Don’t allow PDP take Nigeria backwards – President Buhari tells APC members

President Muhamnadu Buhari has appealed to members of the All Progressives Congress (APC) not to be complacent but to prepare, strategise and win 2019 elections, to prevent the Peoples Democratic Party from taking Nigeria backwards.

He made the appeal at the APC national Secretariat Wednesday in Abuja while submitting his Expression of Interest and Nomination forms to contest the presidency in 2019.

Although Buhari did not mention PDP in his short speech, the reference was unmistakable as he referred to those who ruled Nigeria between 1999 and 2015.

 

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the forms were purchased for the president by the Nigeria Consolidation Ambassadors’ Network on Sept. 6. at the cost of 45 million.

Buhari had in April declared his intention to seek re-election at the APC National Executive Committee (NEC).

President Buhari while submitting the forms, said; “I m here in person among friends and colleagues to put my name forward to my party, the APC, seeking nomination to contest the presidential election in 2019.

“I am taking this step with all humility, sense of responsibility and unquestionable desire to serve and protect the interest of all Nigerians.

“Let me today, appeal to party members not to be complacent but to pre,strategize and win 2019 elections.

“We must not allow those who brought the country to its kneels from 1999 to 2015 to come and take us back”.

National Co-coordinator Nigeria Consolidation Ambassadors’ Network, Sunnsi Musa, said the group paid for the forms because the President is not a multi-millionaire cash wise.

“But he has millions of supporters who are always ready to come together to pay for his nomination form.

He said the group embarked on the project based on the recognition that the President has started laying a foundation for a better Nigeria and deserves a second term in office.

He expressed gratitude to those who contributed towards the purchase of the forms.

He assured them and Nigerians generally that if nominated, and re-elected in 2019, hr would continue to serve the people to the best of his abilities.

Mr Adams Oshiomhole, the APC National Chairman used the opportunity to present to President Buhari his new party membership card.

He also told the president that the APC under his leadership, took advantage of modern technology to come up with a new membership data base, saying that the party currently has 15.6 million registered members.

“Today to talk about the size of our party, the largest party in the world and in Africa, we need to have evidence that can be verified by a third party or by members.

“We have taken advantage of technology to produce what I believed is the best or the first in Nigeria.

“We now have as at last week when they started printing of membership register, about 15.6 million registered APC members across the country “he said.

The APC national chairman added that the party membership data base was designed to ensure that the membership status of anyone could easily be verified at the touch of a bottom.

Oshiomhole further added that with the development, the party had credible and verifiable persons to conduct direct primaries on the basis of its membership register.

However, he said the party would not in any way nullify or change the decisions of its National Executive Committee (NEC) at its sixth meeting, which allowed for indirect primaries, for logistics reasons

He said the APC will strive to give practical expression to its decision as transparently as possible.

This, he added, would ensure that the APC would not only be the largest, but the smartest, most democratic and most cohesive party in the country.

APC extends processes for primaries in Kwara

The National Working Committee (NWC) of the All Progressives Congress (APC) on Wednesday approved the extension of processes leading to primaries in all elections in Kwara.

The National Chairman of the party, Adams Oshiomole, announced this at the inauguration of the Executive Committee of the party in the state at its National Secretariat, Abuja.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports the extension of the processes was at the request of Alhaji Lai Mohammed, Minister of Information and Culture and APC Leader in the state.

The minister led the APC delegation to the national secretariat.

Oshiomole said, “because of the peculiarity of the situation in your state, I agree you need more time to sort out operational issues to be well prepared for electing candidates for elections.

“It is within the power of the National Working Committee (NWC) to grant the request based on the exigencies.

“It is therefore approved in principle. The new date for the collection of forms, screening of aspirants, appeals and primaries will be approved by the NWC and thereafter made available to you”.

He, however, drew the attention of the delegation to the fact that the NWC did not have the liberty to grant the extension beyond Oct. 7.

He charged the members from the state to ensure that all necessary things were concluded before the date as statutorily stipulated.

The chairman said that the party should also continue and expedite action on the process for a credible voter register for primaries in the state.

