Nigerians went to the polls on the 28th of March 2015 to elect the next president of the country. The candidate of the All Progressive Congress, APC, Major Gen Muhammadu Buhari (Rtd) emerged the winner of the election.
Make your arguments for or against any of the candidates. Please be objective.
Things don’t just happen, people make things to happen.
Click below to see contributions from other members of parliament...
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I thank you all for turning out en-masse for the March 28 General Elections.
I promised the country free and fair elections. I have kept my word. I have also expanded the space for Nigerians to participate in the democratic process. That is one legacy I will like to see endure.
Although some people have expressed mixed feelings about the results announced by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), I urge those who may feel aggrieved to follow due process based on our constitution and our electoral laws, in seeking redress.
As I have always affirmed, nobody’s ambition is worth the blood of any Nigerian. The unity, stability and progress of our dear country is more important than anything else.
I congratulate all Nigerians for successfully going through the process of the March 28thGeneral Elections with the commendable enthusiasm and commitment that was demonstrated nationwide.
I also commend the Security Services for their role in ensuring that the elections were mostly peaceful and violence-free.
To my colleagues in the PDP, I thank you for your support. Today, the PDP should be celebrating rather than mourning. We have established a legacy of democratic freedom, transparency, economic growth and free and fair elections.
For the past 16 years, we have steered the country away from ethnic and regional politics. We created a Pan-Nigerian political party and brought home to our people the realities of economic development and social transformation.
Through patriotism and diligence, we have built the biggest and most patriotic party in Nigerian history. We must stand together as a party and look to the future with renewed optimism.
I thank all Nigerians once again for the great opportunity I was given to lead this country and assure you that I will continue to do my best at the helm of national affairs until the end of my tenure.
I have conveyed my personal best wishes to General Muhammadu Buhari.
May God Almighty continue to bless the Federal Republic of Nigeria.
I thank you all.
Goodluck Ebele Jonathan, GCFR
Federal Republic of Nigeria
March 31, 2015
Your Excellency, the Vice President elect, Professor Yemi Osinbajo, your Excellency, Chief Rotimi Amaechi, the Director General of APC Presidential Campaign, 2015, your Excellency, the former Governor of Edo State and National Chairman of our great party, your Excellency the Governor Imo State, Rochas Okorocha, your Excellency, the former Governor of Imo State, Dr Ogbonaya Onu, Your Excellency, the former Governor of Ekiti State, Engineer Oni, your Excellency the former Governor of Kwara, Bokola Saraki, your Excellency, the Speaker of the House of Representative, Honourable Aminu Tambuwal, Please, let me stand on existing protocol.
At exactly 5:15 yesterday (Tuesday) evening, President Jonathan called to congratulate me on my victory.
For this, I want all Nigerians to join me in congratulating and appreciating Mr President for his statesmanship.
President Jonathan was a worthy opponent. I extend my hand of fellowship to him.
I look forward to meeting him soon, as we plan the transition from one administration to another.
He will receive nothing but cooperation and understanding from me, who led this nation to democracy.
You stood in line patiently for hours; in the rain, in the sun and then in the dark to cast your votes. Even when the vote was extended to Sunday in some places, you still performed your civic duties. You did so peacefully.
You voted with your heart. Your vote affirms that you believe Nigeria’s future can be better than what it is today.
You voted for change and now change has come.
INEC has released the official result of the Presidential Election. INEC has declared that I gained the most votes with the required spread and won this election.
In a more profound way, it is you, Nigerians that have won.
The people have shown their love for our nation and their believe in democracy.
The declaration of INEC accurately reflects the will of the people.
While there might have been some logistical obstacles and irregularities associated with the exercise, the result shall stand as what the people want.
I thank all Nigerians who have made this day possible, our country has now joined the community of nations that have used the ballot box to physically change an incumbent president in a free and fair election
To me, this is indeed historic.
Most people will welcome the result because it is the one they voted for. Others will literarily be disappointed. I ask that we all be circumspect, respectful and peaceful in these times. This was a hard-fought contest. Emotions were high. We must not allow them to get the better of us.
This is not the time for confrontation. This is a moment that we must begin to heal the wounds and work toward a better future.
We do this first by extending a hand of friendship and conciliation across the political divide. We hope and pray our friends in other parties reciprocate.
I thank all the members of the All Progressives Congress, the APC, for their commitment and their hard work through the formation of the party, the campaigns and the presidential elections.
Let me equally express my appreciation to the media, civil society and security agencies for their selfless service. The international press and our friends abroad deserve a fair commendation for their support throughout the process.
We promise a robust and dynamic engagement with your countries in matters of mutual interest.
In the interim, I call on all Nigerians to be law abiding and peaceful.
The eyes of the world were focused on us to see if we can vote in a peaceful way and carry out elections in an orderly manner.
We have proven to the world that we are a people who have embraced democracy and a people who seek a government by, for and for the people.
We have put one party state behind us. We have voted for a government that will serve and govern, but will never rule over you.
CHANGE has come and a new day and a new Nigeria is upon us.
The victory is yours and the glory is that of our nation, NIGERIA.
I will make a more formal address to the nation, later in the afternoon after I receive the certificate of return from the INEC.
May God Bless the Federal Republic of Nigeria.
Nigeria’s President Elect
1. Promotion and practice of true democracy by creating an enabling environment where people from diverse backgrounds and with divergent views and opinions can be accommodated. Under the watch of Goodluck Jonathan administration, the APC was registered by INEC as a mega opposition party big enough to challenge the PDP at both state and national levels. This would have been unthinkable some years back.
2. Conduct of free and fair elections in the country, including the 2011 poll which was adjudged to be the most credible election of its magnitude that has ever been conducted in the country, though it was not without its flaws. Unlike in other administrations, the Goodluck Jonathan administration has given a free hand to the country’s electoral umpire, INEC, to perform its statutory duties.
3. Relative non-interference with electoral and judicial matters. This is evident in the number of governorship elections that have been won both at the polls and in the court by opposition parties in Anambra, Imo, Osun states, among others.
