A statement by Buhari’s media aide, Garba Shehu, quoted his principal to have said this on Monday during the 57th Ordinary Session of the ECOWAS Heads of State and Government in Niamey, the Niger Republic.
According to President Buhari, it is “important that as leaders of our individual Member-States of ECOWAS, we need to adhere to the constitutional provisions of our countries, particularly on term limits. This is one area that generates crisis and political tension in our sub-region.
“As it is, the challenges facing the sub-region are enormous; from socio-economic matters to security issues, the ECOWAS sub-region cannot, therefore, afford another political crisis, in the guise of tenure elongation.
“I urge us all to resist the temptation of seeking to perpetuate ourselves in power beyond the constitutional provisions.”
The Nigerian leader hailed those who have “resisted such temptations” and added that they will be seen as exceptional role models in their respective countries as well as the sub-region.
“Related to this call for restraint is the need to guarantee free, fair and credible elections,” the statement quoted him as saying.
“This must be the bedrock for democracy to be sustained in our sub-region, just as the need for adherence to the rule of law.”
On the political situation in Mali, President Buhari admitted that it is of serious concern to the body, and hailed President Mahamadou Issoufou of the Niger Republic and out-going Chair of the ECOWAS Authority of Heads of State and Government and the Leadership of the ECOWAS Commission, and the Chief Mediator, former Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan, “for effectively demonstrating commitment in handling the political situation in that country.”
While declaring Nigeria’s resolve to ensuring the civilian-led Transition Government does not exceed 12 months, he said it is important that such is done peacefully.
“While Nigeria understands the current political realities in Mali, the sub-region commitment to the Protocol on Democracy and Good Governance must never be compromised,” the statement added.
Read Buhari’s Full Statement Below:
PRESIDENT BUHARI URGES ECOWAS LEADERS TO RESIST TEMPTATION OF TENURE ELONGATION
President Muhammadu Buhari has appealed to ECOWAS leaders not to elongate their tenure in office beyond constitutional limits.
Making the call while presenting Nigeria’s General Statement at the 57th Ordinary Session of the ECOWAS Heads of State and Government in Niamey, Niger Republic on Monday, the President urged his colleagues to respect constitutional provisions and ensure free and fair elections.
According to him, it is “important that as leaders of our individual Member-States of ECOWAS, we need to adhere to the constitutional provisions of our countries, particularly on term limits. This is one area that generates crisis and political tension in our sub-region.
“As it is, the challenges facing the sub-region are enormous; from socio-economic matters to security issues, the ECOWAS sub-region cannot therefore afford another political crisis, in the guise of tenure elongation. I urge us all to resist the temptation of seeking to perpetuate ourselves in power beyond the constitutional provisions.
“I commend those in our midst that have resisted such temptations, for they will be deemed exceptional role models in their respective countries and the sub-region as a whole.
“Related to this call for restraint is the need to guarantee free, fair and credible elections. This must be the bedrock for democracy to be sustained in our sub-region, just as the need for adherence to the rule of law.”
On the political situation in Mali, President Buhari said it is of serious concern to ECOWAS, and commended President Mahamadou Issoufou of Niger Republic and out-going Chair of the ECOWAS Authority of Heads of State and Government and the Leadership of the ECOWAS Commission, as well as the Chief Mediator, former Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan, “for effectively demonstrating commitment in handling the political situation in that country.”
He declared that “Nigeria remains resolutely committed to ECOWAS decision for a civilian-led Transition Government not exceeding 12 months. This is important because of the circumstances surrounding Mali where violent non-state actors and other negative tendencies reside and who can take advantage of the unstable political situation to overrun the country, thereby plunging it into greater danger that will affect the political stability of the whole sub-region.
“While Nigeria understands the current political realities in Mali, the sub-region’s commitment to the Protocol on Democracy and Good Governance, must never be compromised.
“An early return to democratic governance which is transparent and civilian-led, will commend itself for Nigeria’s support for progressive relaxation of sanctions against Mali.”
