…says APC still party to beat
National leader of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Asiwaju Bola Tinubu has urged former Presidents Olusegun Obasanjo and Ibrahim Babangida to spare President Muhammadu Buhari and the ruling party their damming criticisms.
Tinubu told the former president that Nigerians were in a better position to assess the performance of the present government in power.
The former governor, who spoke to a team of journalists after his meeting with Buhari at the Presidential Villa, urged Obasanjo and Babangida to join the retirees’ club of pensioners in the country.
Responding to the recent statements credited to the two past leaders which portrayed the Buhari administration in negative light, Tinubu said the two elder statesmen ought to take the back seat and allow the man on the saddle to do his job.
“I don’t address those shadows. We should let our former presidents join retirees’ club and take pensions, but they can participate in our politics if they are interested.
“It is a free world, but this freedom is not served a la carte, but they should allow us to move our country forward. It is a challenge to every Nigerian,” he said.
Tinubu, who expressed optimism on the chances of the APC in the forthcoming presidential election in 2019, said he remained firmly committed to the party.
“We have a better chance and we are strongly determined to prosecute election in a most transparent and democratic manner and we will win,” he said.
Tinubu said he was honoured to be given the responsibility to reconcile the internal differences among members of the party.
According to him, the assignment was not only a very strong political challenge, but a testimony to the confidence that the president has reposed in him.
“We have started in earnest. He has given me free hand to put cohesion, confidence and trust in the party. Democracy is about conflict resolution process. You can’t do it without resolving conflicts.
“We can’t build it without understanding the conflicts and sources where we are coming from. But we want to leave the country with a legacy. It’s not about Mr. President. That is what he’s telling the country.
“It’s about our country and no other choice to democratic tenets than through political party platforms.
“He’s one of those rare beings around the country, around Africa who had experienced both worlds: he fought a battle to save Nigeria and came to politics to save Nigeria. Very rare people have such an opportunity in their life time and that’s what we talk about legacy, and where we have all the challenges, do what we should do. I’m enjoying the challenges so far,” Tinubu said.
The visit also came shortly after a former Head of State, General Abdulsalami Abubakar (rtd) met with President Buhari in the Presidential Villa.
Meanwhile, Buhari has again declared that the era of Boko Haram terrorism was gradually drawing to a close, with the narrowing of the recruitment base of the insurgents, and renewed onslaught by the Nigerian Army.
Receiving the Letter of Credence of Apostolic Nuncio of the Holy See to Nigeria, Most Rev. Archbishop Antonio Guido Filipazzi, at the State House, President Buhari said the terrorist group had lost appeal in its initial strongholds, necessitating a steady retreat that will eventually culminate in ending the insurgency.
“You can’t indoctrinate people who are below the age of 14 years and blow up churches, mosques, markets and you keep shouting God is great.
“It is either you don’t know what you are saying, or you simply don’t care or believe what you are saying. It is part of our success story that Boko Haram is finding it more difficult to recruit people.
“The Nigerian Army is also not making it easy for them to grow, with more intelligence, orientation and regular, measured onslaught on their camps,” he said.
The President said the ongoing effort to dismember the terrorist group, and render it completely powerless, will be intensified.
Buhari, who described the Catholic Church as a strong partner in the development of Nigeria, noted that the church had made very significant contributions to the development of the educational and health system of the country.
On corruption, the President said the fight against the culture of pilfering public funds would be prolonged, and would require a new orientation and repositioning of the entire educational system.
“I am pleased that the African Union has spoken out boldly against corruption and appreciated the work that we are doing here,” Buhari told the Archbishop.
In his remarks, Archbishop Filipazzi said the Holy Father, Pope Francis, had taken a keen interest on the fight against terrorism, corruption and reviving of the Nigerian economy.
“Mr. President, the Holy Father, sends his warm greetings and he is keen to denounce corruption everywhere,” he added.
The Apostolic Nuncio said he had travelled to the North East and was pleased with the efforts of the Nigerian Army in tackling the insurgents, and recovering some of the earlier lost grounds.
Buhari also received Letters of Credence from the Ambassador of Niger to Nigeria, Mr. Alat Mogaskia and the High Commissioner of Ghana, Alhaji Rashid Bawa.
Bill Gates: Everybody now aware of your misrule, PDP tells Buhari
The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) said with the comments by Bill Gates on Nigerian economy, it is obvious that the whole world is now aware that President Muhammadu Buhari-led All Progressives Congress (APC) Federal Government is running a dysfunctional economy.
The party therefore, advised President Buhari to stop wasting the nation’s resources on pointless image laundering and desperate quest for international endorsements. PDP in a statement yesterday by its National Publicity Secretary, Kola Ologbondiyan, said it has been vindicated by Gates’ comment that the Buhari administration is the worst in the history of the country, which did not have the interest of the people at heart. The party further noted that Gates was just being polite to his host, President Buhari, when he said the policy of his government was not reflecting the needs of the people.
“What Gates did not tell President Buhari and his team was that their administration is so incompetent, disorganised and confused that it could not develop any functional economic policy direction and that this has caused our nation her current economic woes.
