Buhari Wants More UK Investments In Nigeria

Nigeria President Muhammadu Buhari has commended the UK Prime Minister, Theresa May for the effort of the British government towards the training of the Nigerian Army in the fight against Boko Haram insurgents.

Buhari on Monday held a bilateral meeting with UK Prime Minister, Theresa May at 10, Downing Street, London.

The President told the Prime Minister that, “We campaigned on three major issues; to secure the country, revive the economy and fight corruption.

“We have elections next year, politicians are already preoccupied with the polls, but I am bothered more about security and the economy,” he stressed.

Recalling that Nigeria and Britain have a long history of cooperation on several fronts, President Buhari stated: “People ought to know how they arrived where they are, if they would move forward. It was a mistake for us to have stopped the teaching of history as a subject in schools, but we are returning it to the curriculum now.

He commended British companies “who have stood with Nigeria through thick and thin. Even when we fought a Civil War, they never left.

“But like Oliver Twist, we ask for more investments. We are encouraging more British companies to come to Nigeria. We appreciate the support you have given in training and equipping our military, particularly in the war against insurgency, but we want to also continue to work with you on trade and investment.

President Buhari briefed Prime Minister May on the strides in agriculture, which he said has put Nigeria firmly on the road to food self-sufficiency.

“I am very pleased with the successes in agriculture,” he said, adding that, “We have cut rice importation by about 90%, made lots of savings of foreign exchange, and generated employment. People had rushed to the cities to get oil money, at the expense of farming. But luckily, they are now going back to the farms. Even professionals are going back to the land. We are making steady progress on the road to food security.”

On education, President Buhari said more investment was being made, because, “people can look after themselves if well educated. In this age of technology, education is very important. We need well-staffed and well-equipped institutions to move into the next generation.

Climate change and environmental issues also came up for discussion, and President Buhari brought up the necessity of inter-basin water transfer from Congo Basin to Lake Chad.

According to him: “The Lake Chad is now about 10% of its original size, and it is perhaps one of the reasons our youths dare both the Sahara Desert and the Mediterranean, to get to Europe. But if there is inter-basin water transfer, about 40 million people in Nigeria, Niger, Cameroon, Chad, and other countries stand to benefit.

I made the case during the Climate Change Summit in France. If Lake Chad is recharged, it will reduce the number of youths coming to Europe to increase social problems. We brought back about 4,000 people from Libya recently. Almost all of them were below 30, and Libya was not their final destination. They were headed to Europe.”

Herdsmen Were Trained By Late Gadaffi

President, Muhammadu Buhari has revealed while speaking to the Archbishop of Canterbury, His Grace Justin Welby in London that killer herdsmen that have infiltrated some parts of the country were trained by the late Libya leader,  Muammar Gadaffi.

Buhari lamented that “irresponsible politics” had been brought into the farmers/herders’ crisis, but assured that enduring solutions would be found, and that justice would be done to all concerned.

Buhari, who received the Archbishop on Wednesday said “The problem (herdsmen) is even older than us. It has always been there, but now made worse by the influx of armed gunmen from the Sahel region into different parts of the West African sub-region. These gunmen were trained and armed by Muammar Gadaffi of Libya.

“When he was killed, the gunmen escaped with their arms. We encountered some of them fighting with Boko Haram. Herdsmen that we used to know carried only sticks and maybe a cutlass to clear the way, but these ones now carry sophisticated weapons. The problem is not religious, but sociological and economic. But we are working on solutions,” he said.

Buhari also explained to Welby why he declared his intentions to run for another term in office, saying that”I declared before leaving home because Nigerians were talking too much about whether I would run or not. So, I felt I should break the ice.

“We have many things to focus on, like security, agriculture, economy, anti-corruption, and many others. We needed to concentrate on them, and politics should not be a distraction. The majority of Nigerians appreciate what we are doing, and that is why I am re-contesting.”

The President recounted some successes of the administration to his guest, with whom he has built a deep friendship in recent times, and was quite particular about strides in agriculture.

