Wisconsin Governor Signs Sweeping Lame-Duck GOP Bills

Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker signed a sweeping package of Republican legislation Friday that restricts early voting and weakens the incoming Democratic governor and attorney general, brushing aside complaints that he is enabling a brazen power grab and ignoring the will of voters.

Signing the bills just 24 days before he leaves office, the Republican governor and one-time presidential candidate downplayed bipartisan criticism that they amount to a power grab that will stain his legacy.

Just two hours later, a group run by former Democratic U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder announced it planned legal action to block the limitation on early voting.

Walker’s action Friday came as Michigan’s Rick Snyder, another Midwestern GOP governor soon to be replaced by a Democrat, signed legislation in a lame-duck session that significantly scales back minimum wage and paid sick leave laws that began as citizen initiatives. Michigan’s Republican legislators also are weighing legislation resembling Wisconsin’s that would strip or dilute the authority of incoming elected Democrats.

The push in both states mirrors tactics employed by North Carolina Republicans in 2016.

Walker: No power shift

Speaking for 20 minutes and using charts to make his points, Walker detailed all of the governor’s powers, including a strong veto authority, that will not change while defending the measures he signed as improving transparency, stability and accountability.

“There’s a lot of hype and hysteria, particularly in the national media, implying this is a power shift. It’s not,” Walker said before signing the measures during an event at a state office building in Green Bay, about 130 miles (209 kilometers) from his Capitol office that has frequently been a target for protesters.

Walker was urged by Democrats and Republicans, including Democratic Gov.-elect Tony Evers and former Republican Gov. Scott McCallum, to reject the legislation. Walker, who was defeated by Evers for a third term, had earlier said he was considering partial vetoes, but he ultimately did not strike anything.

Governor-elect reviewing options

Evers accused Walker of ignoring and overriding the will of the people by signing the bills into law. He held a five-minute news conference in Madison shortly after the signing to accuse Walker of ignoring the will of the voters.

“People will remember he took a stand that was not reflective of this last election,” Evers said. “I will be reviewing our options and do everything we can to make sure the people of this state are not ignored or overlooked.”

Evers didn’t elaborate and left without taking questions.

Walker, speaking after he signed the bills, brushed aside what he called “high-pitched hysteria” from critics of the legislation. He said his legacy will be the record he left behind that includes all-but eliminating collective bargaining for public workers, not the lame-duck measures.

“We’ve put in deep roots that have helped the state grow,” Walker said. “You want to talk about legacy, to me, that’s the legacy.”

Lawsuit promised on voting change

Holder’s group, the National Redistricting Foundation, along with the liberal One Wisconsin Now, promised a swift legal challenge to one provision Walker signed limiting early voting.

Holder, in a statement, called it a “shameful attack on our democracy.”

Holder’s group and One Wisconsin Now successfully sued in federal court in 2016 to overturn similar early voting and other restrictions enacted by Walker.

The Wisconsin bills focus on numerous Republican priorities, including restricting early in-person voting to two weeks before an election, down from as much as nearly seven weeks in the overwhelmingly Democratic cities of Milwaukee and Madison.

The legislation also shields the state’s job-creation agency from Evers’ control until September and limits his ability to enact administrative rules. The measures also would block Evers from withdrawing Wisconsin from a multistate lawsuit challenging the Affordable Care Act, one of his central campaign promises.

The legislation imposes a work requirement for BadgerCare health insurance recipients, which Walker won federal approval to do earlier this year, and prevents Evers from seeking to undo it.

Attorney general restricted

It eliminates the state Department of Justice’s solicitor general’s office, which outgoing Republican Attorney General Brad Schimel used to launch contentious partisan litigation. Doing away with it ensures Democratic-Attorney General-elect Josh Kaul can’t use the office to challenge Republican-authored laws.

The bills also allow lawmakers to intervene in lawsuits, ensuring Republicans will be able to defend their policies and laws in court if Kaul refuses to do it. Kaul also would need approval from the Legislature’s budget-writing committee before he can reach any settlements, further increasing the power of that GOP-controlled panel.

The Republican-controlled Legislature introduced and passed the bills less than five days after unveiling them late on a Friday afternoon two weeks ago. Outraged Democrats accused the GOP of a power grab that undermined the results of the November election. Evers and others have argued Walker will tarnish his legacy by signing the bills, and Kaul has predicted multiple lawsuits challenging the legislation.

