- Buhari’s Health: Presidency Rules Out Resignation
The Presidency has ruled out the possibility of President Muhammadu Buhari resigning his position over his ill health as being suggested by some Nigerians.
In an interview with journalists in Lagos on Friday, Special Adviser to the President on Media and Publicity, Mr. Femi Adesina, said those calling for the President’s resignation were merely expressing their opinion.
According to him, the views of over 15 million Nigerians that voted for the President were more important than such opinions, while expressing confidence hat God would fully restore Buhari’s health.
The President returned from medical vacation to the United Kingdom on March 10, where he spent 49 days. And since his return from vacation, Buhari has been absent at some Federal Executive Council meetings, including that of last Wednesday, where Vice President Yemi Osinbajo presided.
It was learnt that the President needed some rest and had “asked that all the files on his table be brought to him at his official residence in the Presidential Villa.”
Adesina had attended the launch of the book, “Against the Run of Play,” written by Olusegun Adeniyi, Chairman, ThisDay Editorial Board and former Special Adviser, Media to late President Umaru Yar’Adua.
The President’s absence from public functions for weeks now, has heightened public concerns about the President’s state of health with some Nigerians calling for Buhari’s resignation should he be unfit to deal with the rigours of office.
When asked if the President would yield to the calls for his resignation by some Nigerians over his poor health, Adesina said, “Well, it is an opinion, but don’t forget that about 15 million people elected the president so if one or two people expressed their opinion, will their opinions override that of 15 million people who voted for him? So those who are expressing their opinions have rights to their opinions.”
Adesina, however, expressed confidence that through prayers of Nigerians, God would fully restore Buhari’s health.
He said, “Yesterday there was still a press briefing saying there is no need for apprehension. God spared the president. In the first place, he said he had never been as sick as he was before, the same God that spared him will also ensure that he returns to full health. Nigerians prayed, God answered. Nigerians are still praying, God will still answer. That is all we believe.”
Meanwhile, President Buhari was on Friday absent at the Juma’at service held inside the Presidential Villa, Abuja. The Juma’at has been the only public function attended by the President in the last three weeks.
The President has been joining Muslim faithful for prayers inside a mosque near his office since he stopped attending the service at the National Mosque, Abuja.
Three state governors who probably had planned to join Buhari for the prayers were however present.
The governors who attended the prayer session included Ibikunle Amosun (Ogun); Abdulaziz Yari (Zamfara); and Abdullahi Ganduje (Kano).
The governors had on Thursday joined their colleagues for a meeting of the National Economic Council at the Presidential Villa, Abuja.
No official reason has been given for Buhari’s absence at the prayer session as of the time of filing this report.
Buhari returned to the country on Friday, March 10 after his 49-day medical sojourn in London. He did not attend the Juma’at service that day apparently because of jet lag.
But since then, the President has not missed any of the Friday prayers until that of yesterday.
On March 17, Buhari was joined at the service by top government officials including the Kano State Governor, Abdullahi Ganduje; Attorney-General of the Federation, Abubakar Malami (SAN); Minister of Defence, Dan Mansur-Ali; Minister of Interior, Abdurahman Dambazzau; Director-General of the Department of State Services, Lawal Daura; Comptroller-General of Nigeria Customs Service, Hammed Ali; and the Acting Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, Ibrahim Magu, among others.
On March 24, the President was present and was joined by Magu and Daura among others.
On March 31, Buhari attended the prayer session and was joined by Ganduje and the Kogi State Governor, Yahaya Bello, among others.
April 7 was not different as the President was present and was joined by the President of the Senate, Bukola Saraki; Katsina State Governor, Aminu Masari; Magu; Ali and Daura among others.
On April 14, Buhari was also present and was joined at the mosque by the Kaduna State Governor, Nasir El-Rufai; Ogun State Governor, Ibikunle Amosun; Malami, Dan-Ali and Magu among others.
On April 21, the President was present and was joined by the Niger State Governor, Abubakar Bello; Malami and Magu among others.
It will however be recalled that the Presidency had on Thursday said as eager as the President wanted to be up and about, he had been advised by his doctors to take things slowly.
In a statement by the Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity, Garba Shehu, the Presidency however assured Nigerians that there was no need for apprehension over the state of health of the President.
Shehu, who noted that the President himself on his return to the country made Nigerians aware of the state of his health while he was in London, added that full recovery could be a slow process, requiring periods of rest and relaxation.
