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Subsidy: Let’s Endure Now to Enjoy Later, APC Tells Nigerians

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The ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) has appealed to organised labour not to allow opposition narratives on the deregulation exercise and electricity tariffs to hoodwink them.

The party admitted that it was not unmindful of the financial strains brought by the increase in fuel pump price and electricity rates, but assured that with little endurance, Nigerians stand to enjoy gains soon.

Deputy National Publicity Secretary of the ruling party, Yekini Nabena made the appeal in statement shortly after the government-organised labour meeting was deadlocked Tuesday in Abuja.

According to the APC, “We urge stakeholders, particularly the organised labour such as the Trade Union Congress (TUC) and the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) not to be hoodwinked by skewed opposition party narratives on the deregulation exercise and electricity tariffs.

“The same partisans have failed to account for and return trillions of naira stolen from national coffers in the guise of subsidizing fuel and the degrading of the electricity sector under their watch despite huge allocations and subsequent theft of the resources meant go improve the sector.

“The All Progressives Congress (APC) is not oblivious of the financial strains brought by the increase in fuel pump price and electricity rates. We urge Nigerians to endure now and enjoy gains soon.

“The reviews are crucial and hard thought decisions by government. On the positive side, the short and long-term benefits on the citizenry and our national life will become obvious and directly felt in critical sectors such as health, education, infrastructure and social services targeted at the poor.”

The party noted with shock the estimates by the Nigerian Institute for Social and Economic Research (NISER) which reported that the budget for fuel subsidies in 2019 was sufficient to enroll the entire population of Nigeria in the National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS), adding that fuel subsidies took over N10 trillion of our national resources since 2006.

“At least, the generality of Nigerians and stakeholders agree on a thousand and one reasons why fuel subsidy has become unsustainable. The perceived benefits of fuel subsidies have long been overtaken by the previous corruption and drain on scarce resources that should be directed to other critical sectors.

“In line with the current administration’s deregulation drive and move to increase private-sector participation in the petroleum sector, the task before us now is to improve our local refining capacities which we are already on course to achieving and maintain a competitive, market-driven, transparent and accountable petroleum pricing template which meets global best practices, particularly in a developing country such as ours.

“While government works assiduously to solve the country’s electricity challenges permanently, it realizes that many Nigerians and businesses still rely on alternative sources for power supply to meet electricity needs, hence its current focus on improving electricity and service delivery while also protecting poor and vulnerable Nigerians from arbitrary and estimated electricity billing.

“As with government’s decision to increase Nigerian worker’s minimum wage and other social investments, the President Muhammadu Buhari-led APC administration takes the welfare of the citizenry seriously.”

The party then appealed for the understanding of the organised labour and civil socities by supporting government move at fixing the economy. “We call on all stakeholders — government at all levels, private sector organizations, labour unions, civil societies, students and youth groups to support governments decision on the ongoing deregulation exercise as the citizens will be the ultimate beneficiaries.

“We urge stakeholders, particularly the organised labour such as the Trade Union Congress (TUC) and the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) not to be hoodwinked by skewed opposition party narratives on the deregulation exercise and electricity tariffs. The same partisans have failed to account for and return trillions of naira stolen from national coffers in the guise of subsidizing fuel and the degrading of the electricity sector under their watch despite huge allocations and subsequent theft of the resources meant go improve the sector.

“We urge all to support the current administration’s economic policies to uplift Nigerians,” the party concluded.

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Armed Forces Remembrance Day: Pigeons Released By Buhari Refuse To Fly

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The doves, otherwise known as white pigeons, released by the President, Muhammadu Buhari, at the Armed Forces Remembrance Day ceremony, refused to fly despite multiple attempts by the President thereby sparking a debate on social media on Friday.

The President had opened the birdcage at the National Arcade, picked up one of the doves, and thrown it into the air but the bird landed atop the cage and refused to fly.

Buhari, who was eager to let the white pigeons fly, opened the roof of the cage in a bid to send them all out but the birds remained adamant and decided to sit on top of the cage’s roof.

The President, who appeared tired of trying, soon left the birds and returned to his seat. Moments after the President had left, however, some of the birds flew.

The ritual of releasing doves is to commemorate the life of a departed loved one and is common at significant events like funerals or memorials. It also signifies peace.

Studies show that domesticated doves which are used to living in cages are not always keen on flying.

