Why I Stand With Buhari By Femi Adesina

These are very difficult times in our country. Sad, mournful and dolorous times, as the New Year opened with killings in Rivers, Kaduna, Taraba, and Benue states, among others. Of course, there had been gruesome carnage on the Mambilla plateau mid last year, and bloodletting in Numan, Adamawa State, as well as in other places. Hell suddenly seemed to have enlarged itself against Nigeria. Sincere condolences to those who are grieving and mourning the loss of loved ones.

But instead of finding solutions, and joining to chart the way forward, some people are making political capital out of the killings. They are trying to use the orgy of bloodshed to advance their political interests, wanting to make it appear that it is a failure of the Muhammadu Buhari administration.

Faults are thick where love is thin. There is prejudice in Nigeria. Plenty. There is insularity, in prodigious quantity. There is animus, antipathy against anyone that is not of your ethnic or religious stock, or that belongs to a different political orientation or persuasion. If you meet him, kill him, if you can’t catch him, poison his footsteps, seems to be the singsong among some people. And as the build up to general elections next year gathers momentum, matters are made worse. Everything must be politicized, including wanton killings. There must be spurious handshakes across the Niger, and across the Benue, all for political gains.

But I stand with Buhari, and will always do. Why won’t you? Your snout is in the honeypot, licking the nectars of office, some cynics would say. Really? My bank balances do not indicate so. It is not just about money. It is about conviction. It is about believing in a man who can bring enduring change to our country, if we allow God to have His way through him.
Standing with Buhari through thick and thin is not about money, or the spoils of office, which are not even available in these lean times. In or out of my present position, I stand with Buhari. Sir Walter Scott wrote: “Other people’s resolutions may fluctuate on the wild and changeful billows of human opinion. Ours, now and forever, are anchored on the Rock of Ages.” In or out of government, I stand with Buhari. Why? You will get to know shortly.

There is strident attempt to defame, demean and de-market the Buhari government today. Who are those behind it? The crooks, thieves, freeloaders, who want business as usual. They hate probity. Their souls abhor accountability. They prefer the plunder of the past years, and can’t wait to see that epoch return. They engage in all sorts of misinformation and disinformation. Hate speeches. Fake news. Under us, you had leeks, onions and garlic to eat. You were fed manna till you wanted no more. When you were tired of the fluffy stuff, we gave you meat, you gorged yourself so much, till meat began to come out of your noses. They wouldn’t tell you about what William Shakespeare calls “the goodly apple, but rotten at the cheek.”

They won’t tell you about humongous amounts of money made from oil, which stood at over $100 dollars per barrel for about six years, and which they looted to the last cent. Foreign reserves; depleted. Excess Crude Account; looted. Federation Account; plundered. They turned the country to a wasteland, leaving an economy primed for recession. But deftly and sure-footed, the Buhari administration is building a new foundation for the economy, erecting an edifice that will stand the test of time, not a bubble that collapses with just a pinprick, not a will-o-the-wisp that vanishes in the midday sun.

That is why I stand with Buhari, and have stood with him since he was a military leader in the 1980s. I can trust this President. I can go to bed, knowing that my leader is not striking deals to fleece the country in the dead of night. I can trust that every money that comes into the coffers of Nigeria, will be used for the good of Nigerians. Am I saying it is a perfect administration? Such has not been forged from the smithy of the divine powers.

Every human enterprise will have its shortcomings, but on Buhari I still stand. I stand with him, and by him, any day.

Some people ask themselves: can we afford to be outside government for another four years from 2019? We would be dead! No access to the public treasury, which we know how well to abuse and plunder? To ravage and savage. They have spat into the sky, and collected the spittle with their faces. Rather than let Buhari be, we would employ all the tricks in the books. Defame, demean, de-market him. Is he not Fulani? He is supporting herdsmen causing murder and mayhem round the country. Trumpet it from the rooftops, even without a scintilla of evidence. He is sectional, and bent on Islamizing the country. He is fighting a one sided anti-corruption war. His war against insurgency is a fluke, not winnable.

