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Buhari lacks capacity to address current challenges – Atiku

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*Wants federal and state governments to reduce taxes

Proposes monthly stipend of 5000 Naira to the unemployed

Former Vice President, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar has criticised President Muhammadu Buhari-led federal government, saying it lacks the capacity to address current challenges and needs help.

According to the PDP stalwart, the opposition must help them, not because of the government, but because of “our people”

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Atiku who fired this salvo in a statement he personally issued on Sunday said the government must realise that the unprecedented insecurity Nigeria is facing is the result of youth unemployment.

The statement read: “World’s Highest Unemployment Rate: Time To Help This Government Help Nigeria.

I have never felt so bad at being proven right, as I am by the report from Bloomberg Business on Saturday, March 27, 2021 that Nigeria is to emerge as the nation with the highest unemployment rate on Earth, at just over 33%.

“We warned about this, but repeated warnings by myself and other patriots were scorned. And now this.

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“How did Nigeria get here? We got here by abandoning the people centred leadership and free trade and deregulatory policies of the Obasanjo years (which saw us maintain an almost single digit unemployment rate), and implementing discredited command and control policies that have led to massive capital flight from Nigeria.

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“And even with the paucity of funds, we continue to ramp up government involvement in sectors that ought to be left to the private sector, with the latest being the ill-advised $1.5 billion so called rehabilitation of the Port Harcourt Refinery that has failed to turn a profit for years.

“What this government must realise is that the unprecedented insecurity Nigeria is facing is the result of youth unemployment. Idleness is the worst feature of unemployment because it channels the energy of our youth away from production, and towards destruction, and that is why Nigeria is now the third most terrorised nation on Earth.

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“Now, how do we address this challenge?

In 2020, I recommended that to immediately and drastically bring down youth unemployment, every family in Nigeria with at least one school-age child, and earning less than $800 per annum should receive a monthly stipend of 5000 Naira from the government via their BVN and NIN on the condition that they verifiably keep their children in school.

“My recommendation still stands, and stands even stronger now that we have crossed the rubicon in youth unemployment. If we can get the 13.5 million out of school Nigerian children into school, we will turn the corner in one generation. If we do not do this, then the floodgates of unemployment will be further opened next year, and in the years to come.
We can no longer say we cannot afford this. We can.

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“As a nation, we are better off privatising our refineries and the NNPC through the time-tested LNG model in which the FG owns 49% equity and the private sector 51%. Recall that in 20 years ending 2020, the NLNG had delivered $18.3 billion dividends to government irrespective of taxes and other benefit accruals to the country. This will not only free the government of needless spendings, but also clean up the infrastructure mess in the petroleum downstream sector.

“I say this because the fastest way to bring down a world record unemployment rate is via incentivised education. An educated citizenry are more employable and more self employable.

“Increased education has been scientifically linked with lower rates of crime and insecurity, along with lower infant and maternal mortality, and a higher lifetime income.

“We must then incorporate those youth who are above school age into a massive public works programme. There was talk of 774,000 Special Public Works jobs for the youth, which was to have started in January of 2021. This is a commendable step, but it must be done with proper agenda, rather than propaganda.

“Perhaps we may want to consider the Malaysian model, whereby with the exception of very few highly specialised jobs, foreign contractors are not allowed to import labour into the country.

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“And we also need to do three things urgently to encourage capital inflow and foreign direct investment.

“First, Nigeria must move towards a single exchange rate to be determined by market forces.

“Secondly, the federal and state governments must reduce taxes, to make Nigeria more business friendly.

“And finally, financial and monetary institutions, like the Central Bank of Nigeria, and the Securities and Exchange Commission, must be free from the type of political influence that resulted in the prohibition of Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies.

“We are at a precipice as a nation and the truth is that all stakeholders and elder statesmen have to speak up on time, while there is still a Nigeria to save. This government obviously lacks the capacity to address our current challenges, and we must help them, not because of the government, but because of our people.

“In a situation where we are simultaneously the world headquarters for extreme poverty, the world capital for out of school children, and the nation with the highest unemployment rate on Earth, there is a very real and present danger that we might slip into the failed states index – God forbid!”

 

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Ex-Oyo deputy gov, Arapaja emerges PDP vice chairman in South-West

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The former Deputy Governor of Oyo State, Taofeek Arapaja, on Monday emerged the Vice-Chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in the South-West.

Arapaja, who is backed by the Oyo State Governor, Seyi Makinde , scored 343 votes to defeat the party’s ex- chairman in the zone, Dr. Eddy Olafeso, who garnered 330 votes.