Republican legislative leaders countered that they were merely trying to balance the power of the executive and legislative branches. They said they wanted to ensure Evers must negotiate with them rather than issue executive orders to undo their policy achievements.

Republican Assembly Speaker Robin Vos said by signing the bills, Walker was “acknowledging the importance of the Legislature as a co-equal branch of government.”

Walker uses power new bills take away

Walker’s signing of the bills comes a day after he announced a $28 million incentive package to keep open a Kimberly-Clark Corp. plant in northeast Wisconsin. One of the lame-duck bills would prevent Evers from making such a deal, instead requiring the Legislature’s budget committee to sign off.

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Wisconsin Governor Signs Sweeping Lame-Duck GOP Bills

Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker signed a sweeping package of Republican legislation Friday that restricts early voting and weakens the incoming Democratic governor and attorney general, brushing aside complaints that he is enabling a brazen power grab and ignoring the will of voters.

Signing the bills just 24 days before he leaves office, the Republican governor and one-time presidential candidate downplayed bipartisan criticism that they amount to a power grab that will stain his legacy.

Just two hours later, a group run by former Democratic U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder announced it planned legal action to block the limitation on early voting.

Walker’s action Friday came as Michigan’s Rick Snyder, another Midwestern GOP governor soon to be replaced by a Democrat, signed legislation in a lame-duck session that significantly scales back minimum wage and paid sick leave laws that began as citizen initiatives. Michigan’s Republican legislators also are weighing legislation resembling Wisconsin’s that would strip or dilute the authority of incoming elected Democrats.

The push in both states mirrors tactics employed by North Carolina Republicans in 2016.

Walker: No power shift

Speaking for 20 minutes and using charts to make his points, Walker detailed all of the governor’s powers, including a strong veto authority, that will not change while defending the measures he signed as improving transparency, stability and accountability.

“There’s a lot of hype and hysteria, particularly in the national media, implying this is a power shift. It’s not,” Walker said before signing the measures during an event at a state office building in Green Bay, about 130 miles (209 kilometers) from his Capitol office that has frequently been a target for protesters.

Walker was urged by Democrats and Republicans, including Democratic Gov.-elect Tony Evers and former Republican Gov. Scott McCallum, to reject the legislation. Walker, who was defeated by Evers for a third term, had earlier said he was considering partial vetoes, but he ultimately did not strike anything.

Governor-elect reviewing options

Evers accused Walker of ignoring and overriding the will of the people by signing the bills into law. He held a five-minute news conference in Madison shortly after the signing to accuse Walker of ignoring the will of the voters.

“People will remember he took a stand that was not reflective of this last election,” Evers said. “I will be reviewing our options and do everything we can to make sure the people of this state are not ignored or overlooked.”

Evers didn’t elaborate and left without taking questions.

Walker, speaking after he signed the bills, brushed aside what he called “high-pitched hysteria” from critics of the legislation. He said his legacy will be the record he left behind that includes all-but eliminating collective bargaining for public workers, not the lame-duck measures.

“We’ve put in deep roots that have helped the state grow,” Walker said. “You want to talk about legacy, to me, that’s the legacy.”

Lawsuit promised on voting change

Holder’s group, the National Redistricting Foundation, along with the liberal One Wisconsin Now, promised a swift legal challenge to one provision Walker signed limiting early voting.

Holder, in a statement, called it a “shameful attack on our democracy.”

Holder’s group and One Wisconsin Now successfully sued in federal court in 2016 to overturn similar early voting and other restrictions enacted by Walker.

The Wisconsin bills focus on numerous Republican priorities, including restricting early in-person voting to two weeks before an election, down from as much as nearly seven weeks in the overwhelmingly Democratic cities of Milwaukee and Madison.

The legislation also shields the state’s job-creation agency from Evers’ control until September and limits his ability to enact administrative rules. The measures also would block Evers from withdrawing Wisconsin from a multistate lawsuit challenging the Affordable Care Act, one of his central campaign promises.

The legislation imposes a work requirement for BadgerCare health insurance recipients, which Walker won federal approval to do earlier this year, and prevents Evers from seeking to undo it.

Attorney general restricted

It eliminates the state Department of Justice’s solicitor general’s office, which outgoing Republican Attorney General Brad Schimel used to launch contentious partisan litigation. Doing away with it ensures Democratic-Attorney General-elect Josh Kaul can’t use the office to challenge Republican-authored laws.

