Donald Trump, the U.S. President, has replied to Pope Francis, who earlier criticized him and described him as non-Christian.
Donald Trump responded to the criticism at a campaign rally in Kiawah Island, S.C., warning Pope Francis about the Islamic State, who he said: “their primary goal is to get to the Vatican.”
“If and when the Vatican is attacked,” he said, “the pope would only wish and have prayed that Donald Trump would have been elected President.”
President Trump had earlier in his speech, said, “I like the pope.”
Before the Catholic pontiff arrived at the Mexican border, President Trump had frowned on the visit, describing Francis as a politician and accused him of acting at the Mexican government’s behest.
President Trump, a Presbyterian, has been trying to make inroads among evangelical voters as he seeks reelection come November.
“I think that the pope is a very political person,” he said.
When asked about Trump’s comments, Francis laughed, saying, “Thank God he said I was a politician because Aristotle defined the human person as ‘animal politicus.’
“So, at least I am a human person. As to whether I am a pawn, well, maybe, I don’t know. I’ll leave that up to your judgment and that of the people.”
Buhari Gives To The South East All Their Entitlements – Ngige
Minister of Labour and Employment, Senator Chris Ngige has said that the South-Eastern part of the Nigeria is fairly represented and accorded its due entitlements by the President Muhammadu Buhari led government.
Ngige said that the zone was not being marginalised as perceived by some individuals and warned elites in the south east who according to him “are orchestrating propaganda’ to desist from doing so.
The former Anambra State Governor who spoke at an Emergency Stakeholders meeting of the Association of Eze Ndigbo, 19 Northern States and Abuja at the weekend in Abuja said the propaganda incited the chaos currently happening in that part of the country.
The meeting was organised to discuss the destruction of lives and properties in the southeast zone and the insecurity bedeviling Ndigbo as a people.
Addressing the participants, Ngige said Buhari has shown friendship to Ndigbo, maintaining that the South East has gotten a fair share of what is due to the zone, especially infrastructure-wise.
He said, “There is no maltreatment there. We are in the Federal Executive Council (FEC), which is composed of a minister per state. But we have one extra ministerial slot. So, the South East is effectively represented to ensure justice is done to our people. We are there to talk when there is no justice.
“People can say that we are not honoured with appointments of Inspector General of Police, Chief of Army staff and Secretary to the Federal Government (SGF). These are positions we have enjoyed before in the Nigerian Federation. We had two Inspectors General of Police (IGP), Ogbonnaya Onovo and Mike Okiro. We had an SGF, Senator Pius Anyim. We had four Senate Presidents. Twice we produced Deputy Senate President and Deputy Speaker, Ike Ekweremadu and Emeka Ihedioha. They were in charge of federal budgets for eight years from 2007 to 2015. That is the rule in the National Assembly.
“So, if you now talk about appointments, it becomes a matter of perception. I won’t blame them. Perception and reality are in the same line. A lot of them don’t understand how government works. A lot of them don’t understand that I as a member of FEC can influence things that will come to my State, my zone or any other area and where we think things should be sited or done in Nigeria. For me, those people perceiving that are ignorant. I don’t want to use the word mischievous.
“But much more importantly, propaganda against the government by the elites in the South East should stop because it is that propaganda that provoked troubles that we are now noticing. People have been brainwashed and the separatists humped on that foundation to now shout from the roof tops that we will give you Biafra and when we give you Biafra, all these things will disappear.
Ngige further recalled that the Buhari government had paid off all the gratuity and pensions of all the police pensioners in the South East that were neglected since after the war, which he said no government had done before.
He said the Government assisted the 36 Governors with bailout funds to pay shortfall in salaries in their respective states and went further to give them budget support to help them to execute budgetary projects and programmes and give life to their people.
According to him, the Governors in the South East zone received the support even though at the time, the zone was a PDP zone.
“Infrastructure wise, if you go to the South East, from Enugu-Okigwe and Umuahia-Aba-Port Harcourt expressways, three companies, the Chinese Company, the Arab Contractors and RCC are there. Some of them have completed their work. A journey that normally takes us five hours from Enugu-Aba is now about one hour, 15 minutes. When the Port Harcourt section is finished, a journey from Enugu to Port Harcourt will take two hours.
“Coming to Enugu-Awka- Onitsha, two sections have been finished. RCC is working at the stretch from Awka to Onitsha now. The stretch from Ninth Mile to Oji River has been completed. We are now at the third Section which is being done by Niger-Cat from Amansea to Oji River. The Old Road from Ninth Mile to Awka has also been done by Arab contractors. If you go there now, you will see it is fully completed with drains on both sides.”
