The President Muhammadu Buhari administration has issued its first formal response to a blistering attack by former President Olusegun Obasanjo who said the president has failed, and should not to seek re-election in 2019.
In a 13-page public statement Tuesday, Mr. Obasanjo issued a scathing rebuke of Mr. Buhari and his government, accusing him of being incompetent, sectional and sloppy.
The presidency refused to respond to the letter on Tuesday, with a presidential aide managing to dismiss the statement on Wednesday as an “insult”.
In an official reaction Wednesday, Information Minister Lai Mohammed thanked the former president for his “positive comments”, according to the News Agency of Nigeria.
Mr. Mohammed said the government received the statement in good faith.
He also assured Nigerians of better life ahead.
Read the full statement below:
PRESS STATEMENT BY THE MINISTER OF INFORMATION AND CULTURE, ALHAJI LAI MOHAMMED, ON WEDNESDAY, 24 JAN. 2018
We have read the press statement by former President Olusegun Obasanjo on the State of the Nation.
For the record, Chief Obasanjo is a patriot, and he has proven this time and time again. We appreciate what he said concerning the Administration’s performance in two out of the three key issues that formed the plank of its campaign: Fighting corruption and tackling insurgency. Specifically, the former President said President Buhari must be given credit for his achievement so far in these two areas. We thank him for this.
Apparently, the former President believes that the Administration does not deserve a pass mark in the area of the economy, which is the third of our three-pronged campaign promises.
We have no doubt that in the face of massive challenges in this area, this Administration has availed itself creditably. We believe that Chief Obasanjo, because of his very busy schedule, may not have been fully availed of developments in the government’s efforts to revamp the economy, which was battered by the consequences of over-dependence on a commodity as well as unprecedented pillaging of the treasury.
Today, most of the indices by which an economy is measured are looking up. Permit me to say, however, that Nigeria would not have exited recession through a mere order or if the Administration had not made use of ”good Nigerians” who could help.
This Administration is making steady progress in its determined effort to revamp the economy, and the results are showing:
* Foreign Reserves have peaked at $40b, the highest level in about four years, and up from $24 billion just a year ago, even though when we came in, the price of oil had crashed woefully.
* According to the National Bureau of Statistics (NBC), headline inflation has fallen for 11 consecutive months, standing at 15.37% as at Dec. 2017. This is the lowest inflation rate since Jan 2017, and it has met and surpassed the target set for inflation in the Administration’s Economic Recovery and Growth Plan (ERGP).
* Our determined implementation of the Treasury Single Account (TSA) has stopped the hemorrhaging of the treasury. Some 108 billion Naira has been saved from removal of maintenance fees payable to banks, pre-TSA. The nation is being saved 24.7 billion Naira monthly with the full implementation of the TSA.
* The elimination of ghost workers has saved the nation 120 billion Naira
* At about 1.8 billion dollars, the capital inflows in the second quarter of 2017 were almost double the $908 million in the first quarter.
* In the wake of a stable Naira and increased investment inflows, Nigeria’s stock market emerged one of the best-performing in the world, delivering returns in excess of 40 percent.
* Nigeria rose 24 places on the World Bank’s Ease of Doing Business ranking, and earned a place on the List of Top 10 Reformers in the world.
* According to Q3 2017 figures, agriculture export is up year-on-year by 25%, solid minerals exports are up year-on-year by 78%, raw materials exports are up 70% year-on-year and manufactured goods exports are up 22% year-on-year.
* Government agencies such as the Nigeria Customs Service are reporting highest-ever revenue collection, while JAMB, under the new management appointed by President Buhari in 2016, remitted N7.8billion to the coffers of the federal government. The total amount remitted by JAMB between 2010 and 2016 was a paltry N51 million!
These positive indices may not have immediately impacted positively on Nigerians, but Nigerians will definitely get a new lease of life a short while from now. This is because the good news from the agricultural sector, which is recording a bumper harvest, will bring down the cost of foodstuffs, especially such staple as rice, and our massive Social Investment Programme will ease the pain of the most vulnerable in the society.
When we assumed office in 2015, some 6 million farmers were involved in rice production. Thanks to the Anchor Borrowers’ programme of this Administration, we have grown that number to over 12 million farmers. The result is that our rice import from Thailand alone has dropped from 644 metric tonnes to 22,000 MT in just two years. This is phenomenal.
Apart from rice, Nigeria is also doing well in other grains, especially Millet, Sorghum and Maize. We are now the second largest producer of sorghum after the US, the third in millet after India and our breweries are now enjoying local sourcing of those commodities.
For maize, we are producing 10 million tons while we need about 13 million tons for both human and animal nutrition. Nigeria leads the world in the yam and cassava production. We account for 70% of the world’s yam production. In two years, we hope to be the world’s largest exporter of yam! Overall, our ambition is that agriculture should rise from 25% to 40% of GDP, so that we can banish poverty and overcome our economic anxiety.
Our Social Investment Programme is Nigeria’s most ambitious social welfare programme ever. Currently, 5.2 million primary school children in 28,249 schools in 19 states are being fed daily; 200,000 unemployed graduates have enlisted into the N-power Job Scheme, and a quarter of a million loans already distributed to artisans, traders, and farmers.
Finally, our investment in infrastructure is simply unprecedented. This is because infrastructure is key to faster economic growth and development.
