The presidency has dissed former president, Chief Olusegun Obasanjo, for describing President Muhammadu Buhari and his government as unworthy of credible consideration, and an evidence that the former president was confused.
Speaking to journalists in Abuja, presidential spokesperson, Malam Garba Shehu, said whoever Obasanjo chose to support in the 2019 elections was irrelevant, as the former president had publicly changed his mind on the matter several times over the past few months.
He said, “Former President Obasanjo denounces one person today and supports that same person the next day. When it pleases him, he brings God into the matter and uses that as his excuse for whatever position he has chosen.”
Shehu added that he was not surprised that newspapers reported Obasanjo expressing neutrality at a weekend forum, only for the former president to take a completely different position after a day or two.
“We have learnt not to take his utterances seriously anymore. We know that the slightest wind can make him change his mind again. After all, this is the same man who publicly tore his party registration card barely four years ago, and he now claims to be backing the same party,” Shehu said.
Obasanjo had last week rapped Buhari, saying the president was heading an incompetent and corrupt government that must be changed in 2019.
The former had since declared support for the main opposition party, Peoples Democratic Party’s (PDP) presidential candidate, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar, contending that he was the best choice in the circumstances that the nation had found itself.
In a related development, Senator Abdullahi Adamu (Nasarawa West), yesterday expressed concern over Obasanjo’s “indecorous” and “undignified” criticisms of Buhari, saying while the former president was entitled to criticise and campaign against the re-election bid of the president, he shouldn’t be pedestrian in doing that.
Obasanjo was reported to have denied being neutral in the choice of who emerges as president of Nigeria in the impending 2019 presidential election, stating that he would not sit on the fence when he needs to be out and active for people to know where he stands in the best interest of the country.
According to a statement by his media aide, Mr. Kehinde Akinyemi, Obasanjo had said, “Only a fool will sit on the fence or be neutral when his or her country is being destroyed with incompetence, corruption, lack of focus, insecurity, nepotism, brazen impunity and denial of the obvious.”
However, reacting to the statement in a chat with newsmen in Abuja yesterday, Adamu stated, “Chief Obasanjo is pushing his luck too far by using indecorous language in criticising the president.
He wondered what Obasanjo’s record in Office was when he ran the country first from February 1976 to October 1979, and subsequently from May 1999 to May 2007.
The lawmaker claimed that under Obasanjo’s watch, most of Nigeria’s strategic investments were sold without much to show as returns to the nation.
He asked, “What happened to all our steel rolling mills and other strategic investments that were sold by (former vice president) Atiku (Abubakar) under Obasanjo’s supervision? What about the $16 billion spent under his watch supposedly for electricity? Where is the electricity today?
‘’He also acquired stupendous wealth during his second coming as president. How did he acquire that? Could that have come from his salaries as president from 1999 to 2007?
Going down memory lane, the former Nasarawa State governor said no Nigerian of repute who knows Obasanjo’s antecedents would be surprised at his current criticism of Buhari.
He added, “He had done it to Alhaji Shehu Shagari shortly after he handed over to him. Obasanjo citicised Babangida when he was in power; he did same to Abacha. And so, nothing is surprising.”
Adamu, who is a frontline campaigner for Buhari said, “Ordinarily, we wouldn’t have bothered about Obasanjo’s criticisms given what is already out in the public space about the morally questionable happenings within his household.
‘’But he is going off the tangent of fair comment in this circumstance, and I believe eminent citizens of this country need to call him to order before some of the young people he thinks he can fool start casting slur on him.”
He said Obasanjo needs to learn some lessons in decorum from past leaders like Gen. Yakubu Gowon (rtd), Shagari, as well as Gen. Ibrahim Babangida (rtd) and Gen. Abdulsalami Abubakar (rtd), stating that it was an abuse of rights for someone who was regarded as a statesman to be indecorous in his use of language.
Theresa May set to resign as Britain’s Prime Minister
British Prime Minister Theresa May announced her resignation in an emotional address on Friday, ending a dramatic three-year tenure of near-constant crisis over Brexit.
“It is and will always remain a matter of deep regret to me that I have not been able to deliver Brexit,” May, her voice breaking, said outside her Downing Street office.
May, 62, said she would step down as Conservative Party leader on June 7.
