Economic Recession: Senate Invites Buhari To Address Joint Session Of NASS

The senate on Thursday invited President Muhammadu Buhari to brief a joint session of the national assembly on his plans for getting the economy out of recession.

The invitation is in concurrence with that of the House of Representatives which passed similar resolution on September 22, inviting the president to explain to the legislature his plans to deal with the economic economy.

When the question of whether to invite the president was put by the President of the Senate, Bukola Saraki, the senators answered in the affirmative.

The Senate however did not specify a date on which the President Commander in Chief is to brief the joint session.

The Senate also recommended the need for true federalism and amendment of section 162 of the constitution to review the sharing formula between the Federal Government and State governments.

 

[easy-social-share buttons="facebook,twitter" counters=0 style="button"]

Rowdy Session As Dogara Accuses Jibrin Of Trying To Bring Down The House

The House of Representatives was thrown into a rowdy session following what some suspect was an attempt to suspend Abdulmumin Jibrin.

Trouble started when the Chairman of the House Committee on Rules and Business, Emmanuel Orker-jev, moved a motion on breach of his privilege and that of the House by the embattled former Chairman of the Committee.

Members listened attentively until he got to the point where he mentioned Jibrin’s name; that was when members of the Transparency Group started shouting “No, no, no.”

This was countered by shouts of “Dogara, Dogara” by pro-Dogara reps, who started distributing green scarves with the inscription “I stand with Dogara.

Meanwhile, speaker of the house of representatives, Yakubu So far and has said that Jibrin, is out to destroy the lower chamber as an institution.

However, he expressed confidence that Jibrin would not succeed, saying: “If history is any guide, no one in a democracy has ever succeeded in destroying a democratic institution such as the house of representatives.”

Dogara said the house would not be distracted by “any insidious antics however well-orchestrated, and falsehoods however cleverly propagated to confuse Nigerians”.

Instead, he said the house would “remain accountable to Nigerians for our conduct as public servants”.

He also said The plenary was “not the appropriate venue to address allegations made against individual honourable members, many of which are criminal in nature”.

“There are constitutional avenues for that,” he said, adding that the lawmakers were”patriotic enough to understand the mood of the nation and the critical and sensitive matters of urgent national importance deserving our immediate attention”.

THE FULL SPEECH

1. INTRODUCTION:

I am delighted to welcome us all back from the annual recess. I specially congratulate our Muslim colleagues for the successful celebration of Id el Kabir. May the Almighty God be praised for His divine protection over us during the recess and for bringing us back safely. I trust that we used the time to interact with our constituents and have returned rejuvenated both physically and mentally to face the arduous legislative tasks ahead.

2. REVIEW OF RECENT DEVELOPMENTS:
The events of the recent weeks give cause for grave concern and pose existential threats to the corporate integrity and image of the House as a democratic institution designed by the Constitution to play a vital role in our nation’s governmental system. Shortly after we adjourned for the recess, our colleague and erstwhile Chairman Appropriation Committee, embarked on a strange propaganda clearly aimed not only at the destruction of the image of some members but a systematic destruction of the institution of the House of Representatives and indeed the legislature by portraying it to the public as an irredeemably corrupt institution. The chiefest motivation for his actions, as he has said severally and repeatedly is to have the four principal officers removed from their positions and not that the truth should be known. It was TS Eliot who once said, “the last temptation is the greatest treason: to do the right deed for the wrong reasons”. Unfortunately TS Elliot didn’t tell us what it is when someone does the wrong deed for the wrong reasons. These wild allegations which were initially directed at four Members of the House Leadership progressively engulfed the entire membership of the House and then the Institution.

We chose the part of maturity by maintaining great restraint in the face of all these, fully conscious of the fact that at the appropriate time, the truth will prevail. I have bad news for those who think they can pull down this Institution of the people. If history is any guide, no one, in a democracy has ever succeeded in destroying a democratic Institution such as the House of Representatives, although examples abound of such effort by people both within and outside the Institution. Ours cannot be different.

Let me assure all Nigerians that the House is fully conscious of its watchdog role in our democracy and will always strive to earn the trust and confidence of Nigerians. We are also patriotic enough to understand the mood of the nation and the critical and sensitive matters of urgent national importance deserving our immediate attention. We will therefore not be distracted by any insidious antics however well orchestrated, and falsehoods however cleverly propagated to confuse Nigerians. We remain accountable to Nigerians for our conduct as public servants.

This is not the appropriate venue to address allegations made against individual Honourable Members many of which are criminal in nature as there are constitutional avenues for that. This is more so that these matters are before all the security agencies and ridiculously before some Foreign Missions! It is however important to briefly say that nothing warrants the deliberate attempt at destructive public misinformation aimed at discrediting the House as an institution. These events have shown that we certainly need to engage more with the Nigerian public on the functions and modus operandi of the National Assembly, which is a democratic institution that relies on public support for its activities. I am sure we will emerge from all these stronger and more committed to attainment of national goals than before.

3. THE ECONOMY:
The state of our economy is of urgent and critical importance.That Nigeria has gone into recession is a very worrisome development that calls for emergency measures to be taken. All hands must be on deck to tackle the myriads of problems facing us. This is not the time for partisanship. This is not the time to score political points. This is not the time for grandstanding. This is not the time for blame games. The situation and the times call for bold, courageous, enlightened and purposeful leadership. This is a patriotic call to action from all stakeholders and indeed all Nigerians. We must unite as a people to rescue Nigeria from the shackles of poverty, social and economic underdevelopment.

To achieve the needed result, we must never shy away from telling our brothers and sisters that the change we seek can never be about what we are changing from but what we are changing to. That transformation has and will always be about what we embrace not what we have abandoned.

As leaders, we must take responsibility for the present economic situation although we are not directly responsible for it. We must admit that this is a difficult thing to do in the present generation that spurns responsibility. Everyone wants to blame someone for something that goes wrong. Unfortunately, history teaches us that no one, no nation has ever achieved greatness except on account of the creative hunger that comes with accepting responsibility. It was Winston Churchill who summed up this lesson of history in six words, thus: “the price of greatness is responsibility”. Every NIGERIAN must understand this so that together we will seize the opportunity this crisis presents to rebound and build a secure and prosperous future for our dear nation.

These are no times like any other, I therefore call on all of us and indeed the National Assembly to continue giving legislative support to the Executive on all well thought out and effective solutions to our economic problems. More than ever before, we must be prepared to listen more, think more and work more. We must also consult the abundant pool of experts both in Nigeria and abroad to fashion out short, medium and long term measures for dealing with the present crisis and setting our country on the path of sustained economic growth.

The recent retreat by Mr President with his cabinet and sundry statutory appointees is most commendable. It is in this regard, that I urge Mr President to consider holding a joint emergency session of the National Assembly to brief both the Legislature and indeed Nigerians of his plans to pull Nigeria out of recession. This will provide opportunity for all stakeholders to be on the same page and to act in concert for urgent national recovery. It will also further consolidate existing ongoing consultations between the Presidency and the National Assembly on the way forward.We must never miss the opportunity the present travails offers us to launch Nigeria into its rightful destiny and place among the comity of prosperous nations.

As representatives of the people we are well acquainted with the alarming state of the citizens penury. We will therefore collaborate with the Executive in fine tuning any observed limitations in policy formulation and implementation to ensure speedy delivery of services to our people. We need to immediately take a second look at the pace of budget execution; the spiraling rise of the dollar against the Naira and the multiple exchange rate regime; the impact of the Treasury Single Account on the economy, investment in infrastructure, tackling unemployment, among others.

