If President Buhari Was Sectional He Wouldn’t Have Been Elected – Adesina

Mr Femi Adesina

Amid renewed claims that President Muhammadu Buhari is sectional, his Special Adviser on Media and Publicity, Mr Femi Adesina, appeared on Friday’s edition of Channels Television’s Politics Today.

He spoke with Seun Okinbaloye about the accusations, the controversy in the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, the state of the probe report on the suspended Secretary to the Government of the Federation and Director-General of the National Intelligence Agencies, and other issues.

One of the major issues on the table for this Presidency is the issue of corruption in the NNPC. We have heard so many sides to this story. What can the Presidency tell us? The Vice President has said he did not sign the contracts, he signed the loans. Did the President sign the contracts?

When the Vice President of the country has spoken, there is hardly anything I will add to it. I will just say let’s work with what the Vice President has told the country.

On the issue of trying to sanitise the NNPC, what are the details of the investigation into the NNPC and the activities surrounding some of the allegations linked to it?

It’s not just the NNPC that is being sanitised or is going to be sanitised. It’s a countrywide exercise. You know that the Buhari administration came with a resolve to clean up so many areas of the country. So, it would be wrong to isolate just the NNPC. The NNPC would be part of the larger cleanup of the country.

How did the President resolve the issues between Dr Maikanti Baru and Dr Ibe Kachikwu?

The issues are still unravelling. Just yesterday we had a new perspective on the issue from the Vice President. The issue is still unravelling but I can assure you that at the end of the day it is going to be permanently and amicably sorted.

Some of the unresolved issues as regarding allegations of corruption remain big issues. Don’t forget, this is a government that says it wants to fight corruption. How is the Presidency hoping to rid itself of all of those allegations?

You have seen a rapprochement between the Minister of State for Petroleum and the GMD of NNPC. It’s just one step, many others will be taken because it is very important that as long as they continue to serve the country, serve the President in these capacities, then they must learn to work together. The issues are going to be resolved; you can rest assured of that.

You didn’t answer my question about how the Presidency resolved the issue between these two men. Was there any moment when the two men were called into the Presidency to sheath their swords?

It’s in the public domain. There have been engagements and it’s all part of a process. That process will be completed and everything will be normal.

Let me take you on one of the statements you released today about what you called deliberate twisting of President Buhari’s commendable interface with the World Bank President. Clarify this issue for us. At the meeting between the World Bank chief and the President, did the President ask the World Bank chief to focus on the northern region of the country in terms of development?

Well, it has been explained; right from the very first week that the President got into office. His first trip was to the G7 in Germany and what did he put on the table? ‘Help us to rebuild the North East. The North East has been devastated, it has been degraded by insurgency which had been there since 2009′. In 2015 when he went to the G7 meeting he said, ‘Help us, the place needs to be rebuilt’. They asked him, ‘Is it funds?’ He said he didn’t want funds so that the funds will not end up being misappropriated. He would rather that those countries send in technical expertise, send materials and help in the rebuilding of infrastructure. And then (during) the first trip to Washington, there was a meeting with World Bank and he said the same thing; ‘Help us to rebuild the North East’. And (during) all the engagements the President has had both in the country and outside it with multilateral agencies, with other governments, he has always said, ‘Help us to rebuild the North East’. Now, if you look at the transcript of the encounter between the World Bank President and the media, which now has been released and is online, the question specifically was ‘What is the World Bank doing to help Nigeria rebuild the North East? And it was the answer of the World Bank President that some sections of the media and particularly online media twisted and they used it to try to brand the President as sectional, which was uncharitable, which was unconscionable, which was downright mischievous and wicked. So, we had to issue that statement clarifying the position.

 A lot of people have this perception that the President is sectional in his treatment of some issues. What is the Presidency doing to rectify this issue?

The fact that you called it perception does not mean it is 100 percent reality. It’s a perception. But then we know that perception matters. One thing we must realise is that the President has a pan-Nigerian mandate. The way the country is structured, the way our Constitution is structured, no President can emerge without winning a pan-Nigerian mandate. That was what the President won. So, it’s not easy for you to then accuse the President and sustain it that he is sectional. No, it’s not possible. If he was sectional, he would not be elected in the first place.

