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According to a statement by his Special Adviser on Media and Publicity, Mr. Femi Adesina, President Muhammadu Buhari has said he didn’t do badly as a president. He spoke while receiving some members of the Buhari Diaspora Support Organisation, led by Mr. Charles Sylvester. Buhari noted that Nigeria was gifted with human and natural resources, but regretted that past leaders failed to capitalise on the nation’s resources to improve the lot of Nigerians.

“Failure of some of the leadership we had in the past led to our not being able to capitalise on resources to improve the lot of the people,” the President said.

He added that those he described as wicked people plundered the country “and kept Nigerians poor.”

Buhari said the damage done to the Nigerian economy in the years of plunder was massive, adding that the government was doing its best to recover some of the loot.

“If they had used 50 per cent of the money made when oil prices were as high as $143 per barrel and stabilised at $100, with production at 2.1 million barrels per day for many years, Nigerians would have minded their business.

“The stealing was so much and they were so inept that they could not even cover the stealing properly. I wonder how all those things could have happened to our country,” the President said.

He commended members of the Buhari Diaspora Support Organisation for deciding to identify with the country when they could have stayed abroad where they were comfortable.

“I am happy that people like you are here, on your own, defending the country. You have shown courage and sacrifice. I assure you that your confidence in us won’t be abused; we will do our best to justify it,” Buhari said.

Sylvester was quoted as saying that members of the group were happy with the achievements of the Buhari administration so far.

He said the same God who healed the President when he was sick would grant him victory in 2019.

He said, “You met a difficult situation, but you have overcome most of them. We are happy with the agriculture revolution, the ease of doing business, the anti-corruption war, the employment of youths through the N-Power programme, and the blockage of leakages in the public sector through the Treasury Single Account.

“We are proud of the speed with which you recovered the abducted Dapchi schoolgirls. It shows you as a worthy general. We are happy that you have declared for 2019. Majority of Nigerians are happy, but agents of corruption and darkness are unhappy.

“The same God, who healed you when you were ill, will grant you victory in the 2019 elections. You are a General who does not fear combat, either with Generals or non-Generals.

“We declare our love and support for you. You are fixing the faulty foundations of our country and second term is when you will build the enduring structure.”

POLITICS

2019 Elections: Atiku Is My Good Friend But We Will Send Him Into Retirement On Saturday —- Tinubu

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A national leader of the All Progressives Congress, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu, said on Thursday in Lagos that the party would send the presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar, into retirement on Saturday for the good of Nigeria.

Tinubu said this in a statement made available by his Media Officer, Tunde Rahman.
He said: “This election is more than a contest between two men, President Muhammadu Buhari and former Vice President, Atiku Abubakar, for that one exalted chair.

“Look, I have made no attempts to hide my friendship with Atiku. We are friends before this election and hopefully we will be friends after Feb. 16 when he goes into retirement.

“For the good of Nigeria and even the good of Atiku himself, we will do well to send him into retirement on Saturday.

“Perhaps, we should also send Obi into retirement along with his boss come Feb. 16. Perhaps together they might manage to discover the place where they might learn compassion for the common man.”

Tinubu said there was not much good that could be found in the policies and programmes announced by the PDP.

He said: “Atiku’s answers to our economic challenges are to shrink and restrain government from being the active catalyst toward a diversified economy that assured broadly-shared prosperity through the just allocation of wealth and reward according to sweat and toil put forth by the Nigerian people.

“They seek an unfair, unjust and unequal Nigeria. Their definition of Nigeria is a nation run by the greedy, for the profit of the rich, at the command of the mighty.”

Tinubu said the objective of the APC was to remake Nigeria into a great nation.

He said: “Our vision is the opposite of theirs, Unlike the PDP, we, the APC, are anchored to the proposition that every Nigerian is entitled to equal access and sufficient economic opportunity so that he may use his talents, skills and committed exertion to carve for himself and his loved ones the decent and good life every human being seeks.

“The ordinary person is not to be shortchanged of the fair dividends of his honest sweat and diligent labour simply because he may be poor or because the powerful and wealthy want more.

