Kogi: Now That The Staff Verification Exercise Is Over…

Kogi State have been paying a humongous heap of wages and salaries to workers, thousands of whom were unintended and unmerited salaries. The numerical implication of this is that we paid nothing less than one billion naira to ghost workers or unintended beneficiaries every month.

Sanctioning a Staff Verification would not have been envisaged by a typical Nigerian politician, who craves political safety above people’s welfare. Litigations against his emergence were legion. Many were also working with the possibility of having another election.

Confronting the ghost workers cabal in the system is one of the patriotic decisions of the present administration. It was a decision that emanated from statesmanship rather than a political mind. Politicians think of the next election while a statesman think of the next generation. To save the next generation and build a new Kogi State, it was necessary to stop the flow of billions of naira into unintended pockets.

Who is a ghost worker or unintended beneficiary?

Throughout the Staff Verification Exercise, we had to contend with the constant explanation of what constitutes the army of ghost workers or unintended beneficiaries. Some names on the payrolls are completely non-existent. That was why thousands of “workers’’ did not even turn up for the exercise. Some were not properly employed. Improper employment involves, but is not limited to, giving appointments without due process.

Also, some workers falsified documents relating to their educational qualifications, age and other information. We also have people who were earning multiple salaries. This would not have been possible with a digitalized payroll, which is one of the objectives of this noble exercise. The exercise has also been able to check “diaspora workers” – people who claim to work for Kogi State were staying and working in other cities like Abuja, Kaduna, PortHarcourt, Kano and Ilorin. Some even have appointment letters bearing Kogi State since 1983 when the state was only created in 1991.

Our Window of Justice

Governor Yahaya Bello did not institute the panel to sack workers, but to ensure that only genuine workers are on the payrolls of the state.

The head of the first panel was changed when Labour had some misgivings against him. The Governor acted decisively to retain the confidence of Labour and the people of Kogi State in the process. A new Chairman was appointed. However, in his wisdom, the Governor went ahead to constitute a back-up team to ensure a successful exercise. Ghost workers syndrome is a powerful institution of corruption. It was expected to fight back.

After the submission of the reports of the panel, the Governor went ahead to setup an Appeal Panel to look into the complaints of affected workers. The panel are also through with their assignment and their reports will be publiced soon. Any affected worker will continue to have the opportunity of complaints as the exercise will be a continuum. All of these were put in place to ensure that the workers have access to justice under the New Direction Agenda.

Who benefits from the screening exercise?

The Staff Verification Exercise is a win-win situation. It will free funds for infrastructural development, which will serve the over 90% Kogites who are not on the payroll of government. This is key to economic development and amelioration of poverty.

The exercise will also help genuine civil servants enjoy regular payment of salaries. It will help us to determine the duty schedule of civil servants and restructure the service for efficiency.

For example, it was discovered a public hospital with only one medical doctor has over two hundred staff in the Accounts Department. There is no sense in that structure. The primary responsibility of a hospital is to provide healthcare, not a cash centre.

The reports of the screening exercise will be an excellent and veritable tool for planning. The State Government is also going to achieve a fully digitalized payroll that will have mechanism for checking graft in the system.

The period of hardship

The Governor is a street leader. He is not confined to his office or the allure of his home. He is with the people. He feels their pulse. He feels deeply sorry for the few months we had to stop payments in order to block the leakage. We got the reports of what the people went through. It was a period of sacrifice by our great workers. The Governor will reward your steadfastness.

And the deafening alerts

In the past few days, Kogi workers have been receiving salary arrears of between 4 to 10 months, depending on when the workers were cleared. This is in line with the promise of the Governor to ensure workers are paid all their salaries, including the December salary before the 20th of December. Twice last week, the Governor was at the screening centre until 2am, not because he does not trust the committee, but to assure the committee he is behind the assignment. The fruits of his labour have started manifesting. He has delivered on his promise.

Is the exercise credible?

Very credible. Screening to appeals and then to quality assurance. Governor Yahaya Bello is already looking beyond the exercise which reports have been subjected to forensic tests by experts. The panel has also worked out the cost of providing social safety nets for ‘’innocent victims’’ of the exercise. This is being handled by Actuarial Scientists.

The Governor has a big plan for those who are affected and who want to work. He will unfold that soon. That was why I said it is a win-win situation. Many of the unintended beneficiaries are Kogi indigenes. As a responsible Governor, Alh. Yahaya Bello will not just throw them into the dungeon of uncertainty and poverty. He has developed a plan to empower them to become employers of labour. Areas of labour shortage will also be filled, giving opportunities to job seekers. The glorious days are ahead of us.

The pundits of doom

Governor Yahaya Bello did not go into the exercise with a feeling of avoiding attacks. He has taken the ‘’bullets’’ to save the economy of the state. In the next few years, he will be applauded for saving the state from imminent collapse. He was attacked. We were attacked. The committee was attacked.

We know where the attacks were coming from. Corruption fought back. Those who were benefitting from the syndrome kept sponsoring critics against the government. We were undaunted by the armchair critics. We remained focused. But, we felt for those who were made to go through hunger by the action of ghost workers, unintended beneficiaries and their powerful promoters.

When the Governor promised to clear all the arrears owed to civil servants, many Prophets of doom said it would not happen. Some of them inhumanly and hypocritically prayed against it happening. They are the real enemies of the Kogi workers.  We cannot be condemned by the criticisms of mischief, but we can be condemned if we refuse to take the stance of a patriot and save our dear state from the ruins.

Thanks to our constructive critics

I remember a particular post on my Facebook wall. A certain man said if we refuse to pay, I will suffer an untimely death like my mother. My family was worried. I also remembered when a certain political leader gave thugs money to some Koton Karfe boys to call our Governor unprintable names. These are the hazards of good decisions. We are amenable to constructive criticisms. They make us better. We appreciate the concerns of all. The end has finally justified the means. We must trust the policies and judgements of our leaders.

New Direction is not an emergency lifestyle but a well thought out culture of excellence, conceptualized by the owner of the vision himself to reposition Kogi State.

New Direction cares.

Evangelist Kingsley Femi Fanwo

Director General, Media and Publicity to the Governor of Kogi State

femifanwo@yahoo.com

08163376331

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House Of Reps: Summary Of Proceedings For Thursday 15 December, 2016

BILLS

  1. A Bill for an Act to Repeal the Nigerian Ports Authority Act, Cap. N.126, Laws of the Federation of Nigeria, 2004 and to Establish the Nigerian Ports and Harbours Authority to Provide for Ownership, Management and Development of Ports and Harbours and for Other Related Matters (HB.855) (Hon. Patrick Asadu) – Second Reading.
  1. A Bill for an Act to Amend the Armed Forces Act, Cap. A20, Laws of the Federation of Nigeria, 2004 to Make the Appointments of Service Chiefs Subject to Confirmation by the National Assembly, a Bill for an Act to Amend the Armed Forces Act, Cap. A20, Laws of the Federation of Nigeria, 2004 to Provide for the Appointment of the Chief of Defence Staff, a Bill for an Act to Amend the Armed Forces Act, Cap. A20, Laws of the Federation of Nigeria 2004 to, Among Other Things, Provide for Specific Duties for the Armed Forces Reserve in Order to Serve as a Rapid Response Mechanism with Capacity to Intervene in Emergency and Internal Security where the Nigerian Police is overwhelmed and a Bill for an Act to Amend the Armed Forces Act, Cap. A20, Laws of the Federation of Nigeria, 2004 to Provide for the Retirement Age of Officers of the Nigerian Armed Forces and for Other Matters Connected Therewith, (HBs. 70, 149, 411 and 802) (Hon. Raphael Nnanna Igbokwe, Hon. Edward Gyang Pwajok, Hon. Mohammed Sani Abdu and Hon. Hassan Saleh)– Second Reading.
  1. A Bill for an Act to Amend the Tertiary Education Trust Fund Act, Cap. E4 Act. No17 Laws of the Federation of Nigeria, 2013 to include Tertiary/Teaching Hospitals and for Related Matters, 2004 (HB. 868) (Hon. Betty Apiafi and Hon. Abiodun Olasupo) – Second Reading.
  1. A Bill for an Act to Amend the Nigerian Airspace Management Agency (Establishment Act, Cap. N90, Laws of the Federation of Nigeria, 2004 for the Purposes of Vesting in the Nigerian Airspace Management Agency the Additional Functions of Regulating the Use of Unmanned Aircrafts (DRONES) within the Nigerian Airspace and for Other Related Matters (HB. 787) (Hon. Abiodun Dada Awoleye) – Second Reading. 
  1. A Bill for an Act to Amend the National Examinations Council (NECO) Act, Cap. N37, Laws of the Federation of Nigeria 2004 to Establish a Steering Committee to be Vested with the Responsibility of Centralizing the Management of the Senior School Certificate Examinations (SSCE), the Unified Tertiary Matriculation Examinations (UTME) and the National Business and Technical Examinations (NABTE), under a Single ICT Platform to Reduce the Costs of Taking the Examinations and for Other Related Matters (HB. 850) (Hon. Mohammed A. Mahmud) — Second Reading.
  1. A Bill for an Act to Provide for Improved Aid Effectiveness, Accountability and Co-operation for Donor Recipient by Harmonizing and Aligning all Aid Deliveries to Nigeria with Nigeria National Development Strategies and for Other Related Matters (HB. 451) (Hon. Ochiglegor Idagbo) – Second Reading. 

 MOTIONS

  1. Devastating Gully Erosion in Tudun Magataki Area of Tudun Wada Ward in Sokoto-North and South Federal Constituency of Sokoto State:

Hon. Hassan Bala Abubakar.

The House:

Notes that gully erosion has been the foremost problem confronting the Tudun Magayaki Ward in Sokoto State as the people live in constant fear once the rainy season begins given their experiences of loss of lives and destruction of properties worth millions of Naira;

Also notes that the increase in the gully erosion had resulted in many residents being rendered homeless as a result of the washing away of their houses, thus forcing them to relocate to the urban areas;

Recalls that in 2009, about 300m drains out of the 1350m stretch were constructed as part of the constituency project but these have now constituted a serious threat to the uncompleted portion;

Aware that field assessments carried out by the Tudun Magayaki Community Development Association aimed at seeking the intervention of the  Ecological Fund Office showed that the problem is now beyond both the local council and the State Government, hence the need for the intervention  of the federal government;

Also aware that the gully developed as a result of steeply topography collecting the entire township water without a well-defined channel and when there is heavy rain, it creates rills which later form a “V” and “U” shaped tranches at the site of the gully erosion;

Further aware that the eroded parts of the site become widened when there is heavy rain storm due to the absence of proper discharge channel for the township storm water which adds to the increase in flooding during the rainy season that has been having devastating effects on the people over the years;

Resolves to:

(i)            Urge the Federal Ministry of Environment to intervene and ensure the inclusion of contract for the control of gully erosion in Tudun  Magayaki Community of Sokoto South Local Government Area in the 2017 budget proposal;

(ii)           Also urge the Ecological Fund Office to attend to the application of Tudun Magayaki Community Development Association with the urgency of the problem at hand;

(iii)          Mandate the Committees on Environment and Habitat and Appropriations to ensure implementation.

  1. Urgent Need for Rehabilitation of Kontagora-Rijau-Zuru-Gummi-Kajiji Federal Road:

Hon. Mu’azu Lawal.

The House:

Notes the deplorable state of the Kontagora-Rijau-Zuru-Gummi-Kajiji road which connects Sokoto, Kebbi, Zamfara and Niger States down to the South West zone and is the major commercial route through which goods are being transported from Sokoto to Lagos and its environs;

Concerned that the failed sections of the road have paralyzed economic activities along these areas, thus causing delay in the transportation of perishable goods;

Aware that accidents are daily occurrence as a result of truck drivers maneuvering through the bad portions on the highway leading to their falling down or there being a head on collision which results in loss of lives and damage to properties;

Also concerned that armed robbers have taken advantage of the deplorable state of the road to wreak havoc on innocent Nigerians, raping and killing commuters at will;

Further concerned that all efforts to get the Federal Government to repair the road have not yielded any results and the States affected could only do little within their meager resources to save the once viable route from becoming completely impassable;

Resolves to: 

(i)            Call on the Inspector General of Police to ensure constant patrolling of the road to reduce the activities of the men of the underworld;

(ii)           Mandate the Committees on Works and Appropriations to include the reconstruction of the Kontogora – Rijau – Zuru – Gummi – Kajiji Road in the 2017 budget proposals and report back to the House within eight (8) weeks for further legislative action.

  1. Urgent Need for Reconstruction of Gwaram-Basirka-Darazo Road:

Hon. Yuguda Hassan Kila.    Hon. Halliru Dauda Jika.

The House:

Notes that the 90 kms Gwaram-Basirka-Darazo Road links Kano, Jigawa, Bauchi, Gombe and Adamawa States and is important for the movement of people, goods and services in the area;

Aware that the Gwaram-Basirka-Darazo stretch of the road was constructed about thirty years ago by the Jigawa State Government which has also been maintaining it;

Also notes that the Road has suffered neglect over time and is almost becoming impassable due to its bad state as it takes over 4 hours to drive through the 90 km road;

Concerned that the bad state of the road is causing a lot of fatal accidents leading to loss of lives and destruction of properties worth millions of naira and it has also become a den of robbers both at day and at night;

Observes that a complete reconstruction of the Road will boost the socio-economic activities and significantly enhance the well-being of the people of the affected States and those plying the road;

Resolves to:

(i)            Urge the Federal Ministry of Power, Works and Housing to include the reconstruction of the Road in the 2017 Budget proposal;

(ii)           Also urge the Federal Roads Maintenance Agency (FERMA) to, as a matter of urgency, repair the bad portions of the road to ease the hardships of the people;

(iii)          Mandate the Committees on Works and Appropriations to ensure implementation.

  1. Call for Rehabilitation of Ilorin-Mokwa-Birnin-Gwari-Kaduna Highway:

Hon. Ahmed Abu.

The House:

Notes that the Ilorin-Jebba-Mokwa-Birnin-Gwari-Kaduna highway is in a serious state of disrepair as most parts of the road are ridden with potholes, thus making it a source of agony and a death trap for motorists;

Concerned that the failure to complete the Minna-Suleja dual carriage way which has been under construction for many years has not helped the situation;

Also concerned that due to the deteriorating state of the road and abandonment of the rehabilitation works, travelers have had to divert to the Mokwa-Bida, Minna-Suleja and Bida-Minna roads with attendant loss of time and risks to their lives from marauders who waylay travelers on those roads;

Further concerned that as a result of the diversion, the Mokwa – Bida, Minna – Suleja and Bida – Minna Roads which are being rehabilitated by the Government of Niger State are being over stretched and could also collapse if urgent actions are not taken to remedy the situation;

Worried that the Ilorin-Jebba-Mokwa-Birnin-Gwari-Kaduna highway which has remained the major access road between the North and South of Nigeria has not been given the priority attention it deserves;

Resolves to: 

(i)            Urge the Federal Ministry of Power, Works and Housing to ensure the completion of rehabilitation works on the highways;

(ii)           Mandate the Committee on Works to ensure implementation and report back to the House within eight (8) weeks for further legislative action.

  1. Collapse of a Church Building in Uyo, Akwa Ibom State:

Hon. Francis Charles Uduyok:

The House:

Notes with sadness the unfortunate incident at Uyo, Akwa Ibom State on 10 December 2016 when the Reigners Bible Church Complex collapsed, killing no fewer than 50 people, thereby throwing the people of Akwa Ibom State and indeed the whole country into mourning;

Concerned about the incessant collapse of buildings which end in fatalities, recalling the case of the Synagogue Church of all Nations two years ago when a six story guest house collapsed, killing 115 persons, 84 of whom were from South Africa;

Worried that such incidents are still occurring because no engineer, architect or contractor has been convicted for complicity in the collapse of a building in the past;

Believes that approvals and nature of engineering works on high-rise buildings meant to accommodate many people at any given time must be thoroughly screened by the relevant regulatory authorities with a view to ensuring that requisite standards are not compromised;

Resolves to:

(i)                   Observe a minute silence for those who lost their lives in the collapsed building;

(ii)                 send a delegation to condole with the Government and people of Akwa Ibom State;

(iii)                Commend Governor Udom Emmanuel of Akwa Ibom State, personnel of the Nigeria Police Force, the Federal Road Safety Commission and other public spirited individuals for their efforts in the rescue of persons trapped in the collapsed building;

  1. Call for Reconstruction of Jere-Kwoi-Kafanchan-Madakiya-Zonkwa-Kachia Ring Road:

Hon Sunday Marshall Katung                        Hon. Yakubu Umar Barde               Hon. Solomon Maren

Hon. Binta Bello                                                 Hon. Simon Arabo                             Hon. Isah Ali J. C.

