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Jonathan’s PDP Peace Meeting Ends in Disarray

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  • Jonathan’s PDP Peace Meeting Ends in Disarray

The peace meeting convened by former President Goodluck Jonathan to end the crisis in the Peoples Democratic Party ended in disarray in Abuja on Thursday.

The disagreement among the key actors in the party crisis also forced the National Chairman of the party, Senator Ali Modu Sheriff, to walk out of the meeting.

Jonathan, who presided over the meeting, had earlier in his opening address, begged the combatants to sheathe their swords.

As of the time he spoke, Sheriff had yet to arrive the meeting, but some other guests, including the Chairman of the sacked National Caretaker Committee, Senator Ahmed Makarfi, were in attendance.

As soon as he finished speaking, Sheriff walked in.

His late entrance caused a little stir as the sitting arrangement had to be hurriedly adjusted in order to find him a place close to the former President.

In the programme of events, those listed to speak after Jonathan were Sheriff, Makarfi and the Chairman of the Board of Trustees, Senator Walid Jibrin.

Instead of calling the two combatants to address the gathering, Walid was ushered into the podium, where he also appealed to the members of the party to forget their differences.

He said he would die a member of the party, just as he pleaded with those that would attend his burial to bury his party membership card with him.

Sources at the meeting said at the closed-door session, Sheriff was alleged to have insisted that as the national chairman of the party, he was going to address the audience.

It was gathered that he insisted that Makarfi would not speak since his committee had been sacked by the Court of Appeal, Port Harcourt Division.

His proposal was said to have been rejected by the Governor of Rivers State, Mr. Nyesom Wike, who allegedly insisted that Makarfi should also be allowed to speak if Sheriff would speak.

A source stated, “The argument became so ferocious to the extent that Sheriff and Wike had to stand up, pointing fingers at each other while Jonathan looked with bewilderment.

“The former President tried to pacify them, but there was nothing he could do.”

He added that both the Deputy President of the Senate, Senator Ike Ekweremadu; a former President of the Senate, Senator David Mark, and a host of others, who were at the meeting also tried in vain to calm the two combatants.

At this point, the former President was said to have asked that some selected attendees should meet inside one of the rooms within the Yar’Adua Centre, where the meeting held.

Those at the secret meeting were Jonathan, Wike, Sheriff, Ekweremadu, Jibrin, Mark and the Governor of Ekiti State, Mr. Ayodele Fayose.

Fayose was the first to come out of the secret meeting, the source added.

It was also gathered that Sheriff later emerged from the room and walked out of the larger meeting.

Sheriff, a former governor of Borno State, later spoke with journalists outside the hall of the meeting.

He said he was standing with the report of the Peace and Reconciliation Committee of the party, which is headed by the Governor of Bayelsa State, Mr. Seriake Dickson.

The committee had, in its report, outlined ways to end the crisis and that a national convention should hold latest by June 30 in Abuja.

He said, “The party, as of today, has one national chairman, which is Ali Modu Sheriff. There is no PDP meeting that will take place under any arrangement that I will not make an opening remark as a national chairman.

“I think that Governor Dickson made a proposal, and we have accepted it. Other people have a programme to bring agenda which is not part of the proposal.

“And as a national chairman of the party, what I told you people in my office that I will not be a party to anybody using me for his personal agenda; I will not.”

When asked if he had respect for the former President who convened the meeting, Sheriff answered in the affirmative.

He said it was because of the respect that made him return to Nigeria for the meeting.

“But we have a programme, which is initiated by the Dickson committee. Anything outside that, I will not be part of it,” he added.

Among those who followed him were members of his National Working Committee, led by the Deputy National Chairman, Dr. Cairo Ojougboh; and the National Secretary, Prof. Wale Oladipo.

Later, Jonathan, who spoke with journalists after the exit of Sheriff and his team, described what happened as unfortunate.

He nevertheless said the meeting would go ahead with the hope of ending the crisis in the party.

He announced that he would set up of a 40-member committee, which he said he would head.

Jonathan added that in his absence, either his former Deputy, Namadi Sambo, or Mark would stand in for him to lead the meeting.

