Taraba: Aisha Alhassan Loses At Appeal Court

On Thursday, the appeal court sitting in Abuja ruled that the Alhassan had no locus standi – the right or capacity to appear in a court – to question the decision of the PDP. The Abdul Aboki-led five-man panel ruled that the PDP fielded Ishaku and he was accepted by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), with no complaints. INEC announced PDP’s Darius Ishaku as winner with 369,318 votes defeating APC’s Al-hassan who polled 275,984 at the ballot in April. Though Aboki admitted the testimony of the INEC officer, who testified that the PDP primaries violated sections 85 and 87 of the electoral law, he said the APC had no locus standi on the matter. Of the five issues raised by the appellant, two were in favour of the APC and another two  of the PDP; while the last issue on declaring Alhassan automatic governor after tribunal’s disqualification of Ishaku, was overruled by the appeal. Aboki ruled that it was “gross mis-direction” on the part of the tribunal to have declared Al-hassan as winner, declaring its initial decision as null and void, having violated the electoral act. The election tribunal sitting in Abuja had declared on November 7 that Alhassan was as the duly elected governor, saying Ishaku did not emerge candidate of the PDP in a proper primary election. He ruled that Alhassan, also known as ‘Mama Taraba’, be sworn in as governor of Taraba state because she came second in the poll. The tribunal held that the governorship primaries conducted by the PDP in Taraba violated section 78 (b) (1)(2) of the electoral act which guides parties nomination to the position of governorship candidate. It held that contrary to the provision of the section, PDP conducted the primaries at its national secretariat in Abuja with no clear delegation from the local government areas in the state. Ishaku vowed to appeal, maintaining that he would win. He also said if the election was conducted 10 times, he would win 10times.

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Buhari Is A Tyrant – PDP

The Peoples Democratic Party alleged on Thursday that President Muhammadu Buhari’s responses at the Wednesday Presidential Media Chat were not only embarrassing but also further exposed his undemocratic character as an unrepentant tyrant who has no regard for the rule of law and the self-worth of Nigerian citizens.

The party, in a statement by its National Publicity Secretary, Chief Olisa Metuh in Abuja, also said the President confirmed his alleged partisanship in the much-vaunted war against corruption by openly absolving his ministers and party members of corrupt practices.

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Media chat: Buhari is a tyrant, says PDP

    

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Olusola Fabiyi, Abuja

The Peoples Democratic Party alleged on Thursday that President Muhammadu Buhari’s responses at the Wednesday Presidential Media Chat were not only embarrassing but also further exposed his undemocratic character as an unrepentant tyrant who has no regard for the rule of law and the self-worth of Nigerian citizens.

The party, in a statement by its National Publicity Secretary, Chief Olisa Metuh in Abuja, also said the President confirmed his alleged partisanship in the much-vaunted war against corruption by openly absolving his ministers and party members of corrupt practices.

Metuh said the President’s attitude showed his true colours as unrepentant dictator.

He also said it was wrong for the President to have condemned those undergoing trial for alleged corruption.

He said, “Whilst we restate our respect for the person and office of the President, we note that President Buhari bared his true colours to the world as an unrepentant tyrant.

“Today, the world is no longer in doubt as to who is behind the prevailing recklessness, abuse of rights of citizens and outright flouting of judicial pronouncements by security agencies.

“A situation where the President openly pronounced persons facing trial guilty and sanctioned their continued incarceration despite being granted bail by the courts, presents a dangerous fascist practice obtainable only in totalitarian societies like Mussolini’s Italy, Hitler’s Germany, Idi Amin’s Uganda and General Than Shwe’s Burma.

“This extremely shocking dictatorial tendency being brazenly exhibited by the President in total disdain for our laws and judicial institutions portends great danger for our democracy and constitutionally-guaranteed rights of the people, and should be resisted by the citizens before it festers.

“The scorn for the principle of separation of powers, especially the independence of the legislature, is further manifested in the declared craving to regulate the funding and running of the National Assembly, a matter constitutionally vested outside the jurisdiction of the executive.

“We are most uncomfortable about his attempt at trying to whip up public sentiments against an independent arm of government, especially the one vested with the constitutional power of appropriation.”

Metuh added that with the pronouncements by the President, it might be necessary to suspend the application of the Constitution and allow the President to operate as maximum ruler for four years after which the nation can return to a democracy.

