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Buhari’s Ministers Only Interested In Amassing Wealth, says Former SGF Babachir Lawal

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Engr. Babachir Lawal, a former Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF), on Sunday said majority of the ministers in President Muhammadu Buhari’s cabinet do not share his vision of taking Nigeria to the next level.

Speaking in an exclusive in­terview with Daily Independent, Babachir said while the president is a good leader, who means well for the country, many of his appointees, especially the ministers, are only inter­ested in amassing enough money so as to contest for governorship elections in their respective states.

He also accused many senators, who are supposed to be the representatives of their constituents in the National Assembly, of pursuing personal agenda, instead of collaborating with their state governors in bringing developments to their states and advanc­ing the cause of their con­stituents.

“I like the president, he means well for Nigeria but he has the challenge of sub­ordinates who have differ­ent agenda. The president has an agenda that is good for Nigerians, he means well but his subordinates don’t share his vision. They have a different agenda.

“Majority of the minis­ters are only interested in making enough money to go and contest for gover­norship positions in their states. Majority of the sen­ators are only interested in making money so that they can go and become gover­nors in their states.

“So, the synergy of a senator sitting down with a governor to discuss the issue of development in the North doesn’t exist because already, they are competitors. In the South, governors and legislators are on the same page. When they come to Abuja, they fight for policies and pro­grammes that will benefit their people. In the North, that doesn’t happen. They only wear babanriga and put one kilogramme of starch inside and claim big men. That is the truth”.

Babachir, who is from Adamawa State, also said the governor of the state, Ahmadu Fintiri is having a no love lost relationship with the three senators in the state, saying the same applies to all the states in the Northern region.

“My governor is not in talking terms with all the senators. Two of them are in his political party but they have not been talking. The other one is APC who is struggling for his seat. So, how can my state move forward? And that is what is happening in all the Northern states”, he said.

On the situation in Southern Kaduna, Baba­chir said the utterances of Governor Nasir El-Rufai of Kaduna State has further worsened the crisis in the area.

The former SGF, who condemned the margin­alisation of Christians in Kaduna and other parts of the North, gave credit to a former governor of the state, Ahmed Makarfi, who, according to him, handled the crisis well during his tenure because he saw the issue from an ethnic and not religious point of view.

“Initially, I think from 1980, most of the problems of Southern Kaduna are ethnic. When Ahmed Ma­karfi became governor, he understood that most of the issues were ethnic than religious and he was able to address it. Roads were being constructed equally in all parts of the state; tra­ditional institutions were strengthened in all parts of the state. Everybody was getting his fair share of the resources that the state has and the matter didn’t get out of hand.

“The problem I see in Ka­duna is that the state gov­ernment led by Governor Nasir El-Rufai is not sen­sitive to the issues. Their utterances simply indicate that they are not sympa­thetic to the issues. Like I saw a write-up by Shehu Sani today, he said when it happened in Zamfara, government calls it bandit­ry and they sympathised with the affected commu­nities but when it happens in Southern Kaduna, gov­ernment starts to explain what is happening, rather than calling a spade exactly what it is and sympathising with the people.

“So, it depends on how government handles the issue at all levels; from the federal to the state to local government and ward lev­els. I remember when ban­ditry started in Sokoto and they overran a village, the state governor with all his cabinets went there to sym­pathise with the victims. They went with blankets, food items and other basic things. In some states, they don’t do that; rather than do that, they will even insult the communities that are the victims.

“That is what is happen­ing. Incompetent governors and rulers in the North are responsible. The North is full of incompetent rulers. All they want is to ride in convoys and people are hailing and waving at them. When they come home, peo­ple sit on the mats while they are the only ones sit­ting on a chair because they are governors. They see themselves as Deputy Je­sus. They are not interest­ed in serving the people, all they care about is ruling”, he said.

Babachir who also fault­ed exclusion of Christians from key political positions in Kaduna State despite their population said the issue may boomerang as future generations may not accept it.

“Why should Kaduna end up with Muslim gov­ernor and Muslim deputy governor? The speaker is Muslim as well as the dep­uty speaker. Two cabinet ministers are also Muslims. There are about six or sev­en local governments in Kaduna that are predomi­nantly Christians.

