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Tinubu: I won’t allow another June 12 – Buhari *Aggrieved should go to courts



All aggrieved parties riling against the declaration of  Asiwaju Ahmed Tinubum of the All Progressives Congress (APC), as the winner of the February 25 presidential election, must approach the court, as the only place they would reverse the declaration made by the Independent National Electoral Commission.

This is the definite position of President Muhammadu Buhari as he rose in defence of the outcome of the election, defending the process before the international community, where the outcome of the polls, has come under scrutiny, with the verdict mostly being that the process did not pass through the fine-comb of credibility and therefore flawed.

“Bola Tinubu’s election stands. If you are aggrieved, and you have the locus to do so, go to court,” Garba Shehu, the President’s spokesman, quoted him as telling the international community, as contained in a piece he put together on Thursday, as the takeaway from Buhari’s recent visit to Doha, Qatar, where Bhari, was also said to have that at no time did he consider annulling the 2023 presidential poll, as was the case of the June 12, 1993 presidential election, presumably won by the late Bashorun MKO Abiola.

The international media and civil society organisations, including poll observers, have been very critical of the February 25 election that produced Tinubu as president-elect. The London-based The Economist, The Financial Times, The Guardian of U.K, The New York Times,   The Times of London, CNN, one of Germany’s largest newspapers, Sueddeutsche Zietung, and The Washington Post have all condemned the election in different editorial comments. Foreign election observers from the US International Republican Institute (IRI) and the National Democratic Institute (NDI), the European Union, African Union, and ECOWAS have also faulted aspects of the election.
But Shehu said in the piece that the President used the opportunity of the Fifth United Nations Conference on Least Developed Countries in Qatar to drum up support for Tinubu.

Buhari, was quoted, while speaking to Nigerians in the diaspora on the on-going political transition, to have called for support for the incoming government of Tinubu: “So that Nigeria will continue to be the beacon of hope and prosperity in our continent and an example for other African countries to emulate.
“In addition to other things, this trip, more than any other, speaks to the courage, political stamina and statesmanship with which the President has managed the affairs of the nation.”

He recalled that; in the build-up to the trip, he was faced with orchestrated attempts to poison public opinion against national institutions, particularly, the presidential election and its conduct by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) as an institution, against which vile and unsubstantiated allegations were hurled.

“The clear intent of this was creating an atmosphere of fear, polarising the public and demonising the administration of the president. The wishful thinkers appeared to assume that the June 12, 1993 election crisis, the worst ever since the civil war, could be recreated.

“Those who sought to do this forgot what the President said at the palace of the Gbong-Gwon Jos, when he went to the city to inaugurate the Tinubu-Shettima campaign: ‘This election will not be annulled; whoever is the winner will be president.’”
He said further: “Buhari not only muted himself following the cacophony, he picked up international travel: ‘Bola Tinubu’s election stands. If you are aggrieved, and you have the locus to do so, go to court.’

“President Muhammadu Buhari just returned from the 5th United Nations Conference on Least Developed Countries (LDCs) in Doha, Qatar. The conference featured an opening ceremony, the Fiftieth Anniversary Commemoration of the Establishment of the Group of LDCs, General Debate, Eight (8) High-level Thematic Roundtables, and series of side events on priorities of the Doha Programme of Action (DPoA).

“The objective of the conference was to primarily mobilise political will, solidarity, action and solutions to transform the LDCs, by finding sustainable solutions to the challenges of poverty, food insecurity, hunger, weak or non-existent infrastructure, inadequate health facilities, climate change, among other things.
“Expectedly, Nigeria participated in the general debate in which President Buhari delivered a national statement while the Ministers of Environment, Education, Humanitarian Affairs, Industry, Trade and Investment, Finance, Budget and National Planning participated in the main Thematic Roundtables relevant to the policy of the Federal Government of Nigeria.

“These thematic issues were, Addressing Climate Change and Supporting the Environment; Investing in People in Least Developed Countries to Leave no One   Behind; Enhancing the Participation of Least Developed Countries in International Trade and Regional Integration; and Resource Mobilisation and Strengthened Global Partnerships for Sustainable Development in Least Developed Countries. Nigerians saw much of it on TV, great visuals of accomplishments and possibilities from there.”

While in Doha, the President, Buhari’s spokesman added, held series of talks on the sidelines, meeting Chairman of ECOWAS and President of Guinea-Bissau, Oumarou Sissoco Embalo, who brought the news of the forthcoming Icon of Democracy Award to Buhari; the transitional president of Chad, General Mehmet Idris Deby-Itno, who got assurances of support for the democratic transition going on in that country, with both leaders appreciating the sustained momentum in the transition, and another meeting with Vice President of Iran, Mohsen Mansouri.

He wrote: “Here, both leaders discussed ways to further strengthen economic cooperation, especially, in the sectors of energy, infrastructure and culture.