On security, the Nigerian leader noted that, “Terrorism continues to be the greatest security threat in our sub-region, complicating other national security challenges. As a sub-region, we need to collaborate more by working hand in hand with each other, to combat the root causes of the different security-related manifestations in our countries.”
He said, “Nigeria is concerned with the rapidity at which terrorist groups in the Sahel and West Africa are working together against all of us,” adding that, “We must urgently review these ugly developments to guarantee the safety and survival of our sub-region.”
“Our national security apparatus and the relevant Units of ECOWAS must urgently be seized with these unfolding events across our sub-region and act decisively on the emergence of early warning signs,” he said.
Dwelling on the long-standing single currency issue for the sub-region, the President said, “Nigeria remains committed to the implementation of the action plan towards the actualization of the monetary union and single currency programme of ECOWAS,” and called on “Member States to show support to the resolution of the Heads of State and Government of the ECOWAS on this matter.”
Cognisant of the “likelihood that many ECOWAS member states may not meet the convergence criteria over the next few years due to the impact of COVID-19 on our economies and which as a consequence, will affect the take-off date of the single currency,” he said “Notwithstanding this envisaged delay, we must remain collectively focused and resolute in working to achieve the objectives of the ECOWAS monetary union as a project for the sub-region.”
Insisting that “the premature adoption of the “ECO” has unnecessarily heightened disaffection and mistrust among members of the emerging monetary union,” President Buhari encouraged “UEMOA (French acronym for the West African Economic and Monetary Union) to return to the roadmap on the common currency in the sub-region.”
He also urged all stakeholders to “bear in mind that those economic convergence criteria must be based on sound and sustainable macroeconomic fundamentals.”
Noting that some key unresolved issues still remained such as delinking the CFA franc of the UEMOA from the Euro; whether the UEMOA countries join as a bloc or individual countries; design of the exchange rate mechanism; Stabilization Fund; policy harmonization and exit strategy and reserve pooling among others, the Nigerian President called on his colleagues to provide “African solutions to African problems.”
According to him, “Foreign interference and so-called advice may not be in our best sub-regional interest,” as he stressed the “need for UEMOA to return to the agreed roadmap of the ECOWAS Single Currency by complying with the established framework under the roadmap and cooperate with other member countries in achieving the objectives of the programme.”
Observing that the Summit was holding “under a very complex health pandemic, whose impact on the global health and economy has so far been devastating,” President Buhari said “like the rest of the world, our sub-region is witnessing economic downturn with negative growth that is headed towards deep recession and the outlook continues to be uncertain.”
He, therefore, charged his colleagues on the “need to continue to work in concert with each other on several fronts to ease the negative effects of the pandemic,” adding that, “We need to demonstrate our collective resolve to harness the opportunities that come with COVID-19, despite its overwhelming negative impact on lives and livelihoods.”
The Nigerian President, who is the ECOWAS Champion charged with mobilising and coordinating the efforts against the pandemic, admitted that the “outlook for our sub-region with COVID-19 hovering over us is gloomy indeed.”
He, however, expressed confidence that “where there are challenges, opportunities are also available to be seized upon through greater collaboration with each other.”
“We must pool our resources together in unity to save our generation and generations to come from multiple challenges, including COVID-19 and related health issues.
“We need to redouble our efforts in preparing our national economies to withstand impending shocks against prospective multi-sector challenges that await us in the sub-region,” he declared.
Acknowledging that it is no easy task, President Buhari appealed to fellow leaders to “embrace our collective vision for the future with greater determination and innovative thinking and creativity.”
BREAKING: Trouble Looms for Ordinary Ahmed Isah as Stakeholders Condemn Unguided Utterances Against Nigerian Army, Draw NBC’s Attention
Stakeholders made up of Civil Society Organisations, Journalists and Security experts have expressed their displeasure over what they termed inciting utterances by radio broadcaster and Chairman of Human Right Radio, Ahmed Isah, popularly called Ordinary Ahmed Isah against the Nigerian Army’s discipline on Lance Corporal Martins Idakpini who was allegedly detained by the Nigerian Army for making a viral video criticising the Nigerian Army and President Muhammadu Buhari in the fight against insecurity in Nigeria. They said the “Ordinary President” as he is fondly called should have known better, that as a broadcaster who is billed to explore the “freedom of information act” should have have been professional and avoid setting the tone for loss of confidence on the Nigerian Army, who on their part are sacrificing all to ensure peace, stability and security in the country.
