Binnabook Magazine: Politics


Showing posts with label Politics. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Politics. Show all posts

Turkey President Erdoğan back down in NATO spat over Sweden and Finland NATO membership

 Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan will drop his objections to Finland and Sweden joining NATO once an enormous amount of pressure is put on him, said Henri J. Barkey, an adjunct senior fellow for Middle East studies at the Council on Foreign Relations.

“It is possible that the Europeans and the Americans would find some facesaving concessions that may not mean much but will satisfy him,” said Barkey, who is also the Cohen Professor of International Relations at Lehigh University.

Erdoğan, who has lost significant political support at home ahead of elections scheduled for next June, is in defensive mode and therefore will try to make the most of everything, Barkey said in an interview with journalist Nervana Mahmoud for Ahval’s Turkish Trends podcast series on Wednesday.

“The thing about the Turks is that they always ask for the maximalist conditions so they make it sound like they want heaven on earth, and hope that eventually they would get a little bit and they would turn around and call it a big victory,” he said.

Turkey blocked the start of NATO membership talks with Finland and Sweden on Wednesday citing their alleged failure to combat terrorism, saying the two Nordic countries provide shelter to members of the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), an armed group fighting for Kurdish autonomy on Turkish soil, and the religious Gülen Movement, which Turkey blames for a coup attempt in 2016.

Turkish officials say that Sweden and Finland have failed to agree to extradite dozens of the so-called terrorists over the past five years. The two countries should also drop an arms embargo on Turkey, Erdoğan says.

Sweden is a country of rule of law and there is absolutely no way that it would extradite a person to a country where anyone can be found guilty by a court on completely invented accusations, Barkey said.

Barkey pointed to an Istanbul court’s decision last month to jail philanthropist Osman Kavala for life for seeking to overthrow the government by financing the Gezi Park protests of 2013. The case was based completely on fictituous accusations, he said.

“So there’s no way on earth that Sweden will give up anybody,” Barkey said.

Erdoğan is in a very difficult situation at home and it is certainly not clear that his party is going to win the polls next year and he may even be defeated himself, Barkey said.

So “He’s using everything to show how tough he is against the West,” he said.

“I think at the end of the day the Turkish public will not vote for Erdoğan or against him on this issue. It’s mostly the economy. Economic conditions are what matters,” Barkey said.

Turkey's President Recep Tayyip Erdogan (C) walks with officials including Turkey's Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu (L) as he arrives for an extraordinary NATO summit at NATO Headquarters in Brussels on March 24, 2022. (Photo by Evan Vucci / POOL / AFP)

Plans To Join NATO Grave Mistake – Russia Warns Finland, Sweden

 Russia has reacted angrily to the plans by Finland and Sweden to join the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO).

The intergovernmental military alliance already has 30 member states – 28 in Europe, the United States, and Canada.

On Monday, Moscow warned that the admission of the two countries would be a grave mistake.

Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov said there will be far-reaching consequences.

Ryabkov added that military tensions with the two Scandinavian nations would increase.

“They should have no illusions that we will simply resign ourselves to this”, Interfax news agency quoted him saying.

In a chat with Finnish Head of State Sauli Niinistö, President Vladimir Putin said his country would be making an error.

More European countries are seeking NATO membership due to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine

Ukraine Has ‘won The Battle Of Kharkiv’

 Russian forces have gone ‘from the offensive to the defensive’ as Ukraine launches counter-attack on enemy-held town of Izyum

Ukraine appears to have won the battle for Kharkiv, a US report has said, as Russian forces retreated from around the eastern city due to an apparent lack of troop reinforcements.

It came as Ukrainian forces launched a counter-offensive to seize back the nearby Russian-controlled strategic town of Izyum in the east, threatening Moscow’s attempts to control the Donbas region by encircling it.

If confirmed, the failure to capture Kharkiv, Ukraine’s second-biggest city, would be Russia’s second major defeat of the war after losing the battle for Kyiv.

It would be a stunning turnaround for Ukraine’s so-called “fortress city”. Kharkiv was almost surrounded and looked certain to fall in the first week of the war as Russian troops poured over the border, which lies just a few dozen kilometres to the north.

Russian forces were close to encircling Kharkiv in March, gaining ground around the city and pummelling it with artillery fire from the suburbs.

Constant shelling forced hundreds of thousand residents to flee or seek shelter in the city metro or underground shelter while airstrikes turned part of the centre, including the City Hall, to rubble.

But apart from once briefly entering a small part of the city, Russian troops have failed to make any inroads amid stiff resistance. That has left them with no choice other than to retreat, according to researchers at the US-based think-tank Institute for the Study of War.

“The Russian military has likely decided to withdraw fully from its positions around Kharkiv in the face of the Ukrainian counter-offensives and the limited availability of reinforcements,” it said. “Ukraine thus appears to have won the Battle of Kharkiv.”

The mayor has said Ukrainian troops have successfully repelled Russia’s attempts to take the city.

“They [the Russians] were very close to the city,” Igor Terekhov, mayor of Kharkiv, told the BBC on Saturday. “Thanks to the efforts of Kharkiv territorial defence and the Ukrainian army, the Russians have moved back far from the city towards the Russian border.”

“Kharkiv is quiet now, and people are slowly returning to the city.”

