PRESIDENT BUHARI URGES ECOWAS LEADERS TO RESIST TEMPTATION OF TENURE ELONGATION
President Muhammadu Buhari has appealed to ECOWAS leaders not to elongate their tenure in office beyond constitutional limits.
Making the call while presenting Nigeria’s General Statement at the 57th Ordinary Session of the ECOWAS Heads of State and Government in Niamey, Niger Republic on Monday, the President urged his colleagues to respect constitutional provisions and ensure free and fair elections.
According to him, it is “important that as leaders of our individual Member-States of ECOWAS, we need to adhere to the constitutional provisions of our countries, particularly on term limits. This is one area that generates crisis and political tension in our sub-region.
“As it is, the challenges facing the sub-region are enormous; from socio-economic matters to security issues, the ECOWAS sub-region cannot therefore afford another political crisis, in the guise of tenure elongation. I urge us all to resist the temptation of seeking to perpetuate ourselves in power beyond the constitutional provisions.
“I commend those in our midst that have resisted such temptations, for they will be deemed exceptional role models in their respective countries and the sub-region as a whole.
“Related to this call for restraint is the need to guarantee free, fair and credible elections. This must be the bedrock for democracy to be sustained in our sub-region, just as the need for adherence to the rule of law.”
On the political situation in Mali, President Buhari said it is of serious concern to ECOWAS, and commended President Mahamadou Issoufou of Niger Republic and out-going Chair of the ECOWAS Authority of Heads of State and Government and the Leadership of the ECOWAS Commission, as well as the Chief Mediator, former Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan, “for effectively demonstrating commitment in handling the political situation in that country.”
He declared that “Nigeria remains resolutely committed to ECOWAS decision for a civilian-led Transition Government not exceeding 12 months. This is important because of the circumstances surrounding Mali where violent non-state actors and other negative tendencies reside and who can take advantage of the unstable political situation to overrun the country, thereby plunging it into greater danger that will affect the political stability of the whole sub-region.
“While Nigeria understands the current political realities in Mali, the sub-region’s commitment to the Protocol on Democracy and Good Governance, must never be compromised.
“An early return to democratic governance which is transparent and civilian-led, will commend itself for Nigeria’s support for progressive relaxation of sanctions against Mali.”
On security, the Nigerian leader noted that, “Terrorism continues to be the greatest security threat in our sub-region, complicating other national security challenges. As a sub-region, we need to collaborate more by working hand in hand with each other, to combat the root causes of the different security-related manifestations in our countries.”
He said, “Nigeria is concerned with the rapidity at which terrorist groups in the Sahel and West Africa are working together against all of us,” adding that, “We must urgently review these ugly developments to guarantee the safety and survival of our sub-region.”
“Our national security apparatus and the relevant Units of ECOWAS must urgently be seized with these unfolding events across our sub-region and act decisively on the emergence of early warning signs,” he said.
Dwelling on the long-standing single currency issue for the sub-region, the President said, “Nigeria remains committed to the implementation of the action plan towards the actualization of the monetary union and single currency programme of ECOWAS,” and called on “Member States to show support to the resolution of the Heads of State and Government of the ECOWAS on this matter.”
Cognisant of the “likelihood that many ECOWAS member states may not meet the convergence criteria over the next few years due to the impact of COVID-19 on our economies and which as a consequence, will affect the take-off date of the single currency,” he said “Notwithstanding this envisaged delay, we must remain collectively focused and resolute in working to achieve the objectives of the ECOWAS monetary union as a project for the sub-region.”
Insisting that “the premature adoption of the “ECO” has unnecessarily heightened disaffection and mistrust among members of the emerging monetary union,” President Buhari encouraged “UEMOA (French acronym for the West African Economic and Monetary Union) to return to the roadmap on the common currency in the sub-region.”
He also urged all stakeholders to “bear in mind that those economic convergence criteria must be based on sound and sustainable macroeconomic fundamentals.”
