Tag Archives: APC

Restructuring: el-Rufai committee recommends merger of states, scrapping of LGs

Restructuring: el-Rufai committee recommends merger of states, scrapping of LGs

APC chairman, Chief John Odigie-Oyegun

Taiwo Amodu – Abuja

The APC Committee on True Federalism inaugurated in August 2017, by Chairman of the party, Chief John Oyegun (centre), chaired by Governor Nasir el-Rufai is at the APC secretariat to present the committee’s report to the leadership of APC.
The All Progressives Congress, (APC) Committee on True Federalism inaugurated last August by the Chief Odigie Oyegun led the national working committee on Thursday submitted its report with far-reaching recommendations.

Kaduna state governor and chairman of the Committee, Nasir el-Rufai told the gathering of the party chieftains and leadership that his Committee has recommended that local councils be scrapped while the nation should run two-tier system of government.

The Kaduna state governor premised his Committee recommendations on views of Nigerians who sent memoranda and spoke with his team across the country. His team also recommended State Police.

Giving further insight into the report, Mallam el-Rufai said the predominant position of Nigerians on resource control was that states should be vested with rights to issue a prospecting license for mining of mineral resources, oil and gas.

He said: “Local government autonomy is a very interesting subject in which we were surprised at the outcome. There were divergent opinions on this issue.

“We recommend that the current system of local government administration provided for by the constitution should be amended and that states should be allowed to develop and enact laws to have local government administration system that is peculiar to each of them.

“What we heard from Nigerians is that as far as local government is concerned, there is no one size fits all. We all come from different histories, different cultures, different administrative systems and we believe that the constitution should ensure that there is a democratic local government system in every state but the details of, and the nature of that local government system, the number of local governments should be left to the states and states houses of

“We proposed amendments to Sections 7, 8, 162, the first schedule, part one and the first schedule of the constitution to give effect to our recommendations. The section that lists the local governments and their headquarters should be removed, so local governments are no longer named in the constitution. States can create their local governments and determine the structure of their local governments.

“We are by this, recognising that in a federal system, you cannot have more than two tiers of government. Having three tiers of government is an aberration. There is nowhere in the world where our research has shown us that you have more than two federating units.

“We have proposed that mining, minerals, oil should go to the states. Then there will be certain constitutional amendments. The Petroleum Act will be amended to show that states can now issue oil mining licences; the Land Use Act, Nigeria Minerals and Mining Act, the Petroleum Profit Tax Act 2007 would all need to be amended. So, we
have proposed an amendment that will ensure that minerals, mining and oil are vested in the states except for offshore minerals.’’

“Derivation principle, it is recommended that the revenue mobilisation and fiscal commission act be amended to
vest it with the power to periodically review the derivation formular and make a recommendation to the president who shall table the same before the National Assembly for necessary action.

Physical federalism and revenue allocation. We propose an amendment to subsection two of the constitution to give more revenue to the states and reduce the federal government share.

There was an overwhelming popular demand that there should be devolution of power to the states and the committee recommended same. We have recommended that the first schedule, part one and two be amended to
transfer some powers to the states.”

Besides the scrapping of local councils, another controversial recommendation of the Committee is the merger of existing states, as Governor el-Rufai, even as he admitted that majority of Nigerians were against it.

“The first item that we felt needed legislative action is the merger of states. It is pertinent to note that only 36% of Nigerians wants more states created while the majority of Nigerians don’t want more states. For us, since the creation of states is already in the constitution, there is no action needed than to implement that.

“So, the first recommendation for which we have proposed a draft bill for a constitutional amendment is the merger of states. Though there was no consensus’ from stakeholder on the merger of states, we felt that we should propose a bill that allows states to merge and it is left for the National Assembly, the party and the people of Nigeria to decide on that.

The Kaduna governor equally revealed that his team ‘’proposed an amendment to create the State Judicial Council that will appoint and discipline judges within a state while the National Judicial Council will exercise control over the appointment, the discipline of judges of the federal government only.

We have proposed the creation of the state court of appeal so that from the High Court, you can first appeal to the state court of appeal before it goes to the Supreme Court of the federation. Again, this is consistent with federal practice all over the world.

“We also propose a constitutional amendment to allow for a referendum to be conducted on burning national or state issues before decisions are taken. Right now, the constitution has no room for a referendum, but
only in the creation of states.’’

Receiving the report, APC national chairman, Chief Oyegun, expressed delight over the report and assured the Committee that its recommendations would be given the needed attention by all the statutory organs of the party.
He said: ‘’From the presentation of the chairman of this committee, everybody now has an idea of what the APC stands for with regards to true federalism and restructuring. This is the totality of our views,
but it is still going to go through the mill.

“What I will promise you, Mr. Chairman and members of the committee who have put in so much hard work -you have not only provided the details, but you have gone ahead to provide the mechanism for implementation both in terms of law and necessary presidential action, is that this report is going to get the expeditious consideration of this party, the APC.

“I am going to promise that before the middle of February, it would have been considered and decided upon by the major structures of this party, the National Executive Committee, the Caucus of the party. And whatever is thereafter agreed, will be presented to the authorities as the considered views and decisions of the APC for appropriate implementation.

“What you have done is very challenging. What you have done will be controversial but what you have done still has given the basic foundation for the building of a new nation and a new way of doing business in this country; that we will not only devolve power and spread the wings of development nationwide but that will enable the people of this country to not only hold the president accountable but to also hold the states accountable because once this report is approved and implemented, states will become important routes of economic activities and development nationwide.’’
Source: Tribune 


Full text of former President Olusegun Obasanjo’s letter to President Muhammadu Buhari 

Full text of former President Olusegun Obasanjo’s letter to President Muhammadu Buhari 