4. Liberalization of the press and guaranteeing the freedom of speech in a country where the stifling of the press and suppression of the citizens’ right to freedom of speech used to be the norm, a legacy of over 30 years of military rule. The existence of vocal anti-government media houses and critics would have culminated in some high-profile assassinations some years back, but today citizens are free to air their views whenever and wherever they like just like any other sane country.
5. Opening up of Nigeria to the global business community and becoming Africa’s number onedestination of foreign investors. In the first six months of 2014, a total of US$9.70 billion or N1.51 trillion flowed into the national economy as foreign direct investments (FDI).
6. Under the Goodluck Jonathan administration, Nigeria rebased it’s GDP for the first time in over a decade to become the largest economy in Africa, overtaking South Africa and Egypt in the process.
7. Proceeds from Nigeria’s non-oil exports rose to 2.97 billion by the end of 2013, up from 2.3 billion in 2010.
8. Initiation of the YOUWIN program in 2011. The Youth Enterprise with Innovation in Nigeria (YOUWIN) program aims to generate over 100,000 jobs for innovative unemployed youths across the country in the course of three years. It is currently in its third year.
9. Nigerians are now a step closer to being fully integrated into the international e-commerce community with the approval and reinclusion of Nigeria as one of the Paypal-compliant countries after being banned from using the service at the peak of the advanced fee fraud (419 scams). With Paypal, Nigerians can now pay for goods and services online from anywhere in the world.
10. Goodluck Jonathan administration is the one behind the revival of the dead automotive industry in Nigeria. Global auto giants like Peugeot, Nissan and Hyundai now either assemble or wholly manufacture small cars, Sport Utility Vehicles, trucks and buses at various locations in Nigeria. In addition to that, Innoson Vehicle Manufacturing Company (IVM), Nigeria’s flagship indigenous automaker, has begun the sale of their first made-in-Nigeria cars and SUVs in August 2014.
11. Under the Goodluck Jonathan administration, Nigeria became the first country in West Africa to host the World Economic Forum (WEF) in 2014. It was also the most successful World Economic Forum for Africa (WEFA) in history, boasting of a global reach of 2.1 billion people according to estimates.
12. Africa’s richest man Aliko Dangote’s net worth increased from US$2.1 billion at the start of Goodluck Ebele Jonathan’s administration to US$23 billion in 2014, making him Forbes’ richest black person in the world and the overall 26th richest in the world. He attributed this mammoth increase in his monetary worth to Goodluck Jonathan administration favourable economic policies.
13. Construction and beautification of many federal roads in the country, including the Lagos-Benin expressway, Abuja-Lokoja expressway, Enugu-Abakiliki expressway, Onitsha-Owerri highway and most parts of the Enugu-Port Harcourt expressway. Also, construction of the second Niger Bridge between Onitsha and Asaba to relieve the pressure on the old Niger Bridge which was completed in December 1965.
14. Revival of the comatose railway system of transportation in the country is happening under the current Goodluck Jonathan administration.
15. Remodelling, beautification and standardization of airports across the country. In addition to that, aircraft from Nigeria are now allowed to fly directly to the United States of America instead of going through many stopovers in Amsterdam and some other European cities along/in the route. The Akanu Ibiam Airport in Enugu was upgradede into an international airport, directly connecting the South-East region of the country to the outside world for the first time since independence.
16. Establishment of nine federal universities across the country in states which previously had no federal degree awarding institution.
17. Computerizing education in the country with the introduction of the computer-based test (CBT) which will be mandatory for all UTME candidates from 2015.
18. Introduction of the Almajiri system of education in the academically disadvantaged Northern parts of the country.
19. Arresting the outbreak of the deadly and highly contagious Ebola Virus Disease (EVD) in record time, though it unfortunately claimed some lives at the onset.
20. Transformation of the agricultural sector, so that, in the words of Agriculture minister Akinwumi Adesina, “Nigerians will stop thinking of agriculture just as a means of livelihood, but more as a business.”
21. Nigeria has reduced its food imports by over 40% as of 2013, moving the country closer to self sufficiency in agriculture.
22. Nigeria is the world’s largest producer of cassava with an output of over 45 million metric tonnes in 2014 according to the Food and Agricultural Organization of the United Nations (FAO).
23. Due to favourable economic policies, Internet penetration in Nigeria has now increased from about 45 million in 2011 to 63 million in 2014, overtaking countries such as the United Kingdom and France in the process. What this means is that more people now use the internet in Nigeria than in the UK and France.
24. As of the second quarter of 2014, the number of registered active telephone lines in Nigeria stood at 130 million out of a total of over 170 million telephone lines.
25. Introduction of the Nigerian electronic identity card (e-ID card), one of the most secure in the world d the largest in Africa. The e-ID card serves as both an international identification module and an electronic payment solution.
26. Introduction of the cashless system which aims to encourage the use of e-payment systems in the country and reduce the volume of physical cash in circulation.
27. Unbundling of the dysfunctional Power Holding Company of Nigeria (PHCN) into about 18 profit-driven successor companies.
28. Under the watch of President Goodluck Jonathan administration, Nigeria won the African Cup of Nations for the first time in 19 years in South Africa in February, 2013.
29. Nigeria ended up with 11 gold , 11 silver and 14 bronze medals at the recently concluded 2014 Commonwealth Games in Glasgow, finishing 8th in the overall ranking.
30. Women in politics have been given more prominent roles in the current President Goodluck Jonathan administration. A large number of the federal appointees of the Goodluck Jonathan administration are women. They include, but are not limited to, Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala; Miriam Aloma Mukhtar, Nigeria’s first female Chief Justice; Diezani Alison-Madueke; ex-aviation minister Stella Oduah, Joy Ogwu, Nigeria’s representatives at the United Nations; Sarah Jibril; and Viola Onwuliri.