He disclosed that the presidential primaries would hold nationwide on Sept. 20 and that the state should endeavour to conclude the registration for participation in the exercise.

Before inaugurating the new executive for the state, Oshiomole commended the members for conducting the election with the spirit of brotherliness and without external intervention.

“In line with the provision of the party’s Constitution, we can elect candidates on consensus for wards, local government and state executives.

“Consensus may be difficult to achieve, but it is the best at this particular instance for the much-desired unity needed in the party in the state.

“With the success of your election, we can boldly say that you are one. I therefore congratulate you on the successful outing in this regard,” he said.

Oshiomole reiterated the need for the state to fast-track the process for membership registration, saying it was crucial to electing “able and committed governor that will make up for lost time and reposition the state”.

The new executive committee of the party in the state is headed by Bashir Bolarinwa as Chairman while Mustapha Ishowo is the Secretary.

‘Buhari has not said people should not steal’ — Amaechi

The Minister of Transportation, Rotimi Amaechi, admitted on Wednesday that corruption was still an issue in the President Muhammadu Buhari-led administration.

Speaking on the administration’s fight against corruption, Amaechi said, “Buhari has not said people should not steal.

“But when you steal, there is a consequence for stealing. I don’t want to say it has stopped completely but it has reduced”.

The transport minister said this in Abuja during an interactive session with the media on the ministry’s achievements.

He said the Buhari administration has achieved a lot on security, road, fight against corruption, agriculture and transportation, adding that Buhari was tackling herdsmen-related killings.

Amaechi said Nigerians will enjoy 24 hours of power supply if President Buhari is reelected.

“There is an improvement in power. We have moved from 3000 megawatts to 7000 but we are distributing 5000 because some of the infrastructure are not in good state but we are slowly fixing them.

“The expectation is that it should be 24 hours power supply but there will still be a gap but if you give us a second term, that gap will be closed.

“In terms of corruption; this economy was a rent economy. Public money was spent anyhow and it was an economy that was not worked hard for. That is why you see politicians today very rich and one year after leaving government, they are poor.

“They are like that because they don’t know how to manage the money. When Buhari came, he said we could not continue to spend anyhow. Buhari has not said people should not steal.

“But when you steal, there is a consequence for stealing. I don’t want to say it has stopped completely but it has reduced. So if you say Buhari has not done anything on corruption, you are being most unfair.”

He said 2015 budget had only six percent allocated to capital expenditure but the current administration is doing 20 percent.

 

Amaechi said that in the next two to three years, government will allocate up to 30 percent for capital expenditure, if the recurrent expenditure is reduced and wastage is fixed.

“It is also unfair if Nigerians think the ministry of works is not working. The road to Bonny was abandoned after Obasanjo left government, the road was below N39 billion but it is now N120 billion that the federal government wants to do it.

“So, Buhari government is dealing with corruption, building roads, the worst roads in Nigeria used to be between Uyo and Calabar but it has been awarded.

“The road to Enugu too that people are complaining about: contractors are working on the roads already. The work may be slow but they are working. Also the Ilorin-Jebba road has been awarded.

Amaechi also reacted to the Chinese scholarships scandal for the first time.

He and other officials in the government had been accused of diverting rail transport engineering scholarships offered by a Chinese construction firm, China Civil Engineering Construction Corporation.

The scholarship involved the sponsorship of over 40 Nigerian undergraduate students in Chinese universities to study railway engineering which the company said was part of its CSR.

Speaking on the scandal, he said, “the answer to this thing is simple, CCECC has granted us scholarship, how they got their candidates, ask them. I’ve seen the first batch in China. Instead of asking how we chose the candidates, they should ask us about the policy”.

“The policy is that when they come they build roads. Rivers state government house is still being maintained by Julius Berger, is that good? It’s something that any Nigerian should be able to maintain.

“To maintain that place, Julius Berger comes every day and they are paid every month. The month you don’t pay them, you won’t see them.

“If you allow the railway people go without them providing scholarship, when they finish and they go, when the train breaks down you will see that the workers would be sweating but we are very sure that at the end of the day before the Chinese leaves they must have trained our men to take over this thing and that is what is critical not how we chose the candidates,” he said.