Is the President aware of some of the statements made by Nigerians, some of those who voted him into office, that he is sectional in some of his dealings?

If they say those things, it does not necessarily make them right. That could be allegations, that could be conjecture but it does not necessarily make them right.

But is the Presidency making efforts to correct those notions? If you have four children and one or two of them believe that you love one above the other, wouldn’t you, as a father for example, make efforts to show that you love your four children in the same manner?

Making an effort to show (that you love them equally) will not be the right thing. I think it is better to just continue to do what is proper and that is what the President is doing. He will continue to do what is fair and what is just and what is equitable.

Do you think that Mr President has been fair to all the regions in terms of appointments so far?

As much as possible and he defended that in his meeting with the South-East stakeholders today. Let me give you an example he (Buhari) cited. When the stakeholders raised the issue of appointments, they first talked about the security agencies and he told them that was an area to be careful with because, there, competence, (and) seniority are very important. If you undermine those, you could be undermining the whole security architecture itself. Then when they talked about other positions, he pointed out to them that of the five South-Eastern states four of the ministers are full ministers but in the North, core northern states – Sokoto, Kaduna, Katsina, he mentioned all the seven states, they had ministers of state. Even his own state, Katsina, has a minister of state. Kaduna has a minister of state, Sokoto has a minister of state. These are states that you will think will have full ministers. But from the South East, four of the five ministers are full ministers.

One other area where some Nigerians are of the opinion that the Presidency may have a bias in handling is the fight against corruption. For example, the SGF probe report has been with the President for several weeks – submitted by the Vice President. The question is when will that report be made public and the decision of the President made public?

As soon as possible, as soon as practicable, as soon as the President is done with that report. Like I have said a number of times, the President is a very meticulous person. He would not punish anybody unjustly. The report came in six volumes. Of course, there is an executive summary, but knowing this President, he would read that report page after page and when he is done with studying it, he will come out with his pronouncement.

Buhari’s Meeting With South-East Governors, Stakeholders In Photos

President Muhammadu Buhari today met with South-East governors and stakeholders at the State House today.

The governors during the meeting discussed issues ranging from regional agitation and development of the south-west region, during the meeting.

 See photos below..

South-South, South-East Governors Worried Over Growing Agitations

Governors for the South South and South East under the aegis of the South-South South-East Governors forum on Sunday night met in Owerri, the Imo state capital expressing worry over growing agitations in the country.

The governors during the meeting which lasted till midnight back Nigeria’s indivisibility status and deliberate on what will foster unity and development in the region.

The chairman of the forum, Akwa Ibom State Governor Emmanuel Udom said the forum is concerned by the calls for a breakaway by some leaders adding that it is a worrying development.

READ ALSO: South-East, South-South Governors Back Nigeria’s Unity

“This forum is also concerned with the voices that are calling for self determination from some sections of our dear country. We are worried about the state of the nation which has given rise to growing agitations from all over the country. From the North to the South, East and West.

“Also of concern are the issues of justice, fairness, and equity which many believe are in deficit in our country,” he said.

Udom also said the forum irrespective of political differences have come together chat a new course that will foster economic interest and integration for the region and member states.

Governors present at the meeting include Abia State, Okezuo Ikpeazu, Delta State, Ifeanyi Okowa, Imo State, Rochas Okorocha, Rivers State, Nyesom Wike, Cross River State, Bennedict Ayade, Bayalsa State, Seriaki Dickson, Enugu State, Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi and the Deputy governor of Anambra state.

 

2019: South-East PDP Leaders Endorse Zoning Of Presidency To North

Leaders of the Peoples Democratic Party in the South East have said they fully support the decision to zone the party’s slot for the 2019 Presidential election to the North and reserve the spot for National Chairman to the South.

The Chairman of the party in the South East, Mr Austin Umahi, made this known after a closed-door meeting with other party leaders in the zone.

During the meeting, governors from the party, National Assembly members, and the chairman were mandated to liaise with other zones to reach an understanding in respect of the next national chairman of the party.

Other resolutions include support for party’s candidate for the Anambra State governorship election and the unity of the country.

