Nigeria Must Turn Challenges Into Opportunities- Tinubu

National Leader of All Progressives Congress (APC), Asiwaju Bola Tinubu, yesterday challenged Nigerians to turn the country’s present socio-economic condition into opportunities for a desirable re-engineering of the economy.

Nigeria, according to him, has long stood in the corridor between greatness and failure, between progress and calamity and must now “summon the courage to take the bold steps and move in the direction.”

“We must reform and do so quickly and with alertness to the severity of the circumstances mounting around us,” Tinubu said in a prepared speech he delivered at the 15 – 20th Convocation ceremony of the University of Abuja where he awarded the honorary doctorate degree in Business Administration (DBA, Honoris Causa).

Tracing the country’s woes to past leadership, he said: “The ways in which we have grown accustomed to running this nation no longer suffice.

“If we are to continue as we have done over the years our malpractice will deliver us into the vice grip of national failure.

“That which we used to do then laugh at ourselves for our errant ways is no longer a joking matter. It is now fatal.”

He spoke of the plan of the ruling APC to lift 20 per cent of Nigerians out of poverty within four years.

For this to happen, he said, the state must be a fulcrum for job creation and economic development that touches all Nigerians not just a narrow growth that benefits few people.

“Although confronted by multiple challenges, I believe this government has the chance and the mission to better our society and forge a new model for our national governance,” he said.

“We have demonstrated the courage and determination to change a non-performing government through a democratic election. This electoral success has brought new challenges. These challenges are numerous and we must confront them with an even greater courage than that which saw us through the election.

“We shall do this by implementing a national industrial policy linked to a national infrastructural plan and a national employment strategy.

“Before our children can dream of a university education they must first enjoy the foundational education of primary school.

“Our position is that we make a special effort to draw all children to school, particularly the poor. We cannot afford to allow poverty to keep children out of the classroom. If so we are suborning a life of ignorance and poverty for millions of our young ones.

“This progressive government is committed to providing all school-age children one free meal daily. This seems a simple thing. But it is also wise and prudent. A hungry student does not learn. If the child is too hungry too often, he stops attending school altogether.

“By this programme, students will more eagerly attend because their stomachs as well as their minds shall be fed. Parents will encourage children to attend because this will take the children off the streets while also alleviating pressure on the family to feed the children.

“This current leadership will anchor its efforts to re-build Nigeria on massive industrialization and the re-structuring of the economy to allow for growth. Then, will hope be rekindled for millions of our people and a country of great potentials and possibilities will emerge.”

Second Republic Vice President Dr. Alex Ekwueme, was one of those conferred with honorary degrees.

His Doctor of Science (Honoris Causa) was received on his behalf by his daughter.

Others who bagged awards at the ceremony were: former Chief Justices of Nigeria, Justice Idris Kutigi, Doctor of Laws (LLD) and Justice Maryam Aloma Muktar, Doctor of Letters (Dlitt) – both (?Honoris Causa) as well as Deputy Senate President, Ike Ekweremadu, who got PhD in Law and Senator Buhari, PhD Social Sciences.

President Muhammadu Buhari, in a message on the occasion said that government alone could not meet the needs of higher education.

Represented by Director, Tertiary Education, Ministry of Education, Hajia Abdullahi Hindatu, the president encouraged private sector to invest more in research and development in the universities.

He said:”It is pertinent to emphasize on the quality of teaching and research in our universities.

“Research should not be relegated to the background in our universities. I therefore urge Nigerian universities to ensure that the quality of the graduates produced compares with products from other universities globally,” the president said.

Twenty-five thousand, eight hundred and seventy-eight students received their degrees at the ceremony.

The Vice Chancellor of the institution, Professor Michael Adikwu said 20, 461 received first degree in various fields while 1697 received postgraduate diploma.

Eight students bagged first class between 2008 – 2015 sessions.

The breakdown showed that 2,324 were awarded with Second Class, Upper Division; 11,180 were awarded Second Class Degrees, Lower Division.

Adikwu said that Nigeria’s road to sustainable economic development lied in the creative ability of citizens to turn adversities into opportunities.

He urged the graduating students ?to use personal initiatives to seize the opportunities that still abounded in the country for them to be self employed.

