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BOOK REVIEW: Alex Ekwueme’s Wisdom from the Beyond

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By Chido Nwakanma

Alex Ekwueme (2002), Whither Nigeria? Thoughts on Democracy, Politics, and the Constitution. Enugu:Nwamife Publishers Limited. 298 pages. ISBN: 978-33603-1-0.

It is that time again when Nigerians either cogitate or ruminate and even agonise over this land of our forebears. February 2023 general elections hold great significance in several areas. It will either be a paradigm shift or a stiffening of the status quo. It is thus appropriate to read a book that addresses the question of the moment: Whither Nigeria?

Alex Ekwueme’s (2002), Whither Nigeria: Thoughts on Democracy, Politics, and the Constitution, contains 22 essays that represent far-reaching insights and thoughts on politics and public policy in Nigeria. Reading it is like hearing a voice from the beyond with all the wisdom of the ages. The twenty-two essays in this book cover a broad range of issues and the years 1992-2000. They communicate that Ekwueme made critical and significant contributions to the birthing of the Fourth Republic.

Ekwueme’s collection of essays follows best practicesin offering a distinct point of view that enables the reader to situate himself in the Nigerian milieu and its challenges. It is a mirror and a reflection on our take-off point and where we are now twenty years after. Most Nigerians can see themselves herein and remember where they were at each of the points in the book.

Dr. Alex Ekwueme is eminently qualified in theory and practice to speak on these topics. The erudite gentleman bagged six degrees, including two doctorates in his lifetime. He had a broad cosmopolitan worldview and saw provision and privation. He was the first elected Vice-President of Nigeria in the Second Republic.

The military governments of General Muhammadu Buhari and Ibrahim Babangida detained Ekwueme for six years after they overthrew the Shehu Shagari-Alex Ekwueme government. They found nothing on him, yet kept him, as second-in-command in jail while Shehu Shagari, captain of the team, enjoyed house arrest!

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“During the incarceration, I had plenty of time on my hands. I was very much worried about Nigeria and her future. I considered the situation where elected civilian governments could be sacked at will by the military to be unsatisfactory and unacceptable. I concluded that military intervention could only be stopped if we put in place a form or structure that would ensure the involvement of representative Nigerians from all geopolitical zones of the country at the highest level of national governance”, Ekwueme states as background.

SEE ALSO:  [FULL TEXT] Tinubu’s 2024 Budget of Renewed Hope

The essays in this book include ‘More than a Government of National Consensus’, ‘Restructuring the Nigerian Polity’, ‘Political Fair Play and National Reconciliation’, ‘Some Thoughts on the Crisis in Nigerian Education’, and ‘Facilitating Women’s Participation in Nigeria’s Political Structure’.

Other subjects, all still pertinent and present, include ‘The Changing Face of Nigerian Federalism: Which Way Forward?’, ‘Religion and Politics in Nigeria’, ‘Nigeria’s Federal Constitutions and the Search for “Unity in Diversity”, and ‘Democratization of the Nigerian Polity’.

In “More than a government of National Consensus”, Ekwueme states his credentials. “Having put my life at possible risk at Bonny Camp, Kirikiri, and Ikoyi prisons, I consider that I have as much stake as any other Nigerian in the unity, indivisibility, stability, and survival of this country and that I am not altogether ill-qualified to pass on a few words of advice. I will consider my duty done if I proffer the advice; the burden will then be our collective if we fail to consider the words of advice properly’.

Ekwueme performs a momentous duty of sharing his advice of many years herein. The former Vice President itemizes the critical issues requiring resolution in Nigeria to include:  (i) the national question, (ii) the federal structure of Nigeria, (iii) the local government structure, (iv) the economic situation, (v) the military question, (vi) the political question and the rigidity of the constitution and (vii) conciliar federal executive and the doctrine of collegiality.

He proposed “a conciliar Presidency made up of a President and six Vice-Presidents chosen, one from each of the six regions of the country” to “operate as a council based on collegiality and true consensus”. The President would directly supervise the Ministry of Defence, Police Affairs, and the State Security Services, while the Vice Presidents would supervise ministries and departments grouped in some order.

