‘We Do Not Want Biafra’ – Top 21 Quotes Of The Week

 

Nigeria’s Independence Day celebration might have come and gone, however, discussions around sovereignty and freedoms still linger.

Rights and the issue of governance have continued to stir questions of public interest across the globe, and stakeholders have continued to weigh in on various matters regarding leadership.

This week, we bring you some very striking quotes that, when pieced together, shape the narrative of what the world witnessed within the last 7 days.

They also help us to make projections of certain things to expect as we go into the new week.

1. “Every elite in the south-east is not desirous of Biafra. We don’t want Biafra. We only want to be treated equally like other regions in Nigeria.”

Ebonyi State Governor, David Umahi

 

Governor of Ebonyi State, who is also the Chairman of the South-East Governors’ Forum, David Umahi describes agitations for Biafra as “madness”, saying that most elites in the region do not want it.

2. “They are representatives of all journalists who stand up for this ideal in a world in which democracy and freedom of the press face increasingly adverse conditions.”

This file combination of pictures created on October 08, 2021, shows Maria Ressa (L), co-founder and CEO of the Philippines-based news website Rappler, speaking at the Human Rights Press Awards at the Foreign Correspondents Club of Hong Kong on on May 16, 2019 and Dmitry Muratov, editor-in-Chief of Russia’s main opposition newspaper Novaya Gazeta gestures as he speaks during a news conference in Moscow, on December 11, 2012.  Isaac LAWRENCE, Yuri KADOBNOV / AFP

 

Chairwoman of the Norwegian Nobel Committee, Berit Reiss-Andersen speaks about the works of journalists Maria Ressa of the Philippines and Dmitry Muratov of Russia who won the Nobel Peace Prize.

3. “Good relations with Afghanistan are good for everyone. Nothing should be done to weaken the existing government in Afghanistan which can lead to problems for the people.”

Taliban fighters stand guard near the venue of an open-air rally in a field on the outskirts of Kabul on October 3, 2021. Hoshang Hashimi / AFP

 

Taliban warns the United States not to “destabilise” the regime during their first face-to-face talks since the US withdrawal as a deadly sectarian bombing raised further questions about their grip on power.

4. “Though he attempted putting up some resistance when troops made efforts to take him into custody, he was not assaulted or subjected to brutalization.”

 

The Nigerian Army reacts to the arrest of Nollywood actor, Chiwetalu Agu, saying he was “inciting members of the public and soliciting support for the proscribed Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB)”.

5. “Where the president comes from has never been the problem of Nigeria, and I can cite examples; neither will it be the solution. There is no such thing as a president from Southern Nigeria or a president from Northern Nigeria.”

 

Former Vice President Atiku Abubakar says where the president comes from has never been the solution to the series of problems facing the nation.

6. “It is unlikely that our recovery from these recessions would have been as fast without the sustained government expenditure funded partly by debt.”

A file photograph of Finance Minister, Zainab Ahmed.
A file photograph of Finance Minister, Zainab Ahmed.

 

The Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning, Zainab Ahmed, again defends recent borrowings by the Federal Government, insisting they were instrumental to the country’s exit from recessions.

7. “Why you are having separatist agitations everywhere today in the West, in the South, in the South-South, is that some people are unable to manage our diversity, that is just the fact.”

Senate Minority Leader, Enyinnaya Abaribe made an appearance on Sunrise Daily on February 15, 2021.
File photo: Senate Minority Leader, Enyinnaya Abaribe.

 

Senate Minority Leader, Senator Enyinnaya Abaribe, says there are dozens of separatist groups in the south-east region of the country because the ethnic divide has not been properly managed.

8. “We find the renewed desperation by the south to threaten [the] northern people’s right to franchise a deliberate attempt to bastardise democracy, cause greater instability in the guise of contentious undemocratic power shift arrangement and therefore unacceptable.”

CNG spokesperson, Abdul-Azeez Suleiman, speaks during a press conference in Abuja on October 4, 2021.

 

The Coalition of Northern Groups (CNG) oppose the zoning arrangement by political parties, describing it as unconstitutional and a plot to intimidate the north from contesting for the presidency in 2023.

9. “We gave them the name bandit probably to just soft pedal because terrorism in the international arena is regarded as the most heinous crime that any group of people can engage in.”

A screen grab of Senator Adamu Bulkachuwa during his appearance on Channels Television’s Sunday Politics on October 3rd, 2021.

 

Senator Adamu Bulkachuwa says bandits are no different from terrorists, insisting that both groups operate the same way.

10. “The conditions make a mockery of the case pending before the ECOWAS court, and create a risk that the course of justice will be seriously impeded or prejudiced in this case.”

A photo combination of SERAP and President Muhammadu Buhari

 

The Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP), urges President Muhammadu Buhari to “urgently withdraw the impermissible conditions imposed on Twitter pending the final determination of the suit at the ECOWAS Court of Justice in Abuja.”

11. “We face a global recovery that remains ‘hobbled’ by the pandemic and its impact. We are unable to walk forward properly.”

In this file photo an exterior view of the building of the International Monetary Fund (IMF), with the IMG logo, is seen on March 27, 2020 in Washington, DC. Olivier DOULIERY / AFP
In this file photo an exterior view of the building of the International Monetary Fund (IMF), with the IMG logo, is seen on March 27, 2020 in Washington, DC. Olivier DOULIERY / AFP

 

The IMF predicts that global economic bounce back from the Covid-19 crisis will downshift this year as countries struggle with rising prices, high debt loads and divergent recoveries in which poor nations are slipping behind wealthier ones.

12. “In developing or Third World countries, it is the escalator of strife, pogroms and civil war, and has played a big role in countries torn to pieces by tribal war, such as it is playing out in Syria, which has become the hotbed of Captagon, and Afghanistan, which controls the opium trade.”

File photo:  Dried cannabis flowers.

 

Chairman/Chief Executive of the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA) Brig. Gen. Mohammed Buba Marwa (Retd) says cannabis cannot be legalised in the country considering the current security challenges.

