Buhari Will Restructure Nigeria In Second Term, Says VON DG

Ahead of tomorrow’s parley between the leaderships of Ohanaeze Ndigbo and Afenifere in Enugu State, a chieftain of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in the South-east, Osita Okechukwu, on Tuesday assured the southern leaders that the much talked about political restructuring would be addressed during President Muhammadu Buhari’s second term.

Okechukwu who described the proposed parley as ‘handshake across the Niger,’ congratulated the President General of Ohanaeze Ndigbo, Chief John Nnia Nwodo, for convening the meeting of the southern leaders.

In a statement made available to journalists, Okechukwu who is also the Director General of Voice of Nigeria (VON) however, appealed to Igbo and Yoruba leadership to support the Rails, Roads, and Power (RRP) projects, the economic restructuring initiated by President Buhari.

He said the meeting provides an opportunity for Igbo delegates to lobby their Yoruba counterparts to support the creation of additional states in the South-east and a President of Igbo extraction in 2023 after Buhari’s second tenure.

“To be candid, I’m one of those, who view the two as competing brothers rather than adversaries as some have internalised. I also share the view that the unity of the two will in no small measure enhance the unity of our dear country.

“Before one suggests or proposes possible take-aways, from the meeting, let me without being immodest state that I only read about the meeting in one of the major national newspapers, the Vanguard to be specific. From the story one of the cardinal agenda is restructuring, if this is the case, one therefore may humbly seek permission to propose a way forward.

“That delegates should take serious and deep analysis of President Muhammadu Buhari’s economic restructuring captured in RRP – Rails, Roads and Power projects, as enunciated in his 2018 New Year Speech.

“This to me is important because Mr. President has in the midst of competing options elected to first embark on massive critical infrastructure renewal, after which he will embark on political restructuring. The infrastructure renewal is an urgent programme in the face of huge infrastructural deficit.

“I agree that some may argue, why not both together or no, we can do better infrastructural development in regional units. Those who argue the regional option born out of devolution of power, easily forget that our governors control about 48 per cent of monies accruing to the Federation Account and nobody queries them like the federal government,” Okechukwu quipped.

Okechukwu said because the state governors were not held accountable like the president at the federal government, the state Houses of Assembly act like Rubber-Stamp Assembly; leading to democracy recession compounded by lack of free and fair local government council election and no anti-graft agency at the local unit. While arguing that until will grow democracy at the state level and hold the state governors, chairmen and councillors accountable, we will never appreciate the critical infrastructural foundation being laid by President Buhari. It is in this connection that a large spectrum of Buhari’s supporters nationwide have agreed with him to first embark on RRP and to embark on political restructuring during his second term.

“Mr. President I know, is aware that one of the cardinal programmes in our great party’s manifesto is devolution of powers from the center to the units. He has this on his cards. And therefore no political party, at least, not All Progressives Congress (APC) for sure will hold on ad infinitum to 68 items in the Exclusive List of the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria without amendment.” he said.

He reminded the Igbo delegates to the meeting the demand of President Buhari from our leaders in the last meeting at Aso Presidential Villa, where in response to their demand for an additional state to par the South-east with other geopolitical regions with six states, demanded that we should name the particular state of our choice, which has not been done.

Okechukwu maintained that the meeting provides a golden opportunity for Igbo delegates to lobby their Yoruba brothers to buy into redressing this equity and justice placebo, of South-east region. Which some have dubbed shortchange or as some cynics posit, punishment because of the civil war.

He noted that the rigorous process of state creation requires lobbying for buy in of this nature, adding that the buy-in of Yorubas will strengthen the hands of Mr. President in lobbying his brothers in the North to create additional state in the South east.

Okekwukwu appealed to Ndigbo not to work out of the conference hitting the table, out of lamentation,
without tangible take-away of items like state creation.

Rescue Of Chibok Girls Has Put Jonathan, Fayose To Shame

The South East Caucus of the All Progressives Congress (APC) has said that the rescue of Amina Ali, one of the abducted Chibok school girls, has put to shame the former First Lady, Mrs Patience Jonathan and the governor of Ekiti state, Ayo Fayose.

The spokesman of the Caucus, Mr Osita Okechukwu, who made this assertion, said the rescue put them to shame because they had always thought that the abduction of the girls was a scam meant to demonise the Goodluck Jonathan regime.

In a statement issued on Thursday in reaction to the rescue of Ali by the military, Okechukwu said if President Muhammadu Buhari had remained indifferent like the former president Goodluck Jonathan, the penetration of Sambisa forest couldn’t have been possible.

