OOTC: Yemi Osinbajo’s performance is beside the point – Chude Jideonwo

You could feel the sense of panic when some of the enablers and voters (of which I am one, having personally and professionally supported him) of President Muhammadu Buhari heard that the president was returning to Nigeria last week. The question – uncomfortable, perhaps unseemly – hung in the air: why was he returning oh?


The joke in the city these days, the one you no doubt have heard if you have friends and family, is that the president should take all the time he needs to have the rest he requires, so that the vice president can continue to do the work and earn the respect he inspires.


Unsaid is the real calculation: Buhari retains credibility with the populace, the respect (due more to aesthetic than performance) of the local elite, the goodwill of the international elite and the political capital that comes from the sheer number of voters from the North. To this extent, it is useful for him to retain that political capital as cover for his deputy Yemi Osinbajo to continue the good work that we have seen since the latter became Acting President.


So his voters, now happy to beat their chest about Osinbajo, are suddenly worried that the president’s return would lead the country back to a narrative of mediocrity, and leave them vulnerable again to charges that they bear responsibility for the state of the nation.


It is understandable, of course. President Buhari’s performance has been, to put it kindly, so sub-par that it is incredibly difficult for any thinking person to say that she is “proud” of this presidency.


Why is this even more disappointing? There were many of the president’s supporters who were realistic enough not to hold out any hopes of magic – he after all was a vestige of a not-golden era of Nigerian leadership, at least by participation. But they expected that at the very least he would keep the ship steady, validating the transfer of power from one party to another as we continued the journey towards a more perfect union.


Instead, he has unnecessarily squandered considerable local goodwill and, even worse, rolled back some of the (economic) progress made under his unimpressive predecessor.


It is inexcusable that (using 2016 numbers) Gross Domestic Product has dropped to -0.4 from 2.35% when he took office, inflation grown to 13.9% from 8.7%, crude oil output dropped from 2.05 million barrels per day to 1.4 million, and external reserves declined from $29.1 billion to $27.6 billion.


There is the Federal Accounts Allocation Committee revenue, which has come down from N409 billion to N299 billion, market capitalization dropping from N11.42 trillion to N8.7, and unemployment numbers climbing from 24.1% to 29.2%.


Indeed you can call any local economic growth index and it is the same story: Business Confidence, Industrial Capacity Utilisation, Industrial Sector Growth, Aviation Passenger Traffic, Ease of Doing Business, Agricultural Sector Growth, Real Estate Vacancies, even bank bad loans!


Fitch Ratings this year revised the outlook on Nigeria from stable, putting it at ‘B+’, noting that growth at 1.5% is well below the 2011-15 annual growth average of 4.8%, and predicted “limited economic recovery” in 2017.


Then there is of course the abcradabra with the foreign exchange rate, the ultimate symbol of the government’s witlessness re global markets and steadily its equivalent of the oil subsidy scam.


In addition to that are the abominable communication failures in underscoring major security gains, improvements in road infrastructure and a coherent anti-corruption narrative. Even the mismanagement of his illness storytelling has been a master-class in ineffectiveness.


There is very little that one can point to with pride.


So, to reclaim their narrative and justify their decision, some of these supporters have insisted that Osinbajo’s performance is testament to their smart decision to vote for the All Progressives Congress, and to trust in the combined political machineries of Buhari, Bola Tinubu, Rotimi Amaechi and Atiku Abubakar.


That is a credible argument. You don’t just vote a man or woman after all; you vote a system of people and promises, built, in this case, on the structure of a viable political party. It is one ticket and one presidency, and obviously I share the sense of relief as to the government finally redeeming the huge promises that it made to the Nigerian people.


But it is important that we do not miss the real point Nigerians made with their votes in 2015.


Whether Osinbajo is doing well or not, whether Buhari eventually goes down in history for supervising an excellent presidency or not (and we still have over two years to go), that is beside the real point – and that point is that Nigerians made the right choice in 2015.


Let that point be repeated: Nigerians made the right choice in 2015.


You see, it is possible to hold two different thoughts in your head in the same breath, and on this decision, these are the two thoughts: 1. President Buhari has disappointed many of his supporters. 2. But voting him – and what he represented – was still the right thing to do in 2015.


