Explain Your Failures, Stop Bullying Judiciary, Atiku Tells Buhari
By Johnson Eyiangho & Mathew Dadiya, Abuja
The Presidential Candidate of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) in the 2023 general election, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar, asked President Muhammadu Buhari to stop harassing the judiciary to enable them perform their duty without interference.
Atiku, a former Vice President, in a statement, signed by his Media Adviser, Paul Ibe, and made available to DAILY ASSET in Abuja, advised the outgoing government to instead explained to Nigerians why it failed to deliver on its promises, especially the naira redesign, creation of job, protection of lives and property, end to divisions along ethno-religious and political lines, as well as galloping inflation and high cost of living..
“We have read with disgust the shameful efforts by the Muhammadu Buhari administration in playing the role of chief marketing officer of the electoral heist deliberately orchestrated to keep the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) in power against the wishes of Nigerians.
“Starting from President Muhammadu Buhari himself when he made a remark that will forever remain in infamy while hosting some governors of his party, and alleged “the opposition lost the election due to overconfidence and complacency,” we have seen a pattern whereby senior officials of government are subtly bullying the judiciary to submission.
“While it is generally acknowledged that the Minister of Information and Culture, Lai Mohammed has a notoriety of acting busybody, it is ridiculous that the Minister will take a cue from his boss to weigh in on a matter that is already before the courts.
“The Muhammadu Buhari-led APC government has already breasted the tape for being the most irresponsible government in Nigeria on account of breaking its promises.
“Whereas President Buhari and his appointee INEC chairman, Professor Mahmood Yakubu had promised Nigerians and the entire world of conducting a credible, free and fair 2023 general election wherein technology will be deployed to track and protect every single ballot, we have seen how woefully this administration failed to deliver on its promises.
“We will not wish to explain much on the depravity that trailed the conduct of the 2023 general election since it remains a matter before the judiciary.
“However, it is important to caution the APC and, especially, senior officials of the current administration to desist from making commentaries that portend as subtle acts of bullying against the judicial processes that is currently putting the legality of the last election into trial.
“If officials of the Buhari government must explain anything within their remaining days, let it be about telling Nigerians how they failed on their promises including issues of naira redesign; destruction instead of creation of jobs; the pervading state of insecurity and divisions along ethno-religious and political lines; galloping inflation and high cost of living; removing the corruption around the issues of fuel subsidy and their latest promise of conducting a national census, which, typically, they have failed to deliver upon.
“They must also explain to Nigerians why the country that they are leaving behind before going back to Niger Republic is the poverty capital of the world,” Atiku stated.
Buhari Scores Self High in Fight against Insecurity, terrorism
The Presidency has highlighted the giant strides of President Muhammadu Buhari’s administration in transforming and boosting the fighting capabilities of the Armed Forces of Nigeria between 2015 and 2023.
The Special Adviser to the President on Media and Publicity, Mr Femi Adesina, in a 90-page document released on Sunday in Abuja, said the remarkable interventions had impacted positively on the capabilities of the military.
In counter-terrorism operations, Adesina said that deaths caused by Boko Haram dropped by 92 per cent from 2,131 in 2015 to 178 in 2021.
He cited a report on Global Terrorism Index 2022, which acknowledged Nigeria’s “successful counter-insurgency operations targeting Boko Haram” as a leading cause of the reduction in terrorism deaths in Sub-Saharan Africa.
Adesina recalled that in May 2022, United Nations Secretary-General, Antonio Guterres also acknowledged the tremendous achievements of the military in the North East.
“Now, the Borno State I have heard about… was a Borno State of terrorism, of violence, of displacement, of despair.
“This is not the Borno that I found today. The Borno I found today is a Borno of hope. It’s a Borno with future…”, he said during a visit to the region.
Adesina also quoted the International Maritime Bureau in its report as saying that Nigeria in 2021 saw the lowest number of piracy attacks on its waters in 27 years.
On the equipping of the military, he said that the Buhari administration had acquired variety of weapons, aircraft and vehicles for the military within the period.
Adesina said the Nigerian Air Force (NAF) received 38 brand new aircraft since President Buhari assumed office in 2015.
They include 10 Super Mushshak; five Mi-35M Helicopters; two Bell 412 Helicopters; four Agusta 109 Helicopters; two Mi-171E Helicopters; 12 A-29 Super Tucano; and three JF-17 Thunder.
According to him, orders have been placed for 36 additional aircraft, comprising 12 AH-1Z Attack Helicopters and 24 M-346 Fighter Attack aircraft for the NAF.
“For the first time in its history, the NAF has, under President Buhari’s administration, successfully conducted several in-country Periodic Depot Maintenance and avionics upgrades of some of its platforms.
“And improved the serviceability status of NAF platforms from about 35 percent in 2015 to over 70 percent as at January 2023.”
Adesina also said the Nigerian Navy had recorded massive transformation within the period with the acquisition of more than 400 new platforms.
“The Nigerian Navy has acquired more than 400 new platforms since 2015, including 200 Riverine Patrol Boats, 114 Rigid- Hull Inflatable Boats, two Seaward Defence Boats, 12 Manta Class/Inshore Patrol Craft.
