2020 Budget Is Very Brilliant In Nothingness – Kassim Afegbua

 

The spokesperson of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Kassim Afegbua, has criticised the 2020 budget proposal presented by President Muhammadu Buhari last week.

Afegbua who was a guest on Channels TV’s Sunday Politics, said he expected the president to take his time to present a well-rounded budget that captures the current realities of the country.

He, therefore, described the proposed budget as “brilliant in nothingness”.

“The 2020 budget is very brilliant in nothingness, beautiful in rhetorics and empty in terms of realist appraisal of what the issues are, with respect to getting us out of the present predicament we’ve found ourselves,” he said.

“I was expecting that the president will tarry for a while to consult with his economic advisers so that they can make some very wonderful inputs into the budget but the haste at which he presented it, certain benchmarks that are not realistic, point to one direction that the APC-LED Federal Government does not understand the dynamics that obtain in the present government”.

Meanwhile, Mr Afegbua also took a swipe at the APC government over allegations of attempting to gag the press.


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Reacting to comments by the Minister of Information and Culture, Lai Mohammed, about the government’s plan to license WebTV and radio stations, including foreign broadcasters beaming signals into the country, he said he believes the move is aimed at stifling the activities of the press.

“I’m still trying to wonder why a government that is not trying to gag the press would come up with very obnoxious fees that will be paid by media organisations if in their own opinion they are found to have contravened certain sections of the NBC Code or NBC Act,” he said.

“I think under a democracy, the president does not enjoy that fiat to decide or to decree things into existence in a manner that will suggest that it is taking over the responsibility of the National Assembly which is vested with that responsibility of making laws, for the good governance of the country, to the extent of increasing penalties for breaches from 500,000 to 5 million and in that sequence, is quite undemocratic.

“The law guiding the broadcast media is very clear.

“The NBC Code is an old law that was put in place under the military government and is long overdue for some amendments but we are worried about a situation where the APC-led Federal Government has an NBC that is headed by an APC card-carrying member, who ran for election in Kwara State for governorship and is being made to be the Director-General of the NBC to superintend or moderate the activities of the broadcast media”.

Presidential Election Tribunal: Afegbua, Salisu Argue Over Verdict

 

The recent verdict of the Presidential Election Tribunal has continued to stir diverse reactions within the two major parties involved.

Latest in a series of arguments over the ruling, stemmed from a discussion between Mr Kassim Afegbua, the spokesperson for Peoples Democratic Party’s Presidential Campaign Council and Mr Salishu Mohammed a member of the All Progressives Congress (APC) who were both guest on Channels Television’s Sunrise Daily on Friday.

Mr Kassim Afegbu while speaking on the controversial issue, called on the judiciary to wake up to its responsibility of safeguarding Nigeria’s democracy.

READ ALSO: PDP Rejects Decision To Increase VAT, Urges NASS To Protect Nigerians

Afegbua described the 2019 election as “a unanimous fraud”.

The PDP spokesman was of the opinion that in the heart of Nigerians, the people know that the opposition party won the election, adding that Nigerians did not rejoice over the success of the APC.

He claimed that Judges are being harassed by the APC, stressing that this became evident in the case of  former Chief Justice Walter Onnoghen.

The PDP spokesman accused the ruling party of doing their worst than the previous party claiming that the election recorded over 800 mitigation and it’s the highest in the country since democracy.

Reacting to Mr Afegbua’s take on the verdict, Mr Salishu Mohammed described the 2019 election to be very detailed and transparent.

Mr Mohammed who was of the opinion that success is not being obtained by qualification, said the focus at the moment should be on how to build the nation and not the the already concluded election.

“We need the PDP to be a serious opposition we don’t want to work like the PDP worked for 16 years being a one party state.”

He argued that beyond all claims of the opposition party, President Muhammadu Buhari is qualified to lead the nation.