“We thank God for his mercies. This is the beginning of the return of more of the girls whose parents have passed through enormous and unbearable trauma.

“Our message to the parents of the remaining school girls is that they should bear in mind that with God nothing is impossible. Their hope should not wane, as we have every hope that more girls will be rescued.

“We salute the gallant Bring Back Our Girls (BBOG), the Nigerian Armed Forces, the JTF and the Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces, Federal Republic of Nigeria, for their fort

PDP Has No Moral Ground To Attack Buhari On Fuel Scarcity – South-East APC

The South-East All Progressives Congress (APC) at the weekend bashed the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) for the worrisome fuel shortage in the country, insisting that the former ruling party has no moral standing to complain.

Addressing an interactive town hall meeting with members of APC at Egede, Udi local government area of Enugu State on Sunday, the Spokesman of the South East Caucus of the party, Mr Osita Okechukwu, said Nigerians were paying for the sins committed by PDP led federal government, which in sixteen years failed to neither fix the existing refineries nor build new ones.

“We are paying unfortunately for the sins of PDP; I remember vividly in 2010, when Dr Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, then Finance Minister and Coordinator of the Economy, announced to the whole world, the award of $23 billion Greenfield Refineries, to a Chinese company.

“The refineries were to be located at Bayelsa, Lagos and Kogi State. There was jubilation nationwide. If they had completed the refineries, today, we won’t be talking of scarcity or astronomical increase in fuel pump price. They squandered the money and put Nigerians in the harms way”, he declared.

Okechukwu assured that APC will fix the rot in the petroleum sector, but made it clear that one year was not enough to fix a refinery or build a new one.

He, however, observed that the Hon. Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Ibe Kachikwu had assured Nigerians that government will fix the existing refineries and enter into partnership with private sector to erect new refineries.

When reminded that Nigerians were getting tired of excuses for the crushing fuel crisis, Okechukwu said “We can’t stop pointing out the unconscionable wreckage the PDP unleashed on our economy, in the last sixteen years. The wreckage keeps on popping up at each junction, despite the efforts being made to suppress it.

“For instance how can one fail to point out why Enugu Coal remained moribund, when the fact on the ground shows that in 2012 – N923 million, 2013 – N1.7billion and 2014 – N1.1 billion were budgeted for 3D Seismic Study Survey for Enugu and Gombe Coal and were ignobly squandered?

“How can’t we stop reminding ourselves of the sordid past, more so, when the crude oil price which used to cushion and cover the PDP gross corruption track has since the inception of Buhari’s regime nosedived? A barrel of crude oil hovered between $90-100 in most of the period under review; now it hovers between $30-40. PDP sins bleed in every facet of our lives – dilapidated roads, poor power supply, collapsed social infrastructure and state of uncertainty.

“Our elders admonished us that before we find solutions to the rain beating us, we must first remember where, when and how the rain started.

“For us, yesterday is not gone. President Buhari’s score card is that he has triumphed in taming corruption and containing insecurity. Revamping the economy is next in line with the 2016 budget,” Okechukwu said.

Confronted with the selective nature of the war against corruption and the secrecy over recovered looted funds, Okechukwu retorted: “Can the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) probe Mr Osita Okechukwu for looting Enugu State fund, when I was neither the governor nor a contractor in Enugu State? They are probing Chief Sullivan Chime and cohorts because they presided over the commonwealth of Enugu State.

“The secrecy of the recovered fund is strategic, for a seasoned rabbit hunter cannot shout or beat his chest, after discovering one or two holes. He has to be reticent if he wants to capture the rabbits, because sometimes rabbit underground habitation has some times more than seven exit holes. Methinks the rabbit-hunter-model is what President Buhari adopted.”

On the way forward, Okechukwu implored all Nigerians to as a matter of urgent national importance join in monitoring the 2016 budget implementation.

He urged Nigerians to go through the budget, when it is passed and identify their areas of interest and monitor it.

Okechukwu called on Nigerians not to shy away as usual, as President Muhammadu Buhari cannot spend any money not budgeted for as prescribed in the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.

He noted that Mr. President had raked in N3 trillion via the Treasury Single Account, and therefore, enjoined Nigerians to monitor how the ministers, heads of departments and agencies execute it.

In attendance were, Mrs. Juliet Ibekaku, Deputy Governorship candidate of APC, Philip Eze, senatorial candidate of the party, local government and Ward chairmen.