President Muhammadu Buhari started the week under review with an assurance that the over 6,576 new schemes, worth N37 billion ”smuggled” into the 2022 budget by the National Assembly (NASS), would never be a source of crisis between the Executive and Legislature as being reported in some quarters.
The Presidency, in a statement issued by the President’s spokesman, Malam Garba Shehu on Jan. 2, dismissed the reported crisis between President Buhari and members of the National Assembly as fictional, saying the president never expressed anger in his dealings with NASS.
It, however, admitted that there was a disagreement between the Executive and the legislature over the 6,576 new schemes, worth N37 billion, ”smuggled” into the 2022 budget by the NASS.
President Buhari, who on Jan. 3, received the news of the passing of one-time Presidential Candidate, Bashir Tofa, described the deceased as ‘a politician of note, who was also a promoter of Islamic culture and civilization’.
The president said: ”The late Tofa was noted for his untiring commitment to public enlightenment and was unafraid to speak the truth all the times that he lived.’’
On Jan. 4, President Buhari approved the appointment of Chief Doyin Salami as Chief Economic Adviser to the President (CEAP).
Salami, 59, Chairman of the Presidential Economic Advisory Council, is also the Managing Director and Head Markets Practice at KAINOS Edge Consulting Ltd.
A 1989 doctorate degree Economics graduate of Queen Mary College, University of London, Salami is also a member of the Adjunct Faculty at the Lagos Business School (LBS), Pan-Atlantic University, where he recently attained the rank of Senior Fellow/Associate Professor.
President Buhari, on Jan. 5, commiserated with the Managing Director/Editor-in-Chief of The Guardian, Mr Martins Oloja, and his entire family over the passing of their patriarch, Elder Michael Oloja Lemikan, 93.
The Nigerian leader joined the Baptist Church, government and people of Ondo in mourning Elder Lemikan, “whose sojourn on earth was a testimony of community leadership, devotion to worship, love for neighbours and strong advocate of peaceful co-existence.“
The president, on Jan. 5 also appointed the Board and Management members of the Nigerian National Petroleum Company Ltd.
This is in accordance with the powers vested in him in Section 59(2) of the Petroleum Industry Act (2021).
The Chairman of the board is Sen. Margret Chuba Okadigbo (Southeast), Mele Kolo Kyari, Chief Executive Officer, and Umar I. Ajiya, Chief Financial Officer.
Other board members are Dr Tajudeen Umar (Northeast), Mrs Lami Ahmed (North Central), Malam Mohammed Lawal (Northwest), Henry Obih (Southeast), Barrister Constance Harry Marshal (South-South), and Chief Pius Akinyelure (Southwest).
According to the president’s media aide, Mr Femi Adesina, the appointments take effect from the date of the incorporation of the NNPC Ltd.
“Also appointed are Executive Commissioners of the Nigerian Upstream Petroleum Regulatory Commission.
“They are Dr Nuhu Habib (Kano), Executive Commissioner, Development and Production; Dr Kelechi Onyekachi Ofoegbu (Imo), Executive Commissioner, Economic Regulations and Strategic Planning and Capt. Tonlagha Roland John (Delta.)
Others are Executive Commissioner, Health, Safety, Environment and Community, and Jide Adeola (Kogi) and Executive Commissioner, Corporate Services and Administration,’’ the statement read.
Also during the week under review, the president granted separate interviews to the Channels television and the NTA, where he was quoted as saying that he does not care about his successor in 2023, saying he has no favourite in the forthcoming general elections.
“I am not interested in who becomes the presidential candidate of the ruling All Progressive Congress (APC) as I am open to the emergence of anyone.
“No. Let him come, whoever it is.
“The only important thing (is) I made sure that on record, nobody should ask me to come and give any evidence in any court. Otherwise, whoever it is, he will be in trouble. Because all the important things are on record. I made sure about that. Important issues are all on record.”
Pressed on whether he has any favourite in the APC, he added: “No. I wouldn’t because the person could be eliminated if I mention it. I better keep it secret.”
He also reiterated the commitment of his administration to address the nation’s security challenges before he leaves office in 2023.