Special Press Statement
​President Olusegun Obasanjo​
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Since we are still in the month of January, it is appropriate to wish all Nigerians Happy 2018. I am constrained to issue this special statement at this time considering the situation of the country. Some of you may be asking, “What has brought about this special occasion of Obasanjo issuing a Special Statement?” You will be right to ask such a question. But there is a Yoruba saying that ‘when lice abound in your clothes, your fingernails will never be dried of blood’. When I was in the village, to make sure that lice die, you put them between two fingernails and press hard to ensure they die and they always leave blood stains on the fingernails. To ensure you do not have blood on your fingernails, you have to ensure that lice are not harboured anywhere within your vicinity.
The lice of poor performance in government – poverty, insecurity, poor economic management, nepotism, gross dereliction of duty, condonation of misdeed – if not outright encouragement of it, lack of progress and hope for the future, lack of national cohesion and poor management of internal political dynamics and widening inequality – are very much with us today. With such lice of general and specific poor performance and crying poverty with us, our fingers will not be dry of ‘blood’.
Four years ago when my PDP card was torn, I made it abundantly clear that I quit partisan politics for aye but my concern and interest in Nigeria, Africa and indeed in humanity would not wane. Ever since, I have adhered strictly to that position. Since that time, I have devoted quality time to the issue of zero hunger as contained in Goal No. 2 of the Sustainable Development Goals of the UN. We have set the target that Nigeria with the participating States in the Zero Hunger Forum should reach Zero Hunger goal by 2025 – five years earlier than the UN target date. I am involved in the issue of education in some States and generally in the issue of youth empowerment and employment. I am involved in all these domestically and altruistically to give hope and future to the seemingly hopeless and those in despair. I believe strongly that God has endowed Nigeria so adequately that no Nigerian should be either in want or in despair.
I believe in team work and collaborative efforts. At the international level, we have worked with other world leaders to domicile the apparatus for monitoring and encouraging socio-economic progress in Africa in our Presidential Library. The purpose of Africa Progress Group, which is the new name assumed by Africa Progress Panel (APP), is to point out where, when and what works need to be done for the progress of Africa separately and collectively by African leaders and their development partners. I have also gladly accepted the invitation of the UN Secretary-General to be a member of his eighteen-member High-Level Board of Advisers on Mediation. There are other assignments I take up in other fora for Africa and for the international community. For Africa to move forward, Nigeria must be one of the anchor countries, if not the leading anchor country. It means that Nigeria must be good at home to be good outside. No doubt, our situation in the last decade or so had shown that we are not good enough at home; hence we are invariably absent at the table that we should be abroad.
All these led me to take the unusual step of going against my own political Party, PDP, in the last general election to support the opposite side. I saw that action as the best option for Nigeria. As it has been revealed in the last three years or so, that decision and the subsequent collective decision of Nigerians to vote for a change was the right decision for the nation. For me, there was nothing personal, it was all in the best interest of Nigeria and, indeed, in the best interest of Africa and humanity at large. Even the horse rider then, with whom I maintain very cordial, happy and social relationship today has come to realise his mistakes and regretted it publicly and I admire his courage and forthrightness in this regard. He has a role to play on the side line for the good of Nigeria, Africa and humanity and I will see him as a partner in playing such a role nationally and internationally, but not as a horse rider in Nigeria again.
The situation that made Nigerians to vote massively to get my brother Jonathan off the horse is playing itself out again. First, I thought I knew the point where President Buhari is weak and I spoke and wrote about it even before Nigerians voted for him and I also did vote for him because at that time it was a matter of “any option but Jonathan” (aobj). But my letter to President Jonathan titled: “Before It Is Too Late” was meant for him to act before it was too late. He ignored it and it was too late for him and those who goaded him into ignoring the voice of caution. I know that praise-singers and hired attackers may be raised up against me for verbal or even physical attack but if I can withstand undeserved imprisonment and was ready to shed my blood by standing for Nigeria, I will consider no sacrifice too great to make for the good of Nigeria at any time. No human leader is expected to be personally strong or self-sufficient in all aspects of governance.
I knew President Buhari before he became President and said that he is weak in the knowledge and understanding of the economy but I thought that he could make use of good Nigerians in that area that could help. Although, I know that you cannot give what you don’t have and that economy does not obey military order. You have to give it what it takes in the short-, medium- and long-term. Then, it would move. I know his weakness in understanding and playing in the foreign affairs sector and again, there are many Nigerians that could be used in that area as well. They have knowledge and experience that could be deployed for the good of Nigeria. There were serious allegations of round-tripping against some inner caucus of the Presidency which would seem to have been condoned. I wonder if such actions do not amount to corruption and financial crime, then what is it? Culture of condonation and turning blind eye will cover up rather than clean up. And going to justice must be with clean hands.
I thought President Buhari would fight corruption and insurgency and he must be given some credit for his achievement so far in these two areas although it is not yet uhuru!
The herdsmen/crop farmers issue is being wittingly or unwittingly allowed to turn sour and messy. It is no credit to the Federal Government that the herdsmen rampage continues with careless abandon and without finding an effective solution to it. And it is a sad symptom of insensitivity and callousness that some Governors, a day after 73 victims were being buried in a mass grave in Benue State without condolence, were jubilantly endorsing President Buhari for a second term! The timing was most unfortunate. The issue of herdsmen/crop farmers dichotomy should not be left on the political platform of blame game; the Federal Government must take the lead in bringing about solution that protects life and properties of herdsmen and crop farmers alike and for them to live amicably in the same community.
But there are three other areas where President Buhari has come out more glaringly than most of us thought we knew about him. One is nepotic deployment bordering on clannishness and inability to bring discipline to bear on errant members of his nepotic court. This has grave consequences on performance of his government to the detriment of the nation.  It would appear that national interest was being sacrificed on the altar of nepotic interest. What does one make of a case like that of Maina: collusion, condonation, ineptitude, incompetence, dereliction of responsibility or kinship and friendship on the part of those who should have taken visible and deterrent disciplinary action? How many similar cases are buried, ignored or covered up and not yet in the glare of the media and the public? The second is his poor understanding of the dynamics of internal politics. This has led to wittingly or unwittingly making the nation more divided and inequality has widened and become more pronounced. It also has effect on general national security.  The third is passing the buck. For instance, blaming the Governor of the Central Bank for devaluation of the naira by 70% or so and blaming past governments for it, is to say the least, not accepting one’s own responsibility. Let nobody deceive us, economy feeds on politics and because our politics is depressing, our economy is even more depressing today. If things were good, President Buhari would not need to come in. He was voted to fix things that were bad and not engage in the blame game. Our Constitution is very clear, one of the cardinal responsibilities of the President is the management of the economy of which the value of the naira forms an integral part. Kinship and friendship that place responsibility for governance in the hands of the unelected can only be deleterious to good government and to the nation.
President Buhari’s illness called for the sympathy, understanding, prayer and patience from every sane Nigerian. It is part of our culture. Most Nigerians prayed for him while he was away sick in London for over hundred days and he gave his Deputy sufficient leeway to carry on in his absence. We all thanked God for President Buhari for coming back reasonably hale and hearty and progressing well in his recovery. But whatever may be the state of President Buhari’s health today, he should neither over-push his luck nor over-tax the patience and tolerance of Nigerians for him, no matter what his self-serving, so-called advisers, who would claim that they love him more than God loves him and that without him, there would be no Nigeria say. President Buhari needs a dignified and honourable dismount from the horse. He needs to have time to reflect, refurbish physically and recoup and after appropriate rest, once again, join the stock of Nigerian leaders whose experience, influence, wisdom and outreach can be deployed on the side line for the good of the country. His place in history is already assured. Without impaired health and strain of age, running the affairs of Nigeria is a 25/7 affair, not 24/7.