Noting that some key unresolved issues still remained such as delinking the CFA franc of the UEMOA from the Euro; whether the UEMOA countries join as a bloc or individual countries; design of the exchange rate mechanism; Stabilization Fund; policy harmonization and exit strategy and reserve pooling among others, the Nigerian President called on his colleagues to provide “African solutions to African problems.”
According to him, “Foreign interference and so-called advice may not be in our best sub-regional interest,” as he stressed the “need for UEMOA to return to the agreed roadmap of the ECOWAS Single Currency by complying with the established framework under the roadmap and cooperate with other member countries in achieving the objectives of the programme.”
Observing that the Summit was holding “under a very complex health pandemic, whose impact on the global health and economy has so far been devastating,” President Buhari said “like the rest of the world, our sub-region is witnessing economic downturn with negative growth that is headed towards deep recession and the outlook continues to be uncertain.”
He, therefore, charged his colleagues on the “need to continue to work in concert with each other on several fronts to ease the negative effects of the pandemic,” adding that, “We need to demonstrate our collective resolve to harness the opportunities that come with COVID-19, despite its overwhelming negative impact on lives and livelihoods.”
The Nigerian President, who is the ECOWAS Champion charged with mobilising and coordinating the efforts against the pandemic, admitted that the “outlook for our sub-region with COVID-19 hovering over us is gloomy indeed.”
He, however, expressed confidence that “where there are challenges, opportunities are also available to be seized upon through greater collaboration with each other.”
“We must pool our resources together in unity to save our generation and generations to come from multiple challenges, including COVID-19 and related health issues.
“We need to redouble our efforts in preparing our national economies to withstand impending shocks against prospective multi-sector challenges that await us in the sub-region,” he declared.
Acknowledging that it is no easy task, President Buhari appealed to fellow leaders to “embrace our collective vision for the future with greater determination and innovative thinking and creativity.”
Senior Special Assistant to the President
(Media & Publicity)
September 7, 2020
UK Threatens Sanctions Against Violence Sponsors In Edo , Ondo Elections
The United Kingdom yesterday said it would deploy observers in Edo and Ondo States to monitor the governorship elections, and threatened sanction, including a travel ban to the United Kingdom, against sponsors of violence in the two elections.
The UK said the British High Commissioner to Nigeria, Catriona Laing, had met with the leaders of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) and the main opposition, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).
The decisions of the UK Government were contained in a statement issued yesterday in Abuja by the High Commission to Nigeria.
The statement said: “As a friend and partner of Nigeria, we are closely following the lead up to the off-cycle governorship elections in Edo and Ondo states scheduled for September 19 and October 10, respectively.
“These elections are important, both as an essential element of effective governance within both states and an indicator of the strength of Nigeria’s democratic institutions.
“Our High Commissioner to Nigeria, Catriona Laing, has held meetings with leaders of the two main political parties, the APC and PDP.
“The discussions focused on the need for the parties’ leaders to prevail on supporters to avoid violence before and after the elections and we welcome the Edo candidates’ signatures of the National Peace Committee and INEC convened a peace accord yesterday.
“We will be deploying observation missions to both the Edo and Ondo elections and supporting civil society led observation.
“The UK takes a strong stand against election-related violence and, just as we did in the general election in 2019, will continue to take action against individuals we identify as being responsible for violence during the elections.
“This could include restrictions on their eligibility to travel to the UK, restrictions on access to UK based assets or prosecution under international law.
“The UK will continue to provide support and engagement as we move towards these elections. We urge INEC, the Police and all other agencies involved to work together to deliver free, fair and credible elections.”
Yoshihide Suga named Japan’s new prime minister
Japan ’s parliament on Wednesday elected Yoshihide Suga prime minister , with the former chief cabinet secretary expected to stick closely to policies championed by Shinzo Abe during his record- breaking tenure .
Suga , 71, won an easy victory , taking 314 votes of 462 valid ballots cast in the lower house of parliament , where his ruling Liberal Democratic Party ( LDP ) holds a commanding majority .
