President Buhari congratulates AfDB President, Akinwunmi Adesina on Re-election, led round of applause at Council of State Meeting
In a statement issued by Femi Adesina, the Special Adviser to the President on Media & Publicity, yesterday, the Presidential spokesman said:
“On behalf of the Federal Executive Council and Nigerians in general, President Muhammadu Buhari felicitates with President of African Development Bank (AfDB), Dr Akinwunmi Adesina, on his re-election for a second term in office.
News of the victory came during the Council of State meeting, which was attended by former heads of state, Senate President, governors, some Ministers, and senior government officials.
As Secretary to Government of the Federation, Mr Boss Mustapha, announced the good news, President Buhari led a round of applause, and declared: “He deserves it.”
Adesina further said:
“The President extends appreciation to the African Union for its endorsement of the AfDB President much earlier, and to shareholders of the bank who worked tirelessly to ensure the return of the visionary leader.
President Buhari believes Dr Adesina’s versatility, experience at both national and international engagements, will be further deployed to energize the pan-African financial institution, urging him to remain focused and steadfast in pursuing the noble goals of making life better for Africans through various development plans, already captured as High 5s.”
“The President rejoices with family, friends and professional colleagues of Dr Adesina over the re-election, while commending members of staff and Board of Governors of the AfDB for their consistent support for the former Nigerian Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, and his management team.
While pledging full support of his government to ensure a successful tenure for the AfDB leadership, President Buhari prays that the Almighty God will continue to strengthen Dr Adesina and his team for greater good to the continent.” He concluded.
The National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) published on Monday August 24, 2020, the 2nd Quarter (Q2) 2020 Gross Domestic Product (GDP) estimates, which measures economic growth.
Nigeria’s (GDP) declined by –6.10% (year-on-year) in real terms in the second quarter of 2020, ending the 3-year trend of low but consistently improving positive real growth rates recorded since the 2016/17 recession. Consequently, for the first half of 2020, real GDP declined by –2.18% year-on-year, compared with 2.11% recorded in the first half of 2019.
The overall decline of -6.1% (for Q2 2020) and -2.18 per cent (for H1 2020) was better than the projected forecast of -7.24% as estimated by the National Bureau of Statistics. The figure was also relatively far better than many other countries recorded during the same quarter. Furthermore, despite the observed contraction in economic activity during the quarter, it outperformed projections by most domestic and international analysts. It also appears muted compared to the outcomes in several other countries, including large economies such as the US (-33%), UK (-20%), France (-14%), Germany (-10%), Italy (-12.4%), Canada (-12.0%), Israel (-29%), Japan (-8%), South Africa (projection -20% to -50%), with the notable exception of only China (+3%).
The government’s anticipation of the impending economic slowdown and the various initiatives introduced as early responses to cushion the economic and social effects of the pandemic, through the Economic Sustainability Programme (ESP), contributed immensely to dampening the severity of the pandemic on growth.
On the fiscal side, a robust financing mechanism was designed to raise revenue to support humanitarian assistance, in addition to special intervention funds for the health sector. Adjustments to the national budget as well as emergency financing from concessional lending windows of development finance institutions were critical in supporting governments’ capacity to meet its obligations. On the monetary side, moratorium on loans, credit support to households and industries, regulatory forbearance and targeted lending and guarantee programs through NIRSAL were some of the measures implemented in response to the pandemic during the second quarter.
It is equally worth noting that since the start of the third quarter, the phased approach to easing the restrictions being implemented centrally and across States have resulted in a gradual return of economic activity, including the possibility of international travel.
More importantly, the anticipated health impacts of the pandemic have been managed without overwhelming the health infrastructure, which would have further compromised the ability to re-open the country to travel,
commerce and international trade. Indeed, this has provided greater confidence and ability for authorities to initiate the conduct of nationwide terminal examinations and resumption of the next academic year.
Finally, it is anticipated that while the third and fourth quarters will reflect continued effects of the slowdown, the Fiscal and Monetary Policy initiatives being deployed by government in a phased process will be a robust response to the challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic.
Furthermore, as the country begins the gradual loosening up of restrictions, and levels of commercial activity increase by people returning to their various livelihoods and payrolls expand, it still remains imperative that all the necessary public health safeguards are adhered to so the country avoids an emergence of a second wave.
The statement is signed by Mr Femi Adesina, the Special Adviser to the President on Media and Publicity, today 26th August, 2020.
The Nigerian President is different things to different people, depending on the prism from which he is being considered. To some people, Muhammadu Buhari is a father figure. At 77 years old, he qualifies. To some others, he’s the greatest crowd pulling politician the country has seen for some time, and may yet see for a long time to come. True. And yet, to some others, he’s the strict man of discipline and integrity, who sets his face as flint against all forms of graft and avarice. Very true.
