The Presidency has said that results coming from the states of the long list of the bye-elections show definitely that our party, the All Progressives Congress (APC), remains the chosen party of Nigerians.
Speaking on behalf of the presidency, Mr. Garba Shehu, said We the confidence of the people will not be taken for granted.
The special media aide to President Muhammadu Buhari, in a statement on Sunday, assured that the present administration will not fail Nigerians.
“Nigerians who appreciate the efforts of the administration in making life better for all citizens, especially under an economy facing the severest test from the global Coronavirus pandemic will not be disappointed.
“We thank them immensely for their trust in the party and government.
“We equally thank the Interim Management Committee of the party under the capable leadership of His Excellency Mai Mala Buni, the Governor of Yobe State, the Progressive Governors Forum under Governor Abubakar Bagudu of Kebbi State, all our governors, parliamentarians, state, local government and ward level APC chapters and the entire ranks of the membership for this brave and impressionable performance,” the spokesman stated in his communique.
While congratulating the successful candidates, Mr. Shehu noted that President Muhammadu Buhari in particular is very pleased with the election outcomes and has urged the party to uphold the spirit of hard work, unity, progress, cooperation that forms the bedrock of the victories.
Burkina Faso was braced Monday for the results of its presidential election after hundreds of thousands were unable to vote due to the country’s jihadist threat.
President Roch Marc Christian Kabore is widely expected to be re-elected for a second term, despite criticism from the 12 opposition candidates over his failure to stem a growing jihadist insurgency.
The National Electoral Commission had announced it would begin releasing results from Sunday’s ballot on Monday morning but postponed the deadline and by 2 pm (1400 GMT) it had given the results of only three communes.
Commission president Newton Ahmed Barry told reporters late Sunday that between 300,000 and 350,000 of about 6.5 million voters had not cast their ballots due to “security threats”.
“Individuals have banned people from taking part in the vote,” Barry said. They “told people that whoever dips his finger in indelible ink can say goodbye to his finger”.
The Constitutional Court had said in early November that the election could not be held in nearly one-fifth of the West African nation, where large swathes of territory remain outside the state’s control and jihadists strike almost daily.
That would not prevent the validation of the results, however, as the National Assembly adopted an amendment to the electoral code in August to make the elections valid even if they could not be held throughout the country.
Jihadist-related violence has forced one million people — five percent of the 20 million population — from their homes in the last two years and at least 1,200 have been killed since 2015.
In some places in the north, “there is no election, and it is far from being the priority of the people who seek first to avoid being killed by one side or the other of the conflict,” an expert on security issues in the Dori region told AFP.
In the capital Ouagadougou and in the south, however, election officials said the vote went smoothly.
Counting by candlelight
Counting the vote of the presidential and parliamentary polls began in Ouagadougou on Sunday shortly after 6:00 pm (1800 GMT).
Much of it was done by candlelight or flashlight in schools which do not have electricity, a common practice in one of the poorest countries in the world.
At one polling station, monitors oversaw counting as helicopters arrived to a nearby airport carrying ballot boxes and staff from offices in remote areas.
“It’s important to be there, so no one can say later that there was fraud,” said Adama, a student who added that he was paid by a small opposition party to watch the ballots be counted.
Before the vote, the opposition had accused the ruling party of having organised “massive fraud” in Sunday’s first round, allegations that Kabore rejected.
Opposition to unite?
The president’s two main challengers are 2015 runner-up Zephirin Diabre and Eddie Komboigo, standing for the party of former president Blaise Compaore.
Kabore would avoid a run-off election by winning more than 50 percent of the vote in the first round — as he did five years ago.
However, his opponents say that will not be possible if the election is carried out fairly in the country which has experienced multiple coups since gaining independence from France in 1960.
The opposition has said it would unite behind the leading candidate in the second round, which has never happened in Burkina Faso before.
Almost all of Kabore’s challengers have called for dialogue with the jihadists to be explored, a suggestion Kabore has emphatically rejected.
“We’re really looking forward to security,” said Abdoulaye Koula, a voter in Ouagadougou.
“We know that it is not easy but we would like there to be peace, that there is forgiveness among the Burkinabe and that we can live together in harmony.”
The Presidency on Wednesday explained that the absence of its representatives from a meeting of South-South stakeholders fixed for Tuesday in Port Harcourt, Rivers State was not out of disrespect.
This was disclosed in a statement signed on Wednesday by the Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity, Garba Shehu. The statement was titled “South-South Assembly disrupted by emergency security meeting -Presidency.”
Shehu explained that the Federal Government delegation was absent at the meeting because of an emergency meeting of the National Security Council held at the Presidential Villa, Abuja on the same day.