They refuse to see massive investments in infrastructure, which would burst into full bloom in another year or two. Roads, rail, power. They refuse to see the rebounding economy, strides in agriculture and mining, all with good auguries for the future. They refuse to acknowledge the stock market, which recently recorded N15.78 trillion, the highest in the history of the country. What of N1.3 trillion spent on capital projects in 2016? And almost the same amount for 2017? No, they rather imagine how much of that amount they would have pocketed if they were in power, living in obscene luxury, while the rest of the country went to hell, if it wanted. They refuse to see the good things happening to the country. And none is as blind as those who deliberately refuse to see. All these and more are the reasons I stand with Buhari, and will always do. So that Nigeria can have a future and a hope. Our own Canaan, flowing with milk and honey.

After primitive fury was unleashed in Benue, and about 73 people were left dead, a sitting President eyeing reelection could also play politics with it, visiting and muttering the right words to impress the people. Nothing wrong. But for President Buhari, action speaks louder than words. Action stations, he told the security agencies. The Deputy Inspector General of Police in charge of Operations was first despatched, then the Minister of Interior, the Inspector General of Police himself, and then the Nigerian Army. Consultations were held with the governor of the state, with Benue elders, and now, a committee headed by the Vice President, made up of nine governors, has been set up to proffer solutions to farmers/herdsmen clashes. Action truly speaks louder than words.

President Buhari has not thrown his hat officially into the ring for a second term in office. But they are in mortal fear of him running. Therefore, they do all they can to dissuade him. Malign him, paint him black, devalue him before the electorate. But they don’t know that there are many devices in the hearts of men, but only the counsel of God shall stand. If God has ordained President Buhari to be in power beyond 2019, human effort to stop it can only end in futility.

I stand with Buhari, because it is solid ground for Nigeria. All other ground I see, at least for now, is sinking sand. For us, for our children, for generations yet unborn, Buhari is engendering a new country, whose builder and maker is God. Let the wailers wail; endlessly. Let the heathens rage; till they render themselves hoarse. Let them throw even the kitchen sink at him, they did worse in the build up to 2015. I stand with Buhari. I know his heart for Nigeria, and for Nigerians. Let people shed their prejudices. Let them eschew hate, and purge themselves of all malice. The future can only then be written in gold.

Adesina is Special Adviser to President Buhari on Media and Publicity

2019: I Am Indeed Running But Not For Elections – Pastor Tunde Bakare

The Presiding Overseer, The Latter Rain Assembly (LRA) and Convener, Save Nigeria Group (SNG), Pastor Tunde Bakare has said that his New Year vision is not a campaign for 2019 Presidential elections.

Bakare had shared the visions he had concerning the activities of the New Year among which is “Politics is not over for you. There is still one thing left for you to do: Run for President, I will work it out Myself and make it happen in due course.” directed to him.

This particular vision had trailed various reactions from people asking if it means the pastor would be contesting for the next Presidential election in the country.

However In his speech delivered at the Latter Rain Assembly, End-Time Church in Lagos on Sunday themed, “It is time to renegotiate our union”, Bakare revealed that he is indeed running but not for elections.

“On the first day of the year, I shared twelve prophecies regarding the nature of the year 2018 as I had received from God. However, the twelfth prophecy has become the theme of myriad speculative interpretations and enquiries. While it has brought excitement to some, it has brought anxiety to others.

“However, nowhere in that declaration did I mention running for election. It is, however, not surprising that politicians and the politically-minded have interpreted it as such.

“I am indeed running, but not for elections; it is a race of destiny and the destination is certain. The certainty of this destination is reminiscent of the statement Jesus made before Pilate.

