Alleged Money Laundering: Jonathan Gave Me N400m, Not Dasuki, Metuh Tells Court

File Photo

 

The Former National Publicity Secretary of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) Mr Olisa Metuh has told the Federal High Court in Abuja that the N400m project fund for which he is standing trial was paid to him by former President Goodluck Jonathan and not the former National Security Adviser, Colonel Sambo Dasuki as alleged by the EFCC. 

Mr. Metuh informed the court that the money which led to his arraignment by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) on money laundering charges was paid to him by former president Jonathan to execute some national assignment for the federal government.

Giving evidence on behalf of his company, Dextra Investment Ltd which is the second defendant in the suit and the account where the N400m was paid into, the ex-spokesperson of the PDP told Justice Okon Abang that he could not consider the money for the act of any unlawful purpose because it came from the then President.

Metuh recalled that he held a meeting with the then president where various issues and challenges facing the country were discussed; adding that former President Jonathan promised and made the N400m available to him to carry out the national assignment.

READ ALSO: Tribunal Adjourns Hearing On HDP’s Application For Cancellation Of Presidential Election

He stressed that the money could not have been for an unlawful purpose because he was helping and contributing to stabilizing the then government because President Jonathan was elected on the PDP platform.

Metuh specifically dismissed allegations that the money was channeled to him through Dasuki. “I did not receive any money from Colonel Sambo Dasuki.

“As I am talking on oath before this court now, I can say categorically that Dasuki has not been interrogated, charged or convicted for any act relating to me and my company Metuh added.

“The N400m was paid into my account by the then president and I did not conceal or disguise the money and it was not transferred out of jurisdiction”, he said.

He urged the court to take a look at the list of disbursement carried out in cash and in the cheque.

Mr. Metuh also dismissed the insinuation that the N400m was meant to fund the PDP, adding that at the period, the PDP was rich to the tune of N33bn, with N12bn generated from sales of nomination forms and N21bn raked from fundraising.

Further cross-examination has been adjourned to June 24, 25 and 26 respectively.

Confidence Building Measures Will Sustain Nigeria’s Democracy – Jonathan

 

 

Former President Goodluck Jonathan has declared that if democracy must endure, the democratic process must be developed in a way that people will have confidence in the electoral process.

This is as Rivers State Governor, Nyesom Ezenwo Wike said that the problems of Nigeria are self-inflicted as they flow from politicization of everything and the promotion of pervasive injustice.

The Former President Spoke at a Lecture/Book Presentation to mark the Second Term Inauguration of Rivers State Governor, Nyesom Ezenwo Wike in Port Harcourt on Monday.

Jonathan stated that despite the challenges, the country must embrace electronic voting. He said that Electronic voting is the ultimate going forward.

He noted that the African Continent must come up with a minimum standards for the establishment of the Election Management Body. Jonathan said for the purpose of confidence building for credible elections, no one single person should have the power to constitute the Election Management Body.

He said: “We must come up with new standards for constituting our election management body in a way that people will have confidence. I believe in some Quarters what they do is that a body of people constitute the Election Management Body. It is not in the hands of one person.

“When you leave such responsibility in the hands of a politician, no matter how good the person is, there will be the tendency for people to suspect that the right thing is not done. When people don’t have confidence in the system, whatever they do, it is difficult for the people to accept “.

READ ALSO: Alleged $40m Fraud: Court Acquits Goodluck Jonathan’s Cousin

He added: “The continental body , African Union , should come up with a minimum standard across Africa for constituting Electoral Management Body “.

He added that no single official should have the power to appoint all the Election Petition Tribunals as this erodes confidence in the system.

“Also, the Judicial Process where one person constitutes all the election Tribunals to hear petitions is not right. It is difficult in a democracy for somebody to be extremely neutral. In one way or the other, somebody close to you will be in one party or the other. The only way to be above is to make sure that one person does not have all the powers to constitute tribunals to listen to all cases”, he said.

The Former Nigerian President called for the enthronement of independent security agencies that will provide security during elections. He decried the online video in Rivers State where women were dragging soldiers attempting to compromise Rivers elections.