The Executive Director, Coalition of Civil Society Group for Good Governance (CSGG), Comrade Dominic Ogakwu made this known in a telephone interview with journalists in Abuja on Saturday.
In trying to make case for Lance Corporal Martins, the Ordinary Ahmed alleged that some persons in the Nigerian Army are making a fortune out of the the current insecurity situation of Nigeria.
“….Ahmed Isah is well respected by Nigerians and I will expect that given the fact that he knows a lot on the value of security, and what the Nigerian Army represent, he should rather make an attempt to reach necessary authorities to gain more knowledge to avoid making unguided statement that can trigger issues of insecurity the more…yes we agree that there are issues but the Army are doing very well to solve them and I think that the Onus is on Ahmed Isah as a lover of Nigeria and as a populist, to ensure that his utterances did not instigate some miscreants against the most revered and respected and sustaining institution like the Nigerian Army….” Ogakwu said.
“….So I will advice that he should as a matter of urgency readdress that matter by getting the necessary clarifications and verifying all the necessary facts to avoid making statements in error…yes a lot of rumours are being peddled against the Nigerian army, but it behoves on the media especially the one that is very close to the people to ensure that it did not rise on the waves of the moment on emotions, they should not “emotionalise” reportage….” He added.
He said “…reports must be balanced in perspectives and they must see to all sides, before actually drawing to conclusions, so as a matter of urgency I think the most respected Ahmed Isah should have known better that Nigerians are listening to him and as a man who is patriotic, who loves this country he should not be too emotional when it come to issues of security because he understands that in his programs, he explores all sort of emotions and that to me even though the people love it but then issues of national security, sensitive issues, issues that can set this country ablaze should be very guided….”
Undisclosed sources from the Nigerian Army who also frowned at the inciting utterances by Ahmed Isah threatened that the country’s Army will be forced to take legal action against the broadcaster if he continues in that unpatriotic line.
“….the drive by the Nigerian Broadcasting Corporation (NBC) to obliterate hate speech should be exercised on this issue, this is outright incitement, Ahmed Isah must put himself together and desist from sabotaging the Army’s efforts…” the source said.
For investigative journalist and “Accountapreneur”, Emmanuel Bagudu, “…the Nigerian Army is a family and any attempt to come in between a family amounts to incursion….” “….The “Ordinary President” is duty bound to be diplomatic. He must know that as a relevant stakeholder in this country that patriotism is key in his business. He must join in the quest for boosting the morale of the troops as well as advocating for trust and support for the Nigerian Military as a whole….” Bagudu said.
Youth Ambassador for the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) Austin Peacemaker shares the same thought “…. Ahmed Isah should not forget that the Nigerian Army is playing a very significant role in sustaining our beautiful democracy and strengthening our national security, even at the ECOWAS regional level, as such deserves our honour, respect and fairness, especially when reporting issues around National security. They deserve balanced reportage from Journalists including Ordinary Ahmed Isah, who is well respected by many of his listeners….” Peacemaker said.
“…He shouldn’t lose that respect by misleading or misinforming his listeners and Nigerians, in a bid to make his programme entertaining and exciting. Lance Corporal Martins Idakpini broke the very code and ethics of a regimented institution he swore and took oath to abide by, and also defend. There are measures to channel your grievances in any organisation, and not by doing a video and uploading on social media. That is the highest form of indiscipline for any soldier. No father, CEO, Boss or Employer will condone that in any revered establishment.”
