President Buhari serves debtor govs red card

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President Muhammadu Buhari has served governors owing salaries a red card ahead of the March 2, governorship election.

Buhari, who is also seeking re-election on the platform of the governing All Progressives Congress (APC), urged the voters to consider competence in exercising their franchise.

The president, who disclosed this on the Hausa service of the Voice of America, which was aired yesterday morning, said he saw no justification in governors collecting bailout funds from the Federal Government and still failing to pay wages.

The president was quoted as saying: “I wonder how these governors are able to sleep knowing that they have refused to pay workers their wages.

“These workers have families to cater for, they pay rent, pay school fees, hospital bills and food for their families.”

Buhari said the Constitution gives governors the independence to spend their funds without interference and that is why some are abusing that privilege by refusing to work for the people.

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The president advised Nigerians to use their voting rights to make sure that they only vote for people who would deliver.

On the fight against corruption, which is a cardinal programme of his administration, the president said unlike before, he now uses democratic means.

He said being democratic in fighting corruption is slow but assured that the objectives will eventually be achieved.

Meanwhile, Buhari has justified his retention of service chiefs, two years after their tenure ended.

Buhari said he has not changed the service chiefs in order to avoid “competition within the service,” in a recorded interview aired by Arise TV on Monday night.

The president also said he is not afraid of the Inspector General of Police, Ibrahim Idris, and that he would soon take action on his tenure, which ended on January 3.

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However, Idris clocks 60 on January 15 and enlisted into the police on January 3, 1984.

The Chief of Defence Staff, Abayomi Gabriel Olonisakin, Chief of Army Staff, Tukur Yusufu Buratai, nd the Chief of Naval Staff, Ibok-EteIkwe Ibas, as well as the Chief of Air Staff, Sadique Baba Abubakar, have had their tenures extended twice.

Also, Idris, who was expected to retire on January 3, after completing a mandatory 35 years in service, is still at his job. He clocks 60 on January 15.

The president said: “The head [him] has to be very careful because you don’t know [the] ambition of the ones coming up,” and added that the performance of the service chiefs may be disappointing but he takes responsibility for not changing them.

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“My understanding of security is that, when you have a case of emergency, you have to be careful, with tampering with the head of services. This is, again, one of my personal experiences. I have been a governor, I have been a minister, I have been a head of state, I came back, I tried to come back to this office three times but lucky on the fourth attempt.

“I am measuring the options critically; when you have a case of emergency, if you don’t wait for an appropriate time to do it, then, you create competition within the service. There are so many ambitious people waiting; only one man can be chief of army staff in the army, only one man can be the inspector-general of police.

“Don’t forget that it was this administration that appointed all the three.”

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