He bowed deeply as lawmakers applauded following the announcement , but made no immediate comment .
“ According to the results, our house has decided to name Yoshihide Suga prime minister , ” lower house speaker Tadamori Oshima announced after the votes were counted.
Suga is expected to announce his cabinet later Wednesday, with local media reporting he will retain a number of ministers from Abe ’ s last government .
Suga , who on Monday was elected leader of the LDP , is viewed as a continuity candidate and has said his run was inspired by a desire to pursue Abe ’s policies .
Abe , who resigned earlier Wednesday along with his cabinet , is ending his record run in office with a year left in his mandate .
He was forced out by a recurrence of ulcerative colitis, a bowel disease that has long plagued him .
Suga has spent decades in politics — most recently as chief cabinet secretary , where he was known for pushing government policies through a sometimes intractable bureaucracy.
He has also been the face of the government , doggedly defending its policies as spokesman , including in sometimes testy exchanges with journalists .
– ‘ This is my mission ’ – His upbringing, as the son of a strawberry – farmer father and schoolteacher mother , sets him apart from the many blue – blood political elites in his party and the Japanese political scene .
But while he has championed some measures intended to help rural areas like his hometown in northern Japan ’s Akita , his political views remain something of a mystery .
He is viewed as more pragmatic than ideological , and during his campaign spoke more about the need to break down administrative obstacles — so – called bureaucratic silos — than any grand guiding principles .
He will face a raft of tough challenges, including an economy that was already in recession before the coronavirus pandemic .
Suga has said kickstarting the economy will be a top priority , along with containing the virus — essential if the postponed Tokyo 2020 Olympics are to open as planned in July 2021 .
His recipe for doing that ? More of the same , he says.
“ In order to overcome the crisis and give the Japanese people a sense of relief , we need to succeed in what Prime Minister Abe has been implementing , ” Suga said after being elected LDP leader on Monday .
Suga ’ s cabinet is expected to bring few surprises, with Foreign Minister Toshimitsu Motegi and Finance Minister Taro Aso expected to stay on in their jobs .
Defence Minister Taro Kono is tipped to be replaced by Abe ’s brother Nobuo Kishi , who was adopted by his uncle as a child and carries his surname .
Kono is reportedly set to become minister in charge of administrative reform , a portfolio Suga considers particularly important .
– ‘ All my strength ’ – Just two women are so far reported to be in the cabinet , as Olympic minister and justice minister , down from the three who served in Abe ’s last government .
Analysts say Suga is likely to stick with his predecessor’ s signature Abenomics programme , involving vast government spending, massive monetary easing and the cutting of red tape .
On the diplomatic front , Suga is a relative novice, with little foreign policy experience .
There too , experts say , he is likely to tread the path charted by Abe , prioritising the key relationship with the United States , whoever is president after November ’s election .
Relations with China may prove trickier with a global hardening of opinion against Beijing after the coronavirus and unrest in Hong Kong .
There has been speculation that Suga could call a snap election to consolidate his position and avoid being seen as a caretaker prime minister , but he has been circumspect on the prospect .
Abe will stay on as a lawmaker, with some mooting the possibility he could undertake diplomatic missions .
On Wednesday morning as he prepared to resign , Abe said he had given “ all my strength ” and was ending his tenure “ with a sense of pride ” .
“ I owe everything to the Japanese people. ”
Bill Gates Sr ., Father Of Microsoft Co – Founder Dies At 94
Bill Gates Sr., a lawyer and the father of Microsoft’s co-founder, who stepped in when appeals for charity began to overwhelm his billionaire son and started what became the world’s largest philanthropy, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, died on Monday at his beach home on Hood Canal, in the Seattle area. He was 94.
The cause was Alzheimer’s disease, his family said in an announcement on Tuesday.
In 1994, Mr. Gates was 69 and planning to retire from his prestigious law practice in a few years when, one autumn evening, he and his son, Bill, and his daughter-in-law, Melinda, went to a movie. Standing in the ticket line, Bill told his father that he was being inundated with appeals for charity but that he was far too busy running Microsoft to answer them.