“The African Union must come up with a code of conduct for security operatives that participate in elections. What happened in Rivers State, in a video being circulated where women were dragging soldiers down from walls was a very sorry sight. When these things are being discussed outside the country, if you are a Nigerian, you feel so ashamed “.

The Former President called on Parliamentarians to work towards modifying National Laws to ensure that what happened in 2019 is not repeated in 2023.

He congratulated the people of Rivers State for their total support of Governor Wike during the elections.

The Former President said that the Rivers election was a star election in 2019, as it was used to assess the elections.

“Governor Wike stood firmly. He was courageous. He was a good leader. I urge you to continue with your good works.

“If you did not impress Rivers people, you wouldn’t have received support. Wike tried. He brought unity and physical development to the state”, Jonathan said.

In his address, Governor Wike decried the level of politicisation of the governance process of the country.

He said: “Although I lack the intellectual impetus to join issues with the learned Professor, but for me, Nigeria’s problems, which are largely self-inflicted, can be reduced to two: the politicization of everything and pervasive injustice.

“Over the years, we have allowed the entire governing system to be been corrupted by banal politics and the courage to do what is right and fair to all parts of the country had since departed.

“As a result, we are increasingly become insensitive or rather impervious to the injustices and the horrific happenings in our country that have reduced our humanity”.

Governor Wike said that insecurity continues to thrive in the country because the nation has refused to listen to the cries for Justice.

He said: “In our case, everyone is crying out for justice and because we’ve as a nation blocked our ears and hearts to the deafening cries for justice, peace has become a rare commodity in our country. a rare commodity.

“My take is that we are going nowhere as a country; we will continue to run round in circles and possibly crash-land in a very hard way unless we change our narratives about justice because peace or peaceful co-existence cannot be decreed in a multi-cultural society such as ours, or in any society at all. It is only a real sense of justice that can command and guarantee enduring peace, patriotism and solidarity in Nigeria”.

The Governor said that he was persuaded to approve the writing of the book because books document and educate people for the development of the society.

He said: ” The essence of this book as captured by the short side of the title: Excellence in Governance, is truly captivating. I think, “excellence” as opposed to “perfection” in governance is attainable if leaders care about how posterity would judge them after office.

“However, since excellence in governance is not a term of art , how can it be measured in relation to the burden of leadership? Is it by simply making comparisons between governments, past and present? Or by how and to what positive extent the government of the day responded to the public issues, challenges and opportunities of the time?”

Governor Wike lauded the quality of discourse in the book, which he said promotes good governance without any form of sycophancy.

He said: “I have been managing people and resources as Governor of Rivers State for four years and it is only proper for stakeholders to start to dispassionately interrogate our performance in office, the quality of our leadership and the extent to which we have delivered public services from different perspectives.

“This book is therefore, a pioneering effort in this regard from the socio-legal perspective, which I consider very uplifting because it is not about self-serving opportunistic claims to the high moral ground nor the product of sycophantic image laundry and patronage.

” Against this background, I have no hesitation in identifying wholly with this book and commend both the editors and the contributors for their highly informative and logical arguments that elevated the legal discourse round the contemporary relationship between law, leadership and creativity in governance”.

Guest Lecturer, Professor Anya O. Anya in a paper titled: “Re-imagining Nigeria: The Imperative of Democracy, values, peace and National Development in the New Nigeria ” said Nigeria is a country under siege and its people and leaders are in denial.

He said: “We are at a stage where most nations are in dynamic state; where change is the order of the day. The rules of linear progression in social and economic evolution have given way to a situation where interactive forces act as interconnected matrices”.

Anya said ultimately the forces of peace will prevail despite the insecurity in different parts of the country.

He said God will manifest in the end on behalf of Nigerians and stop the high level of insecurity. He urged Governor Wike to continue to work for the peace of Rivers State and Nigeria.

Book Reviewer, Prof M. T. Ladan recommended the book to all students of law and politics, because it captures the need for the development of Nigeria by examining the outstanding qualities of Governor Wike.