The meeting was attended by former Vice President Alex Ekwueme, Enugu State Governor Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi, former governor of Anambra State Peter Obi, Deputy Senate President Ike Ekweremadu, members of the National Assembly, among others/

NAF Joins ‘Operation Python Dance’ In South East

NAF Joins 'Operation Python Dance' In South East

The Nigerian Air Force (NAF) has deployed some of its aircraft to support the “Exercise Egwu Eke”, also known as “Operation Python Dance”, the in South East.

Various air assets including the Alpha Jet aircraft has immediately been deployed by the Air Force to it’s 115 Special Operations Group in Port Harcourt, Rivers State to support the ongoing exercise of the Nigerian Army.

See photos below;

Ohanaeze Asks FG To Stop Military Operation In South East

Ohanaeze President General, John Nwodo

Igbo socio-cultural organisation Ohanaeze Ndigbo has asked the Federal Government to end the ongoing military action in the South East.

This, it said, is because rather than guarantee the security of the people, the operation is aimed at intimidating people in the region.

President General of Ohanaeze Ndigbo, John Nwodo, said in a statement on Tuesday that if the operation is not stopped, it would amount to an invasion of the South East.

“In a democracy, the level of disenchantment expressed by the people of the South East of Nigeria ought to have provoked a serious dialogue between our people and the federal executive and the legislature,” he said.

“History teaches us that the continuous use of force to silence dissent and free speech will only accelerate the growth of dissent and dissatisfaction. Fundamental rights of freedom of expression are critical for a successful democracy.”

The statement comes two days after an altercation between members of the Indigenous People of Biafra and troops of the Nigerian Army. Both sides have disagreed over what transpired.

The military had started an operation in the South East, code-named Operation Python Dance, last year with the aim of ridding the region of criminals and others threatening the security of the area.

Last week, it announced plans for Operation Python Dance II, but the continued military operation in the region has given Ohanaeze cause for concern as it believes it is being used for divisive purposes and extortion among other things.

“Nigeria at this moment does not need such deliberate and proactive escalation of tensions and crisis,’ it said.

The group added, “Our people were shamelessly intimidated and harassed at these check points. Operation Python Dance 1 procured no arrests of criminals that were prosecuted for any of the criminal activities that Operation Python Dance II is supposed to address.

“Instead, it witnessed reckless and indiscriminate murder of self-determination agitators in Asaba, Aba, Nkpor, and Port Harcourt numbering up to 191 by the estimates of Transparency International and shattered public confidence of South-easterners in the Nigerian Army and Police.”

Also, Ohanaeze claimed the operation by the military showed bias as the same approach had not been adopted in other places with similar crime rates as the South East.

“The Nigerian Army has never embarked on Operation Python Dance in any of the other five geopolitical zones on account of these incidences. Innocent civilians living in these other parts of Nigeria have not witnessed the type of invasion Umuahia witnessed Sunday night.”

South-East, South-South Governors Back Nigeria’s Unity

South-East, South-South Governors Back Nigeria's Unity

Governors of the South-East and South-South geo-political zones have declared their support for Nigeria’s unity.

This follows a meeting of the governors which held late on Sunday evening at the Rivers State Government House in Port Harcourt, the state capital.

The governors condemned the use of hate speeches in the country and called on all Nigerians to ensure the nation remains united.

“Nigeria is a country that we all love, that we all have a passion for and we will do everything to maintain the unity and oneness in this country,” the Chairman of the forum and governor of Akwa Ibom State, Udom Emmanuel, told reporters after the meeting.

Governor Emmanuel, however, said that the Federal Government has a negligible presence in the two regions, except in the area of policing.

“There is the reality of the dearth of infrastructure in this our region, especially federal roads in the two regions. Indeed, federal presence in the regions is very minimal and only noticeable in the presence of policemen,” he said.

On his part, Governor Nyesome Wike of Rivers State joined the call for Nigeria’s restructuring and devolution of power to states.

He said, “Above all, we must continue to demand the devolution of power and resources to the states, as well as the institutionalisation of the state police.”

The meeting, the second of its kind, was convened to deliberate on critical economic and political issues common to the interests of the states in Nigeria’s affairs.

It had in attendance seven governors and four deputy governors.

Other governors present at the meeting include Ifeanyi Okowa of Delta State, Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi of Enugu State, Dave Umahi of Ebonyi State, Rochas Okorocha of Imo State and Okezie Ikpeazu of Abia State.