Hon. Suleiman Yahaya K.                               Hon. Jagaba Adams Jagaba           Hon. Beni Lar

Hon. Bashir Babale                                           Hon. Timothy Golu                           Hon. Ahmed Idris

Hon. Gideon Gwani                                           Hon. Shehu Garba                             Hon. Hassan A. Shekarau Hon. Istifanus D. Gyang

The House:

Notes that the Jere-Kwoi-Kafanchan-Madakiya-Zonkwa-Kachia Ring Road and the Kafanchan-Manchok-Jos Road were constructed several years ago to facilitate the socio-economic activities of the people of Kaduna, Plateau and the North Eastern States as well as other Nigerians who ply the ever busy highways;

Also notes that the above roads are strategic links between Kaduna and North Central/North East zones of the country such as Abuja, Plateau, Nasarawa, Bauchi, Gombe, Taraba etc;

Worried that the highways which were constructed primarily to enhance the socio-economic wellbeing of the people are now badly damaged at different points, thereby providing opportunities for kidnappers, robbers and miscreants to cause havoc on unsuspecting commuters;

Concerned that if urgent steps are not taken to rehabilitate the roads that are serving as dependable alternative to the Kaduna-Jos-Abuja highway, travelers will continue to suffer untold hardships, loss of lives and wastage of man-hours;

Resolves to: 

(i)                   Call on the Federal Ministry of Power, Works and Housing to include the reconstruction of the Highways in the 2017 budget estimates;

(ii)           Mandate the Committees on Works and Appropriations to ensure implementation.

  1. Need to Investigate the Non-compliance with Due Process in the Issuance of Offshore

Safety Permits by the Department of Petroleum Resources (DPR) in Connivance with a Limited Liability Company:

Hon. Onyenwife Gabriel

The House:

Notes that the Department of Petroleum Resources (DPR) is a department under the Federal Ministry of Petroleum Resources (FMPR) with the primary responsibility of ensuring compliance with petroleum laws, regulations and guidelines in the Oil and Gas Industry;

Aware  that the DPR has delegated part of its duties to a Limited Liability Company by saddling it with the responsibility of issuing out Offshore Safety Permits (OSP) and other licenses to all Exploration and Production Companies, Service Companies and Downstream Companies;

Also aware that revenues that accrue from these activities are trusted into a foreign account in the United State of America, with the said Company as one of the signatories;

Further aware that there was outright subversion of due process in contracting out this function, as there was no compliance with the Public Procurement Act, 2007;

Conerned that this act is being perpetrated by a Government Agency that so much premium is placed on, taking into consideration the serious financial straits the country is facing.

Resolves to:

Set up an Ad-hoc Committee to investigate the revenue leakages and activities of the Department of Petroleum Resources (DPR) and report back to the House within 8 weeks.

  1. Urgent Need to Investigate the Disconnection of Electricity to Communities in Akoko North-East/North West Federal Constituency of Ondo State:

Hon. Olemija Stephen Friday:

The House:

Notes with great concern the permanent disconnection of electricity to Ikare, Ugbe, Auga, Iboropa, Ise, Akunu, Ikakumo, Ogbagi, Irun, Arigidi, Ikaram, Ese, Okeagbe, Oyin and Afin in Akoko North-East/North West Federal Constituency of Ondo State by the Benin Electricity Distribution Company (BEDC);

Aware that these communities, which consist of urban and rural dwellers with a population of almost One million people, have been in permanent darkness for a period ranging from six (6) months to two (2) years, thus paralyzing economic activities in those areas;

Cognizant that some unscrupulous staff of the Benin Electricity Distribution Company (BEDC) exploit the situation to demand for gratification from the people for reconnection and equally demand for payment for electricity not consumed by the people;

Concerned that if the situation is not urgently addressed, vandals and economic saboteurs may compound the problem by vandalizing transformers, cables and other equipment;

Resolves to:

Mandate the Committee on Power to investigate the matter with a view to ensuring that the affected communities are reconnected to the national grid, and report back to the House within four (4) weeks for further legislative action.

  1. Need to Investigate the Recurring Electrical Accidents in the Power Sector:

Hon. Joseph Eghoghon Edionwele.

The House:

Notes that since the concession of various projects in the Power Sector to private interests, the rate of electricity related accidents resulting in deaths has increased;

Also notes that the Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC) put the figure of deaths due to electrical accidents in the last two years at 655, apart from those who sustained injuries;

Informed that since the privatization of the Power Sector to the Distribution Companies (DISCOs), absolute neglect of extant safety considerations, rules and maintenance procedures has been the order of the day, hence the increasing rate of death in electrical accidents in contrast with the previous years;

Concerned that the refusal of the DISCO’s to invest in working tools, personal safety and protective equipment could lead to more fatal consequences;

Also concerned about the impunity with which these DISCO’s disregard labour laws and their safety provisions by subjecting their employees to dehumanizing working conditions without any protection against work related hazards;

Resolves to:

Mandate the Committees on Power, Labour, Employment and Productivity to investigate the causes of these incessant electrical accidents and allegations of unsafe practices by the various Distribution Companies (DISCO’s), Generation Companies (GENCO’s) and Transmission Companies with a view to bringing an end to the unhealthy trend and report back to the House within six (6) weeks for further legislative action.

  1. Need to Check Unwholesome Operations of Multinational Industries in Ewekoro Local Government Area of Ogun State:

Hon. Ibrahim Ayokunle Isiaka.

The House:

Notes that Ewekoro Local Government Area of Ogun State is rich in mineral resources such as limestone and clay and as a result, is host to several cement manufacturing plants and metal mining and production industries, including Lafarge Cement, Wapco Plc, Purechem Cement Industries Nigeria Limited and Dolphin Steels Nigeria Limited;

Also notes that in recent years rapid expansion programmes by these industries have led to intensification of their mining and production operations, for example in 2011, Larfarge opened its 2.2 million metric tons capacity facility known as the Ewekoro 11 Plant, which is twice the capacity of the existing Ewekoro Plant with six 15 Mega Watt Units which is equal to 9 Mega Watt installed capacity with dual firing system that can use both gas and liquid fuel;

Further notes that Purchem Industries have expanded from a trading firm to a manufacturer of cement, chemicals, metal packaging etc; while Dolphin Steels, a mining/metal industry is engaged in blasting and other production and mining operations;

Aware that in 2012, the Department of Geography and Planning Services, Adekunle Ajasin University, Ondo State, conducted an assessment of health and environmental challenges of cement factories on Ewekoro Community residents and found extensive incidents of land, air and noise pollution over and above the recommended minimum limits of  the “noxious impact for an area”;

Concerned that the environmental degradation, deforestation and conversion of agricultural lands and communities into quarry sites for drilling, blasting and excavation of limestone have taken a heavy socio-economic toll on the lives of the residents in terms of inhalation of cement dust emissions, exposure to polluted water bodies and noise pollution with their inherent health hazards and implications as is evidenced in the prevalence of respiratory diseases such as asthma, tuberculosis, bronchitis, heart diseases and skin cancer which have been empirically proven to be linked to exposure to silica;

Also concerned about several studies confirming the debilitating impact of cement manufacturing on the environment and the adverse effects on the lives of the residents and buildings and also the damaged roads due to increase in the number of haulage vehicles plying the route and the ensuing traffic congestion resulting in loss of man hours;

Resolves to:

Mandate the Committees on Solid Minerals Development and Environment and Habitat to urgently conduct a forensic investigation into the mining operations, production, safety concerns, health and environmental considerations in the operations of these multinational industrial plants and report back to the House within six weeks for further legislative action.

  1. Need to Curb the Rising Crises of Illegal Immigrants and Human Trafficking from Nigeria And Other Sub-Saharan African Countries To Italy And Other Countries Of The European Union:

Hon. Patrick Asadu:

The House:

Aware that Section 14 (2) (b) of the 1999 Constitution states that the security and welfare of the people shall be the primary purpose of government;

Also aware that by Section 4 (1) (a) of the Immigration Act 2015, every passenger who enters or leaves Nigeria by any means shall satisfy the immigration officer that he is a holder of a valid travel document;

Concerned that while the United Nations reported that migration across the Mediterranean sea has reached epic proportions, the International Organization for Migration (IOM) observed that about 170,100 migrants arrived Italy by sea in 2014;

Also concerned about the report of the United Nations Commission for Human Rights (UNCHR) that illegal crossings from Libya to Italy increased by 38% in 2015 and further 43% in 2016;

Further concerned that majority of those migrants arriving in Italy in the recent time are from the Sub-Saharan Africa, mainly Nigerians, Gambians and Senegalese;

Equally concerned that for those numbers of migrants successfully arriving Italy, even many more lose their lives in the course of the very dangerous trips across the Sahara Desert while others drown in the Mediterranean sea, with some reports putting the chances of a migrant arriving Italy alive as low as 10% while the females are subjected to all forms of degradation and abuse;

Worried that these migrants, even when they manage to arrive Europe alive are not automatically eligible for protection and are not qualified for EU’s relocation and redistribution program, unlike Syrians, Somalians, Afghans and Eritreans fleeing wars and persecution, thus making their initial applications for asylum very unlikely to succeed and thereby condemning most of them to legal limbo without any money, documents and having poor communication skills or understanding of the local language;

Dismayed that the Federal Ministry of Interior has little or no effective border surveillance and patrol policy to restrain those misguided and misdirected Nigerians from embarking on such illegal, dehumanizing and risky misadventures;

Also worried that African Leaders are paying lip service to this absurd loss of “the soul of a continent” not only to a new slavery while the European leaders are deliberately tightening the noose on the hapless African migrants in order to provide economic space for their own poor, economic migrants from Eastern Europe and the war torn countries like Syria and Eritrea etc;

Further worried that Nigeria, from where most of the migrants emanate, has not only failed to provide for the security and welfare of its young citizens who form a critical productive resource for the country but has also failed to educate them on the vagaries and risks of embarking on such hazardous and illegal trips or diplomatically engaging the transit countries on how to restrain or protect the migrants from passing through these ‘corridors to hell’ or with the receiving countries on the security and welfare of the migrants when they get lured into this stateless status;

Alarmed that this avoidable humanitarian crises, if unchecked will not only diminish the respect of Nigeria and Nigerians as a nation and a people but also condemn those unfortunate and misguided Nigerians to a life of indignity and modern slavery;

Resolves to:

(i)            urge the youths to be wary of sweet talking but unscrupulous human traffickers promising them non-existent jobs beyond our shores and also urge parents, community and church leaders to champion massive enlightenment campaigns against this modern slavery;

(ii)           further urge the National Agency for the Prohibition of Trafficking in Persons (NAPTIP), the Federal Ministries of Youth Development, Women Affairs, Information and Culture, Interior and Foreign Affairs to rise up to the challenges posed by this development;

(iii)          call on the Federal Government to develop a plan to mobilize both the citizenry and indeed African and other leaders in both the transit and receiving countries in the fight against this malaise while rehabilitating and resettling victims at all stages;

(iv)          also call on the 8th Assembly to champion a new Parliamentary Initiative to abolish this modern slavery by mobilizing resources within Nigeria and beyond against this at the levels of the sending, transit and receiving countries as well as co-ordinate the enactment of relevant legislations at the national and supra national levels.

(iv)               mandate the Committee on Human Rights to conduct an oversight of the action plan of the Federal Government to curtail the incidents of illegal migration to Europe and report back to the House within twelve (12) weeks for further legislative action.

  1. Unsavory Treatment of the Super Falcons after Winning the African Women’s Cup of Nations Championship for the Eight Time:

Hon. Ayo Omidiran.

The House:

Recalls that the Super Falcons of Nigeria won the Africa Women’s Cup of Nations Championship on December 3, 2016 for a record eight time after defeating the National Team of Cameroon, the host nation, in the final;

Aware that the players and officials are being owed backlog of allowances by the Nigerian Football Federation;

Also aware of the reported disclosure by the Hon. Minister of Youths and Sports, Mr. Solomon Dalong that the victory of the Super Falcons was unexpected, a mindset that may have led to the failure to make proper arrangements for the payment of the allowances of the players and the officials;

Cognizant that the players have refused to vacate their hotel rooms until they were paid all their due entitlements, despite urgings by the Nigerian Football Federation and officials of the Ministry;

Believing that the refusal of the team to hearken to the pleas of the football officials must have been informed by past actions, inactions, failures and inability of the Nigerian Football Federation and the Sports Ministry to keep to their promises and assurances in similar situations in the past;

Resolves to:

(i)            Commend, with a standing ovation, the Super Falcons for the superlative performance of the team at the just concluded Africa Women’s Cup of Nations Championship in Cameroon where they won the Cup for an unprecedented eight time;

(ii)           Condemned the non-payment of the allowances and bonuses of the players and officials and urge the Nigerian Football Federation to pay, without further delay, the backlog of unpaid allowances;

(iii)          Mandate the Committee on Sports to ensure implementation and report back to the House within Four (4) weeks for further legislative action.

  1. Need to Avert the Impending Strike Action by the National Union of Petroleum and Natural Gas Workers (NUPENG):

Hon. Jerry Alagbaoso

The House:

Notes the report in the Vanguard Newspaper of 5 December 2016 in which the National Union of Petroleum and Natural Gas Workers (NUPENG) issued notice of its intention to embark upon a three (3) day strike action in the first week of January 2017;

Aware that NUPENG stated that the strike action would be a precursor to a nationwide strike action if the Federal Government fails to intervene in the lingering disputes between the NUPENG and some multinational companies operating in the oil and gas industry;

Concerned about the disruptive effects of such a strike action and the attendant hardships it will bring on the people if not averted;

Resolves to:

Mandate the Committees on Labour, Employment and Productivity and Petroleum Resources (Upstream) and (Downstream) to mediate in the matter with a view to averting the threatened strike action and report back to the House within two (2) weeks for further legislative action.

Swearing-in of Newly Elected Members from Rivers State

Seven members (Six males, one female) read the Oath of the Member of House of Representatives as conducted by Clerk of the House.

CONSIDERATION OF REPORTS

  1. Committee on Healthcare Services:

Hon. Chike John Okafor:

“That the House do consider the Report of the Committee on Healthcare Services on a Bill for an Act to Authorize the issue from the Statutory Revenue Fund of the National Agency for Food and Drugs Administration and Control, the Total Sum of ?10,634,353,111.00 (Ten Billion, Six Hundred and Thirty-Four Million, Three Hundred and Fifty-Three Thousand, One Hundred and Eleven Naira) only out of which the sum of ?6,906,795,811. 00 (Six Billion, Nine Hundred and Six Million, Seven Hundred and Ninety-Five Thousand, Eight Hundred and Eleven Naira) only is for Total Overhead Costs, and ?3,727,557,300.00 (Three Billion, Seven Hundred and Twenty-Seven Million, Five Hundred and Fifty-Seven Thousand, Three Hundred Naira) only is for Capital Expenditure for the Year Ending on 31 December, 2016 (HB. 741) and approve the Recommendations therein” (Laid: 28 /11/2016).

A BILL FOR AN ACT TO AUTHORIZE THE ISSUE FROM THE STATUTORY REVENUE FUND OF THE NATIONAL AGENCY FOR FOOD AND DRUGS ADMINISTRATION AND CONTROL THE TOTAL SUM OF ?10,634,353,111.00 (TEN BILLION, SIX HUNDRED AND THIRTY-FOUR MILLION, THREE HUNDRED AND FIFTY-THREE THOUSAND, ONE HUNDRED AND ELEVEN NAIRA) ONLY, (HB. 741) FOR THE YEAR ENDING ON 31 DECEMBER, 2016

Clause 1:               Issue and appropriation of ?10,634,353,111.00 (Ten Billion, Six Hundred and Thirty-Four Million, Three Hundred and Fifty-Three Thousand, One Hundred and Eleven Naira) only from the Statutory Revenue Fund of the National Agency for Food and Drugs Administration and Control for the year ending on 31 December, 2016.

