In his most recent statement former President Olusegun Obasanjo attempts to divide the nation while President Muhammadu Buhari continues to promote nation building and the unity of Nigeria.
The difference is clear. From the lofty heights of Commander-in-Chief, General Obasanjo has descended to the lowly level of Divider-in-Chief (to adapt the coinage of Time).
Before responding further to the unfair attacks on President Buhari and his administration by the former President, it is important that we categorically state that contrary to the assertions by a few analysts, the recent speech in which President Buhari advised West African Presidents against tenure elongation beyond constitutional limits has been consistent with his long held views on the need to adhere to the rule of law.
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Even though he tried it and failed, the recent uptick in the number of such leaders proposing to do, or actually carrying on in office beyond term limits is sufficient to cause concern among democrats in the sub-region given its prospects of destabilizing the states and the region.
President Buhari’s advocacy is consistent with his principles and in line with the current policies of his administration and indeed that of the ECOWAS Charter which is that term limits must be respected and that the change of government is only permissible through the ballot box.
Having cleared this misperception, we hope that Chief Obasanjo would once again sheath the sword and rest the pretentiousness about the Messiah that has (mis)led him to pronounce often wrongly, as he disastrously did in the 2019 elections, about the life and death of Nigerian governments.
As some commentators are already suggesting, Chief Obasanjo should, in accordance with his mantra as a statesman, get involved with problems solving, when and where they exist instead of helping the mushrooming of a poisonous atmosphere of ethnic and religious nationalism.
Surely, he must have disappointed many of his local and foreign admirers by showering commendations on a few extremist groups who have vowed to shun the invitation to the National Assembly to participate in the process of constitutional amendment.
No doubt, he must have left those admirers confused in announcing the support for the boycott of a democratic process of changing the constitution, at the same time calling for dialogue and engagement.
The fact that the process he ushered in under his administration with the dubious intention of amendments that sought tenure elongation failed-as did two other attempts by the successor administrations of the same political party- does not in any way justify his dismissal of the exercise by the 9th Assembly as a another waste of time and resources.
To the credit of the All Progressives Congress-led 8th Assembly, the process of constitutional amendment was kickstarted and carried through, paving the way for, among other benefits, the financial independence of local government councils, States Houses of Assembly and the country’s Judiciary. These changes have already been signed into laws by the President as mandated by the constitution.
The recent decisions by the administration as they relate to subsidy withdrawal, helping to plug some of the most horrendous notorious holes and release of scarce resources for the more pressing needs of the people has also not escaped the ire of the former president.
It’s a known fact that the withdrawal of subsidies had been on the wish list of the Obasanjo-led Peoples Democratic Party, PDP. They failed in achieving these measures because, one there was a shared greed. They plundered the treasury as much as anyone could in the name of either subsidy or waiver with reckless impunity.
Two, is to say it takes courage and rare statesmanship on the part of a leader to do as President Buhari to shun populism and seek the best interest of the people and the state, providing the kind of reform and development that Nigeria urgently needs.
This President has run an administration focused on infrastructure and development. He has repaired our damaged relations with neighbours and our traditional allies such as the UK, US, China, Russia, France, Germany, Saudi Arabia and the others with lots of benefits to the country.
It is a pro-business administration that has used diplomacy to unlock bilateral trade and investment.
He leads a government that has liberalized the investment climate and market access by achieving reforms that have placed the country in the list of the world’s top reforming economies.
Nigeria, which other nations had mocked and ridiculed for so many things that were wrong is today progressing at a pace reflecting its size and potential.
With so much to show and many more coming, it is little surprise that President Buhari would be the object of envy and harsh unfair challenges by politicians who failed to deliver, but continue to nurse ambitions of delighting the audience long after their curtain has been drawn.
President Muhammadu Buhari has written a personal letter to the Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF), Boss Gida Mustapha, commending him for organising a successful Ministers’ Retreat from September 7-8, 2020.
The President in the letter personally signed by him, said he was ”very impressed” with the SGF’s performance at the retreat, hailing his organisational competence and comprehensive speech delivered on the beginning of the second day of the Retreat.
Excerpts from the letter:
”I am writing to personally recognise your competence and commend the way you organised and led the Ministers’ Retreat.
”The intellectual inputs by the Panel, Chaired by the former Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Alhaji Yayale Ahmed were remarkable.
”The benefits derived from the Committees discussions were enormous and the added values to the Ministers’ and Permanent Secretaries’ experiences very much appreciated.
”Your comprehensive speech at the beginning of the second day of the Retreat proved your capacity and experience. For those of us who missed the first day of the Retreat, the speech adequately prepared us for the second and final day of the occasion.
”I am happy to write this short letter of appreciation to you because, I am very impressed with your performance at the Retreat.”
President Muhammadu Buhari sends condolences to the family of former Managing Director of Nigeria Airways, Captain Paul Mamman Thahal, OON, who served meritoriously as Captain of Gen. Yakubu Gowon’s Presidential Flight for nine years, and supported the former Head of State in setting up the national spiritual platform, Nigeria Prays.
The President commiserates with Gen. Yakubu Gowon over the loss of a good friend, confidant and prayer partner, while sympathizing with Captain Thahal’s wife, Mrs Atsa Thahal, and daughter, Dr Adzira Thahal, and all former members of staff of Nigeria Airways and entire aviation industry.
President Buhari believes the resonating testimonies from the life of the former Vice Chairman of Nigeria Prays Organisation clearly show a man dedicated to promoting the kingdom of God on earth, committing himself to the virtues of practical Christianity like generosity, humility and selfless service.
As the former Managing Director of Nigeria Airways goes home for final rest, the President prays that the almighty God will remember his professional and spiritual investments in the country, and beyond, grant his soul eternal rest, and comfort his family.
Federal government agencies in the Presidency have held consultations for the 2021 budget.
The Permanent Secretary, State House, Mr Tijjani Umar, led the 2021 budget bilateral meeting between Government Agencies under the Presidency and officials of the Federal Ministry of Finance, Budget and National Planning.
The virtual meeting took place on Saturday, September 12, 2020, at the conference room of the State House administrative block.
It was attended by Chief Executives and key budget, finance and accounts staff of the Bureau of Public Enterprises (BPE), Bureau of Public Procurement (BPP) Nigeria Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (NEITI), National Institute of Policy and Strategic Studies (NIPSS), Nigerian Financial Intelligence Unit (NFIU), National Agricultural Land Development Authority (NALDA) and the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).
According to the State House Permanent Secretary, “the preparation of the 2021 budget estimates takes into consideration the policies and strategies contained in the 2021-2023 Medium Term Expenditure Framework and Fiscal Strategy Paper (MTEF/FSP), which is the Federal Government pre-budget statement.”
Umar also explained that in line with the directive issued by the Ministry of Finance, Budget and National Planning, the annual budget is being prepared using the Zero-Based Budget (ZBB) approach and in compliance with the government’s policy thrust as articulated in the MTEF/FSP and Nigeria Economic Sustainability Plan (NESP).
Citing a September 1, 2020 circular issued by the Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning, Dr Zainab Ahmed, the Permanent Secretary, State House, said MDAs have been directed to work assiduously to conclude the budget bilateral meetings as scheduled in order to get the 2021 budget ready for transmission to the National Assembly (NASS) by President Muhammadu Buhari this month.
The latest budget circular issued by the Ministry of Finance, Budget and National Planning put the expenditure ceiling of the 2021 pre-bilateral proposal for the Presidency at N10 billion compared with N15.3 billion of the revised 2020 budget passed by the National Assembly.