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Atiku, Amaechi clash over privatisation in Abuja

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Atiku, Amaechi clash over privatisation in Abuja

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Aidoghie Paulinus, Abuja, with agency report

Spokesperson of the Atiku Campaign Organisation, Segun Sowunmi, and Minister of Transportation, Rotimi Amaechi, clashed over the privatisation programme of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) when Chief Olusegun Obasanjo was president.

READ ALSO: Atiku’s return to PDP remarkable – Sowunmi

The war of words occurred at the first 2019 presidential debate hosted by The Osasu Show and held at NAF Conference Centre and Suites, in Abuja, where Sowunmi represented the 2019 PDP presidential candidate, Atiku Abubakar.

President Muhammadu Buhari was not represented at the debate, which had other presidential candidates in attendance.

The theme of the symposium was Nigeria Rising! It’s Time: Establishing Social Accountability between the Electorate and Leaders.

Sowunmi spoke first.

He said during the Obasanjo presidency, of which Atiku was a principal actor, privatisation was embraced.

Sowunmi also said the action, which was the liberalisation and privatisation of key sectors, was taken in order to move the country in a direction of sustainable growth.

“…We were able to privatise some key sectors which expanded their ability to create jobs, expanded their ability to be sustainable and they were able to bring business discipline into the running of government.”

Sowunmi further said the totality of the past antecedents of Abubakar, together with the fact that he was in the civil service, being a former vice president, a consummate author and is interested in restructuring, there is no better candidate to govern the country now than Abubakar.

But Amaechi said the privatisation carried out by the PDP was not for the benefit of the public.

Amaechi, who was not on the debate panel, raised up his hands to ask questions from Sowunmi.

He alleged the Atiku-Obasanjo presidency led a privatisation of Nigeria’s assets to their cronies.

“The first question is that they privatised, to who? Who did they privatise to? To themselves, and they are coming back. Then I was a young man, I didn’t have money to buy.

“Question number two, let me thank the woman who said power had improved. Under them, with $16 billion, we had 3,000 megawatts of power, now we have 7,000.

“Three, and finally, on railways, we all go to Kaduna. We are talking about railway, who has the railway? Our government right?” Amaechi asked.

Sowunmi shot back at Amaechi.

“An eight-year governor of a state in PDP comes to public space, riding on the alleged integrity of just president Muhammadu Buhari, and speaking trash to the people, what exactly is this?

“Now, we had assumed we had signed up to an issue-based campaign and, we just want to beg the operators of this present government to stick to the issues.

“We speak about opening up the economy to make sure that those who have the competencies to drive growth must be given the enabling environment to create value, and our people can plug in.”

Regardless, Presidential candidate of the Allied Congress Party of Nigeria (ACPN), Dr. Oby Ezekwesili, gave a damning verdict on the nation, when she said the country is on the precipice.

Ezekwesili, a former minister of Education, said: “Our country needs to be rescued. I don’t want to be president of Nigeria because there is an office to occupy. I really want to lead a process of rescuing our country from the precipice in which it finds itself.”

Ezekwesili further added that, “when one looks at the fact that the situation of things in the country are not going to get any better because the nation is trapped in bad economic policies, which means that the nation won’t grow as much as it needed to, then, rescuing the nation is a must.”

Others at the event included former minister of Sports, Bolaji Abdullahi; President of the Market Women Association of Nigeria, Mrs Felicia Sani; Chairman, DAAR Communications PLC, Raymond Dokpesi (jnr), the convener’s mother, who is also former First Lady of Edo State, Mrs Eki Igbinedion; among others.

Meanwhile, the Nigerian Election Debate Group (NEDG) and Broadcasting Organisations of Nigeria (BON) have fixed January 19, 2019, for the presidential election debate.

The vice-presidential debate will hold on December 14, 2018.

Buhari, former vice-president Atiku Abubakar, Mrs. Oby Ezekwesili, Donald Fuke, Gbenga Olawepo-Hashim, among others, are expected to participate at the presidential debate.

BON Chairman, Mr. John Momoh, announced the debates at a press conference in Abuja, yesterday.

He said the debates will be aired on all BON member radio and television stations across the country and also streamed live on social media platforms.

“The debates would hold at the Transcorp Hilton Hotel, Abuja, and will be broadcast live on all BON member radio and television stations across the country.

“The debates will also be streamed live on all mobile and social media platforms such as Youtube, Facebook, Twitter And Instagram, to give it a global coverage,” he said.

Momoh, who is also the Chairman/CEO of Channels Media Group, added that the debates will focus on the issues that matter most to working families; restoring our economy, providing electricity, creating jobs, securing health care for every Nigerian, making and achieving excellence in every Nigerian school and ensuring safety and security for Nigerians.

He said the NEDG will also set the formats and rules of the debate.

READ ALSO: Of national conversations, presidential debates and big ideas

The post Atiku, Amaechi clash over privatisation in Abuja appeared first on The Sun Nigeria.

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CATHOLIC WORLD

Killing of Christians: Buhari lied to Trump – CAN fumes

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Killing of Christians: Buhari lied to Trump - CAN fumes

The Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) has reacted to President Muhammadu Buhari’s revelation of his conversation with United States President, Donald Trump, on the massacre of Christians in Nigeria, saying President Buhari was economical with the truth.

President Buhari had on Tuesday, revealed that at the heat of the bloody clashes between herdsmen and farmers in Nigeria, the United States President, Donald Trump, unequivocally accused him of killing Christians.

Buhari said these in his closing remarks at the two-day ministerial performance review retreat held at the Presidential Villa, Abuja on Tuesday.

At a point, the President digressed from his prepared speech and narrated his encounter with Trump on the bloody clashes.

He said he managed to explain to the American leader that the clashes were not about ethnicity or religion.

He said, “I believe I was about the only African among the less developed countries the President of United States invited.

“When I was in his office, only myself and himself, only God is my witness, he looked at me in the face, and asked, ‘Why are you killing Christians?’

“I wonder, if you were the person, how you will react. I hope what I was feeling inside did not betray my emotion, so I told him that the problem between the cattle rearers and farmers, I know is older than me not to talk of him. I think I am a couple of years older than him.

“With climate change and population growth and the culture of the cattle rearers, if you have 50 cows and they eat grass, any root, to your water point, then they will follow it. It doesn’t matter whose farm it is.

“The First Republic set of leadership was the most responsible leadership we ever had. I asked the Minister of Agriculture to get a gazette of the early 60s which delineated the cattle route where they used meager resources then to put earth dams, wind mills even sanitary department.

“So, any cattle rearers that allowed his cattle to go to somebody’s farm would be arrested, taken before the court. The farmer would be called to submit his bill and if he couldn’t pay, the cattle would be sold, but subsequent leaders, the VVIPs (very important persons) encroached on the cattle routes. They took over the cattle rearing areas.

“So, I tried and explained to him (Trump) that this has got nothing to do with ethnicity or religion. It is a cultural thing.”

However, CAN’s Vice President and Chairman of the association in Kaduna State, John Hayab, was not impressed with Buhari’s submission, saying “Buhari and his government will never stop from amusing us with their tales by moonlight because what is happening in Zamfara, Sokoto, Katsina, Birnin Gwari, Southern Kaduna, Taraba, Plateau and others cannot be described as a cultural thing.

He told Punch correspondent in an interview: “President Buhari’s weak story about his conversation with President Donald Trump further confirms why his government does not care about the killings in our country by calling them cultural things.

“Just this (Tuesday) evening, I received a report from the Kaduna Baptist Conference President about the number of their members that have been killed by bandits in Kaduna State from January 2020 to date to be 105 and our President will call it a cultural thing? All we can say is may God save our Nigeria.”

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NATIONAL NEWS

CAMA: Bishop blasts Christian lawmakers

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CAMA: Bishop blasts Christian lawmakers

The Catholic Bishop of Nsukka, Most Rev. Godfrey Onah, has blamed Christians in the National Assembly (NASS), for the passage of the 2020 Companies and Allied Matters Bill (CAMA), signed into law by President Muhammadu Buhari recently.

Bishop Onah, said in a remark during the Sunday Mass that if Christians in NASS had opposed the bill, it would not have been passed into law.

President Muhammadu Buhari had on Aug. 7, signed the CAMA bill into law, giving provision for religious bodies and charity organizations to be regulated by the registrar of the Corporate Affairs Commission (CAC), and a supervising minister.

“The question many Christians have been asking is, where were Christian legislators during the debate of this bill and its passage in the National Assembly?

“Because, if they had opposed this bill on the floor of the house, it would not have been passed and sent to the president for assent.

“I blame Christian legislators for doing nothing and allowing the passage of the 2020 CAMA Act,” he said.

“When I say that Christians are too divided and too selfish, don’t forget that the second in command in this country is a Senior Advocate of Nigeria, a professor of Law and a pastor.”

Onah, however, wondered what the Federal Government wanted to achieve in monitoring how the finances of churches in the country are managed when it contributed no dime to the church, NAN reports.

“Government should focus and monitor its ministries, agencies and other government institutions where it budgets billions of Naira annually and not church offerings.

“Had it been that the government gave allocations to churches and decided to monitor its usage, nobody will question the government,” he said.

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NATIONAL NEWS

Nigerians spit fire over fuel, electricity prices hike

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Increasing Fuel and Electricity Prices

Anger and condemnations, across the country, have continued to trail last week’s take off, of new increases in pump price of petroleum products and electricity tariffs, as directed by Federal Government.

Recall that the Petroleum Products Marketing Company (PPMC) official, D.O. Abalaka announced on Wednesday September 3, on behalf of Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) that the new price of petroleum is now N151.56k per litre instead of N149 – N150 per litre which it was previously.

The new electricity tariff which the Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC) tagged “Service Reflective Tariff” has also come into effect. It requires consumers to pay N53.87 – N66.422 per kwh of electricity.

Outraged consumers of fuel and electricity have therefore warned government to get ready for collision with the masses if it fails to rescind these new prices.

Those who have expressed outrage over the new prices regimes include, the Organized Labour, Nigerian Labour Congress (NLC), Nigerian main opposition political party, Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Nigeria Employers Consultative Association (NECA) and the Major Marketers Association of Nigeria (MOMAN).

Others are: Petroleum Products Retail Outlets Owners Association of Nigeria, the Independent Petroleum Marketers Association of Nigeria (IPMAN) and the Nigerian Association of Chambers of Commerce (NACCIMA).

The NLC said, “The frequent fuel price increase will no longer be accepted. We will not allow Nigerians fall victim of government ineptitude and negligence to make the country self-sufficient in terms of refining petroleum products at home.”

On its part, the PDP has described the price hike as “callous, cruel and punishing” and demanded an immediate reversal to avert a national crisis.

The All Industrial Global sees the incessant increase as a confirmation that deregulation means just price increase.

“This is unacceptable! Under a pandemic, we should put money in the pockets of citizens to revive collapsed livelihoods and preserve lives.” In its reaction, NECA said it has always urged Federal Government to adopt deregulation policy in the oil and gas downstream sector.

The MOMAN in its statement insists that monthly price variation of fuel was no longer sustainable. It urged PPRA to adopt quarterly price mechanism which would save the market the hassles of price volatility. The statements by IPMAN and NACCIMA also followed along the same line that the hike “…serves only to increase the severity and duration of the looming economic recession.”

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