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President Buhari focused on nation building and unity of NigeriaBy FEMI ADESINA

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President Buhari focused on nation building and unity of Nigeria
By FEMI ADESINA

To state that we live in challenging times is perhaps an understatement and does very little justice in accurately capturing our current realities. Those realities include a world faced with a pandemic the scale of which hasn’t been seen in 100 years. The crisis has crippled economies, destroyed global supply chains and obliterated once productive and viable sectors of the economy.

Our dear nation has not been spared in this difficult period and, indeed, has felt the impact of the global crisis. But as a responsive government, the Buhari administration has within limited resources designed responses that are targeted at mitigating the full impact of this scourge.

The Economic Sustainability Plan has earmarked N2.7 trillion in spending to create and sustain jobs and livelihoods for those who have been impacted the most by this crisis.

Despite battling with low public revenues, and the hydra- headed monster of low oil price and a reduced production quota from OPEC, this administration remains committed to honouring the promises made to the Nigerian people across the key areas of Security, Economy and fighting Corruption.

At the just concluded InterMinisterial Retreat, where the entire Government apparatus was gathered under one roof to review performance over the last year; with a singular objective of identifying how to improve in those areas where successes fell short of target, and how to replicate those key elements that led to success in others.

A frank conversation took place between the participants and independent assessors. Amongst the critical themes that emerged from the two-day session was the need to improve focus, coordination and collaboration amongst Ministries, Departments and Agencies, and the importance of rigorous execution, monitoring and evaluation of projects and activities against set targets.

Regarding domestic policy actions, the last week has seen critical decisions around the economy being taken. These are decisions that for many years previous governments have shied away from, and as a result cost our country several billions of dollars.

This was funding that could easily have been deployed elsewhere in support of millions of our citizens, as opposed to subsidizing a small percentage of our population. If we continued along this path it would portend a very dark and uncertain future for our country.

As most crisis managers state, “Never allow a crisis go to waste.” Such periods present an opportunity to take stock and make difficult decisions. These domestic policy decisions were by no means easy, but are in the best interest of our nation.

The impact of this decision is to have an improved allocation of very scarce resources, create an opportunity for private sector investment to return to sectors where government intervention had created distortions in various ways. The return of the private sector promotes job creation and provides for the entrepreneurial genius that is embedded in Nigerians.

Leadership is about making tough and difficult decisions and not a popularity contest. President Buhari’s commitment to doing the right things in the best interest of our country should never be in doubt.

In the regional sphere, Mr. President has not shirked from his responsibilities of promoting alongside other subregional leaders the principle of non-acceptability of change of government other than by constitutional means, and the values of democracy in places like Mali and ensuring that peace and security are maintained in neighbouring countries as they have a direct impact on our own security and territorial integrity.

Mr. President is also fully aware that there are historic fissures that exist in various locations across the country, and has advocated for dialogue between key parties who are direct stakeholders in ensuring peace. An example is the recent peace dialogue that took place in Kaduna between warring groups that have been at each other’s neck for quite some time. Their efforts to sit across the table and dialogue on how best they can resolve their differences, is the pathway that needs to be charted in addressing our internal issues. Such peace moves, which would be deepened and extended to other parts of the country, are critical to our continued existence as a people and as a nation.

However, what is sad, and most reprehensible is the conduct of those who should know better and should be seen to be playing a leading role in bridging and or mediating these fissures that we have lived with, who now invest their time in trying to deepen those fault lines and stoking ethnic embers in very subtle and manipulative ways that eventually find their way to the public sphere.

Given the plethora of challenges that confront our nation, Mr. President’s attention is on how our growing youthful population can compete in a world that has no boundaries and barriers, given our very fertile land. Focus is on how we can best improve agricultural practices and increase yields per hectare, so our farmers benefit from their sweat and honest labor.

Also under attention is how connectivity between markets and people can be improved so that commerce and movement of persons can thrive and flourish.