The bills also allow lawmakers to intervene in lawsuits, ensuring Republicans will be able to defend their policies and laws in court if Kaul refuses to do it. Kaul also would need approval from the Legislature’s budget-writing committee before he can reach any settlements, further increasing the power of that GOP-controlled panel.

The Republican-controlled Legislature introduced and passed the bills less than five days after unveiling them late on a Friday afternoon two weeks ago. Outraged Democrats accused the GOP of a power grab that undermined the results of the November election. Evers and others have argued Walker will tarnish his legacy by signing the bills, and Kaul has predicted multiple lawsuits challenging the legislation.

Republican legislative leaders countered that they were merely trying to balance the power of the executive and legislative branches. They said they wanted to ensure Evers must negotiate with them rather than issue executive orders to undo their policy achievements.

Republican Assembly Speaker Robin Vos said by signing the bills, Walker was “acknowledging the importance of the Legislature as a co-equal branch of government.”

Walker uses power new bills take away

Walker’s signing of the bills comes a day after he announced a $28 million incentive package to keep open a Kimberly-Clark Corp. plant in northeast Wisconsin. One of the lame-duck bills would prevent Evers from making such a deal, instead requiring the Legislature’s budget committee to sign off.

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Facebook Flaw May Have Exposed Private Photos

Facebook says a software flaw may have exposed private photos of nearly 7 million users, the latest in a series of privacy issues facing the social media company.

Facebook said Friday that the photo glitch gave about 1,500 software apps unauthorized access to private photos for 12 days in September. 

“We’re sorry this happened,” Facebook said in a blog. It said it would notify users whose photos might have been affected.

Irish regulator  to investigate

The software flaw affected users who gave third-party applications permission to access their photos. Facebook usually allows the apps to access only photos shared on a user’s timeline. However, the glitch would have allowed the apps to see additional photos, including those on Marketplace and Facebook Stories, as well as ones uploaded but not shared. 

It is not known whether any of the photos were actually accessed. 

The lead regulator of Facebook in the European Union, the Irish Data Protection Commissioner (DPC), said it was investigating the situation to determine whether the company complied with strict new EU privacy rules.

While Facebook says the bug has been fixed, the revelation brought new scrutiny to a company that has faced a series of security and privacy breaches. 

Earlier issues

Earlier this year, Facebook acknowledged that a political consultancy firm, Cambridge Analytica, gained access to the personal data from millions of user profiles. 

In September, the company said it discovered a security breach affecting about 50 million user accounts that could have allowed hackers to access the accounts. The company said hackers exploited the “View As” feature, which lets users see how their own profiles would look to other people. 

Facebook has also come under criticism for fake political ads posted on its site from Russia and other countries. 

The company has more than 2 billion users worldwide.

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Facebook Flaw May Have Exposed Private Photos

Facebook says a software flaw may have exposed private photos of nearly 7 million users, the latest in a series of privacy issues facing the social media company.

Facebook said Friday that the photo glitch gave about 1,500 software apps unauthorized access to private photos for 12 days in September. 

“We’re sorry this happened,” Facebook said in a blog. It said it would notify users whose photos might have been affected.

Irish regulator  to investigate

The software flaw affected users who gave third-party applications permission to access their photos. Facebook usually allows the apps to access only photos shared on a user’s timeline. However, the glitch would have allowed the apps to see additional photos, including those on Marketplace and Facebook Stories, as well as ones uploaded but not shared. 

It is not known whether any of the photos were actually accessed. 

The lead regulator of Facebook in the European Union, the Irish Data Protection Commissioner (DPC), said it was investigating the situation to determine whether the company complied with strict new EU privacy rules.

While Facebook says the bug has been fixed, the revelation brought new scrutiny to a company that has faced a series of security and privacy breaches. 

Earlier issues

Earlier this year, Facebook acknowledged that a political consultancy firm, Cambridge Analytica, gained access to the personal data from millions of user profiles. 

In September, the company said it discovered a security breach affecting about 50 million user accounts that could have allowed hackers to access the accounts. The company said hackers exploited the “View As” feature, which lets users see how their own profiles would look to other people. 

Facebook has also come under criticism for fake political ads posted on its site from Russia and other countries. 

The company has more than 2 billion users worldwide.

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Stocks Plunge to 8-month Lows on Growth Fears; J&J Nosedives

Stocks staggered to eight-month lows Friday after weak economic data from China and Europe set off more worries about the global economy. Mounting tensions in Europe over Britain’s impeding departure from the European Union also darkened traders’ moods.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average dropped as much as 563 points. On the benchmark S&P 500 index, health care and technology companies absorbed the worst losses. Johnson & Johnson plunged by the most in 16 years after Reuters reported that the company has known since the 1970s that its talc Baby Powder sometimes contained carcinogenic asbestos. The company denied the report.

China said industrial output and retail sales both slowed in November. That could be another sign that China’s trade dispute with the U.S. and tighter lending conditions are chilling its economy, which is the second-largest in the world. Meanwhile, purchasing managers in Europe signaled that economic growth was slipping.

Running out of steam?

Sameer Samana, senior global market strategist for Wells Fargo Investment Institute, said investors are concerned that weakness will make it way to the U.S. They’re wondering if the U.S. economy is likely to run out of steam sooner than they had thought.

“Market consensus has been that the next recession is probably in 2020 or beyond,” he said. Now, he said, the market is “really testing that assumption and trying to figure out whether it’s sooner.”

The S&P 500 index lost 50.59 points, or 1.9 percent, to 2,599.95, its lowest close since April 2. The Dow retreated 496.87 points, or 2 percent, to 24,100.51.

The Nasdaq composite slid 159.67 points, or 2.3 percent, to 6,910.66. The Russell 2000 index of smaller-company stocks fell 21.89 points, or 1.5 percent, to 1,410.81.

December is typically the best month of the year for stocks and Wall Street usually looks forward to a “Santa Claus rally” that adds to the year’s gains. With 10 trading days left this month, however, the S&P 500 is down 5.8 percent. That followed a small gain in November and a steep 6.9 percent drop in October. 

Market value falls

Johnson & Johnson dropped 10 percent to $133 in very heavy trading. Its market value fell by $40 billion.

Reuters reported that court documents and test results show Johnson & Johnson has known for decades that its raw talc and finished Baby Powder sometimes contained asbestos, but that the company didn’t inform regulators or the public. The company called the story “false and inflammatory.”

In July the company lost a lawsuit from plaintiffs who argued that its products were linked to cases of ovarian cancer and mesothelioma. A St. Louis jury awarded plaintiffs $4.7 billion. Johnson & Johnson faces thousands of other lawsuits. 

For more than 20 years, China has been one of the biggest contributors to growth in the global economy, and when investors see signs the Chinese economy is weakening, they expect it will affect other countries like the U.S. that sell things to China. 

Protests hurt France

In Europe, the index of purchase managers fell in France, which is racked by protests, to a level that points toward economic contraction. Germany’s reading still pointed to growth, but it fell to its lowest level in four years.

Those reports canceled out some potential good news on trade: the Chinese government announced a 90-day suspension of tariff increases on U.S. cars, trucks and auto imports. It’s part of a cease-fire that China and the U.S. announced earlier this month to give them time to work on other issues.

Among technology companies, Apple dipped 3.2 percent to $165.48. Adobe skidded 7.3 percent to $230 after its fourth-quarter profit disappointed investors and it also forecast lower-than-expected earnings in the current fiscal year. Industrial companies sank as well. Boeing lost 2.1 percent to $318.75.

Oil prices again turned lower, as a slower global economy would weaken demand for oil and other fuels. Benchmark U.S. crude fell 2.6 percent to $51.20 a barrel in New York. Brent crude, used to price international oils, dropped 1.9 percent to settle at $60.28 a barrel in London.

European Union leaders rejected British Prime Minister Theresa May’s request to make changes to their deal covering Britain’s departure from the EU on March 29. British legislators aren’t satisfied with the terms May negotiated, and she canceled a scheduled vote earlier this week because it was clear Parliament wouldn’t approve it. Britain’s economy and financial markets across Europe face severe disruption without an agreement.

European bonds slide

European bond prices rose and yields fell. Both the British pound and the euro weakened. The pound slipped to $1.2579 from $1.2660 and the euro fell to $1.1303 from $1.1367.

Germany’s DAX declined 0.5 percent and the CAC 40 in France declined 0.8 percent. Britain’s FTSE 100 fell 0.5 percent.

Japan’s Nikkei 225 index slid 2 percent and the Kospi in South Korea lost 1.3 percent. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng was down 1.6 percent. 

Bond prices edged higher. The yield on the 10-year Treasury note fell to 2.89 percent 2.90 percent.

In other commodities trading, wholesale gasoline lost 3 percent to $1.43 a gallon. Heating oil fell 1.7 percent to $1.85 a gallon and natural gas dropped 7.2 percent to $3.83 per 1,000 cubic feet.

