The Kosewe Kosegbo Voters Of 2019 By Lasisi Olagunju

(Published In the Nigerian Tribune Newspapers of May 7, 2018)

The stuffs are so many now. It is not just codeine and its cough syrup. Shisha’s fumes compete with the plumes of Sango. There is Kerewa; there is Ogidiga; there is Bajinatu. There are many more. The song is Kosewe, huh, Kosegbo; the chorus is Oju ti dirty! Our eyes are truly dirty and it is not funny. We mix desert water with the springs of Lagos. We take codeine and embrace tramadol. We turn gutter water to “chemical” – we say it is our tonic. We can’t be normal; and we are not. Olamide’s song speaks and it is to the shame of our youth: “Kerewa, perm e! Ogidiga, perm e! Bajinatu, perm e! Nap e!” How does that sound to an omoluabi; a person of character? When you take codeine with APC elerin you are not likely to remain the same. If you don’t lose your kidney, you lose your balance. Nigeria is original Omo Science Student.

Wole Soyinka’s hordes stink because ‘they eat garlic.’ Nigeria’s strange voters reek rape not because they enjoy rape. Look into their eyes – they are addicted to strange stuffs. Like common whores, they can’t do without collecting stuffs. They need them to remain high. They suffer the terminal illness of selling and eating. They add other addictive things – they are wedded to opioids. They dance Olamide and gulp codeine cough syrup as blood tonic.

They are science students. But they vote! The calm watch TV, they hardly vote. In their millions, Awon Omo Science Students choose our leaders. Our constitution says you must not be a “lunatic” and of “unsound mind” if you want to be voted for, but the authors of the law forgot to add that voters too must be sane before they can vote. The ancestors were wise. The personal qualifications for appointment as king are the same for kingmakers. You can’t choose if you are not choosable.

Yesterday’s votes were cast by Codeine, Tramadol and Ogidiga. On the queue for tomorrow’s elections are Shisha, Flaker, Colorado, Skushis and Monkey tail. Elections are about exchange of influence: top-bottom; bottom-top. Voters are democracy’s kingmakers. Because like attracts like, Opioid voters will joyfully elect codeine councillors; they will bond with kerewa senators, bajinatu governors, Shisha presidents.

Debates won’t stop to rage on why we are not putting our leaders through sanity tests. Why are we not asking the system to test voters for drug use and abuse; for mental balance? Can INEC give us leaders who are sane when millions who make the choice are hooked to one form of strange thing or the other? And when millions of drug addicts choose the leadership of a country, what results should the world expect? That was my thought as I spent the better part of last week pondering on the codeine cough syrup abuse reports that have dominated the media.

We are just being unfair to codeine. It is not the sole wrecker of the present and the future. There are several others, including the unthinkable. From pit latrines to dirty gutters, addicts forage for highs. But codeine is the current champion because it allowed itself to be caught overdoing it in Kano, in Lagos and in other places. One drug seller in Lagos boasted to the BBC that he could sell one million cartons of codeine cough syrup in one week.

And, he indeed, in one single transaction sold 60 bottles of the syrup to BBC journalists in a hotel room. Codeine is not just a kidney destroyer; its abuse wrenches sanity from its addicts. It takes away wellness and implants mental illnesses of varying severity. Psychosis, schizophrenia and more!

If Benue likes, let it continue to call itself Nigeria’s food basket. That is the only trophy it holds. North-West’s Kano and Jigawa States are champions in their own way. Three million bottles of codeine cough syrup are consumed there daily. And the North-West is the vote basket of Nigeria. It has a total registered voter figure of 18,505,984. In 2015, that zone gave our president, General Muhammadu Buhari, 7,115,199 votes. Out of that figure, Kano state alone gave Buhari two million votes. And it is said to be the drug addiction capital of Nigeria.

We used to worry about Indian hemp, about cocaine and heroine, etcetera, etcetera. This cough syrup addiction is somehow. Do we have an epidemic of coughs? There is no cough epidemic but there is an explosion of cough syrup consumption. The NDLEA recently seized 24,000 bottles of codeine syrup from a single factory in Katsina.

The NDLEA, according to a BBC report, says that in Kano for instance, the epidemic “crosses all class, no matter the level – rich and poor, educated and illiterate, beggars and toddlers.” Kano has a current total registered voters figure of 5,149,070; Jigawa has 1,935,799. Now, Kano and Jigawa take three million bottles of codeine cough syrup every day. And they will vote in 2019.

Drug abuse rains are falling over our country. This addiction is not strictly a Northern problem. The drug takers are everywhere from Kano to Port Harcourt. Even the government of Lagos State has cried out that mental health is a major issue, no thanks to these substances. But where are the leaders to stop it? Or is the free-fall deliberate? How many of the millions of voters were normal and well in 2015, and how many abnormal ones will choose the next set of leaders for us in 2019?