(i)            The Director General of the Agency shall by warrant pay out of the Statutory Revenue Fund of the Agency during the year ending on 31 December, 2016, the sums specified by the warrants not exceeding in the aggregate ?10,634,353,111.00 (Ten Billion, Six Hundred and Thirty-Four Million, Three Hundred and Fifty-Three Thousand, One Hundred and Eleven Naira) only from the Statutory Revenue Fund of the National Agency for Food and Drugs Administration and Control for 2016.

(ii)           The amount mentioned in subsection (i) shall be appropriated to heads of expenditures as indicated in the schedule to this Bill.

(iii)         No part of the amount above mentioned shall be released from the Statutory Revenue Fund of the National Agency for Food and Drugs Administration and Control after the end of the year mentioned in the Schedule to this Bill.

Clause 2:               Release of Fund from the Statutory Revenue Fund of the National Agency for Food and Drugs Administration and Control.

All amounts appropriated under this Bill shall be released from the Statutory Revenue Fund of the National Agency for Food and Drugs Administration and Control only for the purposes specified in the Schedule to this Bill.

Clause 3:               Virement.

In the event that the implementation of any of the projects intended to be undertaken under this Bill cannot be completed without virement, such virement shall only be effected with the prior approval of the National Assembly.

Clause 4:               Release of Funds for implementation.

The Director General/Chief Executive of the Agency shall ensure that Funds appropriated under this Bill are released as and when due, provided that no funds for any Quarter of the Fiscal year shall be deferred without prior waiver from the National Assembly.

Clause 5:               Quarterly Report.

The Director General/Chief Executive of the Agency and the Directorate of Treasury, National Agency for Food and Drugs Administration and Control shall immediately upon the coming into force of this Bill furnish the National Assembly, on a Quarterly basis, the status of the records of the National Agency for Food and Drugs Administration and Control and statutory account.

Clause 6:               Waiver not to incur expenditure.

Where due to revenue short-fall, amount appropriated under this Bill cannot be funded, the National Agency for Food and Drugs Administration and Control shall seek from the National Assembly a waiver not to incur such.

Clause 7:               Due Process Certification.

The Department of Government charged with the responsibility of certifying that due processes have been complied with in the processing of implementation of projects shall ensure that all processes of approval are completed within the specified period as provided for in the Public Procurement Act.

Clause 8:               Interpretation.

For the Purpose of this Bill, the term:

“Agency” means the National Agency for Food and Drugs Administration and Control.

“Schedule” includes the detailed estimates of expenditure attached hereto

Clause 9:               Short Title.

This Bill may be cited as the National Agency for Food and Drugs Administration and Control Statutory Appropriation Bill, 2016.

SUMMARY OF NATIONAL AGENCY FOR FOOD AND DRUGS ADMINISTRATION AND CONTROL BUDGET 2016

  1. Overhead Costs

Local Travel and Transport: Training                                                                                             420, 000, 000. 00

Local Travel and Transport (Inspection Activities)                                                                      570, 996, 400. 00

International Travel and Transport (GMP)                                                                                    611, 000, 000.00

Electricity Charges                                                                                                                               95, 106, 240. 00

Telephone Charges                                                                                                                             5, 000, 000. 00

Internet Access Charges                                                                                                                     54, 002, 000. 00

Water Rates                                                                                                                                          1, 000, 000.00

Sewage Charges                                                                                                                                   5, 000, 004. 00

Office Stationeries/Computer Consumables                                                                                 301, 726, 880. 00

Magazines and Periodicals                                                                                                                                3, 000, 200. 00

Printing of Non-Security Documents                                                                                               70, 000,000. 00

Printing of Security Documents                                                                                                        1, 000, 000. 00

Labouratory Chemicals/Glass Wares                                                                                              102, 147, 600. 00

Maintenance of Motor Vehicles/Transport Equipment                                                                               80, 528, 940. 00

Maintenance of Office Furniture                                                                                                     10, 000, 000. 00

Maintenance of Office Building                                                                                                       264, 597, 840. 00

Maintenance of Office Equipment                                                                                                  32, 000,000.00

Maintenance of Computers/IT Equipment                                                                                   12, 000, 320.00

Maintenance of Plants/Generators                                                                                                  49, 023, 000. 00

Clearing and Forwarding Expenses                                                                                                  10, 000, 100. 00

 

Repair and Maintenance of Laboratory Equipment                                                                   34, 462, 708. 00

Security services                                                                                                                                  183,600,000.00

Office Rent                                                                                                                                           26,722,215.00

Operational Expenses /Federal Task Force                                                                    215,319,360.00

Cleaning & Fumigation Services                                                                                                      200,000,080.00

Financial Consulting                                                                                                           35,000,000.00

Legal Services                                                                                                                                      5,000,000.00

Engineering Services                                                                                                                           25,000,000.00

Surveying Services                                                                                                              8,000,000.00

Motor Vehicle Fuel Cost                                                                                                                    36,476,568.00

Remittance to CRF (25%)                                                                                                 633,750,072.00

Plant/Generator Fuel Cost                                                                                                 439,200,000.00

Productivity Allowance                                                                                                      400,000,000.00

Insurance Premium                                                                                                             100,000,000.00

Meetings, Workshops and Conferences                                                                                          5,950,000.00

Hospitality, Refreshment & Meal                                                                                                    20,000,000.00

Honorarium & Sitting Allowance                                                                                                     18,200,000.00

Publicity & Advertisements                                                                                               868,733,280.00

Animal House                                                                                                                                      2,000,000.00

Postages & Courier Services                                                                                                              18,750,000.00

Staff Welfare                                                                                                                                       89,992,000.00

Establishment of NAFDAC desk in LGA                                                                                        5,000,000.00

Recruitment and Appointment (Service Wide)                                                             15,600,000.00

Discipline and Appeal (Service Wide)                                                                                              5,000,000.00

Promotion (Service Wide)                                                                                                                  15,000,000.00

Annual Budget Expenses & Administration                                                                                  10,000,000.00

Donations                                                                                                                                             10,000,000.00

2016 National Food Safety Week                                                                                                   5,000,000.00

2016 Conference on Nigeria Total Diet Study                                                                               5,000,000.00

FGN/NAFDAC/UNICEF Nutrition Programme                                                                             82,000,000.00

Interns/NYSC                                                                                                                       290,000,004.00

Advocacy/Awareness on use of

Fake and Counterfeit Drugs in Six Geopolitical Zones                                                                400,000,000.00

 

Total Overhead Costs                                                                                                                        6, 906, 795, 811. 00

 

  1. Capital Projects

Provision of mobile laboratories and accessories                                                                          900,000,000.00

Provision of laboratory equipment                                                                                                  80,000,000.00

NAFDAC HQ Laboratory Building- Construction and Others)                                                  201,964,050.00

Provision of Motor Vehicles                                                                                              101,540,000.00

Provision of Office Equipment, Furniture and Fitting and Power

Generating Plant                                                                                                                                  49,807,000.00

Provision of NAFDAC Information Systems and Computer Sets                                             79,600,000.00

Construction of NAFDAC Laboratory- Mbaka Benue State (Phase 1)                                   205,347,984.00

Construction of NAFDAC Laboratory Building Abeokuta, Ogun State-Phase 1                   239,912,059.00

Construction of Office Block, Warehouse, Perimeter Fence

and Gate House at Illela                                                                                                                    15,226,756.00

Construction of Perimeter Fence, Office Block and

Warehouse in Benin, Edo State – Phase 1                                                                                       120,000,000.00

Consultancy Services for Construction of Perimeter Fence,

Office Block and Warehouse in Benin, Edo State                                                                        30,000,000.00

Construction of Office Block, Warehouse, Perimeter Fence and Gate

House at Kamba-Kebbi State                                                                                                           15,893,734.00

Construction of NAFDAC PID Office at Murtala Mohammed

Int’l Airport NAHCO Ikeja Lagos                                                                                                    119,815,795.00

Rehabilitation of NAFDAC LAB Calabar                                                                                      31,845,746.00

Construction of Perimeter Fence, Office Block and Ware

House at Owerri, Imo State – Phase 1                                                                                              214,926,200.00

Construction of Perimeter Fence, Office Block and Ware

House at Osogbo, Osun State – Phase 1                                                                                          110,000,000.00

Consultancy Service for the Construction Perimeter Fence, Office Block and

Warehouse at Owerri, Imo State                                                                                                      15,000,000.00

Construction of Office Block, Warehouse, Perimeter Fence

and Gate House- Jibiya, Katsina State                                                                                           16,726,756.00

Construction of NAFDAC laboratory Building, Umuokeh

Obowo, Imo state – Phase 1                                                                                                              154,926,200.00

Rehabilitation of NAFDAC Training School, Kaduna, Kaduna State                                      20,000,000.00

Construction of Office Block, Warehouse, Perimeter Fence and Gate House at

Maigatari – Jigawa State                                                                                                                   16,726,756.00

Rehabilitation of NAFDAC Birnin Kebbi Office- Kebbi State                                                    26,477,000.00

Redesigning and furnishing of NAFDAC Lab Maiduguri Borno State                                     15,989,100.00

Construction of Perimeter Fence at Asaba- Delta State                                                              10,916,438.00

Construction of Perimeter Fence at Abakiliki – Ebonyi State                                                     10,094,400.00

Construction of Perimeter Fence at Enugu                                                                                     10,094,400.00

Construction of perimeter fence at kwara                                                                                     10,094,400.00

Consultancy service NAFDAC Laboratory Training School

Antyu Mbaka Benue State                                                                                                                               33,545,174.00

Management and supervision for NAFDAC Laboratory Building

Abeokuta, Ogun State                                                                                                                        14,507,332.00

Consultancy service stage 1 and 2 NAFDAC Headquarters/Laboratory

Building Kyami- Abuja                                                                                                                      45,000,000.00

Consultancy service stage 3 NAFDAC Headquarters/Laboratory

Building Kyami- Abuja                                                                                                                      10, 000,000.00

Outstanding financial obligation                                                                                                      801, 580,020.00

Total Capital Projects                                                                                                                      3, 727, 557, 300.00

 

Grand Total                                                                                                                                        10, 634, 353, 111. 00

 

  1. Committee on Banking and Currency:

Hon. Jones Onyereri:

“That the House do consider the Report of the Committee on Banking and Currency on a Bill for an Act to Authorize the Issue from the Statutory Revenue Fund of the Central Bank of Nigeria the Total sum of N420, 787,701,850.00 (Four Hundred and Twenty Billion, Seven Hundred and Eighty Seven Million, Seven Hundred and One Thousand, Eight Hundred and Fifty Naira) only, out of which the sum of N419, 672, 000, 320. 00 (Four Hundred and Nineteen Billion, Six Hundred and Seventy-Two Million and Three Hundred and Twenty Naira) only is for Recurrent Expenditure, while the excess Revenue over Expenditure stood at N1, 115, 701, 530. 00 (One Billion, One Hundred and Fifteen Million, Seven Hundred and One Thousand, Five Hundred and Thirty Naira) only, is for the Year Ending on 31 December, 2016 and approve the Recommendations therein” (HB. 753) (Laid 8/12/2016).

A BILL FOR AN ACT TO AUTHORIZE THE ISSUE FROM THE STATUTORY REVENUE FUND OF THE CENTRAL BANK OF NIGERIA THE TOTAL SUM OF N420, 787,701,850.00 (FOUR HUNDRED AND TWENTY BILLION, SEVEN HUNDRED AND EIGHTY SEVEN MILLION, SEVEN HUNDRED AND ONE THOUSAND, EIGHT HUNDRED AND FIFTY NAIRA) ONLY, (HB. 753) FOR THE YEAR ENDING ON 31 DECEMBER, 2016

Clause 1:               Issue and appropriation N420, 787,701,850.00 (Four Hundred and Twenty Billion, Seven Hundred and Eighty Seven Million, Seven Hundred and One Thousand, Eight Hundred and Fifty Naira) only from the Statutory Revenue Fund of the Central Bank of Nigeria for the year ending on 31 December, 2016.

(i)            The Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria shall by warrant pay out of the Statutory Revenue Fund of the Service during the year ending on 31 December, 2016, the sums specified by the warrants not exceeding in the aggregate N420, 787,701,850.00 (Four Hundred and Twenty Billion, Seven Hundred and Eighty Seven Million, Seven Hundred and One Thousand, Eight Hundred and Fifty Naira) only from the Statutory Revenue Fund of the Central Bank of Nigeria for 2016.

(ii)           The amount mentioned in subsection (i) shall be appropriated to heads of expenditures as indicated in the schedule to this Bill.

(iii)         No part of the amount above mentioned shall be released from the Statutory Revenue Fund of the Central Bank of Nigeria after the end of the year mentioned in the Schedule to this Bill.

Clause 2:               Release of Fund from the Statutory Revenue Fund of the Central Bank of Nigeria.

All amounts appropriated under this Bill shall be released from the Statutory Revenue Fund of the Central Bank of Nigeria only for the purposes specified in the Schedule to this Bill.

Clause 3:               Virement.

In the event that the implementation of any of the projects intended to be undertaken under this Bill cannot be completed without virement, such virement shall only be effected with the prior approval of the National Assembly.

Clause 4:               Release of Funds for Implementation.

The Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria shall ensure that Funds appropriated under this Bill are released as and when due, provided that no funds for any Quarter of the Fiscal year shall be deferred without prior waiver from the National Assembly.

Clause 5:               Quarterly Report.

The Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria and the Directorate of Treasury, Central Bank of Nigeria shall immediately upon the coming into force of this Bill furnish the National Assembly, on a Quarterly basis, the status of the records of the Central Bank of Nigeria and statutory account.

Clause 6:               Waiver not to incur expenditure.

Where due to revenue short-fall, amount appropriated under this Bill cannot be funded, the Central Bank of Nigeria shall seek from the National Assembly a waiver not to incur such.

Clause 7:               Due Process Certification.

The Department of Government charged with the responsibility of certifying that due processes have been complied with in the processing of implementation of projects shall ensure that all processes of approval are completed within the specified period as provided for in the Public Procurement Act.

Clause 8:               Interpretation.

For the Purpose of this Bill, the term:

“Schedule” includes the detailed estimates of expenditure attached hereto

Clause 9:               Short Title.

This Bill may be cited as the Central Bank of Nigeria Statutory Appropriation Bill, 2016.

SUMMARY OF CENTRAL BANK OF NIGERIA BUDGET 2016

  1. General Administrative Expenses                                                    125,298, 000, 000. 00
  1. Operational Expenses                                                                         283,511,000, 000. 00

 

  1. Depreciation on Fixed Assets                                                                10,863,000,000. 00

 

  1. Excess of Income over Recurrent Expenditure                                    1,115,701,530.00

 

Total Expenditure                                                                             419, 672, 000, 320. 00

 

Grand Total                                                                                        420,787, 000, 000, 700. 00

ADJOURNMENT
That the House do adjourn till Tuesday, 10 January at 11:00 a.m (Hon. Orker-Jev)
House adjourned accordingly at 4:02 p.m

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Senate Proceedings For Thursday 15th December 2016

Senate President Bukola Saraki presided over plenary.

*EXECUTIVE SESSION*

The Senate in a closed door session that lasted for about two hours deliberated on issues bothering on the workings of the National Assembly and the confirmation of the nomination of the EFCC Chairman and other members.

Following the security report before it, Senate therefore rejected the confirmation of the Nomination of Mr. Ibrahim Magu as Chairman EFCC. The Senate referred nomination of the other 4 Members of the EFCC for further security screening with Anti Corruption Committee

Senator Gbenga Ashafa moves for the approval of votes and proceedings of Wednesday 14th December, 2016. Senator Buruji Kashamu seconded.

*POINT OF ORDER*

Senator Dino Melaye raised a motion over a publication by TheNation Newspaper and BBC Hausa on the infraction on the privilege of the Senate.

Title of the Publication: “Senate Seeks SGF Sack” is all that balderdash” BBC Interview: “The Senators are talking rubbish”

“A mere appointee of the President says that we are liars” and tenders more evidence acquired from the Corporate Affairs Commission against SGF, Babachir Lawal?”If the SGF says the document presented by the CAC is fake, he should produce the original” – Sen. ?Dino melaye?.

“It is largely shown that the SGF does not have the necessary capacity to occupy the post” – Sen. Ibn Na’Allah?.

“This position is a responsible position but if we have an irresponsible person there, it becomes a problem” – Sen. Chukwuka Utazi.

“The issue we have here is very serious because it bothers on the integrity of the Senate, the President ? was here yesterday and said with all humility that he is seeking cooperation with the National Assembly, the SGF’s statement contradicts this. We will communicate with the President with necessary document and let’s see what the Executive will do. We leave that to the Executive to do what has to be done, we have done our part and i commend you all for your effort”- Senate President

Senator Dino Melaye lays the report before the Senate.

