President Buhari’s 6th June Declaration Of A New Democracy Day And The Rule Of Law By Ben Nwabueze

In a special Press Statement signed by himself personally, which is unprecedented, President Buhari made the following momentous announcement:

“For the past 18 years, Nigerians have been celebrating May 29th, as Democracy Day. That was the date when for the second time in our history, an elected civilian administration took over from a military government. The first time this happened was on October 1st, 1979.

But in the view of Nigerians, as shared by this Administration, June 12th, 1993, was far more symbolic of Democracy in the Nigerian context than May 29th or even the October 1st.

June 12th, 1993 was the day when Nigerians in millions expressed their democratic will in what was undisputedly the freest, fairest and most peaceful elections since our Independence. The fact that the outcome of that election was not upheld by the then Military Government does not distract from the democratic credentials of that process.

Accordingly, after due consultations, the Federal Government has decided that henceforth, June 12th will be celebrated as Democracy Day. Therefore, Government has decided to award posthumously the highest honour of the land, GCFR, to late Chief MKO Abiola, the presumed winner of the June 12th, 1993 cancelled elections. His running mate as Vice President, Ambassador Baba Gana Kingibe, is also to be invested with a GCON. Furthermore, the tireless fighter for human rights and the actualization of the June election and indeed for Democracy in general, the late Chief Gani Fawehinmi, SAN, is to be awarded a GCON posthumously.

The commemoration and investiture will take place on Tuesday, June 12, 2018, a date which in future years will replace May 29th as a National Public Holiday in celebration of Nigeria Democracy Day”.

LEGAL ISSUES ARISING FROM THE PRESIDENT’S DECLARATION

The President’s Declaration raises several issues concerning, first, the intention behind it, whether it is motivated by the public interest or by a political desire to secure the votes of Nigerians in the 2019 election, especially the votes of people of the South-West or to sow the seed of division among the members of the National Assembly in order to scuttle the threat to impeach him or to throw the country into turmoil or to smear the polity with the taint of illegality. A motive of mischief seems evident on the face of the Declaration. It is indeed a masterstroke of mischief and insincerity, a deceitful contrivance, suddenly and mischievously trumped up to rescue his dying image three years after his installation as President.

But the question of primary interest to us here concerns the legal aspects of the President’s Declaration, which raise three issues of some intricacy , viz (a) whether what he calls the cancellation of the June 12 election by the then Military Government is binding legally on him and Nigerians generally, or putting it differently, whether as President he has the power or competence to overturn or disregard the cancellation without an Act of the National Assembly repealing it; (b) the legal effects of the cancellation; and (c) whether the President’s 6th June Declaration does not require, as a condition for its effectiveness in law, that the results of the June 12 election should have been officially announced and Chief Abiola officially declared its winner.

Binding force of the annulment of the June 12 election by a Decree of the Federal Military Government (FMG)

It is as indisputable that a presidential election was, as a matter of fact, held on June 12, 1993 as that the said election was, as a matter both of fact and law, annulled by a Decree of the Federal Military Government (FMG) Decree No. 61 of 1993. The binding force, or rather the supremacy, of Decrees of the FMG has a history which it is appropriate to recall here. The issue of the binding force or supremacy of Decrees was settled with finality 48 years ago by the Federal Military Government (Supremacy and Enforcement of Powers) Decree 1970 re-enacted by Decree 13 of 1984 made by Gen Buhari as the then Head of the FMG. (He, Gen Buhari, enacted 37 Decrees during his one year rule in 1984 as Head of the FMG). Even the 1999 Constitution from which he derives his authority as President to make the June 6 Declaration is the product of a Decree, Decree 24 of 1999 to which that Constitution is scheduled. The 1999 Constitution itself, in its section 315(4)(d), recognises the annulment Decree 61 of 1993 as an existing law. So President Buhari has no moral right or justification to disregard or disdain Decree 61 of 1993 or to do things as please him, as if that law does not exist.
Nigeria is or is supposed to be a law-governed state, a state of law where the Rule of Law reigns and governs not only the lives and affairs of people in society, but also the actions of government. It is an axiomatic principle, accepted nearly by all, that democracy cannot meaningfully exist or function without the Rule of Law any more than it can meaningfully exist or function without Justice. Nigeria itself cannot exist without the Rule of Law – and Justice too.

