The presidency has alleged that some individuals are planning a smear campaign against President Muhammadu Buhari to portray him as a leader that is not in charge of the country’s affairs.
Special Adviser to the President on Media and Publicity, Mr Femi Adesina, in a statement, said the alleged plans, to be fully implemented in the days ahead, had already started “from a procured offshore medium.”
The presidency was reacting to the editorial of Financial Times of London, in its December 22 edition, which alleged that Buhari is not in charge of the country, citing overwhelming insecurity involving kidnapping, killings and maiming in virtually all parts of the country.
According to Financial Times, Nigeria’s worsening insecurity indicates that the country is fast becoming a failed state.
But Adesina accused the president’s detractors of spending money to procure stories in the media with unsubstantiated claims and consequently sow seeds of discord in the country.
He urged Nigerians to discern the kind of stories they embrace in the online media, saying Buhari is determined to serve the country to the best of his ability as evident in the provision of infrastructure, fight against insecurity and corruption by the government.
The statement read, “The general public is hereby alerted to a smear campaign in the works against Mr. President and his office, by disgruntled political elements in the country, who have been shopping for pliant online media that will serve as accomplices in their nefarious act.
“The game plan is to launch orchestrated campaign of calumny in the days ahead, in which President Muhammadu Buhari would be portrayed as not being in charge of the country, a narrative already started from a procured offshore medium by the instigators.
“Money and other attractive inducements are being dangled before the online media, and some of them are already complicit, cooking up stories with jejune and unsubstantiated allegations, all to sow seeds of discord and discontent in the country.
“Nigerians are urged to be wary and discerning in what they consume as news and special reports from such online media, as they are in cahoots with agents of destabilisation, seeking ultimate political gains.
“President Buhari remains focused and single-minded in his determination to serve the country to the best of his ability, bringing change to different facets of our national life. This is already evident in infrastructure as seen in roads, rail, bridges, airports, and many other strides round the country. Agriculture is another worthy testimonial.
“The fight against corruption, insecurity, and retooling of the economy also proceed apace, and the Buhari Administration will not be distracted, and will continue to serve with heart and might, irrespective of all shenanigans.”
Adeleke freezes government accounts, reverses state name
The newly inaugurated Governor of Osun State, Ademola Adeleke, has frozen all government accounts in the state.
Adeleke directed this in his first executive order upon inauguration on Sunday.
Adeleke, in his speech delivered at the inauguration, alleged that the erstwhile governor of the state, Adegboyega Oyetola, carried out some actions “maliciously” after he (Adeleke) won the July 16 governorship election, including “hurried” employments without provisions to sustain them.
He claimed these actions were roadblocks channeled at making things difficult in his administration.
Adeleke also reversed the state name from ‘State of Osun’ to ‘Osun State’, saying the former was alien to the constitution.
“My good people of Osun, since you elected me as your governor on the July 16, 2022, which the Independent National Electoral Commission announced on July 17, 2022, the former Governor, Alhaji Gboyega Oyetola, maliciously started putting road blocks to make things difficult and almost impossible for the new administration to serve you.
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“Mass employments were carried out without budgetary provisions for salary payments for the new employees; even when the state was struggling to pay salaries and deliver other services. Various hurried and criminally backdated contracts were awarded and again without budgetary provisions.
“Appointments of several Obas were hurriedly done without following due process, just to mention a few.
“All efforts to get the governor set up a Transition Committee and submit hand-over notes in line with best practices proved abortive.
“It is therefore my desire to ask for your patience and understanding to give my administration a few weeks to review and sort out all the actions and malicious confusions which the immediate past administration has created since July 17, 2022. Those actions were indeed vindictive measures against the people of Osun State for voting them out of office,” Adeleke said.
Giving new orders, he said, “Consequently, I hereby issue the following directives which will be backed up with appropriate Executive orders:
“Immediate freezing of all government accounts in banks and other financial institutions;
“Immediate establishment of a panel to carry out an inventory and recover all government assets.
