President Buhari’s Inaugural Speech

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Inaugural speech by His Excellency, President Muhammadu Buhari following his swearing-in as President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria on 29th May, 2015

I am immensely grateful to God Who Has preserved us to witness this day and this occasion. Today marks a triumph for Nigeria and an occasion to celebrate her freedom and cherish her democracy. Nigerians have shown their commitment to democracy and are determined to entrench its culture. Our journey has not been easy but thanks to the determination of our people and strong support from friends abroad we have today a truly democratically elected government in place.

I would like to thank President Goodluck Jonathan for his display of statesmanship in setting a precedent for us that has now made our people proud to be Nigerians wherever they are. With the support and cooperation he has given to the transition process, he has made it possible for us to show the world that despite the perceived tension in the land we can be a united people capable of doing what is right for our nation. Together we co-operated to surprise the world that had come to expect only the worst from Nigeria. I hope this act of graciously accepting defeat by the outgoing President will become the standard of political conduct in the country.

I would like to thank the millions of our supporters who believed in us even when the cause seemed hopeless. I salute their resolve in waiting long hours in rain and hot sunshine to register and cast their votes and stay all night if necessary to protect and ensure their votes count and were counted.  I thank those who tirelessly carried the campaign on the social media. At the same time, I thank our other countrymen and women who did not vote for us but contributed to make our democratic culture truly competitive, strong and definitive.

I thank all of you.

Having just a few minutes ago sworn on the Holy Book, I intend to keep my oath and serve as President to all Nigerians.

I belong to everybody and I belong to nobody.

A few people have privately voiced fears that on coming back to office I shall go after them. These fears are groundless. There will be no paying off old scores. The past is prologue.

Our neighbours in the Sub-region and our African brethenen should rest assured that Nigeria under our administration will be ready to play any leadership role that Africa expects of it. Here I would like to thank the governments and people of Cameroon, Chad and Niger for committing their armed forces to fight Boko Haram in Nigeria.

I also wish to assure the wider international community of our readiness to cooperate and help to combat threats of cross-border terrorism, sea piracy, refugees and boat people, financial crime, cyber crime, climate change, the spread of communicable diseases and other challenges of the 21st century.

At home we face enormous challenges. Insecurity, pervasive corruption, the hitherto unending and seemingly impossible fuel and power shortages are the immediate concerns. We are going to tackle them head on. Nigerians will not regret that they have entrusted national responsibility to us. We must not succumb to hopelessness and defeatism. We can fix our problems.

In recent times Nigerian leaders appear to have misread our mission. Our founding fathers, Mr Herbert Macauley, Dr Nnamdi Azikiwe, Chief Obafemi Awolowo, Alhaji Ahmadu Bello, the Sardauna of Sokoto, Alhaji Abubakar Tafawa Balewa, Malam Aminu Kano, Chief J.S. Tarka, Mr Eyo Ita, Chief Denis Osadeby, Chief Ladoke Akintola and their colleagues worked to establish certain standards of governance. They might have differed in their methods or tactics or details, but they were united in establishing a viable and progressive country. Some of their successors behaved like spoilt children breaking everything and bringing disorder to the house.

Furthermore, we as Nigerians must remind ourselves that we are heirs to great civilizations: Shehu Othman Dan fodio’s caliphate, the Kanem Borno Empire, the Oyo Empire, the Benin Empire and King Jaja’s formidable domain. The blood of those great ancestors flow in our veins. What is now required is to build on these legacies, to modernize and uplift Nigeria.

Daunting as the task may be it is by no means insurmountable. There is now a national consensus that our chosen route to national development is democracy. To achieve our objectives we must consciously work the democratic system. The Federal Executive under my watch will not seek to encroach on the duties and functions of the Legislative and Judicial arms of government. The law enforcing authorities will be charged to operate within the Constitution. We shall rebuild and reform the public service to become more effective and more serviceable. We shall charge them to apply themselves with integrity to stabilize the system.

For their part the legislative arm must keep to their brief of making laws, carrying out over-sight functions and doing so expeditiously. The judicial system needs reform to cleanse itself from its immediate past. The country now expects the judiciary to act with dispatch on all cases especially on corruption, serious financial crimes or abuse of office. It is only when the three arms act constitutionally that government will be enabled to serve the country optimally and avoid the confusion all too often bedeviling governance today.

Elsewhere relations between Abuja and the States have to be clarified if we are to serve the country better. Constitutionally there are limits to powers of each of the three tiers of government but that should not mean the Federal Government should fold its arms and close its eyes to what is going on in the states and local governments. Not least the operations of the Local Government Joint Account. While the Federal Government can not interfere in the details of its operations it will ensure that the gross corruption at the local level is checked. As far as the constitution allows me I will try to ensure that there is responsible and accountable governance at all levels of government in the country. For I will not have kept my own trust with the Nigerian people if I allow others abuse theirs under my watch.

However, no matter how well organized the governments of the federation are they can not succeed without the support, understanding and cooperation of labour unions, organized private sector, the press and civil society organizations. I appeal to employers and workers alike to unite in raising productivity so that everybody will have the opportunity to share in increased prosperity. The Nigerian press is the most vibrant in Africa. My appeal to the media today – and this includes the social media – is to exercise its considerable powers with responsibility and patriotism.

My appeal for unity is predicated on the seriousness of the legacy we are getting into. With depleted foreign reserves, falling oil prices, leakages and debts the Nigerian economy is in deep trouble and will require careful management to bring it round and to tackle the immediate challenges confronting us, namely; Boko Haram, the Niger Delta situation, the power shortages and unemployment especially among young people. For the longer term we have to improve the standards of our education. We have to look at the whole field of medicare. We have to upgrade our dilapidated physical infrastructure.

The most immediate is Boko Haram’s insurgency. Progress has been made in recent weeks by our security forces but victory can not be achieved by basing the Command and Control Centre in Abuja. The command centre will be relocated to Maiduguri and remain until Boko Haram is completely subdued. But we can not claim to have defeated Boko Haram without rescuing the Chibok girls and all other innocent persons held hostage by insurgents.

This government will do all it can to rescue them alive. Boko Haram is a typical example of small fires causing large fires. An eccentric and unorthodox preacher with a tiny following was given posthumous fame and following by his extra judicial murder at the hands of the police. Since then through official bungling, negligence, complacency or collusion Boko Haram became a terrifying force taking tens of thousands of lives and capturing several towns and villages covering swathes of Nigerian sovereign territory.

Boko Haram is a mindless, godless group who are as far away from Islam as one can think of. At the end of the hostilities when the group is subdued the Government intends to commission a sociological study to determine its origins, remote and immediate causes of the movement, its sponsors, the international connexions to ensure that measures are taken to prevent a reccurrence of this evil. For now the Armed Forces will be fully charged with prosecuting the fight against Boko haram. We shall overhaul the rules of engagement to avoid human rights violations in operations. We shall improve operational and legal mechanisms so that disciplinary steps are taken against proven human right violations by the Armed Forces.

Boko Haram is not only the security issue bedeviling our country. The spate of kidnappings, armed robberies, herdsmen/farmers clashes, cattle rustlings all help to add to the general air of insecurity in our land. We are going to erect and maintain an efficient, disciplined people – friendly and well – compensated security forces within an over – all security architecture.

The amnesty programme in the Niger Delta is due to end in December, but the Government intends to invest heavily in the projects, and programmes currently in place. I call on the leadership and people in these areas to cooperate with the State and Federal Government in the rehabilitation programmes which will be streamlined and made more effective. As ever, I am ready to listen to grievances of my fellow Nigerians. I extend my hand of fellowship to them so that we can bring peace and build prosperity for our people.