Olafeso is the candidate of former Ekiti State governor, Ayo Fayose, who on Monday acknowledged Makinde as PDP leader in the zone.

 

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Why APC Will lose 2023 presidential election – Progressive Governors’ Forum DG

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The Director-General of the Progressive Governors’ Forum, Salihu Lukman, has advised the All Progressives Congress against having what he called “blind trust” in some of the leaders of the ruling party towards the 2023 general election.
Lukman warned that the APC may not be able to win the next presidential election or have its candidate to succeed the President, Major General Muhammadu Buhari (retd.).
The DG of PGF, in a statement issued on Monday and titled ‘Determining Factors for 2023 Contests in APC: Internal Contest and Inconvenient Reality,’ recalled how the ruling party lost governorship election in some states in the 2019 general elections, which he attributed to sabotage by APC leaders in the affected states.
Lukman, therefore, called for regulation of party leaders’ activities, saying there is a need to ensure that “appropriate conditions exist to regulate the conduct of political leaders especially elected representatives.”
He said, “Given that APC has become the go-to party in Nigerian politics, the need to regulate the conduct of party leaders is paramount. Inability to develop the capacity to regulate the conducts of party leaders will be injurious to the vision of developing the APC as a truly progressive party.
“As much as it is a welcome development that the party is winning new members, there must be corresponding effort to regulate the conduct of party leaders, based on which efforts are made to provide new orientation to all party leaders, especially the newcomers.
“Beyond the need to regulate the conduct of political leaders, there is also the need to appeal to leaders of the party to rise above the narrow attitude of relating with challenges based on estimation of support or opposition for ambitions of party leaders.
“Once political leaders are able to estimate support for their ambitions, what follows is blind trust for both officials of the party and decisions they take even when such decisions are wrong and contravenes provisions of the party’s constitution.”
The DG of PGF pointed out that the immediate past National Working Committee of the APC led by Adams Oshiomhole between 2018 and June 2020 “was a classic case of how many party leaders overlooked the obstinacies of some actions of the Comrade Oshiomhole-led NWC.”
He stressed, “Had all leaders of the party been able to insist that Comrade Oshiomhole-led NWC convened meetings of organs of the party where the required decision to resolve issues could have been taken, perhaps even Comrade Oshiomhole himself would have still remained as the National Chairman of the party.
“Unfortunately, factors of blind trust by many party leaders which produced inconsiderate tolerance for wrong actions became the case. The truth is also that Comrade Oshiomhole and many members of the dissolved NWC became emboldened by the awareness of a divided APC leadership.
“So long as APC leaders are divided, the potential that elected officials who will emerge in the reconstituted NWC will take advantage of such divisions to manipulate internal processes and in some cases, members of the new NWC may also become part of the problem of the party, in the same way that Comrade Oshiomhole led NWC was, if not worse.”
According to Lukman, part of the requirement for the APC to be able to retain the electoral advantage of Buhari is that “factors of blind trusts in the party must be eliminated.”
He stated that “no matter the estimation of support or opposition of members of the new NWC to the ambitions of leaders, APC leaders must have very high moral credentials such that when the NWC erred, they are not beyond correction; or at least, they should not be allowed to be emboldened by any division in the rank of leadership of the party to block interventions by statutory organs of the party to resolve problems.”
The DG of PGF added, “Similarly, members of the party must not relate with ambitions of party leaders based on blind trust. Members should be able to speak out and critically engage party leaders.
“While there is no guarantee that critical positions of party members will not become the source of disqualification for consideration to appointive and elective positions, it is important that it is recognised that no matter what, it is better to be members of a party in power working to develop Nigeria than to be governed by any party whose mission is adversative to Nigeria’s development.
“The other related issue is that when all leaders of the party relate with elected representatives based on demands for appointive positions in whatever form, it also weakens the capacity of party leaders to influence the initiatives of elected representatives.
“Part of it also is that once leaders prioritise issues of securing appointments as the basis of relationship with elected representatives, rather than acting as sources of support for elected leaders, they become sources of distraction. This is dynamic, which played out in APC in 2015. Moving towards 2023, this needs to be rectified.”
According to Lukman, an “inconvenient reality” which every APC leader and member who is committed and working towards protecting the electoral viability of the party should be worried about is that the strongest opponent of the APC is within the APC.
He stated, “The truth is; other parties, especially the PDP, are shadow opposition whose electoral prospects are largely dependent on the outcome of internal contests in the APC, mainly because of the reckless and undisciplined conducts of some APC leaders.
“If anything, the lesson from the 2019 elections, which every APC leader and member should be reminded of is that APC was defeated in Rivers, Zamfara, Bauchi, Adamawa, Oyo and many other places by aggrieved APC leaders who worked against candidates or leaders of the party as a result of internal disagreements around candidate selections for governorship of these states.
“Such internal disagreement almost cost the party the loss of Imo State until the Supreme Court confirmed the victory of the APC. In Ogun, it was a traumatic victory. Kano State governorship election certainly had its baggage of painful experiences. Lagos State was a shocking narrow victory, no thanks to avoidable challenges. Rambo political contest led to the loss of Edo State in the 2020 governorship election.”
The DG of PGF also said APC leaders should also be reminded that it was “internal rancorous contest” that caused APC to lose the 2014 Ekiti governorship election. He added that a similar rancorous contest produced marginal victory for the APC in the Ekiti and Osun elections in 2018.
According to him, if the APC had face any of the challenges of the governorship elections in Rivers, Zamfara, Bauchi, Adamawa, Oyo, Ogun, Kano, Lagos, Edo, Ekiti and Osun during the 2019 presidential election, winning the election would have been impossible.
“If anything, absence of any problem during the internal contest for the emergence of President Muhammadu Buhari as the presidential candidate of the party in December 2014 was a major source of electoral strength, which made the party to win elections in virtually all the states it won in 2019, as well as majority seats in both the Senate and the House of Representatives,” he noted.
Lukman, who highlighted Buhari’s electoral performances since 2003, stated that the President’s popularity even before gaining power in 2015 had been a force to reckon with.
He said, “With such reality, it can be concluded, therefore, without any dispute, that the electoral advantage of the APC is more on account of the presence of President Buhari in the party. The question, which every APC leader and member needs to answer is; will the APC continue to enjoy such electoral advantage when President Buhari is not the Presidential candidate of the party? Is there another leader in the APC with the towering electoral profile of President Buhari?
“These are not easy questions to answer, although it can also be easily expected that every APC leader and member would want APC to continue to have all the electoral advantages associated with President Buhari. Whether there is another leader with the electoral profile of President Buhari, is yet to be seen, at least not based on any electoral evidence.
“Therefore, what can be done to ensure that the APC continues to have all the electoral advantages associated with President Buhari? Is it even possible for APC to continue to have the electoral advantages associated with President Buhari?”
According to PUNCH, the  DG of PGF stated that there is a very high potential that once appropriate organs of the APC are meeting and decisions are being taken in line with the provisions of the party’s constitution, processes of electing standard-bearers of the party for the 2023 elections would be acceptable. He added that party leaders would also accept the result of the election and support the winner.
According to Lukman, part of the reality of the situations in states, especially where APC lost elections as a result of poor management of internal processes, is that the operation of organs of the party requires a lot of improvements to guarantee transparency and fair participation of party members.
“Often, allegations of manipulations by party leaders, especially around internal processes of candidates’ emergence are the common issues,” he noted.

