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Kukah to Tinubu: You have no excuses, God won’t forgive you if you fail

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• Bishop Matthew Kukah
Mathew Kukah, the Catholic Bishop of Sokoto Diocese, has said that President Bola Tinubu has no excuses if his government fails to address the pressing issues facing Nigeria.Kukah, who stated this while delivering his Christmas message in Sokoto on Monday, noted that neither history nor God would forgive the President if he failed.

The message tagged ‘Time to Reclaim Nigeria’s Greatness,’ touched on unity, nation-building, insecurity, politics, among others.

He urged President Bola Ahmed Tinubu to use his wealth of experience to end the ugly “instrumentalisation of religious, ethnic or regional identities”.

He also appealed to Nigerians to continue to have faith in the country and be hopeful.

Kukah said: “Now, the government must devise strategies for achieving reconciliation, which has eluded us. Our injuries are not invisible. Many national conferences have been held to chart a way forward. The trove of grievances and hopes is there, and all the government needs to do is to dust them up. No need to reinvent the wheel or attempt some new diagnosis.

“Mr. President, Sir, congratulations and a happy Christmas. Now, you have what you prayed for, what you dreamt of, what you longed for. For the better part of over 20 years, you have plotted to be our President. For years, you campaigned for a new Nigeria through restructuring or overhauling the defective machinery of the Nigerian state.

“For years, you fought the military and other forms of dictatorships. For years, you fought for the victims of a deep state. For years, you sought to create an egalitarian society. For years, you sought a just society. For years, you have built networks with individuals, communities, and institutions. Now is harvest time.

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“You are in the driving seat now. Under your watch, Nigeria must turn the corner. Under your watch, we must end the ugly instrumentalisation of religious, ethnic, or regional identities. You have had enough time to think of the answers to many questions that are crying for answers. Your future and that of our country is in your hands.

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“Mr President, you have no excuses before God or the people of Nigeria. Neither God nor history will forgive you if you fail. This is our moment, our date with history. Now, all eyes and ears are on you. Our prayers for a united country are with you.

“We have seen the first faltering steps of policy decisions, which have elicited a mixture of controversy, anxiety, and praise. This is to be expected. You have promised us a Renewed Hope Agenda, but know that hope has worn thin in our dear nation.

“Nigerians have almost lost hope in the fact that a government can really and truly care for them. Nigerians have lost hope in the fact that our politicians will put our interests first and find a way to deal with the cancer of corruption. We had lost hope in being united again, given the seeds of division that had been sown. Ignite our hope again, Sir.

“We now have seen some renewed hope in your effort to run an inclusive government. We want an end to partisanship. The problems of Nigeria are deep-seated, and they are based on a culture of corruption that has become the foundation stone of governance. This evil structure has to be dismantled.

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“Palliatives will not resolve Nigeria’s problems. The problems are deep and structural. Please do not be afraid to reset the template of power, regardless of the cultural or historical myths. We are tired of promises and stories. We want evidence we can see and touch.

“Mr. President, the killings of Nigerians by whatever name must end and end now. These senseless killings, abductions, extortions, and kidnappings have to end, and the sacredness and sanctity of human life must be restored. Blasphemy laws have no place in a democracy. We are not in a theocracy.

“Those who take life by whatever means must be fished out and punished. A culture of compensation to victims must be institutionalised and states must take full responsibility while criminals or those who hide them are fished out. We cannot go on this way. The seeds of hatred that have sprouted in Gaza show us the consequences of allowing a culture of distorted narratives to grow among us.”

He noted: “You must rid the public service of criminals who have turned the opportunity to serve into an ignoble enterprise. We concede that there are millions of decent men and women who genuinely wish to serve but are crushed by the deadweight of corrupt ogas at the top who use corruption as their oxygen! This surgery must happen if you are to succeed in any of your dreams of delivering much-needed services to our people.

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“To be able to have credibility, your Renewed Hope agenda must be based on a solid foundation of faith and hope for the restoration of glory for our country. So far, a few of your key policies have unleashed a raft of suffering on the masses of our people. There must be a deliberate effort to restore hope to the faces of the poor and vulnerable in our society.

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“We have heard the familiar stories of empty treasuries and the efforts at investigations. We wait to see if anything will be different. Lay the foundation for ending the unnecessary sufferings of our people.”

“Good politics and good politicians can bring about change, but all of these require the commitment and honesty of citizens to be honest at all levels. I therefore call on Christians, in particular, in this season to become real models of our faith.

“The call to be a Christian is not a call to join an Association or a Club. The fourteenth-century English poet Alexander Pope said, “Christ may be born a thousand times in Bethlehem, but if he is not born in your heart, his birth has no meaning for you.”

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More pressures on pockets as food inflation rises to 40%

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More pressures on pockets as food inflation rises to 40%
•High electricity tariff to drive further rise — Analysts

•It’s bad for businesses – NACCIMA •Small businesses to lose capital base— ASBON

At the backdrop of sustained rise in prices of staple food items in the market, Nigeria has recorded an unprecedented food inflation rate of 40 percent in March 2024.

Economists and financial analysts explained that the development would put more pressure on the purchasing power of average Nigerian and they also predict that the trend will continue for some months before stabilising.

The food inflation drove the headline inflation rate to 33.2 percent, up from 31.7 percent recorded in the month of February.

The figures released yesterday by National Bureau of Statistics, NBS, in its Consumer Price Index, CPI, report for March 2024, represented a 2.09 and 1.5 percentage percentage points increases month-on-month.

But the analysts see a wider headline inflationary rise in this month to 34.6 percent, representing a 2.4 percentage month-on-month rise resulting from the recent hike in electricity tariff.

Electricity tariff hike to drive further inflation – CardinalStone

Analysts at CardinalStone Finance Limited, a Lagos based investment house, indicated that further inflationary upswing should be expected following the recent drastic hike in electricity tariff.

They stated: ‘’The inflation outlook is biased to the upside, a consequence of the recent implementation of a new electricity tariff. For context, the Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC) have hiked price for Band A customer from N68 to N225 per kilowatt hour.

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‘’Nevertheless, we see some downside risk from the recent currency sustainability. ‘’Overall, we project inflation to print 34.6% in April 2024.’’

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Further rise will be slower – Alpha Morgan

In the meantime, analysts at Alpha Morgan Capital said: “From our analysis, we project that inflation will further increase but at a continuously slower rate. We tie this prediction primarily to the recent monetary interventions by the Central Bank of Nigeria in mopping up excess liquidity, curbing volatile exchange rate movement through various aggressive currency interventions, government fiscal policies, such as agricultural interventions, among others.”

Devpt is bad for businesses – NACCIMA

Meanwhile, OPS said that the persistent rising inflation could sound the death knell for small businesses in the country, with consequential loss of jobs and worsened insecurity.

Commenting, Director General of the Nigerian Association of Chambers of Commerce, Industry, Mines, and Agriculture (NACCIMA), Sola Obadimu, said: “Persistent rising inflation is bad for business as well as for individuals.

“It erodes income in value terms and purchasing power becomes weaker for both individuals and businesses. Inventories will continue to grow.

“It is bad for planning purposes and breeds growing uncertainty. Cost of doing business continues to grow leading to higher cost of goods. It’s cyclical.

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“Even when businesses or individuals tend to earn higher income, the value (in real terms) becomes lower.”

In his reaction, President of Association of Small Business Owners of Nigeria (ASBON), Dr Femi Egbesola, said the development will worsen survival of small businesses.

He stated: “The new and rising inflation rate, affecting largely food, essential commodities, raw materials, electricity and alternative power generation, transportation among others, will continue to worsen the survival and growth of SMEs.

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It will, no doubt, squeeze out the meager working capital of SMEs and make us more vulnerable to extinction.

“Not all costs can be passed to the consumers but even at that, certain costs will be passed onto them, and since they also have had their disposable income eroded by inflation, sales of goods and services of SMEs will drastically drop. For an average citizen, their standard of living and welfare will significantly drop too.

“More Nigerians will suffer from hunger, and lack of access to basic necessities and amenities, worse of it is health and medical needs.

“Overall, the implications of this on SMEs is that many more businesses will die off and become ailing, job losses will increase as many more businesses will lay off workers.

“There will be an increase in bad loans as more SMEs will be unable to fulfill their loan obligations leading to decreased access to funding from banks that will be more averse to lending to SMEs particularly with the increased interest rate, now coupled with inflation.

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“More insecurity will prevail in the land for many will look for alternative illegal ways of survival. More will migrate in the name of Japa.

“The extinction of more businesses will open doors for imported products to take their space which eventually will also stress the Naira exchange rate.”

In its CPI report NBS stated: “In March 2024, the headline inflation rate increased to 33.2 percent relative to the February 2024  headline inflation rate which was 31.7 percent .

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“On a YoY basis, the headline inflation rate was 11.16 percentage points higher compared to  the rate recorded in March 2023, which was 22.04 percent.

On food inflation the bureau said: “The food inflation rate in March 2024 was 40.01 percent on a year-on-year basis, which was 15.56 percentage points higher compared to the rate recorded in March 2023 (24.45 percent).

“The rise in Food inflation on a year-on-year basis was caused by increases in prices of the following items garri, millet, akpu uncooked fermented (which are under the bread and cereals class), yam tuber, water yam (under potatoes, yam, and other tubers class), dried fish sadine, mudfish dried (under Fish class), palm oil, vegetable oil (under Oil and Fat), beef feet, beef head, liver (under Meat class), coconut, water melon (under Fruit Class), Lipton tea, Bournvita, Milo (under coffee, tea and cocoa class).” (Vanguard)

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N20, N10, N5 rendered ‘irrelevant’ as inflation bites harder

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N20, N10, N5 rendered ‘irrelevant’ as inflation bites harder
Naira

Across major markets, prices of goods are moving away from the lower denomination of the Naira currencies as inflation bites harder.

Not too long ago, a sachet of pure water cost N5.

However, in the past couple of years, these notes have struggled to get items they could be attached to.

A market survey by DAILY POST showed that more than half of Nigeria’s legal tenders cannot make purchases.

Despite this, the Central Bank of Nigeria, CBN, recognizes the following denominations; 50 kobo, N1 and N2 which are coins, and N5, N10, N20 and N50 which are printed on polymer materials.

A sachet of pure water now sells for N30. Retailed sugar no longer sells for N10, while candies like Tom Tom are retailed at two pieces for N50. To further compound the woes of these notes, goods are now rounded up to 50 or 100, which further makes these currencies irrelevant.

In the past six months, the Naira has depreciated considerably. At one point, it was about N1,900 to a single dollar until the intervention by the CBN with the naira now trading at about N1050 to a dollar.

The implication of it is that N1000, which is Nigeria’s highest denomination, is less than a single dollar.

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Anyone with $1000 is a millionaire in naira based on the current exchange rate, and anyone with $1 has more than N1,000.

Despite the recent surge in the value of naira, prices of commodities have not shown any significant signs of climbing down.

Experts believe that Nigeria’s inflation is a product of many factors, with FX being one of the numerous factors.

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But despite this, the Nigerian government is still printing some of the lower denomination currencies at a huge cost.

According to reports, in 2016, CBN had to temporarily halt the printing of N5, 10, N20 and N50 due to the cost of production.

The report said it costs N1000 to print each lower denomination because Nigeria Security Printing and Minting plc (NSPM) is unable to print on polymer.

Now experts are calling on the CBN to discontinue the printing of the lower denominations and review the currencies in line with realities.

Abiodun Ayangbemi, an economist, emphasised that the CBN must discontinue the printing of the lower denomination because the majority of those currencies have failed the basic principles of money— means of exchange and store of value.

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“The monetary authorities cannot continue to print those denominations when there is basically nothing to use them for,” he said.

Lekan Olaleye, a monetary policy expert, asked the federal government to take a copy of the re-denomination policy adopted by Ghana some years back.

He argued that the CBN should remove two zeros from the existing notes.

It would be recalled that Ghana had in 2007, re-denominated the Cedis by striking out four zeros from their currency and producing the new Ghana Cedis.

A former CBN Governor, Sanusi Lamido had in 2012 announced a plan to introduce N5000 notes. In the same vein, there was also a plan to coin the lower bank notes of N5, N10 and N20.

However, the policy was met with a strong outcry from the public, who condemned the plan. Thus, the government shelved the plan.

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Years after the botched plan, prices of goods and services have spiked beyond the 2012 level. (Daily Post)

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We’re not aware of Ganduje’s suspension – Kano APC Chairman

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Ganduje, wife, son to be arraigned before Kano court April 17
APC National Chairman and former Governor of Kano State, Abdullahi Ganduje

The Ganduje ward executives of the All Progressive Congress (APC) in Kano State, have denied the reported suspension of APC National Chairman, Dr Abdullahi-Umar Ganduje.

The ward executives made the denial while briefing journalist at the APC State Secretariat, on Monday in Kano.

According to the ward Chairman, Malam Ahmad Ganduje, those purported to have announced the suspension were not members of the party.

He said they were solemnly behind the APC national chairman and have confidence in his style of leadership.

The ward chairman added that they had passed a vote of confidence on Ganduje, and urged all party members in the ward and across the state to remain calm and law abiding.

In his remarks, the APC Chairman, Dawakin Tofa Local Government Area, Alhaji Inusa Dawanau, said the party will take legal action against those the “impersonators”, who announced Ganduje’s suspension.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that, Malam Haladu Gwanjo, who claimed to be the Legal Adviser of APC in Ganduje Ward, had earlier announced the purported suspension of party’s national chairman.
Gwanjo, who cited alleged corruption and other vices as reasons for the suspension, said that the decision was taken by nine executive members of party in Ganduje ward.(NAN)

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