BUHARI :speaks out

“Fellow Nigerians, People accuse me of many things. But one thing they never accuse me of is corruption. They never accuse me of mediocrity, or of lying. People accuse me of many things. I have led this country and I have a record. We were not perfect, but we were effective; we solved problems, and we made Nigerians proud. In our government, we fought corruption, we stabilized the
Naira, and we shut down insurgency. We shouldn’t forget so soon that there was the Maitatsine ravaging the North east and we dealt with it. We also overran the Chadian rebels.We rebuilt industries, Nigerians queued up and treated each
other with respect; Nigerians took pride in our reputation for discipline.

The world admired us. We were proud to be Nigerians. However, because they can’t attack our record, they accuse me falsely of ethnic jingoism; they accuse me falsely of religious fundamentalism . Because they cannot attack our record, they accuse us falsely of calling for election violence – when we have only insisted on peace. Even as Head of State, we never imposed Shariah. All my running mates have been either Igbo or Yoruba and are always devout Christian of indisputable repute. I have and will continue to condemn those who burn God’s places of worship, be they churches or mosques and wish God’s judgment upon them. As your President, their punishment won’t stop there, we will also ensure Boko Haram and other such elements, are found, are arrested and face the full wrath of the law as punishment for their crimes against our country.

My dear friends, this is very important to note: It doesn’t matter if you are Igbo,Yoruba, Ijaw, Hausa, Idoma, Efik, Ekwere, Urhobo, Igala and, no, it does not matter if you are Christian, Muslim,animist or atheist: we need a new direction under a new leadership. The task ahead will be challenging and daunting, but it is surmountable. This is what leadership is about. My only desire is to prove to you that Nigeria can truly work. Allow me prove to you that in your lifetime, you can be proud of this country.

Let me make you this promise today: We will protect your children. We will protect your wealth. We will make this country work again. This is why I am running for the office of the president of Nigeria. This is my promise.” –

Muhammadu Buhari (GCFR).

Buhari thanks Nigerians for massive support, restates agenda

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The presidential candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC) General Muhammadu Buhari has thanked Nigerians for having confidence in him to right the several wrongs bedevilling the country.
General Buhari, who spoke through a press statement signed by the Director of Media and Publicity of the APC Presidential Campaign Organisation (APCPCO), Mallam Garba Shehu on Thursday, said the huge reception his campaign trails have received in all the states visited across the country thus far indicates how desperately Nigerians are yearning for change.

The statement reads: “This is to appreciate the people of this great country for the wide acceptance to vote for change in the coming election.
“The issues of corruption, insecurity, lies, weak economy among several atrocities and damage that have been done to the country are enough reasons for change.
“The saying that you can fool the people sometime, but you can’t fool the people all the time is applicable here.

“After nearly 16 years of democracy, what we have today is unacceptable: our youths are roaming the streets with no job and poverty visible everywhere; the missing $20 billion oil money, the missing Chibok girls, the ill-equipped military to fight insurgency, corruption in high places, lack of vision and clueless regime of governance are not acceptable to Nigerians. These are more than enough reasons to fire up the vortex of change in the minds of our people.
“I appreciate the trust and confidence on me. Our country shall move forward again. The country is tired of try and error leadership that is imbued with absolute corruption. Let your vote count because it is the only instrument we have to fight for the change we so earnestly desire.”

ANALYSIS: Govt budgets billions to fund president’s, lawmakers’ lavish lifestyles; health, roads get pittance

It is that time of the year when political rhetoric is at its highest and politicians are selling themselves as the messiahs who will save Nigeria’s troubled economy. The economy is in real trouble, the naira has been devalued and stocks are tanking. Promises of better prudence in the management of the economy have become refrains among politicians.

The 2015 budget is also a talking point. Nigeria is deep in a quandary brought upon it by the price of Crude and austerity may be the only ladder out. With unsold cargoes for December and low oil prices, the country’s financial prospect appears bleak.

Some days to the New Year, the 2015 budget was presented to the National Assembly. Analysts felt compelled to toss around guesses, chief among which was that the benchmark used in projecting the revenue of the federation. It appears overly optimistic. Technically, it costs $21.06 to produce a barrel of Crude Oil in 2014 under the JVC agreement (Joint Venture Corporation), up from $11.31 per barrel in 2009 – while the average operating cost of getting a barrel of Crude oil from the ground, which was previously at $6.38 in 2009 is now $9.94. Nigeria appears to be gradually out-pricing itself from the Crude oil market and urgently needs to review its petroleum laws.