Awon Omo Science Students are everywhere. The problem is national, even continental. It is in Chad, in Niger and in Ghana. So, let NAFDAC clamp down on drug companies in Nigeria; it won’t stop the cancer. The opioids have established routes in the Sahel. Like herdsmen and their terrorism, they are indigenous to these arid places and our borders are smuggling-friendly.

It is an emergency situation but I don’t know if our president knows. The BBC described drug addiction as “an epidemic that is destroying young lives across West Africa.” We need leaders with ideas to defeat this evil and its allies. But we are in a vicious cycle. Who chooses leaders in a democracy? Leaders cannot be better than their creators. Now, how many of Nigeria’s 73.9 million registered voters are not Omo Science Students?

Senator Baba Kaka Bashir Garbai (APC, Borno) moved a motion late last year. He spoke the lyrics of Olamide: The eyes of the entire North are dirty. It is a big factory of drug addicts. There are “meaningless deaths” and devastation of many upper and middle class families in the region. The problem is destroying “even mothers in homes, as they use codeine and other drugs as an escape from their abusive relationships and invariably get hooked on them,” he said. The senator spoke about all the 19 northern states. What is happening in the south?

We are actually a nation on codeine. That should explain how we’ve managed to stave off the pains of our existence. Despite the pains, we are the happiest on earth. Money crisis for parents; admission palaver for children; unpaid salaries for father and mother; joblessness for graduate children. And the family must feed and live like human beings. Increased problems increase the dosage.

You forget your sorrows and pains when you are high on something. But Aroni won’t stay at home as long as Onikoyi won’t stop waging wars. As the pains come back, you seek better relief and take more of the pain killers. Increased dosage hooks the taker to take some more. And when he takes more, he increases the pace to psychosis. He starts living in his own world of dance without drumbeats. He lives a fantasy world complete with its own ‘painless’ realities. He falls in love with Olamide:

Kosewe, kosegbo; kosewe, kosegbo

Won ti po omi gutter po, oju ti dirty

Won ti po chemical po, awon omo Science Students…

Eemo wo’lu, eni ire lo, ore mi ti high, oh my God!

About 60 per cent of Nigeria’s voting population are young men and women. Majority of abusers of psycho-active substances are young people. A new generation of unwell persons is being bred, experts have warned. When a whole generation of voters has impaired relationship with reality, what leadership will it produce? Or what leadership has it produced? Like the kidneys of abusers of opioid stuffs, the country is failing but an army of (in)hailers won’t agree.

So many millions feel they are champions. They are Omo Science Students. They voted in 2015. They will vote in 2019. But you won’t vote because you are clean! Can you now understand why things are not what they seem; why reality is easily denied; why the unreal is the real; why the wise shocks with his belief in facades; why the eyes of tomorrow are dirty …And why the chorus is forever Kosewe, huh, Kosegbo….!?

2019: Nigeria’s Emerging Political Leaders, By Reuben Abati

A strong indication of both the quality and failure of politics in Nigeria, as the people look forward to the next general elections in 2019, is the manner in which virtually “every” Nigerian believes that he or she is good enough to be President of Nigeria. This may speak to a deepening of political consciousness, but it is also a reflection of the people’s anxiety and frustration about how the office and position of the President of Nigeria seems to have been mishandled and demystified. The process of that demystification has taken different shapes and tones since the return to civilian rule in 1999, but now everything seems to have gone so bad, far beyond expectation. My mechanic couldn’t have phrased this national dilemma better. He came to see me the other day, full of excitement.

“Oga, it’s you I have come to see oh.” Typical Nigerian manner of speaking: you are right in front of me, and yet you still consider it necessary to announce your presence. Anyhow, I nodded affirmatively, already working out a response to a likely solicitation for money. It is school resumption time, and it is usual for people to go soliciting for help to pay children’s school fees in a country where basic education is so unaffordable.

“Oga, I have come to inform you that I am thinking of running for President.” I thought the guy was talking about the Presidency of the Mechanics Village Association. So, I brightened up. No, he meant President of Nigeria. I removed my eyeglasses and dropped my pen.

“President of Nigeria? How? Look, have you been drinking?”

“Oga, you know I am a Christian. I don’t drink. I am serious oh. I have been thinking about it for a while. I can do a better job. The way these people are running Nigeria, some of us have good ideas about what can be done. If we leave this Nigeria to these politicians, they will finish all of us. Anybody that likes this country should get involved.”

I paid attention to him.

“Oga, look at me, I can do it. We can do it. I have worked it out. By the grace of God, I will be the next President of Nigeria.”

I had known this mechanic for a while, but I never suspected he had very tall ambitions. I had not yet given him my honest opinion; he had already conscripted me. “We can do it”. We? Every Nigerian politician is an optimist, and the most optimistic are often the ones who don’t even stand a chance at the polls.

I pretended to be interested all the same; so he continued with his campaign.