“We have cut the importation of rice by about 90%, saving billions of dollars in the process. People who rushed into petrol money have now gone back to agriculture. Even professionals have gone back to the land. Nigeria should be able to feed itself comfortably soon. I am so pleased,” the President said.

On the war against insurgency, he stressed the need for continuous education of the people, “so that they can be free from religious manipulation,” adding that no true religion advocates the hurting or killing of the innocent.

On Leah Sharibu, the schoolgirl from Dapchi still being held by insurgents, reportedly because she refused to renounce her Christian faith, the President said:

“We are managing the matter quietly. Making noise would not help. We are collecting as much intelligence as possible, working with the Red Cross and other international organizations. There are too many fraudulent people around, who claim they can do this and that. We won’t deal with them. That was how we got the Dapchi girls back, and the Chibok girls.”

Archbishop Welby said it was always a delight to see President Buhari, “whom I have tremendous respect for,” adding: “You have my best wishes on your recent decision. I read your declaration speech. We are neutral as a church, but we will pray for you. Great statesmen are those who run for the good of their country. We will be praying for you.”

The Archbishop presented President Buhari with a copy of his recent book, ‘Re-imagining Britain. Foundations for Hope.’

 

El-Rufai’s Son Steps Up For Nigeria Blasting New York Times For Its Headline

Bashir El-rufai, son of Kaduna State Governor  has stepped up to fighting against the insulting headline by New York times while reporting that President Muhammadu Buhari was running for second term.

Recall that yesterday the New York Times tweeted a controversial headline which said; President Buhari, Nigerian President beset by health problems, Boko Haram, and calls for him to step aside, says he will run for second term.

Reacting to the headline, Bashir, fires back saying:

“The President in your country, was on tape bragging about grabbing women by the P**** and eats Big Macs all day, and is a fully open racist and misogynist will run again in 2020 and win too, but hey, it’s the New York Times”

 

APC Governors Silent After Meeting President Buhari

State governors elected on the platform of the ruling All Progressives Congress on Tuesday kept mum after meeting President Muhammadu Buhari behind closed doors at the Presidential Villa, Abuja.

The meeting which was held inside the Council Chambers started about 2.15pm and ended about 3.30pm.

At the end of the meeting which sources described as stormy, the governors who were approached for comment told State House correspondents that they had resolved not to speak to journalists.

Those who were approached included the Chairman of the Progressives Governors Forum, Rochas Okorocha; Plateau State Governor, Simon Lalong; and Kaduna State Governor, Nasir El-Rufai.

The contentious issue of tenure extension for members of the party’s National Working Committee was said to have dominated discussions at the meeting.

After the meeting reportedly ended in a deadlock, it was also learnt that there was a sharp disagreement among the governors over the choice of date to reconvene.

Before the meeting went into a closed door session, Buhari had nominated Lalong and the Kebbi State Governor, Atiku Bagudu, to say the opening prayers.

All APC state governors attended the meeting while Vice-President Yemi Osinbajo and some top presidential aides and government officials also attended.

Buhari Says APC NWC Tenure Elongation Is Unconstitutional

The All Progressives Congress may be heading for another crisis as President Muhammadu Buhari overruled the party’s decision to elongate the tenure of the National Working Committee .

President Buhari at the ongoing NEC meeting said the tenure elongation was unconstitutional.

In his three page speech, the President said in line with the Nation’s constitution and that of the ruling party, the decision reached in February to elongate Oyegun and the NWC’s tenure by a year will be an abberation of the party’s constitution should be stepped down.

He advised that in line with the procedure, the move will further plunge the party into crisis.

See the full speech below:

 

Is Boko Haram More Honourable Than Buhari? By Tunde Odesola

(Published in The PUNCH on Monday, March 26, 2018)

Understandably, the noun ‘change’ is the most controversial word in Nigeria today. You need to be careful about where and how you say change because the design of your face and the architecture of your mouth could be badly changed for mouthing change wrongfully. Here, change doesn’t mean the money you collect after making a purchase. Here, change was the powerful potion a nation in hebetude was eager to take to break free from crushing poverty and grinding backwardness of yesteryears.

