Kano State Govt Approves N324 Million For Water Treatment Chemicals

Kano state government has approved the sum of N324 million for procurement of Aluminum Sulphate for its water treatment plants.

This was disclosed by the state Commissioner of Information, Comrade Muhammad Garba, while briefing newsmen on the outcome of the 52nd weekly meeting of the State Executive Council held at the Government House in Kano.

He said the decision is part of resolve to continuously provide clean water to the populace for domestic and other uses adding that the government also approved for release of N5, 350, 000, to the Ministry of Water Resources, for production of detail design for the proposed Guzu-Guzu Irrigation scheme.

The Commissioner also explained that the sum of $550, 165 for payment of outstanding tuition fees, accommodation, book allowance Igama (resident permit) and medical Insurance for 73 Kano sponsor students in four universities in Sudan.

“With this development, 100 percent payment for first and second year 2015 – 2016 has been made”, Alhaji Muhammad Garba pointed out.

Also approved by the council according to the Commissioner, are N9, 715, 000 for 2nd batch of 29 Kano students admitted into the Nigeria Law School, N4. 6 million to facilitate conduct of Nigerian Defense Academy Entrance Examination and admission as well as N4, 825, 300 for conduct of 2016 Quiz and Essay Writing Competitions for Secondary schools across the state.

Alhaji Muhammad Garba added that the council also approved N4, 840, 000 for the supply of firefighting equipment to 44 boarding secondary schools in the state while the sum of N17, 894 505 was set aside for sustaining the Improving Malaria Treatment Outcome project in the state.

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

The Hard Facts, Truth And Reality About The Current Situation In Local Govt Councils In Kwara State By Abdulkarim Ayinde

The Hard Facts, Truth And Reality About The Current Situation In Local  Government Councils In Kwara State By Engineer Abdulkarim Ayinde

The protest embarked upon on Wednesday, 29th June, 2015 by NULGE Exco Members along with some workers of Local Governments in the State, who were understood to have been probably infiltrated by some miscreants, which took them to the Kwara State Govt House, was not only done with bad intention but very unfortunate and uncalled for at this point in time, when the State Govt appears to have found realistic approach towards finding solution to the long lasting problems of unpaid outstanding salaries of Local Govt workers includingTeachers in Primary and Junior Secondary Schools, all of who are being paid from the Local Govts Federal Allocation Funds.

The hard fact that NULGE Exco and Local Govt employees that embarked on the protest must face, is the fact that the way and manner by which they conducted themselves and tried to present their case at the Govt House Gate, was rather confrontational and therefore short of yielding any positive and desirable result as would have been expected.

As aptly stated in the Press Statement issued by the Senior Special Assistant to the Governor on Media and Communications, the protesters over reached themselves when they insisted that the Governor must address them at the Gate of the Govt House, after he agreed to the options of meeting them and listened to their complaints and grievances in more suitable and condusive venues, which they refused out rightly.

This obviously smarked of element of arrogance on their part and also supported the belief that they came prepared to the Govt House, probably to act another script being promoted and dictated by some members of the Opposition Parties, who were ready to take undue advantage of the issues of the unpaid salaries of LG workers, to attack, castigate and condemn the Maigida’s administration as usual, and also to put the Governor in bad light to satisfy their negative whims and caprices about governance in Kwara State.

In the first place, the issue of unpaid salaries of workers and Teachers in Local Govts’ employment, is rightly neither the making of the Govt of Kwara State nor has been part its Constitutional responsibilities but rather an unfortunate situation that has been prevailent as a result of the dwindling revenues from Oil, which has always been the main source of funding being allocated to the three tiers of Govt during the monthly FAAC meetings.

Therefore, the Governor, who had in the past assisted the Local Govts to raise loans up to the tune of over N4 billion from Commercial Banks in the past, in order to augment the shortfalls in their previous allocations from the Federation Accounts, could no longer do so again immediately after his resumption of office on 29th May, 2016.

This has been as a result of the ban that was imposed on further borrowings by States and Local Govts from Commercial Banks in the Country, by the Federal Govt.

The Governor should be commended  for his previous spirited efforts and interventions towards sustaining past payments of salaries of workers in the Local Govts, in spite of the obvious and progressive shortfalls in their allocations, which has been occurng for close to two years.

It should be appreciated that the funds used to augment the past payments of salaries to the workers, were loans that were obtained from the Commercial Banks, which was guaranteed by the State Govt and are expected to be repaid with interests by the Local Govts from their normal allocations from the Federation Accounts.

As it were, the Federal Allocations to LG Councils have consistently been dwindling considerably to such an extent that it is increasingly difficult for them, not only to perform their Constitutional responsibilities to the people by way of provisions of socio-economic services and developments to the people but also to raise necessary funds internally to defray the salaries owed to the workers, which are considered outstanding despite many months of the workers inactivities in the various LGAs across the State.

Consequently, the stark reality facing most of the LG Councils, particularly in Kwara State today, which both NULGE and Local Govt workers must have to contend with, is that the system could no longer operate effectively again with the large numbers of workers that have been engaged to work in the LGAs.

This is because the funds from the Federation Accounts Allocation, which majority of them normally relied and overdepended upon, would no longer be available to fund their affairs especially the sustainance of payment of salaries to mostly large unprodutive workers that are usually employed in the current system of operations in the Local Govts.

Before being accused of not being sympathetic to the the unfortunate plight of workers in the Local Govts employments, I would like to state that at various fora in the past, I have predicted that this current precarious situation of most Local Govts across the States shall become a reality unless they invest part of their usually allocated Capital and Excess Crude Funds, in areas or agriculture and other viable ventures that could provide them more revenues internally, to compliment what they usually receive from Federal Allocations.

However, all of them, apart from Kaiama LGA, did not see any merit in this laudable advice but rather, they continued to behave as if revenues from Oil would always be available to them forever to run their affairs.

I am sure that they should now be regretting their none challant attitudes to embrace my wise counselling because as things stand presently, they can no longer meet up with the execution of their Recurrent Expenditures due to continous reduction in their Federal Allocations, while they have since stopped funding or carrying out Capital Projects for close to two years now, except when the Kwara State Govt assisted the Sixteen LG Councils to secure a loan of N1.6 billion from the Commercial Bank, which was meant for specific Capital Projects across the LGAs.

However, only half of the loan eventually went into funding some of the Capital Projects originally proposed because the balance sum had to be used eventually to augment the payment of salaries of workers in the end, due to inadequacy in their allocations from the Federation Accounts.

There is no doubting the fact that the system of Local Govt in Kwara State and indeed in most other States in Nigeria, is tilting towards total failure and permanent shutdown unless their method of operations are changed towards operating lean Governments while more funding should be provided to them from the Federation Accounts, in order to enable them operate more efficiently and effectively to serve the people well.

Additionally, the system should be redesigned to enable them invest in areas of Agriculture, Solid Minerals and Tourism, in line with the new Federal and State Govt’s focus on promoting and boosting investments in those areas as sources of generating more revenues to replace the Country’s overdependence on Oil as our main source of generating revenues.

To that effect therefore, NULGE and Local Govt workers, must be ready to dialogue and negotiate with the Kwara State Govt on the most realistic way towards solving the current problems of unpaid workers salaries, which has definitely emanated from the sharp reduction in their Federal Allocations due to the dwindling revenues from Oil, rather than blame the Kwara State Govt unduly for their predicaments.

The State Govt, under the currently prevailing economic  circumstances in the Country, may not be able to do better than its acceptance to offload the payment of salaries of the Junior Secondary School Teachers from the normal responsibilities of the Local Govts, unless the Federal Govt also comes to the aid of the Local Govts, like earlier suggested in another forum, by granting them Special Bailouts, to offset the outstanding balance of salaries to their workers.

However, the realistic solution towards the sustainance of regular salary payment in Local Govt Councils in the State, is for NULGE to agree to the redeployment of most of the current workers in the Local Govts in the State, to start new careers in engagements in areas of agriculture where they could easily become more prosperous, while only few deserving ones amongst them would be retained to render essential duties and socio-economic services in the Local Govt Areas.

This should be a wise option that I would like to advise them to adopt, under the prevailent harsh economic challenges currently being faced by the entire Nation, as against a situation whereby the workers continue to engage in protests or strike actions, which might eventually lead to their being disengaged outrightly from sevice because it is becoming increasingly impossible for the operations in Local Govt system to be sustained with the current largely unproductive workforce and also the dwindling revenues from the Federation Accounts whose end may not be in sight in a short while.

The arguments that Kwara State Govt should grant autonomy to Local Govts in the State, whatever this mean to them, as being canvased by those in the Opposition Parties as permanent solution to the current problems of the Local Govt Councils, is highly misplaced because the operations of the Local Govts in the State is in accordance with both the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, as amended, and also the Laws as had been passed by the Kwara State House Assembly, which is the authority empowered to make Laws on the existence, operations and finances of the Local Govt Councils in the State.

Therefore, any other type or form of autonomy for the Local Govts in the State, as may be desired by anybody or group, could only manifest through proper process of amendments of the present Constitution.

Engineer Abdulkarim Ayinde

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

Ikpeazu Is no Longer Abia State Governor- Agbakoba, Falana

Speaking on the controversy, Agbakoba stated that since the court had removed him, he could no longer claim to be the governor of the state.

He said, “The court has removed him as governor but the problem is that there’s a transition period. But the court has removed him as governor and there’s a new governor-elect who is yet to be sworn in. and that is why I think there’s a major political vacuum. Clearly, the Ikpeazu is no longer the governor by Law.

“I don’t know the grounds which the other order from Abia State was obtained by one of the parties. But I do know that a judgment was given and a certificate of return was issued by INEC in Abuja. If they want to stay that order they have to go to the very court that passed the judgment.

“It is procedurally wrong to want to arrest that judgment using another court of coordinate jurisdiction. The order of the Federal High Court in Abuja should be obeyed.

“A Notice of Appeal is clearly not a Stay and INEC has broken no Law in issuing Certificate of Return to Ogah. But they should have relied on the prudential principle by cautioning themselves, giving the fact that they have received a Notice of Appeal, which in itself, does not constitute a stay of execution of the order of the court. However INEC has broken no law by issuing the certificate of return to Ogah,”

Another highly respected Legal luminary, Femi Falana also lent his voice to the matter, siding with Agbakoba and stating that INEC was right in complying with the order of court.

“Federal High Court ordered that Uche Ogah be issued with Certificate of Return and should be sworn in as governor of Abia State. INEC complied with the order. The order exparte issued by a judge in Abia State High Court is illegal and contemptuous. The Abia State High Court cannot sit on appeal over the order of the Federal High Court as it is a court of concurrent jurisdiction,” Falana stated.