“Oga, you know me. Am I a lazy man? No. I am not.” When people insist on answering their own questions the best you can do in the circumstance is to listen.

“What this country needs now is a mechanic, somebody who can take a look at a vehicle that is having problems, and fix it. We mechanics do that every day. When they bring a car to you, first you diagnose. What is wrong with the car? Why is it not functioning well, and then you go straight to the problem and fix it. Why can’t people fix Nigeria? If we mechanics were to behave like politicians, this whole country will be littered with broken down vehicles. In the hands of these politicians, Nigeria is broken. E be like say Nigeria don knock engine sef. I am the man who will fix that engine.”

“But nobody will give you any chance. Everybody will laugh and think you are joking.”

“I am not joking, Oga. What does it take to be President? I have done my homework. The only thing they are asking for is a WAEC certificate. I have my certificate ready and I can produce it to prove that I completed secondary school.”

“How many credits?”, I asked, trying to humour him.

“INEC does not ask for five credits. Even F9 parallel sef can be President of Nigeria. No be Nigeria?”

“But you don’t have the resources. You’d need a lot of money.”

“Oga, it is not about money. And if it is money, God will provide. Our Pastor in our church has been praying for me and God is speaking to us. When I become President, I will declare free education, free health and there will no lazy youth in Nigeria again!”

“Why don’t you start at a lower level. may be local government chairman, gain some experience.”

“Ha. Oga, Experience has shown that in Nigerian politics you don’t need experience. Who has experience helped? All those former Governors in the National Assembly, what kind of experience do they have? In fact, let me just say a lot of them go there to sleep and collect free money, travel free. I have seen their pictures. They go there to sleep. When some thugs stormed the place to steal the Mace, not one of them could stand up and protect the Mace. Lazy Senators. Only a woman, a sergeant at arms was courageous enough to challenge the Mace thieves. When I am President, nobody will dare steal the Mace. It won’t happen.”

I felt like telling him that there has been too much drama over the significance of the Mace in our legislatures. It is at best a ceremonial symbol. For a session of the legislature to be valid under the 1999 Constitution what is required is a quorum as defined under Section 54, but of course the kind of criminal conduct that was put up at the Senate, last week, is condemnable and should be investigated and all authors of that act of impunity must be sanctioned accordingly. I didn’t say anything to him along these lines, rather I was more impressed by his passion, his determination to save Nigeria and arrest the drift. I was also struck by the fact that he is not the only Nigerian with such passion. There have been many of his kind, now active on social media, promoting a vision of Nigeria and insisting that they would be better materials for 2019.

The number of these aspiring Presidents keeps increasing everyday and while I consider some of their posters a bit curious and the candidates a bit unusual, taken together, the shared anxiety about the Presidency and who is best fit to lead Nigeria beyond 2019 says a lot about public expectations. There are online, video-tapes of a certain Aunty Monica, for example. She is based in Europe and she wants to come home to be President, to bring investment and tourism to the country, and she says she has “ideas in her head.” I have also seen such banners as “Vote Iya Bayo for president, Aunti Ramota for Vice President”, and “PFANN: A new refreshing wind blowing over the nation. Get ready. Elishama 2019.”

The names of a popular Fuji musician, Wasiu Alabi Pasuma, and that of the legendary footballer, Kanu Nwankwo have also been mentioned as potential Presidents of Nigeria. Neither Pasuma nor Kanu has confirmed their interest in the job. But the social media is the forum where many ideas are hatched, and many of such ideas also die on social media, but what is said about public reality should not be ignored. Nigerians want what is now referred to as the #realchange. They are disappointed. They are angry. There is also a growing resentment to the repeated claim by the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) and President Buhari’s handlers that there is no alternative to Buhari. In a most recent article, Garba Shehu, a Presidential spokesperson asks what he considers “an important question” – “who do you have that is better?. Then he answers it himself; “…certainly there is no face (other than Buhari) that can be called the President of Nigeria.” Garba Shehu even scoffs at the Coalition Movement that started a protest against the two leading political parties in Nigeria – APC and PDP, and asked for a one-term Buhari Presidency. He says “a so-called Third Force has failed to gain political traction since its birth.”

My mechanic, Aunty Monica, Iya Bayo, Aunti Ramota, and Elishama – these are ordinary Nigerians- certainly disagree that only one man’s face is good for the Nigerian Presidency. They in fact believe that they will do a much better job. But perhaps the more significant development is the emergence of new faces on the political scene who are also keenly interested in rescuing Nigeria and whose declared starting point is the Presidency. I once described them as products of the Trudeau-Macron effect. Justin Trudeau, 46, became Prime Minister of Canada in 2015. Emmanuel Macron, 39 assumed office as President of France in 2017. There is also the current Chancellor of Austria, Sebastian Kurz – he is the youngest President in the world. He is 31. An emerging group of Nigerian political leaders falls into this category: they are challenging current political orthodoxies; they are educated, they are internationally exposed, they can think out of the box and above all, they are united in their resolve that President Muhammadu Buhari is replaceable in 2019. They equally pose a challenge to the traditional political elite, which so far is yet to make up its mind about presidential candidates or alternative platforms for the 2019 Presidential and general elections. The usual tendency is to dismiss them as “noise makers and attention seekers”, but they probably constitute the real “Third Force” that will produce the traction that the Presidency is yet to see.