“Some may ask, How then can it happen, if not by elections?” My simple response is that there are biblical precedents, including the stories of Joseph, David, Nehemiah and Daniel; there are also historical precedents, including the case of George Washington whose unanimous election was merely an endorsement, and Gerald Ford who, under the terms of the 25th Amendment, took the oath as Vice President on December 6, 1973, and, following the resignation of President Richard Nixon, was inaugurated as the 38th President of the United States on August 9, 1974, without a single election;

“The important point to note is that it is my destiny to shepherd this nation into her prophetic destiny, and the time is at hand. The method by which God intends to do it is up to Him; I am neither flagging off an election campaign nor building political alliances. Like David, I will continue to shepherd Gods flock and, in His time and manner, I will shepherd the nation according to the integrity of my heart and the skillfulness of my hands.”

Lamenting the current situation of the country, the Pastor urged Nigerians to become united so as to take the country to the promised land. He also urged the Federal Government to become more sensitive to the people’s needs.

“It is time for a DEMOCRATIC REVOLUTION. The season for complaints and complacency is over. We must seize this opportune moment to translate our collective national disappointment into a uniquely Nigerian REBIRTH.” Bakare added.

PDP Can’t Win Lagos In 2019 – APC

The All Progressives Congress (APC) on Wednesday described the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) as “a dead party, not capable of capturing Lagos in 2019.”

The Assistant Publicity Secretary of the APC in the state, Mr. Abiodun Salami, stated this during a chat with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Lagos.

Salami was reacting to a claim by the Publicity Secretary of PDP in the state, Mr. Taofik Gani, that the party would capture Lagos in 2019.

Gani had said 2019 would be the beginning of the end of APC administration in the state as the party was sure of dislodging the ruling party.

He had claimed that Lagosians were tired of the “non-performance of APC government “and were eagerly waiting to vote PDP.

“We will shock the APC in 2019. Take my words. We already have a lot of novel ideas to wrestle governance from them.

“For now, we will keep our strategies sealed. When the game starts, we will unleash them.

“Ambode has failed in purposeful governance. The only thing we see is propaganda. Lagosians desire a change, and that change is PDP,” Gani had said.

But Salami described his comments as laughable, saying PDP had been completely decimated and have no capacity to make any impact in the governorship election, let alone winning.

He dismissed the assertion as “empty boast,” saying Lagosians knew the difference between light and retrogression and would continue to vote the APC.

“The assertion made by the PDP that it would win the state in 2019 is a huge joke. In fact it is laughable.

“How do they want to achieve that? The party has been deserted and left for dead by Lagosians.

“A party where virtually all their bigwigs, such as Musiliu Obanikoro and others had deserted because they have seen the light and are now in the fold of APC,” Salami stated.

PDP Wants To Return So As To Continue Stealing – Fayemi

A former governor of Ekiti State, Dr. Kayode Fayemi, has said the Peoples Democratic Party is only seeking to return to power in 2019 so as to resume looting the treasury as done in the past.

Fayemi, currently the Minister of Mines and Steel Development, also urged Nigerians not to use the current fuel scarcity to rate President Muhammadu Buhari’s performance.

He stated this while addressing some journalists in his home town of Isan Ekiti in the Oye Local Government Area of Ekiti State on Wednesday.

He said, “What (fuel scarcity) we are witnessing is just a normal curve in the life of any administration. We will get over it and move on, but largely the President has not disappointed Nigerians.

“What the PDP wants to come back to do is stealing. The option for Nigerians in 2019 is not to return to the old age of criminalisation and brigandage by not voting for the PDP, because there is nothing to convince Nigerians that they have changed with the shenanigans that characterised their national convention and the poor performances by their governors.

“Up till now, Dr. Goodluck Jonathan (former President) and his henchmen have not apologised about how they ran the country aground. So, there is nothing to suggest that the PDP remains a credible alternative to the APC in 2019.”

Fayemi said the Judicial Commission of Inquiry that recently indicted him was raised by Governor Ayodele Fayose to smear his reputation and make him unpopular.

He said, “Fayose’s stock in trade is lying against someone to score political gains. They started with the probe of N852m UBEC fund and when they knew they could not go far, they started concocting lies and said I looted N17bn.