In 2014, the doves refused to fly when former President Goodluck Jonathan freed them. The Spiritual Director of the Adoration Ministry Enugu, Rev Fr. Ejike Mbaka, described the incident at the time as a sign that God had abandoned Jonathan.

The refusal of the birds to fly on Friday, however, sparked thousands of comments on social media.

A former presidential aspirant of the All Progressives Congress, Adamu Garba, said the birds should be eaten if they cannot do what they were trained to do.

“The pigeons are tired and overtime became lazy, they don’t want to fly the spirit of The Nigerian Flag. We should roast them at Suya joint and deploy Crowwe for action,” he said.

Social media personality, Morris Monye, said the Department of State Services would have arrested the pigeons for embarrassing the President if they could.

“I guarantee you… If it was possible, the DSS would arrest the pigeons for such an affront on the President. But really, is there peace, harmony, and security in the land?” he asked.

A former Minister of Education, Oby Ezekwesili, who is a known critique of the President, also tweeted, “Hmmm. Even the pigeons in Nigeria.”

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2023 Presidency: 10,000 Youths To Trek From Lagos To Bauchi For Bala Mohammed

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A youth group launches what it calls “Bala Initiative with 10,000 youth foot-match from Lagos to Bauchi”, to prevail on Governor Bala Mohammed of Bauchi State to aspire to become the President of Nigeria comes 2023.

The group called South West Youth Coalition in a statement says it resolved to trek to called on the governor to join the race for the presidency following the tremendous achievement of Governor Bala Mohammed as governor of Bauchi.

The group says the 10,000-youth match from Lagos to Bauchi was aimed at begging Nigerians from all the six geopolitical zones of the country to prevail on governor Mohammed to join the 2023 race.

The coalition says among other things, governor Mohamed has the potentials to address the defiant Boko Haram insurgency in the north-east in addition to infrastructural development, he will unleash across Nigeria.

“Over the years, since the election of governor Mohammed as the executive governor of Bauchi State, the people have continued to witness tremendous progress in all sectors, especially in areas of security.

“According to records, Bauchi State is one amongst the few northeast states which have remained secured against insurgencies, bandits’ attacks and other forms of development witchcraft, because the Governor has demonstrated astuteness, commitment and dogged abilities in supporting the growth and development in Bauchi State”, the statement read in part.

The convener of the group, Mr Oladimeji Lanre says the fight against insurgency and other forms of development, ineptitude needs an experienced “and tested and trusted northeast leader who has the capability to restore peace, good governance and public confidence.”

He said the south-west youth leaders have vowed to personally make their financial contributions to obtain a nomination form for governor Mohammed ahead of the 2023 presidential race.

The convener said his group is expanding its tentacles by reaching out to youths and other social groups in other regions of the country to woo support for Governor Mohammed.

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Religious Freedom: Centre Ranks Nigeria Under Buhari As Most Tolerant Nation In The World

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No country in the world enjoys religious tolerance, freedom of speech and political association as much as Nigeria under President Muhammadu Buhari, the Centre for Social Justice, Equity and Transparency (CESJET) has said.

The centre, in a strategic report on the state of the nation, on Thursday, ranked Nigeria as the most tolerant amongst other nations across the world.

In the report signed by its Executive Secretary, Isaac Ikpa, the CESJET revealed that the level of religious tolerance in the country is unprecedented and an indication of the numerous efforts of the Buhari administration in creating the enabling environment for Nigerians of different faith to co-exist.

The centre, which based its report on primary sources of data from individuals, groups and associations in sectors critical to the research work also noted that freedom of speech and political association has received a massive boost in recent time.

This, it said, is despite the grand plot by disgruntled politicians and their foreign collaborators to undermine the current administration.

The report, however, assured that the country is on the path of greatness thanks to the unalloyed commitment of President Buhari in formulating and implementing policies that translate the hopes and aspirations of the ordinary Nigerians on the streets into tangible realities.

Read the full report below:

Introduction:

The Centre for Social Justice, Equity and Transparency in a bid to assess the state of the nation under the Muhammadu Buhari administration undertook a critical assessment of some key indicators of democratic ideals in the country.

In this report, importance was given to facts on the ground derived from first hand and primary sources. Emphasis was also placed on geographical spread to make a balanced judgment in the final analysis.

This report is consequently the outcome of a detailed and rigorous assessment of the issues surrounding religious tolerance, freedom of speech, and political association in Nigeria.

