The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), yesterday described President Muhammadu Buhari’s trip to United Kingdom, UK, where he attended the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM) as a “colossal waste” of public resources.
PDP said Buhari was unable to attract investments to the country during his trip to London.
The party insisted that rather than attracting investors, Buhari succeeded in de-marketing the country through his unguarded comments.
In a statement issued by its spokesperson, Kola Ologbondiyan, the former ruling party noted that Buhari returned to Nigeria “empty handed with no tangible dividend.”
The party also urged the president to apologise to Nigerian youths over his comment that they are lazy.
The statement reads, “President Muhammadu Buhari’s attendance of the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM) in United Kingdom, which came at huge cost to the nation, was a colossal waste.
“Nigerians are not surprised that the President returned last night, empty handed and with no tangible dividend, a development which is the direct consequence of his negative comments about Nigerians and his presentation of false performance indices to his hosts.
“While other commonwealth heads of state used the occasion to negotiate businesses and showcase the potentials and opportunities in their countries, our President only succeeded in de-marketing our dear country and painting our citizens, particularly the youths, in the negative.
“Nigerians may recall that during his meeting with British Prime Minister, Theresa May, President Buhari, in the quest to hide the failures of his administration and push his 2019 re-election bid, Mr President downplayed the worsened economic and security situation in the country under his watch, but opted for self praise and brandishing unsubstantiated record of performance.
“This self-serving stance ultimately blocked all beneficial bilateral engagements that could have helped secure the much needed international interventions in those critical areas.
“Two days after, President Buhari again took the stage at the Commonwealth Business Forum in London and announced to international investors that Nigerian youths, a demography that forms the bulk of our nation’s workforce, are uneducated and lovers of freebies.
“We were therefore not surprised that no serious investor sealed any meaningful investment deal with Nigeria as dividend from the CHOGM.
“It is also instructive to note that despite the public outrage that trailed his denigration of our youths, the Buhari Presidency has not offered any apology to the nation, particularly our youths, thus further confirming the disdain in which this administration holds our young men and woman.
Meanwhile, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) yesterday challenged President Muhammadu Buhari to give an account of his ministers and other government officials who abandoned their scheduled meeting with investors in the United States to gallivant in that country.
This was contained in a statement made available to news men in Abuja yesterday by its National Publicity Secretary of the Party, Hon. Kola Oogbondiyan.
The ministers reportedly abandoned the foreign investors and went on a shopping spree in highbrow shops of the United States, at the time Nigerians were looking up to them to negotiate deals and bring in investments into the country.
According to the Party, “this embarrassing development is indeed a clear reflection of the recklessness and laissez-faire attitude of the Buhari-led All Progressives Congress (APC) administration towards governance, resulting in the biting economic recession and others woes plaguing our nation under President Buhari’s watch.
“How can APC government officials sent to attend investors’ meetings abandon their duties and engage in personal leisure abroad? Painfully, they blame everybody but themselves for the choking economic situation of the country in the last three years.
PDP holds that these government officials had the temerity to pursue personal interests across the United State because they knew that even if their atrocious act were brought to the attention of Mr. President, he will claim that he is not aware.
“This is more so as Mr. President himself brought no dividend from the Commonwealth Head of Government Meeting (CHOGM), where he de-marketed our nation with negative utterances.
“We, therefore, urge the National Assembly to spare no rods but to immediately summon the ministers named in the saga, including Chief Audu Ogbeh (Agriculture), Dr. Ogbonnaya Onu (Science and Technology), Alhaji Lai Mohammed (Information) Babatunde Fashola (Power), Dr. Ibe Kachikwu (Minister of State for Petroleum Resources), Kemi Adeosun (Finance) and Kayode Fayemi (Solid minerals).
“It is now clear to all that the APC does not have the interest of our country at heart and Nigerians must spare no efforts in joining forces with the PDP to vote them out and reinstate a purposeful and productive administration, come 2019.”
Lamenting over Nigerian Ministers absent last Saturday at an investors meeting put together as part of the IMF/World Bank Spring Meetings in Washington DC, United States of America.