Change was the flaming key with which the All Progressives Congress unlocked the hearts of Nigerians during the 2015 presidential election, splitting into two equal halves the door to the Aso Rock bedroom of the then President, Goodluck Jonathan, laying bare a cringing occupant.

Change became Nigeria’s most popular word in 2015 as thrice-unlucky-presidential-aspirant, General Muhammadu Buhari, dazzled the electorate with a blazing manifesto whose glitter was blinding. Nigerians were drunk on the Buhari opium, swooning over the long list of his Eldorado promises. Like a messiah in a hurry, Buhari promised, among other things, to chase corruption into the Dead Sea and part River Niger with earth-shaking socio-political reforms. Armed with his sainthood and halo, Buhari vowed to publicly declare his assets, ensure constant electricity, create three million jobs per year; ban medical tourism by politicians from May 29, 2015, remove immunity from prosecution for elected officers in criminal cases, make the economy one of the fastest growing in the world with a GDP growth averaging 10-12% annually, and enshrine political reforms to check electoral malpractice. The savior has finally arrived!

Purportedly driven by the passion to see Nigeria emerge as a strong regional economy, Buhari also promised to make the naira to be at parity with the dollar through investment in agriculture, establish city and state policing system, build 6,800km of modern railway and 5,000km superhighway by 2019 just as he pledged to quash Boko Haram and vowed not to ‘leave the defence of the nation in the hands of hunters, children and Civilian JTF’. Nigeria’s time in the sun has come!

The husband of the uncommon and courageous woman, Aisha, also told Nigerians that he would, if elected president, establish a conflict resolution commission to prevent and resolve civil conflicts in the Niger Delta and states such as Plateau, Benue, Bauchi, Borno, Yobe, Kaduna etc; provide allowance to discharged but unemployed National Youth Service Corps members for 12 months, ‘revive our minimally performing refineries to optimum capacity’, and revive and restructure the Nigerian football league, among other lofty promises. Has the president delivered on his promises? Yes, Buhari and his supporters living in the Nigeria bordering between the USA and Canada believe the president has delivered on all electoral promises and more to boot!

Change has become a curious word in the present-day Nigeria amalgamated by the British Empire in 1914. Without a doubt, things were rosier for Nigerians under colonial rule than they are today and the only difference between the savagery of the slave trade era and the lives of Nigerians today is the change in the skin color of the slave masters!

Although a breakaway faction of Boko Haram headed by Abu Mus’ab al-Barnawi is suspected to have masterminded the Dapchi kidnap in order to have a piece of the national cake as the Abubakar Shekau faction had when negotiations on the release of some Chibok schoolgirls were reached, neither of the two factions have openly claimed responsibility for the Dapchi kidnap.

The ruthlessness of the Shekau faction, however, puts him on the same podium with the world’s vilest murderers. With a place assured in hell as Satan’s deputy, Shekau, a leader of the world’s deadliest terror gang, ostensibly fell under the spell of the magical swagger stick of President Buhari last Monday, in Dapchi. I remember seeing camouflage-wearing President Goodluck Jonathan playfully sitting on a swagger stick as a kid would mount his first potty – during his visit to Boko Haram-ravaged Baga in Borno State.

President Buhari says he hails from Katsina, despite planning to build a rail line into the neighboring Niger Republic. With my head on the chopping block, I can wager a bet that Baba Yusuf will contest the 2019 presidential election, but I can’t bet that kidnapping won’t mushroom in the coming months. Shekau, a Kanuri from Yobe State, stole the change, sorry, I mean the show, in Dapchi last Monday, symbolically marching through the scourged village to the shock of an alarmed nation when he returned 105 schoolgirls kidnapped on February 19, 2018. ‘Boko Haram returns Dapchi schoolgirls’ ran hasty headlines on social media.

