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Presidency To Obasanjo: Your Atiku Will Be Defeated Comprehensively

Peter Okunoren

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The Federal Government says though it is the constitutional right of the former President Olusegun Obasanjo to support a candidate for an election, his endorsement does not guarantee victory.

The Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, who spoke on behalf of the government on Monday in Abuja, said Obasanjo’s candidate for the presidential election, Atiku Abubakar “will be defeated roundly and comprehensively’’.

“With due respect to former President Obasanjo, it is his constitutional right to support any candidate of his choice and we urge him to go out and campaign vigorously for any candidate he wants to support.

“He has not hidden his preference for the PDP candidate, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar, and we wish him very best of luck.

“However, I want to assure you that his candidate will be defeated roundly and comprehensively. It is not about endorsement, endorsement does not win election,’’ he said.

The minister also responded to a statement credited to the former President that, “only a fool will sit on the fence when his or her country is being destroyed with incompetence, corruption lack of focus, insecurity nepotism and brazen impunity’’.

Mohammed said he held Obasanjo in high esteem and probably he was not properly briefed on the development in the country to have made such conclusions,.

“The facts are all there that this government has done more than any other governments in three and half years.

On corruption, the minister said that the government had put in place institutional reforms which had confirmed its sincerity and commitment to fighting the menace.

“It is not about putting people in Jail but what are the things put in place to address this endemic problem.

“Take the example of Treasury Single Account TSA, which was not initiated by this government. It is only the Buhari administration that has the political will to implement it.

“Before we came in, there were over 22,000 government accounts in various banks.

“Since we came, we reduced it to one account and from 2015 to date N8.9 trillion has passed through the TSA which is as a result of transparency and accountability,’’ he said.

The minister said that even with lean resources, the Buhari administration had spent more on infrastructure than the 16 years of the PDP administration.

He said there was no state in the country without one or two infrastructure development being embarked upon by the federal government.

The minister said the Administration had commissioned the Abuja to Kaduna standard rail gauge while the 156 km Lagos-Ibadan standard gauge would be ready for commissioning in March next year.

He said the government had made fund available for five critical infrastructure projects including the Mambilla power project, the East-West Road, the second Niger Bridge, the Abuja – Kano and Abuja-Lokoja-Okenne highways.

Mohammed said the efforts of the administration in diversifying the economy away from oil had yielded fruits with achievement recorded in agriculture, particularly in rice production and solid mineral sectors.

On power supply, the minister said the administration had improved on generation, transmission and distribution than it met them in 2015, while Nigerians are benefiting from its numerous social investment programmes. (NAN)

BIG STORY

BREAKING: Ex-Minister Aisha Al-Hassan ‘Mama Taraba’ Is Dead

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Aisha Jummai Al-Hassan, popularly known as Mama Taraba is dead.

She died at 61.

Alhassan reportedly died from an unknown illness.

She was a member of the All Progressives Congress (APC) before defecting to the United Democratic Party (UDP) in September 2018.

She decamped after resigning from the Buhari administration.

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Oil License: Reps Issue 14 Days Ultimatum To NNPC, Threatens To Summon Buhari

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The House of Representatives Committee on Petroleum (Upstream) has given the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) 14 days ultimatum to appear before it. Should the NNPC fail to appear, the committee said, it will summon the Minister of Petroleum, President Muhammadu Buhari.

According to Premium Times, The committee is investigating the revocation and reversal order on the operating licenses of OML 123, 124, 126, and 137.

The oil assets have been the subject of dispute between Chinese-owned oil companies and the federal government. The dispute led to the revocation and restoration of the mining licenses by the Buhari administration.

On Thursday, NNPC, Addax Petroleum Exploration Nigeria Ltd, Kaztech Engineering Ltd, and Salvic Petroleum Resources Ltd all failed to appear before the committee. However, the Minister of Petroleum (State), Timipriye Sylva, and the Director of Department of Petroleum Resources (DPR), Sarki Auwalu, appeared before the committee.

Myrki Adar (APC, Sokoto), the chairman of the committee, issued the ultimatum and expressed readiness to summon the president if the Group Managing Director of the NNPC, Mele Kyari, should fail to appear before the panel.

He disclosed that the NNPC sent a letter to the committee that the matter was at the Supreme Court. However, Mr Sylva disputed the claim that the matter was in court.