According to him,  “On the issue of the Chibok girls, President Buhari’s embarrassing declaration of seeking information on the whereabouts and state of the girls betrays an obvious insincerity which is in total conflict with his campaign promises in that regard.

“Thus by this declaration, our dear President has accepted failure on this issue and should therefore apologise to Nigerians for all the insults, abuse and aspersions cast on the past administration by himself and the leadership of his political party.”

On the issue of devaluation of the naira, Metuh said it was obvious that there was a conflict between the budget speech wherein the president stated that the government was assessing the foreign exchange rate with a view to attracting foreign investments and his categorical pronouncement during the media chat that the naira would not be devalued.

He said it was obvious that the president obviously “does not understand the currency that applies in the devaluation of the naira,”

He added that Nigerians were shocked by the President’s labeling them as ‘very difficult lot’ while responding to questions on the strategy to be adopted in implementing his promised N5,000 social welfare package.

He said, “This unhealthy portrayal of the citizens by the very father of the nation, who has remained unrelenting in de-marketing his country through unguarded statements, is indeed a great disservice to Nigeria and its international image.

“Consequently, we reject this negative labeling of our citizens and reiterate our confidence in them, especially the millions who remain honest, hardworking and credible.

“Finally, Nigerians must take copious note of the fact that the President gave no inspiring answers to questions pertaining to his campaign promises, the fight against insurgency and rescue of the Chibok girls, the poor state of the naira, sudden plunging of the economy under his watch, and the gradual loss of democratic rights and freedom.”

Punch…..

Wayne Rooney Can Save Louis Van Gaal’s Job, Says Manchester United Legend Rio Ferdinand

Former Manchester United captain Rio Ferdinand says thay Wayne Rooney is the man to save Louis van Gaal’s job after an improved display against Chelsea.

Rooney enjoyed one of his best games of the season against the Blues, although he missed an excellent late chance in the 0-0 draw on Monday.

The result saw United’s winless run extend to eight games and leave them in sixth place in the Premier League, nine points behind leaders Arsenal.

But Ferdinand, who won six Premier League titles and the Champions League with United, believes Rooney can be the difference for the under-pressure Dutchman.

He also says that being dropped for the defeat at Stoke City will have acted as great motivation for the current captain.

“The performance of Wayne Rooney must have given [Manchester United supporters] hope,” Ferdinand wrote in his column for The Sun.

“Rooney’s display reminded us of the player who used to light up English football — a player we have seen too infrequently under manager Louis van Gaal.

“And I reckon being dropped for the previous game against Stoke was the best thing that could have happened to him. When you are dumped on the bench it is a huge blow to your pride, as I learned from my own personal experience in the latter days of my career.

“You re-evaluate all aspects of your life. You examine your social habits, attitude to the game, application in training, your mental approach, absolutely everything.

“And if you have anything about you, you make a vow that the manager can never again have a reason to leave you out of the team. Wayne will have been hurt and desperate to prove a point.

“He didn’t score and was lucky not to be sent off for a nasty tackle on Oscar. But other than that, his all-round game was superb.”

Ferdinand added that Van Gaal’s reign has been littered with forwards who have failed to show their true potential.

Robin van Persie, Javier Hernandez, Angel Di Maria and Adnan Januzaj have all struggled during different periods of Van Gaal’s reign and none are currently at the club, although Januzaj ison loan at Borussia Dortmund.

The former United centre-back said that Rooney played with more freedom than he has done at any point this season.

“Rooney played with freedom against Chelsea and you could see how the team grew in confidence as a result,” he added.

“He was coming off the centre-back to help link the play or spin round and mount an attack. Then he was drifting out to collect and hit those fantastic diagonal balls and, most importantly, he was getting in the box as well.

“Every time United had the ball, Rooney was finding space to make himself available. And, crucially, his team-mates were giving it to him with a forward pass hit at pace.”

The former England defender says that Rooney, like other forwards under Van Gaal, have suffered because of the slow build-up and lack of chances created during the Dutchman’s tenure.

“Rooney used to benefit from those [chances] himself, but there has been too little of that creativity during this Dutch regime.

“If Wayne has decided to take matters into his own hands then good on him — Van Gaal would be wise not to rein him in. This is a big year for the England captain. Euro 2016 could be his last shot at winning a major tournament with his country.

“And he will want to make a big mark on that stage to show he belongs among the world’s best players.

“He has it in him, there is no doubt about it, but many people are worried that his career is on the slide. Well on Monday he started to fight back, which can only be great news for United and England fans.”