“Because of the APC’s concerns for the struggles of the average person, we launched beneficial social welfare programmes such as the school feeding programme, Trader-Moni and N-Power.

“As such, we have made progress caring for our most needy and vulnerable through these and other innovative and unprecedented policies. These programmes are of the type all great nations do for their citizens.”

Tinubu said the APC was not satisfied by what had been accomplished, saying what had been done was but the opening phase of a more ambitious undertaking.

He said: “We have just begun to fight poverty and reform this economy on the scale required. Though we have helped millions, several millions more are needed to end poverty’s stranglehold on their lives.

“We must expand the scope and reach of our social welfare programmes to encompass those other people who have been denied access to the productive economy through no fault of their own.

“Additionally, we must put idle hands to work to build a modern infrastructure that will energise agricultural output in rural areas and foster labour-intensive industrialisation in our growing cities.”

The former governor of Lagos State said the second term of President Buhari would be dedicated to changing the structure of the economy for the better.

He said: “We must amend our national economic architecture to unlock the full potentials of our people and our land. To me, this is the core mandate of government for and of the people.

“Throughout the campaign, we have talked about taking Nigeria to the Next Level. To me, this Next Level is informed by forging a new partnership between government and the governed to create a more just and prosperous economy for all.

“The beginning of this new partnership is already taking shape. As stated before, we have initiated a first phase of social welfare programmes.”

Tinubu urged the people of South West to join APC in implementing the Next Level agenda.

He said: “The South West has always been at the vanguard of progressive governance in Nigeria. Today should be no exception to this historic role we have played.

“I ask the people of the South West to join the APC so that we attain the Next Level by implementing this bold and good new partnership built on the following pillars: power, infrastructure, housing, industrialisation, agriculture and social security.”

Tinubu said that the coming elections were a choice between progress and retreat.

He said: “The future is uncertain until we enter it. February 16 is Election Day and on that day Nigeria shall step into its future.

“How you vote on that day will determine whether we walk into the future in a manner that guides our subsequent steps toward the national greatness that calls to us or will we walk into it backwards as if feebly trying to reinvent the past.

“One road leads to a certain replay of the economic injustices of the past. It is a road well-worn with familiar pitfalls and setbacks built into the very nature of it.

“The other road provides the truest, brightest chance for us to enter into our hopeful future but only if we are brave enough to believe in our capacity to improve our nation.”

Tinubu urged Nigerians to vote for President Buhari for a secured future.

He said: “This is the future we must enter. This is the future the APC champions. This is future you must choose on Election Day. Vote for yourselves by voting for President Buhari.”

Tinubu urged Nigerians to conduct themselves peacefully before, during and after the elections to ensure a violence-free exercise.

He said: “In the exercise of our civic duty at this historic and important moment, I ask that you conduct yourselves with utmost tolerance and in equal peace towards both political ally and political opponent.

“Let us show the world that we know the true meaning of democracy. On Election Day let not an angry hand be raised against any Nigerian.

“No matter our political differences, let us remember we are of one land and of the same national family.

“This election shall be free and fair and conducted without the arm of violence. For this is as Nigeria and our democratic exercise must be to achieve the excellent destination intended for us.”

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POLITICS

INEC Releases Colours Of Ballot Papers, Boxes For Saturday’s Elections [PHOTOS]

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The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), has released the colours of the ballot papers and boxes for the Presidential and National Assembly Elections on Feb. 16.

Mr Leo Nkedife, INEC Head of Voter Education and Publicity in Anambra, made the release available to the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Awka on Thursday.

According to the release, different colours of boxes and ballot papers will be used for the Presidential, Senatorial and House of Representatives ballots at the polling stations.

The release stated that a red ballot paper and red box would be for the presidential election.

It also indicated that a black ballot paper and black box would be for senatorial elections.

It further stated that green ballot paper and green box would be for House of Representatives.

The release urged the electorate to increase their knowledge concerning the Feb. 16 elections.

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POLITICS

How I Will Oversee The Affairs Of Oyo State —- AAP Governorship Candidate, Adenike Morenike Victor-Tade

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Nigeria is currently in the election atmosphere and the rate politicians are clamouring for their desired seats are on the rise. As much as they are; only few really have good plans for wherever they want to represent.