Of the two cardinal principles of governance, the Rule of Law is more fundamental and overriding, since the Justice talked about is justice according to law. The alternative to the Rule of Law is anarchy and the ruin of communal life. Respect for the Rule of Law must not therefore be sacrificed to the need for Justice. We must strive to pursue and maintain both subject to the more overriding demands of the Rule of Law.

Nigeria, our dear country, should not be turned into a state where the President can, in his unfettered whim, set aside the law or do things contrary to the law; his June 6 2018 Declaration clearly affronts the law. The annulment of the June 12 1993 election is admittedly loathesome to millions of Nigerians because of its injustice, inhumanity and its culmination in the sad death of its presumed winner, Chief Abiola; its error has been acknowledged and duly apologised for by its author, Gen Babangida.

The annulment should therefore be set aside, but that should be done in due form of law, i.e. in a manner required by law, meaning by an Act of the National Assembly, not by the President’s unilateral Declaration unbacked by an enabling law. The process of getting an enabling law enacted may take more time than is agreeable, but it is better to follow the process dictated by law.

Legal effects of the annulment of the June 12, 1993 presidential election by a Decree of the FMG

The legal effects of nullity are authoritatively stated by Lord Denning in the Judicial Committee of the Privy Council in an appeal from the West African Court of Appeal in Macfoy v. United Africa Co. Ltd [1961] 3 WLR 1405 at pp. 1409 – 1410:

“If an act is void, then it is in law a nullity. It is not only bad, but incurably bad. There is no need for an order of the Court to set it aside. It is automatically null and void without more ado, though it is sometimes convenient to have the court declare it to be so. And every proceeding which is founded on it is also bad and incurably bad. You cannot put something on nothing and expect it to stay there. It will collapse.” (emphasis supplied).

Lord Denning’s statement of the law on the point was echoed by Oputa JSC in Adejumo v. Ayantegba [1989] 3 NWLR (pt. 110) 417 at p. 451. Said he:

“If a transaction is void, it is in law a nullity, not only bad, but incurably bad and nothing can be founded on it, for having no life of its own, it cannot vivify anything.” (emphasis supplied).
The legal implication is thus that an act or transaction which is a nullity is in law regarded as having no existence or never to have come into existence at all. Both Lord Denning M.R. in Macfoy v. United Africa Co. Ltd [1961] 3 WLR 1409 – 1410 and Oputa JSC in Adejumo v. Ayantegbe [1989] 3 NWLR (Pt 110) 417 at page 451 describe it as amounting to “nothing”. Its non-existence or nothingness arises from operation of law and does not depend on a court’s decision declaring it null and void, which only re-affirms and reinforces its inherent nullity. The dictionary definition is at one with the law on this. Collins English Dictionary defines “nullify”, and “void” as “having no effect or existence”. “Nullity” is defined in New Webster’s Dictionary of the English Language as “nothingness”.

It follows that the annulled June 12 election, deemed in law not to have taken place and to have no existence and therefore to amount to nothing, cannot vivify or give life to anything; June 12 cannot be declared Democracy Day and a public holiday, and Chief Abiola the “presumed” winner of the June 12 election and his running mate, Amb. Kingibe, cannot be awarded the national honour of GCFR and GCON respectively based on their presumed victory in the June 12 election. Both the declaration and the award are illegal, null and void; the annulment Decree, No. 61 of 1993, an existing law under section 315(4)(d) of the 1999 Constitution, must first be repealed – with effect from a date before June 12, 1993 – before the declaration and the award can legally or lawfully be made. The point being made here, and on which we insist, is that, as a country committed to respect for the Rule of Law, the law should be duly followed and not disregarded, as if we are still in a military dictatorship.