‘I’m Not Seeing Any Hope’: Afegbua Slams Buhari’s Govt, 100 Days Into 2nd Term

100 days into the second term of President Muhammadu Buhari, Spokesperson of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Kassim Afegbua, has scored the administration low.

Mr Afegbua who made an appearance on Channels TV’s Sunday Politics said the Buhari administration keeps running around in circles and he does not see any hope for the future.

“I’m not seeing any hope in the horizon,” he said.

According to him “nothing has happened in the last 100 days” and the only thing he remembers is that “the President came on board with a cabinet”.

The PDP spokesperson further criticised the government, saying that till date, no Federal Executive Council (FEC) meeting has been held.

He also took a swipe at the Katsina state government who he accused of negotiating with bandits.

Read Also: Nigerians Can Really Expect Good Things From Buhari’s 2nd Term – Adesina

“Within these 100 days, we are also seeing that some Governors are negotiating with bandits. The Katsina State Government drove all through the forest and celebrating that they were strike deals with bandits.

“For me, the critical issues of security, unemployment, decayed infrastructure and all of that have to be captured properly if we are actually going to make headway”.

‘Bigger Problems’

Also sharing his thoughts on the government’s performance so far, Presidential candidate of the Action Democratic Party, Sani Yabagi, said he is yet to see signs that would give Nigerians some confidence that the nation is on the right path.

He believes that while there have been a lot of programmes and motions, there is little to no implementation.

“In 100 days, nothing has changed in terms of the security architecture of this country. People are still being killed, kidnapped, and bandits are having their free will to do what they like.

“The President preparing to go to South Africa is good, but we have bigger problems at home.

“I think the 100 days is just about programmes, motions, no movement yet in terms of what is going to happen,” he said.

Meanwhile, Special Assistant to President Muhammadu Buhari, Femi Adesina, has asked Nigerians to expect good things under the administration’s second term.

He also believes that the concept of 100 days in office, ordinarily does not apply to returning governments and therefore, assured Nigerians that progress is being made in the key areas of security, economic development and the anti-graft war.

If APC Can Govern Nigeria Well, People Will Not Ask For Revolution – Afegbua

The spokesperson for the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) Presidential Campaign, Kassim Afegbua

 

The spokesperson for the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) Presidential Campaign, Kassim Afegbua, has criticised the All Progressives Congress-led  Federal Government over its style of governance.

Agebua, who appeared as a guest on Channels Television’s Politics Today said if the APC can govern the nation well, Nigerians would not be agitating.

His comments follow the Revolution Now protest that held on Monday in some parts of the country, an act that led to clashes between security agencies and protesters.

“If you look at the blueprint of the Revolution Now, they are asking for quite a number of very salient issues.

“But for the failure of government, for the failure of the All Progressives Congress-led government in certain critical sectors of the nation’s economy, both politics and the welfare of the people, this Revolution Now is beginning to gain attention in the minds of the people.

“If things were right, if the APC could seat down and provide governance, if they can govern the country very well, people will not be agitating for things like Revolution Now,” he said.

READ ALSO: Governor Bello’s Deputy Blasts Him, Calls For Tight Security In Kogi

Afegbua’s comments follow the protest by some aggrieved Nigerians who in Lagos, Abuja and some parts of the country to express their displeasure over the spate of killings, unemployment among several other issues.

To the PDP presidential council spokesman, today’s demonstrations send a strong signal to the ruling class against bad governance contrary to the belief by some people that it was successful.

“For those APC chieftains who are overfed with the menu of some ideological precepts, they may see this as not succeeding, but in the minds and hearts of Nigerians, they are making a very strong statement over the misgovernance in the last four years.

“The APC government appears so confused, so rudderless, so clueless to the extent that there is no conversation on sensitive national issues,” he said.

When asked how the APC was voted into office despite alleging it to be so clueless, the PDP chieftain said he wouldn’t want to comment on something considered as a prejudice since the matter is pending in the court.

He, however, insisted that the 2019 presidential election to his opinion didn’t meet the requirement for being considered as fair.