The apparent withdrawal has led some experts to suggest this might be the beginning of a “tipping point”.

Russian forces have “moved from the offensive to the defensive (conversely, the Ukrainians have moved from the defensive to the offensive),” said Dr Mike Martin, a former British Army officer and visiting fellow for war studies at King’s College London. “We’re reaching a bit of a tipping point in the Ukraine War.”

Yet, claiming an all-out victory in Kharkiv remains premature.

Shelling from retreating Russian forces

Shelling could still be heard from central Kharkiv and in neighbouring villages on Saturday, including incoming rounds fired by retreating Russian troops.

Some shells fell close to Tsykurny, a village just north-east of the city that was recaptured by Ukrainian forces a week ago.

Rounds also landed near the village of Sorokivka, east of Kharkiv and south of the current Russian front-line, locals and soldiers stationed there said.

Russian forces are now believed to be focusing on seizing all of the Donetsk and Luhansk regions in the east, as well as guarding supply routes to those regions, Ukraine’s General Staff said on Saturday.

Hoping to build on their gains, Ukraine said it had launched a counter-offensive on Saturday near the Russia-held town of Izyum. Russia seized control of the city on April 1 and has occupied it ever since.

“The direction of Izyum remains the hottest spot – this is where our armed forces have launched a counter-offensive. The enemy is retreating on some fronts,” Oleg Sinehubov, the governor of the Kharkiv region, said in a statement.

The successes of Ukrainian forces in recent weeks has prompted Kyiv’s chief of military intelligence to say he was optimistic that the war may be largely over by December.

“The breaking point will be in the second part of August,” Maj Gen Kyrylo Budanov told Sky News. “Most of the active combat actions will have finished by the end of this year.”

But just as around Kyiv, the receding tide of battle around Kharkiv has left villages badly damaged, with many homes and power lines destroyed.

Peter Obi promise to replace sharing formula with production formula if voted president of Nigeria

 Mr Peter Obi, Presidential aspirant of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has said that if voted president of Nigeria, he will replace sharing formula of monthly allocation with production formula.

Obi, an industrialist, said this in Calabar when he visited delegates of the PDP toward the forthcoming party’s presidential primary of May 28 and May 29.

The former governor of Anambra, said it was important for everybody to be productive if the nation must survive adding that other nations in the world were busy producing while Nigeria was busy sharing and consuming.

He said it was not a time to dance and celebrate as a nation but a time to work and fix the nation badly battered because of our celebration of the wrong things.

“Nigeria is a nation of over 200 million people with about 100 million living in poverty, over 18 million out of school children out of which about 10 million are girls.

“We have 35 per cent unemployment rate and if we add underemployment it will rise to over 50 per cent, many of which are youths in their productive age, so we cannot be celebrating,” he said.

The astute economist said there was nothing wrong in borrowing as a nation as the largest economies in the world were also in debt but the problem of Nigeria was that it was borrowing for consumption.

“The consequence of borrowing for consumption today is that Nigeria is spending over 90 per cent of its revenue to service debts without much production to show for it.

“Exporting crude oil has not saved Venezuela or any country, we need to invest in our massive land mass and grow our economy like other nations such as Singapore, Vietnam and even Morocco has done with tourism,” he maintained.

He appealed to the party delegates to place less emphasis on sharing money as many politicians would come to share money but when it was time to vote they should consider the future of their children.

Responding, Mr Venatius Ikem, Chairman of PDP in Cross River, said although things had gone really bad for the nation, we could start repairing for the future by voting right.

According to him, Obi is the kind of president Nigeria needs because after listening to him every right thinking person should have a sober reflection on the way forward for Nigeria.

“I believe if you become president, Nigeria will have a turn around.

“I however do not expect Nigerians to just wish but express their wishes through their support for Peter Obi,” he noted.

Source... Vanguard News Nigeria

President Muhammadu Buhari bade farewell to outgoing members of the Federal Executive Council contesting for elective position in 2023

 President Muhammadu Buhari yesterday in Abuja bade farewell to outgoing members of the Federal Executive Council (FEC), pledging to fill the vacuum created by their depature without delay.

The President affirmed that a significant number of the ministers who resigned to pursue their political ambitions have been sufficiently equipped to aspire to higher elective offices, including the Office of the President.

Speaking at a valedictory session for appointees leaving the cabinet to pursue political ambitions, the President said: ‘’I have no doubt that if the next President emerges from among former members of this cabinet, like any other aspirant, ample competence and outstanding service delivery would be on display. This will be part of our legacies to Nigerians.’’

The President, who commended the departing public officers for serving the nation sacrificially, ‘’with dignity and honour’’, had at the FEC meeting of Wednesday, May 11, 2022, directed that all ministers and other political appointees who aspire to contest for elective offices in the 2023 general election should resign their current appointments.

‘’I note that some have complied while others are in the process of doing so. I would like to use this opportunity to commend your decision and courage to contest for elective offices and your compliance with my directive.

‘’I also wish to thank you for your invaluable services to this nation through your contributions as Cabinet members. I wish you success in the upcoming elections and in your future endeavours,’’ he said.

President Buhari told the ministers that looking back as the head of the team over the years, he had fond memories of incisive and robust discussions during cabinet meetings, rendering of performance reports during special sessions and presidential retreats.