*ADJOURNMENT*

Senate Leader Ali Ndume moves that the Senate do adjourn for few minutes and reconvene to adopt the votes & proceedings of today, Thursday 15th December ?.Minority seconded.

*Senate Reconvenes at 02:30pm*

Senator Jibrin Barau moves for the approval of earlier votes and proceedings for Thursday 15th December, 2016. Senator Raji Rasaki seconds.

*SWEARING IN*
Senate President swears in newly elected Distinguished Senators of the Federal Republic of Nigeria from Rivers State. They are: George Sekibo- Rivers East
Magnus Abe- Rivers South East
Osinachukwu Ideozu- Rivers West, they were given a rousing welcome.

?*ANNOUNCEMENT*
Senate President announces the inauguration of the Committee on Legislative Compliance & reads a letter of appreciation from Sen. Omo-Agege.

?*CLOSING REMARKS*

Senate President gives his closing remarks. “i want to thank all of you for the effort we put in this session. Looking at the statistics of what we have been able to achieve since we returned, we’ve passed18 Bills for Third Reading. What we have done in 3months cannot be compared to what we have done in the last one year. Finally, i congratulate the three new Senators, we’re happy that it is our Motion that made this election possible, ” – Senate President.

*ADJOURNMENT*
Senate Leader, Ali Ndume now moves that the Senate do adjourn to January 10th, 2017. Minority leader seconded. Senate President puts the question and Senate is adjourned to January 10, 2017.

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How Buba Galadima Sabotaged Buhari’s 2011 Presidential Ambition – Senator Hanga

Pioneer National Chairman of the defunct Congress for Progressive Change, CPC, Senator Rufa’i Hanga, once represented Kano Central Senatorial District in the National Assembly. In this interview, he tackles former CPC National Secretary, Buba Galadima over the latter’s attacks on President Muhammadu Buhari among other issues.

As the founding national chairman of the defunct CPC, what is your take on Buba Galadima’s recent comments that he did not collect money to influence the choice of candidates in the CPC?

Let me shed some light on what I saw in Buba’s interview in response to what the Presidency or Garba Shehu said that he perpetrated atrocities in the defunct CPC.

He scattered the party and made it to fail. Buba argued that Buhari was the supreme head of CPC, chairman of the Board of Trustees, BoT and everything stopped at his table and that Buhari made final decisions. Yes, Buhari was the chairman of BoT, but it is wrong and hypocritical for Buba to claim that all that went wrong was caused by Buhari.

Buhari is a team player. He is a kind of person, who appoints people that he trusts. When he gives you an appointment, he gives you responsibility and authority to discharge it.

So, Buba Galadima and Co. were given the responsibility to run the party but they schemed, manipulated and booted us out. That is a story for another day, anyway.

Buba schemed and manipulated things. Buhari didn’t even know that Galadima was vying for the position of secretary of the party till the Election Day. He was hiding it because if Buhari had known, he wouldn’t have allowed him to be the secretary because Buhari knows him very well; he knows the kind of person Buba is.

But Bubari was unaware until the Election Day; on the way to the venue, Buhari learned that Buba was the candidate. He asked who was contesting for the position of secretary and he was told that it was Buba. He kept quiet because there was nothing he could do at that time, it was too late. But I am sure, he was visibly unhappy.

Buhari is innocent of all the atrocities. Buhari did not tell them to do those things. He didn’t tell them to collect…. All those things that Garba Shehu claimed were true.

This is not a secret; there were confessions. When things went sour, people were on radio even in Kano talking about some of the members that were in the House by virtue of these arrangements.

Coming forward to challenge Galadima

He said he is challenging anybody to come forward, I am coming forward now to say that there is nothing more terrible, more annoying, more shocking than somebody, a friend that you have absolute trust in betraying you. Buba was my friend, I had trust in him, absolute trust in him and he knew that.

This same Buba told me that my gubernatorial aspiration was more important to him than Buhari’s presidential aspiration because I am close to him and his family and he knows he will benefit from my position. So where is integrity in this? Where is honesty in this? How can you make claims that you didn’t collect money even when you said all these in front of somebody?

There were people like this, who were clinging on Buhari’s integrity and posture to speak and people believed them because of Buhari. Every time they speak is as if Buhari is speaking. You know people have tremendous support, respect and belief in Buhari, that is why when Buba and co spoke, it was as if Buhari was speaking.

However, this is no longer the case; you cannot be telling lies all the time and expect people to believe you. Now, the principal has spoken, Buhari has spoken that these are the kind of people Buba and co were. So it is no more news that they perpetrated so many bad things, they cannot come and make claims now.

Buba Galadima said he swore to the Koran, what is your take?

He said he swore to Koran, those journalists that interviewed him, are they Muslims to know whether what he brought was Koran or not? Once he brought it out, they saw a very voluminous book, was it a dictionary or a Koran? Do they know what it is, did they read it, and do they know how to read the Koran?

Buba said he has a document which showed that Buhari nominated the governorship candidates for Katsina, Kano, Bauchi and Borno?

Buhari could not have selected them because he was not the party’s chairman or secretary. There were times Buba was banging his table at the party’s headquarters in presence of party members, that even Buhari could not force him to stop what they wanted to do; that was when he was deeply drunk with this power.

Let me tell you how rascally Buba could be when they went to Kano and were trying to push me out by force as national chairman. I wasn’t contesting for chairmanship position again because we were doing congresses, which would lead to the convention, I was part of the aspirants for the position of chairman because Buhari is from North-West and I am also from North-West.

Buba was trying to push me out by all means before the primaries were concluded for the convention. Buba was blindly scheming to be the national secretary because he wanted to do what he finally did.

When the battle was so hot, Buhari called me into his bedroom and said, ‘why are these people after you?’And I said, ‘because of you.’ And he asked, ‘why me?’ And I replied, ‘because these people are scheming against you and if I am there as chairman by the grace of God they won’t succeed, because I know them and politically they cannot outwit me to sabotage you.’

Buhari said, ‘okay I have not seen anywhere in the constitution of the party where it states that the chairman must step down before he or she will contest for any political office.’ And I said, ‘after all, I am not contesting for the office of the Chairman,’ that my aspiration is for the gubernatorial and it has not come because that it will come after the convention.

It was on the eve of the convention, they insisted that I must leave and went ahead to announce that Oscar Udoji had been appointed caretaker chairman. When I came back from Kano and I went to the office, I saw him sitting there, and I asked him what he was doing in my office and he said he was now the acting chairman of the party. I said, ‘how come? I didn’t resign, I was not impeached, how can you be the acting chairman?’ He replied that he did not know, that I should go and ask them.

When I went to ask Buhari who was now the presidential candidate, he said, ‘go and concentrate on your aspiration.’

I was shocked, I wouldn’t have argued with him, I did not say anything, there were many people around when that happened. I left, I didn’t say anything because if I said anything then, it would amount to sabotage, I went back home, continued with my aspiration and to fight for Buhari even after they anointed Lawan Jafaru Isa as the governorship candidate.

I fought for Buhari up to the last, even in APC the records are there, I was for Buhari, I worked for Buhari up to the last minute. But Buba and co didn’t fight for Buhari, they fought for Rabiu Musa Kwankwaso. So, Buba should please keep quiet. I don’t see why he is so desperate, must he be in the government?

When they booted me out, I continued working for Buhari, the records are there, but when they were booted out they went to work for Kwankwaso up to the end. Now they are working for Kwankwaso. He was my friend and he is my friend, I am asking him to please keep quiet, he shouldn’t dig further, he should allow the sleeping dogs to lie and stop challenging people that knew what happened to speak because there are people that know what he was and who he is.

Source: Vanguard

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Amazing Facts I Have Found Out About Atiku Abubakar – Paul Ibe

Recently in Yola, Adamawa State, MAZI PAUL IBE, head, Atiku Media Office sat down with some journalists for a chat about his boss, former Vice President Atiku Abubakar who was marking his 70thbirthday and was also being honoured with the Founder’s Day ceremony by the American University of Nigeria, AUN. Publisher /Editor in Chief of Newsdiaryonline, Danlami Nmodu was among those who engaged Paul in the brief interactive session.Excerpts:

In the Beginning

You know before I joined his excellency Atiku Abubakar in 2010 following a career in journalism which culminated in editorship in Thisday, I had( come) to know this country very well.I went to Federal Government College Okigwe in Imo State,values of unity (in diversity) were long established in me.As a journalist,I had travelled the length and breadth of Nigeria.

But for me Atiku Abubakar happens to be a practical postgraduate studies in what it means to be a Nigerian in the midst of the diversity and having observed him at close range, I have seen that this is a man that has matched his words. He truly represents the very best, he personifies the best in what it means to be a Nigerian. His ability to even seek and get talents from bar beyond his enclave puts him in a special role, it defines his person, it underscores the fact that he continues to be a rallying point, and that he looks far beyond his immediate environment to embrace people of other faith, people of other ethnic inclinations, people of opposing views and persuasions. That essentially is the Atiku Abubakar that I have come to know in the last six years or thereabout

Working with Atiku

The truth was that I never wanted to serve a politician.I was interested in the reportage ,in covering politics. I didn’t have the deire,until I had to leave Thisday and the opportunity came for me to work with him.Until then ,I never had a relationship with him. I had interviewed him a couple of times at the height of the third term (crisis during President Obasanjo’s tenure) .I was part of the Thisday team that interviewed him..But when I came on board, because I didn’t know what to expect…But six years have given me a front seat to observe the man and see him in practice.And it has been one of the most rewarding working relationships I have had. It’s been made so easy because of the nature of the man, because of his work ethics.I used to joke with my wife that, the reason why I work with Atiku Abubakar, anytime I send him a memo, wherever he may be, before I even say ah, he has responded.So there is spontaneity and when you work with such a person he makes your day, you realize that yes you enjoy working with him.I enjoy with him.He makes it easy.Wherever he may be whether in the country or elsewhere, he is always available.This morning we exchanged mails..You send him a memo, even if it’s a hundred page memo,he will look at it line by line and he will respond in his.. beautiful handwriting line by line.And anything that he doesn’t know, he will put three question marks.And anything that has further clarifications, he will refer to the persons that probably will answer the questions or the posers that he has raised to those issues. So working with him has been very rewarding.

Atiku’s Large Heart

You know, at times when I reflect and I begin to wonder if the man is human, because there are things that somebody will do and you begin to wonder.I was discussing with somebody yesterday and I said if (some people) had the heart of Atiku, that person (they) will have a heart attack.It’s too big.And you know when your heart is big , it’s a tendency for the medical situation that could lead to heart attack.I have come to realise that it’s not about politics.It’s about the person.This who he is, a life of giving.And it is not about resources.God has endowed us with resources.And Iam not sure that Atiku Abubakar is the most endowed, (but) he is the one that has endowed the most.So it’s a function of his humanity, his ability to recognize that he is blessed and that he is meant to be a blessing to not only his family but to his community.I think that is what drives him,because some of the times I want to project some of the things has done and he has told me clearly in unmistaken terms that I have long received my reward, God has blessed me,and what Iam doing is only a manifestation of the covenant that I have with Him. And to God, like we say be the glory.And that is the man that we are talking about. Never ever unwavering about his commitment to touch lives.

Motivated by Ambition..?

Well let me start from the last, we are all ambitious people.As a reporter, I probably desired to be an editor.As an editor you probably want to be the Editor In Chief or Managing Director.And so as human beings we want to rise in life. And Atiku is a mere mortal like all of us.He is flesh and blood. He has desires and aspirations. But you need to understand his ambition against the backdrop of where the man is coming from. I mean here is a man who keeps talking repeated about how this country has been good to him. He went to school in northern Nigeria where he got free education and so he believes that he has a responsibility to give back to the same society that has given so much to him. He believes that by his training, by his exposure, by his experience, he has garnered skills that put him at an advantageous position to be able to impact on society to transform lives of people…That is legitimate. And if it is done within established rules, there is nothing wrong with it.Even those who say he is ambitious are also ambitious…They are also ambitious to ensure that he doesn’t achieve his own ambition.

Why not remain as statesman, nurturing young leaders

Well there is nothing wrong in nurturing young leaders. You also know that one of the things the Turaki is passionate about is mentorship.But you can’t put forward people who have not been well schooled, well –tutored in the art of leadership….

Credit: Newsdiaryonline

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Buhari’s ‘Forgotten’ Ministers

By Daily Trust

When their names made President Muhammadu Buhari’s ministerial list, many Nigerians, acquainted of their impressive resumes, were full of high expectations about the positive contributions they would make to the administration.

But not so anymore, as just a little over a year after their appointment as ministers, they are seen to have gone into hibernation. This report spotlights those ministers that Nigerians have ‘forgotten,’ either on account of what is believed to be their poor visibility or underperformance.

Dr. Kayode Fayemi

Though the name of the ministry has since been changed from the Ministry of Solid Minerals Development to the Ministry of Mines and Steel Development, observers believe that not much has changed or been witnessed in this sector full of economic potentials.

The Minister of Mines and Steel Development Dr. Kayode Fayemi had on assumption of office  pledged his commitment to developing the solid minerals sector, while ironically pointing at the government’s own inadequacies at identifying what is good for Nigeria and mustering the will to promote it.

He initially came across as one of the top five in Buhari’s cabinet that have the expertise and experience to see the government deliver on all its promises to the Nigerian voter.

Also, given the policy of the Buhari-administration on diversification, Nigerians expected his ministry to be in the lead in generating non-oil revenue for the nation.

He identified limited infrastructure, insufficient geological data, limited corporate federalism, illegal artisanal mining community challenges, weak institutional capacity and insufficient funding as the bane of the sector and promised to take these numerous challenges head on, and deliver on the Federal Government’s vision, of building a mining sector that Nigerians can be proud of 30 years or more from now.

However, with over a year in office, Fayemi has not recorded any visible success in addressing the challenges he identified as bedeviling the solid mineral sector.

Also, the promise by the minister to strengthen a unit of the ministry which should check such illegal activities has also not been fulfilled as the Mines Inspectorate Department is currently been faced by lack of adequate funds and manpower to carry out its functions.

Abdulrahman Bello Dambazau 

A year after being appointed the minister to oversee the Ministry of Interior, Gen. Abdulrahman Bello Dambazau (Rtd), Nigerians are of the belief that nothing spectacular has changed in affairs of the ministry.

On resumption of office, the former Chief of Army Staff had vowed to stamp out corruption in the ministry, saying: “My leadership will have zero tolerance for corruption, indolence, sectarianism, cronyism, and most of all, impunity.” Many had expected that Dambazau’s experience and qualifications as a military officer, lawyer and academic will come in handy in overseeing the internal security of the country.

However, a year after, all the problems associated with the ministry like corruption, impunity, inefficiency, indolence, among others are still well rooted in the ministry. Under his ministry are the Nigerian Police Force (NPF), Nigeria Immigration Service (NIS), Federal Fire Service (FFS), Nigeria Prisons Service (NPS) and the Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corp (NSCDC).

Cases of corruption still abound in the aforementioned services as there has been secret recruitment in agencies under Dambazau’s watch. Appointments are being given to relatives of those in the corridors of powers without following due process.

Under his watch, the country witnessed unprecedented incidents of jailbreaks. Between January and June 2016 alone, no fewer than six jailbreaks, riots and attempted jailbreaks were recorded. Prison warders have been fingered in the smuggling of illegal substances into the prison premises while others were accused of abandoning their duty posts.

Besides, there have not been any changes in the condition of prison facilities all over the country as most of them are still overcrowded with the ‘awaiting trial’ inmates still having over 70 percent of the population.

In the Immigration Service, there have been complaints of scarcity of Nigerian visas in foreign countries with most people intending to visit the country finding it difficult to undertake their journeys.

Perhaps, the only cheering news is that in the Federal Fire Service the Dambazau- led administration has ensured the procurement of new equipment for the Service.

Senator Aisha Alhassan

Senator Aisha Alhassan shot to nationwide fame while contesting for the governorship seat of Taraba State in the 2015 general elections, but her popularity soared with the close-call elections and subsequent petitions.

Shortly after her appointment, Alhassan, popularly called ‘Mama Taraba’, went into hibernation of some sorts. She was said to have taken ill and reportedly underwent orthopaedic surgery in the US.