“I think the CCECC complied with the law, they did not break any law.”

Afrika Shrine play host to inaugural ShaKu Shaku concert

The Afrika Shrine will play host to a first of its kind event on the 13th of September, titles “Shaku Shaku night” featuring many of Nigeria’s prominent artistes.

The New Afrika Shrine is an open air entertainment centre located in Ikeja, Lagos State. It serves as the host location of the annual Felabration music festival. Currently managed by Femi Kuti (eldest son of Fela Kuti) and Yeni Anikulapo-Kuti, it is the replacement of the old Afrika Shrine created in 1970 by Fela Kuti until it was burnt down in 1977.

The New Afrika Shrine showcases photo galleries of Fela and music performances by Femi Kuti and Seun Kuti thus making it a tourist attraction.

Only July 3, 2018, French President Emmanuel Macron visited the Shrine and pre-launched the Season of African Cultures 2020 in France. Macron said he had visited the Shrine as a student in 2002.

It is to host the 1st of its kind event on the 13th of September titiles “shaku shaku night”.featuring artist like.

 

“Why it is time for the Middle Belt to produce Nigeria’s president”- Jonah Jang

A Presidential aspirant under the platform of the PDP and former governor of Plateau State, Senator Jonah Jang, has stated that to ensure fairness, justice and equity, the Middle Belt region of the country should be supported by other regions to produce the next president. This was disclosed by the Acting Director-General of his campaign team, Professor Shedrack Best, while briefing journalists in Jos, the Plateau State Capital.

Best said the Middle Belt needed to produce the next President of the country and that Jang from the region had all it takes to represent the people and give quality leadership in the country.

“It is with great pleasure that we bring to the notice of the public, that Distinguished Senator Jonah David Jang has picked and submitted his nomination form for the Presidential race. Senator Jang represents the Middle Belt, the region with millions of registered voters who want the Presidency this time around.

“We have supported others before. It is their turn now to also support us”, he explained. While we do not begrudge those zones that have benefitted repeatedly, we demand that in the spirit of one Nigeria, for the inclusion of minorities, for the purpose of fair play and equity, the Middle Belt should be given the chance and supported in 2019,” he added.

He also stressed that, “Senator Jang is not in the race to step down for anybody, he is in the race to win.

“He believes in Nigeria as a great nation and in its oneness, he has what it takes to take Nigeria to be among the top nations of the world in no distant future.

“The Middle Belt is at the centre of the north, it is the glue of the north, the bridge of Nigeria, the guarantor of national unity and oneness, and has sustained the north over time.

“Sadly, however, this zone has yet to produce an elected President. We need the support of all to make this happen”.

The Director General also debunked the rumour that the Senator had stepped down from his Presidential ambition, saying he was not in the race to step down for anybody but to win and salvage the country from the scourge of bad leadership.

INEC reply PDP, says no plan to postpone 2019 elections

There are no plans to postpone the 2019 general elections as insinuated by the PDP in some quarters, INEC has said. In apparent reaction to a report in one of the national dailies said that the newspaper’s headline “We May Shift 2019 Polls Over Threat Of Violence – INEC”  did not reflect correctly the statement of INEC boss, Prof. Mahmood Yakubu at the Inter-agency Consultative Committee on Security (ICCES) meeting.

In a statement signed by Mr. Rotimi Oyekanmi, Chief Press Secretary to INEC chairman the commission claimed that at no point during his remarks did the INEC Chairman allude to the notion that the Commission “may shift 2019 polls over threat of violence” as reported by the national newspaper.

The statement reads: “Our attention has been drawn to a story with the headline – We May Shift 2019 Polls Over Threat Of Violence – INEC – which appeared on the front page of a national newspapers today, but which did not correctly reflect what the Independent National Electoral Commission Chairman, Prof. Mahmood Yakubu said at the Inter-agency Consultative Committee on Election Security (ICCES) meeting that took place at the Commission’s headquarters on 11th September 2018.