No single cause can be identified to explain Nigerian’s poor economic performance over the years than the power situation. It is a national shame that an economy of 180 million generates only 4,000MW, and distributes even less. Continuous tinkering with the structures of power supply and distribution and close on $20b expanded since 1999 have only brought darkness, frustration, misery, and resignation among Nigerians. We will not allow this to go on. Careful studies are under way during this transition to identify the quickest, safest and most cost-effective way to bring light and relief to Nigerians.

Unemployment, notably youth un-employment features strongly in our Party’s Manifesto. We intend to attack the problem frontally through revival of agriculture, solid minerals mining as well as credits to small and medium size businesses to kick – start these enterprises. We shall quickly examine the best way to revive major industries and accelerate the revival and development of our railways, roads and general infrastructure.

Your Excellencies, My fellow Nigerians I can not recall when Nigeria enjoyed so much goodwill abroad as now. The messages I received from East and West, from powerful and small countries are indicative of international expectations on us. At home the newly elected government is basking in a reservoir of goodwill and high expectations. Nigeria therefore has a window of opportunity to fulfill our long – standing potential of pulling ourselves together and realizing our mission as a great nation.

Our situation somehow reminds one of a passage in Shakespeare’s Julius Ceasar

There is a tide in the affairs of men which, taken at the flood, leads on to fortune; omitted, all the voyage of their life, is bound in shallows and miseries.

We have an opportunity. Let us take it.

Thank you

Muhammadu Buhari

President Federal Republic of NIGERIA
and Commander in-chief-of the Armed forces

Text of Speech of New Sokoto State Governor, Aminu Tambuwal At His Swearing in on May 29th

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ADDRESS BY THE GOVERNOR OF SOKOTO STATE, RT. HON. AMINU WAZIRI TAMBUWAL, CFR (MUTAWALLEN SAKKWATO) AT HIS INAUGURATION AS THE GOVERNOR OF SOKOTO STATE ON FRIDAY, 29TH MAY, 2015.

A’uzu Billahi Mina Shaidanir Rajeem

Bismillahi Rahmanir Raheem.

PROTOCOL:

​I stand before you today humbled by the combination of factors that have brought me to this profound moment. I wish to first and foremost express my profound gratitude to Allah (SWT), who controls all that transpires in the worlds. We thank Him for His continued Blessings and guidance in all our endeavours.

2. ​Today marks another landmark in the political history of our State in particular and the nation as a whole, as we witness another civilian to civilian transition. I am indeed, highly humbled by the array of esteemed personalities from all walks of life at this historic ceremony. I sincerely cherish the love and goodwill of our guests who are here to witness this event, out of love and long-standing friendship with the people of Sokoto State. On behalf of my Deputy His Excellency Ahmed Aliyu, I thank you all for the honour.

3.  Your Excellencies; Distinguished Ladies and Gentlemen, We must also express our profound gratitude to His Excellency, the outgoing Governor of Sokoto State and our newly elected Senator, Alh. (Dr.) Aliyu Magatakarda Wamakko (Sarkin Yamman and Sarkin Yakin Sokoto) for his invaluable role in the victory that has now enthroned the All Progressive Congress in the centre and the state. He is a man whose patriotism, compassion and people-oriented politics have made Sokoto one of the most peaceful, most united and most progressive states in Nigeria today.

4.    We want to commend the traditional institution, and our religious leaders for the historical role they have played in the overall development of this state which has always been one of the most important landmarks of this part of the country and West Africa. We shall continue to cherish their contribution and to respect and honour their words of wisdom.

5. The leaders of our great party have been gallant warriors of democracy. Their hardwork and sacrifice have not gone unnoticed and without their political sagacity our party would not be here today. We want to thank them most graciously and to assure them of the constant support of this administration.

6. Let me also thank the organisers of this grand inaugural ceremony under the distinguished leadership of the Secretary to the State Government Alh Sahabi Isa Gada. They have done such a wonderful job and we are all proud of their efforts. Without doubt this is a very patriotic duty and it has been handled with all sense of responsibility by those involved. We thank them and again reassure them that we shall strive to be worthy of their trust.

7. In the same manner we wish to extend our hands of fellowship to the federal government and to place on record our desire to key into the vision and programmes of the government at the centre. We believe that in creating a synergy between our state and the Federal Government we shall more easily provide the democratic benefits that our people desire so much.

8.  ​We would like to assure the good people of Sokoto State that we will do our best to consolidate on the successes recorded by the outgoing administration. Our priority is the completion of the ongoing projects in the state because we believe that the hallmark of good governance lies in continuity especially in executing programmes and projects that have direct bearing on the lives of the citizenry.

9. The most critical challenges of our dear state continue to be low income, low literacy level, weak internal Revenue base, weak private sector, unemployment, infrastructure deficit resulting in rural urban migration, need to improve on our agricultural, declining cultural practices, access to portable water and environmental sanitation. In this regard, We shall pay full attention to education, healthcare delivery services, agriculture; women and youth empowerment, rural development, job creation, environmental sanitation, social reorientation, portable water supply, infrastructural development, internal revenue generation as well as devising ways of harnessing our solid and mineral resources for sustainable development and diversification of the local economy.

10. We are determined to provide all round education for the benefit of our people. We know that merely providing purely western education is not going to be adequate for the needs of our people. We hope to ensure that they also imbibe the benefit of our cultural and religious teachings.  We shall be looking to eradicate all manners of learning disabilities by providing not just the means for getting conventional education, but also expanding the opportunities for adult education, quality Islamiya and modern Almajiri schools that will provide both spiritual and secular education.

11. As has become very clear, our country can no longer depend on oil alone to provide the bulk of its foreign exchange. The economy has become so traumatized that the share of the federation account coming to the states is shrinking by the day. Any administration which hopes to achieve any level of success must therefore increase its internally generated revenue as fast as possible. Among the efforts we hope to pursue, we shall be developing the mining industry in the state to the extent that it would be capable of providing us with additional revenue and major employment opportunities. We shall examine existing mining policy and pay full attention to the available prospects in that industry for the benefit of our people.

12.​We shall revamp and re-energise the  Sokoto Investment Company to collaborate with the Ministry of Commerce and Industry to improve the investment drive of the state. We shall place high premium in building beneficial relationships with ministries, government agencies, organised private sector, civil society groups or developmental agencies for the purpose of engineering economic growth and creating relative economic independence for our state.

13. We are very keen on fully exploiting our agricultural potentials so as a priority we shall promote and support small and medium irrigation schemes across the state. To ensure that the benefits of these schemes are not wasted, we will consider the promotion of commodity boards which will take excesses off the hands of our farmers at no loss to them. As a result, we hope to promote a number of small and medium scale agro-allied industries to take full advantage of our agricultural potentials.

14. On health, the government will continue to pay attention to already existing Primary Health Centres. We shall also pursue vigorously the recruitment, training and retraining of midwives to address the incidence of maternal mortality rates. Government will also pay serious attention to the issue of VVF by coming up with more vigorous enlightenment campaigns and making the most modern treatment available for patients.

15.  Throughout the campaigns that brought us success at the polls our most loyal and valiant supporters have been women and youths. We shall not abandon them now that you have elected us into the Office. One of our immediate priorities is the initiation of programmes and policies that will empower women and our teeming youth population.

16.​To this end, we will improve on existing Vocational Training Centres and Technical Colleges across the state and where necessary establish new ones with the full complement of equipment that our Youth will require to become proficient in the trade they choose to pursue. We have no doubt that this will greatly address the issue of youth unemployment and restiveness.

17.​ The government is also desirous of improving existing  Women Development Centres with free equipment for the use of our women who wish to acquire the necessary skills, all with the yearning to help them become self-sufficient economically. In addition to that, government will facilitate the formation of Micro Finance Banks (BANKIN MATA) to further empower our women to have access to finance.

18.  Your Excellencies, Distinguished Invited Guests, we are going to continue the effort to strengthen the public sector to enhance service delivery. In doing that we plan to transform the public service by making it more competitive and thus able to function better.

