42--- VANGUARD, WEDNESDAY, APRIL 11, 2018 Issues from the Buhari Declaration HOURS before he left the country for an official visit to the United Kingdom, President Muhammadu Buhari shocked the nation with his declaration for a second term. The declaration will inevitably stir issues that he is bound to confront as he goes about soliciting the votes of Nigerians for a second term. By Emmanuel Aziken, Political Editor P RESIDENT Muhammadu Buhari’s declaration for a second term in office during the National Executive Committee, NEC meeting of the All Progressives Congress, APC last Monday came as a shock to many. The shock was not in the declaration, given the general inclination of the president towards re-election, but in the time and opportunity that the president used to make his declaration. Ahead of last Monday’s NEC meeting, the APC had been thrown into a crisis upon strong disagreements by party elders over the future of the John Odigie-Oyegun led leadership of the party. Strategic stakeholders led by Asiwaju Bola Tinubu had led a battle quietly supported by Buhari to upend permutations for an extension of tenure of the National Working Committee, NWC and other executive office holders in the party. That was the scenario as at last Monday when the NEC convened to deliberate on the report of the Governor Simon Lalong led committee which deliberated on the future of the Odigie-Oyegun leadership. However, expectations of something unusual came with the storming of the APC national secretariat by State House correspondents who normally do not cover the APC NEC meeting. However, ahead of the NEC meeting the president’s media team had sent out text messages to State House correspondents to cover the meeting with the idea of giving the president’s declaration a special coverage. It was as such with shock that instead of focusing on the issue at hand that the president threw a spanner into the calculations of the different interest groups with his open declaration for a second term. Speaking at the brief session of the NEC that Monday, the president said: “People have been asking me to declare for reelection, and some have been asking me when I am going to declare. I want to give the NEC the honour to be the first to hear it. I have decided to contest the 2019 elections,” the president declared in a tone that shocked many members of the NEC,” the president declared last Monday. Though shocked, nearly all of the NEC members stood up to cheer the president on his declaration. But whether the cheer was from the heart is another thing. Eyes would have been on some prominent members of NEC who had been critical of the president or seen as the rivals of the president. Among them was the president of the Senate, Senator Bukola Saraki, and Speaker Yakubu Dogara. Vanguard gathered that as a matter of courtesy that the Senate President was informed of the president’s declaration and was as such not totally taken aback and would have joined the chorus of those who gave their approval, at the NEC meeting when the president made his declaration. President Buhari who had in the past shown disapproval to party politics and seemed to put himself above the fray, however, showed himself as a politician last Monday with his appeal to the diverse interests in the party to join hands towards the party’s success in the forthcoming elections. With his declaration for a second term, the president and his handlers are, however, bound to face some issues that are bound to erupt ahead of the pursuit of first of all the party’s ticket and then if he succeeds, a showdown in the general election. His Words of the past Hours after the president made his declaration, an interview he had in 2011 in which he said that because of his age at that time that he would if successful in the 2011 election serve only one term in office. In the interview with Sunday Trust Buhari as the presidential candidate of the defunct THE ISSUES •Promise of single term •Age and health •2015 campaign promises •APC Unity •National Unity Congress for Progressive Change, CPC had been asked why he had promised to serve one term in office and replied thus: “I’m not getting younger. If I succeed and do one term, I will be 73 years old.” Asked further what would be his priority in that one term he envisaged to serve, he had said: Age and Health A month after his inauguration, the president had during a visit to South Africa acknowledged the effect of age on his capacity telling the Nigerian community at that time: “I wish I became Head of State when I was a governor, just a few years as a young man. Now at 72, there is a limit to what I can do,” the president had said. Since his inauguration, the president has undertaken three medical vacations; the last ended eight months ago during which he spent 104 days taking treatment in the United Kingdom. However, since that vacation, the president has apparently been sprightly, increasingly looking more energetic. His Promises In the campaign ahead of 2015, the president had centered his bid for power on three main sectors, security, anti-corruption and the economy. On all three sectors, his achievements are apparently mixed; especially when measured by his supporters and his critics. However, a major blow for the president is the latest rating by the global anti-corruption body, Transparency International. In 2016, the first year after the president assumed office, the country had the 136th position in the world while last year, two full years after, the country dipped to 148th position in the global ranking. The administration’s performance on the economy has, however, been relatively successful, especially in the agricultural sector. However, a strong issue