Security: Internal Affairs, External Affairs, and Justice

National Economy: Finance, Central Bank, and National Planning Commission

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Infrastructure: Works, Transport, and Communications

Social Services: Education, Health, Information, Youth, Sports, Culture and Social Welfare.

Mineral Resources and Energy: Petroleum, Mines, Power, and Steel

Production: Agriculture, Industry, Science and Technology, Employment and Labour.

Moreover, he suggests that the Vice Presidents “should be elected independently (of the President) from their regions, and their election should take place a week or a fortnight before the election of the President. This would mean that the Vice Presidents need not be of the same party as the President, and their election would not only reflect the political wishes of each region, but their participation in the Presidency would elicit the support of the entire country”.

SEE ALSO:  PETER OBI: Supreme Court judgment is a breach of confidence (FULL TEXT)

Similar bold and “strange” (his words) proposals fill the pages of this book. Ekwueme suggested the six regions grouping of Nigeria that has now become part of the country’s structure. Will his suggestion of a conciliar system someday come to pass? Conciliar means “relating to or proceeding from a council” and originated in ecclesiastical tradition.

In “Restructuring the Nigerian Polity”, first presented on March 21, 1994, Ekwueme suggested, among others: “Reconstituting Nigeria into a true federation of six regions with five national cities”, and “allocation of a larger share of national revenue to the oil-producing states/regions”. The second is now in place with the 13% derivation to oil-producing states!

Restructuring features consistently in most of the submissions. The former VP was candid. Chapter 3 (pages 23-59) is a primer focusing on Nigeria’s political structure and all the contending ideas around federalism, confederalism, unitary government, and presidential and parliamentary systems. He recounts on page 29 the long history of attempted secession and the actual secession that Nigeria crushed.

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The economy features serially in the contributions of Dr. Ekwueme. He spoke prophetically on the economy, reading him retrospectively. In “Whither Nigeria”, the title essay he submitted on February 5, 1992: “There appears to be no short answer to Nigeria’s economic problems, and while not attempting to apportion blame for a situation in which three decades of post-independence governments (civilian-military) and the Nigerian citizens themselves have contributed to creating, the truth remains that, in terms of living standards most Nigerians are certainly worse off today than they were a decade ago. Nigeria’s external debt has almost doubled within the same period. The middle class has ceased to exist as a reasonably comfortable, forward-looking stabilising stratum of society. This situation cannot augur well for stability or probity in any country. The years ahead promise to be even tougher, and all hands will need to be on deck to salvage the situation.”

Ekwueme led the G-34 following his bold letters to then Head of State General Sani Abacha, contesting some of the postulations of that government when Abacha’s word was the holy grail. Whither Nigeriacaptures the developments.

SEE ALSO:  PETER OBI: Supreme Court judgment is a breach of confidence (FULL TEXT)

There is a feeling of déjà vu reading Whither Nigeria. Some sections say Nigeria has been revolving in one position in motion without movement. Take education. “Some Thoughts on the Crisis in Nigerian Education”, written in 1996, could also speak to today. Strikes by the Academic Staff Union of Universities, Academic Staff Union of Polytechnics and the Non-Academic Staff Union in Universities shut down the nation’s tertiary institutions for two years. The Shagari-Ekwueme government negotiated and implemented the first University Salary Structure; provided N500 million (equivalent to US$800 million) for the then 14 federal universities; while naira devaluation over the years negated all the benefits as did a massive increase in the number of universities and other national institutions.

Ekwueme, GCON, took the road less travelled in recommending tuition fees in higher education. “Government should concentrate on providing grants for capital development of universities and other tertiary institutions.” Quantify recurrent costs, deduct income the institutions generate, and divide the net costs by the number of students. “Supposing the total recurrent costs of the universities come to N22 billion, and they can generate N2 billion leaving a shortfall of N20 billion; if there are 400,000 university students in Nigeria, the tuition fees will come to N50,000 per annum. We can refine this approach further to provide differentiated tuition fees for various fields of study”.

Ekwueme was an architect, town planner, lawyer, sociologist, philosopher, educationist, historian, industrialist, politician, statesman and philanthropist. After his secondary education at King’s College, Lagos, he studied at the University of London, the University of Washington, Seattle, and the University of Strathclyde.

Ekwueme’s other book on politics is From State House to Kirikiri, which recollects his journey from a palace to prison following the military putsch. Google and Amazon list the books but indicate they are unavailable. Gladly, to mark his 90th posthumous birthday, the Ekwueme family has promised to reprint his seminal books for distribution and easy accessibility. As friends and family celebrate the legacies of Ekwueme, the statesman, they should also consider making them e-books for broader distribution. Whither Nigeria is a must-read for citizens and particularly political actors of today.

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Editorial

[FULL TEXT] Tinubu’s 2024 Budget of Renewed Hope

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• President Tinubu presenting the 2024 budget to the National Assembly on Wednesday Source: Channels tv

President Bola Tinubu, on Wednesday, presented the N27.5 trillion 2024 budget proposal to a joint session of the 10th National Assembly in Abuja — his first since assuming office exactly six months ago.⁣

Read the full speech below:

1. In furtherance of my sacred duties and obligations as President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, it is my honour to be here today to present my administration’s 2024 Budget Proposal to this Joint Session of the 10th National Assembly. This moment is especially profound and significant to me because it is my first annual budgetary presentation to the National Assembly.

2. Distinguished Senators and Honourable Members of the National Assembly, I commend your swift consideration and passage of the 2023 Supplementary Appropriation Bills and the 2024-2026 Medium Term Expenditure Framework and Fiscal Strategy Paper. Your prompt action underscores your devotion to economic development and to the greater welfare of our people. It also highlights your desire to work in close collaboration with the Executive branch. We do not serve ourselves. We must always strive to work together to serve and benefit the people of our beloved country.

3. I am confident that the National Assembly will continue to work closely with us to ensure that deliberations on the 2024 Budget are thorough but also concluded with reasonable dispatch. Our goal is for the Appropriation Act to come into effect on the 1st of January 2024.

4. It is, by now, a matter of recorded history that my very first fiscal intervention as President of this great nation was to end the fuel subsidy regime which had proven to be so harmful to the overall health of our national economy. The second was to negotiate and subsequently present a supplementary budget to enable my government to fund the items needed to restore macro-economic stability and mitigate the harsh impact of subsidy removal.

5. The third was to secure a second supplementary budget, this time to enable us to keep our promises to promote national security, invest in infrastructure and provide much-needed support to the most vulnerable households in our society.

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6. In swearing in my cabinet and reflecting on the unique challenges facing us, I invited the Ministers to imagine that we are attempting to draw water from a dry well. Today, I stand before you to present our Budget of Renewed Hope; a budget which will go further than ever before in cementing macro-economic stability, reducing the deficit, increasing capital spending and allocation to reflect the eight priority areas of this Administration. The budget we now present constitutes the foundation upon which we shall erect the future of this great nation.

PREVAILING ECONOMIC ENVIRONMENT

7. Economic conditions remain challenging both abroad and at home. Despite lingering post-COVID supply and production bottlenecks, armed conflict in various parts of the world and restrictive monetary policies in major economies, we expect global growth to hover around 3.0 percent in 2024. This relatively low rate has significant implications for our economy due to our current reliance on importation.

SEE ALSO:  PETER OBI: Supreme Court judgment is a breach of confidence (FULL TEXT)

8. Distinguished Senators, Honourable Members: despite the global headwinds, the Nigerian economy has proven resilient, maintaining modest but positive growth over the past twelve months.

9. Inflation has trended upward due to weak global conditions. To contain the rising domestic prices, we will ensure effective coordination of fiscal and monetary policy measures, and collaborate with sub-national governments to address structural factors driving inflation in Nigeria.

10. The Budget proposal meets our goal of completing critical infrastructure projects which will help address structural problems in the economy by lowering the costs of doing business for companies and the cost of living for the average person, The Honourable Minister of Budget and Economic Planning will provide full details of this proposal.

PERFORMANCE OF THE 2023 BUDGET

11. Distinguished Senators and Honourable Members, an aggregate revenue of 11.045 trillion naira was projected to fund the 2023 Budget of 24.82 trillion naira with a deficit of about 6.1 percent of GDP.

12. As of September 30, the Federal Government’s actual aggregate revenue inflow was 8.65 trillion naira, approximately 96 percent of the targeted 8.28 trillion naira.

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13. Despite the challenges, we continue to meet our obligations.

THEME AND PRIORITIES OF THE 2024 BUDGET

14. Distinguished Senators, Honourable Members, permit me to highlight key issues relating to the budget proposals for the next fiscal year. The 2024 Appropriation has been themed the Budget of Renewed Hope. The proposed Budget seeks to achieve job-rich economic growth, macro-economic stability, a better investment environment, enhanced human capital development, as well as poverty reduction and greater access to social security.

15. Defence and internal security are accorded top priority. The internal security architecture will be overhauled to enhance law enforcement capabilities and safeguard lives, property and investments across the country.

16. Human capital is the most critical resource for national development. Accordingly, the budget prioritizes human development with particular attention to children, the foundation of our nation.

17. To improve the effectiveness of our budget performance, the government will focus on ensuring value for money, greater transparency and accountability. In this regard, we will work more closely with development partners and the private sector.

18. To address long-standing issues in the education sector, a more sustainable model of funding tertiary education will be implemented, including the Student Loan Scheme scheduled to become operational by January 2024.

19. A stable macro-economic environment is important to catalyse private investment and accelerate economic growth. We have and shall continue to implement business and investment-friendly measures for sustainable growth.

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20. We expect the economy to grow by a minimum of 3.76 percent, above the forecasted world average. Inflation is expected to moderate to 21.4 percent in 2024.

SEE ALSO:  [FULL TEXT] Tinubu’s 2024 Budget of Renewed Hope

21. In preparing the 2024 Budget, our primary objective has been to sustain our robust foundation for sustainable economic development. A critical focus of this budget and the medium-term expenditure framework is Nigeria’s commitment to a greener future.

22.         Emphasizing public-private partnerships, we have strategically made provisions to leverage private capital for big-ticket infrastructure projects in energy, transportation and other sectors. This marks a critical step towards diversifying our energy mix, enhancing efficiency, and fostering the development of renewable energy sources. By allocating resources to support innovative and environmentally conscious initiatives, we aim to position Nigeria as a regional leader in the global movement towards clean and sustainable energy.

23.         As we approach COP 28 climate summit, a pivotal moment for global climate action, I have directed relevant government agencies to diligently work towards securing substantial funding commitments that will bolster Nigeria’s energy transition.

24.         It is imperative that we seize this opportunity to attract international partnerships and investments that align with our national goals. I call upon our representatives to engage proactively to showcase the strides we have made in the quest to create an enabling environment for sustainable energy projects.

25.         Together, we will strive for Nigeria to emerge from COP 28 with tangible commitments, reinforcing our dedication to a future where energy is not only a catalyst for development but also a driver of environmental stewardship.

26.         Distinguished members of the National Assembly, the revised 2024-2026 Medium Term Expenditure Framework (MTEF) and Fiscal Strategy Paper (FSP) sets out the parameters for the 2024 Budget.

27.         After a careful review of developments in the world oil market and domestic conditions, we have adopted a conservative oil price benchmark of 77.96 US Dollars per barrel and daily oil production estimate of 1.78 million barrels per day. We have also adopted a Naira to US Dollar exchange rate of 750 naira per US Dollar for 2024.

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28.         Accordingly, an aggregate expenditure of 27.5 trillion naira is proposed for the Federal Government in 2024, of which the non-debt recurrent expenditure is 9.92 trillion naira while debt service is projected to be 8.25 trillion naira and capital expenditure is 8.7 trillion naira.

29.         Nigeria remains committed to meeting its debt obligations. Projected debt service is 45% of the expected total revenue.

30.         Budget deficit is projected at 9.18 trillion naira in 2024 or 3.88 percent of GDP. This is lower than the 13.78 trillion naira deficit recorded in 2023 which represents 6.11 percent of GDP.

31.         The deficit will be financed by new borrowings totalling 7.83 trillion naira, 298.49 billion naira from Privatization Proceeds and 1.05 trillion naira drawdown on multilateral and bilateral loans secured for specific development projects.

32.         Our government remains committed to broad-based and shared economic prosperity. We are reviewing social investment programmes to enhance their implementation and effectiveness. In particular, the National Social Safety Net project will be expanded to provide targeted cash transfers to poor and vulnerable households. In addition, efforts will made to graduate existing beneficiaries toward productive activities and employment.

SEE ALSO:  PETER OBI: Supreme Court judgment is a breach of confidence (FULL TEXT)

33.         We are currently reviewing our tax and fiscal policies. Our target is to increase the ratio of revenue to GDP from less than 10 percent currently to 18 percent within the term of this Administration. Government will make efforts to further contain financial leakages through effective implementation of key public financial management reforms.

34.         Distinguished Senators and Honourable Members, in view of the limited resources available through the federal budget, we are also exploring Public Private Partnership arrangements to finance critical infrastructure.

35.         We, therefore, invite the private sector to partner with us to ensure that our fiscal, trade and monetary policies, as well as our developmental programs and projects succeed in unlocking the latent potential of our people and other natural endowments, in line with our national aspirations.

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36.         Distinguished Senators and Honourable Members, this Budget presentation would be incomplete without commending the patriotic resolve of the 10th National Assembly to collaborate with the Executive on our mission to renew hope and deliver on our promises to the Nigerian people. I assure you of the strong commitment of the Executive to sustain and deepen the relationship with the National Assembly.

37.         As you consider the 2024 Budget estimates, we trust that the legislative review process will be conducted with a view to sustaining our desired return to a predictable January-December fiscal year.

38.         I have no doubt that you will be guided by the interest of all Nigerians. We must ensure that only projects and programs with equitable benefits are allowed into the 2024 Budget. Additionally, only projects and programs which are in line with the sectoral mandates of MDAs and which are capable of realizing the vision of our Government should be included in the budget.

39.         As a Government, we are committed to improving the lot of our people and delivering on our promises to them. The 2024 Budget has the potential to boost performance, promote the development of Micro, Small and Medium-sized Enterprises, enhance security and public safety, and improve the general living conditions of our people.

40.         In closing, I am confident that these budgetary allocations and directives will set Nigeria on a transformative path towards a sustainable and resilient energy future, fostering economic growth, job creation, and environmental preservation.

41.         It is with great pleasure, therefore, that I lay before this distinguished Joint Session of the National Assembly, the 2024 Budget Proposals of the Federal Government of Nigeria, titled The Renewed Hope Budget.

42.         I thank you most sincerely for your attention. May we collectively chart the course towards a brighter and cleaner future for our great nation.

43.         May God bless the Federal Republic of Nigeria.

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Editorial

PETER OBI: Supreme Court judgment is a breach of confidence (FULL TEXT)

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Peter Obi’s Response To Supreme Court Judgement (FULL TEXT)
Peter Obi, Labour Party Presidential Candidate

Remarks at a Press Conference by Mr. Peter Gregory Obi, CON Presidential Candidate of the Labour Party on The Supreme Court Judgment of 26th October, 2023 On the 2023 Nigeria Presidential ElectionHeld in Abuja, FCT, on [Monday 6th November, 2023Protocols,

1.Fellow countrymen and women. Gentlemen of the Media, Good day and welcome to this press conference.Kindly permit me to make some brief remarks on the recent ruling of the Supreme Court, the highest court in Nigeria.

2. About a fortnight ago, I was traveling abroad on a prior scheduled engagement when I received the notice that the Supreme Court would give judgment on Thursday 26th October 2023 on our challenge of the ruling of the Presidential Election Petitions Court (PEPC). That judgment has since been delivered as scheduled. The leadership of the Labour Party has already pronounced its position on the judgment.

3. As someone who has previously benefited from the rulings of the Supreme Court on electoral matters, I have, after a period of deep and sober reflection, decided to personally and formally react to the recent judgment as most Nigerians have. Because we are confronted with very weighty issues of national interest, I will speak forthrightly. As students young lads at CKC, Onitsha, we were taught values and admonished to always; “choose the harder right, instead of the easier wrong.”

4. Setting legal issues aside, the Supreme Court exhibited a disturbing aversion to public opinion just as it abandoned its responsibility as a court of law and policy. It is, therefore, with great dismay that I observe that the Court’s decision contradicts the overwhelming evidence of election rigging, false claim of a technical glitch, substantial non-compliance with rules set by INEC itself as well as matters of perjury, identity theft, and forgery that have been brought to light in the course of this election matter. These were hefty allegations that should not to be treated with levity. More appalling, the Supreme Court judgment willfully condoned breaches of the Constitution relative to established qualifications and parameters for candidates in presidential elections. With this counter-intuitive judgment, the Supreme Court has transferred a heavy moral burden from the courtrooms to our national conscience. Our young democracy is ultimately the main victim and casualty of the courtroom drama.

5. Without equivocation, this judgment amounts to a total breach of the confidence the Nigerian people have in our judiciary. To that extent, it is a show of unreasonable force against the very Nigerian people from whom the power of the Constitution derives. This Supreme Court ruling may represent the state of the law in 2023 but not the present demand for substantive justice. The judgment mixed principles and precepts. Indeed, the rationale and premise of the Supreme Court judgment, have become clearer in the light of the deep revealing and troubling valedictory remarks by Hon. Justice Musa Dattijo Muhammad, (JSC) on Friday 27th October 2023.

SEE ALSO:  PETER OBI: Supreme Court judgment is a breach of confidence (FULL TEXT)

6. In disagreeing very strongly with the ruling of both the Presidential Petitions Court (PEPC) and the Supreme Court on the outcome of the 25th February 2023 Presidential election as declared by Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), as democrats who believe in the rule of law, we recognize that the Supreme Court is the end stage of the quest for legal closure to the matter. As a party and as candidates, Datti and I have now exhausted all legal and constitutional remedies available to us. However, this end is only another beginning in our quest for the vindication of the hope of the common man for a better country. After all, sovereignty belongs to the people! If only for historical purposes, it behooves us to place our disagreement with and deep reservations about this judgment on public record.

7. We have long been aware of how weak national institutions have negatively affected our democracy. This year 2023 has been quite remarkable and revealing. INEC has displayed incompetence in the conduct of its statutory duty. The judiciary has largely acted in defiance of constitutional tenets, precedents, and established ground rules. Political expediency has preceded judicial responsibility. A mechanical application of technicalities has superseded the pursuit of justice and fairness. Both INEC and the Supreme Court as the referees, respectively shifted the goalposts in the middle of the game.

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8. Where the value and import of the recent Supreme Court ruling ends is where our commitment to a New Nigeria begins. Our mission and mandate remain unchanged. From the very onset, our mission has been more about enthroning a new Nigeria. It is a new nation where things work, where the country is led from its present waste and consumption orientation to a production-driven economy. Our commitment is to a nation anchored on the principles of prudent management of resources to quickly pull millions out of multidimensional poverty, ensuring transparency and accountability in the equitable distribution of opportunities, resources, and privileges. In the new Nigeria, we aim to address all unmet needs by showing compassion for all those left behind by the present system.

SEE ALSO:  [FULL TEXT] Tinubu’s 2024 Budget of Renewed Hope

9. Going forward, we in the Labour Party and the Obidient Movement are now effectively in opposition. We are glad that the nation has heard us loud and clear. We shall now expand the confines of our message of hope to the rest of the country. We shall meet the people in the places where they feel pain and answer their needs for hope. At marketplaces, motor parks, town halls, board rooms, and university and college campuses, we all carry and deliver the message of a new Nigeria. As stake holders and elected Labour Party officials, we shall remain loyal to our manifesto.We will continue to canvas for good governance and focus on issues that promote national interest, unity, and cohesion. We will continue to give primacy to our Constitution, the rule of law, and the protection of ordered liberties. We will offer the checks and balances required in a functional democracy and vie robustly in forthcoming elections to elect those who share our vision of a new Nigeria.

10. Given our present national circumstances, there is a compelling need for a strong political opposition. We shall, therefore, remain in opposition, especially because of the policies and the governance modalities that we in the Labour Party campaigned for, especially reducing the cost of governance, moving the nation from consumption to production, reducing inflation, ending insecurity, promoting the rule of law, guaranteeing the responsibility to protect, and stabilizing the Nigerian currency; are clearly not the priorities of the present administration nor is it interested in achieving Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

11. If there is one thing that has immensely gladdened my heart in the course of the struggle of the past 18 months, it is the passionate desire of our people, especially our young people from across ethnic and religious divides, to construct a new and restructured Nigeria that will work for all Nigerians. That goal remains my guiding light and abiding inspiration.

12. Finally, I thank all Nigerians who believed in what is now only a revolution postponed. We deeply appreciate the unalloyed non-partisan moral support millions of youth and ordinary Nigerians across ethnic, religious, and geopolitical divides have continued to give to Dr. Datti Baba-Ahmed and me.

SEE ALSO:  [FULL TEXT] Tinubu’s 2024 Budget of Renewed Hope

13. We extend our heartfelt gratitude to the Nigerians who have supported this mission from the onset. We salute the leadership and members of the Labour Party, the Obidient Movement, the Obi-Datti Presidential Campaign Council, Nigerians in the Diaspora, Support Groups, and all people of goodwill who worked diligently and hoped for the realization of the beginnings of a New Nigeria in this election cycle.

14. Nigerians who supported our cause have done so out of patriotism and their sincere conviction that our nation requires and deserves dedicated and visionary leaders who will lead Nigeria toward a brighter future. The energy and dedication of Nigerian Youths and the Obedient Movement have been simply amazing. I appreciate and salute them! I want to assure them that this is not the end of our journey; but in fact, the beginning. Nigeria heard you. The world has taken note and will not forget so easily. We shall endure, persist, until we get to our destination because a new Nigeria is our destination. A destination not an event.

15. We thank, in a special way, our legal team. We also thank our elder States-Men, whose wise counsel were immeasurable To them, we wish to state unequivocally that this judicial outcome – an obvious misrepresentation of substantial justice – has by no means foreclosed the realization of a new Nigeria that is Possible.

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16. On a personal note, I take personal pride and express gratitude to those who share our vision; and who have also exhibited rare courage to challenge the nefarious system, the genuineness of individuals’ identities and their defining and qualifying particulars up to the highest extent allowed by law. Nigeria holds out hope of infinite possibilities leading to our desirable greatness. I remain consistent in my belief in the possibility of a new Nigeria built on character competence, capacity, compassion, integrity, and respect for the rule of law based on justice and fairness.

17. God bless us all. God bless the Federal Republic of Nigeria.

Mr. Peter Gregory Obi, CON Presidential Candidate of Labour Party.

Obi –Datti Campaign Organization Office Abuja, FCT.Monday 6th November 2023.

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Full text of Atiku’s speech at press conference on Tinubu’s CSU record saga

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Being text of a press conference by His Excellency, Atiku Abubakar (GCON), Waziri Adamawa, Vice President of Nigeria (1999-2007) and Presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (2023), at the Shehu Yar’Adua Centre on the 5th of October 2023.

Protocol

Gentlemen of the Press, Fellow Citizens of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, I consider it important to address and report to you today on issues that define the future of elective government and legitimate leadership in our country.

Political leadership and active citizenship matter because they are ways through which we all work together to build a country that works for all who live in it. Our country is bigger than any of us, and its standing in the world affects the fate of all who come from or live in it. As leaders, it is our duty to advance the well-being of all our people and of the country.

For this purpose, my generation worked hard to return the soldiers to the barracks and to defend the right of the people to elect and establish for ourselves a legitimate government. Our elections are established and governed by law and founded on the constitution from which leadership and government in Nigeria alone derive their legitimacy.

The people look up to us as leaders to respect these rules and, where necessary, to defend them. This is what brings us here.

Today, we are called upon again as a people to uphold and defend the ground rules of elective government in our country. The constitution prescribes the requirements for those who seek the highest elective office in the land.

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It should not take months or, indeed, decades, for the institutions concerned to be able to do their work in establishing the credibility of any certificates presented by candidates for public office.

SEE ALSO:  [FULL TEXT] Tinubu’s 2024 Budget of Renewed Hope

We undertook this journey at great cost and for important reasons. The ground rules for legitimate governance in our country need to be upheld, and the reputation of our country is at stake. That affects everyone, Nigerians everywhere.

I am a democrat by conviction and a citizen of a country that I love. The issues at stake in this case require us once more to re-dedicate ourselves to both the country and our constitution.

Now, we entrust these facts to us all as citizens and as leaders of the institutions charged with interpreting our constitution. I should thank the lawyers both in Nigeria and in the United States, who have assisted us in bringing clarity and definitive answers to these issues that appear to have defied our institutions for nearly a quarter of a century. I also want to extend my gratitude to Nigerian citizens and friends of Nigeria both within and beyond the shores of our country for their patience as we have sought to find the facts and establish the truth.

I wish to pay tribute to the late human rights activist, Chief Gani Fawehinmi, SAN, who inspired us on this path of discovery. Now, he can truly rest in peace in the assurance that what he started about 23 years ago has come to fruition. Gani’s vindication today gives credence to the saying that no matter how fast a lie runs, the truth will someday overtake it.

Former American President Thomas Jefferson once said, “If I had to choose between government without newspapers, and newspapers without government, I wouldn’t hesitate to choose the latter”. From exposing the Watergate scandal and unravelling the dubious certificates of politicians, journalists have maintained eternal vigilance by bridging the gap and stepping in when other arms of government failed.

SEE ALSO:  PETER OBI: Supreme Court judgment is a breach of confidence (FULL TEXT)

It is for these reasons that commendation must be given to David Hundeyin, an independent journalist whose extraordinary work and those of many more young people like him has become a source of inspiration. Special thanks must be given to the millions of Nigerian youths and citizen journalists too who continue to put out the truth online even when no one is listening. Indeed, the price of Liberty is Eternal Vigilance. They have put the country first in their firm commitment to unravel the truth and hold leaders accountable. This gives me the hope that we have worthy partners in the struggle to reclaim the country we call home.

This quest is not for or about Atiku Abubakar. It is a quest for the enthronement of truth, morality, and accountability in our public affairs. In line with this, therefore, I am calling on all well-meaning Nigerians, leaders of thought, our religious leaders, our traditional leaders, our community leaders, our political leaders, and in particular, Governor Peter Obi of the Labour Party and Governor Rabiu Kwankwaso of the NNPP and, the leaders of every political party in Nigeria, and, indeed, every single person who loves this country, as I do, and who wishes nothing but the best for the country, as I do, to join me in this campaign to enshrine probity, accountability and the basic principles of justice, morality and uprightness in our country and in our government. This is a task for each and every one of us.

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Thank you for listening. May God bless you, and may God bless the Federal Republic of Nigeria.

SEE ALSO:  PETER OBI: Supreme Court judgment is a breach of confidence (FULL TEXT)

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