“It is common knowledge that the Osun State governorship election will hold on Saturday 22nd September, while the 2019 General Elections are only 156 days away.

“The ICCES meeting, which takes place on a regular, quarterly basis, provides an opportunity for INEC and security agencies to evaluate and discuss the country’s security situation, with the aim of putting the necessary measures in place to enable the Commission carry out its mandate.

“In his remarks at the meeting, the INEC Chairman told the security chiefs that with the 2019 general elections drawing close, the Committee would need to meet more frequently to constantly assess the security situation across the country and take proactive actions to forestall any unpleasant event before, during and immediately after the elections.

“He underscored the fact that elections cannot be conducted under a rancorous atmosphere. He referred to Section 26 of the Electoral Act which, among others, gives the Commission the power to postpone an election “if there is reason to believe that a serious breach of peace is likely to occur if the election is proceeded with on (the fixed date)”, or as a result of natural disasters or other emergencies.

“Prof. Yakubu made this reference to the Electoral Act only to underscore the importance of having peace and order in place before, during and after elections and to emphasize the significance of the synergy between the Commission and security agencies.

“He also noted that the most important assignment before the Commission was the Osun governorship election, adding the Resident Electoral Commissioner (REC) for Osun State, Mr. Segun Agbaje and Commissioner of Police for Osun state, Mr. Fimihan Adeoye would brief the Committee on the current situation and state of readiness for the governorship poll. (Both Agbaje and Adeoye later briefed the audience).

“Besides, he spoke on the rising phenomenon of vote buying and selling and harped on the need for collaborative effort to decisively tackle the menace and prevent it during the Osun governorship election. He said a Code of Conduct for security agents would be enforced during the elections and warned that any activity outside the confines of legality/ legitimacy will be viewed seriously.

“The INEC Chairman also seized the opportunity to draw the Committee’s attention to a video clip making the rounds, in which some political actors were seen making inciteful statements that could lead to serious security breaches before, during and after the 2019 general elections. He called on the relevant security agencies to be vigilant, just as he urged them to take immediate action on the development. He commended members of the Committee for their cooperation, which makes it possible for INEC to conduct credible elections. It is thus clear that at no point during his remarks did the INEC Chairman allude to the notion that the Commission “may shift 2019 polls over threat of violence” as reported by the national newspaper. To be sure, INEC has no plan to postpone the 2019 General Elections.”

“Vote for only candidates that support restructuring”-Ijaw leader tells Niger Delta People

Foremost Ijaw nationalist, Chief Edwin Clark, has ask people of the Niger Delta not to vote for any politician that does not support the restructuring of the country. He said however that they must be careful not to fall for politicians who merely mouth restructuring without really meaning it.

Clark said the people must ask the presidential candidates about their manifestoes to determine whether it meets the aspirations of the Niger Delta before supporting them.

“If it says restructuring, then vote for that person,” he advised, adding: If this country is restructured, within 10 years, the pattern of life will change.

Speaking while receiving leaders of various youth councils in the region led by the President General of the Niger Delta Nationalities Youth Leaders Council, Peretubo Oweilaemi, at his Asokoro Abuja residence on Wednesday, he regretted that the Niger Delta has been marginalised in the management of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) even though it produces 98 per cent of the crude oil. “The thing we produce in our area feeds the whole country. Yet, we are beggars in our own country.

 

“Could you imagine a situation whereby nine directors in NNPC appointed by President Buhari, six of them are Northerners including the Chief of Staff (to the president), one from South West, one from Niger Delta with all the oil we produce in is country,” he said.

The same thing he said happened in the appointment of NNPC General Managers, which he said had 10 from the North, two from the South West, two from the South-South and none from the East. He pointed out that Imo and Abia states which also produce crude oil got no representation.

He said out the 55 Managers appointed, 36 came from the North and while the remaining were spread among the other parts of the country. “So, they control the oil, they maintain it and what do they say? ‘we are ungrateful for anything they give to us, we are troublemakers and so on,” he added.

Clark further stated: “Today, some people say oil flowed from the desert and came to our area, we don’t own it. They won it. They are now managing it. “We are saying, restructure this country. If you restructure the country, whatever is produced in your area, you manage it at your own pace,” he asserted.