13. “Nigeria must go beyond a never-ending potential for becoming a great nation to an actually great one. Many presidents have said it. Shehu Shagari. Olusegun Obasanjo. Umaru Yar’Adua. Goodluck Jonathan. But here we are today, still just a country with potentials.”

Presidential spokesman, Femi Adesina, made an appearance on Channels Television on February 9, 2021.
Presidential spokesman, Femi Adesina.

 

 

Special Adviser to the President on Media and Publicity, Femi Adesina, says the inherent potentials, which in the past have remained dormant in Nigeria, have started to be utilised.

14. “Some have expressed concern over our resort to borrowing to finance our fiscal gaps; they are right to be concerned.”

President Muhammadu Buhari makes a budget presentation speech at the National Assembly on October 7, 2021.
President Muhammadu Buhari makes a budget presentation speech at the National Assembly on October 7, 2021.

 

President Muhammadu Buhari says Nigerians have a right to be concerned about recent borrowings by the Federal Government.

15. “We believe that the debt level of the Federal Government is still within sustainable limits”.

A file photo of President Buhari

 

President Muhammadu Buhari says though Nigerians have the right to be concerned about the nation’s additional loans, still, the country’s debts remain at a sustainable level.

16. “If you are going to get in, in the Nigerian system, in this system of ours, to walk through all that is required, I think you need some experience; a bit of it, you don’t have to be very old.”

A file photo of the Vice President, Professor Yemi Osinbajo.

 

Vice President Yemi Osinbajo says age should never be a barrier for young Nigerians to get involved in holding strategic positions, especially political offices.

17. “For the majority of our people, 1960 provided an opportunity to start all over again but, unfortunately, the nationalist politicians who took over the reins of power from the British colonial regime did not decolonise the country and the psyche of our people.”

Human Rights lawyer and a Senior Advocate of Nigeria, Femi Falana, speaks during an interview on Channels TV’s Politics Today on March 10, 2021.

 

Human rights activist and Senior Advocate of Nigeria, Femi Falana, insists that if Nigeria is to forge ahead in the right direction, then the citizens must be mobilised to take charge of their political destiny.

18. “I want to tell you that Mr President has the magic wand. His attitude, [and] language to the South-East; he has to change it.”

The lawmaker representing Enugu Central in the National Assembly, Senator Chukwuka Utazi speaks during an interview on Channels Television's Politics Today on October 5, 2021.
The lawmaker representing Enugu Central in the National Assembly, Senator Chukwuka Utazi speaks during an interview on Channels Television’s Politics Today on October 5, 2021.

 

The lawmaker representing Enugu North senatorial district in the National Assembly, Senator Chukwuka Utazi asks President Buhari to change the way he addresses the people of the South East region.

19. “Everyone is stunned, but we do not have to be emotional or negative about things. The same team defeated Liberia here in Lagos and Cape Verde away. They still have that ability to deliver.”

A Nigerian supporter dances during the 2022 Qatar World Cup African qualifiers group 3 football match between Nigeria and Central African Republic at the Teslim Balogun Stadium, in Surulere in Lagos State, on October 7, 2021. PIUS UTOMI EKPEI / AFP

 

The Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) backs the Super Eagles to bounce back from their shocking defeat to lowly-rated Central African Republic (CAR) in a 2022 World Cup qualifier.

20. “Nigeria’s Federal Government is already making efforts to use large shares of clean energy sources, but the development of gas projects poses a dire challenge.”

Vice President Yemi Osinbajo during the event. Photo: Facebook/Yemi Osinbajo

 

Vice President Yemi Osinbajo argues that climate change policies must reflect “the different realities of various economies” to be successful.

21. “If we had a policeman for everybody, nobody is going to obey any sit at home.”

File photo:  Ebonyi State Governor, Dave Umahi, speaks during a Christmas visit to some hospitals in Abakaliki, the state capital on December 25, 2020.

 

Governor David Umahi says agitation in the South East has been hijacked by criminals.

There Is No Country On Earth Like Nigeria – The Week In Quotes

A photo collage used to illustrate the story.

 

 

Nigeria’s 61st Independence celebration was a major focus in the passing week.

The events highlighted the journey so far, questioning what has been achieved and what needs to give way for the attainment of the nation’s desired goal.

Here are quotes made by politicians, leaders of thought and experts in various fields, within the passing week; through their words, we feel the world’s pulse as the globe’s heart beats in diverse yet similar rhythms, from one little corner to the next.

 

1. “I am here to tell you that just as I am certain that the United States will emerge from the struggle with our democracy, I am equally certain that Nigeria will emerge, in this century, as a model democratic country not just for Africa but for the entire world.”

A screen grab taken on October 1, 2021, shows Donna Brazile while speaking on The Platform.

 

Former Chairperson of the Democratic Party in the United States, Donna Brazile, says she is confident that democracy in Nigeria will be strengthened in the 21st century.

2. “As far as I am concerned, there is no country on earth like Nigeria, and I know every patriotic Nigerian holds this view.”

 

Speaker of the House of Representatives, Honourable Femi Gbajabiamila, calls on Nigerians to be more united for the common purpose of building a country that meets the best expectations of all Nigerians.

 

3. “Declaration of all bandits as terrorists may also encourage other countries to do same and help create a global consensus around dealing with transnational factors that feed the domestic activities of such proscribed organizations and individuals.”

A file photo of members of the House of Representatives attend a plenary at the lower chamber of the National Assembly in Abuja on November 24, 2020.

 

Chairman of the House Committee on Defence, Babajimi Benson, raises a motion on the floor, seeking to have President Buhari declare all bandits as terrorists.

 

4. “If the husband and wife have just adopted a baby of less than four months, then the man is entitled to paternity leave of about 14 days.”

Head of Civil Service of the Federation, Folasade Yemi-Esan, briefs reporters after the Federal Executive Council meeting in Abuja on September 29, 2021.

 

Head of Civil Service of the Federation, Mrs Folasade Yemi-Esan, announces the Federal Government’s approval of a 14-day paternity leave for fathers with newborn babies in the country.

