1. 5 years of elusive ‘change’, president M.Buhari’s self-congratulation grates

LAST week, having self-assessed his five years in power, President Muhammadu Buhari adjudged himself a success. In a 26-page self-assessment report, tagged “Buhari Administration Fifth Anniversary Factsheet”, the presidency said the Buhari administration “has made salutary impact in almost all the facets of Nigerian life”. Basking in the self-congratulatory mood, Lai Mohammed, Minister of Information and Culture, said: “Buhari has put Nigeria on an irreversible road to sustainable development!”

But Buhari can’t be judge and jury in his own case. An independent assessment must be based on two questions: Has President Buhari fulfilled the promises he and his party, All Progressives Congress, APC, made to Nigerians during the 2015 presidential election campaign? And are Nigerians and Nigeria better off today than they were five years ago?

Both questions are important. Fulfilling manifesto promises makes an electoral democracy credible and sustainable. And improving the lives of citizens is what politics and government should be about. As Aristotle put it, politics is “primarily concerned with the actualisation of human flourishing”. And Thomas Jefferson said: “The care of human life and happiness is the only legitimate object of good government”.

So, first on election promises. In 2015, the APC campaigned on a change agenda and presented Buhari as a saviour. Indeed, Bola Tinubu, the APC leader and Svengali who finally helped Buhari fulfil his presidential ambitions, compared him to some of the world’s greatest transformational leaders.

In 2015, Tinubu said: “Today, we are in a great crisis, we face a lot of challenges. When South Africa was in a great dilemma and was about to disintegrate, they called Nelson Mandela of 74 years old. He used his wisdom to save his country. When America was faced with depression and war, they called a retired General, Dwight Eisenhower, to rescue the country and the country was returned on a path of success. When France was faced with war and economic depression, they called a retired General, Charles De Gaulle, to rescue the country”. Then, he ended with a rhetorical flourish. “So, what do we need now? Buhari! General Buhari, we are calling you to come and rescue us in Nigeria”!

It was sheer sophistry, of course, and some of us warned at the time. But five years on, is Buhari Nigeria’s Mandela or Eisenhower or De Gaulle? Of course, he is not. Buhari is not remotely comparable in stature or in achievements to any of the great men.

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Take Nelson Mandela. He came out of prison, after 27 years, to form a unity government with his political enemies, including those who jailed him, in order to create a new South Africa. But Buhari is so clannish, so divisive, to unite Nigeria. Earlier this week, retired Colonel Abubakar Dangiwa Umar, a man not known for frivolities, wrote a letter to Buhari, entitled “Mr President, Please Belong to All of Us”, warning him that his nepotism and lopsided appointments could “bring ruin and destruction to this nation”.

Within four years, Mandela helped create a new political and constitutional settlement that birthed a rainbow nation, united in diversity. But five years in power, Buhari doesn’t see the imperative for a political settlement, and thus won’t support the process of creating it!

2.Edo 2020 polls: Adams Oshiomhole insists on direct primaries, writes INEC

The National Chairman of the All Progressives Congress, Adams Oshiomhole, has written to the Independent National Electoral Commission insisting that the party has chosen the direct primary mode for the selection of its candidate for the Edo State governorship poll.

In a letter dated May 19, 2020, addressed to INEC Chairman, Oshiomhole said the party had put in place measures to ensure strict compliance with the COVID-19 prevention guidelines.

An acknowledged copy of the letter sighted by our correspondent in Abuja, on Wednesday, said the party’s decision was in full compliance with the APC constitution and the Electoral Act.

The letter captioned “Notice of intention to conduct direct primary for the Edo State Governorship Election,” read in part, “I convey to you my compliments and wish to respectfully inform you that the All Progressives Congress has decided to conduct direct primary for the Edo State Governorship Election on Monday, 22nd of June, 2020.

“To this end we have put in place modalities to ensure strict compliance with the COVID-19 prevention guidelines as announced by the COVID-19 Presidential Task Force and the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control.