She would remain as prime minister in a caretaker role until a replacement is elected by the party.
May, who took charge in the aftermath of the 2016 EU referendum, was forced to make way following a mutiny in her cabinet and Conservative Party over her ill-fated strategy to take Britain out of the European Union.
She will become one of Britain’s shortest-serving post-WWII prime ministers, remembered for presiding over one of the most chaotic periods in the country’s modern political history and for her inability to deliver Brexit.
“I will shortly leave the job that it has been the honour of my life to hold — the second female prime minister but certainly not the last,” May said.
“I do so with no ill-will, but with enormous and enduring gratitude to have had the opportunity to serve the country I love,” she said, appearing close to tears as she turned back abruptly and walked back into her office.
Brexit in limbo
May was pushed into the humiliating spectacle of announcing her departure from office following a meeting with the head of the Conservative Party committee in charge of leadership elections.
She had previously said she would step aside once her unpopular EU divorce deal had been passed by parliament, and this week launched a short-lived bid for lawmakers to approve it in early June, that has now been postponed.
MPs have overwhelmingly rejected the withdrawal agreement she struck with European Union leaders last year three times, brutally weakening May on each occasion.
With her resignation, the manner of Britain’s withdrawal from the European Union appears more uncertain than ever.
She had been under growing pressure to quit following months of political paralysis over Brexit, which have intensified in recent weeks following disastrous results in the May 2 English local elections.
The Conservatives are expected to fare similarly badly in this week’s European Parliament elections when the results are announced late Sunday.
‘One last roll of the dice’
May’s latest effort to force through her despised Brexit deal, which included giving MPs the option of holding a referendum on the agreement, proved her final undoing.
The move prompted a furious reaction from Conservatives — including cabinet members.
“I thought she deserved one last roll of the dice. But she took those dice and threw them off the table,” a senior minister told The Times.
The clamour for her to stand down reached fever pitch after Andrea Leadsom — one of cabinet’s strongest Brexit backers — resigned on Wednesday from her post as the government’s representative in parliament.
She became the 36th minister to quit May’s dismally dysfunctional government — a modern record.
In her resignation letter Leadsom told the prime minister she no longer believed her approach to Brexit would deliver on the 2016 referendum result to leave the EU.
Several senior cabinet ministers reportedly then held “frank” talks with May on Thursday.
May’s departure will kickstart a Conservative Party leadership contest — already unofficially underway — that is expected to encompass more than a dozen candidates and favour a Brexiteer.
That could lead to Britain, which has already twice delayed its departure from the European Union, opting to leave the bloc without a deal on October 31, the extended deadline agreed with Brussels last month.
Tory MPs will hold a series of votes to whittle the contenders down to a final two that will be put to the party’s more than 100,000 members.
Former foreign secretary and gaffe-prone Brexit cheerleader Boris Johnson is the membership’s favourite, but a considerable number of Conservative MPs are thought to hold serious reservations about his suitability for the top job.
He has repeatedly said Britain should not fear a so-called no-deal Brexit.
May was the surprising victor in a 2016 leadership contest to replace predecessor David Cameron after he resigned in the aftermath of the Brexit referendum
Despite having campaigned to stay in the EU, she embraced the cause with the mantra “Brexit means Brexit”.
However the decision to hold a disastrous snap election in June 2017, when she lost her parliamentary majority, left her stymied.
May will leave office without any significant achievements to her name — other than the bungled handling of Brexit, according to political analysts.
“She doesn’t really have a legacy that she can call her own other than just having to manage what is a very difficult issue,” said Simon Usherwood, from the University of Surrey’s politics department.
“I think anybody in her position would have had great difficulty.”
Others were more brutal in their assessment.
“It was only an impossible job because she made it one,” said Tim Bale of Queen Mary University of London.
British Prime Minister to resign
British Prime Minister Theresa May has said she will quit as Conservative leader on 7 June, paving the way for a contest to decide a new prime minister. In an emotional statement in Downing Street, Mrs. May said she had “done my best” to honor the 2016 EU referendum result.
It would remain a matter of “deep regret” that she had been unable to deliver Brexit, she added.
May will not leave office immediately. She will step aside as leader of the Conservative Party on June 7, which will trigger a leadership contest to replace her on June 10. But she will stay on as prime minister until her successor is selected.
