52—Vanguard, THURSDAY APRIL 12, 2018 COMMISSIONING—Minister of Power, Works & Housing, Mr Babatunde Fashola,SAN, (2nd right);Governor of Abia State, Dr. Okezie Ikpeazu(right); Permanent Secretary, Power, Mr Louis Edozien(left); Managing Director/CEO, Transmission Company of Nigeria(TCN), Mr Usman Gur Mohammed(2nd left) and others, during the commissioning of 40MVA, 132/33kv Mobile Power Transformer shortly before the 26th meeting with operators in the Power Sector hosted by TCN at the Ohiya Transmission Substation, Umuahia, Abia State. Herdsmen/farmers' clashes: Blame Gaddafi, irresponsible politicians — BUHARI Continues from page 5 education of the people, “so that they can be free from religious manipulation." President Buhari added that no true religion advocates the hurting or killing of the innocent. He used the opportunity to speak on his declaration for a second term, a move he said was forced on him because he wanted to stop the wild speculations on his political future. Buhari said the declaration would reduce distractions and help the government focus on key sectors as security, agriculture, economy, and anti-corruption, among NAIRA WATCH others. Why I declared A statement by Special Adviser to the President (Media and Publicity), Chief Femi Adesina, who is with the President in London, quoted the President as saying: “I declared before leaving home because Nigerians were talking too much about whether I would run or not. So, I felt I should break the ice. “We have many things to focus on, like security, agriculture, economy, anti-corruption, and many others. We needed to concentrate on them, Naira appreciates to N359.81/$ in I&E window By Adaeze Okechukwu THE Naira, yesterday, appreciated for the first time this week by 57 kobo to N359.81 per dollar in the Investors and Exporters (I&E) window of the foreign exchange market. Data from the Financial Market Dealers Quote (FMDQ) showed that the indicative exchange rate for the I&E also known as Nigerian Autonomous Foreign Exchange, NAFEX, dropped to N359.81 per dollar, yesterday, from N360.38 per dollar on Tuesday, translating to 57 kobo gain in the naira. The appreciation was in spite of the 28 percent decrease in the volume of dollars traded in the I&E window. The turnover in the window yesterday dropped to $242.92 million from $339.13 million recorded on Tuesday. Vanguard investigation revealed that naira yesterday depreciated by N1 to N363 per dollar from N362 on Tuesday in the parallel market. and politics should not be a distraction. The majority of Nigerians appreciate what we are doing, and that is why I am re-contesting.” While reeling out his achievements, especially in the agricultural sector to his guest, Presient Buhari said that Nigerians, with what he had done, should be able to feed themselves. “We have cut the importation of rice by about 90 per cent, saving billions of dollars in the process. People who rushed into petrol money have now gone back to agriculture. "Even professionals have gone back to the land. Nigeria should be able to feed itself comfortably soon. I am so pleased," he said. Speaking earlier, Archbishop Welby said it was always a delight to see President Buhari, “whom I have tremendous respect for." Welby said: “You have my best wishes on your recent decision. I read your declaration speech. We are neutral as a church, but we will pray for you. Great statesmen are those who run for the good of their country. We will be praying for you.” The Archbishop presented President Buhari with a copy of his recent book, ‘Reimagining Britain. Foundations for Hope.’ 2019: Run, Buhari run By Ikechukwu Amaechi FINALLY, President Muhammadu Buhari, to borrow a cliché, has decided to bite the bullet by declaring his intention to seek reelection in 2019. Though no discerning political observer was flabbergasted by the pronouncement, its impact was, nevertheless, instant and consequential. Reuters news agency reported that Nigerian stocks dropped to a threemonth low after the announcement. “The stock market, which opened on a losing streak after Lafarge Africa announced a surprise 2017 loss, worsened its decline. The equity market fell near 40,000 points,” Reuters reported. Expected, Nigerians are divided. While the president’s supporters are beside themselves with joy, his opponents are equally trenchant in their criticism. Chairman of Northern Elders Council (NEC), Alhaji Tanko Yakassai, dismissed the declaration, literally, as sheer voyeurism. “I wonder the type of magic that will make Buhari win re-election in 2019,” he said, adding that “at the height of his popularity, the difference between him and Goodluck Jonathan was 2.5 million votes.” Dr. Junaid Muhammed, Second Republic lawmaker, and an unrepentant critic of Buhari was more trenchant and acerbic. “This announcement is very unfortunate, it is done in very bad fate and I think it will not do the country or the people any good because I believe politicians being what they are and he is nothing now more than a politician should be assessed by what they say. “He (Buhari) said