the administration would have to confront is the measurable dip in the value of the naira which dipped from 190 to the dollar to the current 360 naira to the dollar. The administration would, however, counter criticisms of its handling of the economy with its alluring social intervention scheme which is arguably one of the most successful schemes in the empowerment of the masses in recent times. Many aficionados of the president would also take the president up on the fulfilment of his promise on assets declaration by himself and his appointees. Though the president made open his assets after some dithering procrastination, the election promise to cause his appointees to do same has been in the breach. Another failed campaign promise was the promise by the APC to inaugurate the National Procurement Nigerians would also be looking up to In a covenant with Nigerians declared on 16 March, 2015 by Buhari declared by his campaign, the president had been quoted as promising to “Inaugurate the National Council on Procurement as stipulated in the Procurement Act so that the Federal Executive Council, which has been turned to a weekly session of contract bazaar, will concentrate on its principal function of policy making.” However, nearly three years into the Buhari APC administration, the National Council on Procurement has yet to be established despite the intense campaign by civil society organisations, as such sustaining the same bazaar that the APC frowned against. APC Unity As the president declared in his declaration speech last Monday, unity in the ruling party is still an issue. After four years of its formation, the different tendencies that merged to form the party continue to show different proclivities. The notable irritation among members of the nPDP bloc continues with those from that tendency continuing to lament their fate in the party. With the notable exception of Rotimi Amaechi, the former governor of Rivers State, virtually every other major stakeholder from the nPDP bloc is said to be waiting in the wings to fly back to the PDP or somewhere else. National Unity The president had during his campaign and in his inauguration speech promised to be fair to all. However, there have been issues about the adoption of the principle of federal character in the distribution of choice appointments especially in the security services. Following the declaration, the president proceeded to the United Kingdom where he is expected to attend the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting, CHOGM next week. Whenever he returns he is bound to confront the issues, he may have quietly stirred on his departure eve.
VANGUARD, WEDNESDAY, APRIL 11, 2018 ---43 2019 POLLS: Charge for Nigerian women By Juliet Ebirim IN a bid to harness the inherent leadership potentials in Nigerian women needed to drive the nation into prosperity, the European Union recently organised a seminar themed “ How do women win elections in 2019?. The event held on the 23rd of March in Abuja was part of activities to mark this year’s International Women’s Day. The event brought together eminent female politicians, politically-inclined women and members of the civil society across the country to discuss women’s participation in Nigeria’s political process. The wife of the Senate President, Mrs. Toyin Saraki; Senator Binta Garba, who chairs the Senate Committee on Women Affairs and Mrs. Bisi Fayemi, leading gender activist and wife of Minister of Solid Minerals, were among those in attendance. Presenting the welcome address, Head of the European Union (EU) delegation to Nigeria and ECOWAS, Ambassador Ketil Karlsen said the idea was to discuss how to get women in the country to be more involved in and educated about politics, as well as ensure there are better opportunities for them. “We are opening the door a little bit. We are reminding ourselves that women’s right is not only for speeches at occasions. It is something that should guide our works and our lives every day of the year.” She said it was an irony that the Nigerian women known for their courage and outspokenness are relegated to the background in the politics of their country. “The statistics in this particular country makes it very clear: only six female senators, if I’m not mistaken, 15 female members of the House (of Representatives) and five (female) deputy governors in this great country, the biggest country in Africa. We need to ask ourselves whether this is good enough.” Sen. Binta Garba while sharing her political experience said her path has been dogged by the same factors that have made the political arena hostile to women with political ambitions. “Culture was against me, religion was against me. Women were used against me,” she said. Sen Garba came to the House of Representatives as the youngest of 360 members in 1999, at barely 28. She has been a federal lawmaker since Nigeria returned to democracy in 1999. In 2006, former Governor of Adamawa state, Boni Haruna, asked her to contest for the Senate in her home state, Adamawa. She has •Photo L-R: Author, Gender and Development Specialist, Erelu Bisi Fayemi; Political Advisor, European Union (EU) Delegation to Nigeria and ECOWAS, Jacob.SILEN; Wife of the Senate President, Mrs. Toyin Saraki; Hon. Ngunan Addingi (Mrs), Member, Benue State House of Assembly, Director- Global Programmes, International IDEA, Ms. Keboitse Machangana; Press Officer, European Union (EU) Delegation to Nigeria and ECOWAS, Modestus Chukwulaka been a senator representing Adamawa North since then. She urged women to be firm in their political pursuit and have their constituents at heart. While appealing to all women in the country to vote for their fellow women who show interest