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There’s a wise saying in Yoruba land, which goes thus: “If you like, feed the entire city with pounded yam, egusi soup and stockfish on a daily basis, there’ll still be people who won’t like you.”

Let’s be honest and frank with ourselves. There are some people with primordial antipathy towards President Muhammadu Buhari, despite the man’s strong commitment towards transforming every part of the country. Some people have simply closed their minds, eyes and ears, and the President can just do no good.

President Buhari, however, equally has very committed loyalists in every part of the country, not minding some people who have chosen to believe the worst things, and addled their minds in the process.

Last weekend, wealthy businessman and philanthropist, Chief Arthur Eze, struck the nail on the head. He looked deeply at his own South East region of the country, and came out with a conclusion: “The President is man of the moment for the Igbo and the entire South East.

“President Buhari has demonstrated uncommon goodwill towards the people of the South East geopolitical zone, and should now rest assured of our unalloyed support and loyalty.”

Bull’s eye!
But what did Chief Eze see, that brought him to such conclusion, though he had been a supporter of the President for some time? Roads. Bridges, Akanu Ibiam International Airport, Owerri Interchange, Zik’s Mausoleum, great infrastructural projects that the region has not seen in a long while, if at any time.

In late 2018, Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, unfolded a minimum of 69 different projects being undertaken by the Federal Government in South East alone, all amounting to about N680 billion. Of course, top on the list is the Second River Niger Bridge, which was built with mouth in the 16 years of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) in power. The project is about 48% gone, and billed for completion in first quarter of 2022.

You have the Enugu-Port Harcourt road. Enugu-Onitsha road, and at least 67 other projects. The list is in the public domain.

Just recently, President Buhari approved a Zonal Police Headquarters (Zone 13) located at Ukpo Dunukofia, in Anambra State. It was inaugurated during the week, and will go a long way in addressing the security concerns of people of the region.

Now, do you do all these for people you don’t like? Not at all.
It is disingenuous for anyone to claim that President Buhari does not like any part of the country, most especially the South East.

When the former Major General joined the political fray in 2002, and contested for President in 2003, who was his running mate? Former Senate President, Dr Chuba Okadigbo,
a true Igbo son.

In 2007, who ran with Buhari? Another true Igbo son, and former Speaker, House of Representatives, Chief Edwin Ume-Ezeoke.

And when former Vice President, Dr Alex Ekwueme fell deathly ill, President Buhari arranged his evacuation abroad by air ambulance. When he eventually passed on, he was given a most befitting national burial. Do you do that for a people you don’t like? Hardly.

After Ekwueme’s burial, Dr Chris Ngige, another illustrious Igbo son, came to the Federal Executive Council meeting, and gave the appreciation of the region to the President. What did Buhari say?

“I’ve only done what the Constitution prescribes should be done for a former Vice President. In flying him abroad when it became necessary, in giving him national burial, I just did what should be done for a former Number 2 man in the country.”

That is President Buhari for you. He gives every man his due, every region what they deserve. Fairness to all.

Evergreen is the testimony of retired Ambassador Ignatius Olisemeka about the then General Buhari, shortly before the 2015 presidential election.

“Without ever knowing or meeting me, Buhari gave me a chance,” the Ambassador, then 83 years old, wrote.
“As I now write, I have never met him one-on-one. We have never spoken to each other. It is an extraordinary experience of an unusual man.

“I was sitting on my desk in the Ministry of External Affairs, 40 Marina, Lagos, in 1984, when I received a letter appointing me Ambassador to the United States of America. My place of origin did not matter… My religion did not matter. I had no worthwhile contacts with Dodan Barracks…”

That’s the same Buhari that revisionists would want us to believe is nepotistic, myopic, insular, and who would never appoint a non-Fulani into any position of substance. Tufiakwa!

I remember something they twisted against the President in 2015, and which they have stuck stubbornly and irrationally to, despite our many clarifications.

We were in Washington, USA, on an official visit. And the President met with Nigerians based in that country. A question came on how he would fill political positions, since he got less than 5% votes in some parts of the country.
The President said in politics, it made sense to reward those who voted for you, more than those who didn’t. If you got 95% votes in some areas, and 5% votes in others, it stood to reason that those who voted more should get more positions. Then he added: “But the Nigerian Constitution forbids any leader from doing such, and I will do as the Constitution prescribes.”

What did mischief makers do? They took the video recording of the earlier part of the President’s speech, cutting off the part where he balanced it. And they began to share it far and wide, just to portray nepotism. They repeat it till tomorrow, despite many explanations, simply because it suits their heinous purpose.

