The Partisans’ Portrayals of the Critic as a Hater, By Gimba Kakanda


Perhaps it’s sub-clinical, but partisanship as exhibited by Nigerians appears to be no more than just uncritical loyalty to a political party. It’s a psychiatric dilemma. Perhaps again this is only my lack of an explanation for, or an understanding of, the kneejerk reference to critics of the government as “haters” by those who were themselves “critics” before entering into political office.

The Critic-As-A-Hater— attention-seeker and most definitely “disgruntled”—is the perception being popularised by the legion of former critics. And they have really invested a lot in this shamefulness, such that even political appointees whose offices aren’t recognised by the Government (with creative portfolios as insignificant as their principal’s promises, only sustained by hand-outs), have joined the legion to taunt citizens who have voiced discontent with government.

This diseased mindset has been applied in their criticism of the #BringBackOurGirls campaign. If there’s a medal for hypocrisy, zealous supporters of President Muhammad Buhari will bag the prize and millions in cash, without a challenger from any other political front. Some of the cheerleaders of the campaign have suddenly become its critics. This points to one thing, that their participation in this long-lasting campaign for the rescue of the girls of Chibok was not a show of humanity. It was just a restatement of their hatred of former President Goodluck Jonathan. And that’s why they are unwilling to accept that people can actually be legitimately critical of a style of governance, for they see everyone in their own image – as sycophants. To them, an apposition has to be rooted in an unrevealed interest. To them, an opposition has to be sponsored, any agenda has to be driven by bigotry or vendetta.

This justifies my advocacy for the development of Civic Education in Nigerian schools. Our understanding of government and the place of civic vigilance is dispiriting. Whatever is being taught right now clearly isn’t effective. And it’s funny when government appointees interpret civics as hatred of the government, even funnier when their partisan allies agree with such a pedestrian acknowledgement of the appointees’ inability to play their designated roles beyond serving as attack dogs. That those appointed to advise our politicians routinely identify critics as haters explains why our governments fail.

But since we survived the Jonathanians, we are strong to tell their successors, the Buharists, that praise songs don’t build a strong nation. A government is only as good as the people manning it and those that surround it. And if this holds any truth, now then is the time to speak the truth to power. This is the time to praise those still standing, those who have refused to compromise on their values, those immune to blackmail.

The political zealots have even resorted to blackmail as a part of their scheme to shut critics down. The latest victim is the US-based columnist, Professor Farooq Kperogi. In a bid to disrupt his scrutiny of the government, as he did to governments before this, his personal life was made a subject of public ridicule. The intent was to distract and dissuade him. First he was charged with bitterness for not having been given an appointment. It didn’t matter to them that he’s a highly regarded scholar at an American university, and evidently loved there for his service.

When it was obvious that the columnist was high above that shallow stream of mischief, a fiction was woven around his academic scholarship – that he was sponsored by a Nigerian university, and that it is a moral low to stay back in the United States even after benefitting from Nigeria’s largesse. “That’s flat-out false,” he wrote in a reaction to the blackmail on his Facebook. “My Master’s degree was paid for entirely by the University of Louisiana. I got a full tuition waiver and a monthly stipend for my duties as a graduate teaching assistant while I was a student there.” And then, “For my PhD at Georgia State University, I also had a full tuition waiver and a monthly stipend, and was a graduate teaching instructor.”

That they are frightened by the columnist’s commentary to the point of blackmailing him is itself a moral validation of his critiques of the President’s reluctance to lead the change he promised, to plagiarise the right things from Obama (like getting rid of the many presidential jets), to run a frugal government in view of the lean economy of the day, amongst other discontents. Kperogi isn’t a government spokesman, one of whom he’s even had a decorous exchange with over the veracity of a report in the Vanguard newspaper the Presidency didn’t refute, who yet expected the columnist to know it was false. But if It took a Farooq Kperogi column to have an official clarification on that report of the extravagance of our governing elite from Garba Shehu, then the critic achieved his aim. Ironically, the same partisans who, allying with Garba Shehu, questioned the credibility of Vanguard, rushed to share and quote Barack Obama’s praise of the President’s handing of the Boko Haram insurgency reported by the “useless” newspaper they have asked us to stop reading.

We must learn to see positive assessment of the government as recognition for the moments it fulfils electoral promises. Or, as encouragement to do more and better. This making governance look like a humanitarian service, as these shameless, shame-inducing legion of jokers insist on doing, is barefaced sycophancy. The politicians are not doing us a favour by patching up roads and rehabilitating other infrastructure. It is EXACTLY what they were elected and overly paid to do. And these aides of theirs, who criticise citizens upon civic dissent with their principals, even when the livelihood of both they and their principals are maintained by public funds, might just be in need of a psychiatrist to see the irreconcilable irony of their position. May God save us from us.

By Gimba Kakanda

@gimbakakanda on Twitter

Change Does Not Begin with an Empty Slogan, Mr. President, By Gimba Kakanda


Last Thursday, the Federal Government, obviously terrified by the burden of expectations on it, launched what is without doubt an exercise in propaganda. It is a social orientation campaign named “Change Begins With Me”. Introducing the campaign, the President said, “Our citizens must realize that the change they want to see begins with them.” And then, “Before you ask ‘where is the change they promised us’, you must first ask how far have I changed my ways, (sic) ‘what have I done to be part of the change for the greater good of society’.”

This is an audacious attempt to alter the definition of “Change” the APC proposed when it approached us in selling its beautiful ideas for Nigeria.  The governing party’s idea of change has been widely archived, and it’s just impossible to convince the people that the change they promised isn’t creating three million jobs yearly, providing free meals for public primary school public, offering N5,000 stipends to unemployed youths, adopting Social Welfare Programmes to cater for the poor, free maternal and children healthcare services, amongst similar visions as laudable as they were popular.

This is why the definition provided by the President is a contradiction of what the APC told us, that it would lead the way to our redemption. The Change promised Nigerians was framed as institutional and systemic, not this grand campaign for exceptional individualism. The problem, as I’ve repeatedly said, is not the person, not the Nigerian. It’s the institutions, stupid, to creatively quote an exceptional American who also came to power chanting Change. Institutions aren’t made by people, they are made by rules, fair rules impartially administered, hard to bend. That is the Change we were promised, it was the Change we expected and voted for, it is the Change that is demanded.

Have you ever paused to ponder why Nigerians beat traffic lights in Abuja but obey traffic rules in London? It’s because the UK institutions are strong. So, the change we anticipate must begin with institutions changing people. Telling some people that change begins with them is like telling a robber to stop stealing. No, you’ve to build a strong Police to change him, and strong social services so that petty theft for survival is diminished. Citizens are often only as good and as incorruptible as the country wants them to be, through its institutions.

An expatriate friend, an Australian, beats traffic lights in Abuja and he actually once described it as fun. He’ll never try it in his country. Why? It’s not patriotism. Words like “change begins with me” will never stop people from disobeying traffic rules. To achieve this, you need surveillance cameras and strong penalising institutions. Wait, why do you think Americans are afraid of evading tax? It’s the horror of having to deal with IRS. It’s not patriotism. Who’s afraid of FIRS? Definitely not the Nigerian big man who’s sure of his ability to make phone calls and get any case against him dropped! So, change should begin with the President addressing institutional lapses like those employment scams at CBN and FIRS, and apologising to the nation for condoning such nepotism.

Truth is, this “Change Begins With Me” campaign may only further give the President more excuses to skip electoral promises. He and his handlers will claim they failed to deliver as promised because the citizens didn’t change. Our President may go down in history as just another politician if he does not stick to the dream he promised which got him elected, with honest apologies or explanations where necessary.  He’s to lead and inspire a generation by giving them a functional nation to strive to change their realities. Change begins with having stable power supply, equipped and upgraded hospitals, developed road infrastructure, rehabilitated schools, countered nepotism, defeated crony capitalism…

Yes, you don’t need a witchdoctor to understand that the change promised by the APC means overturning our social conditions. Our people are hungry, forex is unstable, businesses are collapsing, and instead of changing their conditions, the government is shamelessly telling them that change begins with them. What the hungry citizens need isn’t an empty slogan, what they need is a favourable socio-economy to stay alive and thrive in. To say #ChangeBeginsWithMe when inflation is on autopilot is an understating of the nation’s reality, it’s a state-authorised insult. To deploy a slogan as facile and silly as #ChangeBeginsWIthMe in 2016 is an insult to the intelligence of even the dullest of the Nigerian electorate. Change means an improvement in the quality and responsiveness of our institutions, and we will never let the President CHANGE the CHANGE!

