Yenagoa—Former Senate President, Dr. Bukola Saraki, has said the quest by some presidential aspirants in the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) to form a united force is for the party to take over power from the All Progressives Congress (APC) in 2023.
Dr. Saraki said this informed their decision to advocate for a consensus candidate among the aspirants.
The presidential hopeful spoke on Monday while briefing journalists after a closed-door meeting alongside his co-aspirants, Governor Aminu Tambuwal of Sokoto State and Senator Bala Mohammed, Governor of Bauchi State, with Governor Douye Diri at the Creek Haven Government House in Yenagoa, Bayelsa State.
In a statement by Daniel Alabrah, Chief Press Secretary to the Bayelsa State Governor, Saraki stressed that as an opposition party, the PDP cannot wrest power from the APC if it is not united.
According to him, the interest of Nigeria supersedes their individual ambitions and that was why they embarked on the mission to consult the Bayelsa governor and other critical stakeholders on how to reach a consensus on the flagbearer of the party in next year’s presidential election.
Describing the PDP as the only hope to rebuild and reposition the country, the former Senate President noted that Nigeria was in bad shape and needed to be salvaged from the bad governance of the APC.
He said despite the propaganda by the ruling party, Nigerians were going through difficult times under the APC and that the only solution is for the PDP to retake power at the centre.
Saraki stated: “We are here to intimate the governor on our efforts to have a consensus candidate. As you all know, three of us have indicated interest to run on the platform of the PDP. We have been going around talking to the leaders of our party.
“The governor of Bayelsa is not only a leader but a key stakeholder who has a role to play in the 2023 election.
“The country, despite the propaganda of the APC, is in a very bad shape. It is only the PDP that can rebuild it and give it the direction that it needs. To do that, we talk about the country not being united. You can not lead the country when you are not united.
“We all have individual ambitions but what we have come to accept and believe in is that the interest of Nigeria is far bigger than individual interests. That is why in the last three weeks we have been moving around the country, letting our leaders know that a consensus approach should be used to pick any of us.
“Our appeal to Nigerians is that we feel your pains, the hardship and insecurity. That is why our ambition is to return this country to PDP and make your lives better.
“We have come to seek your support as we approach 2023. We have spoken very well and feel encouraged by the governor’s words. Let us start now in building those blocks that will ensure that PDP will make Nigeria a better place.”
He thanked Governor Diri for the warm reception and for his words of encouragement.
In his remarks, the Bayelsa State Governor, Senator Douye Diri, urged the PDP to forge a united front if the party wants to win the forthcoming election.
Diri insisted that the party must not be factionalised as a result of individual ambitions but rather come together to pursue the common purpose of winning the 2023 presidential election.
The Bayelsa helmsman, who promised to work for the success of the party at the polls, commended the aspirants for putting their individual interests aside for the good of the party.
His words: “There is no other way than unity of purpose of the PDP. We must realise that we are an opposition party. We are not a party in power and cannot afford to be factionalised adue to individual ambition.
“Thank God for implanting this in the minds of these senior citizens of our great party.
“I think this is the first time in Nigeria that presidential aspirants are coming together to talk about the unity of the party and forge a way forward.
“One thing that I will assure you is that the state chapter here is prepared to work assiduously for the unity of our party, to take over the reins of governance and give to Nigerians what we were giving them before the destruction of the country by the party in power.”
If elected president, I will name, shame oil thieves—Atiku to business leaders
Lagos—The 2023 presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Atiku Abubakar has threatened to name and shame oil thieves in the country if elected Nigeria’s President in 2023.
Channels TV reports that Atiku made this known on Saturday when he interacted with the Business Dialogue Stakeholders Forum at Eko Hotel in Lagos.
Atiku also said he would confiscate all oil blocs allocated to some Nigerians who have failed to make them operational.
“If you are not going to develop oil blocs given to you, we will take it away and give it to those who will develop it.
“We will also assemble the names of those involved in oil theft, publish same and prosecute them,” Atiku told the stakeholders.
