Buhari Is A Democrat- Orji Kalu

Dr. Orji Kalu, former Governor of Abia State said, “President Buhari wants every interested aspirant to be given a chance to test their popularity and exercise their democratic right, as a democrat.

He revealed President Muhammadu Buhari is not interested in an automatic ticket to contest in the 2019 presidential election.

Kalu, who spoke with journalists at the Murtala Muhammed International Airport, Lagos, on Saturday, said the President wanted the APC to explore necessary democratic process by allowing other candidates to contest the party’s presidential primary election.

“Buhari is not even looking for an automatic ticket. He is a man that is very fair in what he does. His feeling is that if anyone wants to contest against him, such a person should come out at the Eagle Square.

“Some schools of thought are saying that if in the United States’ Obama was given an automatic ticket, Buhari should be given that too. But he feels that an automatic ticket for him is not right. He said they should open the floor for other people who also want to contest.”

He added, “There will be no rancour in the party. We are in a democracy and I will vote for the President; we are not afraid of anybody who wants to contest against him. I’ve said it times without number that the President needs to consolidate on his achievements and most of his tenure has been besieged by illness.”

The former Abia State governor also stated that following his support for the last governorship election in Anambra State, Buhari’s popularity was growing in the South-East.

He added, “I’m just coming in from the South-East where President Buhari is making a lot of inroads. The role he played during the Anambra election was significant; other presidents would have written the results. They have done it before. If it were other presidents, APC would be jubilating.

Commenting on Atiku Abubakar’s recent resignation from the APC, Kalu said he would have advised him to stay back if he had the opportunity.

“I would say, ‘Don’t leave; let us build a large team together’. It is not every election year we would go and form a new political party. It doesn’t entrench our democratic process,” he said.

Atiku’s Return Is Based On Motivation- Ahmed Lawan

As predicted, Former Vice-President, Atiku Abubakar, may return to the PDP today, Mr. Ahmed Lawan of APC reveals.

Lawan, the Organising Secretary of APC in Adamawa State, disclosed that Atiku would formally register as a member of the PDP at his Jada ward 11, in Yola, the state capital.

He said Atiku’s return to his former party was based on the motivation he received from the PDP leadership towards the realisation of his ambition to contest the 2019 presidential election.

However, he has warned, Atiku to have a rethink of his action because his resignation might mark the end of his political career.

He said, “He (Atiku) told the whole world that he was in the APC to stay, and that even if anything would make him to leave the APC, he would retire from politics.

He noted that Atiku did not see the possibility of defeating President Muhammadu Buhari in the primary of the APC.

He said, “He is making a grave mistake because Buhari has yet to make any statement as to whether he will contest the 2019 presidential election or not. So, why is he in a haste?”

Also, another associate of the former vice-president, Mr. Umar Ardo, who is a member of the PDP in the state, also confirmed to one of our correspondents that Atiku had made up his mind to join the PDP.

He accused Atiku of allegedly conniving with the national leadership of the PDP to hijack the party in the state.

He said, “Atiku knows that the real Adamawa PDP is not with him; that is why he connived with Ahmed Markafi (the PDP National Caretaker Committee chairman) to dissolve the exco and set up a new caretaker committee.”

Meanwhile, the Director General of the Atiku Abubakar Media Office, Mr. Paul Ibe, dismissed the report, that Atiku will return to the PDP on Sunday.

He, however, said the former vice-president was currently engaged in “a high level discussion that would enable him to return to the PDP.”

He said, “What I know is that there are ongoing discussions for him (Atiku) to return to the PDP. It is something that a timeline cannot be attached to. But I know that there are engagements in that direction.”

Atiku’s Exit From APC Excites PDP

The Peoples Democratic Party has described former Vice President Atiku Abubakar a free man following his resignation from the ruling  All Progressives Congress.

It said the former member of the Board of Trustees of the PDP had seen the light, which it said necessitated his leaving the APC.

The former ruling party also called on other members in the APC to leave, saying the day the ruling party was formed “remains a dark day in the history of Nigeria.”

Atiku Leaves APC

Former Vice-President Atiku Abubakar has defected from the All Progressives Congress.