However, Senator Alhassan’s reappearance at Aso Rock Villa and her first meet-the-press after a Federal Executive Council meeting few weeks later was a delight. Disappointment soared that Alhassan didn’t hit the ground running. She visited her home state, first, and then got to work.

The ministry was involved with a plethora of legislation affecting women and children; one prohibiting violence, another guaranteeing child rights and a third ensuring gender equality.

Her most prominent engagement has been to investigate allegations of sexual abuse of women on camps for displaced people.

Many Nigerians, however, believe that after a year in office Mama Taraba has done little to confirm the high expectations that greeted her appointment as a minister.

Geoffrey Onyeama

The Minister of Foreign Affairs, Geoffrey Onyeama, assumed office with high hope from Nigerians that the country’s battered image abroad would be redeemed and the nation would regain its true position in the comity of nations.

Onyeama had been involved in diplomatic shuttles, either with President Muhammadu Buhari or alone, globetrotting the world to meet foreign counterparts to discuss security and economic matters affecting Nigeria.

On assumption of office in Novermber 2015, Onyeama rolled out his strategy to reform Nigeria’s foreign missions, block economic leakages, expand relations with neighbouring countries to address insecurity and work closely with foreign partners to fight corruption and recover looted assets.

He had promised to set the wheel of economic diplomacy rolling, saying efforts would be made to engage Nigeria’s mission abroad and turn them into economic hub for the country’s development.

While the efforts to securing international commitment in the fight against terrorism have been largely successful, such was not the case with the repatriation of stolen assets. Though efforts had been made in this direction with series of meeting with foreign governments where Nigeria’s loots are stashed, this yielded no positive results as no money has been returned to the country.

Also, many Nigerians have always complained of the ineptitude of foreign missions’ officials to address their problems or even swiftly respond to request put forwarded to them. This has not changed significantly one year after Onyeama took over the management of the foreign ministry.

A number of Nigerians abroad have been victims of abuse in their countries of resident with some either killed extra-judicially or suffered injuries due to physical abuse, while the perpetrators, most times, were left unpunished. On economic diplomacy, checks revealed that Nigeria’s foreign missions have been unproductive in marketing the nation’s investment opportunities as there are no substantive ambassadors in place to follow up most of the actions.

Okechukwu Enelamah

The Minister of Industry, Trade and Investment, Okechukwu Enelamah, has been overseeing a sector that is witnessing huge downturns since the start of 2016. Under Enelamah’s watch, several industries have shut down this year and many that are still operating have retrenched many workers.

Data obtained from the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) showed that in the third quarter of 2016, real Gross Domestic Product growth of the manufacturing sector slowed by 2.63 percent points to  minus 4.38 percent (year-on-year) from  minus 1.75 percent growth recorded in  third quarter of 2015.

The Minister is also overseeing a trade sector grappling with high inflation rate, jumping from 9.6 percent recorded in January to 18.3 percent as at October, 2016, being the highest rise in prices of commodities seen in Nigeria in the past 16 years.

Until recently when he announced the readiness of his ministry to implement the National Industrial Revolution Plan, the fate of the plan had been uncertain, and the implementation delayed beyond the first quarter of the year.

Even with the announcement of the implementation of the plan, the details have remained sketchy.

Similarly, the Ministry has been dragging foot on the full implementation of the Cotton, Textile and Garment (CTG) policy launched by the then Minister of Industry, Trade and Investment, Olusegun Aganga, in Abuja, and witnessed by stakeholders in the textile industry and the United Nations Industrial Development Organization.

Textile factories still remain moribund as the policy, aimed at developing the entire value chain in the industry with a target of over N566 billion export earnings, gathers dust in the Ministry’s shelves.

Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) in the printing sector also suffered a major setback under Enelamah, as the federal government banned agencies from printing souvenirs and conference materials. He failed to advise the government on the number of printers that the policy would affect.

Importers have continued to grumble under the Minister as their backlog of the suspended Export Expansion Grant (EEG) amounting to over N150 billion remained unsettled.

Health Minister’s tall promises

The Minister of Health, Prof. Isaac Adewole was appointed in November 2015, and when he resumed work at the ministry headquarters in Abuja on November 11, 2015, he promised to ensure changes in the health sector that will benefit Nigerians.

But over a year after, not many Nigerians have felt the changes in this critical sector.

“There are quite a number of restructuring that we need to do. We will need to look at how to work with the secondary and primary health care systems because the tertiary tier is not all that we need to promote and bring good health at the doorstep of our people, so we need to work with the state and local governments,” he stated on his first day of resumption”, she reportedly said.

Since then he has made a lot of other promises on improving healthcare for Nigerians. While few of these promises have been fulfilled many others are yet fulfilled.

The Minister had on many occasions said that the federal government would rehabilitate 10,000 primary healthcare centres within two years.

He said: “The Federal government will build, renovate and revitalise 10,000 primary health facilities in the 774 local government areas across the country.”

On May, 1 2016, the minister said during an interview on Channels Sunrise show: “We will deliver one new PHC a day delivering 101 PHCs in the 90 days from May 1…”

But the Minister has not delivered on the promise of one PHC a day; rather he set up a committee to map out all the primary health care centres in the country. Only renovations have been ongoing on in some PHCs across the country.

The health sector remains in serious distress with medical tourism at its peak. Many health workers are disgruntled and seeking greener pasture overseas even as hospitals are inadequate, ill-equipped and incapacitated to handle basic diseases.

  Brig-Gen Mansur Dan-Ali (rtd) 

Although Brigadier-General Muhammad Mansur Dan-Ali (rtd) surprisingly got the Defence portfolio ahead of the much popular Abdulrahman Dambazau, many Nigerians saw him as no less a distinguished military officer.

Having served as Acting Director Military Training (DMT) retired as Commander of the 32 Artillery Brigade, Akure in August, 2013 many felt he was still very much acquainted with field military operations.

But his greatest challenge in the past one year was how to motivate troops to overcome Boko Haram insurgents in the North-East. The Defence Minister had the challenge having to deliver on the December deadline to Military chiefs to flush out terrorists out of the nation.

The renewed offensive by Boko Haram which has resulted into ambush targeted at military troops in the North-East, leading to huge casualties has also raised questions over the role of the ministry in addressing security challenges.

But for the Zamfara-born retired general getting this remains a huge challenge  even as oil theft, kidnappings and other security challenges such militancy in the Niger Delta have remained a hard nut to crack.

Usani Uguru

To many pundits the importance of the Niger Delta region to the coun¬try underscored the retention of this minis¬try by Buhari and the subsequent assign-ment of Pastor Usani Uguru as minister.

The creation of the ministry by the late Umaru Yar’Adua’s administration fol¬lowed the need to end militancy and devel¬op the region.

In the past one year, however, the Niger Delta ministry had faced enormous challenge deliv¬ering development in the region.

Although the Niger Delta Development Commis¬sion (NDDC) was not good enough to push the issues in the region as it was not a poli¬cy making and cabinet body, many observers say the current minister has so far failed to meet up with the security challenges there as well as rolling out and pur¬suing policies that would speed up the develop¬ment of people and environment in Niger Delta.

The activities of militants have continued to cripple the economy while the minister appears helpless. Instead of him leading the peace process in the Niger Delta, Uguru has abandoned that role to the minister of state for petroleum, Mr Ibe Kachikwu, to handle.

Chris Ngige 

With a staggering unemployment market hitting over 70million, former Anambra State governor, Chris Ngige’s headache on assumption of office was how to provide jobs. As the minister for labour and employment, many believed that Ngige, an acclaimed performer had his hands full.

His major challenge had been how to deal with the army of unemployed Nigerians. The All Progressives Congress (APC) promised a monthly stipend of N5,000 each for unemployed youths, but many say Ngige’s has failed in his responsibility to deliver on this.

The labour unions have also been agitating for better working conditions even though the frequency at which the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) and Trade Union of Nigeria (TUC) embark on industrial actions has drastically reduced.

Ogbonnaya Onu

The Minister of Science and Technology, Dr Ogbonnaya Onu, came into office with a promise to put the science and technology sector in the driver’s seat of the Federal Government’s diversification drive.

He said: “We should move from assembling to manufacturing; we are not satisfied only with assembling, we want real manufacturing here because that is what will make our economy grow, that is what will help us create jobs.”

He said the country would start producing pencils locally by 2018 and that 400,000 jobs are expected to be created through the production of pencils.

But Onu’s science and technology ministry has only succeeded in producing and commercializing high-nutrient biscuits.

However, many believed that minister is not doing enough in leading the Federal Government’s diversification drive.

Suleiman Adamu

On assumption of office, water resources minister, Suleiman Adamu, promised to reposition the nation’s dams for irrigation purpose in order to boost food production.

But since then, not much has been done apart from his visits to some of these dams.

He also promised that some of the dams will be used to generate electricity but this is yet to be seen.

He visited the Tiga dam in Kano State, Galman dam in Kaduna State and many other dams in Kogi, Sokoto, Anambra and Ogun States.

Apart from the visit, not much is being done to reposition the dams, even as the dry season sets in.

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Report Of House Of Reps Proceedings For Thursday, December 8, 2016

VOTES AND PROCEEDINGS

Speaker Yakubu Dogara announced that he had examined and approved the Votes and Proceedings of Wednesday 7 December, 2016, and this was adopted by unanimous consent.

PRESENTATION OF REPORTS

  1. Committee on Insurance and Actuarial Matters (Chaired by Hon. Olufemi Fakeye)

That the House do receive the report of the Committee on Insurance and Actuarial Matters on a Bill for an Act to Authorize the issue from the Statutory Revenue Fund of the National Insurance Commission the total sum of N26,371,000,000.00 (HB 744)

 

  1. Committee on Insurance and Actuarial Matters (Chaired by Hon. Olufemi Fakeye)

That the House do receive the report of the Committee on Insurance and Actuarial Matters on a Bill for an Act to Authorize the issue from the Statutory Revenue Fund of the Nigerian Deposit Insurance Corporation the total sum of N6,212,417,439.00 only for the Nigerian Deposit Insurance Corporation (HB 748)

  1. Committees on Public Service Matters, Public Finance, Legislative Compliance and Special Duties (Chaired by Hon. Sani Bala)

That the House do receive the report of the Committees on Public Service Matters, Public Finance, Legislative Compliance and Special Duties  on a call for lifting of embargo on foreign training and international travels by public servants (HR. 56/2016)

 

  1. Committees on Public Service Matters and Government Affairs (chaired by Hon. Sani Bala)

That the House do receive the report of the Committees on Public Service Matters and Government Affairs on the need to investigate the multiple appointments being held by some Nigerians and the unlawful payment of Emoluments to them in those capacities (HR. 69/2016)

 

  1. Committee on Justice (Chaired by Hon. Rasaq Atunwa)

That the House do receive the report of the Committee on Justice on the High rate of failure in the Bar Examinations (HR. 66/2015)

 

  1. Committee on Federal Judiciary (chaired by Hon. Muntari Dandutse)

That the House do receive the report of the Committee on Federal Judiciary on a Bill for an Act to Amend the Federal Capital Territory Customary Court Act, Cap. F39; Laws of the Federation of Nigeria, 2004, to remove civil matters from the jurisdiction of the court leaving it essentially with customary matters (HB 190)

 

  1. Committee on Federal Roads Maintenance Agency (FERMA) (chaired by Hon. Jerry Alagbaoso)

That the House do receive the report of the Committee on Federal Roads Maintenance Agency (FERMA) on the investigation into the unilateral, arbitrary, and unauthorized creation of positions of Acting Executive Directors in FERMA and the Operational activities of FERMA from 2015 till date (HR. 131/2016)

 

  1. Committee on Banking and Currency (chaired by Hon. Jones Onyereri)

That the House do receive the report of the Committee on Committee on Banking and Currency on a Bill for an Act to Authorize the issue from the Statutory Revenue Fund of the Central Bank of Nigeria the total sum of N420,787,000.70 (HB. 753)

 

  1. Committee on Public Procurement chair by Hon. Busayo Oluwole Oke

That the House do receive the report of the Committee on Public Procurement on a Bill for an Act to Amend the Public Procurement Act, 2007, by adding a new member to the council, amending the procedure for appointing the Director General of the Bureau and extending the Application of the Act to  Defence procurement (HB 475)

 

BILLS PASSED FOR SECOND READING

  1. A Bill for an Act to Establish the Nigerian Intelligence Agency Pensions Board to handle Pensions matters for personnel of the Agency (HB. 842) (Hon. Oluwole Oke)

 

  1. A Bill for an Act to Establish the Chartered Institute of Pension Practitioners of Nigeria, and a Bill for an Act to Establish the Chartered Institute of Pension Practitioners of Nigeria (HBs 726 and 727) (Hon. Hassan Adamu Shekarau and Hon. Gideon Gwani)

 

  1. A Bill for an Act to Alter the provisions of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999, to provide for a Legal framework that will allow investigations even agencies that may be outside the recognised security agencies and may include private investigators (HB. 424) (Hon. Edward Pwajok)

Bill referred to special ad-hoc Committee on review of the 1999 Constitution.

 

  1. A Bill for an Act to Alter Sections 233 (2) of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999, to Expand the Jurisdiction of the Supreme Court of Nigeria (HB. 430) (Hon. Edward Pwajok)

Bill referred to special ad-hoc Committee on review of the 1999 Constitution.

 

  1. A Bill for an Act to Alter Sections 68 (1) of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999, to further provide a provision on the vacation seats by legislators (HB. 431) (Hon. Edward Pwajok)

Bill referred to special ad-hoc Committee on review of the 1999 Constitution.

 

  1. A Bill for an Act to Alter Sections 147 and 192 of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999, to provide that the Nomination for appointment of Ministers and Commissioners shall be made not later than thirty days from the date the President or Governor takes oaths of office and allegiance (HB 696) (Hon. Solomon Adaelu)

Bill referred to special ad-hoc Committee on review of the 1999 Constitution.

 

MOTIONS

  1. Receipt and Adoption of the Conference Committee Report on a Bill for an Act to Establish the Federal University of Petroleum Resources, Effurun, 2016  (Hon. E Y. Orker-Jev)

House resolves to:

Receive and adopt the report of the Conference Committee Report on a Bill for an Act to Establish the Federal University of Petroleum Resources, Effurun, 2016.

 

  1. Urgent Need to investigate the compliance rate of Health Maintenance Organisations (HMOs) to the NHIS contributions and utilisation of funds by the Healthcare providers and inhumane treatment of enrollees (Hon. Chike John Okafor and Hon. Henry Nwawuba)

House resolves to:

  1. Urge the NHIS to put on hold further quarterly release of funds to the Health Maintenance Organisations (HMOs) pending the outcome of investigations by the House.
  2. Mandate the House Committee on Healthcare Services to conduct an investigation on the activities of the Health Maintenance Organisations (HMOs) and healthcare providers for the past eight years with a view to identifying the HMOs, their level of compliance with the relevant provisions of the Act and determine the reasons for the poor state of services to the enrollees and report back to the House within four weeks for further legislative action.
  3. Call for Investigation of Nigeria’s Lost Artefacts (Hon. Ibrahim Ayokunle Isiaka)

House resolves to:

Constitute an ad-hoc Committee to carry out Investigation on the approach for repatriation of historical artefacts carted away from Nigeria and report back to the House within twelve weeks for further legislative action.

 

  1. Urgent Need to investigate the Non-functional state of scanners at Destination inspection points of the Nigerian Customs Service (Hon. Abubakar Yunusa)

House resolves to:

Mandate the Committee on Customs and Excise to investigate the contractual agreement between the Nigerian Customs Service and the contractors responsible for destination inspection prior to the take-over of the scheme by the Nigerian Customs Service, and also to investigate the cause of the Non-functioning of the scanners at the destination inspection points and report back to the House within eight weeks for further legislative action.

  1. Need to suspend the Ban on Importation of Vehicles through the Land Borders (Hon. A. B. Salame)

House resolves to:

  1. Urge the Federal Government to immediately suspend the Ban on Importation of Vehicles through the Land Borders;
  2. Also urge the Federal Government to ensure that the law enforcement agencies, especially those working at the borders, are diligent in their duties by ensuring that import charges through the Land Borders are paid when due and remitted to the government;

iii.            Further urge the Federal Government to install border security and surveillance equipment for effective monitoring to address the recurring menace of smuggling and ensure a maximum revenue generation on all lawfully imported goods;

  1. Equally urge the government to expand its plan on youths employment programmes by developing skills acquisition centres in border areas so as to enable the Youths to acquire skills necessary for the type of businesses that are being carried out in the border areas and also employ more people from those areas into the border security agencies as they have relevant experiences on how goods are being moved in and out of the country; and
  2. Mandate the Committees on Governmental Affairs and Customs Excise to ensure implementation and report back to the House within six weeks for further legislative action.

