Connect with us

Featured

Ignore Critics with Selfish Ambitions and Ulterior Motives – Presidency

Published

on

The Presidency has urged Nigerians to count the blessings that the administration of President Muhammadu Buhari had brought to the country’s economy rather than listening to voices of critics with selfish ambitions.

Garba Shehu, the Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity, stated this in a statement issued in Abuja on Wednesday.

According to him, the federal government is still working hard to ensure that every citizen can feel the change for which they massively voted in 2015.

“We are only saying that we must learn to pause and count our blessings.

“The loud voices of critics with selfish ambitions and ulterior motives should not be a veil that keeps Nigerians blind to the many ways God has blessed us and improved our lot through the Buhari administration,’’ he said

The presidential aide, who listed the achievements of the Buhari administration in the last three years, recalled that in 2017, the World Bank had ranked Nigeria among the top 10 reforming economies in the world.

He said that this was clearly in recognition of the thorough and rigorous growth and development-oriented economic policies of the administration.

“Today, investors and business men and women from around the world can arrive in Nigeria and get their visas right at the airport without any hassle.

“This is just one of the many reasons why Nigeria has advanced 24 steps in the global ‘Ease of Doing Business’ rankings of the World Bank.

“The government is spending more on infrastructure than previous administrations, despite earning barely half of what the country earned from oil between 2011 and 2014 when the product was selling for an average of $110 per barrel.

“The latest GDP figures show continuous growth after the Buhari administration successfully brought the country out of recession, with virtually all sectors of the economy now on the rebound, and significant progress recorded in agriculture,’’ he added.

Mr Shehu disclosed that the Buhari administration had also ushered in significant progress in agriculture, where output had risen in local production, saying “Nigeria is now importing 80-90 per cent less rice than in previous years.’’

He also noted that fertiliser plants had been resuscitated with prices of the commodity dropped significantly, adding that more young people were going into agriculture, being able, for the first time, to see farming as a viable endeavour.

“Has anyone heard of the Graduates-in-Agriculture Scheme in several states of the federation, a self-driven, government-assisted programme by which our young men and women are stopping their endless wait for white-collar jobs and creating wealth for themselves and the nation?,’’ he asked, rhetorically.

The presidential media aide also observed that power generation and distribution had more than doubled since the inception of the Buhari administration in 2015.

He said: “In his address at the 10th Bola Tinubu Colloquium a week ago, the Vice President, Professor Yemi Osinbajo reported that the Buhari administration has put in place “an audacious Social Investment Programme to the tune of N500 billion, the largest pro-poor programme in our nation’s history, and the largest social safety net, at least in Sub-Saharan Africa.

“This was despite the fact that by 2015, oil prices fell by over 50 per cent and our production also fell from over 2 million barrels a day to less than 700,000 barrels a day, sometimes even 500,000 barrels in 2016.

“We have seen today the empirical evidence of the successes of this programme, and all of that is evident for us to see and listen to several testimonies and stories.

“200,000 jobs for undergraduates employed under the N-Power programme, 300,000 more waiting to be employed; they have been pre-selected; over 7 million children being fed daily in 22 States so far; beneficiaries of micro-credit loans going to about 300,000; and almost 300,000 households benefiting from conditional cash transfers.’’

According to him, in line with campaign promises, the Buhari administration is spending trillions of naira to build railways, roads and ramp up power supplies.

Mr Shehu also quoted the vice president as saying: “In 2014, when oil was at between 100 dollars and 114 dollars a barrel, the actual releases for capital for three ministries – Power, Works and Housing – then they were three separate ministries, was in total N99 billion; while Transportation got 14 billion, and Agriculture got 15 billion.

“I am talking about actual releases, not budgeted, what they actually got.

“Let us compare that with capital releases to the same ministries in 2017, when oil price was between 50 dollars and 60 dollars per barrel, N415 Billion for Power, Works and Housing, N80 Billion for Transportation; N65 Billion for Agriculture; totalling N560 Billion, in a time when we were earning at least 50% less than we were earning in 2014.’’

The presidential aide, however, cautioned that “these comments should not be misconstrued as denying that there is more that needs to be done, as the current administration is relentless and determined to continue in its task of continuously improving the lot of Nigerians.’’

He said: “We are only saying that we must learn to pause and count our blessings.

“The loud voices of critics with selfish ambitions and ulterior motives should not be a veil that keeps Nigerians blind to the many ways God has blessed us and improved our lot through the Buhari administration.’’

