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No cause for alarm, my return in 2019 non-negotiable – Buhari

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President Muhammadu Buhari has urged his supporters not to panic, saying his return to power in 2019 is non-negotiable. He also described those seeking to unseat him in next year’s general elections as enemies who stole from the nation blindly and should be avoided.

He made the disclosure Monday at the National Consultative Forum of the National Committee of Buhari Support Groups held in Abuja.

Buhari, who was represented by Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, cited infrastructural development, fight against corruption, Treasury Single Account and school feeding programme as some of the achievements that have endeared him to the people.

He wondered why the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), which he accused of plundering the nation’s resources, would want to stage a return in 2019, especially after his own government has made the country “the best economy” in Africa.

Prominent guests at the event included the National Leader of the All Progressives Congress (APC) Bola Ahmed Tinubu, Lagos State Governor Akinwumi Ambode, and Senators George Akume, Ayogu Eze and Abu Ibrahim.

Tinubu vowed that the APC would beat down the PDP, flaying what he described as political prostitution by PDP’s presidential candidate, Atiku Abubakar.

He also criticised Senate President Bukola Saraki for allegedly riding on the ruling party’s mandate to give a lifeline to the opposition.

Osinbajo’s campaign train stopped at the Nyanya and Karu areas of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) yesterday for the commencement of a door-to-door campaign.

Security operatives on his entourage had a herculean task controlling the crowd as people struggled to catch a glimpse of the vice president and shake his hands as he moved through the densely populated suburbs.

Osinbajo, at Nyanya, was received at the residence of Alhaji Kabiru Ahmed. Addressing the crowd there, he said: “We are here to greet you and we want to say to you that President Buhari is determined that if you vote for him for this second term, we will all go higher; we will all do better. Our country can feed all of us and we can find work for everybody because we have the money.

“I want you all, everybody who is here, please, make sure that you vote for President Buhari in 2019. As you know, he’s a truthful man; he’s an honest man. Our money will be used for us; it will be used to build our roads. Our money will be used properly. It will not be stolen. So, let us vote for the man who will use our money well.”

He had a similar message for the people at a community square in Karu. He said: “We are going higher, higher; we are going higher and higher, and I am very happy to be here with you. I want you to believe that President Muhammadu Buhari is going to do even better.”

Buhari, who is currently attending the UN Climate Change Conference, COP24, pledged that his government would not rest until the remaining Chibok girls kidnapped by Boko Haram in April 2014 have been released.

He renewed the commitment yesterday in Katowice, Poland, at a bilateral meeting with Swiss President Alain Berset, on the margins of the conference.

The president had spent the entire day at the International Conference Centre, Katowice, where he delivered his national address at the opening of the 12-day meeting, met with several world leaders, and visited the Nigerian pavilion.

During his meeting with the Swiss president, Buhari thanked the Swiss Confederation for its role as intermediaries in efforts to secure the release of some of the abducted. The issue of the remaining girls and other kidnapped persons will remain a “key priority” for the Nigerian government, he said.

Buhari and his Swiss counterpart discussed joint strategies to ensure the safe return of the girls, building on past successes. He also welcomed the Swiss president’s commitment to continue providing humanitarian assistance to Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) in Nigeria.

In separate bilateral meetings with the President of Poland Andrzej Duda and the Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki, Buhari commended the country for a successful outing at the opening of the COP24 meeting.

He told his Polish counterpart that Nigeria was facing serious climate change challenges, particularly the receding Lake Chad, which is a source of livelihood to some 40 million people living in the region.

“Nigeria is totally committed to global efforts to mitigate and adapt to effects of climate change,” Buhari told the Polish leader, whose country holds the presidency of COP24.

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POLITICS

Alleged hack into INEC server: You are jittery, PDP tells APC, Buhari

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The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has asked President Muhammadu Buhari and the All Progressives Congress (APC) to stop their unnecessary fabrications, smear campaign and prepare to face the opposition’s legal team at the presidential election tribunal.

Responding to a petition by the spokesman for the President’s campaign, Mr. Festus Keyamo, the PDP said President Buhari is overweighed by the burden of “illegitimacy”, following overwhelming evidence before the tribunal that he “stole” the presidential mandate.

In an email exchange with our correspondent Monday night, stage spokesman for the PDP, Mr Kola Ologbondiyan the allegation was a lame one.

Ologbondiyan described it as an attempt at blackmailing the tribunal by engaging in clear acts of subjudice.

The party spokesman further stated that the facts and issues touching on the INEC server, were already within the public domain and Nigerians are already at home with them.

Ologbondiyan continued, “By resorting to shadow-boxing outside the tribunal, President Buhari and the APC have shown that they have no defence to present to the court against PDP’s submission that they stole our mandate.

“It is even more appalling that Festus Keyamo, a Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN) and a member of Buhari’s legal team, who should know better, would engage in this act of subjudice designed to distort facts already known to Nigerians, that our Presidential Candidate and former Vice President, Atiku Abubakar, clearly won the February 23 Presidential election.

