The presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Atiku Abubakar, has called on President Muhammadu Buhari to resign over his comment last Friday that Nigeria’s economy was in a bad shape.
President Buhari reportedly stated this at a meeting with state governors at the Presidential Villa, Abuja.
The president told us that “the economy is in bad shape and that we have to come together, think and rethink on the way forward,” Governor Abdulaziz Yari of Zamfara who briefed journalists after the meeting said.
No presidency official has refuted the statement by Governor Yari who is of the same party as the president, APC, and is the chairman of the Nigeria Govenrors Forum.
In a statement issued in Abuja yesterday by his Special Assistant on Public Communication, Phrank Shaibu, Alhaji Abubakar described President Buhari’s statement as a ploy to attract the sympathy of Nigerians and a disguise to get a soft landing from aggrieved Nigerians unhappy with his performance.
“The result of course is this late hour confession of failure on the eve of our general elections, in the hope that millions of Nigerians, whom he has condemned to poverty and hardship will give him a clap for failing abysmally. I dare say that President Buhari has miscalculated badly on this matter because Nigerians are simply fed up with him.”
“The economy has collapsed under his watch and he has by this frank remarks admitted that he has no idea on how to fix it and that is why he summoned the governors to help him. This is really very sad because President Buhari has run out of time and what Nigerians need now is a leadership which has the political will, administrative experience and sound economic acumen to get Nigeria working again,” Mr Shuaibu said.
“But then, President Buhari has only confirmed what we have known all along; that he has wrecked our once robust economy, that he has no solutions to the challenges facing our country and that the situation can only get worse under his administration.
“The Buhari Presidency has continued to increase its expensive running costs and has failed to offer any explanation or recover the over N11 trillion (allegedly wasted) from our oil sector by APC interests, yet Mr. President is asking Nigerians to make more sacrifices,” the statement read in part.”
Atiku said the honourable step to take is for the president to step down from his position.
“Unless those in charge of the APC and the party’s supporters are, as usual, suffering from some form of self-delusion, it just does not make any sense for them to say that the APC-led federal government had brought succour to the ordinary Nigerian when President Muhammadu Buhari himself has admitted to Governors of the 36 States of the federation that the economy has gone beyond his control,” the spokesperson said.
“Or do we need a prophet to tell us that the president’s admission of the state of the nation’s economy is a vindication of our long-held position and indeed the forecast by HSBC recently cited by the Nigerian media where the bank had said a second term for Buhari would greatly stunt the economy of the country?” he asked.
He called on the APC to apologise to Nigerians for the party’s performance since 2015.
According to him, the hopes for better governance and improved standard of living that many had nursed with the assumption of office by President Muhammadu Buhari in May 2015 has since given way to despair and hopelessness.
“The exchange rate of the Naira to the US dollar when the APC assumed office in 2015 was about 170 (official rate) to the dollar. Today it is 360 to the dollar. Today, millions of Nigerians, most of them youths, are unemployed, forcing them to become professional beggars who wait with bated breath for FG’s monthly N5,000 handout and N10,000 Tradermoni aimed at bribing them to re-elect the party in the forthcoming elections,” the statement said.
“Power generation has actually dipped from 4,949 megawatts PDP left in 2015 to less than 3,500 megawatts even though Buhari’s handlers consistently claim that 7,000 megawatts is what is currently being generated. What more evidence do we need to know that the APC has been a curse rather than a blessing to our country,” he queried
“It is amazing that, in this day and age when leaders of nations are expected to be creative and think outside the box, by applying new digital tools and embracing new thinking in addressing the emerging challenges to modern governance, our own President is still living in the Paleolithic age of blame game and buck passing as responsible for his failures. What this simply means is that President Buhari was not really prepared for governance and did not even understand the simplest intricacies of running a national economy as big as Nigeria.
“This is really tragic and it is obvious that President Buhari has come to the end of the road and has completely given up on the next steps to advance Nigeria, while those whom his dear wife openly declared misled his administration into this economic quagmire are still drumming up support for his next level of more hardship, suffering, unprovoked deaths as a result of misgovernance,” the statement said.
He said the only way out of the nation’s problems is for Nigerians to vote en-mass for Atiku Abubakar whose policy document focuses on job creation, ensuring security, growing businesses, developing power, and water infrastructure, agriculture and education and how ‘Nigeria’s next president will empower women.’