Whether the President’s 6th June Declaration does not require, as a condition for its effectiveness, that the results of the June 12 election should have been officially announced and Chief Abiola officially declared its winner

The repeal of the annulment Decree, No. 61 of 1993, does not dispose of all the legal issues arising from President Buhari’s 6th June 2018 momentous Declaration. It is not enough for the purposes of the law to presume Chief Abiola as the winner of the June 12, 1993 election, whatever that means. To presume something means, according to its dictionary definition, to “suppose or believe without examination; to assume beforehand”.

The results of the June 12, 1993 election should have been officially announced and Chief Abiola should have officially declared its winner to form a legally valid basis for the declaration of June 12 as Democracy Day to be henceforth observed and celebrated as a public holiday in the country, and before Chief Abiola can be awarded and invested with the national honour of GCFR, the highest honour that is reserved for a President of Nigeria. He cannot be President-elect, which is necessary to qualify him to be so to be treated, unless the results of the election have been officially announced and he has been officially declared elected.

The law is clear and emphatic on the matter. Section 70 of the Electoral Act in force today (June 11, 2018) provides:

“In an election to the office of the President or Governor whether or not contested and in any contested election to any other elective office, the result shall be ascertained by counting the votes cast for each candidate and [the candidate that satisfied] the provisions of sections 133, 134 and 179 of the Constitution……..shall be declared elected by the appropriate Returning Officer”;
The word “declared” is italicized to emphasise that a candidate “deemed duly elected” under section 179 of the Constitution must formally be “declared elected by the appropriate returning officer” under section 70 of the Act.

The National Assembly has proposed that the Independent Electoral Commission (INEC) should now formally announce the results of the June 12 1993 election and declare Chief Abiola its winner. This proposal raises the question whether INEC, constituted under the 1999 Constitution (section 153), has the competence to announce the results of an election that took place 25 years ago, and declare a candidate under it the winner, so as to constitute him President-elect.

The power of INEC, as conferred on it by paragraph 15 of the Third Schedule to the Constitution, is power, among other things, “to organise, undertake and supervise” presidential and other listed elections. By its terms, the power is power to organize, undertake and supervise elections in the present and in the future; it does not authorize or enable the Commission to do anything in relation to an election that took place in the past – 25 years ago – and organized and conducted by a differently constituted Electoral Commission. It may be that under the residual clause of paragraph 15 above authorizing INEC to “carry out such other functions as may be conferred upon it by an Act of the National Assembly”, the Assembly may make a law enabling INEC in the behalf. Even so, the problem will still remain as to how the provision of section 70 of the Electoral Act is to be complied with, having regard to the specificity of the words “shall be declared elected by the appropriate Returning Officer”; the reference is to the particular returning officer involved in or who took part in the conduct of the particular election.

President Buhari’s 6th June 2018 Declaration disdains the law of the land in other respects

The sacroscanctity and supremacy of the Rule of Law, as a principle in the government of society, need to be reiterated. Although not expressly enshrined by name in our Constitution, as is done in some of the modern constitutions in the world, like the Constitutions of Romania and Bulgaria and Czechoslovakia’s Charter of Fundamental Rights and Freedoms, all three adopted in 1991 after the collapse of communism in the 1989 – 90 world-wide democratic revolution, the Rule of Law is embodied and incorporated in our Constitution as an inarticulate major premise, to borrow the pithy phrase of the great Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes of the U.S. Supreme Court.

Thus, the supremacy of the Constitution, as provided in its section 1(1), enures, by extension, to the Rule of Law, as incorporated in it as an inarticulate major premise, overriding any action or declaration of government that is inconsistent with the principle: section 1(3).