He said a new date for the meeting would be fixed after dues consultations.
Find the full statement below…
SOUTH-SOUTH ASSEMBLY DISRUPTED BY EMERGENCY SECURITY MEETING – PRESIDENCY
The Presidency wishes to explain that the absence of the Federal Government delegation at the planned meeting with governors and stakeholders of the South-South region was necessitated by an emergency security meeting summoned by the President, certainly not out of disrespect.
The delegation to the meeting, under the Chief of Staff to the President, Professor Ibrahim Gambari, ministers and heads of security and intelligence agencies were in full readiness to proceed to Port Harcourt until they were directed to stay back for the emergency security meeting.
This information and regret for the inconvenience caused were conveyed to the hosts of the meeting through what we believed were the right channels.
As may have been gleaned from the statement read by the Minister of Police Affairs, Muhammad Maigari Dingyadi, the extraordinary National Security Council meeting, under the President, was called in view of the gravity of the security situation affecting all parts of the country, including the South-South in the aftermath of the ENDSARS protests, and the need to rise to protect our national security and territorial integrity.
The President is strongly and resolutely committed to hearing from leaders, stakeholders, and our youth on burning issues affecting all parts of the federation, and to this effect, a new date for the meeting with the South-South will be agreed after due consultations with the parties concerned.
Once again, the unavoidable postponement of the meeting is regretted.
Since Organized Labour toed the path of sense and sensibility last week, seeing reason with the imperatives of fuel price adjustment, and opening a further window of dialogue on the service based electricity tariff, some groups of Nigerians have been dolorous, disgruntled, and disconsolate.
They had apparently perfected plans to use the strike by the labour unions as a smokescreen to unleash anarchy on the land, fomenting mayhem and civil disobedience. But the plan blew up in their faces, and they have been in severe pains since then. They have launched series of tirades against Organized Labour.
For some interest groups, their intention was to use the umbrella of the strike to further their whimsical and pie-in-the-sky dream of a revolution in the country. It went bust in their faces.
For some others, Bitter-Enders, who have remained entrenched in pre-2015 and 2019 elections mode, it was an opportunity to avenge the 2012 Occupy Nigeria protests, which they believe largely devalued the government of the day, and led to its eventual ouster in 2015.
The strike that was to have come up last week, they wanted to use as an opportunity for a pound of flesh, which they calculated would weaken the government so much, and influence the 2023 elections. For them, it was all about hankering for power, its trappings and appurtenances. Nothing about the love of country. They have since then been calling Organized Labour all sorts of names, claiming they deceived Nigerians.
The times in which we live-with severe security, economic and social challenges-call for all hands to be on deck, and goodwill and support for the government, as it strives to put the nation on an even keel. We commend Organized Labour for putting the country first.
Those sponsoring and encouraging discord and anarchy, either for selfish ends or as revenge for perceived injuries, are enemies of the country. Nigerians are urged to beware of them, as the Muhammadu Buhari government is only interested in engendering better quality of life for the citizenry. Nothing more.
Contrary to complaints from many Nigerians, the Presidency has said that the prices of food items across the nation are dropping.
Speaking on behalf of the presidency, Mr Garba Shehu says the significant drop in prices of food items stems from President Muhammadu Buhari’s reforms in the agricultural sector.
Mr Shehu who on Friday was a guest on Channels Television’s Sunrise Daily said though prices may differ depending on the state and area, however, on the general, there is a drop in prices of food items.
While reacting to the President’s directive Thursday that the Central Bank of Nigeria should with immediate effect stop the release of money for food and fertiliser importation, the presidential spokesman said his principal’s intentions are in the best interest of the country.
He said, “Nigerians must give consideration for the fact that the President’s directive to the CBN is driven by nothing other than a patriotic motive”.
According to Mr Shehu, this directive falls in line with the President’s quest to boost agriculture in the country, a position to which some persons disagree, arguing that the CBN’s policies should not be imposed by a political authority.
Addressing those who hold the view that Buhari’s directive is overreaching, Mr Shehu said, “I am not sure there is anywhere in the world that the Central Bank is So independent that it will operate as foreign ownership”.
The Presidency has lauded the judgement of a court in the United Kingdom on the case involving the Process and Industrial Developments (P&ID).
In a statement on Friday, the Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity, Garba Shehu, described the ruling as right and just.
According to the presidential aide, the Presidency welcomes the judgment granting Nigeria’s application for an extension of time and relief from sanctions in the $10 billion arbitration case with the company.
