Sheriff cautions Makarfi over alleged 2019 presidential ambition

The National Chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Ali Modu Sheriff has warned the party’s National Caretaker Committee chairman, Ahmed Makarfi to be careful of his utterances on whether or not he (Sheriff) would contest for president in the 2019 general elections.

Sheriff who spoke while receiving PDP members of the party from Zamfara State at the party national headquarters in Abuja also cautioned Makarfi to behave himself and stop talking about him all the time.

He was reacting to Makarfi’s recent declaration that Sheriff wants to conduct a convention to emerge as the presidential candidate of the party for the 2019 elections.

Makarfi had actually said Sheriff was planning to hold a convention due to his ambition.

But Sheriff yesterday said: “I am not an ambitious person like some of my friends. One of the newspapers reported that Sheriff wants to do convention because he wants to become president. President of Nigeria is decided by God and the people.

“Whenever people lack confidence in themselves they don’t believe in the will of God. I have called him this morning. It is will of God. I want to sincerely request Makarfi to watch his words. I don’t believe that anyone of us here have the powers of God.”

He told Makarfi to mind his business and stop writing his (Sheriff’s) name all the time.

Meanwhile, Chairman of the National Reconciliation Committee and Governor of Bayelsa State, Seriake Dickson and chairmen of the state chapters of the party yesterday faulted fresh appointments into the party’s National Working Committee (NWC).

Submitting his committee’s report on the reconciliation of the factions within the party to the Makarfi-led PDP caretaker committee in Abuja, Dickson said that such illegal appointments could destroy the unity and cohesion within the party.

The report of the reconciliation committee had earlier been submitted to Sheriff.

The recent appointment of acting Deputy National Chairman, acting National Publicity Secretary and Acting National Organizing Secretary, among others had deepened the party’s crisis as many members insisted that Sheriff’s leadership lacks the power to make such appointments.

Also Senate and House of Representatives PDP caucus leaders, Godswill Akpabio and Leo Ogor said they were willing to give peace a chance if the Sheriff-led faction was ready to abide by the agreements reached with the Dickson’s committee.


Source: The Guardian

OOTC: How it came to be that Jonathan is an option in 2019 – By Chude Jideonwo

I got a lot of panicked responses after my last piece; the panic focused on one small nugget of information buried within it: the fact that, as things stand today, former president Goodluck Jonathan is the strongest candidate that the People’s Democratic Party can present in 2019.


So I decided to run slight interference, and do a follow up.


What I apparently have taken for granted – not just as a result of insight into Nigeria’s political space cleaned from years of first, activism, then consulting; but also as a result of any number of PESTLE analyses that I have been involved in over the past 10 months – was a surprise to many.


It stood out especially for some respondents because my assessment of Jonathan’s presidency has been consistently, unshakably – and remains to this moment – harsh: he was, in my opinion, an ineffectual leader; one whose feckless cost the country greatly in corruption and insecurity at the minimum.


But personal desires are one thing, and honest political calculation is another. If anything, the latter is needed if the former will be fulfilled in any meaningful, practical way.


So let’s take some time to talk about how people get elected in a country like ours.


Actually, no, that’s a matter for another day’s piece. What this actually will do is try to explain the three broad categories that lead people to emerge as candidates in the primaries of the major Nigerian political parties, at least the gubernatorial and presidential elections.


There are three basic requirements:

  1. Name recall
  2. Access to finance
  3. Establishment consensus


Name recall

I call this the test of ‘If we should your name in the market place, will people know who it is’?


It’s amazing how many sophisticated, intelligent people searching for complicated answers to simple questions often overlook this crucial factor in the way candidates are selected.


And it’s not just about countries like ours with primitive electoral environments. The singular reason Donald Trump was a viable candidate for the American president elections without previously holding any political office, or belonging to any political structure, was simply because Americans knew his name.


And the reason Sarkozy, the former French president, returned as party leader and then made another run for the presidency last year, despite what was a les than glorious first term, both locally and internationally, is because he possesses an electoral asset that it is immensely difficult for new players to quickly gather: the voting public knows his name.


This is why America’s politics can seem like a dynasty: political operatives impatient with experiments routinely look for tried-and-tested surnames like Bush or Clinton or Obama (if Michelle runs, which – for everything we know about American politics – is a distinct possibility) is because everyone knows their name.


And that applies even more significantly in a largely illiterate country like ours, where citizens do not have access to the body of information that is usually necessary for making informed choices. They typically have to employ shorthand to make decisions i.e. Does this person lay claim to Awo’s legacy? Does this person have an Igbo mother? And usually the most important question can be this – Do we know who this person is?


This is the fundamental driver behind the massive, and unshakeable electoral margins that President Muhammadu Buhari continued to rack in the North of Nigeria. They knew his name, they ‘knew’ what that name stood for; they were familiar with it. It was easier for them to vote for it.


It is the same reason Odimegwu Ojukwu continued to rack up wins for the All Progressives Grand Alliance through election cycles, despite having no realistic chance of winning anything beyond a gubernatorial election – you could call his name in any part of the South-East, at any day at any time, in any market; and they knew exactly who you were talking about.


It is the reason the PDP confidently presented the now-quickly-forgotten Hilda Williams as gubernatorial candidate for Lagos after her husband died. We knew the name Williams. It was easy to connect with.


No strategist worth his salt plays with the power of name recall.


Access to finance

If you think this only applies to startups and businesses looking to expand, you haven’t been paying enough attention to the politics of your country, at least over the past 17 years.


Access to finance is distinct of course from personal wealth. You can, like Olusegun Obasanjo, emerge from prison dirt-poor and yet find the critical mass of people and institutions ready to pool the resources you need for you to win electoral contests.


But, whether it is you money or it is other people’s money, there is no chance in heaven or hell that you are able to win elections in any part of this country without significant financial resources.


Now, while naivety or self-deception can lead people into viewing this as essentially negative, there is nothing at all wrong – ab initio – in the idea that it takes money to win an election.


By the very nature of democracy, it is inevitable that it will be expensive. And this can be said without even referring to the $1.2 billion Hillary Clinton spent last year or the $1.12 billion Barack Obama spent in 2012.


You just need to be a reasonable person looking at the reasonable steps that any reasonable person would have to take in winning a typical election.


To be governor in Lagos state for instance, you need a few things in order to communicate your personality and your ideas to the 1,678,754 who voted in the last elections.


You need to print banners, and you need to print fliers. You need to print posters, and you need to print your manifesto. And in doing this, you are thinking about reaching the about 2 million people, or at least the 1milloon half of it that you will need to thumbprint for you in order for you to win the election. And that is just basic printing cost. Without talking about the ‘excitement tools’ e.g. t-shirts, face-caps, and other livery.


We have not factored in the planning and hosting of the events you will have to do, repeatedly, across the Local Government Areas where people will vote. A typical event has sound, canopies, decoration, food and drinks, and others. Multiply this by the number of local governments and by the number of the times you need to make the visit to consolidate gains.


On and on and on – campaign buses, campaign offices, campaign staff, road shows, and all of this minus the modern imperative for TV and radio adverts, as well as online exposures. This is without the personnel costs that attend to running any mid-size enterprise.


There is a reason politics is called the art of ‘selling’ yourself and your ideas.


So if there are people that think financial resources in elections only come down to buying party forms, bribing whoever they think is usually bribed and distributing rice to random voters, they are talking about incidental costs rather than actual cost of sale.


Without the financial resources, or the ability to get those who have those resources to part with said resources, you are a non-starter.


Establishment consensus

To be honest, I have sat in any number of establishment meetings; by this I mean, meetings by the ‘movers’ and ‘shakers’ of Nigerian politics, from across the two major parties and some of the fringes, and here is the truth of discovery – there is not a lot of sophistication that goes on in those spaces.


That is one of the shocking revelations I have had from seven years of engagement from multiple angles in this space.


Most of the decisions come from gut, and perception – perception mostly coloured by location, experiences, interests and relationships. In essence, many of these decisions are narrow and parochial. They are not well thought out, and don’t exist based on verifiable facts.


That, of course, is why our country is the way it is. Think about it: if the minds that have been manipulating our affairs for 50 years have been engaged in the art of sophistication and depth, is this the kind of country that would result from that process?


Unfortunately, whether these are the brightest or not, they are the ones who determine our political affairs, and they are the ones who largely make decisions as to candidates, candidacies and political reflexes.


Many times their decisions come down to – ‘it is the turn of this part of the country’, ‘this is the guy that won’t upset the apple cart’, ‘a woman cannot win in that part of the country’, or ‘we just don’t like that guy’. That’s the kind of thinking that leads to political decisions in this country.


I remember being shocked at the beginning of my professional life about 15 years ago years ago, to be seated (they ignored me because I was 17 and they knew I was harmless) in a discussion, from whence one of the ‘powers that be’ in a South-Western state simply decided he wanted a woman to run for one of the offices under his influence. And that’s she was elevated for life into a force to reckon with.


That’s the consensus that gave us Goodluck Jonathan as president, ultimately, in 2010. Those principalities in the PDP decided that Peter Odili could not be Vice President to Umaru Yar’Adua and Donald Duke could not be Vice President, and any number of people couldn’t be – not for reasons of capacity, competence or character, but simply because they were too ambitious. The least ambitious person was selected, and the least ambitious person, by default, became the president of this country for 5 years and ended it by losing large swaths of Nigerian territory to terrorists and 276 girls from Chibok.


So how will Jonathan again become a potential presidential candidate in 2019? Well, because these powers that be will come together and finalise a year before those elections that he is the best bet to unify that party, without alienating any of those groups.


They will conclude that having him as candidate will help complete the second term that the South-South is ‘entitled’ to and he will have the experience to run the office and run the country simply by the fact of having been there before.


They will look around and they will most likely find nobody else who can fill that position. Nobody else whose name you can shout on the main-road of Onitsha market and random people will know his or her name. Nobody who is so ‘formidable’ that he or she will immediately attract cross-regional resources to wage an electoral war, and nobody else whom the powers that can be can establish an unsophisticated consensus around.


The calculation will fall on: Who can face Buhari in 2019 and neutralize his huge advantages in the North?


And that is how; if Buhari decides to run for president again in 2019, the old fault lines will re-emerge, and we will probably end up with Buhari versus Jonathan again for the presidency of the federal republic of Nigeria.


When that happens, we will have no choice but to play the hand that we are dealt.


Unless something gives now. Unless someone else builds the momentum to cross at least two of these three imperatives. Unless someone else has the kind of Donald Trump, Bernie Sanders, Marine Le Pen (yes), Olusegun Mimiko, Peter Obi-guts to stare the dragon in the face, and to decide that this thing is not further mathematics, and this kind of history can, should, and must be made.


There is no such person on the scene as we speak.


And, as you and I know, two years before the next general elections as we are today, time is already running out.


*Jideonwo is co-founder and managing partner of RED (, which brands including Y!/ and governance communication firm, StateCraft Inc. Office of the Citizen (OOTC) is his latest essay series.

Senate backs INEC on 2019 election timetable

The Senate Committee on INEC has said it will support the 2019 election timetable recently released by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC).

Chairman of the committee, Senator Mohammed Ali Ndume (APC, Borno South) disclosed this on Tuesday while answering questions from journalists in Abuja on INEC’s early release of the 2019 general elections timetable.

Ndume said the Commission was doing the right thing by setting out target for elections so that it can be well prepared when the election proper takes place. He said he personally encouraged the commission to start early when its leadership.

He said: “When I took over as the chairman of the Senate Committee on INEC, I personally encouraged INEC to start preparing for 2019 now. When I looked at the budget of the INEC, I discovered that there was no provision for the 2019 election.“I advised them to make provision for the 2019 election so that such items that are not sensitive and not perishable can be procured in time. It is not good for us to wait until a day or two to the election then we start running helter-skelter for the materials such as the data capture machine or another thing that should be in place.

“I personally believe that this INEC wants to improve on what has been done before and all encouragement and support should be given to them. So, let’s give them a chance.”

Ndume added that, this present government is determined to conduct a credible,free and fair elections, adding that the amendment of the Electoral Act in the National Assembly would give the Electoral Reform committee headed by Senator Ken Nnamani set up by the executive arm of government to come up with acceptable reforms that will take care of some loopholes.

“I know that the President and this government is determined to conduct a credible election because it is the government that has been shouting that the election was not credible and truly elections were not credible except the last one that met minimum acceptability.

“For the Senate, we only have two clauses left to conclude the amendment of the electoral Act. We have gone very far. In fact, I can say that I am the one that slowed the committee down because we have to do it together with the House and the executive has formed a Committee under the chairmanship of Nnamani, so let us work together in order to come up with generally acceptable reform that takes care of some of the loopholes,” he said


Source: The Guardian

BREAKING: Next Nigerian presidential election to hold February 16, 2019 – INEC

The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has fixed Saturday, February 16, as the date for the 2019 presidential and national assembly elections.

INEC also revealed that the governorship/state assembly/federal capital territory area council elections will hold on Saturday, March 2 of the year.

Solomon Soyebi, national commissioner in charge of south-west, disclosed this at a press briefing in Abuja.

More to  follow…

I’ll not contest against Buhari in 2019 – Tinubu

Former Lagos governor, Ahmed Tinubu, has ruled out the possibility of contesting against President Muhammadu Buhari in 2019.

Mr. Buhari, who is on extended sick leave, has not said he will seek a second term.

But Mr. Tinubu, a senior leader of the ruling All Progressives Congress, and one of the party’s strongest backers, said he would never contest against the president, or support anyone who does, should he decide to seek re-election.

Mr. Tinubu was reacting to a ThisDay report suggesting he was preparing for a presidential run, and was set to dump a purported alliance with the main opposition, Peoples Democratic Party, PDP.

A statement signed by Tunde Rahman, for the Tinubu Media Office on Tuesday, said the report was a “fantasy” seeking to place Mr. Tinubu at odds with President Buhari.

“Writing such a baseless report is a very foul and wrong thing to do,” the statement said.

“As long as that patriotic and committed man named Muhammadu Buhari holds and seeks to hold the mantle as our president, then Asiwaju Tinubu stands behind him in unwavering support and confidence,” the statement said.

Read Mr. Tinubu’s full statement below:

The front page story of the February 28 THISDAY newspaper alleging that Bola Tinubu is actively planning a presidential run is an example of bad fiction masquerading as professional journalism. The story is a manufactured tale weaved by its authors to try to create division where there is none. Those who wrote this fantasy seek to place Mr. Tinubu at odds with President Buhari. Writing such a baseless report is a very foul and wrong thing to do.

The story carried the headline “Tinubu Prepares for Presidential Run, Dumps PDP, Mega Party Alliance”. The headline is remarkable in the fact that every bit of it is utterly wrong.

First, Asiwaju Tinubu is not gearing up for a presidential run. So there will not be any doubt about this core matter, we shall state Tinubu’s position clearly and unequivocally so that even THISDAY reporters cannot misinterpret his position. As long as that patriotic and committed man named Muhammadu Buhari holds and seeks to hold the mantle as our president, then Asiwaju Tinubu stands behind him in unwavering support and confidence. Asiwaju Tinubu remains faithful to the mission of progressive reform and change that President Buhari, he and the All Progressives Congress (APC) have started. Tinubu was instrumental in the formation and success of the APC. His toil and efforts helped establish this government. He is not one to tear down something he laboured so dutifully to build.

Instead of trying to convey the truth, the THISDAY report opted to gain false sensation by completely mocking the tenor of the brief banter Asiwaju Tinubu had with journalists at the inauguration of Ondo State Governor Oluwarotimi Akeredolu. When asked about future political office, Asiwaju said he could not discount that possibility if the nation called upon him for such service, provided, he emphasized, that all political conditions were appropriate; particularly the office in question would have to be vacant, even if it’s local government chairmanship. In our political lexicon, this means the office is not held by a member of the APC in good standing. We all know this.

Moreover, if you really listen to his words, Asiwaju did not mention any office or any time-frame. The conditions he mentioned may not become ripe for years to come and they might not pertain to the presidency. In effect, all Asiwaju said was the position that any political figure would hold.

As a politician, he cannot preclude the possibility of running for office in the future because no man knows what the future will hold. To translate this general statement of political reality into a tale that he is actively preparing for a 2019 presidential run is reckless in the extreme. For that newspaper reporters to have engaged in this great leap of counterfeit logic means they purposefully bowed to the pressure to create false headlines instead of following the ethics of their craft to follow the truth even if the truth is more pedestrian and less volatile than what the reporters would have liked to hear. They have turned themselves into newsmakers instead of remaining true to their calling of being neutral conveyors of events.

Asiwaju Tinubu has not held any planning meetings for any such presidential campaign and is not contemplating any such meetings. He has no present list of possible running mates because he has no present intention of running.

The headline also libels Asiwaju by asserting he was going to join the PDP. This is as shameless as a lie can be. Asiwaju is acknowledged to be the intellectual father and the driving force behind the APC. It makes no sense that he would abandon the party that he worked hard to build in order to enter the dilapidated building the PDP has become. Asiwaju worked for over 16 years to break the PDP yoke on the nation. After breaking that yoke, it is not in his nature to voluntarily place it back on our necks. Anyone who has followed his career, even his staunchest critics, knows Asiwaju for his partisan consistency. He is not a party hopper. He is loyal and sticks with the party to which he belongs. After fighting for so many years to elevate his party to the position of national leadership, he would not give that away in order to join with those who blame him for their currently bleak political circumstance.

We understand all too well the genesis of this false news report. For their own reasons, THISDAY has joined with those who seek to put Asiwaju Tinubu at odds with our President.

This scam will fail. Asiwaju supports and stands behind President Buhari. He wishes the president well and that he returns soon. Whether the president is here or away, he has the full loyalty of Asiwaju Tinubu. President Buhari can rest assured on this point: Asiwaju Tinubu will never contest against him nor will he support anyone who does.


