WHY THE NORTH WILL PREFER PDP TO APC IN THE COMING PRESIDENTIAL ELECTION
By Hammed Abdul-Hakeem
The level of political dynamism across the Northern part of the country as we count down to the February Presidential election is palpably unprecedented. All through the states that are often dubbed the major voting blocs and the other states too, there is a simmering voter revolution gathering steam; majority of citizens of voting age cannot wait to use their PVCs to make a loud statement to the world on the type of fate the ruling party has dealt their lives in the past eight years. As it happened in 2015, there is what is clearly seen by all discerning watchers of Northern politics as a looming rejection of the party in power for a more viable opposition candidate to mount the saddle. The February Presidential election will certainly present the APC scorecard as prepared by the people.
Even the average non-literate Northerner understands that the election will have a great impact on how the North and its peoples will fare in Nigeria, going forward. The power of incumbency is definitely not going to count for anything. Like all Northerners, even the outgoing President Muhammadu Buhari appears to have correctly gauged the pervading feeling and resolution of Northern voters to vote their conscience, come February. That may be why he has joined the popular refrain in the North today where people are being admonished to see the choice of the next president as a moral obligation and a vote of conscience.
The Buhari message of Vote Your Conscience of today is different from his APC, Top to Bottom of 4 years ago. This is because even he knows the truth; the Northern people cannot be cajoled to do otherwise. No doubt, President Buhari has tried to play appeasement politics in the North with the Kano-Maradi Railway project and the Northern Oil Drilling project; all in the bid to soften the ground for his party. However, Northerners know these are all pipeline projects and have no immediate succor or relief for them. The North has been left to bleed too much; it needs immediate reliefs or it has to look elsewhere for hope. In February, all indices on ground point to the only sensible option: APC does not represent the needed hope for realistic change.
The last eight years have brought untold devastation to the North. Boko Haram and banditry have turned the entire area into a land of misery, death and emptiness. Life is harsher than ever. Communities in almost all the Northern states are paying ransom to organised banditry groups regularly to have freedom to life. The entire North West and North East have become IDP enclaves. Farming, the major occupation of citizens, is on hold. Hardly do the people gather again for communal events that define their culture and livelihood. Ullamahs, traditional rulers and district heads are pained but powerless while citizens cry vainly for help. Sadly, in eight years, no help has come from APC. There is no realistic hope that another four years of the party can bring a different lease of life. APC has frittered the people’s trust; not even its current same faith ticket has brought a sizable shift in the people’s thinking. The general belief in the North is that the muslim-muslim ticket is a mere trap by the party to attract Northern votes which its performance in the last eight years does not deserve.
Conversely, the biggest beneficiary is the PDP which has now bounced back to enjoy improved trust and embrace of voters across the key voting blocs. A major reason for this is the recognition of the PDP candidate, Atiku Abubakar, as a grassroots and sincere leader whose entrepreneurial and administrative antecedents can be easily referenced. His business footprints from agriculture, manufacturing, education and other services are all over the North; unlike the APC candidate who is generally seen as having no deep understanding of the environment, the people and their needs beyond what he is often fed by his fawning band of political promoters who, in themselves, are glory seekers who do not care for the conditions of the masses.
From 1999 to 2015, the North recognised two national political parties namely PDP and ANPP. From 2015, it has been PDP and APC. Going into the February election, this political culture is not about to change markedly. APC has failed woefully in the North. The only real option for remedy the people see is the PDP. Right now, the North does not trust the APC because the general thinking is if the Buhari-Osinbajo ticket which was touted as far more credible and APC’S best foot forward could perform as abysmally as it has, the current ticket of APC is much weaker in all respects and could therefore not be trusted not to make things worse. Atiku’s antecedents and pedigree, the people believe, rank him far above what APC has on offer.
