Buhari speaks of pres­sure over cab­i­net reshuf­fle

Daily Trust - - NEWS -

have to go through some­body you think is in the cor­ri­dors of power to speak to me.”

The pres­i­dent said if his tele­phones were seen with him, too many peo­ple may call or send him text mes­sages. “But if they are locked in my drawer, you wouldn’t know where they (the phones) are and you can’t com­plain to the drawer,” he said.

Daily Trust learnt from sources last night that the move to ex­pand the cab­i­net has reached an ad­vanced stage. It is learnt that the min­is­ter of ed­u­ca­tion and his ju­di­ciary coun­ter­part are re­spon­si­ble for the com­pi­la­tion of a short­list of pos­si­ble nom­i­nees.

Ear­lier in the day, the pres­i­dent de­clared that the “Igbo is Nige­ria and Nige­ria is Igbo,” as he be­gan a two day visit to heart­land of Bi­afra ag­i­ta­tion.

The Pres­i­dent said the two are in­sep­a­ra­ble and there­fore called on the peo­ple of the south­east to re­ject the “sense­less pro­pa­ganda on se­ces­sion.”

The visit to the re­gion, his first since he was elected two and a half years ago, came at time when the south east has been cry­ing of marginal­i­sa­tion in ap­point­ments and the clam­our for a sov­er­eign state of Bi­afra by IPOB.

How­ever, speak­ing at the Abaka­liki Town­ship Sta­dium yes­ter­day, Pres­i­dent Buhari said he had lined up var­i­ous de­vel­op­men­tal projects for the zone in his 2018 bud­get.

He said: “For ex­am­ple, we re­cently mo­bi­lized the con­trac­tor of the 2nd Niger Bridge back to site. We have also made pro­vi­sions in the 2018 bud­get pro­posal to en­sure this project is com­pleted as early as pos­si­ble.

“We are also up­grad­ing the Fed­eral Med­i­cal Cen­tre in Umuahia by con­struct­ing a Mod­ern Med­i­cal Di­ag­nos­tic Cen­tre. This will fur­ther bring qual­ity and af­ford­able health care to the re­gion.

“In the agri­cul­tural sec­tor, the States in this re­gion have par­tic­i­pated in all Fed­eral Govern­ment agri­cul­tural ini­tia­tives. For in­stance, Ebonyi was among the first few State Govern­ment’s to sign up to the Pres­i­den­tial Fer­til­izer Ini­tia­tive. The pro­gram has al­ready cre­ated thou­sands of di­rect and in­di­rect jobs in this fer­tile part of the our coun­try.

“For the South East, I am pleased to in­form you that our 2018 bud­get pro­posal has al­lo­cated up to N10 bil­lion for the devel­op­ment of the Eny­imba In­dus­trial Park and Nnewi Auto Park. Both projects will be im­ple­mented in col­lab­o­ra­tion with the re­spec­tive state Gov­ern­ments and the pri­vate sec­tor. Again, these are clas­sic ex­am­ples of the part­ner­ships be­tween the Fed­eral and State Gov­ern­ments in the re­gion to im­prove the liveli­hoods of Nige­ri­ans – pol­i­tics aside.

“In Oc­to­ber 2017, we com­menced the pay­ment of pen­sions to po­lice of­fi­cers who were granted Pres­i­den­tial par­don in 2000 af­ter serv­ing in the for­mer Bi­afran Po­lice dur­ing the 30 month civil war. These of­fi­cers, and their next of kin, have waited for their pen­sions for 17 years since the Pres­i­den­tial par­don.”

The pres­i­dent as­sured Ndigbo that the wel­fare and well-be­ing of every Nige­rian was im­por­tant to his govern­ment, say­ing “We stand for in­clu­siv­ity and will not leave any sec­tion or ci­ti­zen be­hind.”

He de­scribed his pres­ence in Ebonyi as a demon­stra­tion of his strong be­lief in the unity of Nige­ria.

He said as the most pop­u­lous coun­try in Africa, with over 300 eth­nic groups, Nige­ria’s di­ver­sity is al­most unique among na­tions.

He urged the cit­i­zens to sus­tain na­tional unity to­wards build­ing a coun­try where the as­pi­ra­tions of its peo­ple is guar­an­teed with­out prej­u­dice to tribe or re­li­gion.

He said the task of na­tion build­ing never stops not­ing that Nige­ria’s found­ing fathers worked to­gether to ac­tu­al­ize the cre­ation of one Nige­ria.

“Yes, they had dif­fer­ences and var­ied opin­ions at times. Af­ter all, they were only hu­man. And yes, they had An FCT High Court in Apo has granted bail to nine sus­pected fraud­sters ac­cused of con­spir­acy and steal­ing of work­ers en­ti­tle­ments to the tune of N293mil­lion.