It must be a joke, I thought. Return ko, reverse ni. Then the news gained momentum and soared on the pinions of reality. With the manner of the girls’ release, Boko Haram has brought a change to the young trade of kidnapping and negotiation in Nigeria. The girls’ release was made to look like an authorless fairytale book from a faraway land beyond seven rivers by the Minister of Information, Youth and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, who said Boko Haram released the girls without collecting a ransom. Haba, Alhaji! I didn’t know that ‘Bonanza’ was Boko Haram’s other name. If Mohammed had told Nigerians that Boko Haram released the girls because of the ‘APC’ in d-APC-hi, he would have told a better lie.

Also, the assertion by the minister that Boko Haram claimed to have returned the Dapchi girls because they’re Muslims makes one wonder whether the kidnapped Muslim Chibok schoolgirls are inferior to their Muslim colleagues in Dapchi. Globally, the terms of hostage negotiation are not fed to the public, but Mohammed could’ve said something like: “The girls’ release was negotiated by Nigerian and foreign experts who want the terms of the negotiation kept under wraps for security reasons.” As poor as a church rat that my family is, I had to negotiate and part with some money when my in-law was kidnapped in Rivers State in 2014. Kidnappers, unlike politicians, don’t have access to the treasury; ransom is their holy grail.

The Boko Haram change. Since he emerged in 2009 as the world’s primus inter pares in terrorism, Shekau promised Nigerians sorrow, tears and blood. Boko Haram, his mass murder machine, has sowed everlasting grief into families, whose thousands of dear ones it bombed into shallow graves. Last Monday, however, Boko Haram gave Nigerians what it never promised – joy, albeit momentary – while the change promised by the Buhari government remained a miserable hope.

Another agent of death who mouthed change a few days ago was Assassin-in-Chief and Tormentor Extraordinaire, Adeola Williams aka Ade Lawyer, who recently confessed to killing over a hundred persons. Begging for forgiveness, Ade Lawyer (39), whose last kill was Ganiyu Ayinla alias Pinero, the personal assistant to the NURTW chairman in Idumota, Azeez Lawal (aka Kunle Poly), said he has also embraced change.

The self-confessed serial killer said he had killed four people on the prompting of a former Chairman of the National Union Road of Transport Workers, Lagos State branch, Alhaji Akanni Olorunwa. He said he had aimed to kill Kunle Poly on Olorunwa’s request, but mistakenly shot Pinero who was with the former on the fateful day. He said he had killed several people on the request of prominent Nigerians including traditional rulers in more than a decade of his stellar career.

In a serious country, Ade Lawyer would’ve been long arrested and his arrest would’ve led to solving the jigsaw of several killings in the country.

A few days after his disturbing confession, change crept into Ade Lawyer’s statement, which wasn’t made under duress. Ade recanted. In this era of change, Olorunwa will be freed, the politicians and traditional rulers Ade killed for won’t be exposed, and life goes on.

Buhari Hosts Bill Gates And Dangote To Dinner

President Muhammadu Buhari on Wednesday hosted philanthropist and Co-Founder of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, Bill Gates to a dinner at the State House in Abuja.

Africa’s richest man, Aliko Dangote, and top government officials were also at the dinner.

Although the Presidency tweeted about the dinner, which was held the same day 104 of the abducted Dapchi schoolgirls were freed, it did not give details about what was discussed.

The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation has been playing significant humanitarian and philanthropic roles in Nigeria in the areas of polio eradication, maternal health and other areas.

VIDEO: President @MBuhari hosts Mr. Bill Gates and Alhaji Aliko Dangote to a dinner, tonight. pic.twitter.com/AQVkHpd2LA

— Government of Nigeria (@AsoRock) March 21, 2018

Buhari Sends Delegation To Dapchi

President Muhammadu Buhari has sent a delegation comprising cabinet members to Dapchi, Yobe State, to meet with the released school girls.