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

Exposition Of The Law On The Abia State Governorship Controversy, By Inibehe Effiong

On Monday 27th June, 2016 the Federal High Court in Abuja presided over by Justice Okon Abang delivered judgment in a pre-election case brought by a gubernatorial aspirant of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in Abia State in the 2015 election, Uche Sampson Ogah, against Mr. Okezie Ikpeazu, the governor of Abia State. The learned judge in his judgment declared that Ikpeazu was not qualified to present himself for the primary election conducted by his party, the PDP, and that he was equally not eligible to contest for the 2015 governorship election due to his failure to meet the mandatory legal requirement on payment of taxes for the three years preceding the election. His Lordship found that Ikpeazu perjured by lying in his election papers about his eligibility.

Sequel to the above findings, Justice Abang inter alia, declared Ogah as the duly elected governor of Abia State being the person who scored the second highest number of votes at the December 2014 primary election of the PDP; ordered the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to immediately issue Ogah a Certificate of Return and also ordered the Chief Judge of Abia State to immediately swear in Ogah as the elected governor of Abia State. On Thursday June 30th, 2016, while purporting to act in compliance with the said order(s), INEC National Commissioner in charge of the South East, Ambassador Lawrence Nwuruku issued Ogah with a Certificate of Return.

Abia State is currently enmeshed in an avoidable constitutional crisis following the conflicting claims to the governorship seat by the two contenders. While Ogah in whose favour the judgment of the Federal High Court was given is seeking to be sworn-in in conformity with the orders of Justice O. Abang, the incumbent, Ikpeazu is holding tight to the office on the basis that he has appealed the said judgment and is therefore entitled to remain in office pending the determination of his appeal.

Divergent views have been expressed on the propriety of the issuance of a certificate of return to Ogah and the solution to the imbroglio.

What precisely is the position of the law on the subject?

I do not intend to examine the correctness of the judgment delivered by Justice Okon Abang. That may be done subsequently. This essay is intended to extensively dissect the law on the controversy over the governorship seat of Abia State sequel to the issuance of a certificate of return to Ogah.

As a prelude, two points are worthy of note.

Firstly, by virtue of Section 287 (3) of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria 1999 (as amended), all authorities and persons (INEC inconclusive) have a duty to observe and enforce the decisions of the Federal High Court. It is settled law that the judgment of a court, no matter how perverse, is valid and binding until same is set aside on appeal by a superior court. For reference, see the decision of the Supreme Court in Agbogunleri v. Depo (2008) 3 NWLR (Pt. 1074) 217.

Secondly, a successful litigant is entitled to enjoy the benefits and reap the fruits of his judgment and nothing ordinarily should be done to obstruct this right. In the words of Niki Tobi , JCA (as he then was) in Lijadu v. Lijadu (1991) 1 NWLR (Pt. 169) 627 at 644, nothing should be done to make the victorious party leave the court in “victory” without victory.

Notwithstanding the above postulations on the validity and enforceability of subsisting judgments of superior courts, there is a legally recognisable circumstance by which adherence to, and enforcement of a judgement may be put in abeyance (suspended momentarily). A judgement or decision of a court will not be enforceable where a stay of execution of the judgment is ordered either by the trial court that delivered same or by an appellate court.

Section 18 of the Court of Appeal Act Cap. C37 L.F.N. 2004 expressly states that “An appeal under this Part of this Act shall not operate as a stay of execution, but the Court of Appeal may order a stay of execution either unconditionally or upon the performance of such conditions as may be imposed in accordance with rules of court.”

Essentially, this implies that the mere filing of a Notice of Appeal by a party will not as a matter of course stay the execution of a judgment. This is beyond dispute. For emphasis, the decision of the court in TSA Ind. Ltd. v. Kama Inv. Ltd. (2006) 2 NWRL (Pt. 964) 300 at 316 is apt on the point.

However, a party seeking to stay the enforcement of a judgement must in addition to his Notice of Appeal, file a motion (an application) for stay of execution and serve same on the other party. A stay of execution ensures that a fait accompli is not foisted on an appellate court by rendering its judgment in the substantive appeal nugatory.

In the present case of Abia State, did INEC act within the bounds of the law in issuing Ogah with a certificate of return? The answer will depend on whether INEC was given notice of the pendency of an appeal together with a motion for stay of execution.

The Abia State Government in a statement issued by the State Attorney-General, Mr. Umeh Kalu, said thus:

“It’s unfortunate that INEC said that it was not served. But the truth is that they were served. I have a proof to that. Saleh N. Ibrahim, Senior Clerical Officer at the Legal Services Department of the Commission’s Headquarters, Abuja, who (sic) stamped the Notice of Appeal and Injunction with the Commission’s official stamp by 12.50pm on Wednesday, June 29, 2016.”

In an explanation to an online newspaper, Premium Times, on Friday July 1, 2016, Nick Dazang, spokesman for INEC, said Mr. Ikpeazu’s failure to provide a stay-of-execution order left the commission with no choice than to issue the certificate of return to Mr. Ogah. He said since Mr. Ikpeazu’s notice was not deemed sufficient, it had to, as a matter of policy, execute the judgment of the high court.

“I discovered that INEC received Mr. Ikpeazu’s notice. However, it did not contain a motion or order of stay of execution. In the circumstance, and in deference to the previous court order, INEC as a responsible regulatory body has no recourse than to issue Mr. Ogah the certificate of return,” Mr. Dazang said.

It is apparent that one of the parties, between the Abia State Government and INEC, is either outrightly mendacious or economical with the truth. So who is right?

I have carefully examined the proof of service (affidavit of service) published by Ikpeazu on his Facebook page and circulated to the media by the Abia State Government, there is no mention of motion for stay of execution in the said affidavit. Only Notice of Appeal is mentioned. Putting it differently, there is nothing evidencing that INEC was served with an application by Ikpeazu seeking a stay of execution of the judgment delivered by Justice Okon Abang on Monday the 27th day of June, 2016. In my quest to unravel the truth and facts of this case, I made spirited efforts to reach the Chief Press Secretary to Ikpeazu (through phone calls and sms) in the afternoon of Friday 1st July, 2016 for him to furnish me with evidence that there is indeed a motion for stay of execution. He did not reply.

The only sensible and logical inference to be drawn from the non production of evidence of the existence and service of motion for stay of execution is that none is available. He who alleges must prove. The maxim is ‘ei incumbit probatio qui dicit’. See Section 131 of the Evidence Act 2011. The burden is on Ikpeazu to prove beyond unsubstantiated press statements, that INEC had notice of not only his appeal but very importantly, his motion for stay of execution prior to the issuance of a certificate of return to Ogah.

I have seen a copy of the interim order (ex parte injunction) obtained by Ikpeazu dated Thursday the 30th day of June, 2016 from the High Court of Abia State, Osisioma Ngwa presided by Justice Chibuzor Ahuchaogu, restraining INEC from issuing a certificate of return to Ogah and his swearing-in by the Chief Judge of Abia State or by any judicial officer in Abia State.

The injunction to say the least is a gross abuse of judicial cum court process and not binding for two principal reasons.

Firstly, the High Court of Abia State cannot give an order which purports to vary or render nugatory the order(s) of the Federal High Court. The simple reason is that both courts have concurrent jurisdiction. Only a superior court (the Court of Appeal or the Supreme Court) can interfere with the orders given by Justice Okon Abang. The Supreme Court in a recent decision in the case of Orji Uzor Kalu v. Federal Republic of Nigeria (Unreported Appeal No. SC/215/2012) delivered on March 18, 2016 emphatically sounded a warning to the effect that courts of concurrent jurisdiction cannot police each other and that they are not bound by each other’s decisions.

In the case cited supra, a former governor of Abia State, Orji Uzor Kalu, had obtained an ex parte order from the High Court of Abia State restraining the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) from arresting, detaining or prosecuting him. The Supreme Court held that the Federal High Court where Mr. Kalu was arraigned, is not bound by the injunction given by the High Court of Abia State. Thus, the case was remitted back to the Federal High Court for commencement of Kalu’s trial. Other authorities on this position includes: Olutola v. University of Ilorin (2004) 18 NWLR (Pt. 905) 452 and Uwazuruike v. Attorney General of the Federation (2008) 10 NWLR (Pt. 1096) 444 at 459-59.

The second reason why the injunction granted on Thursday the 30th day of June, 2016 by Justice Ahuchaogu of the Abia State High Court is defective is that it sought in part, to restrain a completed act. It is an established fact that Ikpeazu only obtained the said injunction after INEC had already issued Ogah with a certificate of return. It was totally wrong for the court to issue an order to stop what had already been done. The order is offensive to the spirit and letters of the law as stated by the Supreme Court in the case of Okafor v. Attorney General of Anambra State (1992) 2 SCNJ 219 to the effect that injunction cannot lie against a completed act.

Before I conclude, let me respond to an erroneous argument that has been canvassed on this issue. It has been vigorously contended by some lawyers that based on the provisions of Section 143 of the Electoral Act 2010 (as amended), Ikpeazu being the incumbent governor of Abia State, is entitled to remain in office pending the determination of his appeal.

Agreed that by virtue of Section 143 of the Electoral Act, where the Election Tribunal or Court, as the case may be, determines that a candidate returned was not validly elected, the invalidly elected candidate shall continue to remain in office pending his appeal and is also entitled to remain in office for a duration of 21 days within which he is to appeal.

This provision does not apply to pre-election cases like the instant case of Abia State. Why? The “Election Tribunal” or “Court” referred to in the preceding paragraph is defined in Section 133 (2) of the Electoral Act to be the Court of Appeal where it sits over Presidential or Governorship election petitions and the election tribunal established by the Constitution or the Electoral Act. This interpretation also applies to Section 141 of the Electoral Act which forbids an Election Tribunal or Court from declaring any person who did not fully participate in all stages of the election as the winner of the election.

Mention should be made that the Federal High Court in Suit No. FHC/ABJ/CS1/2011 between Labour Party and Attorney General of the Federation, delivered on 21st July, 2011 had annulled Section 141 of the Electoral Act 2010 (as amended).

Interestingly, the injunctive orders granted by the Abia State High Court in favour of Ikpeazu were made pursuant to Section 143 of the Electoral Act. With due respect to the judge, the orders are not only legally indefensible but amounts to an affront on the position taken by the Supreme Court on the non-applicability of those provisions to pre-election cases. This is another reason why the said injunction cannot command respect.

Both Sections 141 and 143 of the Electoral Act are not applicable to the Federal High Court, the Court of Appeal and the Supreme Court in pre-election cases. Any doubt on this submission can easily be resolved by reference to the recent landmark decision of the Supreme Court in Jev & Anor v. Iyortom & Ors (2015) LPELR-24420 (SC) where the Apex Court pronounced on the issue in vivid terms.