severally during the campaign that he was not going to contest for a second term. He also said he was going to do a number of things. He has failed woefully in any of the things he said he was going to do. “He put up a cabinet that was a national and international scandal; he brought his relations, friends and cronies to the cabinet, none of whom is performing or has performed during the last three years. “On the whole, he is the least competent, the least prepared person for the office of the president of this country. But he decided in spite of his nonperformance to go in and contest. “It is now clear to me and I believe to any right thinking Nigerian that his politics is all about himself, his nepotism, his cronyism Muhammadu Buhari of friends and relations. “It is not about national interest because what he did in the last three years had nothing to do with national interest. So I don’t believe that another four years of Buhari post- 2019 will do him or the country any good. We are likely to have more of the same and I can’t see him performing. “It is left for Nigerians to speak their mind and when the time comes, to speak with their vote.” But the president insists that his declaration was a response to the clamour by Nigerians urging him to seek a second mandate as a reward for sterling performance in office in the last three years. His supporters like the Imo State governor, Rochas Okorocha, concur. Okorocha, who doubles as the chairman of the Progressive Governors Forum, said Buhari’s declaration was a patriotic response to the clarion call of Nigerians of goodwill to lead the country for another four years. Maybe! Some have even raised the issue of Buhari’s promise in an interview with the Sunday Trust newspaper on February 6, 2011 to serve only one term if elected president. “I am not getting younger. If I succeed and do one term, I will be 73 years old,” he riposted when asked why he promised to serve only one term. Of course, he didn’t succeed that year but four The biggest industry in Nigeria today is sycophancy and like every other business, it has its peak period years later when he was already 73. So, first term of four years will bring him to 77 years and in another four years, he will be 81. So, if he thought he would be too old to withstand the rigours of presidential office at 73, one wonders where the confidence that he would be just fine at 77 is coming from. But the president owns his body and knows how strong physically, mentally and even psychologically he is. Besides, as his predecessor, Dr. Goodluck Jonathan, who once made the same promise and reneged said, “… You can make a political promise and change your mind, so long as it is within the law.” Morally, it could be reprehensible but legally and constitutionally deadon. What is not true is the fulsome claim by supporters that Buhari’s second term gambit is about the country. The biggest industry in Nigeria today is sycophancy and like every other business, it has its peak period. The silly season of politics is it when the din of fawning adulation of men of power for filthy lucre is loudest. As we move towards 2019, activities in this industry will continue to gather momentum. Emergency groups will mushroom with all manner of exotic tags. Pilgrimages to the centres of power will become an art and politics will trump governance. Nothing has changed. And nothing will change unless Nigerians decide to upend the status quo. For that to happen, there has to be a fight. Sadly, I can hardly see the appetite for that. The simple reason why anyone would contemplate a second term for Buhari is because the jostling for power has nothing to do with the wellbeing, development and progress of the country and welfare of the people. But Buhari’s second term aspiration is the beauty of democracy, even the pseudo Nigerian variant. If the All Progressives Congress (APC) thinks that its surest route to Aso Rock come 2019 is through candidate Muhammadu Buhari, those who think otherwise can live with that since there are dozens of other political parties. If at the end of the day and despite all they have seen and heard in the last three years, majority of Nigerians think their lot will be better under a Buhari presidency for another four years, so be it. After all, isn’t it said that a people get the government they deserve? But there must be a levelplaying field. Nigerians are not confident that this government will play by the rules of the game. They are not assured that the security forces will be neutral. Now that Buhari has declared his intention to run for a second term, arguing that it is a wrong decision is a no-brainer. Persuading him to reconsider his stance is the height of political naivety and tomfoolery. So, run, Buhari run. But Nigerians owe themselves the obligation to be resolute in ensuring that the right things are done. After all, isn’t it said that eternal vigilance is the price for freedom? Ikechukwu Amaechi is the MD/Editor-in-Chief, TheNiche on Sunday newspaper, Ikeja, Lagos.
Vanguard, THURSDAY, APRIL 12, 2018 — 53 C M Y K