This was despite the fact that some of them scheduled for the meeting were in the United States of America at the appointed time.
This development has drawn the ire of the Emir of Kano, Muhammadu Sanusi II, who lambasted the ministers for missing the meeting.
Sanusi, a former Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria, said: “Nigeria may be the biggest economy, but an investor may decide that rather than go through the hassle of investing, say $500 million in Nigeria, he may decide to invest $100 million each in Ghana, Cote d’Ivoire, South Africa, or Rwanda.
“I’ll give you a simple example: we had a meeting today (yesterday) with investors.
“We were supposed to start at 10am.
“So I came in early, and I was taken to the Nigerian Ambassador’s office to sit down, while investors were waiting for me outside.
“That is not how you attract investors.
“Also, we had a list of top Nigerians that were to attend the meeting like the Vice President and some Ministers.
“Some of these ministers were in town but they didn’t come.
“You (Nigeria) invite US Commerce Secretary, some top investors and your Ministers are in Washington and they do not come to talk to the investors about Nigeria.
“That is not done.
“I bet you that if the Rwandan Embassy had this kind of forum, President Kagame himself would be there telling people to come to his country.
“There is absolutely no reason why the Nigerian Embassy in the US will organise “Nigeria is open for business” forum with Nigerian ministers and some governors in town and not in here to meet these investors.
“And there is no reason to start one hour late, or that our public address systems should not be working.
“This is the first point of entry for these investors.
“They haven’t even come to Nigeria and this is their experience already.
“He may say that if I’m having this experience in DC, what will happen when I go to Abuja or Kano?
“How do I get to see the governor?
“Will I wait 10 hours?
“And for these kind of people (investors) in DC, they had other Heads of States to meet, World Bank to meet and an hour is a lot of time for them to wait for you.
“So, I think we need to look at those kind of things that investors look at and have a very honest conversation, sector by sector, region by region, state by state, what do we need to do to make those areas attractive.”
Sanusi, however, said investors are still interested in investing in the country’s agriculture, mining and technology sectors and not just oil.
He said Nigeria had a chance of getting foreign investors to come in and invest in areas that would help in diversifying the economy if they behave more professionally.
Rivers’ll Ensure Safe, Secure Environment For Economic Growth -Wike .
Rivers State Governor, Chief Nyesom Wike, has said that his administration would continue to support security agencies in the state to ensure a safe and secure environment for the economic prosperity of citizens.
He said the Rivers State Neighbourhood Safety Corps, the Operation Sting and the revitalised C4i security outfits were set up to help provide security to stimulate growth and prosperity of all in Rivers State.
The governor spoke through the Secretary to the State Government, Dr. Tammy Danagogo, at the 2021 Conference/Annual General meeting of the Nigerian Institute of Public Relations, Rivers State chapter, in Port Harcourt, yesterday.
“This administration has embarked on aggressive infrastructural development and a very deliberate urban renewal efforts around the capital to attract local and foreign investors to stimulate our economy.
“We have also opened up local governments through quality road networks. Upgrade of various social and recreational facilities in various local government areas,” he said.
He commended the state chapter of the NIPR for the choice of the theme of the conference: “Nigeria’s Security Situation: A Factor in Reputation and National Development”, adding that stakeholders must begin to act in a very different, drastic and positive strategy to remedy the already battered reputation of Nigeria.
He urged the NIPR to use its expertise and experience to thrive to galvanise and stimulate the populace and government at various levels for the resuscitation of citizens sense of pride and responsibility of whatever was left of the nation’s image and reputation.
“All hands must be on deck, especially reputation managers to call on government at all levels to begin to act in ways and manner that will help to revive the battered image of this country,” he added.
Welcoming guests and participants to the conference, the Rivers State Commissioner for Information and Communications, Pastor Paulinus Nsirim, who is also the state chairman of NIPR, commended the cordial relationship existing between the institute and the state government under the leadership of Governor Wike who is a honorary fellow of the institute.