Those in the delegation are the Ministers of Information, Lai Mohammed, Interior, Abdulrahman Dambazau, and the Minister of State for Foreign Affairs, Khadijah Bukar Ibrahim.

The delegation is currently at the Nnamdi Azikiwe Airport, Abuja preparing to take off.

A source informed PREMIUM TIMES that the team is however travelling to Maiduguri, the capital of Borno state.

He also said “it is quite likely that the girls will also be brought to Maiduguri and the federal delegation may meet them there”.

Buhari Congratulates Putin On Re-election

President Muhammadu Buhari on Tuesday congratulated President Vladimir Putin of Russia on his victory in the recent presidential election in the Asian country.

The Special Adviser to the President on Media and Publicity, Mr. Femi Adesina, disclosed this in a statement made available to journalists.

Adesina said the President had sent a congratulatory letter to Putin on behalf of himself, the government and people of Nigeria.

The President said Putin’s “success for the fourth time in the election is a clear testimony of the confidence” Russians have in his leadership.

He also urged his Russian counterpart to “see this victory as a base to continue to promote international peace and stability.”

Buhari assured President Putin of “Nigeria’s commitment to a stronger and mutually beneficial relation with the Russian Federation under your watch.”

He said he looked forward to continue working with the Russian leader “to strengthen our defence, trade and technical partnerships as well as promotion of private sector participation in all sectors of our economies.”

Buhari Meets Former VP Namadi Sambo In Aso Rock

President Muhammadu Buhari on Tuesday met behind closed doors with former Vice-President Namadi Sambo at the Presidential Villa, Abuja.

Sambo was vice-president to former President Goodluck Jonathan during the last administration.

The meeting of the two leaders, which was held inside the President’s office, lasted about 25 minutes.

The former vice-president arrived the Presidential Villa at about 12:00 noon and went straight into the President’s office.

He left the premises at about 12.25pm.

“It was a a private meeting,” Sambo simply told State House correspondents before stepping into his waiting car.

Sambo has not been a regular visitor to the Presidential Villa since he and Jonathan left office on May 29, 2015

He had, in 2017, visited Vice-President Yemi Osinbajo in his office; while he also joined Buhari for a Jumat service in commemoration of the nation’s independence last year.

The meeting of the two leaders came barely 24 hours after Osinbajo openly accused the administration Sambo served of “grand corruption.”

Speaking at the Seventh Presidential Quarterly Business Forum for Private Sector stakeholders on Monday, Osinbajo had said the difference between the present administration and that of Jonathan was that Buhari’s administration was not corrupt.

He had said, “Today, with less revenue, we have increased capital funding by 400 percent as the minister has said, in power, works and housing, in defence, transportation, agriculture.

“If we want to do analysis in Nigeria, it is either fraudulent or ignorant if we do not bring money that belongs to corruption into the mass.

“This is what distinguishes, in my own respectful view, this administration from the other. I can say that with what I have seen, if you have a President who is not corrupt, 50 percent of your financial problems are over. This is what I have seen, I can demonstrate it with facts and figures.

“If the President is corrupt, the entire financial system is compromised and that is what we have seen with the figures we have just seen. That is something that is absolutely important that we must take into account.”

Is Buhari Unaware, Bound By His Choices Or Both?, By Bámidélé Adémólá-Olátéjú

This January, 73 lives were lost in Benue State to an herdsmen attack. The president asked Ibrahim Idris, the inspector-general of police to relocate to Benue with the aim of restoring law and order at the scene of conflict. The inspector-general ignored the president’s order. After so much pressure and discontent from the public, the president finally paid a visit to the State. While in Benue, he made a startling admission: “I’m not aware that the I-G did not spend 24 hours in the State as directed by me, I am getting to know in this meeting.” That admission confirmed our fears that the president is not in charge of his own administration. Awareness dictates choice. A man who is aware of something, will definitely have a choice to take action or not. We all have weaknesses and so do those who lead us. Mild weaknesses do not usually impact a person’s overall effectiveness and they sure do not hurt like fatal flaws. President Buhari has consistently shown a significant gap in perception, which suggests a deficit of self-awareness. That is a fatal flaw.