President Buhari is all these, and even more. But how does the international community see him? How do leaders of other countries, and people of weight and reckoning see the man who is a gift to the Nigerian nation?
For those of us who travel with the President round the world, it is sheer delight to see how the Nigerian Leader is venerated, and held in high esteem by the international community. Never to be forgotten are the words of the President of Portugal, Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa, when he met with President Buhari at the sidelines of the 74th United Nations General Assembly in New York, United States of America, in September, 2019.
Inviting the Nigerian President to Euro-African Forum that his country was to host, de Sousa said: “Please come and declare the event open, even if it’s for half a day. We have been waiting for you to visit for three years. Many African leaders have come, but we want Nigeria.”
Truly, President Buhari is that Nigerian Leader that is in demand not just in the West African sub-region, where his colleagues virtually compelled him to be Chairman of Ecowas in July 2018, in Africa, where he was made Champion of Anti-Corruption by the African Union (AU), and in the uttermost parts of the world.
One of his earliest international visits was to America in July 2015, just two months after assumption of office for the first term. He was guest of the then American President, Barack Obama, who said of him during a bilateral meeting at the Oval Office:
“President Buhari came into office with a reputation for integrity and a very clear agenda, and that is to make sure that he is bringing safety and security, and peace to his country.”
In September of 2016, on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly, President Obama said of the Nigerian President again: “I am very pleased that we have been able to build a very strong working relationship with President Buhari, and he’s come in and initiated some very bold efforts at reform. “On the security front, because of President Buhari’s leadership, he has been able to reform the Nigerian military.”
What of President Donald Trump, who succeeded Obama in office? At a meeting during an official visit by the Nigerian Leader in April, 2018, he declared: “I especially want to thank President Buhari for Nigeria’s partnership and leadership in the fight against terrorism. He’s been a real leader.”
And never to be forgotten is that meeting between Presidents Obama, Buhari, and Prime Minister Justin Trudeau of Canada, during the Nuclear Summit in America in May, 2016. President Obama introduced the Nigerian President to Trudeau, saying; “Have you met President Buhari? He’s doing a good job.”
Every good Nigerian felt proud of his President round the world, at that endorsement.
Let’s go back in time to London, May 2016. The Queen of England had just turned 90, and after a thanksgiving service, she was in conversation with the then Prime Minister David Cameron, and Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby. It was in the build up to a summit on corruption that London was hosting, and unknown to Cameron, a microphone was picking their conversation. He said: “Actually, we have got some leaders of some fantastically corrupt countries coming to Britain. Nigeria and Afghanistan- possibly two of the most corrupt countries in the world.”
But the Archbishop interjected, talking of Buhari. “But this President is not corrupt.” Another fine moment in praise of integrity.
President Xi Jinping of the People’s Republic of China: “Under the leadership of Your Excellency, the Nigerian people have been committed to safeguarding the nation’s stabilization, development of economy, and elevation of livelihood and achieved gratifying outcomes.”
At another time, President Jinping said: “ President Buhari is as decisive in dealing with terrorism as China.”
Thabo Mbeki, former South African President: “Here you have a person whose principle and practice is hostile to corruption. His detention (in 1985) was not for corruption, but for standing against corruption.”
Dame Patricia Scotland, Secretary-General of the Commonwealth: “Nigeria’s effort to combat corruption has been awe-inspiring. Thank you, Mr President.”
And Rex Tillerson, then American Secretary of State: “President Buhari’s work has resonated across Africa with his recent recognition as the African Union’s anti-corruption champion.” That was in March, 2018.
How about a fellow African leader, Dr Hage Geingob, President of Namibia? “A brave son of Africa is here, who has declared war against corruption.”
Many other testimonials trail President Buhari from different parts of the world, but this piece won’t be complete without mentioning the inspiring words of the UN Secretary-General, Antonio Guterres, about Nigeria’s exploits against the global plague, Covid-19. And it was all under the leadership of President Buhari.
“Nigeria is a developing country that has shown a remarkable capacity to respond to the Coronavirus… I was quite impressed to see, for instance, Nigeria putting in place and immediately establishing a hospital. And I saw difficulties in countries that are much more developed to do quickly the same.”
Of a truth, Nigeria is blessed to have President Buhari at a time like this. His footprints are surely already left on the sands of time. Indelibly.
…………………………….. PRINCE JULIUS ADELUSI-ADELUYI: CELEBRATING AN AFENIFERE AT 80 His reputation had preceded him for many decades before I got to meet Prince Julius Adelusi-Adeluyi one-to-one, sometime in 2008.