He said the book was written by 51 authors with 40 chapters and 735 pages. He said the lawyers who wrote the book documented the delivery of democracy dividends in Rivers State.

Book Presenter and Representative of Sokoto State Governor, Engr Bello Alhaji Suleiman described Governor Wike as a true leader who will play a key role in the future of the country.

He said Governor Wike has written his name in the sands of time by his superlative performance as chronicled in the book.

Chairman of Inauguration Committee and Former Deputy Speaker of the House of Representatives, Rt Hon Austin Opara said that the event is part of the programme to herald

South African Voters Will Vote For Good Governance, Says Jonathan

 

 

Former President Goodluck Jonathan has said that South African voters will vote for good governance in the elections.

He said that the rallies have had an impressive turnout which shows that South Africans will do their best to vote in good leaders.

“We are impressed by the rallies raising key issues for the voters; we believe that the voters will do their best to vote the people they believe in.

“We believe that they can vote in good governance”

The former President disclosed this in an interview with Channels Television’s South African Bureau Chief, Betty Dibia, shortly before South Africans on Wednesday headed to the polls.

He noted that elections can be better conducted and managed if the right things are put in place.

READ ALSO: South Africans Head To Polls Tipped To Be Won By ANC

“The key thing about elections is the body managing the election and the security, the police.

“If the stakeholders, the political parties have confidence in these two organisations, then, of course, we are quite hopeful”.

On Nigeria’s elections, the former President says he is optimistic that there can be an improvement, following his visit to other African countries.

“I have gone to many African nations as leader of different observation missions including the Commonwealth, African Union, National Democratic Institute, and of course EISA and I am quite impressed and hopeful that the standard of managing of our elections will continue to improve.

“I believe that if we improve our standard of elections, we will get to that point where people, using their vote, can remove a leader they feel is not leading them well”.

South Africans are certain to return the ruling ANC despite anger over corruption scandals, sluggish growth, and record unemployment.

General Elections: Jonathan Warns Politicians Against Encouraging Violence

 

Ex-President Goodluck Jonathan has asked politicians in Nigeria to strive towards peace in the forthcoming elections, urging them to ensure that no one dies on their behalf.

The former President made the call on Monday at a meeting with Niger Delta Youth Leaders in Yenagoa.

He urged the young leaders to embrace peace and shun violence ahead of the rescheduled general elections.

“Let us conduct the election peacefully, people should vote based on their conscience”.

Jonathan said everyone who is true to his or her conscience would be able to know where to pitch their tents.

READ ALSO: Dogara Criticizes Buhari, Oshiomhole Over Comments On Postponed Elections

He encouraged the young people not to be induced, stressing that nobody’s ambition is worth the blood of Nigerians.

Admonishing politicians he asked, “why must another person die because you want to hold a political office?”

The former leader stated that no office is meant for one particular person, noting that the aim of getting into office should be solely for the service of the people.

Speaking about violence especially within the election period, Jonathan said peace is fundamental to growth and economic development, stressing that the nation loses value with any extra-judicial killing recorded.

“Anytime somebody is killed by a person, either by a youth or even security services that is extra-judicial, whether the police kill somebody or a military man kills somebody extra-judicially, it brings the reputation and the image of the country down,” he said.

He said if security operatives in Nigeria are interested in the future of the nation, then they must do everything to suppress extra-judicial killings, because one person killed affects the entire country.

There Is Hope For Nigeria, Jonathan Says In New Year Message

 

Former President Goodluck Jonathan says there is hope and future for Nigeria, a statement by his spokesperson, Ikechukwu Eze, was quoted as saying.

Jonathan stated this on Tuesday in his New Year address to Nigerians ahead next month’s general elections.

“All I just want to say is that there is hope and a future for Nigeria. We do not just have a New Year, we have a New Opportunity,” he said.

READ ALSO: Ajimobi Presents N285 Billion Budget For 2019

According to the former President, 2019 offers the citizens a new opportunity to aspire for the realization of the dream of a prosperous nation.

