone wrong and the expectations are quite high.
“The dollar coming back to one Naira is something that will go through a long process. We never promised that dollar will be equivalent to one Naira immediately we take over and that expectation is unrealistic.
“The president-elect has been in power before even though it was under a military administration.
“A lot of things have changed but there are realistic parts of the expectations and we will be meeting the realistic parts of the expectations.
“The absolute concentration of the incoming government is on the electorate and not on those in government,” he said.
“Power has always been an issue in Nigeria. Power is one of the cardinal issues that General Buhari will focus on. We are appreciative that what we will need to start up with that is good and that can be built upon, would be built upon and what needs to be changed will be looked at by experts and the right changes would be made.
“By December of 2015 Nigerians will begin to feel the change that the incoming administration has promised already.
“If there is any promise that the incoming administration has made, we will make sure that we keep to those promises.
“In terms of security, he said the administration of General Buhari would make an immediate effort to see if the Chibok girls would be rescued,” Mr Ahmed said.
He further said that the cabinet of the incoming administration would have people that would give Nigerians confident that the government meant business.
“You will see discipline in the lives of the people that will be in the government.
“One thing is very certain; change is here and people will see change in this country in the way and manner that the government will relate with the citizens and how the citizens will relate with the Government,” the APC Youth Leader said.
A monarch in Asaba, the Delta State capital in south-south Nigeria on Friday reaffirmed his endorsement for the candidacy of President Goodluck Jonathan for a second term, requesting for several developmental projects in the State.
The Asagba of Asaba, Professor Chike Edozien, gave the endorsement at his palace in Asaba, when President Jonathan paid him a courtesy visit.
According to a statement by the spokesman for the President, Dr. Reuben Abati, Professor Edozien said that the endorsement was not only for the president to continue with his good works but to enable him to implement the recommendations of the just concluded National Conference to move the country forward. “We are particularly delighted that you had the courage to set up the National Conference to look into the problems that were setting this country backwards.
“We are convinced that if the recommendations of the conference are implemented they will place Nigeria in its proper place.
“We are giving you our full support to complete your work.
“We do so, not only because of the giant strides that you have made in transforming the economy, defence and education, but we believe that you are in the best position to implement the resolutions of the National Conference,’’ he said.
Issues In Our Minds
The 1961 Professor of Medicine said that on March 28, his stool “will mobilise its children and people to support you not only by words but by deed to make sure that you return to Aso Rock’’. According to the Asagba, the traditional institution in his district had earlier taken a resolution to back the president”.
“We affirm that support to return you on May 29 as the President of Nigeria.
“It is our hope that in the next four years, some of the issues in our minds will be fully accomplished.”
The Monarch used the reception to urge the President to dualise the road from Asaba through Agbor and Kogi to Abuja, raise the Asaba Airport to an international hub to improve commerce and reduce travel time for the people.
He also urged the president to compensate families of victims of the 1967 civil war massacred by the Federal troops they came to receive in Asaba as well as grant Asaba a federal University as a major contributor and pioneer business hub in Nigeria through the hosting of the Royal Niger Company.
He said that the University request was made to former Presidents Ibrahim Babangida, Abdulsalami Abubakar and Olusegun Obasanjo, but none of them implemented it.
“Since that request, your administration has created more than 12 Federal universities, why are we forgotten?’”
Keep Faith With Promises
The President had earlier promised that his administration would continue to do its best to bring peace, secure Nigeria country and bring development.
“As your own son, I will keep faith with the promises that I made to you in public and in private to bring development to the country and Delta state will not be left out,” President Jonathan said.
He told the monarch that his administration had created a maritime University in Delta for manpower development, raised the police Academy in Kaduna to a degree awarding institution in addition to creating 12 other universities in the states that had none.
He added that his administration eradicated Guinea Worm and Polio with the same vigour it drove out the Ebola Virus disease. He said that the Aviation industry received big boost while rail and road infrastructure had reached more than 90 per cent rehabilitation.
He said his administration strengthened the cabotage law to create way for the participation of local entrepreneurs in the oil and gas business.
“We are marching on and in the next four years, if re-elected, we will take this country to an unimaginable height.’’