 

5. “We urge the president and commander-in-chief to declare the bandits as terrorists and urge total war against them.”

Lawmakers during plenary at the Senate chamber in Abuja February 12, 2020. Photo: [email protected]

 

The Senate urges President Muhammadu Buhari to declare bandits as terrorists following a recent attack in Zamfara.

 

6. “We condemn the statement by the Southern Governors Forum that the presidency must go to the south; the statement is quite contradictory to the provisions of the constitution.”

Governors of the northern states met with traditional rulers in the region in Kaduna State on September 27, 2021.

 

Governors of the 19 states in the North oppose the call by their southern counterparts seeking that the Presidency should be zoned to the South in 2023.

 

7. “Transmit a result electronically to show the transparency; to show that really the person you are declaring won the election is the problem.”

A file photo of Rivers State Governor, Nyesom Wike.

 

Governor of Rivers State, Nyesom Wike, raises an alarm over alleged plots to rig the 2023 general elections.

8. “Fellow Nigerians, the past eighteen months have been some of the most difficult periods in the history of Nigeria. Since the civil war, I doubt whether we have seen a period of more heightened challenges than what we have witnessed in this period”.

A file photo of President Buhari

 

President Muhammadu Buhari recounts how the nation has fared so far, explaining that the last 18 months have been some of the “most difficult periods in the history of Nigeria”.

 

9. “No state is poor in this country; it is this over-dependence on the Federal Government.”

A file photo of Rivers State Governor, Nyesom Wike.

 

Governor Nyesom Wike faults governors who depend on the monthly Federation Accounts Allocation Committee (FAAC), saying no state in Nigeria is poor.

 

10. “Let us put politics aside. What do we do as leaders? We have no leadership in Nigeria, that is the problem and the world is looking at us.”

Former Jigawa State Governor, Sule Lamido speaks during an interview on Channels Television’s Sunday Politics on September 26, 2021.

 

Former Jigawa State Governor, Sule Lamido, says Nigeria lacks the requisite leadership to tackle security challenges.

 

11. “We have every reason to believe that we are not dealing with just bandits.”

Easter: Governor Bello Challenges Residents On Nation Building
A file photo of Niger State Governor, Abubakar Bello

 

Niger State Governor, Abubakar Bello, asserts that the bandits troubling the north have aligned with terrorist organizations to wreak large-scale havoc in the region.

12. “I am saddened when I see people not protecting themselves against COVID-19. We are not making vaccination compulsory, but for now, it is the best way to protect yourselves and protect the people around you. It is so sad to see people making it a political issue.”

File photo of Edo State Governor, Godwin Obaseki

 

Governor Godwin Obaseki of Edo State laments that people were making the COVID-19 vaccination a political issue.

 

13. “Even in the face of the many challenges confronting us as a people and as a nation, my message to every Nigerian at this time is that we have no reason to lose hope. There is enough evidence around us of the fact that while we are not yet where we would like to be as a country and as a people, we are also no longer where we used to be.”

A photo taken on August 23, 2021, shows Lagos State Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu, at a press briefing on the COVID-19 pandemic in the state.

 

Lagos State Governor, Mr Babajide Sanwo-Olu, urges Nigerians not to lose hope in the country despite the challenges the nation has been confronted with.

 

14. “NADECO implores the United Nations, its Security Council and other global bodies concerned with peaceful co-existence of the world to urgently fast-track their preparations to conduct variously demanded referendum to ascertain the wishes and aspirations for self-determination of the entrapped indigenous ethnic nationalities of Nigeria.”

NADECO logo.

 

The National Democratic Coalition (NADECO) condemns the Nigerian Constitution and ask the United Nations and other international bodies to conduct a referendum in the country.

 

15. “Following the extensive engagements, the issues are being addressed and I have directed that the suspension be lifted but only if the conditions are met to allow our citizens continue the use of the platform for business and positive engagements.”

File photo: President Muhammadu Buhari presides over the Federal Executive Council (FEC) meeting in Abuja on August 18, 2021.

 

President Muhammadu Buhari on Friday says he had given his approval for the suspension of microblogging site Twitter to be lifted once the conditions set by the Federal Government are met.

 

16. “The recent arrests of Nnamdi Kanu and Sunday Adeyemo, and the ongoing investigations being conducted have revealed certain high-profile financiers behind these individuals. We are vigorously pursuing these financiers, including one identified as a serving member of the National Assembly.”

File photo:  A screen grab taken on September 24, 2021, shows President Muhammadu Buhari addressing world leaders at the 76th Session of the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA76) in New York, the United States.

 

Buhari reveals that a member of the National Assembly is among the high-profile individuals sponsoring the leaders of secessionist groups in the country.

 

17. “Where there is no confidence in the electoral management body (in our case – INEC), people will reject the results even before they are announced.”

File photo: Former President Goodluck Jonathan speaks in Abuja on September 10, 2021.

 

Former President Goodluck Jonathan says the reason politicians run to the courts after elections is because they have no confidence in the electoral management body.

 

18. “Transmission of election results has been one of the key areas in which reckless, unpatriotic, and self-serving politicians have undermined the integrity of the Nigerian electoral process.”

A file photo of Professor Attahiru Jega

 

Former Chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Professor Attahiru Jega, calls for the electronic transmission of election results in the country.

 

19. “It’s a little bit like drink driving. We probably all had a situation where we had a beer or two and thought ‘I could still drive’, but under the law, we are not allowed to drive.”

Liverpool’s German manager Jurgen Klopp gestures on the touchline during the English Premier League football match between Liverpool and Fulham at Anfield in Liverpool, north west England on March 7, 2021. PHIL NOBLE / POOL / AFP

 

Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp says people should get vaccinated against coronavirus for the same reason they should not drink and drive, as he reveals his squad is “99 per cent” vaccinated.

 

20. “We are all relieved, him and me and the whole club. Every time he scores we have the feeling there is a VAR decision to take it away from him, there have been a lot of very narrow decisions.”