 

ADJOURNMENT

That the House do adjourn till Tuesday, 13 December, 2016 at 11:00 a.m. (Hon. Zakari Mohammed)

House adjourned accordingly at 2:22 p.m

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The State of Tertiary Institutions In Nigeria And The Way Forward – Discuss Nigeria

In its report, UNESCO states that more than 50,000 Nigerians studied abroad in 2012. Most of these students choose the UK and the US. Nigerian student enrollment in the latter destination has increased more than 25% in the past five years, due to lack of confidence in the educational system. This confirms the pitiful state and degradation of the Nigerian Educational system.
Little wonder foreign corporations and multinationals (like Shell, Chevron, Exxon Mobil, Texaco etc) prefer to hire graduates (Nigerian and others) from foreign institutions from Europe, America or other parts of Africa (like South Africa and Ghana). These corporations do not have confidence in our educational system. Obviously, challenges of the education sector in Nigeria is visible to the blind and audible to the deaf. We need solutions to salvage this situation we are in. What needs to be done?
In a tweetchat on Saturday 26th of November; online platform; Discuss Nigeria had Dr. Dipo Awojide discuss the way forward for Tertiary Educational institutions in Nigeria. Dr Dipo was of the opinion that Nigeria’s education system has been degraded due to neglect, corruption, lack of visionary leadership, amongst other critical factors. Not to dwell so much on the challenges.
The chat was focused on solutions and the way forward. Basically, the modalities of admission criteria and processes in the Nigerian higher education sector is a farce. The system and process of admission is not transparent, neither is it adequately structured. The system and process of admission is not transparent, neither is it adequately structured.
The system favours certain class of Nigerians who can buy their way through. Admission racketeering abound. The system also favours some citizens well above others, whereas there should be a level playing field for all. Catchment area, State of origin, educationally disadvantaged States and all that crap needs to be jettisoned. These should be replaced with an adequately transparent process and a level playing field for all.
A lot of people blame the Governments. Some say why not blame the lecturers too? Of course, there’s enough blame to go around. Ultimately, it is the role of the State or Federal Government who own these institutions to ensure staff development. A mediocre lecturer cannot impact maximum knowledge. You cannot give what you don’t have.
Having said that, lecturers themselves need to recognise the importance of personal/professional development. A lecturer cannot teach with notebooks from 1985 and textbooks from 1970 and blame that on the Federal Government.
And at this point in time, with about 300 Universities and Polytechnics across Nigeria, I believe we have enough. We need to stop creating new Federal or State Universities/Polytechnics. Invest in & fix the existing schools. We need to sort out staff welfare and infrastructural decay. We need to revamp the curriculum too. We need the Ministry of Education to come up with sound, and fit-for-purpose policies, and implement these. We need to invest in employ-ability/enterprise skills development,in curriculum refresh & research development. We need to invest in mental health support for students, and encourage Faculties to forge links with industry. We need to revamp Vocational Schools, improve assessment & feedback process & ensure students have a VOICE. We are yet to see or hear about any significant improvement or attempted improvement since May 29 2015. I hope President
Muhammadu Buhari takes the Nigerian education sector serious. I hope our State Governors see Education as a priority. I hope future State Commissioners, and Ministers of Education are not appointed based on political patronage. We’d be able to transform the higher education sector in Nigeria in the next decade if we implement these recommendations.
Dr Dipo Awojide (@ogbenidipo on Twitter), who’s passionate about the development of Nigeria’s education sector, has been awarded the Nigerian (UK-Based) Student President in the Nigerian UK-Based Achievers Award in year 2013. Dr. Awojide is currently a Lecturer in Strategy at Nottingham Business School and he is a member of the British Academy of Management and the Africa Academy of Management.
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The platform that organised the chat, Discuss Nigeria holds chat on challenges facing the Nigerian society, with hopes of find lasting solutions to these challenges (and sending the recommendations to necessary authorities for implementation), every Friday by 6pm, via its Twitter account; @Discuss_NGR
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INTERVIEW: Nigeria To Make Currency More Flexible In 2017- Osinbajo

By Felix Onuah

ABUJA, Nov 29 (Reuters) – Nigeria hopes to conclude the sale of a $1 billion Eurobond by the end of the first quarter of 2017 and will seek to make its foreign exchange market more flexible, vice president Yemi Osinbajo said on Tuesday.

Nigeria is in its deepest recession in 25 years and needs to find money to make up for shortfall in its budget. Its revenues from oil have plunged due to low international prices and militant attacks in its crude-producing heartland, the Niger Delta, that have cut its output.

The government began the process of appointing banks for the sale of the Eurobond in September and had said it wanted to issue the bond by the end of the year. It has yet to announce a lender to lead the sale, however.

“At the very latest, between the end of the year and the first quarter of next year we will begin to see all that process concluded,” Osinbajo told Reuters in an interview.

The vice president said the severe loss of petro-dollars had caused “serious” foreign exchange shortages and had been worsened by attacks on its oil pipelines and export terminals.

The government had wanted to issue the Eurobond to help plug a gap in its record 6.06 trillion naira ($19.9 billion) budget this year, in addition to tapping concessionary loans from the World Bank and China as its oil revenues fell.

So far only the African Development Bank has come to its aid, approving a $600 million loan, the first tranche of a total $1 billion package.

Osinbajo also said his office was working with the central bank to make the foreign exchange market more flexible and more reflective of actual demand and supply.

The regulator in June officially ended its policy of pegging, or fixing, the naira’s exchange rate at 197 per dollar to let the currency float freely. But the exchange rate has since been stuck at 305 to 315 on the official market due to dollar shortages, while on the black market the naira is changing hands at 470 per dollar.

LOSING REVENUES

Nigeria’s crude production, which was 2.1 million bpd at the start of 2016, fell by around a third in the summer following a series of attacks by Delta militants who want a greater share of the country’s energy wealth to go to the impoverished southern oil-producing region.

“At one point we were losing almost 1 million barrels per day (bpd) which translated to 60 percent of oil revenues … and that affects the availability of dollars,” Osinbajo said.

The militants, after saying in August they would halt hostilities to pursue talks with the government, said this month they had resumed attacks because of the continued presence of the army in the region.

Osinbajo said that the government was prepared to talk with the militants but that maintaining security was essential for law enforcement.

Ratings agency Moody’s forecast that Nigeria’s economy could expand by 2.5 percent next year if it could produce 2.2 million barrels of oil per day – the level at which the government made its budget calculations.

To help cover its budget shortfalls, the government is keen to ensure it is collecting taxes efficiently, Osinbajo said.

“We will continue to consider the issue of raising tax and raising VAT. But at the moment we are more concerned with ensuring that we really improve our coverage,” he said, referring to tax collection.

On the missing Chibok schoolgirls, the vice president said the release of 21 of the girls in October was a result of government engagement with Boko Haram.

He did not provide any update on the remaining missing girls, but he said the government was continuing to engage with Boko Haram. ($1 = 304.20 naira).

Source: Reuters

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UFUK Dialogue: Advancing The Rights Of Children And Family In Nigeria, By Joshua Ocheja

With 18 international experts on family and children’s rights, from 18 different countries, an International Not-for-Profit Organisation, UFUK Dialogue Initiative had lent her voice to promoting rights and privileges of children in Nigeria, when it organized a 2-day International Conference on Children’s Rights and Family in Abuja-Nigeria.

Even though children all over the world are seen as the leaders of tomorrow, millions of them across the world suffer, treated with reckless abandon and impunity, or sold into child slavery. The need to ensure these future leaders are protected and catered for, the United Nations General Assembly on the 20th of November 1989, adopted the Convention on the Rights of Child (CRC). Similarly, the then OAU Assembly of Heads of States and Government adopted the African Union Charter on the Rights and Welfare of the Child in July 1990. And Nigeria ratified both Conventions in 1991 and 2000 respectively.

The International Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC) defines a child as “a person below the age of 18, and urges all governments to increase the level of protection for all children under the 18, regardless of their race, religion, or abilities, whatever they think or say, whatever type of family they come from”

“It’s in line with these proclamations and to further advance the rights and privileges of children in Nigeria, that UFUK Dialogue in collaboration with Arigatou International Prayer and Action for Children, the African Union (AU) and the Journalists and Writers Foundation (JWF) organized the 4th International Family Conference on Children’s Rights and Family in Nigeria,” says Mr. Kamil Kemanchi, the president of UFUK Dialogue Initiative. “UFUK Dialogue intends to open the ground for an academic discussion for the full realization of the rights and capabilities of children” he further added.

The well-attended conference which held at the main auditorium of the Nile University of Nigeria had representations from the government, private sector, religious organizations, civil society organizations, students, parents, and guardians.  Some of those in attendance were the Wife of the President who was represented by the wife of the Governor of Nasarawa State, Hajia Mairo Al-Makura, harped on the need for children to be accorded their pride of place in the society. “This conference is well-intended and highly useful. We all know that the family is the first place of contact for children and whatever they become is always a product of the influence of family” she stated.

There was also representation from the wife of the Senate President, Mrs. Toyin Saraki., Senior Special Assistant to the President on SDGs Princess Adejoke Orelope was represented by the Deputy Director/ Desk Officer (Youth) Mrs. Olaopa, O.M. and the Minister of State for Foreign Affairs Hajia Khadija Bukar Ibrahim was represented by the Director General of Institute of Peace and Conflict Resolution (IPCR) Prof. Oshita O. Oshita

Senator Binta Masi Garba Chairman Senate Committee on women affairs who was in attendance, in her remark, stated that, “it is essential that a child must be helped, supported and protected against labour exploitation, violence, kidnapping, ill-treatment, molestation, and we all have a role to play” she further averred that parents, guardians, the community and religious institutions must play a part in an attempt to revive the communal upbringing of our children”

The organizers of the event, UFUK Dialogue Initiative agrees less. Mrs. Ayse Yigit, the coordinator of women affairs of UFUK Dialogue is of the opinion that UFUK Dialogue understands the role of the community and family in the lives of children, that is why it brought under one roof 18 international experts on children and family to the International Conference on Children’s rights and family, to provide intellectual answers to some of the burning issues that concern children, and the various factors inhibiting their progress in the society.

“UFUK Dialogue has been in the forefront of promoting peaceful co-existence among Nigerians. This year, we decided to do something different, which is looking at the family and family value system” she stated.

UFUK Dialogue Initiative was founded in 2011 in Nigeria with the mission to foster interfaith and intercultural dialogue, stimulate thinking and exchange of opinions on supporting and fostering democracy and peace all over the world and to provide a common platform for education and information exchange.

Also in attendance at the conference were representatives of the Sultan of Sokoto, the president of the Christian Association of Nigeria, as well as the representative of Bishop Hassan Mathew Kukah. The speakers at the event were Mr. Ignacio Socoas, director of International Relations of the International Federation of Family Development, Mr. Iyad Dweika, co-founder of Ramallah Centre for Human Rights Studies and Mr. Daniel Binge, a lecturer at the Federal College of Education, Pankshin, Plateau State.

Mr. Ignacio Socias in his presentation titled Children and Youth Well-Being, is of the opinion that effective measures are needed to support the psychological well-being of children and youth with sensitivity to family situations. “the world is still falling short in its promise and commitment to ensure the right to a safe childhood.”

Other speakers at the conference are Ms. Asma Shadid Kazi, an assistant professor at the Lahore College for Women. She delivered a remarkable paper on Children’s Education.  Another speaker at the event was Yusuf Ozdemir, adjunct professor of education at the Meviana Rumi University; Turkey gave a paper titled “Home Visit’s Effect on Child’s Behavior and Academic Improvement.”

“the status of the child at home and the communication typeset by the parents are two of the major factors that affect the child’s success. In a family, centered socialization process, children gain more skills and manners from which they draw behaviors and patterns that they must pursue. Therefore, it is crucial that family lives support school lives.”

Professor Tawanda Runhare of the department of educational foundations of the University of Venda, South Africa, delivered a paper on the traditional child rearing beliefs and parenting styles and the implication on human developmental needs. “poor parental upbringing, especially erratic parental discipline; parental rejection or low parental involvement in the life of the child can be predictors of social maladjustment or anti-social behavior of the child in the future.”

The International Family Conference is a biennial international academic conference which is organized by the Journalists and Writers Foundation (JWF), which holds general consultative status at UN Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC). Its aim is to stimulate interdisciplinary and cross-national collaborations and approach to various family issues.

“at JWF, we think sharing best practices from all over the world and expanding on those best examples for family policies is crucial to keep the family in the core of women empowerment and human rights discussions,” says Nuray Yurt, the vice president of JWF. “I would like to express gratitude to UFUK Dialogue Initiative and Nigeria for hosting the 2016 International Family Conference” she added.

The event also pulled together dignitaries from other countries, and they include; The Minister of Civic Education, Culture & Community Development in Malawi, Dr. Annie Patricia Kaliati MP, the Ghana High Commissioner to Nigeria, Williams Azumah Awinador Kanyirige, The Ambassador of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela, His Excellency Miguelangel Della Vecchia, and The Ambassador of Ecuador, who was represented by the Deputy Head  of Mission, Mr. Jaime Campas.

Also in attendance, were His Royal Highness Dr. Olusegun Salau Oba Yoruba of FCT Abuja, His Royal Highness EZE Dr. Nwosu Ibe Igbo Abuja, His Royal Highness Alhaji Umaru Mohammed Sarki Hausa Abuja, The Vice Chancellor of Ndjamena University Chad Prof. Ali A. Ifaggar, Programme Manager of Nigeria Stability and Reconciliation Programme (NSRP) Dr. Ukoha Ukiwo, The Executive Secretary of National Universities Commission Prof.. Abubakar Adamu Rasheed, and the Chairman of First Surat Group of Companies., Mr. Hikmet Coban.

Other speakers at the conference included Muhammad Obaidullah, an assistant professor of Islamic studies at Manarat International University, Bangladesh, Henelito Jr Sevilla, adjunct professor and associate dean for administration and public affairs at the University of the Philippines Asian center. And Alexander Schuster, an Adjutant Professor and Lecturer in Law at the University of Trento. He is also the European coordinator of the EU co-funded project “Rights on the Move-Rainbow families in Europe.

Reverend Hans Ucko, the co-chair of the Council for Prayer and Action for Children New York, in his presentation “The Family and the Convention on the Rights of the Child, emphasised on how the Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC) underscores the important role of the family in raising the child and in respecting and protecting children’s rights”.

He further harped on the roles and duties of the government in supporting the family, and the potential role of religious leaders and faith communities as advocates for children’s rights.

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Magu: The Trial of EFCC Boss

The fate of the acting Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), Ibrahim Magu seems to hang in the balance following the delay in his confirmation by the Senate.

Magu is one of the pioneer officers drafted into the EFCC by its first chairman, Nuhu Ribadu. He is reputed to be incorruptible. But in spite of his professed successes at the anti-graft agency in the last one year, a dark cloud of uncertainty still hangs over his fate. There seems to be no silver lining in the cloud that his appointment would be ratified any time soon.

At a one-day symposium on money laundering, organised by the Faculty of Management Sciences, Lagos State University (LASU), last week, the acting EFCC boss appeared to have drawn attention to his successes when he disclosed that the anti-graft agency under his leadership had secured a total of 187 convictions in the last one year.

On assumption of office, President Buhari fired the erstwhile chairman of the commission, Ibrahim Lamorde, who had held sway since 2011, and approved the appointment of Magu as the acting chairman. Having served as head of the Economic Governance Unit (EGU) of the commission during the tenure of Nuhu Ribadu, it was believed that President Buhari opted for Magu because of his “record-breaking performance, transparency, integrity and exceptional courage.”

Indeed, several examples have been cited to demonstrate his courage in the fight against corruption. A trained financial crimes investigator with background in forensic accounting, Magu gained public attention when he led many high profile investigations against former governors, including James Ibori of Delta State and Bukola Saraki of Kwara State.

He is also said to have been in charge of investigation into the role of former Kwara State governor and now Senate President Bukola Saraki, in the collapse of Societe Generale Bank of Nigeria.