If Nigerians had not changed, they wouldn’t have volunteered to campaign for Candidate Muhammadu Buhari who, addressing delegates at his party’s National Convention before the elections, said, “I can’t give you a pocketful of dollars or Naira to purchase your support.”  What he offered in place of dollars was a beautiful dream. In that dream, the people saw a Nigeria where they don’t need a “connection” anymore to secure a job. But that has happened under his watch. This is why I suggested #ChangeAlongWithMe as a more sensible slogan elsewhere, because the President was elected to pave the way for the change by, for instance, installing functional streetlamps and establishing strong penalising institutions for citizens to obey traffic rules, and by stopping recruitment scams at our federal agencies for the citizens to get the sense and essence of a Nigeria without nepotism. Psychologists call these conditioning!

But the usual governmental praise-singers, in their serial bid to endorse the campaign, say its critics are ignorant, revealing their amusing misconception of Civics. Some have written that Nigerians have a sense of entitlement. They miss, of course, embarrassingly, that Nigerians are not requesting effective institutional change from the President. We are demanding it as he promised. It’s our right, paid for in blood and votes, it is not a privilege to which entitlement and too much of entitlement can be attached.

Nigerians are waiting for the President have them conditioned into what he wants them to be, possible only through his policies and actions. He has access to the public treasury and administrative machinery to shape the destiny of this nation. That the government is resorting to psychological propaganda to hoodwink Nigerians into embracing a contradiction of its promises and capabilities, is dispiriting. Change begins with action, and with the President not abdicating his responsibility to champion it. May God save us from us.

By Gimba Kakanda

@gimbakakanda on Twitter

Buhari Is Resolute To Diversify Economy – Adamu

Sen. Abdullahi Adamu (APC Nasarawa West) says President Muhammadu Buhari is determined to diversify the country’s economy.


He spoke with News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Abuja on Monday, noting that the present administration had said it on many occasions that Nigeria could no longer depend on oil and gas based economy.


“Oil and gas have tended, over time, to spoil us; people have got used to easy money but now the wells are drying, even if they are not, the market is becoming very hostile.


The price has gone down and the demand for our oil is very low, even though previous administrations sang the idea of diversifying the economy, they did not do it.


Buhari has said that he would make deliberate efforts to diversify the economy and bring on board new attitude toward agricultural production.


He believes as much as we do that agriculture holds the greatest potential for job creation if we enhance,’’ he said.



Adamu said that with agriculture, the nation would have excess food crops as well as industrial crops that would be exported to boost foreign exchange.


Apart from agriculture, he observed that the country had solid minerals that could turn its economy around.


“Buhari has assured Nigerians that he would also address the issue of solid minerals and he is taking a look at the entire policy, operations and the investments in that sector.


We have information that every one of the 774 local governments in Nigeria has one or more mineral deposits.


If we can mine, process and add some value to them, you can only imagine the kind of multiplier effects we will enjoy.


Once you can give agricultural and solid mineral sector a boost, sharpen the processes for revenue generation and block the leakages that we know, our economy will take a leap,’’ he said.


NAN reports that Buhari, while presenting the 2016 Budget to the National Assembly, reaffirmed the commitment of his administration to job creation and economic diversification.


He specifically laid emphasis on developing the agriculture and solid mineral sectors with increased funding, investment in agriculture and solid minerals, among others.


He said that his administration would ensure increased capital expenditure with significant resources to critical sectors of the economy.





Christmas: Buhari Urges Nigerians To Exhibit Virtues Of Love, Justice, Service To Others

President Muhammadu Buhari has urged Nigerians to rededicate themselves to the virtues of peace, love, honesty, justice, equity, piety, humility and service to others.


The President made the call in a Christmas message to Nigerians, especially the Christian faithful, as they celebrate this year’s Christmas on Friday.


“I felicitate with all Nigerians, especially our Christian brothers and sisters, on the joyous occasion of this year’s Christmas.


On this occasion of the commemoration of the birth of Jesus Christ, let us all rededicate ourselves to the virtues of peace, love, honesty, justice, equity, piety, humility and service to others which he taught.


There can be no doubt that a greater manifestation of these virtues and ideals in our lives will immensely help us to become a more united, peaceful, secure and progressive nation.’’



Buhari also enjoined Nigerians to reach out in love and compassion to fellow Nigerians who were in distress at this period of the nation’s history.


He, particularly, urged Nigerians to remember victims of terrorism and insurgency in the country, especially Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs).



According to him, the Federal Government will continue to collaborate with state governments and other stakeholders to ease the harsh conditions in IDP camps.


He said his administration’s ultimate objective was to quickly end insurgency and return the IDPs to their homes.


“We must never again allow any group to hold the nation to ransom under whatever guise.


Let us also not allow current socio-economic and security challenges to dampen our expectations for a better Nigeria,’’ he added.


The President stated that his administration had taken a number of measures to restore hope to the people.



According to him, the 2016 Budget defines his administration’s commitment to giving Nigeria a new lease of life.


“Our change slogan is not a campaign gimmick but a promise that must be kept.’’



He further expressed the determination of the Federal Government to bring about tangible changes in the lives of all Nigerians.


“In this regard, efforts will be intensified to recover stolen funds, block revenue leakages and enthrone due process, transparency and accountability.


“Public office is a public trust that must be held to the highest ethical standards.


“I wish all Nigerians a Merry Christmas.


“Please drive carefully,’’ he said.

Full Transcript Of President Muhammadu Buhari’s 2016 Budget Speech : “The Budget Of Change”

“The Budget of Change”

Delivered By

His Excellency, Muhammadu Buhari

President, Federal Republic of Nigeria


A Joint Session of the National Assembly


1. I am honoured and privileged to present the 2016 Budget proposal. This is my first address before this joint session of the National Assembly. I have come here today, not only to address members of the National Assembly, but also to speak directly to the men and women who placed us here.
2. I know the state of our economy is a source of concern for many. This has been further worsened by the unbridled corruption and security challenges we have faced in the last few years. From those who have lost their jobs, to those young people who have never had a job, to the people in the North East whose families and businesses were destroyed by insurgents, this has been a difficult period in our nation’s history, lessons that we must not forget or ignore, as we plan for the future.

3. By June 2014, oil prices averaged $112 per barrel. But as at today, the price is under $39 per barrel. This huge decline is having a painful effect on our economy. Consumption has declined at all levels. In both the private and public sectors, employers have struggled to meet their salary and other employee related obligations. The small business owners and traders have been particularly hard hit by this state of affairs.

4. Fellow Nigerians, the confidence of many might be shaken. However, I stand before you today promising that we will secure our country, rebuild our economy, and make the Federal Republic of Nigeria stronger than it has ever been.

5. The answers to our problems are not beyond us. They exist on our farmlands; our corporations; in the universities in the hearts and minds of our entrepreneurs; through the gallantry of our Armed Forces; and the resolute spirit of Nigerians, especially the youth, who have refused to give up despite all the obstacles confronting them.

6. This Budget proposal, the first by our Government, seeks to stimulate the economy, making it more competitive by focusing on infrastructural development; delivering inclusive growth; and prioritizing the welfare of Nigerians. We believe that this budget, while helping industry, commerce and investment to pick up, will as a matter of urgency, address the immediate problems of youth unemployment and the terrible living conditions of the extremely poor and vulnerable Nigerians.

7. In the medium to longer term, we remain committed to economic diversification through import substitution and export promotion. This will build resilience in our economy. It will guarantee that the problems we have today, will not confront our children and their children. This shall be our legacy for generations to come.