He said the Owerri-Aba and Owerri-Umuahia roads are ongoing, just like the international highway from Enugu to Abakiliki to Cameroun where the stretch from Enugu to Abakiliki is completed while the stretch from Abakiliki to Cameroun is ongoing.
“Enugu Airport used to be the worst airport in Nigeria. We had three Aviation Ministers, Fidelia Njeze, Stella Odua and Osita Chidoka and they did nothing there. Buhari put N10 billion in Enugu Airport. He does not hate Ndigbo.
“Then, the Second Niger Bridge is the biggest of them all. President Buhari took it up from a Private Public partnership (PPP) Project by which tolls were to be collected. By which foreign loan companies’ financiers were relieved of doing what they wanted to do to stay there forever and ever and it is now a legacy project out of the five that is being done in the whole country.
“The five legacy projects are Lagos-Ibadan highway, Mambilla project, East West Road, Abuja-Kaduna-Kano and Second Niger Bridge and the Second Niger Bridge is gulping one of the biggest amount of money-N386 billion- and has undergone 55 percent completion. Julius Berger said they will deliver in the middle of 2022 and we have no reason to doubt them.”
Ngige disclosed that all these projects were being executed with Sukuk funds, loans and extra budgetary provisions, since budgetary provisions were not enough.
Fight over re-nomination of Onochie as INEC commissioner
Since last week, there has been uproar over the re-nomination of President Muhammadu Buhari’s Personal Assistant on Social Media, Mrs. Lauretta Onochie, as a national commissioner in the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC).
Buhari, had in a letter dated October 12, 2020, sought the Senate’s confirmation for the nominations of Onochie and five other nominees. Criticisms trailed the nomination of Onochie, who hails from Delta State, on the grounds of her being a registered member of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC), in violation of Section 14(2a) of the Third Schedule of the 1999 Constitution, as amended. The section states that “a member of the commission shall be non-partisan and a person of unquestionable integrity.”
The Senate had stepped down the consideration of the request following the outrage generated by the inclusion of Onochie on the list. Opposition parties and civil society organisations argued that her nomination breached the constitution given her political affiliation. The confirmation request was made by the president in accordance with paragraph 14 Part I(F) of the Third Schedule of the 1999 Constitution, as amended. Besides Onochie, others being screened are Professor Muhammad Sani Kallah (Katsina), Prof. Kunle Cornelius Ajayi (Ekiti), Saidu Babura Ahmad (Jigawa), Prof. Sani Muhammad Adam (North-Central) and Dr. Baba Bila (North-East).
Onyekachi Ubani, lawyer, petitions Senate: “Considering the reality of Nigeria today, with the high level of insecurity, ethnic tensions, and mistrust among citizens, the decline in trust and confidence by the citizens in their elected officials and democratic institutions to mention a few, it is very important, that as the next election draws closer, whoever is to be nominated by the President to serve as INEC commissioner, chairman or as an unbiased umpire for national elections must be in compliance with the law and must be persons that, the general public view as not being partisan or compromised in any form or manner.
“Section 152 of the Electoral Act, provides that ‘no person holding an elective office to which this act relates or a registered member of a political party shall be eligible for or be appointed to carry out duties of a returning officer, an electoral officer, the presiding officer or poll clerk.’
“Therefore, the nomination of Mrs. Lauretta Onochie, a clearly partisan individual by the President, an individual who has in recent years publicly displayed her partisanship and undying support for the ruling Party in her utterances, conduct, and interaction with the public cannot and should not serve as INEC commissioner, a role reserved for an unbiased umpire. I on behalf of the Nigerian public urge the Senate to righteously reject her nomination and confirmation forthwith.
“As a card-carrying member of the ruling party or any other party for that matter, she is unfit for the position she is nominated for. I also doubt that Section 154 (3) of the constitution was complied with, which prescribes that the President nominates the INEC commissioner in consultation with the Council of State. Paragraphs B of Part 1 of the 3rd schedule of the constitution provides that the Council of State shall have the power to advise the President in the exercise of his power with respect to (iv) the INEC including the appointment of members of the Commission. When was this Section and paragraph complied with?
“Most importantly paragraph 14 of part I of the third schedule of the constitution as amended in Section 30 No. 1 of 2010, a member of INEC should be “non-partisan”, can Mrs. Lauretta Onochie be regarded by anyone in Nigeria, knowing her antecedent as the Special Assistant to the President as ‘non-partisan’ under the Nigerian context? The right answer is No.
“I, therefore, on behalf of the Nigerian Bar Association urge that her nomination be rejected and her confirmation be denied forthwith.”