Arsenal Manager Says Topping Table No Guarantee But It Does Reduce The Stress

Arsène Wenger wants his Arsenal team to lead confidently from the front for the rest of the Premier League season, knowing that holding top spot now ensures his team do not have to worry about anyone else.

With half of the season gone, Arsenal are ahead of Leicester City on goal difference. They host Newcastle United on 2 January, hoping to extend their lead at the top.

While Wenger acknowledged that their margin over Leicester is very narrow, it does give them a psychological edge: having to focus solely on themselves.

“Being top on goal difference doesn’t make a big difference, it is just down to how well you play,” Wenger said. “Your performances dictate that, and you have to be guided by your performances.

“After that, it is reassuring to know that if your performances are right, you do not need bad results from somebody else. That is one less stress.”

Wenger knows from experience that it is easier just to concentrate on his own team’s form. “It is a bad thing in our job: we always want to be successful and we wish that others are not,” he said. “That is not a very good feeling in our position. Once you are first, you can just focus on your performance.”

It is performance levels, of course, rather than their position today, that will determine who wins the title. But Wenger took confidence from historical precedent.

“This is not the date that decides if you win the league,” he said. “It shows that we have a good chance, as statistics show you that in eight of the past 11 years the team who was top on New Year’s Day won it.”

While the openness of this year’s title race has led to criticism suggesting a lack of quality, Wenger defended this year’s competition, saying it was far preferable to a one-horse race.

“I heard last night, you have clichéd thinking that ‘nobody wants to win the league’,” Wenger said. “I can say as well that everybody wants to win it. And if you were in the game you would think that is not the case – everybody wants to win it, but it’s difficult.”

Wenger remains a staunch defender of the Premier League compared with some of Europe’s more lop-sided leagues. “How do you measure that on entertainment? Look at the audiences of the Premier League, and the rest of the world, then come and give me an answer. It is yes. Public opinion decides that.

“In Greece, Olympiakos are 14 points ahead, with 14 wins from 14 games. In France, Paris Saint-Germain are 19 points ahead. If you have that, everybody will say it’s boring. It is better you have the situation we have today, where seven or eight teams can win it.”

The contrast in reactions to Arsenal’s win over Manchester City, defeat at Southampton, and win over Bournemouth shows what they have to cope with.

“Public opinion is not always stable, it changes a lot,” Wenger said. “It is always linked with the last result. We have to rise above that.”

Novak Djokovic Vs. Serena Williams: And The Winner Is …

A 33-year-old who grew up in California and a 28-year-old from Serbia — both at the prodigious peak of their powers — dominated tennis in 2015.

at the Australian Open tennis championship in Melbourne, Australia, Saturday, Jan. 12, 2013. (AP Photo/Andy Wong)
at the Australian Open tennis championship in Melbourne, Australia, Saturday, Jan. 12, 2013. (AP Photo/Andy Wong)

Serena Williams and Novak Djokovic each won three of the four Grand Slam singles titles, a once-in-a-generation phenomenon that had only occurred twice in the past 46 years. Steffi Graf and Mats Wilander took seven of eight in 1988, as did Aussies Rod Laver and Margaret Court in 1969.

“I think I knew that,” Wilander recently told ESPN.com from his Idaho home. “Steffi won all four and I won three. There’s your answer. Yeah, it’s been awhile since we’ve seen that kind of dominance on both sides of the game. It was fun to watch.”

All season long, through to the second-to-last major match of the season, tennis fans were captivated by Serena’s Slam attempt. But in retrospect, did Djokovic — chronically under the radar, typically upstaged — actually have the better season?

It’s a cruelly subjective question, one that weighs the entire body of work versus degree of difficulty, epic quantity and excellence against a narrower slice of dazzling quality.

The bare numbers favor Djokovic:

” Williams was 53-3 (.946) and won five titles. That winning percentage is the women’s 12th-best in the 48 years of the Open era.

” Djokovic was 82-6 (.932) and won 11 titles, including a record six ATP World Tour Masters 1000 events. That’s the sixth-best winning percentage for men in the Open era.

Djokovic played against arguably better competition — and far more often. His record against top-10 players was 31-5, compared to 6-1 for Serena. Djokovic reached all four major finals and produced a Grand Slam singles record of 27-1 — the lone loss coming at the hands of Stan Wawrinka at Roland Garros. Djokovic played in eight of the ATP’s nine Masters events, skipping Madrid and losing to Andy Murray and Roger Federer in the finals of Montreal and Cincinnati, respectively.

