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Buhari Addresses Nigerians At 60th Independence Anniversary

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Full Speech: Independence Day Address By President Muhammadu Buhari

Fellow Nigerians

I speak to you today as your President and fellow citizen on this epoch occasion of our country’s 60th independence Anniversary. As President, I wish to renew my appreciation to Nigerians for entrusting me with your hopes and aspirations for a better and greater Nigeria.

Today, it is my unique privilege to re-commit myself to the service of this great country of great people with profound diversities and opportunities. We are bound by destiny to be the largest and greatest black nation on earth.

At this stage in our nationhood it is important that we reflect how we got here to enable us work TOGETHER to get to where we aspire to be as a strong indivisible nation, united in hope and equal in opportunity.

On October 1st, 1960, when Prime Minister Alhaji Abubakar Tafawa Balewa received the constitutional instruments symbolizing Nigeria’s independence, he expressed his wish that having acquired our rightful status as an independent sovereign nation, history would record that the building of our nation proceeded at the wisest pace.

This optimism was anchored on the peaceful planning, full and open consultation and harmonious cooperation with the different groups which culminated in Nigeria emerging as a country without bitterness and bloodshed.

Our founding fathers understood the imperative of structuring a National identity using the power of the state and worked towards unification of Nigerians in a politically stable and viable entity.

That philosophy guided the foundation that was laid for our young nation of 45 million people with an urban population of approximately 7million occupying an area of 910,768 square kilometers. These demographics led to development challenges for which major efforts were made to overcome.

Today, we grapple with multiple challenges with a population exceeding 200million occupying the same land mass but 52% residing in urban areas.

Sixty years of nationhood provides an opportunity to ask ourselves questions on the extent to which we have sustained the aspirations of our founding fathers. Where did we do the right things? Are we on course? If not where did we stray and how can we remedy and retrace our steps?

Upon attaining independence, Nigeria’s growth trajectory was anchored on policies and programmes that positively impacted on all sectors of the economy. However, this journey was cut short by the 30-months of civil war.

We came out of the civil war with a focus on reconstruction, rehabilitation and reconciliation that enabled the country to put in place world class development structures and a strengthened public service that well served the government. This positive trajectory continued with a return to democratic government which was truncated by another round of military rule.

For a cumulative 29 of our 60 years existence as a nation, we have been under military rule.

My summary of our journey so far as a nation is necessary to appropriately chart where we need to go and how to get there TOGETHER.

Today, I am aware that our economy along with every single economy in the world is in crisis. We still face security challenges in parts of the country, while our society suffers from a high loss of moral rectitude which is driven by unbridled craving for political control.

An underlying cause of most of the problems we have faced as a nation is our consistent harping on artificially contrived fault-lines that we have harboured and allowed unnecessarily to fester.

In addition, institutions such as civil service, police, the judiciary, the military all suffered from a general decline.

We need to begin a sincere process of national healing and this anniversary presents a genuine opportunity to eliminate old and outworn perceptions that are always put to test in the lie they always are.

The stereotype of thinking of ourselves as coming from one part of the country before seeing ourselves as Nigerians is a key starting point to project us on the road to our deserved nation’s evolution and integration.

To start this healing process, we are already blessed with the most important asset any nation requires for such – OUR PEOPLE – and this has manifested globally in the exploits of Nigerians in many fields.

It has been demonstrated time and time again that Nigerians in the diaspora frequently excel in science, technology, medicine, sports, arts and many other fields.

Similarly, the creativity, ingenuity and resourcefulness of the Nigerian at home have resulted in globally recognized endeavours.

I am convinced that if we pursue our aspirations TOGETHER we would be able to achieve whatever we desire. That informed our adopting the theme TOGETHER to mark this epochal event.

Together we can change our condition for the better and more importantly, together we can do much more for ourselves and for our country.

I chose the path of self-reflection because this is what I do on a daily basis and I must confess that at most times, I always felt the need for a collective reflection as I know that the foundation for a solid future which this administration is laying can only be sustainable if there is a collective commitment by Nigerians.

Nigeria is not a country for Mr. President, any ruling or opposition party but a country for all of us and we must play our part, irrespective of challenges we face, to make this country what we desire.

