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2023 General Elections: ‘Reject APC’, PDP Governors Urge Nigerians

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PDP Governors Forum
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The PDP Governors’ Forum has urged Nigerians to reject the All Progressives Congress (APC), saying it is impossible for a party so “disorganised” to offer good governance to the people of Nigeria.

The governors’ appeal was disclosed in a communique after their meeting in Abia State on Wednesday.

Among other things, they reviewed the “excruciating hardship and suffering being meted out to Nigerians by a failed APC-led Federal Government; the near collapse of the APC as a viable political party, and the readiness of the PDP to take over and offer qualitative leadership options to rescue the nation.

In attendance were: Governor. Aminu Waziri Tambuwal of Sokoto State (Chairman), Governor Okezie Ikpeazu, Abia State (Vice Chairman), Governor Ahmadu Umaru Fintiri of Adamawa State, Governor Udom Emmanuel of Akwa Ibom State, Governor Bala Mohammed of Bauchi State, Governor of Bayelsa State, Sen. Douye Diri, Governor of Benue, Samuel Ortom, Governor of Delta, Dr. Ifeanyi Okowa, Governor of Edo, Godwin Obaseki, Governor of Enugu, Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi, Governor of Oyo, Oluseyi Abiodun Makinde, Governor of Rivers, Nyesom Wike, and Deputy Governor of Taraba State, Hon Haruna Manu.

They issued the following Communique:

1. We lament the terrible pain and hardship facing Nigerians in virtually all aspects of life. The meeting noted that life was much better in 2015 under the PDP than today under the APC as exemplified in the following Comparative Indicators obtained mainly from the National Bureau of Statistics:
a. Diesel which is critical for running of SMEs was N131.47 in 2015, it now costs above N700
b. Fuel: Official and Black-Market was N87/155 in 2015, it now costs N167/350.
c. Aviation Fuel/Air Ticket Rate on Domestic Flights was N110 per Litre/N18,000 in 2015, it now hovers around N700 per Litre/N70,000, where available. Indeed, the scarcity of fuel which has resulted in loss of several man hours is a disgrace to Nigeria.
d. The collapse of the National Grid (126 times in 7 years – (June 2015 to March 2022) and its consequences for non-availability of power is most unfortunate.
e. Kerosene (NHK) used by the ordinary Nigerian for cooking and power was N180 in 2015, it now sells at ₦450.
f. Liquefied Petroleum Gas (LPG) – 12.5kg Cylinder sold for N2,400 in 2015, is now sold at between N8,750 and N10, 000.
g. Prices of basic food stuffs are now three times higher than what they used to be in 2015. Staple foods such as rice, beans, cassava flakes are now slipping out of the hands of average Nigerians. Indeed, a Bag of Rice sold for N8500 in 2015 is now N39,000.
h. Electricity was N14.23 per kilowatt in 2015, it is now N38.530, and not even available.
i. Unemployment rate was 11.4% in 2015, it is now over 33%, one the highest in the world.
j. The poverty rate in 2015 was 11.3% but now about 42.8%.
k. Accumulated Inflation in 2015 was about 4%, it is now 15.50%; Inflation Rate was 9.01% in 2015 and now 15.7%.
l. Perhaps the Exchange Rate has been one of the most disastrous. N150 to a dollar was the parallel market (patronised by most businessmen and Nigerians) rate in 2015, it is now about N580 to $1 in the parrel market and still rising.
m. Debt and Debt Servicing:
Domestic Debt of N8.4T and External Debt of USD 7.3b was incurred between 1999-2015.
While Domestic Debt of N7.63T (June 2015-Dec 2020) and USD28.57b as at Dec 2020 was incurred. External debt of USD21.27b was incurred between June 2015 and 2021.
n. National Debt to GDP Ratio was 23.41% (2016) it is now 36.88% (2022).
o. The Corruption Index has risen from 136 in 2015 to 150 now.
p. Nigeria’s Misery Index, an indicator used in determining how economically well off the citizens of a country are, is usually calculated by adding the seasonally adjusted unemployment rate to the annual inflation rate, has moved from 14.75 percent in 2015 to 50.48 (2021).
q. The major threat to the agricultural sector and food security in Nigeria is insecurity. In the northeast of Nigeria, it is estimated that no fewer than 70,000 hectares of arable farmland have been abandoned in the affected States and Local Government areas. The trend is the same all over the country. This further contributes to food inflation. The APC led Federal Government must take steps to cooperate with States to bring security down to the grassroots.
2. The Forum is surprised that in the face of these statistics of complete failure in all ramifications and areas, the APC still wants to be on the ballot in 2023.
This shows how uncaring and insensitive the APC is. IT HAS BECOME A MENACE TO NIGERIA.
3. The Forum urges Nigerians to reject the APC, a party run undemocratically by a Committee contrary to the Constitution (S.228) with Mr. President regularly issuing instructions and dictates. It is impossible for a party so disorganized to offer good governance to the people of Nigeria.
4. The meeting expressed concern and alarm over various reports and claims of incidents of stealing of crude oil ranging from 80% to 95% of production made by industry practitioners and called on the Federal Government to set up an appropriate mechanism to reverse this trend and bring perpetrators to account.
5. The PDP Governors once again decried the inability of the NNPC to make its statutory contributions to the Federation Account, inspite of Oil selling at above $110. It is patently unconstitutional for NNPC to determine at its whim and discretion when and what to pay to the Federation Account, as it is a mere trustee of the funds for the three tiers of Government: Federal, States and Local Governments. We once again, call for investigations and audit of the quantity of consumption of fuel ascribed to Nigerians and for deployment of technology at the filling stations to determine in a transparent manner the volume of consumption.
The Governors would resist any further attempt by NNPC to ascribe unsubstantiated subsidy claims to other tiers of government.
6. Furthermore, S.162 (1) of the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria as amended stipulates that “The Federation shall maintain a special account to be called “the Federation Account” into which shall be
paid all revenues collected by the Government of the Federation…”
and S.162 (10) states that “For the purpose of subsection (1) of this section, “revenue” means any income or return accruing to or derived by the Government of the Federation from any source and includes –
(a) any receipt, however described, arising from the operation of any law;
(b) any return, however described, arising from or in respect of any property held by the Government of the Federation;
(c) any return by way of interest on loans and dividends in respect of shares or interest held by the Government of the Federation in any company or statutory body”
a. As of today, 18 (Eighteen) Federation Revenue Agencies are not paying/remitting any revenue to the FAAC Account. These include (i) Central Bank of Nigeria (ii) Nigeria Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA) (iii) Nigeria Liquefied National Gas (NLNG) (iv) Nigeria Communication Commission (NCC) (v) Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) (vi) NPA (vii) Security and Exchange Commission etc
(b) FIRS and DPR takes cost of collection of 4% (Four percent) of Revenue collected while Customs collects 7%. In March 2022 for instance, FIRS took N15.4Billion as cost of collection and Customs took N8.4b. If these are annualised, FIRS and Customs collects about N1.84Billion and Customs N100B per annum. Obviously, some states of the Federation’s capital budget does not come close to these.
(c) Nigeria Federation has 49% shareholding in NLNG. According to the Minister of Finance during the 2020 budget performance brief at the National Assembly stated that the federation received dividend of N144billion (One Hundred and Forty Four Billion) from NLNG. These figure to the best of our knowledge was never paid into the Federation Account.
(d)) NNPC deducts N8.33Billion monthly for the rehabilitation of the Refineries in Nigeria. Till date no refinery is working.
(e) On priority projects of the Nation’s oil industry, NNPC deducted N788.78Billion for various investments between 2018-2021 without recourse to FAAC.
(f) NNPC in 2021 alone claimed to have paid over One Trillion Naira as petroleum subsidy. Indeed, the month of March 2022, N220Billion was deducted as oil subsidy with a promise that N328Billion will be deducted in April 2022. This is unacceptable.
(g) NNPC and FIRS as well as other remitting Agencies continue to apply an exchange rate of N389/$1 as against the Import and Export window of N416/$1. The extent of this leakage can be better felt, if this rate is compared to the current N570/$1.
(h) From available records about N7.6T is withheld between 2012 and 2021, by NNPC from the Federation Account. All these are said to be payments for oil subsidy.
(i) Conclusively, we believe that all these leakages in NNPC have been made possible because the President is also the Minister of Petroleum. The urgent separation of these two portfolios have become necessary
7. The Forum noted the approval by the PDP NEC of the Time Table and Timelines for Congresses and Convention of the Party and urged all party members and party leadership to remain focused and united to win power in 2023, to tackle the myriads of problems facing the country.
8. The PDP Governors congratulated the host, His Excellency, Governor Okezie Ikpeazu, the PDP Governors’ Forum Vice Chairman, for his generosity and hospitality in the hosting of the meeting.