4. BUDGET REFORMS:
Honourable Colleagues, there is no doubt that over the years the procedure for the making of the National budget has been generally unsatisfactory. There is not enough pre-budget consultations and interface between the Executive and the Legislature. The Appropriation Bill is often submitted very late by the Executive. There is no consistency with respect to the three year commitment on MTEF. There is no clear national development plan agreed to by all stakeholders, which the Legislature would be required to adhere to. The integrity and methodology for project selection is questionable, and often discretionary and whimsical. Governmental goals are not clear enough and the budget does not adequately reflect the priorities of government. It is in realization of this state of affairs that the issue of budget reform was conspicuously embedded in our Legislative Agenda unfolded for the Eight Assembly in July 2015. It provides in part as follows:

“The Budgetary process has remained one of the major challenges of Nigeria’s democracy since 1999. Legislative measures will be introduced to support and implement a proper budgetary process that supports a strong and robust National Economy.

The review of the budgetary process will emphasize the following:
• Promotion of an inclusive budgetary process that seeks the cooperation of the Executive in institutionalising pre-budget interface and consultations.
• Adoption of an effective Medium-Term Expenditure Framework (MTEF).
• Strict compliance with the provisions of the Fiscal Responsibility Act (FRA) 2007.”

On project selection process we had earlier committed ourselves in our Legislative Agenda as follows:

“Integrity of project selection process
Our commitment to reform of the Budget Process should consider the integrity of the project selection process in the Annual Budget estimates submitted to the National Assembly by the President. A mechanism that makes the process of Project selection more transparent, equitable, professional, accountable and needs based shall be put in place with the cooperation of the Executive. The budget process should include basis and justification for project selection.”

It should be noted that these were commitments made in July 2015, and not because of any recent events or circumstances. Moreover, in the House legislative calendar, Budget reform process was scheduled for the Second session.

Accordingly, as I promised before the recess, Leadership has already commenced consultations and a Special Budget Reform Committee, made up of experts and some Hon members would soon be inaugurated. We expect this Committee to lay the groundwork for a better budget process in 2017.

In this regard, we will partner with the Senate and also consult the Executive to ensure that the budget process meets acceptable standards that conform to international best practices. By the design of our Constitution, budget process is not the sole prerogative of one Chamber but a collaborative process involving both Chambers and the Executive.The idea of a Committee Chairman or even a Committee of the National Assembly arrogating to itself the sole authority over the Budget is preposterous and must never be countenanced.

5. THE ROLE OF THE NATIONAL ASSEMBLY IN THE BUDGET PROCESS:
Recently, controversy seems to have arisen as to the role and powers of the National Assembly on Budgetary matters. I therefore consider it appropriate to say a few words on this matter.

From the community construction of Sections 59, 80 and 81 of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, the role of the legislature on the “estimates of revenues and expenditure of the Federation for the following financial year “submitted by the President pursuant to Section 81 (1) &(2) of the constitution is NOT CEREMONIAL. It is in the contemplation of the possibility of differing opinion of the legislature on the estimates so submitted that Section 59(4) provides a resolution by way of veto override. For the avoidance of doubt, our constitution has created a budget writing legislature. Section 80(4) prescribes to the effect that no public funds shall be spent “except in the MANNER prescribed by the National Assembly” This means that the legislature must diligently scrutinize the estimates submitted and cure all observed defects including imbalances in order to fashion a budget that meets the constitutional test of making laws “for peace, order and good government”.

Indeed the ordinary lawmaking powers of the National Assembly guaranteed under S.4 of the Constitution has not been ousted, even though the President initiates a financial bill. It is therefore inconceivable that when the legislature performs this constitutional function lawfully, it will be construed otherwise. The budget process comes to an end when it is certified by the Clerk to the National Assembly, being the only authority so designated by the Acts Authentication Act, LFN, 2004 and signed into law by Mr President. The 2016 Appropriation Act followed this procedure, strictly.

6. 2016 BUDGET IMPLEMENTATION AND NATIONAL ASSEMBLY OVERSIGHT ACTIVITIES:
An Appropriation Bill when signed by the President becomes a law of the Federation. All authorities and persons in the Federal Republic of Nigeria are bound to obey the dictates of law, especially in a constitutional democracy like Nigeria. The Budget is therefore not just a piece of paper to be treated with disdain. When the revenue targets are not met, both the Executive and the legislature are enjoined to work in a cooperative manner to remove any issues arising therefrom. Indeed the 2016 Appropriation Act in Section 6, has given an indication on how it should be resolved.When a Budget is not effectively implemented by the Executive, and adequate reasons are not given, it undermines citizens faith in governance, as the budget is perhaps the most effective tool for addressing poverty and underdevelopment. Government expenditure envisaged in effective budget implementation helps to put more money in the hands of citizens, puts more money in circulation and helps to reflate the economy.

We therefore welcome increased budgetary releases for Capital projects just announced and request for even more as provided by law.

In furtherance of the constitutional responsibility of the National Assembly to act as an effective check on the Executive on behalf of the Nigerian people, I hereby direct various House Committees to conduct a fact finding exercise on the extent and level of budget implementation by various MDAs. We must take our oversight responsibilities very seriously and report back to the House. It is the Report of the House Committees that will determine Appropriation to any MDA in 2017.

7. CONSTITUENCY OR ZONAL INTERVENTION PROJECTS:
Section 4 (2) of the Constitution mandates the National Assembly to “make laws for the peace, order and good government” of the Federation. Again under the Fundamental Objectives and Directive Principles of State Policy provisions in Chapter Two, which are binding on “all organs of government and all authorities and persons, exercising legislative, executive or judicial powers”, more specifically the Economic Objectives in Section 16 thereof, government policy is mandatorily to ensure planned and balanced development devoid of concentrating wealth or the means of production and exchange in the hands of a few individuals or of a group.

The idea of Constituency or Zonal intervention projects is to remedy flaws in the estimates of revenues and expenditure where there is deviation from the fundamental objective of equitable spread of planned development. This legislative intervention is complementary rather than conflictive. The templates and project prototypes are designed by the Executive while the budgeting modalities are mutually agreed. As we have repeatedly said, no member of the National Assembly is given cash or contracts for the projects.We all know that execution of projects is the prerogative of the Executive Branch.

8. CONCLUSION:
I wish to once again assure Nigerians that we remain accountable and will strive to justify the mandate given to us to serve our people as we engineer positive solutions to rescuing the Nigerian economy from this unfortunate recession and rebuild a robust diversified economy. Nigerians should continue to repose confidence in the legislature as we assure that we will continue to work in partnership with Mr President and all arms of Government in order to deliver on national priorities for the Nigeria of our dreams to emerge.

God bless you all and may God bless the Federal Republic of Nigeria.

[easy-social-share buttons="facebook,twitter" counters=0 style="button"]

Full Text Of President Buhari’s Speech At The 71st Session Of The UN General Assembly

The President of the General Assembly His Excellency Mr. Peter Thomson

The Secretary General of the United Nations Mr. Ban Ki-moon

Your Excellencies Heads of State and Government,

Distinguished Delegates, Ladies and Gentlemen

Mr. President,
1. Let me, on behalf of the Government and People of Nigeria, congratulate you on your well-deserved election as the President of the 71st General Assembly. I assure you of Nigeria’s support in steering the affairs of the General Assembly in the next one year. I take the opportunity to also express my appreciation to your predecessor Mr. Mogens Lykketoft, for the achievements recorded during his tenure.