APC, PDP Members Argue Survey On President Buhari’s Performance

 

A spokesman of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Kassim Afegbua and a member of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Daniel Bwala, have argued a survey, ‘Buhari Meter’, which identified top policy issues that President Muhammadu Buhari should address in the next four years.

The survey which was carried out by Africa Polling Institute became the topic of discussion on Channels Television’s Politics Today on Friday. Key areas like Economy, Security, Infrastructure, Education and Corruption were highlighted by respondents in the 5019 sample-sized survey across the country.

According to Afegbua, the statistics of the survey confirmed that the Buhari-led federal government failed in delivering on their mandates.

“The statistics confirm the first four years of APC as a colossal failure. The economy has to wear two solid feet to the extent that it will be able to create jobs.

“I think the APC-led Federal Government is just rotating in circles and expecting different results.”

READ ALSO: Nigeria’s Education System Is Plagued With Challenges, Says Gowon

He explained that the Federal Government should address unemployment and Security challenges, to drive the country’s economy.

“This government needs to bring back those who have lost their jobs first before talking about 100 million Nigerians who are to be taken out of poverty in the next ten years.

“If you want to drive your economy, you must get your security architecture right; who are those guys coming to invest in the economy, are they the ones who will face the issue of banditry, kidnapping and bad roads.”

In reaction, Bwala said that the APC has a robust policy agenda to address the challenges highlighted in the survey and hope that it will be made available to Nigerians for proper accountability.

“The party has a comprehensive and robust policy agenda that will address all that in the next level proposal that our party will make efforts to make it available to Nigerians which people can focus on.”

‘Buhari Has No Capacity To Manage This Country, He Is Busy Managing Himself’ – Afegbua

 

The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has accused the All Progressives Congress (APC) of incompetence in handling the nation’s security challenges.

PDP’s spokesperson Mr. Kassim Afegbua, who was a guest on Channels Television’s Sunday Politics, shortly after President Muhammadu Buhari arrived into the country from his ‘private’ visit to the United Kingdom, said the President lacks the capacity to lead Nigeria out of its security crisis.

“The President has no capacity to manage us because he is busy managing himself,” Afegbua.

He accused the Federal Government of not addressing insecurity, claiming that it will be surprising if tomorrow’s headline does not capture any report of killing.

“I think what we have witnessed in the last four years is a replay of crass incompetence in the way and manner that the security of this country is being handled.

“Don’t forget that the Constitution (1999 as amended) states clearly that the primary responsibility of any government, particularly a government that prides itself as an anti-corruption government is the protection of lives and properties.

READ ALSO: President Buhari Returns After Private Visit To London

“And as we speak today, without sounding immodest, you will agree with me that it will be a surprise if tomorrow’s headline says no killing because almost every day when you read the newspaper it is one killing, too many,” he stated.

But reacting to the allegation, Adesina said the security challenges are as old as Nigeria.

He, however, reiterated the President’s commitment to tackle the security challenges effectively.

“The security challenge is almost as old as Nigeria. But we know that it spikes at some time and reduces at some time. We have challenges on our hands in different parts of the country.

“The President had been tackling that even before he travelled. It’s going to be a continuation of what he has been doing.

“Every week, there is a security meeting where the security chiefs and everybody in the security architecture meet with the President and they look at the problem and the steps being taken to solve them,” he stated.

PDP Condemns TraderMoni Initiative As APC Defends Scheme

 

The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and the All Progressives Congress (APC) have continued to trade blames over the poor state of the economy.

Mr Kassim Afegbua, PDP presidential campaign council spokesman, and Mr Jasper Azuatalam, APC’s deputy director for the south youth mobilisation, presidential campaign, continued the ongoing debate Wednesday while appearing on Channels Television’s Sunrise Daily. 

While PDP claimed that the lives of Nigerians were made better under its 16-year rule, the opposition party said the TraderMoni initiative is only a scheme for vote buying which has not really influenced the lives of Nigerians.