“Governor Wike has been very supportive of all the activities of the Institute. That is what you also get from a visionary leader who has changed the landscape of Rivers State with infrastructure, with various developmental projects that touch the lives of the ordinary man,” he said.
Nsirim said the state chapter of NIPR was proud to associate with Governor Wike for the giant strides he has recorded and would continue to record until the end of his tenure in 2023.
“As a chapter that is responsive to the development of Nigeria, we have chosen the theme for this year’s conference as our own way of contributing to the national discourse,” he said.
He said the conference would produce a blueprint that would guide national discourse and urged participants to contribute robustly to the conversation.
“It is expected that the fallout of the conference will re-engineer national security and national development with the aim to put our country on the path of rapid growth,” he said.
In his speech, the President and Chairman of Governing Council of NIPR, Malam Mukhtar Sirajo, emphasised on the need for all Nigerians to collaborate to fight insecurity currently confronting the country’s economic and political stability.
He welcomed the theme of the conference, saying that it was coming at the time the institute had gotten sufficient worry about national security, peace and economic development.
In his keynote address, Dr. Ike Neliaku, chronicled the increasing violent crimes that had claimed thousands of lives in the various parts of Nigeria, and submitted that the rising insecurity situation in the country had impacted and would continue to impact negatively on corporate and national reputation.
He said the worrisome development would have concomitant consequence on individual and national development.
Chairman of the conference, Chief Felix Otuwarikpo, said the conference was put together to dissect the current carnage affecting the Nigerian nation.
“As an institute, we will leverage on the conference to proffer solutions to the security challenges affecting the nation,” he said.
The conference also featured the presentation of awards for good public relations and community development to some distinguished members and organisations.
Church Of Nigeria Honours Wike, Sanwo-Olu, Akeredolu, Others
The Church of Nigeria (Anglican Communion) has bestowed awards for exemplary leadership qualities in a challenging economy and dedication in the service of God and humanity on the Rivers State Governor, Chief Nyesom Wike; Lagos State Governor, Babajide Sanwo-Olu; Ondo State Governor, Oluwarotimi Akeredolu, and Ogun State Governor, Adedapo Abiodun.
Also honoured is the Lagos State Commissioner for Health, Prof Emmanuel Abayomi, with an award for quality and equitable healthcare delivery.
The awardees were honoured at the standing committee meeting of the Church of Nigeria, at the Diocese of Lagos, Archbishop Adebola and Oluranti Ademowo Resource Centre, Faith Plaza, Bariga, Lagos State.
The Primate of All Nigeria Anglican Communion, the Most Rev. Henry Ndukuba, who conferred the awards on the recipients, said the political leaders were considered for the award for their outstanding role, courageous leadership, and standing firm in defense of Nigerians against insecurity, provision of basic infrastructure to the citizenry and the fight against Covid-19 pandemic.
Addressing the congregation on the state of the nation and the role of the church, Rivers State Governor, Chief Nyesom Wike, admonished the leadership of the church to encourage its members to be part of the governance process in the country.
The governor noted that a situation whereby Christians leave governance for politicians alone is no longer obtainable.
According to Wike, the effect of bad leadership will also affect the church if they remain passive to the issue of governance.
“You must be part of choosing leadership. Don’t say you have no role, you have a role. When you don’t participate, bad leaders will emerge and when bad leadership emerges, you are part of it.
“You must encourage your people to be part of leadership. I didn’t go to any school to study leadership.
“So, nobody should say that as a Christian you cannot be a governor, no. The head of SUBEB in my state is a priest and you can see the leadership he has given to that agency today. You will feel proud about it. That used to be the most corrupt agency, but today it is headed by a priest and you can see the difference.”
Wike decried the inherent injustice that has characterised the Nigerian State, and urged the church to speak against socio-political issues adversely affecting the progress of the country.
“We say we are all one Nigeria. We went to World Bank to borrow money to do specific projects. One of the states that make up Nigeria I hear is Rivers State. And I also know in paying this money back to World Bank, money that comes from the resources of my state will be used in paying back this money. But my state was denied to have projects from that loan.”