One newspaper has identified up to about 24 of these emerging “game changers”. There is Bukunyi Olateru-Olagbegi, 27 who has registered a political party – the Modern Democratic Party (MDP). He is not running for President but the MDP could become a useful platform for youth mobilization and conscientization.

There is also Omoyele Sowore, 47, former students’ union leader, civil rights activist and founder of Sahara Reporters, an online newspaper. For the past month or so, Sowore has been on the campaign trail, addressing students and civil society groups. He has also appeared on radio and television. His main message is that Nigerian youth should “take back Nigeria” from those who have destroyed it. He has in particular been very critical of the Buhari government. “I can run Nigeria better than Buhari in my sleep”, he says. When a serving Minister, Adebayo Shittu told Sowore to go and start as a councilor, during a radio programme, Sowore held his ground. Kingsley Moghalu, 55, former Deputy Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), an author and a scholar, has also declared his interest in the Nigerian Presidency. He is offering Nigeria, “bold and decisive leadership …something different … by a capable, experienced technocrat.” Like Sowore, Moghalu means business.

You also have Fela Durotoye, 47, a Presidential aspirant on the platform of the Alliance for New Nigeria (ANN). Durotoye wants to rebuild Nigeria through visionary and inspirational leadership. Alistair Soyode is the founder of BEN TV in the United Kingdom. For years, he has been reporting Nigerian stories to the world and to Africans in diaspora. Like Sowore, he has also decided to become directly involved in Nigerian politics. Other emerging aspirants include Professor Funmilayo Adesanya-Davies, 55 who says “power must go to women and the youth”; Sam Nwanti, an international detective, and a member of the Labour party, who wants to “fight crime and corruption”. Others include US-based Omololu Omotosho, Lewis Omike, a filmmaker and photographer, Dr. Thomas-Wilson Ikubese, 47, of the National Conscience Party, and 35-year old Adamu Garba II.

The temptation is to dismiss this category of aspirants as Minister Shittu has done, in part because they do not preach the message of religion, ethnicity and money, and they do not seem to have any Godfathers who can offer them existing structures in exchange for conditions of service.

Many of them may even throw in the towel before the actual race begins. The old brigade of Nigerian politics is not in a hurry to retire, change tactics or yield space. People don’t become Presidents in Nigeria by merely pasting posters and social media messages or through sheer idealism. IN 2011, Dele Momodu, 51 at the time, tried to run for President. He has many stories to tell. The Trudeau-Macron effect in our politics may still take a few more years. But it would be wrong to ignore what the new faces represent: a more deep-seated yearning for change among the youth and the middle class, and at least two of them: Sowore and Durotoye are already exercising much influence among the Nigerian youth, not just on social media but also across the educational institutions and the streets.

Buhari’s 2019 Bid And Matters Arising By Garba Shehu

The country is gearing itself up for the General Elections in February next year and with President Muhammadu Buhari announcing that he will bid for the governing party, APC’s ticket to run for a second term, all hell has been let loose by the chaotic, ill-prepared opposition camp.

In democracies around the globe, second terms by incumbents are usually harder to get simply because, somehow, there is always some kind of anti-incumbency leading to a loss of faith among those supporters.

For President Buhari, who won with massive votes in 2015, his major challenge is to do as well as he did, or even better. He came to power with a lot of expectations and Nigerians had, justifiably placed very high hopes on him.

As we said sometimes back, he as a consequence, has become a victim of the tyranny of expectations. The weight of unrealistic expectations has evidently blinded many of the people from seeing the revolutionary changes happening across the nation.

Nigerians expected him to undo the damage in several decades of misgovernance and naturally, many are already feeling frustrated that he hadn’t done that in three years.

The problem with our opposition is that beyond fault-finding, they are unable to give or innovate a vision of their own on how they can make the nation better.

A so-called Third Force has failed to get political traction since it birth. This is understandable, given that they have promised to give the country everything that is new but have so far produced no new faces, no new ways of doing things. Certainly, there is no face that can be called the President of Nigeria.

For the Peoples’ Democratic Party, PDP parading itself on the glory of being the largest opposition, the party has not less than 10 leaders acutely ambitious to rule Nigeria. It will take them minimally two to three terms of presidential tenure that is eight to twelve years to reinvent the party.

Looking at the entire opposition landscape, it can be said that they cannot be united by ideology, the type that made the pre-2015 opposition fuse into a formidable challenger that pushed an incumbent out of office. There is in no way therefore, they can choose leaders with unanimity.