“…Let’s be fair in our judgment. No matter what he has to say for me he has discredited himself first by insulting all his superiors, even down to the President. My investigation reveals that Lance Corporal Martins is a ceremonious soldier in the music band of the Army who has never been to any battlefront, so doing a video to discourage and dampening the morale of his brave colleagues in the battlefront equals treachery, sabotage, and lack of patriotism for his country. We should not forget that Nigerian Security Forces are respected across Africa and the world at large, if we downplay their efforts, successes and sacrifice to our motherland then we are unknowingly running down ourselves and Nigeria as a country….” Amb. Austin Peacemaker said.
Recall that Lance Corporal Martins Idakpini was reportedly arrested in June 2020 shortly after he made a viral video where he allegedly said that the Nigerian Army and other security services are not doing enough to end the Boko Haram war. He also insulted the Nigerian President, Muhammadu Buhari.
Edo Poll: We Must Be Neutral At All Times, INEC Tells Electoral Officials
Chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission, Professor Mahmood Yakubu, has rallied officials of the commission to remain steadfast to its ideals in conducting the Edo governorship election.
“Nigerians and the international community expect so much from us. They are watching. It is important that we all remain above board in the performance of our respective duties,” Professor Yakubu said in a message to the staff of the commission on the eve of the election.
“We must ensure that no political party or candidate is accorded any advantage over the other. We must be neutral at all times and stick strictly to our Code of Conduct and Oath of Neutrality to which we have all subscribed.”
By playing their parts and delivering a free, fair, and credible election, the INEC boss believes the commission would have helped to better the country.
“For, at the end of the day, we would have all contributed to the sustenance of democracy and a strong electoral process that all Nigerians can trust,” he said.
Professor Yakubu, who said all is set for the much-anticipated poll, promised his colleagues and other officials of the commission that their welfare and condition of service will be given priority during the election.
He is also confident that they will rise to the occasion.
“I have no doubt that our staff members will rise to the occasion. We have done it several times before and we can do it again,” he said.
“The Commission deeply appreciates the never-ending sacrifices made by our staff at all times, often beyond the call of duty, to ensure that we carry out our mandate. The management will continue to improve the welfare and conditions of service of staff within the available resources.”
The INEC National Commissioner for Voter Education and Publicity, Mr Festus Okoye, has said that as long as a registered voter comes to the Polling Unit before 2:30 pm they will be allowed to vote regardless of how long the process takes.
Okoye said this statement on Friday while explaining what steps the umpire has put in place to ensure a smooth run for the Edo governorship election which is set to hold Saturday.
“No registered voter who comes to the Polling Unit Tomorrow will be disenfranchised,” the INEC boss said.
This is the first major election organised by the Independent National Electoral Commission in the COVID-19 era and it is also the first time that a peace accord is being signed ahead of a governorship election.
“We are looking forward to tomorrow with cautious optimism,” Okoye said, adding: “we are confident that our message relating to voting in safety has permeated the nooks and crannies of Edo State.
According to him, the umpire has created sufficient awareness for the COVID-19 guidelines in the weeks leading up the election and anyone who does otherwise, will not be allowed to participate.
“We are confident that so many of the voters are already aware of the fact that if they come to the Polling Unit without a face mask or covering, they will not be allowed to vote.
“We have emphasized this over and over. “The first thing our voters are going to do is to apply the infrared thermometers that have been supplied to every Polling Unit on election day. Every voter will undergo that particular procedure of the use of infrared thermometers to check people’s temperature,” he said.
The exercise is expected to start for 8:30 am and according to Okoye, enough time will be given to allow everyone who arrives at the Polling Unit before 2:30 pm to vote.
“Polling will start at 8:30 in the morning. Why we have said this, is to enable our officials prepare well.
“Prior to this particular period, we didn’t have to pack hand sanitizers, methylated spirits and we didn’t have to pack facemasks for our officials but now we are going to be doing this and giving them some level of refresher course.
“Any voter who is on the outer queue by 2:30 pm will be allowed to vote even if the voting takes up to 5:00 pm but any voter who comes to the polling unit after 2:30 pm will not be allowed into the queue but those who are already there will be allowed to vote even if the voting takes up to 6:00 pm,”.
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