The March 28, 2015
presidential election won by the main opposition party, All Progressives Congress (APC) and its representative, General Muhammadu Buhari (rtd), has, no doubt, opened Nigeria up to another phase of politics. Among other things, it has opened the country to that phase of politics in which the governed matters.
In other words, only that which the people want, at any point in time, should hold sway in governance. This means that the era in which a few privileged people, especially those in government or at the corridors of power, decide what should be without recourse to the overall interest of the populace is over.
This much is decipherable in the words of former Military President, General Ibrahim Badamosi Babangida (rtd): “This victory to me conveys two significant statements on our political history and evolution. First, that incumbents can be defeated in any democratic process if the people’s aspirations are not fulfilled.
“Second, that there is good reward for perseverance and hard work. General Buhari has been very consistent in pursuing his political aspiration”, he said, referring to the President-elect’s perseverance in contesting to ascend the highest position in the country in three previous occasions since 2003, which had failed until March 28, 2015.
But Babangida was not done in rightly rubbing home the implications of the APC cum Buhari win. Likening Buhari to former America President, Abraham Lincoln, who had to contest doggedly for several times in pursuit of his political aspiration and ended up enriching the contents of democracy in America.
“General Buhari”, he continued, “lives true to his military calling by remaining very consistent, resilient and courageous right from 2003 till date.
“This enviable feat to me further enriches our democratic process and matures us into the top echelon of nations where democracy has taken firm root. That President Jonathan has indeed conceded defeat and congratulated the President-elect is also cheering news.
“With this election and its outcome thus far, Nigeria has once again recorded another milestone in her march through the enviable ladder of democracy. Our leadership role in Africa will further be enhanced by the way and manner we manage the gains of this process. But I trust that the President-elect will live up to the expectations of many Nigerians that crave for change; and lift Nigeria to greater heights”.
Former Vice President, Atiku Abubakar, also emphasised on the win, noting the crux of the reason for Buhari’s nay APC’s acceptance by the electorate, taking a cue from the words of the late Nnamdi Azikiwe (Zik of Africa).
“The great Nnamdi Azikiwe once wrote that ‘history will continue to vindicate the just.’ Your victory in the polls, with votes from across the length and breadth of our country, bears witness to the acceptance of not just our party, the APC, but also your ideology of justice, fair play and zero tolerance for corruption as the bedrock for national rebirth”.
This, no doubt, is the kernel of truth, embedded in Atiku’s warning when he surreptitiously said, “Dear Buhari, the journey has just begun. Millions of Nigerians have put their trust in you, because they were not satisfied with the status quo. You represent the hope of a new generation of Nigerians, and you cannot afford to fail them.
“Our party has made a promise of change to our young people, to secure and rebuild our country, create jobs and opportunity, and improve citizens’ welfare. We will stand behind you to ensure we keep those promises, just like we did during these elections.”
Atiku said Nigeria needs a new direction, noting that Buhari should see his office as an opportunity to unite and rally Nigerians for development. This, he hinted, is the essence for which Nigerians so overwhelmingly voted for a change, and, in the process, voted out an incumbent government at the national level for the first time..
“We have voted for you, and our party won the election, but when you assume our highest office, you must become the president of not just the APC, but all of Nigeria, including the people who did not vote for you. We look up to you to heal the fractures of our country, and truly unite this country like never before”, Atiku said.
One way the Daura-born 72-year-old Fulani from Katsina is expected to do this is to first heal the wounds of a charged electoral campaign, as he admitted in his maiden speech after he was declared winner of the elections, obviously realising that emotions ran high.
“This was a hard- fought contest. Emotions are high. We must not allow them to get the better of us. This is not the time for confrontation. This is a moment that we must begin to heal the wounds and work toward a better future. We do this first by extending a hand of friendship and conciliation across the political divide. We hope and pray our friends in the other parties reciprocate.”
After this, Buhari needs to know that the Nigeria of today is not the one he ruled about 30 years ago as a 42 years old Major-General backed by the privilege of ruling by decree. Come May 29, he will be inheriting a deeply divided Nigeria with high youth unemployment, an unsafe and economically weak nation, coupled with dwindling oil revenues and an almost non-existent foreign reserve, largely warranted by high level corruption in governance.
