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Nigeria: 2023 – I Will Keep My Successor a Secret – Buhari

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President Muhammadu Buhari has said he would not name his favourite candidate to succeed him in 2023.

The president spoke in an interview on Channels Television which aired yesterday.

According to him, he prefers to keep the identity of the candidate to himself as revealing who he is may put hurdles on his path.

Asked what comes to his mind when he hears PDP, the president said; “PDP! Failure!”

When asked, “2023 elections, what comes to mind?”.

The president replied; “It is not my problem!”

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On what he thinks about the youths, the president said, “I wish when they go to school, when they work hard, when they have a degree, they don’t do it thinking the government must give them a job.

“You get educated because an educated person is certainly better than an uneducated one, even in identifying personal problems. So, education is not just to hang on to the government to give you a job.”

The president also stated his readiness to sign the Electoral Act Amendment Bill after the National Assembly makes the necessary adjustments.

He, however, said such changes must include the addition of consensus and indirect primary options to the mode of selecting candidates for elections, as against the initial mandatory direct mode as contained in the bill he declined to sign.

He said, “All I said (is that) there should be options. We must not insist that it has to be direct; it should be consensus and indirect.

“There should be options; you can’t dictate to people and say you are doing democracy. Give them other options so they can make a choice.”

Asked if he would sign if the lawmakers effect the change in that direction, he affirmed, “Yes, I will. I will sign.”

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On the leader of the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB), Mazi Nnamdi Kanu, Buhari said he would not intervene to secure his release because that would be interfering with the work of the judiciary.

“There is one institution that I wouldn’t interfere with; that is the judiciary. Kanu’s case is with the judiciary but what I wonder is when Kanu was safely in Europe, abusing this administration and mentioning too many things, I thought he wanted to come and defend himself on the accusations.

“So, we are giving him an opportunity to defend himself in our system, not to be abusing us from Europe as if he was not a Nigerian. Let him come here with us and then criticise us here. Nigerians know that I don’t interfere with the judiciary; let him be listened to.

“But those who are saying that he should be released, no, we cannot release him.”

When asked about the possibility of a political solution, Buhari said, “There is a possibility of a political solution. If people behave themselves, all well and good, but you can’t go to a foreign country and keep on sending incorrect economic and security problems (sic) against our country and thinking that you would not account for what you have been doing. Let him (Kanu) account for what he has been doing.”

President Buhari also insisted that his administration had done so much in tackling the country’s security woes.

“If you ask anybody from the North-east, there were a number of local governments that were in the hands of BH or ISWAP. None of these local governments now are in their control.”

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“Within the last four weeks, there are improvements in the North-east and North-central,” Mr Buhari said.

“Virtually all parts of the country are facing one form of security challenge or the other.”

President Buhari also rejected the notion of state police as the solution to the nation’s mounting security problems, appearing to express fears that it may be abused by state governors.

Responding to a question on the issue, President Buhari said: “State police is not an option. Find out the relationship between local government and the governors. Are the third tier of government getting what they are supposed to get constitutionally? Are they getting it? Let the people in the local government tell you the truth, the fight between local governments and the governor.”

The president advocated a bigger role for traditional rulers in bringing peace to communities as, according to him, the royal fathers know who is who in their localities.

On farmers/herders clashes in the country, the president wondered why there should be such clashes among people that used to coexist peacefully.

He said, “For example, there were two governors that came to see me about problems – Oyo state and one other state – because the herders were in their forests but the animals were going into the neighbouring farms and eating the crops. I said, as far as I know, the farmers and herders have been co-existing in Nigeria for generations.

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“Let them go and ask the local leadership what has gone wrong, why the break in communication between the local leadership and the herders.”

Speaking on the traditional rulers, he said: “The role of traditional rulers must not be undermined, because in their areas they know who is who, even by families, not to even talk of individuals. So, we have to revert to that system for us to have effective security in the localities.”

The president had previously expressed his reservations about the idea of state police.

Asked about his view in an interview in May 2018 about the governor’s demand for state police, he said: “I want the Nigerian Constitution to be consulted first and see what it says. If it says they should be allowed, then they should be allowed but don’t forget, how many times did we have to release money to states in the name of bailouts to enable them to pay salaries?

“How many states are able to pay their workers in time? And you add the police to them? People should look at this matter very well.”