The elder statesman, however, appealed to the youths to remain calm, saying that with God on their side, they will prevail. He said the country must be restructured to allow all the component parts to develop at its own pace as it was in the first republic. The one time Federal Commissioner of Education observed that there is the perception that the country as it is now is “lopsided, deliberately constituted to oppress some people,” saying that the people must continue to speak their minds.

Chief Clark, whose residence was searched by the police last Tuesday, said he decided to accept the police apology over the incident because he wanted to avert war in the Niger Delta.

 

 

He said: “So, they (police) came and apologised, they disowned those boys but I said don’t. We are no fills. Those boys have no powers to come and search my house.

“When they were here, somebody her phoned an Assistant Inspector General of Police and he answered.

“When my people went to their office, the boys did not stop on their own, they took them to their boss. So, don’t lie to me. But the apology, I have accepted it because of Nigerians. “And if I don’t, problem will take place in the Niger Delta. I hear the boys and the girls are already gathering in Port Harcourt, in Yenegoa, WARRI and so on, even up to Arogbo in Ondo state.

“I have to accept it their apology in the interest of peace and in the interest of our country. But go and make it public. And so, they did.”

 

 

He affirmed that he had written a letter to President Muhammadu Buhari demanding that the matter be investigated to fish out those who were responsible for it. Clark said instead of embarrassing him, the police only succeeded in embarrassing themselves.

In his remark, the leader of the delegation demanded that the police publicly parade the officers involved in the search of Clark’s residence, otherwise, it would be seen that the police lied. He said the people of the Niger Delta wanted to know the officers and be assured that they were not merely moved by the police to continue their service other areas.

Buhari negotiates another $6bn with China for road construction

The Buhari-led Federal Government has revealed that it is currently negotiating a loan of about $6 billion with China Exim Bank for the construction of the Ibadan-Kano railway line. Minister of Transportation, Rotimi Amaechi, revealed this at an interactive session with newsmen, in Abuja, on Tuesday.

According to the minister, “We are currently in negotiations with the China Exim Bank to get about $6bn to do (rail lines) from Ibadan to Kano. It is a difficult decision. Why is it difficult? “The money required is about $8bn to do a double track but the Chinese are insisting that they can’t fund the double track.

“They are asking us to do a single track and they want it at Minna so that instead of going from Minna to Kaduna, we should go from Minna to Abuja and then join it from Abuja to Kaduna.

“But there are those who argue that we should not accept that, rather we should tell them (Chinese) to fund it in segments. This, however, does not make economic sense,” he said.

The former governor of Rivers State equally spoke on the approval for waterways security, noting that $195 million had been approved, expressing confidence that it would help reduce crime in the maritime sector.

Amaechi continued, “The Federal Government has approved the sum of $195m to hire an Israeli company to help train our security personnel to help man our water ways.

“Currently there are criminal activities in our waterways which has made it that in some parts of the country, people charge what they call war insurance. “War insurance means that you go to an area where there is (seems to be) war, but you know that there is no war there.

“But in such areas criminal activities are taking place in the water ways. So, with the approval, after we have put the processes in place, we will ensure that there is security on our waters,” he noted.

Kwara youths show support for Saraki’s presidential bid ahead of 2019 general elections

In an effort to prove the popularity of Senator Bukola Saraki in his home-state, a Kwara-based group is mobilising youths to a Mass Rally in solidarity with the presidential ambition of the Senate President on Saturday, September 15, 2018.

Speaking to newsmen on Wednesday in Ilorin, the Convener of the forum, Mr Abdulmajeed Olanrewaju Oba, said the March became necessary owing to the immense contributions of to the state when Saraki was Governor of the state and senator of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.

Mr Olanrewaju Oba said: “It is going to be an unprecedented gathering for the celebration of Senator Bukola Saraki’s years of enviable leadership when we host the one-million-mass march around the state.

“The proposed March which will commence by 7 am in the morning of September 15, 2018, at Ibrahim Taiwo Junction, just in front of Mr Biggs, in Ilorin, Kwara state.