19. However, there is no way government or the public sector alone can do everything. So in line with the trend all over the world, we hope to engender a private sector driven economy and promote Public-Private Partnership for sustainable economic growth and development.

20. Your Excellencies, Distinguished Invited Guests, I hardly need to state that the fundamental issue of security ought to also remain in the front burner. Sokoto State has earned legendary fame in terms of peace and security. We shall in this regard exert our energies to the fullest to sustain this state of affairs. The change we have heralded is a wholesome type, aimed at re-orienting our people to embrace honesty, accountability and prudence in the management of public resources. I thank God, we have full conviction that the newly inaugurated Government at the centre has the necessary goodwill required in piloting the journey. On our own part, we are poised to go along with all progressive and innovative changes that will propel development of our State in particular, and the nation, as a whole. All patriotic citizens of Sokoto State are invited to come forward and serve with us to ensure our State is counted among the best in the competitive Federal set up. Nobody has reason to sit on the fence, for our ancestors and founding fathers had made unmitigated sacrifices to give us a sense of pride.

21.  Let me seize this opportunity to congratulate all those elected to serve our people at the National and State Assemblies for securing the mandate of our people. The heartwarming story, especially in our State, is that all were elected under the platform of our great party, the APC. I charge all elected officials to brace up to the great challenges that lie ahead so as to make us worthy ambassadors of Sokoto State and our great party. Our party, the All Progressives Congress, promised Change and ran on the promise that government shall no longer be business as usual. We are determined to fulfill that promise and to serve the people with all the resources at our disposal. We shall strive to run a government of service that will treat everyone fairly and give anyone who wants to contribute to the development of Sokoto State the opportunity to do so.

22. To the elected Honorable Members of the State House of Assembly in particular, I call for harmony, synergy and team work in the interest of our dear State. The legislature remains my primary constituency and I trust that I shall feel at home as we serve the state together. I wish to equally appeal to the Judicial Arm of Government and all other stakeholders serving our people in the State Civil Service as well as those serving with the Security Agencies to give us necessary support and co-operation so that our people will continuously reap the dividends of democratic governance. All of us are shepherds in our various capacities and will be held accountable by the Almighty for our deeds.

23.  Fellow citizens of Sokoto State, it is imperative to state that our success is highly contingent on your readiness to go along with us. We are not unaware that human nature often revolts against sudden change. We must however, endeavour in all our various capacities and endowments to be worthy participants in this lifetime crusade which is aimed at consolidating our democratic gains in Sokoto State . We are equally aware of the enormous expectations, hopes and confidence of the citizenry. It should be abundantly clear that our individual and collective sacrifices are required in salvaging our country from drowning, so that together we put our nation on the path of greatness. I wish to therefore passionately appeal to all the people of Sokoto State to lend their hands of support to the new administration, to enable us succeed. We must endeavour to set aside all differences in the interest of our dear State. I had by destiny emerged as the Governor, not because I am better than all those who competed for the post. But that has been sealed in the Divine scheme. Let us therefore join hands together for the glory of our dear State.

24.  I wish to, at this juncture, express once more, our deepest appreciation to His Excellency, our Distinguished Senator – elect, Alh. (Dr.) Aliyu Magatakarda Wamakko (Sarkin Yamman and Sarkin Yakin Sokoto) for his support, encouragement, counselling and leadership development disposition. I am equally indebted to other highly distinguished personalities, leaders and elders of our Party, our youths and women groups, members of business community; Development Partners, Civil Society Groups and many other groups and individuals too numerous to mention. I wish to assure all that we, by the grace of Almighty God, will work assiduously to justify the confidence reposed in us. I equally thank our Royal Fathers, being guided by the inspiring leadership of His Eminence, the Sultan of Sokoto, Alh. (Dr.) Muhammad Sa’ad Abubakar III, CFR, MNI, for their fatherly advice and counselling. Their non-partisanship is a great service to democratic governance as voters were given ample opportunity to elect leaders they have confidence in. In the same token, I appreciate the religious leaders for their prayers and guidance to people on the virtues of leadership, which inspired voters to go for credible and trusted leaders.

25.  Finally, I wish to re-echo my appeal to all the people of Sokoto State to come forward and take their part in propelling good governance, which we are bound by oath, to promote. I wish to assure all, that our Government is ready to accommodate all constructive criticisms, as we have no any claim to infallibility.

26. As I conclude, I appeal once again, to all the good people of Sokoto State for your patience and understanding, because our style may be different from the one we have all become accustomed to, since style is a factor of personality, but, surely, the objective remains the same. We shall be firm but at the same time considerate and humane. However, on matters of principle of governance, social etiquette and commitment, there shall be no compromise. We pray to the Almighty God to continuously give us understanding, vision and wisdom that would enable us serve selflessly for the greater good of Sokoto State.

27.  Permit me to again thank all those whose support and goodwill made this day possible and all our guests who came from far and near to celebrate with us the joy of the moment,  and to wish you all God’s eternal Favour and Blessings.

28. God bless Sokoto State and God bless the Federal Republic of Nigeria

We Must Liberate Western Sahara From Colonialism, Says ASUU

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The Sokoto Zonal Coordinator of Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU), Dr. Lawali Argungu has called on African leaders to strategies and ensure proper coordination for the liberation of the Western Sahara from decolonization.

He made the call at a Press briefing to mark the 2015 ‎African Liberation Day in Sokoto on Thursday.‎

According to Argungu, the United Nations will be expected to bring up the issue of lasting peace in the Western Sahara at the General Assembly, sheduled to hold some times this year. “That will be another opportunity for our African leaders and other well-meaning stakeholders to ensure that a lasting peace is achieved in the western sahara.”‎
‎‎
He explained that the Western Sahara is a territory that is bordered by Morocco, Mauritania, Algeria and Atlantic Ocean in the northwest Africa; adding that it was not recognised as a sovereign entity because it is still trying to gain independence for the past 50 years now.‎‎

“The Western Sahara is currently listed as a non-decolonized territory by the United Nations. It ‎was colonised by the Spanish in 1884 and since then, Western Sahara has been fighting for freedom in exile,” Argungu stressed.‎

He further said that the African Liberation Day was celebrated by Africans globally to reflect as well as reaffirm the region’s determination to fight oppression and exploitation.‎

“It is also earmarked to engage all causes of mistrust, disunity and xenophobia among Africans,” Argungu said adding that‎ arrangements were being made for an International Conference to be held in Abuja in June. ‎

President Jonathan’s Handing Over Remarks

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Remarks By His Excellency, President Goodluck Ebele Jonathan, Gcfr, On The Occasion Of The Presentation Of Hand Over Notes To The President-Elect, Muhammadu Buhari, Gcfr Thursday, 28th May, 2015 

PROTOCOLS

1.     I welcome you all to this occasion of the formal presentation of the Hand-over notes of my Administration to the in-coming Administration of the President-Elect, General Muhammadu Buhari. 

2.   This event and tomorrow’s inauguration of a new administration are truly historic as it is the first time in the history of our nation that we are
witnessing the democratic and orderly transfer of power at the Federal level from one political party to another. 

3.   The Hand-over notes which we now present, contain the governance philosophy, strategies, policies, programmes and activities of my Administration for the period – 2011-2015. Also to be found in the notes are the objectives, targets and implementation strategies, achievements and challenges of our key policies, schemes, initiatives as well as the status of commitments and liabilities of the various MDAs. 

4.   As we hand over the affairs of the nation, it is appropriate to recall that at inception, in May 2011, we committed ourselves to consolidating national unity through democratization and good governance. Our assessment then, and our firm belief ever since, is that the unity of Nigeria, the security, well-being, greater freedoms and opportunities for all citizens must remain the primary objectives of government.  