To achieve this, we must focus our minds, TOGETHER as a people, on ways of resolving the identified critical challenges that underlie our present state. These include:

a. Evolving and sustaining a democratic culture that leaves power in the hands of the people;

b. Supporting the enthronement of the rule of law, demanding accountability of elected representatives and contributing to good governance;

c. Increasing our commitment to peaceful co-existence in a peaceful, secure and united Nigeria;

d. Harnessing and Optimizing our tremendous human and natural resources to attain our goal of being in the top twenty economies of the world and in the process;

e. Lifting 100 million Nigerians out of poverty in 10 years;

f. Strengthening institutions to make them stronger in protecting National Interests; and
g. Imbibing tolerance in diversity.

I am a firm believer in transparent, free, fair and credible elections as has been demonstrated during my period as a democratically elected President.

The recent build-up and eventual outcome of the Edo State elections should encourage Nigerians that it is my commitment to bequeath to this country processes and procedures that would guarantee that the people’s votes count.

The problems with our electoral process are mainly human induced as desperate desire for power leads to desperate attempts to gain power and office.

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Democracy, the world over and as I am pursuing in Nigeria, recognizes the power of the people. However, if some constituencies choose to bargain off their power, they should be prepared for denial of their rights.

This call is made more urgent if we realise that even after a transparent, free, fair and credible election, desperation leads to compromising the judiciary to upturn legitimate decisions of the people.

It is necessary to, therefore support the enthronement of the rule of law by avoiding actions which compromise the judiciary.

Fellow Nigerians, our history has shown that we are a people that have the capacity to live peacefully with one another.

As a government, we remain committed to our constitutional oath of securing the lives and properties of the citizenry. I, however, call on the citizenry to also support government by providing the necessary community level intelligence in addressing these challenges.

In moving forward together, it is important to strengthen our economy to provide sustainable means of livelihood for as many Nigerians as possible so as to eradicate absolute poverty from our midst.

I want to re-emphasize my dedication and commitment, a dedication and commitment that propelled my public service career and informed my quest to continually seek for an opportunity to improve the lives of Nigerians, set the country on the path of prosperity and lead the country to a better future.

This administration has been focused on rebuilding and laying the foundations for a sustainable Nigeria. Of course, we have met and are still meeting the challenges inherent in any rebuilding initiative – more so that of a nation like Nigeria that has undergone avoidable levels of deprivation – but can be surmounted if we all work together.

I wish to re-iterate that our people and our spirit of excellence remains our most important asset.

In this wise, the need to return to our age-old ethical and high moral values would be necessary and this informed my launching of the National Ethics and Integrity Policy on Monday 28th September, 2020.

The policy would not implement itself and the first contact of the visibility of its implementation is the Public Service whose on-going reforms would be expected to be sustainable and give a radical re-direction in providing services to all Nigerians.

Fellow Nigerians, in addition to public health challenges of working to contain the spread of the Coronavirus, we have suffered a significant drop in our foreign exchange earnings and internal revenues due to 40 per cent drop in oil prices and steep drop in economic activities, leading to a 60 per cent drop in government revenue.

Our government is grappling with the dual challenge of saving lives and livelihoods in face of drastically reduced resources.

In this regard, sustaining the level of petroleum prices is no longer possible. The government, since coming into office has recognized the economic argument for adjusting the price of petroleum. But the social argument about the knock-on effect of any adjustment weighed heavily with the government.

Accordingly, in the last three years, we have introduced unprecedented measures in support of the economy and to the weakest members of our society in the shape of:

a. Tradermoni

b. Farmermoni

c. School Feeding Programme

d. Job creation efforts

e. Agricultural intervention programmes

No government in the past did what we are doing with such scarce resources. We have managed to keep things going in spite of the disproportionate spending on security. Those in the previous Governments from 1999 – 2015 who presided over the near destruction of the country have now the impudence to attempt to criticize our efforts.

In the circumstances, a responsible government must face realities and take tough decisions.

Petroleum prices in Nigeria are to be adjusted. We sell now at N161 per litre. A comparison with our neighbours will illustrate the point;

a. Chad which is an oil producing country charges N362 per litre

b. Niger, also an oil producing country sells 1 litre at N346.

c. In Ghana, another oil producing country, petroleum pump price is N326 per litre.

Further afield, Egypt charges N211 per litre. Saudi Arabia charges N168 per litre. It makes no sense for oil to be cheaper in Nigeria than in Saudi Arabia.

Fellow Nigerians, to achieve the great country we desire, we need to solidify our strength, increase our commitment and encourage ourselves to do that which is right and proper even when no one is watching.