“From the record of performance of the APC in the last three and half years, I think it is obvious that this government does not have the capacity and the competence to manage the internal contradictions in the country and thereafter deliver on its electoral promises.

“To that extent, people have compared two scenarios. The first is that of PDP, the second is that of APC. And they can compare and trust that life was better under the PDP and this is very instructive. And if you look at what was gotten in the last three and half years, life has become much more difficult now.

“The APC will naturally come up with this weather-beaten rhetoric of saying that 16 years of PDP, they didn’t do well. We are doing so much and all of that. But when you look at the statistics, they are completely negative – whether our GDP, job creation or borrowing, unemployment, insecurity, anti-corruption fight,” Afegbua stated.

In reply to PDP’s claims, the APC said it would not bow to pressure by the opposition to stop the TraderMoni programme of the Federal Government, insisting that the initiative has bettered the lives of the masses.

APC spokesman, Jasper Azuatalam said he considered the criticism by the main opposition PDP an abuse on the sensitivity of Nigerians that voted the party into office in 2015.

READ ALSO: Osinbajo Launches Tradermoni In Delta Insists Scheme Has No Political Undertone

Azuatalam accused the PDP of creating what he described as “hunger and poverty in the land”, vowing that the party would continue to deliver on its electoral promises to Nigerians.

“I consider this an abuse to the sensitivity of Nigerians who voted the All Progressives Congress (APC) to come and ameliorate the challenges, the poverty and the hunger that was created by the PDP.

“And I will want to state it here clearly and unequivocally that the APC-Federal Government will never stop the TraderMoni initiative because terming this to be vote buying means that PDP and their cronies are fighting so hard to see that Nigerians continue to suffer and the developmental strides of APC are not felt.

“I wonder how somebody will tag the TraderMoni an initiative that the Federal Government has brought to reach out to market people. The PDP has seen that this is making the people believe so much in the Buhari-led Federal Government and they are saying that Buhari must stop the TraderMoni. Buhari will never stop the TraderMoni, it will continue,” Azuatalam argued.

The TraderMoni is a federal government initiative aimed at providing two million petty traders across the country with collateral-free loans.

DSS Lacks Power To Summon IBB’s Spokesperson, Afegbua – Falana

DSS Lacks Power To Summon IBB's Spokesperson, Afegbua – Falana
File photo: Femi Falana

 

Human rights lawyer Femi Falana has condemned the alleged invitation of the spokesperson for former military President Ibrahim Babangida, Mr Kassim Afegbua, by the Department of State Service (DSS).

In a statement issued by him and obtained by Channels Television on Friday, the Senior Advocate of Nigeria said the security agency lacked the power to issue such invitation.

Mr Afegbua was in the news recently after he issued a controversial statement in which General Babangida allegedly asked President Muhammadu Buhari to step down in 2019 to allow for a generational shift.

READ ALSO: Step Down To Allow ‘Generational Shift,’ Babangida Tells Buhari

The former military President swiftly distanced himself from the statement while his spokesman insisted that it was endorsed by his boss.

On his part, Falana noted that the Inspector General of Police, Idris Ibrahim, rightly decided not to press charges against Babangida’s spokesman following his invitation, upon realising that he did not commit any offence known to law over the issuance of the said statement.

File photo: Kassim Afegbua

 

He, however, faulted Afegbua’s summoning for interrogation over the same matter by the DSS, stressing that the decision of the police had ended his “needless harassment”.

“The Police had claimed that Mr Afegbua had defamed General Babangida; if the retired General was defamed in the publication, he has the liberty to seek redress in a high court.

“But the State Security Service has no power to convert the alleged civil wrong of defamation to a criminal offence to warrant the harassment of Mr Afegbua,” the lawyer said.

IBB Authorised The Statement I Issued – Spokesperson

He further noted that the invitation by the DSS “constitutes a gross abuse of powers”, since the alleged denial of the press statement by General Babangida has not caused any threat to the internal security of the country.