Source: Premium Times

INEC to spend N1.4bn on ballot boxes for 2019 election

The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) says it will use N1.4 billion to purchase ballot boxes to be used during the 2019 general election.

Mahmoud Yakubu, chairman of INEC, made this known on Monday while appearing before the house of representatives committee on electoral matters and political parties affairs.

He said INEC would replace the transparent ballot boxes with plastic ones.

Yakubu said the commission faced the challenge of local manufacturers being unable to deliver the number of boxes within the required stipulated time.

“Sometimes it is easier said that we have manufacturers who have the capacity but when you engage them you realise that we may not have such capacity for volumes and this not only peculiar to elections,” he said.

“So while it is important for us to encourage our domestic producers, we are also careful about that particularly because some of the procurement items are time bound.”

The INEC boss said the commission was working to come up with a specific amount that would be expended on the 2019 election.

“I think it is better for us to do the proper thing so that we approach the executive and the national assembly with a figure we can vouch for and once it is approved we don’t come back towards the election with another supplementary figure,” he said.

He added that they were working hard to ensure smooth election takes place in 2019.

Aishatu Dukku, chairperson of the committee, advocated that the electoral reform measures should be reflected in the 2017 INEC budget.

“The identification and adoption of best practices in electoral framework and administration among nations have resulted in placing countries under pressure to introduce electoral reform measures,” she said.

“I am strongly advocating that this electoral reform measures will form part of the budget of INEC. It is important that the budget of INEC be made to show widespread public accountability and transparency of the commission.”

On 2019 Igbo presidency: who shall we send? – By Sheyi Babaeko

The Nigerian ex-president, a life senior fellow cum elder stateman, Olusegun Obasanjo during this year’s thanksgiving service in his palatial mansion, Ottah Ogun State called for an Igbo President in 2019.

Though this has generated mixed reactions among Nigerians, the call for Igbo presidency according to the elder statesman is in the “interest of Justice and Fairness”. I quite agree with the position of Obasanjo, and I would like to add that the high “Egba Chief” has right to voice his personal opinion whether anyone agrees or not. It will be unfair to attack Obasanjo over his opinion.

While Obasanjo remains a controversial figure in the political history of our dear country, providence have always laid on him the responsibility of navigating the ‘ship’ of Nigerian state away from predictable collisions with “political icebergs” that would have pushed us ashore or sink this country totally and finally. We may not always agree with him but there are credentials we cannot just take away from him.

Baba came back into lime light when he became the Nigeria civilian president in 1999 and many of his achievements are noticeable. I peculiarly respect him for keeping his promise of “reinstatement” of student union activists. Prominent among these was the reinstatement of Anthony Fasayo (Dr Anthony Fashayo was the student union activist who spent 21 years in the Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile-Ife before graduating. He sacrificed all his energy and ambitions to fight for Nigerian students).

Now that Baba has lent his voice to those calling for Igbo presidency in 2019 general election, who shall we send? The issue of Igbo presidency is expected to generate questions and tensions and we all know that Igbo presidency is long overdue, but the question again is “who will go for us?” These are questions begging for answers.

Igbo race lack unity, and this lack of unity has caused a bi-polar trend within them. Some have opted for “self-determination” while the other extreme believes that “Igbo presidency” in the future is a better option that will address their yearnings and aspirations. Nigeria needs a visionary leader to reposition this country and redirect the sinking ship to its serene watercourse.

The south eastern part of Nigeria is the most marginalized, underdeveloped and neglected region. Hence, the clamor for an Igbo presidency cannot be said to be an inappropriate call. If opting for an Igbo President in 2019 can right the wrong, calm secessionist movements, satisfy their yearnings and re-unite this country, so be it. This call is understandable and I support it without being immodest.

In my own personal opinion I urge the Igbo people particularly the youths to unite and quickly call for a summit of Igbo sons and daughters with the view of producing a credible candidate for this noble task ahead before it’s too late (Perhaps If providence will offer them this golden opportunity). We should go beyond “sermony” of peace and Justice when we are not ready to entrench them on the altar. Peace and Justice are like the South Pole and the North Pole of two ‘lodestones’. They attract and embrace each other; there is therefore no peace without justice. Justice MUST prevail for peace to reign.

I am committed and resolute towards Igbo presidency in 2019. It is in view of this that I am joining Olusegun Aremu Obasanjo, well meaning Nigerians at home and abroad and the Igbo race in particular for an Igbo president come 2019. May God continue to bless the federal Republic of Nigeria.


Babaeko, a policy analyst and security adviser, is based in the UK.

Asiwaju Bola Tinubu talks about his triumphs and setbacks in politics.

Bola Tinubu, national leader of the All Progressives Congress (APC), says in his public life, which spans over three decades, he has had his own “share of triumphs and also felt the sting of setback”.


Addressing participants of course 25 at the National Defence College, Abuja, on Wednesday, the former governor of Lagos state said his experiences in politics have taught him to remain committed to a well-articulated vision


He also spoke on the strategies he used in fighting his battles, recalling his contributions to the growth of democracy in the country.


“My public life spans over three decades.  I have had my share of triumphs. I have felt the sting of setback,” he said.


“Through it all, I have tried to keep faith with the overarching vision I earlier set forth – of a more democratic Nigeria with a robust economy that provides sufficiently for all.


“Throughout most of this time span, the strategic focus has been on politics, free enterprise and assuring democracy. I believe the toil and sacrifice has been worthwhile. We have secured democracy in Nigeria. Now, our strategic leadership must focus on realizing the second part of that vision, the economic component.


“It was first necessary to getting the political equation right. From this platform, we can then better reform the economic side.


“The profound lesson my experiences as a political leader have taught me is the need to remain faithful to an achievable, well-articulated vision. Then develop practical strategies and tactics to progress toward that vision. The vision is the unchangeable lodestar. Strategies and tactics may change as events unfold.”


He also appealed to Nigerians to exercise patience with the administration of President Muhammadu Buhari.


Tinubu said for his party to end the 16-year reign of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), he studied the voting patterns of all prior elections since 1999.


“The challenge before us is a difficult but not impossible one. If we stick to the progressive beliefs of the APC, we shall overcome these difficulties to place the economy on surer permanent footing,” he said.


On the strategies deployed in the buildup to the election, he said: “We fashioned a tripartite campaign message and strategy message. Security, Economy and Corruption.  We would drive these three messages home as if with military artillery. However, we have only our leadership and strategic hammer.


“Still all of this would have been to no avail without the right candidate. Given his stature and reputation for integrity, honest dealing and patriotic commitment, there really was no other candidate to have carried the day, than then General Muhammadu Buhari.


“Yet, even with such a figure as our candidate, we foresaw the need to construct a public relations strategy to counter false accusations of religious intolerance and parochialism that would be hurled at him. We did this with great success because we prepared for these attacks beforehand.


“We established other democratic and leadership strategies for our success, details of which time would not permit me to reveal here. We did not have the vast war chest of the PDP. Our efforts had to be sharper and more compelling. We accomplished this task.


“We did not win the election by accident. I had studied the resulting and voting patterns of all the prior elections since 1999. Our team did an honest assessment and detailed assessment of our strengths and weaknesses and those of our opponents.


“To win, we knew the votes we needed and identified the likely places and demographic constituencies from which the bulk of those votes must come. We did not waste time chasing votes we would not get. We concentrated on our strengths and the other side’s weaknesses, realising that our defence must be as tight as if we are inside the War College here in Abuja.”


Tinubu commended the armed forces for the role played in stabilising the country. He said his opposition to the military ended when it stopped involving in politics.


Source: The Cable

North-west reps: Nigerians can’t afford to lose Buhari in 2019

House of representatives members from the north-west geo-political zone believe President Muhammadu Buhari should stay in office beyond 2019.

Speaking to journalists after a caucus meeting late Wednesday, Alhassan Ado-Doguwa, leader of the group, said Buhari had achieved a lot, particularly in the area of security.

The lawmakers also passed a vote of confidence on the Buhari administration and the leadership of Yakubu Dogara, speaker of the lower chamber of the national assembly.

“2019 will come and we will engage all stakeholders and Nigerians cannot afford to miss or lose the President Buhari in 2019,” Ado-Doguwa said.

“I want to believe that the security situation in the north-west has improved seriously and Nigerians are commending the president and we just have to commend him, support him and identify with him.

“We have also individually and collectively passed a vote of confidence in the leadership of President Buhari’s government and also the leadership of the house of representatives ably led by Rt. Hon. Yakubu Dogara.

“We are speaking on behalf of the north-west people. I think as far as we are concerned; it does not matter what the people say; we want to say openly that Mr. President has done a lot in the area of security.

“In spite of the challenges, our people in the zone can sleep with their eyes closed and Nigerians are commending him. We have to commend him and we must support him.”

He also said the north-west zone was not properly captured in 2017 budget proposal.

“We looked at interventions in the budget and discovered that we have been under represented in the project allocation in the power sector and in education,” the legislator said.

“Also, the area of zonal interventions; we have concerns about it and we have agreed that as soon as the budget is committed to the committees, all members of the zone should be on the lookout and be vigilant.”

Ado-Doguwa advised the federal government to come up with a plan to end killings in Kaduna and the zone at large.


Source: The Cable

Buhari sacked FRC boss because of his 2019 ambition – Fayose

Ekiti State Governor, Mr Ayodele Fayose has described the sack of the Executive Secretary of the Financial Regulatory Council (FRC) of Nigeria, Mr. Jim Obazee, in connection with the implementation of the controversial Corporate Governance Code 2016 as an afterthought.

Fayose said the sack was a cover-up to stem the tide of negative public reactions towards the implementation of the controversial law that stripped the General Overseer of the Redeemed Christian Church of God (RCCG), Pastor Enoch Adeboye and others of their positions.

In a release issued in Ado Ekiti on Tuesday and signed by the governor’s Special Assistant on Public Communications and New Media, Lere Olayinka, Governor Fayose said, “When they realised the implication of their action on President Muhammadu Buhari’s 2019 ambition, especially the personality like Pastor Adeboye that’s involved, they quickly sacked an innocent man who must have acted on instruction.

“Obviously, their attention is more on 2019, not on justice and any love for the sustenance of Christianity in Nigeria.

Mind you, they have only suspended the implementation of the regulation, they did not abrogate it. It is obvious that they have an agenda. And if you look at the president’s pattern of life, he is a sectional leader, whose appointments reflect sectionalism and nepotism.”

He said it was funny that a president that is over 70 years will be the one to implement a regulation limiting the age of General Overseer (GO) of Churches to 70 years, asking; “If men of God like Pastor Adeboye, Pastor W. F. Kumuyi, Bishop David Oyedepo, Bishop Mike Okonkwo and others cannot be GO of their church beyond 70 years of age, how do we now justify a man like President Buhari who is over 74 and still willing to be president beyond 2019 that he will be 77?”

Governor Fayose, who described those defending President Muhammadu Buhari by claiming that the law was made when Dr Goodluck Jonathan was president as hypocrites, asked; “Even if the law was made before President Buhari assumed office, who is to blame for its implementation? Could President Buhari have implemented a law he does not believe in and could the sacked FRC boss that they have now used as the fall-guy have implemented the law without the consent of the President?”

He questioned the speed at which the President reacted by sacking the FRC boss, asking; “Why was there no such swiftness in his action on Southern Kaduna killings where a race was almost wiped out, with people killed like goats? Why didn’t the President react swiftly to the Senate indictment of the EFCC Acting Chairman, Ibrahim Magu?

“Obviously, it was an afterthought, which was aimed at dousing the negative outcry that greeted the action by using the sacked FRC boss as the fall-guy.

“This has further made it very clear and evident that Buhari is not a leader, he is ruler. He is a religious apologist that believes that he must silence anybody that does not believe in his line of thought either politically or religious wise.

“Sadly, all those things that we have forgotten and never thought will happen again in this country are now happening. The country is now badly divided more than ever before.

“Nigerians have been able to read through President Buhari in this short time to realise that all he is doing now is to destroy this country like he did in 1984, but God will not allow him.

Despite the pressure, I won’t run for president in 2019 – Jonathan

Former president, Goodluck Jonathan, has denied reports that he would contest the 2019 presidential election.

There were reports that Mr. Jonathan who left office last year following his defeat by President Muhammadu Buhari in the March 28, 2015 presidential election, was under pressure to return to power.

Vanguard newspaper quoted Ikechukwu Eze, media aide to Mr. Jonathan as saying in a statement that his principal had no plan to contest the 2019 presidential poll.

Mr. Eze said the former president did not at anytime declare an intention to contest, describing it as mere “fabrication.”

The statement said “Our attention has just been drawn to a fabricated online publication alleging that the former President Goodluck Jonathan made comments on the 2019 elections, while hosting his kinsmen in Otuoke last Tuesday.

“Those reports are false and bear no truth whatsoever. The former President was not in Otuoke on Tuesday, neither did he make the comments attributed to him. In fact, he has only just returned to his community to spend Christmas having been away for two weeks, so he could not have been hosting anyone there last Tuesday.

“Of what good is it to our national development efforts if some people spend so much energy spreading falsehood about fellow citizens and our nation?

The statement also said the former president wished “his fellow compatriots a merry Christmas and prosperous New Year in advance, and advises all to always channel their efforts towards working to attain the nation of our collective dreams.”

Mr. Jonathan, who was a candidate of the People Democratic Party lost to Mr. Buhari, the flag bearer of the All Progressives Congress.

Mr. Buhari won 15.4 million votes against Mr. Jonathan’s 13.3 million.

The former president had called Mr. Buhari to concede defeat ending the 16 years of the PDP rule.

I’m Under Pressure to Contest for Presidency in 2019 – Goodluck Jonathan Reveals.

Former President of Nigeria, Goodluck Ebele Jonathan has said he is under intense pressure to contest in the upcoming 2019 presidential election.
Speaking while addressing his kinsmen who paid him an end of year visit in his hometown, Otueke in Bayelsa State on Wednesday, former President Goodluck Jonathan, reportedly disclosed that he is under intense pressure to contest the 2019 presidential election.
According to a reports, the former president said he has been receiving calls, messages and e-mails from both local and international groups, asking him to contest in 2019.
Jonathan, however, said he is not thinking of contesting for now, as he believes he has done his best for the country while in service, adding that he believes that his successor(s) would continue from where he stopped.
Recall that since leaving office after he lost to President Muhamamdu Buhari in the last general election, Jonathan’s profile internationally has risen, and there have speculations that Jonathan may stage a comeback bid in 2019, but he has now finally laid those rumours to rest.

Ben Bruce: I will fight Buhari in 2019

Ben Murray-Bruce, the senator representing Bayelsa East senatorial district at the national assembly, says he will fight President Muhammadu Buhari in 2019 although the president currently retains his support.

The founder of the Silverbird group disclosed this while speaking in an interview with Peace Hyde.

“Buhari is the president today; he is my president. I must respect him regardless of what I feel.

“In 2019 we can fight but right now I want the economy to grow. If I take the position that I want to destroy APC and destroy Nigeria, will there be any Nigeria for me to fix in 2019?

“So it’s a dumb move to try to destroy your president or somebody you hate and destroy your country in the process. I’ll fight Buhari in 2019 but today he is my president; I will support him.”

Murray-Bruce also spoke on the western media’s coverage of Nigeria as well as his greatest goal in life.

“The Western press don’t like you. don’t be fooled. They see you as a product and sometimes you have value. They don’t see you as the destination for any major event, they will hit you hard,” he said.

“My greatest goal in life is to support the poor and I support them for two reasons. One, they are poor and they need help. Second is that if you don’t support them, they will kill you. The rich uses the poor to kill the rich. They kidnap, rape and maim you. We have a serious problem in this country.”

He has advised Nigerian presidents to appoint a minister of common sense to solve the problems of Nigeria.

“A lot of people in government do dumb things. I’ve told successive presidents in this country to appoint a minister of common sense.

“The minister of common sense will not have a budget. All the minister would do is to think about Nigeria and find solutions to the problems of Nigeria without thinking about enriching himself.”

2019: I Have Nothing To Do With Fake Campaign Poster, Political Speculation– Okonjo-Iweala

Former minister of finance and coordinating minister for the economy, Dr Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala on Wednesday debunked speculations she will be contesting for of office of the president in 2019.

The former minister, who stated this in a statement signed by her media consultant, Paul C Nwabuikwu, urged Nigerians and the media to ignore what she termed “mischievous exercise and it’s sponsors”.

The statement reads,  “Our attention has been drawn to speculative media stories linking former Minister of Finance, Dr Okonjo-Iweala with the next presidential election scheduled to hold in 2019.

“In an effort to invest their efforts with phony credibility, those behind the project have even gone to the extent of designing a fake campaign poster embossed with her image.

“This is to clarify that Dr Okonjo-Iweala who is busy with important international duties has absolutely nothing to do with these speculations and activities.

“She has neither discussed nor endorsed them with anybody.

“We urge the Nigerian media and public to ignore this mischievous exercise and its sponsors.”