“The next generation of Nigerians are looking up to a visionary and cosmopolitan leadership, headed by a solid and steady leader, that will free up the space, remove unnecessary ancient cum bureaucratic obstacles and launch Nigeria into the competitive global space instead of de-marketing the country in the eyes of the global community. President Buhari should wake up and smell the aroma of the coffee Alhaji Atiku Abubakar is brewing. He is tired and at his wits end and it is time for him to vacate active task of presidency and return to his much cherished sedentary, pastoral and rustic lifestyle in his country home in Daura then leave the rigours and highly strategic art of governance to those who know how to govern and get the economy working again,” he concluded.
Black Tuesday In Yola As Trailer Kills 20 Persons
No fewer than 20 persons were reportedly crushed to death after a trailer loaded with farming produce overran several tricycles popularly known as Keke Napep, yesterday, at Vinikling bridge (Hayin Gada) in Yola, Adamawa State.
Residents told our correspondent that the accident was caused by police officers, who were pursuing the truck driver for refusing to give them money.
A resident of Viniklang, Malam Umar Shehu, who also sent pictures of the accident to newsmen, said he participated in evacuation of corpses to the hospital in Yola.
According to him, the explanation the police gave was that, they were chasing the truck driver for carrying goods suspected to be foreign rice, a situation which led to the unfortunate incident, resulting in the death of many.
“But, there was no foreign rice in the truck, it was farm produce. The driver said they were chasing him for refusing to give them money at a checkpoint the police mounted,” Umar said.
One of the passengers, a student at the Modibo Adama University, who identified himself as Salisu Ibrahim said he narrowly escaped death by whiskers.
“I did not know what happened, but we suddenly saw the truck coming with speed and police van was pursuing it. All of us in our Keke Napep jumped out and fled, the driver lost control and the truck began to hit other Keke Napep and crushing people before our very own eyes. It was horrific,” Ibrahim said.
Our correspondent, however, made several attempts to get Othman Abubakar, the Police Public Relations Officer in Adamawa to speak but his phone was switched off at the time of this report.
Senate’ll Pass 2020 Budget On Nov 28, Lawan Insists
President of the Senate, Dr Ahmad Lawan, has asked the Committee on Appropriations to lay its report on the 2020 budget on November 26, for consideration and passage before the end of the month.
Lawan, who stated this at plenary, yesterday, commended the various committees for rounding off their budget defence sessions on schedule.
He insisted that the resolve of the National Assembly to revert to the January-to-December budget cycle remained sacrosanct.
He said, “All the committees have done their works so well within the defined parameters.
“Therefore, we expect the appropriations committee to galvanise into action.
“They (members of the appropriations committee) should produce the report to be laid here on the 26th November, which is the next two weeks, before the Senate.
“I believe this will be the same thing in our sister chamber, the House of Representatives, so that we would be able to pass the 2020 Appropriation Bill on the 28th of November”, he added.
Also, the Senate, yesterday, appealed to the Federal Government to ban importation of textiles in the country for a period of five years to allow for the production of local textile materials.
This followed the debate on a motion sponsored by Sen. Kabir Barkiya (APC-Katsina Central) during plenary on “Urgent need to revamp the nation’s comatose textile industry”.
The upper chamber also appealed to the Federal Government to provide the necessary infrastructural facilities especially power supply to local textile manufacturing companies to revamp the industry.
It also called on the government to encourage local textile manufacturing companies by providing them with soft loans and easy access to credit facilities through the Bank of Industry.
Debating the motion, Barkiya noted that the textile industry in the country played a significant role in the manufacturing sector of the Nigerian economy with a record of over 140 companies in the 1960s and 1970s.
“The textile industry recorded an annual growth of 67 per cent and as at 1991, employed above 25 per cent of the workers in the manufacturing sector.
“The textile industry was then the highest employer of labour apart from the civil service.”
He noted that the industry had witnessed massive decline in the last two decades with many textile companies such as Kaduna Textile, Kano Textile and Aba Textile, among others, closing shops and throwing their workers into the job market.
The lawmaker further said that government policies like increase in taxation, high cost of production, trade liberalisation resulting in massive importation of textile materials had negatively affected the production of local textile materials.