Despite the sparse number of votes in the South East in 2015 and 2019 elections, would we be right to say the entire region is arrayed against the President? Not so. After the 2015 election was won, I remember a piece I wrote in Daily Sun Newspaper, under the headline, ‘Igbo Heroes of Change.’ I mentioned people who contributed significantly to the Buhari victory like Chief Ralph Obiora, Dr Chris Ngige, Chief Orji Uzor Kalu, Hon Juventus Ojukwu, Osita Okechukwu, and many others.

Also today, we have great admirers of the President from the South East, and some of them will stand by him through thick and thin. I am talking of people like Joe Igbokwe, Dr Uche Diala , Peter Claver Oparah, Emeka Oparah, Dr Kelechi Nwagwu, Zara Gift Oyinye, Jewel Ifunaya Chika, Dr Emmanuel Nwusulor, Anozie Emeka, Abuchi Anueyiagu, Egondu Okorie,and uncountable others, which space won’t permit me to mention.

For President Buhari, when he does anything in any part of the country, he does it because it’s the right and fair thing to do. Most of the 69 projects going on in the South East had been awarded before 2015. But they were never funded. The President reversed the trend, and most of them are proceeding apace, and will be legacies by the time the man exits from office.

President Buhari has his eyes on history, and he will have his place in the pantheon of honor. At the onset of COVID-19 and its devastation on the economy, I was glad to hear him instruct the Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning, Zainab Ahmed: “No matter what happens, salaries of workers must not fail, pensions must not fail, and funding of infrastructure must not stop.”

Don’t you like the commitment of this President? I sure do.

I commend Chief Arthur Eze for being forthright and true about the President and the South East. Coming a week after Governor Nyesom Wike of Rivers State expressed similar sentiments about the fairness of the President, it’s time for those in entrenched positions to open their eyes and see, open their ears and hear, lest they become perpetually blind and deaf. Willfully so.

President Buhari does justice to every part of the country. Those who had imbibed a lie should now wake up, and smell the coffee.

*Adesina is Special Adviser on Media and Publicity to President Buhari

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Chinese Loans: Again, Eze assures no peril to Nigeria’s sovereignty



Chieftain of the All Progressives Congress and erstwhile National Publicity Secretary of the defunct New People’s Democratic Party (nPDP), Chief Eze Chukwuemeka Eze, has again, allayed the fear that China may soon invade the country to take over critical national assets to settle Nigeria’s sovereign debts.

In a statement made available to media houses, Eze, who had earlier lent his voice against the viral misinterpretation of the loan clause to serve some whimsical interests said, there is need for proper public enlightenment and  understanding of the subject to save Nigerians the unnecessary trending kerfuffle.

Recall that China has also come out to deny any clause on the loan agreement transferring Nigeria’s sovereignty to her. This was made known by the Chinese foreign Ministry where the country denied imposing it’s will on the internal affairs of African countries. The statement equally debunked the rumour that China seeks selfish political gains in her development supports to African countries.

Going forward, Chief Eze  said the loan amount in controversy which stands at $500 Million is critical to the funding and completion of the 2000 Kilometers Port Harcourt – Maiduguri rail project (Eastern Rail Line), which he said is of cardinal importance to the city of Port Harcourt and the rest of the South/East.

The party Chief opined that the project which  connects Port Harcourt, Owerri, Nnewi, Anambra, Awka and Abakeliki also links Gombe and Yobe and will only provoke speedy economic acceleration. Chief Eze said halting the loan will amount to sheer wickedness and unfairness because the project, when completed, will generate jobs in massive hundreds to people of the South/East and some part of the South/South, improve the economies of states and generate revenue to the Federal and state governments of the South-East region, as well as Port Harcourt Yobe, Gombe and Maiduguri.

In further pacifying the panicky mode which citizens have been thrown into by the fictitious interpretation of a clause inserted in the loan agreement, the party chief said it is an Internationally and legally recognised standard of practice and referred Nigerians to his previous publication on the subject matter for better clarification, stressing that the country is safe and her sovereignty unshaken and intact.

Eze noted with grief, the high-tech politics playing-out to frustrate the plan of the APC led Government to revive the rail system within the three key regions of the country that could aid the country to revive it’s economy.

Without any doubt, every Nigerian is fully aware that the South South is the main sustainer of the economy of Nigeria through her resources, mainly Oil, while the South East is the major purveyor and engine oil through which the economy is sustained as the hub of the commercial activities of this Nation with the North East as the Food Basket of the country which if harnessed will not only feed the entire populace, but will also provide other means of raising resources apart from oil to sustain the economy and enhance sources of livelihood.