8. Today, it is widely acknowledged that the global economy has slowed down. This is particularly the case with emerging markets such as Nigeria. However, despite the weak emerging market growth rates, our domestic security challenges, declining oil prices, and the attendant difficulties in providing foreign exchange to meet market demands, the Nigerian economy grew by 2.84% in the third quarter of 2015.
9. We have, and will continue to implement strategies that will maintain macroeconomic stability and manage the oil price shocks we are experiencing.

10. Upon the inauguration of this administration on 29th May 2015, we engaged key stakeholders from various sectors of our economy and interfaced with the heads of Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) in order to understand the true state of our nation. What we found prompted us to take certain strategic decisions.

11. On the economy, we injected new leadership at the helm of our revenue generating agencies including the Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS), Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC), and the Nigerian Customs Service (NCS). We implemented the Treasury Single Account (TSA) which, so far, has provided greater visibility of Government revenues and cash flows. We intervened to support States to navigate their fiscal challenges by restructuring their commercial bank loans and by providing facilities to enable them to pay salary arrears.

12. We have demonstrated a strong will to fight corruption. I am sure you will agree that the sheer scale of corruption and impunity of the past explains in part, the economic challenges we now face. On these initiatives, and the many more to come, we shall not be deterred. We will pursue the recovery of everything that belongs to the people of Nigeria. No matter where it is hidden. No matter how long it will take.

2015 Budget Performance
13. Distinguished and honourable members of the National Assembly, I now present a review of the 2015 Budget. That Budget was based on a benchmark oil price of $53 per barrel, oil production of 2.28 million barrels per day and an exchange rate of N190 to the US$.
14. The projected revenue was N3.45 trillion, with an outlay of N4.49 trillion, implying a deficit of N1.04 trillion. Due largely to under-provisioning by the previous administration for fuel subsidy and the costs required to support the military operations in the North East, the Government had to obtain National Assembly’s approval for a supplementary budget of N575.5 billion. I take this opportunity to thank all members of the National Assembly for the prompt passage of that Bill.
2016: Budget Assumptions
15. After reviewing the trends in the global oil industry, we have set a benchmark price of $38 per barrel and a production estimate of 2.2 million barrels per day for 2016. We have focused on non-oil revenues by broadening our tax base and improving the effectiveness of our revenue collecting agencies.
16. Also, with the full implementation of the Treasury Single Account, we expect significant improvements in the collection and remittance of independent revenues. To further support the drive for increased remittances, we will ensure that all MDAs present their budgets in advance, and remit their operating surpluses as required by section 22 of the Fiscal Responsibility Act.

17. We are determined to ensure that our resources are managed prudently and utilized solely for the public good. To set the proper tone, one of our early decisions was the adoption of a zero based budgeting approach, which ensures that resources are aligned with Government’s priorities and allocated efficiently. This budgeting method, a clear departure from previous budgeting activities, will optimize the impact of public expenditure.
18. In addition to the proper linkage of budgeting to strategic planning, we are enhancing the utilization of the Government Integrated Financial Management Information Systems (GIFMIS) to improve financial management. The recently established Efficiency Unit is working across MDAs to identify and eliminate wasteful spending, duplication and other inefficiencies. We engaged costing experts to scrutinize the 2016 budget proposals. They have already identified certain cost areas that can be centralized for economies to be made.
19. We have directed the extension of the Integrated Personnel Payroll Information System (IPPIS) to all MDAs to reap its full benefits. We will also strengthen the controls over our personnel and pension costs with the imminent introduction of the Continuous Audit Process (CAP). These initiatives will ensure personnel costs are reduced. Our commitment to a lean and cost effective government remains a priority, and the initiatives we are introducing will signal a fundamental change in how Government spends public revenue.

2016: Laying the Foundation for Sustainable Growth
20. The 2016 budget, as outlined, is designed to ensure that we revive our economy, deliver inclusive growth to Nigerians and create a significant number of jobs.

21. We aim to ensure macroeconomic stability by achieving a real GDP growth rate of 4.37% and managing inflation. To achieve this, we will ensure the aligning of fiscal, monetary, trade and industrial policies.

22. As we focus on inclusive growth, we are conscious of the current rate of unemployment and underemployment. This is a challenge we are determined to meet; and this budget is the platform for putting more Nigerians to work. I can assure you that this administration will have a job creation focus in every aspect of the execution of this budget. Nigeria’s job creation drive will be private sector led. We will encourage this by a reduction in tax rates for smaller businesses as well as subsidized funding for priority sectors such as agriculture and solid minerals.

23. As an emergency measure, to address the chronic shortage of teachers in public schools across the country, we also will partner with State and Local Governments to recruit, train and deploy 500,000 unemployed graduates and NCE holders. These graduate teachers will be deployed to primary schools, thereby, enhancing the provision of basic education especially in our rural areas.

24. We also intend to partner with State and Local Governments to provide financial training and loans to market women, traders and artisans, through their cooperative societies. We believe that this segment of our society is not only critical to our plan for growing small businesses, but it is also an important platform to create jobs and provide opportunities for entrepreneurs.

25. Furthermore, through the office of the Vice President, we are working with various development partners to design an implementable and transparent conditional cash transfer program for the poorest and most vulnerable. This program will be implemented in phases. Already, the compilation of registers of the poorest persons is ongoing. In the coming weeks, we will present the full programme, which will include our home-grown public primary school feeding and free education for science, technology and education students in our tertiary institutions. Indeed, this will mark a historic milestone for us as a nation.

The 2016 Budget
26. Distinguished members of the National Assembly, I now present, the 2016 Budget proposals of the Federal Government. Based on the assumptions I presented earlier, we have proposed a budget of N6.08 trillion with a revenue projection of N3.86 trillion resulting in a deficit of N2.22 trillion.

27. The deficit, which is equivalent to 2.16% of Nigeria’s GDP, will take our overall debt profile to 14% of our GDP. This remains well within acceptable fiscal limits. Our deficit will be financed by a combination of domestic borrowing of N984 billion, and foreign borrowing of N900 billion totaling N1.84 trillion. Over the medium term, we expect to increase revenues and reduce overheads, to bring the fiscal deficit down to 1.3% of GDP by 2018.

28. In 2016, oil related revenues are expected to contribute N820 billion. Non-oil revenues, comprising Company Income Tax (CIT), Value Added Tax (VAT), Customs and Excise duties, and Federation Account levies, will contribute N1.45 trillion. Finally, by enforcing strict compliance with the Fiscal Responsibility Act, 2007and public expenditure reforms in all MDAs, we have projected up to N1.51 trillion from independent revenues.

29. Although we are working to diversify our economy, we will not lose sight of the need to restructure the oil and gas sector which has been marred by corruption and plagued with inefficiencies. Accordingly, I have directed the Petroleum Products Pricing Regulatory Agency (PPPRA) to adjust its pricing template to reflect competitive and market driven components. We believe this can lower input costs and attain efficiency savings that will enable PPPRA to keep the selling price for all marketers of petrol at N87 per liter for now.
30. The current fuel scarcity with long queues at petrol stations all over the country causing social dislocation is very unfortunate. Government profoundly apologizes to Nigerians for this prolonged hardship and misery. It is as a result of market speculators and resistance to change by some stakeholders. Government is working very hard to end these shortages and bring fuel to the pumps all over the country.

31. I have also directed the NNPC to explore alternate funding models that will enable us to honour our obligations in Joint Ventures (JVs) and deep offshore fields. We are confident that these measures can be achieved and will lower the burden that the traditional cash calls have imposed on our budget and cash flows as well as contribute towards shoring up our national reserves.
32. To deliver our development objectives, we have increased the capital expenditure portion of the budget from N557 billion in the 2015 budget to N1.8 trillion, in the 2016 budget. Distinguished and honourable members of the National Assembly, for the first time in many years, capital expenditure will represent 30% of our total budget. In future years we intend to raise the percentage allocation for capital expenditure.

33. This is a fulfillment of our promise to align expenditure to our long-term objectives, and a sign of government’s commitment to sustainable development. This increased capital expenditure commits significant resources to critical sectors such as Works, Power and Housing – N433.4 billion; Transport – N202.0 billion; Special Intervention Programs – N200.0 billion; Defence – N134.6 billion; and Interior – N53.1 billion. These investments in infrastructure and security are meant to support our reforms in the Agriculture, Solid Minerals and other core job creating sectors of our economy.