How do we deepen technology penetration to ensure that we are not left behind in the digital race. These are a few amongst the things that occupy the thoughts of the President. All statesmen will be judged by their records long after they exit the scene, and President Buhari is focused on deepening Nigeria’s unity and laying a solid foundation for the transformation of our country so that future leadership can build on. Therefore, he will not be deterred by those whose singular objective, carried out through a veil of deception, is a cocktail of hate-inspired messaging and vitriol intended to distract and undermine our march towards prosperous nation building.

  • Adesina is Special Adviser to the President, Media and Publicity

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BREAKING: SANWO-OLU TO ABOLISH PENSION FOR EX-GOVS, DEPUTIES

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BREAKING: SANWO-OLU TO ABOLISH PENSION FOR EX-GOVS, DEPUTIES

By Sodiq Oyeleke

Governor of Lagos State, Babajide Sanwo-Olu on Tuesday announced his intention to repeal the Public Office Holder (Payment of Pension Law 2007), which provides for payment of pension and other entitlements to former Governors and their Deputies.

He made this known while presenting the 2021 budget to the Lagos State House of Assembly.

Sanwoolu said the bill would be sent to the Lagos Assembly for legislative approval.

According to Sanwo-Olu, the abolition of pension for former governors and deputies will reduce the cost of governance.

He said, “Mr. Speaker and Honourable Members of the House, in light of keeping the costs of governance low and to signal selflessness in public service, we will be sending a draft executive bill to the House imminently for the repeal of the Public Office Holder (Payment of Pension Law 2007), which provides for payment of pension and other entitlements to former Governors and their Deputies.”

Detail later…

  • PunchNg

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EndSARS CELEBRITIES, PROMOTERS MUST FACE LAW, GARBA SHEHU SAYS

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EndSARS CELEBRITIES, PROMOTERS MUST FACE LAW, GARBA SHEHU SAYS

The Central Bank of Nigeria had recently frozen the account of some protest organisers in a bid to stop further protests from occurring.

Garba Shehu, Senior Special Assistant to President Muhammadu Buhari, has said that all Nigerians and celebrities, who promoted protests against police brutality in the country must face the law.

The Central Bank of Nigeria had recently frozen the account of some protest organisers in a bid to stop further protests from occurring.

The Nigeria Immigration Service also seized the travel passport of Modupe Odele, preventing her from leaving the country for providing legal aid to arrested protesters.

The Nigerian Government irked by the protests had in October hired thugs to hijack the demonstration, plunging the nation into chaos in a bid to blame it on peaceful #EndSARS protesters.

While speaking on why the CBN froze the account of the protesters, Shehu while speaking on Channels Television’s Sunday Politics said, “This country has only one President and has only one constitution. President Muhammadu Buhari is responsible for his government. The buck stops on his table.

“We are a country governed by law. There is a constitution —under section 33— that clearly defines the rights of citizens to freely protest in a peaceful way but where a peaceful protest turns into riot, violence and looting, there is a law and order duty to be performed.

“Everyone witnessed the massive looting of public and private properties particularly in Lagos, Calabar, Plateau, Taraba and some other states, even the FCT.

“Now, the laws of the country must be allowed to decide, to rule on wrongdoing on the part of anybody.

“I am not particular about any celebrity or promoter but this country has been harmed enormously and people should be prepared to account for what they did.”

  • SaharaReporters

Garba Shehu Classic FM, Abuja.

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PRESIDENT BUHARI: DISBANDING OF SARS FIRST STEP TO EXTENSIVE POLICE REFORMS

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PRESIDENT BUHARI: DISBANDING OF SARS FIRST STEP TO EXTENSIVE POLICE REFORMS

President Muhammadu Buhari Monday in Abuja declared that disbanding of the Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS) is the first step to extensive police reforms by his administration.

Speaking at the launch of the Presidential Youth Empowerment Scheme (P-YES), aimed at creating 774,000 jobs across the Local Government Areas (LGAs) in the country, President Buhari also directed that all those responsible for misconduct or wrongful acts be brought to justice.