File photo:  Leeds United’s Macedonian midfielder Ezgjan Alioski (R) fouls Chelsea’s German striker Timo Werner during the English Premier League football match between Leeds United and Chelsea at Elland Road in Leeds, northern England on March 13, 2021. (Photo by Lindsey Parnaby / POOL / AFP)

 

Thomas Tuchel encourages Timo Werner to keep improving after the Chelsea striker’s first Premier League goal since April helped seal a 3-1 win against 10-man Southampton on Saturday.

 

21. Impunity and injustice must be vehemently rejected if Nigeria must realize her full potentials as a prosperous nation.”

A file photo of Benue State Governor, Samuel Ortom
A file photo of Benue State Governor, Samuel Ortom

 

Benue State Governor, Samuel Ortom, asks Nigerians to demand for a country that guarantees justice and fairness to all.

 

22. “There is no excuse that 61 years after independence, extreme poverty is still staring the ordinary citizen in the face.”

A file photo of Atiku Abubakar.

 

Former Vice President Atiku Abubakar says there is no reason the masses in Nigeria are battling extreme poverty when the country is blessed with an abundance of resources.

 

23. “Our current trials cannot draw the curtains on our story, because the vision is for an appointed time and because this country is greater than the sum of its parts and the sum of its mistakes; and because the God we serve is greater than the sum of our collective hopes and imagination, our nation will surmount our current travails and emerge in victory.”

A file photo of the Vice President, Professor Yemi Osinbajo.

 

Vice President Yemi Osinbajo (SAN) states that even though there are security, economic, religious, and ethnic challenges, the collective vision of a united, peaceful and prosperous Nigeria, where righteousness abounds, still abides.

We Have Not Had Time To Sit And Think As A Nation – Ighodalo

 

The Senior Pastor of Trinity House, Pastor Ituah Ighodalo on Friday said Nigerians have not had time to sit and think as a nation.

He stated this during Channels Television’s special programme, ‘[email protected]: Thoughts on leadership,’ to mark Nigeria’s Independence Anniversary.

“Nobody at the top has had the responsibility of defining for us what Nigeria should be doing,” he said, decrying the first coup in the country which he said prevented the leaders at the time from plotting a road map for the nation.

According to him, several Nigerian leaders were either accidental leaders or had limited time to define what Nigeria should be.

“We have not really had any transition in leadership,” he added, stressing that many of the current leaders have been in governance for decades.

Consequently, he said there had been a migration from youth-minded leadership to the current situation.

He blamed the military for the failure to create the right governance mentality among Nigerians.

RELATED: Without Accountability, Leaders Can Get Away With Murder – Prof Jibrin

Education On Its Own Does Not Account For Good Leadership – Ernest Ojukwu

‘We Have To Sit’

The Senior Pastor of Trinity House speaks during an interview on Channels TV’s special programme, ‘[email protected]: Thoughts on leadership,’ to mark Nigeria’s Independence Anniversary on October 1, 2021.

 

As a way forward, Pastor Ighodalo called for talks about Nigeria’s future as a nation, insisting that it was necessary.

“Everybody has to sit at the table and we have to discuss,” the cleric maintained.

“I don’t know why some people are afraid but we have to sit round the table and everybody’s opinion has to be heard.”

Ighodalo also decried the lack of focus on merit in various spheres of national life, saying most people now see nepotism as a way of life.

Despite these challenges, the preacher noted that “Nigeria is a great country, in terms of the natural resources it has [and also the] strong people.”

To fully maximise these potentials, he said Nigeria needs a focused leadership willing to work within the ambit of democracy.

“I hope that with time and with democracy we will be able to get the cream of the crop as leaders,” he added.

FG To Give Imo $120m For Livestock Programme, Says Uzodinma

A file photo of Governor Hope Uzodinma.

 

The Federal Government will soon release $120 million to Imo State to support the state government’s livestock programme.

Governor Hope Uzodinma disclosed this on Friday during a broadcast to mark the nation’s 61st Independence Anniversary in Owerri.

He noted that the state has also been earmarked to receive $850 million to be distributed among seven states.

“Another benefit from the visit (President Muhammadu Buhari) is that the Federal Government has graciously included Imo State as a beneficiary of its special Agric Processing Zone Project for Livestock farming,” he said.

“Out of the seven states in the country that will benefit from a Federal Government  $850 million for the programme, Imo State is number two! Consequently, a whopping $120 million will soon be released to our state for the livestock programme.”

READ ALSO: We Must Stand Together To End Violence, Imo First Lady Tells Women

The governor explained that the Federal Government has also listed Imo as one of the states to benefit from a $1.4 billion facility secured from the World Bank for urban and rural water development.

Speaking on security, Uzodinma said relative peace has been recorded in the South-Eastern state under his administration.

He commended President Muhammadu Buhari and security agencies for their “invaluable support to the state government in tackling the worst form of banditry and criminality ever witnessed in the state.”

According to the Imo governor, everyone in the state is a witness to the “savagery and cannibalistic brutality that defined the regime of violence and criminality that enveloped the state for some months in the recent past.”

Uzodinma warned that his administration will not tolerate anybody that attempts to foment trouble in the state, vowing to crush criminal elements.

He called on people of the state to support the security agencies and government by providing useful information to flush out criminals from their hideouts.

“Anybody who attempts to disrupt the peace of the state again may not live to tell the story. That is why it is important for parents and guardians to rein in their children and wards as the security agencies have our directive to deal decisively with those who may be tempted to foment trouble again.

“I have just inaugurated a judicial commission of inquiry to investigate the security breaches in the state and come out with recommendations on what government should do to ensure that there is no recurrence of such.

“I believe that both the perpetrators and their sponsors would be unmasked for Imo people to know their enemies. But all of us have a collective duty to protect our state against renegades,” he added.

Poju Oyemade Asks FG To Invest In Education, Vocational Training

The Senior Pastor of The Covenant Nation, Pastor Poju Oyemade

 

The Senior Pastor of The Covenant Nation, Lagos, Pastor Poju Oyemade, has asked the Federal Government to invest in the nation’s education sector and the vocational training of Nigerians.