The question again arises whether the posthumous awards of the national honours of GCFR and GCON to Chief Abiola and Chief Fawehinmi respectively accord or are consistent with the law of the land – National Honours Act. The Act does not, by its express provisions, authorize posthumous awards, nor do those provisions give any indication that they contemplate posthumous awards. The indication is indeed to the contrary; it (the indication) comes from the provision that “a person”, meaning a living, not a dead person, “shall not be eligible for appointment to any rank of an Order unless he is a citizen of Nigeria”, and that “a person shall be appointed to a particular rank of an Order when he receives from the President in person at an investiture held for the purpose (a) the insignia appropriate for that rank; and (b) an instrument under the hand of the President and the public seal of the Federation declaring him to be appointed to that rank”.

The words “when he receives from the President in person” exclude posthumous awards, a view that derives support from the fact that no posthumous award had ever been made in the past to any one before the awards to Chief Abiola and Chief Fawehinmi. There is, however, a provision in the Act that seems to give a lot of leeway to the President. It says : “The President may, by warrant, make provision for the award of titles of honour, decorations and dignities”. It may be that posthumous awards are not authorized by the Act as a matter of policy decision. If so the Act needs to be amended to change the policy.

President Buhari could not have been more disdainful, and more careless, he could not have made a greater mockery, of the Rule of Law than by his announcement on June 6, 2018 of the decision of the Federal Government that “henceforth June 12 will be celebrated as Democracy Day”, knowing, as he well does, that May 29 is enacted by law, the Public Holidays Act, as Democracy Day, and that that could not be changed to June 12, except by amendment of the Act, not by mere presidential Declaration; and that his wishes, intentions and whims, however pure and benevolent, are not law, as in the days of the absolutist military dictatorship when laws could be made simply by word of mouth, later to be put in written form by Decree or Edict.

It is incredible that, knowing all this but still believing himself to be an absolute ruler, he went ahead to organize the farce of commemoration ceremony on June 12 at the Banquet Hall of the Presidential Villa. His perception of himself as absolute ruler is antithetical to constitutional democracy, and constitutes a danger to the country. He should be made to shed that perception of himself.

Buhari’s Anti-Corruption Fight And The Rule Of Law By Kolawole Olaniyan

President Muhammadu Buhari was elected in 2015 after emphasising his track record of tackling corruption, and his pledge to stop public officials from looting the country’s treasury, after he rightly declared: “if we don’t kill corruption, this corruption will kill us.”

Mr. Buhari has backed his commitment by putting in place some important measures such as the Treasury Single Account (TSA), the Whistle-Blowing Policy and the establishment of the Presidential Advisory Committee Against Corruption, to combat the systemic theft of public resources and by extension, its pernicious effects on human rights and development.

The TSA, in particular, aims to pave the way for the timely payment and capturing of all revenues going into the government treasury, without the intermediation of multiple banking arrangements.

However, real progress is yet to be made with respect to the prosecution of cases of grand corruption. High-ranking corrupt officials rarely end up in jail, as suspects continue to exploit the flaws in the justice system and the anti-corruption programme’s legal and institutional mechanisms, to the point where individuals are profiting from their crimes.

Part of the problem is the authority’s disdain for the rule of law, as illustrated by the tendency to pick and choose which court orders it complies with. This selective application of the rule of law implies an agenda to delegitimise the judiciary, and perhaps, inadvertently, render it incapable of contributing to the anti-corruption fight.

Mr. Buhari has put the rather slow pace of his government’s fight against corruption down to the ‘lack of cooperation by the judiciary.’ As he put it: “In fighting corruption, however, the government would adhere strictly by the rule of law. Not for the first time I am appealing to the judiciary to join the fight against corruption”.

But while the judiciary may not as yet be up to speed in terms of accelerating the hearing of high-level corruption cases – consistent with the Administration of Criminal Justice Act 2015 – and adopting an activist-cum-public-interest approach to such cases, judges can do very little if the investigation and prosecution of grand corruption cases continue to be poorly handled.

Mr. Buhari cannot on the one hand blame the judiciary for ‘failing to work’ with his government in the fight against corruption, while on the other be disobeying judgments by the same judiciary.

Yet, obeying court orders is the bare minimum required of Mr. Buhari by his constitutional oath of office to: “preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria [1999]”, and by extension, defend the independence of the judiciary. But the attitude of the government to court orders has fallen far short of this constitutional commitment.