He also called on the citizens to “be better citizens who join hands with our fellow Nigerians, irrespective of region and religion, to bring Nigeria ever closer to the dreams of our Founding Fathers.”

While admitting that the nation is faced with numerous challenges, he is however optimistic that Nigeria would surmount them by God’s grace and our collective fidelity to the “Nigerian Dream.”

He wished Nigerians a Happy New Year on behalf of his family.

Jonathan To Meet Buhari Over Rivers/Army Feud

 

Former President Goodluck Jonathan says he would meet with President Muhammadu Buhari over the lingering feud between the Rivers State Government and the Nigerian army.

Jonathan stated this on Saturday in Port Harcourt, the Rivers State capital during a condolence visit to Governor Wike following the tragic collapse of a 7-storey building where nine people died.

The former President believes that there must be synergy between the community-based security system, the state and national security architecture.

He said, “I have realised that without the locals you cannot succeed in terms of managing security anywhere in Nigeria. When I was the President, you would have heard about the Civilian Joint Task Force (CJTF).

“When the Boko Haram (attacks) came to a point, we needed some locals to support the army. Yes, some died in the process, but it helped so much. So I will take it up with Mr President and if there is anything we could do because it’s always good for volunteers (young men) to help the state work with the security services.

“From my experience as a former Deputy Governor and Governor of Bayelsa State and as much as I know Rivers State, if we don’t have that cooperation between our volunteers working with the security services, we will not be able to manage the security challenges of these states.”

Earlier, Governor Wike thorough the Secretary to the Rivers State Government, Mr Kenneth Kobani, told the former President that his administration initiated the State Neighbourhood Safety Corps Agency for the purpose of enhancing the security.

He explained that the state has always supported the security agencies with finances and logistics and will not relent in its efforts.

Presidency Rejects Jonathan’s Claim On Corruption

 

The presidency has rejected the claim made by former President Goodluck Jonathan on corruption in the Muhammadu Buhari administration.

In his recently published book, ‘My Transition Hours’, Jonathan criticised the Federal Government for not only worsening the level of corruption in Nigeria but also chasing away investors by de-marketing the country abroad.

He also claimed that corruption was more prevalent under the current administration than under him and dismissed the current anti-graft war as a mere media show.

In a statement on Thursday, the Senior Special Assistant on Media and Publicity, Mr Garba Shehu, however, described Jonathan’s position as “hollow boasts.”

He also faulted the former President for lacking the will to fight corruption when he was in office.

Shehu stated, “The Presidency rejects former president, Dr @GEJonathan’s astonishing claim, to the utter surprise of many, that there is more corruption in the country compared to when he left office. This is absolutely untrue. The facts on the ground today run contrary to his outlandish claim.”

He further explained that top government officials, as well as former military commanders, are being prosecuted for the first time because of Buhari’s efforts in checking corruption in the country.

Read Also: Jonathan Accuses Obama Of Working For His Defeat

“For the records, this is the first time a ruling party is investigating ranking officers of the administration, including some at the very top.

“In addition to the many firsts recorded by President Buhari’s administration, the government has introduced a lot of changes, considering that the laws relating to the fight against corruption cannot reasonably be static.”

“Also, this is the first time a ruling party is convicting high profile citizens including former governors, who are members of the same party,” Shehu said.

The presidential aide also stated that the international community in recognition of the Federal Government’s fight against corruption appointed President Muhammadu Buhari as the Anti-Corruption Champion of the continent.

Jonathan Accuses Obama Of Working For His Defeat

Goodluck Jonathan                                                           Barack Obama

 

Former Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan has accused Barack Obama of pushing for his defeat in the 2015 Presidential election.

Mr Jonathan who lost the election to President Muhammadu Buhari blasted the then United States President of taking an unusual step by “prodding the electorate to vote for the opposition” in the election.

The claim was part of several made by the former Nigerian leader in his new book, ‘My Transition Hours’, launched in Nigeria’s capital Abuja on Tuesday.

“On March 23, 2015, President Obama himself took the unusual step of releasing a video message directly to Nigerians all but telling them how to vote,” Mr Jonathan wrote.

