Embrace Farming, Agric is Our Future, Buhari Charges Youths

President Muhammadu Buhari has called on both educated and uneducated Nigerian youths to embrace farming in order to earn respect for themselves.

According to a statement by his Senior Special Assistant on Media and Publicity, Garba Shehu, the President said this on Monday at the Blair House, Washington DC after his White House engagements with the United States’ President, Donald Trump.

He was said to have spoken at a meeting with the Chief Executive Officers of six American agricultural companies and their Nigerian counterparts including Aliko Dangote and John Coumantaros.

The President restated his call on Nigerian youths to seize opportunities in agriculture, a sector of the economy he said was already proving to be the bedrock of the nation’s new economy.

He said the country must help the youths to plan their future and urged them to explore opportunities easily accessible in agriculture because, as he said, “agriculture is the future.”

While stressing that planning in Nigeria must take into consideration the factors of climate change and a burgeon youth population, Buhari also promised the support of his administration in the promotion of skill development, innovation and entrepreneurship among the young population.

He said, “We realised, rather belatedly that we ought to have been investing in agriculture. We are now aiming at food security because of our large population.

“Our youths, the ones who have gone to school and even those that have not, should go to the farm, to earn respect for themselves.

“Agriculture is providing jobs for millions of our citizens and we are doing well towards the attainment of food security and jobs.

“The media may not appreciate the work we are doing but we will shock them by the success we are recording.”

Buhari welcomed several investment proposals being put in place by the Americans and their Nigerian counterparts.

Among those brought up for discussions were the three million tons fertiliser by Dangote, the largest in Africa coming on stream in July, to be followed by another one to produce 1.4 million tons of the commodity; a large-scale modern seed production company, and weed and pest management and chemicals products companies by the Americans.

2019 Elections: Buhari Receives Support from UK Based Nigerians

It has been gathered that the President, Muhammadu Buhari has received support from some Nigerians resident in the United Kingdom. The supporters on Friday, converged in front of the Nigerian High Commission in London, to rally in support of President Muhammadu Buhari.

The President is resetting the country on the part of growth and development, Mr. Stephen Kifordu, from Delta State who is the leader of the group, said on Friday.

He said there is no credible alternative to Buhari and Vice President Yemi Osinbajo in the 2019 election noting that the group represents the aspiration of many Nigerians who want progress for Nigeria.

Kifordu said Nigeria is attractive to investors because of Buhari’s fight against corruption in the country.

He claimed that the previous administration gave room for rot and corrupt activities.

“We have a President in Nigeria that people can look at and trust that “If I invest in Nigeria, my investment will not be stolen.

“When we talk of security, he has done security in terms of Boko Haram and in terms of the Niger Delta,” he said.

Explaining further how President Buhari is ‘resetting’ the country, Kifordu said it is the primary role of the police and not the military to protect Nigerian citizens and President Buhari is enforcing this.

“The Police is the number one organisation that takes care of our security. It is only when we are under attack that the military comes in.

“In past years, we have seen the issue when the military jumps on board without paying regard to the police. Then suddenly when something happens in Nigeria, Mr President says deploy the police, people are saying don’t deploy the police.

“President Buhari is re-ordering up, he is resetting our country. He is bringing us back to the way things should be.”

This support rally came exactly a day after a group of people bearing Biafran flags staged a protest in front of the Commonwealth House in Westminister, London.

The demonstration took place as President Buhari and other leaders of the Commonwealth nations meet on Thursday.

Some of the protesters were seen carrying banners bear inscriptions of Biafra while others are calling for a referendum.

President Buhari on Thursday attended the Executive Session of the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM) in the United Kingdom.

The meeting, which held at the Lancaster House in London, was declared open by Queen Elizabeth II.

Buhari Hails Film Maker Tunde Kilani For Preserving Culture In His Works

President Muhammadu Buhari through his Special Adviser on Media & Publicity Femi Adesina, hailed renowned film maker, producer and photographer Tunde Kilani, for his efforts to preserving the heritage and culture of Nigeria in his works.

The Statement read;

“The president joins the media and entertainment industry in congratulating renowned movie producer, filmmaker and photographer, Tunde Kelani, on his 70th birthday.

“Buhari felicitates with all family members, friends, professional colleagues and the teeming fans of the artiste, who started out as a journalist before mastering the art of storytelling through the stage and tube, and rising steadily to become one Nigeria’s foremost directors and producers in Nollywood.

“The President commends Kelani’s uncanny story telling skills and his ability to breathe life into scripts and translate literature to movies, thereby enhancing understanding of the rich cultural heritage of the country and consistently updating the narrative of a unified and progressive nation.