5.    The Agenda for National Transformation which we did our best to implement consisted of clear and consistent governance strategies, policies, plans, programmes and projects, in all facets of our national life. Emphasis was placed on human and state security, democratization, sound economic management, as well as structural and institutional reforms. 

6.   Our foremost concern was the unity of Nigeria.  In keeping with that concern, we engineered a process that began with a review of issues outstanding from previous Constitutional Conferences by the Belgore Committee. After that, we widened political consultations through a National Dialogue that was orchestrated through the Okurounmu Committee. These culminated in the all-inclusive National Conference which unanimously reaffirmed that Nigeria must remain united and indivisible. 

7. The Conference also made resolutions and recommendations for serious constitutional, political and governance reforms, which we have forwarded to the National Assembly for appropriate legislative action. It is our hope that the incoming Government will accord the Report of the National Conference the very high priority that it deserves, as a genuine expression of the will of our people. 

8. The recognition that the starting point for good governance is the legitimacy of the government itself informed our commitment to promoting free and fair elections. 

9. It also motivated innovations in the management and conduct of elections which we undertook. Hopefully, in the years ahead, those innovations will be properly and fully implemented so that Nigerians will be even more assured of the integrity of the electoral system and the legitimacy of any government that it produces. 

10. To strengthen the social contract between the government and the governed, we institutionalized the rule of law as well as the independence of the legislature and the judiciary.  We also promoted group and individual freedoms. As a result, there is vast expansion in democratic, social and economic space for all citizens. 

11. Our nation and citizens faced many new challenges over the past four years but the greatest was the vastly increased menace of Boko Haram with their mindless terror, mass killings, utter ruthlessness, kidnapping of innocent children and other unspeakable acts of brutality. 

12. We should all remember that Boko Haram’s emergence predated our administration going as far back as 2002. The group however became extremely malignant with the killing of its leader, Mohammed Yusuf in July 2009. 

13. It therefore became an urgent task for us to effectively confront the great threat Boko Haram posed to the security and well-being of our people. To do so, we overhauled and virtually reinvented our security architecture to confront Boko Haram and its insurgency. We re-organized our security apparatus. We re-equipped and fully motivated our forces. 

14. Victory is now in sight and within our reach. However, the cost in blood of citizens and heroes; and the diversion of national treasure from urgent needs for development have been very high. While more than 500 women and children have been rescued from the clutches of Boko Haram thus far by our security forces, it remains my sincere hope and prayer that our beloved daughters from Chibok will soon be reunited with us. 

15. I wish to thank the Nigerian people for their resilience and patience. I also wish to pay very special and personal tribute to all the men and women of our valiant armed forces and security agencies. Their sacrifice and dedication have brought us thus far. 

16. While striving to overcome our national security challenges, we still gave necessary attention to economic development. Our goal was to achieve long-term economic growth and stability, improve the quality and quantum of infrastructure and enhance human capital development.

17. Our financial system reforms included the Treasury Single Account [TSA] that unified the structure of government accounts for all MDAs and thereby brought order to cash flow management; and Government Integrated Financial Management Information System [GIFMIS] was introduced to plug leakages and waste of resources. The Integrated Payroll and Personnel Information System [IPPIS] weeded out 60,450 ghost workers in 359 out of 425 MDAs, yielding N185.4 billion in savings to the Federal government.  

18. Improved Revenue Mobilization was achieved through improvements in the laws and compliance measures. In 2013 alone, these measures resulted in a 69% rise in Federal tax revenues from N2.8 trillion to N4.8 trillion. Also, Waiver Policy and Trade Facilitation were reformed to create a more rational regime. Our emphasis shifted to granting waivers to specific sectors instead of individual companies and the Sovereign Wealth Fund was established to provide stabilization from external shocks, provide funding for critical infrastructure and savings for future generations.

19. Our Financial Sector reforms addressed the issues of inefficiencies in the coordination and monitoring of the financial system. Our policies promoted transparency, better risk management, new banking models and payment systems. We established the Assets Management Corporation of Nigeria as a resolution mechanism for toxic banking assets. We strengthened banking supervision and enhanced public confidence in Nigerian Banks. 

20. Similarly, we undertook innovative reforms for job creation and repositioned the manufacturing, agriculture and housing sectors. Specifically, it was observed that over the years, job creation did not keep pace with economic growth. Thus unemployment, especially amongst the youth was assuming alarming dimensions. 

21. To address this, my administration made job creation a key consideration for all programmes in the Transformation Agenda. Emphasis was also shifted towards empowering youths to become entrepreneurs rather than job seekers, through such initiatives as Youth Enterprise with Innovation in Nigeria (YOU-WIN), Graduate Internship Scheme (GIS), the SURE-P Technical Vocational Education and Training Programme (TVET) and the Youth Employment in Agriculture Programme (YEAP). 

22. Manufacturing n Nigeria faces many challenges, including poor power supply, high cost of input, high cost of doing business, multiple taxation, poor infrastructure and lack of synergy with the labour market.  To address these problems, we launched several programmes and initiatives including the National Industrial Revolution Plan and a new National Automobile Policy designed to boost domestic car production and expand existing capacity. Since then, five new private vehicle assembly plants have been established. 

23. Agriculture is critical to national survival and yet the sector was besieged with many problems. By year 2010, Nigeria was the second largest importer of food in the world, spending about N1.3 trillion on the importation of fish, rice and sugar alone.  

24. The reforms we introduced in agriculture dramatically increased local production of staple food and saved us vast amounts of money that we would have spent on the importation of food items.  

25. To address the glaring inadequacy of critical national infrastructure, we focused on the Power Sector, Roads, Railways, Aviation, Ports and Harbours as well as on Water and Sanitation, Information and Communication Technology. 

26. My government introduced the Power Sector Roadmap in 2010.  Since then, we have privatized the generation and distribution aspects in a most transparent process. Obstacles to the private sector investments in power supply were removed and we developed cost effective electricity tariff to make the sector more attractive. It remains our hope that the successor companies to PHCN and also the private sector will step forward with the necessary investment to make the power reform work. 

27. The major challenge in the road sector in Nigeria is the high cost of building roads and it continues to rise. The other challenge is the fact that because of regular use, roads are one of the fastest depreciating assets in developing countries. 

28. To address this, Government has developed the required legal and regulatory framework and created opportunities for Private Public Partnership (PPP) in road construction and maintenance. 

29. From Ore/Benin Road, Lagos/Ibadan Expressway to the Kano/Maiduguri dualisation projects, we made concerted efforts to address age-long problems of delays in construction, design defect, neglect and ineffective maintenance. The construction of the historic Second Niger Bridge has also commenced, and on completion, it will open new and far-reaching opportunities for greater trade and interaction among our people. 

30. In the Aviation Sector, our government developed a Master Plan to institutionalise safety and security, and to develop infrastructure at the airports and local airlines. We embarked on the reconstruction and rehabilitation of 22 airports nationwide. Construction work on five new international terminals in Lagos, Abuja, Port Harcourt, Kano and Enugu are also on-going. 

31. There has been a revolution in rail transportation. We rehabilitated the old narrow gauge network and ensured that it has served our people steadily for three years running with new coaches and improved expanded services nationwide. 

32. We are in the construction stages of a new national network for standard gauge speed-train services, with the new rail line segment, from Abuja to Kaduna, successfully completed. In addition, we have initiated the process for the construction of an ultramodern coastal rail line that will run from Lagos to Calabar, with a link to Onitsha.

33. We have also successfully completed the dredging of River Niger, from Warri in Delta State to Baro in Niger State, and completed construction works for the Onitsha River Port. Other River Ports at Baro, Lokoja and Oguta, are at advanced construction stages. Working with the states and development partners, we have facilitated the process towards the development of two new deep sea ports at Lekki in Lagos, and Ibaka in Akwa Ibom. We have also implemented reforms to streamline the clearing regime in existing ports, increasing cargo turnover time and easing business for all users. 

