President Muhammadu Buhari declared yesterday in Istanbul that even the opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) recognises the fact that the security situation in the country has improved considerably, particularly in the North East zone.
He also hinted that the Nigeria-Pakistan Joint Commission would be revamped as a veritable platform to strengthen economic and trade relations between both countries.
Buhari told Pakistani Prime Minister, Shahid Khakan Abbasi, Nigeria is winning the fight against terrorism, as the Boko Haram terrorist group remains degraded.
He said, “We have moved them out from their strongholds in the North East, we have denied them space and even their attacks on soft targets are becoming less often.
“Even the opposition [party] recognises that there is a considerable improvement of security in the North East”.
In a statement by his senior special assistant on media and publicity, Garba Shehu, President Buhari gave the assurance at a bilateral meeting with the Pakistani Prime Minister on the margins of the ninth D-8 summit in Istanbul, Turkey.
The president, who expressed satisfaction at the level of defence and military cooperation between both countries, however agreed with the Prime Minister that there was still room to do more.
He regretted that same could not be said on the economic and trade fronts, which he said had fallen far short of what can be achieved by both countries.
His words: “Nigeria-Pakistan cooperation is very historical. Military training has been very consistent and I am impressed by the efficiency of officers trained in Pakistan.
“But the performance of our countries in relation to trade and industrial cooperation had been very disappointing”.
While noting that Nigeria had failed to use past earnings to create a commensurate level of socio-economic development, the president assured that his administration has identified the problems and is ardently working to promote national development through international trade, industrial growth and the improvement of infrastructure.
He then urged Pakistan to take full advantage of the new climate of investment promoted by his administration.
“There are a lot of opportunities, for us to harness, in the manufacturing sector, agriculture, commerce, solar energy and the electricity sector”, Buhari said.
In his remarks, Abbasi said both countries had similar prospects and challenges, including large population, key regional players in economy and security, the fight against terrorism, improving governance and the domestic economy.
He said Pakistan will continue to share experiences with Nigeria in the fight against terrorism towards developing effective strategies and results.
In line with this promise, the Pakistani Prime Minister presented a manual on strategy and tactics of dealing with terrorism to the Nigerian president, which he said, had been put together by his country’s army.
On the Joint Commission, which next meeting falls on Pakistan to convene, the Prime Minister said his country is now ready, adding that he would personally receive the Nigerian delegation any time.
He also requested President Buhari to undertake a state visit to Pakistan at the earliest possible time
Meanwhile, President Buhari has observed that African leaders must speak ‘with one voice’, independent of foreign influence, if they must achieve economic integration, development, peace, and security on the continent.
Speaking at a bilateral meeting with President Alpha Conde of Guinea on Friday night in Istanbul, Turkey, Buhari in a statement by his senior special assistant on media and publicity, Garba Shehu, said leaders should learn from history to effectively tackle conflicts, violent extremism, and proliferation of small arms and light weapons.
The two presidents, who met on the margins of the ninth D8 Summit in Istanbul, exchanged views on bilateral relations as well as regional and international issues of mutual interest.
President Buhari assured his Guinean counterpart, who is also the current Charcman of AU that Nigeria would continue to strengthen its engagement with all AU member states to address current security challenges in restive areas such as South Sudan and Libya, and the political crisis in Togo.
In his remarks, Conde praised Nigeria’s leadership on the continent, particularly President Buhari’s great job on anti-corruption and his strong voice on African issues at the international stage.
The Guinean leader stressed the need for Guinea and Nigeria to accelerate economic cooperation, particularly in the natural resources sector, where Guinea boasts of 25 per cent or more of the world’s known bauxite reserves.
2019: More APC States Endorse President
Meanwhile, ahead of 2019 general election, more state chapters of the All Progressives Congress (APC) are beginning to endorse for President Buhari for a second term.
Though the president hasn’t declared his intentions to run, he has gotten endorsements from Katsina, Kaduna, Enugu and Adamawa states, a development political observers said may put Buhari under pressure to run for a second tenure
Following suit, stakeholders of the Adamawa State of the APC yesterday endorsed President Muhammadu Buhari and Gov. Muhammadu Jibrilla for the 2019 elections.
The endorsement was contained in a communiqué issued at the end of the party stakeholders meeting convened in Yola.
The stakeholders maintained that the party took the far reaching measures after reviewing, with kin interest, the performance of elected officials under the platform of the party at all levels of governance, especially in areas of security and the fight against corruption.
The communiqué, which was read out by Senator Jonathan Silas Zingwina, commended the efforts of the federal government towards the revival of Mambila Hydro-Electric power project in the North East.
Responding Governor Jibrilla assured that henceforth, the trajectory of politics in the state would be focused on human capital development to empower the electorate.
Jibrilla directed the party secretariat in the state to come up with a blue print modalities on how reach out to grassroots for human capital empowerment.
He further explained that within two year’s of APC administration in the state, 276 roads has been completed, amidst daunting challenges of poor working environments and financial incapacitation inherited from the past administration.
Members of APC Board of Trustees, the National Executive Committee, members of the national working committee, state and local government chairmen attended the meeting.
Last September, the APC in Kaduna State endorsed the re-elections of President Muhammadu Buhari and Governor Nasir El-Rufai in 2019.
The APC in the state made this known at a stakeholders’ meeting with party leaders from the 255 electoral wards of the state.
The meeting at the Umaru Musa Yar’Adua Hall, Kaduna, was attended by Governor el-Rufai, one of the two APC Senators from the state, members of the House of Representatives and the State House of Assembly, and political appointees at both federal and state levels.
Also in September, President Buhari got the nod for a second term in office from the APC in his home state of Katsina.
The decision was taken at a meeting of the State Executive Council of the party.
Its chairman, Alhaji Shittu S. Shittu, reading from a communiqué, said the decisions were unanimous and based on the performances of the president and the governor.
The All Progressives Congress, APC, Enugu State chapter, also in September endorsed President Buhari for a second term in office.
The endorsement which was made known by the Enugu State chairman of APC, Dr. Ben Nwoye, at a press briefing urged other presidential aspirants on the platform of the party not to be deceived by certain groups in the state who were scheming to drain their pockets.
Nwoye described President Buhari as a great reformer, who has shown total commitment towards Nigeria’s development.