It is easy to cop-out under Osinbajo’s goodwill and claim that this was the genius of the decision all along, but the intellectually honest point is a more nuanced one.


That point is that, irrespective of what the good we see today, no matter how the decision we made in 2015 had turned out in the short term, the majority of Nigerian voters had no choice but to make the decision they made between Goodluck Jonathan representing the People’s Democratic Party at the federal level and Muhammadu Buhari representing the APC.


Now here is the deal, and revisionist history cannot invalidate this point: Buhari was elected crucially and principally as a rejection of Jonathan. He was received and celebrated as the best and most viable option to unseat a decrepit ruling party and a feckless leadership, and our best chance to make a statement that power belongs to the people, especially the power to punish failure.


The choice for many citizens was clear: one between the certainty of failure and the possibility of success (which also came with the possibility of failure). One between a man who had led for five years and failed conclusively on the big issues of corruption and security, and the other who had led for one year and whose verdict was, by the fact of truncation, inconclusive.


The choice was between rewarding ineptitude and having to live with that choice for another four years, or choosing different and holding out for hope (and, please, the less said about third party options that had neither the depth of ideas nor political capacity to win even one local council, the better). Buhari represented that hope, and his victory was the best chance to at unseating the hegemony that represented the exact opposite of hope.


His victory reset the balance of power on the side of the people, and put fear into the hearts of elected leaders everywhere in our nation.


The Nigerian citizenry instinctively knows this, despite how unhappy it is at the moment. As a poll at the end of last year by the Governance Advancement Initiative for Nigeria (GAIN) showed, yes, Nigerians believe Jonathan handled the economy much better than Buhari, but they insist he is deeply responsible for this ultimate state of affairs.


“While 60% of Nigerians held the Buhari government partially or completely responsible for the recession, 74% believe that the Jonathan government is to blame,” the report said. “While nearly similar numbers (28% for PMB vs 25% for GEJ) believed both governments were partially to blame, more respondents (49% for GEJ vs 32% for PMB) believed that the Jonathan government was completely to blame for the recession. Those who argue that the profligacy of the Jonathan government led directly to Nigeria’s budgetary and economic crisis will take these results as vindication that Nigerians agree with their point of view.”


Common sense is as common sense does. Actions have consequences, sowing leads to reaping, nation building is a continuum and we, as a people, know the points at which the rain began to beat us.


So in justifying their decision to vote for Buhari in 2015, Nigerians who made that difficult – or for some, excited – choice, have no need to turn to Osinbajo as a crutch.


Yes, we should be thankful that the ticket that won the election is finally justifying the mandate it was given. It is possible as some people say that this is because democracy is not a sprint and it would take any government a bit of time to find its footing. It is possible that it is finally the dominance of the efficient Tinubu machinery doing the magic; it might be that the president’s light-touch, command-and-control approach to governance has finally been justified, or it might just be a coincidence of fate, luck and a little opportunity.


Whatever it is that brought us here, we should be thankful, but we must not forget the larger idea: As a nation we did the right thing in 2015.


We made a long-term decision to re-order the balance of power, create an equilibrium between the opposing forces holding our nation’s fate in their immediate palms, and made clear the barest minimum beyond which we will not allow our leaders to go, else they are punished.


In the long term, and if we consolidate on those gains in 2019, we will be fine.


We will be just fine.


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

Acting President Yemi Osinbajo is not a ‘Nigerian’ – By Emmanuel Ufuophu-Biri

After watching the Acting President, Professor Yemi Osinbajo in Benin City, Edo State, on TV live during his fact finding meeting with the good people of Edo state, I realized that he is totally not a Nigerian. He listened to all speakers with rapt attention and concentrated interest.

One could see him practically and personally experiencing the pains of the abandoned and abused people of the Niger Delta. Even when there was a mini riot in the hall he remained calmed and probably prayerful as an ordained man of God.

If the mild drama of mini riot that played out in the hall had happened in a situation where even a local government chairman was in charge, the chairman would have ordered the security men to shoot at sight.

If the person in charge was a state governor or a president, he would have ordered a massive arrest and inglorious shot at perception and at sight, but the learned and erudite scholar and legal luminary of international acclaim did not do any of that.