Barkiya said that the resuscitation of the industry would provide additional revenue and assist government to diversify the nation’s economy.
Contributing, Deputy Senate Leader, Sen. Robert Boroffice (APC-Ondo North) said that the importation of textile materials was as a result of the comatose level of the textile industry.
“The closure of our borders is an eye opener. China closed its borders for 40 years for its industrialisation and development.
“I believe that the closure our borders should be extended to allow us put our house in order.”
Boroffice said that the extension of the closure of the borders would serve as an opportunity to resuscitate the textile industry, among other industries that had been characterised by smuggling.
But Senate Minority Leader, Sen. Eyinnaya Abaribe (PDP-Abia South), who disagreed with Boroffice on the fact that the closure of the borders would help revamp the industry, said that “closing the borders and doing nothing will not lead to increase in production of textiles.
“The real problems have been indicated; first, is the fact that we are unable to produce the cotton that we need.
“But far more important is the fact of power. Power was the key problem that made most of the textile mills closed.
“Once it became very difficult after 1982 for industries to be supplied with power and they needed to switch over to now produce their own power in order to do production, it became a lose, lose situation for most of the industrialists.”
Abaribe called on the Federal Government to do the fundamental, power, to ensure that the smuggling of textile products was done away with.
Similarly, Sen. Gabriel Suswam (PDP-Benue North-East) said that without power, no meaningful profit would be realised in any manufacturing industry in the country.
Suswam, who called on the government to address the issue in the power sector, said that if this was done, the manufacturers would be able to make profit.
“If we take concrete actions on these issues, our economy will be enhanced, the welfare of the people will be enhanced, insecurity and by extension, criminality, will be reduced,” he said.
In his remark, the President of the Senate, Dr Ahmad Lawan said that as Nigeria had signed the Africa Continental Free Trade Agreement, “we have to be prepared for the repercussions.
“We cannot stop trading easily with other people. We have to up our game; we need to be competitive,” Lawan said.
Meanwhile, the House of Representatives has called on the Federal Government, through the Nigerian Customs Service to lift the ban on the sales of Premium Motor Spirit (petrol) within 20km to the country’s borders.
It would be recalled that last Thursday, the Comptroller-General of the Nigeria Customs Service, Col. Hameed Ali (rtd), had directed that no petroleum products should be supplied to any filling station within 20 kilometres to the borders.
A member, Hon Sada Soli, moved a motion of urgent national importance at the plenary, yesterday, asking that the order by the NCS should be vacated.
According to him, the order by the customs boss contravenes the provisions of the Customs and Excise Act.
Soli argued that the filling stations asked not to sell petrol close to the borders were situated and constructed in compliance with relevant laws.
“This is not acceptable! Review this directive with a human face,” he stated.
Several lawmakers, who seconded the motion, criticised the policy while lamenting the hardships being faced by people living in border communities.
RSHA Passes 2010 Medium Term Expenditure Framework
The Rivers State House of Assembly, yesterday, passed the 2020 Medium Term Expenditure Framework Document.
This follows a letter sent to it by the state Governor, Chief Nyesom Wike and read by the Speaker, Rt Hon. Ikuinyi-Owaji Ibani during plenary.
He explained that the request was to pave way for the Executive to plan the 2020 fiscal year budget.
Presenting the documents to the House, Leader of the House and member representing ObioAkpor 1, Hon Martins Amaewhule appealed to members to grant the governor’s request to enable the Executive present the 2020 budget.
His appeal was supported by the Chief Whip, Hon. Evans Bipi.
Ruling on the matter, the speaker divided the House for vote, and 22 members supported the request.
Meanwhile, the House Ad-hoc Committee on serial killings in the state chaired by member representing Omuma State Constituency, Hon. Kelechi Wogu has presented its report.
Wogu, who read the recommendations on the floor, charged security agencies to ensure that the lead suspect to the crime, one Gracious David-West was prosecuted.
But the speaker while receiving the report said it was subjudice to further debate on the matter, since the matter was in the court.
Consequently, the Health Protection Programme Bill has passed first reading.
The Executive bill was presented by Amaewhule, who explained that it seeks to improve on the activities of government in the healthcare sector.
The House leader appealed to his colleagues to pass the bill considering its numerous benefits, but the speaker stressed the need for the bill to be fully studied for proper inputs by the legislators in the next sitting.
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