We Had No ‘Feeling’ That Buhari Will Seek Re-election, Says Adesina

The Presidential spokesperson has reacted to President Muhammadu Buhari’s declaration of the intention to seek re-election saying those who work closely with him never knew Mr President will give it a ‘second shot.’

Femi Adesina, who spoke as a guest on Channels Television Breakfast Programme, Sunrise Daily, on Tuesday, when asked why the President had to wait for the APC NEC meeting to declare his intention to run after months of speculations, said they never had an inkling that the President will seek re-election.

“If anybody says that they knew it was going to happen is just a matter of surmising or conjecture. For those of us who work closely with the President, we didn’t have that feeling. We didn’t at all. Nobody could say for sure that Mr President was going to take a second shot,” he said.

Reacting to criticisms that have trailed the President’s declaration of interest in the 2019 elections, Adesina said everyone is entitled to their opinion as Nigeria is a country with the population of over 180 million and everyone has the right to express themselves.

President Buhari in May 2017 left Nigeria for the United Kingdom, London to seek medical treatment abroad. This was after he handed over power to Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, who functioned as Acting President then. He spent 103 days in London and returned in August 2017. This has left many Nigerians wondering about the health status of the President.

When asked if Nigerians still have the need to bother about the President’s health, now that he is seeking re-election, Adesina said Mr President is a man of integrity and would have yielded to warnings if his doctor deems him unfit.

“What his doctor says is between him and his doctor. Unless you know it, it doesn’t have to bother you. The president is a very responsible man and if there was any warning from his doctor, he wouldn’t have ventured into this,” he said.

Mr Adesina also clarified that the President was misquoted when he said he will not run for a second term because of his age. He added that concerning the President’s statement in 2011 when he said will do just one term, it is no longer ‘applicable.’

“That’s a misquote. If there is anything on record like that, it is a misquote. I was with him in South Africa when he said he wished he had become president at a he was a military governor that he would have done a lot more for Nigeria.

“The other one about doing one term was when he was running in 2011. But did he win in that year? No, the victory came in 2015. So that being quoted in 2011 is not applicable again.”

Accidental Discharge: Presidency Reassures Villa Is Safe 

Accidental Discharge: Presidency Reassures Villa Is Safe The Nigerian Presidency has issued a statement on an incident involving an accidental discharge in the seat of power, reassuring Nigerians and foreigners that the Presidential Villa is safe.

Presidential Spokesperson, Mr Garba Shehu, stated that the security official involved in the incident is not attached to the State House.

Rather, he came on invitation as a witness in an ongoing investigation and was required, as is the rule, to surrender his weapon at the gates before entry.

Investigation revealed that the operative conducted the normal safety precaution as professionally required when the pistol accidentally fired.

The lady by his side, a caterer was hit by a pellet of the bullet. Both of them were attended to at the clinic and discharged.

President Buhari Welcomes Recovery Of Another Chibok Girl

Chibok Girls, Muhammadu BuhariPresident Muhammadu Buhari on Thursday lauded the recovery of another Chibok schoolgirl, Rakiya Abubakar, in the Alagarno area of Damboa Local Government in Borno State.

The President said that the recovery has raised renewed hope that the other captured girls would one day be reunited with their families, friends and community.

He also commended the military for the diligent investigation which led to the recovery of Rakiya and urged them to continue in the spirit with which they cleared the Sambisa forest of terrorists.

President Buhari gave the assurance that the Nigerian Government would continue to do all within its powers to assist the military in locating the rest of the girls and eradicating the menace of terrorism in Nigeria.

The spokesman for the Nigerian Army, Brigadier General Sani Usman, had confirmed to reporters, the rescue of Rakiya, who was abducted by the Boko Haram insurgents in April 2014.

He said that troops of Operation Lafiya Dole, while questioning some arrested suspected terrorists, discovered the girl with her six months old baby.

Nigerian Troops Recover Another Chibok Girl

Preliminary investigation revealed that the rescued kidnap victim is the daughter of Abubakar Gali Mulima and Habiba Abubakar of Chibok community in northeast Nigeria.

Nigerian Troops Recover Another Chibok Girl

Nigerian Troops Recover Another Chibok GirlThe Nigerian Army says it has found another one of the Chibok girls, who were abducted in April 2014 from their hostel.

The Director of Army Public Relations, Brigadier General Sani Usman, confirmed this to reporters on Thursday.

He stated that troops of Operation Lafiya Dole, during investigation of arrested suspected Boko Haram terrorists, discovered one of the abducted Chibok School girls, Rakiya Abubkar, with her six months old baby.