34. We will invest to safeguard lives and property.

35. We will invest in equipping our farmers with the right tools, technology and techniques.

36. We will invest in empowering and enabling our miners to operate in a safe, secure and humane environment.

37. We will invest in training our youths, through the revival of our technical and vocational institutions, to ensure they are competent enough to seize the opportunities that will arise from this economic revival.

38. Indeed, the future looks bright. And I ask that we all work together to make this vision a reality. The 223% year on year growth in capital expenditure demonstrates our desire to make Nigeria more competitive, and start the journey to deliver sustainable development in our country.

39. In fulfillment of our promise to run a lean government, we have proposed a 9% reduction in non-debt recurrent expenditure, from N2.59 trillion in the 2015 Budget to N2.35 trillion in 2016. Furthermore, we have budgeted N300 billion for Special Intervention Programs, which takes the total amount for non-debt recurrent expenditure to N2.65 trillion.

39. As I mentioned earlier, the Efficiency Unit set up by this Administration together with effective implementation of GIFMIS and IPPIS will drive a reduction of overheads by at least 7%, personnel costs by 8% and other service wide votes by 19%. Distinguished and honourable members, this budget will be executed to provide optimum value by ensuring every naira spent by this Government, counts.

40. We will devote a significant portion of our recurrent expenditure to institutions that provide critical government services. We will spend N369.6 billion in Education; N294.5 billion in Defence; N221.7 billion in Health and N145.3 billion in the Ministry of Interior. This will ensure our teachers, armed forces personnel, doctors, nurses, police men, fire fighters, prison service officers and many more critical service providers are paid competitively and on time.

41. Distinguished and honourable members of the National Assembly, our 2016 borrowings will be principally directed to fund our capital projects. Furthermore, the sum of N113 billion will be set aside for a Sinking Fund towards the retirement of maturing loans; while N1.36 trillion has been provided for foreign and domestic debt service. This calls for prudent management on our part, both of the debt portfolio and the deployment of our hard earned foreign exchange earnings.
42. I am aware of the problems many Nigerians currently have in accessing foreign exchange for their various purposes – from our traders and business operators who rely on imported inputs; to manufacturers needing to import sophisticated equipment and spare parts; to our airlines operators who need foreign exchange to meet their international regulatory obligations; to the financial services sector and capital markets who are key actors in the global arena.
43. These are clearly due to the current inadequacies in the supply of foreign exchange to Nigerians who need it. I am however assured by the Governor of Central Bank that the Bank is currently fine-tuning its foreign exchange management to introduce some flexibility and encourage additional inflow of foreign currency to help ease the pressure.

44. We are carefully assessing our exchange rate regime keeping in mind our willingness to attract foreign investors but at the same time, managing and controlling inflation to level that will not harm the average Nigerians. Nigeria is open for business. But the interest of all Nigerians must be protected. Indeed, tough decisions will have to be made. But this does not necessarily mean increasing the level of pain already being experienced by most Nigerians.

45. So to the investors, business owners and industrialists, we are aware of your pains. To the farmers, traders and entrepreneurs, we also hear you. The status quo cannot continue. The rent seeking will stop. The artificial current demand will end. Our monetary, fiscal and social development policies are aligned.
46. Mr. Senate President, Mr. Speaker, distinguished members of the National Assembly, in spite of the global economic uncertainties; we must remain steadfast in our commitment to steer this country back to greatness.

47. The Nigerian economy needs to move away from dependency on oil. Our growth must be inclusive. Nigerians must be part of the growth story. As a Government, we shall deliver security, jobs and infrastructure. This is the right of all Nigerians.

48. I know many people will say “I have heard this before”. Indeed, trust in Government, due to the abuse and negligence of the past, is at an all-time low. This means we must go back to basics. Our actions will speak for us. My team of dedicated, committed and patriotic Nigerians is well aware of the task ahead and I can assure you that we are taking on the challenge.
49. We will not betray the trust reposed in us.

50. We will welcome and be responsive to your feedback and criticisms.
51. We are here to serve. And indeed, Nigerians will get the service they have longed for and which they rightly deserve.

52. We as a Government cannot do it alone. We will require the support of all civil servants, the organized labour, industry groups, the press and of course, our religious and traditional institutions. This is a call for all of us to stand and serve our country.

53. This Budget represents a major step in delivering a new opportunity for Nigeria. It demonstrates our confident optimism that despite the challenging times, we have the will, resourcefulness and commitment to deliver prosperity to our people. And by the Grace of Almighty God and the sheer will and determination of the Nigerian people, we will come out stronger and more united than ever.
54. Thank you and God bless the Federal Republic of Nigeria.

Arms Procurement Probe: President Buhari Receives Interim Report Of Investigative Committee, Orders Arrest Of Indicted Persons

On the authority of Mr President, a 13 man committee was set up by the Office of the National Security Adviser to audit the procurement of arms and equipment in the Armed Forces and Defence sector from 2007 to date.
While the committee which was inaugurated on 31 August 2015 is yet to complete its work, its interim report has unearthed several illicit and fraudulent financial transactions, an official statement by the Special Adviser to the President on Media & Publicity, Mr Femi Adesina stated.
“As part of the findings, the committee has analyzed interventions from some organizations that provided funds to the Office of the National Security Adviser, Defence Headquarters, Army Headquarters Naval Headquarters and Nigerian Air Force Headquarters, both in local and foreign currencies.
So far the total extra budgetary interventions articulated by the committee is Six Hundred and Forty Three Billion, Eight Hundred and Seventeen Million, Nine Hundred and Fifty Thousand, Eight Hundred and Eighty Five Hundred Naira and Eighteen Kobo (N643,817,955,885.18).
The foreign currency component is to the tune of Two Billion, One Hundred and Ninety Three Million, Eight Hundred and Fifteen Thousand US Dollars and Eighty Three Cents ($2,193,815,000.83).
These amounts exclude grants from the State Governments and funds collected by the DSS and Police. It was observed that in spite of this huge financial intervention, very little was expended to support defense procurement.
The committee also observed that of 513 contracts awarded at $8,356,525,184.32; N2,189,265,724,404.55 and €54,000.00; Fifty Three (53) were failed contracts amounting to $2,378,939,066.27 and N13,729,342,329.87 respectively.
Interestingly, it was noted that the amount of foreign currency spent on failed contracts was more than double the $1bn loan that the National Assembly approved for borrowing to fight the insurgency in the North East.
The committee also discovered that payments to the tune of Three Billion, Eight Hundred and Fifty Million Naira (N3,850,000,000.00) were made to a single company by the former NSA without documented evidence of contractual agreements or fulfilment of tax obligations to the FGN.
Further findings revealed that between March 2012 and March 2015, the erstwhile NSA, Lt Col MS Dasuki (rtd) awarded fictitious and phantom contracts to the tune of N2,219,188,609.50, $1,671,742,613.58 and €9,905,477.00. The contracts which were said to be for the purchase of 4 Alpha Jets, 12 helicopters, bombs and ammunition were not executed and the equipment were never supplied to the Nigerian Air Force, neither are they in its inventory.
Even more disturbing was the discovery that out of these figures, 2 companies, were awarded contracts to the tune of N350,000,000.00, $1,661,670,469.71 and €9,905,477.00 alone. This was without prejudice to the consistent non-performance of the companies in the previous contracts awarded.
Additionally, it was discovered that the former NSA directed the Central Bank of Nigeria to transfer the sum of $132,050,486.97 and €9,905,473.55 to the accounts of Societe D’equipmente Internationaux in West Africa, United Kingdom and United States of America for un-ascertained purposes, without any contract documents to explain the transactions.
The findings made so far are extremely worrying considering that the interventions were granted within the same period that our troops fighting the insurgency in the North East were in desperate need of platforms, military equipment and ammunition. Had the funds siphoned to these non performing companies been properly used for the purpose they were meant for, thousands of needless Nigerian deaths would have been avoided.
Furthermore, the ridicule Nigeria has faced in the international community would have been avoided. It is worrisome and disappointing that those entrusted with the security of this great nation were busy using proxies to siphon the national treasury, while innocent lives were wasted daily.
In light of these findings, President Muhammadu Buhari has directed that the relevant organizations arrest and bring to book, all individuals who have been found complicit in these illegal and fraudulent acts,” the statement read.