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Tinubu offers clear directions on security, economy, foreign policy in UK 

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APC Presidential Candidate , Bola Tinubu in London
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…says FG fixing petrol price is a broken model

…Nigeria will advance democratic ideals in Africa 

Presidential Candidate of the All-Progressives Congress Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu, on Monday at Chatham House in London spoke on a wide range of issues including security, economy and foreign policy, ahead of Nigeria’s presidential election in February next year.

Tinubu who has been addressing various stakeholders in Nigeria at various town hall meetings, travelled to the United Kingdom to share his thoughts and campaign plans at Chatham House -a globally admired and respected platform for intellectual engagement on different issues of contemporary interest to people around the world.

The APC candidate who addressed the distinguished Chatham House audience for the second time having first done it in 2011, emphasized Nigeria’s role in Africa as a big brother which has continued to be a beacon of hope to the continent and the ECOWAS sub-region through now entrenched democratic ideals, having run an unbroken democracy for over two decades.

He said when he becomes Nigeria’s president, his administration will continue to provide quality leadership to the sub-region, to ensure democratic ideal are formed in nations of the ECOWAS region.

The APC Presidential candidate in his address titled “Nigeria’s 2023 elections: Security, economic and foreign policy imperatives” vowed that as President, Nigeria will epitomise values of democracy during elections anywhere in Africa by ensuring that democratic ideals are followed and all forms of electoral violence rejected, allowing only the will of the people to prevail.

“Every election, wherever it is held, is important to the people or entity directly concerned. It is also important to the global democracy community as well. Equally, there are also countries whose elections, on account of their weight and influence, carry wider implications way beyond their immediate geographical boundaries. Nigeria is one of such countries.

“I stand firmly against all forms of electoral violence and intimidation.  Having spent most of my career in the political opposition, I have long fought against electoral malpractice and any attempts to extinguish the legitimate choice of voters.  I will continue to do so.

“And I urge all my fellow contestants in this election to do the same.  Let the sovereign will of the people decide the path of our nation.  And let this election be determined by voters making their choice freely rather than the domineering intimidation of the troublesome few.

“For one, as Africa’s most populous country and the continent’s largest economy, it is generally acknowledged that the fortunes of the African continent and indeed the Black race is tied directly to the health of Nigeria.

“Also the Nigerian elections of 2023 are coming up at a time when the country’s immediate geographical neighbourhood of West and Central Africa is undergoing serious political turmoil that has manifested itself in the incursion of the military to power in a number of countries. In spite of the legitimate concerns being expressed by observers, Nigerians are resolutely committed to democracy, regardless of their political differences.

“Nigeria shares direct land borders with four sister African countries with whose peoples Nigerians also share historical and cultural affinities,” Tinubu said.

He added: “This effectively means that the relationship between Nigeria and its immediate neighbours is much more than just a geographical expression.

“To be fully secure at home, Nigeria has always believed it must be the brothers’ keeper. It was out of this understanding that Africa’s premier regional economic community, ECOWAS, was established in 1975. Uniquely, ECOWAS had embedded in its mandate, the promotion of regional economic integration as a good in its own right and in addition undertook sub-regional peace and security.

“I am convinced, as I am sure most of us are, that the broad principles that enabled successive Nigerian governments to interface development and security, and establish an organic link between national security and economic development with regional peace and prosperity is both impeccable and remains relevant. It is an approach which I commit myself to upholding and advancing.”

His address was intermittently punctuated by thunderous applause by the impressive gathering.