While issuing the ultimatum, Mr Adar said the panel will not hesitate to summon the president, since he is the petroleum minister.

“Our message to all those that fail to appear before us as invited namely the NNPC, Addax petroleum company limited, Kaztech engineering ltd and Salvic petroleum resources limited.

“We are giving them two weeks from today. We would reschedule this meeting from now to two weeks to appear before this committee and continue our business.

“Unless they want us to invite President Muhammadu Buhari as minister of petroleum. If they do not come, we will not hesitate. Buhari is a minister. He appointed himself, approved by the parliament and he is doing his job. We would invite him. And I know as a law-abiding president he would come. If he comes, Nigerians should know that it is the failure of the NNPC to come that led him to appear before us.”

Background

On April 6, the DPR revoked four oil assets belonging to Addax, now owned by Sinopec, a Chinese state oil company.

A presidential panel headed by a former senator, Magnus Abe, had accused the oil company of “economic wastages.”

The DPR revoked the four Oil Mining Leases (OMLs) citing the inability of the firm to comply with agreed terms.

The assets were re-awarded to two indigenous companies; Kaztec Engineering Limited/Salvic Petroleum Resources Limited (KEL/Salvic) Consortium.

Less than two weeks later, the federal government in a statement by the spokesperson to the President, Garba Shehu, restored the mining right of OMLs 123, 124, 126, and 137 to the NNPC which has a Production Sharing Contract with Addax Petroleum; thus reversing its operations back to Addax.

Aborted motion
Last week, a motion to investigate the matter was listed on the Order Paper of the House.

The motion was in the name of Nicholas Ossai (PDP, Delta). However, the Speaker, Femi Gbajabiamila, asked the motion to be stepped down.

The motion was stepped down and not considered by the House.

Minister Speaks

On Thursday, Mr Sylva said the NNPC wrote a counter-memo against his memo on the Addax assets. He added that he is yet to recognize the restoration order issued by NNPC.

“I wrote a memo to Mr President and it was approved, and NNPC wrote another memo against my memo.

“Having said that, the issue at hand is that no law was breached at all as far as Addax affairs are concerned. I am also not aware of any matter at the Supreme Court on this particular matter. I have just consulted the director of the Department of Petroleum Resources (DPR) who also told me that he is not aware.

“The matter of Addax was not commenced by me, this asset has been sub-optimally managed from the beginning of the acquisition to this moment, it has not been optimally operated.

“When Sinopec group acquired this asset from Addax, production was 130,000 barrel per day, as at today, we struggle to produce 35,000 barrel per day, from this asset, because there are no new investments, and the asset has progressively declined. We believe that with the requisite investment, we would have probably taken the asset to beyond 130,000 barrels per day.

“Obviously, there was an issue of mismanagement of the asset. Now, in the wisdom of the attorney general of the federation, he wrote to the president to say that this asset has not been properly managed. The letter was forwarded to me by Mr President for me to review,” he said.

He added that “NNPC is not in a position to withdraw a revocation or advise the withdrawal or revocation.”

President Buhari is the substantive minister for petroleum and has been since 2015. However, back in December 2020, the Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami, had said that the National Assembly cannot summon the President.

 

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Probe Begins Monday As FG Suspends NPA Managing Director, Bala-Usman

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The President, Major General Muhammadu Buhari (retd.), has suspended the Managing Director of the Nigerian Ports Authority, Hadiza Bala-Usman, sources familiar with the development said on Thursday.

It was learnt that a panel of inquiry had been constituted to look into the matter that prompted her suspension, as well as other concerns. The panel begins its work on Monday.

It was, however, not clear what necessitated the suspension of the NPA boss, who was only reappointed in January this year by Buhari.

Senior staff members of the Federal Ministry of Transportation, the parent ministry of the authority, confirmed the development but insisted that there was no official statement on the matter yet.

The spokesperson of the ministry, Eric Ojiekwe, could not be reached for comments on the development, as he did not answer calls when contacted on Thursday night.

Bala-Usman was first appointed as the managing director of the NPA in 2016 and was reappointed in January this year for another five years.

On Wednesday, the suspended NPA boss led her organization to sign a Memorandum of Understanding with the National Bureau of Statistics and the Nigerian Ports Authority to commence the production of statistical information and data analytics on port-related activities..




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