Present at the ceremony were former interim Head of State, Chief Ernest Shonekan; a former interim chairman of APC, Chief Bisi Akande; state governors; Minister of Information, Lai Mohammed; House of Representatives Leader, Femi Gbajabiamila;, Senator Abdullahi Adamu, a former Niger State governor, Dr. Mu’azu Aliyu; and Rep. James Faleke among others.

The Nation

APC To PDP: The War Against Corruption Should Not Be Politicised

The All Progressives Congress on Friday dismissed a claim that the on-going anti-graft war was targeted at decimating the leadership of the opposition Peoples Democratic Party.

The APC National Chairman, Chief John Odigie-Oyegun, stated this in an interview with journalists in Abuja.

The party was responding to a statement issued by the PDP on Wednesday.

The PDP had alleged that its leaders were being targeted for harassment by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission.

The PDP statement, which was signed by its National Legal Adviser, Victor Kwon, said, “Indeed, intelligence available to the party shows that the Federal Government, using its various agencies, is bent on destroying any opposition to the ruling party as all indications show that the government is more interested in humiliating the PDP than fighting corruption.”

But Odigie-Oyegun said members of the opposition party who were being questioned by the anti-graft body ought to address issues instead of trying to whip up sentiments.

He queried the rationale behind the allegation against the APC since those being interrogated were being given the opportunity to clear their names.

Specifically, Odigie-Oyegun ask, “From whom did (Uche) Secondus collect the gift (of cars)? Was it from a corporate entity or from an individual?

“If a corporate entity decided to support a party or an individual that is corporate, that is private, that is totally subject to the individual’s decisions, of course, to the limit in the constitution and what the Electoral Act provides.

“I think it is that straight forward. Look, I don’t know how often we will repeat this, we have a major problem with corruption, it is what has crippled this nation and if you are cutting down a tree wherever its falls, so be it.”

Prosecute Fayose And Other Vote Robbers, APC Urges IG

The All Progressives Congress (APC) in Ekiti State yesterday called on the Inspector General of Police (IGP), Solomon Arase, to prosecute Governor Ayo Fayose and some police officers named in the alleged criminal manipulation of the June 21, 2014 governorship election.

The police officers are Assistant Inspector General (AIG) Bala Nasarawa, former Ekiti Mobile Police (MOPOL) Commander, Gabriel Selenkere and others.

According to a copy of the petition signed by the state Chairman, Olajide Awe, the party requested Arase to investigate the roles of the police in the alleged poll fraud.

The party wants Selenkere investigated for his alleged unprofessional conduct bordering on alleged dishonesty and violations of the police’s code of ethics.

According to the petition entitled “Criminal Complaint Conspiracy, Bribery, Threats and Use of Military to Perpetuate Electoral Fraud Against the People of Ekiti State; Investigation of the role of the Nigerian Police Force in the Ekiti State Governorship Elections June 21, 2014,” the party brought Arase’s attention to the content of an audio tape detailing criminal acts planned by those mentioned or whose voices were captured in the tape.

The party noted that on February 8, last year, the audio recording capturing the voices of Fayose, Commander of 32 Artillery Brigade, Bri-Gen Aliyu Momoh; Senator Iyiola Omisore, former Police Affairs Minister Jelili Adesiyan; former Minister of State for Defence Musiliu Obanikoro and others, at a meeting where they conspired and strategised to rig the election was released to the public.

Awe said: “The import of this audio recording is the revelations of criminal acts, which were planned and perpetrated by these men.

“The above listed persons conspired to tamper with the constitutionally and statutorily laid down procedure for the conduct of the election.”

He said during the meeting, strategies and plans to intimidate voters and perform electoral fraud were discussed.

But Fayose’s Special Assistant on Public Communications and New Media, Lere Olayinka said yesterday’s Supreme Court judgment on the leadership dispute within the Anambra State chapter of the Peoples Democratic Party(PDP), in which the court said it lacked jurisdiction to review its own judgment should be enough for APC members to stop living in the illusion that the Supreme Court judgment on the June 21, 2014 governorship election can be reviewed.

Akeredolu Calls On APC To Present Strong Candidate For Ondo Polls

An All Progressives Congress (APC) governorship aspirant in Ondo State, Oluwarotimi Akeredolu, has called on party leaders to present a formidable candidate for the forthcoming governorship election.