“Let us wait and see who will go to jail between Fayose and I. I have been out of office and I am still moving free, but I am sure he won’t be able to walk free on the streets after losing immunity because of the way he had run the state aground.”

Fayemi, who did not make any categorical statement on whether he was nursing a governorship ambition or not, said the APC would ensure it wins the state governorship poll in 2018.

The minister boasted that he had used his office to bring many benefits to the state.

80 Political Parties Seek Registration Ahead Of 2019 Electoral Battles

The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) on Tuesday said that 80 political parties submitted applications for registration ahead of the 2019 elections.

INEC Chairman, Prof. Mahmood Yakubu, made this known on Tuesday at the Fourth Situation Room Stakeholders Forum on Elections, organised by a coalition of Civil Society Organisations in Abuja.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that there are currently 67 political parties already registered.

Yakubu, who was represented by Dr AdeKunle Ogunmola, a National Commissioner at INEC, said that the commission was also being asked to register independent candidates for the elections.

“As it is today, 80 more groups are seeking registration as political parties.
“We will continue to register them until the time scheduled by the Electoral Act for us to stop.

“The issue of Independent candidacy is still there too. Right now, we are thinking of how to design our ballot papers to take care of all the registered political parties.

“So far, the hardest was the Anambra election, where 37 political parties fielded candidates,’’ the chairman said.

Yakubu said the commission was determined to ensure that the 2019 elections were free, fair and credible.

He added that INEC would give special attention to the voters’ register.

Mr Abubakar Malami, Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, said the electoral process in Nigeria remained deeply contentious and weak in spite of remarkable reforms in the system.

Malami, who was also represented by Mrs Juliet Ibekaku-Nwagwu, Special Assistant to the President on Justice Reform, said the Federal Executive Council had set-up an implementation committee on the report of the electoral reform committee.

He said that the committee, headed by the Vice-President, Prof Yemi Osibanjo, would develop a white paper on the report of the Sen. Ken Nnamani-led committee.

He spoke on the need to finalise preparation for the 2019 general elections, with just about one year to go.

Malami said the administration of President Muhammadu Buhari was determined to improve on the gains made in previous elections and has taken several steps to strengthen the INEC.

According to him, the government has ensured that INEC is able to operate as an independent and credible umpire.

The convener of the Situation Room, Mr Clement Nwankwo, said the country had witnessed some improvement in the nation’s electoral process.

Nwankwo said that the integrity of INEC had improved since 2011.

“The hope is that looking towards 2019, it will improve further,” he said.

The convener, however, said that there were challenges of money politics.
Looking ahead, we see that INEC has the determination, the integrity and the possibility to ensure that 2019 elections will be an improvement.

“The electoral process is in the hands of INEC and every other person is supposed to facilitate INEC’s work, including security services, CSOs and political parties.” (NAN)