I only appeal to brother Buhari to consider a deserved rest at this point in time and at this age. I continue to wish him robust health to enjoy his retirement from active public service. President Buhari does not necessarily need to heed my advice. But whether or not he heeds it, Nigeria needs to move on and move forward.
I have had occasion in the past to say that the two main political parties – APC and PDP – were wobbling. I must reiterate that nothing has happened to convince me otherwise. If anything, I am reinforced in my conviction. The recent show of PDP must give grave and great concern to lovers of Nigeria. To claim, as has been credited to the chief kingmaker of PDP, that for procuring the Supreme Court judgement for his faction of the Party, he must dictate the tune all the way and this is indeed fraught with danger. If neither APC nor PDP is a worthy horse to ride to lead Nigeria at this crucial and critical time, what then do we do? Remember Farooq Kperogi, an Associate Professor at the Kennesaw State University, Georgia, United States, calls it “a cruel Hobson’s choice; it’s like a choice between six and half a dozen, between evil and evil. Any selection or deflection would be a distinction without a difference.” We cannot just sit down lamenting and wringing our hands desperately and hopelessly.
I believe the situation we are in today is akin to what and where we were in at the beginning of this democratic dispensation in 1999. The nation was tottering. People became hopeless and saw no bright future in the horizon. It was all a dark cloud politically, economically and socially. The price of oil at that time was nine dollars per barrel and we had a debt overhang of about $35 billion. Most people were confused with lack of direction in the country. One of the factors that saved the situation was a near government of national unity that was put in place to navigate us through the dark cloud. We had almost all hands on deck. We used people at home and from the diaspora and we navigated through the dark cloud of those days. At that time, most people were hopelessly groping in the dark. They saw no choice, neither in the left nor in the right, and yet we were not bereft of people at home and from the diaspora that could come together to make Nigeria truly a land flowing with milk and honey. Where we are is a matter of choice but we can choose differently to make a necessary and desirable change, once again.
Wherever I go, I hear Nigerians complaining, murmuring in anguish and anger. But our anger should not be like the anger of the cripple. We can collectively save ourselves from the position we find ourselves. It will not come through self-pity, fruitless complaint or protest but through constructive and positive engagement and collective action for the good of our nation and ourselves and our children and their children. We need moral re-armament and engaging togetherness of people of like-mind and goodwill to come solidly together to lift Nigeria up. This is no time for trading blames or embarking on futile argument and neither should we accept untenable excuses for non-performance. Let us accept that the present administration has done what it can do to the limit of its ability, aptitude and understanding. Let the administration and its political party platform agree with the rest of us that what they have done and what they are capable of doing is not good enough for us.  They have given as best as they have and as best as they can give. Nigeria deserves and urgently needs better than what they have given or what we know they are capable of giving. To ask them to give more will be unrealistic and will only sentence Nigeria to a prison term of four years if not destroy it beyond the possibility of an early recovery and substantial growth. Einstein made it clear to us that doing the same thing and expecting a different result is the height of folly. Already, Nigerians are committing suicide for the unbearable socio-economic situation they find themselves in. And yet Nigerians love life. We must not continue to reinforce failure and hope that all will be well. It is self-deceit and self-defeat and another aspect of folly.
What has emerged from the opposition has shown no better promise from their antecedents. As the leader of that Party for eight years as President of Nigeria, I can categorically say there is nothing to write home about in their new team. We have only one choice left to take us out of Egypt to the promised land. And that is the coalition of the concerned and the willing – ready for positive and drastic change, progress and involvement. Change that will give hope and future to all our youth and dignity and full participation to all our women. Our youth should be empowered to deploy their ability to learn, innovate and work energetically at ideas and concepts in which they can make their own original inputs. Youth must be part of the action today and not relegated to leadership of tomorrow which may never come. Change that will mean enhancement of living standard and progress for all. A situation where the elected will accountably govern and every Nigerian will have equal opportunity not based on kinship and friendship but based on free citizenship.
Democracy is sustained and measured not by leaders doing extra-ordinary things, (invariably, leaders fail to do ordinary things very well), but by citizens rising up to do ordinary things extra-ordinarily well.  Our democracy, development and progress at this juncture require ordinary citizens of Nigeria to do the extra-ordinary things of changing the course and direction of our lackluster performance and development. If leadership fails, citizens must not fail and there lies the beauty and importance of democracy. We are challenged by the current situation; we must neither adopt spirit of cowardice nor timidity let alone impotence but must be sustained by courage, determination and commitment to say and do and to persist until we achieve upliftment for Nigeria. Nothing ventured, nothing gained and we believe that our venturing will not be in vain. God of Nigeria has endowed this country adequately and our non-performance cannot be blamed on God but on leadership. God, who has given us what we need and which is potentially there, will give us leadership enablement to actualize our potentiality.
The development and modernization of our country and society must be anchored and sustained on dynamic Nigerian culture, enduring values and an enchanting Nigerian dream. We must have abiding faith in our country and its role and place within the comity of nations. Today, Nigeria needs all hands on deck. All hands of men and women of goodwill must be on deck. We need all hands to move our country forward.
We need a Coalition for Nigeria, CN. Such a Movement at this juncture needs not be a political party but one to which all well-meaning Nigerians can belong. That Movement must be a coalition for democracy, good governance, social and economic well-being and progress. Coalition to salvage and redeem our country. You can count me with such a Movement. Last time, we asked, prayed and worked for change and God granted our request. This time, we must ask, pray and work for change with unity, security and progress. And God will again grant us. Of course, nothing should stop such a Movement from satisfying conditions for fielding candidates for elections. But if at any stage the Movement wishes to metamorphose into candidate-sponsoring Movement for elections, I will bow out of the Movement because I will continue to maintain my non-partisan position. Coalition for Nigeria must have its headquarters in Abuja.
This Coalition for Nigeria will be a Movement that will drive Nigeria up and forward. It must have a pride of place for all Nigerians, particularly for our youth and our women. It is a coalition of hope for all Nigerians for speedy, quality and equal development, security, unity, prosperity and progress. It is a coalition to banish poverty, insecurity and despair. Our country must not be oblivious to concomitant danger around, outside and ahead. Coalition for Nigeria must be a Movement to break new ground in building a united country, a socially-cohesive and moderately prosperous society with equity, equality of opportunity, justice and a dynamic and progressive economy that is self-reliant and takes active part in global division of labour and international decision-making.
The Movement must work out the path of development and the trajectory of development in speed, quality and equality in the short- medium- and long-term for Nigeria on the basis of sustainability, stability, predictability, credibility, security, cooperation and prosperity with diminishing inequality. What is called for is love, commitment and interest in our country, not in self, friends and kinship alone but particularly love, compassion and interest in the poor, underprivileged and downtrodden. It is our human duty and responsibility so to do. Failure to do this will amount to a sin against God and a crime against humanity.
Some may ask, what does Obasanjo want again? Obasanjo has wanted nothing other than the best for Nigeria and Nigerians and he will continue to want nothing less. And if we have the best, we will be contented whether where we live is described as palaces or huts by others and we will always give thanks to God.
I, therefore, will gladly join such a Movement when one is established as Coalition for Nigeria, CN, taking Nigeria to the height God has created it to be. From now on, the Nigeria eagle must continue to soar and fly high. CN, as a Movement, will be new, green, transparent and must remain clean and always active, selflessly so. Members must be ready to make sacrifice for the nation and pay the price of being pioneers and good Nigerians for our country to play the God-assigned role for itself, for its neighbours, for its sub-region of West Africa, for its continent and for humanity in general. For me, the strength and sustainable success of CN will derive largely from the strong commitment of a population that is constantly mobilized to the rallying platform of the fact that going forward together is our best option for building a nation that will occupy its deserved place in the global community. May God continue to lead, guide and protect us. Amen.

