Nigerian writer, Ijeoma Awuaku Umebinyuo, is of the opinion that many feminists became feminists because of the kind of relationships they have/had with their mothers. Continue to read her position below…
Nigerian writer, Ijeoma Awuaku Umebinyuo, is of the opinion that many feminists became feminists because of the kind of relationships they have/had with their mothers. Continue to read her position below…
A fan mistook Gabrielle Union, 46, for Brandy Norwood, 40, and the actress didn’t hesitate to set the record straight.
It all started when Fenty Beauty posted a photo of Gabrielle on their Instagram page as she had teamed up with the brand to raise awareness for Black History Month.
Then, one Instagram user commented on the photo, saying: “Brandy!!!! I love her.”
Well, Gabrielle Union saw the comment and replied, writing:
Girl I love @4everbrandy toooooooooo! I, however, am Gabrielle Union Wade and I hope you are never a witness to any crime [because] your eye witness testimony is a problem.
Gabrielle also included the eye roll emoji and the thinking emoji.
Reacting to the mixup, social media users are saying it’s easy to see how one can mistake Gabrielle for Brandy because they have similar features.
Obviously, Offset and Cardi B are fully back on. The couple spent Valentine’s Day together and were filmed grinding on each other.
As they danced to Cardi and Bruno Mars’ new music, Offset kept grinding his groin against Cardi’s backside. He soon bent her over and continued to grind against her.
Watch the video below.
A post shared by CARDIVENOM (@iamcardib) on
The Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby has assured Nigerians of prayers from other countries of the world towards a peaceful and fair election.
Via his verified Twitter account, he wrote, “around the world, we are praying with great hope for peaceful and fair elections in Nigeria, which build on the successful voting and calm transition in 2015. May God bless you in His power and may He bless this wonderful nation. #NigeriaDecides2019.”
Soulja Boy and Blac Chyna who just started dating spent their first Valentine’s Day together yesterday.
The rapper shared a photo of them driving in his newly purchased Rolls-Royce Wraith as they headed out together.
He wrote: ‘Happy Valentine’s Day ??’
Trevor Noah is such a clown! For Valentine’s Day, the talk show host took himself out on a romantic date, complete with candlelight and wine.
In a photo shared online, the comedian is seen sitting at a table with a cardboard image of himself sitting next to him. He had a plate of food and a glass of wine in front of him and so did his cardboard image.
Sharing the photo to Instagram, Trevor wrote:
Sometimes you gotta treat yourself ??. Happy Valentine’s Day!
The Coalition of United Political Parties (CUPP), has accused the federal government of planning to clamp down on media houses and their reporters during tomorrow Saturday February 16th presidential election.
Spokesman of the coalition, Ikenga Imo Ugochinyere made the allegation in a statement released last night. Ikenga claimed the plan is to ensure that the media houses do not have the opportunity of alerting Nigerians on the various irregularities being allegedly planned during the presidential and National Assembly elections in favour of the candidates of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) across the country.
He noted that the media organisations listed for attack are the African Independent Television (AIT), Silverbird Television, Arise Television, Raypower FM, and 15 other radio stations.
“The plan is to jam and destroy transmitting equipment of these media organisations on election day. The strategy also includes indiscriminate arrest and detention of reporters and cameramen of these stations, while their working tools will be confiscated and destroyed.
The opposition parties have credible information on the move by the APC working through the NSA and the elder brother of Governor Nasir el-Rufai, named Bashir el-Rufai, who is the Director of IHS Towers, a major base station services provider for telecom companies to disconnect the service providers in targeted areas under the guise of debt recovery for unpaid services rendered to the telecommunication companies.
“They want to keep the whole country in darkness, so as to stop citizens from tweeting, blogging, and giving live updates on what is going on in every centre, so that they will be able to carry out their rigging plan. They don’t want the people’s voice to be heard because they have already concluded their evil plot to ensure that the election is not free and fair,” CUPP alleged.
The coalition called on all stakeholders, including Nigeria’s international friends, to be aware of this plan which has been perfected by the Federal government.
“We are watching them and we shall continue to expose their evil plans for the world to see and know,” he added
In a swift reaction, the Director, Strategic Communications of APC campaign, Festus Keyamo, in a statement released last night, said such a plot is nothing but a figment of the imagination of the PDP.