“Others are, three Whaler Boats, 4 Barges / Tugboats, 22 Fast Attack Boats, 14 Unmanned Aerial Vehicles, four Helicopters, 14 River Town Class, 14 House Boats and four Capital Ships.”
According to him, the Nigerian Army has similarly been transformed into a more efficient well equipped fighting force in the last eight years.
Adesina said apart from doubling yearly intake of troops, there was massive acquisition of equipment, opening of new baes, divisions and commands, and improved welfare of personnel.
“The Nigerian Army has acquired hundreds of new equipment including VT-4 Main Battle Tanks, STI Light Tanks, SH2 and SH5 Artillery Platforms, MRAPs, ARRV and Mine Sweepers, Infantry Fighting Vehicles, Self-Propelled Howitzers, Armored Fighting Vehicles, Mountain Climber Bikes, and many others.
“Most recently, in 2023, the Nigerian Military acquired 700 brand-new Troop-Carrying Vehicles, all assembled in Nigeria,” he said.
On new military formations and bases, the presidential spokesman said that the Navy had established a base in Baga, Borno, and received Presidential approval for new Naval Bases in Lekki, Lagos, Oguta, and Kano in Kano State.
He added that two additional Divisions of the Nigerian Army, 6 and 8 Divisions, were established, to cover new frontiers.
According to him, the Army also established the Cyber Warfare Command, and the Land Forces Simulation Centre in Abuja in 2021 – borne out of an alliance between the Nigerian Army and the National Information Technology Development Agency.
“For the Nigerian Navy, a Naval Doctrine Command was established, while the Nigerian Air Force created a new Special Operations Command and a Ground Training Command.
“The Buhari Administration also established the Defence Research and Development Bureau to harness the Research and Development efforts of the Nigerian Military. Also established, in 2017, was the Defence Space Administration (DSA).
“On Nov. 15, 2022, the DSA oversaw the launch of Nigeria’s first Military Satellite, DELSAT 1, into space.”
He added that the administration “increased recruitment of personnel into the Armed Forces, including a doubling of army recruitment numbers per intake, and a quadrupling of airmen recruitment numbers per intake.”
The presidential spokesman also said there was full operationalisation of the National Counter Terrorism Centre and inauguration of its complex.
He said the launch of Nigeria’s Revised National Counter Terrorism Strategy; National Crisis Management Doctrine and Revised National Defence Policy, were other milestones in the eight years of the administration.
He added that the administration also established Nigeria’s National Centre for the Coordination of Early Warning and Response Mechanism, in 2022, to respond promptly and efficiently to any potential crisis.
Senate Defers Valedictory Session to Saturday
Trailed by unresolved wrangling over the election of its principal officers in the 10th assembly, the Senate yesterday postponed its earlier announced valedictory session.
The Green Chamber is yet to agree on who occupies what position in the incoming Senate principal officers’ election, following the All Progressives Congress (APC) to allocate the positions to the six geo-political zones of the country.
The APC National Working Committee (NWC) had zoned the Senate Presidency of the forthcoming 10th National Assembly to the South-South; and the Speakership of the House of Representatives to the North-West.The party also zoned the Deputy Senate Presidency to the North-West, and Deputy Speakership to the South-East.
President of the Senate, Ahmad Lawan, announced yesterday that the Senate has rescheduled its valedictory session to Saturday.
On the other hand, the House Representatives yesterday held its Valedictory Session.
Lawan had announced on Tuesday that the Upper Chamber would hold its valedictory session on Thursday.
The Senate President told members of the Senate Press Corps that the shift in the date was due to a scheduled meeting of President Bola Ahmed Tinubu with the lawmakers of the incoming 10th National Assembly on Thursday.
The Senate held plenary on Tuesday as well as yesterday.
“By the grace of God, we will still hold plenary today and then our valedictory session will be on Saturday.
“It is because tomorrow, Mr President, President Bola Ahmed Tinubu will be meeting with the Senators-elect and members-elect at 2pm.
“And we believe that a session as significant, important, historical and memorable as valedictory session of the Senate requires a whole day. Not one, two, three hours. And therefore we pushed it to Saturday,” Lawan said.
The Ninth Senate officially ends its four-year tenure on 11th June, 2023.
Lawan hinted that the 10th Senate would be inaugurated on Tuesday, 13th June, 2023.
Memories, Emotions as Reps Dissolve 9th Assembly
By Eze Okechukwu & Ubong Ukpong, Abuja
Memories and emotions went high yesterday during the valedictory session of the House of Representatives, as Speaker Femi Gbajabiamila officially dissolved the 9th assembly.
Rep. Alhassan Ado-Doguwa, the Majority Leader of the House, had moved a motion to commence the valedictory session, while Rep Ndudi Elumelu, the Minority Leader seconded the motion.
Gbajabiamila, in his valedictory speech, said: “I will miss all of you and miss this house, you have enriched my life and I cannot express how much you have impacted the house.
In an emotion laden speech, Gbajabiamila said the joint efforts in nation building by members were to ensure that the dreams of the nation’s founding fathers did not die.