For Oyo state, it looks like new dawn is about to hit the citizens with the involvement of one of the most qualified candidates, Adenike Morenike Victor-Tade in the battle for the highly coveted seat in the state. The Industrious woman and Indigene of Ibadan who is the candidate of the Advanced Allied Party (AAP), a party which one of its strongholds propagates in youths have a lot of never-heard-before plans for the state.

In an interview with Editor of Conquest Magazine/Online, Bamidele Adeyemi, she revealed many undaunted clues that would catapult Oyo state to the Next Level.
Excerpts below:

What can you say about your Party?

My party, Advanced Allied Party came into existence after the Not Too Young to Run bill was signed; we came into existence around August 2018. We are just six months old. Our objective is to empower the youths to participate in politics and after youth, are the women; they are the set of people feeling pains and the negative effect of bad leadership.

After the youths, are the women; followed by children. So, since these groups are the ones suffering, if youths or women are in power, they must know what to do to work things right. If there is a government that is really interested in youths; Nigeria will be a better place. Unemployment is the major anxiety we have in Nigeria and it is because of the bad leadership so, giving youths the opportunity to rule is making them responsible, that is what the party is all about and our symbol is golden spoon which means when we are in charge everyone would have good standard of living.

We want to bridge the gap between the too rich and too poor, enhance spirit of entrepreneurship and job creation. When there are jobs, comfort will come, we will be able to produce goods and services, there won’t be breaking of chains of money and before we know it; everyone are busy, everyone’s handwork is bringing money and that is why our presidential candidate is 35 years old from Imo state. We all know that our leaders have successfully made a lot of Nigerian youths financially disable because there is no job. Financially, we are not buoyant in our party because it’s mostly for the youth but we have ideas. We are discipline, we want to do things right, we don’t want the usual way of getting things done; we want to eradicate vote buying, manipulation , we won’t promise what we can’t offer, we don’t have godfathers, we are ready to fight out battle with God on our side.
If you are below 35 years in our party, you won’t pay for ticket and if you are a woman too.

Now that the party has granted you the Gubernatorial ticket for Oyo state, with all your experiences and knowledge. What are those special things you want to offer Oyo state?

Oyo state; educationally we are around 26th position in the country, if Oyo state has been ranked 26th position, I enjoyed Bola Ige’s free education program, even when it wasn’t rosy then, we came out successfully, we had good results. Now, how many public schools can we vouch for, when they sit for WAEC they will have good grades?

Today, we see dilapidated buildings, unserious teachers, I read some application letters and I wonder if they ever went to school. I interviewed an Accountancy student recently, I asked her to give me some theories in accountancy; she couldn’t, an engineering student can’t change bulb, a mechanical engineer can’t change plug in a vehicle. I visited a public hospital; we have to pay for even cotton wool, when you drive, you see students begging for alms; students that are supposed to be in school. If government is taking care of the students; they won’t turn to beggars. I interviewed those youths hawking, a lot of them are graduates, I saw an NCE holder earning (N10, 000), you provide security for yourself, no electricity, an average business person in Oyo state is struggling and that is why so many are running from tax. Probably our leaders feel they can’t be checkmated and that is what prompted me into this mission.

I read accounting and went to a Business school in Lagos, I’m an Entrepreneur, I’m a Baptist pastor; I have a ministry among the youth. I am into Manufacturing and Farming, I’m a Skill developer, Initiator and Pioneer coordinator of Nigeria Baptist Skill Accusation and Empowerment Centre, I’m a Consultant for all African Baptist Youth, I’m a Positive changer, Member of Nigeria Justice of Peace, member of Association of Small and Medium Enterprise, CEO of VNIKS Nigeria Enterprise, President Ultimate Total life Concept, Author, Gospel singer and Tele-preacher.

Oyo state has loads of opportunities; a state with population of 5.6million, for a business person; there is good access to labor and market, Oyo state has boundaries with Kwara, Osun, Ogun, Republic of Benin, this makes it that; you can market your products outside the state If you can clutch the opportunity. Oyo state is more of Agriculture; we have fertile land, but our education, health care, and roads are very bad.