Gold fell 0.5 percent to $1,241.40 an ounce. Silver dipped 1.5 percent to $14.64 an ounce. Copper was little changed at $2.77 a pound.

The dollar fell to 113.29 yen from 113.60 yen.

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Trump Picks Mulvaney as Acting Chief of Staff  

Ending a sustained period of speculation, U.S. President Donald Trump on Friday named the head of the largest entity within his executive office to become his acting chief of staff, replacing retired Marine Gen. John Kelly. 

Mulvaney, a former Republican congressman from South Carolina and known as a fiscal hawk, besides running OMB has also been the head of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, which he scaled back.

Mulvaney tweeted about his new job: “This is a tremendous honor. I look forward to working with the President and the entire team. It’s going to be a great 2019!”

The position of White House chief of staff has traditionally been very important and powerful, akin to the chief operating officer of the country and gatekeeper to the Oval Office.

But the two men who have held the position in the Trump administration, Reince Priebus and Kelly, have found it frustrating. Their authority has been repeatedly undercut by the president, as well as other top administration officials, especially presidential daughter Ivanka Trump and her husband, Jared Kushner, both of whom hold senior positions in the West Wing.

It was unclear why Trump named Mulvaney as only acting chief of staff.

“There’s no time limit. He’s the acting chief of staff, which means he’s the chief of staff. He got picked because the president liked him — they get along,” a senior White House official said. 

 

‘That’s what the president wants’ 

Asked why Trump was implying Mulvaney’s time in the job might be only temporary, the official replied, “Because that’s what the president wants.”

Another senior administration official confirmed that “it’s what the president wants right now.” 

 

White House officials also said Trump chose Mulvaney because of his experience on Capitol Hill and his reputation for being fiscally responsible.

Later on Twitter, the president responded to media reports that there were few if any qualified candidates eager to take the high-stress position, especially a long-term commitment:

A senior official said that Kelly, who Trump earlier had announced would be leaving by the end of the year, was pleased with the choice of Mulvaney. 

“The current chief is happy. The current chief is fine. The current chief will stay till the end of the year,” the official said.

At first, White House officials said Russ Vought, currently the No. 2 official at OMB, would succeed Mulvaney as director there.

But later, White House press secretary Sarah Sanders said, “Mick Mulvaney will not resign from the Office of Management and Budget, but will spend all of his time devoted to his role as the acting chief of staff for the president. Russ Vought will handle day-to-day operations and run OMB.”

For weeks, there had been consistent and inaccurate media speculation as to who was likely to succeed Kelly, including Kushner; the vice president’s outgoing chief of staff, Nick Ayers; Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin; U.S. Rep. Mark Meadows of North Carolina; and former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie.

Eventually, Ayers, Meadows and Christie all publicly said they were not interested in the job.

Although the Trump administration has a reputation for a higher rate of staff turnover than its predecessors, Kelly’s total time of 16 months in the job will not be unusually short in a high-stress position where two years is considered a decent run. Priebus lasted just six months.

With Mulvaney poised to take the job on an interim basis, Trump could have four chiefs of staff within a little more than two years.

In January 2012, then-businessman Trump harshly criticized then-President Barack Obama for having three chiefs of staff in less than three years, saying that was a reason the Democrat was not having success with his legislative agenda.

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Trump Picks Mulvaney as Acting Chief of Staff  

Ending a sustained period of speculation, U.S. President Donald Trump on Friday named the head of the largest entity within his executive office to become his acting chief of staff, replacing retired Marine Gen. John Kelly. 

Mulvaney, a former Republican congressman from South Carolina and known as a fiscal hawk, besides running OMB has also been the head of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, which he scaled back.

Mulvaney tweeted about his new job: “This is a tremendous honor. I look forward to working with the President and the entire team. It’s going to be a great 2019!”

The position of White House chief of staff has traditionally been very important and powerful, akin to the chief operating officer of the country and gatekeeper to the Oval Office.

But the two men who have held the position in the Trump administration, Reince Priebus and Kelly, have found it frustrating. Their authority has been repeatedly undercut by the president, as well as other top administration officials, especially presidential daughter Ivanka Trump and her husband, Jared Kushner, both of whom hold senior positions in the West Wing.

It was unclear why Trump named Mulvaney as only acting chief of staff.

“There’s no time limit. He’s the acting chief of staff, which means he’s the chief of staff. He got picked because the president liked him — they get along,” a senior White House official said. 