On issue of security, which has continued to be a challenge at home despite the remarkable progress achieved by the current APC-led administration of President Muhammadu Buhari, Tinubu promised to tackle the situation the country is facing heads on, so that Nigeria can also effectively provide security supports for its neighbouring nations.

He noted, “The challenges which have manifested themselves with regard to our national and regional development and security trajectories are very well-known to all of us here: radical extremist violence, terrorism, banditry, kidnapping, human trafficking, trafficking in weapons, trafficking in drugs, climate change and resource driven conflicts etc.

Mostly manifesting initially as national problems, these challenges evolved over time into trans-border and multinational challenges.

“We see the thousands of people who have been internally displaced at home or forced into refugee camps abroad. With farming activities disrupted, we have seen shortages of basic food items and food price inflation that are further undermining human security.

“To respond meaningfully to the discontents and to redress the many dislocations arising from them, we must begin by reminding ourselves of that old dictum: Foreign policy is but a continuation of domestic policy.

“As a first step, we must recalibrate domestic policy in order to revamp the foundation on which our quest to pursue human security rests.”

The former Lagos State governor reiterated that effective energy generation and distribution will help build the economy of the nation, promising to improve the framework already in place to boost the generation and distribution of energy across the country.

He also said the nation under his watch would place emphasis on the use of technology to improve the agricultural sector for better production and contribution to the nation’s economy.

“The present administration has invested heavily in agriculture, providing loans and expanding the country’s total acreage of cultivated land. We will build on this, but our focus will be on using technology and expertise to accelerate growth and development by providing the critical infrastructure necessary to achieve the commodity transformations in the agriculture value chain.

“Roads, rail, access to ports, and storage infrastructure are what we require to radically transform the agriculture sector and increase its value to the nation. Providing these will be the areas of our focus so that the full potential of our agro economy can be achieved, and we can reap the benefits in jobs, improved economic opportunities and increased prosperity.

“Fixing the perennial riddle of energy supply is another priority.  There is no version of the world where Nigeria’s ambitions for itself can be achieved without solving the problem of how to provide energy to homes and businesses across the country.  It is time to recognise that the centralised approach to energy policy and infrastructure is not an optimal arrangement and is unlikely to improve by mere tinkering around the sides.

“The Federal government as regulator and operator, and price fixer is a broken model and one that we fully intend to fix if elected.

“We have privatised power distribution in Nigeria and generation to a certain degree.  What we need to do, going forward, is to improve the enabling environment and further reform the legal and regulatory framework to attract more private investments in the sector as we have experienced in the telecom industry.”

He promised to engage the private sector to better drive economic development across the country.

“My belief that the private sector is the fulcrum of economic progress is evident and documented.  However, fundamental flaws with the basic design of our national economy imperil the private sector from playing the role it ought to and adding the value it is capable of.  In this instance, the government must act as a catalyst.  We shall do this on all fronts.  We will address the conflict between monetary and fiscal policies.  Budgeting will be based on the projected spending levels needed to push real annual growth rate above 7 per cent while reducing the unemployment rate so that we can double the economy in ten years.”

Introducing the APC presidential candidate, the chairman of the event who is also the Managing Director, Ethics, Risk and Resilience of Chatham House and Director Africa Programme, Dr. Alex Vines OBE, described Tinubu as a former governor of Lagos and prominent politician who is no stranger to the House.

He also joked that “he has US visa,” apparently referring to the fake news being bandied by political opponents that Asíwájú was denied US visa.

Responding to a question on his age and identity, Tinubu said his birthday remains March 29, 1952 and his age and other records are with Chicago State University he attended and Mobil Oil that he worked with and left as Treasurer.

Taking another question on youth development, he said the youths are part of today and the future of the country who the nation needs to invest in for tomorrow.

He also singled out Lagos Governor Babajide Sanwo-olu, a youth who he said is running the state that is the 5th largest economy in Africa and who is actualising the legacies he left behind as governor.

Demonstrating his team spirit, he invited Governors Nasir el-Rufai and Ben Ayade, former Lagos Information Commissioner Dele Alake and APC National Woman Leader Dr Beta Edu to respond to questions that fell within their areas of core competence.