Rather when he responded he said he equally shared the grievance of the aggrieved Niger Delta people.

This is un-Nigerian.

For a leader to share in the pains of the people and not to deal with them for daring to engage in mini riot in his presence shows that the goddess of pride, the delusion grandeur and megalomania tendency usually associated with the average Nigerian leader at virtually all levels are not in the acting president.

For him to order all the oil companies to move their headquarters to the Niger Delta is a wonderful act of justice and healing of the age long injury inflicted on the Niger Delta people.

That he visited the Niger Delta states differently and interacted directly with the people and even visited the creeks to personally access the horrible situation is worth more than commendation.

No Nigerian leader at his level has acted like this.

This is the reason I doubt if Acting President Yemi Osibanjo, SAN, is a Nigerian. Probably he is a Moses in the making to the Niger Delta people.

Emmanuel Ufuophu-Biri is a lecturer and head of department of Mass Communication at the Delta State University Abrak.

Osinbajo defies insecurity, promises to visit all oil producing communities.

Acting President Yemi Osinbajo has promised to visit all oil producing communities in the Niger Delta, ruling out any concern about insecurity.

Osinbajo said this at a townhall meeting in Benin, Edo state capital, on Monday.

Some youth stormed the meeting after receiving reports that the acting president will not visit their communities.

This led to a temporary suspension of activities, but their leaders succeeded in pacifying them.

Addressing the aggrieved persons after normalcy was restored, Osinbajo explained that the closure of the Abuja airport, scheduled for 12 midnight on Wednesday, was behind the rescheduling of the visit.

“Our plan is to ensure that we visit all of the oil producing communities, and just as it was rightly said, we have stationed our helicopters at the airport in order to take us there,” he said.

“There is no issue of insecurity at all, I have been to other oil producing communities. What has happened is that the Abuja airport will be closed from tomorrow, we would not have enough time this time to visit all the communities.

“But the governor and I have agreed that we must pay a visit in order to visit each and every one of the communities, and we will do so.”

Osinabjo told the people that abandoned projects in the region will be reactivated, while defaulters will be prosecuted.

“I have looked at the issues of abandoned projects, and I  can tell you precisely, how much has been voted, and how much was spent in several of our oil communities, and there is no sign of development in those areas,” he said.

“I can tell you how many of these projects are supposed to have been completed, and when you look in the books, they say they have been completed, but they have not been completed; they have not been done, many have not even started at all.

“The people must see the benefit of the land. The elite everywhere, have very frequently deprived the people of the  opportunity to enjoy the fruit of the land, that is the Nigerian story.

“This  is something we must deal with. We cannot continue as if we do not know. The monies that have been spent on paper in this country is enough to develop many countries.”