I went into coma when Jonathan called to concede in 2015 – Buhari

I went into coma when Jonathan called in 2015 – Buhari

By Augustine Ehikioya, Abuja

… I was reckless in military uniform – President

President Muhammadu Buhari said on Thursday night that he went temporarily into coma when former President Goodluck Jonathan called to congratulate him on his victory in the 2015 presidential election.

The President stated this when he hosted All Progressives Congress (APC) leaders to a dinner at the Presidential Villa, Abuja.

He also recounted his experiences in the Nigerian electoral processes and his eventual victory in the 2015 presidential election.

He said: “The PVCs worked well in 2015. That was why when the former President rang me, I went temporarily into a coma. I will never forget the time. It was quartet after 5:00 p.m. and he said he called to congratulate me and that he has conceded defeat. He asked if I heard him and I said yes and I thanked him for his statesmanship.

“The truth is after being a deputy governor, a governor, Vice-president and President for six years, and he took that decision is great. He could have caused some problems. He had stayed long enough to cause problems.

He said: “I am the only politician that ended up three times in the Supreme Court and still virtually refused to give up.

“There is one thing that disabused my mind in a dispassionate way about ethnicity and religion across the country. You know that tribunal for presidential election started at High Court of Appeal. The President was my classmate. I missed only four of the court sittings.

“For that first phase in 2003, we were in court for 30 months. My legal leader was Chief Ahamba (SAN), an Igbo man. He asked the panel of judges to direct INEC to produce the voters register to prove to you that the election was done underground.

“When they came to write the judgment, they completely omitted that. Another Igbo man, a Roman Catholic, in the panel of judges wrote a minority report.

“I went to the Supreme Court. Who was the Chief Justice? An Hausa Fulani, a Muslim from Zaria. After 27 months, Ahamba presented our case for two hours and 45 minutes. The Chief Justice got up and said they were going on break and when they return the following day, they will deliver the judgment. They went away for three months. That was what made it 30 months.

“And when they came back, they discussed my case within 45 minutes. In 2007, who was the Chief Justice? A Muslim from Niger State.

“The third one, who was the Chief Justice? My neighbour from Jigawa State. The same religion and the same tribe.

“Finally, the determination of our people and technology: the Permanent Voters Cards made it possible for us to be here.

“Voters’ education is important. Let people be educated that it is their right to choose leaders of their choice.

“There is something that hit me very hard and I am happy I hit it back at somebody. Seven states of the North are only represented in my cabinet by junior ministers, ministers of state. In South East, I got 198,000 votes but I have four substantive ministers and seven junior ministers from there.

“You are closer to the people than myself, now that I have been locked up here, don’t allow anybody to talk of ethnicity. It is not true.

“I felt I should invite you and eat together and to tell you that as I am sitting here, I am very much aware of the problems in this country and that I will always reflect on the historical antecedents before I arrived here.

“I keep telling people that while I was in uniform, quite reckless and young, I got all the ministers and governors, and put them in Kirikiri. I said they were guilty until they could prove their innocence. I was also detained too.

“I decided to drop the uniform and come back. Eventually, I am here. So really, I have gone through it over and over again. This is why I am not in a hurry virtually to do anything. I will sit and reflect and continue with my clear conscience.

“I thank you for honouring my invitation and I am telling you that if I don’t ring you or call you, it is not because I ever forgot how you supported me at one stage or the other over the years from 2003 till now.”

The APC National Chairman, John Odigie-Oyegun, said “I was very touched by what you said. I hope it is understood in the proper perspective.

“It indicates quite clearly that you have listened to what people are saying. It has been such a terrible misrepresentation. You have seized this opportunity to say that you are not what people are saying.

“There are so much misconceptions. Look at the example you have given that those who stood by you through the periods of problems and struggles are not people of the same religious persuasion.

“You have said it that you are not an ethnic jingoist. I know this because I have known you for a very long time.

“For some of us, when these things are said, we find it painful but I hope there will be proper rendition of what you said today and it will start clearing the air.”
Source: The Nation


Why PDP cannot ‘change the change’

Why PDP cannot ‘change the change’

Ayisha Osori

If you think there is only one way to run a successful, winning political party, let me save you time; this is not for you. This article is for those who dream of building a democracy that delivers to the majority or suspect that what we practise now can be greatly improved upon. By losing the Presidency in 2015, the Peoples Democratic Party gained an opportunity to leave the old order of stage-managed democracy with undemocratic parties for a new order of better-organised, transparent political parties with liberal and democratic ideologies.

Instead, several things warn us that the PDP’s ‘change the change’ is merely a catchy, slightly menacing phrase telling us that the two major parties in Nigeria are really one coin with illusions of different sides. The first sign was that the party almost disintegrated from a supremacy tussle between the old guards. If the struggle were between the old guards and the PDP Reform Group, which was asking for accountability on party finances, reactivation of members’ dues collection and increasing the representation of women and youths, it would tell us that the PDP considered new ideas. But no, the struggle was confined to what winning party politics is always about: A platform for self-interests and the continued exploitation of Nigeria.

The second clue lies with financing. After the 2015 general elections, there were accusations and counter-accusations about how much the party raised and how much Ahmed Muazu, the then National Chairman, left behind when he resigned in May 2015. About N9bn was mentioned and denied and Ahmed Makarfi, interim chairman until last week, revealed that the party had undisclosed debts and access to less than N2m. The discord amongst party officials about the financial state of the PDP speaks volumes about how members and candidates will continue to mismanage public funds. In the aftermath of the 2015 elections, the PDP could have decided it wanted to register one million Nigerians across the country and ask them to pay N1,500 to register, N500 to process their ID cards and N1000 as their annual dues and they would raise at least N1bn. Instead, the party preferred the old way – to ask godfathers to donate and get governors to empty state coffers and continue the civil servant impoverishment scheme. Why? Because due paying members will ask questions, require more accountability and probably insist on the national convention and primaries being more democratic.

A third clue was the line-up of the contestants for the National Working Committee. All the contestants represented nothing new and a lot left to be desired and did little to inspire confidence that the PDP was ready to take governance and democracy in Nigeria seriously.

By the time the convention held on December 9, a few with knowledge of political party operations were expecting any pleasant surprises. We had the usual candidate denunciation less than 24 hours to the convention; allegations of underhand manipulations (including a favourite – hiding delegates in hotels); Unity, Citizens and Winning lists; and walkouts from the convention.

The PDP managed to throw in a few more indicators that they are serious about their devotion to business as usual.