“We recommend a Dress code of Black Jeans and no specific colour of T-shirt to commemorate the occasion.”

Commenting on the personality of the Senate President, the youth leader who is also Patron of The Olanrewaju Oba Youth Forum (TOOYF), commended Bukola-Saraki for answering the call of teeming Nigerian youths to contest for Presidency.

Mr Olanrewaju Oba said: “Nigeria currently needs a competent and capable personality like Saraki to lead this country forward for saving the nation’s Democracy through his actions and deeds during the National Assembly chambers siege among others.

“We are thrilled by the prospect of having a leader like Senate President, Bukola Saraki as Nigeria’s President. He has all the qualities and we had thought having him will be something to be proud of. We know that with him Nigeria has a great future,” Mr. Olanrewaju Oba emphasized.

While encouraging other Nigerian politicians to emulate the leadership style of the Senate President, the convener said Kwara youths are strongly behind his ideas and ideals.

“Senator Bukola Saraki has distinguished himself as a leader of the masses and as a man we can trust. We are so sure of his capabilities and he is the best candidate for the job. This is basically why we are organizing the 1millionmass march for him.

“The manner in which Mr Saraki has been running the affairs of the upper chamber of the National Assembly was a pointer to his maturity and his ability to rule the country with a focus.”

Shocker! Buhari gives APC politician clean bill on corruption, says party is free of greedy politicians

President Buhari on Tuesday in Abuja defied several appeals to him to reject the expression of interest and nomination forms purchased for him by the NCAN and received the forms at a brief ceremony in the State House. Buhari, who said he was not only grateful but also honoured to be presented with the forms by persons he described as patriotic Nigerians, pointed out that members of the group contributed money to raise N45.5 million for the purchase of the forms.

He also said members of the group were not fewer than three million Nigerians, whom he said were spread across various parts of the country. The president chronicled how his foray into politics began in 2002 up to the time of his election in 2015 and described members of the APC, who left the party, as the weakest of people whose selfish agenda did not align with the selfless vision of his administration.

According to him, with the exit of such selfish persons, APC is now made up of strong and patriotic Nigerians, whom he said were willing to toe the path of building a secure, self-sufficient and corrupt-free Nigeria.

“We now have a party of strong and patriotic individuals who are ready, willing and able to continue on this journey of building a strong, secure, self-sufficient, corrupt-free Nigeria,” he said.

The group had last Thursday bought the N45 million forms for the president, who is the sole presidential aspirant on the platform of APC.

Speaking in the banquet hall venue of the presentation, Deputy Chairman of the Board of Trustees of the group, Mr. Chukwuemeka Nwanjuba, described the group as a network of young persons, drawn from various fields of endeavour.

According to him, members of the group, whom he said were drawn from every ward of the existing 120,000 polling units across the country, made the contributions from the least of N68.00 and upward to enable them raise the money.

Further stating that members come from every geo-political zone of the country, Nwanjuba, who said the president had been given triple A rating, added that they took the decision because of outstanding leadership principles exhibited by Buhari, including what he described as his record performance in areas of security, economy, infrastructure delivery and financial prudence. He said the young citizens who made up the group had opted to purchase the form for the president to encourage him to continue in his service to the country and also consolidate on what he had done so far.

He said, “These ambassadors whose network seeks to consolidate these gains and engrain this focus, then decided to contribute their intellect and little earnings towards ensuring that our president is encouraged to continue this service, being as it is now apparent the real beneficiaries of all the toil and tenacity of purpose that now radiates this leader.

“In spite of the hue and cry from a vociferous few whose stranglehold on our commonwealth has become somewhat dislodged, it is on account of the resolve of these ambassadors that they proceeded to obtain the nomination form for the president from the All Progressives Congress to encourage Mr. President to seek re-election for another term to help consolidate the work he is doing.”

Nwanjuba said contrary to an agitation that purchasing the form for the president was a clear violation of Section 91(9) of the Electoral Act; no law was broken after all, arguing that if any law had been broken, the president would not have accepted the form.