Enyinnaya Abaribe, Senate Minority Leader: “We have dealt with this matter of the nomination of Lauretta Onochie. So, we feel surprised that the same name has resurfaced no longer as a national commissioner, but as a Delta State commissioner. Mr. President, reluctantly, I second the motion that these nominations be referred to the relevant committee for action and we shall meet in Philippi.”
Ahmad Lawan, Senate President: “The nominees are not stated resident electoral commissioners; they are national commissioners. And there was no change of request; so they are not resident electoral commissioners.”
Kola Ologbondiyan, Publicity Secretary, PDP: “It was a shame that the APC-led government would nominate a card-carrying member of a political party as a national commissioner of INEC. The nomination of Onochie breached the establishment act of INEC that states that no political party card-carrying member should be appointed as a national commissioner. Our position is clear; we call on all our members, particularly senators and the House of Representatives members, to ensure that Onochie is not confirmed as an INEC commissioner. Our position is predicated on the fact that Onochie is a card-carrying member of the APC. And as such, she cannot be an electoral umpire. The way the President Buhari administration is doing, they have shown that they have no modicum of shame when it comes to electoral issues.
“How can President Buhari nominate Onochie who is a card-carrying member of the party, APC as a member of INEC to become a national commissioner? She is a card-carrying member, a registered member of APC as an umpire to serve in INEC in the 2023 general election. What are they telling us? Are they telling us that there would be no election in 2023? Or that it would be as they did in 2019
June 12: Ezeemo Makes Case Over Poor Implementation Of Democracy Process
…Seeks job creation as primary reference to reduce crime and insecurity.
…Promises to entrench Democracy in Anambra State.
The frontline aspirant of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) in Anambra State Mr Godwin Ezeemo has joined other well meaning citizens of Nigeria to congratulate the government and the most populous black nation on the occasion of the celebration of 22 years of uninterrupted democratic leadership in the country.
Giving his sincere assessment of democratic leadership since the return of democracy in Nigeria in 1999, the Umuchu born businessman observed that though democracy is ageing in the country, problems related to election irregularities and poor performance among political office holders have all combined together to derail the manifestation of democratic dividends to the satisfaction of the people as obtained in the developed countries.
He added “We are celebrating 22 years of democracy but a lot is still left behind when talk about the dividends on ground. If you look at the level of achievements, you will discover that we have failed to live up to expectations.
Most, if not all elections are still far from being credible, the security situation is bad, the rate of killings continue to gain momentum, the economy is not buoyant, the roads are bad, poor electricity supply is there unchecked, the rate of poverty and unemployment are on the high side, water is not running and so on, so I would rather say that we still have a long way to go and the way to go is to allow credible elections for people to chose their leaders”.
Asked to comment on those that have contributed meaningfully to the growth of democracy in the country, the PDP governorship hopeful identified former President Goodluck Jonathan and former Governor of Anambra State Mr Peter Obi as two top leading heroes of democracy in Nigeria since the return of democratic leadership in the country in 1999. While fingering Jonathan as the national hero, he pitched Mr Peter Obi as the outstanding hero in the Southeast where his outstanding performance as Governor remains the leadership model.
Elaborating further, he noted that former President Jonathan thickened democracy in the country by conceding defeat to the Presidential candidate of other political party in the person of Muhammadu Buhari in 2015 election, he noted that Jonathan’s decision to accept defeat while sitting in power as incumbent President and Commander In Chief simply catapulted him into the rank of the leading hero of democracy in Nigeria and Africa.
On former Governor Peter Obi, the frontline businessman who is the Chairman/CEO Orient Group of Companies noted with facts that Obi’s ability to recover his stolen mandate in court and his outstanding performance as governor of Anambra for eight years which is yet to be matched by any governor in the Southeast geopolitical zone is enough to list him into the rank of the leading heroes of democracy in Nigeria.
“The story of Peter Obi in democracy in Nigeria is a popular and impressive one. First he was the first to recover a stolen mandate in court and that paved the way for others to have the courage to go to court to seek redress over stolen mandate consequent upon election irregularities such as rigging and declaration of false results. Again if you look at Obi’s superlative performance within eight years as governor you will simply admit that he is a hero” he added.
Mr Ezeemo noted that there is need for immediate implementation of the Electoral Reform as gazetted by the National Assembly to put irregularities in proper checks and allow the choice of the electorates to prevail.
The Umuchu born PDP governorship aspirant promised that if given the mandate to lead Anambra State in 2021 he will entrench democracy through delivery of dividends as did by former Governor Obi and improving on it, assuring that he has all it takes in terms of experience and exposure to rekindle same quality performances.
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