Thursday, September 7, 2017

WHY MNISTER ALHASSAN MUST GO

By Aminu Iyawa

The last time I commented on any serious public issue was over seven months ago. I told my friends on social media as well as those who follow my occasional write-ups in the print that having taken up appointment with this administration, I rested my pen.

Before I did that, I was one of few journalists in this country that did not shy away from commenting on anything or anyone, including on President Muhammad Buhari, former vice president, Atiku Abubakar, IBB and the rest of who is who in our polity.

The comment by the Minister of Women Affairs, Aisha Alhassan on the BBC yesterday that "even if PMB were to contest for second term in 2019, I would still vote for Atiku," really got my fingers itchy and forced me to grab my pen.

As a politician and card carrying member of the APC, I respect the opinion of our Party members on any issue, especially, internal politics of the APC, because that is what democracy is all about.

However, for those of us who hold political appointments, the use of discretion is paramount at all times. If anything, the fact that Aisha Alhassan was appointed minister of the federal republic by the grace of President Muhammadu Buhari, and not by any external influence, is enough for her to have been discreet in what she utters.

The circulating video of her Sallah homage on the former vice president and her failed attempt to justify the unjustifiable on the BBC Hausa Service said volumes about her political immaturity. The comments were tasteless, tactless and did not do any good for the political enhancement of her 'Godfather,' the Waziri Adamawa.

Aisha Alhassan ought to have measured the mood of her constituents, by whose grace she shot to limelight, and who are most definitely Buhari followers and some, even diehards. The timing of the drama she created is as bad as it can be, for it came at a time when the nation was jubilating and felicitating with its President who had beaten his ailment and safely returned to the country after a little over two months of treatment and convalescence in London.

I am not however entirely surprised with what she did. It is a sign of desperation that she needs the former vice president to sponsor her governorship candidacy in 2019. Apparently, she realised that with the anti corruption measures taken by the Buhari administration, it would be impossible for her to amass or loot enough money to prosecute her campaign.

The Women Affairs Minister had always pursued political offices with this kind of amoral desperation. We first crossed path sometime in either August or September, 2010. She came to my house in Dougirei Yola, in the company of a lady caterer who my wife patronises. The caterer introduced her to my wife as a politician from Taraba State that needed my assistance to link her with former Governor Nyako to solicit for sponsorship of her senatorial ambition and offered to give her money in return for the favour, but she declined. After my wife told me the story, I asked her to advise candidate Aisha Alhassan to contact the Governor's protocol officer. She did, and the rest is history.

What is clear and apparent is that the President has to consider a cabinet shake up and do away with all the disloyal and the nonperforming ministers in the cabinet, and clearly there are a few. They are a drag to his vision and therefore must not be spared. Besides, no politician condones disloyalty. Not even the former vice president.

Aisha Alhassan must go.
 
Aminu Iyawa

Saturday, August 19, 2017

Dear President Buhari, This is How Osinbajo Fared


Mr. President, while you were away on medical leave, detractors, using politicking, agitations and hate speeches made several attempts to take over the polity, but Acting President Yemi Osinbajo remained resolute on promoting good governance and purposeful leadership. Mr. Osinbajo avoided attempts to make him deviate from your collective drive for positive change to mundane politics. Many detractors tried to create imaginary scenarios to brainwash the public into thinking that Vice President Osinbajo was not in control as Acting President, but he was never distracted. Mr. President you have indeed, a reliable and dependable Vice President, whom you can always expect to get required support from, anytime anywhere.

During your absence, Mr. President, Osinbajo’s performance as acting president was excellent. He performed according to the expectations of most Nigerians and in line with tenets of the Buhari presidency. Osinbajo in his capacity as acting president has been a good representative of the ‘Buhari School’. He has shown that he has not been a figure-head vice president, rather an astute complementing figure to your drive to take Nigeria to greater heights.

Mr. President, when one looks at the relationships between many leaders and their deputies in the past and present, it is apparent that there have never been two persons like you and Osinbajo who have shown Nigerians how delegating power is used for the benefit of the nation and for the development of democracy instead for personal motives. The two of you have set a standard which should become a model for leaders and assistants to follow, if our democracy must continue to flourish.

Most pairings on a presidential ticket are meant to balance the ticket. In many cases, the two persons are like-minded, have a harmonized action plan and work in the same direction. Nonetheless, these two could also be at variance on certain issues, have conflicting views of certain phenomena and maybe sometimes disagree on things.

Nigerians are used to sit-tight leadership at all levels that see political positions as personal, abhors delegating authorities, see their deputies as rivals and a threat; a leadership that often have disdain for their second-in-command; and one that will never support their deputies in anything, let alone transfer power to them to act in their absence. Nigeria has witnessed numerous cases of leaders and their assistants turning against one another. Some have even turned out to become sworn enemies- Mr. President, your adherence to constitutional provisions has brought to an end this phenomenon.

Mr. President, you and vice President Yemi Osinbajo have re-established the ideal of one presidency and it is working well for the good of the country and democracy. Prior to your absence and during your absence, the two of you have redefined how we view the President vis-a-vis the Vice President. You have created an atmosphere of progressive political synergy never seen in Aso Rock villa in recent times.

It is a known fact that relationship between you and Prof has looked promising since your campaign days. Both of you have unique chemistry. Civility of the two of you distinguished men has kept the relationship of the Buhari/Osinbajo presidency close, warm and personally friendly. A few numbers of politicians are not happy with the way Osinbajo ran the affairs of the nation according to your expectations, Mr. President. These politicians are the ‘regular’ Nigerian politicians who run politics just for personal gains. Their selfish expectations from the Muhammadu Buhari government have not materialized. These politicians have forgotten that the only item that has kept and is keeping your presidency 'afloat' is the ordinary man on the street. But for the ordinary-man's belief in Buhari School, no political-leader in Nigeria can take some of the stringent decisions as you did without drawing the ire of the masses.

Mr. President, welcome back! In your vice president Yemi Osinbajo you have got a potential ‘heir-apparent’ who shares your thoughts, style and commitment to the nation building without any overriding personal interest. During your absence, Professor Yemi was able to tacitly calm nerves of agitators, maintain the administration credibility; re-evoke public confidence, reassure Nigerians of your administration’s empathy with the suffering of masses and the commitment to do something to alleviate that suffering. What most Nigerians are expecting now is cabinet reshuffle- new hands, portfolio reassignment and reduction of burdens of jobs on some ministers. Most Nigerians still believe that you are the right man to push the right button for a bold; home-grown and off-the-shelf development model that will focus on promoting economic growth, massive structural changes and improving the potential of Nigeria’s human capital through both public and private channels.

Zayyad I. Muhammad writes from Jimeta, Adamawa State, zaymohd@yahoo.com, 08036070980

Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Mob Kills Soldier in Nasarawa



The Nasarawa State Police command has arrested two persons in connections with a mob action that led to the death of a soldier, Ayuba Ali, on Monday in Akwanga, Nasarawa state.

The command’s spokesman, Kennedy Idirisu, confirmed the arrest to the News Agency of Nigeria on Monday in Lafia.

Mr Idirisu said that available information revealed the the victim, a lance corporal, who was on pass from Maiduguri, allegedly hit a street hawker at Agwan Affi area of the town while riding on a motorbike.

According to him, the victim, who was in mufti, tried to pacify the hawker and an altercation ensued resulting in irate youth beating him to coma.

Mr Idirisu, a deputy superintendent of police, said the soldier later died at the hospital, while investigation has begun.

