In a bid to address the nation, His Excellency, President Muhammadu Buhari gave the following speech.
Fellow Nigerians, The 2020 celebration of Democracy Day marks 21 years of uninterrupted civil administration in our dear country. This day provides us with an opportunity to reflect on our journey as a nation, our achievements and struggles.
It is a day to honour our founding fathers who toiled to establish our republic and every Nigerian who has worked tirelessly to sustain it. We are celebrating this year’s Democracy Day despite the COVID-19 pandemic which afflicts our nation and the whole world.
It is indeed a very difficult time for everyone especially those who have lost loved ones to the virus and those whose sources of livelihood have been severely constrained by the stringent measures we introduced at every level of government to contain the virus and save lives.
The dedication of our health and other essential services staff towards containing this virus is a testament of our courage and resilience as a people and as a great nation, and I use this opportunity to say thank you to all of you for your service to the nation.
Sustaining our democracy thus far has been a collective struggle, and I congratulate all Nigerians and particularly leaders of our democratic institutions on their resilience and determination to ensure that Nigeria remains a shining example of democracy.
In my 2019 Democracy Day address, I promised to frontally address the nation’s daunting challenges, especially insecurity, economy and corruption. I, therefore, find it necessary to give an account of my stewardship on this day.
We have recorded notable achievements in the course of implementing our nine priority objectives and are establishing a solid foundation for future success.
On the economic front, our objectives have remained to stabilize the macroeconomy, achieve agricultural and food security, ensure energy sufficiency in power and petroleum products, develop infrastructure, fight corruption and improve governance.
We have witnessed eleven quarters of consecutive GDP growth since exiting recession. The GDP grew from 1.91% in 2018 to 2.27% in 2019 but declined to 1.87% in the first quarter of 2020 as a result of the decline in global economic activities due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Every single economy in the world has suffered a decline. Ours has been relatively moderate.
In order to stabilize the economy, the Monetary Authority took steps to build the external reserves which resulted in improved liquidity in the foreign exchange market.
The external reserves grew from $33.42 billion on April 29th 2020 to about $36.00 billion in May, 2020 which is enough to finance seven months of import commitments.
Agriculture remains the key to our economic diversification strategy.
The Presidential Fertilizer Initiative programme continues to deliver significant quantities of affordable and high-quality fertilizers to our farmers.
This initiative has also revived 31 blending plants and created a significant number of direct and indirect jobs across the value chain.
Government is also revamping the cotton, textile and garment sector via a CBN Textile Revival Intervention Fund that would considerably reduce foreign exchange spent on cotton and other textile imports.
Through the food security initiative, we are promoting “Grow What We Eat” and “Eat What We Grow”. I am also delighted that more and more Nigerians are taking advantage of the opportunities in the agriculture and agri-business sector.
I assure you that the government will continue to support the Agriculture sector through the CBN Anchor Borrowers Programme and similar schemes.
To protect our farming investments, we have deployed 5,000 Agro-Rangers and employed 30,289 in our para-military agencies.
We are also integrating rural communities to the formal economy by extending access to credit and inputs to rural farmers and building feeder roads.
Our efforts on growing non-oil exports have started to yield some results. For instance, in the past year, our revenue from Cocoa and Sesame Seed increased by $79.4 million and $153 million.
Africa presents a huge opportunity for our export base diversification and we are developing our strategy to grow intra-Africa trade through the Africa Continental Free Trade Area Agreement.
Nigeria has risen by 25 places on the World Bank’s Ease of Doing Business ranking from 146th to 131st and is now rated as one of the top ten reforming countries.
This development is due to the Visa on Arrival policy, consistent promotion of initiatives that expand facilities available to Micro Small and Medium Scale Enterprises, robust electronic registration and payment system seamless processing of business registration and reduction of cost of registering business by 50%. We are confident that on-going efforts would result in further improvement of this rating.
We remain committed to expanding our mining sector. To this end, I have directed the resuscitation of the Ajaokuta Steel Plant based on Government-to-Government financing and a Public-Private Sector financing.
With foreign and domestic investments and the participation of Small Scale Miners, we are harnessing the supply value chain in gold production.
We would also be launching a fully digitized mineral rights management platform for quick processing of mineral rights application, digitization of records and plugging revenue leakages.
The Power Sector remains very critical to meeting our industrial development aspirations and we are tackling the challenges that still exist in the delivery of power through different strategies.