The legal significance of the (mere) filing of a motion for stay of execution (pending appeal) has been highlighted in plethora of locus classicus. In Vaswani Trading Co. v. Savalakh (1972) 12 S.C. 77, the Supreme Court held inter alia @ page 87 line 30:

“any action or conduct of one or the other of the parties to the action taken whilst an application for a stay of execution is pending in this court, for the obvious or subtle purpose of stultifying the exercise by this court of its jurisdiction, and indeed its duty to consider the application on the merit, must not be countenanced by this court”.

In conclusion, it is submitted that since there is at present no evidence that Ikpeazu had file a motion for stay of execution of the judgment along with his Notice of Appeal on or before Wednesday the 29th day of June, 2016 and serve same on INEC, the issuance of a certificate of return to Ogah on Thursday the 30th of June, 2016 cannot be legally faulted. Strictly, INEC acted within the law. Neither the Notice of Appeal (without a corresponding motion for stay) nor the injunction by the High Court of Abia State can be invoked to puncture INEC’s action.

Without prejudice to the above submission, I need to observe that INEC may have acted mala fides (in bad faith) by waiting for three days to elapse before complying with the order of the court. While it is true that Section 75 of the Electoral Act gives the Commission 7 days to issue a Certificate of Return, that leverage cannot avail it in the instant case because the tenor of the judgment demanded immediacy. The order was made on the 27th of June, the issuance of the certificate of return on the 30th of June was belated; not immediately as ordered.

Instead of dissipating resources on trivialities such as media propaganda; sponsorship of protests and unjustifiable declaration of public hollidays, Ikpeazu is advised to immediately file a motion for stay of execution of the judgment and serve same on INEC and Ogah. If that was or has been done, let it be published publicly for the world to see.

Where this is done, INEC should cancel and withdraw the certificate of return issued to Ogah pending the determination of Ikpeazu’s appeal. In the absence of an application for stay of execution, there is absolutely nothing in law preventing the issuance of the certificate of return and the swearing-in of Ogah as the governor of Abia State pending the outcome of appeal(s) in the case.

Though Ogah has been declared the duly elected governor of Abia State, Section 185 (1) of the Constitution is explicit that a person duly elected as governor shall not begin to perform the functions of that office until he has declared his assets and has subscribed to the Oath of Office and Oath of Allegiance prescribed in the Seventh Schedule to the Constitution. The decisions by the Chief Judge and the President of the Customary Court of Appeal of Abia State to abdicate their responsibilities in this regard amounts to an unconstitutional dereliction of duty in the absence of an application for stay of execution.

Thank you.

Inibehe Effiong is a Legal Practitioner and Convener of the Coalition of Human Rights Defenders (COHRD) and can be reached at:inibehe.effiong@gmail.com

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

Governor Al-Makura’s Anti-Corruption Crusade and Corruption Requitals in Nasarawa State By Nasiru Abdullahi

Political corruption is believed by many to be a persistent phenomenon in Nigeria.Many have given their views, definition according to their assessments on corruption and its effects on our socio-economicdevelopments. To our President and commander in chief Muhammadu Buhari, “corruption is the greatest form of human right violation”.

It is a general believe that Corruption has succeeded in infiltrating and bastardizing our institutions, government parastatals, the private sector and even our traditional institutions that are supposed to be our last resort for the defense and restoration of our norms and values.Unfortunately, have taken a center stage in the race of corruption in Nigeria.Seeing how corruption has eaten up the very fabric of our nation’s developmentsand how it has also cut open the nation’s arteries and letting it bleed to deaths,President Buhari saw the need to salvage Nigeria from the shackles of corruption and the enemies of this country.

Being a man with a heart for the masses and the down-trodden, president Buharideemed it pertinent and a “MustFight”if he must save this nation from free falling and from the hands of this evil scourge that has taken over Nigeria.That is why at assumption of office; he launched the “Anti-Corruption Crusade” in Nigeria.A cause regarded by many as the only panacea to the scourge of corruption and under-development in our beloved country Nigeria.

Despite seriesof requitals from corruption, President Buhari remains dodged and resilient enough to absorb all the punches of requitals and maintain the ring believing that every cloud has a silver lining. And in just one year, we are all witness to the positive result this corruption crusade of Mr. President has yielded.

The Nasarawa State Scenario

At the drop of a hat,Governor Al-Makura as one of President Buhari’s mentees and disciples was swift in keying into President Buhari’s fight against corruption in his state. Though this “Best thing since sliced bread”was officially launched by his mentor, but Governor Al-Makura had started his fight in Nasarawa state since 2011 at assumption office.History is witness to the fact that Nasarawa state has experienced a tremendous change in terms of infrastructure, social and economic development among others.

However, Al-Makura’s strategy in fighting corruption was not targeted at past looters of the states’ treasury like we are witnessing with the government at the Centre but it was to halt certain unwholesome practices without  the need for looking back at the destruction’s the previous administration has done to the state. Under listed are some of the corrupt practices that was invoke before the coming of the true Agent of change;

The previous administration was in the habit of collecting loans from some commercial banks just to pay workers’ salaries thereby increasing the burden of debt on the state. This practice left the state Government with a burden of debt that gulped up to N37 billion which was left unpaid. But on assumption of office of this “Eager beavered man”, he made sure that all these huge debts was paid off in just two years and without taking any loan from the bank.

He also halted the financial hemorrhage that was invoke before he came on board and insisted on strict strategy of fiscal discipline.

Also cost-cutting measures was implemented to enable workers get their full salaries and at the appropriate time. Just to give you a glimpse of whom the man Al-Makura really is and his vision for Nasarawa state, the man embarked on the fight against corruption in his state long before president Buhari.

Permit me to digress a little from the topic to highlight and acknowledge some of Al-Makura’s achievements even as his anti-corruption fight rages on, he remained focus on developmental projects and policies that will better the lives of the Nasarawa people. Just like PMB, Al-Makura is a man full of love and concern for the masses and the down trodden. This explains why he was the first to key in to the implementation of the minimum wage as approved by the federal Government just four (4) months of assumption of office in 2011. A development that astronomically increased the monthly salaries of workers in the state from N800 Million to N2.4 Billion every month.

And not only that he keyed in but he is one of the state Governors that pays the highest in terms of workers’ salaries in the National Minimum wage table of all the 36 states.He is currently paying even higher than the oil producing states like Rivers, Bayelsa, etc. and the almighty Lagos state that has IGR of almost 5times greater than that of Nasarawa state. All these states mentioned above and more receives higher than Nasarawa state in the federal allocations to states, also with far greater internally generated Revenue (IGR) compared to Nasarawa states yet the man has recorded a tectonic achievement in almost all spheres of the state economy.

Apart from social amenities and commitment to capacity building in the state, the Governor also made infrastructure one of his major focus among other basic amenities that will affect the lives of the ordinary people in the state. Nasarawa State has experienced an unprecedented development under Governor Al-Makura’s administration like never before since the inception of democracy in Nasarawa state; in terms of road construction, his administration built over 600km of roads in the rural areas and the expansion of these rural roads and the construction of over 200km Asphalt roads across the state. A project that has literally transformed the state capital from suburb to city.Governor Al-Makura’s administration has an unprecedented achievement in the areas of health, where a 360 combined capacity of ultra-modern hospitals in all the three Senatorial zones of the state was built. Re-activation of the Nasarawa drugs complex which ensures the availability to quality medicines to the people and increased immunized children from 25% to about 52%. Not to mention his free education program in the state, youth empowerment among others.

It is a common phenomenon for corruption to fight back its fighter, just as we’ve seen with President Buhari at the Centre where every now and then, the corruption he has declared war against is using the media to fight, always trying to dent his name, saying derogating statements and comment in the online and print media just to smear the visionary leader. But seeing that it didn’t yield any positive result, they have resulted to using some miscreant called militants to decimate his administration by trying to cripple our economy through vandalization and bombing of gas pipelines in the Niger-Delta.Nonetheless, that we believe will not make our resilient president to relent or succumb to their demands to stopping the Anti-corruption fight against those that have ripped-off our country’s treasury dry.

Analogous to the case we are witnessing in Nasarawa State, seeing Governor Al-Makura’s resolve to remain steadfast in his fight against corruption in the state, corruption has since declared war against him and his administration. And just like President Buhari they are using the online media (Facebook, twitter etc.) to smear his name. Some unions in the state like, NLC, NUT, and ASUU NSUK etc.are also some of the tools used by these enemies of development in the state to distract Governor Al-Makura from fulfilling his campaign promises to Nasarawa people. Apart from the obvious enemies of the Al-Makura-led government, there are also enemies from within, and these enemies are saboteurs within the government. And we will not be surprise by their actions because Al-Makura anti-corruption fight has to some great extent blocked all leakages within Government Institutions in the state,an avenue previously used by these saboteurs to drain the state’s lean resources. At the wake of this development of blockages, these saboteurs went absolutely bonkers. They have resolved to aid Al-Makura’s obvious enemies in achieving their self-serving gains,part of which is to hurt him for halting their unwholesome act.

Thencome the introduction of the treasury single account (TSA) and the bank verification exercise (BVN) in the state by Governor Al-Makura that has exposed over 1600 ghost workers across the 13 local government and18 development areas in the state. This wonderful strategy for fighting corruption in Nasarawa state was also able to discover that only 58,000 workers and pensionersare the authentic people on Government payroll. This was confirmed by the Executive Director(ED) Skye bank that were responsible for the screening exercise in the state couple of months ago at the occasion of the formal presentation of the workers Bio-metric report to Governor Al-Makura in Government house. The E.D who affirmed during the presentation of the report that if properly implemented will go a long way in creating jobs for the teeming youths in the state as well as aid government to embark on meaningful projects that would enhance the living standards and conditions of the citizens. The E.D also confirmed that during the exercise they were able to discover over N87Million monthly as leakages and if government allows this, it will sum intoN990Millionannually.

The bio-metric report became the major factor that intensified the heat between Al-Makura and those corrupt infinitesimal groups who have been using this avenue to hinder the development of our state,which involves top government officials at both state and local government level.You will find a top government staff having names of his children and relatives whom have not seen the fore walls of a classroom and sometimes their unborn grand children into government payroll as avenue to syphon the little resources accrued to that LGC or parastatals. For years such practice had been order of the day, where one person receives salaries of over 10-20 people, or you will find someone who is even out of the state without going to the office yet gets alert at the end of the month, turning government institutions to a Father Christmas. Seeing that Al-Makura is trying to take away all these from them, they became enraged over this development and sworn to fight back using every means necessary to defame, ridicule and turn the people against Governor Al-Makura.

Though,we acknowledge the fact that what the Al-Makura-led administration is facing from these enemies of the state is not uncommon with anyone or organization fighting corruption and the strategies employed by these corrupt individuals. Even the president is facing such campaign of calumny in the media. So we are urging him to be steadfast and remain on cause.