A new prime minister was “in the best interests of the country,” May said in a statement in front of London’s 10 Downing Street. “It is and always will remain a matter of deep regret to me that I have not been able to deliver Brexit.”
The countdown to May’s departure began the moment she brought back the Brexit deal negotiated with the EU late last year, which both her party and the opposition Labour Party hated. When she put the deal before Parliament in January, MPs defeated it by a stunning margin of 230 votes — the largest defeat for a prime minister in modern British history.
May failed again on the second attempt in March. Before making her third attempt, she tried a new tactic to get her deal passed: promising to resign if it succeeded. Conservatives who disliked her more than they disliked her deal went along with it, but May still couldn’t muster the votes to pass the plan that would take the UK out of the EU.
The political stalemate forced her to twice seek an extension of the original March 29 Brexit deadline to avoid a no-deal Brexit. That new deadline is now set for October 31, 2019, months after the original departure date.
Lagos governor-elect promises to run transparent government
The Governor-elect of Lagos State, Mr. Babajide Sanwo-Olu has pledged to be more transparent and accountable to Lagos citizens when he assumes office. Sanwo-Olu, who said this during a media briefing in Lagos yesterday, pledged to institute a quarterly interactive session on the state’s budget in order to give Lagosians updates and progress report on public expenditure.
The incoming governor also vowed to make the environment more conducive to attract foreign investments into the state. Responding to a question on how to make the budget transparent and procurement open, he said: “The state government still publicizes its budget on a year-on-year basis. We intend to continue, but beyond that, we would also do a quarterly review of our budget performance so that people can ask questions and we are accountable.
“In terms of transparency, we have a procurement law and we have a procurement agency. It is important for people to access them more. The ones that need to be published in terms of who gets the procurement, we would do it if it is not currently being done.”
He added: “So we would let people know on a quarterly basis how you are running your budget and how well you are doing and issues around transparency reduce.”
Commenting on his intention to ensure that increased foreign investments are attracted to Lagos state, Sanwo-Olu added: “Investments are just moving around and if you don’t take them and the opportunities, they move to some other jurisdiction. That is because money is always moving around the world.
Osinbajo charges outgoing governors on public service
Vice-President Yemi Osinbajo Thursday urged outgoing governors not to see their exit from power as an opportunity to run personal businesses or sleeping for long hours.
Instead, they should see their exit from power as another opportunity to further serve the country in various capacities, using their influence, for instance, to contribute to healthcare and education.
Osinbajo said at a valedictory session of the National Economic Council (NEC) in Abuja that donor agencies would be glad to work with some of the outgoing governors, especially those with records of accomplishment of healthcare provision and other humanitarian needs.
Membership of the NEC, statutorily chaired by the vice-president, comprises governors of the 36 states of the federation and select federal government officials.
The vice-president, who thanked the governors for the encomiums showered on him by various speakers at the meeting, said of Nigeria’s population of about 200 million, only 74 persons, comprising the president, vice-president, 36 governors, and their deputies, were given the responsibilities of formulating policies and executing projects to improve people’s living conditions.
He sought more commitment from the governors to better the lots of the citizenry.
According to him, having led their various states for some years, the governors do not need anyone to advise them any longer on the imperative of unity or security of lives and property just as he identified the availability of food and water as the main priorities of citizens.
However, the vice-president lamented that most people dissipate energy to stoke the embers of disunity and ethnicity, advising the governors to condemn those who engage in such acts and resist them because the country does not belong to them only.
He reiterated the need for the outgoing governors to be challenged by the enormity of problems at stake and consequently use their influence as former governors, when the time comes, to contribute to continued efforts to address such problems.
He said: “In the next few years, our population will double with the attendant challenges of jobs, education, healthcare, security, and infrastructure. Every nation that has moved its people from misery to prosperity has depended heavily in fact almost completely on the political elite. Our people have nowhere else to look or to go, it is as they say, at the collective table that the buck stops.
“I should advise that you should use your influence and reach to the advantage of Nigerian people. You have seen and heard for yourselves the enormity of our national problems. Very few people have the advantage to see closely as we do, the issues that concern our country – issues that even concern our different states. We here have that unique advantage. So, I think that we can help in one way or the other; we can do something in our states and other states in a way of advocacy or action on education and healthcare in particular, and jobs.