“In 2015, citizens of this country overwhelmingly voted for me to become the President of this nation on the platform of the All Progressives Congress (APC).

“Selecting members of the Cabinet went through a careful process so that the best and most competent could emerge. The performance of that class of 2015 proved me right.

“In 2019, Nigerians similarly re-elected me as President. Again the selection went through another meticulous process. That re-election was significant because it served as a referendum on our performance during the first term and it inspired me to bring back some of the members of the first cabinet either to their old Ministries or re-assigned to other sectors.

“New members were also brought on board to inject fresh energies, skills and ideas to enhance the execution of government’s programmes and policies.

“With these and much more, I am happy to note that a significant number of cabinet members have become sufficiently equipped to aspire to higher elective offices, including the Office of the President. This shows the impact of the experience gathered while serving as members of the Federal Executive Council,” he said.

The President acknowledged that prior to some of them joining his cabinet, they had made their marks in other areas as governors, legislators, entrepreneurs and core professionals.

He added that the experience and expertise they brought on board have significantly resulted in enormous development in various sectors and the accomplishment of government programmes.

‘’These include infrastructure, agriculture, health systems, financial management, administration of justice, building social safety net systems,’’ he added.

Noting that the departure of some cabinet members has undoubtedly created a vacuum that should be filled, the President said appointments would be made without delay so that the business of governance would not suffer.

President Buhari urged the remaining members of the cabinet to show more diligence, resilience and commitment to serve Nigerians better, saying, “the journey to the finish line is still very far.” 

“Like always, there will be challenges to address, programmes to deliver and policies to implement. You must therefore brace up for more work and target increased accomplishments.

“The determination to leave important legacies for Nigerians should never be compromised,’’ he stressed. The outgoing Ministers present during the valedictory session were that of Transportation, Rotimi Amaechi; Niger Delta Affairs, Godswill Akpabio; Science, Technology and Innovation, Ogbonnaya Onu, State for Petroleum, Timipre Sylva and Labour and Employment, Chris Ngige.

Others were the Attorney-General and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami (SAN), Minister of State, Mines and Steel Development, Uche Ogah, the Minister of Women Affairs, Pauline Tallen and the Minister of State for Niger Delta Affairs, Chief Tayo Alasoadura.

The Minister of State (Education), Emeka Nwajiuba, who had earlier tendered his resignation, was not present at the valedictory session.

Speaking on behalf of the outgoing ministers, Akpabio thanked the President for giving them the opportunity to serve and contribute their quota to nation building.

He described working with the President as a “fantastic and knowledgeable experience,” adding that as they step aside, they would continue to be great disciples of Buhari.

‘’As we step aside from FEC, I want you to know that you have disciples in us. I want you to know that it is time for us to propagate Buharism.

‘’I want you to know that we are going to be working closely with the Minister of Information and Culture to take your message of transformation, love, patience, administrative sagacity to Nigerians,’’ he said.

The Niger Delta Minister told the President that from his interactions with his colleagues, leaving the cabinet was like the story of the Spanish play of “sadness and joy.”

“Sadness in the sense that we are going to miss the continuous daily and weekly interaction with a father and learning from him; joy because we now have an opportunity to go to the wider audience in Nigeria to speak more of your achievements for this country,” he explained.

Lauding the President’s deep patriotism, Akpabio said he was the “best president Nigeria could ever have had at a time of difficult circumstances.”

He prayed God Almighty to grant the President a successful tenure and protect his family, adding: ‘’May one of us succeed you in order to continue the good legacies you have laid on ground. We have seen and know your vision. We know where you want the country to be.”


Russia Cuts Electricity Supply To Finland Over It's Plans To Join NATO

 Russia suspends electricity supplies to Finland, a supplier said on Friday as tensions rise over Helsinki's NATO bid amid Moscow's military campaign in Ukraine.

'We are forced to suspend the electricity import starting from May 14,' said RAO Nordic, a subsidiary of Russian state energy holding Inter RAO.

'RAO Nordic is not able to make payments for the imported electricity from Russia.'

The firm is not directly faced with Western sanctions over the invasion into Ukraine, Montel News reports. However the outlet adds Inter Rao Lietuva - its 51% owned Lithuanian subsidiary - is.

MailOnline has reached out to RAO Nordic for more information.

It comes as Russia yesterday accused Finland of 'pushing above its weight' as the country signalled its intention to join NATO.

Putin's EU ambassador vowed to bolster defences on the Russia and Finland's shared 800-mile-long border if it decided to join the alliance.

Vladimir Chizhov said if Finland joined it would lead to 'certain military-technical measures, like improving or raising the degree of defence preparations along the Finnish border'.

A move would 'certainly necessitate rethinking of Russian defence posture' but not 'necessarily [involve] troops and tanks, but certain preparations like radars, perhaps', he told Sky News.

Yesterday a former British ambassador to Russia has said there may be 'much more Russian nuclear deployment in the Baltic' areas in response to Finland potentially becoming a NATO member in light of the war in Ukraine.

Sir Tony Brenton told BBC's Newsnight programme the Kremlin may think 'it expands their view of NATO as a threat to them'.

He said: 'They will be very conscious especially as this war winds its way to a conclusion that their conventional forces have not produced the results they hoped for.