Court orders that are yet to be complied with include those obtained by human rights lawyer and Senior Advocate of Nigeria, Femi Falana, particularly the judgments by Nigerian courts ordering: The establishment of education banks to assist poor students to obtain loans to pursue tertiary education; the restoration of the People’s Bank of Nigeria to give loans without collateral to underprivileged citizens, and more recently, the release of Islamic Movement of Nigeria leader, Sheikh Ibrahim El-Zakzaky and his wife, Zeenah, from unlawful detention.

Other high-profile judgments the authorities are refusing to obey include at least three judgments obtained by the anti-corruption group, Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP). The first is the judgment by Justice Hadiza Rabiu Shagari ordering the government to tell Nigerians about the stolen asset it allegedly recovered, with details of the amounts recovered.

The second judgment, by Justice Mohammed Idris, ordered the government to publish details on the spending of stolen funds recovered by successive governments since the return of democracy in 1999, while the third judgment, by the ECOWAS Court of Justice in Abuja, ordered the Nigerian authorities to provide free and quality education to all Nigerian children without discrimination.

Disobedience of court orders is inconsistent and incompatible with any definition of the rule of law. It’s very difficult for any country to successfully combat corruption if its government doesn’t obey court orders. If government doesn’t obey court orders, citizens are unlikely to do so.

Disobedience of court orders implies the executive can do what it likes.

The government has also claimed that obeying judges’ decisions would require an assessment of ‘national security’ implications and potential to spark crisis. However, this position is the exact opposite of the rule of law.

The rule of law implies the supremacy of the law as opposed to arbitrariness by government, or the whims and fancies of its officials. This means that it is the responsibility of every law-abiding government to obey decisions of lawfully constituted courts, including those the authorities may dislike.

The government can disagree with court orders, but if it has issues with any of these orders, it ought to use all available means of appealing them rather than refusing to obey them. Deliberate disobedience of judges’ decisions would, ultimately, shatter citizens’ confidence in judges’ ability to champion the rule of law.

In any case, the surest way for any government to promote and improve national security is to uphold the rule of law, by among others complying with court orders.

Supporters of the government may point to Mr. Buhari’s political will to fight corruption. To his credit, Mr. Buhari has shown some level of political will to fight corruption, at least when compared with the record of his predecessor, former President Goodluck Jonathan, who once infamously said: “stealing is not corruption.”

However, political will is not enough to tackle corruption if the government routinely disobeys court orders. In fact, the fight against corruption can only succeed if all citizens, including those who serve in the government, are adequately constrained by the law.

Make no mistake: If Mr. Buhari fails to demonstrate commitment to obeying judges’ decisions, some of which are highlighted above, he will be striking at the foundation of Nigerian constitutional order, suggesting that his government is above the law.

Mr. Buhari should embrace the rule of law as a logical extension of his commitment to ‘kill corruption’. The rule of law can check corruption and abuses of power. If the fight against corruption is to succeed (and by extension, the rule of law is to be upheld), it is vital that court orders are rigorously and predictably enforced.

It is to be hoped that Mr. Buhari and his government would learn from John Locke’s dictum that “Where-ever law ends, tyranny begins” and Thomas Paine’s declaration that “in free countries, the law ought to be King; and there ought to be no other.”

As the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights put it (in Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights v Zimbabwe, para 118): “The alternative to the rule of law is the rule of power, which is typically arbitrary, self-interested and subject to influences which may have nothing to do with the applicable law or the factual merits of the dispute.”

Learning from these wise words may seem a tall order, but it is the one that the rule of law and Nigerian constitutional order commands.

 

Kolawole Olaniyan is the author of Corruption and Human Rights Law in Africa and legal advisor to Amnesty International’s International Secretariat.

Tinubu Pledges To Work For Buhari’s Second Term

A national leader of the ruling All Progressives Congress, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu, said President Muhammadu Buhari deserved a second term and that he would work for his victory in the 2019 presidential election.