“Whilst the story is full of half-truths and outright lies, the portion that concerns us at the Campaign Council is the allegation that the networks would be jammed on Saturday by the said Israeli company. This is nothing but a figment of the imagination of the PDP, the obvious sponsors of the story. We have warned a few days ago of a series of fake news lined up by the PDP and Atiku’s campaign team in the last days leading up to the elections. This is obviously one of them.”the statement in part read
Rachel Johnson went topless on Sky News yesterday during a discussion about Brexit and her action left other debaters so confused that they didn’t know where to look.
The sister of Conservative MP Boris Johnson was on news show The Pledge when she brought up Cambridge academic Dr Victoria Bateman, the professor who goes completely naked while campaigning for the UK to stay in the EU (read here and here).
Starting the show in a silk blouse, the journalist said:
As I know it can be hard to get your voice heard about Brexit nowadays.
It feels like we’ve hit saturation point. Enter pro-EU campaigner Victoria Batemen who’s come up with a striking way this week to get herself noticed.
Appearing across the media completely starkers to make various points about Brexit – leaving Britain naked.
So in tribute to Dr Bateman I’ve decided to follow suit – every time we decide to talk about Brexit just to make sure I get noticed.
At this point, Ms Johnson began to unbutton her shirt and threw it off to the side as panellists Nick Ferrari and Carole Malone didn’t know where to look.
But she didn’t bare all for long. She soon retrieved her top and told the camera: “I’ll get dressed. I’ll put them away.”
Watch the video below.
On Thursday, Nick Jonas, 26, and Priyanka Chopra, 36, celebrated their first Valentine’s Day together as a married couple.
The celebrity couple who got married in December 2018 took to their respective Instagram accounts to celebrate their undeniable love for each other.
The American singer posted a photo of himself sitting down to play the piano while his lady love knelt behind him and wrote: ‘Happy Valentine’s Day to you and yours! How lucky am I.. ????’
The Indian beauty also shared a sultry shot with her man and wrote: ‘Happy Valentine’s Day to you and your loved ones.. always and forever.’
A schoolgirl who left Britain in 2015, when she was only 15, to join ISIS has been found heavily pregnant and she wants to return home.
Shamima Begum, a former east London schoolgirl, was tracked down by The Times to a refugee camp in northern Syria. Shamima, now 19 years old, is the wife of an Islamic State fighter. She is nine months pregnant and has had two other infant children who are dead. Her husband is in captivity.
Shamima was one of three schoolgirls – along with Kadiza Sultana and Amira Abase – from Bethnal Green Academy who left their homes in February 2015 to join a fourth Bethnal Green schoolgirl in Syria who had left London the year before. They each married an Isis foreign fighter, according to The Times.
Kadiza Sultana was reported to have been killed in an airstrike on Raqqa in May 2016, while Shamima Begum has recently heard second-hand from other people that Amira Abase, and the other schoolgirl who left Britain in 2014, may still be alive.
When Shamima was tracked down by The Times, she said to them, “I don’t regret coming here.”
However, she added: “I’m not the same silly little 15-year-old schoolgirl who ran away from Bethnal Green four years ago.”
The caliphate is over. There was so much oppression and corruption that I don’t think they deserved victory.
I know what everyone at home thinks of me as I have read all that was written about me online. But I just want to come home to have my child. That’s all I want right now. I’ll do anything required just to be able to come home and live quietly with my child.
But the UK isn’t eager to have Shamima back.
The security minister said he will not put British people’s lives at risk to save people like Shamima Begum who left the UK to join the Islamic state group.
Security minister Bell Wallace told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme:
I’m not putting at risk British people’s lives to go and look for terrorists or former terrorists in a failed state.
There’s consular services elsewhere in the region and the strong message this Government has given for many years is that actions have consequences.
Mr Wallace told Sky News it was “worrying” Shamima Begum does not regret her decision to join Isis but added as a British citizen she has a “right to come home” but “actions have consequences”.
Reacting to Shamima’s plea to be allowed to return home for the sake of her unborn child, Piers Morgan shared a screenshot of an article where she asked to be brought home and he replied simply, “No.”
In another tweet, he wrote:
Don’t let these despicable terrorist-loving traitors anywhere near Britain again.
According to a new report by the World Poverty Clock, a Vienna-based data lab, over 91 million Nigerians are now living in extreme poverty, and at least three million Nigerians have slipped into extreme poverty between November 2018 and February 2019.