2019: God Will Give PDP 2nd Chance- Bode George

Former deputy national chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Chief Olabode George has expressed hope that God and Nigerians will give the erstwhile ruling party another opportunity to rule the country, again, in 2019.
George said this, yesterday, at his Ikoyi, Lagos office, when he hosted the South-West zonal executive of the party, led by Eddy Olafeso, which paid him a working visit.
George premised his declaration on what he called the poor performance of the All Progressives Congress (APC)-led Federal Government.
“Nigerians have seen the two sides of the coin and they have an opportunity to decide, based on your performance, based on the trust that they have in you. God is a God of second chance,” he said and  dismissed President Muhammadu Buhari’s administration as “lacking the capacity to put smiles on the faces of Nigerians.
“I have been advising my oga (boss), Mr. President, what does he want to be remembered for? I am talking now as a general, not as a politician. If anybody is telling him, all is well; all is not well. Whatever he will do to alleviate the despondency in the land, he must do.”
He said for the main opposition party to launch itself back to reckoning, it must do away with imposition of candidates which he noted was its undoing.
“If we want to win, we must tell ourselves some home truths and go back to our drawing board. We must be just, we must be fair and we must be equitable.
“We should learn from the mistakes of the past. The penchant that ‘I am in charge, I can do and undo,’ it must end. So, let us learn that there must be justice, fairness and equity. It is a tripod: if we remove any of these three legs, we are going nowhere. If we don’t do that, we are wasting our time.
“So, all we need to do is gather ourselves together and let us give the best hands to manage us through this storm. We need experienced captains to take us to our destination. I wish them well.”
Speaking on the intractable leadership tussle rocking the party, the former deputy national chairman of the party accused the former Borno State governor and factional national chairman, Senator Ali Modu-Sheriff of doing the bidding of certain forces outside the PDP, whom he claimed were determined to run the party aground.
“I will just appeal to Senator Ali Modu Sheriff: enough is enough. The political rascality, judicial rascality must stop for posterity. All these unnecessary litigations.
“There is an adage in Yoruba that when you see a bush rat dancing in the middle of the road, the drummers are in the bush. Let him take it easy, for the sake of the future generations of this country. Those who invited him, I hope they have learnt a lesson. It takes one terrible person to throw a stone into the well, one million professors won’t be able to find that stone.”
Earlier in his remarks, Olafeso disclosed that his leadership was on a working visit to George to brief him about the outcome of Ondo State governorship election and the future of the party in the zone.


2019: Okada Rider Vows To Run Against President Buhari & Win [Video]

A random commercial motorcycle rider has vowed to contest the 2019 general election against President Muhammadu Buhari and win regardless of his present unpopularity.

The current hardship in Nigeria seems to have boosted the fantasy of some Nigerian ahead of reality. An Okada man on the street boldly told a journalist attached to Naij about his presidential ambition.

The middle-aged man plans to join any available political party in 2019 to contest against President Muhammadu Buhari and beat him to become the President of Nigeria.

He promises to seek the face of God for the wisdom of the biblical King Solomon to rule Nigeria. He suggested that Buhari has not been forthcoming in his leadership approach.

Watch video below:


2019: Obasanjo gives condition to support new mega party

The proposed mega party by some aggrieved opposition politicians of major political parties in the country may already have run into a hitch, following the stringent condition allegedly handed down by former President Olusegun Obasanjo to support the new party.

It was learnt that when the notion of the mega party was brought to Obasanjo’s notice, the former president, who was not averse to a new formidable opposition party, was quick to give a condition that his former deputy when he was in office, former Vice-President Atiku Abubakar, should not by any means whatsoever become the party’s presidential candidate in the 2019 elections.

The new opposition party is believed to have the tacit support of some members of the Senator Ahmed Makarfi-led faction of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) that currently controls 11 states in the country, a National Leader of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Chief Bola Ahmed Tinubu, and Atiku Abubakar, a major chieftain of the APC.

The party is being championed to challenge the APC and President Muhammadu Buhari in the 2019 general election.

However, when Obasanjo, according to sources close to the ex-president, was approached to lend his support to the new party, he informed the proponents of the new party that he was prepared to back it on the condition that Atiku was not picked as the presidential candidate of the party.

According to a source, who was conversant with the outcome of the meeting with the former president, “He (Obasanjo) addressed the group that met with him, informing them that he had made too many mistakes in his life and for the nation, including the blanket support he claimed to have granted the All Progressives Congress (APC) and President Muhammadu Buhari, and therefore was not prepared to make any more mistakes.”

The source hinted that the former president said that although he was quick to support the APC, however, he was not as quick to support Buhari’s bid to become president in 2015, because he had reservations about his capacity to lead the country.

But because the APC to which he had declared his support had also settled for Buhari, he had no option than to tag along.

However, given the current state of the nation and political developments, he informed his guests that it would be foolhardy of him to rush into taking yet another critical decision, especially on the presidency of the country.

It was for this reason he was said to have reluctantly supported the idea of the mega party, but added that he would only identify with it if Atiku does not emerge the presidential candidate of the party.

He was said to have pointed out that Buhari’s obvious unimpressive stewardship to date had lent credence to his initial hesitation to support him and that having worked with Atiku, he could tell where his presidency would head.

Obasanjo made it clear to the proponents of the mega party that their presidential candidate could be anybody with the minimum requisite qualifications and experience, but certainly not Atiku.

Another source, who also hinted at the development, confirmed Obasanjo’s stringent condition not to field Atiku, saying: “It is true, that is very correct.”

He further revealed that the reason Obasanjo did not want to make another mistake with Atiku stemmed from his regret for coming round to support Buhari despite his reservations.

The source said: “Before the December 2014 congress of the APC, where Buhari was picked as the presidential candidate of the party, he informed (Rotimi) Amaechi and others not to back Buhari because he lacks the capacity to run the country.

“He told them to vote for (Rabiu) Kwankwaso, but his advise was ignored and now Nigerians are suffering for it, so he does not want to make the same mistake again by backing the wrong person for presidency in the person of Atiku.”

On the issue of Senate President Bukola Saraki, the source disclosed that it was most likely that Saraki would remain with the APC given the recent attempts at rapprochement by Buhari.

“Also in so far as Tinubu is a major proponent behind the establishment of the proposed mega party, it is very unlikely that Saraki will leave the APC to join forces with Tinubu,” the source volunteered.

He added that while those from the other political parties were ready to go ahead with the formation of the party, the PDP faction led by Makarfi was yet to fully decide on the issue.

“The PDP component has not really been determined yet. For now, the plan is to take total control of the party, finish off Ali Modu Sheriff and then move on in that light. Ultimately, it may be where we are headed, but the truth is we must first tidy up the PDP house before moving on.”

According to the source, some individuals in the PDP had already bought into the mega party idea and had been meeting with those concerned but “the Markarfi-led PDP as a whole has not really bought into it. But I can tell you that the APC wing of the merger is set to roll”.

Still on the Atiku matter, the source hinted that some of the decision makers in the country, a majority of them retired military officers, already share Obasanjo’s view and might follow through with him.

The only person, a major ally in the merger talks, who has refused to buy into Obasanjo’s position on Atiku, the source hinted, is Tinubu, who yesterday categorically denied his involvement in the mega party.

But clearing the doubts on the denial, the PDP source said it was expected since most people would at the moment distance themselves from any involvement in the new party because of the timing.

“It is important that they all lay low until the timing is right, so that people are not framed and thrown into the gaol for pursuing an agenda different from theirs,” he said.

Reacting to his involvement in the formation of yet another political platform to challenge the APC in the 2019 elections, Tinubu said he has no intention of abandoning the ruling party, which he laboured to build.

Tinubu, on his Twitter account, said that despite the mistakes that had been made by the APC, he remained committed to the “ideals that fuelled” the formation of the ruling party.

The former Lagos State governor said that the national purpose of the APC was bigger than the desire of any individual.

“I have devoted my political life to achieving what has been achieved. My heart is too much of the people and my mind too fixed on establishing a positive historic legacy… rather than engage in destructive pettiness,” he said.

“This government, APC, is for the betterment of the people and the national purpose is bigger and more important than any individual’s desires.

“This is a party I laboured with others to build. We would not abandon it for another. Millions of Nigerians who voted are watching and praying.

“In our journey to national betterment, plans and policies will be made, then amended. Mistakes will occur and then corrected. Achievements will be had and replicated.

“Through it all, I, Asiwaju will remain true to the progressive ideals that fuelled the creation of APC,” Tinubu said.

In the same breath, a source close to Atiku also denied his involvement in any shape or form in the proposed mega party, saying the concern of the former vice-president was in the success of President Buhari and would not do anything inimical to the collective interest and ideology of the ruling party.

“I think we should ignore those who out of self-interest are trying to drive a wedge between the former Vice-President, Atiku Abubakar and his party, the APC.

“Right now, our nation needs unity of purpose, not political brinkmanship; we are facing formidable economic and structural challenges, and we should focus on fixing the many things that prevent us from unleashing our economic and entrepreneurial potential, instead of pretending that a little political theatre will magically make things work,” he said.

“PDP will win in 2019, but I won’t tell you how” – Makarfi

The Chairman of the National Caretaker Committee of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Ahmed Makarfi, has expressed confidence that the party will win the 2019 presidential election.

Makarfi said the secret on how to achieve the victory would not be divulged.

In an interview, during which he addressed various issues ranging from last weekend’s Ondo State governorship election to the rebranding of the party, Makarfi said he was not worried by last week’s defection of Idris Umar, a former minister, to the All Progressives Congress (APC), or that of other members elsewhere.

“Since he left as minister, I have never known Umar, who defected to the APC, to have participated in anything concerning the PDP.

“There are those who we know (defectors from Ondo State) are one leg here and one leg there. We are not surprised. I am also not surprised at any movement now. It is the movement in 2018 that will bother me. Look, go back to the PDP when it was in power. During the first and second years, there were people coming. But when did the movement that brought the party down occur?

“We should not forget history. There are those who want to join or associate with the central government. They are like the chameleon; they keep on changing colours. The political movement from one party to another that should bother anyone is the movement in the last 12 months before an election. That should bother anybody, and it is yet to come,” he said.

Despite losing the Ondo State election to APC, Makarfi, said the future holds big things for his party.

“The future of the PDP is very bright.

“We know that it’s not going to be an easy task. We are passing through the worst period you can ever think of, but we will recover,” Makarfi promised.

He also revealed that the PDP was hopeful of winning the Ondo State governorship election in court, having seen the election awarded to APC.

“Well, Edo State, to me, was manipulated and taken away. That is why we are at the tribunal, and we believe that if good work is done by our counsel at the tribunal, we will remain above board. We believe we are going to win because we have a new judiciary. It is far more responsive, fair and just. I believe our mandate will return to us.

“When we went to Ondo State, there were factors and room for complaints. Some factors were within the control of stakeholders while some were beyond them. Some were external, which we are much aware of. The internal issue relates to state politics and other issues that are really state-based. I really won’t go into details. On external factors, our candidate was finally cleared two days before the election, and to move around the state in two days to cover grounds was a tall order.

“Again, Independent National Electorla Commission’s (INEC) position that the submitted list of agents was by the party was a problem. The law stated that they were party agents, not candidate’s, hence they were recognised. This prompted a big question: which party? We didn’t submit the list of agents. Those who took us to court, the Sen. Ali Modu Sheriff camp, just submitted the list of agents, which INEC accepted.

“Naturally, you wouldn’t expect them to be effective agents because the person they wanted was not the one standing for the election. I think INEC should have considered the recent court judgement and given the party the leeway to change its agents if it so desired, thereby escaping from sharing some blames for virtually lack of representation at the polling units.

“Again, if you look at the video clip being circulated by Jimoh Ibrahim, where he boasted and gave reasons why they went to court, among others, it is clear that it was intended to destabilise the PDP and prevent the candidate from campaigning. So the Modu Sheriff side has spoken, through their candidate, that the reason they were in the race was to prevent the PDP from winning. Even the blind and the dumb can draw a conclusion that very serious anti-party activities took place.

“I was disappointed by the result and what happened; but if you ask me whether I am really bothered as we walk towards 2019, I will tell you I am not. When we had a central government in the PDP, which stand-alone election did we lose? But when the general election came, what happened? So a stand-alone election needs a party with central power to mobilise everything there to come up with a particular result, but when general election comes, you are on your own; there is no gang-up per se. If you are on ground, you are on ground, if you are not, I am sorry.

So no matter the difficulty, we will continue participating in elections, believing that when it comes to general elections, the story will be different.”

Asked why he was that sure of a return to power in 2019, he said: “If I tell you that, it will be like disclosing the secret of the PDP and I won’t do that.”

PDP Will Win In 2019, But …– Makarfi

The Chairman of the National Caretaker Committee of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Ahmed Makarfi, has expressed confidence that the party will win the 2019 presidential election.

Makarfi said the secret on how to achieve the victory would not be divulged.

In an interview, during which he addressed various issues ranging from last weekend’s Ondo State governorship election to the rebranding of the party, Makarfi said he was not worried by last week’s defection of Idris Umar, a former minister, to the All Progressives Congress (APC), or that of other members elsewhere.

“Since he left as minister, I have never known Umar, who defected to the APC, to have participated in anything concerning the PDP.

“There are those who we know (defectors from Ondo State) are one leg here and one leg there. We are not surprised. I am also not surprised at any movement now. It is the movement in 2018 that will bother me. Look, go back to the PDP when it was in power. During the first and second years, there were people coming. But when did the movement that brought the party down occur?

“We should not forget history. There are those who want to join or associate with the central government. They are like the chameleon; they keep on changing colours. The political movement from one party to another that should bother anyone is the movement in the last 12 months before an election. That should bother anybody, and it is yet to come,” he said.

Despite losing the Ondo State election to APC, Makarfi, said the future holds big things for his party.

“The future of the PDP is very bright.

“We know that it’s not going to be an easy task. We are passing through the worst period you can ever think of, but we will recover,” Makarfi promised.

He also revealed that the PDP was hopeful of winning the Ondo State governorship election in court, having seen the election awarded to APC.

“Well, Edo State, to me, was manipulated and taken away. That is why we are at the tribunal, and we believe that if good work is done by our counsel at the tribunal, we will remain above board. We believe we are going to win because we have a new judiciary. It is far more responsive, fair and just. I believe our mandate will return to us.

“When we went to Ondo State, there were factors and room for complaints. Some factors were within the control of stakeholders while some were beyond them. Some were external, which we are much aware of. The internal issue relates to state politics and other issues that are really state-based. I really won’t go into details. On external factors, our candidate was finally cleared two days before the election, and to move around the state in two days to cover grounds was a tall order.

“Again, Independent National Electorla Commission’s (INEC) position that the submitted list of agents was by the party was a problem. The law stated that they were party agents, not candidate’s, hence they were recognised. This prompted a big question: which party? We didn’t submit the list of agents. Those who took us to court, the Sen. Ali Modu Sheriff camp, just submitted the list of agents, which INEC accepted.

“Naturally, you wouldn’t expect them to be effective agents because the person they wanted was not the one standing for the election. I think INEC should have considered the recent court judgement and given the party the leeway to change its agents if it so desired, thereby escaping from sharing some blames for virtually lack of representation at the polling units.

“Again, if you look at the video clip being circulated by Jimoh Ibrahim, where he boasted and gave reasons why they went to court, among others, it is clear that it was intended to destabilise the PDP and prevent the candidate from campaigning. So the Modu Sheriff side has spoken, through their candidate, that the reason they were in the race was to prevent the PDP from winning. Even the blind and the dumb can draw a conclusion that very serious anti-party activities took place.

“I was disappointed by the result and what happened; but if you ask me whether I am really bothered as we walk towards 2019, I will tell you I am not. When we had a central government in the PDP, which stand-alone election did we lose? But when the general election came, what happened? So a stand-alone election needs a party with central power to mobilise everything there to come up with a particular result, but when general election comes, you are on your own; there is no gang-up per se. If you are on ground, you are on ground, if you are not, I am sorry.

So no matter the difficulty, we will continue participating in elections, believing that when it comes to general elections, the story will be different.”

Asked why he was that sure of a return to power in 2019, he said: “If I tell you that, it will be like disclosing the secret of the PDP and I won’t do that.”


2019: Jonathan’s Loyalists Seek Lifeline For PDP

Loyalists of former President Goodluck Jonathan are trying very hard to end the crisis in the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) ahead of the 2019 general elections, it was learnt Saturday.

The loyalists especially former ministers and governors during former administration of Jonathan were said to be visiting different state chapters of the PDP to seek reconciliation among aggrieved PDP members.

It was was gathered that Jonathan’s men were working under the auspices of the Ministers’ Forum (MF), comprising former governors, former ministers and PDP stalwarts.

There were indications that if their mission yielded expected fruits, they would either mount pressure on Jonathan to return for a second term or support the presidential ambition of former Jigawa State Governor, Lamido Sanusi.

The team alongside some former PDP governors was in Bayelsa State for a similar purpose, though they were said to have seized the opportunity to tour some ongoing projects of Governor Seriake Dickson.

Read More:

2019: Jonathan’s loyalists seek lifeline for PDP

Genetically Modified Beans To Flood Nigerian Markets In 2019– NABDA

The National Biotechnology Development Agency has said genetically modified beans would be available in commercial quantity across Nigerian markets on or before 2019.

The NABDA Director General, Prof Lucy Ogbadu, who said this on Wednesday in Abuja at the November edition of Open Forum on Agricultural Biotechnology (OFAB), revealed that Nigeria would soon witness abundant beans as the GM cowpeas (or beans) would be released into the market in large quantities in two or three years’ time.

She said the cowpea, which is currently undergoing field trials, is safe and wouldn’t pose any health risk to Nigerians.

“Rules are being followed in its production. Our Ethical Committee is working day and night to ensure that no rule is breached. Nigerians should be rest assured that the GM beans and other crops which will be available later in the country would be safe for consumption. In 2-3 years’ time, cowpea should be ready in commercial quantity in the country”, Prof Ogbadu said.

She dismissed “the insinuation” that GM foods are unhealthy; saying over 100 Nobel Laureates had signed a petition to guarantee its safety.

Credit: dailytrust

2019: El-Rufai Not Stupid, Will Not Contest Against Buhari – Associate

As the permutations towards 2019 presidential race hot up, a fresh insight has been given into the political calculations of Mallam  Nasir El-Rufai, the Kaduna state governor who many expect to join the race.