'They will be increasingly inclined therefore to use their nuclear strength as a demonstration they need to be taken seriously.

'I think we need to resign ourselves to the likelihood of much more Russian nuclear deployment in the Baltic area as a response to Finland's accession to NATO, when it comes, and Sweden's very likely one as well.'

Northern Nigeria group purchases Presidential nomination form for former President Goodluck Jonathan to contest under APC

 After months of hide and seek, former President Goodluck Jonathan may have finally joined the All Progressives Congress (APC) presidential race.

A group of supporters of Fulani extraction and Almajiris led by Ibrahim Abdullahi picked the expression of interest and nomination forms for the former President around 6:30 pm.

Jonathan, who spoke on his entrance into the race when some women and youths stormed his office to persuade him to contest the 2023 presidential election some weeks ago, had said the process of joining was in progress.

With his entrance, APC presidential aspirants have risen to 26.

Russia Running Out Of Weapons, Can Be Defeated By Ukraine:United Kingdom Defence Secretary Ben Wallace

 Ben Wallace, the United Kingdom Defence Secretary, has said that Ukraine will likely defeat Russian, saying Russian forces are running out of precision weapons fairly quickly.

Russia invaded Ukraine sometimes in February this year.

Speaking in London, Ben Wallace said, “We all have highly complex weapons that, funny enough, don’t take a couple of days to replace, it can take months. Once you fire them all in the way Russia has done, they have a real challenge.”

According to BBC, he said Putin would find trying to replace those weapons “incredibly hard”, adding that a lot of the components come from the West and he won’t be able to get hold of them.

“It is not inconceivable that large superpowers, as such, as he thinks he is, lose on the battlefield,” Wallace says. “It is very possible that Ukraine will break the Russian army.”

He says it is “absurd” that today’s parade in Moscow lacks any sense of culpability or “facing-up to the reality of what’s happened to Russia’s reputation, but also the Russian soldiers… and what they’ve been doing to their Ukrainian brothers and sisters”.

Commenting on the possible defeat of Russian forces, Wallace said: “Putin must fail in Ukraine is obviously our key policy mission, but you know we mustn’t avoid the fundamentals here, which is it is for Ukraine to choose how it ends this conflict – or how it makes Russia end this conflict – and in what manner.”

PDP Presidential Aspirant Peter Obi : Nigeria Collapsing Under Buhari

A presidential aspirant under the Peoples Democratic Party, Peter Obi, has stated that Nigeria is going through difficult times and collapsing under the current regime of the President, Major General Muhammadu Buhari (retd.).

Obi who stated this while trying to woo delegates to the PDP’s national convention from Bauchi State at a brief meeting held at the Command Guest House promised that if given the opportunity of being Nigeria’s next president, he will change the trajectory and set the country on the path of development.

“The country is going through a very difficult time now, and it is collapsing and we must, for the future of our children, change the trajectory of the country by ensuring that we move this country from consumption to production, from sharing to creating.

“We must build a better place, we must change our country because we cannot continue with this level of underdevelopment, this level of insecurity, with this level of problems all over the place. So, we must do the needful to ensure that in 2023, our party must have a candidate that has the capacity, competence, commitment to build a better Nigeria,” he said.

The two-term former Anambra state governor lamented the rising debt profile of the country since the Buhari regime came on board.

According to him, all countries of the world borrow but others use the borrowed funds to develop and improve their countries and people, Nigeria borrows to share and all that we require to take our country out of poverty is to invest a lot, invest in our GDP.

He informed the delegates that he had the capacity to tackle the security challenges bedeviling the country just as he admonished them to think about the future of their children while voting during the convention.

“Our country today is insecure and people ask me, ‘how are you going to tackle this issue of insecurity?’ You can fight insecurity in two ways: firstly, you can fight insecurity the natural way and that is making the youths have a means of livelihood. If you don’t know where the next meal will come from, there are tendencies that you go into criminality. So, you must pull people out of poverty because the more you pull people out of poverty, the more you reduce criminality.

“The second way to tackle insecurity is solving it through men – ensure that you fund security agencies and have capable men, train, empower and provide them with all the necessary equipment they need and this can be done.

“When you go to vote at the convention, please, look at the future of your children and ask yourself, ‘which kind of society do I want these children to live in?’ Even if they give you money or buy you lunch, collect it but when you go to vote, look at the future of your children. We need to do things properly,” he stated.

2023 Presidency: Godwin Emefiele To Decide In The Next Few Days

 @Godwin Emefiele

I am humbled by the growing interest of those asking that I run for the Office of President in the 2023 general elections: I have not come to that decision. I note and salute the sacrifices of those farmers and patriots going as far as raising personal funds and offering me Presidential Nomination Forms: I thank them most profusely.

However, Should I answer their calls and decide to seek presidential nomination, I will use my own hard earned savings from over 35 years of banking leadership to buy my own Nomination Forms, without proxies in an open and transparent manner in full compliance with the laws and Constitution of The Federal Republic of Nigeria.

And should I not run for elected office, I will continue to serve and sacrifice for the good people of Nigeria under the able leadership of President Muhammadu Buhari. This is a serious decision that requires God’s Divine intervention: in the next few days The Almighty will so direct.