“In that video, Obama urged Nigerians to open the “next chapter” by their votes. Those who understood subliminal language deciphered that he was prodding the electorate to vote for the opposition to form a new government.”

For Mr Jonathan, the message undermined Nigerians and smacked of hypocrisy.
“The message was so condescending, it was as if Nigerians did not know what to do and needed an Obama to direct them,” he said.

The former Nigerian leader added that although Obama, in his message, said “all Nigerians must be able to cast their votes without intimidation or fear,” his government was vehemently and publicly against the postponement of the elections to enable the military defeat Boko Haram and prevent them from intimidating voters.

“This was the height of hypocrisy!” Jonathan declared.

Jonathan’s grouse with Obama went beyond the video. He narrated in the book that the actions of the then U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry, especially his visit to Nigeria after the elections were rescheduled from February 2015 to March belied a plot to humiliate him.

This, he explained, was because even though the decision to postpone the elections was taken by INEC after a meeting of the Council of State, Kerry refused to accept that it was in the interest of the country and the electorate.

“In fact, John Kerry did not accept our reasons for the rescheduling,” he said.
This did not sit well with Mr Jonathan and he stated as much in the book.

He wrote, “How can the U.S. Secretary of State know what is more important for Nigeria than Nigeria’s own government?

“How could they have expected us to conduct elections when Boko Haram controlled part of the North East and was killing and maiming Nigerians? Not even the assurance of the sanctity of May 29, 2015 handover date could calm them down. In Nigeria, the Constitution is very clear. No President can extend his tenure by one day.”

Despite the criticism that followed the decision to reschedule the election, Jonathan insisted that the decision was the right one and it paid off.

He said, “Anyhow, the six weeks served us well. We received the military equipment we were expecting within that period and our Armed Forces commendably dealt a deserving blow on the terrorists and repossessed all territorial areas of Nigeria previously occupied by the terrorists. Boko Haram was deflated up to the point I handed over to my successor on May 29, 2015.

“We conducted the elections peacefully, even if there were issues raised about its fairness. At least, the nation was relieved that the election held peacefully and that there was no post-election violence.”

Read an excerpt from the book about how the elections were postponed and the pressure that followed below:

“The decision and announcement to postpone the elections were eventually made by the only body which could do so under the Constitution. I should talk briefly about the INEC here because of the insinuations that my administration muscled INEC to make the pronouncement. Of course, nothing could be farther from the truth as people came to realise. Yes, the posture of INEC could appear edgy, but it knew it was not ready and that the election was too important to mess up.

“The PVC shortage was everywhere. The lopsided collection of PVC caused an uproar that grew into a national din. The suspected housing of PVCs in the custody of non-INEC personnel was an issue. There were also issues with card readers. All of these happening despite years of preparation and substantial funds made available. It was all building up to a perfect storm, but those were INEC’s problems which we were willing to help resolve.

“Even then, the security of our country was our job and the military advised as they deemed fit. Before the election was eventually rescheduled by INEC, I summoned all the Service Chiefs, the NSA, the Inspector General of Police (IGP), Director General of State Security (DG DSS), among others to get further information. Then I called a meeting of the Council of State and requested the heads of security services and the INEC chairman to attend. These were not apolitical, but at least they could rise above politics and represent the interest of the entire country. At the end of deliberations, it was agreed that the elections should be postponed for six weeks in order to create a safer environment for voters and officials on Election Day.

“Let me add that the Council of State comprises all former Presidents and Heads of State, all former chief justices of the federation, and all 36 serving State Governors who are from different political parties.

“The INEC was then directed to hold meetings with political parties while the NSA was to brief them on the security angle to the rescheduling. The vote in favour of the rescheduling was overwhelming. INEC thereafter announced the rescheduling of the election to the nation. I must add that beyond security concerns, one finds it difficult to understand how INEC or the political parties would want elections held at a time when more than 30% of the Nigerian electorate were yet to get their PVCs. This would have disenfranchised a significant portion of the electorate.

