Obasanjo Tasks APC Women On Ensuring Peaceful Electioneering

ObasanjoNigeria would be a better place if women in the country properly play their roles as mothers and wives in nation building.

Former President Olusegun Obasanjo said this at his hilltop residence in Abeokuta the Ogun State capital when women from the All Progressives Congress (APC), led by the wives of their presidential and vice presidential candidates, Mrs Aishat Buhari and Mrs Dolapo Osinbajo, paid him a visit.

Mrs Buhari, during the visit, lauded the former president for viewing national issues without sentiments, saying “Baba exercises his prowess as a father, as a former Head of State of Nigeria twice, very few Nigerians have the opportunity to rule the country twice, we are here today to show our appreciation for the way you handle things as a statesman and a nationalist”.

Obasanjo seized the opportunity to express his displeasure with the manner politicians have gone about their campaigns.

“You women, you have a role to play, and I mean that, when things are going wrong, if women don’t act, things will continue to go wrong because you have ability to act. The men who invariably make things to go wrong are your fathers, your husbands, your sons, you sons-in-laws.

“With your husbands, you can have pillow talk but when things are going wrong and you do not talk or act, you will also be the greatest victim at the end of the day because it will have effect on your children and would have a direct effect on you and all of us,” he said.

He expressed hope that “this will be the last time in the history of this country that we will have this type of campaign of hatred or division”.

Chief Obasanjo also insisted that no government that is installed unconstitutionally would be accepted by Nigerians, making reference to rumours of an Interim Government and military take-over.

“The Intentional community will not condone it, particularly African Union where we have a situation, we have said and it is part and parcel of the constituting act of the African Union, any government that is brought about not on the basis of the constitution will not be accepted and tolerated and will not be a member of the AU until that government is dismantled,” he added.

He also expressed hope that the March 28 elections, and the one coming after that would “provide the right lessons to learn from”.

“Unfortunately, issues that should have been the main item of our campaign were not discussed. We have serious issues of security, economy, unemployment, youth unemployment infrastructure, etc. These are issues among others that I believe campaign of those who are interested in the present and the future of this country should be directed at.

“How are we going to get them? What are we going to do?  Not trivial issues of certificate, no certificate, not trivial issues of when somebody is talking about someone and whether one is a Nigerian or not.”

Alleged Interim Government Idea Is Treasonable – Jonathan

Goodluck Jonathan on Interim GovernmentPresident Goodluck Jonathan has reiterated that the idea of an alleged interim government in Nigeria is treasonable, warning persons promoting the idea to cease from doing so.

The Nigerian President made the statement in Daura, Katsina State, the birth place of the presidential candidate of the All Progressives Congress, General Muhammadu Buhari (rtd).

President Jonathan also visited the Emir of Daura, Umar Farouk, where he informed the monarch that the Federal Government had built 28 Almajiri schools and a Federal University in the state.

At the Emir’s palace, a traditional title -Dan-Baiwa of Daura Emirate – conferred on President Jonathan in 2011 by the emir of Daura was confirmed.

Sources close to the palace told Channels Television that Emir Umar Faruk conferred the president with the title since 2011, a coronation which was probably done away from the press.

However, Channels Television cannot independently verify the fact that President Goodluck Jonathan’s coronation was held on Saturday.

In a chat with the President, the Emir of Daura urged President Jonathan to ensure free, fair and credible elections deprived of violence.

‘Absurd And Ridiculous’

A leader of the All Progressives Congress, Bola Tinubu, had alleged that he was offered an opportunity by President Jonathan to be the Vice President of a planned interim government.

President Jonathan has denied the claims, describing it as ‘absurd and ridiculous’.

At a Catholic Bishops’ conference on February 22, President Jonathan said he had no intention of heading an interim administration, insisting that “insinuations about a plan for an interim government are tantamount to treason”.

He stressed that there was no such provision in the Nigerian constitution.


Interim Government Unconstitutional, Senate President Insists

Interim GovernmentNigeria’s Senate President, David Mark, has expressed concern that the issue of an Interim National Government has been given an undeserved prominence in national discourse.

Speaking in a welcome address to federal lawmakers at the resumption of legislative proceedings, the Senate President warned that the Nigerian Constitution does not recognise an interim government.

Senator Mark also expressed concern that as the general election fast approaches, there is palpable tension in the country which is worsened by comment from politicians.

A former president of Nigeria, Olusegun Obasanjo, had 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 citing his displeasure with happenings in the party and the leadership of the country.

President Goodluck Jonathan has, however, also said that there were no plans for an interim government in Nigeria, as being speculated by many Nigerians.

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.


ECOWAS Asks Nigeria’s Presidential Candidates To Respect Constitution

GHANA-CEDEAO-KUFUORThe Economic Communities Of West African States (ECOWAS) has appealed to Nigerians and all the major gladiators in the Nigeria’s presidential election to be calm and show understanding and respect to the constitution, as the oil rich nation prepares for its general elections.

The President of the ECOWAS, Mr Kadre Ouedraogo, made the appeal at a meeting with Nigeria’s President, Goodluck Jonathan, in Abuja on Monday.

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 meeting with the ECOWAS President came after President Jonathan had met with the European Union observer group led by Mr Santiago Fisas.

President Jonathan assured the group that the May 29 handover date was sacrosanct.

The leader of the EU election observer group, Mr Santiago 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.

The president also told the EU commission that there was no room for interim National government as being speculated in some quarters saying that those who are talking about that were just being mischievous.

“That is not the agenda of government,” president Jonathan said.

