Monthly Archives: March 2019

Steve Hanke’s report shows Nigeria is sinking under Buhari – PDP

The Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, has described Steve Hanke’s report which rated Nigeria as the 6th miserable country in the world,  as a vindication of its position “all this while,” saying the nation has sunk into a new low since President Muhammadu Buhari assumed power in 2015.

Hanke, an economist at John Hopkins University, United States of America had in the publication rated Nigeria 6th on the ignoble list of world’s most miserable countries,  behind Venezuela (Ist), Argentina (2nd), Iran (3rd), Brazil (4th) and Turkey (5th), citing the high rate of unemployment in Africa’s biggest nation as the major contributor to her “misery. ”

Reacting to the development,  the main opposition party,  through its spokesman, Kola Ologbondiyan tasked the ruling All Progressives Congress,  APC,  to perish the thought of the planned increment in Value Added Tax,  VAT,  saying such would only make life more difficult for the “already traumatized Nigerians.”

In a chat with our correspondent, the publicity scribe said: “That report is a vindication of the position of the Peoples Democratic Party, all this while. The economy has virtually collapsed under President Buhari and the man is even mooting the idea of piling more pressure on Nigerians.

“Nigerians have never suffered like they are suffering today because those charged with the responsibility of managing the economy have failed completely. They have no idea of what it takes to manage an economy like ours.

“As an opposition party,  we call on the Presidency to take urgent steps to fine-tune the economy, create jobs for our teeming youths if only to justify that a government is in place.

“In the interim,  we advise them to stop their plan to increase VAT as that will only fetch millions of Nigerians additional pain and discomfort.”

While noting that democracy is essentially about the people,  Ologbindiyan expressed worry that rather improving on the living conditions of Nigerians,  “the  APC-led administration of President Buhari appears to be deriving pleasure from inflicting pains and misery.”

He added: “Nigerians can now see that indeed, the PDP don’t just do criticisms for the fun of it. We are talking of a report that searchlighted economies of countries in different continents of the world. Our beloved country is in shambles but there is no doubt we will reclaim it for the people at the appointed time.

Allah knows there was no primary in Zamfara APC —Marafa

Senator representing Zamfara Central at the Senate, Kabiru Marafa, says that Allah, the angels and the entire world know that, in reality, no party primary took place in the Zamfara State chapter of the ruling All Progressives Congress at the time the party claimed they held one.

He says Governor Abdul’azeez Yari therefore “offended God” for insisting that APC conducted party primaries in the state.

Marafa, who fielded questions from State House Correspondents on political developments in Zamfara State, faulted the governor for initiating legal action over the matter and asked God to forgive him (Yari) for misleading the people of the state on the issue.

He, however, commended the Court of Appeal for “an excellent job,’’ saying he initially thought he might not get justice from his appeal on the matter.

The Appeal Court had, on March 25, nullified the primary election conducted by the Yari faction of the state chapter of the APC against the previous ruling by state high court.

“It is a promise that God will never help injustice against justice. So, at the end of the whole thing, truth will prevail, undoubtedly. No fear about that. The truth is, there were no primaries in the state, the world knows, Allah knows, the angel knows, everybody knows.

“And I want to use this opportunity to thank the President of the Court of Appeal for an excellent job she did. You know, we were quite apprehensive from the beginning, fearing that we might not get justice,” Marafa said.

He added:“But they have done justice to that case and they have made judiciary proud and the people of Nigeria proud. If that has not been done, I was afraid where we were heading to.

“I read their judgement and I was really very proud of the way it was written. That is how judgments are written, not the way the state judgement was written.’’

Marafa, who lamented that Yari’s actions had put the people of the state to shame, prayed that God would forgive him for what he had done to the state.

According to him, “a leader telling lies in a state like Zamfara that practices Sharia is an anathema, and leaders deserve prayers from their followers to avert God anger.”

“I pray, may God forgive him for what he has done, because to us, God has paid us immensely,’’ he added.