“The foreign pressure on the issue of election rescheduling was intense. They maintained the curious posture of one who had been deceived before and therefore had every reason to cede no credence to our position. But there was no reason to have such a posture.

“The United States and the United Kingdom were especially agitated. David Cameron, then the U.K. Prime Minister, called to express his concern about the election rescheduling, just as John Kerry came from the United States to express further worry. It was at best unusual and sobering. In fact, John Kerry did not accept our reasons for the rescheduling.

“It was unbelievable because at the back of our minds we knew why the agitation was beyond what meets the eye. There were deeper political interests.

“In attendance at the meeting of the Council of State where the decision to reschedule the election was taken were almost all the living former Heads of State of this country. That should have convinced John Kerry of the good intentions of the government. He cannot claim to love and defend Nigeria more than all our former heads of state present at the meeting. I have stated earlier how Kerry’s visit was designed to humiliate a sitting Nigerian President and clearly take sides in the country’s election.

“Anyhow, the six weeks served us well. We received the military equipment we were expecting within that period and our Armed Forces commendably dealt a deserving blow on the terrorists and repossessed all territorial areas of Nigeria previously occupied by the terrorists. Boko Haram was deflated up to the point I handed over to my successor on May 29, 2015.

“We conducted the elections peacefully, even if there were issues raised about its fairness. At least, the nation was relieved that the election held peacefully and that there was no post-election violence.”

Jonathan Appeals To South East To Accept Obi As Atiku’s Running Mate

Jonathan Addresses U.S. Congress Sub-Committee On Religious Intolerance
Former President Goodluck Jonathan (File)

 

Former President Goodluck Jonathan has appealed to the leadership and members of the Peoples Democratic Party in the South East to support the decision of the party’s presidential candidate, Atiku Abubakar, to run for presidency with Peter Obi.

Jonathan made the appeal in a statement on Sunday, one day after leaders of the party in the zone said they were not consulted before Mr Obi, a former governor of Anambra State was chosen by Abubakar as his running mate.

According to the former President, it is important for the PDP to remain united and support the decision of the party’s presidential candidate in order to secure victory in the 2019 presidential election.

“I, therefore, want to directly appeal to my brothers and sisters from the South-East zone who are members of our party to reconsider their position and allow the presidential candidate of the PDP to select a candidate he thinks he can work with to be able to achieve the party’s development goals,” Jonathan was quoted as saying in the statement by his spokesperson, Mr Ikechukwu Eze.

Read Jonathan’s full statement below:

“I thank members of our great party for the successful conduct of the primaries for the various elective positions ahead of the 2019 general elections. By holding transparent, peaceful and rancor-free convention and primaries across the country, our party has once more, taken the nation’s democratic exercise a notch higher, in line with our well-established tradition of deepening the growth of democracy in our nation.

“I again congratulate all our candidates for various positions, including Alhaji Atiku Abubakar who was overwhelmingly elected by our delegates as the flag bearer of our party in the 2019 presidential election. The popularity and positive reviews of the exercise across the country is a clear demonstration of national endorsement for the choices we made, going into the 2019 elections.

“The task before us is to build on this firm foundation and momentum by pulling in one direction and working assiduously for the victory of these candidates at the polls. It is against this backdrop that I appeal for calm and understanding in the South East where my attention has been drawn to the fact that some leaders of our party are openly expressing their discomfort with the reported nomination of former Governor of Anambra State Peter Obi as Atiku’s running mate. I am told that some of our leaders in the zone have raised issues with the process of consultation that produced the Vice-Presidential candidate.

“I affirm that consultation is a key ingredient in every political process. Nonetheless, in the selection of a vice presidential candidate, a presidential candidate is allowed reasonable freedom to select his running mate based on loyalty, trust, experience, temperament, and capacity to perform the responsibilities of the office. Anything other than this could create tension and acrimony between the presidential candidate and his running mate, even before the inauguration of the government.

“My plea is for Alhaji Atiku Abubakar to be given a free hand to choose who he wants to work with as his Vice President without putting him through undue pressure. In this regard, only minimal consultation is required which doesn’t necessarily have to involve full regional review and approval.