According to the report, 91.16 million Nigerians were living below a dollar a day as of February 13, 2019. Recall that in June 2018, the Brookings Institution projected that Nigeria had overtaken India as the poverty capital of the world, with 86.9 million extremely poor people.
This was further confirmed by British Prime Minister, Theresa May, who said Nigeria had become home to the largest number of very poor people in the world, putting the figures at 87 million.
“Much of Nigeria is thriving, with many individuals enjoying the fruits of a resurgent economy, yet 87 million Nigerians live below $1 and 90 cents a day, making it home to more very poor people than any other nation in the world,” Prime Minister May had said.
Since May made this observation in South Africa in August, the number of Nigerians living in extreme poverty has grown to 91.16 million, with six people falling into poverty every minute, according to Brookings Institution. Today, India has 48.7 million people living in poverty, from 73 million in June 2018. By implication, India has pulled out a minimum of 24 million people from poverty in less than eight months.
According to the World Bank, a person can be said to be living in extreme poverty, if he or she lives below the poverty line of $1.90 or N693.5 per day. The bank in its explanation of poverty levels said “when estimating poverty using monetary measures, one may have a choice between using income or consumption as the indicator of well-being. “Most analysts argue that, provided the information on consumption obtained from a household survey is detailed enough, consumption will be a better indicator of poverty measurement than income.”
However, using the World Bank’s poverty line, if you live below $1.90 a day, you will be classified as living in extreme poverty.
Safaree Samuels and Erica Mena sat for an interview with People Espanol, CHICA, where they spoke about their love and relationship.
Though most say their relationship is simply for clout, the Love & Hip Hop couple say it’s real.
Safaree first laid eyes on Erica in 2003, when the video vixen was working on a shoot with Park Slope and the HoodStars for “La-Dee Da-Dee.” They didn’t begin dating until recently.
Explaining why she loves Safaree, 37, Erica said Safaree has put in the effort to connect with her 11-year-old.
She tells CHICA: “He took the time to not only get to know my son King, but he got a chance to kind of learn him, and how he feels and what we’ve been through.”
She added: “I’m a single mom and so sorry King has never really met anyone besides my previous engagement, and that experience was definitely traumatizing.”
But that’s not the reason her son is a hard sell. Instead it’s because he’s engaged, smart and, well, skeptical.
She continued to speak about her son, saying: “He likes to talk about … politics and global warming and he’s really big on coding. So it’s kind of hard to persuade him and get him excited. It’s not like, you know, the average kid, where you could take him to a basketball game, and he’s, like, in love with you. No.”
But now Safaree and the boy have nicknames for each other, and they talk girls. It also doesn’t hurt that Erica’s mother, who hasn’t been a fan of her former relationships, “loves him.”
Arica said: “He makes everyone laugh…. He loves to joke around and dance.”
The leader of the now proscribed secessionist group, IPOB, tweeted this via his official twitter handle last night. He had hitherto called on members of the group to boycott tomorrow, February 16th presidentil election as a way to demand for a referendum for the creation of Biafra.
Singer, Beyonce looked as stylish as ever as she stepped out with her husband, rapper Jay- Z for an exhibition opening inside the UTA Artist Space in Beverly Hills on Wednesday night.
The mother of three rocked a plunging Ankara suit with matching wide-brim hat and strappy mocha heels.
While her husband, Jay-Z kept it casual in black trousers, sweatshirt, white sneakers, and a custom Marcy hat by Hood Hat.
Continue to see more photos below.
Late in December, Miley Cyrus and Liam Hemsworth secretly got married in their home in Franklin, Tennessee with just a few friends and family members in attendance.
On Thursday, the singer posted never-seen-before photos from their nuptial to wish her husband a Happy Valentine’s Day.
Captioning one of the photos, Miley wrote: ‘Thank you for always bending down to hug me … I promise I will always meet you in the middle on my tippiest toes! I love you Valentine!’
See full photos below.
Singer, Ciara and her husband Russell Wilson are celebrating the Valentine’s Day in a very special way.
Few hours after they proclaimed love for each other on social media, Russell took to his Instagram page to share loved-up photo of them in bed. He also showed off the two G-wagons they got themselves for Valentine’s Day.
See full photos below.
Kyari, has just written an article titled ‘Tomorrow Never Dies’ where he accused foreign countries of interfering in the matters of Nigeria.
Read the full article below…
President Muhammadu Buhari has campaigned in this election exactly as he has governed since 2015, true to the values in which he has believed all his adult life: our security, a diversified economy and an administration free from the scourge of corruption and the sleazy mediocrity it fuels.
Buhari has not changed, and with good reason. Without these attributes, Nigeria will not know peace, prosperity or the rule of law: the only real foundations on which free and fair elections and genuine democracy can thrive. He is stubborn and resolute in defence of these values. This irritates quite a number in the elite, and especially those who, four years ago, thought that they could play the President and use his popularity to continue to steal and cheat the people.
These players have failed. They are angry but they have not yet given up. They have some unlikely allies. Our traditional friends in the US and Europe say they want nothing from Nigeria except free and fair elections. But if you look at what their representatives here actually do rather than what they say, the unmistakeable signs of a quite different agenda are plain to see.
It’s easy to forget where we were, a country falling apart, unable even to protect school girls and where corruption defined every aspect of so much of our public life and private business. Today our media ignore the revelations in a Milan court of how oil companies and fixers stuffed cash in suitcases and the nine-figure bank accounts of former PDP justice ministers and spy chiefs and Presidents.
This failure goes beyond individuals or particular political parties, although it is true that our decline accelerated under the PDP after the end of military rule in 1999, a betrayal that Atiku Abubakar and many of his allies hope forlornly to revive and celebrate.
Our young people see only the devastation that has been visited upon them, too young to remember the vibrant rural economy that once gave us the wealth for the schools and hospitals we are only now beginning to revive.
They cannot imagine the rubber plantations where for decades Dunlop and Michelin made tyres for Nigeria and the world. The factories are long since closed. Our palm oil was once a world leader but it is only now, under this government, that we are reviving an industry on life support. We have timber, we have hardworking people – and yet we came to be importing even simple school desks and bedframes. We have so much of what we need for fertilisers, yet government after government preferred to let the plants we had already built go to waste for easy commissions on second-rate imports. Textiles used to employ thousands, and will do again, when we allow our talent fairly to compete on the international stage.
A major crude producer with four refineries that once delivered petroleum products for home consumption and export, Nigeria was reduced to importing petroleum products as if we were Burkina Faso or Bangladesh, not a leading member of OPEC. Our golden goose was starved. The military and the PDP took all the money, they didn’t pay oil partners what we owed and only now, after this government’s efforts, speaking plainly and finding real solutions, can we begin to grow exports that have stagnated for 30 years.
When our private banks collapsed (again) in 2009, the outstanding liabilities were N5.7 trillion. It is hard to imagine a sum of money, so vast, owed by so few, to so many. The list of decay is long. And yet this was the inherited culture of government – ‘to those that have, give more’ – that we have challenged, a culture where every declared reform was in fact a disguise to privatise profit and leave the rest of us with all the risk.
Nigeria has almost as many problems as we have people. But it also has all the resources to meet our needs, if they are properly managed and honestly marshalled. Think where we would be today, but for all the time wasted, the prosperity we would enjoy and the better partner we might have been to our friends in the region and further afield! Buhari is not a populist but he is popular because he is delivering on our most basic needs first.
Do our foreign friends simply not understand what is at stake, or do they actually want us to fail? We know we are not equal partners, and do not pretend to be so. In our own time in government, the US, the UK and the EU let us know subtly, and often not so subtly, what we should be doing on everything from currency reform to fuel deregulation and the import of toothpicks.
They have their own subsidies to protect key strategic interests, their farmers and steel plants, but condemn our own efforts to protect the poorest and most vulnerable from an unregulated market for food, transport and housing, or to create and protect space for new opportunities and innovation to flourish. This is not so much a question of policy, but integrity: we, at least, mean what we say. So many past governments in Nigeria did not.
Our transition has been difficult because Nigeria needs radical change, which we have been delivering, despite ingenious and often disingenuous resistance from vested interests and the business-as-usual brigade. Which begs the question: is there a difference between what suits Nigeria’s real national interest and what suits the interests of the Great Powers? The years of failure were characterised by hypocrisy and betrayal by our leaders, who were in turn easy targets for manipulation – much easier for foreign powers to manage than a government genuinely looking to repair and revive today so that we can build tomorrow. And tomorrow never dies.
I always knew that business-as-usual had a powerful self-interest in resisting CHANGE. I had hoped their tentacles did not stretch so far or so easily beyond our borders, that a good case, well made, would receive a fair hearing. In three and a half years in government, I have learned that decent argument and hard facts face stiff competition from vested interests that seem so easily to sway people who should know better. A convenient lie is not better than an uncomfortable truth.