Source: The Cable

Keeping up with Yemi Osinbajo – By Shola Oyeyipo

President Muhammadu Buhari, determined to see a Nigeria of his dream, might have cleverly borrowed from the quote of a former President of the United States of America, Ronald Reagan, who once said: “Surround yourself with great people; delegate authority; get out of the way”.
Closely folowing Buhari’s political trajectory, he probably has a penchant for picking eggheads and persons with equal commitment and passion for national development as his running mates. That can be established in his initial choice of Pastor Tunde Bakare as his running mate in one of his many attempts at the presidency.
As it is today, the choice of Professor Yemi Osinbajo as his deputy might have been informed by his ability to stand in for his principal at a crucial time like this, when the president is on an indefinite leave, apparently to attend to his health and, it is beginning to pay off.
Consistent with Section 145 (1) of the Nigerian Constitution, President Buhari, in his letter of Thursday, January 19, 2017, wrote to the National Assembly that during his 10-day leave, Osinbajo would act as president. And in another letter to the lawmakers at the expiration of the initial time-frame, the president elongated his leave indefinitely.
Though there have been complaints from a majority of Nigerians on the details of the president’s true state of health, which have been shrouded in secrecy, there have not been such about Osinbajo’s ability to stand in for his boss. The reason is simple. The vice president has been effectively representative.
Just as preempted in Section 145 of the 1999 constitution as amended, he is bringing some more pep into leadership and at the same time making some dexterous political moves that are capable of providing the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) an inroad into the South-east and South-south.
Already, government has shown more than a passing interest in sorting out the issue of resurgence of militancy in the Niger Delta region that has led to dwindling revenue from oil production. It was why Osibanjo visited Oporoza, headquarters of Gbaramatu Kingdom, home of Chief Government Ekpemupolo a.k.a Tompolo in Warri South-west Local Government Area of Delta State on a facts-finding mission in January.
The second leg of his peace and dialogue tour of the oil-rich Niger Delta region, which took him to Bayelsa, Rivers and Imo States has in fact had far-reaching impacts because the acting president did not only reaffirm government’s commitment to addressing the sufferings of the people of the Niger Delta, where Nigeria gets its major income, he openly agreed that the region has been largely neglected and promised that the federal government would discontinue the ugly trend.
Osibanjo, who went to Gbaramatu in company with the Delta State Governor, Senator Ifeanyi Okowa and Minister of State (Petroleum), Dr. Ibe Emmanuel Kachikwu, said the Niger Delta people have a genuine need as special economic zone for special developmental attention.
Later in Bayelsa on February 12, he assured the people that the federal government would provide rapid development for oil-producing communities in the region.
According to Osinbajo, while addressing the Bayelsa State stakeholders’ meeting, since oil is the dominant source of foreign exchange earnings in Nigeria, it is only proper that the country adds value to crude oil. To him, adding value to crude oil will bring enormous economic benefits to the oil-bearing communities.
The tour train berthed in Rivers State between February 13 and 14 in Port Harcourt, the state capital, where Osinbajo held another town hall meeting with governors, former governors, community leaders, women and various youth groups in the region.
He underscored the fact that Rivers was critical to the development and stability of the country. He also urged vandals of petroleum infrastructure to desist from act, assuring them that unlike at any time in the past, the current administration is prepared to ensure that the needs of the region are met.
It was at the Rivers State meeting he hinted that the federal government had secured funding of over $1 billion from Shell Petroleum Development Company (SPDC) to develop the Niger Delta region, a piece of news well received by the people. He also noted that the template for the ‘Clean up Ogoni’ project of the federal government would be replicated in other oil producing communities affected by oil exploration.
From Rivers, Osinbajo made a stop in Imo State on a one-day working visit. There, he informed the people that he was there at the instance of President Buhari to consult with stakeholders in the oil producing communities of the Niger-Delta region, of which Imo is one.
Just as he did in Delta, Bayelsa and Rivers, Osinbajo, while at the palace of Imo State Chairman of Traditional Rulers Council, Eze Samuel Ohiri, owned up to the fact that the people of the state have been largely marginalised as an oil-bearing state of Nigeria, reiterating that the federal government would correct the anomaly.
Overall, that he was received with pomp and pageantry in the three states of the South-south is noteworthy. This is because the three states are controlled by opposition Peoples Democratic Party ((PDP). Again, that the people were convinced somewhat that government is truly ready to walk its talk is a pointer to an enduring peace in the region as leaders in the region are already enjoining the militants to give government the chance to make good its promise.
Bayelsa State Governor, Mr. Seriake Dickson, seized the opportunity to re-echo that dialogue and consultation remained the most effective solution to Niger Delta crisis as against the military option. That is an indication that the people of the region are ready for peace as long as their aspirations are met.