What then they have taken to, is scaremongering by fanning ethnic and religious divisions among the minorities especially in the Middle Belt where hundreds of innocent citizens are confronted with violent death.
Before they take the words out of my mouth, let me state that the spate of those killings are tragic and unacceptable. They ought not happen and I am aware of how sad the Presidency is about these unfortunate goings-on.
And there is so much that is being done to end the killings.

More, however, could still have been achieved if there is cooperation extended to the security agencies by everyone, and by everyone, I mean especially the political opposition. A political warlord recently ordered the provocative stoning of a Nigerian Air Force personnel as their chopper landed in a Northeastern state.

Today, government has irrefutable evidence that much as most of these killings are arising from herdsmen-farmers attacks, some of it is driven by politicians. The recent arrests by the army in Taraba State point to a clear political sponsorship, and the kingpins, some of whom have been arrested have been handed over to the DSS for further investigation. Others who are being sought have either gone into hiding or they are pulling strings of blackmail to force the hands of government to abandon the search for them.

It is clear by now that the Middle Belt killings even if they are not caused by the opposition are no doubt seen as a political opportunity to set the tone for the 2019 elections.

Another matter of great disappointment is the ongoing attempt to victimize a group of religious leaders, the Arewa Pastors Initiative for Peace, representing 45,000 members, simply because they paid a visit to President Buhari. We see this development as an unnecessary distraction at a time the country should be united against its common problems and challenges.

We are both mystified and disturbed by the growing lack of tolerance and accommodation by some groups who see it as their birth right to visit and address the President on their issues but lack the modicum of respect for others to do the same. It is regrettable that an innocuous visit is becoming a subject of needless and unprintable attacks on the President and his visitors for doing nothing wrong.

For the avoidance of doubt, the President would not want to set a dangerous precedent for the country by discriminating against any group exercising their democratic rights of freedom of speech and association.
An important motivation for President Buhari’s bid for second term is that the gains made from 2015 should not be frittered.

Buhari is not involved in corruption and is not desperate for the office. He is among the few leaders we have who are not obsessed with money, cars and homes but working passionately for the country’s economy, peace and safety. If a corrupt politician wins, we will go back to where we were in 2015.

Many by now have forgotten where we are coming from. The daily bomb blasts in our cities between 2012 and 2015 including the deadly attack on the United Nations office in Abuja have been forgotten by many. The Juma’at Mosque bomb attack on Kano that left 300 dead and the theft of 270 girls in Chibok as they assembled to write their final exams, with 113 yet to return have for many, faded into history.

We lived in perpetual fear. I remember the story of the roadside Mosque in one settlement in which a black plastic bag was noticed by the congregation as the Imam led in prayer. The entire congregation fizzled out, the Imam realizing that he was left alone only from the eerie air of silence after everyone had quietly left.

Today, religious gatherings and crowded markets have resumed. Witnesses reported that Abuja and Kaduna witnessed the largest simultaneous assembly of people when the Tijjaniyya Islamic movement celebrated their Maulud a week ago without the fear of bomb blasts.

Cabinet meetings are now about how trillions of Naira are to be used to provide long delayed infrastructure such as roads, bridges, railway, power, drugs and equipment for hospitals. Grand corruption, by which ministers sat around the table to share money drawn from the treasury has been ended.

A majority of our people are farmers who depend on good rains, access to land and fertilizer to grow the food they eat and sell the surplus to make money for school fees for their children and where possible, add a wife or two and make the Hajj or other plans. This administration has broken the jinx of fertilizer shortage and its high cost and has put land clearing for agriculture on a priority.

Loans at low or no interest rates are being given by the Central Bank of Nigeria, the Bank of Agriculture, the Bank of Industry and the Development Bank. It will take years to raise our rising population from poverty. Even in China, with the world’s fastest growing economy, this, still, is a work in progress.

The administration is doing so much for women, children and our enterprising youths. This is the first time anyone has given our country a social welfare scheme.

We Never Had The Clue That Buhari Will Seek Re-Election – Spokesperson

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.”

“Why President Buhari Is Running For A Second Term”

President Muhammadu Buhari has formally announced his intention to seek a second term in 2019.

The president made his plan known to the National Executive Committee of the All Progressives Congress.

His office issued the statement below on the announcement giving further details on the president’s decision.

See Full statement below:

PRESIDENT BUHARI TO SEEK RE-ELECTION IN 2019

President Muhammadu Monday in Abuja declared his intention to seek re-election in 2019.

President Buhari made the declaration at a closed-door meeting of the National Executive Council of the All Progressives Congress (APC).

The President said he was responding to the clamour by Nigerians to re-contest in 2019, adding that he wanted to give NEC the honour of notifying them first.

Shortly before making the declaration, the President presented a speech on the report submitted by the APC National Executive Technical Committee.