Speaking further on why he was not convinced about the idea, President Buhari added: “No, I am not convinced. We should have solved the current insecurity in the North-east and South-south by now. Can the states shoulder the burden of the police?

“You cannot just give someone guns and ammunition, train him and refuse to pay him; you know what will eventually happen.”

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When asked if he was aware of the numbers of Nigerians who find it difficult to feed on his watch, the president said, “I’m absolutely aware of it, but like I said, look at the vast population of Nigerians, only 2.5 percent of the land is being cultivated. We realised this rather too late, but we have to go back to the land.”

Ayu Faults PMB’s Stand On State Police

Meanwhile, the national chairman of Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) Dr. Iyorchia Ayu has said President Muhammadu Buhari’s insistence that state police is not an option suggests that the security situation in the country may not change.

Ayu also criticised the President for pushing the blame for the incessant killing of farmers by terrorists on locals along grazing routes.

He stated this while responding to Buhari’s interview on Channels Television yesterday evening.

A statement from Ayu’s media office quoted the PDP national chairman as saying: “It appears the continued killings in some localities of Nigeria, particularly in the North, and more specifically in President Buhari’s home state of Katsina may not may not matter, hence, the need to have a security system that feeds on local intelligence and nuances, which the federal police cannot adequately provide, is not an option to our president.”

He went on: “Watching President Muhammadu Buhari on Channels TV during the interview session was a gratuitous waste of time because there was nothing new coming from the president.

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“As has been said by many before now, to expect anything new from our President would be a misplaced and unfortunate expectation.

“From the economy, to insecurity, killing of innocent farmers by terrorists (which some erroneously term farmer/herder clashes) and other sundry issues, President Buhari honoured his calling as a president who has nothing new to offer.

“He again repeated the impotent argument regarding killing of farmers by terrorists, reminding Nigerians of grazing routes.

“Well, what the President failed to reference is that the herders plying the grazing routes before neither carried AK47s, nor did they engage in raping of women and despoilation of the assets of those along the routes.

“Mr President’s position of saying the locals should be asked what went wrong flies in the face of reason and contemporary realities.

“Tied to that but not limited in scope is the issue of insecurity and a re-organisation of the Nigeria Police to accommodate present, peculiar, environmental and social challenges.

He said to the president it appears that continuing the same process while expecting a different output and outcome is the best way to go.

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“We ask, is he comfortable with the killings in the land while the status quo persists?”

The PDP chairman urged Nigerians to remind the President that people evolve and societies evolve, stressing that being trapped in a time capsule of the past about State Police is not an option Nigerians are willing to accept from him.

On the economic front, Ayu said nations of the world who enjoy the benefit of direct foreign investments (DFI) ensure that their countries are safe for investors to pour in their resources.

He added that no amount of propaganda will obviate the realities on ground and which embassies and foreign missions observe.

“Therefore, to ensure that investor confidence is restored, a safe environment must, of necessity, be created.

“Our government is trapped in the mentality of believing its own lies that Nigeria is better today than it was under the PDP.

“To those who share this fallacy, we ask: Would they wish for their lives to be like Nigeria under this present regime? The lives of Nigerians today tell the true story.

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“The more Buhari promises to lift Nigerians out of poverty, the poorer Nigerians become. To further dwell on the entire interview would be to waste valuable time.

“But we implore Nigerians not to relent because hope is on the way and, like one writer said, hope is better served as breakfast and not dinner, as the APC regime of President Buhari is doing, promising El Dorado in the dying days of its tenure,” he said.

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AFRICA

AICC: Egyptian Grandmasters Dominate Tourney

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With just two rounds left to play, top Nigerian chess players have dropped out in the ranking at the on-going African Individual Chess Championship holding at the Orchid Hotel in Lekki, Lagos.

Although Nigerian players showed shade of genius in the battle field as the tournament reached its climax on Sunday night, the Egyptian who are higher rated players dominate play with Adly Ahmed (African number 2) and Woman Grandmaster Wafa Shahenda leading the pack of other players in both Open and Women sections.

Both have consolidated their lead in the competition, as every win counts to games 4 and 5.

WGM Wafa trounced her Angolan opponent, Woman International Master Esperanca Caxita, in a Sicilian opening with black mostly dominating the game right from the middle play.