Those who expect to see El-Rufai in the race are however being told that he is not blind to the political realities. El-Rufai will not join the 2019 presidential race if President Muhammadu Buhari is going for a second term, one of the close associates of the governor has told

“Look,El-Rufai is not stupid, he will not contest if Buhari is in the race. That is the way he is. He is with Buhari as I’m talking with you,” the associate said.

The governor’s political ally spoke in the light of the on-going media war between former Vice President Atiku Abubakar and  El-Rufai. There is the growing belief that  media war part of the efforts the two politicians to checkmate each other in the race for 2016.

But the governor’s long term associate said, “If you attack  El-Rufai like Atiku did, you know he is a stubborn person, he will fight back to defend himself. But he is not like Atiku who wants to run for election in 2019 whether Buhari is in the race or not.”

It must be stated that Atiku has not officially, openly declared his ambition towards the 2019 race yet. One of the former vice president’s aides said there is nothing wrong with anyone having an ambition,anyway

‘Buhari Is in the 2019 Race Already’ was also told that politicians are becoming increasingly convinced  that  Buhari is in the 2019 race already. And they believe he has the ace.

“Things may not be as easy as it was in 2015,but he has the advantage of incumbency. It is not going to be easy to fight Buhari. It does not make sense, the way thing are going” a politician watching unfolding events revealed.

He added, “we know Buhari wants to run. All these endorsements of his efforts even by Christian groups are not for nothing”, another politician said.

The clearest hint that Buhari will contest in 2019 came through a statement Monday by Presidential Spokesman Garba Shehu while responding to an assertion by Engineer Buba Galadima. According  to Shehu, Buhari will not be alone in 2019 as the masses, he said, will back the president.

Political insiders however insist that Buhari may face opposition  as there is an on= going realignment of forces. Whether such moves can stop Buhari is unclear.

Buhari Won’t Be Alone In 2019, Presidency Says.

President Muhammadu Buhari’s Senior Special Assistant on Media and Publicity, Garba Shehu, has dismissed suggestions that the masses will desert the president in 2019 as unfounded and utterly ridiculous. He asserted that ordinary Nigerians are the backbone of Mr. Buhari’s mandate and the only reason he ran for the office was to protect them against the rapacious merchants of corruption, who have held Nigeria back for decades.

Reacting to allegations by a former Congress for Progressive Change (CPC) member, Buba Galadima, that Mr. Buhari would be abandoned by the people in 2019, Mr.  Shehu said Mr. Galadima’s calculation and prediction is utterly confused and misleading.

He said the masses are solidly behind Mr. Buhari because he is not stealing their money and their future, that the president’s enormous goodwill remains ever strong because the people are convinced the president is acting in their best interest, despite the temporary unintended consequences of reforms.

“President Muhammadu Buhari is far from isolation. He enjoys a very strategic relationship with ordinary Nigerians. This relationship is as solid a the proverbial rock. If Buba Galadima thinks that because he has no role and no job in this government that means president is isolated he is putting himself up to ridicule,” Mr. Shehu said.

According to him, Mr. Galadima cannot speak for the masses as far as their steadfast loyalty to the president is concerned. While acknowledging that Mr. Galadima was entitled to advance his own political agenda, Mr. Garba said Mr. Galadima did not have the right to decide for ordinary voters.

Mr. Shehu recalled that Buba Galadima’s disagreement with Mr. Buhari was based on principle. He explained that the president is committed to a level playing field and would not want anyone to link his name to injustice.

The presidential media aide said Mr. Galadima’s disagreement with Mr. Buhari started in 2011 when a group within the party orchestrated an organizational mess by which the CPC embarked on the imposition and substitution of candidates for cash payments at the expense of those duly and democratically elected.

He said Muhammadu Buhari was embarrassed by the incidents and complaints about the imposition and substitution of candidates, adding that he, as a democrat, would not suppress the will of the people to please selfish interests. Consequently he dispensed with the service, such as they are, of Buba Galadima and ran and won the 2015 elections without them.

“Let Buba Galadima go to his constituency, stand for election and see what will happen to him,” Mr. Shehu concluded.

Presidency Implies Buhari Will Run In 2019

With just one year and seven months into the four years term of the administration of president Muhammdu Buhari which will terminate in 2019, presidency has given sure indication that the president would seek a second term in office.

It also vehemently dismissed comments that it would be a lonely walk for the president, a development expected to serve as a punishment for perceived bad governance.

The refutation was a sharp reply to a statement credited a former member of the defunct Congress for Progressive Change, CPC, Alhaji Buba Galadima that the people of Nigeria would abandon Buhari should he choose to seek re-election. In a strong worded statement last night, the presidency through the Senior Special Assistant on Media and Publicity, Malam Garba Shehu stated that the “suggestions that the masses will desert President Buhari in 2019 as unfounded and utterly ridiculous”.

Shehu asserted that “ordinary Nigerians are the backbone of his mandate and the only reason he ran for the office is to protect them against the rapacious merchants of corruption, who have held Nigeria back for decades”, saying that ” Galadima’s calculation and prediction is utterly confused and misleading.”

According to the presidential spokesman “the masses are solidly behind Buhari because he is not stealing their money and their future. President’s enormous goodwill remains ever strong because the people are convinced the President is acting in their best interest, despite the temporary unintended consequences of reforms.”

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4 Reasons Nigerians Cannot Afford To Have Atiku In Aso Rock – Tonye Barcanista

I have been observing the recent moves by a former Vice President of Nigeria Alhaji Atiku Abubakar, who is also a veteran aspirant for the office of the President. Atiku Abubakar has suddenly shifted from his subtle campaign for President to what seem to be like an almost direct campaign for the number one seat in the country. In the Social media, some sycophantic groups and individual with inspiration from their stomach have been making noise by endorsing the Turaki Adamawa-perhaps, with expectation of gratification “when the time comes”.

While I am not against Alhaji Atiku Abubakar to exercise his right to aspire for the office of the President in 2019 or any office in Nigeria, I have the responsibility as a young man, a patriot and a youth leader in my own right to enlighten Nigerians and eligible voters about Alhaji Atiku Abubakar’s candidacy (just like I would to any other aspirant for the office).

I shall give some reasons why Alhaji Atiku Abubakar is unfit to occupy the office he is aspiring for;

1. Lack of Integrity:

During the period when he was the Vice President of the country, Atiku was appointed to chair the Petroleum Technology Development Fund by the President, Chief Olusegun Obasanjo. As Chairman of Petroleum Training Development Fund(PTDF), Atiku lodged over $30million and $164 in Trans International Bank and Equatorial Trust Bank respectively from the account of PTDF according to EFCC’s forensive indictment in 2006. In fact, ‘loans’ that yielded interest as high as 15% to the banks were collected from the said banks by Atiku and his proteges AFTER PTDF millions of dollars has been lodged with the illegal account. It was all business! When the deal was busted in 2006, Atiku simply said that he ‘kept the monies for safe-keeping’ and even claimed that he deserves commendation. He brought back the PTDF “capital” that he put in private account and benefited hugely from it.

Atiku Abubakar was indicted by EFCC, Senate, and a Presidential Committee. He is yet to clear his name. As usual, a court that he went to never discussed whether he was innocent or guilty, but simply said the FG Committee lacks power to investigate and indict Atiku Abubakar because they weren’t courts.

You may look these for reference.

It is a shame that we are in a country where we forget easily. Otherwise, how could sane Nigerians be asking for Atiku’s Presidency when Nigerians in unison were asking for him to come out clean as for back as 2006.

Apart from the PTDF, Nigerians are yet to understand how Alhaji Atiku Abubakar from a humble background became an extraordinary billionaire despite the fact that most of his productive adult life was spent in the Nigeria Custom Service.

There is also an indictment on Atiku in the USA, I am yet to see him take up the challenge to take a trip to the United States as requested by exPresident Olusegun Obasanjo in 2014.

2. Tribal Supremacism:

One of the challenge of President Buhari’s administration is that he is more aligned with his brothers in the north than with the rest of the country, hough Buhari has never hidden where is primary loyalty lies (his north). While many think Atiku is detribalised (we can only be patriotic and not detribalised anyway), the bare truth is that Atiku is a northern supremacist that believe that his northerners should always align with their own. Unlike Buhari, Atiku is pretentious about his- but his sin shall find him out.

In 2010, in their bid to stop Goodluck Jonathan from seeking the ticket of PDP in the 2011 Presidential election, Atiku Abubakar, Aliyu Gusau, Gen IBB and Bukola Saraki(now Senate President) all submitted themselves to Adamu Ciroma led Northern Political Leaders Forum to come up with a consensus NORTHERN candidate to upstage Southern Goodluck Jonathan. Atiku was eventually chosen as the eventual “northern candidate” over Saraki, who wasn’t considered “northern enough” by the Ciroma led Forum. Atiku led a campaign in the north that he christened “Naka Sai Naka” meaning “Northerners go for your own”.

The record is there for all to see

3. Insincerity And Deception:

Atiku is a very wealthy man no doubt, but of late we have seen a picture of him drinking sachet water aka pure water. When did Atiku start drinking such? Who is he trying to deceive? We won’t forget the N40 sacthet Milo/tea gimmicks that the Buhari campaign employed to deceive gullible Nigerians into believing that he was a “poor man”. We won’t forget the “akara” frying stunt of Mrs Aisha Buhari during the electioneering period in 2015. We should realise that when politicians are desperate, they take to any act just to impress and deceiving the gullible into giving them their votes. #NeverAgain should we be falling for such. It amounts to deception in the part of the elite to continue to use such gimmicks.

Also, Atiku has been making case for federalism and stuffs, but in ALL his years in Aso Rock as VeePee, he never initiated nor suggested such. In fact, Atiku was a very powerful VeePee between 1999 and 2003, as he was in charge of home-front while Obasanjo was travelling the world, yet he never thought of any pro-Federalism/restructuring policy. It is true that he fought against the third term agenda of Obasanjo, but we all know that he did it so that he can be able to succeed the president in 2007- he didn’t do it for Nigeria.

4. What Does He Have To Offer That He Can’t Suggest To Incumbents?

Atiku is part of the political system in Nigeria. In 1993 he ran for President, but lost to MKO Abiola in the Social Democratic Party primary election. In 2007, he ran for Presidency under Action Congress, but lost to Umaru Yaradua of PDP, and coming behing ANPP’s General Buhari. In 2011 he ran for Presidency and lost to Jonathan in the contest for PDP ticket. In 2014, he ran again but lost to Muhammadu Buhari in the APC primary, coming behind second placed Rabiu Kwankwaso. Now he is eyeing 2019! What is Atiku looking for after serving as Vice President for eight years? What did he forget in the villa that he wants to go back to get?

Atiku is already 70, he will be 73 in 2019, he is not an outsider of the system (like the American Trump), what does he have to offer that he couldn’t offer as VeePee? What stops him from sharing his “developmental” ideas to the incumbents since 1999 (considering that he was always in the incumbent parties)? What stops Alhaji Atiku from grooming younger, smarter and intelligent politician for the plum job?

Like I said earlier in my first paragraph, I am not against the right of Atiku to seek office, but I am against the idea of him becoming President. Nigeria cannot afford to continue to rotate failures and grannies. We need generational shift in leadership, we need to retire the system elite and bring him visionaries in 2019.

Nigeria has to be great for our own good, and we must make it great!

APC will rule Nigeria beyond 2019 – Maharaj ji

The founder of One Love Family, Satguru Maharaj ji, on Friday said the All Progressives Congress will rule Nigeria beyond 2019 in spite of the acrimony in the party.

The sect leader said this in Ibadan on Friday at a press conference to mark the 36th anniversary of the group.

He said what the ruling APC needed to do was to ensure that those who defected from the PDP to the party were monitored to ensure that they do not tarnish the good intention of President Muhammadu Buhari.

Maharaj ji also said the defection of some PDP members to APC was to escape prosecution for offences with which they had been charged.

The sect leader said Nigeria was in need of leaders like Buhari in order to create a new country to be proud of.

He further urged the APC to work for the suspension of any minister or lawmaker under probe for acts of corruption until cleared.

“If this is complied with, APC will stand by the name of Maharaj ji.

“I will make sure I support the party so that Nigeria would be free to enjoy the dividends of democracy.

“Those that steal Nigeria’s money cannot escape; they would be fished out and forced to return every kobo they have stolen.

“I recommend to the Federal Government to give one per cent of any loot recovered to any Nigerian who is able to offer fruitful information on such hidden money.

“This would assist in the speedy recovery of stolen money and create a new image for Nigeria to the outside world.

“Presently, the whole world looks at Nigeria as a country that encourages corruption,’’ Maharaj ji said.

Reacting to Donald Trump’s victory as U.S President-elect, the sect leader said the new administration would bring greater benefits to Africa and the global community.

According to him, Trump is a wise man, judging from his plans to tackle illegal migration and terrorism.

APC Will Rule Nigeria Beyond 2019- Guru Maharaj ji

Satguru Maharaj ji, the Founder of the One Love Family, says the APC will rule Nigeria beyond 2019 in spite of the acrimony in the party.

The sect leader said this in Ibadan on Friday at a press conference to mark the 36th anniversary of the group.

He said what the ruling APC needed to do was to ensure that those who defected from the PDP to the party were monitored to ensure that they do not tarnish the good intention of President Muhammadu Buhari.

Maharaj ji also said the defection of some PDP members to APC was to escape prosecution for offences with which they had been charged.

The sect leader said Nigeria was in need of leaders like Mr. Buhari in order to create a new country to be proud of.

He further urged the APC to work for the suspension of any minister or lawmaker under probe for acts of corruption until cleared.

“If this is complied with, APC will stand by the name of Maharaj ji.

“I will make sure I support the party so that Nigeria would be free to enjoy the dividends of democracy.

“Those that steal Nigeria’s money cannot escape; they would be fished out and forced to return every kobo they have stolen.

“I recommend to the Federal Government to give one per cent of any loot recovered to any Nigerian who is able to offer fruitful information on such hidden money.

“This would assist in the speedy recovery of stolen money and create a new image for Nigeria to the outside world.

“Presently, the whole world looks at Nigeria as a country that encourages corruption,’’ Maharaj ji said.

Reacting to Donald Trump’s victory as U.S President , the sect leader said the new administration would bring greater benefits to Africa and the global community.

According to him, Mr. Trump is a wise man judging from his plans to tackle illegal migration and terrorism.

Credit: NAN

2019: I never spoke about Atiku’s bid – Bindow

Governor Muhammad Umar Jibrilla Bindow of Adamawa state has denied making any reference to “unconfirmed” presidential ambition of former Vice President Atiku Abubakar.

The governor’s position came against the backdrop of a media report quoting him to have said “it’s either Atiku or nobody for the 2019 Presidency.”

A statement by his Special Assistant, Media and Press Affairs, Martins Dickson, yesterday urged those who must have been offended by such misrepresentation “aimed at tarnishing his image” to shun the report as it did not emanate from him.

“The attention of Adamawa state Governor, Senator Muhammad Umar Jibrilla Bindow, has been drawn to a story on Peoples Daily newspaper of Friday, November 11, 2016, titled: “2019 Presidency: It’s Either Atiku Or Nobody, Says Gov Bindow.”

The governor said “at no time during the flag-off ceremony of the Girei-Pariya-Wuro Bokki last Thursday did he make any statement about 2019 Presidency.

The statement read in part: “The governor only stated that Atiku is like a father to him and he has no political godfather as insinuated by some sections of the media.

“He then thanked President Buhari for bringing peace to the Northeast and Nigeria as a whole, and called on the people of Adamawa to unite and make the state a better place.”

“The attribution of such statement to him by the newspaper is false, mischievous, fictitious and malicious. It’s is a surprise that such concocted story is published by a reputable newspaper like Peoples Daily.”

Continuing, it read: “To attribute a statement to a person means a direct utterance of the person or an issued statement by the personality. This, I am sure, the Peoples Daily reporter and his editors know very well.

“Bindow has no glance on 2019, he is more concerned with the continuous development of Adamawa state and delivering good dividends of democracy to people of the state.”

PDP Inaugurates Committee To Regain Power In 2019.

In a bid to regain power, which it lost in last year’s general elections, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has set up a committee to come up with strategies for the 2019 elections. Named the Strategy Review and Inter-Party Affairs Committee, it has 115 members and is  headed by former Information Minister, Professor Jerry Gana. It has Mr. Austin Okpara, a former Deputy Speaker of the House of Representatives, as Secretary.

The committee will consult with various political groups, associations and individuals on the appropriate strategies for the 2019 polls. The committee was handed three terms of reference: explore ways of  engaging  all possible allies with a view to building positive relationships, recommend strategies to reposition the party and prescribe necessary amendment to the PDP constitution.

At the inauguration of  the committee in Abuja on Tuesday, Senator Ahmed Makarfi, Chairman of the party’s National Caretaker Committee, said the new committee is expected to submit its report in three months.

“Long before we talked about putting up a number of sub-committees to deal with different aspects of the affairs of our party, but because of litigation we have not settled down to do that,” he said. “Time is going. A lot of things are happening and our men and women are on their own beginning to do all sorts of meetings.

“However, you don’t bring all your flock  together to talk as one family, before long, the good chunk of them would have gone on their own, because nobody will remain inactive for forever,” Makarfi said while explaining the constitution of the committee.

He added that what the committee should come up with is a strategy that ensures the party’s return to power in the next general elections. Senator Makarfi also claimed that many groups have approached the National Caretaker Committee for collaboration and the party was convinced that it should not be only members of the caretaker committee that should be talking to those seeking to collaborate with the party. He explained that the number of members of the strategy committee is huge because of the size of its responsibilities.

