The Presidency on Wednesday clashed with the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) over the latter’s claim that the country was collapsing under the All Progressives Congress (APC)-led government.
It (the Presidency) referred the opposition to the President Muhammadu Buhari administration’s economic scorecard in the past four years to show how it has taken the economy out of the woods.
“Nigeria’s economy is not in trouble,” presidential spokesman Garba Shehu said in a statement last night. It was a reply to a claim by the PDP leadership that the government has scored below average in tackling insecurity, political uncertainties and poor economy.
PDP spokesman Kola Ologbodiyan said the opposition political party decided to raise the red flag because the country was collapsing under the APC.
But Shehu insisted that the economy had grown under President Buhari.
He said: “In keeping with historical trends, there is less economic activity during the electoral cycle. For instance, the economy grew by 2.35 per cent in Q2 of 2015 and 3.96 per cent in Q1 of 2015 as compared to 5.94 per cent in Q4 of 2014
“While foreign direct investment can help, it is not the only source of investment in the economy. There is also domestic investment, which is either undertaken by the government or by the private sector.
“It is also noteworthy that capital importation into Nigeria grew by 21.6 per cent in the first quarter of 2019 as compared to the last quarter of 2018. Indeed, foreign portfolio investment (which is still foreign investment) was $7.14 billion in the first quarter of the year.
“A look at business pages in newspapers shows that there is a lot of business activity going on in the country.
“Two stories in today’s paper point to increasing economic activity.
“First is that the profit of UACN grew in the first half of this year by 61 per cent (pg 12 The Nation).
“Second is that Business Day (pg1) states that cargo imports jumped by 21 per cent in the first half of 2019.”
Increasing imports, Shehu noted, is a pointer to greater economic activity and the availability of foreign exchange with which to conduct business in the country.
He went on: “A major constraint to business was the Apapa gridlock which a number of companies had listed as the major impediment to doing business. This situation has improved tremendously (see pg 23 of The Nation)”
He said that President Buhari improved relations with China, the United States (U.S.) and Europe and won their support for the administration’s development agenda in his first four years.
According to Shehu, President Buhari has channelled unprecedented sums of money into infrastructure development.
He said: “Capital spending has been kept at about 30 percent of annual budgets. Construction of roads, highways, public transport and airports has sharply increased. The government is spending heavily on power.
“This, combined with private sector investment, has grown power generation capacity.
“All said and done, President Buhari remains the best hope for the Nigerian economy. The country needs change and this remains the person with the will and determination to deliver.”
The PDP leadership had expressed a deep concern that the nation, which it said was hitherto a prosperity hub and a reference point for democracy, personal freedom and good governance, was becoming a failed state.
It lamented that the Buhari administration could not has been unable to guarantee any of its fundamental duties, thus making citizens “now desperate to take their destinies in their hands”.
According to Ologbodiyan, the PDP leadership took the decision to flash the red flag after a crucial meeting in Abuja yesterday.
The PDP statement reads: “The red flag has become urgent following the manifest total loss of faith by Nigerians across the board, in the ability of the Buhari Presidency to provide a democratic leadership that can engender a peaceful and secure nation.
“It is clear that the APC and the Buhari Presidency have held Nigerians hostage. Nigerians are now being treated like a conquered people. They can no longer freely exercise their constitutionally guaranteed rights; executive high-handedness has become a state policy just as the APC government, burdened by challenges of illegitimacy, has lost direction and only thriving in vindictiveness.”
The PDP alleged that the government opted to breathe down on perceived opponents following what it called the collapse of the APC’s defence at the tribunal.
It said: “Our party has also noticed that since the defence of the APC and President Buhari collapsed at the Presidential Election Petition Tribunal, the APC and its government have taken to harassment and repression of Nigerians by surreptitiously suspending constitutional provisions of freedom of speech and association in our country.
“Many compatriots are being taken in as political prisoners all in a bid to foist a siege mentality and suppress public opinion.
“Today, the Buhari Presidency cannot guarantee the security and safety of citizens. Bloodletting and violence have become the order of the day. Invaders, insurgents, kidnappers and killers have taken over major highways and communities; our nation’s security machinery have become overstretched; Nigerians now live in palpable fear; they cannot freely travel within their country and the government has no answers.
“On the economic front, President Buhari has ruined our economy and led our nation to become the world’s capital of poverty, while condoning the humongous corruption that has become the hallmark of his failed administration.
“Sadly, President Buhari’s anti-development policies, the corruption in his government as well as its failure to provide security have scared away foreign investors from our nation”.
PDP observed that only recently, the United Nations declared that “43 per cent of Nigeria’s Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) has taken flight to other countries, adding that unemployment has gone out of proportion and there is no hope in sight.”
The party called on Nigerians of good faith as well as the international community to speak out against the prevailing situation before it is too late.
It urged Nigerians not to despair, assuring them that the PDP candidate in the February 23 presidential election would get judicial victory at the Presidential Election Petitions’ Court (PEPC).
When contacted for reaction, the APC said it would not glorify the PDP with a response.
Its spokesman Lanre Issa-Onilu told The Nation last night: “My response is that when the PDP starts making sense, we’ll respond to them. We have issues of governance to deal with an attempt to respond to their senseless talk will be a distraction.”
Tribunal Victory, An Act Of God – Gov. Bello
He described his victory at the Tribunal as an act of God and a testament to the popular votes cast in his favour by the people of the state.
Governor Bello stated this on Sunday shortly after he observed the Eid prayer at the Lokoja Township Stadium to mark the Eid-El-Fitr in Lokoja, the state capital.
According to him, the electorate re-elected him during the November 2019 governorship election to enable him to consolidate on the achievement recorded in his first tenure.
The governor insisted that his victory which was affirmed on Saturday by the judges of the Tribunal did not come to him as a surprise, as the electorate came out in large numbers to vote for him and the All Progressives Congress (APC).
He stated that the victory has posed a challenge to him and assured the people that he would continue to do his best to ensure that they get good governance in the state.
Governor Bello made the remarks a day after the Kogi Governorship Election Petition Tribunal sitting in Abuja dismissed the petition filed by the candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in the election, Mr Musa Wada, and his party.
In a judgment of two to one, the Chairman of the Tribunal, Justice Kashim Kaigama, held that the petitioners failed to prove the allegations of over-voting, massive thumbprinting, and voter intimidation, among other electoral malpractices against the governor.
He also awarded a cost of N1 million to be paid by the petitioners to the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Governor Bello, and the APC who were the respondents.
Governor Bello’s re-election was, however, nullified by Justice Ohimai Ovbiagele who gave a dissenting judgment.
Justice Ovbiagele, therefore, ordered INEC to conduct fresh elections in seven local government areas where the petitioners proved their allegations of over-voting, thuggery, voter intimidation, massive thumb printing, and other electoral malpractices
Tribunal Affirms Election Of Yahaya Bello As Kogi Governor
The Kogi Governorship Election Petition Tribunal sitting in Abuja has affirmed the election of incumbent Governor, Yahaya Bello.
The petition had been filed by Mr Musa Wada, the candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in the 2019 election.
In a judgment of two to one, delivered by the Chairman of the Tribunal, Justice Kashim Kaigama, on Saturday, the tribunal held that the petitioner failed to prove the allegations of over-voting, massive thumb printing, voter intimidation, and other electoral malpractices.
The tribunal also awarded a cost of one million naira to be paid by the petitioners, PDP and Musa Wada to INEC, Yahaya Bello and APC who are the respondents.
In a dissenting judgment, Justice Ohimai Ovbiagele nullified the election of Governor Yahaya Bello and ordered INEC to conduct fresh elections in seven local government areas where the petitioners proved their allegations of over-voting, thuggery, voter intimidation, massive thumb printing, and other electoral malpractices.
What Does Boss Mustapha Want From Ministry of Power? – By Edem Edem
Anyone reading through a circular dated 19th May, 2020, from the office of the Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF) will only arrive at one solemn fact: Boss Mustapha is untowardly interested in goings on in the power sector. And his actions have begin to re-inforce talks in various quarters that he is a major beneficiary of the proceeds of darkness. The circular, in short, was a direct response to the sacking of the TCN MD by President Muhammadu Buhari on the recommendation of the Honourable Minister of Power, Eng Sale Mamman – an action that was popular as it was necessary. The circular, citing all sorts of rules, said the minister lacked the power to sack the erring MD. But nothing could be further from the truth. And this latest adventure clearly shows he is on a collision course with his own boss the President himself. Is he trying to over rule his own employer?
Because for those watching events closely, this may yet be another move to humiliate the minister by reversing a very effective decision just as it happened earlier this year. If that happens again, it would be an unmitigated tragedy both for national leadership, cohesion and indeed the entire power sector.
I’m a power sector activist so I should know. Many of the decisions taken by the minister are not only right but actually necessary if we must wade out of the embarrassing darkness we found ourselves. But officialdom, small minded meddlesomeness, and outright corruption keep getting in the way. The activities of Boss Mustapha in particular are worrisome.
I have some questions for Boss Mustapha.
1. Why does he always become restive with anything in the power Ministry?
2. Why didn’t he say all of these when the minister of communications, for instance, made some changes recently in top position of that Ministry?
3. Why didn’t we hear his (Boss) voice when similar reorganisation happened in key parastatal of the Ministry of Humanitarian Services when DG NEMA was replaced
4. Is it true the rumours making the rounds that he (Boss) benefits directly from some agencies within the power Ministry? The speed with which he acted when NBET MD was sacked is still fresh in my mind.
5. Is Boss Mustapha angry with the minister because SIEMENS company got a contract he is interested in? Why has be been so hard on local contractors making it difficult for them to meet targets.
Things to ponder
Nigerians will sooner or later have to chose between effectiveness and strangulating official procedures in addressing the power sector conundrum. The honourable minister must be empowered to go beyond those administrative red-tapism to deal with matters heads on. Procedures are great but not when an emergency like we have now has to be addressed.
The removal of the TCN boss was greeted with widespread jubilation in the industry especially by Patriots who want to see an end to darkness. The former MD was practically against the FG’s effort with SIEMENS and was openly granting interviews against the company due to his vested interest. By replacing him with a sound professional, Eng Abdulaziz, the minister demonstrated that he was willing and in fact, capable of delivering on his mandate. He, the minister, must not be frustrated in this bid. And Boss Mustapha must clearly know his place at the Federal Executive Council. A minister of the federal republic is clearly ahead of him in the Federal Executive Council (FEC). He must not be seen as rubbing shoulders with his superiors.
Edem Edem is a power sector watcher based in Sweden
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