The grounds on which General Buhari is being promoted as the alternative choice are not only shaky, but pitifully naive. History matters. Records are not kept simply to assist the weakness of memory, but to operate as guides to the future. Of course, we know that human beings change. What the claims of personality change or transformation impose on us is a rigorous inspection of the evidence, not wishful speculation or behind-the- scenes assurances. Public offence, crimes against a polity, must be answered in the public space, not in caucuses of bargaining. In Buhari, we have been offered no evidence of the sheerest prospect of change. On the contrary, all evident suggests that this is one individual who remains convinced that this is one ex-ruler that the nation cannot call to order Buhari? Need one remind anyone – was one of the generals who treated a Commission of Enquiry, the Oputa Panel, with unconcealed disdain. Like Babangida and Abdusalami, he refused to put in appearance even though complaints that were tabled against him involved a career of gross abuses of power and blatant assault on the fundamental human rights of the Nigerian citizenry. Prominent against these charges was an act that amounted to nothing less than judicial murder, the execution of a citizen under a retroactive decree. Does Decree 20 ring a bell? If not, then, perhaps the names of three youths – Lawal Ojuolape (30), Bernard Ogedengbe (29) and Bartholomew Owoh (26) do. To put it quite plainly, one of those three Ogedengbe – was executed for a crime that did not carry a capital forfeit at the time it was committed. This was an unconscionable crime, carried out in defiance of the pleas and protests of nearly every sector of the Nigerian and international community religious, civil rights, political, trade unions etc.
Buhari and his sidekick and his partner-in-crime, Tunde Idiagbon persisted in this inhuman act for one reason and one reason only: to place Nigerians on notice that they were now under an iron, inflexible rule, under governance by fear. The execution of that youthful innocent for so he was, since the punishment did not exist at the time of commission – was nothing short of premeditated murder, for which the perpetrators should normally stand trial upon their loss of immunity. Are we truly expected to forget this violation of our entitlement to security as provided under existing laws? And even if our sensibilities have become blunted by succeeding seasons of cruelty and brutality, if power itself had so coarsened the sensibilities also of rulers and corrupted their judgment, what should one rightly expect after they have been rescued from the snare of power. At the very least, a revaluation, leading hopefully to remorse, and its expression to a wronged society. At the very least, such a revaluation should engender reticence, silence. In the case of Buhari, it was the opposite. Since leaving office he has declared in the most categorical terms that he had no regrets over this murder and would do so again. Human life is inviolate. The right to life is the uniquely fundamental right on which all other rights are based. The crime that General Buhari committed against the entire nation went further however, inconceivable as it might first appear. That crime is one of the most profound negations of civic being. Not content with hammering down the freedom of expression in general terms, Buhari specifically forbade all public discussion of a return to civilian, democratic rule. Let us constantly applaud our media those battle scarred professionals did not completely knuckle down.
They resorted to cartoons and oblique, elliptical references to sustain the people’s campaign for a time-table to democratic rule. Overt agitation for a democratic time table however remained rigorously suppressed military dictatorship, and a specifically incorporated in Buhari and Idiagbon was here to stay. To deprive a people of volition in their own political direction is to turn a nation into a colony of slaves. Buhari enslaved the nation. He gloated and gloried in a master-slave relation to the millions of its inhabitants. It is astonishing to find that the same former slaves, now free of their chains, should clamour to be ruled by one who not only turned their nation into a slave plantation, but forbade them any discussion of their condition. So Tai Solarin is already forgotten? Tai who stood at street corners, fearlessly distributing leaflets that took up the gauntlet where the media had dropped it. Tai who was incarcerated by that regime and denied even the medication for his asthmatic condition? Tai did not ask to be sent for treatment overseas; all he asked was his traditional medicine that had proved so effective after years of struggle with asthma! Nor must we omit the manner of Buhari coming to power and the pattern of his corrective rule. Shagari’s NPN had already run out of steam and was near universally detested except of course by the handful that still benefited from that regime of profligacy and rabid fascism. Responsibility for the national condition lay squarely at the door of the ruling party, obviously, but against whom was Buharis coup staged? Judging by the conduct of that regime, it was not against Shagaris government but against the opposition. The head of government, on whom primary responsibility lay, was Shehu Shagari. Yet that individual was kept in cozy house detention in Ikoyi while his powerless deputy, Alex Ekwueme, was locked up in Kiri-kiri prisons. Such was the Buhari notion of equitable apportionment of guilt and/or responsibility.
And then the cascade of escapes of the wanted, and culpable politicians. Manhunts across the length and breadth of the nation, roadblocks everywhere and borders tight as steel zip locks. Lo and behold, the chairman of the party, Chief Akinloye, strolled out coolly across the border. Richard Akinjide, Legal Protector of the ruling party, slipped out with equal ease. The Rice Minister, Umaru Dikko, who declared that Nigerians were yet to eat f’rom dustbins – escaped through the same airtight dragnet. The clumsy attempt to crate him home was punishment for his ingratitude, since he went berserk when, after waiting in vain, he concluded that the coup had not been staged, after all, for the immediate consolidation of the party of extreme right-wing vultures, but for the military hyenas. The case of the overbearing Secretary-General of the party, Uba Ahmed, was even more noxious. Uba Ahmed was out of the country at the time. Despite the closure of the Nigerian airspace, he compelled the pilot of his plane to demand special landing permission, since his passenger load included the almighty Uba Ahmed. Of course, he had not known of the change in his status since he was airborne. The delighted airport commandant, realizing that he had a much valued fish swimming willingly into a waiting net, approved the request. Uba Ahmed disembarked into the arms of a military guard and was promptly clamped in detention.
Incredibly, he vanished a few days after and reappeared in safety overseas. Those whose memories have become calcified should explore the media coverage of that saga. Buhari was asked to explain the vanished act of this much prized quarry and his response was one of the most arrogant levity. Coming from one who had shot his way into power on the slogan of discipline, it was nothing short of impudent. Shall we revisit the tragicomic series of trials that landed several politicians several lifetimes in prison? Recall, if you please, the judicial processes undergone by the septuagenarian Chief Adekunle Ajasin. He was arraigned and tried before Buhari’s punitive tribunal but acquitted. Dissatisfied, Buhari ordered his re-trial. Again, the Tribunal could not find this man guilty of a single crime, so once again he was returned for trial, only to be acquitted of all charges of corruption or abuse of office. Was Chief Ajasin thereby released? No! He was ordered detained indefinitely, simply for the crime of winning an election and refusing to knuckle under Shagari’s reign of terror. The conduct of the Buhari regime after his coup was not merely one of double, triple, multiple standards but a cynical travesty of justice. Audu Ogbeh, currently chairman of the Action Congress was one of the few figures of rectitude within the NPN. Just as he has done in recent times with the PDP, he played the role of an internal critic and reformer, warning, dissenting, and setting an example of probity within his ministry. For that crime he spent months in unjust incarceration.