Williams, the WTA’s Player of the Year for the seventh time, lost in the semifinals of the US Open and finished 26-1 in majors. She finished as the No. 1-ranked player for the fifth time — and the third year in a row. Serena played in six of the WTA’s nine Premier 5/Premier Mandatory events, missing Dubai, Wuhan and Beijing. She won two (Miami and Cincinnati), lost two (to Petra Kvitova and Belinda Bencic in Madrid and Toronto) and granted walkovers to her opponents in Indian Wells and Rome, two of her three for the season. Djokovic had no walkovers.

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However, Williams won the season’s first three majors — the Australian Open, French Open and Wimbledon — and her pursuit of the fourth, in New York, drew even mainstream, less-than-casual tennis fans into the gripping drama. She was, notably, Sports Illustrated’s choice for Sportsperson of the Year.

Perhaps more impressive: Williams did it at the remarkable age of 33. Will Djokovic be capable of winning three Slams in a season five years from now?

Another area to consider: margin of victory. Only three of Djokovic’s 28 major matches went the five-set distance. Meanwhile, 12 of Serena’s 27 major matches required the women’s maximum three sets. Overall, 19 of her 56 matches went three, while Djokovic was pushed to the three- or five-set limit 18 times in 88 matches.

Djokovic finished with a flourish, winning 27 of his final 28 matches. He became the first tennis player to earn more than $20 million in prize money in a single season.

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After losing in the quarterfinals to Ivo Karlovic in his opening tournament in Doha, Djokovic made the finals of the last 15 events he played. Serena, suffering from injuries, shut it down after the US Open.

Here’s how the experts broke down Williams’ and Djokovic’s 2015 seasons:

Darren Cahill, ESPN analyst and former coach of Lleyton Hewitt and Andre Agassi

“Any player that can win three majors in a season and only lose a handful of matches has recorded a remarkable achievement, male or female.

“Novak, Rafa and Roger have all accomplished the feat in recent years, but no man since Rod Laver in 1969 has won the first three majors in a season. Serena is the first female to accomplish it since Steffi Graf in 1988.

“Serena brought a lot of extra attention to tennis in 2015 and the sport is better for it. The men have enjoyed a golden era with Rafa, Roger, Novak and Andy, and have quite rightfully owned the majority of the headlines over the years, but this year belongs to Serena and the WTA.

“From the moment Serena won the French Open, she delivered tennis and the possibility of a Grand Slam at the forefront of any sporting conversation. The casual tennis fan became an avid fan following the progress, and the non-tennis fan even tuned in to see if history would be made. With that came expectation, pressure, nerves, excitement, opportunity, obligations and many other factors that are tough to quantify.”

Pam Shriver, ESPN analyst and 21-time Grand Slam doubles champion

“Well, the big difference is that six years in between them. It’s way different being in your mid-30s and late-20s. I would just want to add that as a caveat, the competition that Novak is facing probably raises him above. Even Federer’s greatest year [2006] came before Rafa and Novak really, really came into their primes. It almost equalizes it out. That’s the difficulty in this discussion.”

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Brad Gilbert, ESPN analyst and former coach of Andre Agassi, Andy Roddick and Andy Murray

“It’s a good question. Serena had the crescendo. She was facing the basket, going for the Slam. Novak didn’t get that look. But his overall body of work for the year is above hers. She got the look, he didn’t. His year is better, but ask him if he’d probably rather have the look she did.

“That look at a Grand Slam is something he’s maybe never going to get. Serena’s was the first real look since Steffi [Graf, in 1988]. The last guy was Rod Laver, [in 1969].”

Mary Carillo, Tennis Channel and NBC analyst

“Novak. Oh, yeah. Obviously, Serena played with a lot more pressure in the US Open than Novak did — and Wimbledon, too. The quality of the player, the level of excellence he shows — apart from Wawrinka at French — you give him the season.

“Serena had a very snappy little season. I just think Novak played better — and against better opponents, day in day out, major after major. Novak had the better season, Serena had the bigger year. She was three sets from a calendar Slam. She dominated the headlines, and for a very good reason. But then she stopped playing. Novak, whose dreams were over in June, kept on going with a full fall.”

Toni Nadal, coach and mentor of Rafael Nadal

“I think Djokovic, but Serena had a great year, too, as she also won three Grand Slams. Maybe Djokovic, as he made the final of the other one [Roland Garros], and Serena lost in the semifinal of the one she didn’t win [the US Open]. Sometimes this season, it was impossible for anyone to beat Djokovic. With Serena, it was a little less impossible for her opponents.”