The Egyptian WGM is all but a massive one point ahead of the pack leading into the final rounds starting this morning.

While the Egyptian masters are dominating play, credit also goes to some Nigerians raising their heads to be countedNigeria Youth Games product, Onoja Iyefu Joy continues to show resilience and determination to earn her first chess title and create a record while at it.

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She had on Saturday continued her fine run of form by scoring an entire point against Paulo Jemima to register the second position on the ranking table with 9 points. A win in the 7th round will help Joy secure a Woman International Master Title.

WIM (elect) Ofowino Toritsemuwa bettered her AICC Tunisia 2019 record, and she is bound to create a new one as she takes on WGM Wafa in the seventh round.

Toritsemuwa currently shares second place with her compatriot, Iyefu Onoja, both holding 4.5 points, hence making the 7th game point as crucial for the player.

In the Open section, 20-year-old Eyetonghan Denyefa Callistus is pulling his weight. He scored an outstanding 4.5 points after six games, but it is not about the score, somewhat the opponents; defeating 1 GM, 2 IMs, and three draws against two IMs and FM, the youngster will get his chance at GM Adly in the seventh round.

With a half point behind the tournament leader, African Number 1–GM AminBassem landed his second consecutive win after the drawn game with compatriot GM Ahmed Adly, demonstrating he still stands a chance to catch up and maybe win the tournament.

Bassem faces IM David Silva of Angola in the seventh round, who had to offer a draw to his opponent in the sixth round due to health issues. We hope he’s gotten his strength back for this crucial game.

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The tournament ends tomorrow with Maltina and Gulder are among the top sponsor of the event.

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Don’t vote for ‘killers’ in 2023 elections – ex-President Jonathan urges Nigerian youths

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A former President of Nigeria, Goodluck Jonathan, has urged Nigerians not to elect “killers” in the 2023 general elections.

Mr Johnathan stated this on Sunday in Uyo, Akwa Ibom State during a thanksgiving service to mark the 35th anniversary of the state.

Mr Johnathn and his wife, Patience, were the special guests of honour at the service which was also attended by the governor of his home state — Bayelsa — Douye Diri.

“In 2023, you must not make the mistake to vote killers. Those who carry knives, guns, and all kinds of gadgets to go and kill people because of politics, are the enemies of society.

“If you kill to become a leader, you will continue to kill to remain a leader and the people will continue to suffer.”

The former president said he has monitored the growth of Akwa Ibom, adding that he has been visiting the state at least once a year since he joined the defunct Oil Mineral Producing Areas Development Commission, now Niger Delta Development Commission, in 1994 as an assistant director.

While thanking the youth of the state for not vandalising infrastructure, the former president recalled how some people sabotaged his development efforts in the power sector by using arc saws to fell towers because they wanted Nigeria to remain in darkness.

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Mr Johnathan said the election of the State Governor, Udom Emmanuel, should teach politicians a good lesson, especially those who doubted Mr Emmanuel’s ability to manage “human beings”.

Governor Emmanuel was an executive director at Zenith Bank before he was appointed Secretary to Akwa Ibom State Government, a position he later resigned from to vie for the governorship of the state which he won in 2015.

Akwa Ibom is ‘strong national story’ – Gov Emmanuel

Earlier in his speech, Mr Emmanuel thanked the people of the state for their support and described this year’s state anniversary as his last as the state governor.

The governor said Akwa Ibom has become a state with a “strong national story and a sparkling destination of choice for Nigerians and others around the world”.

He appreciated the people for the choice of “Moving Forward,” as the theme of the celebrations but also reminded them that in “moving forward we have to also look back.”

He referenced Joseph, a Biblical figure who later became the Prime Minister of Egypt and added that the children of Israel suffered because of Joseph’s mistake.

“Joseph made a mistake in Egypt when he was about to go, he did not look at the issue of who succeeded him and that is why the children of Israel suffered.

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“If you are a God-sent man you must also learn. I’ve learnt from what Joseph did and today we went back to God and I want to appreciate all Akwa Ibomites because a man after God’s heart will come after another man after God’s heart,” Mr Emmanuel said.

He promised to complete before leaving office next year, the international worship centre that his administration is building in the state.