34. In the oil and gas sector, our local content policy has continued to empower Nigerian companies, particularly in technical and engineering projects. The Gas Revolution Industrial Park in Delta State is unprecedented in the subsector, and will not only deliver Africa’s biggest industrial park, but all the accompanying benefits to local industry and job creation. 

35. We recognized Human Capital as the most important agent for transformational development. Our reforms in this sector focused on Health, Education and Social Development and also on Women and Youth Empowerment and Social Safety Nets. 

36. In the Health sector, the comprehensive National Strategic Health Development Plan (NSHDP) of 2011 laid the foundation for widening access and improving the quality of healthcare with lower infant mortality rates and higher life expectancy for the populace.  Our effective curtailment of the Ebola epidemic has continued to receive worldwide acclaim as an example in prompt and effective national disease management. On our watch, guinea-worm has been eradicated from Nigeria and we are on the verge of wiping out polio entirely. 

37. In the Education sector, our objectives are clear and precise. They emphasise expansion of access and the upgrade of quality. I am proud that we have widened access by establishing 18 more Federal Universities and other specialized polytechnics. We strengthened TETFUND and used it to boldly address the problems of inadequate infrastructure in the existing institutions. 

38. I am particularly proud of our efforts with regards to Early Childhood Education and Out-of-School Children. We provided modern hybrid Almajiri Education Programme in the North, attended to schooling needs of boys in the South-East and ensured the construction of special girls’ schools in 13 States of the Federation to improve girl-child education. We expanded opportunities for open and distance learning and provided scholarships at all levels to help improve access to quality education for bright and promising Nigerians. 

39. We have promoted gender-mainstreaming with commensurate priority and opportunities for our womenfolk, beginning with ensuring that not less than 30 per cent of key Federal appointments go to women. Other initiatives that we have taken include: the National Gender Policy, Establishment of Gender Units in Federal MDAs, Women Empowerment Training Programmes, Micro-Credit for Women, Social Safety Net Programmes and the Conditional Cash Transfer (CCT) Scheme. 

40. My Administration has emphasized giving a free hand to our Anti-corruption agencies such as the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) and the Independent Corrupt Practices Commission (ICPC). We preferred that they mature into strong institutions instead of being the images, the hammer and the anvil of a strong man. We must encourage them to abide by the rule of law and due process instead of resorting to dramatic or illegal actions orchestrated for cheap applause. 

41. Beyond the very impressive records of enhanced convictions by statutory anti-corruption agencies like the EFCC and ICPC, our other strategy has been to fashion economic policies that deliver higher deterrence and frustrate concealment. In this regard, the Bureau of Public Procurement has played a central role and impacted strongly on the fight against corruption. 

42. In Sports, we have improved our national performance in team and individual events. The disappointment of not qualifying to defend our African Football Championship was cushioned by a decent FIFA World Cup appearance, an Under-17 World Cup win in addition to other victories in other international football tournaments and the Paralympics. We have also encouraged excellence in other sports, apart from football, resulting in exceptional performance in international sporting events, especially in athletics. 

43. Our foreign policy position remains strong. In October 2013, Nigeria was elected as a non-permanent member of the United Nations Security Council for the second time on our watch. Our country had only served in that capacity thrice before 2011, since independence in 1960. Our Administration also played a leading role in the resolution of security and political challenges in our sub-region, particularly in Niger, Cote D’Ivoire, Mali, Guinea-Bissau and Burkina Faso. 

44. In addition, we increased engagement with Nigerians in the diaspora who contribute so much in remittances to their fatherland. Our Administration successfully encouraged more of them to invest in Nigeria and others to return home and join in the task of nation-building. 

45. In summary, Your Excellency, distinguished ladies and gentlemen, our administration has done its best to intervene robustly and impact positively on key aspects of our national life.  

46. There is no doubt that challenges still abound, but they are surmountable and overwhelming national transformation remains realisable, with continuity, commitment and consistency. 

47.  Nigeria is blessed with citizens that will always remain faithful, firmly committed to national unity, accelerated political, social and economic development. 

48. As we hand over the reins of government, I believe that our nation is secure, our democracy is stable, and the future is bright. Let us all work together, and with greater resolve, continue to build a stronger and more prosperous nation. 

49. May God Almighty continue to bless our dear country, Nigeria. 

50. I thank you all.

President Goodluck Ebele Jonathan, Gcfr

28/05/15

CSE Press Release

Uncategorized

 PRESS RELEASE
 
 
CSE says ambiguous Delhi IIT studies on vehicular air pollution being used selectively by ministry of road transport and highways
 
Slams the ministry for trying to confuse and slow down policy action on vehicular pollution and block decisions on old diesel vehicles
 
CSE has carried out rapid review of available studies in Delhi that make the case for urgent and priority measures to cut people’s exposure to toxic risk from vehicular emissions even while taking action on other pollution sources
There is enough evidence to show that older vehicles emit more particulate and toxic gases than the new generation vehicles and will require a plan for quicker phase out
In a bid to protect old cars the science of exposure risk to deadly vehicular pollution has been played down in the IITD-TRIPP studies and the MORTH affidavit. This has serious risk of slowing down action not only on older vehicles but also on new vehicles.
There is enough evidence in Delhi to prove significant contribution of vehicles to multi-pollutant crisis and health risk and justifies the strong action demanded by NGT on vehicular pollution and on old vehicles.
 
           
New Delhi, May 25, 2015: Centre for Science and Environment (CSE) is shocked at the selective use of limited studies of Transportation Research and Injury Prevention Programme (TRIPP) of the Indian Institute of Technology-Delhi (IIT) to argue that vehicles are small contributors to ambient PM2.5 levels in Delhi and that banning older diesel vehicles will not help. This has been used in the official affidavit of the Ministry of Road Transport and Highways (MORTH) to the National Green Tribunal (NGT) to play down the problem of vehicular pollution and block the ban on old diesel vehicles.
 
Says Anumita Roychowdhury, executive director, CSE: “This confuses policy action needed to reduce exposure to toxic vehicular pollution at a time when a bouquet of measures is needed to effectively reduce the health risk in Delhi.”
 
This has come in the wake of the NGT order that had directed all diesel vehicles (heavy or light) which are more than 10 years old, not to be permitted on the roads of NCR, Delhi. All the authorities in the state of Haryana, U.P. and NCT, Delhi would not register any diesel vehicle which is more than 10 years old.
 
In response to this order, the Ministry has relied on the Delhi-IIT studies to counter NGT directives. It has ignored a range of other evidences in Delhi demanding urgent, stringent and more complete action on vehicular pollution.
 
While resorting to number crunching to prove vehicles do not contribute much to ambient PM2.5 levels, the IIT-study and the affidavits are silent on health risks from direct exposure to vehicular fume especially diesel fume which is of bigger concern. While the NGT order covers all old diesel vehicles in both private and commercial segments across NCR, this study focuses only on old cars in Delhi to stop the NGT ban. It has not made any alternative suggestions on how to discourage, restrict and phase out old diesel vehicles that is emerging as a practice globally.
 
Says Roychowdhury: “In the name of comprehensive action on all sources within and from outside Delhi it is not correct to dilute action on individual sources. All sources will require action but priority action will have to be directed at reducing the direct exposure of people to toxic fumes close to their breathing zone. CSE demands robust scientific guidance to frame policy for cutting health risks from vehicles including old diesel vehicles as part of the clean air action plan in Delhi and NCR.”
 