As We Begin The Journey To 2019

By Dele Momodu
Fellow Nigerians, unbeknown to many of our people, the battle for who becomes our next President has already started in earnest. Never mind the fact that the incumbent President is still firmly in power even if he’s spent more time outside than inside in recent times. Despite his absence, President Muhammadu Buhari continues to exert almost total control on the affairs of state through regular phone chats with the Acting President, Professor Yemi Osinbajo, who is deeply loyal and committed to their joint cause, and emissaries who criss-cross the two continents to transmit messages to him and relevant officials. Nonetheless, you can’t blame the gladiators for shaping up this early for the big contest that is looming. It is big because it is unlikely that the current incumbent President will run again because of the fragile state of his health. Like joke, like joke, the Buhari/Osinbajo government is in its third year. By this time next year, the general elections would just be about six months away. That’s just too close for comfort.
The Presidential race is always the biggest deal in most countries, Nigeria in particular. The reason is simple. The President of Nigeria is probably the most powerful black President in the world. This is why you find so many perpetual contestants who never get tired of seeking power. Let me just go straight to the meat of my message without wasting your precious time on any long preamble.
Some aspirants have actually started making subterranean moves, here and there, to prepare the grounds for their eventual launch. The most obvious ones include former Vice President Alhaji Atiku Abubakar and former Governor Rabiu Kwankwaso of Kano. The boldest and most vocal visible aspirant is the current Governor of Ekiti State, Peter Fayose who has even announced a date for the official declaration of his bid for the Presidency. Fayose seems to have mastered the art and science of politics. He has warned that no one should underrate him. I won’t because nothing is impossible in our clime.
Anyway. Let’s move on. The main cause of the early moves is the general belief in political circles that President Buhari is not likely to contest in 2019. His poor health has virtually eliminated him from the race no matter how much and how well he recovers from his present ailment. I think so too. Baba himself had declared in one of his rare interviews that he’s never been this sick in his life. Only the cruellest human being would advise President Buhari to continue to subject himself to the rigours of the Presidential office when he returns. To add the vagaries of rough and tumble of a Presidential race to his recuperation would be inhuman indeed. God has been very kind to him and there is nothing more to prove or to achieve. Others must carry on the fight as his able Vice President, now Acting President has been doing.
Alhaji Atiku Abubakar had shown interest in becoming Nigeria’s President since 1993 when he contested the Presidential primaries of the then Social Democratic Party alongside Chief Moshood Abiola and Baba Ghana Kingibe. He was persuaded to withdraw from the contest and throw his weight behind Chief Abiola on the basis of his relative youth amongst other things. Age, it was said, was on his side, and he had many years to seek the Presidency. Since then, he has never stopped dreaming and aspiring. Unfortunately, he has always just fallen short! He had made his next move in 2003, after he served as Vice President to President Olusegun Obasanjo from 1999. The “abortive coup” (as it was described), to force Obasanjo out and bring Atiku in, by the all-powerful Governors of the time failed spectacularly. The cold war between Atiku and his boss exploded into full view and became a smouldering inferno. Atiku instantly became a marked man. He himself would be forced out of the party he helped to found and had to join others to form another party. But before too long Atiku was compelled by circumstances to scamper back to PDP. Not many felt that was a smart move. He was viewed as being too desperate and unprincipled. This flip-flop has been his major albatross. And he was not yet done! Atiku again jumped ship from the floundering PDP when some five Governors defected and joined the fulcrum of APC. There are already indications that he may be compelled to abandon ship again but where to, we don’t know. Some say that he is grooming PDM for this purpose and has already caused a crisis in his former movement.
There is no doubt that Atiku would make a good leader. He is a seasoned politician who is known to have the ability to unite Nigerians because of his extensive networks across the nation. He also has the penchant for recruiting the best brains to work with. If he becomes the President, he would be bringing in his wealth of experience in public service and private business that is almost second to none. But there are major setbacks against him. One is how to find the detergent to cleanse or unglue himself from the sticky mud his former boss President Obasanjo had generously splashed on him. He’s largely portrayed as a very corrupt and corruptible leader who may lead Nigerians into temptation and perdition with his acolytes. Whether this is a fair assessment or wicked blackmail is his business to deal with but it won’t be so easy to wish or wash away.
