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Nationwide Broadcast: Your Pains are Temporary – Tinubu to Nigerians

My fellow citizens,

I want to talk to you about our economy. It is important that you understand the reasons for the policy measures I have taken to combat the serious economic challenges this nation has long faced.

2. I am not going to talk in difficult terms by dwelling on economic jargon and concepts. I will speak in plain, clear language so that you know where I stand. More importantly, so that you see and hopefully will share my vision regarding the journey to a better, more productive economy for our beloved country.

3. For several years, I have consistently maintained the position that the fuel subsidy had to go. This once beneficial measure had outlived its usefulness. The subsidy cost us trillions of Naira yearly. Such a vast sum of money would have been better spent on public transportation, healthcare, schools, housing, and even national security. Instead, it was being funneled into the deep pockets and lavish bank accounts of a select group of individuals.

4. This group had amassed so much wealth and power that they became a serious threat to the fairness of our economy and the integrity of our democratic governance. To be blunt, Nigeria could never become the society it was intended to be as long as such small, powerful yet unelected groups hold enormous influence over our political economy and the institutions that govern it.

5. The whims of the few should never hold dominant sway over the hopes and aspirations of the many. If we are to be a democracy, the people and not the power of money must be sovereign.

6. The preceding administration saw this looming danger as well. Indeed, it made no provision in the 2023 Appropriations for subsidy after June this year. Removal of this once helpful device that had transformed into a millstone around the country’s neck had become inevitable.

7. Also, the multiple exchange rate system that had been established became nothing but a highway of currency speculation. It diverted money that should have been used to create jobs, build factories and businesses for millions of people. Our national wealth was doled on favourable terms to a handful of people who have been made filthy rich simply by moving money from one hand to another. This too was extremely unfair.

8. It also compounded the threat that the illicit and mass accumulation of money posed to the future of our democratic system and its economy.

9. I had promised to reform the economy for the long-term good by fighting the major imbalances that had plagued our economy. Ending the subsidy and the preferential exchange rate system were key to this fight. This fight is to define the fate and future of our nation. Much is in the balance.

10. Thus, the defects in our economy immensely profited a tiny elite, the elite of the elite you might call them. As we moved to fight the flaws in the economy, the people who grow rich from them, predictably, will fight back through every means necessary.

11. Our economy is going through a tough patch and you are being hurt by it. The cost of fuel has gone up. Food and other prices have followed it. Households and businesses struggle. Things seem anxious and uncertain. I understand the hardship you face. I wish there were other ways. But there is not. If there were, I would have taken that route as I came here to help not hurt the people and nation that I love.

12. What I can offer immediately is to reduce the burden our current economic situation has imposed on all of us, most especially on businesses, the working class, and the most vulnerable among us.

13. Already, the Federal Government is working closely with states and local governments to implement interventions that will cushion the pains of our people across socio-economic brackets.

14. Earlier this month, I signed four (4) Executive Orders in keeping with my electoral promise to address unfriendly fiscal policies and multiple taxes that are stifling the business environment. These Executive Orders on suspension and deferred commencement of some taxes will provide the necessary buffers and headroom for businesses in the manufacturing sector to continue to thrive and expand.

15. To strengthen the manufacturing sector, increase its capacity to expand, and create good-paying jobs, we are going to spend N75 billion between July 2023 and March 2024. Our objective is to fund 75 enterprises with great potential to kick-start sustainable economic growth, accelerate structural transformation and improve productivity. Each of the 75 manufacturing enterprises will be able to access N1 Billion credit at 9% per annum with a maximum of 60 months of repayment for long-term loans and 12 months for working capital.

16. Our administration recognizes the importance of micro, small, and medium-sized enterprises and the informal sector as drivers of growth. We are going to energize this very important sector with N125 billion.

17. Out of the sum, we will spend N50 billion on a Conditional Grant to 1 million nano businesses between now and March 2024. Our target is to give N50,000 each to 1,300 nano business owners in each of the 774 local governments across the country.

18. Ultimately, this programme will further drive financial inclusion by onboarding beneficiaries into the formal banking system. In like manner, we will fund 100,000 MSMEs and start-ups with N75 billion. Under this scheme, each enterprise promoter will be able to get between N500,000 to N1 million at 9% interest per annum and a repayment period of 36 months.

19. To further ensure that prices of food items remain affordable, we have had a multi-stakeholder engagement with various farmers’ associations and operators within the agricultural value chain.

20. In the short and immediate terms, we will ensure staple foods are available and affordable. To this end, I have ordered the release of 200,000 Metric Tonnes of grains from strategic reserves to households across the 36 states and FCT to moderate prices. We are also providing 225,000 metric tonnes of fertilizer, seedlings and other inputs to farmers who are committed to our food security agenda.

21. Our plan to support the cultivation of 500,000 hectares of farmland and all-year-round farming practice remains on course. To be specific, N200 billion out of the N500 billion approved by the National Assembly will be disbursed as follows:

-Our administration will invest N50 billion each to cultivate 150,000 hectares of rice and maize.

-N50 billion each will also be earmarked to cultivate 100,000 hectares of wheat and cassava.

22. This expansive agricultural programme will be implemented by targeting small-holder farmers and leveraging large-scale private sector players in the agric business with a strong performance record.

23. In this regard, the expertise of Development Finance Institutions, commercial banks, and microfinance banks will be tapped into to develop a viable and appropriate transaction structure for all stakeholders.

24. Fellow Nigerians, I made a solemn pledge to work for you. How to improve your welfare and living condition is of paramount importance to me and it’s the only thing that keeps me up day and night.

25. It is in light of this that I approved the Infrastructure Support Fund for the States. This new Infrastructure Fund will enable States to intervene and invest in critical areas and bring relief to many of the pain points as well as revamp our decaying healthcare and educational Infrastructure.

26. The fund will also bring improvements to rural access roads to ease the evacuation of farm produce to markets. With the fund, our states will become more competitive and on a stronger financial footing to deliver economic prosperity to Nigerians.

27. Part of our programme is to roll out buses across the states and local governments for mass transit at a much more affordable rate. We have made provision to invest N100 billion between now and March 2024 to acquire 3000 units of 20-seater CNG-fuelled buses.

28. These buses will be shared with major transportation companies in the states, using the intensity of travel per capita. Participating transport companies will be able to access credit under this facility at 9% per annum with 60 months repayment period.

29. In the same vein, we are also working in collaboration with the Labour unions to introduce a new national minimum wage for workers. I want to tell our workers this: your salary review is coming.

30. Once we agree on the new minimum wage and general upward review, we will make budget provisions for it for immediate implementation.

31. I want to use this opportunity to salute many private employers in the Organised Private Sector who have already implemented general salary reviews for employees.

32. Fellow Nigerians, this period may be hard on us and there is no doubt about it that it is tough on us. But I urge you all to look beyond the present temporary pains and aim at the larger picture. All of our good and helpful plans are in the works. More importantly, I know that they will work.

33. Sadly, there was an unavoidable lag between subsidy removal and these plans coming fully online. However, we are swiftly closing the time gap. I plead with you to please have faith in our ability to deliver and in our concern for your well-being.

34. We will get out of this turbulence. And, due to the measures we have taken, Nigeria will be better equipped and able to take advantage of the future that awaits her.

35. In a little over two months, we have saved over a trillion Naira that would have been squandered on the unproductive fuel subsidy which only benefitted smugglers and fraudsters. That money will now be used more directly and more beneficially for you and your families.

36. For example, we shall fulfill our promise to make education more affordable to all and provide loans to higher education students who may need them. No Nigerian student will have to abandon his or her education because of lack of money.

37. Our commitment is to promote the greatest good for the greatest number of our people. On this principle, we shall never falter.

38. We are also monitoring the effects of the exchange rate and inflation on gasoline prices. If and when necessary, we will intervene.

39. I assure you my fellow country men and women that we are exiting the darkness to enter a new and glorious dawn.

40. Now, I must get back to work in order to make this vision come true.

41. Thank you all for listening and may God bless the Federal Republic of Nigeria

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Photo News: Shettima Meets UN Deputy Chief. Amina Mohammed, Malala, Others

Vice President Kashim Shettima, on Wednesday, received a delegation from the United Nations led by the Deputy Secretary General and former Minister of Environment, Amina Mohammed.

Shettima met with the delegation which included Pakistani education activist and Nobel Peace Prize winner, Malala Yousafzai, at the Presidential Villa.

Speaking during the courtesy visit, Shettima said President Bola Tinubu remains fully committed to issues of girl-child education and gender empowerment in the country.

The vice president said the Tinubu government will promote girl-child education and gender empowerment in its policies and programmes under his watch.

Shettima reiterated President Tinubu’s commitment to issues of education and empowerment of women, stressing that attention is been given to these issues.

He said: “President Bola Ahmed Tinubu is fully and unequivocally committed to the girl-child education and gender empowerment initiatives.

The SDGs goals 4 and 5 will be vigorously pursued by the present administration. President Tinubu is a passionate and committed advocate of the girl-child education. He believes in the empowerment of our women. He believes that the prosperity, the respect of every society is directly proportional to the way they treat their women folk.”

See the photos from the meeting below.


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REPLACEMENT: DCG Wale Adeniyi Takes over as Acting Customs Boss

The former National Public Relations Officer of the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS), Wale Adeniyi, has assumed duties as the new Comptroller-General of Customs, in an Acting role.

Adeniyi, prior to his appointment was the Deputy Comptroller-General of Customs in charge of Strategic Research and Policy.

