The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has accused President Muhammadu Buhari of corruption over the fuel subsidy regime of his government, throwing its weight behind state governors’ query of the subsidy regime.
The main opposition party has therefore challenged the President to submit himself for an independent inquest into his handling of the subsidy regime as well as the alleged complicity of his Presidency in other exposed financial impropriety by cronies of his government, particularly in
revenue collecting agencies.
According to a statement issued Kola Ologbondiyan, the party’s National Publicity Secretary in Abuja yesterday, such inquest, which it noted, was already backed by state governors across board, “will not only expose humongous corruption but also show the world that our African Union (AU) Anti-Corruption champion had not been totally spotless.”
The party invited Nigerians to note that the demand by governors to probe all subsidy deals since 2015 was a direct indictment on President Buhari as the Minister of Petroleum, particularly, following allegations that the stolen funds were being warehoused to fund his 2019 re-election bid and the opulent lifestyle in the Presidential Villa.
The party noted that if President Buhari allowed the inquest, “it will reveal how our president, who had queried the genuineness of the oil
subsidy payments by PDP administration and described the process as a fraud, had secretly engaged in underhand oil subsidy deals.”
The party asserted: “Nigerians will also understand how the cost of fuel geometrically rose from the PDP subsidized the cost of N87 to N145, representing a criminal N58 tax, per liter of fuel.
“Nigerians recall that it took over two years of secret oil subsidy deals under President Buhari before it was exposed last December. Since then, the Presidency and the NNPC have been seeking ways to cover the fraud which include claims that local consumption suddenly jumped from 28 million liters per day to 60 liters per day.
“PDP considers this as a fabrication to retire the billions being stolen as subsidy, even when statistics by the National Bureau of Statistics and the reality of the retarded purchasing power of citizens, under the prevailing economic recession, do not validate such claims.
“Nigerian, therefore, deserve to know who authorised the payments and the identity of the beneficiary companies, if any.
“The PDP is happy that state governors across the board and the National Assembly are on the same page with our party in condemning the humongous fraud going on under President Buhari’s fuel subsidy.”
The PDP, therefore, demanded that the inquest should cover the alleged the N15 billion stolen from the NHIS, the N18 billion stolen from the PINE initiative, the alleged leaked memo of N9 trillion corrupt oil contracts at the NNPC, the reported diversion of N1.1trillion worth of crude last year and why indicted Presidential cronies and fronts have not been prosecuted.
Meanwhile, the National Working Committee of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), has raised alarm over what it described as deliberate attempts by the All Progressives Congress-led Federal Government to completely clampdown on opposition elements across the country.
Rising from its meeting, last Saturday, in Abuja, where members discussed issues on the state of the nation, particularly the clampdown on opposition and dissenting voices, the PDP stated that it was taking the pains to alerts Nigerians because of the dare consequences such government policy could have on the nation’s democracy, peace and economic development of the country.
A statement issued by the party in Abuja, said, “The PDP alerts all Nigerians that the All Progressives Congress (APC) and its Federal Government have commenced a vicious and direct clampdown of major opposition leaders, perceived political opponents and individuals with interests and views that are divergent to those of their Presidential aspirant, perhaps, candidate, President Muhammadu Buhari, ahead of the 2019 general elections.
“The clampdown is tailored to silence opposition as well as those who refused to join or support the APC in their unlawful design to emasculate other political parties, undermine our laws and electoral system, foist a one-party state and perpetuate their incompetent, dysfunctional and anti-people rule on our nation.
“It is instructive to inform that our leaders, particularly, our National Chairman, Prince Uche Secondus, have been receiving threats since the PDP filed a petition to the United Nations and the Commonwealth of Nations, detailing documented threats to democracy by the APC and its Federal Government, abuse of human rights, mass killings, extra-judicial executions, persecution of opposition and unabated constitutional violations.
“The PDP is aware of clandestine plots against key opposition leaders, particularly, members of the PDP National Working Committee, some dissenting members of the APC, members of the civil society, opinion leaders, journalists and bloggers, who refuse to succumb to intimidation and that such persons have already been listed and currently being trailed by agents of the state.
“This has become manifest in the plot to rope members of ‘nPDP’, especially those in the National Assembly, into gun-running and murder charges just because they came out to voice their opposition to the APC government’s constitutional violations and executive brigandage in the running of our nation’s affairs.
