Don’t set Nigeria ablaze – Buhari to politicians



President Muhammadu Buhari yesterday urged politicians not to set Nigeria ablaze as the campaigns for the 2019 elections begin.

According to him, the next four years will be significant for Nigeria.

The choices Nigerians will make as the 2019 elections approaches, he said, will shape the economy, security and the future.

To Buhari, Nigeria needs a stable and people-focused government to move forward.

The President spoke at the old Banquet Hall of the State House, Abuja while flagging off his campaign for a second term, launch of “Next Level – APC Road Map”.

He said: “The next four years will be quite significant for our country. Nigeria is faced with a choice to keep building a new Nigeria- making a break from its tainted past which favoured an opportunistic  few. Our choices will shape us – our economic security and our future prosperity. Nigeria, more than ever before, needs a stable and people-focused government to move the agenda for our country forward.

“I am not unmindful that presidential and National Assembly campaigns start today. I implore candidates to go about peacefully and decently. We have no other country, let us not set it ablaze.”

He added: “Four years ago, we promised Nigerians real change – in what we do and how we do it. Nigerians sent a clear message in the last election, and our platform offered a new, ambitious plan for a secure, prosperous and corruption-free country.

“We have worked hard to fulfill our promises – and while the road may have been difficult, over the last three and a half years, we have laid  the foundations for a strong, stable and prosperous country for the majority of our people.

“Foundational work is not often visible, neither is  it glamorous – but it is vital to achieving the kind of country we desire. Judging by the prior depth of decay, deterioration and disrepair that Nigeria had sunken into, we are certain that these past few years have put us in good stead to trudge on the NEXT LEVEL of building an even stronger nation for our people.

“First things had to come first. We were a nation at war – but we delivered on our commitment to secure the territorial integrity of our nation in the face of a raging insurgency that devastated many parts of the Northeast. We liberated 17 Local Government Areas from the grip of insurgency. Brokering and sustaining peace in the Niger Delta has also been crucial to stabilising the polity.

“Despite the difficult circumstances presented by weak oil prices and reduced oil production, we delivered on our commitment to make public investments to spur economic growth, job creation, and broad-based prosperity. Agriculture continues to expand our economic base, as do our investments in our deficient  infrastructure across the length and breadth of  this nation.”

“We implemented a responsible and transparent fiscal plan for the challenging economic times that saw us doing more even with lesser oil revenues.

“The past history of grand-scale corruption perpetuated by the highest office in the land has been nipped in the bud just as the Treasury Single Account has made it more difficult for ministries, departments and agencies to  exercise the unrestrained liberties that helped foster a climate conducive to corruption.

“Now, for the first time, investments in capital projects to expand  infrastructure continue to connect people, goods and opportunities by rail, road and air,” Buhari said.

The Federal Government, he said, has supported state governments with  bailout founds that enabled them to pay workers.

He also said that the administration took an unprecedented step towards creating a fairer and more equitable society by implementing Africa’s biggest social investment programme.

“Through the National Social Investments Programme, we are providing direct support to over 12 million Nigerians who need it by giving relief and assistance to unemployed youth, our children, the weak and vulnerable as well as small and medium businesses,” Buhari said.

He went on: “But even as we lay the foundation for a stable and prosperous nation, we acknowledge there is still much work to build on. The next level of effort has an immense focus on job creation

“From an enlargement of the N-Power programme to investing in technology and creative jobs to Agriculture and others, there is scope for 10 million new jobs.

“The march away from a mono-economy must continue with our focus on an industrialisation plan coming to fore. With specific plans underway to exploit the comparative advantage of the geo political zones and different states by developing six Industrial Parks and 109 Special Production and Processing Centres (SPPCs) across each senatorial district, our incremental move away from oil dependence is assured. In addition, our development of the Special Economic Zones will quickly concretise our Made in Nigeria for Export (MINE) plan.

“To sustain food production and value addition, our mechanisation policy for agriculture will make tractors and processors easily accessible and available for  farmers across Nigeria. We will continue a wide  scale skilling policy, prioritising technology to  reach the demography of young people within the productive sector on a massive scale even  as we create jobs and growth within our economy.

“We believe that our people who are still in poverty have a direct way out and up through our expanded National Social Investments Programme. We believe we can implement the painstaking and comprehensive work we have done to bring an end to the perennial conflict between farmers and herders – a conflict which is heightened by a struggle for land, water and pasture and the effects of climate change and every now and then, opportunistic and cynical manipulation by political actors.

“We are implementing a blend of measures that ensures that justice, order, modernisation and new economic paradigms emerge.”

In Buhari’s view, the overhaul of education is “perhaps our biggest ambition”. “Every child counts – and simply, whatever it takes to prepare our teachers, curriculum and classrooms to attain the right educational goals that grow our country, will be done.”

“We will remodel 10,000 schools every  year and retrain our teachers to impart science,

technology, engineering, art and mathematics, using coding, animation, robotics to re-interpret our curriculum.

“We know that, to succeed, moral integrity and  conscience must continue to form the dominant character of our nation and its leadership. Corruption is an existential threat to Nigeria.

“Despite the gains we have made in closing the gates,  we know that there is still much ground to cover  to stop systemic corruption. We are committed  to deepening the work we started this first time such that the nation’s assets and resources continue to be organised and utilised to do good for the majority of our people,” he added.

“Join us on this journey to the NEXT LEVEL of a  prosperous, strong and stable Nigeria!” he said

Speaking earlier at the occasion, the Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF), Boss Mustapha, said the gathering offered a unique opportunity to receive first hand the success story of the administration.

He said: “We we came in when Nigerians clamored for change and the rest of the world look up to our nation for direction. We came in when hope was lost.

“A leader with distinct integrity was needed for our nation. The journey has been tortuous but we have weathered the storm. The  administration has given good governance its proper meaning.

“On October 6, I sat all-night watching the event in Port Harcourt. I thought we might have a contest.. Your reelection next year has become more obvious,” he said

The SGF also said that results of the three House  of Representatives bye-elections  in three states were eloquent testimony of the achievements of the government.

He said the winnings yesterday (Saturday) show a pattern the  2019 will take.

“APC won House of Reps seats in Bauchi, Katsina, but the one that is sweetest is the one in Kwara,” Mustapha said.

Power, Works and Housing Minister Babatunde Fashola, Transportation Minister Rotimi Amaechi and Special Adviser on Social Investment Programme Mariam Uwais took turn to list the achievements of the Buhari administration and what Nigerians should expect in the next for years if reelected.

At the ceremony were Vice President, Yemi Osinbajo, wife of the President Aisha Buhari, Governors Tanko Al-Makura of Nasarawa state, Akinwunmi Ambode (Lagos State), Yahaha Bello (Kogi), Ibikunle Amosun (Ogun), Abdulaziz Yari (Zamfara), Atiku Bagudu (Kebbi), and Aminu Masari (Katsina).

Also there were Senate Leader Ahmad Lawan Senator John Owan Enoh and

Senator Aliyu Wamako and former Minister of Labour and Production Emeka Wogu.

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Atiku’s Lawyer Not Licensed To Practise in Nigeria – INEC Tells Tribunal



The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) says the petition filed by Atiku Abubakar, presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), were not signed by a legal practitioner licensed to practise in Nigeria.

Atiku had filed a petition before the presidential election tribunal to challenge the reelection of President Muhammadu Buhari.

Atiku’s legal team is led by Livy Uzoukwu with 31 other lawyers.

In its response as the first respondent in the case, INEC said the petition was not signed by a legal practitioner enrolled in the Supreme Court of Nigeria.

The electoral body said the results Atiku claimed to have polled were “invented” solely for the petition, adding that it never transmitted results electronically.

“That the Petitioner’s Petition, List of Witnesses and List of Documents as filed are incompetent and ought to be struck out as same were not signed by a legal practitioner enrolled in the Supreme Court of Nigeria and licensed to practise in Nigeria,” read INEC’s response to Atiku’s petition.

The electoral umpire, however, prayed that the petition be struck out for lack of competence.

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If my helicopter crash was fatal, Kogi State government would have been in trouble – VP Osinbajo says



Vice President Yemi Osinbajo has said if the February 2 helicopter crash that occurred in Kogi State was fatal, there would have been trouble, even for the Kogi State government.  

He spoke on Sunday during a special thanksgiving service to celebrate the victory of the All Progressives Congress (APC), held at the old Banquet Hall of the State House. He said if those on board had died, there would have been too many assumptions on the circumstances surrounding the incident.  

He thanked God for his life and that of others who were also on board. In his words;

“On February 2nd, God gave me reason to know that but for His grace we would have been consumed, when our helicopter crashed. When the crash occurred, for a moment there was complete silence. For a second, it occurred to me that if we had died, that is what it would have been complete silence. But we all got out without a scratch. God delivered us.  

“God also delivered those in charge of our security; even the government of Kogi State would also have been in trouble. We give God all the glory. I pray God will also be kind to you all also, that you will never be lacking in support, care and genuine prayers. God is surely worthy to be praised. I have no special qualifications to be here but exaltation comes from God.”

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Five best friends who were bridesmaids in each other’s weddings are all now state senators



Five longtime female friends who were bridesmaids in each other’s weddings have each won their state Senate races in this year’s midterm elections in the United States.

The women who are all Democratic candidates — Tammy Story, Faith Winter, Jessie Danielson, Brittany Pettersen and Kerry Donovan — all swept their state Senate in Colorado, People reported Wednesday.

The women, who call themselves “The Fab Five,” helped flip the state Senate to a Democratic majority for the first time in five years, the publication noted.

Danielson, who currently serves as member of the Colorado House of Representatives, told the magazine:

We were all in it together.

Each of the women said they helped the others face negative criticism and slander during their campaigns.

Winter said:

Through the campaign, the five of us were very supportive of each other. We had several text chains where we would check in with one another and see how we were doing.

If a particularly bad ad or piece of mail came out, we would reassure each other on the text chain, ‘Have you seen the mail? It’s so awful, how are you doing?’

The friends are among the more than 2,000 women who are gearing up to take office in state legislatures nationwide next year.

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