However, it is rather unfortunate for Governor Al-Makura to have the very components that he needed the most in his fight against corruption betray him.Even though they pledged to support his cause,but instead they took the path of sentiment and fell for cheap benefits. They abandon the true essence of their existence which is to promote and protect the interest of the people in which they represent. It will be recall that on Friday 10th September, 2015. The organized Labour in lafia organize a rally with the theme: “NLC campaign for Good Governance”to the Nasarawa state government house to register organized Labour’s support for president Buhari’s anti-corruption crusade and urged Governor Al-Makura to key into the Anti-corruption crusade of president Buhari in the state.At the occasion Comrade Danladi Sabo Namosaid and I quote “We thank God for sending us a messiah to come and salvage this country and he is no any other person than President Buhari. We also call on Governor Al-Makura to key into President Buhari’s crusade by fishing out bad elements in the state ministries.”  But little did Al-Makura know that they hypocritically gave him a mouth-service support that day.

It will also be recalled that recently the organized labour had been in disagreements with the government. Permit me to draw our attention to something very fundamental about organized labour-government history in Nasarawa state. Let me start by reminding us that the organized labour in Nasarawa State never went for strike or saw the need to in Governor Al-Makura’s, first four years in office until after his emergence at the 2015 Governorship polls. The Governor’s emergence suddenly triggered the drop of a hat for the organized labour to begin their several industrial actions against his administration. And in just one year of his second tenure they have called for industrial actions against this administration couple of times. Now here is the catch.Governor Al-Makura had been doing excellently well in his four years of his first term to this people (Organize labour) until he decided he wants to re-contest for a second term. That was his only offence, and the whistle for this war they waged against him was officially blown because the good people of Nasarawa state made their choice prevail by voting in Governor Al-Makura into office for second term to complete the good work he has started against the choice of the organize Labour’s candidate. So as a way of expressing their grieve they decided not to be reasonable and understanding with the government for the collective interest and development of our state.

Finally, I wish to use this medium to call on these saboteurs and all agents of our greatest and collective enemy (Corruption) to tow the path of honour and stop doing the biddings of some sworn enemies of our state helping them to stall the development and progress of Nasarawa state by trying to distract a man born to do the job, a man who have always match his words with actions, a man that has literally transform Nasarawa state especially our state capital Lafia into a real city, a man who brought about purposeful government in Nasarawa state. What this leader needs is our collective support not attacks.

However,I understand you feel a little far cry from how it used to be and sometimes you feel a bit under the weather as the fight wages on, yes I know those feelings but you know what, that is an indication that it’s game over. It means Elvis has since left the building. It’s over. Fights that will cost you an arm and a leg why continue? Why not sheath your sword and support peace and development as Al-Makura takes us to the promise land.

God bless Nasarawa state!!! God bless our amiable Governor!!! And God bless the Federal Republic of Nigeria!!!

Visit: http://www.nasarawanewsonline.com for more information and updates…

 

Email:chairmenforumabusrc@gmail.comman3nas@yahoo.com

Twitter: @General_Nas101

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

My Open Letter To The Good People Of Ekiti State By Paul John

I read in the news that some of you were deceived into staging a protest against the strong opposition voice to the current Federal Government. I sincerely believe that the protesters were hired with the aim of not only destabilising the state but also to whip up public sentiments . I have decided to write this letter to all who can listen. Ayodele Fayose is being persecuted for his opposition to the APC government. What type of democracy are we practising where every opposition is clamped down? Protesters these days are shot and survivors are charged with possession of arms that never existed. People are constantly made to believe that the current government is fighting corruption when actually political opponents are being clamped down. The same people that hoodwinked us during their campaign that there was nothing like fuel subsidy finally removed the subsidy just few months of assuming office, raising the petrol pump price of fuel from N87.50k to N145. I am yet to see the gains for such an increment. Last administration used their proceeds from such increment to establish SURE-P but we are yet to see what comes out from the increment by this APC administration.

 

Anybody that opposes the government is linked to the arms deal. The person will remain in custody even when there are court injunctions. Every other opposition has remained silent to avoid being linked to arms deal. Fani Kayode is still in custody and others like Nnamdi Kanu and Sambo Dasuki. Who knows if I will be invited by DSS for airing my view and be charged with treasonable felony? How can our country be moved to another level if there is no vibrant opposition? The same opposition that brought this government in power is what the APC led Federal Government is hell-bent on eliminating. Good minded people like me can never keep quiet when issues like this are being discussed. Section 308 exonerates a sitting governor and president and  deputy/vice  from civil and criminal prosecutions but APC led federal government through EFCC is telling us otherwise. The only safety a leader has in Nigeria now is being in APC. Very soon , Nigeria will become a one party system .

 

They promised jobs to our teeming youths during the campaign but today workers are constantly being dismissed due to harsh economic policies the present government brought in. They made us believe that the last administration was corrupt but the cost of living then was low and now that saints are in power, Nigerian citizens are gnashing their teeth. A minister was recently indicted by a panel of enquiry in the state he just finished as the state governor but  ‘immunity’ covers him when immunity does not cover a sitting governor or his assets. That was how I told them in my previous write-ups that the use of electronic card readers was against section 52 of the Electoral Act, APC lawyers came out then to hoodwink us that it was not true even when elementary physics taught that anything that makes use of electrons are electronic. I thank God that governor Wike ‘s   Supreme Court victory vindicated me.

 

They have been in the blaming game, making Nigerians to know that what Nigerians are suffering now is due to 16 years of PDP misrule, I then ask, shouldn’t they just hand over to PDP leaders to continue their misrule where fuel will be sold to the common Nigerian at N87.50k per litre, where oppositions will be allowed to thrive, where right to freedom of speech will not only be on books but also in practice. They have forgotten how PDP government took over the country in 1999 after many years of military exploitation. Today ‘black and white’ televisions have disappeared in all homes courtesy of the same PDP government they now want us to believe they are corrupt. Owning of household gadgets is no longer difficulty since PDP came into power in 1999 and many people that never had cars found it easier to buy cars, what do we have today, dollars and other hard currencies are rising to discourage importation of foreign goods, without making any provisions for import-substituting industries. It is a matter of time, Nigerians will decide which government is clueless, PDP administration or current APC government.

 

I read in the news that the lawyer pursuing Mr president’s certificate issue may soon be charged for discussing the matter before a court outside the court, when the same government has been discussing Sambo Dasuki’s arms deal, Nnamdi Kanu’s case and those of other of their ‘victims ‘ pending before different courts, on the pages of newspapers. Jonathan allowed opposition to thrive hence APC was formed but today, any state government or local government outside APC is guilty and the anti-graft agencies will clamp down on the state with all sorts of charges. They started by arresting Ekiti State lawmakers, believing that Ayodele Fayose could be impeached through cowing his lawmakers, reminiscing the late DSP Alamieseigha style but Fayose is unperturbed. Now, it is to whip up public sentiments so that the people of Ekiti State will hate their governor. I enjoin the people of Ekiti State to see beyond the present shenanigans. If they have anything against a sitting governor, let the court resolve it, the APC led government should allow the court to decide.

 

At least I still believe in the sanctity and incorruptibility of our judicial system. See our National Assembly, they are out to clamp on Saraki. If Saraki survives the asset declaration issue in Code of Conduct Tribunal, he will be ensnared with the recently commenced forgery charge. What was Saraki’s offence if not that he went against APC’s plan to emerge as the senate president? When I read where it was reported that Saraki’s trial would be on daily basis and that it would start in the morning till evening, I laughed because the target was to ensure that Saraki would not meet the minimum number of attendance required in the plenary hence his impeachment would commence but that failed. The next was forgery suit so that both Saraki and Ekweremadu would be out of the plenary to pave way for impeachment and you tell me to keep quiet. Instead of thinking of how to fix our rapidly-deteriorating economy, the present APC government is busy planning how to deal with the opposition. They either blame the past PDP administration or the falling international oil prices any time things go wrong.

 

When in 2008 or thereabout, there was a global economic meltdown, the then PDP-led Federal Government fixed the economy for us and they cushioned the effects of such hence the citizens never felt it but what do we see today, even the blind can see that the current APC administration has no policy or plan to cushion the effects of such fall in international  oil price rather the government is poised to make life more difficult for the citizenry by increasing the petrol pump price without increasing the minimum wage. The alleged corrupt PDP government handed an African largest economy to this APC government, I don’t know our current ranking. All I have to tell the protesters in Ekiti State is for them to look beyond the shenanigans. Will this current government ever tell you that Sambo Dasuki played a major role in the arrest of Mr President after his military regime was toppled? Will they tell you that opposition from Nnamdi Kanu, Fani Kayode, Fayose etc is landing them into charges ranging from corruption to treasonable felony? Of course they won’t! My last word for the good people of Ekiti will be to repeat the words of late Sam Mbakwe, who said that a fool once is not a fool but a fool twice is the real fool. Ekiti people, this is the time to take your destinies in your hands. Don’t be deceived into fighting your governor who happens to be the only man standing in opposition to the federal government .If they have any charge against him ,let them wait for him to finish his tenure in 2018.

Dr Paul John

Port Harcourt,Rivers state,mazipauljohn@gmail.com,08083658038

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

PDP Crisis: Sheriff Inaugurates Panel To Conduct Another Primary In Edo State

The crisis in the Peoples Democratic Party deepened on Thursday with the inauguration of five committees for the conduct of another primary for the 2016 Edo State governorship election by Ali Modu Sheriff.

This is coming barely four days after a similar primary by the Ahmed Makarfi-led Caretaker Committee produced Pastor Osagie Ize-Iyamu as the party’s standard bearer for the same election.

Sheriff, who inaugurated the committees, cited Section 50(1) of the PDP constitution which he noted was derived from the provisions of, relevant sections of the Constitution and the Electoral Act, as basis for his action.

The committees are: screening, appeal, ad-hoc delegate, and the main Governorship Primary Committee.

Sheriff explained that the primary would hold on June 29, 2016 in Benin, the Edo State capital. He accused the Makarfi-led committee of importing “Fulani herdsmen” to occupy the party’s secretariat.

The embattled former chairman who was flanked by many of his loyalists at the event, however, explained that he stayed away from the National Secretariat based on the advice of the just-retired Inspector-General of Police, Solomon Arase.

The former Borno State governor boasted that he would soon return to the party secretariat and occupy his seat  till 2018 when his tenure would expire in accordance with a court order issued by a Federal High Court sitting in Abuja.

He insisted that the primary election conducted by the Makarfi-led Committee for Edo state was a nullity because  according to him, the  Independent National Electoral Commission did not monitor the election as required by law.

He also revealed that a court in Abuja on Thursday made another pronouncement declaring that the Makarfi -led committee could not submit names of candidates for the Edo election to INEC.

Sheriff assured that the NWC under his leadership would produce a candidate for the PDP by June 30 to beat the July 10 INEC deadline for the submission of party candidate for the elections.

The chairman disclosed that three governorship aspirants had already picked the nomination forms after  paying the required N10m each into the party account to which he and the treasurer were signatory to. He did not name the aspirants.

