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.

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,, 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, 08036070980.