Absence of Buhari, Osinbajo stalls first meeting of FEC

• Nigerians plan protest at UN over El-Zakzaky, Sowore, others
• Court to hear IMN’s application over proscription Sept. 11

Due to the absence of President Muhammadu Buhari and his deputy, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo, the inaugural meeting of the weekly Federal Executive Council (FEC) meeting did not hold. This is coming after months of delay in putting up a cabinet and criticisms over the competence of its members. Buhari left Abuja for Japan on Sunday to attend the Seventh Tokyo International Conference on African Development (TICAD7). The event opened yesterday morning in Tokyo, Japan, and will run till August 30. The president is expected to return to Nigeria on August 31.

A presidency source told The Guardian: “Being the first FEC meeting, ordinarily the president will like to preside over it, to hear from the ministers on their first official engagements.”During the inauguration also, Buhari had reminded the appointees: “As you are aware, the Federal Executive Council meeting is held on a weekly basis. As part of efforts towards ensuring effective delivery on our priorities, I have directed the Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF) to track the progress against what we have committed to do to achieve these objectives. He is therefore expected to report the process of implementation and outcome to the Federal Executive Council.”

Vice President Yemi Osinbajo however presided over the first Economic Management Team meeting, which was attended by heads of Ministries, Departments and Agencies. He wrote on his Twitter handle: “I presided over the first Economic Management Team meeting themed ‘Next Level Agenda: Budget Issues,’ today at the State House. It is the first EMT meeting of President Buhari’s second term.”Others at the session included Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning Zainab Ahmed; Central Bank Governor Godwin Emefiele; and Accountant-General of the Federation Ahmed Idris.
Some Nigerians, meanwhile, might stage a protest against Buhari at the forthcoming United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) slated for September 17, 2019.

The Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) had threatened it would do the same at the TICAD7.“We urge all Nigerians in the diaspora to come out and protest at the UN General Assembly in New York to make General Buhari understand that Nigeria belongs to all of us. This apolitical protest is to save Nigeria from further destruction by General Buhari whose sole aim is to Islamise Nigeria.

“A protest date will be communicated later. However Nigerians in the diaspora should brace up for this mother of all protests, as this is an opportunity to let the world know about the plight of Nigeria and Nigerians,” said a statement by Timi Frank, a former Deputy National Publicity Secretary of the All Progressives Congress (APC).He explained that the decision was borne out of the realisation that the Buhari-led administration has zero tolerance for protests and dissenting voices.

According to him, the protest will demand the release of all political prisoners, Omoyele Sowore, Sambo Dasuki and Sheik Ibrahim El-Zakzaky and the remaining Chibok girls including Leah Sharibu.Other petitions include stop to alleged killings by Fulani herdsmen, respect for the rule of law, provision of adequate security, and non-intimidation of the judiciary.

The protesters will further urge the United States to include top military chiefs in its visa ban proposed for persons accused of wrongdoings during the 2019 general elections.The statement noted: “All regional groups including IPOB, Ohanaeze, Afenifere, etc., in the diaspora should take part in this apolitical protest to bring to the knowledge of the world, the sufferings, human right abuses and oppression being meted out to Nigerians by General Buhari.”

It reminded the international community that Buhari has a pending case in an election petitions court where the legitimacy of his mandate is being challenged, and that until the Supreme Court of Nigeria gives judgment, Buhari should not be addressed as president but as a former military general.“No world leader will accept or perpetrate the kind of killings, impunity and lawlessness being meted out to Nigerians in Nigeria by General Buhari’s government, which does not allow freedom of expression – one of the fundamental human rights of a citizen in any democracy.

“We appeal to Nigerians in the diaspora, especially those in the USA to come out en masse and join this forthcoming Save Our Soul protest. Let us show love to our brothers and sisters back home who have been caged and are not allowed to express their views freely.“Henceforth, Nigerians in the diaspora should come out en masse and protest against General Buhari and his lackey, Yemi Osibanjo, in any country they may visit.”

Also, about a week to the planned protest, the Federal High Court, Abuja, would hear a motion filed by the Islamic Movement in Nigeria (IMN), which is led by El-Zakzaky.The court yesterday fixed September 11 for the hearing after the Shiite sect approached it, seeking the vacation of the ex parte order granted the Federal Government on July 26, which proscribed the movement’s activities.The order had followed a series of protests by IMN members over the detention of their leader.