Mr. President,
2. Last year, I presented my first address to the General Assembly after my assumption of office as President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria. Indeed, it was a remarkable year, which not only celebrated the gains of the Millennium Development Goals, but also witnessed the adoption of the 2030 agenda on Sustainable Development.

3. These landmark achievements by the global community, will no doubt build a more prosperous, all inclusive world. We must work together to liberate humanity from poverty, save our planet from the devastation of Climate Change and rid the world of terrorism for a more peaceful and prosperous future.

4. We must remain committed to taking bold steps to transform our world. The Sustainable Development Goals underscore the imperative for our collective will towards finding enduring and sustainable solutions to addressing global disparities. It is in the light of our appreciation of the enormity of the task before us, that I welcome the theme of this Assembly, ‘Sustainable Development Goals; a Universal Push to Transform the World.’

Mr. President,
5. Nigeria as a developing country has been adversely affected by the global economic downturn. We are, however, undeterred and have embarked on a wide range of reforms in our efforts to diversify our economy and shift emphasis to mining, agriculture, industrialization, infrastructure development and the creation of the enabling environment for Foreign Direct Investment.

6. Our strategic objective is to stimulate the economy, restore growth and accelerate recovery. In doing this, we are taking measures to reduce the cost of governance and increase expenditure on infrastructure and ensure environmental best practices.

Mr. President,
7. Fighting corruption remains a cardinal pillar of our administration. Corruption freezes development, thereby undermining the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals. I am pleased that our efforts in fighting corruption are yielding positive results including significant stolen assets recoveries.

8. The recovered funds are being channelled towards the development of critical infrastructure and the implementation of social inclusion programmes for our people. We are also strengthening our capacity of government entities to institutionalize reforms to ensure transparency and good governance.

9. The Anti – Corruption Summit held in London in May this year served as further reassurance of the global community’s commitment to fight corruption through the proposed practical steps to address the challenges including actions to hold perpetrators to justice within the law. Nigeria supports the development of an international legal framework to enforce anti-corruption measures and strengthen existing international institutions to effectively deal with corrupt practices.

10. Nigeria calls on Member States that are yet to sign up to the United Nations Convention Against Corruption (UNCAC) to do so. Nigeria will continue to advocate for the facilitation of the recovery of illicit financial assets. Indeed, the speedy and unconditional return of stolen public assets should be the focus of the follow-up anti-corruption conference to be hosted by the US and UK in Washington next year.

11. Furthermore, Nigeria remains committed to the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (EITI), a global coalition which promotes transparency and accountability in the management of revenues from the oil, gas and solid minerals sectors. We voluntarily signed up to EITI because we are convinced that transparent governance is an imperative for resource-rich developing countries like ours.

12. Through the work that our national chapter of EITI has done over the years, it is clear that our faith is not misplaced. The National EITI has been empowering citizens with critical information they can use to hold government and other players in the extractive industries to account, and make recommendations that drive reforms in these strategic sectors of our national life.

Mr. President,
13. The world took a giant step in Paris, towards addressing the challenges of Climate Change. Nigeria is proud to have been part of the process leading to the adoption of the Paris Agreement in December 2015 at the 21st meeting of the Conference of Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change.

14. COP- 21 marked a watershed in the global community’s commitment to address climate change and we will continue in our determined efforts to reduce Green House Gas (GHG) emissions.

15. At the centre of Nigeria’s climate action is our determination to implement the strategies in our Intended Nationally Determined Contributions (INDCs), which will foster low carbon economy and sustainable growth in building a climate resilient society. We are creating public awareness through the integrated involvement of the private sector and civil society, and strengthening national institutions and mechanisms.

16. The negative consequences of Climate Change have manifested in the drying up of our Lake Chad. The means of livelihood of an estimated 30 million inhabitants of the Lake Chad Basin, spread across Cameroun, Chad, Niger and Nigeria, are being severely threatened. The cost of replenishing the lake has been put at 14 billion US Dollars under a five year plan which should be accorded global attention. Nigeria also supports the African Union initiative on the Great Green Wall to halt desertification.

17. In furtherance of our commitment to environmental sustainability, Nigeria has launched the cleanup of Ogoni land in Nigeria’s Niger Delta, based on the 2011 Environmental Assessment of the area by the United Nations Environment Programme. Multi-national oil companies operating in the area will be required to live up to their corporate social responsibilities and contribute to the cleaning-up of the environment degraded as a result of their activities and operations.
18. We call on development partners and multinationals to support our efforts, through the Ogoniland Restoration Fund.

Mr. President,
19. The 21st century has been marked by the rising insecurity unleashed by global terrorism and violent extremism. Indeed, which constitute a real threat to the international community. With the global increase in the spate of terrorist attacks, there is now, more than ever before, international consensus and greater willingness to collaborate in combating this threat.
20. Indeed, we are meeting at the time when our hosts, the American people have just marked the 15th Anniversary of the tragic and dastardly terrorist attacks on their soil. We in Nigeria, having been victims of terrorism of ourselves fully understand the impact of 9/11 on the American psyche and the families of the thousands of innocent victims whose lives were lost that day, I therefore, reiterate the Nigerian Government’s and people’s sympathies to the American people and prayers for the families of the victims that they may heal and find closure soon.

21. We hope that justice will be done to the families of victims of 9/11 as indeed to that victims of terror everywhere in conformity with the norms of international justice. As we seek justice for terror victims, the international community should avoid reacting in the heat of deep emotions of the moment by taking unilateral measures, legal or otherwise that will have a negative and disruptive impact on the international community’s collective efforts to fight terrorism.
22. We should not be distracted in our collective resolve to beat back terrorism in all its forms. As we confront terror we must also commit to stopping the proliferation of small arms and light weapons which nurture its spread. To this end, Nigeria urges member States that are yet to sign and ratify the Arms Trade Treaty (ATT) to do so without further delay.

24. Nigeria has made remarkable progress in our resolve to defeat Boko Haram whose capacity to launch orchestrated attacks as a formed group has been severely degraded. In the last few months, their operations have been limited to sporadic use of Improvised Explosive Devices (IEDs) against soft targets.

25. Nigeria has continued to combat terrorism based on the established rules of engagement and in conformity with international best practices. I take this opportunity to reaffirm Nigeria’s commitment to human rights norms and International Humanitarian Law in our efforts to counter terrorism and violent extremism. I also wish to restate the assurance that the Federal Government of Nigeria is employing all our judicial tools to investigate and treat reported cases of human rights violations.

26. I commend the contribution of our neighbours – Benin Republic, Cameroun, Chad, and Niger whose combined efforts under the Multi-National Joint Task Force (MNJTF) accomplished the present return of normalcy in areas hitherto occupied by Boko Haram.

27. May I also thank our international partners, including France, the United States, the United Kingdom, Germany, the United Nations, ECOWAS the African Union and many other multilateral and bilateral partners for their invaluable support. Our experience today is evidence that with determined international collaboration, terrorism can be defeated.

Mr. President,
28. The flow of refugees and migrants world wide has attained alarming proportions. In this wise Nigeria supports the Ceasefire Agreement brokered by the United States and Russia to end the atrocious tragedy of the Syrian civil war. Of particular concern to us in Nigeria is the plight of Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) arising from Boko Haram terrorism. We have taken concrete steps to address their humanitarian needs and to ensure that necessary conditions are established to enable the voluntary return of the displaced persons to their places of abode in safety and dignity.

Mr. President,
29. At the same time, the Palestinian issue, despite years and years of international efforts is no nearer to being resolved. Nigeria in company with member States of the African Union, firmly support the Two-State solution with Palestinian rights to statehood in conformity, with numerous Security Council Resolutions beginning with Resolution 242 of 1967.