He had been many outstanding things, recorded many firsts, and established a reputation as man for all seasons. Founder of the first company (Juli Pharmacy) promoted by a Nigerian to be listed on the Nigerian Stock Exchange. First Governor of Rotary Club covering the entire country. When he decided to add a law degree to his original calling as a pharmacist, he came first in law school, despite not being exactly a young man then. First pharmacist to be named Minister of Health in the country. And for me, who lived in Usi-Ekiti when my father was principal at Notre Dame College in the early 1970s, the first Ekiti man who wouldn’t eat pounded yam three times a day. In fact, he does not like pounded yam at all.
That day we first met at the Nigerian Institute of International Affairs (NIIA), Victoria Island, Lagos, where we had both been invited to the front table during a book launch, I branded the renowned pharmacist in my mind as an Afenifere, though I don’t know if he’s actually a member, or active in the Yoruba socio-cultural and political group, which goes by that name.
Who can you really call an Afenifere? Anybody that looks out for your good, and wants to promote it, not necessarily a politician.
As we sat together, Prince Adelusi-Adeluyi extracted my life history from me within minutes. When I told him I was Executive Director in charge of Publications at The Sun Newspapers, he was astounded.
“Executive Director? But you are too young to be one,” he exclaimed. I laughed, and told him many senior positions I’d held before then. Editor of National Concord. Visiting member of the editorial board at Nigerian Tribune. Editor of Daily Sun for five years.
Prince wondered how it all happened, with what he called my “boyish looks.” I told him it was photo trick, and that many decades were already tucked in my belt.
That was how a father-son relationship started, which has seen me visiting his home many times, and meeting his dear wife, Julia, who never ceases to “load me with benefits” each time I’m leaving. Incidentally, both don’t look their ages, and carry on like boyfriend and girlfriend.
When Prince Adelusi-Adeluyi turned 70, I wrote a piece celebrating him in Daily Sun. All too soon, it’s 10 years after, and he turns 80 on Sunday, August 2, 2020. Hearty congratulations to this caring soul, who is always asking after your family, your welfare, and the next steps, when you finish what you are currently involved in. An Afenifere, if ever there was one.
On that very first meeting, as we departed the NIIA after the book launch, he pulled me aside, and in a conspiratorial tone, asked:”And how are the girls,” with a wink. I got the hint, and responded: “No away games sir.” We both laughed.
Anytime we meet today, whether in Abuja, or at his Lagos home, he never forgets that question, and the wink. And I try to assure him that I try to be just like him. We laugh.
In his early life, the Ado-Ekiti Prince had been a broadcaster at WNBS/WNTV. If you hear him speak today, you will know that what is bred in the bones cannot go out through the flesh. Urbane in all ways.
I’m glad President Muhammadu Buhari has celebrated “the accomplished pharmacist, lawyer and boardroom player” with a personal letter, as he turns 80. May we have more men in this mould. But sadly, they don’t seem to make them like this anymore. Congratulations, Prince. In okun o, as the Ekitis would say.
Adesina is the Special Adviser to President Muhammadu Buhari on Media and Publicity.
In the build-up to the 2015 general elections, the country was divided right down the middle. On one side were the Jonathanians, who supported the then incumbent President, Goodluck Jonathan, and wanted him to continue in office for another term of four years.
On the flip side were the Buharists (I was one, and remain one of them) who wanted the then former military head of state, Major General Muhammadu Buhari, elected civilian President. It was a pitched battle. O le ku, ija Ore (apologies to non-Yoruba speakers.
The war was robustly fought, and won by the Buharists. That was over five years ago. But you know what? Most of the gladiators are still in their entrenched positions. Most of the Jonathanians, not able to live with the reality of defeat, turned themselves to people who cavil, finding fault with the government of the day at the slightest drop of a hat. They became wailing wailers, and whenever they began to ululate, you would think raw pepper had been inserted into their tender and sensitive parts. Or that their lollipops had been taken away. They throw tantrums.
In history, such people are called Bitter-Enders, who fight to death. What is the etymology of the expression?
The Boers of southern Africa had gone to war against the British in 1899. The Boers were being beaten black and blue, battered on every side. At a point, they found it difficult to get food, ammunition and clothing. They would take uniforms from captured British soldiers, and wear them, minus the military insignia, yet they refused to give up.
The Boers were suffering terribly, but they shunned all peace initiatives. They were fighting all the way, to the bitter end. Till 1902, when the war eventually came to an end, after almost three years.
Anyone who today persists in a cause or action despite difficult or hopeless circumstances, is called a Bitter-Ender. There was one such legendary soldier under French Emperor, Napoleon Buonaparte. His name was Nicolas Chauvin. He was so fanatical, that he became a byword for excessive fervor, bigotry and bias. Wounded 17 different times, till he became badly disfigured, he refused to surrender, even when Napoleon had been defeated. His cry was “The Old Guard dies, but does not surrender.” Well, he died. And the English language inherited the word ‘chauvinism ‘ from his name.