“Therefore, direct primaries will be conducted in one hundred and ninety-two (192) wards.”

“We, accordingly, invite you as observers of the primaries with full compliance with All Progressives Congress Constitution and the Electoral Act.”

3. Senate enhances capital market, screens new SEC appointments

The Senate Committee on capital market has emphasized that the Nigerian capital market is a very critical tool that could rescue the nation’s economy from the brink of recession in the face of coronavirus ,COVID-19 pandemic.

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The Chairman of the Senate Committee on Capital Markets, Senator Ibikunle Amosun, stated this yesterday during the screening of nominees for full time Director General and Commissioners of the Securities and Exchange Commission, SEC, in Abuja.

Amosun said that the capital market had the depth to revamp the nation’s poor state of infrastructure, noting that there was no better time than now for federal and state governments to leverage opportunities provided by the capital market for sourcing infrastructure financing.

“We now know what the capital market can do to rescue the economy at a time like this. Shares are tumbling but we hope it won’t last long.

“However, we also have to look inward and explore ways of diversifying our economy away from crude oil. If we have to diversify our economy, the capital market has a role to play and that is why we are here to support you, and that is why we have suspended everything else to go on with this screening.

“We will support the capital market for our country to realise these economic goals,” he stated.

4. Kogi state accuses FG, NCDC of using compromised machines

The Kogi State Government on Wednesday accused the Federal Ministry of Health and the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control of bringing machines that had been programmed to record positive Covid-19 cases only to the Federal Medical Centre, Lokoja.

A statement by the Commissioner for Information, Kingsley Fanwo, said sample collection materials had been infected with Covid-19.

“Our people should be careful in accessing health care at FMC, Lokoja for now. The institution has become an incubation point for breeding false Covid-19 cases.

“Both the Federal Ministry of Health and the NCDC are not trusted and we have every reason not to ever believe their commercial efforts against Covid-19,” the commissioner said.

Meanwhile, the state government has created mobile courts to try violators of the lockdown order in the Kabba/Bunu Local Government Area.

The lockdown came on the heels of last week’s confirmation of two cases of Covid-19 by the NCDC.

A statement on Wednesday by Fanwo, stated that the decision to lock down the council was to ensure effective containment of the purported outbreak of Covid-19 in the council.

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The commissioner urged the people to fully comply with the lockdown the rules as violators would be arrested and tried by the mobile courts deployed in different parts of the council.

“We urge our people to persevere and obey all the rules of the lockdown which are in their best interest. We shall overcome this phase and come out stronger as a people,” he said.

5. APC Guber Primary: Group raises alarm over alleged fake membership cards in Ondo state

AHEAD of the July 20, governorship primary of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in Ondo State, a socio-political group, the Unity Mandate Agenda has raised the alarm over “illegal” membership registration being carried out by some politicians across the 203 wards in the State.

National Coordinator, of the group Comrade Babatope Abisola raised the alarm in a statement issued in Akure.

Abisola alleged that “the fake membership cards were part of a broader plan by some unscrupulous politicians in APC to rig the poll in case the party adopts the direct mode of primary for the State.

The coordinator accused a chieftain of the party Senator Ajayi Boroffice as the brain behind the fake membership cards production.

According to Abisola, Senator Boroffice is hellbent in installing his puppet, Dapo Adelegan, as the next governor of the state mainly because of his 2023 Vice Presidential ambition.

The Statement said “It is necessary we call the attention of all our national leaders in APC including President Muhammadu Buhari about the ongoing fake membership registration exercise in Ondo State.

“Anyone planning to perform illegality will be resisted; nobody can intimidate us and those having such plan will rig themselves into the water.

“We must tell them that fake membership cards won’t stop the Unity Forum’s consensus candidate, Chief Olusola Oke, SAN from emerging as the governorship candidate of the party on July 20.

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