Nowhere is this more clear than the contrived debate on the conduct of elections. Buhari’s commitment to the democratic process is a matter of record, time and again. All of the work to rebuild our public institutions, restore our values and recalibrate our future prospects can succeed only in a democracy in which the integrity of elections is sacrosanct.
Instead of judging Nigeria by our actions, it seems altogether too easy for foreign partners to be swayed by the expensive words of lobbyists. Riva Levinson has been hired by Bukola Saraki. She was trained by Paul Manafort and Roger Stone (both caught up in the probe into interference by foreign powers in the US elections in 2016) and guide earlier in her career to dictators like Siad Barre, unprincipled warlords like Jonas Savimbi, or frauds like Iraqi exile Ahmed Chalabi, the man who neo-conned the Bush White House. We are meant to be believe that Ms Levinson, like the others who are paid by one of the contestants, wants only to promote a free and fair race. And that it is only a coincidence that this language for hire is identical to what we hear from accredited diplomats!
By omission or commission, it appears it may actually suit our friends, deep down, below the pious words, to see Nigeria a basket case, begging bowl in hand, than the partner we could, should and will prove to be. And we have been here before. At the end of 1984, British diplomats predicted a coup against the then Buhari government, with whom London was quarrelling over everything from apartheid to economic policy (as we knew then, and as it turned out, Buhari was right).
Glowing profiles of Ibrahim Babangida were prepared and telegrams of congratulation were drafted. Mrs Thatcher put the project on ice, at least for a few months, but it was not long before foreign powers concluded that their best interests would be served by people who told them everything they wanted to hear on democratisation and reform, but, as they could and should have known, meant precisely none of it. Nigeria lived through the consequences of this systemic deception. We lost so much in the 30 years after 1985, but nothing so precious as the loss of confidence in our values and what we as a nation could be.
In the 19th century, Lord Palmerston, Britain’s Prime Minister and one of the country’s most celebrated diplomats, observed that “nations have no permanent friends or allies, they only have permanent interests.” We have been delivering on a programme to restore the rule of law, to build democracy and strengthen security, to deal with corruption and to create opportunity in a new meritocracy. It is a platform that helps tackle violent extremism, illegal migration, trafficking and financial crime. These are the very issues that are central to the interests of our foreign friends, and we are producing results.
Nigeria will make its choice on Saturday. It has never before had a government that has more clearly demonstrated through words and actions its commitment to transparency and the rule of law, protecting good judges and decent public office-holders from the corruption of their peers. Voters are free to move forwards to a better future or back to the desperate past from which we are now beginning to emerge. Our election commission is independent and has all resources it needs to do its job.
We should all be wise to the risks, including partial and premature announcements of unofficial results from unverifiable sources, especially when one party has already declared well in advance that it cannot lose unless there is rigging. There should be no interference from any quarter, including foreign powers who say one thing but do another – exactly the formula that their friends here have employed for years to bring us so close to despair.
Abba Kyari is Chief of Staff to President Muhammadu Buhari
President Buhari addressed the nation ahead of Saturday’s presidential election.
Below is the full text of his speech:
On Saturday, February 16, 2019, you will, once again, be called upon to choose the leaders who will pilot the affairs of our great nation for the next four years. This is a constitutional right which should be freely exercised by all eligible voters.
2. I wish therefore to start by assuring all Nigerians that this Government will do its very best to ensure that the 2019 elections take place in a secure and peaceful atmosphere.
3. It was indeed such free, fair and peaceful elections that made it possible for our Government to emerge, despite the fact that we were contesting against a long-standing incumbent party.
4. And as your president and a fellow Nigerian, I ask that you come out and queue to fulfill this important obligation you have to yourselves and your fellow citizens – and to our common future.
5. Let me at this point, reaffirm the commitment of the Federal Government to the conduct of free and fair elections in a safe and peaceful atmosphere. Just yesterday, I signed the Peace Accord alongside 72 other presidential candidates.
6. I want to assure all Nigerians, the diplomatic community and all foreign election observers of their safety and full protection. Any comments or threats of intimidation from any source do not represent the position of the Federal Government of Nigeria.