On the assertion that he Marafa is playing the role of a spoiler and that he should have let everything go since the national leadership of the APC had endorsed the result of Yari’s faction on the APC primaries, Marafa rhetorically asked: “Is the national leadership of the APC equal to Nigeria? The answer is ‘No.’

“We are talking about the laws of Nigeria and not talking about personalities. No matter how big you are, you cannot circumvent the law. You cannot break the law by your right hand and then use your left hand to say you want to amend it.

“You cannot commit a criminality and then approach the court and say, ‘Court, legalise it for me.’ You cannot commit criminality and then hide under the umbrella of party and now say that ‘because the party is going to lose.’ Who is party? The people have the party.

“It is not the prince in Zamfara, it is not the stones, it is not the land, it is not the roads, it is not the wells or anything in the state; it is the people of the state that have the party.

“So, if the people are disenfranchised, if the people are cheated, we all have a duty to rise up above party lines.

“After all, I came to the Senate as an ANPP member, today I’m APC. Most of the people you see today talking as APC, they were something else before.

“So, it’s not about APC for God’s sake. the National Chairman of this party was seen condemning and saying that primaries are not supposed to be conducted by state governors, or by state party chairmen.

“You can’t just change overnight. I am trying to speak the truth, even against myself. And that is exactly what I did when it happened,’’ he said.

On the way forward in the state, the senator advised all those not satisfied with the Appeal Court judgment to seek redress in the Supreme Court.

“Well, there is still one last option left. It depends on what our opponents feel. There is the Supreme Court option. If they are desirous of exploiting that, they are constitutionally, legally allowed to do so. If they are not, so be it.

“Before, they were dragging us, but we are now dragging them. We are not pleading with them not to go to the Supreme Court. The most important thing that Nigerians need to know is that we are not the aggressors as far as these problems are concerned.

“We are defending ourselves, defending the people of Zamfara State,” he said.

The News Agency of Nigeria reports that Festus Okoye, a National Commissioner with the Independent National Electoral Commission and chairman of its Information and Voter Education Committee, has said that only the Supreme Court would determine fate of those elected in Zamfara.

The affected elected officials include the governor-elect, deputy governor-elect, senators-elect, House of Representatives members-elect and House of Assembly members-elect. Source: PUNCH

Final words of pilot from the crashed Ethiopian plane revealed

The final words of the pilot of the crashed Ethiopian plane, has been revealed shortly after an inquiry was set up to investigate the crash.

The final words of the pilot of the Ethiopian Airlines plane was “pitch up, pitch-up”, moments before the Boeing 737 Max jetliner crashed and killed 157 passengers. The Wall Street Journal reported that the plane’s final moments, painted a picture of a flight crew that was quickly overwhelmed.

The journal further reported that the plane took off from Addis Ababa on March 10, and ran into trouble almost immediately. First Officer Ahmed Nur Mohammed contacted the control tower and in a crackling transmission reported a “flight control problem,” according to the newspaper, which cited people close to the ongoing investigation. It was further gathered that the tower asked for details, as Captain Yared Getachew tried to climb and correct the glide path.

Two minutes into the flight oscillation became a wild bounce, then a dive. The flight lasted fewer than six minutes. The pilot who urged the other to pitch up was not identified, as all 157 people on board the plane were killed.

A faulty anti-stalling system on the Max is suspected in the disaster, which occurred shortly after takeoff. The Maneuvering Characteristics Augmentation System (MCAS) flight-control feature is also suspected in the crash of a Lion Air Boeing 737 Max in Indonesia last October, according to the BBC

Obasanjo should respect Buhari — Femi Adesina

Mr. Femi Adesina, Special Adviser to the President on Media and Publicity, in this interview, reviews the just concluded presidential election that saw his boss, President Muhammadu Buhari, re-elected.