The convention voted against an amendment to the PDP’s constitution to make it compulsory that one of two national deputy chair positions should go to a female member. The PDP was not done. Just in case 91 million female Nigerians missed the message, of the 19 positions on the NWC (excluding the two women leader positions), only one was won by a woman despite female members contesting most positions including deputy national chair (North), national secretary and national youth leader.

The PDP has advantages that one would like the only major opposition party in the country to have. National structures and outlook; educated members even at the ward level; and from their last eight years in power prior to the 2015 elections, when compared to the APC, the PDP is more willing to accommodate dissent. However, even the PDP’s messaging is off, with Goodluck Jonathan proclaiming last Saturday that “our party has done extremely well in managing the affairs of this country” when his government is considered one of the most corrupt. Recent revelations that $32bn were stolen during his six years as President highlight how unaware the PDP is of the role they have played in underdeveloping Nigeria.

The new NWC may set the party on a new, more disciplined path with better messaging aimed at amplifying the own goals the APC Presidency specialises in but a few would bet on that happening. Sadly, the APC is no different; there has not been a national membership drive and there is a strong sense of an abandoned, starving platform waiting for election season to trigger industry stakeholders. The APC convention, when members are brave enough to hold one, will be messy and contentious too.

The PDP cannot change the change for the same reason the APC cannot deliver change – both parties cannot give what they do not have. There may be a few within the parties who genuinely want things to improve but by using the current party structures, they compromise and disarm their vision for making the difference that will count.

Nigeria is ripe for a few political dark horses who can take advantage of the immense dissatisfaction with the state of things and the large number of registered and unregistered voters. Success will entail amongst other things organising across the country, refusing to use the playbook of the old order and using technology creatively. Many Nigerians are tired of the wolves and our experience makes it easier to spot those hiding in sheep’s clothing. Going forward winning elections is going to take a lot more than a lick of whitewash and the proverbial bowl of porridge that results in many selling their birth rights.

Ms Osori, author of Love Does Not Win Elections, lives in Abuja

Source: The Punch 


Atiku is a spent force, no threat to Buhari – Ajomale

Atiku no threat to Buhari–Ajomale

Leaders of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) have been advised not to hope for taking over power from the All Progressives Congress (APC) in 2019. Giving the advice in this interview with TUNDE THOMAS, the Chairman, Conference of APC States’ Chairmen, and Lagos State APC Chairman, Chief Henry Ajomale, said the PDP leaders are only day dreaming if they ever think that the party can bounce back into reckoning at the national level.

Ajomale also spoke on some other national issues including the recent defection of former Vice President, Atiku Abubakar, to the PDP, Tinubu’s visit to Afenifere leader in Akure, Senator Musiliu Obanikoro’s defection from PDP to APC.

As the Chairman of the Conference of APC States Chairmen, what is your reaction to the defection of the former Vice-President, Atiku Abubakar, to the PDP?

Atiku is a political chameleon, he is ever unpredictable. It becomes a tradition for him to be jumping from one political party to another. Atiku is not a principled politician. Nobody should take Atiku’s defection serious. It is good riddance to bad rubbish. This is about the third time Atiku would be leaving PDP and going back again to the party. He is not a serious politician.

Atiku should not be deceived by political hangers-on; he must have realised the bitter truth, and the truth is that, he is politically finished. Even in his home state of Adamawa, Atiku has become a laughing stock. His defection to PDP, to us in APC, is good riddance to bad rubbish. Atiku has no political value again. He has nothing to offer again. I even pity Atiku for going back to PDP, because PDP as of today has become a divided house. By going back to PDP, Atiku is going to cause more crisis for the party. PDP is going to become more polarised with Atiku’s return to the party. Atiku has become a spent-force. I don’t think he has anything to offer anymore.

Some people have accused the former VP of not being a principled politician …

Of course, yes. To be saying that, they are absolutely correct. Atiku from all intents now is being driven by personal political ambition. His being in politics from all indications and his own personal actions have shown that what is paramount to him is how to realise his personal political ambition; he has shown that he is not keen on or being driven by the urge to serve the nation, but rather it is the realisation of his own personal interests that matters to him.

But the danger about the way he is playing his politics is that nobody would trust and believe him again. By going back to the PDP, Atiku has simply returned to eat his vomit. For us in APC, we don’t miss anything by Atiku’s defection to PDP. APC doesn’t feel threatened at all, it is Atiku that has become a threat only to himself. APC is not losing any sleep over Atiku’s action. We wish him good luck back in his former political party to which he has now returned.

But some people have described the former VP as a political heavyweight whose departure from the APC is going to be felt, what’s your take on that?

Atiku as a political heavyweight? May be before, but to describe him as a political heavyweight today is to dress Atiku in borrowed robes. Maybe around 1999 and the following years, he was a political asset, but the reality today is that Atiku has become a spent force. He is gradually going into political oblivion.

With a man like President Muhammadu Buhari in the saddle, there is no way Atiku can have political relevance again. To me, Atiku is a political chameleon, he is so desperate for political power; you must be wary of such a man. I will support what former President Goodluck Jonathan said recently that if Atiku wants to realise or secure presidential ticket of PDP, that he should go and beg Obasanjo. However Obasanjo is not the only obstacle to Atiku’s ambition; if Atiku knows that his hands are clean, let him undertake a trip to the United States of America like Obasanjo has been challenging him. Atiku so far has not been able to take up the challenge. So far, so good, Buhari has been performing up to expectation, and not only that, being a man of integrity who is incorruptible, Buhari’s image and personality has been rubbing off positively on Nigeria. How can anybody think of Atiku being Nigeria’s president, a man with so many political baggages? If Atiku wants to prove to us that he is a clean man worthy of leading this nation, let him today undertake a trip to the United States.

This challenge has been thrown at him on several occasions, but since he has skeletons in his cupboard, Atiku has not been able to take up the challenge.

There have been fears of mass defection hitting APC following Atiku’s departure from the party …

Which mass defection? Which mass defection have you seen so far? It is unfortunate that Atiku is being overrated, but sincerely speaking, I hope Atiku should know his own limits. Atiku is already politically finished; nobody is going to follow him into PDP, maybe a handful of supporters if anything at all. Do you know what is referred to as mass defection?

However, let me state this clearly, because Atiku has money and what he usually does is to rent crowd, and most of these people will pretend to be his supporters after collecting money from him. Atiku has so much money that he doesn’t even know what to do with the money, and so what he usually does is this, he rents crowd to give impression that these people are his supporters, but Atiku can’t deceive anybody again, except only himself. Don’t ever judge the crowd you see with Atiku with his political popularity; the crowd you see with him are rented.

By going back to PDP, some Nigerians have described Atiku as being confused, and also lacking political discipline, do you agree with that?