Fellow Nigerians, let us collectively resolve to continue our journey beyond the sixty years on the clear understanding that as a nation we are greater together than being smaller units of nationalities. By the special grace of God we shall come through any transient challenges.

It is my sincere hope that by the end of this anniversary on September 30th 2021, we will all be proud of taking this individual and collective self-assessment for the progress of our great Nation.

Long Live the Federal Republic of Nigeria.

God Bless us all. Thank you.

 

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We’ll Remain In PDP To Fight For Inclusivity, Wike Declares

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Rivers State Governor, Chief Nyesom Wike, has declared that he will not leave the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) for whatever cause and anybody.
The governor stated that he was rather interested in preserving the sanity of the party and would stay back to fight for the enthronement of unity, inclusivity, equity and peace in the PDP.
Wike made the declaration at the Rivers State PDP stakeholders meeting at Government House, Port Harcourt, yesterday.
The governor said he is a man of character, unlike those who cannot keep their words and walked out of the party at the Eagle Square in Abuja in 2014.
“One thing I have always told people is, if anybody is thinking, doing anything to think that we will leave PDP, foul. We will do the fight in the party. We are not like them, when in 2014 they walked out from Eagle Square. They’ve forgotten. They walked out and joined APC. Is it not correct?
“Did they remain to fight inside the party? But we remained, they ran away. Now, there is a fight in the party, we will not run. We will fight it in this party. Those who run away from fight are weak people. We will not. So, everybody should know this is the state where we are; so that nobody tells you all kind of stories.”
Wike insisted that the constitution of the party clearly stated that elective and party offices must be zoned which, should be respected.
He wondered why the former PDP BOT chairman will be pressurised to resign and the PDP National Chairman, Senator Iyorchia Ayu,was excusing himself from doing what is right.
“You have taken presidential candidate, you have taken party chairman, and you have also taken the D.G (director general) of the campaign. We are talking about party politics. Decisions are made by the presidential candidate, chairman of the party and the D.G of the campaign.
“They are telling you they told the chairman of the BOT to resign. So, you know there is a problem. You said he should go and resign. You can put pressure on him to resign when his tenure hasn’t come to an end. But you cannot put pressure on the chairman to resign. You think at our level you will deceive us. You’ll tell us stories.”
Wike recalled how in 2015, the Federal Government used the military to invade Rivers State, interfered with and even annulled elections, but were resisted.
The governor recalled he made sure the senatorial results for Rivers East was announced that delivered Senator George Thompson Sekibo and that of Rivers West, that produced Senator Betty Apiafi.
Wike regretted that despite the risk taken to deliver them, the same people are now in Abuja plotting against him.
He said they won’t succeed because God has blessed him.
The Rivers State governor also clarified that he never promised anybody governorship ticket of the PDP despite the pressure some leaders mounted on him or attempts made to divide the state House of Assembly.
Wike said though he didn’t clinch the PDP presidential ticket, he actually made a good account of himself at the primary.
The governor explained that by next week, Rivers State PDP campaign team would be unveiled and the campaign pattern adopted would be based on each local government peculiarity.
Wike emphasised that all PDP candidates in the state would be returned elected by Rivers people who are satisfied with the performance of his administration.
“We will take all. We are taking all because Rivers people are happy with what we have done in this state. We have not only provided infrastructure, we have also defended the interest of Rivers State.”
He explained that it took courage and firmness for him to protect the interest and assets of Rivers State without compromising it with politics.
Wike explaining that besides securing a refund of money illegally deducted by the Federal Government over the Police Trust Fund, his administration recovered oil wells wrongly ceded to Imo State and is collecting the accruing revenue from the oil wells in disputed area between Rivers and Bayelsa states.
The governor stated that the Federal Government won’t be able to use the Army and the police in the 2023 election, because Nigerians will vote for political parties on the basis of their performance.
Wike caution party members who want to be moles and work against the PDP because they were not given the ticket that they sought.
The governor urged party members to be steadfast because God is on their side, and since they have not known defeat, PDP cannot be defeated in 2023 general election in Rivers State.
In his response, State Chairman of the PDP, Amb Desmond Akawor, said the party in the state has already passed a vote of confidence on Wike for the way he has piloted the affairs of the state.
He commended the governor for the consistent delivery of projects, defending the interest of the state, and declared that they would continue to follow the leadership that he provides.