Chief Press Secretary to Governor Nyesome Wike of Rivers State, Simeon Nwakaudu, in an article written after the acting president’s visit, said “The popular leadership of Rivers State always keys into opportunities to attract development to the state,” and that “On issues concerning  development, politics  is relegated and the interest of the Rivers State enthroned  for the benefit of the people.”
In Gbaramatu, renowned militant leader, Tompolo and his kinsmen rolled out the drums to welcome Osinbajo. Hence, some lessons could be learned from the Niger Delta tour. First, that irrespective of party affiliation, every Nigerian should have equal access to the federal government. The second is that the people in the oil-producing communities, who have been agitating for a better deal from government, could be pacified if government is committed to genuinely meeting their needs.
Above all, no one is oblivious of the fact that the South-south and the South-east regions are going to play very important roles in determining the next president in 2019. One politically savvy presidential hopeful is already covertly investing considerable time and energy into tilting the region towards himself, the more reason Osinbajo’s move is expedient.
The recent federal government activities in the regions could be a saving grace for the APC and the incumbent government, if they are considering winning the next presidential election. This is more so that issues of restructuring and true federalism are going to dominate the discourse ahead of the next election.
In addition to this was the recent tour of the two regions by the Minister of Power, Works and Housing, Mr. Babatunde Fashola to access the state of the roads, housing projects and the power situation with a view to synching them with the new vision, after 16 years of PDP’s failure to provide succor in the regions.
Aside the Niger Delta region parley that promises to bring better rapport between the people and the federal government, Osinbajo got the support of the duo of the Senate President and the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Dr.  Bukola Saraki and Hon. Yakubu Dogora, to approve the federal government’s $1 billion Eurobond this quarter.
The Eurobond, amounting to $4.5 billion, formed part of the federal government’s three-year $30 billion external borrowing programme, which was rejected by the National Assembly last year.
But Saraki and Dogora reportedly told Osinbajo that the emergency session would not be necessary since the National Assembly had already approved $3 billion external borrowing, including the $1 billion Eurobond, in the 2016 Appropriation Act, so they assured Osinbajo that National Assembly’s rejection of the $30 billion borrowing plan would not impede the $1 billion Eurobond issue.
On Thursday, February 16, few days after its issue, the $1 billion Eurobond started trading on the London Stock Exchange (LSE) and the offer was oversubscribed about eight times, with the order book closing at approximately $7.7 billion. The listing also secured high quality investors’ support from the U.S. and Europe and it is expected to support Nigeria in financing its long-term infrastructure development.
Also, since he has been acting, Osinbajo has assented to seven bills passed by the National Assembly. The acts that were mainly amendments to the principal act include Oath (Amendment) Act 2017, Defence Space Administration Act, Veterinary Surgeons (Amendment) Act), National Film and Video Censors Board, Pension Rights of Judges, Nigerian Institute of Social Science Establishment Act and Mortgage Institutions Amendment Act.
Now 35 days since ailing President Buhari has been away, Osinbajo has been holding forth and headlining the news for several positive presidential initiatives. And in spite of assumptions that President Buhari was not disposed to the acting Chief Justice of Nigeria (CJN), Justice Walter Onnoghen, Osinbajo has forwarded his name to the Senate for confirmation as the substantive CJN.
Buhari, on November 10, 2016, appointed Onnoghen as acting CJN following the retirement of Justice Mahmud Mohammed at the attainment of the mandatory age of 70 years. The National Judicial Council had earlier forwarded Onnoghen’s name to the president as the new CJN based on the recommendation of the Federal Judicial Service Commission but he had remained in acting capacity until Osinbajo forwarded his name to the lawmakers for confirmation.
In another instance of personal example, the Vice-President rejected the new official residence built for the vice-president by the administration of Goodluck Jonathan. His Senior Special Assistant on Media and Publicity, Mr. Laolu Akande, said Osinbajo was satisfied with living in Aguda House built in the 1990s by the General Ibrahim Babangida administration
Although this one issue had almost created a friction between the executive and the legislature, however, while Buhari is still on medical vacation, Osinbajo, in a letter to the Senate re-presented the name of the acting Chairman, Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, (EFCC), Ibrahim Mustapha Magu for screening and subsequent confirmation as the substantive Chairman of the anti-graft agency. From all indications, Magu is likely to scale through this time around.
Hinging its argument on the unknown health condition of President Buhari, and probably the fact that government seems to be running smoothly with the acting President, an international human rights organisation, Opinion Nigeria (ON), advised President Buhari to tender his resignation letter without delay to pave the way for Osinbajo as president. Whilst this demand may not be popular with a majority of Nigerians, there is the perception that Osinbajo might actually be taking directives from President Buhari.

