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There will be no Nigeria if another Northerner becomes president in 2023, says Mbaka

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The Spiritual Director of the Adoration Ministry Enugu, Rev. Fr. Ejike Mbaka has predicted that the corporate existence of the country may come to an end if the north retains power in the forthcoming 2023 general elections.

Speaking during a sermon at the adoration ground in Enugu State, the popular Catholic priest warned President Muhammadu Buhari against planning to hand over power to the north.

According to Mbaka, the Northerners should forget about leadership in the coming political era, saying there may be a disaster if the north tries to impose the next President on Nigerians.

He said, “The issue of after Buhari, the North should lead again, President Buhari should better plan well and hand over to the South, but if the north wants to take over, this country will collapse.

“There may be no Nigeria again if the President, because of whatever, tries to hand over power back to the north. After Buhari, the Northerners should forget about leadership in this coming political era.

“If they try to make a northerner next President, disaster will happen, going forward will be impossible, going back will be a dream. Anyhow they want to do the political maneuvering, they should make sure that justice prevails.

“The spirit of the Lord has asked me to say this because they have what it takes to plant a northerner. Buhari should remember that Nigerians trusted him when he came in and he should remember that one day, he is leaving that place.”

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Nigeria would have been history if Buhari had not been president —Gov Ayade

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Cross River State Governor, Ben Ayade, has attributed Nigeria’s continued existence to the emergence of President Muhammadu Buhari in 2015, saying the country would have been history by now.

Ayade who spoke on a Channels Television programme, Sunrise Daily on Wednesday, said the efforts Buhari put in at tackling the myriad of problems the country faced caused by past administrations, was what kept the country together till date.

Ayade particularly lauded Buhari’s efforts at addressing insecurity in the country, insisting that without the President’s intervention by employing his military background in tackling the menace, terrorists and insurgents would have crippled the country.

According to Ayade, “there was an international conspiracy against the country, particularly the northern regions” and the country would have collapsed if Buhari had not intervened.

“Perhaps, if it was not Buhari’s administration with his military background, the country would have collapsed at this stage,” the Governor said.

Read also: Democracy is repugnant to natural justice —Gov Ayade

“People don’t know that because if you have been able to avoid risk, nobody can see it because it was avoided. I think the situation could have been worse,” he added.

On insecurity, Ayade had this to say:

“Security comes first and what President Buhari did on assumption of office was to curtail the onslaught of Boko Haram which was very important in order to prevent the implosion of the country.

“This country would have collapsed if not for Buhari’s military background and the situation could have been worse.

“The crisis we would have found ourselves in would have been worse than the ISIS crisis in the Middle East, so we Nigerians must give kudos to President Muhammadu Buhari,” he said.

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Elections timeline will only be published after passage of Electoral Bill —INEC

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The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has disclosed that the timeline for the upcoming 2023 elections will be released only after the passage of the Electoral Bill, still under consideration at the National Assembly.

This was contained in a statement issued on Tuesday by the INEC Chairman, Prof. Mahmood Yakubu, at the first quarterly meeting with political parties for 2022 in Abuja.

Yakubu further noted that the Commission was optimistic about the passage of the Bill due to the assurance by President Muhammadu Buhari who charged the NASS to ensure the Bill was prioritised.

Read also: National Assembly to re-present, pass electoral bill Wednesday – Lawan

He said, “On the Electoral Amendment Bill currently before the National Assembly, the commission is encouraged by the Senate President’s assurance to give priority attention to the Bill when the National Assembly reconvenes from its recess today, and the commitment by the President to assent to the Bill as soon as the issue of mode of primaries by political parties is resolved.

“We are looking forward to a speedy passage of the Bill, which is crucial to our preparations for the forthcoming elections. As soon as it is signed into law, the commission will quickly release the Timetable and Schedule of Activities for the 2023 General Election which will be based on the new law”.

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The best levelling-up strategy is hiding in plain sight

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It seems that no one knows what the government means by ‘levelling-up’. The White Paper explaining it has been delayed. And yet there is a clear strategy waiting to be embraced. It is an old one, called creating the conditions for growth. It is well known, yet it is being ignored as people look for something special and different.

There is a simple reason, backed up by research, that growth will deliver levelling-up. It is that the resources in the ‘behind’ regions are in greater supply. This is obviously the case, since this is why they need ‘levelling-up’. In our research on regional Britain we find clear evidence that higher demand provokes much faster rises in wages and prices in the ‘south’ than in the ‘north’, for this reason. This in turn implies that growth tends to favour the north. Infrastructure spending will then naturally gravitate to these parts since in practice it is demand-led by the usual cost-benefit analysis. One of the levelling-up fallacies going the rounds is that the north can be lifted up by differential infrastructure spending; yet this simply puts the cart before the horse.

The question then becomes how do we promote growth in the economy as a whole so that this levelling-up can also proceed. Again we know the answer well. It is through holding down tax rates, especially on entrepreneurs, and creating a permissive regulative environment in which the common law prevails preventing observable harm rather than the continental law philosophy of the EU in which possible harms are prevented in advance blanket intrusion.

Sadly, the government is not setting out this strategy for growth at all clearly or convincingly. It has paid lip service to the deregulative idea but there is no momentum behind its implementation; instead we hear constantly about how existing ‘standards’ will be upheld- which is code for doing nothing to alter existing regulations. As for taxes, we have heard plainly from the Chancellor’s last budget that even though he is in favour of low taxes, taxes will go up sharply- both on businesses and workers- and none will come down.

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The reason given for this tax policy is the state of the public finances, namely the high ratio of public debt to GDP post-Covid. The Treasury and its ally, the OBR, lose no opportunity to stress the possible catastrophes that await us if we do not urgently limit public borrowing, now that the debt ratio has reached around 100% of GDP. Yet history tells us that we have never defaulted on our debts even though the ratio went well above 200% of GDP both after the Napoleonic wars and after WW2. Also after the first the high debt ratio did not stop Gladstone’s sharp cuts in our high tariff rates; nor after the second did it stop the Labour government’s expensive policies to build the welfare state.

In both cases it took many years to bring the debt ratios down again to low ‘safe’ levels; meanwhile policies were pursued to promote growth and stabilise the economy as well as possible. It is the role of public debt to allow these policies to proceed smoothly without needing to be stopped and restarted to ‘bring down debt’.

As for the various short term ‘fiscal rules’ that governments have announced since the financial crisis of 2008, they have been jettisoned, rightly, on a regular basis. They completely miss the point about the smoothing role of public debt, on which the only constraint is long term solvency- something that for the UK has never been in doubt; the technical condition for it is simply that the growth in real debt must be less than the real interest rate. With the current real interest rate negative, this condition is easily met.

So what is to be done? We need to see a coherent government economic strategy to promote growth through low taxes and growth-friendly regulation; this in turn will create levelling-up as the growth reaches the parts of the economy current policies cannot reach. As part of this strategy, the government needs to explain how this fits in with a long term plan to maintain solvency and keep the public finances solid. Of course there is no contradiction between a stable economy growing solidly and strong public finances gradually restoring the debt ratio to normal levels. But the government needs to get its courage up to restate this basic economic good sense.

Professor Patrick Minford is one of the UK’s leading macroeconomists and holds the chair of Applied Economics at Cardiff University.

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