What of during our own unfortunate war in Nigeria? If my memory serves me right, I read My Command by Olusegun Obasanjo nearly 40 years ago. He wrote about some young Biafran soldiers, who continued fighting, even when Gen. Philip Effiong had surrendered to the Federal Forces. They were eventually cut down. Bitter-Enders.
The fissure among most Nigerians today is sustained by primordial loyalties, and by who they supported in the 2015 presidential election. But I have news for the Bitter-Enders. On Tuesday, this week, former President, Dr Goodluck Jonathan, was at State House, along with President of Ecowas Commission, Jean-Claude Kassi Brou.
Dr Jonathan had been appointed Ecowas Special Envoy to Mali, to intercede in the crisis rocking the West African nation, after disputed parliamentary elections. Many lives have been lost, and the opposition members, under an umbrella called M5, are sticking to their guns that President Ibrahim Boubacar Keita, must leave office.
I was privileged to sit in at the meeting between our former President and the incumbent. And I took away some lessons, which should really be for everyone.
President Buhari and his guest came into the diplomatic room of the Presidential Villa together. Our President ushered Dr Jonathan to the visitor’s seat. A while back, Jonathan was the host in that very same room, ushering visitors to their seat. Now, he is in that same seat. If President Buhari visits the seat of power after May, 2023, he too would be ushered by somebody else. Such is life. Are you holding tight to anything today? Vanity of vanity. We are all birds of passage. Nothing lasts forever. Not power. Not position. Not any office. Not even life. A vital lesson I’ve learnt from President Buhari is his constant realization that he would not be in State House forever. He would often tell in private conversations: “While we are here, we shall do our very best.”
Gen Yakubu Gowon was in Dodan Barracks for nine years. He left. Olusegun Obasanjo was there, left the first time, came back again, left willy-nilly after eight years. Generals Ibrahim Babangida, Abdulsalami Abubakar, Chief Ernest Shonekan, and all former living leaders use the visitor’s seat, if they come a-visiting today. The only thing permanent in life is change.
How was the atmosphere between President Buhari and Dr Jonathan? Calm, friendly, characterized by absolutely no tension. No animosity. While uncountable Jonathanians and Buharists were spitting in one another’s eyes round the country, abusing one another’s father and mother at the same time, here were the two men, the perfect picture of geniality. I say again, no tension, absolutely none. They were both perfect pictures of civility.
Dr Jonathan gave a rundown of the situation in Mali. When he concluded, and made his recommendations, President Buhari was full of praises for him, saying he had elucidated clearly the Malian conundrum.
“Thank you for updating me so effectively. I have a very good brief of events now, “ President Buhari said. He promised to wade into the Malian situation, along with some other key Ecowas leaders.
With the briefing concluded, Dr Jonathan went into other issues. He thanked the President for giving him an official jet to make his travels convenient, and equally expressed appreciation for the Itakpe-Warri railway complex named after him last weekend.
“It’s a big present for me. Thank you so much,” he said.
Time to go, and the former President made a move for the visitor’s exit door. But President Buhari would have none of it. He led him through the exit exclusively meant for a sitting President. Very impressive. Meanwhile, out there, the Bitter-Enders are knocking their heads against the wall, sitting on the complaint counter and wailing endlessly. But here are the two main men, treating each other like brothers. May the wailers stop wailing. May the Bitter-Enders be purged of bitterness. Amen, somebody!
Mr Femi Adesina is the Special Adviser to President Buhari on Media and Publicity.
In a statement released by Mr. Femi Adesina, the Special Adviser to the President on Media and Publicity, yesterday 18th July, 2020. Mr. President congratulated the publisher of Premium Times, Mr. Dapo Olorunyomi.
The statement reads:
“President Muhammadu Buhari lauds co-founder and publisher of Premium Times, Dapo Olorunyomi, on his being named one of the four awardees for year 2020 International Press Freedom Award, by the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ).
The President says the honour attests to Olorunyomi’s many decades of commitment to the ideals of journalism and freedom of the Press.
“Democracy and a free Press are kindred spirits, and that is what we have committed to as a government. It is, therefore, gratifying to hear of this award to one of our own,” President Buhari says.”
“He enjoins Olorunyomi to use the occasion of the award to recommit himself to all that is noble, fair and just in journalism, adding that a responsible media is part of the building blocks of a country.
The President reiterates that a free and responsible Press remains an abiding commitment of the Nigerian government, and urges the media to adhere to the finest tenets of the noble profession at all times.
Olorunyomi wins the CPJ award along with three other journalists from Bangladesh, Iran and Russia.”He concluded.
In a statement signed by Mr Femi Adesina, the Special Adviser to the President on Media & Publicity July 4, 2020
“President Muhammadu Buhari sends warm greetings and commendation to a Nigerian doctorate student in University of Tsukuba, Japan, Mr Ikenna Nweke, who returned a missing wallet with huge sums of money to the police, and also turned down offer of a percentage by the authorities.”