“We have to be careful not to give the impression that the process of selecting a Vice Presidential candidate cannot progress until a regional stamp of approval is formally procured. The system we are used to right from the First Republic is one that places the choice of a running mate at the behest of the candidate, based on his own convictions on capacity and compatibility.

“From my political history, beginning from Deputy Governor to President, I can say that this is the tradition and standard practice in countries where either the President and his Vice or Governor and his Deputy contest election on a common slate. In such instance, once a candidate emerges, he or she is given a free hand to select the person who understands his vision and plans for the country, as his
running mate.

“I, therefore, want to directly appeal to my brothers and sisters from the South East zone who are members of our party to reconsider their position and allow the presidential candidate of our party to select a candidate he thinks he can work with to be able to achieve the party’s development goals. Since Atiku has nominated Mr. Peter Obi as his running mate, I am pleading with my party members from the zone to accept his choice.”

Democracy Day: Think Of The Next Generation Not Elections, Jonathan Tells Politicians

 

 

The former President, Goodluck Jonathan has charged leaders and politicians to think about the next generation and not just about the forthcoming 2019 general elections.

He said, “Leaders must think of the next generation and not just the next election.”

The former President called on the support of leaders to encourage the youths “instead of discouraging them with our words and actions, we as leaders must give our youths hope by using our language to draw out the very best in them.

“We must accept that the nation only grows when elders plant trees whose shade they know they may never personally enjoy.

The former President through his spokesman, Ikechukwu Eze, on Tuesday, commended the Nigerian youths, describing them as great achievers who are holding their heads high and greatly proving themselves globally.

“Nigerian youths are high achievers who are making the country proud, all they need are the opportunities to demonstrate their capabilities”.

As Nigeria marks democracy day, the former President urged all Nigerians to pray for peace in Nigeria.

“We need peace in Nigeria. And it is up to you and me to ensure that our National Motto: Unity and Faith, Peace and Progress, is a reality and not just mere rhetoric. I urge Nigerians to understand and accept that nobody’s political, economic, religious or social ambition is worth the blood of any Nigerian.

“As this year’s Democracy Day falls on the holy month of Ramadan, let me seize the opportunity to also extend Ramadan greetings to the
Muslim Ummah. As you pray for Nigeria, I join my faith with yours and look forward to our prayers being answered by Almighty God.

“There are many opportunities and crises on the horizon, but we must have the mentality of seeing the opportunity in crisis rather than the crisis in opportunity.

“We have one of the fastest growing youth population in the world and we must see this as an opportunity, not a crisis.

“What our youth need are opportunities to showcase their positive talents. They need leaders who believe in them and show affirmation for them through their words and actions.

“Democracy is a game of numbers and the youths have the numbers. More than 50% of our population are youths. If we develop policies, programs and projects to empower the youth of Nigeria, the Nigerian youth, who single-handedly created Nollywood, the third largest movie industry in the world can be expected to return the favour and make Nigeria proud.

“And they are already making us proud both locally and internationally. Nigerian youths are showcasing their brilliance around the world and I want to make special mention of Ukoma Michael, who at thirteen years of age invented a battery operated fan that lasts for 19 hours on a full charge. This ingenuity domiciled in Michael should be encouraged by our leadership.

“Internationally, Princess Elizabeth Bright and Ramota Tele Lawal, two 22-year-old Nigerian youths who in May of 2018 became the youngest elected councillors in the United Kingdom, have made us proud. Very proud indeed.

“These youths are the epitome of the hardworking, talented, innovative and ambitious Nigerian youth who make our nation respected in the
community of nations and give us hope for tomorrow and national pride for today.

“Rather than discourage them with our words and actions, we as leaders must give our youths hope by using our language to draw out the very best in them. We must accept that nations only grow when elders plant trees whose shade they know they may never personally enjoy. Leaders must think of the next generation and not just the next election.