An assistant commissioner of police, Magu is the fourth chairman of the anti-graft agency. Others before him are Mallam Nuhu Ribadu, Mrs. Farida Waziri and Mallam Ibrahim Lamorde, all of whose appointments were confirmed in record time. Prior to his posting, he had also served in Bosnia under the United Nations peacekeeping police operation.

Confirmation conundrum

Given what is considered to be his track record of successes, many have wondered why the appointment of the EFCC boss is yet to be confirmed, especially given the strategic role of the anti-graft agency in the current administration’s fight against corruption.

Apart from the power tussle between the Presidency and the Senate, Magu’s ‘high-handed’ leadership style at the EFCC is also said to be among the factors militating against his confirmation. This is even as a cabal within the Presidency has allegedly entered into a deal with the Senate President Bukola Saraki to halt his ongoing trial if he could agree to block Maku’s confirmation.

While the Presidency told Daily Trust on Sunday that President Buhari would not lobby the Senate for the confirmation of the acting chairman of the EFCC, the Senate said Saraki had discharged his responsibility on the matter.

Recently, a coalition of civil society groups urged the Senate to confirm Magu’s appointment. They made the demand in a press release signed by Debo  Adeniran,  for  Coalition Againts Corrupt Leaders (CACOL), Lanre Suraju , Civil Society Network Against Corruption (CSNAC) and  Adetokunbo Mumuni, Social-Economic Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP), among others. They drew attention to the fact that the Senate had screened and confirmed justices of the Supreme Court and Board of the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC), whose names were forwarded to it long after Magu’s name was sent for confirmation.

The anti-corruption groups called on the leadership of the Senate to expedite the immediate confirmation of the acting chairman of EFCC so as to give the ongoing anti-corruption fight the impetus it desperately needs, and help sustain the Buhari administration in curtailing impunity in governance.

Earlier in January, a group of northern youths, under the aegis of North-East Youth Peace Development and Empowerment Initiative (NEYPDEI), had urged President Buhari and the National Assembly to urgently confirm Magu’s appointment. In a statement signed by its national president, Alhaji Kyari Abubakar, the group had argued that the confirmation of Magu would impact positively on the ongoing war against corruption by the present administration.

‘Bargaining chip’

Hitches have been trailing the confirmation of Magu since the letter was transmitted by Vice President Yemi Osinbajo to the Senate. Osinbajo signed the letter on June 17, 2016; it was received in the Senate on June 22 but was not read on the floor of the Senate until July 14. The vice president had forwarded the request in his capacity as acting president when President Buhari was in the United Kingdom on a 10-day medical vacation.

Some pundits have blamed Senate President Bukola Saraki for the delay in the confirmation of the acting EFCC chairman. Sources within and outside the National Assembly told Daily Trust on Sunday that Saraki was using the confirmation of Magu as a ‘bargaining chip.’

Unlike Magu, the confirmation of Ibrahim Lamorde, the immediate past chairman of the commission, was done within 34 days. Having been nominated by former President Jonathan on January 12, 2012, Lamurde got the nod of the lawmakers on February 15, same year.

Impeccable sources at the Senate said the letter for Magu’s confirmation had not been released by Saraki since July 14 when he read it on the floor of the Upper Chamber. One of the sources said that unless the request is committed to the Anti-corruption and Financial Crimes Committee of the Senate, chaired by Senator Chukuwuka Utazi (PDP, Enugu North), Magu cannot be screened.

“There is nothing we can do unless the letter is released, listed on the Order Paper (daily list of events) and committed to the committee before he can be screened alongside other nominees,” the source said.

The delay in Magu’s confirmation has also affected the screening of four members of the commission, namely Moses Ndasule, Mamman Lawan, Imam Najib Galadanci and Adebayo Rafiu Adeleke.

Magu lobbies Senate leaders

Frustrated by the delay, it was gathered that the acting chairman of the EFCC had lobbied Saraki, Deputy Senate President Ike Ekweremadu, Senate Leader Ali Ndume and other key senators. The source said: “When Magu went to lobby one of the senators, he was asked to mount pressure on Saraki to allow the president’s request to be listed on the Order Paper so that it can be committed to the committee.”

Our correspondent could not establish whether the confirmation had been discussed or not during the weekly meeting of the principal officers of the Senate. Every Monday, the principal officers of the Senate meet at the residence of Saraki, where issues to be discussed on the floor of the Senate are selected.

But another source exonerated Saraki from the confirmation quagmire, saying the delay was not his. “Take it or leave it, it is not the fault of Saraki at all. Saraki is very much committed to the fight against corruption, thus he would not delay it. I think it is the opinion of the generality of the senators that is delaying it, “he said on condition of anonymity.

But another source averred that the transmission of the request when Buhari was away showed that it has issue even at the Presidency. “Why was the letter transmitted when Buhari was away? If you find the real answer to this, you will know the main reason why his confirmation is being delayed, “the source said.

A security source said the delay was as a result of intelligence at the disposal of the Senate leadership, that Magu would arrest some senators after his confirmation. Various corruption cases are said to be dangling over about 10 per cent of the senators.

“They have intelligence at their disposal that Magu would arrest some of them as soon as he is confirmed. They are of the view that he was delaying the arrest of some senators because of his confirmation, “he said.

It was gathered that Magu, apparently angered by the delay in his confirmation, refused to honour the request of the Senate Committee on Anti-Corruption and Financial Crimes on the annual report of the EFCC.

Daily Trust on Sunday gathered that the committee, in late October, requested for the annual report of the EFCC and the details of the stolen funds recovered by the commission. A source said Magu had not provided the information as requested.

Section 37 of the EFCC Establishment Act, 2004, states: “The commission shall, not later than September 30 each year, submit to the National Assembly, a report of its activities during the preceding year, and shall include in such report, its audited account.”

When contacted, the special adviser on media and publicity to Saraki, Yusuph Olaniyonu said the Senate President had discharged his responsibility on Magu’s confirmation. “The Senate President has fulfilled his responsibility by reading the request on Magu’s confirmation on the floor, “he said.

Magu’s ‘dictatorial’ style at EFCC

Apart from external factors, Magu’s high-handed leadership style is also said to be affecting his confirmation, checks by Daily Trust on Sunday have shown.

Inside sources told our reporter that Magu does not trust anybody in the commission, a development that has not only led to low morale but mass resignation of staff members in the last one year.

It was gathered that one Hafsat Bakare, who heads the Human Resources Unit, actually applied to resign over an alleged interference by Magu, alleging that he wanted to dictate recruitment process in the commission. She was, however, prevailed upon to withdraw her resignation letter after intervention by influential people in government.

Apart from Hafsat, about seven senior members of staff are also said to be frustrated and want to leave. Another inside source who wishes to remain unnamed for fear of victimisation, accused the acting chairman of violating civil service rules relating to secondment, transfer of service and annual leave.

Apart from running the commission without the director of operations, Magu is said to have, instead, appointed two deputy directors to head the unit. The source also accused Magu of dominating the EFCC workforce with police personnel, thereby hindering the career progress of regular members of staff.

The spokesman of the EFCC, Wilson Uwujaren, however, denied the allegations, saying the acting chairman was only insisting that the right thing should be done at the anti-graft agency.

“I do not understand what you mean by “dictatorial.” The EFCC is a law enforcement agency with a set of established code of conduct. If insisting on discipline, professionalism, courage and integrity among staff is what makes Magu dictatorial, he has no apologies,” Uwujaren said.

He said that Hafsat Bakare remained the head of Human Resources Department of the commission, adding that tales about her resignation and influential people begging her to stay were strange.

“No one begs anybody to stay on the job in the commission. As for the purported interference, the head of Human Resources reports to the chairman through the director, Organisational Support and the secretary to the commission. For an officer that does not report directly to the chairman, it is a misnomer to talk about interference. In any case, the chairman is the chief executive and accounting officer of the EFCC,” he said.

According to the EFCC spokesman, no allowance of any staff member was reduced and no staff of the EFCC is owed any allowance.

“Indeed before the appointment of Magu as chairman, some members of staff were in the habit of complaining that their allowances were withheld by the management. To put a stop to such complaints, Magu directed that all allowances due to staff be consolidated and paid to them on a monthly basis,” he said, adding that no staff wishing to leave the commission through transfer of service has been stopped.

On populating the EFCC with police personnel, Uwujaren said police presence in the commission is not the creation of Magu as seconded staff members have been part of the commission since inception 13 years ago, and the number has not increased under Magu.

He said the absence of a substantive director of operations has not affected the operation of the commission adversely. “At the moment, there are two deputy directors of operations, who are assisting the chairman in directing the core activities of the commission. The dramatic improvement in the operations of the commission in the last one year is evident that the status quo is working. Nevertheless, the chairman has the prerogative to appoint his director of operations. He shouldn’t be stampeded by extraneous forces,” Uwujaren said.

‘Magu undeterred by non-confirmation’

In spite of his non confirmation, however, a top EFCC official who spoke to Daily Trust on Sunday on condition of anonymity, noted that the delayed confirmation of the acting chairman does not deter operatives from doing their jobs.

This, he said, was evident in the fact that the investigation of alleged financial crimes during the 2016 budget appropriation process, termed budget padding, were still ongoing by operatives.

“As a person he will be disturbed. However, it does not stop us from doing our job, including cases involving the National Assembly like budget padding. All he knows is that confirmation comes from God,” he added.

‘Buhari won’t lobby for Magu’s confirmation’

A Presidency source told Daily Trust on Sunday that President Buhari would not lobby the Senate for the confirmation of the acting chairman of the EFCC.

The president, according to the highly placed source, who asked not to be named, would rather allow the Senate to determine the merit of Magu’s nomination

The source told our correspondent that President Buhari strongly believed that he had done his part by forwarding Magu’s nomination to the Senate, saying the president remained firm in his decision not to push for Magu’s confirmation as he believed in the independence of each of the three arms of government.

According to the source, the Presidency, however, hopes that the executive and the legislature would not engage in any showdown over Magu’s confirmation.

“Here is a president who believes in and respects the independence of the legislature and that of every other arm of government. People should understand that Mr. President has done his part by nominating Ibrahim Magu for the EFCC’s job. It is now left for the Senate to look at the merit of his nomination and confirm him. The president will not meddle in the affairs of the Senate,” the source said.

The Senior Special Assistant to the President on National Assembly Matters (Senate), Senator Ita Enag, had expressed a similar view in a chat with our correspondent. Enang stated: “The letter has been sent to the Senate. It is pending in the Senate, and when it is there, there is nothing we (the Presidency) can say or do about it.”

Senate President Saraki is currently facing a 13-count charge at the Code of Conduct Tribunal (CCT) over an alleged corruption and false declaration of assets when he held sway as governor of Kwara State between 2003 and 2011. The Senate president had once faulted the EFCC for exonerating the chairman of the CCT, Danladi Umar, regarding his (Umar’s) alleged complicity in a N10 million bribe made by one Abdulrashid Taiwo.

Source: Daily Trust

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#ObasekiANewBeginning: New Dawn, New Challenges

Tomorrow, Edo State Governor Adams Oshiomhole will bow out of office as a happy man. Like many successful leaders, he will be handing over to a competent successor. As an era ends in the Southsouth State, a new chapter unfolds. Unlike Oshiomhole, who is a unionist and politician, Godwin Obaseki is a technocrat. His vision is to lay a solid edifice on the foundation laid by the former ‘Comrade’ governor, in accordance with the electoral promises of the All Progressives Congress (APC). But the new administration will face many challenges. Will Obaseki reenact the feat he has recorded in the private sector?  Will he cope with the murky waters of politics and become a master of the game? Will he leave an indelible mark at the end of his tenure? Group Political Editor EMMANUEL OLADESU highlights the challenges that will confront the new helmsman.

HIS face was aglow as the electoral commission declared him the winner of the historic governorship poll. For him, it was a milestone. He mounted the open roof Sports Utility Vehicle (SUV), which drove him round the streets of the ancient Benin City, waving the broom, the APC symbol, at the jubilating crowd. With him was his political mentor, the ebullient and fork-tongued Adams Oshiomhole, who led the dancing train of women and youths. The attention of the people shifted to Godwin Obaseki, who had just received their mandate to shoulder the burden of governing Edo State in the next four years.

It was a moment of excitement. Party leaders swarmed him. Yet, the man of the moment was full of tenderness. In utmost humility, he was nevertheless in sober reflection, the euphoria of victory notwithstanding. Peeping into the future, he realised that governance will not be a tea party in Edo because to whom much is given, much is expected. During the campaigns, he had reeled out messages of hope. But, now as the governor-elect, he sent a message of assurance to the people. “I will continue from where the comrade-governor will be stopping. I will justify the confidence reposed in me by you, the electorate. I will fulfill the electoral promises made by me and our great party,” he told the crowd.

To observers, Obaseki’s victory at the poll was a fulfillment of destiny. His co-aspirants at the tensed primary never gave him a chance. To them, the contest was not for an apolitical figure. A year ago, the financial expert was not aware of what fate had in stock for him. He had no ambition to succeed the workaholic governor, although he was always willing and ready to offer constructive advice on economic management.  As the leader of the Edo State Economic Team, he was widely acknowledged as a silent worker at the ‘Think-Tank Office, assisting Oshiomhole in policy initiation and implementation. As he was working diligently, Oshiomhole saw in him the quality of a diligent successor.

The governor-elect was self-effacing.  He knew his onions as an economic expert. But, he also knew his limitation as a political animal. As a professional, his colleagues felt that politics was a no-go area. Although he had established himself as a boardroom guru and master of corporate politics, he was perceived as a gentleman, who could not survive in the political furnace. Besides, Obaseki was not identified as a notable party chieftain and a leader of opinion. Little did he guess that he will eventually emerge as Oshiomhole’s successor, following a historic contest between him and Pastor Osagie Ize-Iyamu, the more renowned and astute flag bearer of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).

Many obstacles were thrown on his path. His detractors derided him as an inexperienced political upstart who needed a long period of tutorials to measure up. Frustrated and desperate chieftains described him as an outsider, unmindful of his illustrious background as a descendant of the legendary Obaseki, the most popular Iyase of Benin. He was mocked as an imaginary stooge of the combative governor, who will later be tossed around and dance to the whim and caprice of the Iyamoh-born politician. Some dug into history, saying that Obaseki was living to expectation as an usurper, recalling that his great grandfather attempted to hijack the stool of Oba of Benin, when Oba Ovonramwen Nogbaisi was deposed by the British interlopers and banished to Calabar.

When those twisting history were reminded that the great Obaseki was instrumental to the ascension of Ovonranwen’s son, Oba Eweka II, to the exalted throne, the historical fact was deliberately ignored. The fallacy became a strong tonic for an effective propaganda by dubious politicians, inciting the people to stop Oshiomhole from foisting on Edo a ‘stranger,’ who has never ploughed back to his roots since he became a successful investor in Lagos. Also, some traditional rulers and community leaders were mobilised to reject his candidature. But, Obaseki remained focus, undeterred by the cheap blackmail and rigorous campaign of calumny until he breasted the tape and lifted the crown.

According to analysts, Obaseki’s victory has implications for Oshimhole’s future career and the entire state in post-Oshiomhole era. The triumph destroyed the threat by the PDP to disgrace him out of office. It marked the fulfillment of the governor’s dream to hand over to a competent successor, careful planner and incorruptible technocrat. Having fought many ‘wars’ in the last eight years, Oshiomhole was anxious about the critical succession battle. He had led a successful crusade against the godfathers. The former governor claimed that these political barons had converted the state into their fiefdom, sharing the resources among their lackeys and fencing out the masses. The platform on which he conducted the war was ‘one man, one vote.’ In Oshiomhole’s view, it was necessary to halt the personalisation of power by the modern-day Edo aristocrats who have rejected the vision of inclusiveness and wider democratic participation. His triumph over the entrenched forces attested to his dogged and resilience resolve to usher in a new era and commitment to the yearnings of the common man.

Besides, Oshiomhole fought the infrastructure battle, earning applause for an impressive performance. He was on a rescue mission of sorts. Having seized Edo by storm, there was no going back. The people were thirsty for dividends of democracy which were elusive under the Igbinedion administration. Unlike the previous eight years, Edo became a huge construction site. At a rally in Auchi, a confident Oshiomhole reflected on the giant strides. He said Edo bounced back on the strength of an indomitable progressive vision and action plan, which was a wide departure from the government of marauders to the benefit of few lackeys. The former governor always linked his success in government to the contribution of the shrewd technocrat. “They said roads cannot be constructed in some communities because of hills and rivers. We rejected that excuse. Now, these communities have access roads. They will not forget the Oshiomhole years. The brain behind the laudable projects is Godwin Obaseki,” he said.