30. Let me seize this opportunity to once again thank all UN and other aid agencies and development partners currently deployed in North East Nigeria. I reaffirm Nigeria’s commitment to collective action towards an effective global response to address the root causes of refugee flows worldwide.

Mr. President,
31. We acknowledge the importance of youth in national development and remain committed to harnessing the potential of the increasing youth bulge. We must take advantage of the numbers and creative energy of young people who are in the majority in Nigeria and in most other member states. Therefore, at the international level, we call for the establishment of a specialized UN agency for youth development to achieve this strategic objective.

32. Nuclear security remains central to our quest for durable peace and security. This was why I participated in the 5th Nuclear Security Summit hosted by President Barak Obama in Washington in March, 2016. Nigeria and the other peace-loving member States of the United Nations must continue to uphold the fundamental principles of nuclear disarmament non-proliferation and its peaceful uses.

Mr. President,
33. The United Nations should now redouble the long protected effort for its reform to enable it to effectively address the challenges of our times. Nigeria, therefore, reiterates its call for the reform of the United Nations Security Council, in particular to reflect equitable and fair representation and greater transparency, legitimacy and inclusiveness in its decision making.

34. Africa should be adequately represented on the United Nations Security Council in the permanent member category. In this regard, Nigeria stands ready to serve Africa and the world on a reformed security council to advance international peace and security.

Mr. President,
35. Let me conclude by reaffirming Nigeria’s abiding faith in the United Nations and in her capacity to support Member States to deliver on the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development

[easy-social-share buttons="facebook,twitter" counters=0 style="button"]

Jibrin Is A Coward, We Would Have Suspended Him If We Were In Session- Rep Kurfi

The vice chairman, House of Reps committee on downstream sector, Danlami Muhammad Kurfi has lashed out at the former chairman of the House’ Committee on Appropriation, Abdulmumin Jibrin for calling on Speaker Dogara to resign.

Kurfi, who represents Dutsinma/Kurfi federal constituency of Katsina state, said the former appropriation committee chairman should not be taken serious because his utterances are mere rantings of someone who is paying for his actions.

“Why did it take him this long to tell Mr President that the Speaker dines with his enemies?” Kurfi queried, and insisted that the former chairman of the appropriation committee should thank his stars that his sack came when members were on recess.

“If this had happened while we were in session, some of us would have moved for his suspension” he noted.

Kurfi accused the former appropriation committee chairman of arrogance, noting that “he has no regards for other members of the House and even members of his committee”.

He insisted that the removal of Jibrin was one of the best decisions to be taken by the Speaker noting that the former appropriation committee betrayed the trust of not just the lower chamber, but that of all Nigerians.

[easy-social-share buttons="facebook,twitter" counters=0 style="button"]

@SpeakerDogara Holds Special Ramadan Prayer Session For The Country

Speaker of the House of Representatives, Yakubu Dogara, on Thursday evening organised a special Ramadan prayer session for the restoration of peace, stability and economic prosperity of Nigeria. A statement issued by the Special Adviser on Media and Public Affairs to the speaker, Mr. Turaki Hassan, said the prayers were held at the National Assembly complex during Iftar with members from the North West and South East geo-political zones.

Speaking during the prayers, Dogara said  it was necessitated by the fact it is a  holy period; one of abstinence, self denial and sacrifice with holiness which the month calls for. “For us to assemble here in this Holy month and miss the opportunity to call on God to help us with the challenges that we are facing in this nation, would not be right. That was why we deemed it necessary to utilize this opportunity of self denial to call on God to intervene in the affairs of our nation.”

” For every one who is a man or woman of faith, prayer is central. The reason why prayer is necessary is because although we all call on Him via different religions; God is all seeing, God is all powerful, but He will not intervene in spite of His many powers in our affairs, until  we give Him permission to do so.”

“If God can just on His own decide to intervene; there’ll be no need for prayers, why would you pray if you can go directly and get it? He has said that He has put the power in our mouths, that whatever we go through, be it as individuals or a nation, if we can call on Him, He will respond, and I believe that is the essence of prayer.”

Dogara maintained that without prayers, things could have been worse in Nigeria.

“That is why we want to utilize this opportunity and this event to call on God for the affairs of this nation, pray to God to intervene in the land, pray for God to give us wisdom as leaders; from the President, the Vice President, leaders of the National Assembly, even Membership, all of us here, Members of the National Assembly, Governors, State Legislators, Local Government Chairmen, down to Councilors, because we believe that if the leadership does well, the country will do well.”

“If there should be a first level of intervention, it should even be among the leaders, because it is said “any time you see a rotten fish, check the head”. There is no way the head will be alive and the fish will rot, it is not possible, so the first level of intervention that we will ask for is for God to begin to intervene through the leaders in the affairs of the nation.

We will pray for Mr. President, pray for his good health, pray for long life, pray for the Vice President and then all other leaders in the the country, our nation.”

The prayer session was led by Hon. Balarabe Abdullahi Salame from Sokoto State and it will continue next week Tuesday and Wednesday with members from North East, North Central, South West and South South zones.

[easy-social-share buttons="facebook,twitter" counters=0 style="button"]

1st Session Of The 8th Nigerian Senate: Impact on Legislation, Legislature and Legislators By Kayode Omotose

As the clock ticks and the first session of the 8th senate draws to an end, nothing encapsulates their performance than the commendation of President Muhammadu Buhari who, when he hosted them to a dinner at the villa last week expressed delight at their work and specifically  thanked them for their cooperation and said he was looking forward to June 9, 2016 when they would clock a year in office. The primary purpose of the parliament is to make laws for the good governance of the country, but that is equally the challenge of the  leadership which bears the onerous task to set up a programme of action that would define their path.

This was the cornerstone upon which the  President of the Senate Dr Abubakar Bukola Saraki set up a team that ultimately came with a whopping over 30 governance economic reform bills that deserve being worked upon or reworked to achieve growth and development of our nation at this cross road. The kickoff point was the visit of the leadership to the war ravaged North East.

Arriving from there they choose to strongly commit themselves to the agenda of routing Boko Haram by inviting the service chiefs for briefing and  approving the necessary funds . Today the rampaging terrorist group, described as the deadliest in the world  is on way to extinction. To assess the  legion of impact of the red chamber on the legislature as an institution is huge but the  ground breaking move never articulated before was to design a template for robust oversight of budget implementation. Herein the desire to set up a commission consisting of a world leading research institute to be advised by an internationally acclaimed anti corruption expert was unfolded to draw up a blueprint which  shall strive to meet the highest international  standards including the “kitemah system ” as announced by the Commonwealth.

To percolate across the strata  Dr Saraki promised that the template shall be made available to the legislature of states and local governments. This shows that the institution of the legislature all over the country will benefit. For all practical purposes good governance can never fail nor can the society slide into the abyss if the legislature does and is allowed to perform its functions in the most efficient and effective manner.

In looking at their impact on legislation such critical laws underway include the Minerals and Mining act, Climate Change, Federal Funding Accountability and Transparency act, Fertilizer National Poverty Eradication Commission, Repeal of the Forestry Research Institute Act etc. At this threshold of unemployment crises the specific terms of the amendments being contemplated on the Public Procurement act which is targeted at the promotion of made in Nigeria goods, create jobs, build expertise and give meaning to the ban on obnoxious importation of what analysts describe as “crazy and senseless items” like toothpicks, biro, handkerchief, tomato paste (while Nigeria is in the top 5 producers in the world) is quite outstanding.