The Rivers State governor said a situation where states depend on the Federal Government to survive can no longer be tenable, and insisted that states must be allowed to collect revenues such as Value Added Tax (VAT) to enable them improve the welfare of their people.
“You have gone to take loan and I am one of those states that will pay back those loan and you deny me to benefit from the projects that that money will be used for. I have no problem with that.
“Allow me the one (VAT) the Constitution says I am entitled to, let me collect that one and develop my state.”
He regretted that some governors in Nigeria have refused to think out of the box on how to boost economic activities in their states.
“There is flood in my state, it requires N200millon, I will go to Abuja to beg. Even as a governor, I will knee down before a DG of an agency of government. You will knee down for a director just because of N300million. That is the status of some of the governors of some states.”
In his remarks, Lagos State Governor, Babajide Sanwo-Olu, commended the church for its support, and announced the waiver of N2billion for land acquired by the Church of Nigeria in Lagos State.
The governor stated that Nigeria and the rest of the world are going through difficult times amidst the Covid-19 pandemic, and used the occasion to canvass for mass vaccination of the citizens.
The Primate of All Nigeria Anglican Communion, the Most Rev. Henry Ndukuba, while speaking on the theme of the conference: “Abiding in Christ: God’s Panacea in an Unstable World”, lamented that Nigeria was fast becoming a land flowing with tears and blood because of the impact of terror, banditry, herdsman attacks on communities and kidnapping.
He said a situation in which communities that are predominantly Christians are targeted one after another in some parts of Kaduna State and North-Central of Nigeria was unacceptable.
“We call on President Muhammadu Buhari to brand the bandits and herders attackers as terrorists and let them be treated as such.”
The Primate urged Nigerians to avail themselves the opportunity 2023 general election offer to exercise their right to choose new leaders.
He appealed to the Federal Government to urgently address the free fall in the value of the country’s currency because of the attendant impact on the store of value and confidence of investors.
Rivers Begins Process To Check Flooding
The Rivers State Government has said that it was working with relevant agencies to roll out the process that would check perennial flooding in the state.
The state Commissioner for Information and Communications, Pastor Paulinus Nsirim, disclosed this at a media briefing in Port Harcourt, last Wednesday.
Nsirim, therefore, called on those living and doing business in the state to play their part in line with the programme that would be executed by government to address the problem of flooding.
He frowned at the situation where residents of Port Harcourt had turned the drainage systems into refuse bins, and warned that “that is not what it should be.
“The present administration under Governor Nyesom Wike is desirous to make Rivers State a destination of choice and that is why the government has embarked on massive infrastructural development in line with its urban renewal programme.
“So, what is expected of those living and doing business in Rivers State now, is to co-operate with government to ensure that the urban renewal programme and the plan by government to make this state a destination of choice is realised,” he said.
He noted that the state government could not do it alone as it required the support of corporate organisations, civil society groups, religious organisations and the media to enlighten their publics on the need to behave as responsible citizens.
He called on the media to embark on massive enlightenment programmes along the line of the roles of citizens in checking flooding in the state.
“We believe that if the citizens cooperate with government, as government is out to ensure that everyone living and doing business in the state does so in a healthy environment, we believe that in the next few days or weeks we will find a solution to this (flooding),” he said.
Nsirim also announced the names of entrants selected for the essay competition on the title, “Our State Our Responsibility” introduced under the second phase of the #OurStateOurResponsibility advocacy campaign of the ministry launched at the beginning of this month.
He said those shortlisted were expected to be at the conference room of the ministry by 11am on Monday, September 27, 2021, for a physical test to ascertain their original ownership.
Those shortlisted are: Jessica Hart, Samuel William, Amarachi Chimezie, Jasper Dorcas, Jaja Tamunoimiegba Christian, Sophia Oyibo, Blessing Pepple, Anyiam kelechukwu, Deborah Adegbami, Gift Samuel, Okiche Golden, Okiche Miracle, Orovwigwo Deborah, Otuka Goodluck and Ziga Paago.
By: Beemene Taneh
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