(NAN)

Continue Reading
Click to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Featured

We’re Not ‘Officially Aware’ of Anyone Working Against Tinubu’s Victory – FG

Published

on

By

The Federal Government, on Wednesday, said it was not “officially aware” of any entity in the Presidential Villa working against the victory of the All Progressives Congress’ flag bearer, Bola Tinubu. It also said that President, Muhammadu Buhari was neither favouring nor disfavouring any presidential candidate ahead of the February 25 election.

“If there’s anybody who is working against any candidate, we don’t know officially,” the Minister of Information, Lai Mohammed, told State House Correspondents after this week’s Federal Executive Council meeting chaired by the President at the Aso Rock Villa, Abuja.

The Kaduna State Governor, Nasir El-Rufai, alleged that some “elements” in Aso Rock are working against Tinubu’s emergence as President.

El-Rufai, who spoke on a Channels Television breakfast programme, Sunrise Daily, explained that the persons in question were aggrieved that Tinubu defeated their candidate in the June 2022 APC presidential primary.

He cited the naira redesign policy as one of several schemes targeted at the APC presidential candidate, Tinubu, who also made a similar claim a week earlier.

According to El-Rufai, “I believe there are elements in the Villa that want us to lose the election because they didn’t get their way; they had their candidate. Their candidate did not win the primaries.

“They are trying to get us to lose the election, and they are hiding behind the President’s desire to do what he thinks is right. I will give two examples: this petroleum subsidy, which is costing the country trillions of Naira, was something that we all agreed would be removed.

“In fact, I discussed with the President and showed him why it had to go. Because how can you have a capital budget of N200b for federal roads and then spend N2 Trillion on petroleum subsidy? This was a conversation I had with the President in 2021 when the subsidy thing started rising. He was convinced. We left. It changed. Everyone in the government agreed, and it changed.

“The second example I will give is this currency redesign. You have to understand the President. People are blaming the Governor of the Central Bank for the currency redesign, but No. You have to go back and look at the first outing of Buhari as President.

“He did this; the Buhari-Idiagbon regime changed our currency and did it in secrecy with a view to catching those that are stashing away illicit funds. It is a very good intention. The President has his right. But doing it at this time within the allotted time does not make any political or economic sense.”

But fielding a question on the issue on Wednesday, Mohammed argued that the Buhari-led government has been fair to all candidates regardless of party affiliations.

He said, “On a more serious note, one thing I can assure you is that, no matter who, this administration is focused and determined to ensure a free and fair election. And I think this administration, and for that matter now, the most important person in this regard is Mr. President.

“I think he has shown by words and deed that he is committed to a free, fair and credible election. And fair, free and credible elections mean not favouring or disfavouring anybody.

“Everywhere he goes, he makes that very clear, even as recently as Friday, when he was in Daura. He said the same thing. So if there’s anybody who’s working against any candidate, we don’t know officially.”

Speaking in Ogun State last Wednesday, the APC presidential candidate alleged plans to sabotage the coming election.

Tinubu cited the naira redesign policy by the Central Bank of Nigeria and the lingering fuel crisis and as part of plots to thwart the polls and his expected victory.

Continue Reading

Featured

2023 Elections: INEC Deploys 707,384 Presiding Officers

Published

on

By

The Independent National Electoral Commission will deploy 707,384 presiding officers for the general elections scheduled to commence on February 25.

The commission also said that since electoral education was important, there was a need to infuse it into the National Values Curriculum of primary schools in Nigeria.

INEC National Commissioner and Chairman of its Information and Voter Education Committee, Festus Okoye, stated these during the public presentation of the Electoral Education Curriculum and Teachers’ Guide for primary schools.

The curriculum which was developed by the Consortium for Elections and Political Process Strengthening  – Sustaining Electoral Engagement for Democracy project funded by USAID and FCDO and implemented by National Democratic Institute and IFES, was in partnership with the Nigeria Educational Research and Development Council, INEC (through the Voter Education Department), National Orientation Agency, Civil Society Action Coalition on Education for All and academia from across the country.

Okoye said, “We believe that electoral education is important in the goals of our nation. Electoral education is a specialized area and that is why we have this curriculum being infused into the National Values Curriculum in our primary schools.

“For instance, for the 2023 general elections in Nigeria, the commission will deploy a total of 707, 384 presiding officers and assistant presiding officers.

“These presiding officers will be drawn from the crop of young men and women doing their National Youth Service Corps, while the assistant presiding officers will be drawn from students from federal tertiary institutions.

“It is therefore important for us to understand the importance of electoral education in the development of our democracy.