The importance of these regions that provides major resources that sustain the economy of this country and to the overall being of Nigeria need not be overemphasized so with few member of a cabal plotting to deny these regions the required loan to facilitate the provision of modern rail system already provided for the South West and some parts of the North Central and North West is not only unpatriotic but sheer wickedness.

One need not consult an economist to imagine the monumental loss Nigeria particularly, these regions will incur should this plot to deny these regions a modern rail system sees the light of day.

Eze highlighted that the South East is the commercial hub of Nigeria and require proper transport system to thrive economically. He posited that it will remain easier and cheaper  to smuggle shoes from Aba to Cameroon than any part of the North East without the railway system in the East. Eze expressed worries that the Igbos suffer all kinds of losses including robbery attacks, too much payment to police and customs in moving containers from Lagos to the East.

He reiterated that the East remains the largest producers of Palm oil in West Africa and to transport palm oil containers from East to other parts of Nigeria by road is a business killer plot.

He said any Nigerian patriot will definitely sob for the South South, South Eastern and North Eastern Regions, should the Chinese Loan to revive the rail system in these regions turns out a failure.

Eze appealed to the National Assembly not to fall into the hands of the enemies of the regions and support the Buhari’s Administration in its efforts to fulfill the APC Pledge to the Easterners by approving the Loan required in this regard.

Should this plot scale through, the party Chief said, the Easterners and North Easterners will  understand who their enemies are; not President Buhari, not  Amaechi but the cabal that wants to destroy Nigeria if their unholy plot to govern Nigeria come 2023 fails.

Similarly, the party chieftain quoted the  Debt Management Office as saying that the total value of loans taken by Nigeria from China as at March 31, 2020, was $3.121 billion. This represents only about 3.94% of Nigeria’s total public debt of $79.303 as at March 31, 2020. Furthermore, in terms of external sources of funds, loans from China accounted for 11.28% of the external debt stock of $27.67 at the same date. He said the report appropriately points that China is not a major source of funding for the Nigerian Government.

According to Eze and the DMO report, the afore-mentioned loans are concessionary loans, with interest rates of 2.5% per annum, tenor of 20 years, and a moratorium of 7 years.

He said Nigerians could get further details about the loan terms from the DMO website.

Further quoting the DMO, Chief Eze said total loans from China is $3.121 and are project-tied and listed some to include: The Nigerian Railway Modernization Project (Idu-Kaduna section), Abuja Light Rail Project, Nigerian Four Airport Terminals Expansion Project (Abuja, Kano, Lagos and Port Harcourt), Nigerian Railway Modernization Project (Lagos-Ibadan section), and Rehabilitation and Upgrading of Abuja-Keffi- Makurdi Road Projects.

As stated by the DMO, Eze said the impacts of these loans are not only evident but visible. For instance, the Idu-Kaduna Rail line has become a major source of transportation between Abuja and Kaduna.

Also, the new International Airport in Abuja, has improved air transportation for the populace, while the Lagos-Ibadan rail line will ease traffic on the busy Lagos-Ibadan expressway.

He called on Nigerians to support President Mohammadu Buhari and the Transportation Minister, Rt. Hon. Chibuike Rotimi Amaechi, to deliver more dividends to the Nigerian people.

Chief Eze Chukwuemeka Eze. APC Chieftain & former National Publicity Secretary, nPDP

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Ecobank Group announces the 2020 Fintech Challenge Finalists



 Ecobank Group  today announced the finalists from  the 2020 Ecobank Fintech Challenge. The challenge, in its third edition, is designed to deepen collaboration between Ecobank and Fintechs with Africa focused products.

The 10 finalists Fintechs from 7  different countries, who emerged from a competitive pool of over 600 fintechs, will participate in an online Finale scheduled for August 21, 2020.

The 2020 Finalists are:

Always In-Touch Real-time ( South Africa), Fluid AI (India), Franc Group (South Africa), Growth Factor (Ghana), Leaf Global Corporation (Rwanda), Moja Ride (Ivory Coast), Nokwary Technologies Limited (Ghana), Papersoft S.A (Mozambique), Ukheshe Payment Solutions (South Africa), PayChap Technologies (Tanzania).

