Adesina Highlights APC’s Successes

President Muhammadu Buhari and the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP were yesterday engaged in a war of words over the achievements of the All Progressives Congress administration.

While President Buhari beat his chest in posting successes in food supply, security and the economy, his aides marshaled what were described as 17 key achievements of the administration in the outgoing year. President Buhari The president and the APC administration were, however, put on the spot by the PDP which charged the government not to make any new promises at the beginning of the New Year, 2018 saying that the government had failed to keep to the promises it made in the past.

The PDP particularly cited what it claimed as failed promises of bringing down fuel supply, making the naira to exchange for one dollar and what it described as the failed promises of providing security to the nook and cranny of the country. The PDP which responded through its National Publicity Secretary, Mr. Kola Ologbondinyan said the achievements were the figment of the imagination as they existed nowhere saying the outgoing year is easily the worst year of hardship for most Nigerians.

Speaking when he received a delegation from Kebbi State led by Governor Atiku Bagudu, President Buhari while blaming the elite class for earlier trying to distract his administration said: “We are not doing badly in the agricultural sector and Nigerians, and the world, are beginning to appreciate our efforts. We will not be satisfied; we will work harder until we start exporting food.

“We are happy that rice and beans importation into the country have gone down by 90 per cent, and visibly everyone can see how productive states like Kebbi have turned out to be and states like Lagos, Ogun and Ebonyi are following the example,” he said. He said Kaduna, Katsina and Sokoto states had already reported remarkable turnaround in the agricultural sector, with more youths taking interest in entrepreneurship.

Blames elites The President said he disagreed with the astronomical food import bill presented by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) from the inception of the administration, pointing out that it was later discovered to be “fraudulent practices” by some of the elites to deplete the foreign reserves. “When I was told that the CBN had no savings after the windfall of selling oil for more than $100 per barrel for many years, and the production was 2.1 billion barrel per day, I did not believe them. “I did not believe them because majority of Nigerians cannot afford imported food; they rely on what is locally grown. It turned out that 50 per cent of the export bills were fraudulent. That is what the Nigerian elites did.

Unfortunately, we will not know all that happened because the elites worked in collusion with institutions in developed countries, like insurance firms and other financial outfits, to perpetuate the fraud,” he added. On security, President Buhari said the return of farmers to their farm lands in the North East, with glaring results of high yields, was a testimony to the relative peace that had been achieved. He assured that more would be done to check the mayhem of suicide attacks.

The President said his administration would put in more effort to reposition the educational and health sectors to compete with other global institutions. In his remarks, the Kebbi State Governor, Atiku Bagudu said the APC family was pleased with the performance of the administration in securing the country, reviving the economy and fighting corruption. Bagudu and members of the delegation, which include the Minister of Justice and Attorney General of the Federation, Abubakar Malami and former PDP stalwarts in Kebbi State, also prayed for the quick recovery of the President’s son, Yusuf.

Earlier yesterday, President Buhari’s Special Adviser on Media and Publicity, Mr. Femi Adesina had posted what he claimed as the 17 key achievements of the administration.

He said: *Nigeria exited its worst recession in decades. After five quarters of negative growth, the economy bounced back into positive territory. Agriculture was one of the stars of 2017, posting consistent growth levels even throughout the recession.
Also, Inflation fell for ten consecutive months during 2017 (February to November).
*The Naira stabilised against the dollar, after the Central Bank introduced a new forex window for Investors and Exporters. The stability has attracted billions of dollars in portfolio investments since April 2017.

*On the back of a stable Naira and increased investment inflows, Nigeria’s stock market emerged one of the best-performing in the world, delivering returns in excess of 40 percent. *Nigeria saw bumper food harvests, especially in rice, whose local production continues to rise significantly (States like Ebonyi, Kebbi, Kano leading the pack, with Ogun joining at the end of 2017).
The price of a 50kg bag of rice – a staple in the country – has fallen by about 30 percent since the beginning of 2017, as local production has gone up.

*The Federal Government launched a 701 billion Naira Intervention Fund (‘Payment Assurance Programme’) aimed at supporting power generation companies to meet their payment obligations to gas and equipment suppliers, banks and other partners. The impact is being felt, the amount of power being distributed is now currently steady at around 4,000MW – higher than previously recorded. *The Federal Government began paying pensions to police officers who were granted Presidential pardon in 2000 after serving in the former Biafran Police during the Nigerian Civil War. These officers, and their next of kin, have waited for their pensions for 17 years since the Presidential pardon.