“Nigeria must look at these issues because the day it will explode, it will surprise everybody. While elders like us are willing to tolerate these things be­cause of peace and harmo­ny, our children may not be able to do so because they can’t accept to be Northerners only during neglect when positions are shared. election periods and suffer

“My own motive is for a peaceful Nigeria in which we are our brother’s keep­er. That is my message to Nigerians because God has blessed me to a stage where I was part of those running the government. So, I have a highest stake in ensuring that Nigeria works than most people be­cause I have liability also. I am one of the people that God will hold accountable if Nigeria doesn’t work.

“Having been a former SGF, I should be worried about the future of the country and that is why I have been talking with passion. The little period I served as SGF will be count­ed among the periods that things were not moving.

“That was the period I couldn’t go to my village because insurgents have overran my local govern­ment area and I was in Abu­ja in convoy, with security agents clearing the road for me but I couldn’t go home to my village. That makes me an empty vessel. If Boko Haram can overrun my lo­cal government area and then I was part of the top people in government, that makes me an empty vessel. I sincerely hope things will improve”, he said

(Daily Independent)

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Politics

2023: ‘Buhari’s successor can come from any part of Nigeria’ – Sheriff

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Sheriff

… says APC must work harder than ever before to gain the confidence of Nigerians in order to retain power beyond 2023.

Ahead of the 2023 general elections, a former governor of Borno State, Ali Modu Sheriff, has asked Nigerians to choose a leader with capacity irrespective of where he or she comes from.

The leader, he said, can hail from any part of Nigeria as long as he can bring succour to Nigerians.

He made the statement in Abuja while receiving members of an All Progressives Congress (APC) pressure group, Frontier for Equality Leadership and Good Governance, on Thursday in Abuja.

The group had visited the former governor to ask that he contests for the position of APC National Chairman.

While he asked Nigerians to discard ethnicity and religion when choosing the next president, he said competence should be the main focus of Nigerians in making a choice.

“Unless we believe in ourselves as a nation, and believe all of us are equal and believe that a good leader will emerge from any part of the country, regardless of religion, tribe or where he comes from, we will not succeed in getting the country we dearly love.

“We must put our differences aside and look for leaders from anywhere.

“If the man that will bring succour to Nigeria is coming from a mountain in Ogoja (Cross River), we should go and look for him. If it is in the extreme end of Adamawa, we should go and look for him. If he is coming from the end of Anambra, we should go and look for him. We must do soul-searching and look for a leader,” Mr Sheriff said.

Leadership cross

The former governor also warned Nigerians against criticising their leaders and asked that prayers be made for them.

“When I see people criticise leaders on what they know nothing about, I pray for them because you will only know the challenges of this country when you are saddled with responsibility. When we have leaders we should pray for them that God will intervene, we should not curse our leaders.

“If you must blame any leader you must look at the followers, what have we done? To help our leaders to be strong – and we have to do soul searching.

“Everyday we wake up with a different challenge and these challenges are not only for our leaders, we must understand that, it is for all of us,” he said.

APC’s burden

Mr Sheriff who was once the National Chairman of Nigeria’s main opposition party, PDP, stated that the APC might have lost the trust of Nigerians.

READ ALSO:  Anambra 2021: Stella Oduah dumps PDP for APC

The party, he said, “must work harder than ever before to gain the confidence of Nigerians in order to retain power beyond 2023”.

He noted that by the end of the tenure of the President Muhammadu Buhari in 2023, “the APC would have to work extra-hard to gain a fraction of the 12 million votes which the Buhari administration carried over the years”.

In response to the group’s for him to contest for the national chairmanship of the APC, he said he would only contest “if the position is zoned to the North-east”.

Mr Sheriff’s comments comes amidst uncertainty as to where the presidential ticket for the APC will be zoned to.

Although he is yet to officially declare his intention to run for the position of chairmanship, PREMIUM TIMES had reported him saying his decision to contest is largely dependent on how the position is zoned by the party.

“…Whether I will run for the office or not will be determined by what the caretaker committee takes as a decision on where the leadership of the party will go. Whether it will go to another place or it will remain in our zone.