On power supply, Jonathan said that the power sector reform had yielded dividends and that this year would be the interface to move the sector from federal government control to private sector control to finally end incidents of power outage. Senator Ahmadu Alli, who stood in for PDP national chairman, Dr Adamu Mu’azu, said that the party was happy with the achievements of President Jonathan and his Vice and decided to sponsor them to complete their second tenure.
The Delta State Governor, Emmanuel Uduaghan, noted that the reign of Edozien had brought peace and development to the state.
He added that the government had heeded to his earlier request to improve electricity supply to Asaba through the NIPP project but awaiting the energisation of the project.
President Goodluck Jonathan says there are no plans for an interim government in Nigeria, as being speculated, assuring the international community that the May 29 handover date remained unchanged.
The Nigerian President gave the assurance on Monday in a meeting with the European Union observer group led by Mr Santiago Fisas.
President Jonathan assured the group that the May 29 handover date was sacrosanct, saying that those talking about a plan for an interim government were “just being mischievous”. “There is no room for interim National government as being speculated in some quarters. That is not the agenda of government,” President Jonathan said.
After the meeting, the leader of the EU election observer group, Mr Fisas, told reporters that they were in the presidential villa to exchange views with the president about the elections.
He said that the group had met with the presidential candidate of the All Progressive Congress, Mohammadu Buhari.
Earlier, a former president of Nigeria, Olusegun Obasanjo, told a gathering in Ogun State that there was a plan for an interim government, stressing that there was no provision for an interim government in the Nigerian Constitution.
At that gathering, Obasanjo withdrew his membership of the ruling Peoples Democratic Party.
President Jonathan’s statement apparently was in response to that statement.
After meeting with the EU delegation, President Jonathan also met with the leadership of the Economic Communities Of West African States (ECOWAS).
At the meeting, the ECOWAS appealed to Nigerians and all the major gladiators in the Nigeria’s presidential elections to be calm and show understanding and respect to the constitution, as the country prepares for presidential elections.
The President of the ECOWAS, Mr Kadre Ouedraogo, made the appeal.
At the meeting, Mr Ouedraogo presented a document he called the findings and recommendations of the commission towards a peaceful conduct of elections to President Jonathan.
According to him, the ECOWAS has been monitoring situation in Nigeria following the postponement of the election date and has been meeting with the major presidential candidates to intimate them on their findings.
The National Broadcasting Commission has advised broadcast stations in Nigeria to ensure balance and fair reporting of the elections, in adherence to the ethics of the profession.
This was the kernel of a meeting between officials of the commission and representatives of broadcast stations held in Abuja on Tuesday.
The Director General of the commission, Emeka Mba, said the reminder was necessary considering the critical role of the media in modern politics.
“We have seen that a large number of stations follow the code, but we know also that there are deviations from the code.
“But because we know that this is a very crucial time many slight deviations may occur. Broadcasting is, you would have said it, it would have gone out and the damage may already have been done so when you are trying to retract it the damage may have been done already,” he said
Political campaigns are intensifying in Nigeria, with political parties travelling around the country to woo voters.
The electoral umpire is also working hard to put everything in place for the elections.
The relevance of the media in the society and the need for fair reporting had triggered the meeting which the commission said was necessary to give the media a better understanding of their role towards free and fair general elections.
The meeting allowed participants to discuss how the media could ensure fairness, decency and access during political broadcasts and take their responsibility seriously.
Most of the broadcasters were told to encourage issue based campaigns in a bid to help ensure the general elections would be violence free and credible.
The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) says measures have been put in place to ensure that Nigeria’s February general elections will be of high integrity and difficult for anyone to manipulate.
A spokesman for the electoral body, Mr Kayode Idowu, gave the assurance on Sunday while making comments about the preparedness of the commission ahead of the general elections.
Mr Idowu said that the INEC would distribute up to 90 per cent of the Permanent Voters Cards in their coffers before the elections begin in February.
The spokesman of the commission told Channels Television that out of the 45 per cent cards yet undistributed, a large number belonged to Internally Displaced Persons (IDP) for whom, he said, a plan of action would be announced this week on how they would be accommodated in the forth coming electoral process.