Mats Wilander, seven-time Grand Slam singles champion

“Serena played great, but she wasn’t as dominant as Steffi [in 1988]. She won the French Open final [over Natasha Zvereva, 6-0. 6-0] in 32 minutes. I know because I was the next match on. I think you have to account for who they’re beating in the finals.

Aretha Franklin Brings President Obama to Tears by Performing “(You Make Me Feel Like) A Natural Woman” Live

The legendary R&B diva sang “(You Make Me Feel Like) A Natural Woman” at the2015 Kennedy Center Honors, which was taped Dec. 6 in Washington, D.C., and aired on CBS Tuesday night. Franklin performed the song in a tribute to singer-songwriter Carole King, who was one of the evening’s five honorees alongside filmmaker George Lucas, actress Rita Moreno, conductor Seiji Ozawa, and actressCicely Tyson. When Franklin appeared onstage, King couldn’t believe her eyes. Her performance even caused President Barack Obama to wipe a tear away from his eye as First Lady Michelle Obama watched intently by his side. The camera also captured other famous audience members, like Rosie Perez and Gina Rodriguez, singing along with Franklin. But perhaps no one seemed as ecstatic as King, who wrote the song Franklin made famous in 1968.

During one of the song’s crescendos, the Queen of Soul left the piano and walked to the center of the stage. The 73-year-old singer then removed her coat before receiving a standing ovation.

Other friends and fans who paid tribute to King included Sara Bareilles, John Kerry, Janelle Monáe and James Taylor, among others. During the ceremony, country superstar Miranda Lambert performed “Desperado” as a tribute to The Eagles, who were to be honored alongside King, Lucas, Moreno, Ozawa and Tyson. In November, the musicians announced they would be unable to participate in the 2015 Kennedy Center Honors due to Glenn Frey‘s health. “The Kennedy Center has graciously agreed to postpone the Eagles’ award presentation until next year, when all four Eagles, Glenn Frey, Don Henley, Joe Walsh, and Timothy B. Schmit, can attend,” the rock band said in a statement.

New Year’s Eve Styling Tricks: The Cool Girl’s Guide To Dressing Up

Getting dressed for New Year’s is not a question of what to pull from the back of your closet, but rather one of what new outfit can you buy to make the night one to remember.

Make like Behati Prinsloo and Jennifer Lawrence and save your LBD and standard romper (both fine options for any other day of the year) for another time. Instead, paint the town in glitzy, retro-inspired ensembles—the ultimate, cool-girl way to spruce up your NYE attire this year, according to celeb stylist Natalie Saidi.

SHOP: Our 24 days of holiday essentials

“At the moment, a jumpsuit or romper is more fun to wear jazzed up with elements like a glittery, metallic eye and a fabulous, fur coat for that vintage, ‘70s vibe,” noted the stylist. Similarly, take your LBD to the next level with killer accents like a metallic blazer and bold baubles.

“The first thing that everyone notices when you walk into a party is your outfit, so once you have that figured out, everything else will fall into place,” assured the pro.

Leonardo Dicaprio Explains Why He Passed On The Chance To Play Anakin Skywalker In The Star Wars Prequels

Leonardo DiCaprio was afraid to embrace the dark side.

In a recent interview with ShortList, the 41-year-old Revenant actor revealed that he passed on the chance to play a young Anakin Skywalker in two of the three Star Wars prequels, 2002’s Star Wars Episode II: Attack of the Clones and 2005’s Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sith.

“I did have a meeting with George Lucas about that, yes,” DiCaprio confirmed. “[I] just didn’t feel ready to take that dive. At that point.” Hayden Christensen was cast instead, and he just so happened to reflect on his role Tuesday in an interview withThe Los Angeles Times. “I felt like I had this great thing in Star Wars that provided all these opportunities and gave me a career, but it all kind of felt a little too handed to me,” the actor said of joining the blockbuster film franchise 13 years ago. “I didn’t want to go through life feeling like I was just riding a wave.”

Christensen continued to act after Star Wars, starring in 2006’s Factory Girl, 2007’sAwake and 2008’s Jumper, among other projects. However, he decided to take a break between 2010 and 2014. He recently returned to the big screen in the movie90 Minutes in Heaven, opposite Kate Bosworth. “You can’t take years off and not have it affect your career,” says Christensen, who welcomed a daughter withRachel Bilson in the fall of 2014. “But I don’t know—in a weird, sort of destructive way, there was something appealing about that to me. There was something in the back of my head that was like, ‘If this time away is gonna be damaging to my career, then so be it. If I can come back afterward and claw my way back in, then maybe I’ll feel like I earned it.'”