He explained that the proposed committee would have six members of the BoT, six members to be drawn from both Sheriff and Makarfi groups, all the governors, Ekweremadu and other members from the Senate and the House of Representatives.

Nigerians still believe in PDP, says Jonathan

Meanwhile, the former President, on Thursday, submitted that Nigerians still believed in the PDP.

The former President spoke at the ongoing PDP Stakeholders Meeting in Abuja.

He stated that the former ruling party remained the only hope for the country, pleading with its members to bury their differences in order to end the crisis bedevilling it.

“We shall overcome the challenges and I can assure you that the PDP will rise again,” he said.

He added that all over the world, political parties lost elections, not because they had entirely failed, “but because in most cases, the people who gave them power in the first place, have decided to hand it over to another party in order to experience a different kind of leadership.”

He stated, “The fact that we allowed this process to take place peacefully and freely handed over power to the opposition did not only lift the profile of our party, but also elevated our country to the status of one of the world’s stable and reliable democracies.”

He listed the achievements of his party in power for 16 years.

The former President stated, “We were able to achieve this because our government really reformed the electoral and political process by giving the electoral bodies their true independence which subsequently opened up the political space for free and fair elections.

“We may have had shortcomings while in power, but we also recorded significant achievements and great milestones.

“Through purposeful leadership, we reformed our institutions, rebuilt the nation’s confidence, regained international goodwill and rekindled hope in our people.

“This is not a forum for chest-thumping but it is important we highlight some relevant initiatives of past PDP administrations.”

Jonathan added, “We transformed the entertainment industry, especially Nollywood, by not only boosting its capacities and international prominence, but also turning it into an attractive and viable sector that became an important contributor to the growth of our economy.

“We built the Kaduna-Abuja rail, the first modern rail in the country. We also pursued a successful automotive policy and established a promising industrial revolution plan.

“We equally enacted the Freedom of Information Act in order to give the people unfettered access to information on the activities of government.”

He appealed to the members of the party to work together and rebuild the PDP and strengthen it in line with the vision of its founding fathers.

He said, “We have to remind ourselves that the prolongation of the crisis in our party may have cost us so much in election fortunes in recent times.

“The loss of Edo and Ondo governorship elections is still fresh in our memory. It goes without saying that we cannot afford to have a repeat of that in the forthcoming elections in Anambra, Ekiti and Osun states.”

CEO/Founder Investors King Ltd, a foreign exchange research analyst, contributing author on New York-based Talk Markets and Investing.com, with over a decade experience in the global financial markets.

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Government

Federal Government Raises Price of Electric Meters

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The Federal Government through the Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission has raised the price of both single-phase and three-phase electricity meters starting from November 15, 2021.

The regulator increased the price of a single-phased meter to N58.661.69, up from the present cost of N44,896.17. While the price of a three-phase meter was raised from the current cost of N82,855.19 to a revised rate of N109,684.36.

The commission announced this in a circular dated November 11, 2021 and addressed to managing directors of all electricity Distribution Companies and all meter asset providers.

The circular, with reference number NERC/REG/MAP/GEN/751/2, was entitled ‘Review of the unit price of end-use meters under the Meter Asset Provider and National Mass Metering Regulations’.

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Complete Text of President Buhari’s Speech at the Furniture Investment Initiative Summit

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Buhari arrives Bamako, Mali

President Muhammadu Buhari is one of the global leaders invited to speak at the ongoing 5th Future Investment Initiative Summit organised by Saudi Arabia.

As reported by Investors King, President Buhari arrived Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, on Monday at about 11.50 pm for the summit.

On Tuesday President Buhari delivered the speech below.

“Let me begin by conveying my heartfelt gratitude and appreciation to the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques, King Salman Bin Abdulaziz Al-Saud for inviting me to the 5th edition of the Future Investment Initiative Summit in Riyadh.

In the short period of its existence, this summit has emerged as a credible forum for interaction between the public and private sectors, to explore ways of advancing economic growth, development and global prosperity.

I wish to commend the organizers of this year’s summit for the foresight to look at “investment”, not only from a profitability and wealth accumulation point of view, but also bringing prosperity to humanity in general. The humane approach to investment is the only way to address the global challenges we face, especially in the Covid-19 era.