According to preliminary investigation, it was discovered that she is the daughter of Abubakar Gali Mulima and Habiba Abubakar of Chibok.

She also revealed that she was a student of Senior Secondary School Class 3B (SS 3B), before her abduction along with her colleagues on April 14, 2014 by the Boko Haram terrorists.

Nigerian Troops Recover Another Chibok Girl

Rakiya Abubakar is presently undergoing further medical investigation and would soon be released to the Borno State Government.

The Federal Government secured the release of 21 of the girls on October 31, 2016 after negotiation with the terrorist group that had requested for prisoners swap.

They were released in a deal brokered by the International Committee of Red Cross and the Swiss Government.

 

2016 In Retrospect: APC Will Come Out Stronger – Adesina

2016 In Retrospect: APC Will Come Out Stronger – AdesinaPresidential spokesperson, Mr Femi Adesina, believes that between the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) and the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), there is a fundamental difference of one being ‘progressive’ while the other is ‘conservative’.

He was responding to criticisms of the government and the ruling party on Saturday, December 31 during Channels Television’s special year-end programme, ‘2016 In Retrospect’, where panelists questioned what they described as lack of ideology.

A former Lagos governorship aspirant, Sinatu Ojikutu described the Buhari administration as one with good intentions but without a proper idea of how to do it.

She agreed with another guest on the show, who said that the lack of a party ideology has made governance difficult for the APC.

She went on to say: “These two parties; PDP, APC, I don’t see that much difference between the two of them in terms of what they want to do for Nigeria”

A Communication expert, Dr. Nick Idoko, however put a different perspective to the issue.

“As a nation, we have a crisis of philosophy. We don’t have a philosophy, so you can’t build parties based on philosophies or ideologies. That is why they are bankrupt,” he said.

But Mr Adesina insisted that in spite of both parties being made up of persons who had decamped at different times, “the ideologies are clear”.

“APC stands on the side of the people, PDP we can say is a little bit on the capitalist side” he added, but the guest unanimously disagreed with his submission.

Political analyst, Deola Soetan, argued that Mr Adesina had not made any correct statement as regards his description of socialism.

He maintained that being “on the side of the people” would demand modesty from politicians as displayed by the likes of Adekunle Ajasin in the past.

Commercializing social services, according to him is capitalism, “That is why during Fashola’s time you had university students paying over 300,000 naira against the philosophy of LASU (Lagos State University) when Jakande created it for poor people to come and become graduates.

“That was why you had tolls everywhere on the road. That was why you had farmers being expelled even from their lands, converting it to housing estates by land speculators.

“So I think Mr Adesina should consult books,” he said.

The panelists had also earlier described the internal crisis experienced by the APC in 2016 as a major distraction for the government.

In his comment, the President’s aide argued that a political party can have upheavals but what it does with it is what matters as such can either destroy the party or make it stronger.

However, with the series of meeting among the stakeholders in the party, there have been genuine efforts to ensure that the party sorts out its challenges.

He went on to say that the APC “will not be destroyed, rather it will come out stronger from what has happened to it”.

Buhari Expresses Regret As Bad Weather Disrupts Trip To Bauchi

Buhari Expresses Regret As Bad Weather Disrupts Trip To BauchiPresident Muhammadu Buhari’s visit to Bauchi scheduled to take place December 29 has been postponed arising from the prevailing weather conditions in the country.

Uncooperative weather which has been the bane of air travel in the current harmattan season, leading to the delay and cancellation of flights, reared its head in Abuja Airport on Thursday morning, preventing the take-off of the President’s plane for the trip to Bauchi.

According to Presidential Spokesperson, Mr Garba Shehu, technical information received from the weather station showed that visibility was 600 meters, 200 metres short of the 800 metres minimally required for a safe aircraft take-off.

According to the information available, the visibility was expected to drop to 300 metres before improving to permissible limit later in the day.

The commander of the Presidential Air Fleet, Air Commodore Hassan Abubakar, said that the Presidential Aircraft was in perfect condition, the weather in Bauchi was alright, but that the problem was in Abuja.

In cancelling the visit to the state, President Buhari expressed regret over the disruption caused by the bad weather.

In a recorded audio and video message, he said he looked forward to the visit in the course of which he was to commission an Air Force medical facility and a number of other projects by the state government. He said he also intended to thank the people for their relentless support in all his political undertakings.

“We make our plans, God makes His own plans,” said the President.

President Buhari thanked the Government and people of Bauchi State and the Nigerian Air Force for the studious and elaborate preparations made to receive him, and assured that he is going to visit the state at a more auspicious time.