“The PDP wants Nigerians and the international community to know those to hold responsible should PDP leaders, as well as other members of the opposition start falling victims of untoward situations like assassinations, unexplained accidents, inexplicable ‘armed robbery’ attacks, high profile abduction and sudden disappearances.
“These include wanton arrest, manhandling and detention of opposition leaders on trumped-up charges, as well as illegal invasion of their homes and businesses by agents of the state.
“Apart from allegations of corruption, there are also plots to clamp down and detain opposition leaders for charges bordering on treason and the PDP is also aware that some compromised judicial officers have been enlisted to give convictions and jail members of opposition as well as dissenting voices, on flimsy grounds.
“Moreover, we know that the APC is fixated with the PDP because of the renewed popularity of our party among Nigerians, as the inevitable vehicle to return power to the people, restore democracy, national cohesion and safeguard our territorial integrity, come 2019.
“The PDP’s response to all these plots is that we are not cowed. Nigeria belongs to all of us and our laws on political engagements are very clear. The PDP, as a party committed to democracy and freedom will continue to uphold the inalienable rights of our citizens to free speech, political association and to politically aspire to any position in the land, including the Presidency.
“Our party, therefore, urges all Nigerians to be alert, united and remain resolute in their decision to collectively defend our democracy and its tenets, constitutionally guaranteed personal freedom and the rule of law in our nation,” the PDP added.
Similarly, some elder statesmen in the country have urged President Muhammadu Buhari not to seek a second term in 2019.
The leaders from different parts of the country gave various reasons for advising Buhari not to seek re-election in separate interviews with newsmen, last Saturday.
A former governor of the old Anambra State, Chief Chukwuemeka Ezeife, said age was no longer on the side of the President, adding that the stress associated with his office was already having negative effects on his health.
Ezeife, who noted that he was opposed to Buhari’s election as President in 2015, prayed that God would change his (Buhari’s) heart to dump the second-term bid.
He said, “Let us pray so that God would stop Buhari from talking about a second-term and instead, begin a six-month emergency restructuring of Nigeria.
“It is not a matter of whether he is fit or qualified, age is important. He claims to be 75, he may be 82. Even at 75, he is too old to be in that office.
“The second consideration is his comprehensive failure in the first term. If you recorded a failure like that, why do you want to seek a second term?”
Also, the Chairman of the Northern Elders’ Council, Alhaji Tanko Yakasai, said he had never supported Buhari to become President of Nigeria.
Yakasai said, “Buhari and his party (All Progressives Congress) were not prepared to rule Nigeria in the first instance. Therefore, in my opinion, he should not have contested at all.”
Similarly, a former minister of health, Prof. A. B. C. Nwosu, noted that as a founding member of the Peoples Democratic Party, he would never have supported Buhari to be Nigeria’s President.
Nwosu, who is a member of the Ohanaeze Ndigbo, said, “It is his (Buhari’s) constitutional right to seek any office just like anybody else. We need to organise ourselves to provide an alternative with a clear set objective that will make life better for Nigerians.”
Meanwhile, self-acclaimed spiritualist and leader of Divine Intelligence Ministry, Prophet George Fakolade, last Saturday warned President Muhammadu Buhari, to stop further activities towards his re-election in 2019, saying the second term bid was ill-fated.
Fakolade, who spoke to newsmen in Abuja, said there would be fatal consequences, if President Buhari does not retract and rescind his public declaration to run for a second term in office.
He said: “There is a very serious warning for the All Progressives Congress (APC) and the incumbent President Muhammadu Buhari over his ill-fated ambition for a second term as president in 2019.
“President Buhari must retract, rescind, and withdraw his decision to seek a second term, and apologise to all Nigerians or else, history shall repeat itself on him with fatal consequences and many calamities”.
“He has been weighed on the balance and found wanting. All Nigerians should be on red alert as President Buhari’s public declaration to run again in 2019 at the APC National Executive Committee Meeting was an act of arrogance that will end in a fatal manner,” he warned.
The man of God had earlier predicted that there would be a 2015 change of government in Nigeria; a Dr Goodluck Jonathan takeover of government from late President Musa Yar’Adua; a Presidential election victory for Barack Obama in 2008; and the demise of late military Head of State, Gen Sani Abacha, in 1998.
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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