President Jonathan was apparently referring to a statement made by a former president, Olusegun Obasanjo, about a plan for an interim government.

Addressing a gathering in Ogun State, after he withdrew his membership of the ruling Peoples Democratic Party,  Obasanjo said: “Anybody in his right senses talks of interim government. Where is it in our constitution? But some of them are working for it. God will not allow them”. 

Attorney-General Rules Out Interim Government In Nigeria

Interim GovernmentThe Federal Government has reacted to calls by Nigerians for the constitution of an Interim National Government to midwife the 2015 general elections to usher in a new democratic government.

The Minister of Justice and Attorney-General of the Federation, Mohammed Adoke, made the position of the Nigerian Government known in a press release on Thursday.

He said that while the Federal Government recognizes and appreciates the inalienable right of Nigerians to freely express themselves and proffer solutions to perceived national challenges, the government is concerned that Nigerians are being unwittingly led to believe that a prescription such as an interim national government can be adopted as viable solution to the nation’s challenges.

He refereed to the idea of an interim government as being totally alien to the constitution.

According to him, “For avoidance of doubt, it is pertinent to state that the framers of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999, did not envisage the constitution of interim national government to superintend over the affairs of government.

“It is therefore not surprising to observe that no provision for interim national government was made in the constitution.”

He enjoined Nigerians to continue to rely on the constitution, which contains adequate provisions on how the democratic process can be activated, to elect their leaders from time to time as the contraption called “interim national government” remains alien to Nigeria’s constitutional framework.

He added that the arrangement should not be promoted by well-meaning Nigerians under any guise or circumstance.

Shonekan urges Jonathan to tackle infrastructural deficiency

Former Head of Interim Government of Nigeria, Ernest Shonekan on Tuesday said Nigeria’s infrastructure deficiency will remain persistent despite the federal government’s effort at transforming this critical aspect of development.

Former Head of Interim Government of Nigeria, Ernest Shonekan

Mr Shonekan said this after he led the governing board of the Infrastructure Concession Regulatory Commission (ICRC), which he chairs, to present the 2011 annual report and audited financial statement of the commission to President Goodluck Jonathan in the presidential villa, Abuja.

He enumerated the challenges confronting the commission in the realisation of its goals as: inability to mobilise long term funding for project development, inability to commit Ministries, Departments and Parastatals (MDAs) to a stable and coherent pipeline of Private Public Partnership (PPP) and poor project preparation by MDAs.

Other challenges identified by Mr Shonekan are: inability to enforce vital aspects of the ICRC act in its current form, absence of coherent infrastructure investment programme, non-integration of PPP projects into the national planning framework and paucity of funds for the commission’s operations.

“Addressing these challenges is critical to the success of ICRC and the attainment of the infrastructure component of your transformation agenda,” Mr Shonekan said.

Consequently, he said it will require the political will of the Presidency and all the others to make sure that the country infrastructure is developed; adding that without infrastructures, there will not be much progress.

Mr Shonekan, who spoke to journalists at the end of the presentation, said “It is not only in this country that we have infrastructure deficit. If you look round now, even the developed countries have infrastructure deficits. The way forward is what everybody seems to be doing; and that is to see how they can reduce that deficit. So, each and every one of us have to put our thinking cap on to see how we can bridge that gap within a short period of time.

“With all these disasters that have been happening round the world, even western countries which started their infrastructural development well before us they are now thinking of doing fresh infrastructures because the infrastructure they had in the last century are becoming antiquated. We have an opportunity now to be able to do our own infrastructures. I think the best thing is to get people who are interested in the development of infrastructures to assist us in doing our own.

“That is why we said we will need the political will of the Presidency and all the others each and every one of us must have to contribute our own quota to make sure that we developed our own. Without infrastructures, there will not be much progress.

With the foundation laid and policy guidelines in place, Mr Shonekan said it was now “time to really work hard to make sure that we attract investors because infrastructure development is not a short term thing. It is a long term thing.”

He also pointed out that “nobody will come to invest in the country if he is not sure of the returns especially if it is a long term project. He will want to make sure that he is able to get something.”

On encouragement being given to the private sectors, he said “I think we are encouraging them enough, but we still have to do more because we are not competing against ourselves here we are competing against the rest of the world. Money will go to where they can earn better returns for their investments. We have to make sure that we start laying the red carpets for investors who are willing to come. In spite of all the challenges, we have to do more.”

The chairman of the ICRC earlier indicated that the commission recorded some achievements since its inauguration in 2008. Within its first two years “the commission recruited key staff, developed organisational processes and engaged MDAs and other stakeholders.”

It also developed a National Policy Framework for PPP, held regional engagement workshops across the country “to secure the buy-in of stakeholders” on the policy and issued operational guidelines for PPP to MDAs. The commission also worked on bridging institutional knowledge gap and “collaborated with states to set up their PPP units, transfer best practices, provide a legal, policy and regulatory environment that is conducive to private sector investment in infrastructure projects.”

Between 2010-2012, Mr Shonekan said the board focused on harnessing the commission’s regulatory role and cap its achievements with the winning of the Africa’s Investor Award in South Africa as well as the 2010 Public Private Partnership Award of the Commonwealth Business Council.

Presenting the commission’s 2011 report, Mr Shonekan said it received a little less than N1.1 billion appropriated for it and expended N1.016 billion.

“The sum of N325, 811,000 was brought forward from 2010 financial year and the balance in the capital vote of N8.5 million was moved forward to 2012,” He said.

He said out of this N325, 763,039.45 was spent as the remaining N47, 960.55 “was returned to the Consolidated Revenue Fund.”