“An immediate establishment of a panel to review all appointments and major decisions of the immediate past administration taken after July 17, 2022.
“An immediate reversal to the constitutionally recognised name of our state, ‘Osun State’. All government insignia, correspondences and signages should henceforth reflect Osun State rather than State of Osun which is unknown to the Nigerian constitution.”
Ebonyi INEC office set on fire, PVCs, ballot boxes burnt
Hoodlums on Sunday set ablaze the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) office at Iboko in the Izzi Local Government Area of Ebonyi State.
This was disclosed by the National Commissioner and Chairman Information and Voter Education Committee, Festus Okoye, in a statement.
He said the Resident Electoral Commissioner (REC) for Ebonyi State, Mrs Onyeka Pauline Ugochi, reported that that the incident occurred around 10am.
Although he said no casualties resulted from the attack, the main building and all the movable and immovable items inside it were destroyed.
“These include 340 ballot boxes, 130 voting cubicles, 14 electric power generators, large water storage tanks, assorted office furniture and fixtures and yet to be determined quantities of Permanent Voters’ Cards (PVCs),” Okoye said.
According to him, this is the third attack on INEC local government office in less than three weeks having earlier recorded similar attacks on the commission’s offices in Ogun and Osun states.
He said that the Nigeria Police Force and other security agencies had commenced a full investigation into the incident.
The statement read, “The Resident Electoral Commissioner for Ebonyi State, Mrs Onyeka Ugochi, reported that our Izzi Local Government Area office located in Iboko, was set ablaze this morning.
“The incident occurred around 10.00am when some unidentified persons set the entire building ablaze.
“Although no casualties resulted from the attack, the main building and all the movable and immovable items inside it were destroyed. These include 340 ballot boxes, 130 voting cubicles, 14 electric power generators, large water storage tanks, assorted office furniture and fixtures and yet to be determined quantities of Permanent Voters’ Cards.
“The attention of the Nigeria Police Force and other security agencies has been drawn to the incident and have commenced investigation.
“Sadly, this is the third attack on our Local Government office in less than three weeks following similar attacks on our offices in Ogun and Osun States on 10th November 2022.”
We haven’t endorsed Peter Obi, Dogara, aggrieved Northern APC
Former Speaker of the House of Representatives, Yakubu Dogara, and other members of the aggrieved Northern All Progressives Congress, APC camp have dismissed speculations that the group has endorsed the Obi-Datti presidency ahead of the 2023 general elections.
The group made the dismissal in a statement jointly-signed by Simon Achuba, Hon Albert Atiwurcha, Prof Doknan Sheni, Mela A. Nunge, SAN, Gen Ishaya Bauka Rtd, Prof Ibrahim Haruna and Mrs Leah Olusiyi.
Recall that the Chairman of the group and former Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Babachir Lawal, had said the group has endorsed the Labour Party presidential candidate, Obi and his running mate, Yusuf Datti Baba-Ahmed.
According to him, Obi was endorsed, after painstakingly reviewing and analysing the alternative candidates.
But, Dogara and other members of the group have distanced themselves from the endorsement, saying they are yet to conclude consultations and that their position will be made public.
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He said, “We want to draw the attention of the general public to the recent position canvassed by our Chairman, Engr B D Lawal as the position of our Group. We wish to state that necessary consultations have been concluded, and based on manifestly unassailable empirical data, the group is poised to adopt a position that will be made known to the public at an interfaith event to be held very soon.
“Suffices to say that no one in the group including the Chairman has been mandated to speak to the public about our position at this material time. Based on our modus Operandi, our position was meant to be presented to the general public at the event above referred to. That has not changed.
“Consequently, the decision to endorse a particular candidate and the statement credited to the chairman are solely the decision and views of the Chairman which he is absolutely entitled to but not that of the group. We hope this statement clears all the queries most of us have been inundated with on this all-important subject matter,” he added.
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