Acting president, Yemi Osinbajo Seeks strong Nigeria – US Ties

Acting President Yemi Osinbajo on Wednesday said the time has come for Nigeria and the United States to deepen the long-standing relationship between the countries based on mutual trust.

Osinbajo spoke at the Presidential Villa, Abuja, while receiving the Commander of the US-Africa Command, Gen. Thomas D. Waldhauser and the American Ambassador to Nigeria, Hon. W. Stuart Symington.

In a statement issued by his Senior Special Assistant on Media and Publicity, Laolu Akande, the Acting President said : “We will be very open and willing to build a relationship based on trust, so that we would benefit from it and of course our relationship as nations would benefit tremendously from it.”

Nigeria’s relationship with the US, he observed, is a very important one “and has been so for many years, even so now at a time like this for us.”

He said the Federal Government is appreciative of US support over the last few years.

Osinbajo said it is the belief of the Buhari presidency that the US is committed to helping Nigeria tackle some of its challenges especially in the Northeast.

In his remarks, Gen. Waldhauser expressed the readiness of the U.S government to “accelerate” its contributions, adding that there is a sense that “we want to get on and solve the problem.”

“I don’t need a new official residence, Aguda House is sufficient for me” – Osinbajo

Acting President Yemi Osinbajo says there is no provision for a new official residence for the vice-president in the two budget proposals drafted by the administration of President Muhammadu Buhari.

In a statement issued on his behalf by Laolu Akande, his spokesman, Osinbajo expressed satisfaction with the house he currently occupies.

The statement comes days after there were reports that N250 million had been earmarked for the construction of a gate at the residence of the vice-president.

Dismissing the reports, Osinbajo said the renovation project, which started under the administration of former President Goodluck Jonathan had reached 85% stage, and that at the appropriate time, the federal government would decide “what is the best use for the 14 buildings already on the project site”.

“For the umpteenth time, we like to clarify that the proposed plan of the immediate past administration to build a new official residence for the occupant of the office of the vice-president, including the controversial gatehouse, preceded this administration,” the statement read.

“The project which started in 2010, was initiated and funded by the immediate past administration, but had never featured in the two budget proposals of the Buhari administration: neither in the 2016 nor the 2017 spending plans.

“Any suggestion therefore that this project benefits our administration or that it reflects our spending style or preferences is not only misleading but blatantly false.

“Besides, the incumbent Vice-President Yemi Osinbajo has said publicly that he considers Aguda House, which he currently occupies, a befitting official residence for the vice-president and sufficient for his needs.”


Source: The Cable

Between Buhari & Osinbajo: The Missing Ingredient – By Muhammad Karamba

Buhari’s absence has brought to light some interesting aspects of the current government which Nigerians should be proud of.

The Acting President Yemi Osinbajo is doing an excellent job while his boss is away. Some are already calling for Osinbajo 2019.

But who is to take credit? What is the reason for such disparity between the stewardship of a Boss and his deputy?

One thing is for certain, Prof Osinbajo was chosen by President Buhari. Whatever good comes from the former came as a result of a decision by the latter.

The least we could do is to give Buhari the credit of choosing such a capable hand to be in charge of this Nation in his absence.

Moreover, Osinbajo cannot make any critical decision without contacting his boss. Everything the Acting President has been given credit for has to be sanctioned by the President himself.

The only area where the VP has superseded his boss is one which I call “The missing ingredient”

The success of any government depends greatly on its Public Relations management. Buhari doesn’t have the best of PR management teams.

His PR team is characterized by either making statements and systematically retracting them or staying mute when the nation is asking for answers or refusing to give the voice of the people a listening ear. This has mostly been the case.

A good PR team is one which scrutinizes the meaning of every word or statement that should be said in the name of the Presidency down to the comprehension of the most biased Nigerian. It is one which forces the President to make statements when the need arise and vice-versa.

It is one which understands that citizens deserve comprehensible truth when they demand for them and even when they don’t. It is one which understands that, it is the makeup artist which determines whether citizens see good president or an ugly one.

Prof Yemi Osinbajo has a good PR team and we all have seen the difference it has made. Few days and people are already appreciating.

This is the litmus that has exposed a flaw in Buhari’s administration.

It is time for the President to look beyond political affiliation and choose the best artists to paint a picture of his administration.

I wish the President a healthy return and a successful tenure. God bless Nigeria


Muhammad  Karamba

Twitter: @Mukib_

Acting President Osinbajo Inaugurates Road Safety Advisory Council.

Nigeria’s Vice President, Professor Yemi Osinbajo, has inaugurated the National Road Safety Advisory Council.

The advisory council created to offer advice to the Federal Road Safety Corp (FRSC) on what should be done to reduce carnage on Nigerian roads consists of six state governors drawn from each geopolitical zones of the country; the Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Babachir Lawal and some ministers.