*Nigeria rose 24 places on the World Bank’s Ease of Doing Business rankings, and earned a place on the List of Top 10 Reformers in the world.

*Nigeria’s foreign exchange reserves grew by $12 billion, reaching the highest level since 2014. Nigeria also added, this year, an additional $250m to its Sovereign Wealth Fund. Also, Nigeria’s trade balance crossed over into surplus territory, from a deficit in 2016.

*Nigeria successfully issued two Eurobonds (US$4.5bn), a Sukuk Bond (100 billion Naira), a Diaspora Bond (US$300m), and the first Sovereign Climate Bond in Africa, raising billions of dollars for infrastructure spending. *The Federal Government launched a Tax Amnesty scheme expected to raise hundreds of millions of dollars in additional revenues when it closes in March 2018.

*The Federal Government successfully commenced implementation of a Whistleblowing Programme that has so far seen recoveries of tens of millions of dollars.

*The Social Investment Programme – Nigeria’s most ambitious social welfare programme ever – rolled out across dozens of states. (Currently, 5.2 million primary school children in 28,249 schools in 19 states are being fed daily; 200,000 unemployed graduated enlisted into the Npower Job Scheme, and a quarter of a million loans already distributed to artisans, traders, and farmers).

*The number of Nigerians facing food insecurity in the northeast dropped by half, according to the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO).

*The Nigeria Customs Service recorded its highest-ever revenue collection, crossing the One Trillion Naira (N1,000,000,000) mark. [The target for 2017 was 770 billion Naira (N770,573,730,490); 2016 Collection was just under 900 billion (N898,673,857,431.07)]

*The Joint Admissions and Matriculations Board (JAMB), under the new management appointed by President Buhari in 2016, remitted 7.8 billion Naira to the coffers of the Federal Government. The total amount remitted by JAMB between 2010 and 2016 was 51 million Naira.

*2017 was also the Year of Nigeria’s Agriculture Revolution, embodied by the successes of the Presidential Fertiliser Initiative (PFI) and the Anchor Borrowers Programme. More than a dozen moribund fertilizer blending plants were revived under the PFI this year. *Finally, 2017 will be the Year that laid the foundation for a 2018 that will be Nigeria’s Year of Infrastructure. A number of important infrastructure projects, in power, rail and road, are scheduled to come on-stream or inch close to completion next year. PDP reacts Reacting to the 17 achievements, Ologbondiyan said: “These supposed achievements are figments of their imagination as they exist nowhere. 2017 will be remembered as the worst year of hardship in the lives of several Nigerians. “The APC-controlled Federal Government is too far from reality to understand the economic pains of Nigerians.” Earlier, the PDP had advised the APC Federal Government not to issue any new promises charging the government to fulfil those it issued in the past which it claimed were largely unfulfilled. The party said Nigerians had been left dispirited by the litany of woes visited on them in the past two years by the APC government, stressing that it would be the height of irresponsibility on the part of government to spew another round of propaganda and false hope in the name of New Year messages. In a statement issued by the National Publicity Secretary,Ologbondiyan, the party queried: “What else would they tell Nigerians apart from inventing new lies and propaganda as they had always done, particularly at the turn of each New Year? “Every New Year, since 2016, the APC and its federal government have been reeling out heaps of promises which they had no intentions to fulfil. Now they are warming up to reel out fresh ones in January 2018. “What is the need of a New Year message from APC government when it would be replete with propaganda? What is the need of their yearly assurances when the only thing we see is an arrogant and incompetent government plunging the nation into economic recession and visiting the citizens with the worst forms of untold hardship? “What seriousness should any Nigerian attach to a government that takes governance for granted, puts off its federal executive meeting at the slightest whims and blame imaginary invasion of its offices by rats for the inability to meet required statutory functions? “What else should Nigerians expect from a government that promised massive employments only to render 7.74 million Nigerians jobless between 2016 and September 2017; with combined unemployment and underemployment rate hitting 40.0% as declared by the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS)?” The party further mocked government monetary policy, adding that it failed to keep faith with pledges made to the Nigerian people. “This is the same APC that promised to deliver naira exchange at N1 to 1USD but ended up wrecking the currency from N160-N170 to a scandalous N350-N400; the same party and its government promised to reduce the price of fuel only for it to rise from where the PDP left it at N86.50 to N300-N400 per litre. “What do we expect from a government that so devastated the economy in 2017 that Nigerians were forced to turn to Ponzi schemes like the Mavrodi Mundial Movement (MMM) for survival only for an estimated three million of them to lose about N18 billion in the process. “The APC misrule literarily turned 2017 into a harvest of woes; hunger, disease, violence, and deaths while the nation is now being pummelled by ethnic and religious agitations and attendant violence in all parts of the country,” it noted. The statement stressed that “Measured against all key performance indicators, the APC controlled federal government has fallen below the expectations of Nigerians. “Painfully, instead of channelling the nation’s resources for the good of the citizens, the “zero corruption” federal government is busy providing cover for APC interests who are diverting public funds through padded budgets, multi-billion dollars secret oil subsidy regimes, illegal lifting of crude using unregistered APC fronts, pillaging of Nigeria’s foreign reserves, diverting of funds meant for fight against insurgency and rehabilitation of Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) in the northeast; and attempts to steal $1bn from the Excess Crude Account (ECA).”