Citizens’ confidence in the ability of the government to meet its obligations is at its lowest ebb due to massive corruption and the fall of the price of crude which has remained the country’s economic mainstay, while the widening gap between the rich and the poor has never been this wide.
Another serious issue, which the APC used as a campaign tool, is power generation and distribution, which several administrations have tried but failed to fix since the beginning of Nigeria’s fourth shot at democratic rule in 1999. The change which Nigerians clamoured and voted for certainly revolves round the hope that they will fare better than they are doing currently.
This, in the simplest of words, is in terms of infrastructural development; job creation in order to engage the growing army of educated and restless youths; supremacy of the constitution, which must be amended in tandem with the aspirations of a genuine democracy; and, most of all, a realistic and genuine war against corruption, which the retired General convinced Nigerians that out-going President Goodluck Jonathan was unable to fight, and which largely gave APC the win.
As Buhari waits for May 29 to ascend the coveted throne, this is the time to begin to take stock of the challenges on the ground because it is by these challenges he and the new ruling party will be judged.
…Urges Ondo Gov To Shelve N2bn Gov’s Lodge Project
The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has advised the Ondo State government to shelve its plans to build a new governor’s lodge at the cost of N2 billion in the interest of the state.
Mr Fatai Adams, the state PDP Chairman said this when he spoke with newsmen at the state party secretariat in Akure, yesterday.
Adams expressed concern over mass resignation of doctors in the state due to poor remuneration.
“We are seriously alarmed by the unfortunate resignation of over 109 doctors from the state public service over the inability of the government to pay their due salaries and hazard allowances as at when due.
“I’m sure you will all recall that Ondo State was the destination for medical tourism in the South West because of the first class service delivery found here under the PDP administration.
“According to the Nigerian Medical Association records, no medical house officer has been employed by the state government since 2019, a situation that is responsible for the poor services rendered in the hospitals.
“The present administration has a backlog of unpaid salaries of workers, it is proposing to build a N2 billion new governor’s lodge in Akure. This is not only ridiculous but the surest evidence that the government has completely lost direction,” he said.
Adams added” “Dr Olusegun Mimiko, Oluwarotimi Akeredeolu’s predecessor built a very befitting governor’s Lodge in 2013, a few years before Akeredolu assumed the reins of government.
“To spend N2 billion of tax payers money on another lodge at this time is the height of callousness and wastefulness,” he said.
Senators Rate 9th National Assembly High
Senators on Wednesday at plenary commended the 9th National Assembly at the mid-term assessment of its performance in the last two years.
The lawmakers, who spoke during a special session to mark the second year anniversary of the 9th Senate, commended the various legislative interventions of the National Assembly, especially on security, economy and governance.
The lawmakers, who spoke included the Senate Leader, Yahaya Abdullahi (APC-Kebbi); Deputy Leader, Ajayi Boroffice (APC-Ondo); Deputy Whip, Aliyu Sabi (APC-Niger), and Adamu Aliero (APC-Kebbi).
Others were Yahaya Oloriegbe (APC-Kwara); Gabriel Suswam (PDP-Benue); Chukwuka Utazi (PDP-Enugu); Solomon Adeola (APC-Lagos), Olubunmi Adetumbi (APC,-Ekiti), Ibikunle Amosun (APC-Ogun), and Suleiman Umar (APC-Kwara).
The rest were Biobarakuma Degi-Eremienyo (APC-Bayelsa); Nicholas Tofowomo (PDP-Ondo); Istifanus Gyang (PDP-Plateau); Sam Egwu (PDP-Ebonyi); Teslim Folarin (APC-Oyo); Nora Daduut (APC-Plateau); Jibrin Isah (APC-Kogi); Abdullahi Adamu (APC-Nasarawa), and Francis Fadahunsi (PDP-Osun), amongst others.
Senate President, Ahmad Lawan, in a speech delivered at the special session, said 742 bills were introduced by the ninth Senate in the last two years.