Buhari Launches 2016 Emblem For Armed Forces Remembrance Day, Donates N10m To Legionnaires

President Muhammadu Buhari on Monday launched the 2016 Emblem for the 2016 Armed Forces Remembrance Day with an announcement of a N10 million Federal Government donation to the Nigerian Legion.

Inaugurating the emblem in Abuja, Buhari urged all well-meaning Nigerians and corporate organisations to buy and wear the emblem with pride throughout the period of the celebration.

“I therefore call on well-meaning Nigerians and corporate organisations to lend their support to this worthy initiative.
“The emblem launch today is meant to appeal to all Nigerians to generously support of the Nigerian Legion.

“One of the ways we can appreciate the sacrifices of our fallen heroes and veterans is by making generous donations.

“Further to this, after the emblem launch, I encourage all Nigerians to procure and wear the emblem with pride throughout the remembrance period.

“This would show that we appreciate the sacrifices of our fallen heroes and veterans and also assure those still serving that their services to the fatherland will never be forgotten.
“I urge and encourage all our distinguished guests to purchase copies of the emblem for their wives, husbands, children, relatives, and friends.’’

The President stated that in future it will be a requirement for all staff and visitors to wear the emblem to gain access into government establishments.

According to him, the Federal Government will continue to show commitment to addressing the challenges facing the veterans.

He said that the Ministry of Defence had been charged to come up with programmes that would enhance the living standard of the veterans.

“We have recently implemented an increment in their pensions.

“We are also happy to note that the Military Pensions Scheme is running efficiently even as verification exercise for ex-service men and women was successfully conducted recently.’’

Buhari, who expressed appreciation to state governors for promoting the legion, urged them to continue to lend their support and give concessions to the veterans as Patrons of the Legion in their respective states.

He also commended the veterans for their steadfastness, perseverance, and exemplary conduct.

According to him, the members of the legion, even in retirement, have continued to provide excellent services in all spheres of national life.

“Let me salute and appreciate the courage and sacrifices of men and women of our Armed Forces in grappling with the wave of terrorism, oil theft, and piracy in some parts of our country.

“They have displayed unalloyed loyalty and commitment to Nigeria.

“In their arduous task to keep Nigeria safe and united, some of these gallant officers and men lost their lives. To them we pay special tribute and pray for the repose of their souls.

“As a responsible organization, the legion has introduced the Nigerian Legion Humanitarian Day as part of activities marking the annual Armed Forces Remembrance Day Celebration.

“This is an avenue through which legionnaires reach out to the society by carrying out some social works, humanitarian activities as well as empowering widows and dependants of our fallen heroes.’’

In his remarks, the Minister of Defence, Brig. Mansur Dan-Ali (rtd), said the emblem launch was unique because it was happening at a time the country was fighting insurgency.

“The emblem launching for the Armed Forces Remembrance Day Celebration 2016 is a unique one because it is coming at a time when the nation is committing its soft and hard power in the current fight against insurgency

“As the country continues to fight insurgents, we remember and appreciate our fallen heroes and veterans to their invaluable contributions to global, national peace and security.’’

He said that the theme for this year’s celebration, “Motivating the Nigerian Armed Forces for Effective Service Delivery’’, was in line with the important role of the veterans in maintaining the corporate existence of Nigeria and other countries of the world.

Dan-Ali called on the President to make it mandatory for the emblem to be worn by all staff and visitors seeking to enter government establishments during the period of the celebration.

The National Chairman of the Nigerian Legion, Col. Micah Gayya (rtd), reassured that the legion will continue to ensure judicious use of all the funds realised from the Remembrance Day celebrations.

He disclosed that part of the funds will be used to improve the quality of life of members of the legion in the internally displaced persons’ camps across the country.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that one of the high points of the emblem inauguration was the decoration of Buhari; the Speaker, House of Representatives, Mr Yakubu Dogara; and the Minister of Defence, Mansur Dan-Ali, with the 2016 emblem by the chairman of the legion.




Health Ministry: Buhari Appointed Competent Professionals – CMA

The Commonwealth Medical Association (CMA) has applauded President Muhammadu Buhari for appointing competent professionals as ministers to oversee the affairs of the health ministry.

The association gave the commendation in a statement signed by its Vice-President, Dr Osahon Enabulele.

Enabulele said that the appointment of Prof. Isaac Adewole and Dr Osagie Ehanire as Minister of Health and Minister of State for Health respectively would give the sector a new lease of life.

“Mr President’s appointment of the duo is undoubtedly a courageous and intelligent move to get competent, honest, experienced and broad-based professionals to administer the Federal Ministry of Health.

“It will also progressively re-engineer Nigeria’s health sector.

“I, therefore, wish to applaud Mr. President for appointing these fit and proper professionals with unquestionable pedigree and remarkable achievements.”

Enabulele, who is a former President of the Nigeria Medical Association (NMA), congratulated Adewole and Ehanire on their well-deserved appointments.

He also congratulated Dr Amina Shamaki who was appointed as the Permanent Secretary, Federal Ministry of Health.

He, however, urged the ministers to quickly settle down to work and handle the task of re-engineering Nigeria’s health sector.

“They must now address their minds to earnestly and sincerely tackle the numerous challenges facing Nigeria’s health sector.

“In this regard, it is my expectation that in formulating their programme of action, certain considerations will be made.

“These include the institution of an inclusive and participatory governance model in the health sector as well as an altruistic commitment to the 2014 National Health Act.

“They should also include strengthening, monitoring and evaluation of the institutions for delivering health services to Nigerians, while restoring public confidence, discipline, integrity, professionalism and best practices in Nigeria’s health institutions,” he said.

Enabulele also called for the expansion of Universal Health Coverage in the country by pursuing the much-awaited enactment of the National Health Insurance Commission Act.

According to him, this can also be done by strengthening the National Health Insurance Scheme.

“It will include the scaling up of its Community-Based Social Health Insurance component and the sincere exploration of other avenues to improve on the current dismal percentage of health coverage of Nigerians.”

He said that the issue of medical tourism should be addressed particularly via the implementation of the relevant provisions of the National Health Act.

He said that the Act had some provisions which restricted government’s funding for foreign medical treatment of political and public office holders.

Enabulele also charged the ministers to re-position the Nigeria’s Health Human Resource, with particular emphasis on the institution of robust and dynamic Health Human Resource Development Plan.

According to him, this will help to address issues such as appropriate training, retraining, improved welfare and competitive wages for medical doctors and other health workers.

Enabulele pledged the association’s partnership with the health ministry in efforts to execute the projects so as to enable them to meet the legitimate desires and expectations of Nigerians with regard to improved health care delivery.


Credit : PM News

Buhari’s Meeting With INEC, Police Not To Rig Elections – Presidency

The Presidency says President Muhammadu Buhari’s meeting with the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) and the Police was geared towards ensuring credible governorship elections in Kogi and Bayelsa.


A statement issued on Sunday by the President’s Senior Special Assistant on Media and Publicity, Malam Garba Shehu, dismissed PDP’s insinuation regarding the meeting.


NAN reports that PDP had earlier said the meeting was part of plans by the APC to rig the forthcoming governorship elections in the two states.


“The President called the meeting cited by the PDP to warn in particular INEC and the Police, to prepare to give the nation a credible election.


“He said he expected nothing short of a free, fair and credible election.

“He said he had suffered election manipulation in 2003, 2007 and 2011 and would not like to have any Nigerian go through that again.

“He also warned against the intimidation of voters in any way and vowed that he was prepared to move with all the forces available to him against anyone who undermines the rights of any citizen.

“The meeting was short and straight to the point. It ended after five minutes.

“Furthermore, he asked the Vice-President, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo, if he had anything to say and Osinbajo had added nothing to what the President said,” the statement had quoted Shehu as saying.


The presidential spokesman advised Nigerians to be wary of PDP’s fruitless attempts to destroy the national institutions President Buhari was determined to rebuild.


“They started with the courts, then the EFCC, then on to the Police and now they are on the one-week old INEC.