Deputy governors who represented their governors were Retired Rear Admiral Gboribiogha John Jonah who is the acting governor of Bayelsa; Dr. Nkem Okeke of Anambra, Mr Philip Shaibu of Edo State and Professor Ivara Esu of Cross River State.

South-South, South-East Governors Meet In Enugu

Governors of states in the South-South and South-East met on Saturday in Enugu.

The meeting had in attendance, the Governor of Ebonyi State, Dave Umahi; his counterpart from Enugu State, Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi, and the Governor of Rivers State, Nyesom Wike.

Others were the Imo State Governor, Rochas Okorocha, and the Cross River State Governor, Ben Ayade.

Also at the meeting is the Deputy Senate President, Ike Ekweremadu, and the President of the Ohanaeze Nd’igbo, John Nwodo.

Read Also: South-East Governors Condemn Hate Speeches

Although the outcome of the meeting is still being expected, there are very strong indications that the meeting will continue its discussion on the restructuring of Nigeria, and the need for the practice of true federalism, which is what was discussed at their previous meeting, also in Enugu.

The Governor of Delta State, Ifeanyi Okowa, and his counterpart from Bayelsa, were, however, absent from the meeting.

Also absent was the Governor of Anambra State, Willie Obiano.

The host governor, Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi, in his opening remarks told the governors that there is the need for inter-regional cooperation saying it would help solve developmental issues accord the region.

Ugwuanyi also said that issues like road infrastructure and security will need inter-governmental synergy to solve them rather living for individual states.

Agitations For Secession, Ultimatum To Igbos Unconstitutional – Osinbajo

The Acting President, Professor Yemi Osinbajo, has said the agitation for secession by groups in the South East and the ultimatum giving to Igbos to leave the North by Northern groups are in violation of Nigeria’s Constitution.

Professor Osinbajo said this on Sunday when he met with traditional rulers from the South East in continuation of his consultations with leaders of the North and South East following increased tension in both regions.

While assuring the traditional rulers that the Federal Government remained committed to the unity of the country, Osinbajo warned that it would be wrong to for people to threaten to disobey laws or the unity of the nation as a result of their grievances.

He also warned that the Federal Government would deal decisively with those who put the unity of the country at risk.

He said, “The manner of those agitations, the method and objectives are wrong, unlawful and in violation of the laws of Nigeria and the Constitution of Nigeria. I want to repeat that both the agitations for secession and the ultimatum to leave the Northern states are wrong and a violation of our Constitution.

“Our Constitution says in Section 2 that Nigeria is one indivisible and indissoluble sovereign state to be known by the name the Federal Republic of Nigeria and that is the law of our country.

“Let us not be in any doubt about the fact that the Federal Government is committed to ensuring that our country remains united.

“And that anyone who violates the law in the manner such as we are seeing all over the place will be met with the full force of the law.”

Although he described the agitations as unlawful, the Acting President said the nation “must be sensitive to the reasons why there are agitations by the various young men and in fact several others across the various zones of this country”.

Noting that much of the agitations had to do with perceived marginalisation, he said, “I want to say the only way to make things right is to do things right. And it will be wrong of us to approach even our grievances by threatening to disobey the laws or by threatening the integrity of our nation.”

According to Professor Osinbajo, keeping the country united is vital because enough blood has been spilt by many and thousands of lives lost for that purpose.

“Many have paid for the unity of this country with their lives and it will be wrong of us as men and women of goodwill in this generation to toy with those sacrifices that have been made,” he said.

“This is the reason why men and women of goodwill in our generation must not tolerate any tendency that drags us in the direction of yet another civil conflict.”

He assured the traditional rulers that the Federal Government is committed to listening “to all the reasons, the various suggestions, the various agitations, and the reasons for those agitations and to ensure that we do justice by all persons regardless of where you are from in this country”.

“That is the commitment of Federal Government which I am able to make to you today,” he added.

Pensioners Verification Resumes In Bayelsa January 16

Pensioners Verification Resumes In Bayelsa January 16The federal government has revealed that it is set to kick-start the next phase of civil service Pensioners Verification and Biometric exercise in Bayelsa state.

This was contained in a statement signed by the Executive Secretary, Pension Transitional Arrangement Directorate, Barr Sharon Ikeazor.