Guilty by association? Well, if that was the motivating yardstick of the administration of the Buhari justice, then it was most selectively applied.
The utmost severity of the Buhari-Idiagbon justice was especially reserved either for the opposition in general, or for those within the ruling party who had showed the sheerest sense of responsibility and patriotism.
Shall I remind this nation of Buhari’s deliberate humiliating treatment of the Emir of Kano and the Oni of Ife over their visit to the state of Israel? I hold no brief for traditional rulers and their relationship with governments, but insist on regarding them as entitled to all the rights, privileges and responsibilities of any Nigerian citizen. This royal duo went to Israel on their private steam and private business. Simply because the Buhari regime was pursuing some antagonistic foreign policy towards Israel, a policy of which these traditional rulers were not a part, they were subjected on their return to a treatment that could only be described as a head masterly chastisement of errant pupils. Since when, may one ask, did a free citizen of the Nigerian nation require the permission of a head of state to visit a foreign nation that was willing to offer that tourist a visa? One is only too aware that some Nigerians love to point to Buhari’s agenda of discipline as the shining jewel in his scrap-iron crown. To inculcate discipline however, one must lead by example, obeying laws set down as guides to public probity. Example speaks louder than declarations, and rulers cannot exempt themselves from the disciplinary structures imposed on the overall polity, especially on any issue that seeks to establish a policy for public well-being. The story of the thirty something suitcases it would appear that they were even closer to fifty – found unavoidable mention in my recent memoirs, YOU MUST SET FORTH AT DOWN, written long before Buhari became spoken of as a credible candidate. For the exercise of a changeover of the national currency, the Nigerian borders air, sea and land had been shut tight.
Nothing was supposed to move in or out, not even cattle egrets.
Yet a prominent camel was allowed through that needles eye. Not only did Buhari dispatch his aide-de-camp, Jokolo later to become an emir- to facilitate the entry of those cases, he ordered the redeployment as I later discovered – of the Customs Officer who stood firmly against the entry of the contravening baggage. That officer, the incumbent Vice-president is now a rival candidate to Buhari, but has somehow, in the meantime, earned a reputation that totally contradicts his conduct at the time. Wherever the truth lies, it does not redound to the credibility of the dictator of that time, General Buhari whose word was law, but whose allegiances were clearly negotiable.
On the theme of double, triple, multiple standards in the enforcement of the law, and indeed of the decrees passed by the Buhari regime at the time, let us recall the notorious case of Triple Alhaji Alhaji Alhaji, then Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Finance. Who was caught, literally, with his pants down in distant Austria. That was not the crime however, and private conduct should always remain restricted to the domain of private censure.
There was no decree against civil servants proving just as hormone driven as anyone else, especially outside the nation’s borders.
However, there was a clear decree against the keeping of foreign accounts, and this was what emerged from the Austrian escapade. Alhaji Alhaji kept, not one, but several undeclared foreign accounts, and he had no business being in possession of the large amount of foreign currency of which he was robbed by his overnight companion. The media screamed for an even application of the law, but Buhari had turned suddenly deaf. By contrast, Fela Anikulapo languished in goal for years, sentenced under that very draconian decree. His crime was being in possession of foreign exchange that he had legitimately received for the immediate upkeep of his band as they set off for an international engagement. A vicious sentence was slapped down on Fela by a judge who later became so remorse stricken at least after Buhari’s overthrow that he went to the King of Afro-beat and apologized.
Lesser known was the traumatic experience of the director of an international communication agency, an affiliate of UNESCO. Akin Fatoyinbo arrived at the airport in complete ignorance of the new currency decree. He was thrown in gaol in especially brutal condition, an experience from which he never fully recovered. It took several months of high-level intervention before that innocent man was eventually freed. These were not exceptional but mere sample cases from among hundreds of others, victims of a decree that was selectively applied, a decree that routinely penalized innocents and ruined the careers and businesses of many.
What else? What does one choose to include or leave out? What precisely was Ebenezer Babatope’s crime that he should have spent the entire tenure of General Buhari in detention?
Nothing beyond the fact that he once warned in the media that Buhari was an ambitious soldier who would bear watching through the lenses of a coup-detat. Babatope’s father died while he was in Buhari’s custody, the dictator remained deaf to every plea that he be at least released to attend his father’s funeral, even under guard. I wrote an article at the time, denouncing this pointless insensitivity. So little to demand by a man who was never accused of, nor tried for any crime,much less found guilty. Such a load of vindictiveness that smothered all traces of basic human compassion deserves no further comment in a nation that values its traditions.
But then, speaking the truth was not what Buhari, as a self-imposed leader, was especially enamoured of enquire of Tunde Thompson and Nduka Irabor both of whom, faithful to their journalistic calling, published nothing but the truth, yet ended up sentenced under Buhari’s decree. Mind you, no one can say that Buhari was not true to his word. Shall tamper with the freedom of the press swore the dictator immediately on grabbing office, and this was exactly what he did. And so on, and on, and on………
Short URL: http://www.osundefender.org/?p=107456
While speaking in separate events in New York City, Hillary said the Nigerian government under President Jonathan, squandered its oil resources, and indirectly helps corruption to fester in the country.
Clinton, who also expressed her anger over the abducted schoolgirls in Chibok, Borno State, spoke with ABC-TV’s Robin Roberts on American national television, and also at a public function organised by the International Crisis Group.
Later, the former Senator and First Lady made other critical remarks concerning Nigeria at a philanthropy parley, as she was widely quoted by several American media outlets, including CNN.
Clinton stated the following position in the New York events she attended, challenging the credibility and quality of the country’s leadership under President Jonathan’s watch.