 

‘That’s what the president wants’ 

Asked why Trump was implying Mulvaney’s time in the job might be only temporary, the official replied, “Because that’s what the president wants.”

Another senior administration official confirmed that “it’s what the president wants right now.” 

 

White House officials also said Trump chose Mulvaney because of his experience on Capitol Hill and his reputation for being fiscally responsible.

Later on Twitter, the president responded to media reports that there were few if any qualified candidates eager to take the high-stress position, especially a long-term commitment:

A senior official said that Kelly, who Trump earlier had announced would be leaving by the end of the year, was pleased with the choice of Mulvaney. 

“The current chief is happy. The current chief is fine. The current chief will stay till the end of the year,” the official said.

At first, White House officials said Russ Vought, currently the No. 2 official at OMB, would succeed Mulvaney as director there.

But later, White House press secretary Sarah Sanders said, “Mick Mulvaney will not resign from the Office of Management and Budget, but will spend all of his time devoted to his role as the acting chief of staff for the president. Russ Vought will handle day-to-day operations and run OMB.”

For weeks, there had been consistent and inaccurate media speculation as to who was likely to succeed Kelly, including Kushner; the vice president’s outgoing chief of staff, Nick Ayers; Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin; U.S. Rep. Mark Meadows of North Carolina; and former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie.

Eventually, Ayers, Meadows and Christie all publicly said they were not interested in the job.

Although the Trump administration has a reputation for a higher rate of staff turnover than its predecessors, Kelly’s total time of 16 months in the job will not be unusually short in a high-stress position where two years is considered a decent run. Priebus lasted just six months.

With Mulvaney poised to take the job on an interim basis, Trump could have four chiefs of staff within a little more than two years.

In January 2012, then-businessman Trump harshly criticized then-President Barack Obama for having three chiefs of staff in less than three years, saying that was a reason the Democrat was not having success with his legislative agenda.

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Nigerian Governor: Buhari Says Economy in ‘Bad Shape’

Nigeria’s President Muhammadu Buhari said the country’s economy was in “bad shape,” the governor of a northwestern state told reporters Friday after a meeting with governors from across the country. 

Buhari will seek a second term in an election to be held in February in which the economy is likely to be a campaign issue. 

Africa’s top oil producer last year emerged from its first recession in 25 years, caused by low crude prices, but growth remains sluggish. 

“Mr. President, as usual, responded by telling us that the economy is in a bad shape and we have to come together and think and rethink on the way forward,” Abdulaziz Yari, who chairs the Nigeria Governors’ Forum, told reporters when asked how Buhari answered requests for a bailout to some states. 

“Mr. President talked to us in the manner that we have a task ahead of us. So, we should tighten our belts and see how we can put the Nigerian economy in the right direction,” said Yari, governor of Zamfara state. He spoke to journalists in the capital, Abuja. 

The main opposition candidate, businessman and former Vice President Atiku Abubakar, has criticized Buhari’s handling of the economy and said that, if elected, he would aim to double the size of the economy to $900 billion by 2025. 

Nigeria’s economy grew by 1.81 percent in the third quarter of this year, the statistics office said Monday. And on Friday, it said consumer prices had risen 11.28 percent in November compared with a year ago. 

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Nigerian Governor: Buhari Says Economy in ‘Bad Shape’

Nigeria’s President Muhammadu Buhari said the country’s economy was in “bad shape,” the governor of a northwestern state told reporters Friday after a meeting with governors from across the country. 

Buhari will seek a second term in an election to be held in February in which the economy is likely to be a campaign issue. 

Africa’s top oil producer last year emerged from its first recession in 25 years, caused by low crude prices, but growth remains sluggish. 

“Mr. President, as usual, responded by telling us that the economy is in a bad shape and we have to come together and think and rethink on the way forward,” Abdulaziz Yari, who chairs the Nigeria Governors’ Forum, told reporters when asked how Buhari answered requests for a bailout to some states. 

“Mr. President talked to us in the manner that we have a task ahead of us. So, we should tighten our belts and see how we can put the Nigerian economy in the right direction,” said Yari, governor of Zamfara state. He spoke to journalists in the capital, Abuja. 

The main opposition candidate, businessman and former Vice President Atiku Abubakar, has criticized Buhari’s handling of the economy and said that, if elected, he would aim to double the size of the economy to $900 billion by 2025. 

Nigeria’s economy grew by 1.81 percent in the third quarter of this year, the statistics office said Monday. And on Friday, it said consumer prices had risen 11.28 percent in November compared with a year ago. 

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