He said efforts have been intensified to arrest all the perpetrators of the dastardly act.

Meanwhile, John Abimiku, an eye witness told NAN that the area has been deserted for fear of the unknown.

“As I speak with you now, about four military trucks are stationed in the area and soldiers are picking up any youth on sight,” Mr Abimiku added.

He claimed that the two persons arrested by the police were amongst those who took the soldier to the hospital after the mob action



source: NAN



Wednesday, July 26, 2017

Buhari to return next week – Presidency sources

Barring any last minute change of decision, President Muhammadu Buhari will return from the United Kingdom next week, top government sources told Daily Trust last night.

Federal Government’s sources, who preferred anonymity however, did not give a specific date the president would return within next week.

The sources spoke barely few hours after presidential spokesman, Femi Adesina told newsmen that he had no information about when Buhari will return.

President Buhari has been in the UK since May 7 on medical vacation.

One of the sources said: “We have been told to be on a standby for the return of Mr President next week. Everything is in place now for that.”

Another source stated: “We are very very hopeful that Mr President will come back to Nigeria next week. This is the only thing I can tell you for now.”

Adesina yesterday told State House correspondents that the Presidency did not have information on exactly when Buhari would return to Nigeria.

“If anybody is giving a timeline, that person might have information that we don’t have yet. But the information at our disposal is that the president will return as soon as his doctors give him the go ahead,” Adesina said.

I will not return now – Buhari

Also in a statement earlier yesterday, Adesina had quoted Buhari to have told the president of Guinea, Alpha Conde that he would not return to the country now until his doctors advised him to do so, even as seven state governors have travelled to the United Kingdom to meet him.

President Buhari, who has so far spent 79 days in London receiving treatment for undisclosed ailments, however, said he was making good progress.

Adesina quoted Buhari as saying this in a letter dated July 24 written to thank the President of Guinea, Alpha Conde, for the nationwide prayers held last week by Guineans for his recovery.

“I thank you for your kind and thoughtful action in organising nationwide prayers for my good health. It is a gesture that I will forever cherish and treasure,” Adesina quoted Buhari as saying.

“Your Excellency will be pleased to hear that I am making good progress, and as soon as doctors advice, I shall return to my duties and continue serving the Nigerian people who elected me and are daily praying for my recovery.”

Adesina said Buhari had, in an earlier letter, also accepted his nomination as leader of the “2018 AU Theme on the Fight Against Corruption,” which came from African leaders at the 29th Session of the Assembly of Heads of State and Government of the AU in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, on July 4, 2017.

Leading the governors’ delegation to London, is the Chairman of the Nigeria Governors Forum, Abdulaziz Yari of Zamfara State. Other governors on the delegation are Kashim Shettima (Borno), Abdullahi Umar Ganduje (Kano), Udom Gabriel Emmanuel (Akwa Ibom), Abiola Ajimobi (Oyo) and David Umahi (Ebonyi).

Presidential spokesperson Garba Shehu told journalists yesterday that the delegation will meet the president at 3:00 pm today.

He explained that the governors’ mission to London was solely to convey the goodwill of Nigerians to the president.

“The visit is a goodwill visit and there is nothing more than that. I believe Nigerians in various position have yearned to go and meet the president and at some point, this obviously has not been permitted. But given the change in circumstances, you can see that is coming from London itself and from the president is welcoming,” he said.

On why another set of governors were visiting Buhari after some members of the governors’ forum had earlier visited him at the weekend, Shehu said: “You will notice that those that went at the weekend are members of All Progressive Congress (APC), so those who are going now is on a broader platform which is the Nigerian Governors Forum.
 
https://www.dailytrust.com.ng

Sunday, July 16, 2017

NNPC Refineries Meet 60% of Domestic Kerosene Consumption



Ahead of the 2019 target date for the cessation of petroleum products importation by the Federal Government, the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) has announced that its three refineries in Port Harcourt, Warri and Kaduna now supplied 60 per cent of Dual Purpose Kerosene (DPK), popularly known as kerosene, consumed in the country.

Speaking at a 2-day Investigative Public Hearing of the House of Representative Committee on Petroleum Resources (Downstream), Group Managing Director of the NNPC, Dr. Maikanti Baru, stated that the Corporation’s refineries were producing five million liters of kerosene daily representing more than 60 per cent of the national daily consumption requirement of eight million litres.

The GMD, who was represented by the Chief Operating Officer, Downstream, Mr Henry Ikem Obih, disclosed that the balance of three million litres of the product was being imported by private petroleum products marketers.

He noted that kerosene and other petroleum products supplied by the Corporation were of high quality and meet safety standards.

“The NNPC ensures that the entire refining output in Nigeria through its refineries in Port Harcourt, Warri and Kaduna and any products imported by it to make up for market supply-shortfalls meet the specifications of the Nigerian Institute of Standard (NIS) and Standards Organization of Nigeria (SON),” Dr Baru said.

He said NNPC would not compromise safety and quality in its products and processes, adding that all the depots in the country had laboratories for quality checks to ensure safety of consumers.

The GMD explained that in keeping with its avowed commitment to the safety of consumers, the Corporation investigated the recent incident of kerosene explosion in Calabar and could not trace the truck that delivered the adulterated product in any of its depots loading schedule.

He advised the committee to contact the Department of Petroleum Resources (DPR) which is the petroleum Industry regulator to investigate the source of the adulterated kerosene among the private depots.

Dr. Baru called on relevant authorities to empower the DPR to carry out its responsibilities more diligently by ensuring that petroleum products imported by marketers meet the required quality and safety standards as NNPC cannot guarantee the quality of products imported by other market players.

“The quality of kerosene being sold to the general public required regular inspection to ensure that it meets health, safety, environment and quality standards at all times to avert any regulatory breaches or threat to lives and properties of the general public and consumers of the products,” Dr. Baru stated.

Speaking earlier, the Committee Chairman, Hon. Joseph Akinlaja, stated that the Committee was deeply concerned about high cost of kerosene in the market as well as incessant explosion due to adulteration.

He said the committee was mandated by the House of Representatives to, among other things, work out a clear cut policy framework on deregulation of kerosene to avert the current challenges faced by the poor masses in procuring the product; arrest the resurgence of kerosene explosion with attendant fatalities and investigate the disappearance of eleven billion naira (₦11bn) worth of petroleum product belonging to the NNPC.


Tuesday, July 11, 2017

Gen. Buratai and the People of NorthEast

Communities in the Northeast Nigeria ravaged by Boko Haram senseless war are very happy with Lieutenant General Tukur Yusuf Buratai, Nigerian Chief of Army Staff and they hold him in high esteem.

When he announced months ago that the Nigerian Army would defeat the Boko Haram group by 2016 December, many people questioned how feasible that was. However, most political observers in Nigeria and the majority of the people in the northeast put confidence in General Buratai; his gallant officers and President Buhari, a trio who showed the political will to win the war. On Thursday, December 22, 2016 at 1:35pm, to the delight of the nation, Buratai and his men captured the Operational Headquarters of Boko Haram at Sambisa Forest, marking the beginning of the end of the war.

Today, the people of the northeast are very pleased with the successes the military is recording in the clearance efforts and the crippling of Boko Haram’s capacity to hold any territory or launch a major military attack. In fact, under Buratai, the people of the northeast are experiencing a pleasing difference between the sloppy handling of the war by Goodluck’s regime and the doggedness and commitment being shown by the Buhari government. Anyone who comes to the northeast now will see and get information of the obvious proof that the Nigerian Army has decimated Boko Haram. One must commend Brigadier General SK Usman for his professional management of information.