Mr Adesina continue in the statement about the President’s praises of Nweke, that:
“President Buhari salutes Nweke for projecting the values of honesty, integrity and contentment that should be the hallmark of a people, noting that good virtues and propriety are the hallmark of every culture in Nigeria, while crimes and criminalities are exceptions.
The President believes Nweke’s behaviour, coming at a period that the country needs a positive spotlight and close-up on its real values, clearly signposts what should hold the nation together, inspired by solid foundations laid by most families, religious bodies and communities for success in life.”
“President Buhari wishes Nweke all the best in his studies and work as a teaching assistant in same university, urging all Nigerians, home and abroad, to keep celebrating the age-old, irreplaceable attributes of honesty and decorum, and shun the microwaved, get-rich-quick tendencies that bring individual and collective shame.” He concluded.
It came like a bolt out of the blue. Early this week, Rivers State Governor, Nyesom Wike, issued an advertisement, which went in a completely different direction compared to what he had always said of President Muhammadu Buhari.
The Wike we knew was either usually crying wolf where there was none, alleging that the Federal Government wanted to kill him, or claiming that he was not answerable to the central government at Abuja in any way, or even pontificating that the President and his political party, the All Progressives Congress (APC), had failed the country in diverse ways. If not for the maturity, and the avuncular attitude of President Buhari to all state governors, it would have been easy for one to conclude that he and Wike were enemies. Forsworn ones.
There was also the then Ekiti State Governor, Ayo Fayose, who had formed a tag team with Wike in the anti-Buhari tendency. The President could have dealt with them in many ways, either overtly or covertly, but he let them be. He was a father ready to tolerate his many children, irrespective of their differing idiosyncrasies, propensities and predilections.
A couple of weeks back, the Federal Executive Council (FEC), of which President Buhari is the Chairman, had approved the refund of N148 billion to five states in the country for repair of Federal roads. They included Rivers, Cross River, Bayelsa, Ondo and Osun.
Of the five states, only Ondo and Osun belong to the APC. The other three are of the opposition People’s Democratic Party (PDP). Rivers, under Wike, was particularly combative, truculent, if not at times insulting. But the President did not let that influence his decision. He did what was right, fair and just, irrespective of party affiliations, or personal inclinations.
Rivers State got the highest figure of N78.9 billion, and I remember some people asking me why the President should give such money to a governor who would call him names the next day. But that was where Wike surprised everybody. Last Monday, he issued newspaper advertisements with the title, ‘Thank You Our Dear President.’
Dear President. False? True. Was it the Printer’s Devil? Not so. The Governor boldly appended his signature to the document.
He thanked the President for approving the refund, noting: “Mr President has by this remarkable and heart-warming gesture shown not only your love for the Government and people of Rivers State, but also, demonstrated expressly that you are, indeed, a President for every State of the Federation and all Nigerians.”
False? True. Printer’s Devil? Not so. The Governor went on: “I assure you that the Rivers State Government is willing and ever ready to cooperate and partner with the Federal Government to advance the developmental aspirations of Rivers State in particular, and our nation in general.”
On seeing the above, I am sure millions of people must have cleaned their eyes, wondering if they were reading correctly. Having satisfied themselves that there were no cataracts, they went ahead:
“I wish to, therefore, appeal to Mr President to kindly oblige us a State visit when invited, to see what we have accomplished for the State and our people with the money.”
Wike, inviting President Buhari on a State visit. False? True. Printer’s Devil? Not so. He meant every word of it, and therefore appended his signature.
Many times, I had responded as spokesman to the President, to wolf cries by the Rivers State Governor. At a point, I began to ignore such cries, just as I did to Fayose before him. Mr President simply took all the wild allegations in his strides, and continued working for the country, all parts of the country.
In January 2018, there had been vicious killings in some parts of the country. States affected were; Benue, Taraba, Plateau, Yobe, Rivers and Zamfara. The President decided to embark on sympathy and solidarity visits to the states. All the Governors were receptive, except Wike, who said the visit was a smokescreen, meant to revive the dying APC in Rivers State.
“Apart from Jesus Christ, we don’t know of anyone who has risen a dead thing. APC is a dead party in Rivers State. No matter how you fast and pray, it will never wake up, “ he had said.
Again, he declared at another time, talking of the President: “We are the only state that the Federal Government refused to pay us our money used to execute Federal projects, because I don’t go to see him in the night, and I won’t go. He is not my friend, he is not doing well…”
When about 20 people were killed on New Year Day 2018, in Omoku area of the state, and the President wanted to visit, Wike demurred. He said there were killings everyday all over the country, and it meant the President must visit every State on a daily basis.
The circle has turned fully round, and Governor Wike is inviting the President to visit. He says he’s “a President for every State of the Federation and all Nigerians.” Wonderful!