Tinubu was accompanied to the lecture by House of Representatives Speaker Femi Gbajabiamila, Governors El-Rufai (Kaduna), Abdullahi Umar Ganduje (Kano), Dapo Abiodun (Ogun), Sanwo-olu (Lagos), Abubakar Sani Bello (Niger), Ayade (Cross Rivers),  Abubakar Badaru, (Jigawa) and David Umahi (Ebonyi) as well as former governor of Ekiti, Dr. Kayode Fayemi and his former Edo State counterpart, Comrade Adams Oshiomhole.

There were also members of APC National Working Committee particularly the Woman Leader Edu and her deputy, Hajiya Zainab Ibrahim, as well as former deputy governor of Lagos, Chief Femi Pedro, former Lagos Commissioner for Information Alake, his former Finance counterpart, Mr. Olawale Edun, Senator Tokunbo Abiru, Senator Fatai Buhari and Senator Adeola Olamilekan.

Others at the event included Senator Musiliu Obanikoro, Senator Tokunbo Afikuyomi, former deputy governor of Ogun State, Chief Segun Adesegun, Hadiza Bala-Usman and popular Lagos chieftain, Alhaji Mutiu Are.

After the lecture, the APC candidate had an interaction with the APC UK chapter.

 

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Knocks As Tinubu Shuns Town Hall Meeting On Live TV

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APC Presidential Candidate, Bola Ahmed Tinubu
APC Presidential Candidate, Bola Ahmed Tinub
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The presidential candidate of the All-Progressives Party (APC), Bola Tinubu, on Sunday stayed away from the presidential Town hall debate organised by Arise Television and its partners.

However, his counterparts in the People Democratic Party (PDP), Labour Party (LP) and New Nigerian Peoples Party (NNPP), Atiku Abubakar, Peter Obi and Rabiu Kwankwaso, respectively, showed up on the live television programme to outline their ways to tackle the nation’s problems if elected.

Sunday’s session saw the presidential flag bearers fielding questions from the moderator and a panel of interviewers on education, healthcare, poverty and human capital development.

The APC presidential candidate had travelled to the United Kingdom to attend a scheduled speaking engagement at Chatham House.

However, his absence at the debate has drawn the ire of the main opposition party candidate’s camp which argued that Tinubu ought to have addressed Nigerians here at home since there are no voters in the United Kingdom.

 

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Tinubu Postponed US Trip, He Was Never Denied Visa – Orji Kalu

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APC Presidential Candidate Bola Ahmed Tinubu and Senator Orji Kalu
APC Presidential Candidate Bola Ahmed Tinubu and Senator Orji Kalu
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Senator Orji Uzor Kalu has debunked rumours making the round that the presidential candidate of the All-Progressives Congress (APC), Bola Tinubu, was denied a visa to the United States of America.

Describing the story as fake news in a Facebook post on Saturday, the former Abia State Governor said Tinubu postponed the travel himself and was never denied a visa.

He said as the election draws closer, the opposition will spread more fake news against their presidential candidate and urged the party’s supporters to always ignore and keep their eyes on the ball.

Orji Kalu claimed that the State Department of the US confirmed to him that Tinubu will be received in the third week of December.

He wrote, “As the election draws closer, the opposition will spread more fake news against our presidential candidate but we should always ignore and keep our eyes on the ball. The news that Tinubu was denied a visa to the USA is as fake as other fake news.

“Tinubu postponed the travel himself and was never denied a visa. The State Department of the US confirmed to me that Tinubu will be received in the third week of December. As the presidential candidate of our party with an outstanding personality, he will be warmly welcomed in the United States. OUK.”

The APC Presidential Campaign Council had in a statement last week said that Tinubu will embark on foreign trips from December 4 to meet global leaders and pitch his Presidential aspiration.

In the statement posted on its Twitter handle, the campaign council disclosed that Tinubu and his delegation will be in London, USA, France, and key European Union member states to share his vision and plans and to also solicit the support of the Western powers for the democratic process that will usher in the new administration in Nigeria from May 29th, 2023.

It also stated that while in London, Tinubu will address the Chatham House, the United Kingdom’s elite Foreign and Policy Think-tank institution where he will speak on security, economy and foreign policy on Monday, December 5, 2022.

 

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