Nigeria has also not been able to optimise revenue from the oil and gas industry because its pricing model is outdated and without the PIB, bold reforms have not be adopted. According to the October 2011 Central Bank Monetary Policy Committee Document “ A substantial part of oil production (about 40 per cent) is currently in deep offshore wells. Based on the terms agreed in the 1990s when oil price was under US$30, royalty from oil wells deeper than 1,000 metres is zero per cent and the nation is paid only 20 per cent of the profit by oil companies after deducting their expenses. As a result, the country has had limited benefits from high oil prices and increasing output, with most of the gains going to multinational oil companies under an inequitable fiscal arrangement.”

More so, can Nigeria achieve its production target of 2.39million barrels per day? Recent estimates showed that Nigeria produced an average of 1.902million barrels per day in December with over 35m cargoes still unsold. The Economist magazine puts the operating cost of extracting shale oil at $10-$20 per barrel for large fields. If the price war is anything to go by, the conventional oil producer will be looking at keeping oil below $50 per barrel and hoping the Shale oil lobby in the USA does not have its way with subsidies. As it is, the Crude oil price is already trading below the budget estimates through fiscal year 2015, pegged at $65 per barrel.

culled from premiumtimes

PDP plans to use court to stop polls’

The All Progressives Congress said having failed to convince Nigerians to accept the postponement of the February elections, the Peoples Democratic Party had set in motion plans to shift the polls by ensuring that the APC presidential candidate, Maj. Gen. Muhammadu Buhari (retd.), was disqualified.

The National Publicity Secretary of the APC, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, said this in a statement on Tuesday.

It said the case instituted at a Federal High Court in Abuja on Monday, seeking a declaration that Buhari lacked the requisite qualification to contest the February 14 presidential election, was the first in a series of court cases to be instituted just so that the elections would not hold.

The statement partly read, “We are not surprised at this, because these desperadoes are so predictable. They are following the footsteps of the infamous Association for Better Nigeria which helped to annul the 1993 elections and which threw Nigeria into a crisis from which it has yet to fully recover, over 20 years later.

‘’We can only appeal to the judiciary not to become a willing tool in the hands of those who will stop at nothing to scuttle the elections, just to perpetuate their firm grip on power.”

The party said President Goodluck Jonathan was aware that if the elections went ahead as scheduled, he would lose to Buhari by a landslide.

It said the threats issued by those close to Jonathan that they would not accept the outcome of the election, should Jonathan lose, was evidence that the President was not prepared for transparent elections.

It said, “An ally of presidential aide, Doyin Okupe, has revealed that President Jonathan will rather have the military takeover than hand over to the APC candidate. Although Okupe has made a tepid denial, the revelation has exposed the thinking and the desperation within the Presidency, ahead of the elections.

‘’We are also aware that up till this moment, the President has yet to repudiate the ex-militants in the Niger Delta who have threatened the country’s very existence if he is not re-elected, as if elections are won by fiat. When this is added to ongoing moves to depopulate the North-East, which is an opposition stronghold, using scare tactics, one can see that this Presidency and the PDP are as terrified and desperate as they can be.”

The party urged the Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Mohammed Adoke, to advise Jonathan and his aides not to abuse the courts or use it as a tool to truncate democracy, as this could throw the country into chaos.

ANALYSIS: Who takes Government House in Lagos: Ambode or Agbaje?