Atiku, in a statement he personally signed on Friday, recalled how he joined the ruling party in 2013.

Below is the statement:

“On the 19th of December, 2013, I received members of the All Progressives Congress at my house in Abuja. They had come to appeal to me to join their party after my party, the Peoples Democratic Party, had become factionalized as a result of the special convention of August 31, 2013.

“The fractionalization of the Peoples Democratic Party on August 31, 2013 had left me in a situation where I was, with several other loyal party members, in limbo, not knowing which of the parallel executives of the party was the legitimate leadership.

“It was under this cloud that members of the APC made the appeal to me to join their party, with the promise that the injustices and failure to abide by its own constitution which had dogged the then PDP, would not be replicated in the APC and with the assurance that the vision other founding fathers and I had for the PDP could be actualized through the All Progressives Congress.

“It was on the basis of this invitation and the assurances made to me that I, being party-less at that time, due to the fractionalization of my party, accepted on February 2, 2014, the hand of fellowship given to me by the All Progressives Congress.

“On that day, I said ‘it is the struggle for democracy and constitutionalism and service to my country and my people that are driving my choice and my decision” to accept the invitation to join the All Progressives Congress.

“Like you, I said that because I believed that we had finally seen the beginnings of the rebirth of the new Nigeria of our dreams which would work for all of us, old and young.

“However, events of the intervening years have shown that like any other human and like many other Nigerians, I was fallible.

“While other parties have purged themselves of the arbitrariness and unconstitutionality that led to fractionalization, the All Progressives Congress has adopted those same practices and even gone beyond them to institute a regime of a draconian clampdown on all forms of democracy within the party and the government it produced.

“Only last year, a governor produced by the party wrote a secret memorandum to the president which ended up being leaked. In that memo, he admitted that the All Progressives Congress had ‘not only failed to manage expectations of a populace that expected overnight ‘change’ but has failed to deliver even mundane matters of governance’.

“Of the party itself, that same governor said ‘Mr. President, Sir Your relationship with the national leadership of the party, both the formal (NWC) and informal (Asiwaju Bola Tinubu, Atiku Abubakar, Rabiu Musa Kwankwaso), and former Governors of ANPP, PDP (that joined us) and ACN, is perceived by most observers to be at best frosty. Many of them are aggrieved due to what they consider total absence of consultations with them on your part and those you have assigned such duties.’

“Since that memorandum was written up until today, nothing has been done to reverse the treatment meted out to those of us invited to join the All Progressives Congress on the strength of a promise that has proven to be false. If anything, those behaviours have actually worsened.

“But more importantly, the party we put in place has failed and continues to fail our people, especially our young people. How can we have a federal cabinet without even one single youth.

“A party that does not take the youth into account is a dying party. The future belongs to young people.

“I admit that I and others who accepted the invitation to join the APC were eager to make positive changes for our country that we fell for a mirage. Can you blame us for wanting to put a speedy end to the sufferings of the masses of our people?”

He stated, “After due consultation with my God, my family, my supporters and the Nigerian people whom I meet in all walks of life Atiku Abubakar, Waziri Adamawa” has resigned from the APC.

Buhari Is My 2019 Presidential Option- Hilliard Eta

The National Vice Chairman (South-South) of the All Progressives Congress, Hilliard Eta, said that former Vice President Atiku Abubakar is no longer an option for the 2019 presidential race as he considers President Buhari his option .

He explained that he was one of those who canvassed votes for Atiku during the APC presidential primaries in 2015 but that their loyalty shifted to Muhammadu Buhari after he became the party’s presidential candidate.

Eta explained that he and all the other party faithful cast their lot with the party and its candidate which eventually led to Buhari’s emergence as President.

According to him, even the ardent critics of Buhari have been surprised by his performance.

Eta said the President was already doing what Atiku had always aspired to do if given the chance.

The APC chieftain said, “Another cycle is about to come and Atiku is no more an option for me because I think that the option for me now is the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, Buhari, who has done remarkably well in keeping the promises that he made to Nigerians.”

He urged the former Vice President to join the President in building the Nigeria of his dreams.