“Substantial majority of IDPs especially those who are in camps, INEC will look for ways to get them to vote,” he said.
Election campaigns are expected to begin this week and the INEC stressed that appropriate security measures were in place to ensure that the February elections would be of high integrity, with ballot papers and ballot boxes coded to ensure they would used only in particular polling units.
“The tendency of people using other people’s voters cards will not work in 2015. That is why we have the Permanent Voters Card which would be read by a card reader,” he said.
Mr Idowu said it was part of the strategies to ensure that the election could not be rigged.
He assured Nigerians that collection of cards was ongoing, urging them to go and pick their cards at the local government offices of the INEC
The commission advised politicians to abide by the code of conduct they had signed. The code stipulates how politicians should conduct themselves during campaigns and other electoral processes.
The Federal Government of Nigeria has declared Friday, January 2, 2015 as public holiday to mark Eid el Maloud.
The announcement was made by the Minister of Interior, Abba Moro, on behalf of the government.
In a statement signed by the Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Interior, Makaji Abdulahi, Moro urged Muslim faithful and all Nigerians to pray for the peace and unity of the country.
Moro further urged all Nigerians to engage in violent free activities in the run off to the 2015 general elections and to support President Goodluck Jonathan’s transformation agenda to move Nigeria to the next level of development.
Moro also wished all Muslim faithful and Nigerians a very peaceful celebration.
The Nigerian government says it is taking a different approach in the fight against corruption, which is yielding results.
A spokesman for President Goodluck Jonathan, Doyin Okupe, told Channels Television on Tuesday that the administration of President Jonathan was committed to reducing the rate of corruption in Nigeria by checking every avenue that the government was losing money.
It is another Anti-corruption Day and Nigeria has joined the rest of the world in the celebration. It has presented another chance for Nigerians to assess the steps that have been taken to check the global phenomenon.
The recent ranking by Transparency International corruption survey which puts Nigeria at the 136th position down from 144 in 2013 has drawn different reactions.
The presidency, however, said the ranking was heart-warming as it validated the administration’s efforts to check the threat posed by corruption.
Corruption is said to be one factor that has continued to slow Nigeria’s development, a challenge the country has always appeared unable to confront.
The theme for this year’s international anti-corruption day, is “Breaking the Corruption Chain”.
Governor Tanko Al-makura of Nasarawa State, in north-central Nigeria, has dismissed the political threat by the Peoples Democratic Party to impeach him.
Governor Al-makura made the statement while interacting with reporters on his emergence as the flag bearer of the All Progressives Congress for the 2015 governorship election.
The governor said the threats by the PDP, which had vowed to take over power in Nasarawa State, had been on since his emergence in 2011.
He insisted that “the will of the people” would again ensure he defeated the PDP.
Earlier in August, a probe panel set up to look into allegations of misconduct and misappropriation levelled against the Nasarawa State Governor, Tanko Al-makura, by the State House of Assembly dismissed the charges against him.
The House of Representatives in Nigeria says it will conclude deliberations on the 2014 budget in the first week of April.
The Deputy Chairman of the House Committee on Media, Victor Ogene, told reports in Abuja on Thursday that the delay in the budget passage was occasioned by Ministries Departments and Agencies who have delayed in their budget defence, a matter, he said, the National Assembly could not control.
The budget was presented to the National Assembly on 19 December 2013.
An opposition party, the All Progressives Congress (APC), gaining more number of lawmakers after several of them defected from the ruling Peoples Democratic Party, gave a directive to the lawmakers to block the budget, a move aimed at coercing the President, Goodluck Jonathan to intervene in the crisis in Rivers State.
The party raised an alarm after a rally by the Save Rivers Movement was disrupted by the Nigeria Police Force, calling for the redeployment of the Commissioner of Police in the state.
Many Nigerians had expected that the delay in budget passage that had become become the fate of the country’s budget yearly would be corrected with expectation of early presentation.
But the presentation of the budget was, however, delayed when both the Senate and the House of Representatives were unable to reach an early agreement on the crude oil price benchmark.
Presenting the budget, after initial postponement by President Goodluck Jonathan, the Minister of Finance, Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, said that the 2014 budget envisaged net collectible revenue of 7.50 trillion Naira.