 

While highlighting some of Buhari’s achievements, Tinubu claimed that Nigerians are no longer paying for darkness, giving an indication that electricity supply has become stable under the present administration.

He also lauded Buhari for the school feeding programme, a component of the government’s Social Investment Programme.

Aregbesola Applauds Buhari On Recognising June 12

Governor Rauf Aregbesola, has applauded President Muhammadu Buhari for recognising June 12 as democracy day in place of May 29.

In a statement made available to the media in Osogbo by his media adviser, Sola Fasure, Governor Aregbesola commended the president for mustering the courage to take this historic step 25 years after the freest and fairest presidential election ever held in the history of Nigeria

According to Governor Aregbesola, “President Buhari has secured for himself an incomparable position in history for surmounting the courage to take this historic step of recognising June 13 as ‘Democracy Day’ and honouring Chief Moshood Abiola posthumously.

“June 12, 1993 was the day democracy was born in Nigeria. It was the day Nigerians negated all the social and political constructs that had been thought would make national unity impossible and democratic governance impossible, but Nigerians in their heterogeneity overwhelmingly voted for a candidate whose very essence was in defiance of religious, ethnic and regional categorisation.

“It is most regrettable that the election was annulled and Chief Abiola clamped in illegal detention where he later died.

“Successive administrations had suppressed the significance of June 12 and resisted every admonition to recognise the date and honour Chief Abiola.

We have since the advent of our administration shunned May 29 and celebrated June 12 as Democracy Day. We are glad therefore that President Buhari has taken this bold step and set the record straight. History will be kind to him for this. I commend him for this uncommon courage and demonstration of leadership”, the statement said.

I Have Spent $9b On Power – President Buhari

President Muhammadu Buhari on Monday disclosed that his administration has spent $9bn (N2 .745trn at the official exchange rate of N 305 to $1) on power, roads and railways in the country in the last two years.

He said the expenditure was part of the ongoing plans by his government to diversify the economy through the development of tourism, agriculture and solid minerals, noting that the Federal Government was investing heavily in infrastructure.

The President made this known at the 61st meeting of the United Nations World Tourism Organisation and Commission for Africa in Abuja.
Buhai also said that as part of his administration’s social investment programmes, the government was giving N 5, 000 monthly to some 297, 973 poor homes in the country.

The theme of the weeklong conference, attended by delegates from over 53 countries, was, ‘Tourism Statistics – A Catalyst for Development.’

Boss Mustapha, the Secretary to the Government of the Federation, SGF, read Buhari’s speech.

The President said Nigeria was expected to benefit from tourism through increase in foreign exchange earnings, revenue generation , employment creation and cultural integration.

Buhari stated, “We are making steady efforts to diversify the economy through agriculture , solid minerals development and tourism . We are also
investing heavily in infrastructure to promote tourism . This administration has injected about $ 9 bn to strengthen its investment in power , roads and railway in the past two years.

“The government is also investing in the social investment programme to promote human capital development , which has benefitted over nine million people. These programmes include our home – grown school feeding programme that is providing one meal a day to 7 . 4 million pupils in 22 states of the federation.

“There is also the Conditional Cash Transfer under which some 297, 973 poor homes are receiving N 5 , 000 monthly . The government is also providing public safety and security to all Nigerians , investors and tourists . Government is also investing a lot of resources in building the inventory of equipment and capacity of security agencies to keep the country safe .

“Nigeria is a country with a population of over 180 million people and over 250 ethnic groups , each with a unique story , and these stories are finding
expression in our movies , music and many other creative ideas. The importance of tourism and its potential to national economies cannot be overemphasised.”

Reps Summon Buhari Over Benue Herdsmen Killings

President Muhammadu Buhari has been summoned by the House of Representatives.

The President was summoned on Wednesday over incessant killings in the country.

He was summoned during plenary on Wednesday.

The lawmakers asked the president to appear before them to give reasons for the killings and to brief them on the security situation in the country.

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: