Chief Don Etiebet, former Minister of Petroleum Resources and front-line politician in Akwa-Ibom in this interview stated few things the incoming Buhari Administration must do upon assuming office in May 29.Etiebet

He further said he believes the Buhari administration will cut down the cost of governance and with strict adherence to the rule of law, will gradually turn the fortunes of economy around. Etiebet is a member of the Board of Trustees of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP. Excerpts:

By Gbenga Oke

What are your expectations from this new government?

Yes, I believe in General Muhammadu Buhari as a person who God has given to Nigeria at these trying times to save Nigeria, to get Nigeria working again and to reposition Nigeria and change her face in the comity of nations for respect and seriousness of purpose in tackling the ills of the country.

Having worked with him in the past as the National Chairman of the All Nigeria Peoples Party (ANPP), I believe he will make Nigeria a different place where security, economy, discipline and the rule of law will abound to contain corruption. I only pray that Nigerians would understand him and give him the necessary support in the face of challenges and difficulties to put his programmes through unimpeded.

My expectations from his government are very much captured in his resolve to fight corruption and insecurity, and to rejuvenate the economy. I would like to add, that one of the cardinal things he must do would be to reposition INEC in all its ramifications to conduct free, fair, credible, violent free and acceptable elections because he suffered the pangs of rigged elections thrice to become president. So he should use this opportunity to put in place the machinery for credible elections always. Faulty elections are at the basic roots of all democratic short comings in this country.

What are the urgent steps you feel the General Buhari led government should address immediately it is inaugurated?On this question, I would like to note first that there are many landmines laid for him which if he steps on them directly, they would explode disastrously on his face. The first is the petrol (PMS) supply situation. The outgoing government is owing the importers and marketers hundreds of billions of Naira which they are not likely to pay before May 29th. And there is no money in the kitty to pay when he takes over with dwindling foreign exchange reserve, lost crude oil production, falling crude oil prices, huge debts overhang, the clamour by certain interest groups in the country not to remove the petrol subsidy and salary debts by many states. But there must be petrol at the filling stations otherwise the country cannot survive a week. I can tell you that salaries can wait for a month but lack of petrol cannot.

So I see what to do here as CATCH 22, and it is the greatest challenge of what to do immediately he is sworn in. I see it as the first button to press and it must be pressed right.

If I were in his shoes, I would call the NLC and TUC leaders immediately to a one-on-one meeting soon after I say “SO HELP ME GOD” to dialogue to allow/let me tell the Importers and Marketers to Import the petroleum products (PMS, AGO, DPK,) I hear that there is no aviation fuel too to sell at market prices meanwhile as I dialogue on how to pay their debts and get all the refineries working optimally for local production. We can decide on appropriate pricing of the products that would benefit the masses and the economy alike, pleading with them to understand the circumstances and appreciating their sacrifices for giving me time to settle down.buhari

With that in place and resolved, he can now start on how to dismantle the other landmines one by one.

Do you see this wind of change blowing away the level of impunity we have seen so far in government?
Yes, I see the wind of change blowing and cleansing the institutions of government, starting from the Executive itself, the National Assembly and the Judiciary if he is still the Muhammadu Buhari I knew with strict adherence to discipline, rule of law and proper law administration with no “I beg you syndrome” in the administration of justice no matter whose ox is gored. All the impunity will disappear overnight and an atmosphere of fear not to commit crime will pervade the society as it happens in other countries.

Why do people commit suicide in some countries when they commit crime instead of waiting to face the law? And we respect those countries and would like to be like them. Read More →

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Nigeria’s President-elect, Muhammadu Buhari, has held talks with British Prime Minister David Cameron at his official residence at 10, Downing Street, London.buhari-cameron

It was gathered that Buhari and Cameron discussed the threat posed by militant group Boko Haram ahead of the inauguration of the President-elect on May 29, among other issues.

A statement released by the spokesperson of Downing Street on the official website of the UK government, noted that “the Prime Minister welcomed President-elect Buhari of Nigeria to Downing Street this morning. Both leaders congratulated each other on their recent election victories and discussed the challenges facing Nigeria. Read More →

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Human rights group, Pathfinder Movement, yesterday urged the President- elect, Gen. Muhammadu Buhari to hit the ground running because Nigerians may not be patient with him.buhari

In a statement issued yesterday by Charles Adeyemi, the state coordinator of the group in Osogbo, PM said so much have been reported in the media, concerning the stance of the President elect, on what Nigerians are to expect and what not to.

The group wondered why Gen. Buhari asked Nigerians to look at him a magician adding that Nigerians may not be able to endure the present harsh economic condition for long and would expect him to, as quickly, as possible, turnaround the fortunes of the country. Read More →

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Dr. Kunle Olajide is former Secretary General, Yoruba Council of Elders (YCE) and a delegate to the last National Conference. In this interview with KEMI OLAITAN, he speaks on the 2015 general elections and expectations from the incoming administration of Major General Muhammadu Buhari among others. Excerpts:Olajide

What is your view on the just concluded 2015 general elections?

As far as I am concerned, I see the outcome as a victory for democracy in Nigeria and Nigerians. If you recall, in the last couple of years, there had been prophecy of doom that the country was going to disintegrate and that there was no way we could put through with the elections. So, to me, it is victory for Nigeria. Then secondly, the election, coming Read More →

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President Goodluck Jonathan has been accused of setting a trap for the incoming government of Major-General Muhammadu Buhari by embarking on unnecessary last-minute appointments as well as the removal and immediate replacement of heads of strategic government parastatals.Goodluck-Jonathan
The allegation was contained in a statement issued on Tuesday in Port Harcourt by the Rivers State chapter of the All Progressives Congress (APC).
“We are appalled and disappointed by this gale of appointments, sacks and replacements by a go-slow president who was hitherto known for his inability to remove erring public officers and to replace ministers and heads of government agencies who either retired or resigned their appointments. Read More →

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•Buhari can’t ignore Ndigbo
•TAN was not funded by FG

National Coordinator of Transformation Ambassadors of Nigeria, TAN, Dr. Ifeanyi Ubah in this interview barres his mind on the outcome of the 2015 general elections among other issues.

To what extent was TAN significant during the electioneering period?Ndigbo

We are happy about the impact we have made in the polity. I believe that within a very short period of time we will be able to make our mark on the political landscape. We were able to draw attention to the activities of government as well as mobilise the grassroots for a more robust political engagement.

Our activities generated incisive discussions regarding the choice of candidates and also added colour and substance to the political space. The best outcome is the inputs of associations like TAN other than political parties in enlarging the political space.

Many are of the view that the Igbo put all their eggs in one basket by solely supporting President Goodluck Jonathan and that life in the opposition may not augur well for them What is your take on this?

It was expected that the Igbo will vote for Jonathan. The Igbo had quite a number of opportunities in his administration.

Number of opportunities

Even though Jonathan did a lot for the Igbo most of the things he did were for the North. The Kashbila Dam is the biggest project handled by Jonathan’s administration and it was cited in the North. The Abuja and Kaduna railways are also in the North.

Irrespective of that, the Igbo are still appreciative of the things he did for us. Be that as it may, my position is that General Buhari should consider the Igbo and make them his friends and if possible do more than Jonathan did for us.

On plight of Ndigbo in LagosFor 16 years that the APC has been in power, they never cared about giving an Igbo man a slot to vie for an elective position in the Lagos State House of Assembly or in the House of Representatives. If the APC has not given Igbo that opportunity in Lagos, we think there is still animosity against the Igbo in the state. There are large populations of Igbo in many parts of Lagos so it is expected that political parties factor these issues in their choice of candidates for elective offices. What we have done by supporting the PDP is not something that we want the Lagos State government or any person whatsoever, to be angry with. They should take this as an opportunity to go back to the drawing board and see how we can be accommodated. All that we ask for which is to be involved in the scheme of things.Ifeanyi-Uba

Nigerians are members of parliament in the UK, why can’t people be elected in places where they have spent all their lives? We are not only talking about Igbo, we want this for all Nigerians, no matter where they come from.

The elections have come and gone. We should go back to the drawing board and plan for the next line of action. I’m grateful to the residents of Lagos who through their votes showed that it is the candidate that matters and not where he comes from. Read More →

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…envoy assures President-elect to release stolen money

Another $370 million belonging to the late former Head of State, General Sani Abacha, has been found in Luxembourg.

This disclosure was made yesterday in Abuja during a courtesy visit by Swiss Ambassador, Hans Rudolf Hodel, to President elect, General Muhammadu Buhari (rtd).abacha

Ambassador Hodel, who said no slush fund from Nigeria is in Switzerland however said that recently, there was another request by Nigeria to the Swiss authority to look for Abacha’s money, adding that after that, some amount was found in an account domiciled in Luxembourg. Read More →

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