7. As Government has a critical role in maintaining the democratic traditions, so do citizens. I therefore urge you all, as good Nigerians, to take a personal interest in promoting and maintaining peace in your respective neighbourhoods during the elections. This is certainly not a time to allow personal, religious, sectional or party interests to drive us to desperation.
8. At this point, I want to make a special appeal to our youth: Do not allow yourselves to be used to cause violence and destruction. The people who want to incite you are those preparing the ground for discrediting the elections. Having lost the argument, they fear losing the elections.
9. When you elected me in 2015, it was essentially in consequence of my promise of CHANGE. We committed ourselves to improving security across the country, putting the economy on a sound footing and tackling rampant corruption, which had in many ways become a serious drawback to national development.
10. Our Government spent the last 3 years and 9 months striving faithfully to keep this promise, in spite of very serious revenue shortages caused mainly by a sharp drop in international oil prices and an unexpected rise in the vandalisation of oil installations, which, mercifully have now been curtailed.
11. We nevertheless pressed on in our quest to diversify the economy, create jobs, reduce commodity prices and generally improve the standard of living among our people.
12. The damage that insecurity and corruption have done, over time, to our collective livelihood is incalculable. However, it is pleasing to note that our frontal attack on these twin evils is gaining momentum and bringing about visible progress.
13. The recovery of the economy from recession is complete and Nigeria is back on the path of steady growth.
14. The key to creating more jobs lies in accelerating this momentum of economic growth. Happily, we have succeeded in making the fundamental changes necessary for this acceleration, and we are now beginning to see the efforts bearing fruit.
15. Our ease of doing business policies and programmes are already impacting medium, small and micro industries, as well as Manufacturing, Mining and Agriculture, among other key sectors.
16. Our commitment to critical infrastructure – that is Roads, Rails, Bridges, Airports and Seaports – will create more jobs, improving the efficiency and competitiveness of our industries.
17. Many of these projects are at different stages of completion, and those who use them regularly will attest to the fact that even while construction is ongoing, they are beginning to see reduced travel times. This will ultimately translate to reduced costs and greater convenience, making transportation, and business in particular, much easier.
19. The economic recovery that we promised is well underway, as demonstrated by the recently released statistics. In 2018, the economy grew by 1.93%, with the Fourth Quarter growth being 2.38%, up from 1.81% in the Third Quarter.
20. Remarkably, the strong economic performance was driven by the Non-Oil sector, which grew at 2% as at full year. Indeed, Non-Oil growth rose to 2.7% in the Fourth Quarter of 2018, up from 2.32% in the Third Quarter. These results further underscore our commitment to diversifying the economy away from the past dependence on Oil.
21. Other indicators confirm the economy’s steady recovery. Our monthly food import bill has declined from $664 million in January 2015 to $160 million as at October 2018. Inflation fell from 18.72% in January 2017 to 11.44% in December 2018. Our External Reserves have risen from $23 billion in October 2016 to $43.12 billion as at 7th February 2019.
22. Now that the recession is well behind us, our next task is to redouble our efforts, accelerate the growth and use it to create even more jobs for our people.
23. The Executive Orders, No. 5, and No. 7 issued by me, and the recently approved National Infrastructure Maintenance Policy demonstrate our commitment to accelerated job creation and infrastructure development.
24. We believe that Governments cannot simply proclaim jobs into existence. Job creation will only expand as a result of economic policies that enable the private sector to flourish, and this is the approach our Administration has taken.
25. Executive Order No 5, which Promotes Nigerian Content in Contracts, as well as Science, Engineering and Technology, will preserve and prioritize job creation for our citizens.
26. Executive Order 7, on the Road Infrastructure Development and Refurbishment Investment Tax Credit Scheme, seeks to mobilize private capital and capacity for infrastructure development.
27. It responds to the demands of manufacturing and industrial complexes which wish to construct access roads without waiting for government, so long as they are allowed to recover the cost from taxes they would have paid to government.
28. We expect that this approach will boost industrial expansion and rural development, consequently creating more jobs for our people.
29. Similarly, our recently issued Maintenance Policy targets artisans, carpenters, welders, tailors, painters, bricklayers, electricians, plumbers, landscapers and many more Ordinary Nigerians at the base of our economic pyramid who will get regular and large-scale opportunities to improve themselves.
30. It is an economic solution that also brings the relevant artisans and professionals into long term sustainable employment to maintain our Schools, Court Rooms, Hospitals, Police Stations, Federal Secretariats and other Public Buildings.