2023 Election: Buhari Wanted A Southern Presidency But We Are Now Divided - Ebonyi State Governor David Umahi

 Governor David Umahi of Ebonyi State says President Muhammadu Buhari’s body language supports candidate from the South for the 2023 presidency, but the region is divided.

The governor, who received the President in Ebonyi on Friday, disclosed this during an interview on Channels TV’s Politics Today.

He said, “We cannot be honest by half. When zoning doesn’t exclude people from contesting, it’s been happening. There is no political face that is not zoning in this country. And the body language of the Mr President is well disposed toward the presidency shifting to the south.

“But when the south cannot handle it on the basis of equity, fairness and justice, then we should continue to suggest that we shouldn’t blackmail the north; we should deceive ourselves. This thing should be thrown open because if there is no zoning, then you have no right to continue to agitate that the north cannot contest.

“We cannot be used to drag presidency to the south and then we are shortchanged. So we should be part of such agitation if such fairness and equity cannot be ascribed to us. That is the position of most leaders in the South-East.

“I’m not asking that people from the South-West should not run; it is their constitutional right. But I want to say that we have worked together, the southern governors said presidency should rotate to the south, but on the basis of equity, fairness, and justice we had the South-East in mind, since the South-East never tested it.

“Now it has become clear that the platform upon which we collectively asked the north to concede the presidency to the south is no longer the same platform upon which the realities are based; then it’s fair and just that we should allow anybody in the country to run.”

Tambuwal To Emefiele: Leave Our Central Bank Alone, But You’re Free To Run for Nigeria president

 Sokoto State Governor and Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, presidential aspirant, Aminu Waziri Tambuwal, has called on the Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Godwin Emefiele, to as a matter of urgency resign his position in the interest of the nation’s economy.

Tambuwal, who made the call while addressing PDP delegates in Jalingo on Saturday, viewed the economy of the country as being in shambles.

The decision of Emefiele to run for the presidency, he believed, would have an immediate effect on the economy, considering its volatility.

He said, “It is high time that President Muhammadu Buhari called Emefiele to order. If he wants to contest, he must resign.”

Wondering why Emefiele would remain in office as CBN governor while seeking for the number one position of the country, he said, “If you want to run, please run, but leave our Central Bank alone.”

Tambuwal, who noticed that the economy is very volatile and such a decision can affect the economy, decried the present state of the nation’s economy.

Tambuwal, while noting that successful leadership demands fairness and equity, felt sad that the country is now more divided than ever before.


Ghana Government to rehabilitate Tema Oil Refinery to stabilise petroleum prices in the Country

President Dankwa Akufo-Addo has said intense efforts are being made by the government to rehabilitate the Tema Oil Refinery to enable it to contribute to stabilising petroleum prices.

President Akufo-Addo said the government was also encouraging private companies to establish refineries in the country, one of which was 80% complete, and expected to be commissioned before the end of this year.

Speaking on the vexed matter of petroleum price increases at the May Day celebrations last Sunday, President Akufo-Addo said the suggestion that the government reduce taxes on petroleum products at this moment was not a sustainable one.

Removing taxes on petroleum products, the President indicated would reduce the government's revenues by some GH¢4 billion at a time the government was determined to expand revenues to increase its capacity to finance development.

He said the government was currently confronted with tight financing conditions, adding that revenues from petroleum products were used to pay the salaries of about 700,000 public sector workers on the government's payroll.

President Akufo-Addo said the government was addressing the issue of fuel price increases by implementing measures to stabilise the exchange rate, a key determinant of fuel prices, as well as ensure reliable supply and availability of petroleum products to prevent shortages.

He said even though Ghana was a modest producer of crude oil, with a current output of 148,000 barrels per day, the country was still a net importer of petroleum products. "We, therefore, continue to be vulnerable to the price volatilities of the world market for petroleum products."

President Akufo-Addo acknowledged that the country was in difficult times, but said the government had not thrown its hands in despair. On the contrary, "we are working hard to address the current challenges facing the economy, and those that relate to improving the quality of life for all Ghanaians."

"I will be the first to admit that conditions of service in the wider public service need improvement. However, these should be done within budgetary constraints to ensure that we do not put excessive pressure on our public finances," he stated.

The President said the government in 2021, spent GH¢31.7 billion, out of tax revenue of GH¢56.5 billion, to pay for compensation of public sectors worker.

Thus, payment for compensation of 700,000 public sector employees, absorbed 56% of tax revenue in 2021, a ratio which is well above the ECOWAS threshold of 35%, and above the sub-Saharan Africa average of 43%, creating an overall fiscal impact of some GH¢27.3 billion, representing 6.8% of GDP.

In addition, he said, adverse global developments had impacted severely the exchange rate and inflation, with the overall effect being the weakening of the real incomes of people in Ghana, just as in other countries.

He said despite the stark realities, the government could not take ad-hoc measures to address the issues of a pay rise that would only give a reprieve but aggravate the situation even more in the medium to long-term.

In an attempt to hasten economic recovery from COVID-19, the President said the government had introduced measures to improve fiscal consolidation and ensure debt sustainability, which was critical to achieving macroeconomic stability in the short to medium-term.

Measures such as the passage of the E-Levy Bill, President Akufo-Addo indicated were introduced at the back of a revenue loss of GH¢13.1 billion and an increase of unbudgeted expenditure of GH¢14.2 billion.

Protecting jobs and incomes in the era of COVID-19 and beyond, according to the President, was undeniably the collective responsibility and duty of all social partners.

President Akufo-Addo urged Organised Labour as much as possible, to use existing institutions and sustainable measures to address their concerns.

The President urged Organised Labour and all Ghanaians to work hard to increase productivity "so we can increase salary levels and provide the basis for paying Living Wages."

He commended Organised Labour and its leadership for their invaluable contribution in helping to keep the country going during the peak of the COVID-19 pandemic.

"Your co-operation has been a mark of patriotism, and I applaud you for that. Indeed, you continue to uphold the tradition of national engagement initiated by the legendary pioneers of Ghanaian trade unionism, Pobee Biney, Vidal Quist, Anthony Woode, through whose work and sacrifice we have inherited the free, independent Ghana in which we now live."

USA intel helping Ukraine kill Russian Soldiers

U.S. intelligence on the location of Russian generals in Ukraine has been provided to Ukrainian forces, allowing them to kill many of the high-ranking military officers that have died on the battlefield, according to a report on Wednesday.

The intelligence sharing has helped kill as many as 12 Russian generals in Ukraine and is part of a secret effort by the Biden administration to provide the Ukrainians with information on Russian troop movements and the location of mobile Russian military command posts, according to the New York Times report.


Senior U.S. officials interviewed in the report did not say how many Russian generals had been killed as a direct result of U.S. intelligence sharing.

Pentagon spokesman John Kirby said he would not "speak to the details" of the intelligence being provided to Ukraine, according to the report, but said that the U.S. provides “Ukraine with information and intelligence that they can use to defend themselves.”

National Security Council spokeswoman Adrienne Watson told the New York Times that intelligence shared with Ukraine is not given “with the intent to kill Russian generals.”

The United States does not provide Ukraine with intelligence about the most senior Russian leaders, according to the report, which said that a Ukrainian strike over the weekend that just missed Gen. Valery Gerasimov, Russia’s highest-ranking uniformed officer, was not the result of U.S. intelligence assistance.

U.S. intelligence provided to Ukraine has played a pivotal role in allowing the country to withstand Russia's Feb. 24 invasion.

"This war has arguably been the most successful intelligence operation in military history,” Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Mark Milley said in congressional testimony last month.

It has been previously reported that Ukraine utilizes U.S. intelligence to move planes and air defense systems nearly every day to avoid Russian airstrikes, which is one of the reasons why Russia has not been able to achieve air superiority since the start of the war.

Last month, it was revealed that Ukraine shot down a Russian transport plane early in the war carrying hundreds of troops to Hostomel Airport, outside of Kyiv, with help from U.S. intelligence.

Source...Washington Examiner

Former President, Goodluck Jonathan described late Umaru Musa Yar’ Adua as a good man whose type is hard to find

Former President, Goodluck Jonathan has described late Umaru Musa Yar’ Adua as a good man whose type is hard to find.

Jonathan stated this on Thursday in a statement to mark the 12-year remembrance of the former president who died in 2010.

According to Jonathan, the legacy of Yar’ Adua would always be remembered in the country, saying he was a man of peace and a soldier of truth.

He said, “Twelve years ago, our nation lost a patriot, a selfless leader and a peacemaker who governed with sincerity and passion for the people. President Umaru Musa Yar’ Adua is no longer with us today, but his strides in public life continue to testify for him and keep his memory alive.

“Like a good athlete, he ran with passion, kept the faith and finished the race. Today we can look back and say, as President he won laurels for us in terms of peace and other worthy causes he successfully pursued.

“He was a soldier of truth, committed to justice, equity and other democratic virtues. He was a servant leader and a good man; the type that is hard to find.

“President Yar’Adua, we remember you today and will continue to remember the good works that you did in our nation. Yours is a story of patriotism, a life well-lived in service to the people and humanity”.

2023 Elections : PDP Governors Kick As Atiku Plans To Retain Peter Obi As Running Mate

 LAGOS-Former Vice-President Atiku Abubakar has expressed his desire to retain former Anambra State Governor, Peter Obi, as his running mate if he clinches the presidential ticket of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Daily Independent has gathered.

Atiku and Obi were both presidential candidate and Vice-Presidential candidate of the PDP in the 2019 general election which they lost to the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) which fielded President Muhammadu Buhari as its flagbearer.

However, credible sources in the party said the moves by Atiku is facing stiff resistance by PDP governors who want him to pick one of them from the Southern as his running mate.

According to our sources, that is the reason why some of the governors are picking the presidential forms of the PDP which they plan to use as negotiation for the VP slot.

Even though Peter Obi has already picked the PDP presidential form and has been screened to participate in the primaries, an associate of Atiku on Monday informed our correspondent that the Waziri of Adamawa has said he would like to retain the 2019 team with Peter Obi as Vice-President if he wins the PDP ticket.

When asked why Peter Obi is running, he said it is because the PDP will throw the presidential ticket open as recommended by the zoning committee of the party.

“Peter Obi is running because the party did not zone the ticket to any region; they will certainly throw the ticket open.