“You must break sub- committees, talking to different groups. It is also the role of the committee to advice on how to make the party stronger and better,” he added.

He impressed on party members the need to resolve  the legal disputes dogging the party before 2019.

“The truth of the matter is that we are in many courts on different issues. If you don’t lay them to rest, there is basically no peace process.

‘We said that reconciliation committee will draw up the modalities for the withdrawal of all court cases, and the conceptual settlement of those of them that you cannot ordinarily withdraw or set aside.

“The lawyers amongst you know the issues that you need to be settled. If you don’t that, somebody can ?go to court tomorrow. If you leave it hanging, close to the elections, PDP or a member of the party in power can go to court and force you to start all the processes afresh.

“In all these cases, there are  issues that must be laid to rest and only the court can lay these issues to rest. It is either it is so or we can come together and settle them in a conceptual matter, so that all the loopholes are plugged and we don’t go through a vicious cycle,” he said.

PDP committed to retaking power in 2019 – Makarfi

The Caretaker Committee Chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Senator Ahmed Makarfi, has said that the party is committed to settling all its internal crises to make it strong enough to retake power in 2019.

The former Kaduna State governor, however, decried the tactics of the PDP factional leader, Senator Ali Modu Sheriff, to frustrate the peace and reconciliation efforts in the party.

Makarfi, who spoke in Kaduna, said in a few weeks from now, people would begin to see a lot of activities, “because nobody is going to pin us down and stagnate the party. I am assuring you that nobody will hold PDP down and make it impotent.”

He said 99 per cent of the members of the party had resolved to put the crisis that has rocked the party behind them and work together to rescue the country from its economic recession.

He said Sheriff had allegedly frustrated the reconciliation and peace moves through his actions and positions. “I reminded him that I don’t represent myself and as such I don’t have anything personal to negotiate.”

He added: “Whatever I can take back to the governors, our National Assembly members, Board of Trustees (BoT) and the other parties must be something which makes sense to them and which will be acceptable to them. I cannot sit down alone with him and negotiate what I know will not be generally acceptable to the party that I represent.

“It is not about me. Reducing these issues to me is being myopic. I represent the organs of the party. Yes, we want peace but we want an everlasting peace and not a temporary or smokescreen peace that would later create more problems than we have now.

“The mandate that I had from BoT, the governors, National Assembly caucus and states’ chapter chairmen was that we set up a committee of 15 each to sit down and discuss on the basis of the initial agreement we reached. This peace process can progress if he (Sheriff) allows this committee to begin sitting and talk.

“What the outcome may be, I am not in a position to say. But, at least we would have created a forum for talking to take place. And for me, anything that comes out of that, I will accept and implement. I have nothing personal. And what I am saying is that to personalise it between myself and Sheriff is purely to miss the point, because on his side, it is also beyond him.”

LASG to create 100,000 new businessmen by 2019.

The Lagos State Government says by 2019, no fewer than 100,000 new entrepreneurs would have been created from the N25bn Lagos State Employment Trust Fund.

It added that the fund had been set up to provide financial support to Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) within the next three years.

The Executive Secretary of the Lagos State Employment Trust Fund (LSETF), Mr. Akintunde Oyebode, stated this on Monday in Ikeja, adding that the fund was in line with Governor Akinwunmi Ambode’s vision to create employment and entrepreneurship opportunities for Lagosians.

He said the board set up to manage the fund had spent the last few months perfecting strategies and addressing grey areas ahead of the commencement of the disbursement of the fund later this year.

He said, “The board, working with its appointed consultants, has developed a strategic framework articulating the goals, the key interventions designed to enhance job creation, and the supporting infrastructure needed to deliver the set goals. This exercise has now been concluded and approved by the Lagos State Executive Council.”

Oyebode said the fund would provide loans to MSMEs at single digit interest rates per annum, while training and capacity building and technical support would be provided to drive growth and job creation.

“The businesses we will support must demonstrate capacity to repay our loans; be owned by Lagos residents duly registered by the Lagos State Residents Registration Agency; show evidence of tax payments to the Lagos Inland Revenue Service; and have valid Bank Verification Numbers,” he added.

Oyebode expressed optimism that the fund would have a multiplier effect with the capacity to create 300,000 direct and 600,000 indirect jobs while about 200,000 new taxpayers would be added to the state’s tax net.

The Commissioner for Wealth Creation and Employment, Dr Babatunde Durosinmi-Etti, said Ambode’s administration was committed to ensuring that the fund imparted positive value to the lives of Lagosians.

He lauded the plan by the LSETF board to set up offices in 20 local government areas in the state, saying that it would ensure that no area was marginalised.

“It is important that this process has taken considerable time. We need to make it work and also ensure that it is to the benefit of all Lagosians,” Durosinmi-Etti said.

The Chairman, House Committee on Wealth Creation and Employment, Sola Giwa, assured that members of the House would give the operational guidelines of the fund expeditious passage.

NIGERIA: Time to think about 2019 – Okey Ndibe

There’s something about this year’s presidential election in the US that is oddly reminiscent of Nigeria’s 2015 presidential polls. Many Americans, Democrats and Republicans alike, can’t quite fathom how the country’s two main parties ended up with candidates with such significant ethical or mental deficits and who inspire little popular enthusiasm. After eight years of Barack Obama’s presidency, one that restored gravitas, dignity, a humane touch and intelligence to the White House, there’s a certain anxiety that the next president will be something of a letdown.

I remember feeling profoundly bewildered about the two candidates advertised as Nigerians’ real presidential choices in 2015.

Whatever the cause – whether he had feeble political spine or the political opposition sabotaged him at every turn – Goodluck Jonathan failed to rise to the challenge of leadership. He left the impression of a malleable man, too fickle for the wolves that were his coterie and cohorts, easy to manipulate by some of the sinister men and women he trusted for advice.

How press a case for the reelection of a man of such meagre achievements, a president whose mediocrity was writ large?

Yet, some of us also warned of the dire prospects of handing Nigeria to a man quick to appropriate the rhetoric and mantle of “change,” but slow – if not reluctant – to offer even the merest outline of his vision of change. Above all, the All Progressives Congress (APC) never persuaded me of their difference (in terms of principles and policies) from Mr. Jonathan’s Peoples Democratic Party (PDP). And Candidate Muhammadu Buhari of the APC struck me – as I told an interviewer – as a dud-in-waiting. The man seemed entirely to belong to a different time, a long vanished analog moment. Nigeria stood in need of a man able to combine deep intellectual insights with sharp political instincts. It needed somebody with the mental acumen and physical stamina to broadly envision its transformation – and the path towards it. I had no doubt that Mr. Buhari was not that man.

Even so, when I entreated Nigerians to renounce both the PDP and APC and seek a third option, the overwhelming response was to accuse me of irresponsible idealism. We were stuck, I was told; we were without any other choice. It was too late in the game to take on the task of championing a third political path. Like it or not, we had to embrace the one party or the other.

We did just that. Disdaining the once imperious PDP, ignoring every other party in the race, most Nigerians cleaved to Buhari and the APC, the candidate and the party whose mantra was “change.” It didn’t matter that they hardly defined what change meant, that they merely hoisted up brooms at rallies. Having put Nigeria and its affairs in their hands, many a Nigerian returned to the business of daydreaming that God – or some superhuman – would take up the task of solving the problems we work hard, individually and collectively, to create.

A year and a half into his administration, it is clear that President Buhari is overwhelmed. He has said as much, in oblique as well as direct terms. His wife, Aisha Buhari, has joined the likes of Junaid Mohammed and Senator Bukola Saraki in proposing that some forces inimical to Nigeria’s interests have hijacked the current administration.

The immediate crisis facing the Buhari administration is a severe shortage of cash. For decades, a parade of Nigeria’s visionless leaders frittered away their country’s oil earnings. Sometimes, they just stole the funds. When they invested the earnings at all, it was on gigantic projects that had little connection to the vital interests and lives of the Nigerian people. Nigeria has never had a leader, who remotely resembled the late great Singaporean prime minister, Lee Kuan Yew. Mr. Yew had his negative side, including a notorious impatience with critics, but he envisioned his city-state, as a first-tier economy – and worked assiduously to steer Singapore towards that lofty dream.

Mr. Buhari as well as Nigeria’s governors and local government councilors have little at their disposal. Yet, this impecunious circumstance is not the sole reason for the current disaster in Nigeria at every level of governance. Those who run Nigeria, the president included, have found in the dwindled oil revenues a perfect excuse for their failure. But I’d suggest that, even if they were to get a sudden infusion of cash, they would remain steeped in mediocrity.

Cash is important for running any social community, but leadership is far more critical. And leadership has to do, above all, with vision and imagination. For a man who sought to lead Nigeria as compulsively as Mr. Buhari did, it is astonishing that he has no bold blueprint. He does not appear to realise that Nigeria’s educational sector needs to be revamped, that the country needs something called a healthcare plan. He has no plan in place for addressing Nigeria’s colossal unemployment crisis. For that matter, his approach to fighting corruption is shockingly ad hoc and jaded, hardly more effectual than what passed for anti-corruption efforts under former Presidents Olusegun Obasanjo, Umaru Yar’Adua and Goodluck Jonathan.

In her widely discussed BBC interview, Mrs. Aisha Buhari served notice that she might not support her husband to run for reelection in 2019. Her statement got me thinking: It is about time Nigerians began to think about creating a coalition of progressive, enlightened and visionary citizens to seek political power at every level and undertake the task both of founding their country and realising its potential. It would be a tragedy to wait until 2019 and, throwing up hands in despair, declare again that we must cast our lots either with the PDP, despite its long history of failure, or the APC, which is just as bereft of ideas.

Talking of visionary leadership, I am rather fond of recalling a TV programme in which Steve Kroft, a correspondent on “60 Minutes,” an American news programme, interviewed Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum of Dubai. The correspondent began by asking what the sheik was trying to do. The sheik’s response was instructive in its clarity: “I want [Dubai] to be Number One – not in the region, but in the world.” Next, the reporter asked, “What do you mean by Number One?” The sheikh had a ready response: “In everything: Higher education, health, housing, just [giving] my people the highest way of living.”

The journalist then remarked to the sheikh might have chosen to transform his kingdom within the longer span of a generation, not at the hurried, sweeping pace of a few years. Eyes sharpened, Dubai’s ruler came back: “I want my people to live [a] better life now, to go to the highest schools now, to get good healthcare now – not after twenty years.”

“60 Minutes” showed that the sheikh had carefully chosen young, soundly educated people to supervise critical areas of his transformation agenda. Apart from their youth, these aides were also seized by a palpable dynamism and can-do spirit. By contrast, Mr. Buhari and his predecessors make a habit of entrusting too many critical assignments to old, superannuated men and women who are set in their (bad) ways and obsessed with personal aggrandizement.

Time is short, 2019 around the corner. It’s time Nigerians of developmental vision and moral acumen coalesced around a political party to ensure that the PDP and APC do not crop up as our sole default choices in two and a half years.

2019: APC’ll ensure Buhari re-contest – Oyegun

National Chairman of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Chief John Odigie-Oyegun, has revealed plans by the leadership of the party to prevail on President Muhammadu Buhari to seek a second term by contesting the 2019 presidential election.

Though the election is still more than two years from now, and Buhari is yet to make any official pronouncement on his plan, Oyegun said that the party’s leadership will do everything possible to ensure that the president contests the election. Oyegun hinged this decision on two factors.

One, he said the president is the only politician in Nigeria today that has the capacity to win 12 million votes without major campaign. Two, Buhari, he said, is the only man who has the courage to make the changes that Nigeria need.

According to him, “There is no another Buhari in this country. Buhari is the only man who can command 12 million votes even without any major campaign. So, you can see the picture. Yes, there will be changes, the party will get new members or lose a few members, but there is no Peoples Democratic Party (PDP). So, there is no strong party any more to say you are going to join and strengthen it. It is only APC that is really a strong party.”

Oyegun added that he would commit Buhari’s second term project to prayer.

His words: “I will pray, fast to God that Buhari agrees to contest in 2019. If he contests, Nigeria will be better for it.

“My prayer is that we can get Buhari to re-contest in 2019. We don’t know his mind yet, but I will do anything in my power to ensure that he re-contests in 2019. Why? He is the only one who has the moral front and the courage to make the changes that Nigeria needs.

“We need more than four years to get this country to subscribe to a new morality, a new ethic and turn its back on corruption of the very type we are trying to uproot now.”

When asked if he is convinced that the APC would win the election given the disenchantment over the party at the moment, Odigie-Oyegun said: “Of course, APC will win.”

The national chairman of the governing party ruled out the possibility of the PDP bouncing back in 2019.

On the possibility of the PDP bouncing back in 2019, he said: “Well, let them come back first. I am not a theorist. If they bounce back, we will have to deal with that, but as at now, they are not bouncing back. PDP is in confusion. PDP is suffering a terminal illness. The party is unlikely to recover from this cancer that is afflicting them.The division is a major illness; it is cancerous.”

When reminded that the PDP exuded such confidence with its boast of being in power for 60 years before its shocking defeat in the 2015 elections, the APC national chairman, said: “Well, I’m not clairvoyant; I’m not seeing into the future; it is the immediate future that I’m seeing.

“APC will continue to be the force to be reckoned with. I cannot tell you how long it will last, but that we will continue to be the chief host in Nigerian politics, there is no question about it. When new parties start developing, then you can ask me the question again. But as at now, the parties don’t exit.”

He, however, did not rule out the possibility of some members of the APC aligning with others to form a new party ahead of the next election, but insisted that they will not make any impact.

His words: “APC has come to stay. As at today, strictly speaking there is no other party in the country. It is possible that a few people within the APC might join others to form other party, but a party doesn’t grow in one day to win an election. So, APC will continue to be the strongest and the largest political party in Nigeria for quite a while, because you don’t form a party today and win an election tomorrow.”

He dismissed opposition’s belief that the president is dragging the country back, saying: “That is what they say. The reality is there for us to see. They have run the country aground. They did not foresee the collapse of oil price; we did not foresee it too. If the collapse of oil prices had happened when Goodluck Jonathan was in office, I doubt if there would have been Nigeria again today. That is why I said that God brought Buhari at that point in history to make sure that Nigeria remains one country.

“Nigerians should continue to trust APC. Yes, we inherited a very difficult situation and the economy has been battered by the collapse of the oil prices, but we have a government that is even-minded in the application of the dwindling resources to produce the very best in the circumstances. The president is working to develop other sources of income like mining and agriculture.”

Odigie-Oyegun, who also admitted that Buhari inherited myriads of problems that won’t be solved in four years, said: “We inherited a whole mass of problems. Everything Buhari is doing now is to solve all those problems. If the measures taken begin to yield fruits in the next few months, people will start appreciating that all this time we thought we are suffering; in fact things were being done to save the situation. And, of course, the picture will change. We are hopeful that the measures being taken will bear fruits before the middle of say next year. We are hopeful that things will change.”

While absolving the APC of the crisis rocking the opposition party in Ondo State, he said: “Who else would they blame? They will look for a scapegoat. That is natural. Who is paying attention to them? Is it APC that is fighting them in Ondo State, where they have a governor that is PDP? Even we have a bit of crisis in Ondo, but things are looking good for us.”

Buhari’s second term project has been in the offing before now with kites being flown in that regard by some chieftains of the ruling party.

The belief is that either the arrowheads of the bid are using it to test political waters or to scare potential contenders.

Former governor of Sokoto State, Senator Aliyu Wamakko, and erstwhile Zamfara State governor, Senator Ahmad Sani Yerima, were among the first supporters of second term agenda for Buhari.

For them, Buhari needs to rule beyond 2019 to address the rot in the country. Meanwhile, Imo State governor, Owelle Rochas Okorocha, yesterday disclosed that Buhari will soon address the APC faithful on the need to unite and move the nation forward.

Okorocha, who is also the Chairman of Progressive Governors’ Forum disclosed this yesterday in Abuja after a two-hour meeting with the leadership of the House of Representatives.

He noted that they were the foot soldiers that worked hard to actualise change, adding that change was dare to them.

Okorocha boasted that APC will not fail but would continue to remain the ruling party.

He however noted that the victory had not been well managed. The governor disclosed that angry party members would be reconciled.

On his part, Speaker Yakubu Dogara said a common decimal at the round table meeting were discussion that those elected in position of authority must put the interest of the people first.

He said that the country cannot afford the luxury of arms of government going in different ways. Dogara assured that the APC will deliver on its campaign promises.

I Will Do Everything Possible to Ensure Buhari Re-Contests in 2019 – Oyegun

The National Leader of the All Progressives Congress, APC, John Oyegun has said he will do everything possible including “fasting and prayer” to ensure that President Muhammadu Buhari re-contest the 2019 Presidential election, stressing that Nigeria will be better for it.

Explaining the rationale behind his remark, Oyegun claimed that only Buhari has the moral courage to ensure the change Nigerians need is actualized.

Oyegun stressed that the President is the only politician that has the capacity to win 12 million votes without major campaigns.

Speaking in an interview, Oyegun said, “I will pray, fast to God that Buhari agrees to contest in 2019. If he contests, Nigeria will be better for it.

“My prayer is that we can get Buhari to re-contest in 2019. We don’t know his mind yet, but I will do anything in my power to ensure that he re-contests in 2019. Why? He is the only one who has the moral front and the courage to make the changes that Nigeria needs.

“We need more than four years to get this country to subscribe to a new morality, a new ethic and turn its back on corruption of the very type we are trying to uproot now.

“There is no another Buhari in this country. Buhari is the only man who can command 12 million votes even without any major campaign. So, you can see the picture. Yes, there will be changes, the party will get new members or lose a few members, but there is no Peoples Democratic Party (PDP). So, there is no strong party any more to say you are going to join and strengthen it. It is only APC that is really a strong party.”