The resolve of the Nigerian army to completely win the war is evidenced in the confidence on the faces of the soldiers on ground. The number of war planes and their activities in skies especially from Yola airport certainly tells any doubting Thomases that Buratai and his men are matching words with action.
The Nigerian Army is getting massive approval from the northeast; people can now see that the military is in the offensive mode- taking the war to Boko Haram rather than waiting for them to come. Remnants of Boko Haram are being chased out of villages and their camps in bushes, unlike before when they were capturing big towns, annexing local government areas and renaming them. Boko Haram no longer holds a single territory in the 774 LGAs in Nigeria. This is a sweet thing to hear and every Nigerian should give Buratai and his men a pat on the back.

On the rules of engagement with both the locals and the ‘enemy’, General Buratai, who is a well trained officer admonishes his men to adhere strictly to the provisions of International Humanitarian Law and Laws of Armed Conflict. Buratai charges his men to enter all fortresses, camps, dens and enclaves of the Boko Haram to completely flush them out and dominate these areas to ensure they are not reoccupied.

The people of the northeast stand with Buratai and his men on ground, because they now see the Nigerian soldiers are very confident; fully kitted; well-armed and highly motivated. The people of the Northeast are appreciative of Buratai’s approach to the war- because now, the rights of people and their humanity are always protected by the soldiers while the clearance goes on. The recently launched “Operation Deep Punch” was received with great cheerfulness in the northeast. This is because, as described by Buratai, it is an operation aimed at “paving way for return of normalcy to the zone”.

Communities ravaged by Boko Haram senseless war now see the military as their shield and partners in the Buhari administration’s effort to fast track the healing of scars of the war, restore basic infrastructure and local economies, and returning these communities to their pre-war or even better conditions.



Zayyad I. Muhammad writes from Jimeta, Adamawa State, zaymohd@yahoo.com, 08036070980.

Saturday, July 8, 2017

Between Jimeta Community and Gov Bindow

Jimeta is the complex; most cosmopolitan and has the highest number of electorates in all the eight federal and the twenty-three state constituencies in Adamawa state-. No one has ever won re-election or secured a second-term's approval from the constituency. The people of Jimeta are known for their insistence of a candidate getting re-election based on First- Term first-rate performance. Would Governor Muhammadu Jibrilla Bindow break the jinx? On 6th July 2017, some community leaders, masses and politicians from Jimeta visited Governor Bindow to convey Jimeta Community’s endorsement of him. Did the entire Jimeta community actually endorsed Gov Bindow performance; leadership style and the bid for a second term?

Politics apart, Bindow has constructed roads in Jimeta never seen before except during the reign of former governor Jonah David Jang. And, some sons of Jimeta are in Bindow’s government. Apart from these two aforementioned; anything else; the honest answer is no.

Are the masses of Jimeta enjoying Bindow’s government? On the street’s answer would be the best- it captures the true mood of the Jimetans.

Jimeta being a cosmopolitan is mostly composed of youths, civil servants and retirees. In fact, most of Jimeta’s youths are LG workers, teachers or jobless. But Bindow owes five months local government workers and teachers’ salaries including several month of pension arrears. Furthermore, the Bindow government has not put in place a feasible and sustainable youth empowerment or skill enhancement programmes or projects.

The truth is; the big challenge facing Gov Bindow is; the Jimeta masses are poorer under him. Though, the current recession in the economy is nation-wide. Bindow should have device a means to bring ease to local people. I was, and still is one of the critics of Gov Murtala Nyako style of governance, but his SAs and poverty alleviation programmes including local contracts projects despite their shortcoming, have really put money in the pockets of many masses in Jimeta. The Boni Haruna regime has also greatly uplifted the ‘economy’ of many Jimetans.

Yes, Bindow has reconstructed roads in Jimeta’s streets no one has ever thought will witness such transformation. But in every society, including the first world, development is multifaceted and flexible- Infrastructure; freeing people from the prison of poverty and politics are the key. A good politician must make impact in all the three areas, at least in the ratio of 60:20:20. As at toady, no one can mention two-three individuals from Jimeta who are getting local contracts from the Bindow’s government. Our Governor’s approach is skewed towards himself- ‘One Man; One Way Approach’.

In Jimeta’s real politics circle; one can say Bindow has only 2/10 on his side- the real backbone of the APC in Jimeta; the academics, the bureaucrats; opinion-molders; youth leaders; social media influencers are sidelined. One cannot discuss Jimeta politics without them and the most important- politics-veterans like Yusuf Dan’umma, Ibrahim Iliyasu, Mohammed Hassan Turaki, Mohammed Ibrahim Attah, Babangida Sabo, Usman Ibrahim and other young but influential politicians. Though, like him or hate him, Abdulrahman Abba Jimeta is a skilled political strategist, he’s worth his salt when it comes to understanding of Adamawa politics- he went through the mills. Any Governor will love to have him as his Chief of Staff. He is a 'board' for ideas and a fine political-thinker. Unfortunately, Abba Na Abba is playing 'lonely'. So, the July 6th visit is nothing but a cosmetic approach.



One salient issue that Gov Bindow failed to truly analyzed is, he has decamped from Nyako team to Atiku's side; yet the Atiku team have not been empowered. The Nyako  and Atiku teams' real players are actually not in the equation.

As 2019 approaches, I am one of those Jimetans who share the view that Mr. Bindow deserves a second term. But the truth is, Gov Bindow is extremely unpopular in many quarters in Jimeta- nevertheless it is correctable- Bindow is still the man to beat, because we are yet to see serious challengers with better alternatives and politicking-approach. Well, this is politics; there is still ample time for surprises. Someone better, reliable, urbane and tested and trusted may popup- he/she can bring dynamism in the polity as well as shake Bindow’s current ‘field day’.


Zayyad I. Muhammad Jimeta, Adamawa State, zaymohd@yahoo.com 08036070980.










Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Governor Bindow’s One-Legged Development


Adamawa State Governor, Senator Muhammad Umaru Jibrilla Bindow is quick to boast that he always optimizes what he has, no matter how meagre, and that is why he has been able to achieve a rare feat in urban road renewal. Indeed Mr. Bindow understands excellently, the artistry of utilization of state’s paltry resources for infrastructural development. Many Adamawa people criticize Governor Bindow’s Weltanschauung of development. In place of parallel system; the governor cherishes “series” approach when it comes to socio-economic development. In Bindow’s Adamawa state- it is all about roads, roads and more roads.

Despite having recorded pockets of success, Mr. Bindow’s approach to development has not favoured the common man; because Adamawa is a rural, poverty-ridden, and backward in education state with most of its citizen relying heavily on farming.

The smiling countenance of Mr. Bindow when he goes round Jimeta-Yola inspecting road constructions depicts that of a 'happy-go-lucky' man, who is totally unknowledgeable about politico-economy issues of a poor, rural and salary-dependent state in Northeast Nigeria. For instance, Mr. Bindow declared a state of emergency on education and healthcare, yet things have not even changed to an appreciable level.

The governor’s opponents believe there are personal gains he gets from road construction, hence his focus on it, though no one has been able to proof this. But, who knows!

There is no doubt Governor Bindow has achieved a feat never achieved by recent governors in Adamawa, in terms of roads construction but the state government needs to change direction and give attention to pressing issues like settling of salaries owed to local government and healthcare workers for 4/5 months. Mr. Bindow’s self acclaimed ingenuity at achieving much with little can be extended to attending to these issues.