Buhari Advocates Mechanism For Stranded ECOWAS Citizens

The President made the call at the opening of the 52nd ordinary session of ECOWAS Authority of Heads of State and Government held in Abuja on Saturday.

President Muhammadu Buhari has advocated regional mechanism for evacuation, resettlement and empowerment of stranded ECOWAS citizens abroad.

He said the mechanism, when functional, would assist in addressing the menace of irregular migration by citizens of ECOWAS member countries.

According to him, such mechanism will also address constant threat of violent terrorist groups in the region.

He enjoined ECOWAS leaders to step up dialogue with their European partners to jointly address the challenge, which he said had affected all.

He added that “in view of the enormity of this challenge, I suggest that we look into the possibility of putting in place a well-run regional mechanism for the evacuation, resettlement and empowerment of stranded ECOWAS citizens abroad.

“We should also step up dialogue with our European partners to jointly address this challenge which affect us all.

“The long term solutions to these challenges are to create conditions for peace and security in our countries and ensure sustainable development of our economies.

“Only through this can we create jobs and other conditions in which our youths will have little or no excuse to embark on the suicidal venture of irregular migration.”

Buhari said there was growing reluctance from the region’s development partners to be more proactive in support of the regional efforts, stressing, however, that the region’s shared challenges made it imperative for intensified
cooperation.

The President revealed that Nigeria, in collaboration with International Organisation for Migration (IOM) had since commenced the evacuation of its stranded citizens abroad.

He noted that already he had instructed the National Emergency Management Agency to speed up evacuation of all Nigerians stranded in Libya and facilitate their resettlement.

He added that “in collaboration with the IOM, we in Nigeria, have been evacuating our compatriots stranded in Libya.

“Returnees have been receiving the needed support, including from state governments and some Non-Governmental Organisations.’’

On situation in Liberia, Buhari saluted the people of that country for the manner in which they conducted themselves during and in the aftermath of the just concluded general elections.

He expressed the hope that the same attitude would prevail in the coming run-off election scheduled to hold on Dec. 26, and a new president inaugurated in January, 2018 as per the provision of the country’s Constitution.

He commended the out-going President of Liberia, Mrs Ellen Sirleaf-Johnson, for the leadership she demonstrated in the electoral process.

The President, however, appealed to the people of Togo to continue to embrace dialogue in efforts to resolve their political differences.

He urged the Togolese Government to widen the space for dialogue and mediation.

On Guinea-Bissau, Buhari noted with concern that the continued political deadlock was taking a toll on the people, on good governance and the resources of member states, particularly troops from contributing countries to the ECOWAS Mission in Guinea Bissau.

He urged stakeholders in Guinea Bissau to respect their undertakings in plans to resolve the political impasse.

The Chairperson of ECOWAS Commission, Moussa Mahamat, said terrorism had continued to bereave many parts of the continent, including West Africa where the phenomenon was associated with all forms of crime, the circulation of illicit weapons, drugs and human trafficking.

He, however, lauded the efforts of the Multinational Joint Task Force against Boko Haram in the Lake Chad Basin for the restoration of peace, protection of communities and rehabilitation of ravaged areas.

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.

Omokri Says President Buhari Is Aware Of Maina’s Recall

The former Special Adviser on New Media to ex-President Goodluck Jonathan, Reno Omokri, has alleged that President Muhammadu Buhari was aware of the reinstatement of ex-head of the Presidential Task Force on Pension Reforms, Abdulrasheed Maina, into the Federal civil service.

Omokri maintained that there is no way the former Pension boss was reinstated and given a “plum position” without Buhari’s approval.

In a post on his Facebook wall, the former Presidential aide insisted that both Buhari and the All Progressives Congress, APC, “just deceived Nigerians and installed a government of the corrupt, for the corrupt and by the corrupt.”