Considering the unease that characterized the last elections, how do you review the process because, to me, the struggle started on May 30, 2015 which was the time politicians actually started the 2019 race.   Do you have any disappointment that they did?

Well, there is a saying that the politician thinks of the next elections, while the statesman thinks of how he can make a difference in his own country.   So, in 2015 after the President got inaugurated, he put himself to the work and he was trying to bring change to Nigeria as he had promised.   But because there were politicians out there, it is not disappointing that they started politicking immediately. That is the nature of politics and politicking because, after one election, they are thinking of the next election already.

But Mr. President applied himself to the work.   Until he announced in 2018 that he would be running in 2019, he didn’t have inkling of politics at all.   In fact, not many people were quite sure that he was going to run.

So, that shows you that Mr. President is always single-minded on anything he does.   Anything he does at any given time, he focuses on it and he does not allow too many distractions.

That is why at the end of the day, he had enough to show that he deserved a second term.

You know I had always said that two things would determine who would become President in 2019: One would be the decision of President Muhammadu Buhari to run for second term and other would be the achievements he has to put on the table.   So he decided to run and he had many things to put on the table and the people voted him again.

Why then do you think that a President, who had many things to put on the table in terms of achievements in seeking re-election, would be faced with the heavy opposition we witnessed?

Looking at the entire process, it’s a quest for power and power struggle is always emerging circling, always demanding. And this particular one, I think, was much more demanding for both sides than the previous elections in the country because we were at crunch time in Nigeria.

It was a struggle between progressive forces and forces of retrogression.   It was a struggle between integrity and opacity.   It was a struggle between accountability and impunity.   You would see that everything was thrown into that struggle.   It became too much of desperation.

But why should power struggle be laden with so much desperation if not that there is something we the onlookers were not made to know?

Power struggle shouldn’t have that kind of desperation but here was a lot of desperation in this last election because of those things I mentioned: Struggle between transparency and opacity; struggle between honesty and lack of it; struggle between accountability and lack of it.   So, Nigerians had to choose.   And the outcome of the election has shown that Nigerians will never ever again vote a person they can’t vouch for as President.

That is what this last election has shown.   Integrity will always matter in Nigeria going forward.

But despite your earlier comment that the President did not show interest in the 2019 election when it was started by politicians in 2015 because he didn’t want to allow distractions, what about the distractions that were actually caused by the activities of those who started it?

You really can’t beat politicians.   If they don’t do it openly, they would do it underground. (Laughs).

Is that the reason that, despite that some people actually entered into a peace accord, we still experienced what we experienced during the elections?

You see that it’s all about integrity again.   If people signed an accord and they didn’t keep to the letters and the spirit of what they signed, it shows lack of integrity.   It shows that they can’t be depended on.   They voluntarily entered into an accord and, at the end of the day, reneged from what they had signed.   So, it shows lack of integrity.

President Buhari, your boss, is a major party that signed the peace accord.   Your supporters are angry that you watched the breach of the accord go on without calling the attention of the National Peace Committee to it.   Why?

That is not correct.   The National Peace Committee has met with the loser in the election and it has met with the President.   So, it is not about us.   It’s not for us to start saying anything.   The peace committee is at work and I am sure it’s reminding both sides what they signed.

Do you see any need to respond to the claim that the peace committee, when it met with Mr. President, brought a message from the PDP presidential candidate, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar, listing conditions for peace?

It’s an insinuation and the thing about insinuation is that it is usually not based on facts.

So, we can now make it clear to the public that what they think about the peace committee is actually not what it is because, the thinking is that the National Peace Committee put the peace accord in place not for anything but work against President Buhari re-election, so that he will be hooked by his signature of it?

I have no cause to say that.   All I know is that they are working for peace.   Before the elections, they got all the parties to sign an accord and after the elections, they are still working to consolidate the peace.

Now talking more seriously, the President has been urged to drop his ‘I can work with anybody’ idea and show interest in who emerge as leaders of the National Assembly.   What should Nigerians take home on this?