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The Lagos State governorship election is perhaps generating as much buzz as the presidential election. This is understandable. As the country’s melting pot, there are as much issues available for discussion in the run up to the election as in the presidential election.
While the presidential election campaigns are characterised by attacks on personalities, mudslinging, bullying and threats, the campaigns for who becomes the next governor of Nigeria’s Centre of Excellence, has been largely issue-based so far.
In fact, the incumbent, Babatunde Fashola, was widely criticised and ridiculed for bringing up the issue of the age of the candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, Jimi Agbaje, during an All Progressives Congress, APC, campaign rally. This is an indication that Lagosians would not take kindly to mudsling and name-calling, the type that has unfortunately been on full display in the presidential campaigns.
There are 17 parties vying for the governorship seat in the February 28 poll but it’s realistically a straight fight between the two dominant parties – the PDP and the APC. Make no mistake about it, Mr. Fashola has raised the bar of governance in the state and it is generally agreed that the state has too much at stake and cannot afford to elect an incompetent governor who would likely to take the state back into the Dark Ages of governance.
Lagos is the commercial capital of the country and with a Gross Domestic Product (GDP) of $90 billion; it contributes about 20 per cent of the country’s GDP or 60 per cent, assuming the oil revenue is removed. In fact Lagos’s GDP is greater than that of Kenya ($66 billion), Ghana ($62 billion) and Tanzania ($58.4 billion). As home to most Nigerians, an awful government in Lagos would have catastrophic impacts on the economy and other sectors.
To its chagrin and frustration, Lagosians have spurned the PDP like a bad-mannered wife since 1999. All efforts by the party to wrest the state from opposition parties such as the Alliance for Democracy, AD, and the Action Congress of Nigeria, ACN, both of which had formed its administration, came to naught. In 2011, despite winning 66 per cent of the votes during the presidential election, the PDP still managed to lose the governorship election. However, due to a series of anti-populist policies embarked by the incumbent administration and the acceptability of its candidate, this election is perhaps the PDP’s best chance of winning the election.
The chief talking points in election would be the dichotomy of government interest between the highly populated and largely ghetto Mainland and the affluent Island; The influence of the acclaimed godfather of Lagos politics, Bola Tinubu, and the deportation of non-indigenes especially from the South-East.
The Fashola’s administration set fire on the electoral credit it accrued for clearing the hitherto chaotic Oshodi of miscreants and unruly street traders when it announced the widespread restriction of commercial motorcyclist known as Okada from major roads in the state. The subsequent high-handed enforcement of the law by the police and members of the state owned traffic management agency, LASTMA, turned many low-class Lagosians, who viewed the Fashola-led APC government as anti-poor, towards the PDP for succour. In fact, during a PDP organised political meeting, a member of the Okada union said his organisation was so irked by the decision to restrict their area of operation that have raised N750 million in support of the PDP’s campaign to win the election.
Though the government has vehemently denied this, the impression that it is driven by elitist ethos still persist in the minds of many Lagosians. And this worry is not exactly baseless. The government increased tuition in the state-owned university, LASU, from N25, 000.00 to between N180, 000.00 and N350, 000.00. It took weeks of protests by students and prolong strike by the university’s academic union for the governor to revert to the original fees. Some said the government reverted to the original fees to avoid the kind of defeat suffered by Kayode Fayemi, the immediate past APC governor of Ekiti state, who was believed to have been voted out for running a government considered elitist.
Although it is arguable that the Fashola administration has completely ignored the Mainland, it’s increasingly hard to convince Mainlanders who see the level of infrastructural developments on the Island that they are not being merely tolerated like a polygamist’s aging first wife.
Despite the governor’s apology, the deportation of non-indigene destitute from the state would definitely cost the APC some votes in the election. Many Igbos, the largest non-indigenous group in the state, have still not completely forgiven the government. It is believed that the government did not handle the issue properly. Besides, it allowed it to drag on for too long.
The matter was aggravated by a former Minister of Aviation, Femi Fani-Kayode, in his one of the controversial articles, described the Igbos as “collectively unlettered, uncouth, uncultured, unrestrained and crude in all their ways. They have no restraining factors because money and the acquisition of wealth is their sole objective and purpose in life.”
Ironically, Mr. Fani-Kayode is now the Director of Media for President Goodluck Jonathan campaign organisation. The Igbos remain some of Mr. Jonathan’s strong supporters.
The party’s governorship candidate, Akinwunmi Ambode’s campaign has been centered mostly on the need for continuity. This is not exactly a bad thing. However, Lagos is not a utopia. Some people say there are always better ways of doing things. Lagosians need to hear more of his own original ideas of solving the challenges of the state rather than preaching continuity. Mr Ambode also needs to convince the electorate living in the Mainland that he would pay more attention to that part of the state than the incumbent.
To the credit of the APC administration, however, it has effectively freed the state from the clutches of the Federal Government by increasing its Internally Generated Revenue (IGR) to N384.26 billion. The party has also built relatively strong institutions such as the state waste management agency, LAWMA, Its advert and signage agency, LASAA, LASTMA and many others that are working to bring the state at par to other mega cities in the world.
Lagos has also seen an unprecedented infrastructural development under the party such as the yet to be completed light rail project and the expansion of the Lagos – Badagry Express way to a 10-lane rail/motor way. All this might swing votes to the APC in the February election.
On the other hand, the PDP is wooing voters mostly in the Mainland by promising an all-inclusive development. The party is increasingly becoming the darling of traders, artisans and motorists who have been at the receiving end of some of the government’s less people- friendly policies. Also, in places like Badagry where the state government has had poor presence, voters are increasingly rooting for the PDP and Mr. Agbaje.
Unlike other states with disputed primary elections, the PDP in Lagos state handled the dispute between Mr. Agbaje and former Minister of state for Defence, Musiliu Obanikoro, reasonably well. Both men have been reconciled with Mr. Obanikoro campaigning for the flag bearer. This is very important. Perhaps, the only person that can claim something close to the kind of grassroots mobilisation prowess as Mr. Tinubu, the APC leader, is Mr. Obanikoro.
Koro, as his supporters fondly call him, has all the potential of becoming a kingmaker in the state. However, he is too neck deep into the campaign to seek votes for President Jonathan to be wholly dedicated to Mr. Agbaje’s campaign. But there might be a more involved push from Mr. Obanikoro towards the election of Mr. Agbaje after the February 14 presidential poll.
Again, this time around the PDP happens to have found a way around the management of campaign fund, which had been its biggest problem in previous elections. If there are any misunderstandings over the disbursement of fund within the party this time around, they are yet to manifest.
If debates win election then it’s a done deal for Mr. Agbaje who was miles ahead of other debaters in the recent gubernatorial debate organised by the Church of Nigeria (Anglican Communion) of Lagos West Diocese. The debate showed that Mr. Agbaje is smart, eloquent and with practical plans of how to govern the state. By promising an all-inclusive government, he has also endeared many non-indigenes to his message.
Lagosians are sophisticated people and this would certainly reflect in their choice of who governs them. Whoever emerges victorious between two leading candidates would probably win by the thinnest margin in the history of elections in the state.