CSE has carried out an assessment of the available evidences in Delhi that highlight significant contribution of vehicular pollution as well as the special risk associated with older vehicles. The highlights are as follow:
i. IITD/TRIPP study and affidavit of MORTH underplays the risk from older cars and is silent on diesel commercial vehicles in the NCR: The IIT-Delhi study states that 11-15 years old diesel car numbers are very small – only 6% of the fleet and contributes 1% of PM2.5 pollution.
This is a misleading way of presenting evidence and giving policy advice. The emission load from diesel vehicles that are 11 to 15 year old and meet older emissions standards emit a lot more on a per vehicle basis than those that are between 1 to 10 year old. This is evident from the emissions factors that the Automotive Research Association of India had developed for different generation of vehicle technologies meeting different emissions standards. Compared to a BS IV car a 15 year old diesel car emits 7.6 times higher particulate matter and 3.4 times higher NOx. Thus, emissions from one old diesel car are equal to four to seven new cars. A 10 year old diesel car emits 2.4 times higher PM. Air toxics emissions are high from older vehicles. The difference emissions of different genre of commercial vehicles are also substantial. Diesel car emissions are also much higher compared to petrol cars. From health stand point these emissions close to where people are. Removing old diesel vehicles will reduce substantial direct exposure on roads. This benefit can be maximized and be substantially much higher if the old diesel trucks are also removed and bypassed.  
ii. IITD/TRIPP study and MORTH affidavit says instead of banning old diesel cars enforce PUC tests without highlighting the laxity of PUC norms that cannot fail most vehicles:
 
It is unacceptable and misleading to claim that the current PUC norms and practice for pre-Bharat Stage IV diesel vehicles (65 HSU smoke density norm) are adequate to address emissions from the older fleet. These norms are extremely lax for Bharat Stage I and Bharat Stage II diesel vehicles that are targeted to be banned. Globally the smoke density norms for diesel vehicles are much tighter. In Asia, countries including Thailand, Hong Kong, Indonesia, and Malaysia have enforced 50 HSU smoke norms for older vehicles. Pakistan and Singapore have enforced as low as 40-HSU norm. Lax norms and poor test procedures make diesel PUC a sham and of no relevance. CSE review of the PUC norms has shown that these can barely fail maximum of 6% vehicles. It can be much less than this. It is therefore misleading to think that the current PUC programme can be a panacea for old diesel vehicles.
iii. IITD/TRIPP study and MORTH affidavit claim vehicles are a small contributor to PM2.5 pollution – 17% to 20%. Ignores multi-pollutant crisis and cancer effects of diesel fume:   
It is inexplicable why Ministry of Road Transport and Highways has considered the estimates of only one study on the estimates of vehicles contribution to PM2.5. The IITD study fails to highlight the health risk from the direct exposure to vehicular fume that is of serious concern globally. Vehicular emissions take place within our breathing zone. Studies by Health Effect Institute for Delhi have shown that the influence of vehicular pollution is maximum upto 500 meters from road side and more than half of Delhi’s population live within this breathing zone. Also studies and pollution measurements carried out by CSE and University of California, Berkeley have shown very high exposure on and along road sides in Delhi. IIT-D-TRIPP has not considered these exposure impacts that are the key concern from health stand point and should guide policy action. It has not guided the government and NGT about the toxic risk and the fact that WHO and IARC have classified diesel exhaust as Class 1 carcinogen for its strong link with lung cancer.
 
iv. There are several other studies from other notable agencies that show significant contribution of vehicles to air pollution and toxic risk. Some of these are as follow:
Indian Institute of Tropical Meteorology study for Delhi-NCR finds transport sector contribution to PM2.5 to be as high as 45% followed by residential sector at 27%, industries at 24% and power sector at 4%. (2011)
JNU study finds vehicles contribute 86% of fine particulates (2008): This study finds that if coarse particles are concerned crustal re-suspension is about 68% followed by vehicular pollution at 23%. But in fine particles vehicles contribute 86% and crustal re-suspension at 10% and industrial contribution was 2%.
A study by UrbanEmissions.info (also co-author of Delhi IIT study in question) highlight multi-pollutant crisis — vehicles contribute 26% of PM2.5, 28% of CO, and 67% of NOx.
A study by Centre for Atmospheric Science of IIT Delhi, National University of Colombia, Bogota, Colombia, (2014) have found that total estimated emissions from vehicular exhaust, road dust and power plants contribute nearly 52%, 83%, 74% and 54% of PM10, SO2, NOx and CO emission respectively. Transport sector has been found as the bulk contributor towards CO and NOx emissions.
The CPCB, DRI, Chinese Academy of Sciences study of 2014 states that since the adverse effects of PM10 depend on its chemical composition, it is important to control emissions of toxic species (2014): It indicates that diesel-fueled vehicles contribute nearly all of the vehicular elemental carbon (96%) and most of the PM10 mass (81%), OC (82%), primary sulphates (75%), and Ni (71%). The Heavy-duty diesel vehicles mostly trucks were the largest emitters among on-road vehicles, contributing 47% of organic carbon, 57% of elemental carbon, 56% of primary sulphate particles and 37% of primary nitrate particles, 30% of lead, and 35% of Ni emissions. Light commercial diesel vehicles contributed in the range of 10–30% of vehicular emissions.
Profile of PAHs in the Diesel Vehicle Exhaust in Delhi, (JNU 2005): The concentration of Total PAHs was found to be high in the exhaust of diesel buses and trucks – higher in trucks. High concentration was influenced by age of the vehicles, driving conditions, the fuel quality and the emission standards. These are air toxins and contribute to cancer risk.
v. IITD-TRIPP study and MORTH affidavit states that there is no significant reduction in PM2.5 levels on Sundays and strike days when vehicular traffic is expected to be less. According to them this proves contribution of vehicular pollution in not significant in Delhi. 
A study by Delhi Technological University and CPCB, published in 2013 on the weekday/weekend differences has analysed a comprehensive database for pollution levels from the year 2006 to 2010 for a main traffic intersection at ITO, Delhi. The pollution levels on weekend i.e. Saturday and Sunday relate to significantly lower concentration of pollutants as compared to that by almost 2 to 6 times.
CSE has also compared official air quality data for national holidays that show substantial reduction. For instance, on January 26, Republic day of 2013, (when traffic is restricted) PM2.5 levels in RK Puram declined by 1.5 times compared to the previous day and rose on January 27 and to 345 microgramme per cum or 2.25 times by January 28. In Punjabi Bagh PM2.5 levels were 140 microgram/cubic metre on Republic Day that rose to 187 on January 27th and to 216 on January 29th.

Similarly, on October 2, 2013 – Gandhi Jayanti day, PM10 level in RK Puram was 108 microgram/cubic metre on 1st October, that dipped to 63 microgram/cubic metre on October 2nd and rose to 151 on October 4th and 251 microgram/cubic metre on October 5th. 
 
vi. Global best practices
Globally strategies are being adopted to quickly phase out older vehicles to maximize the benefit of pushing the new vehicles to meet Euro V and Euro VI emissions standards. These include ban on old vehicles, colour coding to restrict and phase out old vehicles, high taxes on older vehicles, and stringent in-use emissions inspection and test procedures.
Old vehicle phase-out policy in China/Beijing: It is important to note that the strong measures that have been adopted in Beijing where vehicles contribute 31% of PM2.5. China has framed a comprehensive policy for old vehicles.