He announced the chairman and secretaries of the committee as follows: governorship screening committee, Chief Makanjuola Ogunsipe as Chairman, with Hon Ahmed Wadada Aliyu as secretary; gubernatorial screening appeal committee have Chief Jide Damazio as Chairman with Usman Baderi as Secretary.

The three man Ad-Hoc delegate panel have a former Oyo State deputy governor, Hazeem Gbolarumi as Chairman with Bala Aboki as secretary.

In response, Makarfi dismissed Sheriff’s assertions and took exceptions to claims that he hired Fulani herdsmen to attack his opponents.

Also speaking on the issue, the Publicity Secretary of the Makarfi-led Committee, Dayo Adeyeye,  accused the Sheriff group of trying to destroy the party. Adeyeye insisted that INEC monitored the primary conducted by the Makarfi group.

Adeyeye said the party had “uncovered further plans by Sheriff and his co-travelers to deceive unsuspecting members of the PDP and security operatives.

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

Boko Haram Splits Over Ties With Islamic State – US General

A senior United States of America military General wednesday said the Boko Haram terror group had been fractured internally.

Lieutenant General Thomas Waldhauser, the nominee to lead the US military Africa Command (AFRICOM), disclosed this in Washington during his nomination hearing before the Senate Armed Services Committee.

Waldhauser said the problem in the group resulted from some members splitting from shadowy leader, Abubakar Shekau, over his failure to adhere to guidance from the Iraq and Syria-based Islamic State.

According to Reuters/NAN, Waldhauser said the internal division was illustrative of the limits of Islamic State’s influence over Boko Haram so far, in spite of the West African group’s pledge of allegiance to it last year.
“Several months ago, about half of Boko Haram broke off to a separate group because they were not happy with the amount of buy-in, if you will, from Boko Haram into the ISIL brand,” he explained.

He, however, said Shekau had not fallen into line with Islamic State’s instructions, including ignoring calls for Boko Haram to stop using children as suicide bombers.

Waldhauser said: “He’s been told by ISIL to stop doing that, but he has not done so, and that’s one of the reasons why this splinter group has broken off.

“But the Islamic State was trying to reconcile those two groups.”
The military chief said there was no evidence that Boko Haram had so far received significant operational support or financing from Islamic State.

He said the assessment suggested that Boko Haram’s loyalty pledge had so far, mostly been a branding exercise.
Waldhauser acknowledged differing opinions about how much influence Islamic State actually had over Boko Haram, which won global infamy for its 2014 kidnapping of 276 Chibok schoolgirls.

He said: “They certainly have not given them a lot of financial assistance.

“So the point could be that it is perhaps in improvement in tradecraft, in training and the like.”
Waldauser stated that Shekau’s local focus and voiced concern was about whether a splinter group may act more in concert with Islamic State’s trans-regional ambitions.

“What concerns me is the break-off group of Boko Haram, which wants to be more ISIL-like, and consequently buy into the ISIL-brand of attacking western interests,” he said.

Meanwhile, an army officer in Niger Republic said that a multinational force had begun operations against Boko Haram along the border between the country and Nigeria.

Brigadier General Abdou Sidikou-Issa, the Tactical Chief of Staff for troops based in Niger’s southern zone of Diffa, yesterday in Niamey said troops from Chad and Nigeria were involved in the operation.

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

Enhancing Economic Development Through Water Supply In Zamfara State, By Adamu Mustapha

From time immemorial, philosophers and scientists have linked development to the presence of safe and clean drinking water. In fact, the availability of and access to potable water is one of the strongest indicators for development in any society. It is therefore not surprising that 37 percent of the 884 million people in the world who lack access to safe water supplies live in Sub-Saharan Africa. As water is linked to development, so is it linked to poverty and almost 2 in 3 people who need safe drinking water survive on less than $2 a day.

Not only are people living without access to clean water burdened with poverty and underdevelopment, their health and education are also adversely affected. Worldwide nearly 1 out of every 5 deaths under the age of 5 is due to a water-related disease and in developing countries, as much as 80% of illnesses are linked to poor water and sanitation conditions. Half of the world’s hospital beds are filled with people suffering from a water-related disease, leading to more than 840,000 deaths each year.
With these searing statistics in mind, it becomes almost impossible to not view what Dr Abdul’aziz Yari Abubakar has achieved in improving access to potable water in Zamfara State over the last five years as a revolution. Most state governments in Nigeria pay close to zero attention to provision of potable water. It is one of those issues politicians rarely campaign with or give any promises about. Whatever is done in that sector is hardly regarded as an achievement. But Governor Yari Abubakar has spent a great deal of time and resources over the last five years bringing lasting solution and succour to Zamfara State.

 

When his administration assumed office in 2011, Yari Abubakar wasted no time in giving the strongest possible hint that water provision would be of the highest priority to his government. The Governor kicked off efforts in the regard by ensuring the speedy completion of the N636million Kaura-Namoda water treatment plant in order to ease the persistent problem of water scarcity in Kaura-Namoda Local Government. He personally inspected the project, which was inherited from the previous administration but was curiously omitted from the handing over notes.
One year into office, the administration of Yari Abubakar awarded a N6.7 billion contract for the construction of a water treatment plant at Talata Mafara. The project at its completion was expected to provide five million gallons of treated water to Talata Mafara, Maradun, Bakura and Maru Local Government Areas (LGAs) of the state. The true test of Yari Abubakar’s leadership ethos came when while he was away, the Deputy Governor of Zamfara State, Ibrahim Wakkala, in acting capacity inspected this monumental project and ordered the demolition of part of the water treatment plant over non-adherence to contract specifications. The engineering consultants handling the projects had raised observations over the contractor’s violation of contract agreement, and the Deputy Governor, being well grounded in the administration’s vision said the government would not compromise quality and standard in any job awarded in line with its principle of transparency and accountability.
In 2013, Yari Abubakar continued with his vision of executing at least one major water project each year to improve access to clean and safe drinking water in Zamfara State. The dredging of the Gusau water barrage and the provision of two underground fresh water plants and reservoirs to complement the barrage in an effort to ensure consistent water supply in the state capital were classified as priority projects. Two years in, the Yari Abubakar administration had spent N7 billion to improve water supply in all parts of the state with the rehabilitation and expansion of Kaura Namoda and Talata Mafara water works as achievements.
Seeing the dedication and commitment of the Zamfara State government under the leadership of Dr Yari Abubakar to the provision of adequate water supply, international organizations in 2015 partnered with the government to achieve even more. The governor signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the United Nations International Children Education Fund (UNICEF) in conjunction with the Department For International Development (DFID) in effort to enhance the provision of water and sanitation in the state. He also immediately approved the release of N85 million counterpart funding for the projects to be executed under the MoU. Birnin Magaji, Tsafe and Gusau were selected as piloting local government areas to immediately benefit from the projects, before expanding to all the other local government areas.
So far in 2016, N111 million has been committed by the government, through the Ministry of Water Resources, to tackle water shortage usually experienced during dry season by residents in Gusau, Zamfara State capital and its environs. The expansion of water pipelines from Koramar Wanke and Yarkusa reservoir directly to the water board is almost completed. Similar projects are executed in all the 14 local councils of the state before 2019 to ensure that the acute water shortage being experienced by the communities is addressed.

 

Travelling through Zamfara State there is a recurring theme, from one local government to the other, giant water supply plants powered by solar energy. From Kasuwar Daji, to Gora in Maradu local government, to Rini in Bagura local government, these water schemes have gone a long way in improving the economic development of the communities where they are sited. And there is perhaps no greater form of economic empowerment, albeit indirectly, for the women in these communities. Almost two-thirds of households rely on women to get the family’s water when there is no water source in the home and in many developing countries, millions of women spend several hours a day collecting water from distant, often polluted sources. The United Nations estimates that Sub-Saharan Africa alone loses 40 billion hours per year collecting water; the same as an entire year’s labour in all of France.
For Yari Abubakar, no policy decision or investment is in isolation, and there is a nexus, driven by innovation and thoughtfulness, between education and water supply in Zamfara. As government embarked on wide rehabilitation of old structures and construction of new ones in schools across the state, they were also equipped with their own solar-powered water supply schemes. The ingenuity behind this is fully appreciate when you learn that more than half of all primary schools in developing countries don’t have adequate water facilities and 443 million school days are as a result.
According to the World Health Organization, for every $1 invested in water and sanitation, there is an economic return of between $3 and $34. Haven committed N26 billion over the last five years to the establishment of an efficient system of production and distribution of clean and safe drinking water, Yari Abubakar has undoubtedly set Zamfara State on the path of economic prosperity while alleviating the sufferings of the people.

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

Obaseki Emerges APC Guber Candidate In Edo State

Chairman of the Edo State Economic and Strategy Team, Godwin Obaseki, has emerged candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC) for the September 10 governorship election.

Obaseki defeated 11 other candidates, including Pius Odubu, deputy governor of the state.

Announcing the results at the Samuel Ogbemudia Stadium, Benin, governor of Katsina state and leader of the party’s national delegation, Aminu Masari said Obaseki scored 1,618 votes, while Pius Odubu, his closest rival, who is the current deputy governor, polled 471 votes.

Chris Ogiemwonyi, former minister of state for works, secured 137 votes; Ken Imasuagbon, had 247 votes; and Osariemen Osunbor, former governor of the state, got eight votes.

Ebegue Amadasu, also polled eight votes; Charles Airhiabvere, a retired general, garnered 11 votes, Emmanuel Arigbe-Osula, 10 votes; Austin Emuan, seven votes; Blessing Agbomhere, fives votes, and the only female aspirant, Mrs. Tina Agbarha, got three votes.

Masari said 41 votes were invalid. A total of 2582 delegates partook in the exercise.

Obaseki holds post graduate degrees in both finance and international business, and is a fellow of the Chartered Institute of Stock Brokers, Nigeria.

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

Much Ado About Hijab In The State of Osun By Kikiowo Ileowo

Much has been said in recent time about the wearing of Hijab and church robes to school by pupils in public schools in Osun State. However, what has apparently been missing in the discussions are facts and logic on which antagonists could situation their objections of before passing their judgement.

Before going to the crux of matter, let me lay background of the true situation of things as regards the recent hullaballoo amongst groups that represent the interest of diverse religious groups in Osun. We have Christians represented by the Christian Association of Nigeria, CAN; the Muslims represented by the Muslim Students’ Society of Nigeria, MSSN; the government led by Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola, and other interested parties in the case.

The religious conflict got to a crescendo when an Osun State High Court judge, Justice Jide Falola, delivered a judgment in favour of a case instituted by the MSSN against the state government on the right of female Muslim students in state public schools to wear Hijab to school. The judge declared the wearing of Hijab in public schools by female Muslim pupils as legal and appropriate.

The Muslims had dragged the state government headed by Ogbeni RaufAregbesola to court over the refusal of some ‘Christian’ public schools to allow their female pupils/ students wear the Hijab. After the judgment, the CAN Osun chapter instructed Christian pupils to wear church robes to school if the state government implements the judgment. 
To cut the long story short, some five students following the instruction of the CAN leaders, wore church robes to school last week. In fact, the CAN leaders followed the pupils to schools to make sure they weren’t turned back for wearing their church robes (never mind they haven’t carried out such an action over the failure of some Christian pupils after their examinations).
Interestingly, a similar suit by the Muslim group in Lagos had failed to see the light of the day as the judge, Justice Modupe Onyeabor, rule that the prohibition of the wearing of Hijab over school uniforms within and outside the premises of public schools was not discriminatory.
According to her, the ban does not violate Sections 38 and 42 of the 1999 Constitution as claimed by the plaintiffs. The judge also said Section 10 of the Constitution made Nigeria a secular state and that government must maintain neutrality at all times. Justice Onyeabor held that the government had a duty to preserve the secular nature of the institutions concerned as argued by the then Lagos State Solicitor-General, Mr Lawal Pedro (SAN).
The Muslims in Lagos have since proceeded to the Court of Appeal where it is yet to be determined. Why should the case of Osun CAN be different? Aren’t they supposed to be the salt and light of the earth? Aren’t they supposed to be leading by example?
Rather than take the legal route, CAN in Osun resorted to self-help, asking students to disobey school rules by wearing unapproved uniforms. The Christians based their argument on one point; the Muslims cannot be allowed to wear Hijab in ‘Christian schools’.
By Edict No. 14 of 1975, the then military government took over private/missionary schools because, according to available records, “the owners charged exorbitant fees and did not give quality education to students.  School buildings were of substandard structures, unqualified teachers were employed, teaching and learning materials were inadequate while classrooms were over-crowded.”
This was the summary of the situation of privately owned schools that prompted the takeover of all such schools in 1975.  It should be mentioned here however that the findings of the Western State Government in 1975, was not at variance with, but a replica of one common feature of the reports of the various Educational Review Committees set up at different times in the old three main regions of Nigeria.  These include the Oldman’s Report in the old North, Dike’s Report of the old East, and Banjo’s Report of the Western Region.  The reports of the various committees intensely reflected the acute immobility that had characterized the inherited colonial system that involved prejudice, high handedness, religious discrimination in pupils’ enrolment, staff recruitment and the general administration of schools.
In fact, the “Takeover of schools Validation Decree” of 1977, which still remains in force, states that, “the hold of government on those schools has afforded it the opportunity to provide sustained education to the mass majority of the Nigerian public at an affordable cost, without religious discrimination and bias”.
What this means is that there are no Christian or Muslim schools in Osun. There are only PUBLIC schools. The government back in 1976 resolved to keep the names given by the missionaries. That is why you have public schools bearing names such as Ede Muslim Grammar School, Baptist High School, Adeeke, Iwo, etc.
The schools may bear religious names, but they belong to the government/public. They are being financed with public funds. Most of the schools now wear new look, with modern learning equipment paid for by all citizens of Osun, which include Christians, Muslims, traditional worshippers, agnostic and atheists alike.
Therefore, the schools the Christians are laying claims to are government schools. They were acquired from diverse sources; religious, individuals, communities, groups, etc in 1975. That was, 41 years ago.
But for the five students of Baptist High School, Adeeke, Iwo, many Christian pupils in Osun ignored the CAN leadership, toeing the path of decorum and civility. In truth, the school where the orchestrated drama took place housed three schools with combined population of about 3000 students and we saw no other student wear unapproved garments to school.
Even though the Ogbeni had reiterated his stand on the matter, when he said at an event earlier this week that, “It is not the business of any government, through the schools, to lead a child in a particular religious direction. That will be for parents and religious institutions, in private capacity, until the child is grown enough to make a decision on religion.
He said, “The government cannot support or be seen to be supporting a particular religion. The government is a democracy, not a theocracy. I believe also that parents and society should complement the government in shaping the minds of the pupils to be receptive to knowledge and godly character formation; to be sensitive to the need of others, the plurality of our society and the imperative of mutual toleration. They should also be brought up to be team players, even when in a competitive environment. It amounts to subversion of the educational needs of a child for them to be drawn into and used for political purposes.”
Despite this reassurance from the state governor, CAN went ahead to carry out its provocative threat. Going forward, the motives of the CAN leaders in Osun must be questioned. In whose interest are they acting?
For most part, CAN played and is still playing the role of government opposition rather than a pious body meant to instil morals and discipline in many of its followers who look up to it for leadership. A body like CAN ought to, at all times, promote peace and harmony, rather than seek through the back door, what it could have pursued in a court of law.
Muslims have been wearing Hijab to schools since God knows when. As a Christian, it doesn’t hinder my faith or ability to learn. If the CAN leadership has a problem with it, they should approach the law courts, rather than embark on actions that could cause disaffection amongst the peace loving people of Osun.
Ileowo Kikiowo is the Chief Strategist at Revamp Media.
[easy-social-share buttons="facebook,twitter" counters=0 style="button"]

My Pact And Contract With The Good People Of Ondo State, By Victor Adekanye Olabimtan, APC Guber Aspirant

My good people of Ondo State,

Consequent upon widespread consultations propelled by the reminiscence of yesterday, the doldrums of today and passionate desire for an exciting tomorrow, all of which resulted in my decision to submit myself to be used by God for the restoration of our dear state, to the place of glory by God’s grace and your support, I hereby present to you my pact and contract with the good people of Ondo state. These I am convinced are areas of critical intervention which “our government” intends to pursue if elected, and sworn-in come 2017.

The present realities of Ondo State today is worrisome. The last six years have been very tragic such that an average Ondo State resident has lost faith in the sincerity of the government. We now have despair and disillusionment in place of hope and optimism, retrogression and backwardness in place of progress and development. An atmosphere of despondency be hh   now prevails because of insufficient and corrupt leadership. Inspite of over 500 billion naira that had accrued to Ondo state from various sources, our educationsector is in a very poor state; public infrastructure are decadent and our finances in a serious mess with a debt burden of over 100 billion naira.

Leadership recklessness and profligacy have brought us down from a financially buoyant state in February 2009 to a present state of abject indebtedness. Ondo State today is littered with neglected and abandoned projects of past and present administration. The legacies of our heroes past have been systematically decimated.

We need not lose hope, rather we must take our faith in our hands as I believe, OndoState can rise again. I have no doubt that in the face of impossible odds, people who love their country or state can change it with their resolute commitment and determination to enshrine good governance. This should be our common challenge.

For these, I offer my service to the good people of Ondo State at this very critical moment. I want to be your Chief servant in 2017 through your supports and votes. I was once a teacher, and had also served as Chairman of the Teaching Service Commission. I have therefore been close to the grassroots to know their problems. I have been a Legislator and a Speaker of the Ondo state House of Assembly which has afforded me deep insight into the art of governance, knowledge and familiarities with the problems and aspirations of the people of Ondo state. I have equally served as a Commissioner representing Ondo, Ekiti and Edo states at the Federal Civil Service Commission. I am therefore not a neophyte in public service matters as I have been sufficiently familiar with the public / civil service which is the machinery through which government policies and programs are carried out.

VISION STATEMENT

  • To lay solid foundation and chart a new course, for the advancement of Ondo state.
  • To establish a virile and sustainable structure for service delivery, integrity, transparency, equity, fairness, justice, peace and security.
  • To be committed to the welfare and general well-being of the people.

OUR MISSION

  • To rescue and draw back the state from the edge of the precipice and near total collapse where the inefficient and ineffective leadership has driven it to.
  • To develop Ondo state for the general good and overall well-being of the residents without any discrimination whatsoever.
  • To remove wastages and wage war against corruption, so that the citizenry can once again trust and have belief in their leaders and the government.

ACTIONS FOR POLICY OBJECTIVES

In accomplishing the set goals, my guiding philosophy shall be the oneness and unity of the state, equality before the law, respect for and abiding with the tenets of democracy, social and economic justice for all and finally the fear of God which we all accept to be the beginning of wisdom. In this regard, I have therefore committed myself to an agenda to actualize my vision and mission for our dear state.

ONDO STATE OF OUR DREAM

The task to make things work and develop Ondo State is a collective responsibility. Therefore our mandate will provide good governance, foster conducive business environment, and make the pursuit of peace and prosperity a unifying factor for allresidents of the state. Our team is committed to empowering the public service to deliver efficient services and to promote the restoration of infrastructure, jobs and economic growth. In pursuance of these, we shall focus on the following SIX priority areas:

  1. GOOD GOVERNANCE

ACCOUNTABILITY AND TRANSPARENCY

We shall institute the three tenets of Probity, Accountability, and Transparency (PAT) as a government policy. We believe that our state public service needs to be motivated and restored to its previous high standard. An improved public service will lead to enhancement in service delivery, transparency and accountability. Our government will empower the civil service for effective and efficient service delivery through reforms, whilst reducing corruption, eliminating duplication of functions and minimizing waste of public resources. We shall attract the best and brightest into our public service while training and retraining existing personnel will be a priority.

We shall undertake a wholesome budgetary reform that will ensure the reduction of overheads and waste, raise capital expenditure and observe budgetary discipline in accordance with existing laws. Enhance accountability and stop the under-declaration of revenue that should go into the consolidated revenue fund and the State-Local Government Joint Account, thereby increasing resources available to the local government. Pursue rigorous implementation and compliance with the Fiscal Responsibility and Public Procurement Acts and faithfully apply sanctions for non-compliance.

ECONOMIC PLANNING

We are committed to a proper financial and statistical planning on the needs of Ondo state. We shall pursue and implement purpose-driven economic policies to grow the state GDP through the following;

  • Ensuring real time on line access to actual position of the state finances to prevent misuse and other forms of abuse by receiving agencies.
  • Reducing leakages in the tax collection and administration process.
  • Running a transparent and accountable government, ensuring prudent management of the state resources.
  • Ensuring that the funds of the state are used for development purposes.
  • Creating viable Public Private Sector partnership to jump start the economy.
  • Reducing dependence on federal allocation as a means of funding government.

ADMINISTRATION

The purpose of government in any society is to administer the common wealth of the people for the benefit of all. Our government will be people centered. We shall strive to build a better and just society, where hard work and honesty are rewarded, equity, fairness and justice prevail, and where no segment of the society develops at the expense of others.
Local Government: This tier is the closest to the people and therefore its purpose and independence shall be our priority. We shall therefore ensure that at all times our local government is managed by people elected by the electorate. We will ensure that on a monthly basis local government gets the full amount due to it from the federation and state accounts so that custodians can use such funds for the development of their areas.Our vision is that each local government will be as desirable as the state capital in terms of infrastructure, social life, access to amenities and economic viability. This we believe will ultimately help check rural urban drift and give every citizen in the state an equal sense of belonging.

Civil Service: The once virile Ondo State Civil service, has been battered by ineffective leadership. There is the need to re-structure and reposition the Civil service for the daunting tasks ahead of all of us. Our government will ensure a civil service that is responsive, efficient and well-motivated being the engine room of any administration. Our reform will make the work environment more conducive, stimulating and rewarding. In addition to these, our civil service policy will include:

  • Regular promotion and capacity building.
  • Strengthen and adequately fund the Home Ownership Scheme for public servants.
  • Comprehensive review of civil service structures as part of our efforts to create a people friendly civil service.
  1. EDUCATION, HEALTHCARE AND SOCIAL DEVELOPMENT

EDUCATION

Promote affordable, qualitative and functional education: The policy of our administration will be free, qualitative and compulsory basic and secondary education for all children in the state. We shall not deviate from the global operating standard as stipulated by the United Nations for successful teaching and learning. Our educational policies and programs are aimed at eradicating illiteracy in OndoState, ensuring every child gets at least nine years of free basic education, improving infrastructure and tools, while attracting the best people in character and learning to the teaching profession. In addition we shall revive and expand all vocational centers for technical skills acquisition, and also address the needs of the physically-challenged who require special education.

BASIC EDUCATION: A child’s right to education should not be denied irrespective of background. Education is the greatest gift any responsible government can give to the society. Our government will therefore:

Ensure that teachers are qualified and adequately trained to impact knowledge to our children.

  • Ensure that books are available in our school libraries through a deliberate policy of periodic stocking of libraries with textbooks.
  • Ensure that the curriculum is critically examined and if need be reworked to meet global standards.
  • Ensure that computer education is a compulsory part of the curriculum in all schools.
  • Improve incentives to teachers and work with all stakeholders to restore the dignity of the teaching profession and improve school administration.
  • Ensure full implementation and enforcement of the Universal Basic Education Act with specific emphasis on tuition-free, compulsory basic education for every child living in Ondo State
  • Fix all collapsed and abandoned educational infrastructure in our schools.
  • Establish special home ownership scheme for teachers.
  • Promote and support programs that give special attention to education of girl-child.
  • Improve the literacy level of the society through special attention to adult education.

SECONDARY EDUCATION: Our Government will re-organize secondary educationsystem to be in tune with modern trends and technology. We will rebuild our education system to focus on the followings:

Free and qualitative education in all secondary schools.

  • Guarantee that the existing secondary institutions will receive the required attention to ensure quality education in all our schools.
  • Develop effective use of innovative teaching methods in secondary schools utilizing the latest technologies and teaching tools.
  • Build and equip more libraries in schools and community centers with access to online educational and enlightenment materials throughout the state.
  • Learning environment and quality of teachers will be improved to increase professionalism and raise the quality of secondary school graduates.
  • Institute workable reward system for teachers and appropriate trainingprovisions to improve their competence.
  • Ensure constant inspection and enforcement of performance standards.
  • Promote and support institutions that impart life-long skills for all, in and out of formal schooling.
  • Promote inter-schools competitive programs.

TERTIARY EDUCATION: Our tertiary institutions will be upgraded and maintained to compete favorably with others through the followings;

  • Effective funding of all tertiary institutions in Ondo state without discrimination or favoritism.
  • Ensure full optimization of the capacity of existing technical and commercial colleges, and expand where necessary.
  • Encourage innovative learning and research, through collaboration and exchange programs with tertiary institutions within and outside the country.
  • Make our University Education entrepreneurial and result oriented.
  • Promote and support science and technology
  • Facilitate retooling and skills transfer programs for unemployed youths to make them self-employed or employable and productive citizens.
  • Support, encourage and mentor student unionism in all our tertiary institutions to restore its loss glory.
  • Encourage students to be constructively involved in policy formulation by making sure that they are heard and carried along on all student affairs matters, affecting their institutions.
  • Ensure free, fair, credible and rancour-free Student union elections without government interference in all our tertiary institutions.

SCHOLARSHIP AND BURSARY

  • We shall undertake a situation assessment of the Ondo State Scholarship Scheme for effective delivery of its mandate.
  • Our government will execute a merit based scholarship program where every student of Ondo state origin in any tertiary institution with a CGPA of 2:1 or its equivalent will automatically qualify for scholarship.
  • Our bursary program will be easy to access as adequate and dedicated provision will be made for it every year with appropriate and periodic review.

HEALTH

Our government will be absolutely committed to the health and well-being of the people. The policies and programs are aimed at first, reducing incidence of diseases through promotion and enforcement of environmental sanitation and preventive healthcare. We shall pay special attention to the development of diagnostic and curative capacities of our primary and secondary health facilities. Maternal and child mortality is a global sensitive issue and so rather than just create specialized hospitals for pregnancy issues, every hospital will be made both mother and child friendly such that every hospital from specialist to Basic Health Centres in all nooks and crannies of Ondo State will be adequately equipped with qualified, experienced personnel and facilities to ensure that all pregnant women in the state, experience easy and successful delivery. We shall create access to healthcare for all our citizens through a well-managed and properly funded Comprehensive Healthcare Delivery System (CHDS). To achieve these, we shall:

  • Provide effective and accessible health care for all.
  • Provide efficient accident and emergency ambulance service.
  • Provide primary health clinics in each ward with special attention to the needs of children, women and the elderly.
  • Provide functional and mother and child friendly general hospitals in every Local Government Area.
  • Establish free blood pressure and sugar level checks center in every governmenthealth facility.
  • Create a comfortable and conducive work environment for all health personnel across the state.
  • Raise the quality of all general hospitals through deliberate investments in infrastructure, diagnostic equipment and continuous professional development of personnel.
  • Focus on preventive health care through continuous immunization, improved environmental sanitation, fumigation of high risk areas, and nutritional enlightenment programs and the improvement of diagnostic and curative capacities.
  • Create one tertiary (specialist) hospital in each of the Senatorial Districts.
  • Implement aggressive policies to reduce infant and maternal mortality, including the provision of free care in public health facilities to the following vulnerable groups:

(i) Ante-natal care for pregnant women

(ii) Babies and children up to the age of 5

(iii) The elderly above the age of 65

(iiii) Those afflicted with infectious diseases such as Ebola, Leprosy, Tuberculosis, HIV/AIDS and the likes.

  • Provide health insurance scheme for all residents to enable them enjoy reliable and quality health care.
  • Encourage active health investment and partnership with international healthcare groups and other tertiary health institutions to eliminate the need for medical tourism abroad.

SOCIAL DEVELOPMENT AND WELFARE

Our administration will create enabling environment for the youths, women, artisans,aged and trade unions by giving them unhindered opportunities to excel and contribute to the growth of the economy. Our social development and welfare policies will include the design and implementation of a sustainable safety net for vulnerable groups, timely pension payment for our senior citizens and programs to engage the youths of Ondo State in productive activities, encouraging competition and excellence and the pursuit of careers in sports, entertainment and other vocations. Our social development and welfare policies shall provide for:

Children: Guarantee the protection of children, the safety of every child, particularly the rights of the vulnerable, such as street children, trafficked children, Children with disabilities, criminalize child labor and enforce the Child Abuse Law in the State.

Youths: We shall provide opportunities for Ondo state youths to realize, harness, and develop their full potentials and to facilitate the emergence of a new generation of citizens committed to the sustenance of good governance and service to the people and the country. Our key priority will be getting the larger majority of our youths into entrepreneurship to bring the productive population of our state into contributing to the nation’s economy.

We shall deliberately provide recreational/sports centers and parks for our public schools and public places to guarantee the mental balance of every youth and promote quality labor force for the future. We shall reform every aspect of the juvenile justice system dealing with children in conflict with the law. Our focus for the young adults is massive job creations, responsible living and encouragement to contribute to societal development.

Women: We shall ensure that the rights of women are protected as enshrined in our Constitution, guarantee that women are adequately represented in government appointments and provide greater opportunities in education, job creation and economic empowerment. Our women will be encouraged to contribute to economic development by giving them the opportunity to access 40% of positions available in government based on merit. We shall support and empower our women folk by strengthening the institutional capacity of the Ministry of Women Affairs to enable greater attention and effectiveness in its coordination of women development matters across ethnic, linguistic, religious or other sectional divides; to empower them financially through skills acquisition and robust funds support scheme.

We shall commit to the needs/issues that concern widows, single parents and disadvantaged / challenged women (including enforcing the protection of women against Domestic Violence as enshrined in the Domestic Violence Law 2007 and supporting the Nigeria Women’s Charter that details policy expectations and commitment on issues related to the improvement of the lives of women). In addition to these, work out a tax-incentive plan for women in business to encourage greater participation by women in the economy, and implement a policy of equal opportunity for women and men in the party structure and government.

Market-women and markets administration: We shall strengthen our existing markets, build new ones and encourage our market women to make good use of the markets. The Local Government Authorities (LGA) in our administration will be empowered to supervise and support the market women in the smooth running of the markets. Special loan schemes will be created for market women to support their business and reduce the bottlenecks associated with corporate loans from banks. Market women will also be encouraged to form cooperative societies that will make it easier for them to access federal government special grants for Small and Medium Enterprise (SME). Our administration will ensure that market women are consulted and have their voices heard always before decisions are taken on markets across the state.

Drivers, Okada-riders and Artisans: The contribution of Drivers, Okada-riders and Artisans to our economy cannot be ignored. Therefore our administration will give special attention to these groups of people by strengthening and empowering them. Our administration will create enabling policies for all Drivers, Okada-riders and Artisans to operate and excel in a rancor-free environment. The existing loan schemes for Drivers, Okada-riders and Artisans will be upgraded and strengthened to enable the scheme to reach more operatives and be more effective. Our government will not interfere in the election and running of Drivers, Okada and Artisans unions. We shall allow operatives to take full control and ownership of their unions within the confine of existing law to ensure peace and harmony among all operatives. Our administration will ensure that Drivers, Okada-riders and Artisans are consulted and have their voices heard always before decisions are taken on their business and operations.

The Aged: Our administration will ensure timely payment of benefits to all pensioners and design a sustainable safety net targeting the needs of all aged residents on the state. Provide social welfare for Senior Citizens (both male & female) in the short and long terms, as partakers in the overall resources of the State. Provide shelter homes/food courts with basic health facilities to be funded through a trust fund and support of the relevant stakeholders.

Our Government will support the formation of non-partisan Community-based Elder’scouncils, capable of providing guidance in management, moral and ethical development in our society. Our Government will seek elders’ guidance and advice as inputs to our policy formation and implementation. We will support the senior citizens and help in their management of socio economic problems peculiar to the group (pensions, health and education).

