The Belt and Road Initiative offers many practical opportunities to change people’s lives, and UNICEF is very happy to cooperate, senior UN official Anthony Lake said Monday. In an exclusive interview with Xinhua, the UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF) chief praised the Belt and Road Initiative, calling it an “extraordinary strategic vision.” Lake said while there…
AT last, President Muhammadu Buhari returned to the country last week as announced by his Special Adviser on Media and Communication, Mr. Femi Adesina. His prolonged absence had been a source of intense acrimony in the polity with anti-Buharists insisting that he was either dead or gravely ill, and should resign on account of his incapacitation. His defenders and party members, especially his media team on the other hand, had insisted that he was only resting and taking medical tests. As such, he was expected to return to the country at any time.
However, the stridency of the demands of the wailing Buhari naysayers who chose not to be placated with photo-shoots of the president’s “hale and heartiness” in London, soon combined with the rising profile of the then Acting President, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo, to bring the President back into the country.
And, since the president arrived in the country, there has been an attempt at a restoration of some form of normalcy, with the president even “resuming” and spending three hours in his office on Monday. No sooner had the President sat on his “presidential seat”, however, than the Internet again went viral on close videos of the President’s gait as he walked from the plane that brought him from London.
The close-up videos, undoubtedly, showed a much-emaciated and limping president, who was still badly in need of medical attention. It is not surprising, then, that Mr. Adesina said that the president would still travel in a matter of weeks for a medical review of his condition.
That is as it should be, as the president appears clearly in no position to take on the challenge of administering a country that is battling a debilitating recession in the midst of ferocious opposition from the former ruling party and some segments of the polity.
In spite of the efforts to establish a similitude of normalcy with the president’s resumption in his office, it is obvious that his greatest attention should be paid to the restoration of his health. In that regard, Nigeria will be better off with Vice President, Yemi Osinbajo, continuing to attend to the onerous duties of state, while Nigerians give Buhari a breather to take care of his health. From the president’s video that Nigerians saw, he is nowhere near hale and hearty. Instead, it is unfortunate that it is at this time that Nigeria, itself, badly needs economic recovery that President Buhari is also battling to recover his health.
The challenges confronting the nation at this time are so gargantuan. The battle against corruption is a never-ending one. As I write, youths at different fora are protesting against unemployment, which is raging at 16.32 percent.
The ordinary citizens are also busy fighting inflation which is at an all-time high of 18 percent. The big issue of the kidnapped Chibok girls is yet to be resolved while the ongoing efforts at ending restiveness in the Niger Delta must be sustained.
There are so many promises of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) yet to be fulfilled. The way to do this is not to try to pretend that the President is back, and able to do whatever is required to move the country forward. He clearly cannot. The Vice President and the rest of the President’s team should, therefore, be allowed to continue to steer the ship of state towards safe harbour, while keeping the president abreast with their activities and obtaining his consent on major issues, whenever it is required.
This is not the time to play ethnic or power politics because the president’s health and the nation’s stability and progress are the important things at play here. I wish Buhari a full recovery, and his team, the wisdom to steer the ship of affairs of the country to the path of progress and prosperity, untill he fully recovers to continue his work.
The Customs car import duty controversy
If the Comptroller-General of the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS), Col. Hameed Ali, is to be taken at his word, Nigerian car owners from April 12 will be driving with their hearts in their mouths, fearing that they will be arrested by Customs officials over the failure of the importers of the cars they bought over ten years ago, to pay Customs duty on them.
Col. Hameed Ali last week directed all car owners to go to any of the four zonal Customs offices in Lagos, Kaduna, Port Harcourt and Bauchi, to verify the Customs duty status of their vehicles, or risk seizure of such vehicles.
This idea, to which the Customs boss appears irrevocably bound, is one of the most preposterous ideas to come out of Nigeria in recent times.
It is clearly an idea of a mind stuck in the nation’s dictatorial past. Nigerians sympathise with the government on the need to find other sources of revenue for the country, but this should never be at the expense of ordinary Nigerians.
The duty of the Customs is to man the border posts and ensure that it’s personnel collect duties on items imported into the country. It is not for the agency to allow its personnel to aid and abet the evasion of payment of import duties on imported items only to start accosting car owners on the road and seizing their already registered vehicles. If the nation is not careful, the Customs, which is already breaking into the shops of rice merchants to seize bags of rice in the thick of the night, will soon start checking the soup pots of the people to demand duties on imported fish and chicken therein.Let the Comptroller-General tighten border controls and make his personnel do their work.
The NCS should not destabilise the relative peace in the country with its plans for a wholesale seizure of already registered vehicles in search of import duties.
Re: Pitting Buhari against Osinbajo
The Vice President’s good performance is a manifestation that the change APC promised Nigerians is yielding positive results. This is just a tip of the iceberg for good things to happen in Nigeria. Nigerians should be patient with Buhari’s government because it knows where the shoe is pinching us, and the solution is on the way. Soon, Nigerians will have cause to smile.
Gordon Chika Nnorom,
Your biblical analysis on PMB and Osinbajo two Wednesdays ago is in order. It is a time bomb waiting to explode.