“When will PDP allow our national institutions to do their job?” he said.

Buhari Visits IDPs In Yola, Restates Commitment To Ending Boko Haram Insurgency

President Muhammadu Buhari has reiterated his administration’s commitment to ending Boko Haram insurgency.

Buhari, in Hausa language, gave the assurance while addressing Internally Displaced (IDPs) in Malkohi Camp in Yola on Friday.


“We remain committed to ending Boko Haram, ensuring your safety and welfare, particularly your children and their education. By the grace of God, it’s our wish that you will be at your farm next cropping season”, Buhari said.


Buhari assured the IDPs that government would not only recover their areas but also help in rebuilding destroyed structures particular schools and hospitals.


He lauded Adamawa Government, NEMA and other organisations for their effective handling of the IDPs and assured them of sustained Federal Government’s support.


Gov. Muhammadu Jibrilla of Adamawa lauded NEMA for its effort in managing the IDPs in collaboration with the State Government and called for sustained support from Federal Government.


Responding on behalf of the IDPs, Mr Nicholas Samuel thanked government for showing concern for their plight and making them to feel at home.


Samuel, who prayed for sustained military victory over the insurgents, expressed their happiness and hopes to return home very soon.



Ndigbo Hail Buhari Over Ministerial Portfolios

Ndigbo Cultural Society of Nigeria (NCSN) has congratulated President Mu­hammadu Buhari for appointing Ndigbo with worthy ministerial portfolios which complements the recent appointments of federal permanent secretaries.


The group noted that the recent appoint­ments by Buhari indicated that the presi­dent is beginning to correct the earlier al­leged posture of sectionalism.


We urge our ambassadors in the Presi­dent Buhari administration to give their best to the nation and mankind, even though the economic fortunes of the coun­try was at all time low, we expect our am­bassadors to be shining lights at this dark end of the tunnel.


“While we commend President Mu­hammadu Buhari,we also encourage him to still take a giant step forward and en­sure that an Igbo is appointed into the six principal offices of the nation, possibly the position of the Secretary to the Federal Government (SGF), which will help Igbo leaders convince their kits and kin that no region is left behind in this government,” the group further stated.


“Ndigbo Cultural Society of Nigeria (NCSN) would also like to plead with our people seeking self-deter­mination to understand that, sometimes, your worst enemy could be your best friend and, therefore, for the avoidance of doubt, give President Mu­hammadu Buhari a chance to prove himself a friend or foe,” it concluded.


Credit : Daily Sun

30 States Benefit From CBN’s Concessionary Loans To Offset Workers’ Salary Arrears – Buhari

President Muhammadu Buhari has said that the Central Bank of Nigeria had so far assisted more than 30 states of the federation with concessionary loans to offset salary arrears for their workers.


The president, who stated this in Abuja on Wednesday said the bank also implemented country-specific and innovative policies that had helped to stabilise the exchange rate and conserve the nation’s reserves.


“The Central Bank of Nigeria has also assisted more than 30 states of the federation with concessionary loans to offset salary arrears for their workers.

“On the monetary side, the CBN has also implemented country-specific and innovative policies that have helped to stabilize the exchange rate and conserve our reserves.

“While recognising the challenges we face and the need to surmount them, let us not fail to note the progress we have made in the short life of this government, as an indication of how much better we can do as a people driven by patriotism and a common resolve to do things right.’’


Buhari expressed delight over the progress recorded by his administration so far, saying that “this is an indication of how much better we can do as a people driven by patriotism and a common resolve to do things right’’.


According to the president, trust is slowly but steadily being re-established between the government and the people.

He said that government business was being conducted with transparency and “cynicism is waning as a result’’.


?”On the moral sphere, trust is slowly but steadily being re-established between the government and the people.

“Now, when the government speaks, the people listen; and when the people’s expectations are not met, they appreciate that it is not for lack of commitment or trying on the part of government.

“In effect, government business is now being conducted with transparency and cynicism is waning as a result.’’


On the new ministers, the president, who reduced the number of ministries from 38 to 24, said they must proceed to work speedily and do their utmost to justify the confidence reposed in them not only by their conduct but also by their performance in their various positions.


Meanwhile, addressing State House correspondents after the maiden Federal Executive Council (FEC) meeting, the Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Muhammadu, said the council reviewed the report of the ministerial retreat held last week.


He said the president challenged the ministers to see their appointments as call to duty and urged them to redouble their efforts in meeting the expectations of Nigerians.


“Today was not a very heavy meeting in terms of attendance. The highlight of the meeting was, the president welcoming us to the executive council and we reviewed the report of the ministerial retreat that took place last week.


“During the meeting, the president, once again, reiterated his charge to all of us to see our appointments as a call to duty and for us to also understand the precarious nature and the situation of Nigeria, today.


“And we should all double our efforts to justify the confidence Nigerians have in us and (the confidence) he has in us.’’


Mohammed, who pledged to partner with the media, however, solicited for their cooperation and support to enable him discharge his duties diligently.




Obasanjo Visits Buhari Again

Former Nigerian President Olusegun Obasanjo met behind closed-doors with President Muhammadu Buhari today In Abuja.

Neither of the two leaders spoke to the media at the end of the meeting.

Obasanjo has been President Buhari’s special envoy to Guinea Bissau.

He also headed the African Union observers to the general election in Ivory Coast.


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Buhari Deserves A Place In Guinness Book Of Records – Pinnick

President Muhammadu Buhari (GCFR) is worthy of a bold mention in the Guinness Book of Records, according to NFF President Amaju Pinnick.
Pinnick spoke in Santiago on Monday morning as he boarded a flight to Buenos Aires on the way back home from a success story at the FIFA U-17 World Cup in Chile.
“Yes, it is a success story as you just mentioned, but it would not have ended that way without the great support that the Nigeria Football Federation continues to receive from the President Muhammadu Buhari –led Federal Government.
“In fact, the Nigeria Football Federation is dedicating this triumph to President Buhari. He is a man of history. He was there when the first set won the trophy in 1985 as military Head of State; now he is here as civilian President when the Class of 2015 emerged victorious. Seriously speaking, I don’t think there is any Head of State or Government in the entire universe who has this honour, and for this, our PMB deserves a place in the Guinness Book of Records.”
Pinnick, whose one –year administration can now point to successes at the African Women Championship (Namibia 2014), African Youth Championship (Senegal 2015) and now the Eaglets’ triumph (aside qualifications for several major tournaments), insisted on Monday that the masterstroke for the Eaglets’ confident and determined approach was President Buhari’s call to the team a day earlier.
“We appreciate the President for sparing time out of his very tight schedule to talk to each and every player and official. That was a massive motivation. At the end of the conversation, the players told me they would go all out and give whatever it would take to win, having been inspired by the country’s leader.
“Football is a potent and huge tool for national unity and the focus of the present NFF administration is to build a sustainable football culture for our country. Triumphs are good, but we must not overlook the sustainable culture.”
The NFF President assured that his administration would be strongly involved in the players’ development, unlike what happened in the past. “People have talked about monitoring the players. We would do more than that. We would be part of their developmental programs and seamless transition to senior categories.
“We are very happy with this victory because it gives us the opportunity to present to our dear PMB his first global crown on his return as civilian President.”
Pinnick, a member of the Organizing Committee for the FIFA U-20 World Cup, and who joined the dignitaries to hand out the medals in Vina del Mar on Sunday, hinted that the NFF already has other targets in its immediate radar.


Credit : Vanguard

Buhari hails Akintola Williams

President Muhammadu Buhari has saluted Mr Akintola Williams, the doyen of accounting in Nigeria, on the occasion of Akintola Williams Distinguished Lecture Series, 2015.

This information is contained in a statement issued by the president’s Special Adviser on Media and Publicity, Mr Femi Adesina.

The President applauded the continuing contributions of Williams to national progress and development, even at the grand old age of 96, through the lecture series aimed at promoting integrity, professionalism and sound corporate governance in Nigeria.

He commended Williams and the organisers of the annual lecture series on their choice of “Leadership Factors and Good Corporate Governance – Key to National Growth and Development”, as theme.