He replaces Col. Hahmeed Ali (rtd), a retired military officer at the helmsman of the service, who was appointed by former President Muhammadu Buhari in 2015.

Adeniyi has over 30 years of experience in Customs Administration in the area of Strategic and operational responsibilities. He possesses a deep understanding of the complex and constantly evolving international trade landscape. He has a strong command of Customs regulations, laws, and procedures as well as the ability to navigate and adapt to changing policies and regulations.

He has demonstrated excellent communication and leadership skills responsible for leading teams of customs officials, and working closely with stakeholders across a variety of industries.

The new Customs boss has built strong relationships with stakeholders and collaborated effectively to ensure efficient and effective movement of goods across borders, over the course of his career. He has a keen eye for details and the ability to identify potential risks and areas of non-compliance. This is evident in effective risk management strategies, guidance, and support developed and implemented for his teams to ensure that all customs procedures are followed accurately and efficiently.

He is dedicated to promoting trade and economic growth while ensuring compliance with all relevant laws and regulations. Adeniyi is known to maintain the highest standards of integrity and professionalism. He is also committed to continuously improving his knowledge and skills to stay ahead of the ever-changing Customs landscape.

He coordinates engagements with International Organizations including; World Customs Organization (WCO), World Trade Organization (WTO), United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD), United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC), World Bank (WB), International Monetary Fund (IMF). He also sees to the coordination of Customs bilateral and multilateral trade relations and others.

He was conferred with a National Honour of the Member of the Order of Federal Republic (MFR) by former President Muhammadu Buhari in October 2022.

Adeniyi became a Fellow, of the Nigerian Institute of Public Relations in August 2022.

He bagged the Comptroller–General of Customs Award for the seizure of $8,065,612 million cash at Murtala Mohammed International Airport, in January 2020 and a Large College Crest Award for Excellence in Service as Deputy Commandant, NCCSC Gwagwalada in December 2019.

He was also a recipient of the World Customs Organization Award of Excellence as Project Team Leader, Securité Par Collaboration (SPC++), a Customs Regional Security Project, in January 2018.

He also bagged the Nigerian Institute of Public Relations Presidential Award, April 2018.

Other awards are; Joint winner of the Burson –Marsteller Award for the Best Research Project on “Reputation Management in Nigeria Customs Service” in partial fulfillment of the award of Masters of Science in Communications, USI, Lugano Switzerland, November 2013 and Best Customs Public Relations Officer 2004 – 2007.

He possesses a deep understanding of the complex and constantly-evolving international trade landscape and Strong command of customs regulations, laws, and procedures.

He is an alumnus of Universitaire Svizzera D’Italiana (USI) – Lugano—Switzerland where he bagged a Master of Arts in Communication Science in November 2013.

He also attended Obafemi Awolowo University – Ile-Ife where he bagged a Bachelor of Science in International Relations in June 1987.

He attended Modakeke High School – Modakeke for his SSCE which he obtained in June 1979.

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Katsina, Sokoto Lead as NAHCON Airlifts Nearly 60,000 Pilgrims to perform Hajj in Saudi

As the 2023 Hajj season approaches its business end, the National Hajj Commission of Nigeria (NAHCON) has successfully airlifted a total number of 59,838 pilgrims to the Holy Land.

The pilgrims were conveyed to the Kingdom in a total number of 142 flights using Max Air, Flynas, Azman, Aero Contractors, and Air Peace.

PRNIGERIA reports that out of the 30 states (plus FCT) that have sent pilgrims to the Holy Land so far, Sokoto state leads with 5,155 worshippers followed by Katsina with 4,610; Kano with 4,288; FCT with 3,767; Lagos with 3,484; Kaduna with 3,456 and Zamfara with 3,095 indigenes.

This is followed by Kwara with 2,938 pilgrims; Bauchi with 2,697; Kebbi with 2,654; Adamawa with 2585; Niger with 2,225; Gombe with 2,215 and Nasarawa with 2,088 worshippers.

Osun state has also contributed 1,833 pilgrims so far followed by Yobe with 1,811; Jigawa with 1,577; Oyo with 1,436; Plateau with 1,398; Ogun with 1,228; Borno with 1143 and Taraba with 1170.

Kogi state also already has 718 pilgrims in the Holy Land followed by Ondo with 479; Edo with 427; Ekiti with 295; Benue with 240; Cross River and Delta with 66 each; and Bayelsa with 60.

The Armed Forces which are also treated as a state in the NAHCON chart have 547 pilgrims in the Holy Land so far.

Abia, Akwa Ibom, Anambra, Ebonyi, Enugu, Imo are Rivers are yet to send any pilgrim to the Holy Land at the time of filing this report on Sunday 15:44 hrs Saudi Arabian time (13:44 hrs Nigerian time).

PRNIGERIA can also report that out of the 59,838 Nigerian pilgrims in the Kingdom at the moment, 35,247 are males while 24,591 are females. 49,615 pilgrims landed in Madinah and 10,223 landed in Jeddah. 48,906 have been successfully transported by NAHCON from both Jeddah and Madinah to Makkah while 10,932 are still in Madinah.

For the airlines contracted to airlift pilgrims, Flynas leads having carried 23,528 pilgrims in 59 flights which is 39 percent of the entire operation so far. Max Air follows having carried 17,200 pilgrims in 32 flights which represents 29 percent of the operation. Aero Contractors follows with 9,150 pilgrims in 20 flights, representing 15 percent of the entire figure so far. Air Peace is next with 5,616 pilgrims in 20 flights which is 10 percent of the operation. Azman Air follows with 4,344 pilgrims in 11 flights representing seven percent.

95,000 Nigerian pilgrims are expected to participate in this year’s Hajj exercise out of which NAHCON is responsible for the airlift of 75,000.

NAHCON boss, Alhaji Zikrullah Kunle Hassan, had told journalists after the inaugural flight ceremony three weeks ago that all Nigerian pilgrims would be airlifted within 25 days from 15 take-off points across the country.

The 25-day target is meant to meet up with the deadline set for the closure of the Saudi Arabia airspace.

The King Fahd International Airport, Jeddah, and the Prince Mohammad Bin Abdulaziz International Airport, Madinah, are expected to be shut on Thursday, 22nd of June, 2023.


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OPINION: Nuhu Ribadu and NSA’s Statutory Mandates By Yushau A. Shuaib

Recently when President Bola Ahmed Tinubu announced his Special Advisers and named Mallam Nuhu Ribadu as the adviser on security, many were confused if this designation would be the same as that of the National Security Adviser (NSA).

In my previous article titled, “The person needed as President Tinubu’s NSA,” I mentioned that while most past holders of the position were retired Army officers, national security issues are actually beyond the exclusive ken of the military. Security has evolved to largely encompass developmental issues, which now involves more holistic approaches that could be non-kinetic and essentially strategic in nature, beyond the mere prosecution of armed solutions and deployment of boots on the ground in counter-attack operations.

On the nomenclature of Ribadu’s designation, whether this is as a Special Adviser, a National Adviser or Presidential Adviser, there has only been one Security Adviser in the country, who is also a member of the National Security Council.

Born on 21 November 1960, Nuhu Ribadu was an intelligence police operative, who came to the national limelight as a star prosecutor at the Oputa Panel which was created to investigate human rights abuse during the military era.

He was thereafter Chairman of the Petroleum Special Revenue Task Force (PRSTF) before he became the pioneer Executive Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), the agency of the Federal Government tasked with countering corruption and fraud in the country.

Ribadu’s pragmatic approach to intelligence gathering and crime-fighting while in EFCC earned him global recognition and awards, leading to the de-listing of Nigeria from the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) List of Non-Cooperative Countries and Territories, its admission into the prestigious Egmont Group, and the withdrawal of the US Treasury’s Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FINCEN) Advisory on Nigeria.

Once a visiting fellow at the Center for Global Development, a TED Fellow, and a Senior Fellow at St. Antony’s College, University of Oxford, UK, Mallam Nuhu Ribadu was in exile during President Yar’Adua’s administration, before he returned to the country in 2010 and declared his intention to run for President of Nigeria under the platform of the Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN). In 2011, the retired Assistant Inspector General of Police (AIG) was adopted as the presidential candidate of the ACN, a party sponsored by Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu.

Before Ribadu’s recent appointment, other former retired police officers had been appointed as National Security Advisers in the country. They included Gambo Jimeta from Adamawa State, during the tenure of Military President Ibrahim Badamasi Babangida, and Alhaji Ismaila Gwarzo (also first DG DSS/SSS) from Kano State, during the period of and then Chief Ernest Shonekan and General Sani Abacha.

Yet, a number of retired officers of the Nigerian Army – though never from the Navy or Airforce – have equally held this post, from General Aliyu M. Gusau, to Colonel Lateef Kayode Are (who functioned in the capacity briefly), General Abdullahi Mohammed, General Sarki Mukhtar, General Owoye Andrew Azazi, Colonel Sambo Dasuki, and currently General Mohammed Babagana Monguno.

Unlike many who easily construe the remit of the Office of the National Security Adviser (ONSA) as one coordinating a fighting force on behalf of the government, its essential mandate however consists of intelligence gathering, processing and dissemination towards warding off threats to the wellbeing of the nation. These the NSA does while harnessing the potential of the various intelligence agencies of the country to work together in attaining national security objectives.

It is necessary to point out that the National Security Agencies Act (CAP 278) established three principal agencies: the Defence Intelligence Agency (DIA), the National Intelligence Agency (NIA) and the State Security Service (now known as the Department of State Services (DSS).

Section 4 of the National Security Agencies Act, 1986, which disbanded the erstwhile Nigerian Security Organisation and created these three intelligence agencies in its place, specifically empowered the President, as the Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces, to appoint a Coordinator on National Security. Section 4(2) of the Act states that: “The Coordinator on National Security shall be a Principal Staff Officer in the Office of the President, Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces.”

Similarly, Section 4(3) of the Act defines the roles of the Coordinator on National Security to include advising the President on matters concerning the intelligence activities of the (created) agencies; making recommendations in relation to the activities of the agencies to the President as contingencies may warrant.. and doing such other things in connection with the foregoing provisions of this section, as the President may determine.

Section 1 of the National Security Agencies Decree, 1986 (INSTRUMENT NO. NSA 1) specifically transfers the functions of the Coordinator on National Security to the National Security Adviser.

Therefore, from the foregoing, the primary responsibility of the NSA, who is a statutory member of the Presidency, the National Security Council and the Federal Executive Council is to advise the president on matters concerning intelligence activities and make recommendations to him on issues of national security.

Meanwhile, in response to the challenges of Boko Haram terrorism, the Terrorism Prevention Act 2011, as amended in 2013, was signed into law by President Goodluck Jonathan. The document in its Part I, Section 2(1) states that “The Office of the National Security Adviser (ONSA) shall be the coordinating body for all security and law enforcement agencies and under this act shall (a) provide support to all relevant security, intelligence, law enforcement agencies and military services to prevent and combat acts of terrorism in Nigeria”, among other tasks.

The Act also gives ONSA the mandate to “ensure the formulation and implementation of a comprehensive Counter-Terrorism Strategy and build capacity for the effective discharge of the functions of relevant security, intelligence, law enforcement and military services.”

In line with the foregoing, the former NSA Sambo Dasuki established the Counter Terrorism Centre (CTC) in 2012, which is located in the ONSA and he followed this up with the unveiling of the National Counter Terrorism Strategy Document (NACTEST) in 2014. The soft approach document details the national strategy for the fight against terrorism while allotting tasks to every intelligence, security and law enforcement agency in the country, alongside other government bodies having any role to play in this battle.

The non-military strategy to counter-insurgency was to complement, not replace efforts of troops in fighting terrorism. The soft approach strategy identifies poverty, social injustice, isolation and sectarianism are among the causes of insurgency, while the solutions included prison reform, economic development, peace talks and educating the public.

It is necessary to reaffirm the fact that inter-agency cooperation and synergy are central to the objectives of the ONSA. The Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria (CRFN) 1999, as amended, spells out the roles of the Armed Forces of Nigeria (AFN), the Police and other security and paramilitary agencies in assisting the civil authority to maintain law and order. The Nigeria Police Force is recognised as the lead agency in the maintenance of internal security in Nigeria, as enshrined in CFRN 1999, Section 214. However, the AFN is usually invited to restore law and order where the NPF is overwhelmed.

The Armed Forces Act, the Nigeria Police Act, National Security Agencies Act and the Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Act, among others, further define the roles and administration of these agencies. Therefore, these laws provide the institutional framework for inter-agency collaboration between the AFN and other agencies in internal security operations in the country.

The roles of the NSA, as contained in the National Security Agencies Act, transcends that of the mere coordination of the three major intelligence agencies, as the establishment Act for the office empowers the Adviser to act in such other matters on security as the President and Commander in Chief may deem fit.

The President is empowered by the Constitution, under Section 218 (1) to superintend over all affairs of the armed forces. He is further empowered by Section 218 (2) of the legal ground norm to delegate powers to any member of the armed forces concerning the operational use of these forces. This power, therefore, gives the Minister of Defence or Chief of Defence Staff responsibility over the armed forces on behalf of the Commander in Chief.

The Constitution equally empowers the President or any other minister he may empower, to direct the affairs of the Police in the maintenance of law and other. Therefore, at the discretion of the President, the Inspector General of Police (IGP) reports to him directly or to a minister.

In situations of national emergencies, the NSA retains the coordinating power and uses its instruments, resources and other means available to coordinate the activities of security services, including other components of government that are required to bring about stability to the situation. The NSA briefs the President on the outcomes of operations and in liaison with the various constituents of the national security architecture, advises the President on the next courses of action.

At the strategic level, inter-agency cooperation is fostered by intelligence shared at the monthly sittings of the Joint Intelligence Board (JIB) at the ONSA. It is a melting point of intelligence sharing, involving all players in our national security system. This includes the intelligence arms of the armed forces, intelligence agencies, police and other para-military agencies and indeed the heads of key Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDA) of government that are tasked with the maintenance of law and order.

While President Ahmed Bola Tinubu has named Mallam Nuhu Ribadu, who undoubtedly has acquired the wealth of experience necessary to discharge this remit, as his Special Adviser on security, it remains to be seen if the chosen nomenclature would play any significant role in enabling or restricting his ability to carry out the designated obligations of his new office.

Yushau A. Shuaib is the author of “An Encounter with Spymaster” and “Award-winning Crisis Communication Strategies”

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FULL SPEECH: President Bola Tinubu’s First Democracy Day Address to Nigerians


1. Fellow Nigerians,

2. It is exactly three decades today since Nigerians went to the polls to exercise their inalienable right to elect a President of their choice to lead the transition from military dictatorship to a representative government of the people.

3. The abortion, by military fiat, of the decisive victory of Chief Moshood Kashimawo Olawale Abiola of the defunct Social Democratic Party (SDP) in the June 12, 1993, presidential election, up to that time, the fairest and freest election in the country’s political evolution, turned out, ironically, to be the seed that germinated into the prolonged struggle that gave birth to the democracy we currently enjoy since 1999.

4. In rising to strongly oppose the arbitrary annulment of the will of the majority of Nigerians as expressed in that historic election, the substantial number of our people who participated in the struggle to de-annul the election signified their fierce commitment to enthroning democracy as a form of government that best ennobles the liberty, the dignity of the individual and the integrity as well as the stability of the polity. The fierce opposition to the annulment of the June 12, 1993, presidential election and the unrelenting pro-democracy onslaught it unleashed was the equivalent of the battle against colonial rule by our founding fathers that resulted in the gaining of Nigeria’s independence in 1960.

5. Just like the anti-colonial movement, the pro-June 12 vanguards demonstrated, once again, the enduring validity of the 19th-century historian, Arnold Toynbee’s eternal postulation, that civilization and societies experience progress as they are forced to respond to challenges posed by the environment. The unjust annulment of a widely acknowledged free and fair election was a challenge that elicited resistance by a resurgent civil society, leading ultimately to the attainment of our ‘second independence’ as exemplified by the return of democratic governance in 1999.

6. Fellow compatriots, we celebrate a day that has remained a watershed in our nation’s history, not just today, but every June 12, for the endless future that our beloved country shall exist and wax stronger and stronger, generations of Nigerians will always remind themselves that the democracy that is steadily growing to become the defining essence of our polity was not gifted to us on a silver platter.

7. We can easily recall the sacrifice and martyrdom of Chief MKO Abiola, the custodian of the sacred mandate that was so cruelly annulled. He sacrificed his life in unyielding, patriotic defense of the ideals of democracy as symbolized in his choice, by his fellow countrymen and women, as their duly-elected President. There was an easier choice for him. It was to forgo the justice of his cause and opt for the path of ease and capitulation in the face of the tyranny of power. To his eternal credit and immortal glory, Abiola said no. He demonstrated the time-tested eternal truth that there are certain ideals and principles that are far more valuable than life itself.

8. every day, on this day, down the ages we will recall several other heroes of democracy such as Kudirat Abiola, wife of Chief Abiola, who was brutally murdered while in the trenches fighting on the side of the people. We remember Pa Alfred Rewane, one of the heroes of our independence struggle, and Major General Shehu Musa Yar’Adua (rtd) who were silenced by the military junta while in pursuit of democracy. They gave them yesterday for the liberty that is ours today.

9. The point is that we must never take this democracy for granted. We must forever jealously guard and protect it like a precious jewel. For, a people can never truly appreciate the freedoms and rights democracy guarantees them until they lose it.

10. We have traversed the dark, thorny path of dictatorship before and those who experienced it can readily testify to the unbridgeable gap between the dignity of freedom and the humiliation and degradation of tyranny. True, rancorous debates, interminable wrangling, ceaseless quarrels, and bitter electoral contestations may be perceived by some as unattractive features of democracy. But they also testify to its merit and value.

11. This year, we held the seventh in the cycle of elections that have become sacred rituals of our democratic practice in this dispensation since 1999.

12. That the polls were intensely contested is in itself positive evidence that democracy is well and alive in our land. It is only natural that even as those who won and experienced victory in the various elections are elated and fulfilled, those who lost are disenchanted and disappointed. But the beauty of democracy is that those who win today can lose tomorrow and those who lose today will have an opportunity to compete and win in the next round of elections.

13. Those who cannot endure and accept the pain of defeat in elections do not deserve the joy of victory when it is their turn to triumph. Above all, those who disagree with the outcome of the elections are taking full advantage of the constitutional provisions to seek redress in court and that is one of the reasons why democracy is still the best form of government invented by man.

14. For Chief MKO Abiola, the symbol of this day, in whose memory June 12 became a national holiday, democracy is eternal.

15. It is about the rule of law and a vibrant judiciary that can be trusted to deliver justice and strengthen institutions. It has become imperative to state here that the unnecessary illegal orders used to truncate or abridge democracy will no longer be tolerated.

16. The recent harmonization of the retirement age for judicial officers is meant to strengthen the rule of law, which is a critical pillar of democracy. The reform has just started.