”I will like to use this opportunity to say a word on the recent genuine concerns and agitations by Nigerians about the excessive use of force and in some cases extra-judicial killings and wrongful conduct of the men of the Nigerian Police Force,’’ President Buhari said during the launch of the P-YES programme, attended by Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, Senate President Ahmed Lawan, Governor Abdullahi Ganduje of Kano State and Engineer Dave Umahi of Ebonyi State.

He continued: ”The disbanding of SARS is only the first step in our commitment to extensive police reforms in order to ensure that the primary duty of the police and other law enforcement agencies remains the protection of lives and livelihood of our people.

”We will also ensure that all those responsible for misconduct or wrongful acts are brought to justice.

”We deeply regret the loss of life of the young man in Oyo State during the recent demonstrations.

”I have directed that the circumstances of his death should be thoroughly investigated.

”Meanwhile, it is important to recognise that the vast majority of men and women of the police force are hardworking and diligent in performing their duties.

”The few bad eggs should not be allowed to tarnish the image and reputation of the force.”

On the empowerment programme, the President while restating his administration’s commitment to youth development and poverty alleviation pledged that the Federal Government policies of social protection and people empowerment would continue on track, despite the challenges posed by COVID-19 pandemic.

The President, who described P-YES as a cornerstone of his administration’s social and economic development strategies, said it was part of the overall policy of ensuring that 100 million Nigerians were lifted out of poverty in ten years.

”The P-YES is also part of the plan that we adopted in 2016 in which we empowered One hundred youths from each of the 774 Local Government Areas with the necessary tools to acquire skills and establish small businesses.

”Given the success of that initiative, we are now committed to creating 774,000 jobs across all the LGAs, through the P-YES programme,” he said.

President Buhari, who took a tour of P-YES tools and equipment displayed at the forecourt of Presidential Villa, expressed delight that the materials showcased represent the fruits of the initiatives embarked upon by his administration in 2016.

”All the tools, machines and equipment that are exhibited here, are products of the efforts of these empowered youth entrepreneurs.

”I note with particular pleasure that they were all fabricated in Nigeria by Nigerian youths using locally sourced materials. This is a wonderful and uplifting achievement.

”As an entrepreneurship empowerment project, the P-YES programme aims to address the needs of unskilled and less educated youth.

”It targets key areas of activities that are of practical importance and are essential to every aspect of our economy.

”These include areas such as agriculture and food processing, restaurant and catering, tailoring and fashion design, technical skills such as in the Information and Communications Technology sector, artisanship, welding, carpentry and joinery, other small businesses and activities associated with the micro-economic sector of this economy,” he said.

The President used the occasion to call on State Governments, Ministries, Departments and Agencies of government to factor the P-YES into their programmes to assist the youth realise their potentials in their chosen fields.

He urged local and foreign private sector operators in Nigeria to also contribute their share to the expansion of this programme through channelling their corporate social responsibility efforts towards skills acquisition, creation of start-ups, and other intervention measures.

President Buhari declared that the expansion of the P-YES would now be vigorously pursued, adding that more resources will be committed to the achievement of its goals and objectives towards youth empowerment and entrepreneurship development.

The President commended the Office of the Senior Special Assistant on Youth and Students Affairs, under Hon. Nasiru Saidu Adhama, for driving the P-YES programme in accordance with the mandates prescribed for the office and the programme.

He expressed confidence that the programme being supervised by the Office of the Secretary to the Government of the Federation would make significant difference.

In his remarks, Hon Adhama assured the President that as achieved in the pilot phase of the programme the selection of beneficiaries in the full-scale P-YES scheme would be done with the utmost transparency and credibility, adding that equal opportunities will be observed in the delivery of equipment, tools and machines to all States and LGAs.

Femi Adesina
Special Adviser to the President
(Media & Publicity)
October 12, 2020

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