31. Human Capital Development has also been a key priority for this Administration, which has increased investments in health and education. Innovative measures have been introduced to complement the traditional budgetary allocations to the relevant Ministries.
32. For instance, Nigeria Sovereign Investment Authority has invested US$21 million in three healthcare projects as a Public Private Partnership with three Federal medical institutions. These include two modern Medical Diagnostic Centres located at Aminu Kano Teaching Hospital, Kano and the Federal Medical Centre, Umuahia; as well as one outpatient Cancer Treatment Centre in Lagos University Teaching Hospital, Lagos – which I commissioned on 9th February 2019.
33. Of course, our radical commitment to developing Critical Infrastructure is the foundation upon which we will deliver an all embracing national prosperity and a shared commonwealth.
34. There is no country that aspires to greatness without spending massively on its Critical Infrastructure. Rather than the discredited policy of ‘stomach infrastructure’, which could only benefit a few for a little while, we are focused on real infrastructural development for the growth of our economy and the long-term benefit of all Nigerians.
35. When you voted for our message of CHANGE, you invited us to assume office and depart from that bad and most regrettable choice. We have responded by making a choice for real infrastructure of Roads in every State, Housing in 34 States, Power Stations across Nigeria, Rail from Lagos to Kano.
36. The choice that now confronts us is whether we want to continue with real infrastructure development, which is the road to prosperity and jobs or return to the era of ‘stomach infrastructure’.
37. Agricultural Self-Reliance and Food Security is also a choice we made in fulfilment of your mandate for change.
38. Our Presidential Fertiliser Initiative has resulted in savings of US$150 million in foreign exchange due to local sourcing of inputs at 16 Blending Plants. It has also conserved N60 billion in Subsidies as well as supported tens of thousands of farmers and agro-dealers nationwide.
39. Our Anchor Borrowers’ Programme has substantially raised local rice yields from as low as two Metric Tonnes per hectare, to as high as eight Metric Tonnes per hectare.
40. Through this programme, the Central Bank of Nigeria has cumulatively lent over N120 billion to over 720,000 smallholder farmers cultivating 12 commodities across the 36 States and Abuja. Targeted crops and livestock have included cattle, poultry, fish, cassava, soybeans, ground nut, ginger, sorghum, rice, wheat, cotton and maize.
41. As a result, we have seen a remarkable rise in the production of key agricultural commodities. I am pleased to note that in major departmental stores and local markets, there has been a surge in the supply of high quality Nigerian agricultural produce.
42. Behind each of these products, are thousands of industrious Nigerians working in factories and farms across the nation. Our interventions have led to improved wealth and job creation for these Nigerians, particularly in our rural communities.
43. Again, these outcomes have been a major departure from the previous focus on consuming imported food items, which literally exported our children’s jobs to food-exporting nations, whilst depleting our precious foreign exchange reserves. This, of course, caused a closure of our factories while keeping open other peoples’ factories.
44. The choice made by this Administration to assist farmers directly and promote agriculture in every way possible has gone a long way to enhance our food security while enabling us to tackle poverty by feeding over nine million children daily under our Home-Grown School Feeding Programme. It also puts us clearly on the road to becoming a food secure and agriculture exporting nation.
45. Next to Agriculture, we are focusing on Manufacturing Sector. The Purchasing Managers Index, which is the measure of manufacturing activities in an economy has risen for 22 consecutive months as at January this year, indicating continuous growth and expansion in our manufacturing sector.
46. I will conclude by going back to where I started: that our choices have had consequences about employment and cost of living.
47. In making your choice this time, please ask yourself whether, and in what ways, others will do anything different to address the issues of Agriculture, Infrastructure, Security, Good Governance and Fighting Corruption.
48. If they are only hoping to do what we are already doing successfully, we are clearly your preferred choice.
49. Think carefully and choose wisely. This time, it is a choice about consolidating on growth for Jobs and Prosperity.
50. February 16th is all about a choice. But it is more than a choice between APC and the opposition. It is a choice about you, it is a choice between going back or keeping the momentum of CHANGE.
51. The road to greater prosperity for Nigeria may be long, but what you can be assured of is a Leadership that is not prepared to sacrifice the future well-being of Nigerians for our own personal or material needs. You can be assured of my commitment to remain focused on working to improve the lives of all Nigerians.
52. Thank you very much for listening. God bless you, and may God bless the Federal Republic of Nigeria.