We are executing some critical projects through the Transmission Rehabilitation and Expansion Programme including the:
a. Alaoji to Onitsha, Delta Power Station to Benin and Kaduna to Kano
b. 330kv DC 62km line between Birnin Kebbi and Kamba
c. Lagos/Ogun Transmission Infrastructure Project
d. Abuja Transmission Ring Scheme; and e. Northern Corridor
Our agreement with Siemens will transmit and distribute a total of 11,000 Megawatts by 2023, to serve our electricity needs.
Southampton vs Tottenham: Bale reveals what he expects from Reguilon under Mourinho
Tottenham Hotspur forward, Gareth Bale, has said that he expects fellow new recruit, Sergio Reguilon, to bring his energetic and attacking style of football to Jose Mourinho’s side.
Bale and Reguilon both played together for several years at Real Madrid.
The duo joined Tottenham a few days ago from Real Madrid on loan and permanent deal, respectively.
Speaking about Reguilon ahead of Tottenham’s Premier League clash with Southampton on Sunday afternoon, Bale was quoted by Metro UK as saying: “He’s an exciting young player.
“I’ve been with him for a couple of years at Madrid, and obviously he did great last year for Sevilla in their season winning the Europa League.
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“So, yeah, he is an exciting young left-back, very energetic, loves attacking, great delivery.
“So he is a great signing and a great addition to the squad, and I think everyone will enjoy watching him.”
Edo Decides 2020: Ganduje’s aide reacts as Obaseki coasts to victory, tells APC what to do
Salihu Tanko Yakasai, the media aide to Kano State Governor, Abdullahi Ganduje, has admitted that the All Progressives Congress (APC) has lost the Edo governorship election.
Governor Godwin Obaseki is currently leading with over 80,000 votes in the official results posted by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC).
Yakasai, in a Twitter post, said the defeat provides “important lessons” to APC as a party.
He also warned the ruling party to do “some soul searching for our survival”.
“The outcome of #EdoElection has some important lessons for APC as a party, not just in Edo but equally at the centre.
“But most importantly, the outcome has some insights into the future of the party as well. Let’s look inwards and outwards and do some soul searching for our survival,” Yakasai wrote.
The outcome of #EdoElection has some important lessons for APC as a party, not just in Edo but equally at the centre. But most importantly, the outcome has some insights into the future of the party as well. Let’s look inwards & outwards, & do some soul searching for our survival
— Peacock (@dawisu) September 20, 2020
Breaking: Uncertainty as Mourinho axes Dele Alli from Tottenham squad again
Tottenham players have been left stunned after Dele Alli was not included in the squad to face Southampton on Sunday.
The midfielder’s team-mates are amazed that the England star has been left out of Jose Mourinho’s plans for the second successive game.
On Wednesday Alli was left in London as the rest of the squad flew to Bulgaria for the clash against Lokomotiv Plovdiv.
And now more questions will be asked regarding Alli’s future.
Sportsmail reported this week how Tottenham had considered using Alli as a potential sweetener in their move to bring Real Madrid forward Gareth Bale back to the club.
That scenario appeared remote as Gareth Bale completed his emotional return to Spurs in a move that was driven by Mourinho.
The prospect of Alli leaving Spurs before the October 5 transfer deadline is starting to look a realistic possibility – his exclusion from the travelling party on Wednesday and Sunday is another indicator that his future, at least this season, may remain elsewhere.
While Alli’s talent is undoubted, there is a mutual feeling from all parties the midfielder could benefit from a move away to reinvigorate his career – particularly if it becomes clear Alli won’t be playing regularly this season.
With Bale’s arrival, competition for places in attacking midfield positions will become fiercer in the coming weeks.
If the 24-year-old is made available, then there will be no shortage of takers domestically and in Europe.
But there is likely to be a reluctance to sell Alli on a permanent basis from within the club given the depreciated market caused by Covid – particularly for a player who not long ago was valued in the region of £100million.
Tottenham would also prefer to loan Alli to an overseas club so as not to strengthen a domestic rival.
Paris Saint Germain have monitored Alli for a number of years, while Inter Milan manager Antonio Conte is known to be a long-term admirer.
Alli, by his own admission, has not lived up to the sky-high standards he has set himself after bursting onto the scene in sensational fashion five years ago.
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