I have gone through Oyo state, I want to maximize what we have and make my people happy, create jobs at every local government. Like Iseyin; where Aso oke is their specialization, why not partner with a company where they can get thread instead of going to Lagos; why can’t we develop a company in Iseyin where thread will be produced, then people making Aso oke in Iseyin will be close to raw material to use. Why not do small cottage industries where it will be public-private ownership? Iseyin people would be commanding 90% shares in the company while Government would have 10%; the 10 percent is just to make Government committed and oversee the activities, if Government is not involved; the people will be left alone. Indigenous people; those that have interest in Aso oke will be employed and as many that are interested would be given opportunity to buy shares with 50% of their salary. Now, let’s move to Igebeti-Saki where Shea-butter is in abundance; this can be used for medicine, cosmetics, my Government would gigantically invest in pharmaceuticals and cosmetics for this would create lots of employment.

They are farmers in Oke-ogun, our yams are always taken outside Nigeria and they rebrand it as theirs, at the end; investors would be attracted to the exported countries and not Oyo state Nigeria. So we will make sure farmers have access to facilities that can make us increase farming business; so that we can able to export some of our produce ideally with a normal routine and this would make investors identifies we have Yam, Shea butter and Aso oke. I went to United States last year; i ate Amala, fufu and I asked where did they got cassava to make the swallow food I ate? They said they have everything there even more than Nigeria and that means there has been some people processing and sending it to other country for consumption. There is need for us to put up more efforts; the more we do, the more job we create for ourselves.

I plan to create furniture companies, Oyo state has tick forest filled with timbers; for the sake of employment, we need to actualize manufacturing company from this God’s gift to humanity. There were also more natural resources; precious stones like: gold and diamond etc. I have met with some experts; they want to partner with us on how to actualize our dream in gold making market. The funny thing is; people just go to these places, pay for ticket to gain entrance, then they started sourcing for stones without proper procedures or consultations. That is why our IGR has problem, they just go inside and take the resources anyhow and make fortunes from it, we must make sure if you are mining; we would weigh what you got and charge you properly for it, there would be jewelry industry at the mining vicinity. Go to Ogbomosho, we are in the season of tomato; tomato is cheap now because there is no silos to store the tomatoes.

Ogbomoso is widely known for abundant in fruits and tomatoes, why do I not create an industry in Ogbomosho where Fruit juice could be produce? No house is tired of drinking juice. I planned building that industry where tomatoes will be processed to tomato paste; we will create lots of employment. Now, come to Ibadan where we have Eleven Local Government. I visits Aba almost every year, I’m into manufacturing shoes and bags; I print on bags myself, I learnt it from Aba, I go to Aba to do fresh courses every year.

Hundreds of people from abroad visits Aba every year to buy Aba products; they take it out and rebrand it; Nigerians go abroad to buy Aba made products back home. Why can’t I have textile industries in Ibadan? Why can’t Oyo state be among those states producing NYSC boots, Soldier boots? I want to do all these in Ibadan to boost job creation. N-Power is an extension of NYSC Scheme. Can N30, 000 enough for a man to rent house, can you pay your bills? Can you take care of your parents? So, it’s like still suspending the problems our youths, and this is not a matter of increment of salaries. If you say after One year of N-Power; you will subsequently give those youths N500,000 each for empowerment; those youths would already have a mindset to become a better person the following year.

That leads to my Education program; I believe any education program that can’t lead to self-reliance is not an education. You were sent to school to study Electrical Engineering and after you graduate; you can’t start your own mini Firm, you have learnt nothing! Anything that can’t make you an entrepreneur is not an education. Our schools now have entrepreneurship centers, I went to a school recently to interview the HOD; I asked him what happens after the EED and he said students are not ready to settle down with the acquired skills; this means something is missing, he said some of them don’t have money but Government made a provision that if students can mortgage their certificate; they will be given loan. If schools are serious with EED; students won’t be looking for white collar jobs after school.