“The seizure of these young women by this radical, extremist group, Boko Haram, is abominable, it’s criminal, it’s an act of terrorism, and it really merits the fullest response possible, first and foremost from the government of Nigeria,” Clinton told ABC-TV.
“The government of Nigeria has been, in my view, somewhat derelict in its responsibility toward protecting boys and girls, men and women in northern Nigeria over the last years,” she said.
“The Nigerian government must accept help – particularly intelligence, surveillance and recognizance help – their troops have to be the ones that (are) necessary, but they could do a better job if they accept the offers that are being made. Nigeria has made bad choices, not hard choices,” Clinton said, parroting the name of her forthcoming memoir.
“They have squandered their oil wealth; they have allowed corruption to fester, and now they are losing control of parts of their (own) territory because they would not make hard choices,” she went on to say.
“The Nigerian government has failed to confront the threat, or to address the underlying challenges. Most of all, the government of Nigeria needs to get serious about protecting all of its citizens and ensuring that every child has the right and opportunity to go to school,” she said in her address to the function organised by the International Crisis Group.
“Every asset and expertise should be brought to bear. Everyone needs to see this for what it is, it is a gross human rights abuse, but it is also part of a continuing struggle within Nigeria and within North Africa,” she added forcefully.
Clinton, often mentioned as the leading Democratic Party candidate in the upcoming 2016 U.S. Presidential election cycle, has not yet announced whether she will run for the White House. Yet, comments from the respected former U.S. Secretary of State do carry political weight beyond American borders.
A former military ruler of Nigeria, Muhammadu Buhari, has called for the introduction of ‘total’ Islamic law across the country, reports said on Monday.He made this call at a conference organized by the Supreme Council of Islamic Affairs in Kaduna.Buhari, who ruled Nigeria from a coup in December 1983 to his ouster in 1985, told a seminar in Kaduna, northern Nigeria, at the weekend that the strict Islamic law code known as the Sharia should be introduced in full across Nigeria.“I will continue to show openly and inside me the total commitment to the Sharia movement that is sweeping all over Nigeria,” Buhari said, quoted in press reports.
“God willing, we will not stop the agitation for the total implementation of the Sharia in the country,” Buhari said.Northern Nigeria is mainly Muslim but southern Nigeria is mainly Christian and has led criticism of the introduction of Islamic law in a dozen northern states in the past 18 months.Africa’s most populous country has been shaken repeatedly in the past by religious unrest. In February 2000 between 2 000 and 3 000 people were killed by Christian-Muslim riots in Kaduna over the introduction of Sharia.Call for Sharia across the countryBuhari’s comments were interpreted by the southern-based papers as a call for the imposition of Sharia all across the country, even in the mainly Christian south.“Buhari calls for Sharia in all states,” was the headline of the respected newspaper The Guardian.Buhari’s comments were defended by supporters as simply a call for the full implementation of Sharia in areas where Muslims predominated.But the comments are the second by Buhari that have courted controversy after he called earlier this year for Muslims to vote at the next presidential elections only for someone who would defend their faith.
This was criticised by the press as a call for voting along religious lines, as well as an attack on the current president, Olusegun Obasanjo, who is a Christian.Buhari made the latest comments at a seminar organised by the Supreme Council for Sharia in Nigeria, a newly set up body attended by northern state governments and Islamic scholars.“It is a legal responsibility which God has given us, within the context of one Nigeria, to continue to uphold the practice of Sharia wholeheartedly , and to educate non-Muslims that they have nothing to fear,” he said.“What remains for Muslims in Nigeria is for them to redouble their efforts, educate Muslims on the need to promote the full implementation of Sharia law,” he went on. – AFP
THIS WAS HOW BUHARI CONSTITUTED HIS GOVERNMENT WHEN HE WAS HEAD OF STATE BETWEEN 1982-1984: It is a pity that many have given themselves to deceit.
General Muhammadu Buhari's Governors 1984-1985
1. Allison Madueke - Christian-Anambra.
2. Jeremiah Useni - Christian - Bendel.
3. Micheal Bamidele - Christian Ondo.
4. Oladipo Diya - Christian - Ogun.
5. David Mark - Christian - Niger.
6. John Kpera - Christian - Benue.
7. Dan Achibong - Christian - C/Rivers.
8. Ike Nwachukwu -Christian -Imo.
9. Oladipo Popoola - Christian - Oyo.
10.Bitrus Atukum - Christian - Plateau.
11. B.L. Letimah - Christian - Rivers.
12. Salaudeen Latinwo - Muslim-Kwara.
13. Gbolahan Mudasiru - Atheist-Lagos.
14. Sani Sami -Muslim - Bauchi.
15. Abubakar Waziri - Muslim - Borno.
16. Muhammadu Jega - Muslim - Gongola.
17. Usman Mu'azu - Muslim - Kaduna.
18. Hamza Abdullahi - Muslim - Kano.
19. Garba Duba -Muslim -Sokoto
General Out of 19 governors , 11 were Christians and 8 Muslims.
Buhari's Ministers;(1) Domkat Bali - Christian - Defence.2. Onaolapo Sholeye -Christian-Finance.3. Emmanuel Nsan - Christian - Health.4. Sam Omeruah - Christian-Information.5. Tam David West - Christian - Petroleum.6. Patrick Koshoni - Christian - Works.7. Chike Offodile - Christian - Justice. *ClementIsong - Christian Gov, CBN.Defence, works, petroleum, justice, finance and CBN governors were all Christians.
Lets stop the baseless accusation against this revolutionist and face reality. We shouldn't just because we want to kill a dog, give it a bad name Let us vote for change. Don't let them deceive you. Let's Change Nigeria!!
STATEMENT ON THE TIMETABLE FOR 2015 GENERAL ELECTIONS BY THE CHAIRMAN, INDEPENDENT NATIONAL ELECTORAL COMMISSION (INEC), PROFESSOR ATTAHIRU M. JEGA, AT A PRESS CONFERENCE ON FEBRUARY 07th, 2015
Ladies and Gentlemen,
We invited you here today to make known the position of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) on the timetable for the 2015 general elections. Let me state from the outset that the Commission’s position was reached after carefully weighing the suggestions from briefings held with different stakeholders in the electoral process.