When asked if he was pushing for an automatic ticket for Buhari, Eta said, “Well, because of the sterling qualities of the President, because of the job he has done, the totality of the membership of the party may want him to go back without contest.

“What I mean is that those who may want to contest against him may join hands with him to build the country and have him only as both the aspirant and eventually the candidate of the party. It has happened in a lot of political circumstances around the world.”

In response to Eta, the Media Adviser to the former Vice President, Paul Ibe, said every Nigerian was entitled to their opinion.

He explained that the party chieftain was expressing a personal opinion, but that he could only speak for himself in such matters.

Atiku Denies Declaring for Presidency

Contrary to claims making the rounds and a video that recently surfaced online on Abubakar Atiku declaring his intentions to run for presidency in 2019, the one time Vice President has stated that such video is a product of the ‘merchants of fake news’.

According to him, the video was based on clips from his 2011 political race.

Speaking on Friday, the former vice-president said the video was a “bad job of bad people with bad intentions.”

He said such propaganda was being deliberately promoted by political opponents in order to create acrimony, who are “incompetent and bumbling political novices who cannot see the loopholes in their own stories.”

Atiku advised those involved in such “laughable and unintelligent propaganda of lies and intentional mischief to find something useful to do with their time instead of using his name to achieve their malicious political objectives.”

He explained, “While fake news merchants don’t bother about ethics and their reputation”, the media has more to lose if they take stories from such disreputable groups without verification.

Atiku Makes Case For Educational System Review To Elevate Poverty

Former Vice President Atiku Abubakar has advocated for an urgent review of the nation’s educational system, saying only a functional educational system will pull the nation out of the abject poverty which he said has held the majority of Nigerians hostage.

Receiving a delegation from the US-based NURU International, the former Vice President said that a retooled education system that would emphasise functional and problem-solving strategy remained the way to go if the war against poverty is to be won.

The former Vice President said that with functional education, the high incidence of school drop outs will be reduced while products of secondary education on graduation would have acquired skills that would serve as their source of income for life.

According to him, Nigeria and Nigerians benefitted from such an educational system in the past but that things changed after the civil war when the country adopted an education system that mainly took interest in producing candidates for the universities and not for other levels of higher education.

He explained that in the past incidence of school dropouts was so low because there were government colleges, secondary schools, technical schools and craft centres which provided spaces for primary school leavers to continue their educational pursuits based on their respective intellectual/mental ability and capabilities.

“I remember that in the 1960s in Northern Nigeria all students sit for one examination and their performance determines where they will be placed for further education. Everyone is accommodated within the four levels of higher education that was available then and this reduced the incidence of school dropout to its barest minimum,” he said.

The former Vice President said that it is not every secondary student that is “a university material” adding that there is need to ensure secondary school leavers are armed with skills through which they could earn a living and raise families.

He maintained that if the school leavers do not acquire knowledge and skill to engage their energies on graduation, they become willing and available tools for anti-social activities which could manifest in youth restiveness as being witnessed in the country.

Apart from investing in education, the former Vice President said that the micro finance scheme promoted by him has empowered 45,000 families in Adamawa state by providing them with micro-finance facilities with which they started a small business.

He said that the initiative, which targeted women as beneficiaries of the loan scheme, has lifted many families out of poverty, adding that the beauty of the micro-finance arrangement which operates in all Local Government Areas in Adamawa, except two, is that it has recorded 98 per cent recovery rate just as the women have become the “bread winners” of their respective families.

The leader of the delegation and founder/CEO of NURU International, Mr Jake Harriman said that his organization, which currently operates in Michika and Madagali areas of Adamawa state aims at reducing “abject poverty” in those communities within the seven years the organisation, will operate.

He said that the essence of the visit was to solicit the support of the former Vice President so that NURU will succeed in its poverty intervention programme in the state.

Quit Notice: Atiku Warns Nigerians Against War Song

Alhaji Atiku Abubakar, the former Vice President of Nigeria on Monday condemned a song he said wished the people of Igbo ethnic group dead, warning that the country should not be allowed to slide into genocide like Rwanda.

Atiku said the song currently circulating in some parts of Nigeria could trigger a major crisis as happened in Rwanda.

Hundreds of thousands of Rwandans were killed in an inter-ethnic conflict between the Hutus and Tutsis, two major groups in the East African country in 1984, following the death of that country’s president in a plane crash.

A press statement signed by his media office, which he personally signed and titled, “Nigeria Does Not Need a Rwandan Deja vu”, Mr. Atiku urged all Nigerians to condemn what he said was “reminiscent of the beginning of the Rwandan Genocide.”

The former president called on the security agencies to fish out and bring to trial those responsible for the song. He did not give further details of the song he was referring to.

“It has come to my attention that a song disparaging people of Igbo origin, and which wishes them dead, is circulating in some parts of the nation. I totally and unequivocally condemn this development, and I call on all men of goodwill to rise up against this evil,” Mr. Atiku said.

“This song is reminiscent of the beginnings of the Rwanda Genocide. Nigerians need to be aware that the Rwanda Genocide was believed to have been ignited by a song titled Nanga Abahutu (I hate Hutus), sung by Rwanda’s then most popular musician, Simon Bikindi. God forbid that we should have such a déjà vu in Nigeria.

“I call on the security agencies to thoroughly and decisively swing into action and apprehend, try, convict and severely punish those behind this ungodly song which incites racial hatred.

“Simon Bikindi was convicted by the International Criminal Tribunal for igniting and aiding the Rwandan genocide. Thus, let those who think they can treat their fellow citizens so unjustly know that within and outside Nigeria exist mechanisms that will ensure they answer to their crimes.

“I call on all men of goodwill to remember those immortal lines from our former National Anthem “though tribe and tongue may differ, in brotherhood we stand”.

“The effects of hate in any shape or form were made even more evident over the weekend, in a mass shooting incident that left many of us reeling with shock.

“I commiserate with the people of Ozubulu in Anambra State, who lost family members in the fatal shooting that also left almost a score injured. I pray that peace will return to their minds and their community soon, even as the police work hard to get to the bottom of the matter. May God comfort them as no man can.

“The difference between us as Nigerians is not a difference in our tribe or our religion. It was and remains a difference based on whether we are good Nigerians or bad Nigerians, and I am very certain that the good Nigerians far outnumber the very few bad ones.”

Restructuring, Not A Magic Bullet

By Abubakar Atiku

Let me begin with a rhetorical question: why do I, Atiku Abubakar, favour a restructured Nigeria?

The answer is simple: because I am proudly Nigerian and favour a united Nigeria that offers every man, woman and child a brighter future where each and everyone has a chance to build and share in this great nation’s potential.

The restructuring I want to see happen is changing the structure of our country to take power from the elite and give it back to whom it belongs: the people. It will help to bring the benefits of the change that our people were promised in the last general elections.

For a number of years now we have been making the case for the restructuring of our federal system. This is in response to the cries of marginalisation by various segments of country as well as the understanding that our federation, as presently constituted, impedes optimal development and the realisation of our peoples’ aspirations. As you all know, virtually every segment of this country has at one point or the other complained of marginalisation by one or more segments, and agitated for change.

Before I proceed, let me caution us all that restructuring, by whatever name, is not a magic bullet that would resolve all of Nigeria’s challenges or those of any section, region or zone of the country. Listening to some people, even those who seek to dismember the country, you would think that once their dream is achieved their part of the country or the country as a whole will become paradise.

Yet, as we all know, life is not that simple. We need restructuring in order to address the challenges that hold us back and which restructuring alone can help us address, and which will remain unaddressed unless we restructure. Period. This also answers the cynics who question whether restructuring is even important since it won’t solve all our problems. No system would.

To me, restructuring means making changes to our current federal structure so it comes closer to what our founding leaders established, in response to the very issues and challenges that led them to opt for a less centralised system.

Perhaps it is because I spent a decade in the private sector before coming back to the public sector as Vice President that I have the benefit of a paradigm that sees opportunity where others see crisis, but that is my world view.

The issue of restructuring is beyond resource control. There are other and even more important issues in this whole debate which I will address in this speech, but as resource control seems to be the one issue that many blocs are fixated on, let me take some time to address it first.