Bi-monthly, the governor should keep aside 150-250 million naira for small contracts (drainage construction, boreholes, rehabilitation of class rooms, Jimeta-Yola green beautification, etc). Secondly, a simplex-method programming should be designed aimed at gradually settling the salary owed teachers, health and LGs workers including pension arrears

Apart from this, the Governor Bindow government should, as one of its most important strategies to tackle unemployment in the state, use the Technical and Skills Acquisition Centres in the state for agricultural entrepreneurship programmes for youths. The Government should go into partnership with private sector to establish poultry, fisheries, dairy, snaileries, farms, plantations etc in various locations in the state. This will go a long way to sustain economic growth, as well as encourage the youths. The Technical and Skills Acquisition Centres should be redesigned and retooled for jobs and wealth creation.

Furthermore, the centers should be well funded to serve as ‘Ideas Development Hubs’; ‘Ideas Development’ is an excellent way to create employment for bright youths through the well known concept of: innovate, create, invent and invest. Though experts say it is the most difficult but the most effective way to create long-term employment. Adamawa state churns out thousands of graduates yearly. The Bindow government should see the Skill Acquisition Centers as goldmine and sociopolitical weapon. The centers should be re-energized to function in such a way that it assists graduates with technical skills and entrepreneurship passion to have access to facilities and environment that support thinking for invention and innovation.

In 2019, Governor Bindow will be the man to beat, there is no doubt he deserves a second term. But the governor is extremely unpopular among local government workers, healthcare workers, pensioners and local politicians- especially APC executives from ward to state level. Politics in Adamawa state is like walking on bubbles- it may burst at any time.

Zayyad I. Muhammad Jimeta, Adamawa State, zaymohd@yahoo.com 08036070980

Thursday, June 15, 2017

Atiku and the Politics of Waziri Adamawa


The lifetime ambition of former vice president Atiku Abubakar is to be the president of Nigeria and to have absolute control of Adamawa politics. Atiku’s pursuit of this super-ambition dates back to nearly 34 years. When a typical Nigerian politician rises to a new position of traditional power and eminence, he or she becomes more ambitious and starts to seek more political relevance. Today, Atiku is the Waziri Adamawa, simply the second-in-command to the Lamido of Adamawa in the Adamawa Emirate Council.

The ancient Emirate of Adamawa is a very important product of the Sokoto Caliphate. Adamawa was known as "The wild east" of the Caliphate. Its vast highlands were occupied by Fulani settlers, stretching as far as Northern Cameroon and some parts Chad republic. Adamawa Emirate is the most cosmopolitan among the emirates that were products of the Sokoto Caliphate- because it composes diverse ethnic and religious groups. The Adamawa Emirate, despite being a product of the Usman Danfodio Jihad, has non–fulanis Christians holding some important traditional titles.

The title of Waziri Adamawa does attract much political analysis; but with the person of Atiku’s political standing being conferred with the title, some narratives about the title, by default, have assumed political tones. Often, one cannot separate politics from traditional titles; especially when it is in the revered and historically significant emirate like Adamawa.

Many observers were surprised when Atiku was announced the new Waziri; but students of political history were not because the previous holders of the title were of similar class with Atiku in terms of prominence and clout, though, Atiku is in the class of his own in terms of personal wealth.

Many politicians work hard to secure many traditional titles in order to promote their private ambitions in local and national politics. Atiku is not different; he has been immersed in Adamawa politics for a long time. In 1983, Atiku shocked the political scene of the old Gongola state, when he single-handedly donated one million Naira and two vehicles to the Kontigi Movement- the Bamanga Tukur governorship campaign- which Tukur eventually won. While in 1987, during zero party elections, Atiku smartly installed his protégé -Atiku Wakili as Chairman of the old Ganye local government council. Atiku achieved these while he was in not in active politics. In Adamawa politics, Atiku is always in the equation- he is either pulling the strings or those in power see him as the ultimate threat. The current politicians in Adamawa state can be categorized into three- they are either in Atiku’s team, or have left the team, or about to join the team.

In Adamawa politics, Atiku has witnessed moments of successes, failures and disappointments. Thus, he knows that for one to have absolute control of state’s politics- one requires strong war chest, well-established political structure and influence in the traditional class. Atiku seems to have cleverly walked his own path to get the latter in a way never seen before. Atiku also has a good influence on the Chamba chiefdom that has one of largest voting blocs in Adamawa. Though, having strong influence on the traditional class does not necessary mean controlling the voting population- but in many rural settings like Adamawa, fact is emirs, kings and chiefs have influence on their poor subjects. Nevertheless, being the Waziri does not automatically give Atiku the control of the Adamawa polity, because the politics of the state is always determined by some permutations – concessions, give and take and strong political structure, not also forgetting the thorny issues of faith, geography and tongue.

Atiku is well known for his longtime presidential ambition and being politically opportunistic. Atiku, in his calculations may have seen his new traditional title of Waziri as a further inch towards total grip of Adamawa politics and a chance at actualizing his presidential ambition starting from the home front. After all, his previous presidential election outings were marred with very weak home support.

With Buhari’s incumbency and unexplainable strong followership in the north, Tinubu’s tight grip of the southwest, Osinbajo new found footings, Rabiu Musa Kwankwaso’s growing strengths and new bred presidential materials like Governors Aminu Tambuwa and Nasir El-rufai, and the longtime tag of corruption on Atiku’s neck, the game seems over for Atiku. This is the same reason Atiku always flies the ‘Restructuring kite’

Zayyad I. Muhammad Jimeta, Adamawa State, zaymohd@yahoo.com 08036070980.

Sunday, April 23, 2017

Abba Kyari, Lawal Daura Have Not Resigned




The Presidency on Sunday denied the rumour making the rounds that the Chief of Staff to the President, Abba Kyari; and the Director-General of the Department of State Services, Lawal Daura, have resigned .

The Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity, Garba Shehu, made the clarification in an interview with journalists. Shehu described the reports of the resignation that went viral on social media and some online news media as pure mischief.


He said while Kyari was on official assignment in China, Daura was busy with his work.

The presidential spokesman said, “That report is pure mischief.

“What I can tell you is that the President sent the Chief of Staff, Malam Abba Kyari, to China on an assignment.

“He left on Saturday and we are expecting him by the middle of the week. “The DG DSS who spoke with me a few hours ago is busy on his job. “Nothing to indicate resignation. I think these are mere distractions.”

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Babachir Lawal Reacts to Suspension

 
Babachir Lawal, secretary to the government of the federation, has told reporters to ask the “presidency” why he was suspended.


In an encounter with reporters on Wednesday shortly after his suspension was announced, a clearly shocked Lawal stalled on all the questions he was asked.


Informed that his suspension was announced by the presidency, he retorted: “Who is the presidency?”


He had been in a meeting with vice-president when Femi Adesina, presidential spokesman, announced his suspension pending investigations into the the award of contracts under the Presidential Initiative on the North East (PINE).


Also suspended is Ayo Oke, director-general of the National Intelligence Agency (NIA), over the funds recovered from a private residence in Ikoyi, Lagos state, by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).
The exchange in full


Reporters: Your suspension has just been announced. How will you react to the development?


Lawal: Who announced it?


Reporters: The presidency


Lawal: Then ask them. Why are you asking me? Who is the presidency?


Reporters: Have you been informed of the suspension?


Lawal: By who? About what. What about you? Have you been informed?