We should continue to sustain our efforts to combat the COVID- 19 pandemic and mitigate its negative socio-economic impact on our societies, build resilience and achieve recovery. It is therefore my hope, that this session will leverage on the enormous economic opportunities that lie ahead in order to satisfy the prevailing needs of our people and planet.

Investing in humanity is investing in our collective survival. This is why we in Nigeria we believe that public and private partnership should focus on increasing investments in health, education, capacity building, youth empowerment, gender equality, poverty eradication, climate change and food security. By so doing, it will go a long way in re- energizing the global economy in a post COVID-19 era.

Nigeria’s population today exceeds 200 million people. Some 70 percent are under 35 years old. When we came into government in 2015, we were quick to realise that long-term peace and stability of our country is dependent on having inclusive and humane policies.

In the past six years, our government took very painful but necessary decisions to invest for a long-term prosperous future knowing very well that this will come with short term pains.

We focused on the following areas:
a. diversification from oil to more inclusive sectors such as agriculture, ICT and mining;
b. tackling corruption, insecurity and climate change; and c. introducing a Social Investment Program.

We introduced policies that supported investments in agriculture and food processing. We provided loans and technical support to small holder farmers, through the Anchor Borrowers Program. As a result, Nigeria today has over 40 rice mills from less than 10 in 2014. Nigeria also has over 46 active fertiliser blending plants from less than 5 in 2014.

Furthermore, in agriculture, we have reformed the process of obtaining inputs such as fertilizer and seeds. We have several million hectares of available arable land and have embarked on the creation of Special Agriculture Processing Zones across the country. These initiatives we believe will make it easier for investors in agriculture.

Two months ago, I signed the Petroleum Industry Act. The Act will serve as a catalyst to liberalize our petroleum sector. It has introduced a number of incentives such as tax holidays, 100 percent ownership, zero interest loans and easy transfer of funds. In addition, we have highly skilled in-country workforce and a large domestic market.

In mining, we have also made several opportunities available for investors. Nigeria is a country rich in minerals from gold, iron ore, tin, zinc, cobalt, lithium, limestone, phosphate, bitumen and many others. We have made the licensing process easier and also made extensive investments in rail and transportation.

Infrastructure investments represent significant potential for investors in Nigeria. We have opportunities in seaports, rail, toll roads, real estate, renewable energy and many others. We have created several institutions that are available to co-invest with you in Nigeria.

We have the Nigeria Sovereign Investment Authority and more recently, I approved the creation of Infrastructure Corporation of Nigeria. These institutions are run as independent world class institutions to make investments in the country and are available to co- invest with you.

In addition, the development of social infrastructure such as healthcare and education present enormous opportunities for investors in a country our size.

Digital Economy in Nigeria has many potentials for investment, as it has remained the fastest growing sector in both 2020 and 2021. Nigeria has many opportunities for investment in broadband, ICT hardware, emerging technology and software engineering.

We have recently approved the national policy on Fifth Generation (5G) network. Our aim is to attract investors in healthcare, smart cities, smart agriculture among others. The benefit of real time communication will support all other sectors of the economy.

Yesterday, I launched the E-Naira, the electronic version of our national currency, which puts us on track to become the first African country to introduce a Central Bank Digital Currency. We believe this and many other reforms, will help us increase the number of people participating in the banking sector, make for a more efficient financial sector and help us tackle illicit flow of funds.

To further strengthen our anti-corruption drive, increase accountability and transparency, we have centralized government funds through a Treasury Single Account, and ensuring that all Nigerians with a bank account use a unique Bank Verification Number (BVN). These initiatives, coupled with our nationwide National Identification Number (NIN) exercise, reinforce our efforts to tackle corruption and fraud. We believe that this should give investors a lot of comfort.

As we strive to build resilience towards a sustainable economy in our various countries, let us not forget the negative impact of climate change on our efforts to achieve this goal. Nigeria and many countries in Africa, are already facing the challenges posed by climate change. Climate change has triggered conflicts, food insecurity, irregular youth migration, rising level of sea waters, drought and desertification, as well as the drying-up of the Lake Chad.

In the Lake Chad Basin region, where Boko Haram insurgency continues to undermine the peace, security and development of the region, climate change is largely responsible for the drying up of the Lake Chad which has shrunk by more than 85% of its original size.