Those saying that are absolutely correct. They are right. There was a time Atiku was quoted as saying that APC would be his last political bus stop, but what happened now? Atiku has proved that he is not a man of his words. That time he condemned the PDP, and there was no name he didn’t give PDP, but has he not eaten his own words by going back to the PDP. Honestly, I don’t understand such a man. For a man like that, I don’t have respect for him again. There was a time, that was sometime in 2011, Atiku was talking with the ACN led by Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu, and the CPC led then by General Muhammadu Buhari. The basis of these parties and their leaders talking was to form an alliance in order to face the PDP during the 2011 general elections, but to our shock, Atiku abandoned that alliance talks and returned to the PDP where he boasted to match former President Jonathan money for money in order to clinch the presidential ticket of the PDP, but in the end, Jonathan defeated him.

Some people who have sympathy for Atiku have said the former VP should not be blamed for taking that decision, especially having a feeling that this may be his last time to have the opportunity to contest the presidential election. The argument is that age is not on his side anymore, what’s your take on that?

Does Atiku feel he can beat Buhari if Buhari decides to seek re-election? That would be a mere wishful thinking. But let Buhari declare his intention first. If Buhari wants to seek a second term, how can Atiku of all people think of defeating Buhari? That is nothing but day-dreaming. Atiku would be committing political suicide if he ever thinks of running against Buhari.

All over the world, Buhari is widely respected. But can you say that about Atiku? Buhari can travel to any part of the world, but can Atiku do same?

Nigeria is making steady progress, and also being viewed with respect in the comity of nations. But to have somebody like Atiku to be in charge of the leadership of this country will be a great setback for Nigeria. Atiku’s political coffin will be nailed if he ever tries to run against Buhari.

The recent visit of Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu to Afenifere leader, Pa Reuben Fasoranti in Akure has been eliciting mixed reactions. As a close associate of Tinubu, why did the APC leader embark on that trip, because the general impression everybody has is that the relationship between Tinubu and Afenifere leaders has not been cordial. Is this trip the beginning of a good rapport between Tinubu and Afenifere leaders?

Tinubu has no problem with Afenifere leaders. He regards them as his fathers. He respects them a lot. There was a time Baba Ayo Adebanjo, late Baba Olaniwun Ajayi also visited Tinubu. Tinubu is showing respect as somebody who believes in the Yoruba tradition by showing respect for leaders. Pa Fasoranti is a highly respected Yoruba leader. People should not insinuate anything extraordinary or unusual to Tinubu’s visit. It is like a son paying visit to his father.

I saw Tinubu and others off at the airport when they were going, and we all collectively agreed that Tinubu should embark on the trip, which we also believe will strengthen unity among the Yoruba.

With Tinubu’s visit to Pa Fasoranti, should the Yoruba now expect closer rapport between Tinubu and Afenifere leaders?

Afenifere leaders are getting old, and it is obvious that they will need to groom some younger elements that will take over the baton from them. Nobody is contesting the leadership of the Yoruba with them, but they need to groom a natural leader of Tinubu’s caliber to step into their shoes, so that there won’t be a vacuum.

I believe that it is time for Afenifere leaders to bring Asiwaju Tinubu close to them. The Yoruba should not experience leadership vacuum, and that’s why it is very important for Tinubu and Afenifere leaders to work closely together.

Tinubu is a younger man who the Afenifere leaders need to be very close to them in order to learn from them what the future holds in stock for the Yoruba race. A closer rapport between Tinubu and Afenifere will be the interest of Yoruba race.

Asiwaju Tinubu perfectly fits into the shoes of a Yoruba leader who will continue to fight for the Yoruba interests within the larger Nigeria.

Who initiated the visit, Tinubu or Afenifere leaders?

There is nothing like who took the initiative or not; if Asiwaju Tinubu decides to visit his fathers, is there anything wrong with that? No. There was a time we all used to converge at Owo, the birthplace of late Papa Adekunle Ajasin. Our convergence there didn’t have any political coloration as what we usually discussed had to do with the Yoruba interests. Tinubu’s visit to Pa Fasoranti is a sign of good things to come for the Yoruba nation. Tinubu is still going to visit other prominent Yoruba leaders including traditional rulers.

What’s your reaction to the recent formal defection of former Minister of State for Defence, Senator Musiliu Obanikoro back to theAPC?

Obanikoro has always been one of us until he took that decision to join the PDP. But all along, I knew that Obanikoro is a prodigal son who will one day return to the fold.

We started AD together. We were also together in the cabinet of Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu. He was also elected into the Senate on the platform of AD. With Obanikoro’s defection, the PDP is finally dead in Lagos. Nobody is going to hear anything about PDP again in Lagos.

My good friend that I’m now waiting to receive in APC is Chief Bode George. I’m very optimistic that George will soon be part of us in APC. PDP has nothing to offer Bode George. By now, Bode George ,with the way PDP is treating him, should have realised that the PDP is not a party he can trust.

See how the PDP members are sabotaging his efforts to become the party’s new national chairman.

PDP is a party you can’t trust and that’s why we thank God that APC was able to bring to an end the PDP’s 16 years of bad leadership at the national level.

Initially, PDP ceded the position of national chairman to the Southwest, but suddenly they have changed the rule, and what the party is now saying is that the position has been zoned to the entire South. But the game plan by some leaders of PDP was to ensure that Uche Secondus emerged as the new national chairman of the party. I’m very sure that Bode George’s eyes would have been opened now. My advice to him is that being a Lagosian, he should join APC, he should team up with us in APC so that he can also be part of the success story that APC has been in Lagos State. I’m waiting to hand over APC flag to Bode George. There is nothing again in PDP for him. PDP is a party of manipulators and deceitful men. Bode George has been betrayed by the PDP. If he continues to remain as a PDP member, he will become politically irrelevant.

How would you react to the claims by some Nigerians that APC and PDP are the same, that you can hardly differentiate between the two?

That’s an insult. A very big insult. How can you compare APC with PDP. It is like comparing light with darkness. APC is light while PDP is darkness, and that’s why Nigerians use their voting power to get rid of the party in 2015.

By the time PDP was voted out of office, the party has become a big burden on Nigerians. In actual fact, Nigeria would have become a failed state under the administration of former President Goodluck Jonathan. Now look at the transformations that have been steadily taking place under the APC leadership. It is no longer business as usual. The era of impunity, which was one of the hallmarks of PDP’s government is also over.

Unlike the ‘ungolden’ era of PDP when looters were having a field day, now it is no longer business as usual. Although some may be complaining about some hardship, APC is trying its best to overcome this challenge. Some of the steps being taken may be gradual, but surely the positive impacts of APC government is being felt all over the place. PDP has gone into political oblivion. The party will never rise again. PDP brought pains, misery and poverty upon Nigerians but, APC is taking steps to ensure that things are getting better as soon as possible. As for 2019 general elections, I have been reading some PDP chieftains boasting that PDP will bounce back into power. What a dream. What wishful thinking. These PDP leaders are suffering from political hallucination. Nigerians will never vote PDP into office again.

On the issue of President Muhammadu Buhari seeking reelection in 2019, the issue has become controversial …

I don’t see any reason for any controversy. So far, Mr President has not come out to make a categorical statement on the issue. The ball is in Buhari’s court, let’s wait for the President to speak on the issue. If Buhari decides to seek reelection, it is his constitutional right to do so, but like I said earlier, let Buhari make his intention known first instead of people speculating.