The conduct of elections in a country like Nigeria is invariably a collective venture that involves not just the Election Management Body (EMB), but also a diverse range of stakeholders, notably security agencies, political parties and their candidates, voters, as well as interest groups, such as the civil society organizations and the media. To guarantee successful conduct of elections, there are things that are wholly the responsibility of the EMB. But there are other things critical for the success of elections, which fall outside the control of the EMB.
In other words, while INEC must work hard to perfect its systems and processes for conducting elections, and take responsibility for any imperfections thereof, whatever the Commission does may not by itself be sufficient to guarantee the success of elections. There are a number of issues in the preparation and conduct of an election, the most critical of which is security, which is not under the control of INEC.
Current State of INEC’s Preparedness
On Thursday, February 5, 2015, I was invited to brief the National Council of State, which is the highest advisory to the President comprising past and present leaders in Nigeria, on the level of preparedness of INEC to conduct the 2015 general elections. I made a presentation to the Council titled ‘Preparations for the 2015 General Elections: Progress Report,’ in which I gave a detailed account of what the Commission has been doing in readiness for the national elections (National Assembly and Presidential) scheduled for February 14th, and the state elections (Governorship and State Assembly) scheduled for February 28th, 2015.
The summary of my presentation to the National Council of State meeting is that, for matters under its control, INEC is substantially ready for the general elections as scheduled, despite discernible challenges being encountered with some of its processes like the collection of Permanent Voter Cards (PVCs) by registered members of the public.
In addition, INEC has been doing everything it can to facilitate the collection of the PVCs by registered members of the public. As at 5th February 2015, the total number of PVCs collected was 45, 829, 808, representing 66.58% of the total number of registered voters.
In the delivery and deployment of electoral materials, INEC is also at a comfort level in its readiness for the general elections as scheduled (see the presentation to the Council of State). The Commission’s preparations are not yet perfect or fully accomplished. But our level of preparedness, despite a few challenges, is sufficient to conduct free, fair and credible elections as scheduled on February 14th and February 28th. Compared with 2011 when, within a short time, we conducted general elections that were universally adjudged free, fair and credible and the best in Nigeria’s recent electoral history, our processes are today better refined, more robust and therefore capable of delivering even better elections.
But as I mentioned earlier, there are some other variables equally crucial for successful conduct of the 2015 general elections that are outside the control of INEC. One important variable is security for the elections.
While the Commission has a very good working relationship with all security agencies, especially on the platform of the Inter-agency Consultative Committee on Election Security (ICCES) since its inception in 2010, it has become pertinent for it to seriously consider the security advisory presented to it by the Security and Intelligence Services. I would like to reiterate here that INEC is an EMB and not a security agency. It relies on the security services to provide a safe environment for personnel, voters, election observers and election materials to conduct elections wherever it deploys. Where the security services strongly advise otherwise, it would be unconscionable of the Commission to deploy personnel and call voters out in such a situation.
Last Wednesday, which was a day before the Council of State meeting, the office of the National Security Adviser (NSA) wrote a letter to the Commission, drawing attention to recent developments in four Northeast states of Borno, Yobe, Adamawa and Gombe currently experiencing the challenge of insurgency. The letter stated that security could not be guaranteed during the proposed period in February for the general elections.
This advisory was reinforced at the Council of State meeting on Thursday where the NSA and all the Armed Services and Intelligence Chiefs unanimously reiterated that the safety and security of our operations cannot be guaranteed, and that the Security Services needed at least six weeks within which to conclude a major military operation against the insurgency in the Northeast; and that during this operation, the military will be concentrating its attention in the theatre of operations such that they may not be able to provide the traditional support they render to the Police and other agencies during elections.
We have done wide ranging consultation to enable us have as much input as is necessary before taking an informed decision. In the series of consultations that we held with stakeholders, the questions consistently posed to them for consideration are:
(i) In view of the latest development, should INEC proceed with the conduct of the general elections as scheduled in spite of this strong advice; and if so, what alternative security arrangements are available to be put in place?
(ii) Or, should INEC take the advice and adjust the schedules of the general elections within the framework of Constitutional provisions?
The Commission held a meeting after the consultations, and decided to take the advice of the Security Chiefs and adjust the dates of the elections. We have done this relying on Section 26(1) of the Electoral 2010 (As Amended), which states thus: “Where a date has been appointed for the holding of an election, and there is reason to believe that a serious breach of the peace is likely to occur if the election is proceeded with on that date or it is impossible to conduct the elections as a result of natural disasters or other emergencies, the Commission may postpone the election and shall in respect of the area, or areas concerned, appoint another date for the holding of the postponed election, provided that such reason for the postponement is cogent and verifiable”.
INEC not being a security agency that could by itself guarantee protection for personnel and materials, as well as voters during elections, the Commission cannot lightly wave off the advice by the nation’s Security Chiefs. The Commission is specifically concerned about the security of our ad hoc staff who constitute at least 600,000 young men and women, together with our regular staff, voters, election observers as well as election materials painstakingly acquired over the last one and half years. This concern is limited not just to the areas in the North-eastern part of Nigeria experiencing insurgency; the risk of deploying young men and women and calling people to exercise their democratic rights in a situation where their security cannot be guaranteed is a most onerous responsibility. Under such circumstances, few EMBs across the world, if any, would contemplate proceeding with the elections as scheduled. No matter the extent of INEC’s preparedness, therefore, if the security of personnel, voters, election observers and election materials cannot be guaranteed, the life of innocent young men and women as well the prospects of free, fair, credible and peaceful elections would be greatly jeopardised.
Consequently, the Commission has decided to reschedule the 2015 general elections thus: the national elections (i.e. Presidential and National Assembly) are now to hold on March 28th, 2015; while the state elections (Governorship and State Assembly) are to hold on April 11th, 2015. It should be noted that this rescheduling falls within the constitutional framework for the conduct of the elections, notably, Sections 76(2), 116(2), 132(2) and 178(2). See also Section 25 of the Electoral Act 2010 (As Amended).