Akeredolu, who contested the 2012 governorship election under the platform of the Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN), said his experience showed that the party needs to be formidable to defeat any candidate presented by the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).

Speaking at an event where he declared his electoral intention, Akeredolu said APC needs adequate planning and preparation to wrest power from the PDP.He said his intention to contest a second time was out of his desire to serve the people and end maladministration in the state.

Akeredolu, who solicited for support, rated himself as the best of all the 30 aspirants.He assured that the party would do well and deliver the state from its present position.

Akeredolu, who promised to turn the state into an Eldorado within the first two years of his election, said his administration will partner international organisations to develop the state.

The APC State Chairman, Isaac Kekemeke, described Akeredolu as a committed and steadfast politician.

“He has remained resolute in the ideology of progressive politics since he ventured into politics.”

He assured that the party’s candidate will emerge through a transparent system, and will be acceptable to all members.

The Nation

APC Peace Meeting At Aso Villa Leaves Saraki Visibly Angry

Former Vice President Atiku Abubakar, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu and Senate President Bukola Saraki yesterday had a closed-door meeting called by Vice President Yemi Osinbajo inside the Aso Rock Presidential Villa, Abuja, amidst indications that there’s a serious leadership crisis within the All Progressives Congress.

The meeting, which lasted for about 3hr:45mins, might not be unconnected with the ongoing alleged false assets declaration trial of Senator Saraki at the Code of Conduct Tribunal. The trial is widely believed to be part of numerous discontentments that have bedeviled the ruling APC since the emergence of principal officers of the 8th National Assembly.

It would be recalled that Saraki, House Speaker Yakubu Dogara, Deputy Senate President Ike Ekweremadu, Deputy Speaker Yusuf Lasun and other principal officers of the National Assembly were elected against the permutations and internal arrangements of the APC.

Journalists were restricted from covering the meeting and were also denied access to conduct interviews with the leaders after the meeting. An official statement released by the Vice President’s office said, “Select leaders of the All Progressives Congress, APC, drawn from the party’s National Headquarters, the legislative and executive arms of government had a consultative meeting on issues affecting the party and the nation.

The statement further noted that, “The meeting, which held at the Vice President’s conference room, was very useful and resourceful towards achieving the goals of the party and the government.”

How to end the lingering apprehension that has gripped the nation following revelations that the 2016 budget contained a lot of duplicitous items was also said to have been discussed at the meeting, a source disclosed. Senator Saraki had said he will continue to scrutinise the budget, first proposed in 2015, for more erroneous contents. But several leaders of the party and the Vice President are rumoured to be prevailing on the top lawmaker to plead with his colleagues at the National Assembly to expedite the passage of the budget in order to save Buhari administration further embarrassments and avoid damages to the economy that could stem from the indefinite delay.

Other leaders of the APC present at the meeting include: the APC National Chairman, Chief John Oyegun, Chief Bisi Akande, Senator Ali Ndume, Deputy Speaker Lasun, Umana Umana and Babachir Lawal, the Secretary to the Government of the Federation.

While most of the leaders present at the meeting emerged with laughter and cross chats, Saraki came out alone wearing an angry face as he departed the Villa.

Aisha Alhassan Has No Locus To Challenge PDP’s Nomination Of Ishaku – Supreme Court

Supreme Court on Monday stated that the All Progressives Congress, APC, and its governorship candidate in Taraba State, Aisha Alhassan, had no locus standi to challenge the nomination of Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, candidate Governor Darius Ishiaku by his party.

The court made the declaration while giving reasons for dismissing the appeal of APC and Alhassan in its judgment on February 11, 2015.

According to Justice Bode Rhodes-Vivour, who read details of the judgment, the appeals and cross appeals had no redeemable substance.

The apex court held that Governor Ishiaku was duly sponsored by the PDP, to contest in the election, adding that evidence brought before it had confirmed Ishiaku’s membership of the party.

“The matter is very simple, the apex court has ruled on matters of this nature at different occasions.

“There is no way a candidate of another political party who did not participate in the primaries of another political party could suddenly rise to challenge the conduct of such an exercise.