“As the ace producer turns a septuagenarian, President Buhari believes the rising profile of the Nigerian film industry around the world testifies to the hard work, creativity and passion of artistes like Kelani, who toiled earnestly to attract global viewership, recognition and awards.

“The President affirms that Kelani, through sacrifice, discipline and diligence, has contributed immensely to national development, especially his mentoring of younger Nigerians in the film industry.

“President Buhari prays that God will bless Kelani with good health and strength to continue in his noble trade,” he wrote.


On Buhari and Tinubu: ‘If you love me love my dog’

The Hausas say ‘ba’a neman kare ranar farauta’; -which is that you do not wait till the day of hunt to look for the dog of hunt. And worse still if the ‘dog’ you look for is the one you have neglected since after the last successful hunt. Because by then such a ‘canine’ may have either grown frail and weary from physical neglect, Or, it may, in fact, have grown sated with grudge and resentment –from the bitterness of neglect. Thus one way or another, the next hunt is threatened, either by physical inability, or yet by the malevolence of unforgiving mind. But luckily dogs alone are the most un-likely ever to harbour a malevolent spirit. Dogs do not become malevolent even to their un-kind masters. Or so said the Austrian zoologist, Konrad Lorenz  that: “There is no faith which has never yet been broken, except that of a truly faithful dog.”

And so in a sense, the parable makers are not altogether right: you can in fact look for a ‘dog of hunt’ even on the ‘day of the hunt’, provided only that the dog has not grown frail and weary from physical neglect. Because then it may not be able to hunt. And this is exactly what the President, Muhammadu Buhari is now doing, seeking out his Party’s Leader the Asiwaju, Bola Ahmed Tinubu only when the political hunting fields have started buzzing with the braying and snorting of fresh games. It is amazing that Mr. President still trusts in the hunting prowess of the Party’s once neglected ‘greyhound’. That Buhari believes Tinubu has still neither grown frail and weary from political neglect, nor has he grown sated with grudge and resentment, is quite interesting to know. Ant it appears with these two (Buhari and Tinubu), just when you think you have known them enough, you are just starting to know them: if you think that Buhari is the veritable ungrateful political ‘hunter’ who seeks out his hound only on the day of the hunt, then you should know that Tinubu is the quintessential faithful canine who has his eyes always on the game of hunt and not on the hunter.

Tinubu is both an excellent political ‘dog of hunt’ and a smart, puny little ‘dog tail’ all rolled up in one. He knows exactly when to play the happy-tail-wagging spaniel. But he knows also how, even as the lone Alsatian of his ruling party, to sometimes tactfully allow himself to be wagged by the puny, little ‘tail’. The moral being ‘wag when you have to wag, and be wagged when you have to be wagged’! With Tinubu, both roles are aptly in the political detail –always. Knowing when and how to stoop to conquer. And knowing when and why sometimes to grandstand to overcome. For as they say, “you cannot teach an old dog new tricks”. Interestingly, there is not a whimper anywhere, now that the Jagaban is re-confirmed as the only Hercules capable of cleansing the Party’s Augean Stable. There is no objection from any quarters. The objections will come only after the Asiwaju has cleansed the    slimy Stable  and has set up the dinner table. Then in unison they’ll rise to show how he is not gifted in the art of culinary dishing. But you see there is no ‘night’, the Hausas say, any bleaker than a bat has always known.

Tinubu has seen it all.  Above all, he has fathered a peaceful political revolution in Nigeria, which has not only shattered the myth of the invincibility of incumbency power, but which has also saved the nation from the malignance of a ruinous era bent on balkanising our country. Yet, he was assailed thereafter even by upstarts beautified by the political feathers that he had woven. Did they not say that he was the leader? The courageous Jagaban? The one who led from the front? And did he not lead them from the front? Selflessly investing his time, his energy and his  resources? Did we not see, from the pre-natal stages, the singular efforts of Tinubu corralling several ideological eggs into one political embryo, to give life to a new mega-party around which both progressives  and even  repentant fascists for the first time cooperated, to enact the parting of our political Red Sea? Did Tinubu not traverse the length and breadth of this country, building strong bridges of geo-ethnic and geo-political consensus? Did Tinubu not put his life on the line to take on a desperate PDP incumbency? But just after he had set the political dinner table, did we not see them all turn vultures and hyenas against the Jagaban?  Did they not say that although he was an excellent political chef, yet Tinubu was not to be trusted to dish from the table that he had set? Did they not say that he wanted to install a puppet leadership for the legislature. Well then, he was prevented from installing  a ‘puppet’ leadership for the legislature. But did the ‘change-era’ that his revolution midwife eventually get the kind of legislature that it deserved?