DiCaprio, meanwhile, has certainly earned his place in Hollywood, thanks to roles in movies like 1997’s Titanic, 2006’s The Departed and 2013’s The Wolf of Wall Street. Still, there are many other parts he passed on over the years, including Robin in 1995’s Batman Forever. “I never screen-tested. I had a meeting with Joel Schumacher. It was just one meeting and, no, I didn’t end up doing it,” he toldShortList. DiCaprio didn’t really want the role that later went to Chris O’Donnell, anyway. “As I recall I took the meeting, but didn’t want to play the role. Joel Schumacher is a very talented director but I don’t think I was ready for anything like that.” He was also up for the role of Peter Parker in 2002’s Spider-Man, which went to his best friend Tobey Maguire. “Er, that was another one of those situations, similar to Robin, where I didn’t feel ready to put on that suit yet,” the Golden Globe winner said. “They got in touch with me.”

Would DiCaprio like to play a superhero one day?

“You never know. You never know. They’re getting better and better as far as complex characters in these movies. I haven’t yet,” he said. “But no, I don’t rule out anything.”

Agency Report

N780bn Fine: NCC May Enforce Payment On MTN Today

As the December 31 deadline expires today, the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) may enforce payment of the N780billion fine imposed on MTN Nigeria, a source close to the commission has said.

NCC is prepared to enforce payment of its $3.9 billion fine against South African telecoms giant MTN, a spokesman for the NCC told an online agency yesterday.

The deadline over the payment of the fine imposed on the MTN expires today.

But the MTN has filed suit in the Federal High Court in Lagos, seeking to quash the fine. MTN’s view is that the court case has delayed payment of the fine until there is a ruling.

But that is not the view of the NCC.

“If the MTN doesn’t pay the fine by tomorrow (today), the NCC will enforce the fine in line with relevant provisions of the NCC Act. The fact that they have gone to court doesn’t affect the fact that they have a fine hanging on their neck. These are two separate issues,” the source said.

The spokesman would not say what action the NCC would take, but insisted that the commission could employ its full powers accorded by law.

“You are aware that in sequel to the suit filed by MTN, the NCC has put together a team of prominent lawyers to defend the interest of the government and Nigerians. And of course the lawyers have filed an objection to the MTN suit on diverse grounds,” the spokesman said.

The spokesman said that the NCC had every right to enforce the fine in line with relevant provisions of the law that established it.

The spokesman also denied that the MTN court case gave them the right to delay payment of the fine.

“MTN is just trying to buy time. There is no merit in their argument. They have gone to court but they are still arguing the case in the court of public opinion. You can be sure that the NCC will do the needful,” the spokesman said.

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President Buhari’s Maiden Presidential Media Chat

BY THE NEWS NIGERIA DEC 30, 2015

 

Moderator was Channels TV man, Kayode Akintemi. He introduces the President. Introduces others Ngozi Anyaegbunam, Dan  Ali of Daily Trust, Ibanga Isine of Premium Times.

Pres. Buhari with a media panel at the media chat today

 

The Questions have started. As expected the first was on corruption.

Question: How do you think you are doing with the fight against corruption?

Buhari; Urges cooperation from citizens in the fight. Says times are different from when he was a head of state in 1984. Urges for patience.

Says money was found in private accounts.

Has money been collected?

Buhari: We cannot prejudge what the court will do. But we are presenting documents to the court. Money is being recovered. says the evidence of stolen money will be presented in the court.

Anyaegbunam: Asks about the need to make the war a national movement, in which everyone will be involved. And plans to rejig anti-corruption agencies.

Buhari: We have to cross check our documents. Cross check records. For example NNPC, which ships loaded, where etc.  We are going far. By the end of first quarter next year, we will tell Nigerians how far we have gone.

Question; How far can you go?

Buhari: I said at the beginning that I do not belong to anybody. I have sworn on the Quran. We are not going to put anyone above the law.

 

On NNPC probe:

Buhari: We are seeking the cooperation of banks, countries, to cooperate with us because Nigeria is in bad shape

Question: On his own asset declaration

Buhari: I have declared my assets four times. As Governor of North East state, member of Supreme Military Council and Minister of Petroleum, as Head of state, when I was removed, I could not declare because I was under house arrest for three years.