“It is a very apt and topical theme as he prepares to inaugurate a new Federal Executive Council to drive the implementation of his administration’s agenda for national renaissance with the support and cooperation of all patriots and stakeholders in the well-being of Nigeria.’’

Buhari also seized the opportunity to congratulate the Father of the Day, Mr Akintola Williams on his 96th birthday anniversary which was marked recently.

He prayed that God Almighty, who had blessed Williams with such extraordinary longevity in the service of his nation and humanity, would grant him many more years of good health and worthy contributions to the development of his fatherland.





Photos from Buhari’s closed door meeting with Saraki, Dogara, other NASS leaders

President Muhammadu Buhari on Wednesday night met with the leadership of the National Assembly at the Presidential Villa, behind closed doors.

The meeting, which took place at the First Lady’s Conference hall, was attended by the Senate President, Bukola Saraki, Senate Leader, Ali Ndume and Deputy Majority leader, Bala Ibn Na’Allah.

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The meeting also had in attendance, Senator Godswill Akpabio, Phillip Aduda, the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Yakubu Dogara, including his Deputy, Yusuf Lasun and House Majority Leader, Femi Gbajabiamila.

Vice-President Yemi Osinbajo and Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF), Bubachir Lawan also attended the meeting.

The Senate President, Bukola Saraki, who shared the photos on his official Facebook page wrote…

The meeting signifies a good working relationship between executive and legislative arms of Nigeria’s Federal Government, which is a necessity for national development. Additionally, the meeting demonstrates that the nation is working.”

Saraki officially receives Buhari’s ministerial list (Photos)

Senate President Bukola Saraki has confirmed receiving President Muhammadu Buhari’s ministerial list at about 5pm, a few hours after the Senate’s plenary session closed on Wednesday, September 30, 2015.

The list was delivered by the chief of staff to President Buhari, Mr. Babachir Lawal and special advisor on National Assembly (Senate) to the President.

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Taking to his official Facebook and Twitter accounts, Dr Bukola Saraki wrote:

“About an hour ago, I received the list of President Muhammadu Buhari’s ministerial nominees from the Chief of Staff to Mr. President, Abba Kyari, and the Special Adviser to Mr. President on National Assembly (Senate) Sen. Ita Enang.”



I have declared my assets four times since 1974; Buhari replies critics

President Muhammadu Buhari on Monday told journalists in Accra, Ghana, that he had declared his assets four times since 1975 and challenged the newsmen to investigate the details of his possession.

Buhari asked journalists to use the required law to dig up the records of his four separate asset declarations.

He said, “I recall that in 1975 when late Murtala Mohammed became the Head of State, we were lined up in the corridor – governors, ministers, members of the Supreme Military Council – and officials of the Ministry of Justice were brought and every individual was made to declare his assets.

“So right now, all heads of state and government, governors, ministers, permanent secretaries will have to declare their assets because it is a constitutional requirement.”

The President said it was a constitutional requirement that public officers declare their assets.

He said, “In Nigeria, it is a constitutional issue and that is why I am blaming you gentlemen of the press. If you really want to do investigative journalism, you don’t have to worry me at this stage; I have declared my assets four times.

“When I was governor in 1975, I declared. After being Minister of Petroleum and as a member of Supreme Military Council, I declared. When I was Head of State and now as a President, I also declared.

“I have declared my assets and all that I have four times, and you (the media) have the right to go and demand for my declaration. Instead, I am being harassed.”

Also at a joint press conference with the Ghanian President John Mahama in Accra, Buhari said that he would name his cabinet before the end of this month.

The Senior Special Adviser to the President on Media and Publicity, Mr. Femi Adesina, in a statement, quoted his principal as saying, “After I was sworn-in, I said I will have my cabinet in September. I expect that Nigerians should ask me questions after the 30th of September if I do not do so,”

The President was responding to a question on the appointment of ministers.

He spoke amid concern that he might not name his cabinet this month because the National Assembly would resume from its recess at the end of the month.

The President also said that the Nigerian military, in collaboration with the Multi-National Joint Task Force, had recorded remarkable progress in the fight against Boko Haram since he assumed office.

He stated, “The first thing I did after I came into office was to reorganise the military and clear orders were given to them in terms of retraining, re-equipping and redeployment of troops.

“In the North-East, the military is gaining ground and Boko Haram has been limited to the Sambisa Forest.

“Internally Displaced Persons are gradually moving back home and they are being reintegrated into their respective communities.”

Mahama had said both leaders had fruitful discussions on how to enhance bilateral relations and improve regional security.

He said that Nigeria and Ghana would soon begin the process of reviving their joint commission for cooperation.

The Ghanaian President added that both leaders also agreed to encourage closer cooperation between the intelligence and anti-graft agencies of both countries.

He thanked President Buhari for his visit and assured him of Ghana’s support and cooperation with Nigeria in the fight against terrorism.

In a separate interview with the editor, BBC Hausa, Mansur Liman, Buhari said culprits in the theft of the country’s crude oil in the last few years would be named and prosecuted soon.

The President said top management personnel of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation could not feign ignorance of the goings-on in the corporation in the last 10 years.

Buhari, who spoke in an interview with the editor, BBC Hausa, Mansur Liman, said, “I am very pleased with the reorganisation, we are getting a lot of results, which we hope in a couple of months’ time we can make clear disclosures and start to prosecute those that had been stealing the crude.

“Those who have been in charge of NNPC at top level can’t claim ignorance of what has been happening in the last 10 years. And the companies include the shipping companies, which allowed themselves to be used to lift illegal crude from Nigeria or to change at high sea or head to a different destination.”

There had been allegations that the NNPC failed to remit N3.8tn to the Federation Account and allegedly stole 250,000 barrels of crude oil per day under the previous administration.


President Buhari on official visit to Ghana

President Muhammadu Buhari undertook a one-day official visit to Accra, the Ghanaian capital today, Monday, September 7, 2015.

An official statement released by the Special Adviser to the President, Mr Femi Adesina, said:

“During the visit, President Buhari will confer with his Ghanaian counterpart, President John Dramani Mahama, on bilateral relations, regional security, trade and other issues of common interest to Nigeria, Ghana and other members of the Economic Community of West African States.

The President is also expected to meet with members of the Nigerian community in Ghana and entrepreneurs before returning to Abuja on Monday evening.

He will be accompanied to Accra by the National Security Adviser, Maj.-Gen. Babagana Monguno (rtd.), and the Permanent Secretaries in the Federal Ministries of Foreign Affairs, Defence, Justice and Industry, Trade and Investment.”

Jonathan’s ex-ministers battle Buhari, write warning letter to the president

Some former ministers who served under the administration of former President Goodluck Jonathan have warned President Muhammadu Buhari to give the former president his “due respect,” and to stop condemning, ridiculing and undermining the efforts of the Jonathan administration including the integrity of the individual members of the past administration.

A former Minister of National Planning, Dr. Abubakar Suleiman, said this on Sunday in a statement on behalf of other ministers who served under Jonathan.

While reacting to the ministers’ statement, the Presidency on Sunday said Buhari’s war against corruption was not negotiable.

Suleiman said the efforts of the Buhari government had been to portray all members of the Jonathan administration “as corrupt and irresponsible, in an orchestrated and vicious trial by the media,” which he said had created “a lynch mentality that discredits our honest contributions to the growth and development of our beloved nation.


He said while he and his colleagues believed that each administration had the right to chart its own path, the Kwara State-born former university lecturer said the alleged vilification of the Jonathan administration was ill-intentioned.

The Buhari administration has alleged several fraudulent practices against Jonathan’s ministers, including a recent allegation that the former Minister of Petroleum Resources, Mrs. Diezani Alison Madueke, illegally took $6.9m from the coffers of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation to fund the bogus purchase of three mobile stages for Jonathan’s public appearances.

The Suleiman statement partly read, “We, the ministers who served under the President Goodluck Jonathan administration, have watched with increasing alarm and concern the concerted effort by the Buhari administration and members of the APC to condemn, ridicule and undermine the efforts of that administration, in addition to impugning the integrity of its individual members.

“While we concede that every administration has the right to chart its own path as it deems fit, we nevertheless consider the vilification of the Jonathan administration, to be ill-intentioned, unduly partisan, and in bad faith.