The Hausas say ‘wanda ya qi sharan masallaci, ba zai qi sharan kasuwa ba’: who will not sweep a place of worship, will soon scrub the market place. But they also say that ‘angulu bata san kudin doki ba’ –meaning ‘the vulture does not know the price of a horse’. But it knows best how to feed from its carcass. Every dog they say has his day. And now they are coming back to where it all started. From the Jagaban. The Path-finder. They might as well name him what the Yorubas call ‘Aboaba’ -the one to whom all rebels must turn.

The APC edifice is an axial structure. And whether or not they like it, Tinubu continues to remain the crooked-looking head-corner-stone that has been keeping it from crumbling. The opposition has done all that it can to pull the Tinubu carpet off the feet of Buhari’s APC. They have cajoled and they have lobbied. They have blackmailed and they have intimidated. They have name-dropped and they have even appropriated his hallowed mouth to chew political garlic. They have given this ‘dog’ every bad name in the book, to hang it. They have failed. The Tinubu dog will not run with the hare and then hunt with the hounds. The patient dog they say, eats the fattest bone. But come to think of it between Buhari and Tinubu there is no ‘dog’ and there is no ‘hunter’. They are each other’s dog and they are each other’s ‘hunter’. Now’s the time for Tinubu to play Buhari’s ‘dog of hunt’: by corralling all the APC herd into one grazing reserve, for the President. On election day, Tinubu will be the ‘hunter’, while Buhari on the ballot will be his veritable ‘hunt dog’-to win the vote. So now, if you ever thought Buhari and Tinubu are like ‘chalk and cheese’, immixable, you are dead wrong. They have always been  like ‘gin and lime’ –inseparable. And their political message has always been one: ‘if you love me, love my dog’.

Security Chiefs Keep Mum After Meeting Buhari, Osinbajo

President Muhammadu Buhari again on Monday met the nation’s security chiefs in what was believed to be part of efforts aimed at curtailing the security challenges being witnessed across the country.

The meeting, which was also attended by Vice-President Yemi Osinbajo, was held at the Presidential Villa, Abuja.

The Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Boss Mustapha; Minister of Defence, Mansur Dan-Ali; Minister of Interior, Abdulrahman Dambazau; Minister of Foreign Affairs, Geoffrey Onyeama; and the National Security Adviser, Maj.-Gen. Babagana Monguno (retd), also attended.

It was held amidst concerns over the spate of killings by people suspected to be herdsmen in some parts of the country, and abductions in other parts.

The meeting was an extended one, as the number of participants was extended to accommodate the heads of the Nigerian Immigration Service, Nigeria Customs Service, Nigeria Fire Service, Federal Road Safety Commission, Nigeria Prisons Service and the Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps.

These are apart from the service chiefs and the Inspector-General of Police, Ibrahim Idris, who meet with the President regularly.

Service chiefs who attended the meeting included the Chief of Defence Staff, Gen. Gabriel Olonisakin; Chief of Army Staff, Lt.-Gen. Tukur Buratai; Chief of Naval Staff, Ibok-Ete Ekwe Ibas; and the Chief of Air Staff, Sadique Abubakar.

Others are the Director-General of the Department of State Services, Lawal Daura; and the Director-General of the Nigeria Intelligence Agency, Ahmed Abubakar.

None of those who attended the meeting was willing to speak with State House correspondents when approached for comments at the end of the meeting.

As of the time of filing this report, the Presidency has yet to issue an official statement on the meeting.

It will be recalled that the DSS had, on Saturday, briefed Buhari on the negotiations that led to the release of three University of Maiduguri lecturers abducted by suspected Boko Haram terrorists in Magumeri, Borno State and 10 women kidnapped in a raid by the militant group on a military/police convoy on Damboa Road, near Maiduguri.

Following the briefing, the President had urged the DSS and the Nigerian Army to intensify efforts to bring home the remaining Chibok Girls still in the custody of the terrorists.

A statement by the Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity, Garba Shehu, had read in part, “The President, who got step-by-step progress reports on the lengthy negotiations while they took place, received the good news with a lot of happiness.

“He commended all those who, in one way or the other, helped in making the release possible.

“He then urged the DSS and the Nigerian Army to intensify efforts to bring home the remaining Chibok girls still in the custody of the terrorists.

“The Director-General of the DSS, Lawal Daura, assured the President that they were working hard to bring home the remaining girls and, as soon as possible, bring the Chibok girls’ saga to an end.”