“Bill Gates comments on the Federal Government’s empty, deceptive and discredited Economic Recovery and Growth Plan (ERGP), right in the Presidential Villa and in the presence of Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, came to President Buhari and the APC as stunt gone awry as they had planned to use the world figure to earn an undue international endorsement ahead of 2019 elections,” the statement added. It regretted that instead of being remorseful, officials of the APC administration, including Prof. Osinbajo, are attempting to put up a lame defence, despite the indicting facts.
“The whole world is sad that under President Buhari and the APC, our dear nation, which was hitherto one of the most vibrant economies, has now become one of the most dangerous places to give birth, with the fourth worst maternal mortality rate in the world.
“This administration, in the last three years, has not been able to initiate any functional policy on health, education, housing, agriculture, electricity, industrial growth, effective economic empowerment and gainful employment, or any deliberate plan to grow a sustainable middle class in the country.
“Instead, what Nigerians get is a sinking economy resulting from anti-people policies; multiple taxations, increased tariffs on essential commodities and services, increase in food prices, fuel price hike, huge foreign debts, a weakened currency and massive job loss while APC interests continue to fritter away trillions of naira for their selfish gains. “It is obvious that this Buhari administration derives joy in seeing Nigerians suffer hunger and starvation even in the midst of our huge potential at becoming one of the greatest nations on the globe.”
Herdsmen killings, threat to food security –Benue Commissioner
Benue State Commissioner for Agriculture and Natural Resources, Mr. James Anbua, yesterday said that the continued attacks and killing of farmers across the country by herdsmen poses a threat to food security in the state in particular and the country in general. Mr. Anbua stated this while fielding questions from journalists in his office in Makurdi, the state capital.
The commissioner lamented that even as the raining season was by the corner, some farmers were still staying in the Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) camps for fear of attacks by the rampaging herdsmen. He said that the farmers, who ought to have been in their farms preparing for the next cropping season, couldn’t go to their ancestral homes because their homes had been taken over by the herders.
According to him, most of the areas affected by the herdsmen invasion in Benue were the highest producers of agricultural produce like rice, yam, guinea corn, millet, cassava oranges and sweet potato. He said that since they were not going to prepare their lands for cultivation during the 2018 cropping season, it then means that food security would be negatively affected. Anbua also disclosed that the crisis had adversely affected the 2017 harvesting period because it started when farmers were harvesting their crops especially rice and soybeans.
”We were expecting bumper harvest during the 2017 harvesting season but it became a mirage because of the January attacks and subsequent ones. Even those that harvested their crops like rice and soybeans were yet to thrash them. The attacks took place at the peak of the harvesting season,” he said.
… we feel betrayed by FG, says father of dead girl
Adamu Jumbam, father of Aisha Adamu, one of the Dapchi schoolgirls who lost their lives while in Boko Haram captivity, said he was not happy with the Nigerian government and its security forces whom he blamed for the tragedy that befell his daughter. Of the 110 schoolgirls kidnapped, 104 were released by the Boko Haram sect while five died in captivity.
Mr. Jumban, who spoke with PREMIUM TIMES in Dapchi village where he is currently mourning his 16-year-old daughter, questioned the circumstances that surrounded the abduction and subsequent release of the girls by Boko Haram. Speaking in tears, the middle-aged resident of Jumbam, a village 2km away from Dapchi, said rather than the Nigerian soldiers combating the insurgents after they came back to drop the girls, the soldiers simply “watched with folded arms while the insurgents left triumphantly.”
The Nigerian government had explained that in order to safeguard the lives of the freed girls, it refused to confront the insurgents when they came to deliver the captives on Wednesday. But this argument did not seem to assuage the pains of the mourning parents of Dapchi.
Speaking amidst a large crowd of mourners and sympathisers that throng his family home in Jumbam, the bereaved father said he had lost faith in the Nigerian government. He said the way his daughter and others were abducted from school and killed while in captivity of Boko Haram would continue to traumatise him and her mother for a long time to come “It was my worst moment in life when I was told she died,” Adamu said.
“It has been a huge bereavement that befell me on Wednesday when these poor schoolgirls were returned and I rushed out to welcome them only to be told that my daughter was among those that lost their lives. “I was told that they died on the way, and the Boko Haram simply dug the ground and buried them.
This confirms that I have lost her, so we the family have nothing more to do for her than to mourn her. “From the 19th day of February when they were abducted and taken away to the day they were brought back, I have not been myself.
But I give gratitude to God when I eventually found out that she is no more, what I was scared and prayed against had come to pass. I pray God comfort her soul and forgive her shortcomings.” Jumbam said despite his bereavement, many of them in Dapchi could not understand the “mystery of the abduction and the drama of the girls’ release on Wednesday”.
“We have no option than to still commend the government for seeing that most of the children that were taken from us have been brought back”, he said. “But what bemused us most is that, it is very shocking and surprising to say that Boko Haram came into this community, picked our children without any one challenging them, and then brought them back on their own, dropped them in the town and then returned. That development has really unsettled most of us here in Dapchi.”
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