To people of Northern Nigeria, the February election is all about assessment and realignment. Over 70% of the Nigerians APC’s government has pushed into poverty are in the North. Over 70% of the out-of-school children the APC government has not been able to help are in the North. Hundreds of Northern children abducted by insurgents and bandits have not returned. Families have been violently destroyed and homes and livelihood upturned. Despite all the noise about ranching and refining the agricultural process and value-chain in the country, nothing has been done in practical terms. Northern youths have been rendered hopeless and pushed into drugs and crime. In the last eight years of APC, the existential fabrics of most Northern communities have been destroyed. The life of the average Northerner is today far worse than it was in 2015.
On the streets of all the Northern states today, it is all about voting your conscience in the February election. There is a clear sign that majority will vote PDP for the presidency. This is based in part on the nostalgic feeling of the relatively more peaceful, progressive and humane life the people enjoyed while PDP was in power at the centre, especially from 1999 to 2012 as compared to the short, nasty and brutish life served them in the last eight years of the APC presidency. It is also based on the cosmopolitan personality as well as the progressive and eminently democratic outlook of the politics of Atiku Abubakar as seen in his pan-Nigeria centred political journey from the early 90s to date which is different from what is jocularly referred to in Northern political circles as the ‘grab, grab, do-or-die, self-centered narcissist politics’ of the APC candidate whose intolerant political style and imperialist hegemony in the South-west of the country do not serve as the type of dish the North wants or needs at this point in time.
*** Abdul-Hakeem, a political analyst, journalist and publisher, writes in from Abuja.
Which Way Nigeria: The Imperatives of A New Economic Direction
*Which Way Nigeria: The Imperatives of A New Economic Direction*
By Dapo Otubanjo, a financial analyst & real estate entreprenuer
After eight months in the Villa, the clock ticking on President Tinubu’s administration has gathered enough time for us to start seeking accountability for his actions, and the delivery of his electoral promises to a Nigeria with an urgent need for national renaissance, and a new economic direction.
The realities of our lives today as Nigerians is gravely incongruous to the promise to renew hopes, and reinvent the economy for a new era of opportunities, and prosperity for all of us. The agony of excruciating economic stagflation is now more widespread, and tending towards a period of national economic depression.
Nigerians understand, and have demonstrated severally in time past, that when time and government change, so must we the people as “new challenges require new responses”. Unfortunately the economic pains of this era are like a disaster with no solution in sight, leaving most folks in the terrifying situation of inadequate household income for survival talkless of a decent living.
Given Nigeria’s precarious economic situation post Buhari’s government of destructive economics, there was no doubt about the need, and urgency for appropriate reforms to reorganize the country for economic recovery, and national security. And whilst the reforms of Tinubunomics are requisite liberal policy prescriptions, the executions are mired in premature timing, terrible implementation, and insensitive partisan gloating over the government’s audacity to introduce the reforms rather than a democratic tolerance for national discussions on the devastating consequences of its impacts as leverage to gauge acceptance, and gather citizens feedbacks for reviews, adjustments, and corrective measures in its areas of deficiencies, and ineffectiveness.
However the opportunity still exist, for correction and, to arrest our miserable spiral towards economic doomsday, and President Tinubu must hurriedly embrace the wisdom to do a reset, and refine the wrong elements of his reforms for the achievement of better outcomes in critical areas of job creation, reducing, and stabilizing both the value of the naira, and inflation, and attracting significant local, and foreign investments for the immediate task of economic recovery, and recreation of a vibrant middle class that was totally wiped out by the previous APC government, and long term goals of industrialization, and sustainable growth in the economy, and our export sector.
The best, and most imperative solution, and palliative for the rising cost of living is immediate wage increase across all sectors. The Federal government must seek to achieve wage increase of two hundred thousand naira for Federal workers, negotiate with the states for one hundred and fifty thousand naira for all state employees, and push the private sector towards fifty thousand naira as the barest minimum for the lowest set of workers to fuel consumer spending that was hitherto dwindling for obvious reasons, and improve households financial resources to minimally mitigate against worsening economic situation.
The inflationary effects of an unstable naira need a freeze otherwise the application of wage increase will be futile, and become a continuous demand. It is imperative for the government to return the provision of interventions in the FX market through partial exchange rates management until all foreign investors seeking full liberalization are willing to bring in their funds, and/or when the sale of government assets, and export earnings are sufficient enough to provide adequate supply for FX demands. The arbitrage gains of FX trading in the previous APC government made FX business highly profitable with devastating practices of round tripping, and speculative FX trading that continuously encourage a large number of folks to hoard, and hold on to a large pool of foreign currencies at the expense of a free fall in the value of the naira.
Through the CBN, the government need to urgently introduce appropriate monetary measures to curb these practices, and incentivize the release of more foreign currencies into the market.
Our national challenges cannot be resolved by government alone but the government have a crucial role to play in setting the agenda, and transforming the private sector into a pivot for growth, and national development. President Tinubu should as a matter of national emergency deploy all presidential support for the Dangote, and other refineries to achieve refining capacity sufficient enough for local fuel consumption, and make provisions to export excess supply to the West African sub region. And use the support, and other regulatory instruments to negotiate a stable fuel price over three to five year period as further safeguard against inflation, and forex pressure on the naira.
So many of our Federal assets are wallowing in the inefficiencies of terrible operations, corrupt government practices, and nepotistic managements delivering inadequate, and unreasonable returns for the Nigerian state. There should be an urgent consideration for their privatization, and sales to generate requisite, and significant revenues to shore up the economy, and engineer a long term foundation for sustainable growth, and national prosperity.
Our demands, and exploration for foreign investments must seek prospects in the Middle East, and some parts of Asia where there are abundance of liquidity for investment capital, and great probability for immediate result. The president should constantly deploy his most brilliant envoys to the region for continuous negotiations, and schedule all presidential investment travels around the region for closing of appropriate investment deals.
Recently, the government launched over a hundred billion naira housing programme. As good, and commendable that is, it is still a drop in the ocean, and too meagre for any significant social, and economic impact for a nation of over two hundred million population. We must seek to raise trillions of naira within a short term for the substantial growth of the sector, and its exponential impacts on the economy, and provide complementary infrastructure for urbanization, rural connections, and the financial reform of our mortgage system to reduce interest rates, increase period, and affordability, and expand access to more households. We have a large pool of idle funds in various pension schemes, and must explore a viable government means for these funds to find profitable returns in real estate business opportunities.
The erosion of value in our banking sector capitalization levels are critical challenges for our national ambitions, and obviously needs urgent rounds of renewal towards the trillions of naira capitalization threshold to adequately fund the expansion of national productivity, manufacturing, sustainable large scale credit industry, and a new middle class.
And those super highways (SHW) the president promised us need to start coming alive in urgent, and huge contract awards, and accelerated construction works as credible means to connect communities, and states across the country, and ease the movement of people, and products. Our rail networks need significant improvements, and expansion with appropriate security measures to complement the comprehensive renewal, and expansion of our transport means, and its impact in the boosting of trade, and commerce.
Generations of Nigerians have endured economic crises at different times of bad governance often with the deceptive cliché that the situation will eventually get better. President Tinubu must make a departure from that decades old political narrative, and explore credible means within the limitless possibilities of our potentials to stimulate immediate economic recovery, and long term sustainable growth, secure, and unite the country, and deliver the promise of a developing nation.
Today’s worsening economic situation is not a new territory for Nigeria as we have often travelled through tough national periods of economic stagnation, and recession, widespread poverty, and underdevelopment. The president should reasonably review thoroughly the economic reforms of the democratic government of 1999 – 2007, and draw appropriate economic lessons from the successful economic reforms of that era in reasonable FX market, and inflation management, naira stabilization, privatization, bank consolidation, the commencement of a credit system that was subsequently unscaled, a widening middle class, and amazing economic growth that put Nigeria at the forefront of the globally acclaimed narrative of Africa rising. And essentially gave a national rebirth to the audacious can do spirit of the Nigerian folks. It was an era of incredible demonstration of what we can achieve together through collective actions, and visionary leadership, and we must seek to replicate the same economic results as a navigating path out of our current economic downturn.