He said, “Despite his lack of visibility, Nigerians should rest assured that President Buhari has not abdicated his role as Commander-in-Chief of Nigeria. He receives daily briefings on the activities of government, and confers regularly with his Vice President, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo.
“His private residence, in which he has been spending the majority of his time recently, also has a fully equipped office.
“God is the giver of life and health. We are grateful that He has seen our President through the worst period of his convalescence in London.
“We are thankful that the President has passed a number of benchmarks already. We pray that God continues to see him through this period of recuperation.”
In The Fight Against Corruption, No Individual is Bigger Than The State – Buhari
In response to the suspended acting EFCC Chairman, Ibrahim Magu, President Muhammed Buhari, lamented that the anti-corruption war becomes endangered “when persons entrusted with the responsibility of that magnitude become suspects themselves.”
Buhari, whose vision is to put an end to corruption in Nigeria, believed that every aspect of the nation’s life is enshrined in corruption and it’s of major concern when leaders of institutions saddled with the mandate to fight the menace are found in the waves of the corruption they claimed to be fighting.
This act is a great abomination not only because it strikes at the root but it also trivialises and undermines the anti-corruption crusade itself, the President explained.
He further said that in a bid to put an end to this great abomination, he had set up Ayo Salami Panel to unravel the mystery behind the mystique of Magu’s alleged involvement in corruption that his administration is fighting.
Buhari said that his administration is ready and willing to go all out in the fight against corruption, and no one is too big nor above the law to become a victim of anti-graft’s sledgehammer.
The president said, “However, the stark reality of widespread corruption becomes poignant when allegations of corruption touch on the leadership of an institution set up by law to coordinate and enforce all economic and financial crimes.
“It is an abomination that strikes at the root and undermines the government’s anti-corruption programme.
“It was in response to the serious allegations against the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission that I set up a panel headed by the Honourable Justice Isa Ayo Salami, retired President of the Court of Appeal, via an Instrument dated 3rd July 2020 pursuant to the Tribunals of Inquiry Act (Cap T21, LFN, 2004).
“We recognise that there are more grounds to cover in the war against corruption, and we are prepared to go out to possess those lands by cutting off any stream that nourishes the seed of corruption and supports its growth.
“Let it be known that in the fight against corruption, no one is too big to tackle, as no individual is bigger than the Nigerian State!”
In Search For The New EFCC Chairman, Justice Ayo Salami Panel Advises Buhari to Look Outside The Police Force
Justice Ayo Salami’s panel advised President Muhammadu Buhari to look outside the Nigerian Police Force for the new Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).
A credible source confirmed that President Muhammadu Buhari may have decided to follow the panel recommendation to avoid a similar fate to that of Magu, the former chairman.
The source also confirmed that the panel recommendation was a result of sleaze allegations against suspended acting Chairman, Ibrahim Magu. Also, that search team would be constituted in the next few days to slim down the possibilities of finding the right candidate to bring into reality the President’s vision of a corrupt-free anti-graft agency.
The source further confirmed that “the sleaze and abuse of office allegations against Magu, a commissioner of police, were overwhelming,” and that he may be put on trial.
As advised by the panel, the new EFCC chairman should be in interim position for two years.
It was suggested that the recommendation from the Justice Ayo Salami panel might have pinned Magu, according to Femi Adesina, the presidential spokesman, he advised president Buhari to consider looking into other law enforcement or security agencies, as well as considering important and diligent staff of EFCC in his plans to appoint the next EFCC chairman, as s provided in the EFCC Establishment Act of 2004.
Following the Justice Ayo Salami panel recommendation, Salami said “Your Excellency, permit me to say that four successive chairmen of the EFCC from inception have been drawn from the police. Therefore, in appointing a new chairman of EFCC, consideration should be given to candidates from other law enforcement or security agencies and qualified core staff of EFCC as provided in the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (Establishment Act 2004).
“It is also important to point out that at the moment, 970 policemen (114 drivers, 641 mobile policemen and 215 operations), are on secondment in the EFCC.
“Therefore, an exit plan for the disengagement of the police and other personnel within two years from now should be considered. This will address the issue of non-promotion of core staff for over nine years.
“Your Excellency, our thinking here is that whoever you are appointing other than a core EFCC staff, should be in transitional capacity of two years during which period, the arrangement would be made for the appointment of any of the core staff who has been commended by National Crime Agency, UK and other international law enforcement for their professionalism”.