He made the call on Friday in Abuja during The Platform’s Independence Anniversary event, an annual programme that features professionals from different fields.

According to him, wealthy nations only focus on developing the skills of their citizens and those who are capable of doing things that only a few people on the earth can do.

Nations that have developed their citizens’ skills, he said, attract material capital with a special focus on the unseen while other countries focus on the seen.

“If we really know what the wealth is, then the first thing we will look at for in this country is our educational system,” he said.

“The second thing we will look out for is how much specialised vocational training is going to produce highly skilled people.”

READ ALSO: Nigeria’s 61st Independence Day Celebration In Photos

Oyemade, citing a recent report, said some countries (including Nigeria) have governing policies that give a negative intangible capital.

He faulted Nigerian politicians who only understand the language of power and how to sustain it, decrying the level of corruption level in the country.

“The only two things politicians – who are the decision makers – understand is how do we get to power and the second language they understand is, ‘if we are in power, how do we hold unto it?’” Oyemade said.

“This is the language and voices that politicians who can change things understand. Once they understand that these are the ideas that will make them gain power, they will implement them. It has very little to do with compassion but with power.”

Pastor Oyemade, who is the convener of the Platform, was the keynote speaker at the event.

Others speakers included the Special Adviser to the President on Ease of Doing Business, Jumoke Oduwole; Lagos State Commissioner for Budget and Planning, Samuel Egube; and a former Chairperson of the Democratic Party (US), Donna Brazile,

Chief Economist with the New York City Economic Development Corporation, Professor Fred Oyewale; the Co-founder/CEO of Indicina – a FinTech infrastructure start-up focused on Africa, Yvonne Johnson; a writer and accountant, Feyi Fawehinmi, were also part of the programme.

Nigeria At 61: The Vision Has Not Been Destroyed, We Are Undefeated – Osinbajo

Vice President Yemi Osinbajo during the event. Photo: Facebook/Yemi Osinbajo

 

Vice President Yemi Osinbajo (SAN) has observed that even though there are security, economic, religious, and ethnic challenges, the collective vision of a united, peaceful and prosperous Nigeria, where righteousness abounds, still abides.

This was the summation of his remark at Nigeria’s 61st Independence Anniversary inter-denominational church service and the 45th anniversary service of the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN), held at the National Ecumenical Centre, Abuja on Sunday.

Osinbajo said: “we have since become the most educated and most entrepreneurial nation in Africa. Ten of our 36 States have larger economies than at least 15 African countries. From our ranks, we have the most accomplished men and women, in the arts, the sciences, in sports, in technology and commerce.”

“Our current trials cannot draw the curtains on our story, because the vision is for an appointed time and because this country is greater than the sum of its parts and the sum of its mistakes; and because the God we serve is greater than the sum of our collective hopes and imagination, our nation will surmount our current travails and emerge in victory,”  the VP added.

READ ALSO: Wike Raises Alarm Over Alleged Plot To Rig 2023 Elections

The event tagged ‘Together, Come Let Us build’, was attended by several dignitaries, especially representatives of the National Assembly, judiciary, and members of the Federal Executive Council including the Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Boss Mustapha.

There were also eminent religious leaders, including the General Overseer of the Redeemed Christian Church of God (RCCG), Pastor E.A Adeboye; CAN President, Rev. Supo Ayokunle; among others.

Below is the full speech of the Vice President titled “Nigeria: The Vision Undefeated”, as released by Laolu Akande, the Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media & Publicity.

 

SPEECH DELIVERED BY HIS EXCELLENCY, PROF YEMI OSINBAJO, SAN, GCON, VICE PRESIDENT OF THE FEDERAL REPUBLIC OF NIGERIA AT THE 61st INDEPENDENCE ANNIVERSARY INTER-DENOMINATIONAL CHURCH SERVICE AND THE 45TH ANNIVERSARY SERVICE OF THE CHRISTIAN ASSOCIATION OF NIGERIA (CAN) ON THE 26TH OF SEPTEMBER, 2021 PROTOCOLS

Let me begin by delivering to the Christian Association of Nigeria, the warm felicitations of Mr. President, President Muhammadu Buhari on this occasion of the 45th anniversary of the Association.

He has asked me to commend the work of CAN especially within Nigeria Inter-Religious Council, NIREC, to ensure brotherliness and peace amongst all Nigerians regardless of faith. Congratulations today on behalf of Mr. President.

I have titled my remarks today – The Vision Undefeated.61 years ago, our founding fathers laid out a vision, that the many nations and ethnicities, North and South of the Niger, 300 languages or more, differing tribes, and religions, would by the grace of God become one Nation.

That their diverse strengths and gifts would coalesce into a formidable economic and regional force. And that these united nations may become the largest aggregation of black people on earth. A beacon of hope to all peoples of African descent, long bruised by the afflictions of slavery and colonial exploitation. Nigeria will be the reaffirmation of their dignity and a tonic to their spirits. 

The Lord blessed the vision and prospered the land with richness in oil, in gas, in minerals of every hue. In fruit trees, in palm trees, in crops of every kind, in savannahs and forests, arable land, seas, rivers, and the riches embedded in them.

That vision of our forebears inheres in the words of our National Motto: Unity and Faith, Peace and Progress. 

Through the years, we worked that vision, through thick and thin. From subjection to colonial monarchy, to a sovereign republic, to civil rule to military rule. We fought a bitter war amongst brothers that cost millions of lives, and though we still wear the deep scars of those wounds, the Lord preserved the Republic. 

We have since become the most educated and most entrepreneurial nation in Africa. 10 of our 36 States have larger economies than at least 15 African countries. From our ranks, we have the most accomplished men and women, in the arts, the sciences, sports, technology, and commerce. 

But today, yet again, our path has been dogged by conflict; religious and ethnic, economic challenges, insurgencies and banditry, much darkness, many valleys, and many thorns. And so many ask, “can the vision of the nation united, the nation peaceful, the nation righteous and the nation prosperous yet abide?”