Reporters: Yes sir.


Lawal: By who?


Reporters: By the presidency sir.


Lawal: I have not seen it. I should have been given… I have not seen the press release so I cannot comment on it.


Reporters: It is currently trending online. Are you doubting the authenticity of the statement?


Lawal: I have not seen it.


Reporters: Tell us the outcome of your meeting with the vice-president.


Lawal: I am always here. I always meet the vice-president. I used to come here even before I was made SGF.
 
www.thecable.ng

Ikoyi Billions: Peter Obi Confirms Search of His Apartment by EFCC



A former governor of Anambra State, Mr. Peter Obi, has confirmed THISDAY’s exclusive report on Tuesday that his apartment was one of the many searched by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), following the discovery of N13.3 billion in a neighbouring apartment (Flat 7B) at Osborne Towers, Ikoyi, by the commission last week.

In a follow-up to the information provided by the whistle blower who blew the lid on the cash found in Apartment 7B and further information that there was more cash stashed away in another apartment in the same luxury complex, the EFCC had obtained a warrant from the court to search all the flats in the building.


Accordingly, it notified all the occupants of the building that its operatives would search all the flats to ascertain the veracity of the information provided by the whistle blower who works in the complex.

By Monday, the commission had searched 21 of the apartments including those belonging to the former National Chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Alhaji Adamu Mu’azu, who developed the sky-rise residential building.

A statement on Tuesday by Obi’s media aide, Mr. Val Obienyem, said the former governor has confirmed the search by the EFCC of Flat 1 occupied by him in the building.

Responding to enquiries from the press, Obienyem, who revealed that the ex-governor’s primary residence is in Onitsha, Anambra State, he added that the apartment rented by Obi’s wife, Margaret, is usually used by the former governor anytime he is in Lagos.
Obienyem, who cautioned mischief makers against linking Obi to the cash haul, made it clear that the entire occupants of the building were also searched.

“Even though Mr. and Mrs. Obi had travelled to the UK and U.S. for speaking engagements, when he was informed of the search, he quickly sent the keys to the 4-bedroom apartment to the EFCC via courier today (yesterday).
“He even left instructions that we should allow them to also search his Onitsha residence should there be need for that.

“After a thorough search, nothing was found in the apartment,” Obienyem said.
Obienyem revealed that during the search, one of the operatives of the EFCC was overheard expressing doubt if the apartment had anything to do with Obi, citing the fact that it was the simplest in terms of furnishing and reflective of his ascetic lifestyle.

A source also revealed to THISDAY that Obi learnt of the search warrant obtained from the EFCC from his neighbour, Chairman/CEO of Zinox Technologies Limited, Mr. Leo Stan Ekeh, who has two children living in the apartment building.
One of his sons, Nnamdi, 24, who is a resident of Osborne Towers, is a budding entrepreneur and founder of the online shopping portal Yudala.

Ekeh reportedly called Obi at the weekend to inform him that the EFCC had searched his children’s flats and advised him to send his key from London so that his flat could be searched likewise.
Obi, THISDAY gathered, promptly asked his wife to send the key via courier to a family friend to let the EFCC operatives into his flat.
The Obis, it was gathered, neither keep maids nor housekeepers at the apartment and always lock it up when they are out of town. 
 
thisdaylive.com

NOI Polls: Buhari’s Performance Rating Rises by Five Points



President Muhammadu Buhari’s performance rating has increased by five points, according to a poll conducted by NOIPolls.

The results of the poll which was made public, indicated that the rise was due to the president’s return from medical leave, his Economic Recovery and Growth Plan, and the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) policy intervention in the foreign exchange market, among others.

NOIPolls revealed that with the five-point increase, Buhari’s job performance evaluation for the month of March 2017 now stands at 55 per cent in March 2017.
NOIPolls also revealed that the marginal increase was laudable but massive inroads still have to be made in terms of curbing inflation and poverty rates which still remain the highest reason for disapproval of the president’s job performance.


It added that Buhari’s government must focus on the adequate implementation of recommendations outlined by the Economic Recovery and Growth Plan to ensure sustainable economic growth and national development.

NOIPolls also said the rise in the president’s job performance rating was seen across the six geo-political zones and the North-east zone with 31 points had the highest proportion of Nigerians in this category.

Findings revealed that the rationale for approval of the president’s job performance was centred around the perceived slight reduction in the prices of goods and services (25 per cent), improved level of security (20 per cent), and slight improvement in the economy (15 per cent), among other reasons.
Conversely, 35 per cent of the respondents, who disapproved of his job performance, reported general hardship and high poverty rate (40 per cent), high cost of goods and services (25 per cent), and worsening state of the economy (15 per cent) as reasons for their disapproval.
These are some of the key findings from the governance poll conducted by NOIPolls in the week which commenced on March 27, 2017.

These results represent the 22nd approval rating in a monthly series of governance polls conducted by NOIPolls to gauge the perceptions of Nigerians regarding the job performance of the president.
According to NOI, the public opinion poll was conducted in the week commencing March 27, 2017. It involved telephone interviews of a random nationwide sample. One thousand randomly selected Nigerian phone owners aged 18 years and above, representing the six geopolitical zones in the country, were interviewed.

“With a sample of this size, we can say with 95 per cent confidence that the results obtained are statistically precise – within a range of plus or minus three per cent,” it said.
NOIPolls is the foremost polling firm for country-specific polling services in West Africa. It conducts periodic opinion polls and studies on various socio-economic and political issues in Nigeria.

thisdaylive.com

Thursday, March 9, 2017

PRESIDENT BUHARI EXPECTED BACK FRIDAY



President Muhammadu Buhari is expected to return to the country tomorrow, Friday March 10, 2017.
The President left the country on January 19, 2017 for a vacation, during which he had routine medical check-ups. The holiday was extended based on doctors' recommendation for further tests and rest.
President Buhari expresses appreciation to teeming Nigerians from across the country, and beyond, who had prayed fervently for him, and also sent their good wishes.


FEMI ADESINA
Special Adviser to the President
(Media and Publicity)
March 9, 2017

Sunday, March 5, 2017

10 States Where Nigeria’s Ruling APC is Fighting itself





In Kaduna, for a secure north: Governors Abdullahi Ganduje (Kano), Atiku Bagudu ( Kebbi), Nasir El-Rufai (Kaduna), Kassim Shettima (Borno) and Aminu Bello Masari (Katsina) at a joint meeting of the Northern State Governors' Forum and the Chairmen of the Council of Chiefs of the northern states on Monday, 23rd January 2017

Nigeria’s ruling All Progressive Congress, APC, is enmeshed in deep internal wrangling in no fewer than 10 states of the federation.

The crises, many of which involve state governors and federal lawmakers, erupted few months after the 2015 general elections.

The crises are caused by allegations of financial misconduct, anti-party activities, ambitions, maladministration, among others by party faithful.

Some of the crisis have also led to the suspension or expulsion of key members and officials of the party at the state level.

Unless the crises are tackled, the electoral chances of the party may be threatened in the states, come 2019.

Bothered by the development, the national secretariat of the APC recently announced a plan to set up a peace and reconciliation committee to intervene and resolve the crises ahead of the April non-elective national convention of the party and the 2019 general elections.

The APC spokesperson, Bolaji Abdullahi, told PREMIUM TIMES that the committee would look into all the cases and make recommendations to the leadership.

“The committee will nullify actions taken by the state chapters that are inconsistent with the constitution of the party.