Methodology:

In a bid to have a detailed outcome that would stand the test of time and put issues in proper perspectives, a data collection method with multilayer mechanism for screening was deployed by the team of researchers’ that combed the nook and crannies of Nigeria.

It relied on primary sources of data derived from individuals, groups and associations in sectors critical to the research work. Material evidence was also gathered from credible secondary sources and analyzed by an independent team for accuracy.

The Issues:

In Nigeria, there have been widespread criticisms of the Muhammadu Buhari administration in its commitment towards sustaining the ideals of democracy such as religious tolerance, freedom of speech and political association. It must be noted that the bulk of the narrative has been centred on conjectures, which, to a large extent, has contributed to disquiet in the country.

Religious Tolerance:

The issue of religious tolerance evokes sentiments across the country; there is no doubt that there is mutual suspicion amongst the major religious groups in the country. And this fact resonates in almost all the nook and crannies of Nigeria. However, it was observed that the perceived tension is a function of political intrigues and religion is identified as that basis for the settling of political scores.

In our assessment of religious tolerance in the country, it was observed that under the Muhammadu Buhari administration, there had been series of attempts to attribute disagreements between the major religious bodies to President Muhammadu Buhari himself. It was observed that most times, these insinuations are not substantiated by any verifiable facts.

Our assessment also revealed that since President Muhammadu Buhari assumed office, there have been concerted efforts to rebuild trust amongst the country’s major religious groups after decades of hostilities. This fact was buttressed through extensive interactions with religious leaders whose opinion supports the fact that under the Muhammadu Buhari administration, the country has witnessed religious tolerance and the indicators for rebuilding trust are high.

Freedom of Speech:

Freedom of Speech is guaranteed for every citizen of Nigeria in the Constitution. This much has been practised in Nigeria over the years. However, in the analysis of the Muhammadu Buhari administration, it was observed that freedom of speech had not been stifled as speculated by some segment in the country.

From our analysis, Nigerians have indeed expressed themselves feely since the advent of the Muhammadu Buhari administration. The bulk of the misgivings are hinged on unsubstantiated cases that were best pushed in the public space for mischief purposes.

Our researchers carried out a comparative analysis of freedom of speech in Nigeria from 1999-2020. It was discovered that from 2014 to 2020, Freedom of Speech in Nigeria was unhindered.

It was also discovered that the Muhammadu Buhari administration has indeed displayed a strong commitment towards ensuring that freedom of speech was unhindered.  Our findings also indicated that the bulk of those insinuating gaging of freedom of speech in Nigeria is doing so not for its merit, but rather as a tool to score political points.

Political Association:

Political association in Nigeria has remained the backbone of our nascent democracy, and this much has been practised in Nigeria. It was observed that this trend had received a tremendous boost in recent times with an increased rate of 65% going by the statistics at our disposal. This is a considerable improvement over the years and an indication of the level playing field created by the present administration.

Extensive research was also carried out in this regard. The consensus is that political association in Nigeria has received a tremendous boost.  This fact indeed resonated across the country with various stakeholders in uniformity in this regards.

Conclusion:

After extensive analysis of the issues highlighted above, the Centre for Social Justice, Equity and Transparency herby states that Nigeria under President Muhammadu Buhari has witnessed a transformation in critical sectors.

The issues of religious tolerance in Nigeria were very prominent in all of our analysis. It thus suffices to state that the level of religious tolerance in Nigeria is unprecedented and an indication of the numerous efforts of the Muhammadu Buhari administration in creating the enabling environment for religious tolerance in the country to thrive.

We also conclude that freedom of speech and the political association has received a boost in recent times. From our interactions and detailed scrutiny of issues in this regard, it is our considered opinion that the Muhammadu Buhari administration has displayed an unalloyed commitment towards setting Nigeria on the path of greatness through the formulation and implementation of policies that translate the hopes and aspirations of the ordinary Nigerians on the streets into tangible realities.

This report states that Nigeria remains one of the most tolerant countries in the world. This is indeed a statement of the fact that has been objectively scrutinized to put issues in proper perspectives.

This report also states that there is a grand plot to discredit the Muhammadu Buhari administration as most of the issues advocated in the public space regarding religious tolerance, freedom of speech and political association have been a conflagration of political intrigues that is common with most developing democracies in the world.

We conclude that Nigeria under President Muhammadu Buhari remains one of the most tolerant nations in the world.

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