Every qualified aspirant will contest and the best will emerge as the candidate of the party. We can’t ask him not to contest since the ticket is not zoned to any particular region. What if he wins? “If Obi is lucky enough to get the majority of the delegates and becomes the presidential candidate, @ atiku and all of us will give him maximum support,” he said.

A former member of the party’s National Working Committee who also confirmed the development said while Atiku prefers Obi, he may pander to the wishes of the governors as they are the major powerbrokers in the party.

“Wike is contesting for the presidency because he believes that if the party zones the position to the South, he would win. But now that the party will throw the ticket open, he has his eyes on the VP slot.”

“Another governor interested in the VP slot is Akwa Ibom State governor, Udom Emmanuel. He is also contesting for presidency but his motive is just to join the race since Wike from Rivers is also there".

"There is this age-long rivalry between Akwa Ibom and Rivers and so they believe if a man from Rivers wants to become president, why can’t a man from Akwa Ibom also do it?” “The primary is yet to be conducted but there is this belief in the party that with President Buhari out of the equation in 2023, only Atiku has a national appeal that can win the presidential election for PDP".

"The real stakeholders know that the likes of Pius Anyim, Aminu Tambuwal, Nyesom Wike are going nowhere. In fact, Bala Mohammed of Bauchi said he is contesting for president but he has secretly obtained a nomination form for the governorship election. Is that a serious presidential candidate? “So right now, they are already working towards the emergence of one of their own as running mate to Atiku".

"They also know that Atiku prefers Obi because they have a close working relationship. In fact, that was why Obi attended Atiku’s declaration in Abuja.”

“The problem of the Igbos is that they really don’t know what they want. If they had shown direction in 2019, they should have voted massively for Atiku and Obi to make a strong statement that they really needed the presidency. But what they did in the 2019 election was to put one leg in APC and the other leg in PDP".

"They deliberately allowed Buhari to get 25 percent of votes in the South- East states which ordinarily APC can never get as PDP is the dominant party in the South East. That is why people are not looking at the South-East as a strong force to reckon with".

“If tomorrow Atiku picks Obi as running mate, you will see some Igbo leaders come to say that they were not consulted before the decision was reached just like it happened in 2019 and they will still go and work against him. At the end of the day, it is the South East zone that will suffer".

“One thing is certain, if Atiku wins tomorrow, the PDP governors will come up with demands that one of them should be picked as VP. If someone like Wike who is the major financial backbone of the party said he wants the VP slot as a condition for supporting the party, do you think they won’t listen to him?,” he asked.

Also speaking on this, a public affairs analyst, Wale Adegoke said the South East needs to work very hard so they don’t lose out in 2023.

“The Igbo’s have to work very hard; if not they will miss out on both; President and VP. Hence, you see South South politicians now emphasizing their Igbo or Igbo-related names; Amaechi, Ifeanyichukwu etc. all in a bid to create a shade of Igboness in them to assuage the agitation in Igbo land. Unfortunately, some Igbos from the South East are even falling for that scam,” he said.

2023 Presidency: Ndume Rejects Lawan, Says It’s Turn Of The South

The Chairman Senate Committee on  Army, Senator Ali Ndume, has rejected the idea of Senate President Ahmad Lawan as the consensus presidential candidate of the Senate caucus of the All Progressives Congress (APC).

Binnabook Magazine had reported how Lawan’s allies in the parliament including Senator Yusuf Yusuf (APC, Taraba), Senator Aliyu Sabi Abdullahi (APC, Niger) and a former lawmaker, Senator Abdullahi Gumel, are pushing for his endorsement.

The move, which started before the Senators’ Sallah recess, has polarised the parliament that is made of 71 APC, 37 PDP and one YPP member.

The Senators had last week embarked on a recess to enable them to celebrate this Eid-el-Fitr. They are to resume on Tuesday, May 10.

In a chat with Daily Trust, Ndume said those behind the idea have not contacted him, because “They know my position.”

Ndume, who is leading the presidential campaign team of the Minister of Transportation, Rotimi Amaechi, said it’s the turn of the South to rule the nation.

“I have nothing against Ahmad Lawan; he is my colleague but I have everything against injustice. I won’t support even my biological brother. Fielding a northerner is tantamount to injustice and tantamount to a third term. The so-called northern elders that are pushing it are doing so to perpetuate injustice.

“It’s the turn of the South and we have to support them to actualise this. I’m disappointed with those that are pushing this. I had since taken position even before my alignment with Amaechi,” he said.

Other aspirants eyeing the APC ticket include Dave Umahi (Ebonyi ), Dr Chris Ngige (Anambra), Minister of State for Education, Emeka Nwajiuba (Imo), Senator Rochas Okorocha (Imo), Ihechukwu Dallas Chima (Abia), Usman Iwu (Imo), Ben Ayade (Cross River), Rotimi Amaechi (Rivers), Gbenga Olawepo-Hashim (Kwara), Mr Tein Jack-Rich (Rivers), Yahaya Bello (Kogi) and Adamu Garba II (Adamawa)

The ruling party had fixed its primaries for May 30 and June 1, where its flag bearer for the presidency would be elected.

Ukraine's President Volodymyr Zelensky Rejects U.S Evacuation Offer As Russian Assasins Parachute Into Kyiv

 Ukraine's President Volodymyr Zelensky held the ground and once again refused to be evacuated from Kyiv as Russian assassination squad parachuted into the capital and entered a building to kill him, a news report has claimed.