Meanwhile, the Minister of State for Aviation, Senator Hadi Sirika, in his reaction, said the Federal Government is planning to upgrade the Instrument Landing Systems (ILS), at the country’s major airports, to ensure that they are working better.

This is with a view to minimizing the sort of flight disruptions that have featured every harmattan season.

21 Chibok Girls Return Home For Christmas

21 Chibok School Girls Return Home For ChristmasThe recently released 21 Chibok girls will be in Chibok, their ancestral home for the first time since their abduction to join their families and friends in celebrating the 2016 Christmas.

This is following the celebrated release of 21 of the schoolgirls who were kidnapped by Boko Haram in April 2014.

The girls, who have now become international figures, arrived Yola International Airport secretly and under tight security were received by the Adamawa State Governor, Senator Mohammed Jibrilla.

Channels TV correspondent reports that the girls appeared tense, anxious and uncertain of what to expect as they looked forward to uniting with their families.

Accompanying the Chibok girls was CNN Correspondent, Aisha Sesay who has been involved in the welfare of the girls. She could not hide her feeling of joy.

Governor Mohammed Jibrilla thanked President Buhari for his commitment in fighting insurgency in the northeast and said that he was excited receiving the Chibok schoolgirls in Yola on their way home for Christmas.

They proceeded to one of the five star hotels in Yola where they were lodged for the night and Governor Jibrilla was back the following morning to bid them farewell as they embarked on their final trip to Chibok.

While some parents of the kidnapped girls expressed their delight, one of the 21 girls on their way home for the Christmas, Asabe Hune, said that they were praying for the release of the remaining girls under Boko Haram captivity.

“I feel happy today as we are going home, we will assist the remaining girls by praying for their release so that they can return home for us to be together again.

“I have nothing more to say except to thank the government for everything they have done to us.”

They were escorted by security operatives to Chibok for the yuletide.

The release of the girls in October was secured by the Federal Government after negotiation with the terrorist group that had requested for prisoners swap.

They were released on October 31, 2016 in a deal brokered by the International Committee of Red Cross and the Swiss Government.

The Nigerian government had earlier denied reports claiming the release of another set of 21 Chibok schoolgirls abducted by Boko Haram terrorists.
Reports had claimed that the girls, who were kidnapped in April 2014, had been transported to Yola, Adamawa State, after their release on Thursday.
Presidential Spokesperson, Mr Garba Shehu, said that the 21 girls reported on Thursday, were those released in October.

FG Clears Air On Alleged Release Of Chibok Girls 

FG, Chibok Girls The Nigerian government has denied reports claiming the release of another set of 21 Chibok school girls abducted by Boko Haram terrorists.
Reports had claimed that the girls, who were kidnapped in April 2014, had been transported to Yola, Adamawa State, after their release on Thursday.
Presidential Spokesperson, Mr Garba Shehu, says the 21 girls reported on Thursday, were those released in October.
The release of the girls in October was secured by the Federal Government after negotiation with the terrorist group that had requested for prisoners swap.

The government, however, said it secured the release of the girls based on trust and that no member of the terrorist group held was released  in exchange.

However, this came after the President, Muhammadu Buhari, had expressed his readiness to release the girls in a swap deal that the group had asked for.

The over 200 school girls were abducted from their hostel, in Chibok town of Borno State.

While some of them have managed to escape, a larger number still remain in the terrorists’ captivity.

The abduction of the girls on April 14, 2014 brought Boko Haram into international spotlight, with many using the #BringBackOurGirls hashtag to raise awareness for the campaign to find the abducted girls and rescue them.

Reuben Abati Offered Bail

Reuben AbatiFormer presidential spokesman, Dr Reuben Abati, has been offered administrative bail by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).

A source within the commission told Channels Television on Thursday evening that the former spokesman was offered bail on the conditions that he submit his travelling passport and provide a surety who must be a top civil servant.

But it is not clear whether the detained journalist would be able to meet the bail conditions immediately.

Dr Abati, a newspaper columnist and spokesman to former President Jonathan was arrested on Monday for what has been speculated to be in connection with the ongoing probe of the mismanagement of fund meant for arms by the detained former National Security Adviser, Colonel Sambo Dasuki (Rtd).

Former Presidential Spokesperson, Reuben Abati In EFCC Custody

Reuben Abati, YouthsThere are reports that former Special Adviser on Media and Publicity to ex-President Goodluck Jonathan, Mr Reuben Abati, is in the custody of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).

He was spotted at the EFCC premises at about 5:30PM on Monday.

Abati’s detention may not be unconnected to the anti-corruption campaign of the Muhammadu Buhari-led administration which has intensified with a clampdown on some public officials from the previous administration.