Here is a synopsis of what we have done in this area:
* Power Generation at an all-time high of 7,000mw and all can be transmitted
* RAIL: Lagos-Kano Standard Gauge is on. Lagos-Ibadan sector ready 2019, Kano-Kaduna ready 2019; The entire stretch ready 2021; Negotiations on for Coastal Rail covering 15 cities from Lagos to Calabar.
* ROAD: 25 major highways being funded with the N100b Sukuk Bond, and all geo-political zones are benefitting equally
This Administration is not unaware of the enormity of the challenges facing the nation, but we are up to the task. We have taken the bull by the horns, and long-suffering Nigerians will begin to experience a new lease of life as our efforts yield fruits. We will not go into a state of funk for whatever reason.
On the Herders/Farmers’ clashes, this Administration is determined to end the crisis resulting from this once and for all, not minding the fact that the clashes predate us. we urge Nigerians to have faith in the Administration’s ability to resolve the crisis, and to watch out for concrete measures in this regard.
On whether or not President Muhammadu Buhari should run for another term, it is true that many Nigerians have been calling on the President to run again, while others are opposed to his return.
However, we believe this issue is a distraction for the President at
this time. This is because Mr. President spends every waking hour tackling the enormous challenges facing the nation, most of which were bequeathed to his Administration by successive past Administrations.
He is committed to fulfilling the mandate given to him by Nigerians in
2015. And that’s where we are right now!
Finally, we have no reason to believe that former President Obasanjo has any motive beyond the well-being of the nation in issuing his Special Press Statement.
We have also taken his admonition in good faith, and we thank him most sincerely for taking time off his busy schedule to pen such a long statement.
WTO: Trump Wrong For Rejecting Okonjo-Iweala – Fani-Kayode
Former Minister of Aviation, Femi Fani-Kayode has condemned the move by the United States President, Donald Trump to block the appointment of Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala as the Director-General of World Trade Organisation (WTO).
Recall that Okonjo-Iweala on Wednesday won the popular vote by a wide margin, with the expectation of an announcement after a World Trade Organization meeting in Geneva.
She was reported to have won the support of 104 of all 164 member countries of the WTO, many of which were from Africa and Europe.
However, the US reportedly expressed its disappointment over the appointment of Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala despite her widely gained support.
Reacting in a post on his Twitter page, Fani-Kayode warned that Trump’s opposition to Okonjo-Iweala would upset millions of his supporters in Nigeria and Africa.
..This extraordinary lady is by far the best candidate,her integrity is unimpeachable & her ability is unquestionable. Opposing her has upset millions of Trump-lovers in Nigeria & Africa &hundreds of thousands of Nigerian/Americans in the U.S. itself.
I hope he reconsiders.
— Femi Fani-Kayode (@realFFK) October 29, 2020
Nigeria’s Economy Too Fragile For Fresh Lockdown —Buhari
President Muhammadu Buhari has warned that Nigeria’s economy is too fragile for fresh coronavirus (COVID-19) lockdown.
The president stated this in a post on his Twitter handle @MBuhari on Thursday.
Buhari stated that compliance with COVID-19 protocols by all Nigerians is crucial to avert a second wave of the pandemic in the country.
This is coming following the recent increase in Coronavirus cases in many countries around the world.
“Looking at the trends in other countries, we must do all we can to avert a second wave of COVID-19 in Nigeria.
“We must make sure that our cases, which have gone down, do not rise again. Our economy is too fragile to bear another round of lockdown.”
Looking at the trends in the other countries, we must do all we can to avert a second wave of Covid-19 in Nigeria. We must make sure that our cases, which have gone down, do not rise again. Our economy is too fragile to bear another round of lockdown.
— Muhammadu Buhari (@MBuhari) October 29, 2020
Femi Adesina: #EndSARS Protests Fuelled Looting Of Warehouses
Femi Adesina, special adviser to President Muhammadu Buhari on media and publicity has alleged that some Nigerians involved in recent cases of looting experienced in some cities across the country didn’t do it because they were angry or hungry.
He alleged that they were simply taking advantage of the collapse of law and order caused by the #EndSARS protests.
He stated this on Thursday, 29th October when he appeared on Channels Television’s Sunrise Daily programme.
He declared that poverty has nothing to do with the invasion of COVID-19 palliatives warehouses.
He said: “Criminality is criminality. Would it justify armed robbery because the man was poor? Would you justify armed robbery because the man didn’t have money?
“Just as you cannot justify armed robbery because a man was poor and took a gun to rob another person, you can’t also justify the lootings going on because it is pure criminality. My view is that it is not everybody that is hungry that engaged in that looting. This is the truth, it is greed and pure criminality.
“Criminality will always be criminality and anarchy promotes criminality. What has happened in the past two or three weeks led to what is happening now. If there was cohesion and tranquility in society, this would not have happened. Therefore, it is corollary to the near anarchic situation that came on the country because of the protest.
“If you did not have people burning police stations, killing policemen, burning private and public property, you won’t have this kind of looting. That means those same people will be in society and will find ways to eke out a living but because the situation was created for near-anarchy that is why you have this.
“So, I don’t agree that it is all about poverty. Yes in any country, you will have people that are poor, hungry…that is one of the reasons you have government to ensure that the number of the poor reduces progressively.
“So this crowd of people you see going to loot are not necessarily hungry or angry; they are taking advantage of the collapse of law and order that came as a result of the protest.”
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