He reiterated his commitment to privatizing the refineries in Kaduna, Port Harcourt and Warri.
Atiku was at the event with his running mate and Delta State Governor, Ifeanyi Okowa.
Both Governors Udom Emmanuel and Aminu Waziri Tambuwal of Akwa Ibom and Sokoto states; who are the Chairman and Director General of the Atiku/Okowa presidential campaign team, urged the stakeholders to support Atiku for a better Nigeria.
Only 250 psychiatrists left in Nigeria, says association
Enugu—Taiwo Obindo, president of the association of psychiatrists in Nigeria, says the current psychiatrist-to-patient ratio in Nigeria is one to one million.
According to TheCable, Obindo Spoke on Thursday on the sidelines of the ongoing 53rd annual general and scientific meeting of psychiatrists in Enugu.
He said two-thirds of certified personnel leave the country annually.
According to him, this has led to the poor ratio and has made accessibility and deliverability of psychiatric care relatively difficult in the country.
“The standard is that one psychiatric doctor should take care of 10,000 patients. But today, we have one psychiatric doctor to more than one million Nigerians,” NAN quoted him as saying.
“As we speak now, we have less than 250 certified psychiatric doctors throughout the country, and more are leaving by the day.”
Obindo called for the passage of the national mental health bill as amended to ensure proper administration of mental health treatment, adequate funding, and remuneration of professionals.
“Mental healthcare should be incorporated into the primary healthcare system to cater to primary and secondary institutions treating mental health disorders in localities,” he said.
“Presently, the little budget meant for mental health treatment goes to tertiary medical institutions only. Mental health should be fully taken care of at primary healthcare centres.
“Percolating mental healthcare to primary healthcare institutions will save Nigerians transportation, feeding and accommodation costs, and the stress of conveying mentally-ill persons to urban centres where psychiatric hospitals could be found.”
Speaking further, Obindo said Nigerians facing insecurity and forced displacements have continued to face psychological and psychiatric trauma and disorders.
He said the government should ensure that such people recover from the shock they have witnessed.
“It is important that governments and other support groups give them special attention to meet their current challenging emotional, psychological, and psychiatric needs so as not to fall into deeper depression or societal withdrawal,” he added.
FG reintroduces history in basic education curriculum
Abuja—The Federal Government has announced the reintroduction of history as a stand-alone subject in the basic education curriculum 13 years after it was abolished, according to the Tribune.
The government noted that 3,700 History teachers have been shortlisted for the first round of training for enhanced teaching of the subject.
Minister of Education, Adamu Adamu while speaking at the flag-off ceremony of the reintroduction of the teaching of history and training of history teachers at basic education level on Thursday in Abuja, lamented that national cohesion was being threatened with the country retreating into primordial sentiments.
He said this is because of the lack of knowledge of the evolution of Nigeria following the removal of History from the basic education curriculum.
Adamu was represented by the Minister of State for Education, Goodluck Nanah Opiah at the event attended by Sultan of Sokoto, His Eminence, Muhammadu Sa’ad Abubakar and other key stakeholders in the education sector.
History was removed from primary and secondary education curriculums from the 2009/2010 academic session.
Adamu ordered the reintroduction of the subject in 2019 following widespread condemnation.
Adamu said: “History used to be one of the foundational subjects taught in our classroom but for some inexplicable reasons, the stream of teaching and learning was abolished.
“As a result, history was subsequently expunged from the list of subject combinations our students could offer in both external and internal examinations compared to the subjects that were made compulsory at basic and secondary levels in Nigeria.
“This single act no doubt relegated and eroded the knowledge and information that learners could otherwise have been exposed to. It was a monumental mistake and have already started seeing its negative consequences
“The loss created by the absence of this subject has led to a fall in moral values, erosion of civic values, and disconnect from the past.
“More worrisome was the neglect of the teaching of this subject at basic and post basic levels of education which invariably eroded the knowledge of the evolution of Nigeria as a country.
“The immediate implication of this was that we lost ideas even of our recent past, and we scarcely saw ourselves as one nation and gradually began retreating into our primordial sentiments.”