But the vision is not destroyed because of the many trials and tribulations, nor is the vision denied by the days when the fig tree does not blossom, or when there is no fruit on the vines; nor is the vision nullified when the labor of the olive fails, neither is the vision defeated because the flock is cut off from the fold, leaving no herd in the stalls.

The Lord God, our strength, He will yet make our feet like the feet of the deer, and we, who had been in the valley, He will make us walk on our high hills (Habakkuk 3:17-19)

Neither hailstones nor hellfire can destroy the vision because the Creator of the universe is the visioner, the One who gave the vision is the Lord of dreams. And indeed even after we have suffered for a while, this God of all grace, who called us to His eternal glory by Christ Jesus, will perfect, establish, strengthen and settle us. (1 Peter 5:10)

Our current trials cannot draw the curtains on our story, because the vision is for an appointed time. Our today is not our tomorrow because the vision is for an appointed time.

This country is greater than the sum of its parts and the sum of its mistakes, and because the God we serve is greater than the sum of our collective hopes and imagination, our nation will surmount our current travails and emerge in victory.

(Habakkuk 2:3) For indeed the vision is yet for an appointed time; though it tarries. But at the end, it will speak, and it will not lie. We will wait for it; because it will surely come, it will not tarry.

May the Lord prosper this land, and its peoples forever, Amen.
Congratulations to CAN at 45 and happy anniversary Nigeria at 61.
God bless the Federal Republic of Nigeria. God bless you all.

Wike Raises Alarm Over Alleged Plot To Rig 2023 Elections

 

As Nigeria clocks 61 years on Friday, October 1, Governor of Rivers State, Nyesom Wike, has raised an alarm over alleged plans to rig the 2023 general elections.

He made the allegation on Sunday during an interdenominational church service in commemoration of the nation’s Independence Anniversary at the Saint Paul’s Anglican Cathedral in Diobu, Port Harcourt.

“Other countries are talking about how their elections will be transparent, we are talking about how we will plot to rig an election in 2023,” the Governor said.

He also raised concerns over why Nigeria is yet to adopt the electronic mode of transmission of election results.

He believes Nigerians should have had a good reason to celebrate the country at 61 if the electoral system is made a little stronger by introducing electronic transmission of results.

“Transmit a result electronically to show the transparency, to show that really the person you are declaring won the election is the problem,” he said.

“I thought by now, we should be talking about how this country will be competing with other developed nations.”

The governor also lamented the societal ills in the country, blaming poor leadership for Nigeria’s challenges.

Wike, therefore, charged Nigerians to take personal responsibility to ensure that the values that will entrench better society are strengthened as the country marks 61 years of independence amid the socio-cultural problems and ethnoreligious intolerance.

According to him, it feels disappointing that Nigeria at 61 years is yet to have truly independent legislative and judicial arms that can check the excesses of the executive, especially in the management of finances.

Speaking further, he lamented that the legislature is not playing its role of holding the executive to account.

He took a swipe at the National Assembly for not checking the excesses of the Federal Government, especially with respect to excessive borrowings.

Wike added, “what are we celebrating about 61 years old? We have a congress (where) anything goes. Where is the legislature? A legislature that cannot speak, a legislature where anything they bring is right?

“A legislature that cannot say that Nigeria has gotten to the age of conducting a free and fair election, a legislature that will close your eye anytime they bring money, borrow you borrow.

“Where are the courts? The courts have been intimidated; the judges have abandoned their responsibilities out of fear of what will happen,” Wike said.

No Scotland Independence Vote Before 2024, Says UK Minister

Britain’s Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster Michael Gove walks through Downing Street in central London on September 22, 2020 to attend the weekly meeting of the cabinet. (Photo by JUSTIN TALLIS / AFP)

 

Scotland will not be given a new referendum on independence before 2024, a senior UK cabinet minister said in an interview published on Wednesday.

Cabinet Office Minister Michael Gove, who heads a UK government strategy unit on policy for the country’s four nations, said a vote was unlikely in the immediate future.

“I can’t see it,” Gove, a Scot, told the Daily Telegraph when asked if Prime Minister Boris Johnson would approve the move before the next scheduled UK general election.

“It’s foolish to talk about a referendum now — we’re recovering from Covid,” he added.

“It seems to me to be at best reckless, at worst folly, to try to move the conversation on to constitutional division when people expect us to be working together in order to deal with these challenges.”

Renewed calls for a vote on Scottish independence are a potential headache for Johnson, despite a 2014 referendum which saw Scots voted by 55 percent to 45 percent to remain part of the UK.

READ ALSO: Warren Buffett To Resign As Trustee From Gates Foundation

After the result, Johnson called the referendum a once-in-a-generation event.

But Scottish National Party leader, First Minister Nicola Sturgeon, reopened the debate after the 2016 referendum on UK membership of the European Union.

Scots in that vote opted by a majority to stay part of the bloc, with Sturgeon arguing that Scotland was being forced out against its will.

Brexit changed the constitutional relationship of Scotland with the rest of the UK, she said, and has since promised a new referendum on going it alone by late 2023.

She said the strong SNP showing at the last elections for the devolved parliament in Edinburgh in May gives a democratic mandate for a new referendum.

The SNP is backed by the Scottish Greens in support for a referendum.

But Sturgeon has promised to tackle the coronavirus pandemic as a priority.

She dismissed Gove’s comments as “sneering, arrogant condescension” and a refusal “to accept Scottish democracy”, which she said only bolsters the pro-independence cause.

London, which under the Scotland Act must transfer powers to hold a referendum to Edinburgh, needed to accept the democratic choices made in Scotland last month.

“If that can’t even be respected, then the idea that the UK is a partnership of equals just completely disintegrates,” she added.

AFP

Fuel Subsidy: Don’t Kill Nigerians, Murder Corruption – Bakare

 

The Pastor of Latter Rain Assembly, Tunde Bakare, has asked the Federal Government not to kill Nigerians.

Speaking on The Platform, a special programme to commemorate Nigeria’s Independence Day anniversary, the cleric asked the government to murder corruption instead.