For the avoidance of doubt, we will under no circumstances approve an arrangement that is not in line with the provisions of our laws. Our hope is that with this rescheduling, the security services will do their best to ensure that the security environment needed for safe and peaceful conduct of the 2015 elections is rapidly put in place.
We in INEC reassure all Nigerians and indeed the international community of our commitment to do everything within the law and to conduct free, fair, credible and peaceful elections. We call on the security agencies to honour their commitment to restore sufficient normalcy for elections to take place within the period of extension. We also call on Nigerians, political parties, candidates and all other stakeholders to accept this decision in good faith and ensure the maintenance of peace.
As for us in INEC we’ll endeavour to use the period of the extension to keep on perfecting our systems and processes for conducting the best elections in Nigeria’s history. In particular, we believe that we would resolve all outstanding issues related to non-collection of PVCs, which agitate the minds of many Nigerians.
Finally, we wish to call on all Nigerians to accept our decision, which is taken in good faith and the best interest of deepening democracy ion our country.
Professor Attahiru M. Jega, OFR
Permit me to start by thanking Chatham House for the invitation to talk about this important topic at this crucial time. When speaking about Nigeria overseas, I normally prefer to be my country’s public relations and marketing officer, extolling her virtues and hoping to attract investments and tourists. But as we all know, Nigeria is now battling with many challenges, and if I refer to them, I do so only to impress on our friends in the United Kingdom that we are quite aware of our shortcomings and are doing our best to address them.
The 2015 general election in Nigeria is generating a lot of interests within and outside the country. This is understandable. Nigeria, Africa’s most populous country and largest economy, is at a defining moment, a moment that has great implications beyond the democratic project and beyond the borders of my dear country.
So let me say upfront that the global interest in Nigeria’s landmark election is not misplaced at all and indeed should be commended; for this is an election that has serious import for the world. I urge the international community to continue to focus on Nigeria at this very critical moment. Given increasing global linkages, it is in our collective interests that the postponed elections should hold on the rescheduled dates; that they should be free and fair; that their outcomes should be respected by all parties; and that any form of extension, under whichever guise, is unconstitutional and will not be tolerated.
With the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989, the dissolution of the USSR in 1991, the collapse of communism and the end of the Cold War, democracy became the dominant and most preferred system of government across the globe. That global transition has been aptly captured as the triumph of democracy and the ‘most pre-eminent political idea of our time.’ On a personal note, the phased end of the USSR was a turning point for me. It convinced me that change can be brought about without firing a single shot.
As you all know, I had been a military head of state in Nigeria for twenty months. We intervened because we were unhappy with the state of affairs in our country. We wanted to arrest the drift. Driven by patriotism, influenced by the prevalence and popularity of such drastic measures all over Africa and elsewhere, we fought our way to power. But the global triumph of democracy has shown that another and a preferable path to change is possible. It is an important lesson I have carried with me since, and a lesson that is not lost on the African continent.
In the last two decades, democracy has grown strong roots in Africa. Elections, once so rare, are now so commonplace. As at the time I was a military head of state between 1983 and 1985, only four African countries held regular multi-party elections. But the number of electoral democracies in Africa, according to Freedom House, jumped to 10 in 1992/1993 then to 18 in 1994/1995 and to 24 in 2005/2006. According to the New York Times, 42 of the 48 countries in Sub-Saharan Africa conducted multi-party elections between 1990 and 2002.
The newspaper also reported that between 2000 and 2002, ruling parties in four African countries (Senegal, Mauritius, Ghana and Mali) peacefully handed over power to victorious opposition parties. In addition, the proportion of African countries categorized as not free by Freedom House declined from 59% in 1983 to 35% in 2003. Without doubt, Africa has been part of the current global wave of democratisation.
But the growth of democracy on the continent has been uneven. According to Freedom House, the number of electoral democracies in Africa slipped from 24 in 2007/2008 to 19 in 2011/2012; while the percentage of countries categorised as ‘not free’ assuming for the sake of argument that we accept their definition of “free” increased from 35% in 2003 to 41% in 2013. Also, there have been some reversals at different times in Burkina Faso, Central African Republic, Cote D’Ivoire, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Lesotho, Mali, Madagascar, Mauritania and Togo. We can choose to look at the glass of democracy in Africa as either half full or half empty.
While you can’t have representative democracy without elections, it is equally important to look at the quality of the elections and to remember that mere elections do not democracy make. It is globally agreed that democracy is not an event, but a journey. And that the destination of that journey is democratic consolidation - that state where democracy has become so rooted and so routine and widely accepted by all actors.
With this important destination in mind, it is clear that though many African countries now hold regular elections, very few of them have consolidated the practice of democracy. It is important to also state at this point that just as with elections, a consolidated democracy cannot be an end by itself. I will argue that it is not enough to hold a series of elections or even to peacefully alternate power among parties.
It is much more important that the promise of democracy goes beyond just allowing people to freely choose their leaders. It is much more important that democracy should deliver on the promise of choice, of freedoms, of security of lives and property, of transparency and accountability, of rule of law, of good governance and of shared prosperity. It is very important that the promise embedded in the concept of democracy, the promise of a better life for the generality of the people, is not delivered in the breach.
Now, let me quickly turn to Nigeria. As you all know, Nigeria’s fourth republic is in its 16th year and this general election will be the fifth in a row. This is a major sign of progress for us, given that our first republic lasted five years and three months, the second republic ended after four years and two months and the third republic was a still-birth. However, longevity is not the only reason why everyone is so interested in this election.
The major difference this time around is that for the very first time since transition to civil rule in 1999, the ruling Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) is facing its stiffest opposition so far from our party the All Progressives Congress (APC). We once had about 50 political parties, but with no real competition. Now Nigeria is transitioning from a dominant party system to a competitive electoral polity, which is a major marker on the road to democratic consolidation. As you know, peaceful alternation of power through competitive elections have happened in Ghana, Senegal, Malawi and Mauritius in recent times. The prospects of democratic consolidation in Africa will be further brightened when that eventually happens in Nigeria.