It was to give an inkling in this sphere the Senate President led the principal officers to attend the made in Aba trade fair and Don the Igbo regalia afterwards to show case the beauty of Igbo culture. To examine the impact of the 8th senate on the legislators, the novel and most interesting decision of the National Assembly is in the consideration of  Constituency Development Catalyst Fund  bill.                                                            This bill would, relevant to cost, mandate the federal government via its MDAs to undertake a project of the choice of each elected office holder in each  senatorial /federal constituency. Every legislator would be excited by this because he would be able to fulfill his campaign promise to his constituents.

Another area of note for which the 8th senate is impactful is in the welfare of the over 6,000 staff or adjuncts  of the NASS who are the engine room and key element of the legislature as an institution. Being reputed for being the first President of the Senate that comes to office every working day and the first to have undertaken a comprehensive tour of all the segments and facilities of the NASS, Dr Saraki after embarking on his see -things -by -myself inspection, knew that the press centre needed attention, he gave it comprehensive facelift and provided state of the art equipment to the delight of the gentlemen of the pen. At the medical centre he discovered that the clinic has been in a temporary abode since it was established. He has promised to complete the permanent site, move them there and  provide necessary equipment  to enable them serve even the members of the public as a social responsibility measure.

With this work rate he was able to receive in audience numerous callers such as the MD of the World Bank Ms Christine Lagarde whom she urged to design special programme for Nigeria to address our economic problems and especially create jobs. He received the Fulani herdsmen and promised effective legislation to stop incessant conflict with farmers. Less than a week later the Chairman Committee on Agriculture Senator Abdulahi Adamu convened a public sitting attended by all stakeholders and the Minister of Agriculture Chief Audu Ogbeh for this purpose. When  the CBN Governor Godwin Emefiele and his team visited, he charged them to adopt a realistic forex policy with small and medium enterprises at heart to save jobs. This was hearkened to and the SME wrote to commend him. The Institute of Directors of Nigeria, several Ambassadors and Heads of mission, citizens with disabilities, the management of Unilever Plc and so forth have also been received in audience.

To all of them he appealed for support and assistance for the country. He gave succour to many and hope of a better tomorrow  in Nigeria. To date the senate has 212 bills under its belt either at the 1st, 2nd or 3rd reading. 162 motions and resolutions as well as 125 petitions that was received. If we juxtapose this with the fact that the constitution require them to seat for a minimum of 181 days, they deserve to be garlanded.

[easy-social-share buttons="facebook,twitter" counters=0 style="button"]

Address By President Buhari At The 70th Session Of The UN General Assembly

Your Excellencies Heads of State and Governments
Distinguished Delegates
Ladies and Gentlemen,

I would like, Mr. President, on behalf of the Government and people of Nigeria, to congratulate you and your country on your election to preside over the 70th session of the U.N. General Assembly.

May I also express appreciation to your predecessor, Mr. Sam Kahamba Kutesa and the Secretary General Mr. Ban Ki-moon both of whom worked tirelessly to ensure proper articulation of the post-2015 Development Agenda and to maintain the focus and commitment to the ideals of the United Nations. I thank Mr. Ban Ki-moon for his recent visit to Nigeria when we held very useful discussions.

Mr. President Fifty-five (55) years ago almost to the day, my great predecessor, Nigeria’s first Prime Minister, Alhaji Abubakar Tafawa Balewa stood on this forum to declare Nigeria’s desire to develop and maintain friendly relations with all countries. He also assured the world of our country’s commitment to uphold the principles upon which the United Nations was founded.

Mr. President, my country, Nigeria, has lived by this conviction, even when judgement went against us in territorial disputes with our neighbours. We respected those judgements and abided by them as a mark of respect for the rule of law and the charter of this organization. Nigeria’s record in the U.N. peacekeeping is second to none. I myself as a young officer in the Nigerian Army did tours of duty in Congo and the Lebanon.

Nigeria has contributed to U.N. peacekeeping efforts in Ethiopia, Liberia, Sierra Leone and Darfur. Furthermore, we are proud of our contributions to other activities of the U.N. including the Peace Building Commission, the Human Rights Council and security sector reform.

Mr. President we are gratified to note that most countries have pledged commitment to the post-2015 Development Agenda and the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) with their means of implementation. The successor frameworks of the MDGs have come, Mr. President, with lofty aspirations and if I may say so, heroic assumptions! Nonetheless, they target development cooperation by the international community up to the year 2020. And they deserve universal support.

This is because the SDGs mirror the hopes and aspirations of much of the world.

I should stress that for the newly adopted SDGs to be truly global, they must be practical. In this regard, the SDGs’ core objectives of poverty eradication and reducing inequalities must be met within the framework of a revitalized global partnership support by concrete policies and actions as outlined in the Addis Ababa Action Agenda.

Luckily, these two core objectives of the SDGs are precisely at the centre of Nigeria’s new Administration’s agenda. It must be emphasized, Mr. President, that Foreign Direct Investment supplemented where suitable by Official Development Assistance as outlined in the Addis Ababa Agenda are necessary, though not sufficient, conditions for accelerated development in countries that are trying to catch up.

In this connexion, I would like to appeal to industrialized countries to redeem their pledge of earmarking 0.7% (nought point seven percent) of their GDP to development assistance. With the sole exception of the UK, all concerned countries have, I am told to meet the UN requirement. But, Mr. President, with SDGs we have the opportunity to improve the lives of people not just in the developing world but in all nations.

The Secretary General himself has grouped the SDGs into what he calls six “essential elements” namely:

• Dignity

• Prosperity

• Justice

• Partnership

• Planet

• People

As a prerequisite to these and as we look at history and remember the terrible events that gave rise to the birth of the United Nations in 1945, I would like to propose a seventh:
• PEACE

Peace, Mr. President, is close to the hearts of Nigerians, as we are in the front line in the war on terror. Boko Haram’s war against the people of Nigeria, Chad, Niger and Cameroon may not attract as much worldwide attention as the wars in the Middle East but the suffering is just as great and the human cost is equally high.

This is a war about values between progress and chaos; between democracy and the rule of law. Boko Haram celebrates violence against the weak and the innocent and deplorably, they hide behind their perverted interpretation of Islam. Boko Haram is as far away from Islam as any one can think of.

Many of my colleagues attending this forum would want to know how our new government intends to tackle the huge problems the government has inherited. Friends of Nigeria and foreign investor partners will be encouraged to know that the new Government is attacking the problems we inherited head-on.

We intend to tackle inequalities arising from massive unemployment and previous government policies favouring a few people to the detriment of the many. We intend to emphasize quality technological education for development and lay foundation for comprehensive care of the aged, the disadvantaged and the infirm. But for now terrorism is the immediate problem.

Accordingly, Mr. President, Members of the General Assembly, the new Nigerian Government which I have the honour to head, moved with dispatch to put in a bold and robust strategy to defeat Boko Haram. Nigeria and her neighbours Cameroon, Chad and Niger plus Benin are working together to face this common threat within the regional framework of the Lake Chad Basin Commission. We have established a multinational joint task force to confront, degrade and defeat Boko Haram.

We have driven them away from many of their strongholds, killed or captured many of their operatives or commanders and freed several hundreds of hostages.

Mr. President, one of our major aims is to rescue the Chibok girls alive and unharmed. We are working round the clock to ensure their safety and eventual reunion with their families. Chibok girls are constantly on our minds and in our plans.

Mr. President, terrorism is by no means the major or the only evil threatening and undermining the wellbeing of societies around the world.