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AFRICA

Knocks, Kudos as Peter Obi promises 100m poor Nigerians ‘access to free medical care’

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Mixed reactions have trailed the promise by the presidential candidate of the Labour Party (LP), Peter Obi, stating that his administration will prioritise the welfare of the poor Nigerians if elected.

Obi said youths would be the proponent of his agenda to transform the economy.

“If elected the next president of Nigeria, youths would be the main proponents of my main agenda to transform Nigeria from a consuming nation to a producing nation. The two main components of this agenda are human capital development and finance.”

Obi further said health and education are vital to the development of the country, promising to ensure “at least 100 million poor Nigerians have access to free medical care”.

“Given the role of health in reinforcing education in the measure of productivity, my leadership will pay serious attention to the health system by ensuring that at least 100 million poor Nigerians have access to free medical services through an integrated health insurance scheme.”

Obi’s promise which has gone viral, generated divergent reactions on social media platforms.

While some supporters of Obi believed the promise made by their candidate is possible, they argued in support that the country is buoyant enough to take care of citizens’ medical care.

Reacting, a Twitter user; @el_bonga posited: “Peter Obi governed Anambra State for 8 years and he couldn’t provide the state— probably less than 10 million— with free healthcare but he wants to give free medical care to 100 million Nigerians. Interestingly, under his watch, Doctors went on a 13-month strike in Anambra in 2013.”

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Favour Abdalla Destiny said: “The problem is not to vote; the problem is that they know how to promise and after election they will forget all.”

kingharzyz1 argued: “How is this possible? Can you even do free medical care for carcinoma patients alone? Aspirants need to start telling us “How”.

Another user @tha_niel said: “Affordable healthcare is different from free healthcare. Affordable is realistic because the beneficiaries wld contribute an amount. We cannot have a subsidised economy yet. Except when we begin to efficiently recognise all revenues and apply subsidies where it’s needed.”

Oluwashola @Sholexx_ said: “Health is very expensive. Even in the US, you can’t get free medical healthcare due to the cost. What you can get anywhere in the world is subsidised healthcare via health insurance. He should be realistic with his electoral promises.”

Defending Obi’s promise, @drpenking stated that: “Peter Obi said that 100m Nigerians will have access to free medical care and you people think it’s not possible. In Akwa Ibom State there has been free medical care for elderly, children and pregnant women. Our country is rich enough to do these things. Politicians just refuse it”

@urchilla01 said: “This is why I’ve always said that this election should be about antecedents. There’s nothing Peter Obi says he’ll do that he didn’t do as Governor. This is the famous “Anambra ANIDS card” with which students, disabled, & elderly accessed free health care in govt hospitals. ‘

“Under Peter Obi’s Government. When we say #GoAndVerify verify, it is because we fear not for what you will find. Our principal na talk & do. A comprehensive integrated health insurance scheme made this possible, just the same way he said he’ll do it.”

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ASUU: Seven months after, FG orders VC’s to reopen schools

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The Academic Staff Union of Universities has been on strike for about seven months now.

The association is demanding from FG the funding of the Revitalisation of Public Universities, Earned Academic Allowances, University Transparency Accountability Solution (UTAS) and promotion arrears.

Others are the renegotiation of the 2009 ASUU-FG Agreement and the inconsistency in Integrated Personnel Payroll Information System.

Recall that the federal government went to court to challenge the action of the association. Last week the national industrial court through Polycarp Hamman, the judge in the NIC, granted the federal government’s application for an interlocutory injunction to restrain ASUU from continuing with the strike.

The outcome of the judgement was questioned by Femi Falana, human rights lawyer and senior advocate of Nigeria (SAN), who stated that the national industrial court does not have jurisdiction to rule on the case between the federal government and the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU).

However, tired of the lingering strike the Federal Government through the National Universities Commission ordered vice-chancellors to re-open schools and allow students resume lectures.

In a letter disclosed to journalists on Monday, signed by the Director, Finance and Accounts of the NUC, Sam Onazi, on behalf of the Executive Secretary of the commission, Professor Abubakar Rasheed, FG instructed all vice-chancellors; Pro-Chancellors and chairmen of governing councils of federal universities to re-open schools.

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“Ensure that ASUU members immediately resume/commence lectures; Restore the daily activities and routines of the various University campuses”, part of the letter read.

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