He wrote: “Even if President Muhammadu Buhari devalued the Naira, did he also devalue your brain?

“How can you believe that Maina returned, was reinstated and given such a plum position without his say so?

“How can you believe that the EFCC did not know the address of his $2 million house before yesterday?

“The question the should be asking is this: Did the Buhari administration sacrifice Maina to the press and Nigerians to divert attention from the alleged $25 billion scam at NNPC?

“Whatever the answer, we now know that Buhari and the APC just deceived Nigerians and installed a government of the corrupt, for the corrupt and by the corrupt. Curroptocracy!”

ECOWAS: Buhari Cautions Against Single Currency

The President of the Federation Muhamadu Buhari has urged ECOWAS member countries to tread carefully in pushing for a single currency in the sub-region by 2020, drawing attention to the challenges faced by the European Union in realising the same goal.

Buhari said in a speech he delivered on Tuesday in Niamey, Niger, at the 4th Meeting of the Presidential Task Force on the ECOWAS Currency Programme, he said the necessary economic fundamentals among countries continue to differ over the years, making it more difficult to pull through with the project by 2020.

He said: “Nigeria advises that we proceed cautiously with the integration agenda, taking into consideration the above concerns and the lessons currently unfolding in the European Union. To that end, Nigeria will caution against any position that pushes for a fast-track approach to monetary union, while neglecting fundamentals and other pertinent issues.”

President Buhari noted that some of the obstacles to realising the roadmap for the implementation of a single currency include diverse and uncertain macroeconomic fundamentals of many countries, unrealistic inflation targeting based on flexible exchange rate regime and inconsistency with the African Monetary Co-operation Programme.

The President said domestic issues in ECOWAS member countries relating to their constitutions and dependence on aids continue to affect the framework for implementing the single currency in the sub-region.

He added: “Although the ECOWAS Commission has anchored its pursuit of the new impetus to monetary integration on “the information presented to the Heads of State which were the basis for their recommendations”, we are concerned that we have not properly articulated and analyzed a comprehensive picture of the state of preparedness of individual countries for monetary integration in ECOWAS by 2020.

“In previous meetings, we had specifically raised observations on the state of preparedness of the member states, the credibility of the union if anchored on watered down criteria, and the continuing disparities between macroeconomic conditions in ECOWAS countries, amongst others. And I would like to reiterate this concerns.’’

The President told the Heads of State that the conditions that pushed Nigeria into withdrawing from the process in the past had not changed.

According to him, “Nigeria had earlier withdrawn from the process because its key questions and concerns were ignored and till date, none of the issues has come up as an agenda issue to be considered by the Taskforce. Consequently, the Roadmap which did not involve widespread consultation with national stakeholders is not sufficiently inclusive.”

Going forward with the project, President Buhari suggested a thorough review of the convergence roadmap and the constitution of an expert committee on each of the subject areas to come up with the acceptable time frame, defined cost and funding sources identified.

He further said: “This should also consider stakeholders such as the Ministries of Finance, Customs, Parliamentary groups, Tax Authorities, Immigration authorities to achieve comprehensiveness.”

The President said there should be a push towards ratification and domestication of legal instruments and related protocols, while fiscal, trade and monetary policies and statistical systems, which had not gone far, could be harmonised.

President Buhari noted that the West African Economic and Monetary Union (UEMOA) countries should make a presentation on a clear roadmap towards delinking from the French Treasury.

He also advised an examination of the African Union position on the same issue, which the African Central Bank Governors, in line with the African Union programme of monetary convergence, recommended a convergence deadline of 2034 for the establishment of Regional Central Banks in all sub-regions.

In his remarks, the President of the ECOWAS Commission, Marcel Alain de Souza, said the single currency for the West African sub-region was a laudable and historical project, but regretted that it had taken too long to be actualized.

The President said the creation of a Central Bank for the West Coast would accelerate the process.

He noted that Nigeria constitutes more than 70 percent of the GDP of the West African region, with a population of 180 million, and would play a significant role in facilitating the process of realising a single currency for the sub-region.

“Buhari’s Second Term Will Strengthen Nigeria” – Yahaya Bello

The Governor of Kogi state Yahaya Bello has reiterated the determination of the people of the state and Nigerians, in general, to ensure President Muhammadu Buhari continues at the Presidency beyond 2019.

Gov. Yahaya Bello Bello said Buhari remains the unbeatable candidate for the APC and must be elected to continue his good works for the country.