During 2011-14, over 1.4 million vehicles older than 6 years were retired or replaced in Beijing. Introduced environmental label system — Yellow: Euro 1 gasoline, Euro 3 diesel; Green: Euro 4; Blue Euro 5. This also includes use of electronic tags, and embedded chips in vehicles since 2009 so that information about the vehicle can be stored and remote reading can be taken. Vehicles without labels are illegal on road. Tough penalties are enforced for violation. Traffic restriction of yellow label vehicles began in 2003. It is forbidden to run within the 5th ring road since 2009 and within the 6th ring road from thereafter. There was phase out of 6 million yellow label vehicles in China in 2014. China will eliminate yellow label vehicles in key regions by the end of 2015 and all yellow label vehicles in China by the end of 2017.
About 20,000~30,000 heavy duty trucks that registered in neighboring provinces run into Beijing and exceed standards be listed in “ smoke blacklist ” and fined by local Environment Protection Bureau.
For in-use emissions tests Beijing has introduced Lugdown method to test buses and trucks using more than 100 dynamometer testing lines in 43 inspection stations.
The way forward
It is disturbing to note that instead of conveying the seriousness of health risk from vehicular emissions and helping to frame robust action strategies to reduce exposure to vehicular pollution, science has been used to take a very narrow view of the mitigation strategies to dilute action.
CSE review of available evidences shows that vehicles contribute significantly to multi-pollutant crisis and health risk and exposure in Delhi and there is sufficient justification in the directives of the NGT for demanding strong action on vehicular pollution and on old diesel vehicles.
It is important for Delhi to implement a detailed plan for phasing out of old vehicles, more stringent inspection and PUC norms for old vehicles, annual and higher taxes on vehicles, restricting movement/banning of old and polluting vehicles for sustained impacts over time.
For more on this, please contact Sheeba Madan at sheeba@cseindia.org / 8860659190.
 

Why I Run ‘Marketplace’ Government – Gov. Wamakko

Interviews

Aliyu Wamakko is the immediate past governor of Sokoto state. He was elected Senator to represent Sokoto North Senatorial District during the last general elections. In this exclusive interview with Newswatch’s Abdallah el-Kurebe, Regional Editor, he spoke on issues including his life, family, stewardship, G5 and the New PDP among others. Excepts:
Writers have tried to define Alu’s childhood life in their own ways. What was the true picture of Aliyu Wamakko’s childhood life, how did he manage life before he became self reliant?

To say the least, my childhood life was that of humbleness, fullness and simplicity, which I learned from my parents and later on from my elder brothers and friends as well. My life began on March 1st 1953 when I was born. At age five, I was enrolled into Arabic school and later primary school. After my secondary school, I took up teaching career where I rose from classroom teacher to headmaster, schools supervisor, area education officer, education officer and then moved to the USA for my first degree in 1977. I came back in 1980 and did my Youth Service and then continued with my work.

But during my childhood, I believed in hard work. I worked hard wherever I found myself. I believed in achieving results and I hated dependency. So, most of my friends then described me as one who related well with others by tying to respect opinions other than mine. I tried to respect views that deferred from mine. These have been my policy from my childhood life till today. Till today, whatever I find myself involved in, I do it to the best of my ability. I also try to accept the human factor – that I have limitations.

My life could be described as that of struggle. From classroom teacher to headmaster; to schools supervisor; to area education officer; to council chairman in the 1980s; to permanent secretary in the state civil service; to deputy governor for seven years and then governor for eight years. Throughout these years, I have tried as much as possible to respect any person or group of persons on any matter. I believe in mutual and reciprocal respect among people. I also believe in showing sympathy for the less privileged by assisting them to the best of my ability. I repeat, I believe in hard work and sincerity. I don’t believe in half-truths or half-trust. It is either truth or none; trust or no trust but not half way.

When you became governor, you kept your family from the purview of the government house, including first ladyship. What informed such decision, especially when that has become the norm in Nigeria’s political terrain?

First of all, the question of first lady is an act of illegality. In the constitution with which we operate and which brought us as governors, presidents and whatever, there is no provision for first lady. It is the military culture – an institution of one man, one wife. It was a military tradition that was brought to the political life of this country. But during the first and second republic in this country, nobody knew any about first lady. During Shagari from 1979 to 1983, there was nothing like that. It was after some military interventions that this happened. Even during Ironsi, there was nothing like that. Gowon’s Victoria did not play any such role. Buhari too did not give room to that. It was Babangida that made the first lady issue very prominent in governance in this country.

I don’t believe that having sworn to the Holy Qur’an to defend what is in the law and avoid anything that is against the law, I should allow the operation of anything first lady. And based on my religion, Islam does not encourage you to get your wife mess up with people at will like some people do. It does not prohibit women from going out but prescribes how she should relate with other men. I am not condemning anybody but as a matter of opinion, it doesn’t comply with the teachings of Islam. Three, as a matter of principle, if you allow your children to mess up in government, people will come through them without you knowing, to mess you up. They will go and see your wife or children to get you influenced to award contracts to them. These are things I tried to avoid. I am not saying that those who are doing it should stop. You asked me why I don’t do it and those are the reasons.

When you sit back to watch curiously as your children grow up, who among them have you seen to thread on your lifestyle?

Well, if you have been following the trend off my family pattern, I am one who believes in absolute discipline. I don’t allow my children to mess up in government. They must listen to me and take my instructions very strictly and seriously. As for threading on my foot-paths, I think all of them are doing well. Both are growing in their chosen careers. I have nine children and some of them have finished their first and second degrees; some read international relations, some Information Technology and some are reading law. They each have taken different ways and preparing themselves for the challenges of life. I am happy they don’t behave proudly as governor’s kids. We are working very hard to see that they are self reliant.

One weighty unofficial legacy you are leaving for your successor is that of ‘marketplace’ governance where your personal house is turned a tourist site. What informed that kind of leadership?

Thank you for coining my style of leadership as “marketplace governance.” Why I run an open government and make people feel belonging is that I believe in mutual and reciprocal respect. It is my conviction that when people feel loved and respected, they in turn love and respect you. Over the years, I have tried it and it has worked. I have realized that what people like most is to be recognized and respected. That is why I run an open door policy and allow people to freely go in and out of my house. Secondly, if you look at how I became governor in 2007, it was the people that showed me unprecedented love and support in the manner they never shown anybody in the political history of the state. Nobody!

I went for election as deputy governor two times I was elected as deputy governor; I went for election three times as governor and three times I was elected as governor; now I have been elected as senator. Anywhere I go to, even if it is for a condolence visit, people troop in to see or even touch their governor. Even when the security try to stop them, they make efforts to see Alu. Although the security see every action as a threat, I see public action towards me as friendly not hostile. I don’t believe in trampling on the rights of the people and that is why if I am traveling, I tell the convoy to maintain one lane. Those who want to be faster must not be delayed. I have demystified governance in two ways. During my tenure as governor, I made people to believe that it is the governor that is people’s servant and not the other way round. Two, during my time, people could come close to the governor, shake hands with me, talk with me and eat with me with molestation. These are two legacies I so much cherish. I believe in human dignity and mutual respect. So, all I am doing is try to reciprocate the kind of love the people of Sokoto state have for me.

Talking about your stewardship is like a TV series, which cannot be done within the purview of this interview. But let’s look at those projects, programmes and policies that, when you sit back in retrospect, you feel fulfilled?

The ones I cherish most is my modest efforts in the area of education, especially what we have done at primary, secondary and tertiary levels; the bursary and scholarship awards both within and abroad. When I came to office the state polytechnic had only two accredited HND courses but now they have more than 17. Shehu Shagari College of Education had not more than three degree courses that were accredited. Now we have about 15. When I came in 2007, 6,905 indigenes of Sokoto state sat for JAMB. That number rose to 15,500 in 2013 because of the efforts we made. As I am talking to you now, I have over 1,000 students overseas – in Europe, America and other parts of the world. I have been able to put in place, five additional tertiary institutions in the state.
In the medical sector, we had only one indigenous medical consultant when I came. I immediately sent 20 state owned doctors to go and qualify as consultants. I have been able to provide a primary health centre in the 244 wards across the state; one general hospital in each of the 23 local government areas; ambulance in each ward in the state. I have provided employment for everyone with medical-related qualification in the state. I have done similar thing in agriculture, youth empowerment, transport, commerce and other sectors.

Of controversy today, is the take-home pay of members of the National Assembly. Do you subscribe to slashing their salaries and allowances?