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Court Order Declaration Of ‘War’ Against Lecturers -ASUU

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The Chairman of the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU), Ebonyi State University Chapter, Comrade Ikechuku Igwenyi, has said with Wednesday’s court judgement ordering Nigeria’s universities lecturers to return to the classroom, the Federal Government has declared ‘war’ against members of the union.
This was as he pointed out that, the, “No work, no pay” policy of the government shows the authorities lack an understanding of the nature of the contract between the lecturers and their employers.
He stated this while reacting to Wednesday’s Federal Government-ASUU court judgement, in Abakaliki, the Ebonyi State capital, yesterday.
He said, “When a matter leaves the round and peaceful negotiation table to the court, it becomes difficult to predict the possible end of the imbroglio. It has therefore become obvious that the Federal Government of Nigeria has clearly declared war against academic staff in Nigerian Federal Universities using the weapons of forced labour, hunger and starvation through non-payment of outstanding seven months’ salaries.
“The ‘No work, No pay’ policy of Federal Government implies government illiteracy on university administration or FGN does not take into cognisance, the peculiar nature of the contract between university lecturers and their employers. It is, therefore, embarrassing that rather than confront the main issues with the urgency they demand, the Federal Government has been introducing obnoxious diversionary and distractive policies to divert the focus of ASUU from objective positions of the union to frivolities.
“The introduction of IPPIS and imposing the fraudulent payment platform on universities workers without integrity testing by NITDA and the current no work, no pay policy are clear indications of unwillingness to implement the agreements FGN willingly signed in 1981, 1992, 1999, 2001, 2004, 2007 and 2009 and the several Memoranda of Understanding of 2013 and 2017 with the Memoranda of Action of 2019 and 2020.
“There were also two concluded reports that were submitted by Federal Government’s inaugurated Renegotiation Committee led by Prof. Muzali Jubril in 2021 and Emeritus Prof. Nimi Dimkpa Briggs without any consideration.
“It is, therefore, not surprising that while the government inaugurated committee had submitted their report to their principal and waiting for the outcome and approval of a job well done, the Federal Minister of Education came up with a ‘take it or leave it’ salary award that is not in tandem with collective bargaining principles, which also negates the FGN/ASUU Agreement of 1981.
“Recall that the same government had set up a 14-man committee to review the Prof Nimi Briggs Committee report and while the committee is still at work, the Federal Minister of Labour and Productivity took the matter to the National Industrial Court of Nigeria, because he informed that it was not the Federal Government that took ASUU to court.”
He added, “Today, the NIC has ordered ASUU to call off the ongoing strike and return to the classroom with empty stomachs and unpaid bills pending the determination of the suit filed against the union by the Federal Government.
“Meanwhile, it has become difficult to hold government responsible and true to their word because NASU and SSANU were promised to be paid their salary when they resume work and it has been over a month without any light of hope or fidelity. Going to court has implications in further delaying the negotiation process and will definitely postpone the day of joy for Nigerian university workers, students and parents.
“It is on this note that members are encouraged to be strong and courageous because this is a legacy struggle. Our Comrade President has urged members of the academic union to remain resolute and strong because a people united cannot be defeated. As we have received the judgement, members are therefore enjoined to remain firm with our faith unshakable and have a profound trust in the never-failing principles of the union and the destiny of our children, institution and country rather than live under subjection and disregarding sacred principles.
“National Industrial Court judgement is not a cul-de-sac or end of the road. There are other levels of appeal and stay of execution orders. It is imperative now to ask Federal Government of Nigeria whose interest they are working hard to protect because the genuine Nigeria students they claim they are fighting for have been protesting and recently called the National Industrial Court judgement ‘a black market judgement’.
“Members are hereby admonished not to lose faith because the Almighty God is on His Throne and it is not over until it is over.
“Our team of lawyers will advise properly on the next level but in the meantime, members are encouraged to be steadfast for the struggle is closer to the end than from the beginning.”

