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North Central leaders laud Tiniubu over appointments

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Bola Tinubu

Last Updated on August 21, 2023 by Fellow Press

Leaders of the North Central geopolitical zone, have commended President Bola Tinubu, over what they described as “display of spirit of fairness” in the appointment of ministers.

The leaders, led by Bishop Alli John Alli, under the aegis of the League of Middle Belt Bishops, also appealed to Tinubu to appoint High Chief Moses Ayom as Ambassador-Designate to China.

In a letter to the Presidency on Monday, Bishop Alli, who noted that Ayom was from Benue State, called on the Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF), Sen. George Akume, Rev Fr Hyacinth Alia, governor of Benue, to support the call for Avom’s appointment as Ambassador to China.

In the letter, also copied to the North Central zone governors, the leaders described Ayom as having an edge over other nominees that might be considered for the position because he was the most qualified.

The leaders expressed confidence in the ability of Ayom, adding that given the opportunity, the former presidential aspirant, on the platform of the All Progressives Congress (APC), who stepped down for Tinubu during the 2023 primary election, would deliver on the mandate.

They stressed that the business relationship that Ayom had built over the years with the Chinese government and his business connections in China, would be deployed to ensure a strong mutual relationship with Asia for the overall development of Nigeria.

According to the leaders, who advised the president to consider competent hands for ambassadorial positions, Avom will not disappoint him, and indeed Nigerians, if appointed as the Chinese envoy.

The group further argued that apart from Ayom’s experience and business contacts in China; his contribution and sacrifices for the APC, as well as patriotism to the country, were worthy of note.

In the letter titled: “Before it is too late”, the leaders said; “We are here once again as an umbrella body of Middle Belt Bishops, to commend the President for his unbiased appointments so far.

“However, recall that, High Chief Moses Ayom was the leader of agitation for Middle Belt presidency, but later dropped his ambition and went all out to support President Bola Ahmed Tinubu, who is now our president.

“In his uncommon generosity, he also donated his multi-billion naira property on Ahmadu Bello way, popularly known as “Heritage Africa” to President Tinubu, which was used, and is still being used after the campaigns. This is a huge sacrifice that will only come from a dedicated, committed and patriotic citizen.

“Ayom has shown undiluted love and patriotism for this country and for the fact that there has been a very solid relationship and understanding that had existed between the Middle Belt and Southwest right from the days of Chief Obafemi Awolowo.

“Chief Ayom has also invested his time, skills and resources in campaigning for Tinubu and Alia, and by the grace of God, both are now president and governor respectively.

Therefore, they said, Ayom should not be forgotten, but should be nominated as Nigerian Ambassador designate to China, based on his connection with the Chinese and the whole of Asia, or be appointed to head a federal agency or parastatal.

“We believe this will be the minimum the trio of President Bola Ahmed Tinubu, Sen. George Akume and Rev Fr Dr Hyacinth Iormem Alia, will do for Chief Moses as a mark of reward for his immeasurable contributions.

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After 25 years, Nigerians yet to enjoy dividends of democracy — Northern Groups

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Last Updated on June 15, 2024 by Fellow Press

The Coalition of Northern Groups (CNG) has called for sober reflection on Nigeria’s democracy and democratisation process as Nigeria marks 2024 Democracy Day and 25 years of unbroken democracy.

The CNG, in a statement by its national coordinator, Jamilu Aliyu Charanchi, a copy of which was made available to journalists in Abuja on Friday, claimed that democracy as it is being practised in Nigeria has failed to provide its dividends to the people after two and a half decades of its practise.

The pro-northern groups contended that despite the nation’s richness in natural and human resources, Nigerians continue to suffer from abject poverty and economic instability, which were not recorded even during military dictatorships.

It said that it is important to note that the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) reported that the poverty rate in Nigeria stands at an alarming 63%, with over 133 million Nigerians living in multidimensional poverty.

“Similarly, the NBS disclosed that unemployment has reached a stunning 33.3% in the country, while youth unemployment is at an unprecedented over 50%, leaving young Nigerians devoid of decent jobs or sustainable means of livelihood.

“In the same vein, before returning to democracy, Nigeria’s inflation was just 10%, while now in a free democratic setting, inflation has risen to an all-time high of 33.69%, depleting people’s purchasing power and weakening their standard of living; whereas interest rate has sharply risen from 6.05% in 1999 to 26.25% in 2024, suggesting tighter monetary policy in the midst of high inflation and economic challenges.