His remarks:

REMARKS BY HIS EXCELLENCY, MUHAMMADU BUHARI, PRESIDENT, FEDERAL REPUBLIC OF NIGERIA, ON THE REPORT SUBMITTED BY THE ALL PROGRESSIVES CONGRESS NATIONAL EXECUTIVE TECHNICAL COMMITTEE 9TH APRIL, 2018

I am delighted to welcome you all to this very important meeting in the affairs of our party and our country. I want to specifically thank members of the Technical Committee for a job well done within the limited time frame.

2. It shows a great sense of commitment to the ideals of our party with a view to consolidating and positioning the party to continue delivering good governance in the overall interest of Nigerians.

3. With the present state of the party and based on the report submitted by the Technical Committee, It is important to focus on how to move the party forward by avoiding actions detrimental to the interest of the party. Considering that politics is a game of numbers, we must not be a house divided against itself and must try to note, appreciate and accommodate our differences as far as the law permits.

4. Upon my review of the Report, my position is to ensure that the party tows the path of unity, legality and cohesion and not that of division.

5. Therefore, I am stressing that we should strengthen our internal democracy by organising the Party’s Congresses and Convention where election of National Executive Committee members would be held. This will automatically end the cases filed by members seeking orders of Court compelling the party to hold its Congresses.

6. I also believe that the current executives should be free to vie for elective positions in the party if they so wish as permitted by our Party constitution.

7. However, considering the provision of Article 31(1)(iii) of the APC Constitution which requires any serving officer desirous of seeking re-election to resign from office 30 days before election, I am not sure of the practicality of present serving officers’ ability to meet this condition.

8. Accordingly, the party may consider granting waivers to party executives at all levels so that they are not disenfranchised from participating in the elections should they wish to do so, provided this does not violate our rules.

9. Necessary waiver(s) should also be extended to executives at the Ward level whose tenures may have elapsed, and indeed to anyone knocking at our doors from other political parties. This is in the spirit of the Right to Freedom of Association guaranteed by the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria (as amended).

10. In this circumstance, the party should officially issue a statement on the above Waivers so that our house may be full. We all must not be ignorant of the times, and the journey that is ahead of us.

11. Just like our party symbol; “the Broom,” which typifies strength in unity, let us strive to remain united in our purpose. Victory is sure by the Grace of God, and together we must continue to sanitize Nigeria’s political environment.

12. Once again, I welcome you all to this meeting with the hope that we will, in our deliberations today, conduct ourselves without rancour and promote the highest interest of the party and the nation.

Thank you.

Garba Shehu

Senior Special Assistant to the President

Media & Publicity

April 9, 2018

2019: APC Governors To Meet President Buhari

State Governors of the All Progressives Congress ( APC ) are billed to meet with President Muhammadu Buhari in their bid to pressure the president to seek re-election in 2019.

The News men gathered that the meeting which has been fixed for 2.p.m., may also deliberate on some national and party issues including the President’s disapproval of tenure elongation for APC national executives.

It would be recalled that the governors had on Feb. 22 met behind closed doors, after which the President pledged to address the nation on whether he will seek re-election in 2019.

The Chairman of the APC Governors’ Forum, Gov. Rochas Okorocha of Imo, who spoke to State House correspondents on the outcome of the February meeting, said the president was to address the caucus of the APC on the matter.

“We discussed so many issues that affect the nation, our party and Mr President’s ambition to run for 2019 elections.

“Anyhow, Mr President in his usual manner has requested that we give him time and that he will address the nation and the caucus of the party very soon.

“So we should be full of expectations that Mr President will make officially known to Nigerians his intentions.

“But we hope that his response will be in line with what the governors are thinking,’’ Okorocha said after the February meeting.

NAN

We Have Made Mistakes, Learnt Our Lessons, PDP Apologises To Nigerians

The Peoples Democratic Party on Monday in Abuja, apologised to Nigerians for the mistakes the party made while in power.

National Chairman of the party, Mr Uche Secondus, made the apology at a public national discourse on “Contemporary Governance in Nigeria.”

He assured that under his watch, there would be no imposition of candidates or any form of impunity.

 

“I hereby, as the National Chairman, do admit that the PDP made a lot of mistakes; we are humans, not spirits and the ability to admit is key in moving forward.

“We admit that we have made several mistakes; we have passed through all our challenges and have acquired the experience no other party can boast of.

“We were sanctioned by Nigerians at the polls in 2015; let me use this opportunity to apologise for our past mistakes.

“It is the honest thing to do, a legacy to transfer to our children; we cannot continue like that.

“When we make mistakes, we should come out boldly to the people and apologise.

“It is important to do so because we have learnt from our mistakes unlike the All Progressive Congress (APC) that will make mistakes and lie to cover it.

“We apologise to Nigerians that we have made mistakes, we have learnt our lessons and we are ready to begin on a new agenda; experience is the best teacher, no other party has it,” he said.