There is always a lesson to learn.   What happened in this outgoing dispensation vis-à-vis the leadership of the National Assembly has opened everybody’s eyes and we have seen the need to have people who are responsible and people who are faithful and loyal to the party in place as leaders of the National Assembly.

There is no point the government going in one direction and the National Assembly going in another direction, particularly when the party has the majority.

So, I’m sure lessons have been learned from the outgoing dispensation and the next leadership of the legislature will be of a different hue in different variety.

Although I know it is not your way to be involved in the politics of the party, I must mention here that the outgoing leadership of the National Assembly not cooperating with the government was as a result of power struggle which showed that the ruling party actually lacked the capacity to manage success.   Immediately after winning this second term, same power struggle has started again with some people complaining that allies of the President are affected one way or the other.   Those complaining are also saying that it is an attempt to break the   ties between the President and those allies.   What dilemma do you think that President Buhari has found himself in, in all of these?

I have not seen the scenario you try to paint.   I have not seen it and I don’t think such scenario exists.   But what I would just tell you is that, the leadership that will emerge for the National Assembly will be responsible leadership and it will be one that will work harmoniously with the executive, while not being in bed with the executive and being a rubber stamp.

We have all learned from what happened in the outgoing dispensation.

The three-point agenda of President Muhammadu Buhari administration is premised on security, fixing the economy and anti-corruption. Although people who the public expect to feed them with information as par whether these points have been delivered upon or not claim they did not see anything, there are others who should inform and who have informed of tremendous such deliveries having been made.   Now, NEXT LEVEL, what should Nigerians look out for on this three-point agenda and where will the anti-corruption be in the next level agenda?

Well, Mr. President has said many times that the three fundamental areas of focus will continue, that is, securing the country, reviving the economy and fighting corruption will continue.   So, NEXT LEVEL means consolidation. This Next Level is a time to consolidate on what has been done on those three focal areas of the first four years.

But if you have studied the NEXT LEVEL Manual, you will know that many other areas of focus are coming in: Job creation, infrastructure, education, health, enterprise bank, money bank will be established for medium scale enterprises and, of course, many other things adjoining those focal areas.

Inclusive government is part of it too in which there will be more women, youths in government and there are some other areas of focus that will come in with those three.

Although you have been carefully choosing your words in describing the attitude of the media towards your government since it came in 2015, you never accused them of being anti but that they twisted and slanted news against the government in the last four years.   No way that you would never have a feel of the kind of media that you have experienced.   What do you think?

Yes, I have been a victim myself, many times.   But I am a member of that institution.   I can’t say because I’m working in government now, therefore, the media is bad all through.   No, the media is not bad all through but, of course, not everything the media does is quite right.   Because, you find people twisting stories to suit their purpose and they take headlines from their own mindset.   Most times we even know media that would deliberately slant the story to make government look bad.

But it is not every media that does it.   You have people who report government fairly and that is all that we require.   Report government fairly, we are not saying don’t criticize government.  Criticise constructively.   We are not saying kill stories.   No. But write objectively.   That’s all we are saying.

What cooperation would you seek from the media in this yet another four years term coming?

Report the government fairly.   Be a part of national development. Don’t be a tool of retrogression.   Don’t pull back development.

The politicking, which we had, actually led to anxiety whereby people asked if politicians were not trying to turn Nigeria to Palestine, Syria and the rest of that bringing the international community to work against the interest of government.   What state are we now? Is Nigeria stable and why should Nigerians not have cause for apprehension?

The opposition threw everything into that race including intimidation.   What they tried to do by externalizing Nigeria’s domestic issue is to intimidate the government in power.   But they don’t know that it’s not that easy to intimidate a government that knows its onions.   It’s only a weak government that you can intimidate through that action.