“We have come, we have seen and while we are yet to conquer, my enthusiasm to serve remained undiminished,” he said.
According to him, it has been the honour of his life to serve the people of the country.
“I thank my constituency and I express gratitude to my colleagues for the privilege to serve.”
He said since he assumed office, the house had changed drastically in such a manner he had not witnessed, adding that the change came with speed as witnessed in the last four years.
He said the 9th House of Reps had governed well with some interventions, including COVID-19 pandemic, Police Reform Bill, Electoral Acts Amendment Bill, Constitutional Review, among others.
“We have worked to take advantage of social and economic transformation that benefit us; we have left our mark on every sectors of our national life,” he said.
He said the House was able to introduce discipline on the Appropriation Act that now commenced from January to December of every year.
According to him, the 9th House of Reps has ended and the 10th will commence.
“I urge you to ensure that you are not found wanting by man or God in the final judgment.”
Also, Rep. Julius Ihovhre (APC-Edo), said he would forever cherish the friendship he made in the 9th assembly, adding that such relationship would last forever.
He commended the speaker for leading the house well and perfectly and demonstrated that he could manage a diverse group of people.
“In your new roles as the Chief of Staff to the President, the challenges you will face are more than here, we plead with you not to abandon the spirit of excellence,” he said.
He said Nigeria required the kind of leader with a sense of mission, while urging Gbajabiamila to ensure the Federal Government paid attention to basic education.
Rep. Luke Onofiong (PDP-Akwa-Ibom) said members had made relationships that would last forever and commended his constituency for giving him the privilege to serve.
He commended the speaker for accommodating members and relaxing the rules to give new members a voice, noting that the speaker was gentle enough to accommodate their errors.
He urged the house to take the judiciary seriously with salary review.
Rep. Yusuf Gadgi (APC-Plateau) on his part said, “In my constituency, Muslims are 30 per cent while Christians constitute 70 per cent but they have always sent me here and for using me as a good example of how Nigeria should behave.
“What I want to say is the message of forgiveness, I want, on your behalf and other members, to forgive one another. In this assignment, we must have offended one another.
His comment on forgiveness generated some uproar, as members grumbled endlessly.
Unperturbed, Gagdi said “irrespective of the grumbling, what is right is right and people must learn to forgive others”.
Rep. Aisha Duku (APC-Borno) expressed gratitude for the opportunity to serve as the first woman to represent her constituency.
“Mr Speaker you have blessed me to bless others, I have changed the perspective of politics in my area because this is the first time that a Fulani woman and a Muslim will come out from that area.
“I have been able to enlighten people and bring out the women to vote, which hitherto they had not.
“I have participated in Bills assented to by the president and today they are laws, I commend my committee as the Chairman, House Committee on INEC, for supporting me.
Duku said she was now a better Nigerian, as she traveled to a lot of places in the country but her only regret was that no gender bill was passed.
In attendance at the session of the 9th assembly were former speakers, House Leader such as Gali Na’abba, Patricia Etteh, Mulikat Akande and some former clerks of NASS.
Tinubu Directs NEC to Work on Subsidy Removal Palliatives
By Mathew Dadiya, Abuja
President Bola Tinubu, yesterday directed the National Economic Council (NEC) led by Vice President Kashim Shettima to device an approach and begin the process of working on interventions to mitigate the impact of subsidy removal on the Nigerians.
Governor of Ogun State, Dapo Abiodun, stated this after leading some major oil marketers on a courtesy visit to the President at the State House in Abuja.
Addressing correspondents after the meeting, Abiodun, who was a former chairman of the oil marketers association, stated that the marketers expressed solidarity with the President for removing the N4trn subsidy burden, a move that can enhance the Federation Account Allocation Committee (FAAC) allocation to states.
The group of marketers subsequently announced their intention to donate to 50 to 100, fifty-seater mass transit buses that would run on CNG, costing N100m each and N10bn cumulatively, to cushion the effect of the removal within the next 30 days.
They are hoping other corporate bodies can emulate their action.
The President’s meeting with the oil marketers comes amid the controversy and protests trailing the removal of subsidy on Premium Motor Spirit known as petrol.
President Tinubu, during his inaugural speech on May 29 at the Eagle Square in Abuja had announced the removal of subsidy payment on petrol. The President said that the immediate past administration of Muhammadu Buhari did not make provisions for subsidy in the 2023 budget beyond June.
Many Nigerians had expected that the new price regime would come into effect by July 1 but almost immediately after the presidential pronouncement, queues resurfaced at filling stations across the country even as retail outlets hoard the product and increase prices.
Already, a litre of petrol is being sold at over N500 across the country following NNPC price adjustment and the presidential pronouncement on subsidy removal.
Fuel queues have since surged for the vital commodity, compounding the traffic situation in parts of the country, even as transportation cost skyrocket to more than 100% increment.
The Organised Labour had resolved to embark on a nationwide strike beginning Wednesday but was restrained by a court order of Monday, June 5, 2023. The Organised Labour subsequently shelved its planned strike after a meeting with the Federal Government late Monday.
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