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Law Student Asks Court To Stop Buhari, Others’ Salaries Over ASUU Strike

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A final year law student of Benue State University, Soohemba Agatha Aker, has dragged President Muhammadu Buhari, the 36 state governors, and others before a Federal High Court in Abuja over alleged poor handling of the dispute between the Federal Government and the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU).
The plaintiff is asking the court to stop the salaries and allowances of Buhari, the governors, and all political office holders in the country until the final resolution and end of the strike.
The applicant is also seeking similar order against the chief of staff to the president, secretary to the government, all the senators and the members of the House of Representatives, all the ministers, permanent secretaries, heads of parastatals, and extra ministerial bodies of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, all the vice chancellors and the members of Senate of striking universities, as well as the salaries and allowances of striking universities and all the members of the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU).
In the fundamental right enforcement suit marked FHC/ABJ/CS/1684/2022, the applicant who said she is currently affected by the ongoing strike filed the action for herself on behalf of all students of public tertiary institutions currently affected by the nationwide ASUU strike.
In the suit filed by her counsel, Chukwuma-Machukwu Ume, SAN, the applicant listed the respondents to include the Federal Government of Nigeria, Registered Trustees of the Academic Staff Union of Universities, President of the Senate, Speaker of the House of Representatives, and the Governor of Abia State (also sued in his official capacity and in a representative capacity for all the other governors of the 36 states of the federation).
The rest are Revenue Mobilisation Allocation and Fiscal Commission (RMAFC); Federation of Account Allocation Committee (FAAC); Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice (AGF); the Attorney General of Abia State (also sued in a representative capacity for all the other Hon Attorney-Generals of the 35 States of the Federation); the Vice-Chancellor (VC) of the University of Abuja (also sued in a representative capacity for all the other Vice Chancellors and the Members of the Senate of both Federal and State Universities currently participating in the ongoing ASUU Strike) and Umar Farouk (President, National Association of Nigerian Students, NANS).
The suit was filed pursuant to sections 46(1), (2) and (3) of the 1999 Constitution and Article 17(1) of the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights (Ratification and Enforcement) Act Chapter A9 (Charter 10 LFN 1990) No. 2 of 1983.
The applicant is equally seeking an order of mandamus compelling the defendants, including members of the Senate of the striking universities, to return to the first respondent their monthly salaries, allowances, and other benefits received individually or collectively from the day the industrial action of the second respondent commenced till date, pending the hearing and determination of the originating motion.
She further asked for an order of interlocutory injunction suspending the activities of 6th and 7th Respondents (RMAFC and FAAC), including payment of the monthly allocation funds to the 3rd, 4th, 5th, 8th, 9th & 10th Respondents pending the hearing and determination of the applicant’s suit.
In a supporting affidavit, she deposed to the fact that the ASUU strike has and continues to affect her adversely as her plans of graduating this academic year 2022 and applying for admission into the Nigerian Law School have been thwarted; that her tuition fees paid for this academic year will go in vain as the academic year is almost lost if nothing is done.
She stated further that her dreams of becoming a law graduate and a future lawyer are on the verge of collapsing, as her sponsor had made it clear that this year was the last year to sponsor her in school; that her mates, who are children of top politicians, are currently taking their studies uninterrupted in private universities in the country or abroad; that some of her mates have gotten pregnant due to boredom and idleness; that she is going through severe mental stress and trauma each passing day as the strike prolongs with no concrete action taken by the stakeholders concerned towards ending it.
She, therefore, asked the court to declare that refusal, failure, or neglect of the 1st, 2nd, 3rd, 4th, 5th, 10th, and 11th Respondents to put an end to the lingering industrial action (strike) of the members of the second respondent is wrongful, gross failure of duty to the future of Nigeria, an act of negligence to their constitutional responsibilities and amounts to a gross violation of the Applicants’ constitutional rights to a meaningful life, association, education, and developed capacity to own functional intellectual cum physical property.
A declaration that refusal, failure, or neglect of the 1st, 2nd, 3rd, 4th, 5th, 10th, and 11th Respondents to put an end to the lingering industrial action (strike) of the members of the 2nd Respondent union (most of whose children are abroad attending the best universities) is a function of the act of discrimination in the affording of educational opportunities to their children abroad and the neglected Applicant and teeming types all over the country.
An order compelling the 1st, 2nd, 3rd, 4th, 5th, 10th and 11th Respondents to immediately and forthwith inaugurate a Save the Future Think-Tank Committee of all parties herein or their representatives and other key stakeholders from all tiers of government and segments of the Nigerian societies as to map out immediate steps as to end the ongoing strike by 2nd Respondent and ensure uninterrupted academic calendar in all Nigerian tertiary institutions even in times of any of the industrial disputes in the sector.
Meanwhile, no date has yet been fixed for the hearing of the suit.

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