But there are other reasons why Nigerians and the whole world are intensely focussed on this year’s elections, chief of which is that the elections are holding in the shadow of huge security, economic and social uncertainties in Africa’s most populous country and largest economy. On insecurity, there is a genuine cause for worry, both within and outside Nigeria. Apart from the civil war era, at no other time in our history has Nigeria been this insecure.
Boko Haram has sadly put Nigeria on the terrorism map, killing more than 13,000 of our nationals, displacing millions internally and externally, and at a time holding on to portions of our territory the size of Belgium. What has been consistently lacking is the required leadership in our battle against insurgency. I, as a retired general and a former head of state, have always known about our soldiers: they are capable, well trained, patriotic, brave and always ready to do their duty in the service of our country.
You all can bear witness to the gallant role of our military in Burma, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Sierra Leone, Liberia, Darfur and in many other peacekeeping operations in several parts of the world. But in the matter of this insurgency, our soldiers have neither received the necessary support nor the required incentives to tackle this problem. The government has also failed in any effort towards a multi-dimensional response to this problem leading to a situation in which we have now become dependent on our neighbours to come to our rescue.
Let me assure you that if I am elected president, the world will have no cause to worry about Nigeria as it has had to recently; that Nigeria will return to its stabilising role in West Africa; and that no inch of Nigerian territory will ever be lost to the enemy because we will pay special attention to the welfare of our soldiers in and out of service, we will give them adequate and modern arms and ammunitions to work with, we will improve intelligence gathering and border controls to choke Boko Haram's financial and equipment channels, we will be tough on terrorism and tough on its root causes by initiating a comprehensive economic development plan promoting infrastructural development, job creation, agriculture and industry in the affected areas. We will always act on time and not allow problems to irresponsibly fester, and I, Muhammadu Buhari, will always lead from the front and return Nigeria to its leadership role in regional and international efforts to combat terrorism.
On the economy, the fall in prices of oil has brought our economic and social stress into full relief. After the rebasing exercise in April 2014, Nigeria overtook South Africa as Africa’s largest economy. Our GDP is now valued at $510 billion and our economy rated 26th in the world. Also on the bright side, inflation has been kept at single digit for a while and our economy has grown at an average of 7% for about a decade.
But it is more of paper growth, a growth that, on account of mismanagement, profligacy and corruption, has not translated to human development or shared prosperity. A development economist once said three questions should be asked about a country’s development: one, what is happening to poverty? Two, what is happening to unemployment? And three, what is happening to inequality?
The answers to these questions in Nigeria show that the current administration has created two economies in one country, a sorry tale of two nations: one economy for a few who have so much in their tiny island of prosperity; and the other economy for the many who have so little in their vast ocean of misery.
Even by official figures, 33.1% of Nigerians live in extreme poverty. That’s at almost 60 million, almost the population of the United Kingdom. There is also the unemployment crisis simmering beneath the surface, ready to explode at the slightest stress, with officially 23.9% of our adult population and almost 60% of our youth unemployed. We also have one of the highest rates of inequalities in the world.
With all these, it is not surprising that our performance on most governance and development indicators (like Mo Ibrahim Index on African Governance and UNDP’s Human Development Index.) are unflattering. With fall in the prices of oil, which accounts for more than 70% of government revenues, and lack of savings from more than a decade of oil boom, the poor will be disproportionately impacted.
In the face of dwindling revenues, a good place to start the repositioning of Nigeria's economy is to swiftly tackle two ills that have ballooned under the present administration: waste and corruption. And in doing this, I will, if elected, lead the way, with the force of personal example.
On corruption, there will be no confusion as to where I stand. Corruption will have no place and the corrupt will not be appointed into my administration. First and foremost, we will plug the holes in the budgetary process. Revenue producing entities such as NNPC and Customs and Excise will have one set of books only. Their revenues will be publicly disclosed and regularly audited. The institutions of state dedicated to fighting corruption will be given independence and prosecutorial authority without political interference.
But I must emphasise that any war waged on corruption should not be misconstrued as settling old scores or a witch-hunt. I'm running for President to lead Nigeria to prosperity and not adversity.
In reforming the economy, we will use savings that arise from blocking these leakages and the proceeds recovered from corruption to fund our party’s social investments programmes in education, health, and safety nets such as free school meals for children, emergency public works for unemployed youth and pensions for the elderly.
As a progressive party, we must reform our political economy to unleash the pent-up ingenuity and productivity of the Nigerian people thus freeing them from the curse of poverty. We will run a private sector-led economy but maintain an active role for government through strong regulatory oversight and deliberate interventions and incentives to diversify the base of our economy, strengthen productive sectors, improve the productive capacities of our people and create jobs for our teeming youths.
In short, we will run a functional economy driven by a worldview that sees growth not as an end by itself, but as a tool to create a society that works for all, rich and poor alike. On March 28, Nigeria has a decision to make. To vote for the continuity of failure or to elect progressive change. I believe the people will choose wisely.
In sum, I think that given its strategic importance, Nigeria can trigger a wave of democratic consolidation in Africa. But as a starting point we need to get this critical election right by ensuring that they go ahead, and depriving those who want to scuttle it the benefit of derailing our fledgling democracy. That way, we will all see democracy and democratic consolidation as tools for solving pressing problems in a sustainable way, not as ends in themselves.
Permit me to close this discussion on a personal note. I have heard and read references to me as a former dictator in many respected British newspapers including the well regarded Economist. Let me say without sounding defensive that dictatorship goes with military rule, though some might be less dictatorial than others. I take responsibility for whatever happened under my watch.
I cannot change the past. But I can change the present and the future. So before you is a former military ruler and a converted democrat who is ready to operate under democratic norms and is subjecting himself to the rigours of democratic elections for the fourth time.
You may ask: why is he doing this? This is a question I ask myself all the time too. And here is my humble answer: because the work of making Nigeria great is not yet done, because I still believe that change is possible, this time through the ballot, and most importantly, because I still have the capacity and the passion to dream and work for a Nigeria that will be respected again in the comity of nations and that all Nigerians will be proud of.
I thank you for listening.
By General Muhammadu Buhari (rtd.)
Chatham House, London
26 February 2015