Oyegun, has recently revealed that those against his continued stay as national chairman of the ruling party were politicians scheming to take over control of the APC ahead of the 2019 elections.

INEC: Nigerians in diaspora may vote in 2019.

Ahead of the 2019 general elections, the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) yesterday disclosed that plans are on to allow Nigerians in diaspora participate in the exercise.

The Chairman of the commission, Prof. Mahmood Yakubu, stated this yesterday at a meeting with members of the Senate Committee on Diaspora and Non-Governmental Organisations who visited the INEC headquarters in Abuja.

Yakubu said Nigerians living abroad “have the right like their compatriots in the country to exercise their franchise in all elections organised in the country.”

However, before this can be actualised, he said relevant sections of the Nigerian constitution would have to be amended. Besides, some challenges that could emerge from allowing diaspora voting, such as funding and the modalities to be adopted would have to be addressed.

The Chairperson of the committee, Senator Rose Okoji Oko stated that the continuous calls by Nigerians in the diaspora to be given the opportunity to exercise their franchise and the favourable disposition of President Muhammadu Buhari and his predecessor, former President Goodluck Jonathan to the idea, informed the committee’s visit to INEC.

According to her, the former president had endorsed the idea in 2010 during his visit to Gabon, while President Buhari also gave his support during a recent visit to Malabo.

The senator affirmed that 115 countries, 28 of which are on the African continent currently have provisions for diaspora voting. She admitted that some Nigerians were against the idea “because of what they perceived as funding challenges, the current position of the law on the matter and some fears about the electoral system.”

Nigerians may reject APC in 2019 – Waku

Former senator representing Benue North-West in the National Assembly, Chief Joseph Waku, has said Nigerians might reject All Progressives Congress, APC, in 2019 if the party failed to deliver on its promises.

Waku, who recently turned 70, spoke yesterday while warning the ruling party not to take Nigerians for granted after making several promises and leaving the people with so much expectations.

He said: “The ruling APC should not to take Nigerians for granted over the promises they made. Because failure to meet their expectations may lead to rejection of the party in 2019.

“My sincere worry is that President Muhammadu Buhari has good intentions, but there are many saboteurs around who do not want him to succeed.”

On the proposed sale of national assets, Waku described it as primitive, saying “you cannot sell off the sovereignty of the country. How much are the national assets worth? Can their sale solve the present problems?”

“There is no country in the world that can run without foreign loans to be repaid within agreed terms. Some Nigerians who have tried brining foreign partners have been blocked.

“There are lots of opportunities we can exploit to get out of this recession within the shortest possible period. But it all depends on the willingness of the federal government to exploit such.”

He commended the federal government for dropping the case of forgery against the Senate president and his deputy.

2019: I’ve not decided on my successor – Okorocha

The Imo State Governor, Rochas Okorocha, has said he is yet to decide on which of his loyalists would be his successor in 2019.

He said he would make his choice known to Imp people at the at the appropriate.

This was just as he described his deputy, Eze Madumere, as one of his diehard loyalists in the last 23 years, who has stood by him during his political travails and has proved to be a man who could be trusted no matter the circumstance.

Okorocha, who stated this yesterday during the public presentation of a book written on the deputy governor by Peter Clever Obi, entitled: “Eze Madumere: A True Manifestation of Loyal Prince,” disclosed that while he was yet to decide on his successor amongst his loyalists who he described as his true “children,” noted that the deputy governor has stood by him in all his political struggles even when others deserted him.

“I have known Madumere for 23 years, we first met in the United states and he followed me to Nigeria and ever since he has been dedicated. I don’t see him as the deputy governor. My relationship with him is like that of a son and a father,” Okorocha said.

He added that Madumere has always be there with him in all his political struggles since 1999 and even when others deserted Madumere did not.

“He never knew he would be the deputy governor, I gave him a letter to take to the state Assembly that it contained the name of the new deputy governor but Madumere never inquired to know who the person was but after he had submitted the letter and left he was called back by the speaker that he has been appointed the new deputy governor. That is the kind of person he is because he believes in me and never doubts me.”

The Imo State governor expressed delight on the honour done to his deputy by the author, saying “he is my son with whom I am well pleased.”

Also speaking at the event, the Kano State Governor, Abdullahi Umar Ganduje, said being a deputy governor is very difficult and expressed happiness that the Imo State governor has confidence in his deputy.

He said: “I hope the endorsement of the Imo State governor of the book written on his deputy will translate to coronation because for your governor to have implicit confidence in his deputy is good.”

Similarly, chairman of the event, Chief Niyi Akintola (SAN) said the Imo State deputy governor is a lesson in humility and urged other deputy governors to emulate him.

PDP To Begin Reconciliation Talks October 10 In Preparation For 2019

The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) may be on the verge of resolving its lingering national leadership crisis, as it kickstarts reconciliation talks in the South-West.

After nearly five months of conflict that almost threatened its existence, party stakeholders would on October 10, converge for what the party described as a ‘crucial assembly’ in Ibadan, the Oyo State capital. The purpose of the meeting is to among other issues, brainstorm on strategies to make the party bounce back.

This development is coming a few weeks after factional acting national chairman, Senator Ali Modu Sheriff agreed to the peace moves initiated by the National Chairman of the caretaker committee, Senator Ahmed Makarfi.

Both Leaders had a few weeks ago met for several hours for the first time in Abuja and resolved to pursue a united PDP. They agreed to sheathe their swords, after which they both issued a joint statement, saying that they had reached an agreement to set in motion a joint reconciliatory process. The two leaders resolved to end the crisis that had engulfed the party following its National Convention which held in Port Harcourt, Rivers State this year and which resulted in the removal of Sheriff as the National Chairman.

The statement which was released after the meeting and jointly signed by Makarfi and Sheriff, said: “It is time to heal the wounds, and bring about a united, focused and constructive opposition party that can bring sanity to our democratic process, bring relief to the teeming supporters of our great party and to the benefit of our great country, Nigeria.”

Crisis engulfed PDP last year, just a few months after Sheriff emerged as the Acting National Chairman to the displeasure of many stakeholders. A former national chairman of the party and a former governor of Bauchi State, Adamu Mu’azu had resigned when PDP lost the 2015 presidential election. The party appointed Sheriff in an acting capacity to complete Mu’azu’s tenure. He was removed early this year and a caretaker committee was set up with Makarfi as its chairman. An aggrieved Sheriff went to court, saying that the party’s constitution had no provision for a caretaker committee, and insisted that he remained the chairman.

Another pending issue which may also be discussed at the Ibadan meeting is who emerges as the National Chairman. Following the decision of the national body to zone the position to the South-West; the issue of who would be the consensus candidate further split the party and worsened its crisis in the zone. Among the top contenders for the position were former Ogun State governor, Gbenga Daniels, top party stalwart, Bode George, and his protégé, Jimi Agbaje, who was the party’s governorship candidate in Lagos State.

For the umpteenth time, Sheriff has reiterated his commitment to the resolution of the leadership in the party, noting that there is no going back on current efforts to reconcile all interest groups in the party.

Sheriff said a resolution of the PDP has become imperative as the crisis was becoming a threat to the nation’s democracy.

Speaking through the National Secretary of his group, Prof Wale Oladipo, Sheriff said his group is compiling names of its nominee for the 24-man Reconciliation Committee to be constituted jointly with the National Caretaker Committee led by Senator Ahmed Makarfi.
He said the feuding groups decided to bury the hatchet following the intervention of some eminent Nigerians, who mediated in the crisis behind the scene.


Buhari Will Win 2019 Election If He Contests – Ex-PDP Chairman

A former National Chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, Dr. Ahmadu Ali has seen his party as a contending force for power in 2019, but said Nigerians will vote for President Muhammadu Buhari if he decides to present himself for another term in office.


He stated that though Nigerians are currently criticising Buhari over his performance in office so far, they will be singing his praise a year from now as they would have forgotten their present complaints by then.


Speaking with Saturday Sun, the Director-General of the Goodluck Jonathan/Mohammed Sambo Presidential Campaign Organisation in 2015, said:

“Buhari’s performance that you are criticizing now, give him another year, you will be singing his praise.

“As far as Nigeria is concerned, they have forgotten the past, they will vote for him unless he is not standing. If Buhari is standing in 2019, people will vote for him.”


Explaining why he sees the possibility of Buhari’s victory in 2019 despite the present cries of Nigerians about hardship, Ali said:

“In order to get something good, you have to do a radical surgery, that radical surgery the pain is what we are suffering from; I am telling you when the pains heal and we start enjoying the surgery that was put in place, we will be ready to vote again if it is the same Buhari because they will say if things go wrong, he knows how to fix it.”


Ali, who noted that his party will be up against an uphill task if Buhari “continues to perform well and he wants to come back”, stated that such does not mean the PDP cannot defeat the President, adding that,“after all he defeated us so we should be able to defeat him.”


He went on to blame the ruling All Progressives Congress, APC, for the current leadership squabble in the PDP, stressing that their plan is to disorganize the opposition so the party in power can have peace.


He continued that the current crisis rocking the former ruling party was also caused by western powers who are envious of PDP’s record of governing Nigeria for 16 uninterrupted years.


The former minister stated that the forces, who he called enemy outside Nigeria, believe that leaving the PDP to continue in power after 16 years, will make it grow into an impossible party which cannot be manipulated.


His words,

“The PDP imbroglio is most unfortunate but it is all within the realm of politics. If APC finds that they are not performing excellently well and we who can claim to be experts in running the country for 16 years are now outside government and we keep criticizing, the best thing is to find a way of disorganising us and they succeeded in disorganising us.

“And again our friends, the enemy outside Nigeria who believed that the PDP has broken such a record in the governance of Nigeria… 16 years uninterrupted… one political party… it has never happened in Nigeria.

“So they believed that leaving the PDP to continue in that run, they will end up to become an impossible party that they cannot manipulate, like the Gulf Party of the Arabs where they had to destroy Saddam and everybody to disorganize the region,” the ex-PDP chairman said.

Buhari, APC and the road to 2019 – Abiodun Komolafe

All things considered, I think Nigeria has been punched into a coma and only God can bring her back to life!


From the man who opted for a bag of rice in exchange for his son; to the pregnant woman who stole N300.00 to answer the call of a normal symptom of pregnancy, there is a rise in Nigeria’s socio-political temperature and no one really knows where Nigeria is headed. Inflation rate is on the high side and our Gross Domestic Product (GDP) growth rate is unsmiling either. From the cosmetic to the substantive, politicians have chopped our country into pieces with each of the parts selfishly kept to themselves even as the gladiators continue to fight in another person’s corner. Dollar gets worse with each passing day, which in turn deeply traumatises the fortunes of our country.


Even as a Buharist whose fierce support for ‘Change’ has been unflinching, I believe it’s time government clipped the wings of this trajectory of sham and uncertainty that is capable of corrupting our national cohesion and national peace. The threatening trend of poverty-inspired suicide cases among Nigerians calls for concern and the Muhammadu Buhari-led administration must find resourceful means of destroying this deadly temple of want and turpitude before it springs into something else. In strict terms, Nigerians are tired of the ritual of wringing hands in lamentation. So, relevant authorities must devise creative means of putting value on intentions before a line damages an entire song.


2019 is around the corner and ahead of this politically-charged and highly volatile socio-economic environment lies a fiercely-loyal-but-highly-critical support base. As we are aware, one of the biggest challenges in running Nigeria’s socio-economic landscape is that of ensuring that best practices are employed in creating ventures for the economy to pick up. However, the irony of our policy somersault in this part of the world is that it sympathies with the criminals but penalises the victims. Basically, therefore, the fear of failure should encourage Buhari to travel back to the past, look at the risks, weigh benefit options, then make decisions which show greater consistency, courage and determination in preventing ‘Change’ from being a threat to our survival.


I am not an expert on economy-related issues. But, beyond economic jargons, being in a state of recession, in my own view, what matters in a state of recession is what is done to navigate through the temporary setback. United States of America, United Kingdom and Canada, have at one time or the other in their chequered history hit this bottom but they all came out of it, possibly bruised but unbowed. South Korea, incidentally, Asia’s fourth largest economy, is currently having her technical dose of it while South Africa, Africa’s touted largest economy, narrowly escaped it in the second quarter of this year. So, what Nigeria needs at a time like this is a bit of creative wake-up by introducing higher dimensions of consciousness into the complexities of governance.


With the benefit of hindsight, Buhari comes across a very different, special leader with a magnetic and personable charisma, divinely positioned to rescue Nigeria from the damaging and dangerous remnants of the past. But, in his efforts at righting past wrongs, he should always remember that rumblings of dissent or wrangling of misery among members of his party can gravitate into a catalyst for implosion. So, he will be doing internal democracy a great deal of good if, within the dictates of the law, he dines with situations that are incapable of promoting unity within its rank with a long spoon.

Nigerians are also never in doubt of the president’s ability to move the country up out of the fantasy of ancestral authority and the excitement of collective captivity that have become predatory threats to her survival into a hub of business and cultural opportunities. Along this line is the saga of unpaid salaries which is currently rocking no fewer than 27 states. Government needs to proactively solve this problem before the next general elections if the ruling party must retain the confidence of this integral part of the electorate. Also in need of renewed vigour in its prosecution than it is witnessing at the moment is the anticorruption war, lest political principalities, terrorists and businessmen shortsightedly exploit its manifest weakness as a bargaining tool for access to power in 2019.


Contrary to claims in some quarters, Nigeria’s large and diverse voting public is not always the classroom professor or the parasitic analyst but the poor folk out there who is even ready to die for a cause he believes in. So far, this class of Nigerians has been the president’s strongest pillar of support and most-treasured asset. The toxic truth is that things are currently not looking good for them and this is as a result of government’s rather biting policies. It is, therefore, in the president’s interest to roll out practical solutions that can help lighten their yokes and give them some sense of direction before things get out of hand. If he succeeds in doing this, then, Buhari will be chasing a place in the record books as the best president Nigeria ever had!


By the way, will Buhari seek a second term in office? For now, the sky is cloudy and response can be confusing! Constitutionally, it is his right! Yet, it is his call! Well, while opinions may differ as to the propriety or otherwise of adventures in power, Abraham Lincoln, Franklin Roosevelt, Lee Kuan Yew, Robert Mugabe, Nelson Mandela, Jerry Rawlings, Thabo Mbeki, Jacob Zuma, even, Goodluck Jonathan have provided varying shades of opinions on this topical issue. Though what these people earned or did not earn for themselves in terms of untainted esteem is left for historians to ponder, it is my sincere desire to dig deeper into this area of special interest in my subsequent interventions.


Reckless temperaments! Hateful instincts! Appearance of impropriety! Why are the people hungry and angry? Why are they poor and unfed? How come we have suddenly become a decadent and polluted society swimming, irresistibly, in a dysfunctional economy, culture of recklessness and pattern of hypocrisy? For God’s sake, why do people delight in profiting from others’ misery and why are the led preferably kept in perpetual poverty for them to continue slaving and serving the purpose as dictated by the master? On the other hand, how come the abolition of Navigation Act, which ship owners once predicted would be the ruin of British Shipping, eventually turned out to be one of the greatest periods of expansion in the history of shipping in Britain?


May the Lamb of God, who takes away the sins of the world, grant us peace in Nigeria!


– Komolafe writes in from Ijebu-Jesa, Osun State.

INEC Can’t Guarantee Conclusive Elections In 2019- Chairman

The Chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission, Prof. Mahmood Yakubu, says given the challenges and malpractices that have marred elections both in the past and in recent times in the country, the commission cannot guarantee that the general elections in 2019 will be conclusive.

He said any attempt to give such assurance at this time would be second-guessing the outcome of the election, noting that it had become inevitable for the commission to declare some elections inconclusive.

The INEC boss, who spoke on Friday, stated that if everyone, including the staff of the commission, the voters, politicians and other stakeholders, play by the rules, there would be no inconclusive election.

He said, “We can’t second-guess to say this is the outcome of an election before it happens, unless we are not conducting elections. We hope it won’t lead to that, but if it happens, the constitution has a way out of it.

“There is no way the commission will declare any election conclusive where the threshold is not met. We can only declare an election conclusive when we are satisfied with the law and electoral act because all elections are governed by constitutional provisions, provisions of the electoral act and our guidelines. This is the challenge that we face, but we must express it because we (INEC) will not compromise.

“The constitution of this country provides condition for making return in an election. If that threshold is not met, can INEC make a declaration? We can’t, under the law, and if you do so the court will nullify the election and then we incur costs to do the election again.

“As to what will happen in 2019, only God knows, but we will abide by the provisions of the constitution, the electoral law and our guidelines in making declarations. We can only hope for the best.”

The INEC chairman, who spoke extensively while responding to questions on the inconclusive elections conducted by the commission, explained that majority of the 137 elections conducted by the commission in the past eight months were conclusive, dismissing insinuations that the commission had been organising inconclusive elections.

He explained that people had been used to conclusive elections on first ballot, pointing out that the political terrain has changed completely. He added that most of the elections were a product of the 2015 general elections and that there were no less than 680 court cases emanating from the 2015 general elections.

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I Am Ready To Kneel Down To Beg Atiku, Saraki, Others – Raymond Dokpesi

Raymond Dokpesi, contestant for the chairmanship position of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), has said that he is ready to kneel down to beg former members of the PDP who have defected to the All Progressives Congress (APC) to return.


Some former members of the PDP who have defected to the APC include former Vice President of Nigeria, Atiku Abubakar and embattled Senate President, Bukola Saraki.


Dokpesi reminded the party that it needs to provide a viable opposition to the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC).