“We are proud to have served Nigeria and we boldly affirm that we did so diligently and to the best of our abilities. The improvements that have been noticed today in the power sector, in national security and in social services and other sectors did not occur overnight.

“They are products of solid foundations laid by the same Jonathan administration.”

He said that contrary to what the APC and its agents would want the public to believe, the Jonathan administration did not encourage corruption, “rather it fought corruption vigorously, within the context of the rule of law and due process.”

“For the benefit of those who may have forgotten so soon, it was the Jonathan administration that got rid of the fraud in fertiliser subsidies, which had plagued the country for decades. This helped to unleash a revolution in agricultural production and productivity,” he added.

Suleiman added that it was also the Jonathan administration that supported the institutional development of strong systems and mechanisms to curb corruption in the public service and plug revenue leakages.

He listed these to include the development of the Government Integrated Financial Management Platform, The Single Treasury Account, and the Integrated Personnel and Payroll Management Systems, in addition to the biometric registration of civil servants and pensioners which he said saved the country over N100bn paid to ghost workers and ghost pensioners.

Apart from that, he said that the Jonathan administration equally ensured greater transparency and integrity in the oil and gas sector by ordering investigations and put mechanisms in place to check the theft of Nigeria’s crude oil.

He said, “It was also under the Jonathan administration that a Nigerian Content policy was introduced, which opened up that sector to Nigerians in a manner that was not previously the case.

“It was also the Jonathan administration that mobilised and secured the support of our neighbouring countries to ensure a robust multinational response to the menace of terrorism and insurgency, resulting in notable advancements in the fight against terror.

“President Jonathan personally initiated the collaboration that led to this advancement and ensured that Nigeria provided the needed financial support for the Multinational Joint Task Force.

“It was the Jonathan administration that repaired and rehabilitated over 25, 000 kilometres of our nation’s roads.

“Nigeria also became a profitable and preferred investment-friendly destination.

“It was under President Jonathan, for example, that Nigeria’s electric power sector became more competitive and attractive to local and foreign investments.”

Suleiman added that the same administration promoted the rule of law, free speech, fundamental human rights, and a robust freedom of information regime.

Apart from that, he said women’s rights to participate in public life and the Federal Character principle as well as other constitutional principles were also respected.

“No administration can be either completely bad or completely good. President Jonathan’s achievements in moving this country to greater heights deserve to be duly acknowledged.

“We urge President Muhammadu Buhari to build on these achievements,” he argued.

He challenged Buhari to be fair and non-partisan in his anti-corruption crusade.

Suleiman added that “the various lies and fabrications being peddled by some self-appointed spokespersons of the administration may entertain the unwary” but added that such sensationalism may achieve the unintended effect of de-marketing the country within the international community.

Suleiman said that he and his colleagues had reserved their comments until now in the hope that the euphoria that inspired the various attacks on the past administration would wear off and that reason would prevail.

“But we are constrained to speak up in defence of the legacy of the Jonathan administration, and shall do so again, for as long as those who are determined to rubbish that legacy, are unrelenting in their usual deployment of blackmail, persecution and similar tactics,” he warned.

The Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity, Garba Shehu, reacting to the Jonathan’s ministers asked the affected persons who he described as “members of the country’s latest trade union formation, the Association of Ex-Jonathan Ministers” to do a bit of self-reflection on the sort of government they handed over to Buhari on May 29.

He said such self-reflection would make the former ministers decide for themselves if it would have been right for any incoming government to ignore the issue of the brazen theft of public assets, which he said appeared to be the first of its kind in the country,

He said, “This war against corruption knows no friend nor foe. There is no intention to deny anyone of their good name where they are entitled to it and President Buhari reserves the highest regards for the country’s former leaders, including Dr. Goodluck Jonathan, who he continues to praise to the high heavens for the way and manner in which he accepted defeat in the last election.

“That singular action remains a feat that has earned the former President and Nigeria as country befitting commendations all over the world, the latest coming from Mr. Ban Ki-Moon, the Secretary-General of the United Nations, who visited a week ago.

“For the purpose of emphasis, the issue of fighting corruption by President Buhari is not negotiable.

“It is sine qua non to the overall reconstruction of the economy and social systems, which suffered destruction and severe denigration under the last administration.

“President Buhari will not be deterred or blackmailed into retreat and surrender.”


Jonathan, Diezani, Obuah face probe over purchase of $6.9m campaign stages

The financial heist committed under former President Goodluck Jonathan’s administration has come under probe by President Muhammadu Buhari as he beams his anti-corruption searchlight on the alleged purchase of three mobile stages, costing $6.9m, by former President Goodluck Jonathan and two of his officials, a Presidency source has said.


According to a document, made available to journalists on Saturday by sources from the Presidency, the deal, which is now a subject of investigation, was allegedly carried out by Jonathan; his Chief Security Officer, Mr. Gordon Obuah; and former Minister of Petroleum, Mrs. Diezani Alison-Madueke.


The fund was said to have been withdrawn from one of the numerous accounts of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation.


The $6.9m (about N1.37bn) was said to have been withdrawn for the purpose of buying three pieces of 40-feet mobile stages for use by Jonathan during mass public speaking events.


According to the document, apart from the fact that the sum for the stages was “incredibly inflated”, there is currently no evidence that the stages were bought since the money was withdrawn.


The document read, “While the cost of mobile stages ranges in sizes and designs, only outlandish rock star musicians in Europe and the US spend hundreds of thousands on their huge stages way bigger than the 40-feet stages.


“Even then, those musicians and superstars would not pay over $2m per stage, according to industry sources.


“The process of procurement of the three mobile stages was neither known to extant Nigerian laws and due process regulations nor were the offices of the Auditor-General and the Accountant-General in the know, according to the investigators.”


It added that the phony purchase was carried out late 2011, a few months after Jonathan won the presidential election for a full term after having completed the term of the late President Umaru Yar’Adua.


Jonathan’s CSO was said to have initiated a memo to the former President on October 17, 2011, asking for the purchase of three mobile stages.


He was reported to have written in that memo to Jonathan that memo referred to “my earlier discussion with Your Excellency on the security implication of your public appearances and your subsequent directive on the need to procure a secured presidential platform.”


The Presidency source said on the same day, without any financial advice or purchase order reviews, the former President approved the request to buy the three stages and minuted the memo to the then Minister for Petroleum Resources.


In his minute, Jonathan was said to have written, “We have discussed this, please deal.”


According to the document, on the same October 17, the Senior Special Assistant to the President on Administrative Matters, Mr. Matt Aikhionbere, did another letter on the strength of the President’s approval requesting the minister to take action on the request to purchase the stages for $6.9m.


It added, “By the next month, an NNPC payment voucher, number 3840336, was already in place, revealing that the money was released.


“NNPC directed that the money be taken from one of its accounts in New York CITIBANK with sort code CITIUS 33, and Routing number 021000089.


“It was first routed from the US bank to an NNPC account in Zenith Bank account number 5000026593, Maitama branch in Abuja, from where the money was sent to a private account.


“The sum of $6.9m was then credited to a Sterling Bank account of one J. Marine Logistics Limited, Abuja, a company investigators said was registered by Obuah.


“The CSO himself, according to investigators, has not been able to show proof of the purchase and his memo irked his bosses at the SSS that he took the initiative to write requesting for the stages, an action which officials said was way above his pay grade.”


The document added that it was not the duty or responsibility of the CSO to make the determination on that purchase as he was meant to have informed the service, which will then review the situation and act accordingly.


It added that the $6.9miilion in question was promptly paid on Nov. 29, 2011 into a private account belonging to the former CSO.


“The former President approved the procurement of the mobile platforms without due process and bypassing the Procurement Act; neither was there an appropriation in the 2011 budget for such facility,” the document quoted investigators as saying.


It added that neither the then Minister of Finance nor the Director-General of the Budget Office was aware of the deal.


“Investigators say this is just one of the several instances, where the Jonathan administration used secret NNPC accounts to fund many questionable projects and for alleged personal financial aggrandisement.


“Already, the CSO has been questioned over his role and activities in the Jonathan Presidency. It will be recalled that he was arrested, detained, questioned and later released.