Minister Of Interior Says FG Will Soon Introduce E-Prison System

The Minister of Interior, Mr Abba Moro on Tuesday said the ministry was planning to introduce the e-prison system in order to put an end to incessant prisons breaks

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The Minister said this when a delegation of the Human Rights Commission paid a courtesy visit on

him at the ministry in Abuja.Moro said the ministry was committed to making Nigerian prisons among the best in the world through the rehabilitation and construction of new prisons.
” We are committed to make the prisons one of the best from structure to infrastructure. The ministry inherited a prisons system that was nearly comatose hence it has taken steps to rehabilitate prisons .
” Presently new structures are under construction in various states including Yobe, Ibadan, Kwara, Nnewi among others and before the end of this administration this projects will be commissioned” Moro said.
He said that President Goodluck Jonathan had approved the construction of 200 bed spaces each in Nasarawa and Suleja prisons to improve the living condition of prisoners.
He said that in order to ensure that humane conditions were provided to prisoners the ministry was liaising with the office of the Attorney General of the Federation and various state governments.
He said that this was to ensure quick dispensation of justice for persons awaiting trial.
Moro said that the ministry was currently working with the Nigerian Army and the Nigeria Police to ensure safety of prisoners and prevent future attacks.
He assured the commission of the ministry’s effort to ensure safety of Nigerians before, during and after the election.
” Officers and men of the Nigeria Security and Civil Defense Corps (NSCDC) have been deployed to various parts of the country.
” They have been adequately trained and the federal government is doing this in order to ensure safety of lives and properties of all Nigerians” the minister said.
Earlier, Mr Ben Angwe, the Executive Secretary, Human Right Commission expressed displeasure with some of the problems
in the Nigerian prisons, one of which is congestion.
He said that the commission was, therefore, conducting prisons audit with the support of the National Assembly to support the ministry to solve some of the problems.
While pledging the support of the commission in ensuring that the ministry achieved its set goals, the secretary called on the minister to ensure that all hands are on deck in ensuring the protection of the rights of inmate especially
those still awaiting trial. (NAN)