My vision of restructuring, will not make some States richer and others poorer. Restructuring is a win-win for all Nigerian states. So let me make it clear beyond any possible doubt: the Restructuring I am proposing will not reduce the share of our nation’s oil revenues that any state currently enjoys. However if we are to grow our revenues we need to change the way we think of our resources and nurture them for the benefit of all.

So, let us start by not thinking as if our resources consist only of oil. Oil is not infinite. In fact, within the industry, the oil majors and multi-nationals are looking for ways to further invest in alternative energy because in the next 10-20 years the proportion of the energy market share that fossil fuels hold will shrink and almost vanish even as those of alternative energy are set to rise dramatically.

Automobile manufacturers such as Volvo and Peugeot have announced plans to phase out petrol and diesel cars. This is not a conspiracy. It is a fact. The man just elected as France’s President, Emmanuel Macron, has told the world that petrol and diesel cars will be illegal to make or sell in France by 2040. Norway has said it will do the same but earlier: by 2025.

On a recent visit to the United Kingdom I noticed that senior members of the Conservative Party were driving the Toyota Mirai, a car that runs on hydrogen and emits water instead of harmful carbon monoxide.  Professor Tony Seba, a world renowned global economist, has published his findings that all new cars will be electric by 2025.

So the world is not waiting for us to see reason and reengineer our economy. If we do, they will work with us. If we do not, the world will leave us behind.

For the last decade, Nigeria has made an average of $30 billion per annum from oil. This may look like a lot of money, but when you factor in our population of close to 200 million people growing at one of the highest rates in the world at 2.6% per annum, that money starts to look relatively small. We must begin to look for other and more sustainable sources of income that are also realistic.

Africa, especially sub Saharan Africa, imports 82% of her food from outside the continent. Every year, Africa spends $35.4 billion on food imports from Europe, Asia and America.

I have been to virtually all the world’s continents and to many of her nations, and scientists everywhere agree with what the International Institute of Tropical Agriculture (IITA) says, that Africa and particularly Nigeria has some of the most fertile soils on planet earth. Why can’t most of that $35.4 billion, which is bigger than our annual revenues from oil, come to Nigeria instead? It is not coming now  because our focus is on how to share the $30 billion we get from oil every year and when your focus is on sharing, you cannot be creative.

The whole purpose of restructuring is to eliminate those policies that feed the mindset that drives the sharing behavior so that we can have a paradigm shift towards a mindset that drives creative and productive behavior.

We do not have to look too far. We are already seeing it in Nigeria.

I just told you that I was recently in the U.K. One of the things I learned on that visit is that Britain is very pleased with the increase in vegetable imports from Nigeria, especially pumpkin leaves. You in the Southeast call it . One state, Anambra, has decided to take her share of the $35.4 billion Africa spends importing food and is now exporting   to other nations including the U.K.

Some oil producing states are owing workers’ salary, Anambra is not owing. A number of oil producing states took the Federal Government bailout, Anambra did not take it. Anambra State is proof that restructuring is good for our states and will not bankrupt them.

If Anambra, a state that suffers from soil erosion and has a very high population density, can export £5 million worth of pumpkin leaves to foreign nations, 1 million tubers of yam to Europe and millions of dollars-worth of scent leaves, locally known as nch?anw?, then much larger states like Kano, Borno, Kaduna, Kwara, Ogun and Rivers should be able to do even more.

Our national wealth is being drained by a select few instead of building a country for all of us. It has to end. We need to return resources and power back to the local level, and from the elite to the people.

Only by restructuring can we guarantee unity, equity and security for our nation… When people hear the term restructuring, all sorts of emotions are evoked. Why is this so? Some feel a sense of impending triumph; others feel a sense of impending loss and defeat.  But it doesn’t have to be so. If our people see that restructuring will benefit all of us, some of the contentions will abate.  We can move quickly to demonstrate some of those benefits with those aspects of restructuring that do not require constitutional amendment.

Take education and roads for instance. The federal government can immediately start the process of transferring federal roads to the state governments along with the resources it expends on them. In the future if the federal government identifies the need for a new road that would serve the national interest, it can support the affected states to construct such roads. Thereafter the maintenance would be left to the states, which can collect tolls from road users for that purpose. The federal government does not need a constitutional amendment to start that process.