  • Corruption
    • Cross border financial crimes
    • Cyber crimes
    • Human trafficking
    • Spread of communicable diseases
    • Climate change
    • Proliferation of weapons

are all major challenges of the 21st century which the international community must tackle collectively. Let me reaffirm Nigerian government’s unwavering commitment to fight corruption and illicit financial flows. By any consideration, corruption and cross border financial crimes are impediments to development, economic growth, and the realization of the wellbeing of citizens across the globe.

Nigeria is ready and willing to partner with international agencies and individual countries on a bilateral basis to confront crimes and corruption. In particular, I call upon the global community to urgently redouble efforts towards strengthening the mechanisms for dismantling safe havens for proceeds of corruption and ensuring the return of stolen funds and assets to their countries of origin.

Mr. President, the world is now facing a big new challenge: human trafficking. This is an old evil taking an altogether new and dangerous dimension threatening to upset international relationships. We in Africa are grieved to see on international networks how hundreds of thousands of our able bodied men and women fleeing to Europe and in the process thousands dying in the desert or drowning in the Mediterranean.

We condemn in the strongest terms these people traffickers and will support any measures to apprehend and bring them to justice. At the same time, we are very appreciative of European governments notably Italy and Germany, for their understanding and humane treatment of these refugees.

Last year, our continent faced the dreadful occurrence of Ebola. We sincerely thank the international community for the collective efforts to contain this deadly disease. We are not out of the woods yet but we would like to record our appreciation to the United States, United Kingdom, France and China for their outstanding assistance in arresting the spread of Ebola and care of those infected in collaboration with host countries.

Mr. President Nigeria fully subscribes to and fully endorses Goals 13, 14 and 15 of the SDGs regarding Climate Change. In Nigeria, desertification and land erosion and degradation leading to biodiversity loss are real threats to our environment and we shall propose under the auspices of the Lake Chad Basin Commission a regional approach to combat these environmental challenges.

We look forward to the UN Summit on climate change in Paris in December 2015. This summit should provide optimism to humanity on addressing the looming threat faced by many communities around the world.

Mr. President we are witnessing a dreadful increase in conflicts fuelled by availability of small arms and light weapons. I call upon all member countries to demonstrate the political will needed to uphold the UN charter. For a start, a robust implementation of the Arms Trade Treaty will guarantee that small arms and light weapons are only legally transferred. Arms traffickers and human traffickers are two evil species which the world community should eradicate.

Mr President as we engage in these annual debates, we need remind ourselves of the principles that led to the founding of the United Nations. Among those are peaceful coexistence and self-determination of peoples. In this context, Mr. President, the unresolved question of self-determination for the Palestinian people and those of Western Sahara, both nations having been adjusted by the United Nations as qualifying for this inalienable right must now be assured and fulfilled without any further delay or obstacle.

The international community has come to pin its hopes on resolving the Palestinian issue through the two – states solution which recognises the legitimate right of each state to exist in peace and security. The world has no more excuses or reasons to delay the implementation of the long list of Security Council resolutions on this question. Neither do we have the moral right to deny any people their freedom or condemn them indefinitely to occupation and blockade

Mr. President, delegates of member countries, UN is 70 years old. It can count many more than 70 major achievements as the world’s forum and family reunion. It is my hope that in the next 70 years, it will achieve control of climate, help to eliminate communicable diseases, eliminate major and local conflicts and therefore eliminate the problem of refugees, take major steps towards reducing harmful inequalities between nations and within nations and above all, eliminate nuclear weapons.

Mr. President, as this is my first address in this Assembly, I thank you and the delegates for listening so patiently.

[easy-social-share buttons="facebook,twitter" counters=0 style="button"]

Statement By President Buhari At The Opening Session Of The 25th African Union Summit In South Africa

Excellency President Robert Mugabe, Chairman of the Union,

Excellency President Jacob Zuma, our Host,

Excellencies fellow Presidents and Heads of Government

Excellency Mr. Jan Eliasson, Deputy Secretary-General of the United Nations,

Excellency Dr. Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma, Chairperson of the AU Commission,

Excellencies, Heads of Delegation,

Invited Guests, Distinguished Ladies and Gentlemen

Please permit me to join previous speakers in conveying my delegation’s appreciation to our host, H.E. President Jacob Zuma, to his Government, and the brotherly people of South Africa for their warm hospitality, and for the excellent arrangements made for our comfort and for the success of our meetings. As this is my first address at this august assembly, may I also congratulate H.E. Dr. Robert Gabriel Mugabe, President of the Republic of Zimbabwe, for his unanimous election as the Chairman of our Union.

I feel highly honoured and extremely pleased to be able to address you today, barely two weeks after my inauguration as the President of Nigeria, following the 2015 Presidential election in my country. That process, which was adjudged as the fairest and most credible in the history of elections in Nigeria, was midwifed by the dogged and sustained determination of the Nigerian people, and their desire to deepen our democracy. Their quest was amply supported, and even encouraged by the goodwill of our friends and partners in the international community. I therefore wish to seize this opportunity to convey my very deep appreciation to all those who contributed to the success of that election.

My election has been described as historic. I agree that it is indeed historic because for the first time in the practice of democracy in my country, an opposition Party has defeated the ruling Party in a keenly contested election. The election was also held against the backdrop of the fears and concerns expressed both in Nigeria and among our international friends abroad and partners that the outcome of the election could spell doom for Nigeria. I am glad that even though those fears and concerns were not without basis, the outcome was totally different, to the relief of all of us.

I cannot fail to acknowledge the very positive role played by my predecessor, H.E. President Goodluck Ebele Jonathan, in averting the feared crisis, and in facilitating the peaceful transition of power between the two parties.  I also wish to express my deep appreciation to all who honoured us with their presence at my inauguration, and even those, who for unavoidable reasons were unable to attend. I thank you all.

Mr. Chairman,

It is gratifying to note that our Union has made laudable progress over the past one and a half decades since its transformation from the Organization of African Unity (OAU) to the African Union (AU). Notably, we have been able to redirect our priorities at the continental level from mainly political goals to more diverse aspirations that are equally fundamental to our survival and development in a global community.

It is however clear, Mr. Chairman, that some of the greater challenges to our peoples within this Union still lie in the political, economic, as well as peace and security spheres. Our continent is currently bedevilled by the twin evils of terrorism and insecurity; poverty, youth unemployment, and underdevelopment. The destructive effects of the inhuman and criminal campaigns of the Boko Haram insurgency in Nigeria and neighbouring countries; the Al-Shabab attacks in East Africa, and the activities of the Al-Qaida in the Maghreb, all bear testimony to a continent under siege.

Mr Chairman,

Excellencies and Colleagues

On our part, I was convinced on my assumption of office that the best approach would be to work within the framework of the Lake Chad Basin Commission (LCBC) to mobilse collective support to fight against Boko Haram. I have in this regard, directed the relocation of Nigeria’s Command Centre to place it closer to the theatre of action. Furthermore, I have vigorously engaged the members states of the LCBC to better coordinate the strategies and tactics in fighting the insurgency in the region. I believe that this approach can be enhanced through complimentary regional and continental efforts.

The images in the international mass media of African youths getting drowned in the Mediterranean sea on their illegal attempts, and often times illusory hope of attaining better life in Europe is not only an embarrassment to us as leaders, but dehumanises our persons.  Indeed, they combine to paint a very unfavourable picture of our peoples and countries.