“So, people should exercise restraints and wait for the committee to wade into the crises. They have the opportunity to state their cases and should not take laws into their hands,” the spokesperson said.

Some of the APC state chapters battling with crisis include Gombe, Plateau, Bauchi, Kaduna, Kano, and Ogun.

GOMBE

The APC in Gombe has not known peace since it lost the gubernatorial election to the PDP in 2015.

The crisis began during the 2015 primary election. The party broke into two factions with one led by Magaji Doho and the other Karu Ishaya.

They are backed by two prominent leaders – former governor and now senator, Danjuma Goje, and former Deputy Speaker of the House of Representatives and also a senator, Usman Nafada.

Both had joined from the PDP.

When all efforts to resolve the crisis failed, the national secretariat of the APC, in September last year, set up a caretaker committee headed by Lawan Shettima to run the party. The committee was asked to oversee the affairs of the party for a three-month renewable period.

However, some members of the factions have refused to cooperate with the committee.

BAUCHI

The political hostility is this north-eastern state is very fierce. Most federal lawmakers and other federal government officials from the state, notably the Minister of Education, Adamu Adamu, are up in arms against the state governor, Mohammed Abubakar.




The governor is accused of poor utilisation of bailout funds from the federal government to the state, non-payment of workers and pensioners, and offering appointments to PDP members while APC members are being removed.

In August, the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Yakubu Dogara, who is from the state, led a delegation to separate meetings with President Muhammadu Buhari and the APC national leadership in search of solution to the crisis rocking the state chapter of the party.

During a visit to the national secretariat of the party, the two groups clashed, with some supporters of the lawmakers chanting “bamu so, bamu so” indicating they do not want the governor.

The opposition has allegedly sent jitters down the spine of the governor who feels his second term is being threatened.

Already, the crisis has consumed two members. In January, the senator representing Bauchi South Senatorial District, Ali Wakili, and a member of the state House of Assembly representing Lere/Bula Constituency, Aminu Tukur, were controversially suspended from the party.

BORNO

In Borno, the governorship ambition of Abu Kyari, the senator representing the northern senatorial district, has put him on collision course with Governor Kashim Shettima. The rift is threatening to divide the party.

Messrs. Kyari and Shettima served as commissioners under then governor Ali Sheriff. Mr. Kyari also served as Chief of Staff to Mr. Shettima in the latter’s first term.



But the governor, who many believe is eyeing the northern senatorial seat in 2019, appears not to be comfortable with the ambition of his former ally.

To neutralise Mr. Kyari’s ambition, Mr. Shettima was said to have initiated moves to draft the senator representing the central senatorial district, Baba KakaGarbai, into the governorship race to succeed him.

ONDO

Although the APC won the November 26 governorship election in Ondo State, it did so as a divided house.

Prior to the election, which was won by Rotimi Akeredolu who was sworn in on Friday, many members of the party were disenchanted.

The disenchantment spread to the national level prompting a national leader of the party, Bola Tinubu, to call for the resignation of the national chairman, John Odigie-Oyegun, over his (Oyegun) alleged ignoble role in upholding the primary election that produced Mr. Akeredolu.



Crisis also broke out in the party in August when the state chairman, Isaac Kekemeke, was removed for allegedly being “directed, mandated and financially empowered and or fortified by the National leader of the party, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu, to work for a particular aspirant, one Olusegun Abraham, as the preferred sole aspirant of the party…”

Mr. Kekemeke’s deputy, Ade Adetimehin, was appointed in his place as acting chairman while a three-member disciplinary committee was appointed to investigate the allegations against him. Also, some party members led by Olusola Oke left the APC for AD in anger.

Even after he was sworn in as governor, Mr. Akeredolu’s statement has shown that the crisis may not end anytime soon. The governor accused an unnamed senator of the party of from his state of working against his gubernatorial ambition and said he no longer considers the senator a member of the APC.

OGUN

In Ogun State, the crisis appears to be provoked by ambition. The senator currently representing Lagos West Senatorial District, Olamilekan Adeola, is at loggerheads with the governor, Ibikunle Amosun, over the governorship seat.



Mr. Adeola is aspiring to contest the governorship election in 2019, but the governor, who will round off his second term in office, is said to be opposed to the senator’s ambition to succeed him.

Mr. Adeola, popularly called “Yayi,” is an ally of Mr. Tinubu. He was a two-time member of the Lagos State House of Assembly and a former member of the House of Representatives where he chaired the Public Accounts Committee.

Messrs. Adeola and Amosun fell out politically in 2015 when the former wanted to return to Ogun State to contest the senatorial election to represent the western senatorial district but was allegedly blocked by the governor.

The governor was said to have pleaded with Mr. Tinubu to prevail on him (Mr. Adeola) to drop his ambition. Mr. Adeola was subsequently offered a ticket in Lagos State to contest the election. This paved the way for the governor’s candidate, Gbolahan Dada, to pick the ticket to represent the Ogun West Senatorial District.

KOGI:

The APC in Kogi State is in crisis, no thanks to the disagreement between the governor, Yahaya Bello, and some high-ranking politicians in the state.

In June last year, members of the APC in the National Assembly from the state, House of Assembly members, members of the party’s executive in the state and other prominent leaders of the party at a meeting accused Mr. Bello of engaging in anti-party activities.

They also accused the governor, who assumed office six months earlier, of appointing more PDP members into his government than APC members.

They held the view that the Kogi people had suffered more under Mr. Bello than at any other time.



They subsequently set up an 11-member disciplinary committee chaired by the senator representing Kogi West Senatorial District, Dino Melaye, to review the allegations against the governor, and report back within seven days.

Members of the committee included three former senators from the state, Mohammed Ohiare, Abubakar Abdulrahman and Nicholas Ugbane, as well as APC chairman in Kogi, Haddy Ametuo.

While no report has been publicly presented, the rift between the governor, who has stated that his opponents are resisting his transformation of the state, and other party leaders continue.

PLATEAU

The crisis in the Plateau State chapter of the APC has been a recurring one.

The first crisis emanated from the nomination of Solomon Dalung as minister. Mr. Dalung had a rift with the state governor, Simon Lalong, over some pre-election matters which were in court.





There was also the issue of petition by some members calling for the expulsion of a former Minister of State for Information and Communication, Ibrahim Nakande. Mr. Nakande had been removed as the zonal secretary of the party and replaced with Muhammad Zakari.

In February, the party erupted in crisis again. Some member of the state executive committee of the APC rose against the chairman, Letep Dabang, accusing him of insincerity in appointments, personalization of the party, unaccountability for party funds and hijacking all contributions made to the party. The allegations were contained in a letter signed by 19 out of the 23 executive members, to the state governor.

NIGER

In Niger, there is uneasy calm in the ruling APC following the feud between the governor, Sani Bello, and some federal lawmakers.

David Umaru representing the Niger East senatorial district and Aliyu Abdullahi of the southern senatorial district are reportedly in conflict with the governor.

The crisis in the chapter became noticeable early last year when the senators and 10 members of the House of Representatives from the state shunned the flag-off of the local government council elections.

The lawmakers were not happy over the manner the APC candidates for the elections emerged. They were said to be angry that Mr. Bello single-handedly picked the candidates without consulting them.

KADUNA

Perhaps, none of the crises in others states is as old as that of Kaduna State.

The festering crisis is majorly between the governor, Nasir El-Rufai, and the senator representing Kaduna Central Senatorial District, Shehu Sani.