Source: The Sun


Abdullahi’s Inside Story On Jonathan

Abdullahi’s Inside Story On Jonathan

Azu Ishiekwene

Of the three presidents who ruled Nigeria between 1999 and 2015, President Goodluck Jonathan appears, so far, to have been the subject of more controversial books than his two predecessors.

Five notable books about or significantly touching on former President Obasanjo’s tenure are his memoir, My Watch; Olusegun Obasanjo: The Presidential Legacy (Vols. I & II) 1999-2007, by Ladipo Akinkugbe et al; Obasanjo, Nigeria And The World, by John Illiffe; and Governor Nasir El-Rufai’s Accidental Public Servant.

Segun Adeniyi’s Power, Politics and Death, is perhaps the most definitive book yet on late President Umaru Yar’Adua’s tenure.

Within two and a half years of Jonathan’s exit from power, however, five books on his tenure have, so far, been published, three of the most notable of which are – Against the Run of Play, by Segun Adeniyi; Facts Versus Fiction: The True Story of the Jonathan Years, by Reno Omokri; and now, On a Platter of Gold, by Bolaji Abdullahi.

Adeniyi was an insider in a different era, but even though the other two – Omokri and Abdullahi – served in the same government at different levels, their views are strikingly, but unsurprisingly, different.

Abdullahi’s 397-page 12-chapter book is an X-ray of Jonathan’s five-year rule, the forces that made him a democratic president and how Jonathan’s apparent inability to manage some of those forces eventually brought down his government.

When the author said from the title of the book that Jonathan was handed the Presidency on a platter of gold, I don’t think it was to suggest that Jonathan was unworthy of the bequest.

The trope was in the context of other political heavyweights who had given everything for the office but still failed to get it. And Abdullahi named them in the introductory chapter of his book.

But there was more to Jonathan’s golden chance than the list of those who tried but failed to become president. The economy, for example, was on a better footing with the external reserve at $43 billion (oil price at $84 pbd); the amnesty programme started under Yar’Adua was bearing fruit and calm was returning to the Niger Delta; the country had substantially regained its goodwill and respect abroad. And on top of all this, by 2011, the ruling PDP had swallowed its own vomit by setting aside zoning to back Jonathan.

With party and country rooting for him and the tailwinds behind the economy, the President could not have wished for more auspicious circumstances.

From Abdullahi’s account, three things defined Jonathan’s Presidency – discontent within the relatively weakened party he inherited; the handling of Boko Haram, which pre-dated him; and the attitude of Jonathan’s government to corruption.

President Jonathan has, of course, added two other reasons why he lost: he has blamed the Northern elite, especially the leadership of the party (which has in turn blamed Jonathan for recruiting outsiders who used vile language during the campaign); and he has also blamed foreign powers, specifically the US, France and the UK.

Until he stops threatening to write and actually writes his own memoir, however, we’ll have to wait and see if the man in the mirror will ultimately take responsibility.

Outsiders were probably familiar with the episodes summarised above, but perhaps not with the intricate, riveting details of who did what, when and how.

The author takes the reader by hand through the corridors of power in Aso Rock into the Glass House, the chambers of council meetings, and other such sanctum sanctorum where decisions are taken in the name of the country but which often bear the disgusting imprint of narrow personal and group interests.

Who could have known that two women in the presidential godhead – Diezani Allison-Madueke and Stella Oduah – while presenting a façade of a public interest, still managed to corner the President behind each other’s backs, with long knives? And that if Diezani did not whisper into Jonathan’s ear, he might have spared Oduah even after a presidential panel had indicted her in the N250 million bulletproof car saga?

In hindsight, though, it is quite interesting to see that Diezani, of all people, was Jonathan’s closet lecturer on how to tackle corruption!

Who could have thought that Dame Patience Jonathan, apart from her famous gift for drama, could also summon the presence of mind in her post-election moment of distress to remind the Attorney General of the Federation of some fine points of history after accusing him of betrayal?

Or that Minister Adewunmi Adesina, in spite of being President Jonathan’s poster boy, would be among the first to jump ship, openly courting the opposition, after Jonathan’s defeat? But it’s all there in the book, in details not previously known and in words that will make you cry and laugh. Or think.

The author appears to suggest that on his own, Jonathan was a very nice man, a happy-go-lucky fellow who will not offend anyone. I think most people would agree.

But that was, also, part of the problem. A leader who does not want to offend anyone, who does not want to break eggs, cannot expect to make omelet. A leader who will say one thing in the morning and another in the afternoon just to please the last listener, may not be motivated by vicious incompetence, but incompetence is incompetence. There’s no need for an adjective.

Yet, we also see from the book that power can be a very, very lonely place.

When it came to the decisions that unmade Jonathan’s presidency – whether it was about what to do with the fuel subsidy scam or how to respond to Boko Haram, which covered one quarter of the book; how to handle the Chibok girls or how to respond to the rebellion in his party and the momentous exit of five governors; whether to accept defeat after the election or charge his party to appeal – the man was utterly alone.

Would the trajectory have been different if Jonathan had a different temperament? Had he grown so used to being number two that he could not adjust to the nation’s top job? Or was Jonathan, well, just Jonathan?

We now know a little more from an insider. Jonathan meant well. He promised a free and fair election and he delivered it. He said his election was not worth the blood of a single Nigerian and conceded defeat even before the final results were in.

As to why he failed reelection, the single most telling revelation from the author is that all said and done, the job was beyond him, a point on which two of the three notable post-Jonathan era books agree.

In the last chapter of his book, Abdullahi, who was Sports Minister, narrated how Jonathan executed nine ministers in one day of cabinet shuffle. He said he was penciled in but was later “saved for another day.”

Well, that day came to pass but the story is missing in his book! That’s probably a story for his next book.

Ishiekwene is the Managing Director/Editor-In-Chief of The Interview and member of the board of the Global Editors Network.


Buhari not thinking of 2019 elections yet

PMB Not Thinking Of 2019 At The Moment – Lai Moh’d

By Jonathan Nda- Isaiah and Tunde Oguntola, Abuja –

Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, said yesterday that President Muhammadu Buhari is ardently concerned about delivering on his key campaign promises than re-contesting the presidency in 2019.

The issue of whether Buhari will run for the 2019 presidency had been a subject of debate in the public, with political analysts insisting that his body language is in the affirmative, especially now that the president’s support groups are drumming support for him.

But speaking during a courtesy visit to the corporate headquarters of LEADERSHIP Group Ltd in Abuja yesterday, the minister dispelled insinuations about the president warming up for 2019.

He maintained that Buhari is more focused on fulfilling his campaign promises of fighting corruption, dealing with insecurity as well as boosting the nation’s economy and would not want to be distracted with politics.

“Mr President is much more concerned about delivering the campaign promises of the current administration, and don’t want to be distracted. As government, our major concern is delivering the promises of the current administration. At the end of the day what we will campaign with is our achievements’’, Mohammed said.