“Don’t kill Nigerians, kill corruption because we knew that the subsidy being paid is going into private pockets,” he said.

Bakare recalled that when he joined the likes of Nobel laureate, Professor Wole Soyinka, Senior Advocate of Nigeria, Femi Falana among others to protest during Jonathan’s government in 2012, the protest was not against subsidy.

“I campaigned against the oppression of the poor,” Bakare said, adding that the subsidy by the Federal Government was not used to advance the cause of the poor.

Reacting to calls for Nigeria to disintegrate, the cleric argued that the country should be united.

Meanwhile, the former Chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Professor Attahiru Jega has asked President Muhammadu Buhari’s 60th Independence speech to go beyond talk to implementation.

Jega, who spoke during Channels Television’s Sunrise Daily wants the Federal Government to implement policies that will make Nigerians have pride in their country.

“What is clear is that the speech carries quite a lot of the right things to be said on a day like this. But for me, the critical thing is not what is said but how it is followed up,” Professor Jega noted.

“I think it is important to reflect on the issue of what government needs to do to ensure that when you call upon Nigerians to take pride in Nigeria, there are certain things that encourage and help them to be able to do that,” he said.

 

Buhari Congratulates Guinea Bissau On 47th Independence, Pledges Support For Peace

President Muhammadu Buhari attends the 47th independence anniversary of Guinea Bissau on September 24, 2020. Credit: State House

 

 

President Muhammadu Buhari on Thursday promised that Nigeria will support Guinea-Bissau in any way possible, saying “a peaceful and prosperous Guinea-Bissau is a win for West Africa and for Africa.”

In a statement issued by the Special Adviser to the President on Media and Publicity, Femi Adesina, President Buhari joined other Heads of State and Government of Senegal, Mauritania, and Burkina Faso to celebrate the country’s 47th independence anniversary.

“I feel delighted because this is my first official visit to Guinea Bissau since my assumption of office in 2015 and because I am here to join you, brotherly people of Guinea Bissau, as you celebrate this great day with renewed hope and aspiration.

“I am truly grateful for the warm reception accorded me and my delegation, since our arrival in this city.

“As you mark your freedom as a nation “free forever’, let me seize this opportunity to salute all Bissau Guineans both at home as well as in the Diaspora, for the strides you have made as a country.  Permit me to say Parabens!  Congratulations!” Buhari was quoted as saying.

The President said he was proud of the support Nigeria provided to the West African country in the previous elections, adding that helped to entrench democracy.

According to him, Nigeria’s deployment of troops under the ECOWAS Mission in Guinea Bissau played an important role in maintaining peace and security.

While congratulating President Umaro Sissocco Embalo, the government and people of Guinea Bissau on the country’s independence anniversary, Buhari prayed for continued growth and prosperity.

He also expressed good wishes for greater achievements in the years ahead for the West African country.

President Buhari recalled that when Guinea Bissau declared its independence from Portugal on September 10, 1974, it brought the Portuguese colonization to an end after a protracted struggle for freedom.

“It is fitting on this august occasion to remember your forebears and to celebrate them for the sacrifices they made for you to be free.

“The highest tribute we can pay them is to build on the gains of independence.  It is my sincere prayer that your country will continue on the path of national cohesion, growth and unity,” he said.

Buhari thanked President Embalo for being a good host to Nigerians resident in the country, saying “colonial boundaries will never break the bond of kinship that binds us.”

‘We Have Failed’: DR Congo Looks Back On 60 Years Of Independence

The Democratic Republic of the Congo, also known as DR Congo, the DRC, DROC, Congo-Kinshasa, or simply the Congo, is a country located in Central Africa
The Democratic Republic of the Congo, also known as DR Congo, the DRC, DROC, Congo-Kinshasa, or simply the Congo, is a country located in Central Africa

 

As DR Congo marks 60 years of independence from brutal colonial ruler Belgium, some are lamenting how little progress has been made since in a country caught in a “vicious cycle of instability and poverty”.

Belgium’s King Philippe took the unprecedented step this week of expressing his “deep regrets” for the abuses suffered under his country’s yoke until the Democratic Republic of Congo broke away on June 30, 1960.

But many leaders in DRC have given a damning appraisal of what has happened in the country since.

“After 60 years of independence, the assessment is without doubt: we have shamefully failed. We have not been able to make Congo a more beautiful country than it was before,” said Cardinal Fridolin Ambongo, the archbishop of Kinshasa, in a country where the powerful Catholic Church has been deeply critical of the government.

In a sermon on the 60th independence anniversary, the cardinal also lambasted “the succession of autocratic regimes”, “the culture of impunity” enjoyed by those in power, and the poverty suffered by many in DR Congo.

“We have collectively failed,” he summed up.

– ‘Mafia’ political class –

President Felix Tshisekedi gave a speech on Monday in which he said that “over 60 years, we have gradually allowed our political class to turn into a sort of mafia”.

“The average Congolese has lost 60 percent of their wealth in the last 60 years,” he said.

“Our road network is only 10 percent of what it was in 1960 and the rail network 20 percent.”

He also denounced a “political class which is struggling to tear this nation out of a vicious cycle of instability and poverty.”

Belgium meanwhile has been riven with debate over its colonial record during the worldwide anti-racism protests following George Floyd’s death in police custody in the United States. Protesters have graffitied or torn down several statues of Belgium’s colonial-era king Leopold II in recent weeks.

Looking to redress the historical imbalance, the Belgian city of Charleroi on Thursday named a street after Congolese independence icon Patrice Lumumba.

His son Guy-Patrice Lumumba told AFP that it was a “balm for the heart, it’s a recognition of our father’s fight”.

Lumumba, who became the country’s first prime minister on June 30, meanwhile had an entire town named after him — Lumumbaville — in central DR Congo.

Belgium’s colonisation was considered brutal even by the 19th-century standards, with historians saying that millions of Africans from areas in what is now DRC were killed, mutilated or died of disease as they worked on rubber plantations belonging to Leopold, king from 1865-1909.

The scars remain, with two-thirds of the population living below the poverty line.