Mr. Sani had shown interest in the governorship election in 2015 but was asked by some political gladiators to step down for Mr. El-Rufai. He therefore sought election into the senate and won.



That was to be the beginning of the hostility between the two political gladiators and which has unsettled the state chapter of the APC.

Mr. Sani explains that the fight “is not personal, but more ideological, particularly the way our people are treated and governance is going on.”

At another forum, he said “Perhaps, it (fight) has to do with the fact that we came from different backgrounds.

But in his narration, Mr. El-Rufai, said, “Shehu Sani’s first anger was that the list of commissioners came out and none from his list.

“In a state where there are 10,000 PhDs that I have in my data base, I am going to take a diploma holder and make him commissioner just because he is Shehu Sani’s man. I don’t operate like that.

“He contested the APC primary and defeated the candidate I supported (General Sani Saleh) and after the primaries. I don’t owe Shehu Sani anything.”



KANO

In the neighbouring Kano State, the crisis in the APC has refused to abate. Already, the party has been factionalised in the state with Haruna Doguwa leading a faction and the other led by Abdullahi Abbas.

The major cause of the crisis is the face-off between Governor Abdullahi Ganduje and his predecessor and now serving senator, Rabi’u Kwankwaso.



Interestingly, both have been political soulmates for years. When Mr. Kwankwaso served his first term as governor between 1999 and 2003, Mr. Ganduje was his deputy. Both of them also paired again between 2011 and 2015. Mr. Ganduje was the only deputy governor in the country who succeeded his principal in 2015.

But all is not well between them though the feud is not about the governorship seat.



Mr. Ganduje has repeatedly made moves to undermine the influence of his erstwhile boss by sacking some of the latter’s loyalists, from his administration.

In May last year, the national headquarters unsuccessfully waded into the rift.



http://www.premiumtimesng.com

What Atiku Told The New Tor Tiv




A former vice president, Atiku Abubakar, on Sunday congratulated the new Tor Tiv, the monarch of the Tiv people of Benue State, James Ayatse.
Read Mr. Abubakar’s message below:

Your Royal Majesty, Orchivirigh Professor James Ayatse,
Congratulations on your coronation as the new Tor Tiv of the Tiv Kingdom of Nigeria. This great day will no doubt be inscribed in your memory and in that of your generations to come, and also in the annals of Tiv history forever. As a firm believer in our country’s unity in diversity, all the way from my home in Adamawa State, I celebrate with you as a fellow citizen of Nigeria. As the holder of the Zege Mule U Tiv title, the highest traditional title for a non-indigene of the Tiv kingdom, I also celebrate with you as a stakeholder in the affairs of Tivland.

Agreed that our various communities have been jolted by needless crisis in recent times, but suffice it to note, however, the bonds of friendship and camaraderie that has long existed between my people and the Tiv. I recall with nostalgia that in late 1945 (at a time of great strife), a year before the coronation of the first ever Tor Tiv, the illustrious late Makir Dzakpe in 1946, a Fulani prince from the Sokoto Caliphate, who incidentally was also known as Atiku Abu’bakr, made entreaties to the Tiv monarch during his coronation. His message of peace, which was read in Tiv, were also accompanied by gifts of two Zebras (an animal striped with the symbolic colours of the Tiv people of black and white), went a long way to end the bloodletting at that time.

Your Royal Majesty, you are stepping into this great role at a very trying time in the affairs of our great country. The Tiv like so many other groups in Nigeria are most likely facing monumental challenges and finding life tougher than we all have in a long time. I, hereby, call on you to bear this keenly in mind as you begin your journey on the throne of your forefathers. Your leadership must be felt from Day 1. All of us stakeholders in the Tiv kingdom are putting our trust in you to lead your people to progress in every facet of human development. Let your people know and see that they can look up to you for a breath of fresh air and for ideas. Let your leadership shine a light at the end of the dark tunnel. 

Your Royal Majesty, the process by which you emerged as leader may have left a number of bruised egos and bruised relationships. There may be those with whom you have never seen eye to eye on issues. But, today, please, bear in mind that your coronation as the Tor Tiv makes you the traditional leader of the entire Tiv kingdom, of everyone including of friend and foe. Let peace be your most potent weapon. I urge you to immediately set about mending fences and building bridges. Without peace, progress and development become even more difficult if not almost impossible. As someone from the northeast of Nigeria, a region that is still recovering from the devastating effects of the Boko Haram insurgency, I am speaking from sad and bitter experience. 

I do not think it is by chance that a man of your advanced educational qualifications has been chosen by God at this time in the history of the Tiv kingdom. Your Royal Majesty, you are an academic: a professor and a former Vice Chancellor of a university. My passion for education is behind many of my investments in Nigeria. Without education, I would not have become who I am today and I suspect that the same is true for you. I call on you to pass on that same passion for education to every citizen of your Tiv kingdom. Let every parent and child understand its vital importance. Let every Tiv child be given the same opportunities that you and I had to expand our minds through formal education. Let them aspire to be literate, and to improve their world through knowledge of both the arts and science and technology.
Once again, I congratulate you on this great day. Remember that, even though this coronation is being executed by human beings, you were actually chosen by God, and it is to Him that you owe your primary allegiance. It is to Him that you will justify whatever you make of the special position in which He has placed you. 

May God guide you as you function in this new seat as the Tor Tiv. May he be your wisdom and strength through what I pray will be a long and fruitful journey undertaken in good health.

http://www.premiumtimesng.com

Saturday, March 4, 2017

Peugeot 'Set to Unveil Deal to Buy GM's Opel on Monday'



France's PSA Group, maker of Peugeot and Citroen cars, has reached a deal with General Motors to buy its Opel and Vauxhall brands, according to reports.

PSA's board agreed the deal on Friday, and an official announcement is planned for Monday, said Reuters, citing unnamed sources.

News that the two companies were in talks emerged last month raising fears that the deal could lead to job losses.

Vauxhall has 4,500 UK staff based at plants in Ellesmere Port and Luton.

Opel employs about 19,000 people in Germany, about half its workforce..

Politicians and unions in both Germany and the UK have been lobbying PSA and GM on behalf of their respective workforces.

They fear that PSA, which is 14% owned by the French state, may cut jobs outside France.

If an outline deal has been reached this lobbying looks likely to increase.

Last week the BBC learned that both PSA and GM were keen to sign a so-called "statement of intent" before the Geneva Motor Show which starts on 6 March to prevent ongoing speculation overshadowing the release of new models.

If the takeover were to go through it would mean GM would no longer have a presence in the UK and Europe.

PSA would become Europe's second-largest carmaker, behind VW, with a 16% share of the European market. Renault-Nissan is currently Europe's second biggest carmaker.

Earlier this year GM reported a loss of $257m (£206m) from its European operations last year.

That was the 16th consecutive loss-making year for GM in Europe, bringing its cumulated losses on the continent since 2000 to more than $15bn.

Reuters quoted sources as saying that PSA expected to make savings of up to 2 billion euros (£1.7bn) as a result of the takeover of Opel.
bbc.com

Fresh Attempt Being Made To Bring President Buhari Home Before Closure Of Abuja Airport



President Muhammadu Buhari's aides have renewed attempts to return him to the seat of power in Abuja before the possibly eight-week closure of the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport in the Federal Capital Territory Abuja.

The airport is scheduled to be shut down for at least six weeks starting from midnight on March 7, 2017. President Buhari left Nigeria on vacation on January 19announcing that he would be back in Abuja on February 6. However, on the planned date of return, President Buhari wrote to the Nigerian Senate extending his return to Nigeria indefinitely. The Nigerian leader told senators that he would remain in the U.K. to await the results of tests ordered by his doctors.