in politics, irrespective of their political affiliations, she urged that the “35% Affirmative Action” which seeks the allocation of 35 percent of all political offices to women be enshrined in the nation’s By Gbenga Olarinoye What is your vision for the state? My vision is to restore the pride, prosperity and position of Osun State by applying strategic evolutionary approach to Technology, Agriculture and Infrastructural development. How can you achieve this given the dwindling economic resources available to the state? You know I’m an Insurance Broker with wide connection globally. I will fully use my wide link with the outside world to the benefits of Osun State. I will provide enabling environment for Foreign Investors to come and invest heavily in our state. Most of the food eaten in Lagos is transported from Osun. Look at our arable land for farming which will constitution and in political parties’ constitutions. On her part, Mrs. Saraki expressed delight with the release of the abducted Dapchi girls, and described the loss of five of the girls as unfortunate. Citing a recent US Agency for International Development’s (USAID) report, she said: “When 10 per cent of girls go to school, a country’s GDP on the average increase by 35 per cent. When women have the same amount of land as men or ownership of land, there is over 10 per cent increase in crop yield.” The wife of the Senate President said allowing women to make good use of their potentials yields good dividends to any nation. According to her, the UN estimates that gender inequality costs Sub-Saharan Africa an average of $95 billion yearly. Also, the Senior Programme Manager, Global International Idea’s Programme on Political Participation & Representation (Sweden) Rumbidzai Washika- Nhunda, who gave the keynote presentation said many women and youths around the world do not join political parties because they see men as being patriarchal. She said the character context and political context have prevented women from going into politics, presenting themselves as candidates for position of power and decisionmaking. “We need to realise that this is a transformative agenda. This is an agenda of redistribution of power and privileges,” she said. According to her, only about half of the countries of the world manage to help a critical minority in parliament, executive or any position of power or decision-making, listing Sweden as one of the countries that have been fair to women in terms of political inclusiveness. Washika-Nhunda urged Nigeria to take a cue from countries like Rwanda, Bolivia, Mexico, South Africa, Senegal, Namibia, Uganda, Angola and Zimbabwe, which have some forms of legislative quotas, while maintaining that when a country adopts legislative gender quotas, they are not doing women favour, because it is a democratic imperative. Osun cannot continue to fall, fail — Loye BABATUNDE Olaniyi Loye is a man of sterling qualities, philanthropist, cheerful giver, an achiever, team leader, motivator, financial expert and insurance broker. Babatunde Loye who is aspiring to contest the governorship election of Osun State this year says he is ready to move Osun State out of its present financial and political handicapped position to a more prosperous state. He also said given his global connection and dynamism in the business world, he will work vigorously to develop Osun State and make it selfreliant and self-sufficient. Excerpts: •Loye encourage farm settlements with the provision of basic amenities to make our teeming Youth to be gainfully employed. And with it, there won’t be problem of owing salaries of our working, dedicated civil servants who are doing all within their purview to make the state working. The pensioners who had served the state meritoriously are not well treated, this is what my team will work on by ensuring they get their money without much ado. I was not pleased with the result of our students in WAEC/SSCE/NECO. It was disheartening to see my state at the bottom. But I will make sure teachers are well taken care of because they are world moulders. Without Teachers, we are doomed. They should be held in high esteem and their salaries promptly paid. I will make our hospitals, health and maternity centres accessible and drugs available. Given that Osun is a civil service state, how do you intend to turn it into a more productive? We have a game plan. To apply strategic evolutionary policies and practices to the existing viable sectors, and revamp other potential sectors through private and public sector partnerships, principally in education, agriculture, technology and energy. This will be furthered by infrastructural developments such as power, health, roads. There will be projects that will engage the populace- cutting across and embracing all areas of specialisations to the extent that the pride and prosperity of the people of Osun state will be restored. What is your motivation for this contest? I have a strong conviction to make a difference. First of all a Nigerian, scion of Osun origin, I remember growing up and the standards of living back then made me proud of my heritage. In recent times, that has not been so. Therefore, in order to rebuild and restore that proud heritage in Osun State, I have thrown my hat in the ring, to bring to bear my skills, knowledge and experience over the years to provide the required guidance and leadership to execute programmes that will positively impact the people of Osun state. What plans do you have for the health, education and other infrastructural sectors of the state? The current state of affairs in the country generally along these sectors is abysmal to say the least. However, must these conditions continue? No.