She said that 3.73 trillion Naira of the expected collectible revenue would be used to fund the 2014 budget, which focuses on boosting job creation and inclusive growth.
“The budget has been underpinned by the parameter of oil benchmark of 2.39 million barrels per day compared to 2.53 million barrels per day in 2013,” she said.
The budget is also underpinned by a benchmark oil price of $77.5 per barrel, projected real GDP growth of 6.75 per cent and average exchange rate of 160 Naira per dollar.
The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) in Nigeria has been advised to consider the deployment of Information Communication Technology (ICT) in the management of the nation’s electoral process in order to achieve free, fair and credible general elections in 2015.
At a forum organised on Tuesday to look at ways of promoting credible elections through the use of information technology, the Project Director of the Democratic Governance for Development, Mr Mourtada Deme, urged the electoral body not to relent in seeking new approaches for credible polls in 2015 and beyond.
He stressed the need for the electorate to be enlightened on the roles of ICT.
“The role of ICT in an election will be to ensure the secrecy of the vote and to accurately and credibly determine the will of the people.
“For ICT to play its role faithfully and effectively, all technology in election should serve to enhance the cardinal principle of accuracy, accessibility, informed electorate and transparency,” Mr Deme stated.
Also at the forum were key government officials and representatives of the United Nations.
A National Commissioner of the electoral body, Mr Nuru Yakubu, pointed out that mere deployment of technology would not automatically translate to the trust of the electoral process.
“As it is often said, in our contest, an accurate register of voters is a prerequisite to free, fair and credible elections,” he said.
The Deputy Senate president, Senator Ike Ekweremadu, said that the Nigerian government was eager to inject technology into the electoral process to enhance it.
He also said that the National Assembly would support the electoral process.
As much as the deployment of information communication gadgets for previous elections in the country may have yielded positive results for voter registration, education and election monitoring, some experts have cautioned that the introduction of ICT into any aspect of election management should be a gradual process.
As the 2015 general elections draw nearer the consensus at this gathering is that the deployment of ICT in the conduct of elections is key to ensuring its credibility.
The House of Representatives in Nigeria commenced debate on the 2014 appropriation bill on Tuesday after the ruling Peoples Democratic Party regained its majority leadership in the House.
The lawmakers began debate on the budget, following the ruling by the Speaker, Aminu Tambuwal, on a point of order raised by a member that stalled the debate last week.
An All Progressives Congress’ lawmaker, Hon Emmanuel Jime, had pointed out that the Minister of Finance, Dr Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, did not submit an estimate of the budget appropriation, thereby stalling the proceedings.
He said: “The law requires that an estimate of the budget appropriations must be submitted with the budget, which was not adhered to.
“What we have is a summary and abridged version of the estimate. The Minister has no responsibility under this law to give us her own summary”.
After the point of order was raised, a PDP lawmaker, John Enoh, countered the order, saying that the budget estimate submitted had the needed estimate added to it. He insisted that the House should not stop the consideration of the budget on the ground that no estimate was submitted.
Some members of the house were mandated to look at the issue and advise the presiding officer accordingly. They were given 24 hours to advise the presiding officer.
After the speaker had been briefed, he insisted that the Minister of Finance must comply fully with the Fiscal Responsibility Act and submit the complete estimates of 31 government agencies to the house.
Honourable Tambuwal, however, ruled that the debate should commence, pending the submission of the estimates by the minister.
But the proceedings began with what has become a normal feature of the House of Representatives proceedings, defections.
When it ended, five lawmakers had moved from the All Progressives Congress (APC) to the PDP with only one moving from the PDP to the APC.
At the end of the defection notices, the dispute between the PDP and the APC over majority leadership was laid to rest, as the PDP now has 178 lawmakers while APC reduced to 168.
Having concluded the defection issue, the house turned to the 2014 appropriation bill, specially to the committee set up to look into the non-compliance of the Executive arm of government with the Fiscal Responsibility Act.
The speaker appealed to the lawmakers not to be distracted with the political situations that had engulfed the country.
It was the first allotted day for the debate and lawmakers gave their positions on the budget.