According to Secondus, when things are not positive and the mindset is negative, it is time to reset it.

 

He said that the public discourse was an ample opportunity for the party members to collectively “press the reset button’’ and set a new agenda for the nation.

According to him, there was too much power at the party’s National Headquarters, and going forward, power will be devolved to the wards, states and zones.

In his contribution, a chieftain of the party, Chief George Bode, said that the position of the party leadership rekindled his loyalty.

Bode called on members of PDP who left the party as a result of its past mistakes to return home from the “wilderness’’.

According to him, to err is human and forgive is divine, it was time to walk the talk for the repositioning of the country.

One of the panelists at the event, Ms Toyosi Ogunshiji, commended the party for toeing the line of honour.

She said that Nigeria must move from praying to taking more serious actions for the progress of the country.

Ogunshiji said that the country needed statesmen “who think about the people and not politicians who think about the next elections’’.

According to her, Nigerians only voted against President Goodluck Jonathan in 2015 and did not necessarily vote for President Muhammadu Buhari.

She said that the electorate who would be seen in the 2019 general elections would be different from those politicians had seen in the past.

NAN

Amaechi Urges Igbo To Back Buhari In 2019

The Minister of Transport, Mr. Chibuike Amaechi, has said the Igbo cannot become the president of Nigeria without the support for President Muhammadu Buhari in 2019.

He said the best thing the Igbo would do was to rally round Buhari’s re-election bid to facilitate the Igbo presidency.

He called on the Igbo to vote for President Buhari’s second term as a way of giving him the chance to serve out the term of the North and make way for the Igbo.

Amaechi stated this in a lecture at the 12th convocation of the Nnamdi Azikiwe University, Awka, Anambra State.

He spoke on the topic: “The Igbo in the politics of Nigeria.”

He said, “You (Igbo) did not vote for Buhari, true or false? You voted for the PDP and what did they do for you? The PDP abandoned the Enugu-Onitsha expressway since 1999, but Buhari is working on it with dispatch, true or false?

“Buhari is working on the second Niger Bridge; he is working on the Otuocha-Ibaji-Abuja Road; he is working on the Abakaliki-Onueke Road; he is working on the Oji-Achi-Naku Road in Enugu State; he is working on the Ozalla-Akpugo-Amagunze Road. He is also working on Aba-Ikot Ekpene Road.

“Under Buhari, all major cities of the South-East are captured in the existing railway project. Name one government that has done up to this within two years. Our problem is that we are just being emotional.”

He said part of the solutions to Igbo problem in Nigeria was for the Igbo to move into a national political party after what the disappointments they had encountered in sectional parties.

He described the PDP and the All Progressives Grand Alliance as regional parties that would not take the Igbo to anywhere.

 

The President General of the Ohanaeze Ndigbo, Chief Nnia Nwodo, who spoke as a guest lecturer said the trouble with Nigeria was ethnic suspicion and fear of marginalisation.

He said Nigeria was not run as a federation , adding that pockets of marginalisation agitations were still being meted out to the Igbo.

He said, “I am yet to see a federation in which the security apparatus is domiciled in one section of the country. Doing so has not also solved the security problems of the country.

“Our country is in a state of war, with no one declaring it. I refuse to agree with you (Amaechi) that people should join a federal movement as you said. If our constitution is not revisited for people to live and feel safe, then we are wasting our time.”

2019: I’m Running For Presidency – Moghalu

A former Deputy Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria, Kingsley Moghalu, has officially declared to run for the president of Nigeria in the 2019 election.

Mr. Moghalu, who announced this on Wednesday in a press conference at the Shehu Musa Yar’Adua Centre, Abuja, said a combination of military rule, oil booms and busts, and successive leadership failures of the political class have robbed the country “of what seemed our destiny at independence”.

Mr. Moghalu, 55, was born in Lagos State, South-west of Nigeria.

He is a political economist, lawyer, and former United Nations official.

He is a professor and a Distinguished Non-Resident Fellow at the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy at Tufts University, Massachusetts, United States.

He served as Chairman, Boards of Directors of the Nigerian Export-Import Bank (NEXIM) and the Financial Institutions Training Centre, and is the founder and President of the Institute for Governance and Economic Transformation (IGET), a new think tank based in Abuja.

Mr. Moghalu didn’t, however, mention which on political party he would stand for the election. Nigeria’s current electoral law does not allow for independent candidacy.

“My focus, for now, is the people of Nigeria and not on party platforms that have in the past been mere vehicles for capturing political power,” he said in his declaration speech.

“While I have been approached by a number of political parties, the movement that I am part of will decide which one we will join,” he said, adding that such “decision will be based on commonality of vision and the imperative of a generational shift in leadership, and we will announce this decision in the coming weeks.”

Mr. Moghalu said, “I am standing here today saying that it is time we shatter the downward spiral to nowhere.