17. The democracy that will yield the right dividends to the people who are the shareholders means more than just freedom of choice and the right to get people into elective offices. It means social and economic justice for our people. To the winner of June 12, democracy offers the best chance to fight and eliminate poverty. Thirty years ago, he christened his campaign manifesto, ‘Farewell to Poverty’ because he was convinced there is nothing divine about poverty. It is a man-made problem that can be eliminated with clearly thought-out social and economic policies.

18. It is for this reason that, in my inauguration address on May 29, I gave effect to the decision taken by my predecessor-in-office to remove the fuel subsidy albatross and free up for collective use the much-needed resources, which had hitherto been pocketed by a few rich. I admit that the decision will impose an extra burden on the masses of our people. I feel your pain. This is one decision we must bear to save our country from going under and take our resources away from the stranglehold of a few unpatriotic elements.

19. Painfully, I have asked you, my compatriots, to sacrifice a little more for the survival of our country. For your trust and belief in us, I assure you that your sacrifice shall not be in vain. The government I lead will repay you through massive investment in transportation infrastructure, education, regular power supply, healthcare, and other public utilities that will improve the quality of life.

20. The democracy MKO Abiola died for is one that promotes the welfare of the people over the personal interests of the ruling class and one where the governed can find personal fulfillment and happiness. That is the hope MKO Abiola ignited throughout our country in 1993.

21. On this year’s Democracy Day, I enjoin us all to rededicate ourselves to strengthening this form of government of free peoples that has been our guiding light these past 24 years. In particular, those of us who have been privileged to be elected into public offices at various levels in both the executive and legislative arms of government must recommit ourselves to offering selfless service to the people and delivering concrete democracy dividends in accordance with our electoral promises.

22. On my part and that of my administration, I pledge anew our commitment to diligently fulfilling every component of our electoral pact with the people – the ‘Renewed Hope’ agenda.

23. We shall be faithful to the truth. Faithful to equity. And faithful to justice. We shall exercise our authority and mandate to govern with fairness, respect for the rule of law, and commitment to always uphold the dignity of all our people.

24. On this note, I wish us all a happy Democracy Day celebration and pray that the light of liberty shall never be extinguished in our land.

25. Thank you all and may God continue to bless the Federal Republic of Nigeria.

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2023 FLOODS: NEMA North Central Zonal Office Holds Media Sensitization

Ahead of the impending 2023 flood disaster as predicted by NIMET , the North Central zonal office held a media sensitization/advocacy with the Voice of America (VOA).

The Coordinator added that NEMA has embarked on several sensitization campaigns/programmes including jingles in both radio and television

Briefing the media outfit in the North Central zonal office in Jos, the Zonal Coordinator, Mr Eugene Nyelong said the media is an indispensable stakeholder in flood sensitization and disaster risk information and management. The Coordinator added that NEMA has embarked on several sensitization campaigns/programmes including jingles in both radio and television to mitigate the impact of the flooding if it comes.

He urged all communities living in flood-prone areas to clear their drainages, avoid building on waterways or relocate to safer grounds when the need arises.

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I’ll be advocating and campaigning globally for Rugby sports- Herbert Mensah

Herbert Amponsah Mensah is the new President of Rugby Africa, the governing body of Rugby in Africa. His emergence followed the conclusion of the Rugby Africa Executive Committee Elections held recently.

Mensah, a renowned Businessman, Sports Administrator, and Philanthropist with a passion for “Moving Africa forward”, is known for his passion for sports and extensive experience in sports administration. He is a believer in the greater good of humanity and always seeks to push the status quo.

He is an alumnus of the Achimota Secondary School in Accra, Ghana, although he completed his O levels in the United Kingdom and later obtained his graduate degree in economics at Sussex University.

In his younger years, he played rugby for Sussex and Saracens. He entered the business world while still a student and gained business experience, among other places, in the tobacco industry in Zimbabwe. His entrepreneurship led to his pursuit of success in the telecommunications industry

Herbert was elected President and Chairman of the Ghana Rugby Football Union in 2014. His tenure in office saw the Union attaining its World Rugby status. He has been instrumental in pushing the game of Rugby in the sub-region.

In addition to his business ventures, Mensah’s passion for sports led him to the coveted seat of Board Chairman of the popular Ghanaian football club Kumasi Asante Kotoko SC which was bestowed on him by the then Asantehene, Otumfuo Opoku Ware II in 1999. Mensah set out to restore the success of earlier glories of the then-failing club by implementing a five-year plan, which included sponsorships, the introduction of professional training facilities, and a transparent financial approach to their financials.

In March 2023, he was unanimously and overwhelmingly elected President of Rugby Africa

In this interview with ADEWALE ADENRELE, The President, Herbert Mensah reiterated his passionate vision for the growth of African Rugby. He also speaks about his priority to continue the work he has already begun, helping rugby progress and grow not just in Africa, but globally. He emphasized his business experience and stated that he would apply it to Rugby Africa, to generate revenues and development opportunities for all member associations.