As elected President, I have also declared.

This information could be gotten from Ministry of Justice. If they cannot produce it, they have questions to answer.

Challenges the media to ask for the documents.

19.22: Question still on corruption; accusations that the fight is lopsided as members of his party who are ministers have cases in court.

Buhari: I do not tolerate corruption. I did not appoint any of the 36 ministers who has a case in court. Tell me one

Question: Have your ministers declared their assets

Buhari: I expected them to have declared their assets. It is a constitutional issue.

19.25: Question moves to Chibok Girls, Boko Haram. When are we bringing the girls back?

Buhari; My fourth time of answering questions on Chibok girls, Mentions a Boko Haram contact that approached the government. We wanted the girls intact, but we are told they have been dispersed. We are still in talks, but we have made it clear without preconditions.

Question: Do you have intelligence that the girls are alive?

Buhari: We are still waiting for a credible Boko Haram leadership that will tell us that.

The question of Chibok girls is on our minds all the time. But we do not have any information on where they are.  The Honest truth: we do not have.

Question: The IDPs going back home in first quarter of 2016. Are they going to be like sitting ducks? Any psychological counseling for them before they return home, their integration etc

Buhari:  We have about 2million IDPs in various camps. Over 70 per cent of them are children and women. Over 65 per cent of the children are orphans. A committee was set up, the Danjuma Committee. Over N25billion was collected. If you recall, when I went to G7 meeting, I raised the issue, they asked me to send a shopping list.

They have come, with promises to help.

What concerned us most are the orphaned children. We are trying to find out where they come from.  Mentions a committee headed by Governor Adams Oshiomhole.

Question: The Shiite clash with the army  and the warning that if mismanaged it could be like Boko Haram:

Buhari:I am awaiting the army and the Kaduna state government to submit their report before the Federal Government takes a stand.

When it happened, I was in touch with the Governor of Kaduna State. The President of Iran called me , but I told him that we have a system that it happened in one of our states. The Army that was involved has its own system of investigation. I am waiting for the investigations to be concluded and the Police also have their own system of investigations. It is extremely serious. How can you create a state within a state? There are some teenagers I saw stoning Generals. I don’t want to talk too much about it. The deaths are not justifiable, but you have to wait till the end of the enquiry.  I expect a judicial commission of enquiry to be constituted by the Kaduna State government.

The President says there are a lot of allegations against Shi’ites which he will wait for the enquiry to unveil

Pressed further: President says from some of the clues he has seen, How can a group constitute a state within a state?

Question: from where will the report come from?

Buhari: I expect a judicial enquiry from the Kaduna State government.  There are a lot of allegations. But I will wait for the report.

19.48: Question; Boko Haram war being technically won and the terror unleashed in recent days

Buhari: What I said was that the Boko Haram ability to attack institutions, police posts, army barracks has been degraded. What they are doing now is using girls to carry explosives.

Hijab issue: Why has it not been banned in Nigeria?

Buhari: It may have to be banned if this killing continues. We are taking a lot of security measures. At the parks, they are using metal detectors to screen people.

 

19.51; The Shiite question comes on again

Buhari: says the people of Zaria came out openly to talk about what they have been going through in the last 20 years under the group. Still says the way to get to the depth of the problem is via a Judicial Commission of enquiry.

Moderator’s question; Big issue on foreign exchange, people taking their money out, devaluation of the Naira.

Buhari: I do not support devaluation. When we came 84/85, people did not know how much debt Nigeria had accumulated under four years of civilian regime.  Don’t talk about foreign reserve. It had disappeared. the situation now  is aggravated by downturn in oil prices, down now to 35, 36 dollars a barrel.

And  we have a lot of commitments.

We are trying to reform NNPC, to know what goes in, what goes out.

We are using Treasury Single Account. We have  N1.45 trillion in Central Bank.

The previous budget, over 92 per cent on recurrent. People just sit in government and chop money. We are in bad shape.

 

Devaluation question again:

Buhari: Devaluation of Naira against Dollar, pound sterling etc? In developed countries, when they devalue, their currencies become cheaper, their goods and services become cheaper. But in Nigeria, we import even toothpick. If we devalue, what are we sending out?

What we are doing is that we shall make money available to industries, the real sector, those who are going to produce goods and services, and employ people.

We need power. We need roads. We need railways. We want to fight insurgency.