“It is therefore, clear that the appeals and all the cross appeals against the election of Governor Darius Ishiaku have no redeemable substance,” Rhodes-Vivour held.

Besides, the court declared that the Taraba State Governorship Election Petition Tribunal grossly misdirected itself by upturning Ishiaku’s victory.

It would be recalled that the tribunal had nullified the governor’s election and went ahead to declare Alhassan as duly elected governor of Taraba.

However, an appeal by Ishiaku set aside the tribunal judgement, prompting Alhassan and the APC to approach the apex court, which dismissed their appeals and affirmed the validity of the governor’s election.

Compel PDP Members To Return Stolen Cash, APC Tells Ali Modu Sheriff

The All Progressives Congress (APC) yesterday asked the Acting National Chairman of Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Ali Modu Sheriff, to first compel members of his party to return the money they allegedly stole before thinking of reclaiming power at the federal level in 2019.

APC National Secretary Mai Mala Buni said in a statement  in Abuja that Nigerians are aware that the present economic hardship and institutional rot were caused by the PDP’s 16-year misrule and pillage.

He said it was baffling how the PDP expected Nigerians to abandon APC’s smooth-sailing ship for a sinking and rudderless PDP ship, come 2019.

Buni added that the priority of the APC administration was to deliver on promises made by the party to Nigerians who long-desired change of political leadership at the federal level and in many states.

The statement reads: “The APC, in reacting to the laughable comments credited to the newly-selected PDP National Chairman, is mindful of the 16th century English Language proverb and nursery rhyme ‘If wishes were horses, beggars would ride’.

“In monitored media reports, Ali Modu Sheriff boasted in Umuahia, the Abia State capital, that the ailing PDP, which lost power in 2015, will regain control of the Federal Government in 2019. Ali Modu Sheriff was also quoted saying the PDP would soon come out with its ‘master plan’ to regain power.

“The APC is reluctant to join issues with Ali Modu Sheriff’s idle 2019 postulations and would rather join issues that will bring about all-inclusive development in the country.

“However, the APC and indeed Nigerians seriously hope the touted ‘master plan’ includes how the PDP and its cronies will return public funds stolen under the PDP’s watch for 16 years.

“Nigerians are aware that the current economic hardship and institutional rot was caused by the PDP’s 16-year misrule and pillage. President Muhammadu Buhari has been working assiduously to correct the PDP’s years of damage and bring about people-centric governance.”

Buni added: “It is baffling how the PDP expects Nigerians to abandon APC’s smooth sailing ship for a sinking and rudderless PDP ship, come 2019.

“The 2015 election has been won and lost. The priority of the present APC administration is to deliver on election promises made by the party to Nigerians who long-desired change of political leadership at the federal level and in many states.

“The widely-acclaimed job creation, social welfare and inclusion programmes proposed by the Buhari administration have been well-received. The full implementation of the Treasury Single Account (TSA) by the present administration has greatly plugged revenue leakages.

“The presidential directive to the Petroleum Products Pricing Regulatory Agency (PPPRA) to adjust its pricing template to reflect competitive and market driven components has resulted in a more efficient and realistic pricing system for petroleum products and also brought about constant availability of fuel nationwide.

The Nation

Ali Modu Sheriff Will Act As A Counterforce To APC – PDP Governors’ Forum

The governors’ forum of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has expressed confidence in the ability of Ali Modu Sheriff, the new chairman of the party, to reposition the PDP, saying he was chosen because of the “battle ahead”.

The governors, who said Sheriff will act as a “counterforce” to the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC), urged him to avoid all diversionary tactics. They said the new chairman will use his vast network to rebuild the the PDP and woo new party faithful.

“Sheriff is coming on the job with immense wealth of experience and will no doubt use his vast network to rebuild the party,” Osaro Onaiwu, coordinator of the forum, said in a statement issued on Wednesday.

“He will restore members’ confidence and act as a counterforce to the many antics of the present APC regime.

“We urge you to shun all diversionary tactics that might be thrown at you and concentrate on how to bring all aggrieved party members together; as well as fashion out ways to woo new members especially the youths.

“The forum is solidly behind you and will deploy its support to ensure that the shared vision for our party is realised as we prepare for 2019.”