President Buhari has always been dissonant, and there are many pointers to his dissonance since he became president. There is a certain aloofness about him that is exaggerated by a seeming lack of empathy. His much touted integrity has forced him into a tunnel of delusion, where the cure for all that ails is integrity. Unfortunately, integrity is not enough to govern effectively. Self-awareness is an important leadership trait, for which a leader often pays a high price, when he is perceived to score poorly on it. A leader does not need to be very good at everything and he does not have to rank high on all leadership traits but a leader cannot be totally void in one area and still expect to succeed. With a vast scope of responsibility, he does not have to be privy to all the minutiae of governance. The little details is the job of operators, but not knowing is never a good excuse to be unaware. With Buhari, his fatal flaws are so extreme that they are having dramatic negative effects on our perception of him. His supporters and detractors alike are seeing his mounting negatives; but Buhari himself is blind to it. He prefers to revel in the crowd he sees among his core constituency. Unfortunately, he will find out that such blindness has a steep cost.

As a leader, no one expects him to know all the facts, but good leaders figure out how to be aware enough, to discover the facts that they need to know. We know leaders are often the last to know when something is wrong but our man has shown no inclination to be a modern leader. Most of the defining mistakes of his presidency and the crises within the All Progressives Congress (APC), are results of inaction. Buhari’s sins are sins of omission. His refusal to take charge, to act, to do something. In the last two years, we have seen an administration without a strategic roadmap; an administration whose drivers are not taking responsibility for outcomes; and are not building strong relationships, even among themselves. With 2019 on the horizon, it is all smoke and mirrors. The nation is as insecure as ever. There are no convictions on the anti-corruption front. The federal school feeding programme is a sham, other signature programmes never took off or are poorly implemented. It has been a season of switch and bait. What we see are deals that were never executed and projects that do not exist. Buhari is simply not making things happen.

Awareness is power! Against our interests, Buhari is unaware, held captive and bound by his choices. By choice, he has become a figure head who is just there, allowing surrogates to play Russian roulette with our lives. He has created a shady circuit of loyalists who he can neither force nor motivate. Among his trusted aides, there is no devotion to the national cause. The president was caught napping by the rampage of herdsmen and the Dapchi abductions. A leader who is unaware of what others are feeling will most likely be unaware of so many other things. A man who is blind to his own flaws will most likely blind to the effect of his flaws on others.

The president needs to ask himself some probing questions and seek truthful answers. He should ask himsef: What should I be doing that I’m not doing? What are people saying that I’m not hearing? What am I missing? What do people see that I am not seeing? Who on my team is keeping from me what they really think and feel?

In a rapidly globalising world, we have a president who cannot dream into the future. A man content with the status quo. A man who prefers not to know there was a problem, than that there is one. A leader who is not learning anything new, relying on same old ways and assumes everyone supports and loves him. The president needs to ask himself some probing questions and seek truthful answers. He should ask himsef: What should I be doing that I’m not doing? What are people saying that I’m not hearing? What am I missing? What do people see that I am not seeing? Who on my team is keeping from me what they really think and feel? What am I feeling? Why am I feeling it? Is this feeling helping or hindering me?

Obviously, there is an enormous gap between the way President Buhari perceives himself and how those of us, who invested our hopes and aspirations in him, perceive him. We want a president who knows the issues and is open to continuous exploration and discovery. Everyone knows there are two types of people will give honest feedback: those who love you, and those who hate you. We need a president who listens to both. An honest feedback will not come from opportunists. While no one must accept and normalised hate, haters must not be ignored. Hopefully, some good will come out of the recent visits to state ravaged by the herdsmen. Nigeria needs an empathic and aware president, given the many countervailing forces facing the country and the people.

Bámidélé Adémólá-Olátéjú a farmer, youth advocate and political analyst writes this weekly column, “Bamidele Upfront” for PREMIUM TIMES.