Some people say it is N78.9 billion that is working, and the Governor is clearly inebriated by that windfall. But I don’t think so. Rivers is by no means a poor state. The amount is handsome, no doubt, but the state is oil rich, and can hold her own when it comes to finances. I rather choose to believe that Governor Wike had been playing a curious kind of politics all along, and now, fairness and justice have touched him in a positive way.
“He is not my friend, he is not doing well, ‘ he had said. Now, he is calling the man “our dear President “ asking him to be “assured of our profound esteem.” Wonders, indeed, shall never end.
There are millions upon millions of us round the country, who love President Buhari, and believe in him. We are called Buharists, and we have no apologies. They abuse us, deride and malign us, at times, they even threaten us. But we remain who and what we are: Buharists. Come rain or shine.
Why do we love the President, and unconditionally too. Is he a flawless, perfect man? Does he run a perfect, flawless government? Not exactly so, and I’ve not seen any in this world. But we stand by him, through thick and thin. Like Dr Okolo Oteri Eme, one of the Buhari Amazons posted on Facebook earlier this week, “We do not support him because we like him but because he gives us solid, verifiable reasons to love him on a daily basis.”
I see a man with solid integrity, honesty, sense of accountability, in a forest of crooked, perverse people, and you ask me not to follow him? I will follow him from Benin to Beijing, from Cape to Cairo, anywhere, everywhere.
I see a man bringing enduring change to agriculture, to infrastructure; roads, rail, bridges, airports, laying a $2.8 billion gas pipeline, money he could have craftily diverted for himself and for generations unborn, and you ask me not to believe in him? #We Believe! Ask Maryam Shetty, another Buhari Amazon.
I am glad Governor Wike has now seen what we had seen long ago, some of us as far back as 1983. And he has realized that it was time to stop the kind of politics he had played all the while.
My friend, Lorenz Mba, summed it all up in a message he sent to me on Wednesday. “For those who constantly maligned PMB, and called him all sorts of unprintable names, N78.9 billion is your answer. You simply won’t give those you hate N78.9 billion. I see that this gesture has truly humbled Nyesom Wike. Politics is all about propaganda. I salute PMB for his show of maturity in all these grandstanding by Southeast and South-south politicians. Go to Enugu-Port Harcourt Expressway, Onitsha-Enugu, 2nd Niger Bridge today. Talk was cheap. PMB showed up. Enough of rhetoric, Biko.”
We said it that President Buhari hates no part of the country. He has come to serve, and not to be served. He is fair and equitable to all. But they said our mouths were smelling, and we should shut up. Governor Wike has now vindicated us. We are glad. We Believe!
Femi Adesina is the Special Adviser to President Buhari on Media and Publicity.
Something good is already happening. Something marvelous is in store, as Federal Government kick starts the $2.8 billion Ajaokuta – Kaduna – Kano (AKK) National Gas Pipeline Project next Tuesday. It’s another humongous signature milestone by President Muhammadu Buhari, which will leave his footprints inexorably on the sands of time.
Roads, Bridges, Rail, Airports, Social Investment, and many others. Buhari is doing great things, which will pedestal him in the pantheon of great Nigerian leaders. And now, he has struck again. He is kicking off the AKK pipeline project, which will carry gas between the southern and northern parts of the country. The project will eventually extend to North Africa.
The Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) initially announced tenders for the project in July 2013. A project proposal was submitted to the Infrastructure Concession Regulatory Commission in June 2017, and the Federal Executive Council granted approval in December 2017. I tell you, this President Buhari has the heart of a lion.
If the intention was to continue to run the NNPC as an automated teller machine (ATM), as we have seen before in this country, will such staggering project ever be approved, not to talk of taking off? And some people are still asking for CHANGE, when it is right before their very eyes.
The 614 kilometers-long National Gas Pipeline is Phase One of the Trans-Nigeria Gas Pipeline (TNGP) project, to be done on build and transfer Public Private Partnership (PPP). It will transport 3,500 Million metric standard cubic feet per day of dehydrated gas from several gas gathering projects located in southern Nigeria.
The project will be in three phases. Phase One is 200 kilometers-long, between Ajaokuta and Abuja, at a projected cost of $855 Million.
Phase Two is 193 kilometers-long, between Abuja and Kaduna, to cost an estimated $835 million, while Phase Three is 221 kilometers-long, between Kaduna and Kano, at an approximate cost of $1.2 billion. The project will eventually reach North Africa in subsequent phases.
What will AKK pipeline project do for Nigeria? Great and wonderful things. It will create steady and guaranteed gas supply network between the North and South, and will enhance Power Generation Capacity. The industrial sector will be strengthened, local usage of gas will be promoted and increased, and the country’s revenue generation boosted through export of natural gas.