A society where entrepreneur is an extension of class work is a total failure. As for my Government, students would spend three days in class room and two days practicing, if you are studying mechanical engineering; you will spend three days in class room, two days with the road side mechanics; see how they do their work, add knowledge as a graduate and package it. I want to make everyone an entrepreneur in Oyo state, let each family have what they are manufacturing, my daughter wanted us to register her own business; I told her to maintain the family’s own. Whenever she produces a bag; she adds our label but includes her own personal contact digits; as young as she is!

I built culture of investment in her; that is academics. If you are studying a course like Mass Communication, you must attach another vocation to it, so you can spend your two days outside class. A graduate of Agriculture being sent to Class room to teach through N-Power would transfer aggression on students because he or she was never trained as a teacher.

In our schools, Agric students shall have two acres of land from their second year, they would spend three days in class room and two days in farm, the Government shall provide the funds and when time for harvest comes; Government would have their percentage and the remaining interest goes to the students. When students are productively engaged; they won’t have time for thuggery.

We will work so much on Research because Nigerians are extremely intelligent, if our Government had giving this much attention; we would have been doing better. The idea of having coaching classes for our children during holidays is not right; let them acquire new things like learning Instruments, Vocational studies; these are what we will do for Secondary School Students.

From Primary to Secondary school; there would be none payment of school fees. It is a promise that my Government would give total free education. I enjoyed it; and for our tertiary institution, the fees will be very minimal. Companies and wealthy people in our society by then would voluntarily support our Government because we have made them happy too, we don’t even have to run after them before they adherent to payment of taxes; they will do it willingly.

The bridges and all gigantic projects are not meant for the masses to enjoy; those do not affect the price of Garri in the market, implementing resourceful ideas to enhance standard of living of a society is more important.

Our Health Centers would be well equipped with staffs, tools and there will be free treatment for staffs too. A patient died recently because there was no generator in the health center and they were owing NEPA bill; reason their electricity were disconnected. This was a Government hospital; there won’t be anything like that in our government.

For the Civil Servants, my Government will make a provision; after 4pm closing hour, you have opportunity to work into any of our industries to spend extra working hours to add to the source of your income. You close by 4pm; just register with Government, you would be allowed to do two hours in any industry of your choice; any income you make will be saved for you and at the end of the month, your income would be calculated, and you have more monthly income. Even as retiree; you can work for just two hours and the take home is a plus. My government will make provision that would elongate the age of our elderly ones, we will ensure they get their gratitude instantaneously; the pension will be regular, this will make them healthy.

Our objective is training you to have other source of income and secondly, preparing you for secure retirement days. We shall build quarters for our aged ones because at certain period; children are no longer available to tends to their daily needs, if they want to go home; they go and come back ,there would be games and other enjoyable amenities in the quarters. All these things make them live longer with constant medical attention. Of course, there would be a registration fee for them but very token.

Any time our Civil servants are due for promotion; they get it, we shall encourage them to go for training. We will also ensure we maximize their potentials without stress so that, they are happy going to office and we will make sure at a certain age before retirement, we make provision for you a entrepreneurship funds; if you’re interested, a certain amount from your salary will be dropping into that scheme so when you retire; the total amount deducted would be allotted back to you.

We will also be making low-cost housing available for civil servants and be removing the money gradually from their salaries. We will also be giving recognition awards to our Civil servants every five years, we won’t give you in cash, we would ask you to give us one of your children in higher institution and placed him/her on scholarship. Children from 0-12 will not pay hospital bill, our aged ones from 65years upward will also not pay hospital bill.

For hooligans in our society, we will engage them. When you positively occupy people; you have solved 60% of security problem. I have so many of them working for me and I pay them. I have farms that I have not gone there in one year; these are people I employed to be running the business activities and I trust them. I love people who can work on their own, with their own directives.

We will also work to eradicate students hawking on the road, from the street. We should find out what the problem is; enroll them in school, empower their parents. We will also have program for the physically challenged according to their abilities.

Can you tell us what VNIKS is all about?

We have VNIKS Entrepreneurship Centre where we train people, we have two hours programme on how to make hair cream and after 45mins we are done, we have programmes that has to do with any duration of your choice. We trained on how to produce cosmetics, how to make shoes, bags, cloths and catering services programme, and hair dressing. We have three months foundational course, and so on.

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