“President Buhari told the Iranian Vice President that he fully supports ‘the strengthening of relations between our countries, as we have complementarities, especially in energy production.’ The president also had another important meeting with the father of the current leader of Qatar, the host country, Sheikh Hamad Bin Khalifa Al-Thani. The two leaders discussed ways to increase commerce, make people-to-people ties even stronger, cooperation in areas of energy, culture and other important issues.
“President Buhari used the opportunity of the visit to speak to his guests about the recent election in Nigeria and the fact that a new president would be taking over in less than three months. He hoped that the strong relations he had built between those countries would continue to endure in the new administration.
“The highlight of the conference for Nigeria was the national address on the theme of this year’s event: ‘From Potential to Prosperity’, a speech that observers described as strikingly activist. In it, the president criticised the current structure of the global financial system, which he said, ‘places an unsustainable external debt burden on the most vulnerable countries.’”

Buhari warned that such debt burdens would make it very difficult for LDCs to meet the 2030 Agenda for Seventeen Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
According to Shehu: “In 2015, the world came together to endorse the 2030 Agenda for Seventeen Sustainable Development Goals. There was no doubt that it was highly ambitious and would require leaders around the world to be fully committed for the SDGs to be achieved within the projected timeframe.
“Eight years on, the possibility of achieving the SDGs remains bleak for many countries, particularly, the Least Developed Countries. The difficulties in achieving the SDGs are numerous and were further compounded by the COVID-19 pandemic, the continued threat of Climate Change, and recently the Russia-Ukraine conflict.

“The Least Developed Countries are often faced with developmental vulnerabilities and challenges that are not always of their making. These pose huge obstacles to their development efforts, hence, the need for urgent and robust assistance to help unlock their potentials and build socio-economic resilience.”
The president was also very strong on his pet topic, Climate Change, his spokesman wrote, in the speech, warning that climate change remains one of the biggest existential threats facing humanity today, posing challenges to lives and livelihoods, and manifesting in different negative forms, including increase in temperature, rise in sea levels, flooding, drought, and desertification.

“It has also led to significant loss of biodiversity. Worst still, climate change has exacerbated conflicts and led to unplanned migration, causing untold hardship in places like the Lake Chad Basin region,” the spokesman wrote.
He stated further, “The least developed countries, therefore, continue to suffer disproportionately from the effects of climate change, despite contributing the least to its causes. Deaths from climate related crises are higher in the most vulnerable countries, with projections that there will continue to be an upward trend.”

Shehu said whenever the president travelled abroad, he always met world leaders, “but never missed the opportunity to talk to our citizens there, who proudly tell him about the achievements of the Nigerian community settled in those countries. The group he met with in Doha was made up of very outstanding professionals.
“In putting together those meetings, the Nigerian Diaspora Commission under Abike Dabiri has been showing a remarkable aptitude.
“The trip to Qatar was yet another successful outing by the president and it will be on record as such.”


Speak now! Catholic priests want Kaduna gov’s reaction to El-Rufai’s Islamisation comments



Uba Sani, must either officially distance himself or affirm the declaration of his predecessor Nasir El-Rufai that Muslim-Muslim executive branch leadership, have come to stay or stand up to denounce it immediately.

These were the demands from Catholic priests in parts of the North, who as they expressed disgust at the statement, which showed the former governor captured in a video, which went viral last week, practically celebrating the continuation of an arrangement, which he first introduced in 2019, and which has now been sustained with the new governor having a Muslim deputy.

Clerics from Kaduna, Kafanchan and Zaria chapters of the Nigerian Catholic Diocesan Priests Association (NCDPA), in a public letter to Sani, urged him to declare his position on what they described as political supremacism in Kaduna state and Nigeria, as part of their reactions to the video, which has raised a lot of dust.

El-Rufai, who in his speech to Muslim clerics in the state, had recounted how after instituting an all-Muslim executive in the state himself and made it permanent in the state, the arrangement was pushed through at the national level with the election of Bola Ahmed Tinubu and Kashim Shettima, as President and Vice President, respectively on the platform of the All Progressives Congress (APC).

Informing that while Nigerians were actually believed that religion was not the issue in pushing through with the ticket, when it was in fact the case, the former Governor, who spoke in Hausa, declared that the arrangement had come to stay and would last for the next 20 years at the initial stage after Tinubu, adding that the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN), had been defeated by the outcome.

But an apparently thoroughly upset Catholic priests, in an open letter on Thursday, said: “Having soberly considered the contents and implications of such communication by a former state governor who is known to be your close ally, we feel compelled to write you, to know where you stand with regard to the commotions Mallam El-Rufai intends to propagate and perpetuate in our state,” the letter reads.

“We write you today because we are responsible stakeholders in the affairs of our beloved state with our own congregations and followers. Mr governor, we do not intend to conclude that you are in agreement with all the content of the former governor’s utterances, as you have given no explicit reason to suggest so (yet), even though you were present at the occasion! We therefore earnestly expect your direct official reaction to the utterances of your predecessor in office.”