He added that the judgment provided a strong prima facie case that the fraudulent gas deal with P&ID and the subsequent judgement debt of $10 billion against Nigeria was a clear attempt to cheat the country of billions of dollars by a company that had not invested one naira in it.
“On the arbitration award, it is a source of huge satisfaction that the UK Court, among others, had ruled that: ‘Nigeria has established a strong prima facie case that the Gas Supply and Processing (GSPA) was procured by bribes paid to insiders as part of a larger scheme to defraud Nigeria.
“There is also a strong prima facie case that that (P&ID) main witness in the arbitration, Mr Quinn, gave a perjured evidence to the Tribunal, and that contrary to that evidence, P&ID was not in the position to perform the contract,” the statement said.
Shehu noted that the Presidency was delighted with the processes that led to the ruling of the English court, stressing that it has given relief to the Nigerian Government to further protect its national assets from criminally minded organisations and individuals.
The views of the UK court, he stated, provided sufficient grounds for the Federal Government to go ahead and challenge the frauds perpetrated by the company and overturn the arbitration award.
In his reaction, President Muhammadu Buhari commended the team of lawyers who represented Nigeria in the matter with P&ID.
He also reassured Nigerians and the international community of his unwavering commitment to fighting corruption in all its forms and manifestation.
The Presidency has denied the claim that President Muhammadu Buhari’s aide, Sarki Abba has tested positive for COVID-19.
In a statement on Wednesday, the Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity, Garba Shehu, advised Nigerians to ‘ignore determined agents of fake news bent on spreading false stories to the public’.
“We react to the utter falsehood and disgraceful lies, a report by a so-called digital newspaper which, Tuesday, claimed that President Muhammadu Buhari’s aide, Sarki Abba is COVID-19 positive,” he said.
“This report is a sheer fabrication and a brazen effort by the online news medium to mislead the public.
“Upon the directive of doctors and scientists and supervision of Professor Ibrahim Gambari, the Chief of Staff, all staff working for and around the President, are routinely and rigorously checked for the virus. The Senior Special Assistant, Social Affairs and Domestic Matters, Sarki Abba, always tested negative.”
Mr Shehu urged Nigerians to ignore such stories that intend to mislead people to create unnecessary anxiety about the safety of the President.
“Don’t let yourself be manipulated by any medium that thrives on yellow journalism and specialises in peddling fake news in the desperate quest for the market and donor money,” he added.
The Presidency has hailed the second quarter (Q2) Gross Domestic Product (GDP) estimates by the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS).
According to the NBS report, Nigeria’s GDP fell by –6.10% (year-on-year) in real terms in the second quarter of 2020 while for the first half of 2020, real GDP declined by –2.18% year-on-year, compared with 2.11% recorded in the first half of 2019.
In a statement by the Special Adviser to the President on Media and Publicity, Femi Adesina, and captioned ‘Our response to Quarter 2, 2020 NBS figures, by Presidency,’ it said the decline of -6.1% (for Q2 2020) and -2.18 per cent (for H1 2020) was better than the NBS forecast of -7.24%.
“The figure was also relatively far better than many other countries recorded during the same quarter,” the statement noted, adding that, “despite the observed contraction in economic activity during the quarter, it outperformed projections by most domestic and international analysts.”
“It also appears muted compared to the outcomes in several other countries, including large economies such as the US (-33%), UK (-20%), France (-14%), Germany (-10%), Italy (-12.4%), Canada (-12.0%), Israel (-29%), Japan (-8%), South Africa (projection -20% to -50%), with the notable exception of only China (+3%),” the statement added.
“The government’s anticipation of the impending economic slowdown and the various initiatives introduced as early responses to cushion the economic and social effects of the pandemic, through the Economic Sustainability Programme (ESP), contributed immensely to dampening the severity of the pandemic on growth.”
Below is the full statement:
OUR RESPONSE TO QUARTER 2, 2020 NBS FIGURES, BY PRESIDENCY
The National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) published on Monday, August 24, 2020, the 2nd Quarter (Q2) 2020 Gross Domestic Product (GDP) estimates, which measures economic growth.
Nigeria’s (GDP) declined by –6.10% (year-on-year) in real terms in the second quarter of 2020, ending the 3-year trend of low but consistently improving positive real growth rates recorded since the 2016/17 recession. Consequently, for the first half of 2020, real GDP declined by –2.18% year-on-year, compared with 2.11% recorded in the first half of 2019.
The overall decline of -6.1% (for Q2 2020) and -2.18 per cent (for H1 2020) was better than the projected forecast of -7.24% as estimated by the National Bureau of Statistics. The figure was also relatively far better than many other countries recorded during the same quarter.