 

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Nigeria is in huge financial trouble’, Obaseki laments, says FG printed N60bn to share in March

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Obaseki wonders where the Federal Government would find money to share in Abuja when Shell is pulling out of Nigeria and Chevron investing in alternative fuel.

Edo state Governor, Godwin Obaseki. [Pulse]

Governor Godwin Obaseki of Edo State has decried the state of Nigeria’s economy, saying the Federal Government had to print N60bn in March to support federal allocation to states.

The governor expressed worry on the rising debts of the country, saying Nigeria is in ‘huge financial trouble.’

When we got FAAC for March, the federal government printed additional N50-N60 billion to top-up for us to share”

“This April, we will go to Abuja and share.

By the end of this year, our total borrowings are going to be within N15-N16 trillion”, he said.
The governor, who condemned the country’s over-dependence on crude oil lamented that Nigeria’s economy has changed, adding that the current price of crude oil is only a mirage.
Oaseki said, “Nigeria has changed. The economy of Nigeria is not the same again, whether we like it or not. Since the civil war, we have been managing, saying money is not our problem as long as we are pumping crude oil everyday.
“So we have run a very strange economy and strange presidential system where the local, state and federal governments, at the end of the month, go and earn salaries. We are the only country in the world that does that.
“Everywhere else, the government relies on the people to produce taxes and that is what they use to run the local government, state and the federation.

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“But with the way we run Nigeria, the country can go to sleep. At the end of the month, we just go to Abuja, collect money and we come back to spend. We are in trouble, huge financial trouble.
“The current price of crude oil is only a mirage. The major oil companies who are the ones producing are no longer investing much in oil.
The governor wondered where the Federal Government would find money to share in Abuja when Shell is pulling out of Nigeria and Chevron investing in alternative fuel.

 

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