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Buhari spent more than $19billion on revamping four refineries without result – Nasarawa gov



Barely two weeks after his exit, the records of former President Muhammadu Buhari, have come to to the fore with one of them indicating a damning verdict, as he was said to have sunk a whopping $19billion in trying to rehabilitate the nation’s four refineries, without anything to show for it.

Abdullahi Sule, Governor of Nassarawa State, who used the former President abysmal failure to make a case for supporting the removal on petroleum products, compared the huge wastage to the amount Dangote refinery, cost to give Nigeria a facility with the single chain production in the world.

None of Nigeria’s four refineries, located in Kaduna, Port Harcourt, and Warri is currently operational despite the huge amount sunk to resuscitate them, most of the funds borrowed from foreign lending agencies, the latest being the securing of $1.5million loan for that of Port Harcourt.

Bemoaning the situation, the governor, said: “Look at how much the President Buhari administration spent on fixing the refineries. In the eight years, he spent more money than the $19 billion that Dangote spent in building a refinery. That is one and a half times the size of our three refineries combined.”

A guest on Sunrise Daily, a breakfast programm of Channels Television on Thursday, Sule, pinned the payments of subsidy on Nigeria’s non-functional refineries, adding: “From the government side, I think we didn’t do a good job. When the (former) President (Buhari) came in in 2015, prices of crude oil dropped by less than 30 dollars. At that time, there was zero subsidy.

“Our three refineries in Nigeria today have a total of 450,000 barrels per day, Dangote is 650,000. He spent $19 billion on building it. We spent, not building a new one, but in maintaining these refineries; more than $19 billion in eight years, yet they have not been maintained.”

The Dangote Refinery, Africa’s biggest oil refinery, which took off in 2017, drew Nigerians and global personalities in different fields of life, including four African Presidents at its commissioning on May 22, 2023 by Buhari.

Sule, who also lamented the complexity of maintaining the refineries due to their diverse components, added: “The refinery is actually a component for water, crude, and diesel, about five or six different components that constitute a refinery. The moment the government says we are going to spend $2 billion this year on the refinery. The $2 billion is spent and as far as the President is concerned, they have given $2 billion.

“Now when it goes to the three refineries that we have in Port Harcourt, Warri, and Kaduna. Then they say, you now take $700 million, you now take $800 million – by the time they take that, it goes to fix maybe only one component out of the four components that are all bad. The ideal resolve would have been to allocate the major funds to one of the refining states to fix it totally before allocating the remainder to the other states.

“So, zero work is done. These are the true realities of what is happening, and that is why none of the refineries is working. These are truly the problem, we have not really managed this thing well.”

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Japan goes tough on asylum seekers, enacts new law to check abuse



Despite desperate attempts to block it, including a ruckus, which broke out in parliament Japan went ahead on Friday to enact an immigration law that would see the government deporting failed asylum seekers, even with members of civil society, joining in the pushback.

The law gives refugees only three chances to try after which they would face deportation, unlike before when applicants could stay in Japan during the decision process, regardless of the number of attempts they made to secure refugee status, reports, say.

The revised law will “protect those who must be protected while strictly dealing with people who have violated rules. There are many people who misuse the application system to avoid deportation,” Justice Minister Ken Saito, was quoted as saying, adding that this had persisted even when such people were not fleeing danger or persecution.

Last year, Japan accepted just 202 refugees out of some 12,500 applicants, and separately allowed 1,760 people to remain in the country due to “humanitarian considerations,” including more than 2,400 evacuees from Ukraine under a different framework.

Activists staged rallies against the revised law, but a protest from the opposition bloc in parliament was voted down by the ruling coalition, which holds a commanding majority.

“It is intolerable to deport people, even if they have criminal records, to countries that may violate their human rights” and where “their life and freedom would be in danger”, the Tokyo Bar Association said this week.

The ruling Liberal Democratic Party says the revisions will bring better access to medical care and accommodation options for people whose asylum applications are pending.

Japan’s immigration detention conditions have been under scrutiny since the 2021 death of Wishma Sandamali, a 33-year-old Sri Lankan woman.

Sandamali was not an asylum seeker but had been held for overstaying her visa after seeking police protection, reportedly to escape an abusive relationship.

Her family are seeking compensation of more than $1 million from the government over her death.

Sandamali reportedly complained repeatedly of stomach pain and other symptoms, and campaigners allege she received inadequate medical care.

Controversy and political pressure over the incident led ruling lawmakers to drop a push to enact similar legal changes to immigration rules two years ago.

Shoichi Ibusuki, a lawyer for Sandamali’s family, told AFP on Thursday that the revised bill was “equivalent to having a button to execute those who seek refuge by deporting them”.

“Japan’s refugee recognition system is not working,” he said, with officials turning down applications quickly, sometimes without face-to-face interviews.

Amnesty International also said in March that Japan should scrap the proposed revision to immigration laws, calling the country’s detention policies “harsh” and “repressive.”

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