Those of us gathered here today owe it as a duty to reverse this ugly trend. We must put an end to the so-called push factors that compel our young men and women to throw caution to the winds and risk life, limbs and all, on this dangerous adventure. We must redouble our efforts to sustain the economic development of our countries, ensure empowerment of our youths, create more jobs, improve and upgrade our infrastructure, and above all continue the enthronement of a regime of democracy, good governance and respect for human rights and rule of law. These and other measures that engender peace and stability must be pursued relentlessly.

In this connection, we must persist in our collective endeavour to work together through the African Union and our respective Regional Economic Communities (RECs), to uplift our continent and provide the African peoples the enabling environment for the realization of their legitimate dreams and aspirations. At this juncture, let me assure you of the unflinching commitment of Nigeria to the ideals and aspirations of the African Union as explained in the Agenda 2063, which is geared towards ensuring a peaceful, prosperous and integrated Africa in the next 50 years. It is for this reason that Nigeria is fully and irrevocably committed to the ECOWAS vision.

We do so because we believe that African integration is best attained through the instrumentality of our Regional Economic Communities (RECs) as the building blocs of viable continental institutions. Nigeria will therefore continue to play her part in supporting the African Union Commission and other continental and regional institutions in their efforts to prioritize African development in all sectors of human endeavour.

The journey might look arduous, but certainly not impossible. There are opportunities in every challenge. If and when we adopt this call for a change of attitude, approach, and disposition towards agreed protocols and commitments, we shall be bequeathing a politically stable, economically developed, and socially harmonious Africa, thereby justifying the confidence reposed in us by our electorates. We will also demonstrate our qualities as statesmen and true daughters and sons of Africa.

I thank you for your kind attention.

[easy-social-share buttons="facebook,twitter" counters=0 style="button"]

March For New Nigeria – Text Of Governor Fashola’s Address At The Progressive Governance Session

Protocols:

I want to thank all of you for taking time off your very busy schedules to be part of this session; especially a few days to the elections, which by all accounts could be historic and critical for the soul of our dear country.

Election is a referendum on the performance of the incumbent government and a decision whether to keep it in office or vote it out of office.

As Progressive Governors who are committed to Good Governance, this year’s 1st Quarter Progressive Governance Session is designed to present our assessment of governance challenges in Nigeria today as well as our proposals on what needs to be done to move our country forward, post- May 29, 2015.

The parameters of the referendum are defined by issues of national security, economic management, social issues and the like. So I will start by reviewing briefly the record of the current government and share with you what they say they have done.

Let me start with the Economy, and share with you a text message that I received from a Nigerian film maker in Nollywood on the 14th of March 2015.

This is what he said:-

 

“I will like to bring to your attention that there is a reliable information that our film has been pirated to be released in Alabaon Monday. I also want to confirm to you that the criminals committing this act are known and can be handpicked. There was a meeting with NCC last week where to our surprise they invited the so called pirates for negotiations and discussion on the previous works that they pirated. I am devastated sir and not sure what to do. Am not sure what you can do in your capacity as the executive governor of the State but I believe your approach to resolving issues in Ladipo could bring a lasting solution. This new development will not only bring a big set back to my business and the industry at large but will discourage a dedicated filmmaker like myself from going all the way in the name of being a Nigeria. Please do something sir”.

It must be clear to everyone that the greatest problem that people in the entertainment industry have is that their intellectual property rights are not being protected.

This is a law enforcement issue, rather than a cash solution that the PDP and its government has continued to proffer.

It is simple copyright law enforcement and the PDP simply does not get it.

 

Roads:

As far as roads are concerned, and they are critical to the economic development and prosperity of our people for the movement of people, goods and services, the record of performance offered by the Federal Government is that they have constructed 25,000 kilometers of road.

How true that is, is to be measured by the complaints of PDP Governors themselves, who say Federal roads in their States have been neglected.

How bogus this is, is the realization that the distance between Lagos and London is approximately 5,025 kilometers.

Has the PDP Federal Government constructed roads that go the distance of Lagos to London 5 (Five) times?

Is it possible to do this by a Government that has never had a capital budget of up to 40% in 6 (Six) years?

Housing:

As far as housing is concerned, please note that after being unable to account for $20 billion which is the equivalent of N3.3 Trillion at N165/$1.00 at the time the money was unaccounted for; after losing 400,000 (Four Hundred Thousand) barrels of oil per day for years, when oil was trading at $100 per barrel, meaning that we were losing $40,000,000.00 (Forty Million United States Dollars), the equivalent ofN6,600,000,000.00 (Six Billion, Six Hundred Million Naira).

Our country’s solution according to the PDP is to borrow $300 million from the World Bank in order to provide mortgage refinancing for all Nigerians.

What this means, is that every Nigerian must first buy a house with a mortgage loan, and then apply for his share of the $300 million as a refinancing facility.

That is the PDP model for housing.

I know that in Ogun State, there is a better model that places emphasis on housing construction in order to create jobs.

I can speak better about my State, where we are building public housing and allocating it to residents at a mortgage rate of 9.5% payable over 10 (Ten) years.

I know that construction is going on in no less than 25 sites, and we have not borrowed one kobo to fund this initiative.

It has been funded by tax payers’ money.

Jobs:

As far as employment is concerned, again their own service record is the place to look.

They say that they have created 2 (Two) million jobs. On a straight line analysis, this would suggest at least over 50,000 (Fifty Thousand) jobs in each of the 36 (Thirty Six) States and Abuja.

Simply ask yourself, how many people you know, who got those jobs. Were they part of the jobs in which people died while stampeding for employment in the immigration service?

Why is unemployment at 24% if this economy is working?

What I know is that between only (Four) construction companies over 5,000 (Five Thousand) workers have been laid off in this first quarter of 2015 and in the last two weeks at least 2,400 (Two Thousand, Four Hundred) bank staff have been laid off.

Security:

It is easy to summarize the security situation.

Thousands killed violently. Hundreds kidnapped routinely. 219 girls missing, citizens and even the Federal Government relying on alternative security, like ethnic militia to secure pipelines.

While all these happens, year on year, amounts close to N1 Trillion have been budgeted and expended on defence and security; yet there are unanswered questions of availability of equipment, while a new set of billionaires masquerading as security experts have emerged.

The answer of the PDP Federal Government and Mr. President himself is that General Buhari, who left office in 1985 did not equip the security forces.

Clearly the PDP forget that Nigerians remember that they have been in office for 16 (Sixteen) years, and President Jonathan has to account for 6 (Six) of those years.

They have killed Skekau, the supposed leader of the terrorist group at least 4 (Four) times.

During one of those killings for which they claim success, they signed a ceasefire with him; from which he quickly played his part by attacking more Nigerians.

After the 4th (Fourth) killing, there are now instructions to capture him.

Lies:

Ladies and gentlemen, there are two common denominators in the record of service of the PDP Federal Government.

The first is FAILURE and the second is LIES.

They have failed in their management of the economy and they have been untruthful about how bad the economy is.

These numbers are important. They dimension the real difficulty Nigerians are dealing with.

I expected that when the PDP Governors gathered in Lagos, on their poorly conceived mis-adventure, they would have spoken about these issues.

Instead, they were seeking to stop the use of Card Readers which their Government approved.

They forgot that they were the ones who approved the use of Permanent Voters’ Cards (PVC).

They forgot that they postponed the elections because they said enough PVCs had not been issued.

Now that PVCs have been issued, should we not verify and authenticate eligible voters with the Card Readers?

  • We recognize the issues in the Nigerian State

 

  • We keep a track on them

 

  • We have made them the issues in the election as you will have heard from our Presidential candidate and his running mate
  • No amount of Goodluck can help the PDP escape from these issues.