“I am here today, standing with the 110 missing girls of Dapchi and their grieving family, and with the traumatised young women of Chibok, those with us and those still in captivity.

“I am here today standing with 180 million Nigerians, in addition to thousands of businesses struggling to share a measly 4000MW of electricity.

“I am here today standing with the 100 million Nigerians experiencing crushing poverty, living on less than 300 naira a day.

“I am here today because 33 million of our able men and women are unemployed or underemployed, nearly 15 million children are out of school, and only 60 per cent of Nigerians are literate.

“I am here today because our hospitals are understaffed and mismanaged death traps, and women are still subject to horrific prejudices and devastating early marriages.

“I am taking this stand, here and now, because Nigeria today is divided by ethnic and religious conflicts, made worse by corruption,” he said.

The former CBN chief said the Nigerian government has failed to secure the lives of citizens, and that Nigeria has lost its place in the world. “The time has come for us to fix this,” he said.

He said Nigerians are “collectively exhausted by politicians who continually fall in and out of alliances with each other and care nothing for the ordinary Nigerian.

“They aggravate our fears in the hope that we will continue to keep them in power even though offer nothing new.”

 

President Muhammadu Buhari is expected to seek re-election on the APC platform, although he is yet to announce it.

Buhari To Inform Governors Of Second Term Bid

Barring any last minute change, President Muhammadu Buhari will today, Friday, meet with governors of the All Progressives Congress, APC, in his country home of Daura, Katsina State.

Buhari is likely to inform the governors of his intention to seek reelection or not in 2019, a source told Daily Trust.

The report said the president and the governors were earlier scheduled to meet at the Presidential Villa in Abuja, but the meeting was rescheduled for Daura due to Buhari’s engagement.

According to the source, “very serious political developments,” would be discussed at the meeting.

Confirming the development to the news outlet, the Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity, Malam Garba Shehu, said “Buhari would meet the governors in Daura today.”

Shehu, who, however, declined to comment on the agenda of the meeting said, “Yes, that is very correct.”

Also, Buhari’s Special Adviser on Media and Publicity, Mr Femi Adesina, said whatever “meeting the president has with anyone in Daura would be a private one.”

President Buhari yesterday evening arrived Daura on a private visit after a working visit to Kaduna State.

Some governors of the APC, Ministers had expressed support to the president should he decide to seek re-election in 2019.

However, a former president Olusegun Obasanjo and former military president, Ibrahim Badamosi Babangida had in separate statements, advised Buhari against seeking re-election.

The president had last week appointed a Bola Tinubu, national leader of the APC to reconcile aggrieved members of the party.

Ex-CBN Chief, Moghalu To Run For Presidency

A former Deputy Governor of the CBN, Prof. Kingsley Moghalu, announced on Monday that he was consulting widely to run for the presidency in 2019.

Moghalu told political correspondents in Lagos that time had come for technocrats, intellectuals and experienced people to take power from Nigeria’s career politicians.

He said that he would not be deterred from joining the race, in spite of speculations that 2023 was the year slated for Igbos to have a shot at the presidency.

Moghalu argued that politics in Nigeria should be detribalised for Africa’s most populous nation to grow and take its rightful place in the comity of nations.

“It is the turn of any competent Nigerian to aspire for the post of presidency because career politicians have failed Nigeria.’’

He said that zoning, which had been used by the major political parties, might have been relevant in the past but that it was no longer necessary because competence should be placed above tribe in present day Nigeria.

“Zoning was an internal arrangement by political parties that was not constitutional. It should no longer matter where the president comes from.

“The future of Nigeria rests in technocratic interventions. We need thinking people that will take Nigeria from the politics of stomach infrastructure to politics of mental infrastructure.’’

The former CBN chief said that the first part to progress for Nigeria was for the people to begin to think differently and beyond tribe in choosing those who would lead them.

Speaking on a second term for President Muhammadu Buhari, Moghalu said that the president had constitutional rights to seek re-election.

“I don’t fathom how anyone can say the president should not run for a second term. It is his choice, the decision on who becomes Nigeria’s president in 2019 rests with Nigerians. ‘’

On the nation’s economy, the economist pointed out that “the economy was in a delicate situation before the present administration.

“The handling of the forex crisis though was misguided. The drop in oil prices actually affected the value of our currency but government should have simply allowed the naira to find its true value which would have reduced the inflation rate.’’

He said that Nigeria must look beyond continued dependence on oil and encourage independent institutions to flourish.

Moghalu, however, advised Nigerians to eschew docility and become more forceful in demanding accountability from their leaders at all levels of governance.

Moghalu, who served as CBN deputy governor from 2009 to 2014, is a political economist, lawyer and a former United Nations official.

He was also a professor of practice in international business and public policy at the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy at Tufts University in Massachusetts, U.S.

Born on May 7, 1963, Moghalu is a graduate of the London School of Economics. He also read Political Science at the University of Nigeria Nsukka.

(NAN)