On whether age had affected his capacity as President, he said indeed the pressure of office had been tremendous, but noted, however, that he could not complain because he asked to be elected into the office.
According to him, many of his colleagues are now enjoying their retirement, saying that he hopes to emulate them in the next 17 months when his tenure ends.
“Yes, I think COVID-19 has come to my rescue in the sense that the number of people that you need to see, can’t see you so that is losing no time and about my age, yes, I see my colleagues, they are now resting.
”I assure you that I’m looking forward to the next 17 months when I too would have to be less busy.
“Age is telling on me, working now for 6,7,8 hours a day flight in the office is no joke. Questions of executive council memos from as many states as possible to be considered virtually every week.
”So, really it is a lot of hard work, but I asked for it and I cannot complain,” he said.
President Buhari, who also spoke on other national issues including the detained self-proclaimed leader of the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB), Nnamdi Kanu, ruled out the possibility of his release, saying that he would not interfere with the judiciary.
On Jan. 6, President Buhari hosted a Special Envoy from Col. Assimi Goita, the Transitional President of Mali.
Responding to the comprehensive briefing, the president said nobody could love Mali more than Malians themselves, counselling that everyone should work within the tenets of ECOWAS, in order to restore constitutional order to the West African country at the shortest possible time.
The president also received briefing from former President Goodluck Jonathan on the latest political developments in Mali on Thursday..
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that Jonathan is the current ECOWAS Special Envoy to Mali.
An ECOWAS special meeting on Mali holds in Ghana on Sunday (today) to deliberate on the political situation in that country.
President Buhari repeated his earlier avowal that whatever Nigeria would do on the Mali situation would be done within the ambit of ECOWAS.
On Jan. 7, President Buhari inaugurated the Board of the newly incorporated Nigerian National Petroleum Company (NNPC) Limited, urging the members to ensure strict compliance with Corporate Governance principles that place premium on doing business with the highest ethical standards, integrity, and transparency.
The president charged the Board chaired by Sen. Margery Chuba Okadigbo to focus on profitability and operate at par with its industry peers across the world.
Also on Jan. 7, the president felicitated the Ministers of the FCT, Mohammed Bello, and that of Women Affairs and Social Development, Pauline Tallen, on their 63rd birthdays, which came up on Jan. 8.
In a joint congratulatory message issued by his spokesman, Malam Garba Shehu, on Friday in Abuja, the president saluted both members of the Federal cabinet whose birthdays fell on the same day.
President Buhari rejoiced with Minister of the FCT, a former banker and administrator, on many notable achievements, particularly in repositioning the capital city.
The Nigerian leader also hosted Gov. Simon Lalong of Plateau at the State House Abuja on Jan. 7
Lalong, who is also the Chairman of the Northern Governors’ Forum, spoke to State House correspondents after the closed door meeting with the president.
He lauded the Federal Government for approving the deployment of the newly acquired Super Tucano fighter jets to rout the bandits in some parts of the country.
The governor also expressed the happiness of the Northern states over the recent declaration of bandits as terrorists by the government.
He said: “Well, in terms of security, we are already beginning to see progress on some of the issues we raised with the President last year; you recall that we have been very eager to see the use of the Tucano helicopters so that we can have massive engagement with all the bandits.’’
President Buhari had on Jan. 8 expressed outrage at the latest reports of several villagers being massacred by escaping bandits in Zamfara.
The president also sent a congratulatory message to the family of the Minister of Education, Adamu Adamu, who married off their daughter, Fatima (Zara) Adamu, at a ceremony in Azare, Bauchi State.
The message was conveyed by a delegation of ministers and personal aides, wishing the newly married couple a happy life.
Buhari described marriage as the foundation of the family, adding that it should be a lifelong union.
President Buhari ended the week under review commiserating with family of Chief Patrick Sito Ideh, the Okpako-Orere of Otughievwen and Ushota of Ughievwen Kingdom, and all sons and daughters of Urhobo Kingdom, over the passing of the royal father.
Buhari also condoled with the government and people of Delta, professional and business associates of the departed, urging more trust in God, and appreciation for the long life of the elder statesman and former lawmaker. (NAN)