Furthermore, despite the observed contraction in economic activity during the quarter, it outperformed projections by most domestic and international analysts. It also appears muted compared to the outcomes in several other countries, including large economies such as the US (-33%), UK (-20%), France (-14%), Germany (-10%), Italy (-12.4%), Canada (-12.0%), Israel (-29%), Japan (-8%), South Africa (projection -20% to -50%), with the notable exception of only China (+3%).
The government’s anticipation of the impending economic slowdown and the various initiatives introduced as early responses to cushion the economic and social effects of the pandemic, through the Economic Sustainability Programme (ESP), contributed immensely to dampening the severity of the pandemic on growth.
On the fiscal side, a robust financing mechanism was designed to raise revenue to support humanitarian assistance, in addition to special intervention funds for the health sector.
Adjustments to the national budget as well as emergency financing from concessional lending windows of development finance institutions were critical in supporting governments’ capacity to meet its obligations.
On the monetary side, a moratorium on loans, credit support to households and industries, regulatory forbearance and targeted lending and guarantee programs through NIRSAL were some of the measures implemented in response to the pandemic during the second quarter.
It is equally worth noting that since the start of the third quarter, the phased approach to easing the restrictions being implemented centrally and across States have resulted in a gradual return of economic activity, including the possibility of international travel.
More importantly, the anticipated health impacts of the pandemic have been managed without overwhelming the health infrastructure, which would have further compromised the ability to re-open the country to travel, commerce and international trade. Indeed, this has provided greater confidence and ability for authorities to initiate the conduct of nationwide terminal examinations and resumption of the next academic year.
Finally, it is anticipated that while the third and fourth quarters will reflect continued effects of the slowdown, the Fiscal and Monetary Policy initiatives being deployed by the government in a phased process will be a robust response to the challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic.
Furthermore, as the country begins the gradual loosening up of restrictions, and levels of commercial activity increase by people returning to their various livelihoods and payrolls expand, it still remains imperative that all the necessary public health safeguards are adhered to so the country avoids an emergence of a second wave.
Kaduna State Governor, Nasir El-Rufai on Saturday said the Presidency should be zoned the south in 2023.
He made the remarks during an interview with BBC Hausa, adding that he has not coveted the title of President as believed in some quarters.
“It has been said that I have loved the presidency since I was a minister in the FCT [Federal Capital Territory]. This is nonsense. I do not want the Nigerian presidency. God gives power, whether you like it or not. If he wants, he will give it to you. But I have never applied for the presidency of Nigeria, no one will say I have applied for it,” El-Rufai said.
“In Nigerian politics, there is a rotation system, where everyone agrees that if the north rules for eight years, the south will rule for eight years.”
He said although the acceptance process was not written in the constitution, every politician in the country was aware of it.
“That is why I came out and said that after President Buhari’s eight-years term, no northerner should run for the Presidency. Let the southerners also have eight years.”
El-Rufai’s state, Kaduna has recently been riddled with violence, especially in the South, but the Governor said the outrage over the security situation is being fuelled by people manipulating it for political, religious and ethnic gains.
He noted that the security situation in the state was stable due to security measures he was taking.
Comments made by Mamman Daura about zoning, during a recent radio interview, do not “in any way” reflect the views of President Muhammadu Buhari, according to the Presidency.
Garba Shehu, the Senior Special Assistant to the President (Media & Publicity), said in a statement on Saturday that the views Mr Daura expressed during the interview with the BBC Hausa Service were “personal to him.”
“We have received numerous requests for comments on the interview granted by Malam Mamman Daura, President Muhammadu Buhari’s nephew to the BBC Hausa Service.
“It is important that we state from the onset that as mentioned by the interviewee, the views expressed were personal to him and did not, in any way, reflect that of either the President or his administration.”
In the interview, which aired during the week, Mr Daura told the BBC Hausa Service that rotational leadership has failed the country and there is a need to now look “for the most competent and not for someone who comes from somewhere”.
The Presidency believes the comments, which drew strong criticism from several people including groups such as Ohanaeze Ndigbo and Afenifere, were taken out of context.
“At age 80, and having served as editor and managing director of one of this country’s most influential newspapers, the New Nigerian, certainly, Malam Mamman qualifies as an elder statesman with a national duty to hold perspectives and disseminate them as guaranteed under our constitution and laws of the land. He does not need the permission or clearance of anyone to exercise this right,” the Presidency’s statement continued.
“In an attempt to circulate the content of the interview to a wider audience, the English translation clearly did no justice to the interview, which was granted in Hausa, and as a result, the context was mixed up and new meanings were introduced and/or not properly articulated.