“A national civic education curriculum and teachers’ guide with a specific focus on electoral education will prepare our children for the challenges ahead and also prepare them on how to respect other people’s races and also prepare them to assume leadership in future.”

The President of IFES, Anthony Banbury, said its contribution to the project was to strengthen Nigeria’s electoral process through effective teaching and learning of civic education in primary schools.

“To catch them young, the revised curriculum is a hallmark innovation that will introduce children and youth very early to the concept, processes, ethics, and values of democratic systems and governance.

“It will be essential for the young people’s orientation to initiate a shift from the existing norms. In the long term, it will increase civic participation and knowledge of democratic systems and values, as the children of today become the adults and the voters of tomorrow,” Banbury said.

The Executive Secretary of NERDC, Prof. Ismail Junaidu, said the aim was to strengthen the fabric of the nation’s democracy for sustainable growth and development.

According to him, since the return of democracy in 1999, citizens’ participation in elections and the electoral process had remained an issue of concern.

He also said that a known reason for this was the lack of adequate electoral knowledge.

“Hence, promoting democratic electoral culture and developing civic skills are therefore necessary for well-informed and responsible participation in elections and in the electoral process,” Junaidu said.

He said that the above informed the initiative of the NERDC in collaboration with IFES to develop the Electoral Education Curriculum for primary schools in Nigeria.

According to him, the curriculum, generally, is developed to expose young learners to the rudiments of democracy and inculcate in them the knowledge, skills and attitudes necessary for active citizens’ participation in the democratic process.

“Specifically, the curriculum is designed to achieve five key objectives, which are to: equip learners with basic knowledge of the concept of democracy, the role of elections in democracy and good governance.

He said the choice of primary school learners was hinged on the core principle of using education as an instrument of socialisation for the young to assume adult roles for the good of society.

“Thus, the teaching of electoral education at this level will ensure that when children reach voting age, they would have already understood the fundamentals of active participation in the political and electoral process,” Junaidu said.

While commending the management of NERDC for the initiative, the Minister of Education, Mallam Adamu Adamu, represented by his Senior Technical Assistant, Dr Claris Ujam, said the curriculum had become a dynamic process for sustainable national development.

He said, “Every time, there are changes or developments happening around the world, the school curricula are affected.

“Therefore, the inclusion of concepts and contents of electoral education under Civic Education is in line with the drive under the Ministry’s Education for Change: A Ministerial Strategic Plan.

“This is to enable the acquisition of citizenship values and skills through quality education. The electoral education curricular contents constitute a remarkable step to create positive change in the election landscape and political development.”

The Punch

Continue Reading

Featured

Pro, Anti Ekweremadu Protesters Storm UK Trial

Published

on

By

The human trafficking case against a former Deputy President of the Senate, Ike Ekweremadu, and his wife, Beatrice, resumed in a London court on Tuesday.

However, anti- and pro-Ekweremadu protests were staged in front of the court ahead of the proceedings.

AFP reported that before court proceedings, there was a gathering of protesters, some of whom were in support of the lawmaker while others were against him.

The lawmaker was in June 2022 arrested alongside his wife at Heathrow Airport in London on the allegation that they flew a young man from Nigeria to the UK to harvest his organ.

The allegation added that the organ was meant for Ekweremadu’s daughter, Sonia, who is currently hospitalised with a kidney-related illness.

Some Nigerians had in October 2022 protested in Abuja against the continued detention of the lawmaker who has now spent 223 days in the custody of UK authorities.

Protesters, once again, gathered at the court on Tuesday to either support the embattled lawmaker or protest his continued detention in UK custody.

“I mean, this case is unbelievable,” one protester, Citizen Gbola, was quoted by AFP as saying.

“Where else in the world would you have a deputy senate president, who is still a serving senator, he’s still getting his regular wage?”

According to Daily Mail, Sonia couldn’t make it to court on Tuesday but sought permission with a psychological report by her team claiming she was not fit to stand trial.

She had pleaded not guilty to the allegation of trafficking a homeless man into the UK to harvest his organs for herself, when she appeared in court on November 7, 2022.

The young man, who levelled the allegation against the Ekweremadus, told Staines Police Station that he was made to undergo some medical tests, none of which he consented to.

A 50-year-old medical doctor from South London, Obinna Obeta, was also arrested in connection to the allegation.

During proceedings at the Old Bailey court, Ekweremadu who wore a grey tracksuit top only said “Yes, miss” when asked to confirm his name.

Seated beside the lawmaker in the dock and dressed in black was his wife who was granted bail in July 2022 while her husband was said to be a flight risk.

The Punch

Continue Reading

Trending

%d bloggers like this: