Sunday, October 17, 2021 2:28 pm
By Ismaila Chafe
In the busy week under review, President Muhammadu Buhari spared time to welcome the Deputy Governor of Anambra, Nkem Okereke, who defected last week from the All Peoples Grand Alliance (APGA) into the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC).
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that Okeke was presented to the president by the Chairman of the Interim National Committee of the APC and Gov. Mai Mala Buni of Yobe in the State House, Abuja, on Oct. 13.
The president noted that Okeke’s decision to join the APC was timely and a positive political development for the people of his zone and Nigeria in general.
He said: “The important thing is that we are making people to understand that we are working for greater Nigeria.
“So, you are welcome and I respect your courage for taking this decision and I congratulate you for joining the APC.’’
Okeke had earlier explained why he accepted the invitation to join APC, expressing regret for his inability to contribute meaningfully ngagement to the society while in APGA.
“I don’t think I contributed positively to the development of the society.
“I have more to contribute to the society, I know what I bring to the APC is credibility. I will love to be a member of the winning team Mr President,’’ Okeke said.
The president had earlier in the week expressed shock over the death of Hajiya Aishatu Abba, mother of his long-time aide, Sarki Abba, the Senior Special Assistant Domestic, House Hold Matters and Social Events.
Aishatu Abba died in Yola after a protracted illness, leaving behind two sons and several grandchildren at the age of 96.
Buhari said: “We have lost a deep-rooted community leader, kind and generous whose entire life was devoted to worship and the welfare of the poor and the marginalised.
”Her life of giving has inspired many and she leaves behind several memorable tales of lives she had touched.
”My thoughts are with Sarki Abba and his family who have lost a strong pillar of support. May Allah bless her soul and accept her good deeds.”
The president also sent condolences to the Adamawa Emirate Council as well as the Government and people of the state.
On Oct. 11, Buhari also presided over the two-day Mid-Term Ministerial Performance Review Retreat organised to assess progress made towards the achievement of the nine key priorities of this administration.
At the event, the president reassured Nigerians that the 11.9km Second Niger Bridge, 120km Lagos-Ibadan Expressway and other key projects would be completed within the second term of his administration.
The key projects are being executed under the Presidential Infrastructure Development Fund (PIDF).
He used the occasion of the retreat, the third edition since the second term of his administration, to highlight some of the Federal Government’s notable achievements in the last two years.
The president listed accomplishments in the areas of infrastructure, transportation, economy, electricity supply and the petroleum industry, among others.
He also announced the approval of N13.3 billion for the take-off of the Community Policing initiative across the country.
Buhari explained that the approval was part of measures to consolidate efforts aimed at enhancing security nationwide.
At the end of the retreat, the president challenged cabinet ministers and permanent secretaries to redouble their efforts and work in synergy toward total delivery of his administration’s set target to improve livelihood of all Nigerians.
Buhari also stressed the need for synergy between the fiscal and monetary authorities in the country to keep the economy on the trajectory of growth.
The president on Oct. 12, also approved the appointment of Dr Ezra Yakusak as the Executive Director/Chief Executive Officer of Nigeria Export Promotion Council (NEPC).
Until his appointment, Yakusak, who holds a PhD in Commercial Law from Ahmadu Bello University, was the Director, Policy and Strategy, NEPC.
On Oct. 13, Buhari met behind closed door with Gov. Godwin Obaseki of Edo at the Aso Villa.
Obaseki, who spoke to State House correspondents at the end of the meeting, called for full implementation of the National Livestock Transformation Programme (NLTP) to address the clashes between farmers and herders.
He said that the people of Edo had resolved that ranching was a private business and should be treated as such.
According to Obaseki, the state government is yet to promulgate a law banning open grazing because it sees the venture as private business.
Buhari also inaugurated the Presidential Monitoring and Evaluation Council of the Executive Order 5 at the State House, Abuja, on Thursday, where he directed Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) to give priority to indigenous professionals for planning, design and execution of national projects.
He admonished that foreign professionals should only be considered where it had been certified that the expertise was not available.
The president hosted Ms Ahunna Eziakonwa, Head of the UNDP Regional Bureau for Africa, at the State House, Abuja, on Oct. 14, saying the “UNDP deserves accolades for the assistance it renders to Nigeria in diverse ways, particularly in stabilizing the North-east’’.
He thanked Nigerian-born Eziakonwa for her official visit “and for coming home as well,” noting that herself, Dr Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala of the World Trade Organisation, and Amina Mohammed, Deputy Secretary-General of the United Nations, were some of the women doing Nigeria proud internationally.
Also on Thursday, Buhari urged insurance companies in the country to improve their efficiency and honour claims in good time to policy holders.
He made the appeal during his conferment as the Grand Patron of the Chartered Insurance Institute of Nigeria (CIIN) by the Chairman and members of the Governing Council of the institute, held at the State House, Abuja.
Vice-President Yemi Osinbajo also on Thursday presented keynote address at the Ekiti State Investment and Economic Development Summit and the third anniversary celebration of the government of the state.
He called for a new mindset in the way the affairs of State Governments in the federation are managed, suggesting increased investments in local talents, more focus on the knowledge economy, and greater attention to niche areas of comparative advantage.
According to Osinbajo, this way, states can attract investors and boost their economic development.
The federal government also reiterated its commitment to collaborate with established bodies and professionals to enhance capacity building to enable effective service delivery.
The Special Adviser to the President on Media and Publicity, Mr Femi Adesina, stated this when he received members of the Chartered Institute of Personnel Management of Nigeria (CIPM), led by its President, Mr Olusegun Mojeed, at the State House, Abuja, on Thursday.
Adesina said: “I am very delighted about your offer to partner with this administration in the area of capacity development.”
He recounted that at the just concluded two-day mid-term Ministerial Performance Review Retreat, the president had directed all Ministers and Permanent Secretaries to promote a robust performance culture in their areas of jurisdiction.
”The President had equally directed the Head of Service to, urgently, invest in strengthening the capacity of the MDAs in order to achieve government’s set targets on human and infrastructure development,” Adesina added.
On Oct. 15, the vice-president, virtually, presided over the meeting of the National Economic Council (NEC) at the State House, Abuja, where the Council advised those planning public protests to mark the anniversary of the #EndSARS protests, to consider other lawful alternative means of engagement.
NEC had, in the wake of EndSARS protests in 2020, directed the immediate establishment of state-based Judicial Panels of Inquiry to investigate complaints of police brutality or related extrajudicial killings.
The panels were aimed at delivering justice for all victims of the dissolved Special Anti-Robbery Squads (SARS) and other Police tactical units.
In recent days, there has been mobilisation on social media to mark the anniversary of the protests.
Buhari also met behind closed door with Lagos based Cleric, Pastor Tunde Bakare, at the Presidential Villa, Abuja, on Friday.
Speaking to State House correspondents after the meeting, Bakare, who described his visit to Villa as private, frowned at the calls for power shift based on primordial sentiments.
He said Nigerians should concentrate more on competence when electing the next President in 2023.
According to him, the region or part of the country from which contestants come from does not matter because the country deserves the best as President.
Bakare also reiterated his call for immediate restructuring of the country, and commended the Nigerian Senate for approving the transmission of election results electronically.
The president, in the week under review, also congratulated the Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ) on the outcome of their seventh triennial delegates’ conference which saw the re-election of Chris Isiguzo as President.
Buhari reiterated that ‘‘press freedom is an irreducible minimum in a democracy that would flourish’’, but warned that such freedom must be used responsibly.
He also acknowledged the formidable role the media play in shaping and influencing the course of events in any society.
The president reminded the NUJ leadership that the country would continue to look up to their members for fair, balanced and objective journalism.
The president urged the media to forge greater unity in the union, engage in productive dialogue to resolve any issue inimical to the progress of the association.
NAN reports that Buhari ended the week as he received the Queen’s Baton relay to Nigeria ahead of the 2022 Commonwealth Games in Birmingham, England.
The presentation of the baton was held on Saturday at the State House banquet hall.
Habu Gumel, President, Commonwealth Games Nigeria, received the baton at the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport, Abuja, and handed it to the Minister of Youth and Sports Development, Sunday Dare, who presented it to the president.
Buhari, who was represented by the vice-president, said it was a very special pleasure to welcome the Queen’s Baton relay to Nigeria and reminded the Commonwealth of its strong bond of brotherhood. (NAN)