“It is on record that the number of out-of-school children has increased from 7.4 million in 1999 to 18.5 million in 2024, highlighting a severe decline in educational accessibility over the past 25 years of our democratic engagements.

“Disgustingly, job racketeering to the highest bidder, inflating contracts, and kickback collection by political elites and senior civil servants have irrevocably decayed our civil service at all levels, resulting in the destruction of the fabric of Nigeria as a country with a lot of potential,” it said.

The CNG argued that these economic challenges are a direct result of years of mismanagement, corruption, and lack of genuine commitment to the development of the Nigerian economy by those who have sworn by the holy scriptures to promote good governance.

It said that unfortunately, over the years, the Nigerian economy has been bastardized and surrendered to the Bretton Wood institutions of the IMF and World Bank through the removal of subsidies in healthcare, education, energy, etc, adding that consequently, unpatriotic leaders and capitalist-backed technocrats who continued to propagate a free-market economy devoid of government interventions suddenly lose their voices and relevance.

It noted that the minimum wage has drastically decreased in value from the equivalent of $195 in 1981 to only $21.22 today, indicating a substantial erosion of purchasing power and economic hardship for low-income workers.

It also noted that fuel prices have seen a dramatic increase from N20 per liter in 1999 to N701.24 per liter in 2024, reflecting severe inflation and apparent antipeople economic policies from the beneficiaries of democracy since 1999, adding that diesel prices have surged to N1415.06 in 2024, which is significantly higher than in 1999, indicating a steep rise in energy costs.

“It is evident, therefore, that democracy in Nigeria only works for politicians and senior civil servants, while Nigerians continue to languish in poverty and misery.

“Suffice it to say that politicians, senior civil servants, and top defense and security heads have not only cornered the country to serve them but also are deploying their amassed wealth to restrict the dividends of democracy in Nigeria.

“It is regrettable that under democratic dispensation, destitution and pauperization have been deliberately entrenched in Nigeria due to the relegation of our economic planning and strategies to the dictates of capitalist, neoliberal, racist, and imperial institutions such as the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund (IMF).

“The CNG observed that the exchange rate of our Naira against the US dollar has depreciated drastically from N84.70 in 1999 to N1,479.69 in 2024, pointing to severe devaluation of the currency; public debt has escalated from around N3 trillion in 1999 to N97.34 trillion in 2024, highlighting a significant increase in the country’s borrowing and debt burden.

“Also, prior to our return to democracy in 1999, oil production has decreased from 2.21 million barrels per day (bpd) to 1.28 million bpd in 2024, indicating a decline in one of our major source of revenue.

“Tragically, according to the United Nations, over 35,000 have been killed in the North East insurgency under the watchful eyes of the leaders that claim to promote democracy. In the same vein, Global Observatory said about 15,000 have been killed in the North West alone.

“Additionally, millions of people, including women and children, have been rendered internally displaced persons (IDPs). This unprecedented catastrophe has been normalized in Nigeria’s democracy,” it said.

The CNG said it is rather despicable that our democracy in Nigeria has been hijacked by a select few who prioritize their personal gain over the collective good of the nation, noting that corruption is endemic, and accountability is almost non-existent, deeply entrenched in our political system.

“As we observe this Democracy Day, the CNG calls on all Nigerians to reflect on the state of our nation and question the effectiveness of our democratic system. It is evident that democracy, in its current form, has failed to deliver on its promises of development, security, and prosperity for all Nigerians, as only a select few politicians and senior civil servants amass questionable wealth while bequeathing depravity to the masses.

“Therefore, as Nigeria marks 25 years of continuous democratic sojourn, we must engage in a candid reflection to domesticate this democracy or design a system that aligns with our tradition, culture, and history, which is capable of providing security, promoting economic development, and fostering true people’s participation,” it said.

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Naira crashes more against dollar ahead of Eid El-kabir

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Last Updated on June 15, 2024 by Fellow Press

The naira depreciated further against the dollar at the foreign exchange market on Friday ahead of the Eid el-Kabir holidays.

FMDQ data showed that the naira depreciated to N1,482.72 against the dollar on Friday from N1476.24 on Thursday.

This represents an N6.48 depreciation against the dollar compared to the N1,476.24 traded on Thursday.

Meanwhile, at the parallel, the naira traded for N1,490 against the dollar on Friday, the same figure as on Thursday.

Recalls that the naira depreciated marginally against the dollar on Thursday as foreign exchange transaction turnover crashed to $92.68 million.

In the week under review, the naira appreciated twice against the dollar, the same with its depreciation.

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