Moderator  raises Foreign Exchange problems  again,  including difficulties withdrawing money from domiciliary account:

Buhari: a  promise to ask the CBN for clarifications.

Question on oil  subsidy:

Buhari: says oil sector infrastructure destroyed by past regimes. Why can’t people maintain what they inherited? They failed to maintain tank farms, oil depots, refineries etc.

Today the cost of fuel is low, we are not subsidising any one now.

Our first priority is to get our refineries working. If we get them working, we can take care of 60 per cent of our needs. Then we use swap to take care of 40 %.

Buhari: we had 42 ministries, 42 permanent secretaries and only God knows how many directors. The new permanent secretaries have just taken over, the ministers have just taken over.

A lot of things cannot be done overnight.

8.15 pm: Budget; Nothing appears to have changed; the presidency and

National Assembly have taken a chunk. What has changed?

Buhari: I will see if I can stop lawmakers from buying over N48 billion cars

The first thing I turned down were N400 million for vehicles when I came in. The vehicles I have is good enough for 10 years. But I understand we have to buy vehicles for protocols in case we want to host other Presidents. On the N50 billion for cars by the National Assembly, I think I will have to have a close door meeting with them. I hope they have not bought them yet. The President also said the National Assembly is not willing to be part of the TSA. The President said he will explore the possibility of stopping the National Assembly from using over N47 billion to buy cars in spite of the transport allowance they are getting.

Question of Forex comes on  again: About People unable to get forex for their kids in school abroad.

Buhari restates the need to get our priorities right. Fix the infrastructure, insecurity, fix the economy. “It is a very nasty situation we are in. We cannot fold our hands, We have to do something. ”

He mentions the  agreement on rail with the Chinese,  Nigeria could not pay counterpart of 30 per cent, the Chinese are paying 70 per cent. It is the best deal you can get anywhere in the world.

20.25 pm: Moderator says floor is being thrown open to the social media, questions coming in through a hashtag #askBuhari.

First question on why government is borrowing to fund budget

Buhari: says government has no alternative, if it wants to create jobs and fix the infrastructure.

 

Question: Government position on Corrupt judges

Buhari:I think I will discuss that with the CJN. It takes two to tango.. There are allegations, but government needs to discuss with the judiciary itself. Judiciary is a sitting duck; it takes what the police bring to the, what the lawyers take to them.

When the Tribunals were to be established they were told to shun corruption. The Judiciary is a sitting duck, they work with what the Police and lawyers take to them. There must be participation from other institutions for the judiciary to be corrupt. It takes two to tango, somebody must be offering and somebody must be taking. You have to prove that there is corruption.

Question: will government sustain the N18,000 minimum wage

Buhari: says it is not a question he can answer off hand. When we came 27 states could not pay salaries. CBN had to use ways and means to get them money to pay salaries.

Will FG support merger of states?

Buhari; we have to look into the constitution on whether this can be done.

Question: How will government collect data on unemployed graduates?

Buhari: It is in our manifesto. says the Ministry of Labour and Productivity will handle this.

Buhari also promises to get CBN, Ministry of Finance and Education Ministry involved to sort out the forex needs of Nigerians now outside, so that they can complete their education.

Tertiary education:

Buhari: The standard of our tertiary education is poor. There is  a number of things that need to be done in terms of building new classrooms, laboratories. New classrooms have to be built, the teachers have to be comfortable.

 

On agencies like NIMASA harassing NLNG:

Buhari: Promises to look into the issue. But adds:

The question of agencies like NIMASA, NNPC earning money and giving government the change has to stop.  

Moderator switches back to the panel: It’s 20.50

 

Ngozi Anyaegbunam has the first shot:

And she asks about government efforts to get civil servants mobilized to support government objective of change

Isine: Security agencies disobeying court orders

Buhari:Technically, you can see the kind of atrocities those people committed against the government. The former President just called the CBN governor to give him N40 billion. if they jump bail, it will be a problem for this country. On Kanu,  he has two passports, one Nigerian, one British. He brought in sophisticated equipment for his radio Biafra. There is a   treasonable felony charge against him. And I hope the court will listen to the case.

 

On Igbo Marginalization:

Buhari:

I am limited by the constitution. Says every member of the Nigerian state is represented in government. Reels out the Igbo in government and asks ‘who is marginalizing who?

President Buhari to round off, asks the media to do investigative journalism on important issues, rather than being sensational.

The program ends at 21.01. .

Agency Report ……