The council’s inauguration took place on Thursday at the Council Chamber of the Presidential Villa in Abuja, shortly before the National Economic Council (NEC) meeting was held.

Statistics have indicated that over 4,000 lives were lost through road crashes in the country in 2012.

Such startling statistics have jolted the United Nations to declare the period 2011-2020 a decade of action for road safety.

The governors are: Akinwunmi Ambode of Lagos (southwest), Willie Obiano of Anambra (southeast); Ifeanyi Okowa of Delta (south-south) Abdulfatah Ahmed of Kwara (north-central), Ibrahim Dankwabo of Gombe (northeast) and Ahmed El-Rufai of Kaduna (northwest).

The Minister of Budget and National Planning, Senator Udo Udoma, explained that the council would be guided by the mandate for every member nation of the United Nations to put adequate measures in addressing the scourge of road accident by the year 2020.

Senator Udoma urged State governors to buy in and ensure adequate budgetary provision for maintenance of roads in their respective states.

The FRSC Corp Marshal, Boboye Oyeyemi, pointed out some of the challenges faced in tackling road accidents across the country.

He also highlighted some of the duties of the advisory council in order to achieve the FRSC’s vision of reducing road traffic fatalities by 35% by 2018.

Acting President Yemi Osinbajo visits Imo today, tells Nigerians to shun nepotism.

Acting President Yemi Osinbajo has urged Nigerians to shun ethnic or religious biases. Speaking yesterday at the 2017 Murtala Muhammed Memorial lecture in Abuja, Osinbajo expressed regrets that the spirit of the Nigerian project had degenerated to the extent that, “The first question we ask is not what is the worth of a man or a woman, or what he or she can do but where he or she is from or what religious label he is wearing.

According to the acting president, Nigerians should emulate the legacy of the late General Muhammed, who even in his short reign, left indelible marks in the country.

Meanwhile, the Acting President yesterday paid an official visit to Rivers State in continuation of Federal Government’s dialogue with peoples of the Niger Delta.

He said that it was extremely discomforting that the Niger Delta region where he did his National Youths Service Corps 38 years ago was still grappling with the same challenges of underdevelopment and poverty.

He disclosed that the groundbreaking ceremony for the Integrated Contaminated Soil Management Centre provided for by the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) report will be performed on Thursday in Ogoni.

The acting president reassured the stakeholders that the Federal Government would continue the amnesty programme for ex-militants. In response, Rivers State Governor Nyesom Wike said he was in support of the 16-point agenda submitted by the Pan Niger Delta Forum (PANDEF) to the Federal Government.

Osinbajo will also pay an official visit to Imo State today. A statement by the Chief Press Secretary to the governor, Sam Onwuemeodo in Owerri yesterday stated that the Acting President would inaugurate “one or two projects, out of more than two thousand verifiable projects” executed by the Governor Rochas Okorocha’s administration.

N6bn Spent On VP’s Residence, A Misplaced Priority, Says Osinbajo

Vice President Yemi Osinbajo says there is entirely no need for a new residence for the Vice President as the current one, called Aguda House, is up to standard with enough space and well managed.


The Vice President said this on Friday while responding to questions at the Pastors and Leaders Retreat of the Fountain of Life Church, Ilupeju, Lagos.


Osinbajo said the N6 billion already spent on the project was a misapplication of fund but added that with the level of construction already done, it would not be abandoned.


He said the present administration would complete it but consider putting it to other use.


“There is no need for a new Vice President’s house; it is a kind of waste; we are now in a situation where we cannot abandon it; it has to be completed and used for a different thing,’’ he said.


The Vice President also explained the misunderstanding about the State House Medical Centre which he said was not only for workers at the state house.


He said it was a general hospital with a lot of facilities and serving all Nigerians, adding that he would prefer that it be further equipped to provide higher medical services to those in need.


Osinbajo debunked insinuation of lack of data in the country, saying that the Nigeria Bureau of Statistics had enormous which had been rated highly by the World Bank and other international agencies.


He, however, said that the country had yet to have adequate data.


He added that the intention of government was to aggregate the scattered data in INEC, CBN, National Population Census Commission into one by the National Identity Card Management Commission.