Northern Elders Set-up Committee To Seek Consensus Presidential Candidate

Taking measures to produce a consensus presidential candidate for the 2019 elections, some elders of the north have also constituted some committees to find solutions to the challenges facing the region.

A committee is to be set up to search and present a consensus candidate for the 2019 presidential election.

The meeting was president over by leader of the Northern Elders Forum, Alhaji Tanko Yakassai, on Saturday in Abuja.

The select elders discussed other strategies for reaching an accord and the adoption of the consensus candidate.

According to Punch, others at the meeting were a former National Chairman of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP), Dr. Bello Mohammed; a former Deputy Senate President, Sen. Ibrahim Mantu, and Senator Paul Zannan.

Prof. Ango Abdullahi spokesperson of the Northern Elders Forum
Prof. Ango Abdullahi spokesperson of the Northern Elders Forum
Others are a former governor of Niger State, Dr. Babangida Aliyu; Senator Bala Mande; Senator Solomon Ewuga; a former Vice-Chancellor of the Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria, Prof. Ango Abdullahi; a former governor of Sokoto State, Alhaji Attahiru Bafarawa; a prominent lawyer, Prof. Awwal Yadudu, and Alhaji Bala Mohammed.

“Our main preoccupation is how to unite the North to relate better with the rest of Nigeria on a common ground.

“We are a political group but non-partisan (almost) all political parties were here, we are fighting for unity of the country we are not having anybody in mind, we want to have a common purpose,” Yakassai said.

Mohammed, a former Minister of Defence, said the forum was convened “after due consideration of the current political situation in the country.”

A communiqué issued at the end of the meeting, reveals that they also set up a committee to look at the desirability or otherwise of the restructuring of Nigeria.

They said this was to commemorate the attainment of self-government of the Northern region in 1959.

Source: Punch

Obasano’s Agenda Is A Selfish Agenda To Bring Disunity- Arewa Youths

The Arewa Youth Assembly (AYA) have reacted to actions of former President Olusegun Obasanjo as a way to bring about disunity in the federation.

Recall that OBJ wrote a letter to President Muhammadu Buhari advising him to stop his thoughts of a second term and stating the situations of things in the country. This letter

AYA in a statement signed by its Speaker, Mohammed Salihu, reiterated its rejection of Obasanjo’s Coalition for New Nigeria (CNM), describing it as a selfish agenda created to cause disunity among Nigerians and accusing OBJ of killing the principle of internal democracy in the country.

“It is obvious that OBJ has made himself the Nigerian landlord; it is either you dance to his tune or be chased out but the beauty of Democracy is that power lies with the people and we are the people. We will decide who govern us.

“In 1999 when the then President Obasanjo was elected on a national consensus on the platform of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), there were a lot of expectations from Nigerians, haven come out of a dictatorship from the hands of the military.

“People were anxious to be part of a new form of governance only for such expectations to be cut short with yet another form of dictatorial leadership under Obasanjo.

“Former President Obasanjo assumed a form of a god; only his wishes were sacred. Those who opposed to his antics were sacked or silenced; internally party democracy became endangered; lawlessness became lawful if blessed by the powerful OBJ. Since that time till date, internal democracy in Nigeria has not regained consciousness,” the group said.


Babangida Denies Advising Buhari Against 2019

Former military ruler, Ibrahim Babangida has denied reports that he called on President Muhammadu Buhari not to seek re-election in 2019, instead describing the statement as the personal views of the writer and not IBB’s.

Babangida said that “as former President and Statesman, I have unfettered channel of communication with the highest authorities without sensational public correspondence

“I am a realist that believes in all issues in a democratic atmosphere are sincerely discussed and resolved in the spirit of give and take.

“I always have one clear objective that freedom can only be achieved through democracy. Some people find this freedom as an avenue for eroding democracy by antics of hate speeches under the guise of religion, tribal or self-imposed mentorship.

“This trend of pitting political class and the people is unhealthy and skewed…

“Recent happenings and utterances by political gladiators is alarming and not in the interest of common man that is already overstretched and apparently living from hand to mouth due to precarious economic conditions.”

“It is high time that, we dialogue more on any issue in order to have a political solution on any problem affecting us.

“It is sad that, Nigeria had its fair share of conflicts, and we cannot continue to fall back to those dark years of bloodshed.

“As a people, now is the time to come together to address all Communal conflicts and criminality under any guise to further unite the country in line with the vision of our founding fathers so that as a nation, we can forge ahead in the task of building a more prosperous nation.”

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

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.