The diminishing size of the Lake is at the root of the loss of millions of livelihoods, displacement of inhabitants and radicalization of teeming youths in the region who are recruited to serve as foot soldiers in the insurgency.

In order to redress this situation and restore the lost fortunes of the Lake Chad Basin region, strong public-private partnership through massive investments will be needed to recharge the waters of Lake Chad. I am confident that this forum will rise to the challenge in the interest of durable peace and sustainable development of our region.

We cannot invest in humanity without relieving our countries from the crushing effects of the debt burden especially when the COVID-19 pandemic has increased the risk of deepening the debt portfolio of poor countries. These nations increasingly allocate more and more resources towards external debt servicing and repayment at the expense of the health, education and other services that contribute to the overall well- being of their population.

Nigeria is Africa’s largest economy and most populous nation. Our economic reforms which focus on “humane” investments are ideal for investors looking to have profitable returns while positively impacting the citizenry.

Your Excellencies, Distinguished ladies and gentlemen, Investing in Humanity is the right thing to do. I strongly believe the historical under- investments in “humane projects” is the genesis of most of the insecurity and socio-economic challenges the world is experiencing today.

I will conclude once again by thanking the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques, King Salman Bin Abdulaziz Al-Saud, and also congratulate His Royal Highness, Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman for their leadership and their support through the Future Investment Initiative.

I remain confident that through such exchanges, the world indeed will be a better place. I hope and pray that this forum will rise to the challenge in the interest of durable peace and sustainable development.

I thank you.”

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UN and Zimbabwe Sign New Cooperation Framework

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The government of Zimbabwe and United Nations have signed the 2022-2026 Zimbabwe United Nations Sustainable Development Cooperation Framework that will support the country’s efforts to achieve Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

The official signing and launch of the Zimbabwe United Nations Sustainable Development Cooperation Framework 2022-2026 was presided over by the Chief Secretary to the President and Cabinet, Dr Misheck Sibanda and UN Resident Coordinator Maria Ribeiro. UNESCO Regional Director for Southern Africa, Prof. Hubert Gijzen witnessed the signing ceremony together with other UN Country Team members and Government officials.

Speaking at the signing ceremony, Dr Misheck Sibanda said Zimbabwe was grateful for the UN support towards the country’s development in the face of various challenges.

“I want to pay gratitude to Ms Maria Rebeiro for her commitment to uplift the livelihoods of the people of Zimbabwe in the face of natural disasters like the cyclone, droughts and the COVID-19 pandemic,” Dr. Misheck Sibanda.

He took the opportunity to bid farewell to Ms Rebeiro whose term of office ends this year and urged the UN team to continue with the legacy of her hard-work which saw the UN mobilise US$400 million towards promotion of agriculture, climate adaptation and health needs for Zimbabwe.

The UN Resident emphasised the importance of aligning the UN’s programmes with the country’s development strategies.

“In the same spirit of achieving SDGs, climate change, the COVID-19 pandemic are opportunities for us to do better by aligning the country programmed NDS1 with instruments of the UN in resource and financial mobilisation,” Ms. Maria Ribeiro.

The 2022-2026 Zimbabwe United Nations Sustainable Development Cooperation Framework (ZUNSDCF) articulates the strategic engagement of the United Nations Country Team (UNCT) in Zimbabwe to support the country to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

Anchored on Zimbabwe’s National Development Strategy 1 (NDS1) 2021-2025, the ZUNSDCF encapsulates the shared commitment to leaving no one behind through delivering concrete results that ensure inclusive participation and reaching the people typically left the furthest behind.

The ZUNSDCF with full government ownership throughout the process, is a result of extensive consultations involving a wide range of key stakeholders whose inputs contributed to defining the strategic priorities and implementation modalities.

The ZUNSDCF lays out an ambitious programme to accelerate development progress during the Decade of Action as Zimbabwe strives to recover better and stronger from the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Fully cognizant of the urgency to act, the ZUNSDCF represents the vehicle through which the UNCT in partnership with the Government of Zimbabwe and other stakeholders, will deliver transformative support that drives inclusive and sustainable economic growth, gender equality, human rights and climate action.

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