“While we celebrate Ukoma, Elizabeth and Ramota, I know that there are perhaps millions in Nigeria who are equally brilliant and only need the right enabling environment to unleash their creative genius. They are my inspiration on this Democracy Day. They are the reason why I believe in the continued corporate existence of this great nation founded on justice, equity, and freedom.

“Happy Democracy Day. God bless you and your family and may God bless Nigeria”.

Use Your Powers To Strengthen Democracy, Jonathan Tells Buhari

 

Former President Goodluck Jonathan has advised President Muhammadu Buhari to use his powers to strengthen democracy in Nigeria.

Jonathan gave this advice during the inauguration of the first flyover bridge in Ado-Ekiti, the Ekiti State capital.

“I call on Mr President to use his powers to strengthen democracy in Nigeria,” he said on Friday.

Jonathan believes that advanced countries of the world today achieved greatness from the selfless sacrifices made by both leaders and followers.

Part of the sacrifices made by their leaders includes not interfering with the democratic process that brings in successive leaders into office.

“All the great democracies you are seeing in the world, those great countries were built by people who made sacrifices to make their countries great.”

While admitting the pressure from different quarters on the President, Jonathan, however, reminded his successor that his deeds would go a long way in the nation’s history books.

He, therefore, called on Buhari not to bow to pressure by attempting to subjugate democracy in Nigeria, as doing that would amount to undermining the country’s path to greatness.

“I am using this opportunity to call on Mr President, I was there, and I know, when you are there, there is so much pressure from everybody to use all the powers you have to subjugate democracy.

“Don’t do that because what you go with is the name that you leave behind. If you use your powers negatively, posterity will haunt you.”

Jonathan also used the opportunity to commend Nigerian youths whom he described as great and hardworking people.

Although he admitted that the youths were confronted with challenges, especially not being encouraged with creativity, he called on governments at all levels to encourage them to be hardworking.

He further stated, “We have challenges – no power for creativity. With the limits we have, we know the great things you are doing.”

The former President expressed optimism that with the level of support by the people, the PDP is a party to beat in the forthcoming election.

Jonathan further called on Ekiti people to vote for the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in the July 14 governorship polls, while thanking them for their support to Governor Ayodele Fayose.

15 Agencies Failed To Account For N8.1tn Under Jonathan – Minister

 

Fifteen revenue-generating agencies of the Federal Government failed to remit N8.1 trillion to the Federation Account between 2010 and 2015, the Minister of Information and Culture, Mr Lai Mohammed, has said.

The Minister said this in Osogbo, Osun State, on Monday while inaugurating the channelisation, de-silting, flood control and development of Okoko and Ogbagba Rivers, phases one and two, on behalf of President Muhammadu Buhari, a statement by his Special Adviser, Mr Segun Adeyemi, said.

According to the minister, auditing firm KPMG discovered the failure to make the remittances to the government.

He was quoted as saying, “Recently, the Federal Government ordered an audit (between 2010 and 2015) of 15 government revenue generating agencies. The result was the discovery that the agencies had not remitted over 8.1 trillion Naira to the Federation Account. This amount is about six times the N1.34 trillion that was stolen between 2006 and 2015.

”It is also the equivalent, on the average, of the country’s yearly national budget! Imagine, for a moment, how many kilometres of roads could have been constructed, how many kilometres of rail tracks that could have been laid, and how many modern hospitals and schools that could have been built if that money had been properly accounted for,” Alhaji Mohammed said.

He told the large crowd at the event in Osun that the Buhari Administration’s fight against corruption remains very critical because it will free the much-needed resources for national development.

Mr Mohammed explained that the funds looted by previous administrations could have funded the projects being executed by the current administration.

”This is why we will not stop talking about those who have looted the public treasury, despite the pushback from their apologists,” he said. If we do not stop the looting of the treasury, there will be no money for the kind of projects we are commissioning here in Osogbo today.”

The Osun State Governor, Rauf Aregbesola, backed the minister disclosure on the non-remittance of funds by agencies under the past administration.

According to the governor, his state’s share of the said amount is N75 billion which would have been more than enough to pay all civil servants their salaries and complete all infrastructural projects of the government.