According to him, out of the total number of bills introduced during the two sessions of the Assembly, 58 have been passed, while 355 bills have gone through first reading.
Contributing, Senate Leader, Yahaya Abdullahi, said the realignment carried out on the budget cycle by the National Assembly was to insulate businesses and the economy from going into recession.
Deputy Whip, Sen. Aliyu Sabi, said: “As we celebrate two years, we are guided by the legislative agenda.
“The unity of purpose which we have worked for, has enabled us to achieve those great strides.
“The Production Sharing Contract (PSC) is a testimony on how the National Assembly has been able to work in unity in the interest of the nation.
“We need to work together to find common grounds to problems that beset the country,” Abdullahi said.
In his own remark, Sen. Garbriel Suswam, said: “Inspite of challenges and shortcomings, the 9th Assembly had taken major steps to achieve some of its legislative agenda.”
He said that the executive has been intransigent in implementing the resolution of the National Assembly.
He appealed to the Senate President to ensure that the Electoral Bill presently before the National Assembly was passed transparently, while accommodating provisions for the use of electronic card readers and electronic transmission of results during elections.
Senator Chukwuka Utazi, on his own part, described Executive-Legislative relations under the ninth Assembly as a good one.
The lawmaker, who called for the introduction of State Police, to curb rising insecurity in the country, also advised that the constitutional review exercise, be used to bring the South East region at par with other parts of the country.
Sen. Solomon Adeola similarly said that the Senate had on two occasions rescued Nigeria from a looming economic crises when it slid into recession.
He added that such a prompt response was extended by the National Assembly to the issue of insecurity amid its recommendations to the Executive arm of government, which were aimed at tackling the spate of insecurity faced by the country.
PDP Inaugurates E-Registration Committee
The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) on Wednesday inaugurated e-registration Committee to facilitate electronic registration of its members nationwide.
The committee is Chaired by the Governor of Edo, Mr Godwin Obaseki, while Gov. Ahmadu Fintiri of Adamawa State is the Vice Chairman.
The party’s National Chairman, Prince Uche Secondus, at the inauguration of the committee in Abuja, said that the e- registration was a project dear to the party and had been on the card since 2010.
Secondus said that the party decided to digitalise its membership for proper database, due to its size, reach and to move with time.
“When we say that PDP is the largest party in the continent, we are not grandstanding but stating the obvious.
“There is no nook and cranny of this country that you won’t find PDP members.
“In 2019 general elections, the PDP was the only political party that fielded candidates in all the positions: Presidency, Governorship, Senate and House of Representatives and in all the 36 states’ Houses of Assembly.
“Even in states where we are not in power, our members still out number even the ruling party in such states.
“We are the only party since inception in 1998 that has been consistent in name, motto, manifestos and logo,” he said.
Secondus said that reports available to the party across the country showed that many more Nigerians want to join PDP and that the exercise would provide them such opportunity.
Secondus advised members of the committee to use their wealth of experience to deliver on the mandate assigned to them.
“In appointing you as the Chairman of this project, the party took into consideration your background and your love for data and record keeping.
“We have absolute confidence that you and your team will deliver in this assignment that is expected to update the database of our party across the country.
“Membership registration into our party is a continuous programme, what we are embarking on is to digitalise it for proper analysis of issues.
“The place of women and youths in our party cannot be over-emphasised and this programme is going to help toward proper planning in our party,” Secondus said.
Obaseki, in his remarks promised that the committee would reach out to PDP members across the nation.
He promised that the exercise would be all inclusive to the men and women, especially youths who were living in the digital world.
Obaseki said the committee would leverage on the existing platform of the party and produced a membership register that the party would be proud of .
“It is very worthy that our party being a big party has decided to digitalised membership and position the party to take over in 2023,” he said.
The party’s National Organising Secretary, retired Col. Austin Akobundu is the Secretary to the Committee, while the National Publicity Secretary, Kola Ologbondiyan; Agbi Emmanuel, Prof. Wale Oladipo, Sani Kutigi, Cyril Maduabum and Hon. Austin Opara will serve as members.
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