We do not need a constitutional amendment to transfer federal universities and colleges as well as hospitals to the states where they are located. The University of Nigeria, Nsukka, the Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria and the University of Ife (now OAU) were built by regional governments when we had a thriving federal system.

The excessive concentration of power and centralisation of resources in the federal government led the government to extend itself into virtually every aspect of our lives including as an investor in an array of businesses. And almost as a rule they were badly run.

The Nigerian federation is a work in progress. We just have to continue that work, a truly serious work, to build bridges across our various divides. That’s what we need in order to create the kind of country where our young people can thrive and realise their full potentials, young people such as Ms Immaculata Onuigbo, the best graduating student and Valedictorian for the Class of 2017 at the American University Nigeria, Yola. We owe it to them and the generations to come.

Excerpts of a speech by Abubakar, former Vice President, at the University of Nigeria, Nsukka on Wednesday.

Why Nigeria Is Not Making Progress — Atiku

Atiku Abubakar the former Vice President of Nigeria gave a talk and spoke about how Nigeria will keep bein in the same place they have always been and how they wouldn’t be making Progress for some particular reason, he then made mention that Nigeria will  continue to  grapple with the crisis of severe and debilitating socio-economic problems unless it gets the structures of the federalism and governance right.

Atiku made it clear in a paper he titled: “The Challenge of Unity, Diversity and National Development: Nigeria at a Crossroads’’, which he delivered at the formal public presentation of the Daily Stream newspaper, at the Banquet Hall, Nigeria Air force Conference Centre, Kado, Abuja.

According to him, the current system, which is characterised by a focus on sharing rather than production, is clearly not conducive to development.

He noted that virtually all the development indices had not been favourable to Nigeria: massive and pervasive poverty, double-digit inflation, unemployment, dwindling foreign exchange receipts, poor GDP growth rates, high infant and maternal mortality, high levels of illiteracy, and millions of school-age children out of school.

“For Nigeria to develop – or even make any appreciable progress – we must restructure Nigeria’s political, administrative and political architecture.

“That way we can free resources that would otherwise go to unviable ventures and projects, then commit same to areas that directly cater for and benefit the people.’’

He said restructuring would facilitate the emergence of a leaner bureaucracy, enhance efficiency, block wastages and promote more prudent management.

He said this would make for happier constituent units more committed to the progress and unity of the country and the emergence of a sense of nationhood.

“However, I am not here just to lament over the sad and unenviable state of affairs in Nigeria.

“I firmly believe in the viability of the Nigerian Project, I remain unshaken and completely persuaded that we can eventually change the story of Nigeria for good by collectively making Nigeria a productive, prosperous, peaceful and united nation whose people are happy and contented and one that is able to really lead Africa and assume a pride of place in the comity of nations,’’ he added.

Atiku, who narrated his experiences from his recent trip to Malaysia, said he had concluded arrangements to assemble a class of economic experts to brainstorm on the best ways to boost the economies of the three tiers of government in Nigeria.

The former vice-president, who affirms that Nigeria is truly in crossroads, said “the problem with our federalism is that over the years it has become so skewed in favour of the centre that it impedes our economic development, distorts our politics, weakens our people’s commitment to the country and threatens our existence as a united country’’.

He, therefore, stressed the need to discuss and agree on the kind of federal structure desirable for the country.

“Reverting to the regions of the past seem untenable because those minority groups which feel that they have been liberated from their bigger, dominant neighbours, are unlikely to accept a return to that older order.

“We may consider using the existing the geo-political zones as federating units because they will be more viable economically and address some of the minorities’ concerns?

“If we prefer to keep the current state structure, could we consider introducing a means-test such that a state that is unable to raise a specified percentage of its revenues from internal sources would have to be collapsed into another state?’’

Abubakar, who described himself as more of a businessman than a politician, said he would never implement a uniform National Minimum Wage structure across the 36 states of the federation and the Federal Capital Territory (FCT).

He said under his leadership, state governments in Nigeria would be allowed to pay their workers’ salaries based on their respective financial standing.