Justice Ayo Salami appreciated the president for giving members of the panel an avenue to serve the country.
Ezekwesili Presents Research Findings on Fixing Nigeria’s Politics
She stated this at the public launch of #FixPolitics, where she presented findings from her fellowship research on how to fix politics in Nigeria and Africa more broadly.
Ezekwesili invited 124 Nigerians from diverse fields of endeavour and geopolitical zones to collaborate on designing the research findings over the last one year as a Work Study Group. The group is the co-leadership organ responsible for an integrated citizens-led actions to fix the broken political system.
She pointed out that politics in Nigeria was not fulfilling the core requirement of a democratic system, which was to provide good governance for the common wellbeing of citizens.
“My research findings primarily reinforce that the poor state of affairs in Nigeria is the consequence of the quality of politics at play. Politics is at the heart of everything any society can or will become. The essential process of democracy is not complete without politics,” the 2019 Nigerian Presidential candidate said.
In her study, she established primarily that in a democratic system, “there are three triangular pillars which determine the kind of outcomes that politics will produce for the people.
Explaining the concept, the former World Bank vice president said, “On the right angle or demand side of the triangle is the electorate; on the left or supply side is the politicians, political class and parties; and at the top is the regulatory – constitutional, legal, electoral and institutional context within which the politics happen.”
According to her, these tripod pillars create an interconnecting network of actions that determine the outcomes of every political system.
“Every pillar or angle of the triangle must function effectively and concurrently with the other two to enable the right quality of politics that will deliver strong economic performance for a people.
“In evaluating the outcome of politics in Nigeria and Africa, my study established that the quality of the electorate, quality of political class and quality and lack of independence and capacity of political institutions constitute a structural and systemic problem for democracy and must therefore be fixed by citizens,” Ezekwesili said.
She also said, “The research found that Nigeria is ridden with politicians without competing ideas of how to solve the problems of citizens, who lack a culture of public service and subordinate the common good to their personal and narrow interests.
“The constitutional, legal, institutional and regulatory environment is compromised by the political class to more frequently act without independence, fairness and adherence to the rule of law. The political space is thus completely monopolised by the supply side of governance, that is the political class, thereby causing political, economic and social stagnation for the nation and people.
“Currently in our politics, voters generally lack the level of influence necessary to compel the right political processes and good outcomes that serve the good of all in society.
“The bright prospect is that evidence from the #FixPolitics research shows that citizens are the only angle of the triangle that can act and propel systemic change by collectively and decisively acting for their common good.”
To alter the status quo, Ezekwesili said only the electorate “have the incentive to correct the abnormality in a political system.”
She added, “It is the collective effort of citizens that can change the quality of political class and compel the kind of constitutional and electoral changes required to achieve good governance.”
Delivering a keynote address, former President Felipe Calderon of Mexico said there was an enormous gap between the interests of the citizens and that of the politicians, which he saw as a major problem to a democratic setting.
“To fix politics in Nigeria, the citizens and the politicians must work together and represent the same in practical life,” he said.
Calderon further said that “citizens must change their perception of politics and political participation rather than holding to a view that politics is for corrupt and dishonest people.”
According to him, corrupt people are quite the opposite of what politics stands. “To fix politics is what happens when the people participate and take responsibility to provide political participation with ethical sense and ethical parameters,” Calderon added.
In a goodwill message, former President of Malawi, Dr. Joyce Banda, said politics should be seen as an inclusive love affair and if institutionally implemented, “Africa will witness a great change in its democratic system.”
While dissecting the dynamics of democracy, three intergenerational panels with discussants like Prof. Atahiru Jega, Prof. Chukwuma Soludo, Pastor Tunde Bakare, Aisha Yesufu, Iyinoluwa Aboyeji, Jude Abaga(also known as M.I Abaga), Cynthia Mbamalu, Yemi Adamolekun, Samson Itodo, among others, agreed that there was an emerging consensus to fix politics in Nigeria as the status quo was untenable and unsustainable.
Speakers like Dr. Hakeem Baba-Ahmed, Ayo Sogunro, Ndi Kato, Adewunmi Emoruwa, and Dr. Usman Bugaje highlighted that “there is a need for young people and women to fully engage in partisan politics, create platforms for political engagement, use politics as a tool for framing a shared vision based on a new dominant value orientation of public service, connect the elite with the grassroots and mobilise the Nigerian public to mount pressure on the legislature for the right constitutional and electoral changes.”
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