“Since it has become clear that President Buhari has no defence to present to the court, we counsel him to save the nation further stress by surrendering our mandate, which was freely given by majority of Nigerians to Atiku Abubakar”.

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Bauchi guber: Gov Abubakar congratulates Bala Mohammed

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Governor Mohammed Abdullahi Abubakar has congratulated the Bauchi state Governor-elect, Senator Bala Mohammed on his victory following March 9 governorship election in the state.

This was contained in a statement by his Special Adviser on Media and Strategy, Ali M. Ali on Monday.

“I congratulate my brother, Sen. Bala on this victory at the polls.

“I am delighted to note that in spite of the intensity of the campaigns in our dear state, a peaceful election took place without bloodshed.

“Let me therefore invite the Governor-elect to join me in working out the process of a smooth transition.

“I sincerely thank the entire people of Bauchi state for their support to my administration and urged them to extend the same to the incoming administration.

“I also urge the governor-elect to caution his supporters to be law-abiding while celebrating since the period of campaigns is now over,” Abubakar said.

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9th NASS leadership: No room for oppositions – Oshiomhole

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Mr Adams Oshiomhole, the All Progressives Congress (APC) National Chairman, says President Muhammadu Buhari can only deliver on his campaign promises with necessary legislative policies and backing.

Oshiomhole stated this on Monday in Abuja at a meeting with the party`s national leadership and its newly-elected and returning House of Representative members, stressing that in unity, they could achieve much more.

He thanked God and Nigerians for electing the representatives, adding that the meeting was to acquaint the first timers in particular, with the antics of the opposition.

He stressed that the 164 newly-elected representatives had a huge responsibility ahead of them, and could not afford to disappoint Nigerians who elected them.

The APC national chairman expressed optimism that the representatives though may be new, had the sophistication, knowledge and commitment required to excel in the house.

“You have been elected at a very challenging time to provide legislative backing for APC agenda and manifestos.

“We must admit that there is still a lot to be done to make Nigeria safer in terms of security, investors don’t go to war front, even the poor value their security, people want to feel safe and secure.

“Whatever additional legislative measure to back the executive commitment in the area of security, we believe that as people who share this commitment, you will provide this support.

“There is a lot to be done to take Nigeria to the next level and to give everyone a sense of pride and dignity and to ensure that we have a country whose citizens are respected by state institutions wherever they are, “ Oshiomhole said.

He said to move Nigeria to the next level of economic and infrastructure development, the APC would not leave the leadership of the National Assembly and key committee chairmanship positions in the hands of the opposition.

He said the APC would not share power in the House of Representatives with the opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).

He added that with 222 elected members of the House of Representatives, critical committees that drive government must be chaired by APC members, except the Public Account Committee that was statutorily reserved for the opposition.

“If Nigerians wanted the opposition to chair committees, they would have voted for them, “ the national chairman said.

He also said that the APC-led Federal Government could not afford to have the kind of executive and legislative crisis it had in the 8th Assembly.

He said that in the 8th Assembly, some APC members became “distant spectators“ in the management of committees, while PDP members had strategic positions in the management of committees in the house.

This, the APC national chairman stressed would not happen in the 9th Assembly.

“I will expect that you all bear in mind that we are one family bounded together as shown in the broom symbol of our party, with a shared commitment to bail Nigeria out of the condition we found it in 2015.

“You have the numbers, and we will use those numbers to ensure that we have a leadership that commands the thrust and the respect of members of the House of Representatives.

“There will be contestation, that is why we are in a democracy, but after the contestation and debate, there has to be agreement, and once we have agreed, we move forward.

“We have the numbers to produce the Speaker, and we will produce the speaker, who must be a member of the APC.

“We have the number and we will use it to produce the Deputy speaker, House Leader, Chief Whip and Deputy Whip, who must all be members of the APC.

“The only position we are not interested in, is that of the Minority Leader, let it remain in the hands of the minors and in the opposition,“ Oshiomhole said.

He added that the APC was, however, aware that the opposition PDP was already sponsoring some of its members to contest key committee positions, with a view to getting some chairmanship seats in return.

He advised the elected representative not to do business with PDP members, but to see them as partners in progress.

“The PDP and other minorities can have their say, but working together, APC must have its way in the legislative agenda and in the leadership of the National Assembly and the leadership of its committees.

“Please don’t allow anybody to divide you, we will carry out extensive consultations with President Muhammadu Buhari and all the leaders of our party, “ he said.

He added that the consultations would reflect the reality of the nation’a politics as reflected in the Constitution which recognises the country`s geo-political zones.

Oshiomhole said the party`s leadership would work out a “sensible zoning formula“ that would carry everybody along and give them chances to demonstrate their capacities and capabilities.

This, he said, was critical to ensure that the party had a leadership without rancour.

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