So all those calling on the US, calling on the EU, calling on ECOWAS, calling on everyone (laughs) is just to intimidate, and you can’t intimidate a government that knows its onions.   Even after the election they said they were appealing to the US, appealing to the EU, dragging Buhari to this and that.   No. (Laughs).   A country is not run that way.

The government you have in place now is not a weakling.   It’s a government that knows its onions and Nigeria is stable.   There is no cause for alarm at all.

And the Tucano aircraft President Buhari already paid for will not be affected by this?

I don’t think so.   Those are international commitments.   When you have made commitments, you don’t just renege on commitments like that because of internal politics.

Former President Olusegun Obasanjo, as part of his criticisms of President Buhari, recently said the President should be careful.   I don’t know how he is going to be careful.   But how do you explain the President’s soft mindedness to a former leader that plotted to unseat him from power and now came back to say “I’m his boss and I will not stop to criticize him”?

The President, in his victory speech, told his supporters not to gloat.   He said “this victory is enough for you”.   So, that should just suffice.   Even to the former President, Chief Olusegun Obasanjo, the government will not gloat because the President says victory is enough.

You mean you too imbibe this culture of the President’s softmindedness, which, to many, is very difficult to stomach?

I have always been an apostle of that.   When there is a contest, let the winner be magnanimous in his victory and let the loser be graceful in his defeat.

Like the President said in his birthday message to former President Olusegun Obasanjo that he has contributed immensely to the development of Nigeria, yes, and he has always been his boss and that he will respect him.

President Obasanjo wrote his letter in January last year.   A week or two after that letter, we had a Council of State meeting and you saw the deference the President gave to him. Any time former President Obasanjo pressed the button indicating he had a contribution to make, you needed to see how the President referred to him.

For life, President Buhari would always respect former President Obasanjo.   But then, respect is reciprocal.   If the younger one gives that kind of respect, the onus is on you as a senior person to reciprocate.

But what if he (Obasanjo) had succeeded in his plot against the President?

But we thank God he didn’t succeed.   Victory is enough (laughs).

Victory is enough for us, we don’t need to gloat over anything.

Nigeria ranks 6 miserable country in the world

The recently published report by Steve Hanke, an economist from John Hopkins University in Baltimore, United state, listed Nigeria, Venezuela, Iran, Brazil, others among the first ten (10) miserable countries in the world.

According to the report Venezuela was listed as the most miserable country in the world.  Reacting to this Hanke said, “Venezuela holds the inglorious title of the most miserable country in the world in 2018, as it did in 2017, 2016, and 2015.”

However, Argentina jumped to the No. 2 spot after yet another peso crisis. Since its founding, Argentina has been burdened with numerous economic crises. Most can be laid at the feet of domestic mismanagement and currency problems (read: currency collapses).

Iran took third in the ranking, before Brazil that made it to the fourth position. Turkey took the fifth position as the giant of Africa Nigeria emerged sixth.

The Misery Index was calculated using economic indices including unemployment, inflation and bank lending rates.

For Nigeria, unemployment rate was the major contributing factor to its miserable state.

According to Hanke, “The first Misery Index was constructed by economist Art Okun in the 1960s as a way to provide President Lyndon Johnson with an easily digestible snapshot of the economy. That original Misery Index was just a simple sum of a nation’s annual inflation rate and its unemployment rate. The Index has been modified several times, first by Robert Barro of Harvard and then by myself.

“My modified Misery Index is the sum of the unemployment, inflation and bank lending rates, minus the percentage change in real GDP per capita. Higher readings on the first three elements are “bad” and make people more miserable. These are offset by a “good” (GDP per capita growth), which is subtracted from the sum of the “bads.” A higher Misery Index score reflects a higher level of “misery,” and it’s a simple enough metric that a busy president, without time for extensive economic briefings, can understand at a glance.

“The accompanying table contains Misery Index rankings for the 95 nations that report relevant data on a timely basis. For consistency and comparability, and with few exceptions, data were retrieved from the Economist Intelligence Unit.”

See the data below:

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