Presidential spokesmen have been adamant against revealing to Nigerians the specific nature of Mr. Buhari's illness. Instead, they have either claimed that the president was merely resting in London or that he was undergoing some medical checks that necessitated a delay in his return to Abuja.

Saharareporters was the first to disclose that President Buhari would need more than the initial ten days to deal with myriads of health challenges that have dogged him for months. Sources close to Mr. Buhari disclosed that the president's doctors in the U.K. have recommended that he stay in London for as long as four months in order to complete a rigorous regimen of treatment for a prostrate-related ailment as well as Crohn's disease.

Our sources revealed that President Buhari is afflicted with internal organ disorders that have caused him to lose weight and wrecked his appetite.

"Some of Mr. President's associates are mounting pressure on him to return to Abuja as soon as possible, and especially before the [Abuja] airport is temporarily closed," a knowledgeable source told our correspondent. He confirmed that President Buhari was yet to complete his treatment for his prostate ailment as well as Crohn's disease, a condition that plagues his intestines.

Our sources said President Buhari's inner circle, led by his cousin, Mamman Daura, and his personal assistant, Tunde Sabiu (also known as “Tunde Idiagbon”), were behind the decision not to disclose the nature of the president's ailments to the Nigerian public. The two insiders are reportedly managing a cabal around Mr. Buhari to control and leverage power in Abuja.

Our investigation showed that the cabal had effectively shoved aside President Buhari's wife, Aisha Buhari, relegating her to Abuja. Instead, one of President Buhari's daughters, Halima, is now the only direct relative given free access to the ailing president in London.

Halima, a daughter from Mr. Buhari’s first marriage, recently returned to Abuja on a British Airways flight. One source claimed that her return to Abuja was possibly to prepare for her father’s temporary return to Nigeria.

Our sources revealed that, even if President Buhari returns soon, he would need to travel out again to London in a few months to continue his treatment.

"It doesn't make sense for Mr. President to return to Abuja immediately just to serve the political interests of some people when his doctors want him to go through all his treatment," one of our sources said. 

http://saharareporters.com

Felix Tshisekedi: Congo Opposition Leader's Son Takes Over



The son of Etienne Tshisekedi, the Democratic Republic of Congo's late opposition leader, has been chosen as his father's successor.

Felix Tshisekedi, 53, will now lead the opposition coalition in crucial negotiations over the departure of President Joseph Kabila from office.

Under a deal agreed last year, new elections would be held by the end of 2017 and Mr Kabila would not run.

It followed deadly protests calling for the president to step down.

Mr Kabila's final mandate ran out in November 2016.

Not everyone in the opposition coalition is happy with the choice of the younger Tshisekedi as leader, with some openly criticising his lack of senior political experience.

"Where else in the world would someone be put in charge of such an important process... who has only been in the opposition for seven months," coalition member Joseph Olengankoy told BBC Afrique.

The UDPS party of Mr Tshisekedi senior has not yet announced a new leader, although it is part of the alliance now lead by his son.

The veteran opposition leader died in Belgium earlier this year, aged 84.

His body is due to be flown back to Kinshasa on 11 March.
Who is Felix Tshisekedi?
Son of celebrated opposition leader Etienne Tshisekedi, who defied Presidents Mobutu and Kabila
Has described as "Stalinesque" government attempts to muzzle the opposition
Relative political newcomer, criticised by some for inexperience
Lived in Belgium for many years before entering politics at home
Resembles his late father, also favouring the same style of tweed flat cap

His appointment also comes at a time when there are fears that the government may be trying to retreat from key aspects of the transition deal.

Last month, the budget minister said the cost of organising polls in 2017 was too expensive, throwing the election timetable into doubt.

Mr Tshisekedi's appointment means that he is now more likely to be made prime minister in a power-sharing government, a post due to be held by an opposition figure under the terms of the deal. 
 
http://www.bbc.com

Arik Woos Back Customers With N16k Tickets



With just N16,000, you can buy a one-way ticket on Arik Air, west and central Africa’s largest carrier.

The airline, which is currently undergoing restructuring, announced the special promotional fare at the weekend.

One-way fights currently average over N20,000.

The promotion runs from March 6-20 March and “is to acknowledge and appreciate the loyalty of the airline’s highly esteemed customers that have stood with the airline for over a decade of operation”, the carrier said in a press statement.

It added: “To enjoy this offer however, customers are advised to buy their ticket on or before March 20, 2017, while the last date for travel is March 31, 2017… tickets can be purchased at any Arik Air City Office, Airport Ticketing Office, online at www.arikair.com or the Arik Mobile App.”

Roy Ilegbodu, the CEO, said: “This is an exciting time for both staff and loyal customers of Arik Air. The new management has ensured stability of operations over the last three weeks with improved on-time-performance.

“Arrangements have been concluded to return five of the grounded aircraft back to service shortly and this will enable us add more flights to our network. We therefore welcome back our loyal customers and promise them a great flying experience.”

Meanwhile, Arik Air has released a new schedule for its Kaduna operations following the planned closure of Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport, Abuja and the diversion of traffic to Kaduna Airport for six weeks.

Arik Air will be operating three daily flights between Kaduna and Lagos and one daily flight between Kaduna and Accra, Ghana during this period. Other destinations to be serviced by the airline from Kaduna are Port Harcourt, Ilorin, Sokoto, Gombe, Yola and Enugu, which will have one daily flight each.
 
thecable.ng

Fuel Scarcity Looms in South-West as IPMAN Threatens to ‘Shut Down’



The Independent Petroleum Marketers Association of Nigeria (IPMAN) has said the unfriendly policies of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) will soon lead to fuel scarcity in six states.

The six states are Oyo, Osun, Lagos, Kwara, Ondo, and Ekiti.

The association said the NNPC was collecting unwarranted levies from its members and as such, threatened to shut down its stations.

IPMAN urged the national assembly to intervene and “save the general public from undeserved pains associated with fuel scarcity”.

Debo Ahmed, western zone chairman of IPMAN, made this known on Friday while addressing reporters in Ilorin, Kwara state.

“Labour unions- Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC), Trade Union Congress (TUC), NUPENG and PTD should not fold their arms while the downstream sector is being thrown into chaos,” he said.

“It is unfortunate that all the five depots in the system 2B including the largest depot at Ibadan, which can store 120 million litres have been grounded for the past two years. With all the five depots grounded, marketers are tied to private depots in Apapa where they now serve the general public.

“In the past, pipelines have been managed and secured by the depot stakeholders which are being financed by marketers.

“All these contributions are not being taken into consideration in the scheme of things. Marketers are left at the mercy of NNPC. If people buy kerosene at N400 and above, marketers should not be blamed but pitied because if the depots are working, prices will definitely come down.

“As if what NNPC has been doing is not enough, it came out with a memo on January 11, this year for marketers to renew their Bulk Purchase Agreement (BPA) at N125,000 per year for five years which translates into about N2 billion to cover NNPC/PPMC incidental expenses.

“Several attempts have been made to dialogue with NNPC/PPMC management on this issue and availability of products in our depots but all to no avail; that is why we decided to inform the general public on this before we shut down our stations.

“It is important to let people know that NNPC/PPMC has observed BPA in breach. In 2001, the idea was brought up by NNPC but upon discussion, it was dropped when they realised it was improper.”thecable.ng