He also reiterated that recovering looted funds from looters and cleansing the country from corruption, among others remains one of the cardinal points of the current administration.

The minister noted that unlike in previous administrations when recovered loot were being diverted, all recovered stolen funds in the current administration will be accounted for.

He recalled that President Buhari had on Wednesday inaugurated a three -member committee to audit all assets recovered by relevant government agencies.

The committee, he noted, is mandated to audit all remittances into the accounts in which the recovered assets were lodged up till April 2017 to ensure that reports submitted to him were accurate.

The minister said cash recovered in the current administration to date include N78, 325,354,631.82 (seventy eight billion, three hundred and twenty-five million, three hundred and fifty-four thousand, six hundred and thirty one Naira and eighty two kobo).

He also listed varying sums in other currencies to include $185,119,584.61 (One hundred and eight five million, one hundred and nineteen thousand, five hundred and eighty four US dollars, sixty one cents); 3,508,355.46 Pounds Sterling (Three million, five hundred and eight thousand, three hundred and fifty-five Pounds and 46 Pence) and 11, 250 Euros (Eleven thousand, two hundred and fifty Euros), all totaling about N144.9 billion.

He added that apart from this, recoveries under interim forfeiture (cash and assets) during the period include N126,563,481,095.43 (One hundred and twenty six billion, five hundred and sixty three million, four hundred and eighty one thousand, and ninety five Naira, forty three Kobo).

Other amounts in other currencies are $9,090,243,920.15 (Nine billion, ninety million, two hundred and forty three thousand, nine hundred and twenty Dollars, fifteen cents); 2,484,447.55 Pounds Sterling (Two million, four hundred and eighty four thousand, four hundred and forty seven Pounds, fifty five Pence) and 303,399.17 Euros (Three hundred and three thousand, three hundred and ninety-nine Euros, 17 cents), summing up to about N3.3 trillion.

On the whistleblower who went to court over his unpaid commission for the funds recovered from a mansion in Ikoyi, the minister recalled that when he made the announcement of the compensation for whistleblowers, he made it clear that whistle blowers will get between 5 to 2.5 per cent of the recovered funds.

He said the higher the quantum of money recovered, the lower the percentage, just as he explained that anything below a billion naira will get five per cent, while recovered loot above one billion will get less than five per cent.

Besides, he noted that fears of revealing the identity of whistleblowers have now being allayed, as the original whistleblower of the Ikoyigate has headed to court to seek redress.

On the recent alleged feud between operational staff of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), Directorate of State Security (DSS) and National Intelligence Agency (NIA) over the abrupt halting of EFCC’s attempt to arrest former directors-general of DSS, Ita Ekpeyong and NIA, Ayodele Oke, the minister said it is not unusual for government agencies to clash over operational issues.

“When the chips are down the president will surely ensure that things are done right. It is not abnormal to have issues or conflict among government agencies’’, he said.

On the president’s directive that state governors should pay all staff salaries before Christmas, the minister stressed the need for state governors to heed to the president’s call.

“The federal government has intervened four times and I hope they (governors) will heed to the president’s request this time to pay up all workers owed their remunerations’’, he said.

On efforts by the federal government to ensure that the nation is free from all forms of insecurity and activities of the Boko Haram insurgents, he said the current administration is proud to say peace and security are steadily restoring in the Northeast, which was in the grip of the terrorists when Buhari assumed office on May 29, 2015.

‘’We have put Boko Haram on the run. Occasionally, they attack soft targets, but even that is being tackled with intelligence-driven measures. We are tackling insecurity comprehensively, whether it is Farmers/Herders clash, cattle rustling or kidnapping. Only this morning, the federal government launched the Policy Framework and National Action Plan for Preventing and Countering Violent Extremism’’, he noted.

Mohammed said the current administration is also revamping the nation’s economy as can be seen in the various economic indices.

He continued: “The Naira is largely stable; we have raised foreign reserves from N23 billion to N35 billion within a year and we have pulled the nation out of recession. Our economy is on a growth trajectory once again, after contracting for five consecutive quarters. We have been named among the top 10 reforming economies in the world.

“We have leapfrogged 24 places in the ease of doing business rankings. We are taming inflation, which has fallen for eight consecutive months. We are building infrastructure and we are creating jobs. Also, I am glad to inform you that capital importation into Nigeria in Q3 2017 recorded a substantial increase, compared to the past few quarters, as the economy continued to recover from recession.

“The total capital imported in the third quarter was recorded at $4,145.1 million, more than double the inflow in the second quarter of this year, representing an increased value of 147.5% on a year-on-year basis’’.

On his part, the Chairman of LEADERSHIP Group, Mr Sam Nda-Isaiah, described Lai Mohammed as an astute politician and one of the most serious ministers in the current administration.

The media mogul however assured the minister of adequate support and coverage by the organization.

We Must Address Root Causes Of Violent Extremism- FG

Meanwhile, President Muhammadu Buhari vowed yesterday that his administration will address the root causes of violent extremism and hate in the country.

He spoke yesterday at the launch of Nigeria’s Policy Framework and National Action Plan for Preventing and Countering Violent Extremism at the presidential villa, Abuja.

Expressing the determination and commitment of his government to tackle violent extremism, Buhari recalled that Nigeria was before now, a free, peaceful and enterprising nation.

He called on state and local governments to develop action plans for preventing and countering violent extremism at the grassroots.

The president said he had directed all ministries, departments and agencies to institutionalise mainstream measures to address the root causes of violent extremism, while implementing programmes that would build the resilience of Nigerians to recover from the consequences of violence.

His words: “We must now, while working together, focus on rooting out hate, misrepresentation of religion and violence in our society.

“I also call on states and local governments to develop action plans for preventing and countering violent extremism sat the grassroots”.

In his remarks, the National Security Adviser, Maj Gen Babagana Mongonu (rtd), said Nigeria is one of the few countries in the world that has developed the policy framework, which the country showcased on the sidelines of the United Nations General Assembly in New York.

He recalled that in 2015, President Buhari directed the review of Nigeria’s countering violent extremism programme.

According to The NSA, the review showed the need for a complementary soft approach to the kinetic effort in dealing with terrorism based on principles of whole-of-government and whole-of-the society approach.

He said, “We also recognised that in line with our focus on transparency, accountability and the rule of law, we needed to build a policy framework that ensures the institutionalisation and mainstreaming on countering violent extremism across ministries, departments and agencies (MDAs) of government.

“While we were taking this step, the then United Nations Secretary-General, Mr. Banki Moon in December of 2015, issued a call to member states to develop national plans to prevent violent extremism.

“It is in this context that l wish to thank His Excellency, Mr. President for endorsing the presidential directive on implementing Nigeria’s framework and national action plan for preventing and countering violent terrorism on the 24th or August, 2017.

“I wish also to inform Mr. President that Nigeria is one of the few countries in the world that have developed the policy framework which we showcased on the sidelines of the United Nations General Assembly held in September 2017 in New York”.