The Finalists  will pitch their products to a jury for the cash prizes for the  top 3, worth US$10,000, US$7,000, and US$5,000.  All the finalists will be enrolled into Ecobank’s Fintech Fellowship where they will spend the next 6 months exploring partnership opportunities which includes :

  • Multinational product roll out: An opportunity to pursue collaboration with Ecobank and possibly launch products in Ecobank’s  33 African markets.
  • Service provider partnerships: A chance to become a pan-African service partner to Ecobank for Fintechs with the qualities to become product partners and offer joint services with Ecobank
  • Mentoring and networking support:  Access to networking and mentoring opportunities within the Ecobank Group and its vast network of global and African partners
  • Integration with existing Ecobank digital offerings: An opportunity to potentially integrate with Ecobank’s existing digital offerings.

Eddy Ogbogu, Group Executive, Operations & Technology  said, “we congratulate the 10 Fintechs that have made it to the 2020 Finals. This is an impressive cast of innovators and we  look forward to the Final event where we will honour them and potentially build productive collaborations.”

The Ecobank Fintech Challenge is designed in partnership with the advisory firm Konfidants and is supported by partners across Africa and globally.

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The Claim on Palliatives is Baseless – Odili



The Niger Delta Development Commission, NDDC, has refuted claims by the erstwhile Chairman of the COVID-19 Palliatives Distribution Committee of the NDDC, High Chief Sobomabo Jackrich, that N6.25 billion funds approved for the procurement and distribution of COVID 19 palliatives to the poor people of the Niger Delta region was embezzled by the Interim Management Committee, IMC.

The Commission in a statement signed by NDDC Director, Corporate Affairs, Charles Obi Odili and circulated to local, regional and international news platforms, journalists, editors and media practitioners stated that the allegation, “is another false claim orchestrated by the same forces who have been waging a campaign of falsehood against the Commission and its management since President Muhammadu Buhari ordered a forensic audit of the operations of the Commission in the past 19 years. Although the Commission is minded to ignore this claim, we have to respond to re-assure our stakeholders that the IMC is honest in the management of the common trust in their care.”

The statement went further to state the facts thus:


*High Chief Jackrich approached the Commission to work with it in different ways. He was then chosen to oversee the Committee involved in the distribution of the COVID-19 Palliatives to communities in the Niger Delta. The Committee was put in place to ensure transparency in the process.


*Immediately the constitution of this committee was announced, some of the


State Governors reached out to the Commission that they would have nothing to do with it. Instead, they demanded that the palliatives meant for their states be given to them. In fact, one particular Governor declined to give the permit to move the items during the COVID lockdown unless the Commission directly deal with his government in the matter.


*The Education, Health and Social Services Directorate (EHSS), which oversees the COVID-19 response raised a memo advising management to accede to the demands of the governors. The memo dated May 22, 2020 argued that in view of the need to collaborate with state governments in the Niger Delta, the management should grant approval for state directors ‘to liaise with their respective state governments, on behalf of the Commission in drawing up a programme for the flag off and donation of the COVID-19 Palliative items in their respective states.


*On May 23 2020, management approved the request of the EHSS directorate. As a result of this approval and the change in policy, the task of the High Chief Jackrich Committee became redundant. This means the High Chief was no longer and could no longer be involved in the direct distribution of the Palliatives. This also means he could not have accurate information on the exercise.


*As at today, none of the nine state governments has denied receiving its own share of the food items for distribution under the COVID-19 Palliatives programme.


*The bulk of Mr. Jackrich’s petition dwelt on the refusal of the IMC to pay him a humongous amount of money for being Chairman of the Committee. This has led to this blackmail.


It needs be stated that apart from the palliatives distribution to vulnerable people, the COVID-19 Intervention of N6.25 billion approved by President Buhari had two other components: the procurement of medical kits and a public sensitisation campaign. The following medical kits were procured:

  • 27 trilogy 202 ventilations,
  • 65 ECG Machines,
  • 54 RT PCR Machines,
  • 18 APC smart digital UPS 5KVA,
  • 36 infra-red thermometers,
  • 18 double jar suction machines,
  • 18 Fluid warmers,
  • 18 multi parameter patient monitors,
  • 94 standard ICU beds,
  • 95 oxygen cylinders,
  • 95 oxygen masks,
  •      95 infusion pumps,
  • 18 mobile X-ray machines,
  • 18 mobile ultrasound machines,
  • 18 mobile dialysis machines,
  • 18 arterial blood gas machines,
  • Sanitizers and syringe pumps.

According to Odili, all the procured equipment have been distributed to the nine Niger Delta states and received by the state governments.

“Beyond COVID-19, this intervention has boosted the health care delivery capacity of the nine states. We are grateful to Mr. President for this intervention, which has saved lives in the region” Odili declared.

Charles Obi Odili

Director, Corporate Affairs

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