Nigeria: Nigeria@63

President Bola Ahmed has called on Nigerians to join him in efforts to remake Nigeria into a better place for all the citizens.

In his nationwide address to mark Nigeria’s 63rd Independence Anniversary yesterday morning, he invited all Nigerians to join in this collective endeavour which, he said, can be achieved if they unite behind one national cause.

The president further called for unity, courage, compassion, and commitment to nation-building even as he declared his unwavering dedication to serving the nation faithfully.

In a significant move to alleviate the economic burden on low-level workers, President Bola Tinubu announced a groundbreaking provision.

He said, “For the next six months, low-grade federal government workers in Nigeria will receive an additional N25,000 per month as part of a broader effort to support the nation’s workforce during these tough times.”

He also stressed the need for economic reforms and measures to ensure that the benefits of the nation’s prosperity are shared more equitably among its citizens.

President Tinubu explained the decision to end the fuel subsidy, even as he acknowledged the hardships it had caused. He likened the subsidy regime to building a home on unstable ground and stressed the necessity of reform for Nigeria’s future prosperity.

The president outlined various measures aimed at easing the burden on citizens, including an Infrastructure Support Fund for states, and the deployment of cheaper, safer Compressed Natural Gas (CNG) buses to lower transport costs.

He said, “At my inauguration, I made important promises about how I would govern this great nation. I said that bold reforms were necessary to place our nation on the path of prosperity and growth. On that occasion, I announced the end of the fuel subsidy.

“I am attuned to the hardships that have come. I have a heart that feels and eyes that see. I wish to explain to you why we must endure this trying moment.

“Those who sought to perpetuate the fuel subsidy and broken foreign exchange policies are people who would build their family mansion in the middle of a swamp.

“I am different. I am not a man to erect our national home on a foundation of mud. To endure, our home must be constructed on safe and pleasant ground.

“Reform may be painful, but it is what greatness and the future require. We now carry the cross of reaching a future Nigeria where the abundance and fruits of the nation are fairly shared among all, not hoarded by a select and greedy few; a Nigeria where hunger, poverty and hardship are pushed into the shadows of an ever fading past.

According to him, while it is no joy seeing the people in difficulties, they must endure in order to have a better future.

“My government is doing all that it can to ease the load. I will now outline the path we are taking to relieve the stress on our families and households.

“We have embarked on several public sector reforms to stabilise the economy, direct fiscal and monetary policy to fight inflation, encourage production, ensure the security of lives and property and lend more support to the poor and the vulnerable.

“Based on our talks with labour, business and other stakeholders, we are introducing a provisional wage increment to enhance the federal minimum wage without causing undue inflation.

“For the next six months, the average low-grade worker shall receive an additional N25,000 per month.

“To ensure better grassroots development, we set up an Infrastructure Support Fund for states to invest in critical areas. States have already received funds to provide relief packages against the impact of rising food and other prices.

He noted that lowering transport costs will be key and that his administration had opened a new chapter in public transportation through the deployment of cheaper, safer Compressed Natural Gas (CNG) buses across the nation which will operate at a fraction of current fuel prices, positively affecting transport fares.

According to him, the new CNG conversion kits will start coming in very soon as all hands are on deck to fast track the usually lengthy procurement process.

The president paid tributes to Nigeria’s founding fathers and mothers, highlighting their dedication and leadership in establishing a sovereign and independent nation.

He emphasized the unity and diversity of Nigeria, acknowledging the challenges faced in building a nation with such a broad mix of ethnic groups, religions, traditions, and cultures.

He stated unequivocally that Nigeria would stand strong and united, rejecting any notion that the country should never have come into existence.

He also mentioned the ongoing probe of the Central Bank and the commitment to fair tax policies and increased support for small enterprises.

“I pledged a thorough house cleaning of the den of malfeasance the CBN had become. That housecleaning is well underway. A new leadership for the Central Bank has been constituted.

“Also, my special investigator will soon present his findings on past lapses and how to prevent similar reoccurrences. Henceforth, monetary policy shall be for the benefit of all and not the exclusive province of the powerful and wealthy.”

The president mentioned other intervention strategies his government was rolling out to improve economic conditions, including increasing investment in micro, small and medium-sized enterprises to boost employment and urban incomes and extending the social safety net through the expansion of cash transfer programmes to an additional 15 million vulnerable households commencing this month.

He commended the security agencies, the judiciary, the National Assembly, civil society organisations for their roles just as he assured women, the physically challenged and other vulnerable groups of inclusion in government activities.

Former President Buhari: Democracy has come to stay

On his part, former President Muhammadu Buhari in his 63rd Independence anniversary message, expressed confidence that democracy as a system of government will continue to gain strength, year after year, in the nation.

Hope Of Unity, Peace Bequeathed To Us – Reps

Members of the House of Representatives have joined their constituents across the country to celebrate the 63rd Independence Anniversary of Nigeria.

The Green Chamber said the theme of this year’s anniversary, “Renewed Hope for Unity and Prosperity” presents Nigerians with another opportunity as a people to reflect on the hope of unity, peace, and shared prosperity bequeathed to them by the founders of the country.

The House in a statement by its spokesperson, Hon. Akin Rotimi, said the patriots of yesteryears shaped the path to the freedom the citizens hold dear as a people today.

“Many of them are no longer with us, while a few are now old and grey. But their sacrifices and the foundation they laid remain evergreen. We celebrate them and their legacy, and we pray that their labours will never be in vain.”

He called on Nigerians to set aside their differences and work together to achieve a country that works for all, where no one is left behind.

“Our diversity must be our greatest strength, and our youthful population, as well as the judicious utilisation of our vast human and natural resources, must power our reintroduction to the world as the true giant of Africa whose time for full expression has come,” he said.

We Must Pull Back Nigeria To Safety – Atiku

Former vice president and Presidential Candidate of People Democratic Party (PDP) in the last election, Atiku Abubakar, has urged Nigerians to be prepared to pull the country back from a point of uncertainty to a place of common safety.

Atiku, in his 63rd Independence Day Anniversary message to Nigerians,lamented what he called the familiar hardships in the economy, insecurity, and other vital aspects of society that Nigerians have been subjected to.

The former vice president said while independence was acquired upon the promise of abundant prosperity and the principle of social justice, the nation has continued to struggle to manifest the dreams of its founding fathers in upholding the promises of shared prosperity and social justice.

“Therefore, for me, the challenge before us all is in ensuring that the political leadership in the country that we call home should be worthy of our pride as a people and not of telling embarrassment,” he said.

Nigeria Will Be Great Again – Speaker Abbas

The Speaker of the House of Representatives, Hon. Tajudeen Abbas, has expressed confidence that the country would be great again.

Abbas made the comment in his 63rd Independence Anniversary message to Nigerians.

In a statement by his special adviser on media and publicity, Musa Krishi, Abbas called on Nigerians to keep hope in the country alive, saying doomsayers and pessimists would soon be disappointed.

He said despite the myriad of challenges facing Nigeria, the country still has the prospect and potential to reclaim its leadership position in the comity of nations, especially with its abundant human and natural resources.

The Speaker urged the organised labour under the auspices of the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) and the Trade Union Congress (TUC) to shelve their plan nationwide strike on Tuesday over issues bothering on welfare, saying the action coming at this time would only aggravate the situation.

Nigeria@63: Ganduje Assures Nigerians Of Better Life Under Tinubu/APC

As Nigerians celebrate the 63 Independence anniversary of the country, the national chairman of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC), Dr Abdullahi Ganduje has assured of good governance under the President Bola Ahmed Tinubu-led administration.

In a goodwill message, signed by his press secretary, Edwin Olofu, Ganduje called on Nigerians not to despair as measures already put in place by the APC-led administration would reposition the country to achieve growth and development.

“Under this administration, Nigerians can rest assured that it will be fine again, that their worries will be made a thing of the past, that both the youth and age will be well secured.

“There will be sufficient jobs with decent wages, medicare, housing and other basic infrastructure that can guarantee the citizenry a better life,” he said.


APC Reversed Gains Made By Nigeria’s Founding Fathers – PDP

However, the main opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) yesterday urged Nigerians to regard the 63rd independence anniversary as a wake-up call to stand in defense of democracy, rule of law, respect for human rights and transparency in governance.

National publicity secretary of PDP, Hon. Debo Ologunagba, said the ruling APC had reversed all the gains made by the country’s founding fathers as well as the achievements recorded by the PDP in its 16 years in government.

The party, while felicitating with Nigerians on the occasion of the 63rd Independence Anniversary of the nation, congratulated them for “surviving the eight years and four months dreadful administrations of the APC.”

“The 63rd Independence Anniversary therefore serves as a wake-up call to all Nigerians and lovers of freedom all over the world to stand in defence of democracy, rule of law, respect for human rights and transparency in the governance of our country,” he said.

According to the party, the APC got into power by lies, deceit and propaganda and has resorted to violence, brazen rigging of elections, violation of the principle of separation of powers, as evidenced in the harassment and intimation of judicial officers, bullying of the Legislature and corruption of electoral institution to perpetuate itself in power.

“It is agonizing that our once secure nation has been opened up to terrorist elements and bandits imported by the APC as confessed by one of its leaders, to assist the APC to violently rig elections in Nigeria. Today, sadly our dear nation ranks as one of the highest in the World Terrorism Index with over 20,000 citizens reportedly killed and many more maimed, dislocated and displaced under the APC.

“Out of sheer greed, incompetence and corruption, the APC has wrecked our productive sectors and turned our once economically thriving nation, (with Fitch BB rating under the PDP administration) into the poverty capital of the world, with an alarming 40% unemployment rate and where over 80 million Nigerians cannot afford their daily meals.

“Today, our Naira, which exchanged for N187 to the US Dollar under the PDP has fallen to an abysmal N1000 and above to the US Dollar; fuel which sold at N87 per litre under the PDP now sells for over N600 under the APC. Prices of staple food and other essential commodities continue to skyrocket with no end in sight,” the party said.Chief Adeleke is the father of Afrobeat musician, David Adeleke, popularly known as Davido. He is also the brother of Osun State governor, Senator Ademola Adeleke.

Chief Adeleke owns the Bombadier Global Express 6000 involved in the incident. The jet is used as a family plane by the Adelekes.

The incident happened at the domestic wing of the Airport at about 9am on the fateful day when the jet was about to take off from Lagos to Abuja.

However, the incident wasn’t formally communicated to the concerned Aviation regulatory authorities, a development that is against standard protocol.

Reports indicated that the jet, with Osun State governor, Ademola Adeleke, on board and his top aides at the time of the incident, had taxied to the end of the runway, shortly before departure, when a loud explosion was heard from the engine of the jet, causing it to abort take-off immediately.

“No deaths or injuries were reported, and other passengers in the plane as of the time of the incident could not be ascertained,” a source privy to the development told our correspondent.

LEADERSHIP Sunday gathered that the jet had been parked at the Executive Jet hanger of the Airport before it was deployed on September 5.

Multiple sources confided in LEADERSHIP Sunday that even though there were no injuries or deaths recorded from the incident, however, all parties including the Airport authorities, the Osun State government and the owners of the private hanger have been desperate to ensure that the news of the incident doesn’t get to the public domain.

Attempts by LEADERSHIP Sunday to speak with Governor Adeleke or any of his aides were unsuccessful as at press time on Saturday. Even though one of the passengers on the plane, who did not want to be named, confided in our correspondent that foul play was being suspected from the hangar operators as both engines of the aircraft were damaged.

However, the chief executive officer (CEO), Executive Jets, owners of the hangar where the private jet was parked, Sam Iwuajoku, disclosed that the Chief Adeleke’s private jet had Foreign Object Damage (FOD) that made the aircraft experienced high temperature, which resulted into the explosion.

According to him, the FOD was caused by a bird nest in one of the engines of the jet.

“At take-off, the engine had high temperature and it was caused by bird nest in one of the engines of the aircraft. It happened when an aircraft is parked and not properly covered so, birds will build their nest and anything they bring into the aircraft can spark high temperature.

“It happened to one of my aircraft in 2021, we had to remove the engine and the engine was in Germany for 14 months. So, it’s a common thing in Africa because we have birds around,” he stated.

But, credible sources told LEADERSHIP Sunday that the internationally renowned musician, Davido, had used the plane the previous day, September 4, putting a lie to Iwuajoku of Executive Jets’ account of the incident.

Meanwhile, efforts to get confirmation from the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) proved abortive as calls and text messages placed to its director-general, Capt. Musa Nuhu, were not replied as at the time of filing this report on Saturday.

However, a reliable source confided in our correspondent that the incident wasn’t reported to the NCAA as the Air Worthiness Department of the Authority wasn’t aware of the incident.

The source, who craved anonymity because he wasn’t authorised to speak on the matter, said: “NCAA isn’t aware of this incident because the Air Worthiness Department is not aware.”