“If it goes to another zone, I will not contest. But if it stays in our zone, I will contest,” he had said.

He is among other key political players jostling for the position.

Others are former governor of Nasarawa State and serving senator, Tanko Al-Makura; his counterparts from Borno and Gombe, Kashim Shettima and Danjuma Goje, who are also serving senators; former governor of Zamfara, Abdulaziz Yari; a former member of the House of Representatives from Bauchi, Ibrahim Baba; and a former chairman of the Action Congress of Nigeria in Abuja, Sunny Moniedafe from Adamawa State.

The party is expected to hold its national elective convention before the end of the year.

It is, however, not clear when Mr Sheriff and other aspirants will publicly declare their intent to contest.

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International

Zambia’s Hakainde Hichilema sworn in as President in rare victory for an African opposition leader

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Zambia’s newly-elected president, Hakainde Hichilema, has been sworn into office after pulling off a stunning rare victory for an African opposition leader.

Hichilema was inaugurated Tuesday morning at a ceremony attended by leaders such as Tanzania President Samia Suluhu Hassan and Malawi leader Lazarus Chakwera.

Zambia’s second female Vice President Mutale Nalumango was also sworn in during the ceremony.

Hichilema defeated outgoing President Edgar Lungu in a landslide by almost one million votes in his sixth attempt at becoming ruler of Zambia.

It was a stunning turnaround for the politician known as HH — Hichilema spent several months in prison in 2017 for what were widely seen as politically motivated treason charges. The charges were dropped under intense international pressure.

After initially indicating he may challenge the result, Lungu addressed the nation following the elections, saying: “Based on the revelations issued at final results, I will comply with the constitutional provisions for a peaceful transition of power.

Despite conceding defeat early, Lungu was booed by some of the crowd as he made his way to the stage at the packed Heroes stadium in the capital Lusaka to hand over power.

Hichilema called Tuesday “a new dawn in Zambia,” in a tweet ahead of the ceremony. “As I sit here in our vehicle being driven to Heroes Stadium, I see the love, the joy and the jubilation as people line the streets on our way. I’m overwhelmed with gratitude. I love you all so much,” he added.

An example for Africa

Opposition leaders from other African countries were also invited to the event.

Nelson Chamisa, opposition leader in Zimbabwe, told CNN: “This is a significant and fantastic for what is possible for the future of Africa. Zambia is an inspiration to stubborn laggards in democracy. Strong institutions are key for effective power transfer and smooth transitions,” he said in a statement when asked about the significance of today’s inauguration.

Chamisa added that Zambia is an excellent example to be emulated on the continent.

“Africa in general and Zimbabwe in particular needs leaders not rulers, strong institutions – not strong men. Leaders must lead and leave, serve and go. Zimbabwe must be free and Democratic. Freedom can be delayed but never denied,” he said when asked what the message for Zimbabwe is.

It is the third time that power has shifted peacefully from a ruling party to the opposition since the southern African country’s independence from Britain in 1964.

There was a huge turnout of mostly young people, some who came dressed in their academic robes to protest lack of employment post graduation.

Joseph Kalimbwe, a youth representative of Hichilema’s UPND party told CNN

Young people gave us the vote. Four million young people between the ages of 18 to 24 registered to vote. It was a huge turnout and it was very personal to them. They want to ensure the mistakes of their parents were corrected. They have voted for our leader on basis he has better policies and ideas and can strengthen our state institutions.”

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Politics

Uche Secondus Suspended As PDP National Chairman

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Court suspends Uche Secondus as PDP National Chairman

 

Uche Secondus
Uche Secondus

The leadership crisis currently rocking the opposition Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, worsened on Monday as a High Court in Rivers State has restrained Uche Secondus from parading himself as the National Chairman of the party.

The order was given by Justice O. Gbasam at the State High Court sitting in Degema local government area of the State on Monday.

The judge who gave the order, also approved the suspension of Secondus as a member of the party pending the hearing and determination of motion on notice for interlocutory injunction.

The order followed a complaint brought before the court by some aggrieved members of the party.

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