The governors said the situation in the country was an opportunity for Sheriff to show that the PDP remained the only truly national party that could reunite the country.

300 PDP Stalwarts Decamps To APC In Delta

The Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, in Delta State has suffered a setback following the defection of over 300 of its members in Aniocha North Local Government Area of the state to All Progressives Congress, APC.

“I have always hoped that we could help PDP to reform itself but that has not happened. The more we try, the more it seems that the party is terminally ill. So, it came to a point that I think that what is best for me and my people, and what is best for Nigeria, is being in APC which has actually appeared to be charting a path for Nigeria. Although it is slow, I think Nigeria is on the path of progress.Leading the defectors, Mr. Dada Ogoli-Egbune, a former chieftain of the party in the state, said: “Our decision to leave the PDP is because after the party suffered terminal illness at the last general election, it has refused to reform.

“It is not easy, we must realize that for 16 years the PDP almost destroyed this country and people did not say anything. The government is just taking off. For the first time there is fear in the land, the issue of impunity is no longer there. People are no longer as bold as they were to indulge in corrupt practices.”

“There is now purposeful leadership, it is no longer business as usual. Although they can do more, but by and large there is purposeful leadership,” he said.
Receiving the decampees, the Chairman of the APC in ward four, Aniocha North, Mr Jerome Azike, said, he was happy to receive the decampees, adding “It shows the wind of change is already blowing.”

Vanguard

Unguarded Utterance By Senior PDP Lawmaker Shows Their Disregard For Nigerian Women – APC UK

When a senior lawmaker of a party refuses to endorse a bill that provides equality between men and women and calls it ‘anti-cultural’ and ‘un-African’, you know such party has little or no regard for its women citizens and voters.

APC UK takes the recent unguarded statement made by Hon. Sunny Ude-Okoye, the PDP member representing Awgu North Constituency, Enugu during the debate of the ‘Enugu State Equal Opportunities Bill,’ as signs of the low respect he and his party have for Nigerian women, especially those he should be representing in his state.

His argument that equality was ‘un-African’ and his suggestion that women seeking equality should relocate to America, are not in line with the new Nigeria.

Therefore, APC UK calls for the Hon member to realign his views to that of the era we are in before the bill appears at the state House of Assembly for reconsideration.
Hon. Dame Nkechi Omeje-Ogbu, representing Nsukka West Constituency who sponsored the bill has stated its importance, saying, it was to “protect all persons from discrimination on the basis of sex in the private and public spaces.”

Indeed, as the bill proposer said: “women should be given equal opportunities as men and women attended the same school, and are awarded the same degree. Why should they be discriminated against?”

APC UK is seriously alarmed at Hon Ude-Okoye’s reluctance to see equality among women and men in Enugu.

Adenike Lucas
Press Secretary
APC – UK Chapter

Taraba: Judiciary Remains Window Of Hope For Democracy – PDP

The Peoples Democratic Party says that the Judiciary has shown that it remains the window of hope for democracy to strive in this country.

The party said that the bold and patriotic approach of the Supreme Court of the land in the various tribunal cases goes a long way to show that it is indeed the last hope of the down trodden.

“Without such landmark judgments from the Supreme Court perhaps there would have been no Nigeria and we salute them for their courage in delivering justice to the people.

“We therefore warn APC and the federal Government to stop insulting judiciary as there is nowhere in the world that a ruling party go about hauling abuses on the judiciary.

The statement signed by the Acting National Chairman of the party Prince Uche Secondus reacting to Thursday’s Supreme Court ruling in favour of PDP’s gubernatorial flag bearer Darius Ishaku of Taraba state, said all hope is not yet lost for democracy.

According to Secondus, the Supreme Court ruling not only establishes the judiciary as a utility arm in stabilizing the nation’s polity but as the voice of the voiceless.
“The ruling is a vivid reflection of the will of the people of Taraba State and goes a long way to show the strength of our party in the state.

While congratulating the Governor for his victory, the party charged him to remain resolute in delivering dividend of democracy to the people in line with the manifesto of the PDP.
He also congratulated the people of Taraba state for their resilience in standing up for democracy and charged them to remain steadfast in their support for PDP especially now that it has become obvious that the All Progressives Congress APC has nothing to offer Nigerians.