 

  • Our candidates have kept the Nigerian electorate focused on the issues of jobs, security, and corruption

Our opponents urge that they are moving forward.

The question to ask is what their definition of forward is.

  • Moving the rate of exchange of the Naira to the dollar from N120 to $1.00 toN198 to $1.00 is not the way forward
  • Managing an economy where employers cannot keep people at work because of bad government policies is not the way forward
  • Unemployment is not the way forward. Employment is the way.
  • Inventory of imported raw materials trapped in the port is not the way forward to economic recovery.
  • Fuel queues arising from Government failure to pay importers is not the way forward.
  • Blaming the opposition for fuel shortage is not the way forward.
  • The largest economy in Africa that cannot generate electricity is not the way forward.
  • The avoidable loss of human lives, and the unresolved disappearance of 219 (Two Hundred and Nineteen) young girls is not the way forward.

It is the opposite of development. It is the opposite of industrialization. It is the opposite of job creation.

It is the way backwards.

It is not the way to continue.

Ladies and gentlemen, like Vision 2020, like the 7 Point Agenda, like the comparisons to Martin Luther Kings, Lee Kwan Yew, Nelson Mandela, Barrack Obama, and the Transformation Agenda, all of which have been abandoned because they are not true, it is obvious that our opponents in Government, have lost their way.

They are reading the Developmental Map of Nigeria upside down. So they do not know the way forward.

The Nigeria ship of State is heading in the wrong way because the captain cannot navigate.

This is the most important reason why PDP and the President must be voted out of power.

In 2011, President Jonathan made a total of 91 (Ninety One) electoral promises around power, security and the economy.

Majority of them remain unfulfilled.

Between then and now, he set up a total of 28 (Twenty Eight) Committees as his Government’s response to critical national issues such as Nuhu Ribadu fuel subsidy scandal committee, Steve Oronsaye harmonization of Government Agencies and Department Committee, Justice Alfa Belgore Committee on Abuja Parks and Zoo, Edem Duke’s Committee on Proliferation of Small Arms, Ibrahim Sambo Presidential Fact Finding Committee and PriceWaterHouse Coopers forensic audit of the missing oil receipts in the region of $20 billion.

The President has either forgotten or refused to either make public the reports of these Committees, or implement them.

The President resumed work only 6 weeks ago, because of elections.

Nigeria needs a full time President not a part time one.

General Muhammad Buhari will be a full time President, ready to work every day.

A full time President will re-set and re-direct this Nation and set her back on the right path.

That is the way forward.

The second major reason is that after 16 (Sixteen) years of start and stop, policy changes and no verifiable results, this country will benefit from a fresh pair of hands, that will have another look at the problems that have defeated the PDP for 16 (Sixteen) years.

We simply cannot continue on this road that has failed us, and expect different results.

A vote for change is the first step in the expectation of different and better results.

Instead of running on their record of service, the Party in power has chosen to become film makers, making one poorly scripted documentary after the other.

The tragedy is that after one year of TV propaganda dating back to March 2014, their bird has refused to fly. There is nothing to sell. The good governance road show died on arrival. And the captain was initially honest in Lagos to admit failure.

The PDP led Federal Government has no credible record to defend nor a roadmap to rectify the damage they have done to our body politic, our economy and all our institutions.

It is perfectly understandable that when you have an indefensible record like theirs, you resort to despicable diversionary campaign, the like we have not seen before.

We have demonstrated and must continue to demonstrate that there is a gulf of difference between the APC and the PDP, not only in our visions (if they have any) and in our policies, but that we are willing to engage with them in a transparent and accountable manner.

Our party, the APC has presented a year 2015 Election Manifesto, while the only known Manifesto of the PDP is dated 1999.

We are committed to reinventing governance in Nigeria in order to solve our socio-economic and political challenges.

We were farsighted when we established the Progressive Governors Forum (PGF), where these kinds of questions and issues have constantly been interrogated through effective research, knowledge sharing, consultations and policies, at our quarterly fora.

So when the APC talks of change, what kind of change are we talking about?

How do we plan to redefine the concepts of leadership and responsibility?

The objective here is to demystify governance and restore ownership of the country to the Sovereign- the Citizens!

It means that we must be accountable to the sovereign for our performance and how responsive we are to their wishes and demands.

It means that the citizens will always retain the right to “hire and fire”.

It means that we must embed the Rule of Law, political and civil liberties in our political culture. The culture of unbridled impunity must come to a grinding halt!

APC does not believe that the Federal Executive Council should be reduced to a bazaar which merely awards contracts to leaders of ethnic militia posing as socio–cultural groups, to the detriment of constitutionally established institutions and in subversion of the procurement laws.

Were these contracts advertised? Where was due process here?

We are certain that this session will, in many ways, give more clarity and further insight into the kind of change APC represents.

The other presentations will amplify many of the issues I have addressed so far. While not underestimating the enormity of the challenges that will face an APC led Federal Government.

The APC is proud to have as its flag bearer, a patriot with the public stature and integrity of Gen. Muhammadu Buhari, who has unreservedly committed to this vision and mission as reflected in his Covenant with Nigerians and campaigns promises.

It is not by accident that teeming millions of Nigerians are showing their support effusively for Gen. Buhari.

What I have confirmed since the emergence of Gen. Buhari as our Presidential candidate, is that Nigerians still believe in the virtues of probity, selfless leadership and commitment to the greater good inspite of the 16 years of failed PDP government and leadership that they have been unfortunately saddled with.

For many years I have heard complaints about PDP’s dismal management of our national life.

Many Nigerians have expressed understandable frustration that PDP could not be defeated because there was no formidable opposition.

Our leaders have heard these frustrations. They have organized rather than agonise.

They have sacrificed their smaller parties and leadership role to deliver the first ever political merger in the history of Nigeria.

They will all vote for the APC, but they cannot elect the APC into Government. That is the duty of the Nigerian electorate if we must experience change, and save our country.

With the emergence of APC, PDP began to unravel.

With the mismanagement of its top leadership it began to dismember, losing its most vital parts; and making history for all the wrong reasons.

It is the first political party that I know that lost 5 (Five) Governors to the opposition without an election.

It later lost the Speaker of Parliament, and eventually its former leader and Chairman Board of Trustees.

The giant is tattering and about to fall.

For every goliath, there is a stone.

The APC is PDP’s stone and the people of Nigeria must rise like David to bring this plundering goliath down.

The merger was historic. But it will be more historic if Nigerians elect that merger to office.

The people of Nigeria will have taken power by doing so.

Let me underscore once more that while the APC is ready, willing and able to take on the huge tasks of regenerating our country once more, APC is humbled by the enormity of the challenges it has to deal with in the next few years.

Once more, let me re-affirm the commitment of the PGF to continue to provide the platform where our party, governors and other stakeholders will continually engage, reflect on critical issues and challenges, and more importantly proffer implementable policy options to address these challenges- indeed more than a talk shop!

It is now my privilege to invite you to listen to the presentation of our leader, Gen. Muhammadu Buhari and the other panel presentations on “Sustaining Development in Times of Dwindling Resources”, to be followed by an interactive session among the participants.

God bless us all as we work to protect our democracy.

Thank you!

Babatunde Raji Fashola, SAN

Governor of Lagos State

March 23, 2015

 

Opinion expressed on this page is solely that of the author and does not necessarily reflect the views of Abusidiqu.com and/or its associates.

[easy-social-share buttons="facebook,twitter" counters=0 style="button"]