Dokpesi said he would reunite the grieving factions in the party, and appealed to those who left for the APC to “return home”.


We want to give strong opposition to this government because there is a lot hunger and poverty in the country and Nigerians are suffering,” he said.


“My ambition is for PDP to win 2019 and I am going to deploy massively for that to happen. For that reason I am going to bring back all those leaders who left and I hereby tender my unreserved apology to them to return.


“There will be level playing field for all candidates under my leadership. I am not an agent of anybody and I am not sponsored by anyone and I feel insulted to hear that someone is sponsoring me. But I have no commitment to anybody.


“I am ready to kneel down for those aggrieved to come back to the party in order for us to be victorious in 2019.”

Nigeria To Export Refined Petroleum In 2019– Kachikwu

The Minister of State for Petroleum and Group Managing Director of the Nigeria National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), Dr. Ibe Kachikwu, yesterday in Beijing, China gave assurance that the country will export refined petroleum in the next three years.
He gave the assurance in an exclusive interview with Daily Sun after he addressed the business community and investors in the oil and gas sector in the city.
Kachikwu is in Beijing for the NNPC Roadshow for Investors in Nigeria’s oil and gas sector on Monday where he also hinted that the mission he embarked upon with Executive Directors of the NNPC was already a huge success.
He assured that the responses he has got from the Chinese investors were signs that the mission was a fruitful venture as he was certain that after signing an MoU for investment for about $8 billion and some others lined up for the week, the deals waiting to be executed would not be less than $40 billion with Chinese investors.
In an interactive with Daily Sun after his address to the Forum, he clarified that “although MoU was just an indication of interest and starting point, it is the first and most vital step in the commencement of a venture. We have got positive responses and going by what is on ground, there is no going back on the commitments.
China has over time proven its readiness to do business in Nigeria and that is why we started from here after which we will go to India and the Gulf Region. India had in the past been good partners in our oil business, but going there now might not be for investment. We know India has one of the best and most modern oil refineries in the world, so we would go to tap into their intelligence on how to get it right in refining.
“But in China it is the capital to invest and we are not unaware of this, which is the reason we started here and the enthusiasm has been great.
“Right now, even at short notice, the partners are working so hard to ensure I meet President Xi Jinping this week.”
He also clarified that the visit is part of the implementation and follow-up to the visit of President Muhammadu Buhari two months ago.

Credit: Sun

FG To End Open Defecation By 2019 – Minister

The Federal Government has pledged to end open defecation by 2019 to create a healthy environment.

Hajiya Amina Mohammed, Minister of Environment, disclosed this when she featured on the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) Forum in Abuja.


“We’ve decided to embark on a couple of campaigns and apart from the sanitation day, we are setting ourselves targets – two targets specifically.

“One will be about ending open defecation in public places by 2019 because I think it is important to know that we don’t have a country that everyone has toilet facilities in their homes talk less of in public places.

“But if we can stop this in public places, we can begin to really deal with the problem.

“And that means providing public toilets; it means a partnership with the private sector; it means a lot of learning and knowledge for sanitation.

“It means partnership for instance with the Ministry of Water Resources where they have been responsible for water and for a long time in collaboration with UNICEF.

“Here looking at a new sanitation policy that as sectors we can come together and we can begin to form programmes.

“That target we set for open defecation we will work hand in hand with states governments and local governments and making sure that the private sector comes in to build these toilets for us and even create

“Jobs with dignity and so, therefore, we have to find ways of doing that in making sure that this is sustainable.

“Government cannot do this by itself and so therefore partnership will be important.’’


According to the minister, the FG has set a target to end the incessant dumping of plastic products on streets.


“The second target we set was to end seeing on the streets plastic bags, pure water, bottles and bringing again, the principles of making the private sector that involve in producing plastic, take that responsibility for collection and again for recycling.

“We will create jobs and we think that this will work by 2019; so this is something that we would like to do outside of the waste.

“There is correlation between the two I have to tell you that for us when we put this campaign out, one of the things that we found is that no one size fits all.

“Open defecation in some states in the north is the different issue in the south or in the south-east.

“And when I say we must take all the plastic bags off the streets, one of the things I learnt in one of our states is that, that itself is going to be a sanitation issue because that’s what they use for open defecation.’’


The minister said the Federal Government had designed a strategy to sensitise the public to the menace of open defecation.

She, therefore, urged the media to assist the Federal Government in the campaign especially at the grassroots.



How PDP Will Return To Power In 2019- Mark

Former Senate President David Mark said yesterday that imposition of candidates against the wish of the people was responsible for the electoral misfortunes recorded by the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in 2015.
The PDP had jettisoned its zoning arrangement to favour former President Goodluck Ebele Jonathan, who was defeated by the President Muhammadu Buhari of the APC.

Mark also lost his position as the Senate president, a position he occupied for eight years.
Addressing PDP members in his country home in Otukpo, Benue State, Mark canvassed for the repositioning of the party to win elections in 2019.
“We must come to terms with reality that PDP lost the last general election because of over bearing tendencies of some leaders, who imposed candidates on the people.
“It’s inevitable that we must change from the old ways and allow the will of the people to prevail. Unfolding events clearly show that the PDP is the party for the people. But, we must not take them for granted by forcing unpopular candidates on them.
“The coast is clear that the PDP has the road map for peace, unity and development of Nigeria. Nigerians now know the difference,” Mark said, in a statement issued by his media aide, Paul Mumeh.
He said popular candidates must be put forward to drive the ship of the PDP ahead of the next general elections, saying the party has brighter chance of returning to power if all party faithfuls agree to work together in one accord.

Credit: DailyTrust

Olalekan Waheed Adigun: Who Stole PDP’s Thinking Cap?

When many thought the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) is ticking the right boxes for 2019, the party leadership came up with something unique. There appear to be a drama series which never in want of Acts and Scenes with its peculiar dramatis personae as professional politicians or “garrison commanders”. When one is left to think that one event is at anti-climax, another event within same plot is in ‘raising action’. The question on the minds of the audience is: When will this film come to an end?

Since its shock defeat in the presidential election in March, 2015 the party is still licking its wounds. Will the party ever be able to play the role of the opposition? Will it just self-destruct or seek a merger with other political parties to challenge its bitter rival, the All Progressives Congress (APC)? Should it change its name to a more acceptable name that Nigerians will easily identify with? All these are the questions bothering the post-Presidency PDP.

Sometimes in January, a former political adviser to President Goodluck Jonathan, Ali Gulak stormed the Wadata Plaza (also known as PDP secretariat) and openly declared himself as the chairman of the party. Many thought things can only get messier as a court declared that any politician from the North East geo-political zone could take over the office of national chairman meaning that that Uche Secondus was occupying the position illegally. No one then needed to tell Mr. Secondus that his romance with the title “acting national chairman” is over and a substantive national chairman will soon be appointed!

On Tuesday 17th February, we received the much-awaited news of whom to occupy the exalted position. It was not to be Mallam Nuhu Ribadu neither was it to be Gulak. But to our greatest surprise it was to be the ex-Borno Governor, Ali Modu Sheriff. I had to run multiple tests just to be sure of the authenticity of the news!

On the same day, the blogosphere was filled with information of a man “accused of sponsoring Boko Haram” as being “unanimously nominated as the substantive national chairman” of Nigeria’s largest opposition party. I came across a post on Twitter by a known PDP supporter who maintains that Modu’s appointment is a “Good strategic decision”. My first instinct on reading his tweet was to know if this man knows what constitutes a “Good strategic decision” at all in relation to Sheriff’s appointment.

My best guess about the “Good strategic decision” PDP made about Modu Sheriff is probably based on the assumption of his political and financial prowess. Some of Modu’s supporters recall his experience as two term Borno state Governor and his understanding of the politics of the North East as an important advantage the party may capitalize on in 2019. These people also maintain that considering the financial challenges the party may be facing, Modu appears to be the “game changer”.

While on the surface, these two positions may look potent, let us be quick to register our reservations. First, the PDP looks to be making the same mistake again. The case of Mallam Ibrahim Shekarau, a former Governor of Kano in 2014 should be instructive in this regard. With the way the party leadership celebrated (including President Jonathan’s famous “Azonto” dance) when he defected from APC one will think the state was already in the bag. Second, one also recalls how the party overestimated the political prowess of people like Musiliu Obanikoro, who promised to “deliver Lagos” and groups like Afenifere which promised to deliver Yoruba votes in 2015 to the party. If the result of the recent Borno elections are anything to go by, we may not too far from correct to think the party is still overrating some politicians. The rest, as they say, is history!

For the records, the situation the party found itself today is not new. The party will not be the first to lose its “priced possession”; neither will it be the last. So no one should continue weeping for, or lose sleep over that for the party. The party has to be able to weather the storms, so it must work extra hard, if not harder; fight tooth and nail; and go the extra mile to maintain its only one thing left – its brand.

For the purpose of this piece, we will look at a brand as an image or feature that suddenly comes to mind when a product, service or idea is mentioned. We may also try to see it – in the traditional sense – as a name, design, symbol or distinguishing feature that sets a product or service apart. Giving these two definitions, can we say the PDP needs a brand?

If the party’s brand must be worked on, then whatever the party strategists were thinking about before appointing Modu Sheriff as national chairman needs some thorough analyses.

It was Mr. Olisa Metuh, incidentally the same man who accused the All Progressives Congress (APC) in 2014 of housing sponsors of Boko Haram, was the man who reportedly made the much-awaited announcement. Metuh said. “However, the peculiar trend of the Nigerian version… summarizes a well-considered agenda of national destabilization for a purely selfish political cause. We pointedly finger the opposition.” And the evidence for that pointed fingering is: “we recall statements by some politicians, vowing to make the country ungovernable for President Jonathan on the eve of the 2011 general election.” At the time he made this statement, Modu Sheriff was still in APC. The question Metuh will struggle hard to answer is, “What has suddenly changed?”

For those who do not know, Modu Sheriff has been at several times been linked with the notorious insurgent group in the North East- the Boko Haram. In fact, some sources claim he was the principal financier of the group since its inception before his fallout with Muhammed Yusuf, the group’s leader who was murdered in 2009. Associating the party’s brand with this man-bad enough as it is- cannot be regarded as a “Good strategic decision” as my friend will want us to believe.

Now, I will not like to act like a deaf man who only sings the last song he heard before becoming deaf. Rather, I believe the politician should be made to come out and clear his own name. I recently ran into a transcript of his interview with BBC Hausa Service in a frantic attempt to clear his name. He said, “Therefore, I am more concerned than anybody in this country, because what Borno State did for me has not been done to any other indigene. You know, in Borno State, a governor has never been re-elected apart from me; in Borno State, no senator has ever been elected thrice apart from me. So, Borno people have done everything for me, and there is no one in this world that I know other than Chad, which I think could help Borno,”(Leadership 21 December, 2014). The truth is that Modu may be innocent of all the allegations about his sponsoring book Haram, but another thing is whether anyone believes him!

Let us be quick to admit that all political parties in Nigeria presently, without exceptions, suffer from the “brandlessness”, but the PDP’s case looks peculiar. When one talks about “small governments and big businesses”, we are either thinking about the United States’ Republicans or the British Conservatives. When the issue is about the “welfare state”, we need not look further than the Democrats or the Fabians. What image does the party portray to Nigerians and the world with the face of Sheriff as its national chair?

Let us equally think with the PDP’s think-tank in assuming Modu Sheriff knows and can ‘deliver” the votes come 2019. Since every serious political party have the primary objectives of winning elections, the party’s strategists may be right in this regard. (I do not know of any party, if not properly so-called that is formed for the purpose of being in opposition.) Having said that it is my considered opinion that Sheriff as national chairman may not achieve optimal results for the party in the next election. This is because, the fact that APC presented a certain General Buhari who won 12 million votes in the North, and ultimately won the presidential election, does not automatically translate into “victory” for PDP if they present say, a Sambo Dasuki even though he is a Sokoto prince or make billionaire Sheriff its chairman!

There’s only one reason why people vote an incumbent out of office: when they find someone better. You have to present the voters with a better alternative to your opponent. Show them why your candidate is clearly different, and why that difference makes him a superior choice. The party will have a difficult task convincing the typical Northern voter, considering the terrible reputation the PDP has with Northern politicians, especially the insults its members hurled at the APC on African Independent Television (AIT), making it look like being a Northerner was evil during the 2015 electoral campaigns. We keep our fingers crossed to see how the party rebrands its image in the strategic Northern region, the worst hit since the inception of Boko Haram insurgency. Let us keep fingers crossed how Modu salvages this situation for the party!

If PDP strategists do a proper diagnosis of its post-presidency era, they should realize the fact that even with a block vote from the South-East, their ambition of staging a comeback into Aso Rock in 2019 remains a pipe dream. This is because the only base the party can boast having real political presence is in that zone. This is why there is a school of thought that the party the action(s) of Gulak and his supporters the other time in the party’s secretariat is to prevent the party from degenerating into a south east party. Justifying this position will be that the perhaps most visible leaders in the party (Secondus, Metuh and Ekweremadu) are Igbos. Though many party supporters may not like to admit this, most PDP supporters I know today on social media appear to come from that region!

If, by chance, (I am just engaging in speculation) the party’s strategists are only interested in considerably reducing APC’s and Buhari’s strong showing in the North east by Modu’s appointment, it may consider drawing to its side the North-Central geopolitical zone where Buhari has not historically had it so good. In this case, maybe, the party could consider presenting Bukola Saraki, a party protégé in APC. But Saraki will need to first survive the onslaughts of the hard-fighting APC on his position as Senate President.

Whatever the PDP strategists were thinking before appointing Sheriff, I may not know since I am not a member of the party. But something is sure- the party will do a hard job reconciling their earlier views that APC sponsors Boko Haram. Another job will be how they explain to us who stole their thinking cap when taking the “Good strategic decision”?


Olalekan Waheed Adigun is a political risk analyst and an independent political strategist for wide range of individuals, organisations and campaigns. Email:, Follow me on twitter: @adgorwell

Views expressed are solely that of author and does not represent views of nor its associates

We Will Replace Buhari In 2019, Sheriff Vows

Newly-appointed national chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party, Ali Modu Sheriff, on Wednesday vowed to lead the party to regain control of the federal government in 2019.

Mr. Sheriff said nothing would stop his party, which lost power in 2015, from ousting the current All Progressives Congress’ administration.

Mr. Sheriff is a founding member of the All Progressives Congress. He defected to the PDP in 2014 ahead of national elections in 2015.

He gave his remarks on Wednesday in Umuahia, the Abia State capital, during a thanksgiving service organised to mark the victory of Governor Okezie Ikpeazu at the Supreme Court.

The court had on February 3 affirmed Mr. Okezie’s victory in the April 11, 2015 governorship election.

Mr. Sheriff, a former senator and governor of Borno State, who was named PDP national chairman on Tuesday night, said the PDP would soon come out with its master plan on how it would defeat the All Progressives Congress from power.

“We are here today, we are starting from here, and we are going to Aso Rock, Insha Allah by 2019,” the PDP chairman said.

Credit: PremiumTimes

Nigerians Will No Longer Pay For Calls, SMS By 2019 – Spectranet MD

The Managing Director (MD), Spectranet Ltd., Mr David Venn, on Wednesday said Nigerians would no longer pay for calls and Short Message Services (SMS), on mobile networks before the end of 2019.



Venn made this prediction at an interactive session with newsmen in Lagos.



He noted that with the fast growing usage of social media applications, such as Skype, Imo, Whatsapp, BlackBerry Messenger, Facebook Messenger, telecommunications had allowed subscribers to use their data service to make calls and sms.



Venn said subscribers spend a lot of money buying credit to make voice calls, send SMS and also subscribe to data services at the same time on a particular network.



He explained that even though subscribers still patronised voice and SMS services from the mobile operators, data service was cost- effective, faster to send SMS and make voice calls.



Venn noted that presently, data service providers had been improving on the broadband network provided to customers due to increased patronage in the data services.



The MD noted that in other advanced countries, mobile subscribers no longer paid for the use of voice and SMS on their mobile networks.



Venn said that in the United Kingdom, mobile subscribers make use of Skype application to make calls, as long as the caller and the recipient were connected to data service on their phones.


The MD said telecoms operators were losing huge revenue, especially from their SMS service, with the wide use of these social media.



Venn added that mobile operators would be forced to expand their data network to accommodate the growing number of subscribers that use their networks to surf the internet.



The MD, therefore, urged mobile operators to improve on their broadband service to the undeserved and unserved areas in the country.

He said the company also planned to build more base stations across its coverage to improve broadband connectivity in undeserved areas before the end of the year.



Venn urged the Federal Government to make the business environment convenient for the data providers to operate.



He contended that many data service providers had closed down due to the high cost of doing business in the country.




Biafra: We Are Not Interested In 2019 Igbo Presidency

The Indigenous People of Biafra, IPOB has described as political of compensation, the kite being flown by some Northern elders to the effect that Ndigbo would be allowed to clinch the presidential seat in 2019.

Spokesman of the IPOB, Emma Powerful who spoke to newsmen Wednesday on the issue, said they are not interested in Nigeria’s affairs any longer, adding that those flying the kite of Igbo presidency in 2019 is merely a distraction.

Powerful said what IPOB wants is to release their leader, Nnamdi Kanu from the detention and to allow Biafrans to go and not to play politics of compensation by telling Ndigbo that they will become the president in 2019, apparently to douse tension.

He recalled that politics of compensation was played during the June 12, 1993 saga when the Yorubas were compensated with Obasanjo presidency in place of M.K.O. Abiola’s annulled election, just as President Buhari was compensated because of Boko Haram insurgency.