His father suggested that he, Bill Sr., could sift through the paperwork and, with his son’s approval, send out some checks. Bill Jr. agreed.
What Mr. Gates Sr. found later were dozens of cardboard boxes filled with requests for money, many with heartbreaking stories of need. A week later, Bill Jr. set aside $100 million to open what was initially called the William H. Gates Foundation. His father, sitting at his kitchen table, wrote the first check: $80,000 for a local cancer program.
Over the next 13 years, while Bill Gates focused primarily on Microsoft, his father managed the foundation day to day, conferring with its executives and philanthropic experts, sending his son lists of proposed grants, writing checks and shaping the charity’s major goals: improving health and education and alleviating poverty in America and the third world.
“I consider Bill Gates Sr. the conscience of the Gates family,” said Pablo Eisenberg, a columnist for The Chronicle of Philanthropy. “He was instrumental in not only starting the foundation but growing it, and his motive was that with all that money, you ought to do good.”
In 2000, Bill Gates and his wife combined three family foundations and donated $5 billion in stock to create a successor charity, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. Mr. Gates, his wife and his father became co-chairs of the new entity, although it was still being managed by Mr. Gates Sr. In many respects, the modern foundation still dates its inception from his first check in 1994.
With Patty Stonesifer, who bridged the old and new foundations as chief executive from 1997 to 2008, Mr. Gates Sr. channeled support for campaigns to eradicate polio, reduce infant and maternal mortality, build schools, foster an agricultural revolution in Africa and invest in technology that created savings accounts for impoverished farm families. Under him, the foundation also gave hundreds of millions to the search for a vaccine to control AIDS, the spectrum of often-fatal conditions caused by H.I.V.
“An enormous part of his contribution was not only the strategic focus and the institutional structure of the foundation, but he helped establish the principles we worked by,” Ms. Stonesifer said of Mr. Gates Sr. in an interview for this obituary in January. “He was a daily reminder that just because you have the checkbook doesn’t mean you have the knowledge or the experience on the issues we are trying to address; that we need to listen to the people who have the experience and the knowledge.”
Bill Gates Jr. credited his father with the early success of the foundation. “I make sure the resources are available, and he works to wisely spend the money,” he told The Seattle Times in 2003.
A prominent Seattle lawyer with heavy civic and professional obligations, Mr. Gates Sr. had largely left to his wife, Mary, the duties of raising their two daughters and one son, Bill, who, all agreed, became insufferably argumentative as a boy — resisting his mother’s requests that he clean up his room, that he stop biting his pencils and that he sit down to dinner on time.
Their test of wills exploded one night at the dinner table, with Bill shouting at his mother in what he described years later to The Wall Street Journal as “utter, total, sarcastic, smart-ass kid rudeness.” In response, his father, in “a rare blast of temper,” The Journal wrote, threw a glass of water in his son’s face.
Young Bill was taken to a therapist, who advised his parents to ease off on discipline. They sent him to Lakeside, a private prep school in Seattle, where he had access to computers. There he met Paul Allen, a student computer whiz.
Years later, the parents acquiesced when Bill quit Harvard and moved to Albuquerque, where he and Mr. Allen founded Microsoft in 1975.
Microsoft grew into the world’s largest personal computer software company. Its 1986 public offering turned its founders into billionaires and 12,000 employees into millionaires. It became one of America’s most valuable publicly traded companies — the third, after Apple and Amazon, to reach the magical trillion-dollar market capitalization.
“I never imagined that the argumentative young boy who grew up in my house, eating my food and using my name, would be my future employer,” Bill Sr. told the Seattle Rotary Club in 2005.
Bill Gates Jr. announced in 2006 that he would give up his daily role with Microsoft over a few years, allowing him more time to work with the foundation.