The statement indicated that the verification exercise would take place in Yenagoa to cover pensioners for Bayelsa on January 16, 2017.

PTAD had earlier concluded verification of civil service pensioners from the North-West and South-East zones in the country in 2015.

As a follow up, pensioners in the North East states of Adamawa, Bauchi, Gombe and Taraba states were recently verified between November 28 and December 6, 2016.

“Apart from identifying ghost pensioners and putting a stop to fraudulent payments, the exercise facilitated the restoration of monthly pension payments to genuine pensioners previously removed from the payroll, including those who had never been paid any pension or gratuity.

“A total of 4,438 pensioners who were verified in the North West and South East who were hitherto not receiving their pension were rolled into November, 2016, and their pension and arrears paid.”

The statement indicated that pensioners are expected to come along with the original and photocopies of their relevant retirement credentials for the upcoming exercise as will be published in national dailies and announced on television and radio.

Why Buhari Did Not Attend South East Economic And Security Summit

South-East Economic and Security SummitThe Presidency has denied reports that President Muhammadu Buhari snubbed the recent South-East Economic and Security Summit in Enugu.

His Spokesperson, Mr Garba Shehu on Friday, released a statement he described as the accurate account, contrary to media reports alleging that President Muhammadu Buhari deliberately ignored the event.

“The President was presented with a request to attend the Economic and Security Summit by the Minister of Science and Technology, Dr. Ogbonnaya Onu.

“The President happily accepted. The visit to Enugu was scheduled for Thursday 22nd as can be found on the weekly programme.

“After this was done, some other stakeholders from the South East came and advised him to not go in view of the closeness of the date to Christmas; that given the sensitivity of the period to the people, a presidential visit may come with overexertion and possibly, be disruptive of Christmas.

“In view of this, President Buhari requested that the event be pushed forward to January, 2017. Given his nature, he did not insist. He said if the change of date is not possible, then the event can go on without him. That is what the organizers chose to do.

“The President did not, and he absolutely has no reason to snub anyone,” Mr Shehu stated.

Forget About Biafra, Buhari Urges Youths From South-East

Biafra, NYSC, South east, Nigerian YouthPresident Muhammadu Buhari on Tuesday in Daura called on Nigerian youths, particularly those from the South-East, to take their minds off the actualization of Biafra and promote national unity.

Receiving over 100 National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) members serving in Daura local government area, in his residence, President Buhari pledged his unalloyed commitment to the unity and prosperity of Nigeria.

He urged them to remain focused in life, pursue their dreams and reject those fanning embers of discord and disintegration of Nigeria.

Speaking specifically to corps members from the South Eastern states, the President said: “Tell your colleagues who want Biafra to forget about it.”

Biafra, NYSC, South east, Nigerian Youth

“As a military commander, I walked from Degem, a border town between the north and the east, to the border between Cameroons and Nigeria.

“I walked on my foot for most of the 30 months that we fought the Nigeria-Biafra civil war, in which at least two million Nigerians were killed.

“We were made by our leaders to go and fight Biafra not because of money or oil, because oil was not critical factor then, but because of one Nigeria.

“So if leaderships at various levels failed, it was not the fault of the rest of Nigerians who have no quarrel with one another.

“So please tell your colleagues that we must be together to build this country. It is big enough for us and potentially big enough in terms of resources.

“Those who work hard will earn a respectable living. I have seen this country, I fought for this country and I will continue to work for the unity of this country,” the President said.

Biafra, NYSC, Southeast Youth

The President, who specially recognised corps members from the Niger Delta and South-Eastern states serving in Daura, praised the vision of former President Yakubu Gowon in setting up the scheme in 1973.

The President said that the scheme has creditably promoted national unity and cohesion by exposing young people to the uniqueness and cultural diversity of Nigeria.

“I asked for those from the other extreme of Nigeria because I very much appreciate the NYSC scheme and whenever I see General Gowon, I always thank him for that.”

In his remarks, Mr Egbewumi Adebolu, the Corps Liaison Officer in Daura, thanked the President for the honour of receiving them and making their stay in Daura memorable.

He said the youths strongly believed in the programme of the President to reduce unemployment and create jobs for more Nigerians.

Adebolu thanked the President for his personal gifts of cows, bags of rice and cash to corps members in the community for Salah celebration.