According to him, “If politics of compensation was used to favour Obasanjo in place of June 12 annulment and was also used to favour Buhari in place insurgency, that is their own cup of tea. But for us in IPOB, we are not interested in that politics of compensation whereby we are being told that an Igboman will become Nigeria’s president in 2019 and we will begin to listen to them”.

“All we want or are interested in is to release our leader, Kanu and then allow Biafra to be and not Igbo presidency”, he stated.

Credit: Vanguard

Amir Abdulazeez: As PDP Continues To Mock Reality…….

Any proponent of competitive democracy and any advocate against one-party state would like to see the Peoples’ Democratic Party (PDP) remain strong and vibrant enough to keep the ruling All Progressives’ Congress on its toes. Probably, only a fanatical APC sympathizer would like to see PDP become extinct in the current situation. The role of a strong opposition in a democracy cannot be overemphasized and without opposition, democracy becomes autocracy.

Many neutrals have recently began to have sympathy for the PDP neither because the party deserves such nor because it is showing signs of deserving such any soon, but because it is the only party that is in a strong position to keep APC on its toes-something the governing party itself needs to checkmate complacency. However, the question is: does the PDP have as much sympathy for itself? Apparently it doesn’t, because many of the party’s actions tend to de-market the party rather than promoting it.

No matter how well outsiders wish to see things go for PDP, it won’t be possible if the major stakeholders within the party are not willing to put their acts together. If there were other viable opposition options apart from PDP, majority of Nigerians would most likely go for them and back any among them to become the major opposition party in the country. Alas! There is none and considering what it takes to build a formidable national political party or to transform a dormant one in Nigeria, we can say, there would be none at least for the time being, except if an unforeseen miracle-like situation happens.

After the 2015 General Elections, the question on the lips of Nigerians was: how would PDP manage defeat? Others asked whether PDP would bounce back and if yes, how and when? The problem we are facing in Nigerian politics is that political parties are almost solely judged based on electoral performance. Therefore, in the eyes of many, PDP would only be considered to have bounced back if it takes over from APC at the next polls. From the look of things, PDP itself also narrowly look at things that way. The truth is, if PDP can still remain in existence, strengthen its organs, engage in massive grassroots membership drive and followership, give the nation a rebranded and innovative opposition, retain its states and win some elusive states like Lagos and have a decent presidential election outing in 2019, that would be enough success even if they don’t win back the presidency in the next 8 years. The PDP should not be exclusively looking forward to winning elections, it should think of ways it can set the standards and become the epitome of internal democracy, de-commercialization and de-monetization of politics, inspiring political consciousness and awareness as well as ideology-based politicking.

Is PDP ready to bounce back? It depends on what we take ‘bounce back’ to mean. However, we take it, the answer is, the party has the potential to bounce back, but it is not yet ready. Virtually, all of the actions and inactions of the PDP stakeholders since after April 2015 suggests that they are not ready to bounce back even in the next 16 years. When you find yourself in the midst of a self-inflicted mess, the least that is required of you to get out of that mess is to even believe that you are in a mess, sincerely acknowledge the role you played in putting yourself in that mess followed by genuine repentance.

Time and again, the PDP through many of its notable chieftains still boasts that it is the largest party in Nigeria and it is still the only party that has presence everywhere including the remotest parts of the country. Even a small kid knows this is not true, but such is PDP’s arrogance even as an opposition party. When they were in power, they declared themselves the largest party in Africa without depending on any scientific yardstick. The PDP is presently a regional party confined mainly to the South-South and the South-East and the truth is that if free and fair elections had held in those regions, APGA, LP and to some extent APC would have occupied most of the seats, ‘elected’ PDP members are now occupying. One needs not to wonder why 70% of total annulled 2015 elections by the tribunals across the country so far are coming from the South-South and South-East.

The PDP has been the biggest loser in all the decided cases by the election petition tribunals so far. Instead of the party to tell itself some home truths, galvanize and see how they can salvage the situation to enhance their chances of winning the re-run elections, they are busy accusing the APC and the presidency of influencing tribunal judgements. Would PDP ever accept half of what transpired in Rivers and Akwa-Ibom states as elections if they were not the beneficiaries? PDP is accusing the Presidency of judicial interference probably because that’s what they use to do when they were in power and hence they expect others to be doing the same. It looks like PDP’s game plan is to continue with this propaganda to blackmail the tribunals into succumbing to their pressure and prevent them from doing their jobs adequately. If the party is not careful, some of the victories it recorded in some tribunals might be upturned after the cases might have been carefully reviewed in the appeal and supreme courts.

The way PDP has been lamenting its defeat in the 2015 elections is very funny. How many times have PDP actually won elections? If free and fair elections had been taking place, the party would have since become history, probably since 2003 or 2007. PDP should cherish the fact they still exist with some relevance. They have spent the last 6 months lamenting and advancing reasons why they lost, whereas they knew deep in their hearts that the party seldom wins any election post 1999.

Almost two years after, the PDP has continued to call the people that left the party as betrayers, traitors and ingrates. Uptill today, they have failed to move forward on this. The party has refused to accept responsibility, not to talk of addressing the issues that led to the exit of such people. The PDP has forgotten that it has been the biggest beneficiary of defections since 1999. Arguably more than 90% of all defections from 2001 to 2010 have been in favour of the party and none of the then opposition parties refused to move forward and plan ahead because of this.

Another disgusting habit of the PDP is boasting and crediting itself with Nigeria’s 16 years of uninterrupted democratic rule. This is childish and akin to a scenario where the military begins to boast and ask Nigerians to thank it for not carrying out a single coup since 1999. PDP are fond of making vague statements; nothing could have happened to Nigeria’s democracy with or without PDP. In fact the PDP-led Federal Government should be blamed of threatening democracy by supervising some of the worst elections in Nigeria’s history. If we may ask, how willing was the PDP government to allow the 2015 elections hold? How can a party known for one of the worst records on internal democracy entrench any democracy elsewhere?

Some PDP chieftains who have not completely lost touch with reality like their colleagues have admitted that the party has done so many political wrongs even if they refuse to agree that the party had failed to bring any meaningful development to the country. In short, the believe PDP has done very well in terms of governance. The question we should ask them is, between infrastructure, power, health, employment, Security, Agriculture and poverty, what single sector can the PDP point out to have achieved 75% success to justify the money it spent in 16 years? Where then is the development? PDP’s mistake is that, they keep judging themselves on inputs instead of results.

One other issue is PDP’s over celebration of the emergence of Ike Ekweremadu as Deputy Senate President in an APC controlled government and citing it as ‘first in Africa’ and an indication of good things to come. First and foremost, what would have been the chances of Ekweremadu in that election if all 109 senators were around in the Senate Chambers when the election for the post of Deputy Senate President took place? Would he have contested? Hardly. Therefore, PDP cowardly took advantage of a situation courtesy of APC’s blundering and misjudgement. Morally, PDP should not have allowed any of its members to contest for any principal office in the National Assembly because in its 16 years rule, it gave no one any chance. It seems, PDP wants to become a ruling and an opposition party at the same time. This is evident as, it also wanted the Deputy Speakership of the House. One thing PDP doesn’t understand is that it is shooting itself in the foot. With the party holding the Deputy Senate Presidency, it is officially part of the Federal Government and must therefore partly bear the burdens of its wrongs.

It is a welcome development that the PDP organized a National Reform Conference that is aimed at rebranding and reshaping the party for future challenges. The problem however is that the aim of the conference seems to have been defeated already. Instead of PDP to concentrate on using the conference for self-assessment and rebranding strategies, speakers took turns and wasted useful time and energy in using it as an opportunity for bashing the APC and the President. There would be many upcoming tangible things to criticize Buhari’s government on and there would be ample time to do so, but PDP seem to be in a desperate hurry as if that is what will help it reclaim past glory.

The APC is the least of PDP’s worries currently. APC has many shortcomings and it will gather many more baggage as the journey continues, but no matter how bad the APC becomes, Nigerians may likely stick with it in 2019 if PDP refuses to truly reform itself and move away from its past. PDP should deal with itself and Nigerians would do the rest by dealing with APC. The PDP must be ready to present itself as an alternative which Nigerians can trust in the event of an APC failure. The PDP should look inwards and try to reform, re-shape and rebrand itself from a party with the image of impunity and cheating to that of justice and fairness and thereafter re-present itself to Nigerians. This would be better than mocking reality and the continuation to live in denial.

Mallam Amir is on Twitter: @AmirAbdulazeez

Views expressed are solely that of author and does not represent views of nor its associate

See What Dangote Is Promising All Nigerians By 2019

Aliko Dangote, the Chairman of Dangote Group, on Monday said Nigeria would be self-sufficient in rice, sugar and other commodities by 2019.

Dangote said this in Abuja at a meeting with the United Nations Secretary-General, Ban Ki-moon, Nigerian businessmen and some philanthropists. The billionaire businessman, who was speaking against the backdrop of his investment in the economy in the nation, added that Nigeria would soon become the largest exporter of petroleum products and fertiliser.

He said he would not want to be known as the richest man alone, but would also lend his voice and other capacity to better the lots of Nigerians; and commended the steps being taken by the President Muhammadu Buhari’s administration in addressing the challenge of corruption facing the nation.

Read Moredailytimes

Saraki’s Visit To Maiduguri Not For 2019- Senate

The Senate yesterday dispelled report that the visit of the Senate President, Senator Abubakar Bukola Saraki, to Maiduguri, the Borno State capital, was an underground launch of his 2019 presidential campaign.

A national daily yesterday reported that the Senate President visited Maiduguri as part of his plans for the presidency in 2019.

Reports provides that Saraki  had on Monday led senators to Maiduguri, the Borno State capital where he met the Shehu of Borno, the state governor and some displaced persons.

But while reacting to the report, the chairman of the Senate ad hoc committee on publicity, Senator Dino Melaye, said the visit has no connection with 2019.

“It is myopic to say the visit has a link with 2019. The visit was not the making of the Senate president but the resolution of the Senate during a plenary last week. The visit has nothing to do with the ambition of the Senate president,” he said.

He said the Senate president is working hard to find means of assisting the victims of the Boko Haram insurgency.  “The visit was as a result of the motion moved by Senator George Thompson Sekibo of Rivers East Senatorial District on the Boko Haram insurgency.  It was during the debate at the floor that Senate resolved that a delegation led by the Senate president should visit the North East states,” he said.

Read More: dailytrust

PDP Will Return To Power In 2019- Mimiko

The newly-elected Chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party Governors’ Forum, Gov. Olusegun Mimiko on Ondo State has said the party will regain power at the centre in 2019.

Mimiko, who spoke on Thursday during a mini reception organized to celebrate his election as the Chairman of the PDP governors, said the process of regaining power by the PDP had commenced. He said the PDP governors were determined to give the party a new face as the opposition party.

He stated that they have resolved to collectively work assiduously and excel in governance with a view to re-branding the party and selling it to all Nigerians.

Read MoreTheSun

Dogara Cautions Politicians Against Early Campaigns For 2019

The Speaker of the House of Representatives, Yakubu Dogara, on Wednesday urged politicians to avoid early campaign for positions in 2019. Rather, he advised that they should cooperate with the Buahri administration to move the country forward.

Dogara gave the advice when the Presidential Primaries Convention Committee of the All Progressives Congress (APC), visited him in Abuja. “We have to rally round with all the tools we can get, to make this government a success.

“We cannot fail our people and that is why I fault those who are already having their eyes on 2019,” Dogara said.

He stressed that the preoccupation of the lawmakers and the party members should be the wellbeing of the country.

The Speaker reiterated his commitment to collaborate with President Muhammadu Buhari’s government to ensure the implementation of programmes that would affect the lives of Nigerians positively.

Earlier, the leader of the committee, Dr Alex Ideh, urged the speaker to carry every member of the House along in the business of the House. “Please reach out to Representative Femi Gbajabiamila and the party in the true spirit of humility and sportsmanship,” Ideh advised.

He said a strong cooperation between the National Assembly and the Presidency would speed up development in the country.

Credit: NAN

“I’ll Quit If Jonathan Emerges PDP BOT Chairman” – Isah Kantigi

Niger State deputy gubernatorial candidate under the platform of People’s Democratic Party (PDP) in the last election, Isah Kantigi, has threatened to leave the party alongside his supporters, if former President Goodluck Jonathan is made chairman of the party’s Board of Trustees.

Kantigi argued that if members of the party could call for the resignation of national leadership for poor performance in the last election, the president should also share in the blame because he was leader of the party.
Speaking with Daily Trust in Minna, he said if Jonathan could not lead the party to victory as sitting president and leader of the party, then “he has nothing to offer the party now. Rather than honour the former president with BOT chairman, he should take the blame for the failure. Jonathan caused the failure of the party at all levels. He killed the party and as such should not be allowed to take over the BOT chairmanship of the party.” He said for the party to take over power in 2019, there is need for fresh set of people with new ideas to be at the helm of affairs.

Jonathan Will Not Be Allowed To Contest in 2019 –PDP Leader

The times have change; PDP can only win election with a strong candidate, not just a lucky candidate.

A member of the Board of Trustees of the Peoples Democratic Party, Chief Ebenezer Babatope, has said that President Goodluck Jonathan will not run for the Presidency in 2019 against the APC.

“We have a strong presence in the South-South, South-East and we have two governors in the South-West. We are going to slug it out together in the North in 2019. We are going to flush out the APC in 2019 because we are going to correct our mistakes and take back the central government.

“Jonathan will not contest the 2019 presidential election. PDP will look for a strong Hausa/Fulani presidential candidate to contest against General Muhammadu Buhari.

He said he was sure that the President would not seek to contest the 2019 presidential election although “the people of the South-South have the right to present a candidate for the election, I’m sure the President will not contest; He will lead us to against the All Progressives Congress.”

The former Minister of Transport said PDP’s National Executive Council, the BoT and Elders’ Caucus would meet soon in Abuja to assess the outcome of the general elections.

He said, “We are going to restructure our party. The National Chairman of the party, Alhaji Adamu Mu’azu, will convene a meeting in two weeks’ time when we will objectively discuss the last elections.

“Apart from the grand conspiracy against our party by the powers that be in the elections, we are going to tackle the problem of imposition, which was a great area of mistake on our side. “

We Will Unseat Buhari In 2019- PDP

The Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, has waved its defeat at the just concluded general elections behind, saying it would bounce back in 2019.

This position was contained in a joint statement issued at the end of the meeting by the Vice-Chairman of the party in the North-West, Ibrahim Kazaure, and the Benue State Chairman, Emmanuel Agbo.

The statement read in part, “The meeting resolves to give all necessary support to the national leadership of the party under the chairmanship of Adamu Mu’azu to enable them to re-engineer and rebrand the party for the task of regaining power by 2019.

Read More: dailypost

Nigeria In 2019 By Torinmo Salau

This may sound a bit too fast, fast forward four years from “Decision 2015”!! What shall we be saying? Nigerians will probably have to come back in 2019 to ask so many questions. Right now, a fair number just want Goodluck Jonathan out of office, and Buhari is their default option. But I think it’s a dangerous place to be and a dilemma between the devil and the deep blue sea.

Reading a post quoting the president saying, “Nigeria will be better in 5 years” I thought to myself this is just one of his campaign gimmick. So he is saying indirectly that if I am re-elected into into office, Nigeria will be better than the way it is currently. But thinking about it, what happened to the last 4 to 6 years of his soon to end administration? Its over 250 days the chibok girls have being kidnapped due to the menace of the boko haram insurgency, still no sign of them yet. If he has not being able to resolve yet, what the assurance the insurgency will stop or there wont be any more kidnapping and terrorising of innocent citizens if he is re-elected?

The question is, if we doubt GEJ’s credibility to rule the nation for another four years; is GMB the ticket to the “Better Nigeria” we have so long been dreaming about? And is he really the best opposition that APC has to offer? With so many opinions from the opposing party, what the supporters of the “#ThisIsBuhari” campaign say is these are just naysayers who do not believe in the #Change slogan of the party. But some people are indifferent and think neither of the candidates is fit for the job. They believe none of them can cope with the problems of Nigeria. Judging from president Goodluck’s performance for the past six, he has been stagnant and has done nothing to solve the nation’s major problems and the stringent measures Buhari took while he was a soldier can work now because the country’s problems are so overwhelming. What Nigeria needs is to have a democratic electoral alliance that has the vision to produce a revolutionary who is patriotic and can cope with the problems of Nigeria.

Still a few think the Buhari and Osinbanjo is the perfect duo that can deal with the problems we have in Nigeria especially insecurity, unemployment and corruption. It is believed that if jonathan continues boko haram will over ride this country. Yet there are many permutations about the nomination of Prof Yemi Osinbanjo as the running mate for Gen Mohammadu Buhari. Amongst the numerous factors is his strong visibility in the Pentecostal Christian movement, also lest we forget Prof Yemi is from the south west. This is where the osinbajo factor could be a game changer for the APC. Neither Oshiomole or Amaechi could boast of such large number of votes from ethnic nationality if either of them emerged as a running mate for GMB. I believe the most critical permutation is the fact that, the less politically exposed and controversial a candidate is, the better the chances of the party. Especially judging from the likes of Fashola and Sambo who were not controversial persons, before they were selected as governorship and presidential running mate respectively.

What still baffles many is that all this while Mr President did not visit the troubled region of the north east but few days to the presidential polls, the people of Borno state receive a surprise visit from him. All this boils down to how desperate the president is to get more votes for himself at the presidential polls on February 14.

Right now its countdown to a nation deciding moment for everyone with the campaign getting intense by the moments and opposition parties employing all tactics possible to get the people persuaded and to convinced , I believe the power is in our hands again not to just vote for anyone that appeals to us but to see this as an opportunity determine the Nigeria we want to see four years down the line, when we shall return to the polls again. The power is in our hands to build the tomorrow we dream of today.