Falana stated that the Supreme Court had held while ruling on a case sometimes ago that the power of the DSS “is strictly limited to the prevention and detention of any crime against the internal security of Nigeria as stipulated by section 2 of the National Security Agencies Act.”

He then called on President Buhari to restrain the security agency from subjecting Babangida’s spokesman to any form of interrogation.

According to him, such act violates Afegbua’s fundamental rights to personal liberty and fair hearing guaranteed by the Constitution.

Afegbua Reports To Police Headquarters, Withdraws Suit Against Media Houses

Kassim Afegbua at Police Headquarter in Abuja on Wednesday, February 7.

The Spokesperson for former Military President, General Ibrahim Babangida on Wednesday appeared at the Force Headquarter in Abuja.

Kassim Afegbua had been declared wanted over a letter he issued on behalf of General Babangida on the state of the nation.

Police Spokesman, Jimoh Moshood, had accused Afegbua of “making a false statement, injurious falsehood, defamation of character and for acts capable of inciting public disturbance throughout the country.”

Before reporting himself, Afegbua explains that he is simply being a law-abiding citizen by presenting himself to the police.

“When I was declared wanted on Channels TV and NTA, he (General Babangida) was the one who called me and said, ‘why are they declaring you wanted? Are you a criminal?’

“So, we laughed over it. He asked ‘are you on the run, have they given you an invitation?’ I replied No.

“So, I am very much in touch with him, I am not doing anything out of the blues. I am only here because I was declared wanted. I am not a criminal, I am not on the run. As a responsible Nigerian, I felt it was unwise on the part of the police to declare me wanted when I have not been invited,” he said.

READ ALSO: IBB Authorised The Statement I Issued – Spokesperson

Police Declares IBB’s Spokesman Wanted Over Controversial Statement

He, however, explained that he has withdrawn his suit against the media houses but maintains his suit filed against the Inspector General of Police and the Nigeria Police Force.

“I have withdrawn the suit filed against NTA and Channels, formally filed at the Federal High Court. And so, I am suing the IG of police and the police as it were, for infringing on my right and demeaning my person and maligning my reputation,” he said.

IBB Authorised The Statement I Issued – Spokesperson

Spokesperson of former military President Ibrahim Babaginda said the statement he issued earlier on Sunday was endorsed by Babangida. 

Kassim Afegbua who appeared as a guest on Channels Television Programme Sunday Politics said as a professional who has been on the job for 13 years, he has never gotten a rebuttal after releasing a statement on behalf of the former president.

“I have been doing this job for 13 years now. I have never issued a statement on behalf of General Babangida and it gets a rebuttal.

“I extracted a commitment from him (Babangida) before I issued that statement. The former military president authorised the statement I issued. I didn’t just put out the statement on my own,” he said.

The Former Military President on Sunday, January 4 distanced himself from the statement credited to him and signed by his media aide, Mr Kassim Afegbua.

Babaginda in his rebuttal said the views expressed in the statement are not his views but that of the writer.

Afegbua in the interview on Politics Today, however, said that the former President’s ‘friends’ and ‘supporters’ who loved him more than he loves himself felt the first statement pitched the former President against the President Muhammadu Buhari.

“You know, IBB is for everyone, so people want to love him more than he loves himself, people want to appreciate him more than he appreciates himself, people want to play the role of IBB.

“So, when the statement came on board, and when some of his friends saw the twist and how the social media sensationalise it, they felt we were trying to put the former president on a collision course with the President. So, to that extent, they went and did a statement to deny that.”

Afegbua said further that Babangida in a telephone conversation assured that the statement stands and that it is not a figment of his imagination but a communication that emanates from Babangida.

“But I have since spoken to him; he called me and said, that statement stands. The kernel of that statement should inform public discourse and not necessarily people personalising it as if it were to be against the sitting president.