According to an account of the crisis given by presidential adviser Oleksiy Arestovych, Mr Zelensky was urged to leave and go to a secure facility away from Kyiv. The Ukrainian president also made a secret visit to the front line, according to the account.

Both British and US forces offered to evacuate Mr Zelensky and allow him to set up a government in exile, probably in Poland, but he never seriously thought about it.

Advisers warned him that the compound was at risk from sniper fire and grenades hurled from nearby buildings.

Mr Zelensky and a dozen of his aides were given bulletproof vests and assault rifles, but some didn't know how to use them.

Mr Arestovych said: “It was an absolute madhouse. Automatics for everyone.

“The place was wide open. We didn’t even have concrete blocks to close the street.”

He said the president's wife and children were also still there as the Russians descended.

Mr Zelensky would not leave, and on the second night, he went outside to record a video to show the Ukrainian people he had not fled.

The Ukrainian president himself told TIME: “You understand that they’re watching. You’re a symbol. You need to act the way the head of state must act.”

The Russian troops entered Ukraine on February 24.

At the start of the invasion, those inside defended themselves with automatic weapons and erected defences as the Russians twice tried to storm them at night.

A back gate was blocked with only plywood boards and police barricades.

According to the details shared in the account, in the early days of the invasion Mr Zelensky would get up before dawn and have his first meeting with his top general at 5am.

As the war progressed Mr Zelensky and aides would watch drone strikes on computer screens and cheer as Russian tanks were destroyed.

Mr Arestovych said bodyguards were "losing their minds" at the risk involved, and many of Mr Zelensky's team only found out months later that he had done it.

On another trip to the front line a few days later he ate soup within the range of Russian snipers and artillery.

Another adviser told the magazine that Mr Zelensky was his own “main” speechwriter.

French President Emmanuel Macron Re-elected For Second Term in Office

 French President Emmanuel Macron was re-elected Sunday, winning 58.2 percent of the vote to far-right challenger Marine Le Pen’s 41.8 percent, according to a projection by pollster Ipsos.

The projected result, issued just after polls closed in the decisive second round of the election, would make Macron the first French president in two decades to win a second term.

Official results are expected later in the evening but the projection means Macron can be confident he has secured another five years in the Elysée Palace.

Ohanaeze Replies Oluwo Of Iwo, Says Accusations that the Igbo cannot be trusted with the office of the Nigerian presidency Untrue

 The apex Igbo socio-cultural organisation, Ohanaeze Ndigbo, has described as untrue the statement credited to Oluwo of Iwo, Oba Abdulrosheed Adewale Akanbi, that the Igbo cannot be trusted with the office of the Nigerian presidency.

Ohanaeze noted that Oba Akanbi’s attack on the Igbo was not based on any verifiable evidence but rather on self-serving interests.

Oba Akanbi had, in a statement issued through his Chief Press Secretary, Alli Ibraheem, said that “no Nigerian will feel secure in the hands of a leader whose ethnic attachment deprived other Nigerians of their rights”.

He further accused the Igbo of “preventing people from the other parts of the country from acquiring properties in their domain”, adding that “the style by the Southeasterners is barbaric”.

Reacting to the allegations on Tuesday, Ohanaeze President General, Prof. George Obiozor, described the accusations as untrue, and advised Oba Akanbi to “undergo some tutelage under some more experienced cosmopolitan urbane intelligent monarchs”, stating that a well-adjusted traditional ruler is known by being open-minded towards all, especially people of other ethnic groups that may be found in his domain.

Obiozor in a statement issued through the National Publicity Secretary of Ohanaeze, Chief Alex Ogbonnia, said, “It is self-evident that Nigeria is a beleaguered country that urgently needs nation-building; inflammatory and incendiary remarks from monarchs and the highly placed are antithetical to peace and unity of Nigeria.

“In promoting his preferred candidate, he has committed a fallacy of hasty generalisation when he stated that ‘the style by southeasterners is barbaric; the Igbo cannot be trusted with power’, among others.

“Surely, such prejudice, innuendo and vitriolic group vilifications against the entire Igbo nation is most unreflective of a royal father whose primary duty is to sow seeds of unity in his kingdom and beyond. For the avoidance of doubt, the Igbo are adventurous nation builders; they are found in all parts of Nigeria and beyond.

“The wild claims that the Igbo prevent people from the other parts of the country from acquiring properties in their domain or have an obnoxious policy of depriving other Nigerians of their rights cannot be substantiated. On the other hand, it is inconceivable that a group that builds modern houses in all parts of the country will prevent other ethnicities from building in their homestead.

“One would think that the morbid fabrication of falsehood is terrible mischief, only for the uninitiated. What else? Oba Akanbi is drawn to his paradox, where he acknowledged the damage done to the Igbo during the Nigerian civil war and at the same time condemning the agitation by Igbo youth, such as the ESN for their clamour for inclusiveness based on equity and justice after about 53 years of the Nigerian Civil War,” the statement read in part.

Turkey President Erdoğan back down in NATO spat over Sweden and Finland NATO membership

 Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan will drop his objections to Finland and Sweden joining NATO once an enormous amount of pressure is p...


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