In other sectors, Oshiomhole did not fail. When other states could not pay salaries, Edo stood out in the Southsouth. No single capital project was suspended on account of the drop in revenue accruing to the state’s lean purse. Even, during the campaigns, the former governor still took time out to inspect developmental projects across the districts.

However, despite Oshiomole’s track record, the poll was not a walkover for the APC. The succession battle may have really affected the ruling party, making some chieftains to threaten to subvert or undermine it at the poll. Although Obaseki was eminently qualified to be governor, there was a strong opposition to his emergence. Analysts have also pointed out that the electoral contest was hot because of PDP’s determination to regain control. Pastor Ize-Iyamu is a veteran of many onslaughts. He was one of the pillars of the progressive bloc before he dumped the platform. To the ‘comrade governor’, Obaseki was the right choice, giving the prevailing circumstances. It appears that progressives’ governors are now fascinated by the quality of technocrats without partisan inhibitors, encumbrances and drawbacks. Professionals in politics are now preferred to professional politicians. The electorate appear to be losing confidence in politicians without a second address. Oshiomhole had studied the succession pattern in Lagos State where the two governors, who had come after former Governor Bola Tinubu – Babatunde Fashola (SAN) and Akinwunmi Ambode – had lived up to expectation. When Tinubu insisted on Fashola’s candidature, many party stalwarts were taken aback. Later, they hailed his wisdom when they saw the lawyer in action. But, according to the Lagos PDP, Ambode’s has even achieved in two years what it took Fashola four years to accomplish. Obaseki shares a similar trait with these successful administrators.  Having successfully laid a new foundation for Edo’s future, Oshiomhole believed that only a hardworking administrator and a goal-getter like him could defend the worthy legacies and continue to build on the foundation.

Describing him as the best man for the job in Edo, Oshiomhole said: “Obaseki is more competent than me,” adding that he would fast-track governance and get maximum results for the state with the scarce resources. He said the new governor has the discipline, courage and passion for progress and ideas about how to run a state beset with dwindling revenue and achieve maximum productivity.

During the campaigns, APC’s National Chairman, Chief John Odigie-Oyegun, described Obaseki as the best choice.

“He is not a noise maker, but a silent worker and achiever”, the party chief said, stressing that he was better than Pastor Ize-Iyamu, who had served under a discredited government.

The outgoing governor said the current circumstances made Obaseki’s candidature compelling. In his view, Edo needed an economic expert to navigate the difficult ship of state at this trying time when no state has the hope of survival in the face of dwindling federal allocations.

To Ambode, Obaseki is an epitome of economic creativity; an expert who understands the economic challenges and prospects of the Southsouth state and knows what can be done to catapult it to the horizon of progress. The Lagos governor, who headed the APC Campaign Council for Edo, said Obaseki will generate more income for Edo, set the stage for its industrialisation, promote transparency and accountability and sustain the progressive vision and agenda.

Also, Fashola congratulated Edo APC for fielding Obaseki as its candidate. He said:”Godwin Obaseki is truly a remarkable figure with limitless talents, a big heart and a self-effacing, down-to-heart personal style that gives no indication of his extraordinary accomplishment.”

Obaseki’s motivation is not primitive accumulation, but service to the 53 year-old state. Contrary to the propaganda by detractors, he is a homeboy. He attended St. Matthew’s Anglican Primary School, Benin City before proceeding to Eghosa Anglican Grammar School, Benin City. He attended the University of Ibadan where he obtained a Bachelor’s of Arts Degree in Classics. Obaseki attended the Columbia University and Pace University, New York. He has an MBA in Finance and International Business. He is also a Fellow of the Chartered Institute of Stock Brokers, Nigeria and an alumnus of the Lagos Business School’s Chief Executive Programme. The financial administrator was nominated as a Global Leader for Tomorrow (GLT) by the World Economic Forum in 2001.

Career of the new helmsman

Obaseki began his career over 30 years ago in the financial sector. He has a track record that has drawn the envy of many in Investment Banking, Asset Management, Securities Trading and the

Public Sector. He became a stock broker 1983 with Capital Trust Brokers Limited, Lagos. Later, he worked with the International Merchant Bank (an affiliate of First Chicago Bank). In 1988, he joined AVC Funds Limited, Lagos, where he served as a project manager. He led the core team that set up two new generation banks that eventually reshaped the face of the banking industry in the country.

Between 1993 and 1995, Obaseki worked in New York as a principal of Equatorial Finance Co, a Financial Advisory firm with a focus on Africa. The company provided what experts have described as structured trade finance for African-related transactions through credit, financial advisory and risk insurance.

In 1995, his career blossomed as he founded Afrinvest West Africa Limited (formerly Securities Transactions & Trust Company Limited (SecTrust). He was the company’s pioneer Managing Director. The firm is a leading investment banking and Management firm. In 1995, SecTrust was appointed the correspondent stockbroker for Nigeria by the International Finance Corporation (IFC). In 1996, it established the first derivative product, the Nigerian International Debt Fund (NIDF), on the Nigerian Stock Exchange, which allowed Nigerians to invest local savings in the U.S. dollar instrument. This fund has outperformed projections on returns.

Also, SecTrust was the local adviser on the first global offering by a Nigerian bank through the issuance of Global Depositary Shares (GDS) to raise $50 million from the international Capital market. Afrinvest has acted as an adviser on some of the largest and most significant transactions in the Nigerian capital market since 2005. It is one of the most trusted advisory firms in the domestic corporate finance market, pioneering major innovations and providing leadership in the Nigerian Securities market. The firm has advised on numerous landmark transactions, including the first Eurobond Issue by a sub-Saharan Africa Corporate (outside South-Africa); the first ever simultaneous merger and tender offer transaction in Sub-Saharan Africa and the largest ever listing on the Nigerian Stock Exchange.

Afrinvest has been ranked as a major investment research firm, which is at the forefront of playing instrumental roles in the introduction of new financing products such as Eurobonds and Global Depository Receipts to Nigerian Companies.

Obaseki was the Chairman of the Board of Directors of the firm, which won the Best Asset Management Firm in Nigeria (2014) Award by the Wealth & Finance International Magazine Finance Awards.

Since March 17, 2009, Obaseki served as the Chairman of the Edo State Government’s Economic and Strategy Team (EST). The achievements of the team included, the documentation of the Edo State Economic Development Framework through Sectors’ Strategic Planning, which was reviewed and updated on an ongoing basis; the introduction and enculturation of retreats as a platform to ensure engagement, not only in planning and executing development initiatives, but also in the monitoring and evaluation of outcomes; the sourcing of N25 billion infrastructure market in 2010; development bond from the Nigerian Capital, and $225 million concessionary rates development loan from the World Bank with the first tranche of $75 million already accessed.

The team successfully hosted the sector-based economic summits and policy dialogue series, including the power roundtable in 2010, 2011 edu-

cation roundtable and 2012 agribusiness round table. These summits included the Azura-Edo Independent Power Project (IPP) project with over $1 billion in Foreign Direct Investments (FDI) and education reforms, which have significantly improved infrastructure and students’ performance in the West African School Leaving Certificate Examination.

Following the 2012 agribusiness summit, the state has attracted investments in the rubber sub-sector for the development of the single largest rubber plantation project in Sokponba, Orhiomwon Local Government Area, under a privately developed and financed initiative.

A framework for local economic empowerment through outgrowers’  schemes was finalised to attract funding into the development of key crops for which Edo State has natural endowment, including oil palm, rubber, cassava, cocoa, rice and other grains

Obaseki has been part of other committees set up by the state government. He chaired the Tax Assessment Review Committee for Edo State Internal Revenue Service (TARC). He was a member of the Committee on Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSME). He was the secretary of the Committee on the Implementation of the Law Establishing the Edo State University of Science and Technology, and member of the Committee on Contributory Pension Scheme, the Edo SEEFOR/DPO Steering Committee and the Committee on the Report of the Audit of the Credentials of Teaching Staff in public schools.

Obaseki was the Chairman of the Land Use Charge Committee, a member of the State Steering Committee on European Union Assisted Niger-Delta Support programme (NDSP) Component Three (Development) of Edo State Water and Sanitation Policy and Law.

He has served on the presidential committee on the reform of the Nigerian pension system. He also served on the Nigerian Securities and Exchange Commission committee on the re-activation of the Nigerian bond market and the review of the Investment and Securities Act. He was a member of the Nigerian Stock Exchange Council between 2006 and 2009.

He also served on the board of some companies such as Dorman Long Engineering Limited, Pillar Oil Limited and Seric Impianti International Limited.

Obaseki was the founding secretary of a New York-based US-Africa Chamber of Commerce in 1992, which promoted US organisations doing business in Africa. He was a director in Junior Achievement of Nigeria, a local affiliate of worldwide,’Not for Profit’ organisation, which trains students to appreciate market economy values. He also served as a trustee of the Dr. Jackson Owen Obaseki Foundation, a family NGO, involved in providing free educational and health services to the less-privileged.

However, having been catapulted from an aide, playing a supportive role to the driver’s seat, the governor would be confronted by the challenges of adjustment imposed by the transformation. He is not a run-of-the-mill politician. He has to start learning the roles as the new leader of the Edo APC. Apart from the huge administrative assignments, he is expected to occupy the position of party symbol. The role cannot be left for his predecessor, who may be considered for a national assignment by the Federal Government and his deputy, Philip Shuaibu, who, as deputy governor, will not be perceived as the man directly in charge. The buck, as it is said, stops at the table of the governor.

The task ahead

The joy of victory may have withered in the face of the daunting challenges. Much is expected of the governor-elect. The baseline for assessing his performance is the achievement of Oshiomhole, who has left the state better than he met it. It is a new era and new challenges will confront the governor. Having succeeded in the private sector where he had worked in the last 30 years, Obaseki is expected to enact the success story that made him a man of pedigree.

During the transition period, the governor left no stone unturned. He is conscious of the weight of responsibilities on his shoulders. He has a laudable blue-print for turning around the state. Armed with the manifestos, he approached voters during the campaigns. Now, the people look forward to the speedy fulfillment of the campaign promises. The campaign promises included more roads, more hospitals, jobs for the youths, increased funding for agriculture and industrialisation. In his victory speech, Obaseki promised not to let the people down. He said: “Our promise to build a state anchored on a productive economy that will transform and empower our citizens is sincere.

“We promised jobs. We promised improved social welfare services and a secured state. We will strive to deliver on all these promises. As we travelled all over our great state selling our programmes, we also took note of your concerns and problems, and I want to assure you that we will do everything in our power to address them.”

Obaseki may be inheriting a divided APC as the party leader. Many observers are of the view that Obaseki’s first priority is the reconciliation of the aggrieved forces in his party. Many aspirants who jostled for the ticket with him may still be bitter with justification. It was impossible for the conflict to be conclusively resolved during the campaigns. After the poll, Obaseki has demonstrated his intention to run an all-inclusive government. He has been discussing with stakeholders, including aggrieved stalwarts, community leaders and other stakeholders, who were upset by the selection process that produced him as the flag bearer. The goal is to pacify them, give them a sense of belonging and tap from their rich experience.

He has also sought for another favour from the voters who gave him the mandate, urged people from the 18 local government areas to unite behind his administration, saying: “Politics and elections are over. Now is the time to begin the task of development to move the state forward.” He knew that the pre-primary acrimony could be carried over to his first term. Therefore, he urged reconciliation so that the party and the government could be on the same page.

Obaseki added: “It is time to bury the hatchet and close ranks for the good of our state. Our state is superior to all other interests and we must as individuals subordinate our personal ambitions to that of the collective.”

The next assignment after the inauguration is setting up a cabinet of talents. Obaseki’s team is expected to be a blend of politicians, who are professionals and technocrats without tainted reputation; a cabinet of achievement-oriented people who would not be weak in personality, experience and patriotism. It should be a recession-time cabinet, bubbling with ideas about a new beginning and how to overcome the current financial difficulties, increase internally generated revenue without imposing a suffocating tax regime and making an almost perfect clean break from corruption and opulence in the corridor of power.

During the campaigns, Obaseki spoke on the need to maximise the opportunities for taxation. However, he also admitted that taxation should have human face because over-taxation could provoke uproar and disillusionment.

According to observers, the governor must have the courage of conviction to take the right decisions. Taking the right decisions requires resolve and elevation of the interest of the state over personal interest. A lot of pressure will be exerted on him in the course of the struggle for the distribution of appointments by stakeholders. Edo, being a heterogeneous state, makes geo-political balancing more compelling. While striking a balance among the competing interests, Obaseki should know the chief executive takes the blame for the success, mistakes and failure of the government. There is the need for him to maintain a harmonious relationship with the House of Assembly. Besides, he should be sensitive to the antics of the roaring lion seeking whom to devour. Initially, his attention may be diverted by the post-election litigation by Pastor Ize-Iyamu. The PDP factor in the state cannot be dismissed. The opposition party has two senators and some members of the Houses of Representatives and Assembly. The party is bitter. In post-Oshiomhole era, it may play an effective opposition role. Obaseki is expected to make a mark as an astute administrator.

During the campaigns, he had told the people that his priority would be the economic survival of the Southsouth state. He is expected to bring his experience in the private sector to bear on governance. As an investor and a big name in the private sector, he will be assessed by the quantum of local and foreign investments he is able to mobilise in his first four years in office. If Obaseki is able to revive the moribund industries, the state would have dual advantages of boosting employment and expanding the internally generated revenue.

He has hinted that fiscal discipline and frugality will be the watchword. “I will not have a large cabinet,” he told reporters, shortly after his victory at the poll. This may have wider implications for the building of a new perception about governance. By planning to reduce the size of the State Executive Council, he may be reducing the cost of governance.

Also, loopholes must be bridged and wastages should be prevented. If the governor can lay a personal example, his team will follow his footsteps. It is better to prevent corruption than to wage war against it when the damage has been done by unscrupulous politicians and public servants.

Without doubt, Oshiomhole is leaving behind some uncompleted projects across the three senatorial districts. Successors will always inherit the unfinished business of the state. Since Obaseki is presiding over a government of continuity, the onus is on him to complete these laudable projects. Their completion should be core priority, having been part of their initiation and implementation from the beginning.

Obaseki has assumed the reins at a critical time in history. The country is in recession. Many states are unable to pay salaries. Capital projects have been put on hold. Many governors agonise over the poor state of the economy and the people are demanding for more dividends of democracy. Some governors have cried out in despair, saying that this is not the best time to be governor in Nigeria. Yet, economic experts have continued to paint a gloomy picture. Obaseki should tow the path of Oshiomhole, who has managed to pay salaries and financed projects, unlike other oil-producing states. He has to roll up his sleeves. Since the federal allocation to the state may continue to dwindle, no thanks to the crash in oil prices and production due to vandalism by unrepentant and unpatriotic militants, he should put on his thinking cap and explore avenues to boost the state’s IGR. In the past few days, militants have also been on the prowl in Edo State. Oil installations have been blown off. The new governor should come up with fresh ideas on how to better handle the volatile Niger Delta restiveness.

God has used Oshiomhole to assist Obaseki to secure the key to the Edo Government House. He has been elected for four years. If he performs, the mandate can be renewed for another term of four years. But, it should be borne in mind that power is transient and no condition will be permanent.

Obaseki has a mentor and role model in his predecessor. The greatest honour he can do his benefactor is to strive to beat his performance. Obaseki may not have the skills and styles of Oshiomhole. But, the new helmsman should also be sensitive to the mistakes of the former governor as a party leader and administrator.

Besides, Obaseki should not relegate Oshiomhole to the background now that he has gained political control. He needs his advice and support to succeed in the onerous task of administering the highly state.

A new relationship anchored on mutual respect is required. Former governors may be full of nostalgia. But, it is illogical and illusory for them to think that they are still in charge in states where they have constitutionally relinquished power to their former subordinates. In this dispensation, predecessor-successor crises have always marred relations between former governors and their anointed candidates.

The Nnamani/Chime tango in Enugu State, the Kwankwaso/Danguje rift in Kano, the Obi/Obiano conflict in Anambra and Akpabio/Emmanuel crisis in Akwa Ibom are clear examples. These post-victory rifts often divide the ruling parties and divert the attention of the affected governors. They can be prevented through mutual respect, promotion of understanding, acknowledgment of limitations to influence, compromise and consensus building.

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