Nigeria is ranked the 7th most endowed natural gas country in the world. She sits on about 180 trillion cubic feet of natural gas deposits, which can be utilized as gas to power, gas to petrochemicals, Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG), Liquefied Petroleum Gas (LPG), Compressed Natural Gas (CNG), among others.
Over the years, Nigeria has exploited its oil resources more, to the detriment of gas, which incidentally fetches more revenue, but is also more expensive to prospect. One big advantage the average Nigerian can look forward to is the evolvement of compressed natural gas (CNG), which is still at pilot stage in the country.
While presenting his performance report to the Federal Executive Council recently, Minister of State for Petroleum, Timipre Sylva, spoke extensively about CNG, and what it can do for Nigeria as an alternative to petrol. He listed the challenges of the oil and gas sector to include; under-recovery, crude theft, insecurity, high cost of production, very low LPG penetration, refineries shutdown, long contracting cycle, among others.
Sylva stressed that the oil and gas sector remains critical to the Nigerian economy, even as we strive to diversify. He identified CNG and LPG penetration as priority. Said the Minister: “The switch to CNG will help reduce the burden of petrol subsidy on the finances of the country, and government should encourage Nigerians to use CNG as fuel for transportation.”
CNG began as a pilot project in the country in 2006, but target for conversion workshops was not met till 2015. About 4,000 vehicles run on CNG in Benin, Edo State, and it’s about 50% cheaper than petrol. Vehicles running on CNG, statistics show, save about N1,143 daily, compared with petrol. This amounts to over N30, 000 monthly. The cost of converting the car can thus be recovered within six months.
Gas is cleaner energy, cheaper than petrol, and more friendly to the environment. Global warming will, therefore, be slowed down.
More than 175,000 vehicles run on CNG in America today, and 23 million worldwide. Nigeria will join the number, and boost productivity.
The Buhari signature projects will remain landmarks in Nigeria. Help me count them: Roads, rail, bridges, airports, agriculture, AKK… and many more.
Surely, we will always remember this President for good.
By: Adesina is Special Adviser to President Muhammadu Buhari on Media and Publicity
The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has a fixation with 60 years. At the height of its heady days in power, it challenged its Chi (personal god) to a wrestling contest, vowing that it would rule Nigeria for minimum of 60 years. We know how the story ended. The Chi gave the boastful party a thunderous pin-fall. So great was the fall that not all the king’s horses nor all the king’s men could put Humpty Dumpty together again.
The Sugar Candy Mountain of 60 years ended in 16 years, with the bloody nose Nigerians gave PDP at the polls through the All Progressives Congress (APC) in 2015. Since that time, however, PDP has not stopped fantasizing about 60 years. Addressing the media recently on the 5th year anniversary of its nemesis, President Muhammadu Buhari, in power, the party, through Kola Ologbondiyan, its National Publicity Secretary, said the President and his team “have taken our country 60 years backward.” Lol. What a neurosis with 60 years.
When the PDP lies, it speaks its mother tongue, its natural language, “for he is a liar and father of all lies.” The party has become willfully blind and deaf to all progress going on in the country.
Back to English Literature class in secondary school, we were taught what an oxymoron was: figure of speech in which apparently contradictory terms appear in conjunction. That is why we want to examine the ‘good setback’ the Buhari government has given Nigeria, taking her back 60 years, according to the PDP.
There are minimum of 600 road projects going on in different parts of the country today. What a good setback. The Buhari government is doing what Napoleon couldn’t do, and so, it is taking the country ‘backward.’
Hear the story of the Bodo-Bonny Road. It had been on the drawing board for 48 years. It is supposed to be the first link road between Bonny, where the country’s cash cow, the Nigerian Liquefied Natural Gas (NLNG) project is sited, and the rest of Rivers State. But no access, except by boats and helicopters.
For almost five decades, the Bodo-Bonny Road was only in the realm of imagination. Till Muhammadu Buhari came. Work commenced on the $333 million project in 2017, and estimated time of completion is 2022.
The 38 kilometers long road runs through low lying marshland swampy terrain, with many culverts, two creek bridges of about 500 meters in length, and a major river bridge of about 713 meters length. Yet, Buhari is building it, in conjunction with NLNG. What a backward movement!
We have said a lot about the Second Niger Bridge. And we shall never stop talking about it. The project makes our heart to beat Du du ke, du du ke, each time we remember it.
The first bridge was built in 1965, and is the major gateway to the land of the wise men-the East. But the sole bridge has become grossly inadequate, and people virtually see hell on it at major festive times.
Government after government had built a new bridge-with their mouths- particularly since we returned to democratic rule in 1999. Whenever elections approached, and they needed the votes of the people, they would take cutlasses, hoes and shovels, go to the site of the bridge, and pretend to be digging the ground. Once elections were over, and they had got the votes they wanted, it’s goodbye basket, I’ve carried all my apples.