Less-privileged, Orphans and Disables: We shall protect and enforce the rights and privileges of all disadvantaged persons irrespective of age, sex and circumstances. Every orphaned, abandoned, disabled and less-privileged child will be the responsibility of our government. We will promote an effective collaboration between our government and the civil society organizations in this regard.

  1. SECURITY, LAW AND ORDER

SECURITY

We believe that protection of lives and property of the people is the primary duty of the government. In this regard, we shall commit resources to a safe and attractive community to all residents and visitors alike by attacking the roots of insecurity and support the federal agencies responsible for maintaining law and order in the state. We shall partner and synergize with federal agencies to make Ondo state the most secured state in Nigeria.In line with this affirmation our government shall:

  • Respond to the operational needs of security agents through provision of mobility, surveillance and communication gadgets, protective gears and conducive working environment.
  • Implement policies to promote harmonious coexistence to ensure that residents are free to live, work and worship as they wish in any part of the state irrespective of tribe, ethnic and religious affiliations.

LAW AND ORDER

Attribute of good governance are justice, equity and fair play. Our government therefore will be committed to the protection of the rights of every citizen and enforcement of all laws that allow peaceful co-existence of all persons in the State through the followings:

  • Ensure speedy access to justice by all individuals in Ondo State, by reforming the courts system and procedural rules.
  • Strengthen existing Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) mechanisms andprovide free legal services to the oppressed and less-privileged in our society.
  • Improve welfare packages of Judicial Officers and upgrade courts with modern ICT facilities.
  • Ensure judicial autonomy.
  1. INFRASTRUCTURE, INDUSTRIALIZATION, ECONOMIC GROWTH AND JOB CREATION

The continuous neglect of infrastructure both in urban and rural areas has had heavy tolls on the socio-economic activities of the state and by consequence the welfare of our people. One of the first priorities of our government will be to reorganize and refocus state agencies responsible for provision of infrastructure. We shall commence immediate rehabilitation of township roads, rural roads, and provision of transformers amongst others. The state and local governments will work together in a coordinated manner to achieve accelerated infrastructure development.

Ondo State enjoys the advantage of being a major link (by road) between the south-west and other regions of the country and; of having the longest coastline in the West African sub-region, serving as access point to other seaports in Nigeria. We hope to leverage these endowments to grow the state’s economy and create jobs for our people. Our government will do all these through:

INFRASTRUCTURE DEVELOPMENT

The policy trust of our government shall be to promote good, quality and purposeful infrastructure at the best of cost to government. Roads, water and electricity will be given greater priority with appropriate budgetary vote. We shall embark on a major statewide public works program to expand, upgrade and refurbish the infrastructural fabric of Ondostate, so that its residents can enjoy a better quality of life. The immediate focus shall bethe expansion of access to electricity and rehabilitation of our roads to ease urban and rural transportation. All existing intercity roads linking the major urban and farming centers of the state will be rehabilitated to motorable conditions. We shall strengthen the state agencies in charge of planning, environment and urban management to collaborate with local governments and municipalities to ensure that streets are cleaned, solid and liquid waste collected, processed and disposed off in an environmentally-sustainable manner.

INDUSTRIALIZATION THROUGH PPP

Our government will deliberately revive all moribund and abandoned industries using the public private partnership model whereby government equity will be minimal to enhance efficiency. The multiplier effects of job creation and tax payment will give the government and by extension, the state a good inflow of revenues.

Olokola Free Trade Zone: This is an initiative of a past government with a vision to liberate Ondo state economically. Forty (40) blue-chip organizations had at one timeshown interest to set up companies in the southern corridor of the state. Unfortunately the project was abandoned by the present administration. This project will be revisited to make it blossom. We envisage that the project will bring massive revenue and employment opportunities to the state with a considerable deployment of infrastructure from investors. We intend to pursue a policy that will form part of the MOU stipulating that 60% of employment in the companies must be given to Ondo state indigenes. This singular clause will reduce the rate of unemployment considerably. In addition, we shall empower our citizen to exploit economic opportunities within the zones.

Development of the non-oil Mineral Resources: Ondo State is blessed with abundant mineral resources, ranging from Bitumen to Ball Clay, Silica Sand, Kaolin, Limestone, Granite and several other mineral resources in commercial quantities. Our government will do things differently in this area. We will instigate a broad-based summit of experts, policy-makers, investors and other stakeholders within and outside the country, in collaboration with the federal government’s Ministry and Agencies in the Solid Mineral sector, to thoroughly examine the current state of this sector in the state with a view to recommending the appropriate lines of action for us to take in deriving the best possible benefits from these God-given resources. We hinge our hope on the established commitment of the APC national government to open up the Solid Mineral sector for the injection of private investments.

ECONOMIC GROWTH AND JOB CREATION

The realities of the global economic down turn in the last few years have made it extremely important for governments to devise strategies of keeping very well afloat. Unfortunately in Nigeria, most state government rely almost absolutely on resources shared from the federation account monthly. Our administration will strive to ensure a clear departure from this situation through sound economic policies which will include rapid and focused industrialization of the state to create jobs and astronomically improve our internally generated revenue using a friendly and honest tax policy.

We shall vigorously pursue policies that will encourage and support business owners to establish industries and businesses in Ondo state to pave way for the much needed economic growth and job creation for our teaming youths. Ondo state people are peaceful, dignified and hardworking, who desire and deserve gainful employment for their children and themselves. It’s a widely known fact that no government can employ every job seeker. The key to reducing unemployment to the barest possible and to boost internally generated revenue anywhere is for the government to promote conducive atmosphere for trading, manufacturing and production. Our Government therefore shall among other things:

  • Put in place a robust skills acquisition program to help small scale industries.
  • Develop integrated industrial estates for mini, micro and large manufacturing enterprises in the three senatorial zones of Ondo State.
  • Provide the estates with infrastructural facilities that reduce the cost of setting up industries (roads, electricity, water, and telecommunications).
  • Provide incentives targeted at attracting manufacturers /investors.
  • Re-invent the community based cooperative society to improve the economy of the rural populace.
  1. AGRICULTURE AND NATURAL RESOURCES MANAGEMENT

A fact that has continuously been ignored in our nation is the strategic place of agriculture in our collective desire for economic growth and employment generation. Our goal is to make agriculture the key driver of the economy of and the source of new jobs for our youths. Our government intends to empower the existing farmers, encourage new generation of farmers and support commercial agriculture by creating better access to land, farm inputs and machineries. To achieve these, our government shall therefore:

  • Upgrade existing farm settlements and establish new and purpose built farm estate with all necessary social amenities.
  • Help farmers massively in cultivation through provision of tools for mechanized farming.
  • Improve the quality and quantity of cocoa and other cash-crops through provision of improved seedlings and agro-chemicals.
  • Support farmers to attain increase in food production and better storage.
  • Provide assistance to farmers in exploiting profitable markets and market opportunities for their products.
  • Develop extensive farming in palm trees to strengthen existing ones and create fully integrated oil palm processing industry.
  • Promote all-season farming through irrigation.
  • Ensure the availability of agricultural extension workers to guide our farmers, and timely provision of fertilizers, chemicals and improved seedlings to our farmers at reasonable prices.
  • Open up rural areas to enable farmers get their produce to town.
  • Regenerate our forestry to restore its lost glory and economic viability.
  1. HOUSING, ENVIRONMENT AND TOURISM DEVELOPMENT

HOUSING

We consider home ownership a basic necessity and we will do everything possible to achieve this by the introduction of house ownership scheme to enable desiring individuals own houses. We shall restructure and strengthen Ondo State Housing Corporation to fulfil and deliver its mandate. In pursuance of these our government shall:

  • Help Ondo state residents realize their dream of home ownership through special housing schemes.
  • Actively support research and development on the use of local materials to force down building costs.
  • Provide infrastructures like good road network, portable water and communal spaces for recreation and other social functions, which are major requirement for thriving estates.
  • Provide a conducive environment for a private sector led estates in three senatorial districts of the state.

ENVIRONMENT

Our administration will put every effort in place to tackle and prevent the menace of flood and erosion in Ondo state. We will strategically partner with renowned waste management experts for effective and sustainable conversion of our waste to wealth through Public Private Sector Partnership (PPP). There will be an organized system of waste separation, collection, deposition and recycling. We intend to put in place a landscaping programs that will conform to professional standards in modern aesthetics and still remain environmentally friendly. Our vision is to embrace current scientific methods in controlling and managing our environment. Our government shall:

  • Encourage private sector driven waste management and beautification schemes to rid our communities of filth which threaten public health.
  • Work with the private sector to establish appropriate waste-to-wealth projects under a composite waste management policy in the three senatorial districts.
  • Ensure strict compliance to layout designs and landscaping programs to prevent flood and erosion.
  • Improve the enforcement of environmental/sanitation laws by expanding personnel, awareness and equipment.
  • Encourage tree planting at all levels

CULTURE AND TOURISM

Our administration will develop tourism in line with our cultural values. We shall recognize and harness the unique culture and tradition of our various ethnic units with investment made to showcase them to the international communities. Ondo state is rich in culture but unfortunately the opportunities for wealth creation through tourism have beenlargely underexploited. We shall therefore:

  • Develop Ondo State tourism potentials to its fullest to promote employment and wealth among the people.
  • Encourage development of at least a tourist attraction in each senatorial district.
  • Enhance the image of traditional rulers and institutions.
  • Mobilize our traditional rulers to showcase the state tourism potentials toour people in the diaspora and the world at large.

CONCLUSION

The above are not just manifestos for the sake of writing article, they represent my covenant with the people of Ondo state. I pledge that if you elect me as Governor of Ondo State in the election of 2016, by the grace of God, you will find in me a diligent keeper of promises and restorer of hope.

I am humbled by the support, encouragement and goodwill I have received from our people throughout the length and breadth of the State. This has created huge expectations and momentum for change that can only be reciprocated with delivery on our promises and agenda. This manifesto is hinged on delivering a life more abundant for our people and well aligns with, the objectives of our great Party, the APC. It is a determination to get the best for our people. Our agenda is to align our systems, processes and outcomes to that of a modern state where things work for all.

I am therefore calling on all eminent and well-meaning sons and daughters of Ondo state who are true achievers and whose contributions and names are fondly etched in the hearts of many and dot the landmarks to join in this endeavor. It is a collective effort that requires every resident and indigene of Ondo state to contribute in generating ideas, vote for change, and support change. Let’s jointly make the sun shine again in our dear state. We need your opinions and support because we recognize that this vision is not achievable without you. We will conduct the act of governance with vision that will put our dear state on the path of peace, opportunity, and prosperity for generations to come. These require strong vision and strong leadership. A leadership with sincerity, purpose and character to drive that vision is achievable with your support.

I therefore offer myself as a symbol of that leadership and vision.

Thank you in anticipation of your valued supports.

Victor Adekanye Olabimtan

…….let’s jointly make the sun shine again!

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