The sus­pects: Us­man Aliyu Dayo, Osun­tope Opeyemi, John­son Ade­dokun, Ojeifo Robert Sly­vanus, Oye­bade Ebenezer Ay­o­deji, Flo­rence Olaolu Dada, Olaolu Haruna Dada, Bless­ing Ejeh and Aderibigbe Isaac Taiwo were ar­raigned by the Eco­nomic and Fi­nan­cial Crimes Com­mis­sion (EFCC) and have since been in pris­ons cus­tody.

The de­fen­dants pleaded mo­ments of weak­nesses and doubt. But again, no one is per­fect. How­ever, one thing they all pro­tected un­til the end of their lives was hav­ing one Nige­ria for all Nige­ri­ans,” he said.

At 57 Nige­ria had gone through many pains but had also achieved sig­nif­i­cant suc­cesses, he said.

“But we rarely cel­e­brate these suc­cesses more. Some mis­guided Nige­ri­ans would rather chan­nel their en­ergy to prop­a­gat­ing neg­a­tive sto­ries and sense­less ru­mours.

“Over 60% of Nige­ria’s pop­u­la­tion is un­der 25 years old. They have lit­tle knowl­edge of Nige­ria’s jour­ney. They were not born dur­ing the dark days of civil war and the na­tion re­build­ing that hap­pened af­ter­wards.

“The task of na­tion build­ing is a con­tin­u­ous one. It re­lies on the suc­cess­ful tran­si­tion of fac­tual knowl­edge from one gen­er­a­tion to an­other.

“This means it is our col­lec­tive re­spon­si­bil­ity to en­sure we do not be­tray our found­ing fathers as we trans­fer the Nige­ria project from one gen­er­a­tion to the next.

“So par­ents, speak to your chil­dren about the im­por­tance of their her­itage, cul­ture and be­ing open minded. Teach­ers, teach your stu­dents about the his­tory of this na­tion and how it was a coali­tion of di­ver­sity that brought it to ex­is­tence. And lead­ers, we must lead by not guilty.

The sus­pects are em­ploy­ees of the Of­fice of the Ac­coun­tant Gen­eral of the Fed­er­a­tion, Fed­eral Min­istry of En­vi­ron­ment, Fed­eral Min­istry of Agri­cul­ture and Ru­ral Devel­op­ment, Fed­eral Min­istry of Wa­ter Re­sources and Fed­eral Civil Ser­vice Com­mis­sion.

The trial judge Jus­tice Peter Keke­meke ad­mit­ted each of the ac­cused per­sons to bail in the sum of N5mil­lion with two sureties each in like sum. The sureties must be res­i­dent within Abuja me­trop­o­lis.

Hear­ing on the mat­ter has been fixed for De­cem­ber 13, 2017. ex­am­ple and show tol­er­ance and ac­cep­tance of di­ver­sity.”

Buhari said his ad­min­is­tra­tion was work­ing ag­gres­sively to cre­ate jobs re­build poor in­fra­struc­ture.

“We are build­ing roads, hos­pi­tals and schools. We are ex­pand­ing our power trans­mis­sion in­fra­struc­ture while sup­port­ing the gen­er­a­tion and dis­tri­bu­tion com­pa­nies to en­sure more power is de­liv­ered to our homes. We are de­vel­op­ing agri­cul­tural pro­grams that will cre­ate more jobs while mak­ing Nige­ria food se­cure,” he said.

The South-East gov­er­nors at the oc­ca­sion in­clude: Gov. Ifeanyi Ug­wuanyi of Enugu State; Gov. Dave Umahi of Ebonyi State; Gov. Okezie Ik­peazu of Abia State and Gov. Rochas Oko­rocha of Imo State;

Gov. Yahya Bello of Kogi State and neigh­bour­ing state to Enugu State was also present.

The min­is­ters in­clude; Min­is­ter of For­eign Af­fairs, God­frey Onyeama; Min­is­ter OF Labour and Pro­duc­tiv­ity; Chris Ngige; Min­is­ter of Trade and In­vest­ment, Okechukwu Elen­ema; and Min­is­ter of State for Ed­u­ca­tion, An­thony An­wuka.

Oth­ers were the Na­tional Pres­i­dent of Ohaneze Ndigbo, Chief Nnia Nwodo; for­mer Se­nate Pres­i­dent, Chief Ken Nna­mani and for­mer Gov­er­nor of Old Anam­bra State, Chief Jim Nwa­bodo.

Pres­i­dent Muham­madu Buhari (left) lays the foun­da­tion stone for the Pres­i­dent Muham­madu Buhari Fly­over Bridge/Road Tun­nel, dur­ing his state visit to Abaka­liki, Ebonyi State yes­ter­day Photo:

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