Till Buhari came. Without fanfare, no bravado, no theatrics, he set to work. The bridge is 48% completed today, with sights firmly set on the first quarter of 2022 as delivery time. What a backward move, according to PDP. And to think the party can’t even complete its head office, despite raising billions of Naira, which developed legs and vanished.
What about rail? Have you seen the Warri-Itakpe line, which had vegetated for over 30 years? What about Abuja-Kaduna, already put to use? And Lagos-Ibadan, about 90% done? Ibadan-Kano has been awarded, there will be Lagos-Calabar, and many others. But PDP says the rail lines are leading us backwards by 60 years. What a good backward movement!
Airports. The country was rated as having some of the worst airports in the world before Buhari came. But today, see ultra-modern terminals in Abuja, Port Harcourt, Lagos, Kano, and Enugu is coming on stream shortly. But they say it’s a flight backwards. Oh, I see. Such people may never then fly forward ever and ever. They are perpetually stuck in reverse gear.
Agriculture. We used to import everything. Even when we had a celebrated farmer as President, we brought in rice from all over the world, and beans from Burkina Faso. Maize, wheat, sorghum, millet, we imported everything. Fertilizer was one huge scam, when we planted nothing.
Then Buhari came. He told Nigerians to return to the land. And he put his money where his mouth was. Agriculture was massively funded, and today, we have pyramids of rice round the country. We no longer import any type of grains, rather our neighbors come to buy here. We are almost self-sufficient in food.
Imagine if such hadn’t happened, and COVID-19 came. No foreign exchange to import food, all international borders closed, nothing to eat. Nigeria would have been in terrible crises. But we thank God Buhari came this way. He made all the difference. Yet PDP (Papa Deceiving Pikin) says it’s backward movement. I like that kind of backstroke, don’t you?
Eleven quarters of consecutive GDP growth, before Coronavirus threw a spanner in the works. Yet, they say it’s all backward movement. Non-oil exports have grown highest in the country’s history. We are taking massive leaps in the Ease of Doing Business. Light appears at the end of the long tunnel of lack of electricity, with a transparent deal with Siemens of Germany. For the first time in over ten years, Nigeria is conducting transparent bidding process for 57 Marginal Oil Fields to increase revenue. Insurgency, crime and criminality are being robustly fought.
COVID19, which has humbled the great powers of the world, is also being battled relentlessly. What of corruption? No retreat, no surrender. Do the crime, do the term. More than 1,400 convictions, and over N800 billion recovered in recent times. Yet PDP says it’s backward movement. I hear.
When AfDB President, Dr Akinwunmi Adesina came to see President Buhari recently, I had a private dialogue with him. And he told me of an African leader who met him and said: “Those who don’t want you for a second term in office say you are not doing well. But if what you are doing is a bad thing, please continue with those bad things for the sake of Africa. We appreciate what you are doing.”
Doing admirable bad things. Another oxymoron. But some morons don’t know oxymorons. So they talk of Nigeria being taken back 60 years. What a good backward movement. Nigerians want more of such.
Adesina is Special Adviser to President Buhari on Media and Publicity
The Presidency in a press statement yesterday, described the Northern Elders Forum, under the leadership of Prof Ango Abdullahi, as a “General Without Troops”.
In a statement released and signed by Mr. Femi Adesina, the Special Adviser to the President on Media and Publicity, yesterday night, addressing the Northern Elders Forum’s earlier issued statement on the state of the insecurity in the North, he said:
“The Northern Elders Forum (NEF) in a statement Sunday signed by its so-called Convener, Prof. Ango Abdullahi, alleged that the insecurity in some northern states of the country was an indication that President Muhammadu Buhari and the governors of those states have lost control over the protection of the people which is a constitutional duty.
We are not surprised by this latest statement by Prof. Abdullahi, and our past position on what his group represents remains unchanged: a mere irritant and featherweight.”
Femi Adesina went further that:
“The former vice chancellor signed the statement under the banner of Northern Elders Forum (NEF). Hearing that title, you would think the body was a conglomeration of true elders. But the truth is that NEF is just Ango Abdullahi, and Ango Abdullahi is NEF. It is a quasi-organization that boasts of no credible membership, and its leader is akin to a General without troops.”
“Before the 2019 presidential election, the one-man army called NEF had shown its antipathy against President Buhari, and its preference for another candidate. They all got beaten together.
NEF is merely waving a flag that is at half-mast. President Buhari steadily and steadfastly focuses on the task of retooling Nigeria, and discerning Nigerians know the true state of the nation. They don’t need a paper tiger to tell them anything.” He concluded.
But the official response of the Northern Elders Forum (NEF) is not known to Daily Watch Press up to this moment, as the press statement from the Presidency came late on Sunday 14th June, 2020, around 9:00 Pm.