Well, slashing salaries of members of the National Assembly will not save much. What we should do is to try to fight excessive corruption in this country. We should try to ensure that every revenue that is due to government is remitted to government coffers. Merely slashing salaries of political office holders is like doing nothing to get effort money for provide services for the people. I don’t mind if that is done but the issue is we must fight corruption with full force. We must also diversify our economy. We must shift from mono-economy for better results.

The G7 suffered a setback by the withdrawal of two members (Jigawa and Niger states governors). At what point did you differ that resulted in their withdrawal. How much did G5 stive?

I don’t think they told us why they withdrew. They should be in the best position to say why. But let me start by telling you that we began as G3 – Governors Murtala Nyako, Sule Lamido and my humble self. It was after the election in 2011 that we moved to G5 then G7 and reverted to G5. We went to so many leaders beginning with former President Obasanjo. We told him sir, you brought President Jonathan to the political scene of this country. The way he is going will not augur well for this country. We believed it is very unusual for a president to loose primary election for a sitting governor. We asked him what our plans were for winning elections. He listened to us and felt we were right. He picked his phone and called President Goodluck and said, “Mr. President, can I see you with some of my friends?” We drove to the Villa and met Mr. President. We bared our minds to him, of course taking into account public expectations; the hostile media and many other things we felt stood against us. He listened to us but from the way it went, it seemed he wasn’t convinced and so we left him and came back to Obasanjo’s room in the hotel. Obasanjo cupped his two chic and said, “We are in trouble,” because when the President spoke that day, Obasanjo concluded that this man had a different understand of this country.

We also met people like Adamu Chiroma, T. Y. Danjuma to tell them there was need for their intervention. Nothing much changed. It was at this stage that our number grew to five and then seven. There was discontent among many Nigerians. Government was insensitive to public opinions and views. It felt if you feel differently, you could just leave.

The issue of Governors Forum election also propped up. Some people wrongly advised the government to get involved; the President should appoint our chairman. We felt that what was the business of the President with appointing chairman of Governors Forum? But Jonathan was so hard on it. I personally spoke with Tony Anenih, Sambo Dasuki to advise the President to get out of that. Whoever became chairman of the Forum would be a governor of a country of which he is President. We stood our grounds, went for an election and won. Some so-called elders thought they have a way of overcoming the leadership problem by forming the PDP Governors Forum as a way of crippling Nigerian Governors Forum’s relevance and chances.

One day we were summoned for a meeting in House 7. The meeting was so stage-managed, so funny. The President came in when Anenih, Bamanga, and so on were there. The President then said the PDP was a dominant party and “we are going to have a meeting with PDP Governors. We give you 10 minutes to go and decide and then come back.” They already made up their mind that they were going to appoint Akpabio the chairman. I have never attended the PDP governors Forum because I don’t believe in it. I believed should look more about Nigeria than selfish interest.

When the convention approached, the seven of us decided we should walk out, which we did and after which we formed the New PDP. Atiku came late and when he asked what was happening, he joined.

Nigeria Has No Reason To Import Rice, Says Attajiri

Business

By Abdallah el-Kurebe

A rice milling firm has debuted in Sokoto with the managing director of the company, Alhaji Nura Attajiri saying that Nigeria was blessed with fertile land capable of producing all types of crops, including rice and therefore had no reason to import rice.

Attajiri said this during the inauguration of the N30 million mill, which has the capacity of milling 1,250 kilograms of rice per hour in Sokoto on Friday.

According him, “There is no need for Nigeria to import food, especially rice, as such more efforts should be put in to encourage more Nigerians to produce more food.”

He called on the general public to patronize the mill as well as provision of a plot of land by the state government at one of the industrial areas in Sokoto and a dedicated transformer.

Commending Attajiri, governor Aliyu Wamakko, represented by the Commissioner for Agriculture, Alhaji Arzika Tureta disclosed that the firm received grant of N30 million in two installments of N20 and N10 million from the state government out of the N3 billion loans disbursed to farmers and agro-investors in the state.

The Commissioner for Commerce, Alhaji Aliyu Achida who was represented by the Permanent Secretary, Alhaji Abubakar Mohammed commended Wamakko for implementing programmes that boost food security.
“I must also commend the state government for its sustained support to the company.”

SURE-P: Sokoto Gives Out 115 Buses At 45% Subsidized Rate

News

By Abdallah el-Kurebe

Under the local government Subsidy Re-investment Programme (SURE-P), Sokoto state government has procured 115 brand new 18-seater buses at a total cost of over N902,750,000 as loan to the citizens of the state.

Purchased at N7,850,000 each, the buses were loaned out at 45 percent subsidized rate of N3.5 million, with N500,000 initial deposit and subsequent monthly payment of N62,500 for 48 months.

Speaking during the presentation of the buses at Government House on Friday, Governor Aliyu Wamakko said that they would help in “boosting the transportation sector as well as serve as avenue of empowerment of the beneficiaries.

“The cost of each bus stands at N7,850,000, which has been subsidized by 45 percent where each beneficiary will pay N3,500,000 in four years,” the governor said.

He called on beneficiaries to make best use of the opportunity.

Earlier, the Commissioner for Local Government and Rural Development who spoke through the permanent secretary of the Ministry, said that under similar programmes of SURE-P for which a total of N10,046,321,588 had been spent, 11,500 people have been trained on poultry farming with equipment worth N890,000,000; 230 Keke NAPEP were procured and distributed at N152,600,000; five kilometre roads in the headquarters of each local government have been constructed at N6,615,971,588 and water pumps, seedlings, fertilizers, pesticides/herbicides and drilling tube wells were procured at N1,495,000,000.

FRSC To Introduce Air Ambulances

News

By Abdallah el-Kurebe

The Corps Marshal of Federal Roads Safety Commission (FRSC), Mr Boboye Oyeyemi has disclosed that the Commission plans to introduce Air Ambulances in the country through partnership with the Nigerian Air Force.

Oyeyemi said this in Sokoto on Wednesday during the commissioning of a new office block constructed for Sokoto Command of the Commission by Sokoto state government at the cost of N15 million.

According to him, the partnership would provide avenue for the conduct of aerial surveillance and patrol while the air ambulances would facilitate speedy life-saving process where accident victims would swiftly be rescued.

“The Commission is now rated among the best in the world and we are leaving no stone un-turned in making Nigerian roads accident free. We are also trying to be among the safest nations in the world by the year 2020 and this will be by reducing fatalities due to road accident by fifty per cent,” Oyeyemi further said.

He commended Sokoto state government for the structure.

While lamenting the rising cases of road traffic
crashes, which are caused by over-loading by commercial vehicles, Governor Aliyu Wamakko said that his administration recognized performance of the Commission in controlling the nation’s road traffic.

The Sector Commander, Mr Takum Galadima promised to use the office block to improve the efficiency of the officers and men.

Food Insecurity, Unemployment Bane of Nigeria’s Development, Says Sultan Abubakar

News

By Abdallah el-Kurebe

Sultan Muhammadu Sa’ad Abubakar has observed that insecurity, unemployment and food insecurity were some of the problems that are retarding the nation’s development.

Receiving the new Emir of Gusau, Alhaji Ibrahim Bello in his Palace in Sokoto on Thursday, the Sultan stressed the need for action towards addressing the current security challenges in Zamfara state and some parts of the country.

While calling on security agencies and other stakeholders to assist in addressing the problems in order to ensure societal development, Abubakar also called on leaders “to be just and fair in the discharge of their responsibilities.

“This is necessary as justice and fairness are prerequisite towards achieving success and to ensure peace and stability as well as understanding in the country.”

Expressing the Sultanate Council’s appreciation for the new Emir’s visit, the Sultan assured of the Council’s “commitment towards sustainable peace, stability and development of the country.”

Earlier, the new Emir said he was at the Sultan Palace to receive royal blessing towards the discharge of his responsibilities as well as concretise the existing relationship between the Sultanate and Gusau Emirate.