Weekly political notes
Buhari Launches Economic Recovery Growth Plan
President Muhammadu Buhari has launched the Nigeria Economic Recovery and Growth Plan (ERGP), which seeks to restore the nation’s economic status following the high rate of inflation and recession.
The launch was performed shortly before the commencement of the meeting of Federal Executive Council (FEC) inside the Council Chamber, Aso Rock, Abuja on Wednesday.
The launch was attended by all cabinet members, as well as, top government functionaries including the national chairman of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) John Odigie-Oyegun, Senate President Bukola Saraki; Speaker of the House of Representatives, Yakubu Dogara; and chairman of the Nigeria Governors Forum (NGF) and Governor of Zamfara State, Abdulaziz Yari.
Buhari said his administration inherited numerous challenges at inception. He also said his campaign was based on the difficult situation that Nigeria was in and the need for enduring positive change. The president said his administration is committed to delivering on the three key areas that he promised during the campaigns; which are to tackle corruption, insecurity and ensure economic growth.
While many may see the economic recovery and growth plan as a right step in the right direction, others question its timing. Yes, those who query the timing may not be wrong, considering that it is launched almost half way into Buhari’s four-year tenure. Is this not a confirmation of earlier insinuations that Buhari’s government has no economic agenda or plan from inception? If not, why was this policy not launched earlier than now?
Or is Buhari saying that his economic team spent two years preparing this plan and will spend the next two years to implement it? What an economic team. What is the assurance from Buhari that this programme will not be like previous ones-fantastic in conception and on paper, but poorly implemented by the government?
It is of note that since coming into office, Buhari’s government has clearly shown lack of capacity in tackling the economy. How can a government that took almost two years to come out with an economic plan, successfully implement to letter such plan in the next two years?
Meningitis Punishment From God — Gov Yari
Zamfara State Governor Abdulaziz Yari, has attributed the current outbreak of meningitis in the country to retributive justice from God.
The governor said the current outbreak of Type C Cerebrospinal Meningitis is God’s way of punishing Nigerians for their immoral conduct.
The governor spoke in Hausa during an interview with State House reporters after meeting President Muhammadu Buhari on Tuesday. Zamfara State is the most ravaged in the latest outbreak, accounting for 215 out of 336 deaths nationally.
“What we used to know as far as meningitis is concerned is the ‘type A virus’ which had been tackled through vaccinations by the World Health Organisation (WHO).
“However, because people refused to stop their nefarious activities, God now decided to send Type C virus, which has no vaccine. People have turned away from God and He has promised that ‘if you do anyhow, you see anyhow,’ that is just the cause of this outbreak as far as I am concerned. There is no way fornication will be so rampant and God will not send a disease that cannot be cured,” Yari said.
Yari’s comment is most embarrassing, belittling and undeserving of a leader. When did Yari become an Imam or priest? How would a sitting governor attribute the health challenge in his state to nemesis from God, instead of poor health facilities and government’s negligence? It is just an admission of his failure as a leader.
Can Yari disclose to Nigerians his contributions or efforts in the area of healthcare, while he was a member of the House Representatives and now governor for almost two terms? May be Yari has forgotten the religious allusion that heaven helps those who help themselves. Yari, how have you helped your people before the outbreak of the meningitis and what have you done since the epidemic occurred? Besides, if it were true that the outbreak was due to God’s anger, why haven’t the politicians got their fair share?
Hope other state governors are following what is happening in Zamfara, so that they will not be caught unawares or speak like Yari, their chairman and accidental man of God.
FG Should Drop Saraki’s CCT Case, APC Senators Tell Party
The All Progressives Congress (APC) caucus at the Senate on Tuesday expressed its grievances against the executive at a meeting with the party’s National Working Committee (NWC)
It was gathered that at the closed-door meeting, which started at 2.45pm and ended at 5.25pm, the APC senators absolved themselves of blame over the non-confirmation of the Acting Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) Mr. Ibrahim Magu.
It was learnt that the senators told the party leaders that Magu’s confirmation “died” before it got to the Senate and that the senators only did its funeral.
Investigations also showed that senators, who were loyal to the Senate President, Dr. Bukola Saraki, demanded the withdrawal of the suit against him at the Code of Conduct Tribunal, describing the trial as political.
The meeting, which held in Room 022 in the New Building section of the National Assembly Complex, Abuja, began shortly after Saraki and the National Chairman of the APC, Chief John Odigie-Oyegun, led others to the venue at 2.30pm before journalists were sent out at 2.45pm.
In his opening remarks, the Majority Leader of the Senate, Senator Ahmad Lawan, said the event was historic as it was the first time the leadership of the party would be meeting with the senators.
It appears the APC leadership has woken up from deep slumber to intervene in the face-off between the presidency and the Senate, even though the intervention may not yield the expected result. Because there is little or nothing the leadership can do about the senators’ request to halt Saraki’s trial.
With APC senators’ curious demand as condition for peace, it is obvious that Buhari government’s anti-graft fight has hit brick wall again. With this, Nigerians can now see and understand why the Senate under Saraki’s leadership is always hostile to Buhari’s government.
It also means that the whole face-off is not about the wellbeing of Nigerians, but about the survival of Saraki and his cohorts in the upper chamber, mainly ex-governors, who are tainted with alleged corrupt cases. So, it is politics of protect me, I protect you in the Senate.
UK Law To Expose Nigerian Property, Accounts Owners
Nigerians of “questionable character” who own property in the United Kingdom (UK) were put on notice yesterday— they will soon be unmasked.
A criminal finances bill that will introduce the concept of “Unexplained Wealth Orders” is in the works. It is designed to close a loophole which has left the authorities powerless to seize property from overseas criminals, unless such individuals are first convicted in their country of origin.
Property suspected to belong to corrupt politicians, tax evaders and criminals could be seized by enforcement agencies under the proposed law aimed at tackling London’s reputation as a haven for looted funds.
The Presidential Advisory Committee against Corruption hinted of the law on Wednesday in New York, United States (U.S.) through its Executive Secretary, Prof. Bolaji Owasanoye. Owasanoye disclosed that negotiations between the Federal Government and the British authorities had reached an advanced stage “to release information about Nigerians, who own property in that country next year”.
“Britain has promised that by 2018, it will provide Nigeria with the information about who owns what and where; that’s very helpful. These include all the houses that have been bought by public officials or accounts that are held by public officials on which they are right now not paying taxes or which they cannot explain the sources.
While this could be seen as welcome development, especially for the developing countries, whose leaders stash stolen funds in London, the law should provide for immediate repatriation of such stolen funds to the affected countries. If not, there is nothing cheering about the disclosure of property and account owners. Even the ones that have been disclosed, how have the UK government assist in facilitating their recovery and return to countries they were taken from.
Meanwhile, this narrative from UK is not new. Nigerians have heard it in the past, but have not seen action on it. Until it is done and Nigeria benefits, many may see this as another fairy tale in the name of anti-graft crusade by Buhari’s government. UK government needs to do something concrete to convince Nigerians and the rest of the world that it is no longer a safe haven for looted wealth.
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