“We are a Democratic Party who will do everything within the ambience of the rule of law.

But we cannot forget that our party has the most respected, the most popular and the most incorrigible material in the person of President Muhammadu Buhari.

“All over the world, his name represents anti-corruption, transparency and good governance. We cannot jettison such a global brand. “It is true that many people are concerned about his health.

President Buhari is now fit to continue to unsettle the forces of corruption who think four years are enough for people to forget the pains their corruption brought on our people. help strengthen our institutions of governance and assure our nation of a greater tomorrow“.

Bello who stated this through a statement by his Director General, Media and Publicity, Kingsley Fanwo urged APC leaders to speak with one voice and remain united in order to continue to push the nation toward greatness, “

“Ambitions are normal in politics. But the Nigerian project is far more important than the interest of individuals. Our party leaders will continue to act in unison for the prosperity of Nigeria”.

The Governor also called for understanding over the President’s call for development attention in the North-East, said it is a normal post-war advocacy, “The insurgency and the war against the enemies of our nation really devastated the North-East.

A good number of schools and other public institutions were destroyed. It is therefore not out of place for the President to call on the World Bank to help rebuild the battered region.

“President Muhammadu Buhari is not a sectional leader. He would have done same for any battered region in Nigeria. Leaders of influence must continue to promote speeches that will enhance our unity rather than divide us.”

 

Boko Haram: Jordan Donates 200 Military Vehicles To Nigeria

The Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari has hailed the King of Jordan for donating 200 Armoured Fighting vehicles to Nigeria and pledging to follow up with helicopters supply to fight terrorism and Boko Haram insurgency.The president revealed the gesture when he met with the king at a bilateral meeting after addressing the 72nd Session of the United Nations General Assembly on Tuesday.

Buhari revealed the gesture when he met with the king at a bilateral meeting after addressing the 72nd Session of the United Nations General Assembly on Tuesday.

He thanked the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan for its support to Nigeria’s campaign against terrorism and insurgency noting that the gesture ““reflects true concern for Nigeria’s security situation and genuine goodwill towards a friendly nation.

President Buhari also reassured King Abdullah of Nigeria’s commitment towards the proposed Aqaba Process with countries in the region as well as Nigeria’s willingness to play a leading role in bringing together countries in the West African sub-region into this collective security arrangement.

The President pledged Nigeria’s continued desire for enhanced bilateral ties with the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan.

The Jordanian King had earlier informed the Nigerian President that his Government was in the process of opening an embassy in Abuja in the next few months, and appreciated the support being extended to his country by the Nigerian government in this regard.

He told President Buhari that his National Security Adviser would soon be working out the finer details of the Aqaba Process with his Nigerian counterpart.

Jordan’s donation is in fulfillment of the pledged of a hand of friendship, cooperation and support for Nigeria in its fight against terrorism and insurgency made by the king soon after President Buhari took office in 2015.

Presidential spokesman, Femi Adesina recalled that resulted in the National Security Adviser undertaking two visits to Jordan to follow up on issues previously discussed with the King, and the donation of military hardware and pledge of further support.

He said these gestures are aimed at enhancing Nigeria’s operational capabilities in the fight against terror both within the country and the Lake Chad Basin which affects neighboring Cameroon, Chad, and Niger where the Multinational Joint Task Force is engaging the Boko Haram insurgents and terrorists.

According to the presidential aide, the National Security Adviser’s second trip to Jordan on the invitation of the King in January 2016 to attend the 3rd Aqaba Process, also resulted in a renewed commitment between the two countries to consider multilateral action in confronting the menace of terrorism by replicating the Aqaba arrangement which the Kingdom of Jordan has with East African countries battling protracted terrorist menace.

He said Nigeria has agreed to work with countries in the region on a similar arrangement with Jordan. It is anticipated that the first Aqaba Process for Nigeria and sister countries within the sub-region with Jordan will be held in late November or early December 2017.

President Buhari was accompanied to the bilateral meeting, the third of its kind since the inception of the current administration, by the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Mr Geoffrey Onyeama, the National Security Adviser (NSA), Major General Babagana Monguno (Rtd), and Nigeria’s Permanent Representative to the United Nations, Professor Tijjani Bande.

Source: Tribune

Buhari’s Daughter Looking Stunning In New Photo

The President Muhammadu Buhari’s daughter Zahara Buhari-Indimi has caught the public with a new photo, looking stunning with her pink hair tie and a black long dress.

The newly wedded daughter of the President who got married to Ahmed Indimi has taken a cute picture looking pretty