Atiku will find it difficult to clinch the APC ticket. There are obvious signs that he has already positioned some of his close associates in PDP, in case of emergency but he may be scammed at the end of the day if he takes the risk of pulling out of his present party. He needs to worry about his age. He has already crossed 70 and it is doubtful if most Nigerians want to be saddled with another old man who may collapse under the brutal weight of presidential stress and pressure. He would require more of a clean bill of health to persuade young Nigerians that he’s not carrying some health liabilities like others in the past. In summary, we have a reasonable bridge-builder and veteran administrator who may be too old and too late in seeking political office.
Next is the former Governor of Kano State, Senator Mohammed Rabiu Musa Kwankwaso, a man with very vast political and administrative pedigree. He has gone through the whole gamut of governance at both executive and legislative levels. His performance as Governor of the massive state of Kano is an eloquent testimony to the fact that he may be the one to ignite the infrastructural revolution in Nigeria. He cuts the image of a frugal Aminu Kano with his simple mien. His grassroots non-governmental movement known as Kwankwasiyya Pillars of the Nation is well mobilised and may give him an edge over most aspirants. He also has in his favour the fact that Kano State has the highest number of registered voters and may be able to count on garnering a significant number of these. He is also expected to draw strength from his former colleagues in the Governors’ Forum across the nation but no one is sure how relevant they still are. Kwankwaso is 60 years old and falls the under the age of 65 that many want as the upper limit for contestants. On the negative side, he is not likely to have the formidable war chest of an Atiku Abubakar though this did not stop him from beating Atiku to third place in their last APC Primaries.
Say what you will, the Acting President, Professor Yemi Osinbajo, must be factored into the equation by all means. The reason is that he seems to enjoy a special rapport with his ailing boss who may prefer to hand over fully to someone he knows well than risk certainty for uncertainty. Osinbajo has been a very loyal and dependable ally, the sort that are not common in this clime. This is no surprise because his vocation as a lawyer, his service as a teacher and his calling as a Pastor makes him imbued with integrity and dignity. Osinbajo has also succeeded in bringing Nigerians together and calming frayed nerves. His handling of the economy, security and national awareness is quite commendable and many Nigeria’s applaud his brilliance and performance in steering the affairs of state to its present comfortable position. His only worry would come from ethnic jingoists who do not care about merit but prefer only members of their tribe no matter how useless or incompetent they may be.
Osinbajo is likely to be vehemently opposed by such powerful forces who think only about themselves, although it seems to me that the people of the North are not with them on this occasion. There is no question that Osinbajo has restored hope and promise to Nigeria and should ordinarily be allowed to stabilise the polity and lead us out of the doldrums. The fact that he lacks his own political platforms may be a great disadvantage because he would need to lean on his political godfather and kingmaker, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu who seems tired of fixing others into positions of power without being the ultimate King of Kings himself. However, Asiwaju is canny and wise and would prefer to be in the hallowed corridors of power with his protégé in charge than be outside it particularly given that he is himself ageing and would be over a couple of years over 65 by the time of the next elections.
There has always been speculation that the Senate President, Dr Abubakar Bukola Saraki, is interested in being President. He is eminently qualified to do so. The way he has managed the Senate and worked assiduously on churning out unprecedented number of very efficacious bills is a pointer to his effectiveness as a modern and cosmopolitan leader who understands what the people want and how to give it to them. His biggest migraine apart from allegations of corruption and mismanagement of Societe Generale Bank which has seemingly not gone away, is that he comes from Kwara State. The State is geographically Northern but culturally Southern. His father was Olusola. He is Bukola. His wife is Toyin. His sister is Gbemisola. His Brother is Olaolu. His son is Olaseni. No one could be more Yoruba than Saraki. However, surprisingly, despite this great Yoruba credentials, the Yorubas do not also apparently view him as a Yoruba man but as a Northerner. I do not know how he plans to overcome that challenge of being neither cat nor rat.
The Governor of Sokoto State, Waziri Aminu Tambuwal, attempted very briefly to run the Presidential race in 2015 but seemed to have chickened out and pulled back to settle for the gubernatorial race, where he eventually emerged successful. It is being mentioned in informed circles that he may still want to try his luck. As a former Speaker of the House of representatives and now Governor, he comes with some intimidating arsenal as e is still clearly well loved by his old constituency, the Federal legislators. It is not certain if he would abandon his almost guaranteed second term as Governor for a not so certain Presidential bid. His antecedents in this regard would persuade me not to expect too much of a change in Tambuwal’s circumstances this time around.
The same goes for one of my favourite leaders, Mallam Nasir El Rufai, the Governor of Kaduna State, one of the most cerebral, experienced and visionary leaders in Nigeria today. He is silently revolutionising Kaduna State although people see more of the controversial stuff coming out of that State because of its highly volatile religious mix of Muslims and Christians. Though he is yet to declare his interest openly, he is someone to watch…