“The issues discussed during the interview, centered around themes on how the country could birth an appropriate process of political dialogue, leading to an evaluation, assessment, and a democratic outcome that would serve the best interest of the average Nigerian irrespective of where they come from.
“These issues remain at the heart of our evolving and young democracy, and as a veteran journalist, scholar and statesman, Malam Mamman has seen enough to add his voice to those of many other participants.”
Two of Nigeria’s closest neighbours, Benin and Niger owe the country up to N1.4bn, the Presidency revealed on Tuesday.
In a statement, signed by spokesman Garba Shehu, addressing a report questioning why the nation was exporting electricity to neighbouring countries on credit – while blackouts persist nationwide – the Presidency noted that, as at 2019, the debt owed by four countries totalled $69m.
“As of the last review in 2019, the amount of indebtedness to all three customers stood at $69 million, subsequent upon which several payments were made to NBET,” the statement said. “Much of this has been repaid by the debtor nations.
“As of today, Niger owes only USD 16 million and Benin, USD 4 million, adding up to the Naira equivalent of about N1.2bn.”
Why Nigeria Exports Power Despite Local Shortage?
The Presidency statement on Tuesday explained that the country exports power to neighbouring countries in respect of multilateral agreement that prevents the damming of water sources into the nation’s main hydropower stations.
“Power exported to Niger, Benin and Togo based on Multilateral Energy Sales Agreement with the Government of Nigeria is on the basis that they would not dam the waters that feed our major power plants in Kainji, Shiroro and Jebba,” the Presidency said.
“The essence of said bilateral agreements, by which we give them power and they do not build dams on the River Niger means that Nigeria and her brotherly neighbours had avoided the unfolding situation of the Nile River between the sovereign states of Ethiopia, Sudan and Egypt.”
The Presidency on Tuesday said Nigeria exports power to neighbouring countries in order to prevent the damming of water that feeds the nation’s major power plants.
On Monday, a Nigerian newspaper, Punch, had published a report describing how Nigeria has continued to export electricity to other countries on credit while blackouts persist within its borders.
As a response to the report, the Presidency, via a statement signed by President Muhammadu Buhari’s spokesman Garba Shehu, described the report as “hyperbolic and terribly misleading.”
The Presidency said the newspaper’s credit figures were “far from accurate, out-dated and therefore not reflective of the current reality.”
It also added that over 90 percent of the electricity generated in the country was distributed and consumed by Nigerians.
The Presidency revealed that as of the last review in 2019, the amount of credit extended to Niger, Benin, and Togo stood at $69 million.
According to it, Niger owes $16 million and Benin, $4 million as of today, adding up to the naira equivalent of about N1.2 billion.
Read the full statement below:
STATE HOUSE PRESS RELEASE
PUNCH’S INACCURATE REPORTING ON THE SALE OF POWER TO NEIGHBORING NATIONS NEEDS TO BE CORRECTED
It is most disappointing that sensationalism has dominated the thinking and ethos of institutions that citizens look up to with trust, confidence and reliability. Monday edition of the Punch checks all the boxes in terms of an abject failure to honour these time-tested traditions with its news piece: “NIGERIA EXPORTS USD81.48bn ELECTRICITY ON CREDIT AS COUNTRY’S BLACKOUT PERSISTS,” is, to say the least, hyperbolic and terribly misleading.
Apart from the fact that the figure quoted is far from accurate, out-dated and therefore not reflective of the current reality, the overall cost of power generated and sold by Nigeria in the period covered by the report is not anywhere close to what was mentioned by the paper.
The actual cost of electricity generated within the said timeframe (2018-2019) by all the electricity generation companies in Nigeria was about N1.2 trillion ($4 billion).
Over 90% of the electricity generated was distributed and consumed by consumers across the 11 electricity distribution companies in the country.
Power exported to Niger, Benin and Togo based on Multilateral Energy Sales Agreement with the Government of Nigeria is on the basis that they would not dam the waters that feed our major power plants in Kainji, Shiroro and Jebba.
As of the last review in 2019, the amount of indebtedness to all three customers stood at $69 million, subsequent upon which several payments were made to NBET. Much of this has been repaid by the debtor nations.
As of today, Niger owes only USD 16 million and Benin, USD 4 million, adding up to the Naira equivalent of about N1.2bn.
The essence of said bilateral agreements, by which we give them power and they do not build dams on the River Niger means that Nigeria and her brotherly neighbours had avoided the unfolding situation of the Nile River between the sovereign states of Ethiopia, Sudan and Egypt.
In the future, we advise the newspaper to seek clarity from the market operator which is the Transmission Company of Nigeria, TCN. This process of fact-checking only improves your standing in the public arena.