He has not been named in any of the ongoing corruption cases.

The former Minister of the Federal Capital Territory, Bala Mohammed, has also been arrested by the anti-graft agency.

Mr Mohammed was arrested at the airport on arrival in the country.

Not All Appointments Are Subject To Federal Character – Femi Adesina

Femi-Adesina-Buhari-spokesmanPresidential Spokesperson, Mr Femi Adesina, has explained that there are other factors to consider other than federal character when the President makes his appointments.

Mr Adesina was on Channels Television’s Sunday Politics to provide the Presidency’s perspective to the debates over the concept of federal character which many Nigerians believe has not been fairly followed by President Buhari’s appointments.

Statistics collated by Channels TV political desk shows that the South-East region has had 12 appointments while the South-South has 17, with the South West producing 16 appointees.

Up north, however, the North-West has produced the largest number of appointees with 34, the North-East has 25, while the North Central has 16 appointments.

Presidential-Appointments

Many Nigerians believe that the appointments are lopsided in favour of the North and Sunday Politics sought to know if these is mere coincidence.

Mr Adesina, while admitting that the appointments are indeed more in some regions, explained that appointment is an ongoing process in governance and more appointments would still be made.

The appointment of security chiefs seems to have generated even more controversy. So also is the makeup of the President’s key staff.

Federal Character Mr Adesina explained that the case of security chiefs is a peculiar one because hierarchy has to be followed in such appointments.

“When it is the turn of a person to hold a certain office and you say because he is from a certain region you then bypass him for another person, you have been unfair to that person and also to the system.

“The security system often times operate on hierarchy and efficiency. So if you have a senior person who is also efficient and because he comes from a certain region, you bypass him, I think you are being unjust and unfair to somebody,” he said.

He stated further, “There are some (appointments) that are not necessarily subject to federal character.”

He commended the collation of the figures, noting that this was a feedback that was not new to the Presidency. He appealed for patience from Nigerians with the promise that appointments made by President Buhari would soon cover all regions of the country.

“One thing you can say about the government is that it listens to feedback,” he said, promising that it will be processed “and it will inform things that will happen, going forward”.

“At the end of the day, every part of the country is going to be taken care of,” he added.

Presidential Prerogative

Asked when the President would be making the so-called upcoming appointments, especially since the boards of some government agencies have been dissolved.

Mr Adesina said that the process had been concluded and was “somewhat” just waiting to be unveiled.

“What I will like to add to that is what is called presidential prerogative.

“It is the prerogative of the President to make some appointments when he deems fit to make such appointments and you can be sure that the appointments will come.”

Mr Adesina also defended the President on criticisms regarding his reactions to international tragedies and those happening within the country.

Some Nigerians are concerned with the manner in which the President felicitates or condoles with nations over tragedies in their domain while less is heard from him when things happen in Nigeria.

“It amazes me when people say they have not heard on this and that. What they expect is that the President will come out personally to talk on those things, which I don’t think is the thing to do.

“Why does the President have aides? Why does he have ministers? Why do we have officials in government? When they have spoken on those issues, I think we should consider that government has spoken on them,” he said.

President Buhari Queries Diversion Of Foreign Loans

foreign loansPresident Muhammadu Buhari has called for an explanation from the Ministry of Finance on the foreign loans obtained for rail projects but diverted to other purposes.

Speaking at the end of a presentation on the Ministry of Transport by the Permanent Secretary, Mohammed Bashar at the Presidential Villa, Abuja, President Buhari said that it was disappointing to find that foreign loans obtained in line with signed agreements were moved from one project to another.

“I hope that due process was followed before such diversions were carried out. Taking money from one project to another has to be done properly,” the President warned.

According to Presidential Spokesperson, Garba Shehu, President Buhari was reacting to the specific instance of the diversion of a substantial part of the loan of USD1.005 billion from the Chinese Exim Bank, obtained for the construction of a standard gauge rail line linking Lagos to Kano but which was moved elsewhere.

The Permanent Secretary had informed the President that only USD 400 million of that loan remained with the Ministry of Finance.

The President regretted that government had, over the years, failed to meet its counterpart funding obligation on some projects, leading to such projects being left uncompleted or abandoned.

He added that there was a clear need to streamline, harmonize, and prioritize on-going projects in the transportation sector.

The Permanent Secretary of the Ministry also briefed the President on other challenges facing the transport and maritime sectors such as encroachment on railway land, lack of security on inland waterways and the confused nature of agreements between the Nigeria Ports Authority and ports concessionaires.