Weeks later, the financier Warren Buffett pledged to give annual gifts of stock in his company, Berkshire Hathaway, to the Gates Foundation for the rest of his life. Through 2018, his gifts totaled $24.6 billion, sharply raising the Gates endowment and charitable initiatives.
By 2008, when Bill Gates Jr. began working full time at the foundation, his father’s role had begun to diminish after 13 years as the only family member with a daily presence there. For the first time in their lives, father and son were working together. Both were strong-willed executives, but there was no question who was the boss.
“At s6-foot-6, Bill Gates Sr. is nearly a full head taller than his son,” The Journal noted. “He’s known to be more social than the younger Bill Gates, but they share a sharp intellect and a bluntness that can come across to some as curt.” The Journal added, however, “He isn’t prone to introspection, and he plays down his role in his son’s life.”
In a family line of similarly named men, William Henry Gates Sr. was called William Henry Gates Jr. at birth in Bremerton, Wash., on Nov. 30, 1925, the younger of two children of William and Lillian (Rice) Gates. (After his son, Bill — born William Henry Gates III — became famous, the father adopted the suffix “Sr.,” and the son became “Jr.” to simplify things.)
While Bill Sr.’s family was not poor during the Depression, his father, who owned a furniture store, would pick up coal that had fallen off delivery trucks and take it home to heat the house. William attended local schools and was in the Army from 1944 to 1946, rising to first lieutenant in the occupation of Japan. He went to the University of Washington on the G.I. Bill, graduating in 1949, and earning a juris doctor from its law school in 1950.
In 1951 he married Mary Maxwell, a Seattle civic leader and longtime regent of the University of Washington. Besides Bill, they had two children, Kristianne and Libby. Mary Gates died in 1994. In 1996, Mr. Gates married Mimi Gardner, the former director of the Seattle Art Museum.
In addition to his son, Bill, he is survived by his wife; his daughters, Kristianne Blake, who is known as Kristi, and Elizabeth MacPhee, who is known as Libby; and eight grandchildren.
Mr. Gates co-founded what became Preston, Gates & Ellis, a leading Seattle law firm, in 1964, and was a partner until 1998. (The firm is now called K&L Gates.) He was president of the Seattle/King County Bar Association and the Washington State Bar Association and a director of the Greater Seattle Chamber of Commerce, the King County United Way and Planned Parenthood. In 1995, he founded the Technology Alliance to expand jobs in the field. He also served 15 years as a regent of the University of Washington.
But his principal focus after 1994 was the Gates foundation. During his tenure, he directed grants that created children’s vaccines; provided sanitation and clean water to impoverished rural areas in developing countries; distributed bed netting to reduce mosquito-borne malaria; supported the education of girls; and promoted contraceptive use, nutritional supplements and single-use syringes.
In an age of income inequality, Mr. Gates Sr. argued that the purpose of wealth was not to pass it on to loved ones. With Mr. Buffett and the financier George Soros, he opposed a repeal of the federal estate tax in 2001. In 2003 he published “Wealth and Our Commonwealth: Why America Should Tax Accumulated Fortunes” (written with Chuck Collins). And he campaigned unsuccessfully in 2010 for a Washington State income tax on individuals earning $200,000 and couples earning $400,000.
Unlike most philanthropies, the Gates foundation’s bylaws mandate the disposal of all its assets within 20 years of the death of Bill or Melinda Gates, whichever comes later. By 2019, the foundation had given away about $50 billion but still had a $47 billion endowment. Forbes magazine said Bill Gates had $108.8 billion in January 2020, exceeded only by the fortune of the Amazon founder, Jeff Bezos ($115.6 billion) and that of Bernard Arnault, the LVMH luxury goods titan ($117 billion).
In his book “Showing Up for Life: Thoughts on the Gifts of a Lifetime” (2009), Mr. Gates Sr. wrote: “Those who claim that the wealth they have accumulated is theirs to pass on without returning anything back to the American system show a shocking lack of appreciation for all that the system and public monies did to help them create wealth.”
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