“I want to express my deepest regrets for these wounds of the past whose pain is reawakened today by the discrimination still present in our societies,” Philippe said in a letter to Tshisekedi on Tuesday.

– Reparations call –

Tshisekedi on Monday paid tribute to Philippe, “who, like me, seeks to reinforce ties between our two countries without denying our shared past”.

He also sought to soothe tensions regarding Belgium returning Congolese cultural artifacts such as masks and statues that were looted during colonisation.

Not all were so conciliatory.

Prominent grassroots group Lucha (for “Struggle for Change”) said that DRC is still waiting for “an official apology and concrete action to restore as much as possible of the looted heritage, to carry out material and/or symbolic reparations, and teach the true history to new generations.”

The call for reparations was echoed by Lambert Mende, the spokesman of Tshisekedi’s predecessor, ex-president Joseph Kabila.

“People should be willing to repair the damage in terms of investment and compensation with interest. That’s what we expect from our Belgian partners,” he said.

A group of pro-democracy activists published a “Manifesto for a New Congo” on Tuesday saying that “successive regimes and leader have proven to be new predators”.

They also pointed to the complicity of “neo-colonialists and imperialist forces” siphoning up the country’s vast mineral riches.

AFP

Sixty Years On, Africa Still Seeks Right Model For Growth

 

 

As 1960 dawned, sub-Saharan Africa braced for historic change: that year, 17 of its countries were destined to gain independence from European colonial powers.

But six decades on, the continent is mired in many problems. It is struggling to build an economic model that encourages enduring growth, addresses poverty and provides a future for its youth.

Here are some of the key issues:

Youth ‘explosion’

Africa’s population grew from 227 million in 1960 to more than one billion in 2018. More than 60 percent are aged under 25, according to the Brookings Institution, a US think tank.

“The most striking change for me is the increasing reality of disaffected youth… a younger population that is ready to explode at any moment,” Cameroonian sociologist Francis Nyamnjoh told AFP.

“They are hungry for political freedoms, they are hungry for economic opportunities and they are hungry for social fulfilment .”

Joblessness is a major peril. Unemployed youths are an easy prey for armed groups, particularly jihadist movements in the Sahel, or may be tempted to risk clandestine emigration, often at the cost of their lives.

The continent’s population is expected to double by 2050, led by Nigeria, Ethiopia and Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC).

Poverty and inequality

The proportion of Africa’s population living below the poverty line —- less than $1.90 (1.7 euros) per day —- fell from 54.7 percent in 1990 to 41.4 percent in 2015, according to the World Bank.

But this average masks enormous differences from one country to another, exemplified by Gabon (3.4 percent of the population in 2017) and Madagascar (77.6 percent in 2012).

“The inequalities between countries are as extreme as in Asia and the inequalities within countries as as high as in Latin America, where landless peasants coexist with huge landowners,” said Togolese economist Kako Nubukpo.

Christophe Cottet, an economist at the French Development Agency (AFD), pointed out that inequality in Africa is “very poorly measured.”

“There are notably no figures on inequalities of inherited wealth, a key issue in Africa.”

Mega-cities and countryside

Recent decades have seen the expansion of megacities like Lagos and Kinshasa, typically ringed by shantytowns where people live in extreme poverty, although many medium-sized cities have also grown.

More than 40 percent of Africans now live in urban areas, compared with 14.6 percent in 1960, according to the World Bank.

In 1960, Cairo and Johannesburg were the only African cities with more than a million residents. Consultants McKinsey and Company estimate that by 2030, about 100 cities will have a million inhabitants, twice as many as in Latin America.

But this urban growth is not necessarily the outcome of a rural exodus, said Cottet.

“The population is rising across Africa as a whole, rather faster in towns than in rural areas,” said Cottet.

“There is also the problem of unemployment in towns — (rural) people have little interest in migrating there.”

Lost decades of growth

Growth in Africa slammed to a halt in the early 1980s, braked by a debt crisis and structural adjustment policies. It took two decades to recover.

Per-capita GDP, as measured in constant US dollars, shows the up-and-downs, although these figures are official and do not cover Africa’s large informal economy: $1,112 in 1960, $1,531 in 1974, $1,166 in 1994 and $1,657 in 2018.

“If you do an assessment over 60 years, something serious happened in Africa, with the loss of 20 years. But there is no denying that what is happening now is more positive,” Cottet said.

The IMF’s and World Bank’s structural adjustment programmes “broke the motors of growth,” said Nubukpo, whose book, “L’Urgence Africaine,” (The African Emergency) makes the case for a revamped growth model.

The belt-tightening programmes “emphasised the short term, to the detriment of investments in education, health and training.”

New thinking needed

Africa has a low rate of industrialisation, is heavily dependent on agriculture and its service sector has only recently started to emerge.

“We have not escaped the colonial model. Basically, Africa remains a producer and exporter of raw materials,” said Nubukpo.

He gave the example of cotton: 97 percent of Africa’s cotton fibre is exported without processing — the phase which adds value to raw materials and provides jobs.

For Jean-Joseph Boillot, a researcher attached to the French Institute for International and Strategic Affairs, “Africa is still seeking an economic model of development.”

“There is very little development of local industries,” he said.

“This can only be achieved through a very strong approach, of continental industrial protection — but this is undermined by the great powers in order to pursue free trade.

“The Chinese, the Indians and Westerners want to be able to go on distributing their products.”

Governance problem

Lack of democracy, transparency and efficient judicial systems are major brakes on African growth, and wealth is concentrated in the hands of a few, said the experts.

Of the 40 states deemed last year to be the most world’s most corrupt countries, 20 are in sub-Saharan Africa, according to Transparency International.

“Africa is not developing because it is caught in the trap of private wealth and the top wealth holders are African leaders,” said Nubukpo.

“We must promote democracy, free and transparent elections to have legitimate leaders who have the public interest at heart, which we absolutely do not have.”

Nyamnjoh also pointed to marginalised groups — “There should be more room for inclusivity of voices, including voices of the young, voices of women.”