He also said the education sector lacked not only standards but adequacy of institutions which led to Nigerians sponsoring their children abroad for tertiary education.


He explained that while 1.8 million Nigerians sat for university entrance examination yearly, only about 300,000 were offered admission due to dearth of universities.


He said the government was planning to convert many of the existing universities into centres of excellence and support the private sector in the running of universities to enable more Nigerians to have access to tertiary education.


He said infrastructure development was key in the administration which informed the voting of 30 per cent of the 2016 appropriation to capital projects.


Osinbajo added that the Ministry of Industry had 18 months mandate to improve the ease of doing business.


He, however, said the Bank of Industry was collaborating with other financial institutions to bring down the interest rate on loans for small businesses.


The VP said that the judicial system was replete with problems which needed the collaboration of the states and the Federal Government to make it faster and enable more Nigerians to obtain justice.


Before responding to questions, Osinbajo had said that what the country needed was truth and integrity which the Church should spearhead.


“The Church is where the truth is; the Church has the answer to the nation’s problems; one of the problems of our society is integrity,’’ he said.


He explained that the corruption in the country was not caused because a few individuals chose to be corrupt but that the entire system was built around lack of integrity.


Osinbajo said the country would be great again but noted that the foundation for the greatness had to be laid with a lot of pains.


“Unless we tackle graft, we may not be able to achieve something.

The Federal Government in the past 10 years could not build a single new road, not repairing existing ones alone.

“Now we have a President who will not steal money and who will not allow anybody to steal money,’’ he said.


Osinbajo said the nation lacked the capacity to get things done which was difficult to understand but “with God on our side, our country will set the pace for Africa”.


“Our people are ready to do it and they can do it but they are waiting for the right kind of leadership.

“I know why you are praying for us is that this is a good opportunity to get it right and we don’t want to miss this chance.’’


Pastor Taiwo Odukoya, the leader of the Church, asked Christians to continue to pray for the administration as Nigeria had a great future.


He said the present administration would lead the people to a more prosperous and secure nation.


Osinbajo had preached at the burial service for his childhood friend, Bola Omotesho, at the Olive Parish of the Redeemed Christian Church of God, Banana Island, Lagos.


He urged Nigerians to lead good lives to rest in peace as there was actually no peaceful rest for a bad soul in spite of the earthly prayers offered for the soul.


He said the late Omotesho lived lives worthy of emulation and having been born again since 1994 and lived it until he died, God would accept his soul.




Osinbajo Urges Christians To Pray For Nigeria’s Progress

The Vice President, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo on Tuesday in Abuja, called on Christians to pray to God to ‘remove all captivity surrounding the country.’’



Osinbajo spoke at an inter denominational programme, organised by the Redeemed Christian Church of God (RCCG). The theme of the programme is: Divine Encounter. The programme was designed to bring Christians within Abuja and its environs together, to have a divine encounter under the ministration of Pastor Enoch Adeboye.



The vice president also prayed that God should let the nations of the world know that God has done great things for Nigeria. In his preaching, the General Overseer, Pastor Adeboye, said when God visits you, and when you visit God, there are two types of divine encounters.



According to Adeboye, for God to visit a Christian, He must have located the person that is why He visited him. “The Lord God Almighty can see at all times, looking for someone to locate; call on Him while He may be near.’’ The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the programme will hold in Abuja every month throughout 2016.





Honesty, Integrity, Hardwork; The Virtues Of Yoruba Race – Osinbajo

The Vice-President (VP) of Nigeria, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo, on Monday identified honesty, integrity, and hard work as integral attributes of the Yoruba race.


Osinbajo said this in Ile-Ife during the coronation of the new Ooni of Ife, Oba Enitan Ogunwusi, as the 51st Ooni of Ife.


He described events, such as the coronation, as rare and very historic in all ramifications, especially to the people of Ile-Ife and the entire Yoruba race.


The VP also used the occasion to remind the new Ooni of the great responsibility before him.


“The stool of Ooni is revered and deeply important to the Yoruba race and the Ooni remains the father to all.


“And as a father to all, you have the primary responsibility of carrying the responsibility of the people.


“We are indeed grateful to God for affording us the opportunity to celebrate with pump and pageantry,” he said.