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Religion, ethnicity cannot break up Nigeria – Osinbajo

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Osinbajo

The Vice-President, Yemi Osinbajo said on Saturday Nigeria would not disintegrate despite its current challenges.

Nigeria has been torn apart by several challenges, including insecurity in many parts of the country.

Osinbajo, who stated this during his visit to the Emir of Katagum, Umar Farouk, in Bauchi State, said neither religion nor ethnicity would break up the country.

He said: “This is one occasion where you will find that our country is truly a united country and that nothing can separate this country, not ethnicity or religion or class.

READ ALSO: Osinbajo canvasses support for businesses in Nigeria

“There is nothing that can separate this country. In fact, this is excellent evidence of the fact that this country is united.

“Katagum Emirate is a place where your royal highness has continuously demonstrated the willingness to accommodate people from all parts of the country.

“Every one of us is here because of our personal relationship with you, this is the way leadership should be.”

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The best levelling-up strategy is hiding in plain sight

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iStock 464725634 1

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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I resign due to the tyrannic nature of the party, says PGF DG Lukman

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The Paradise Breaking News

The former Director-General of Progressive Governors’ Forum, Dr. Salihu Lukman has said that his decision to resign was as a result of the tyrannic posture of the leadership of the All Progressives Congress (APC).

He said following the announcement that the national convention of the party will hold on February 26, party leaders must ensure the new leadership of the party that will emerge at the Convention will be tolerant to criticism and be democratic.

Lukman, in a statement issued on Wednesday, said since the news filtered out on Monday about his resignation, many party leaders, friends, family members and well-wishers have reached out to him with words of support and encouragement.

He said, “I can confirm that it is true I have given my resignation to Forum Chairman, His Excellency Abubakar Atiku Bagudu. I restrained myself from making any public statement on the matter because I am still awaiting acceptance.

“It is true that my decision to resign from position is to enable me to continue with the campaign to return APC to its founding vision, which is to build a party that is not only democratic but oriented based on social democratic principles.”

The party chieftain revealed that the national leader of the party, Senator Bola Tinubu has urged him to continue his campaign to return APC to its founding vision.

He said following the news of his resignation, many party leaders and members called to express their worries, adding that one of the party leaders who honoured him with an invitation to meet him late on Tuesday was Tinubu.

He noted that Tinubu commended him for championing the campaigns to reform the party and expressed shock that some members of the Forum were intolerant to criticism.

Lukman said Tinubu argued that any party leader who would not accommodate critical opinion on fundamental issue such as respecting decisions and especially a matter as sensitive as organising the National Convention, which is the highest organ of the party, such a person is not a democrat and shouldn’t be associated with a party envisioned to be progressive, such as the APC.

“With these words, he encouraged me to continue with my campaign, which is what the party needs,” he said.

Lukman stressed that Tinubu declared his support to all decisions of President Buhari to ensure that the APC Convention is held in February 2022.

He added: “Since the buildup to the 2019 elections, internal contests in the APC began to degenerate, while some leaders became intolerant and conducted themselves almost as tyrants.”

Lukman pointed out that some party leaders in the bid to emerge as candidates of the party for offices became hostile, while the party campaign drifted to almost war situations in many instances.

He stressed that every campaign to get the leadership of the party to commence the process of internal reform was resisted.

Lukman added that organs of the party stopped meetings as required by the constitution, while views of party leaders became decisions of the party.

He, however, noted that President Muhammadu Buhari disagreed with what was going on in the party and supported the campaign for reform.

Lukman said without going into all the details, the inspiration to set up the current Caretaker Committee came from Buhari based on the expectation of ensuring that the drift in the party was arrested.

He stressed that this was expected to produce a new leadership, which should emerge at the party’s National Convention.

Lukman added, “Once the Caretaker Committee began to show signs of reluctance to organise the Convention, it should be a source of concern to all party members desirous of reform.”

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Asari Dokubo recruiting Ijaw youths, cultists to fight against Biafra, IPOB alleges

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Asari Dokubo

The Proscribed Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) has accused former Niger Delta militant leader, Mujahid Asari-Dokubo, of recruiting misguided Ijaw youths, cultists and some Niger Delta militants to fight against the actualization of Biafra.

In a statement issued by IPOB’s Media and Publicity Secretary, Emma Powerful on Monday evening, the Igbo separatist group said Dokubo and some politicians who were againsts the group were “colluding with the Fulani security forces, the Presidency, evil politicians, including some governors in the South East region, to cause chaos and anarchy in Biafraland.”

IPOB also warned that the move by Dokubo and his co-conspirators “will be smoked out from his abode in Cotonou, Benin Republic, where he has been hiding.”

“IPOB intelligence unit has uncovered plan about how Asari is moving around coastal areas of Biafra land recruiting cultists and demented fellows to join the wicked Nigeria security forces, evil politicians including some governors in the South East Region to attack people and blame it on IPOB and ESN operatives,” part of the statement made available to Ripples Nigeria reads in part.

“The public should know about this wicked plot in the coastal areas of Biafra by few enemies of Biafra restoration.

“They should never take us for granted. Biafrans living in both coastal area and hinterland are all part of our great nation.

“They must understand that Asari and his few traitors are trying to create confusion between Igbo Biafra and Izon (Ijaw) Biafra but we are waiting for his recruited boys.

“He should not think that we are cowards. Let him venture and see what we are capable of doing.

“Asari Dokubo has sealed his contract with the Nigeria Government and some South-East politicians in recruiting Ijaw youths to fight Biafra agitators in Biafra hinterland precisely IPOB and ESN operatives.

“IPOB has uncovered two camps Asari Dokubo opened in Bayelsa and Igweocha for the purpose of training the recruits.

“Some of the youths that were approached refused the offer, while some accepted the proposed monthly salary of 150,000 Naira.

Read also: Asari Dokubo’s group warns against boycott of Anambra election

“Dokubo and his co travellers’ plan is to merge the Ijaw militant youths with Nigeria military and JTF.

“The new recruits will be provided with military uniforms and will be made to work with other security operatives to kill those agitating for the restoration of Biafra.

“We should not hesitate to officially notify the public and Biafrans through this press release especially PANDEF, Ijaw Youth Council, Elders and traditional rulers of Izon Kingdom and Ohaneze Ndigbo leaders, including all other tribal leaders across coastal land of Biafra, to call Asari Dokubo to order because we are ready for them at any time they may come.”

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As a media platform, we hold leadership accountable and will not trade the right to press freedom and free speech for a piece of cake.

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Your support would help to ensure that citizens and institutions continue to have free access to credible and reliable information for societal development.

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