“So, the statement stands and I have since communicated to all the media houses that they should respect that statement as coming from IBB. It did not emanate from my head. We sat down, we discussed and articulated them and we put them into perspective,” he said.

According to Afegbua, the issues raised by General Babangida should be discussed and not neglected as he wants a new side of leadership, from the younger generation of Nigerians who in his own views have the resourcefulness, the energy and capacity to manage governmental affairs.

“Nigerians can begin to interrogate the issues he raised in that statement. IBB started politics since 1990 and so, if he is saying we should go back to the politics of early 90’s, it is corresponding with his line of thoughts. So, I wouldn’t know why someone will think that I will go and generate a statement without authority from him.”

Clearing the air on the statement further, the spokesperson explained that General Babangida is not personalising his statement against the incumbent President, “but he is saying, as a stakeholder and a concerned Nigerian, that he shares in the aspirations of the people.”

Edo Deputy Governor Survives Attack, Govt. Debunks Assassination Claim

AssassinationAn alleged assassination attempt on the Edo State Deputy Governor, Pius Odubu, at the All Progressives Congress (APC) secretariat in Auchi, Edo State has left at least seven persons wounded.

Director of Strategy, Pius Odubu Campaign Organisation, Samson Osagie, told journalists in Benin City, the Edo State capital that the attack was part of attempts to frustrate Mr Odubu’s governorship ambitions.

But the Edo State Commissioner of Police said that the Police is still investigating the matter.

Meanwhile, the Edo State government has reacted to the alleged assassination attempt on the Deputy Governor.

A statement issued by the state’s Commissioner for Information and Orientation, Mr Kassim Afegbua, said that while government condemns in very strong terms the ugly incident at Auchi, the conclusion of the Odubu Campaign Organisation on alleged assassination attempt appears hasty.

The statement says preliminary reports suggest that the fracas at Auchi was caused by thugs allegedly loyal to the Odubu campaign, imported in two trucks to Auchi who attacked other party loyalists not sold to the Deputy Governor’s aspiration.

Mr Afegbua added that the Deputy Governor was inside the secretariat building of the APC in the company of the Party Chairman in the local government, Mr Akokhia, addressing the delegates when the incident happened.

“It is laughable that the Odubu campaign organisation will allege that the Deputy Governor, with full compliments of security details, was shot at yet no casualty was recorded on the other side and nobody apprehended,” part of the statement read.

According to the statement, Governor Adams Oshiomhole has already directed the Commissioner of Police to unravel the immediate and remote causes of the incident and whoever that is found culpable should be made to face the full wrath of the law.

Edo APC, PDP Trade Words Over Alleged Assault

EdoThe Edo State chapter of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and the All Progressives Congress (APC) have been trading words over the harassment of a trader.

The PDP, in a press conference on Friday at the party’s secretariat in Benin City, the capital of Edo State, stated their intent in fighting the cause of a trader, who made allegations of harassment against the state’s Commissioner of Transport, Isimeme Iriogbewho.

 

A trader in the Benin market, Oghosa Ejemai, sought damages for alleged assault during a government raid on illegal street trading on February 2, 2016.

“Instead of him (Iriogbewho) saying sorry, he went out of his office. Till date, I’m still feeling pains in my chest and my lost seven weeks pregnancy prompted me to fight this case to the end,” she said.

The Publicity Secretary of Edo PDP, Chris Nehikhare, said that Mrs Ejemei has the backing of the party.

“Mrs Ejemei has instructed her lawyer to sue Mr Isimeme for a sum of 100 million Naira for assault,” he said.

The Edo State Commissioner for information, Mr Kassim Afegbua, while responding to the claim, said that the PDP is only seeking cheap popularity.

“She cannot abuse our traffic laws and other market or trading laws and want to seek redress on the issue of alleged assault.

“We thought that issues such as this, should have been handled by the Police; they would do their investigation and institute the case if actually it was right.

“But she went to PDP secretariat, whether PDP has now become headquarters of the Nigeria Police Force, that would also be proven,” he said.