Below are excerpts:

Firstly, let us congratulates you on your new position as the President of Rugby Africa, we are optimistic about your ability and capacity for growth and development. What are your plans and vision for Rugby Africa?

We’re talking about Rugby, so, therefore, we must make sure that everyone has the right to play and when they do to win! All children with time must be exposed to the beauty of Rugby. Unions must be supported, and structures put into place so that the talented can go on and win. Africa must become winners. Countries like Kenya, Uganda, Zimbabwe, Namibia, and Algeria must follow South Africa to the zenith at World Championships.

But to achieve this, we need to recognize that sport is big business and that much needs to change!

What is the most challenging moment while growing up?

Growing up was realizing that my mother was alone but determined to give and make me what I have become today.

Have you fulfilled a dream in your life by going into Rugby sports, share with us your journey into Rugby sports.

Herbert Amponsah Mensah, President, Rugby Africa
Herbert Amponsah Mensah, President, Rugby Africa

Many times over! Playing rugby for my school Kent College and going unbeaten was special. Then I started at Sussex University but switched quickly to Lewes the perennial Country winner was a special moment. My progression thereafter was something I never imagined. Playing for Old Hararians and Mashonaland and an international against Italy was special. When I returned to the UK from Zimbabwe, after the start of the following season, I never imagined progressing to the point of being handed the number 11 shirt for Saracens 1st team against London Scottish!

Sadly, I damaged my left knee badly and never played serious rugby thereafter although I did have another life-fulfilling moment when I arranged the Max Brito charity match in Accra. An ex-Springbok team led by Naas Botha and an England team led by Dean Richards, Tim Rodber, and Martin Johnson played in Ghana and even though I was invited to join both sides I chose to play in the warmup/lead-up match which was Ghana vs. West Africa.

How important is nutrition to your success and performance during your days as a player, what advice would you give to anybody wanting to get fit and improve their health?

Nutrition is everything. I have always been a student of sports nutrition creating a program that is workable for all depending on where they are. I’m deeply conscious of the need to eat a balanced diet and to respect carbs, fats, and protein. Not everything is bad and not everything is good! Fruits and vegetables high in anti-oxidants are also very important.

What has been the highlight of your career?

Helping others. My May 9th Charity and what it has achieved for over two decades and now my involvement with the Shen Yang and Shen Yuet Children’s Heart Foundation is saving children’s lives. Children with hole-in-the-heart conditions.

As the new president, will you consider advocating and campaigning for Rugby sports to youths to reduce unemployment in Africa?

I will be advocating and campaigning for Rugby for all and especially children. It will not reduce unemployment, but it will help foster new and wonderful values for all. Respect, integrity, etc. are fundamental to Rugby and life in general.

You have visited many countries, what would you advise the African leaders?

African leaders need to help to break barriers and encourage us to work together. Executive power in leadership is everything and therefore change can be simple.

African ethnic groups and tribes have customs and traditions that are unique to their culture. What do you like about African Culture?

African culture is unique to Africans which is why one of our slogans is “Africa as one”. We need to love and respect where we came from before we can possibly understand where we are going.

African Development Magazine would like to be part of promoting Rugby sports in Africa and coverage of your activities, would you facilitate and support this development?

Absolutely….. we are about to embark on an exciting and difficult journey. An African journey into the global world to conquer and be the best. Africans are multi-faceted and can play many sports!

Amazing memories are unforgettable; can you share with us the most amazing memory?

Saving lives!!!!!!!!

What advice would you give the younger ones?

Younger people are smarter than we give them credit, but I do ask that they exercise patience whilst sticking to their principles. This is their time. They must seize it with dignity and respect. Remember ….. do unto others as you would they do to you!

Thanks for sharing with us

Thank you.


ADM 2023

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Nigeria Air Force Announces Direct Short Service recruitment (How to apply)

A statement by the Director of NAF Public Relations and Information, Air Commodore Edward Gabkwet said “Interested applicants must be Nigerian citizens, single, and must be between the ages of 20 and 30 years”.

“Additionally, applicants must possess a minimum qualification of Second Class Upper Division or Upper Credit from recognized Universities, Polytechnics, and other tertiary institutions.

“Candidates should also note that an NYSC discharge certificate is compulsory.

“Interested applicants are to apply online via the NAF recruitment portal at from 19 December 2022 to 30 January 2023.

“Meanwhile, applicants are to note that NAF enlistment processes are Free of Charge and no payment should be made at any point of the exercise.

“Be informed also that the NAF has Not commissioned any agent or person(s) to carry out any activity related to enlistment into the Service.

“Applicants should therefore be weary of fake agents and fake online portals out there to prey on innocent and unsuspecting Nigerians.”

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