The current generation of Nigerians possess all that we require to transform ourselves from a nation perpetually travelling in the wrong direction into a developing country of proud citizens. The onus is essentially the president’s to lead from the front, and set forth a clear vision with opportunity for everyone to make appropriate contributions towards sustainable growth, and national development.
Tough times define great leaders. And time, and chance they say happen to all of us. There is a great moment for the president to seize, and more importantly for the sake of our nation, we hope he takes this period as an incredible chance to cement the foundation of his legacy, and unfold the greatness of Nigeria.
Hardship: What Nigerians Must Do To Survive In Tinubu’s government – Gbolahan Adetayo
Hardship: What Nigerians Must Do To Survive In Tinubu’s government – Gbolahan Adetayo
In a poignant reflection on Nigeria’s historical roots and economic evolution, esteemed Journalist, Gbolahan Adetayo emphasizes the pivotal role agriculture played before the discovery of crude oil and mineral resources. Historically, agriculture served as the primary source of income for Nigerians, providing sustenance for the nation.
Adetayo draws attention to the visionary leaders of the past, such as the late Obafemi Awolowo, whose administration, especially in the Western region, thrived on funds generated from agriculture, notably cocoa. The iconic Cocoa House in Ibadan, Oyo State stands as a tangible testament to the prosperity that once stemmed from agricultural endeavors.
Awolowo’s impactful initiative of free education for Nigerians marked a significant era in post-independence history. Unfortunately, Adetayo notes, a considerable number of beneficiaries of this free education system shifted away from agriculture, the very foundation of the nation’s economic strength.
Fast-forward to the present, where Nigeria faces economic challenges under President Bola Hammed Tinubu’s government. Rising inflation and the continual increase in the value of the dollar have led to widespread lamentation among the populace.
In response to these hardships, Gbolahan Adetayo advocates for a return to agriculture as a means of not only sustaining the population but also mitigating hunger in the land. Adetayo urges Nigerians to produce more food locally, emphasizing the importance of self-sufficiency in the face of economic uncertainties.
During these trying times, Adetayo highlights the need for Nigerians to shift their focus from importing food items from foreign countries, especially considering the persistent increase in the value of the dollar. Embracing locally produced food items, he argues, would not only alleviate hunger but also contribute to the overall economic resilience of the nation.
Adetayo’s call to action resonates with the historical context of Nigeria’s prosperity through agriculture and the importance of cultivating self-sufficiency in food production. As the nation grapples with economic challenges, his words serve as a reminder that a return to the roots of agriculture could pave the way for a more resilient and food-secure future for Nigeria.
Alleged abduction of witnesses fake news – Kogi APC
Alleged abduction of witnesses fake news – Kogi APC
…urges security agencies to investigate, prosecute persons found culpable
The attention of the Kogi State Chapter of the All Progressives Congress (APC) has been drawn to allegations making the rounds on social media of an alleged abduction of the Witnesses of Action Alliance by persons suspected to be APC Supporters within the premises of the National Judicial Institute (NJI) where the Kogi State Governorship Election Tribunal is currently sitting.
While it is reported that the said witnesses were abducted within the NJI premises, some other reports stated that it was outside the premises. While some reports alleged that the said witnesses have been released by their abductors, some reports alleged that they are still in the custody of their alleged abductors.
The APC Kogi State Chapter categorically refutes the mischievous allegation that any of its supporters abducted witnesses of the Action Alliance political party or even had any altercation with any witness.
The party views the allegations which are totally false to have originated from mischief makers who are out to tarnish the image of the party and whip up sentiments with the ulterior motive of prejudicing the mind of the tribunal and the public against the APC.
Indeed, the Chairman of the Kogi State Chapter of our party was in Court on the said 26th February, 2024 and he did not witness any such incidences but was only informed of a fracas which occurred between persons who were outside the tribunal complex.
The All Progressives Congress condemns the attribution of the alleged abduction to the supporters of the APC and calls on law enforcement agencies to investigate the incidence and prosecute any persons found to have committed such alleged acts.
Kogi State Chapter
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