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‘It’s An Opportunity To Shop For Books In One Place’

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This is a continuation of the ‘World Book Capital 2014 Bid Summary’ started last Monday. Read on.

Culture, Tradition and African Literary Renaissance: A Roundtable Discussion with Young African Authors’: prominent Nigerian author will be invited to deliver a keynote address on this subject and this would be followed by a discussion by young African authors on the role of culture in literary traditions and its impact on the successive generations of writers. At the end of the discussion, a communiqué for action would be issued.

– The first Book-of-the Month (for May) will be announced during these events.

Closing Events

In the week leading up to World Book and Copyright Day 2015, Port Harcourt will again hold events to round off the World Book Capital year activities and initiatives. This celebration will feature:

– Port Harcourt World Book Capital Awards: in recognition of the role they have played to ensure the success of the yearlong programme and in promoting the books as our window to a world of opportunities, awards would be given to deserving individuals, schools, libraries, media, civil society organizations and other strategic partners.

–           Youth Exhibition: an exhibition entitled ‘Possibilities’ will showcase writings, poems and artwork by children and the youth that have been inspired by the theme of the World Book Capital.

– ‘The Book Leads Us Forward;” this drama presentation will be the concluding part of the ‘Along Came the Book’. Futuristic in nature, it will outline the lessons learnt from the yearlong activities and how these translate into possibilities for the future, with the book as a fundamental tool for social development and social change.

– ‘Sustaining the Legacy’ Symposium: will bring together all stakeholders who have been involved in the project from the onset in frank and open discussions on the future of the project beyond 2014 and make concrete plans on how to sustain the momentum and impact, going forward.

– Scaling and Enhancing Existing Initiatives

– Featuring the ‘book-of-the-month’: in each month of the World Book Capital year, a book would be chosen as the book-of-the-month. This book would be the focus of discussion in book clubs, as well as television and radio shows. Highlights of the various discussions would be collated and a communiqué issued with ideas of how lessons from the book-of-the-month can translate into possibilities in society.

– Running book clubs: existing book clubs around the city will be identified and supported and new ones will be set up to encourage regular reading and sharing with a focus on a Book-of-the-Month. This would then generate discussion around those books which should lead to thought or action that can improve society. A parallel online book club would run throughout the World Book Capital year. The book-of-the-month will address different age and reading levels.

– Meet the author: Each month, the author of the book-of-the-month will be invited to visit the city of Port Harcourt to interact with readers and do book signings. Participants will be able to interact with the author and engage them in discussions on the book.

– Leaders Read: Role models and popular icons from sports, film, politics, the private sector and academia, among others, will be invited to read to children from the book-of-the-month. This would also be a forum for mentoring and career guidance for participants.

– Garden City Literary Festival: In 2014, Port Harcourt will celebrate the 7th hosting of the Garden City Literary Festival. This festival is an important fixture in the Nigerian literary calendar, and we expect the 2014 edition to have an even bigger audience. This weeklong festival features an array of local, national and international writers and their works. It will explore the major themes of the World Book Capital programme with a diversity of participants from across the continent, events for children, writers’ workshops, drama performances and symposia.

Garden City Book Fair: The Garden City Book Fair holds during the GCLF. It features booksellers, publishers, and bookshops from across the country. It offers an opportunity for schools, libraries, organisations and individuals to shop for a variety of books in one place. Book signings by invited authors are a key feature at the book fair.

Rainbow Reading Tree: This is a graded reading scale which encourages youngsters to read a book a week over the year. As participants climb the tree, and successfully complete stipulated books appropriate to their age group at the required time, they would receive rewards/recognition.

New Activities

– Library Support Programme: the Rivers State Government has recently renovated over 100 public primary and secondary schools and each of these schools is equipped with a modern library. A book donation programme will be set up and individuals, faith-based organisations and private organizations would be encouraged to donate books or funds which would be given to these libraries. Also part of this drive would be to solicit for volunteers to teach in an adult literacy programme which can be hosted in the public libraries. This would open a world of opportunities for knowledge acquisition and information for the illiterate adult population. The programme would also develop an adult literacy manual and a training kit for volunteers who are committed to teaching people for all ages to read.

– Books on the Radio: recognizing the importance of the radio in Nigeria and other developing economies in reaching millions of people, the committee will leverage a local radio station’s weekly book club show, ensuring that the selected book-of-the-month is feature so as to get the entire city reading and discussing the same book. The book’s author will be invited to participate in the on-air discussions where listeners will be invited to call in with their questions, comments and observations.

– Television Show: a TV game show will be introduced in April 2014 and would run for the duration of the year. Patterned after the popular TV show ‘Who Wants to be a Millionaire’, the show will feature questions on literature, with particular emphasis to the book-of-the-month. The game show will be interactive and ensure audience participation.

– Monthly drama performances: the book-of-the-month will be adapted for a stage drama by the youth, children, and local theatre groups. Each of these groups would take turns throughout the year to put up a presentation during the month when the book is being read.

– The Walking Book: ‘The Walking Book’ is a creation of a communal story in the spirit of storytelling and oral traditions. The story will be passed from school to school over the course of the year with each school adding this own chapter. The book will be edited by eminent scholars and published towards the end of World Book Capital year. The ‘Walking Book’ will encourage young people to write and also to collaborate and share the lessons of life with each other. It is also an opportunity for students to come together in the spirit of unity and peace to create a tale ‘like no other’.

– Ken Saro-Wiwa Writer/Martyr Memorial Square: as part of the World Book Capital activities will be the establishment of the Ken Saro-Wiwa Writer/Martyrs Memorial Square to be located in a central point in Port Harcourt. The square will commemorate the life and work this illustrious writer and environmental activist who was brutally murdered in 1995 by the military government of the time. Apart from this, it will serve as a worthy commendation and celebration for other fallen Nigerian writers. The day would also be marked by symposia and discussions.

– Introduction of a writer’s residency: the World Book Capital year would be an opportunity to introduce a writers’ residency programme. Applications would be invited from established and aspiring writers to a one-year residency programme in Port Harcourt at the end of which they would be expected to write stories with themes on ‘possibilities’ for the Niger Delta. These stories would be published in an anthology.

– Essay Contest: as Nigeria turns 100, Port Harcourt will launch a nation-wide essay contest. The winner of the contest will have the unique opportunity of presenting his or her paper during the World Bank Book Capital closing ceremonies in March 2015.

– ‘Integration into existing state events: Major events in the annual cultural calendar of the city, such as CARNIRIV, the Rivers State Carnival, would feature the theme of the World Book Capital.

Conformity With UNESCO Principles

The planned activity programme and all its components are in conformity with the principles of freedom of expression, freedom to publish and to distribute information, as stated in the UNESCO Constitution. This includes the Principle of Non-Discrimination, freedom of speech, freedom of expression and freedom of association. The United Nations Education Science and Culture Organization (UNESCO) in its established legal foundations supports the freedom to publish and distribute information without any hindrance. They are also in strict conformity of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights in Articles 19 and 27. Distinctly and specifically, the UNESCO principles are particular on the principle of non-discrimination, equality of opportunity and treatment, universal access to education and the principle of solidarity.

This proposal being submitted in support of the city of Port Harcourt being selected as the World Book Capital for the year 2014 will endeavour to comply with all the principles stated above. This proposal, in its concepts and themes is geared towards the cultural education of society employing the concept of culture, creativity and memory with relations to achieving order both in thought and in action by a wide range of organisations and individuals towards which this project is targeted. The authors, icons, government institutions, students and ordinary lovers of literature and arts will share and benefit from the activities and programmes arising out of the themes, the concept and motifs of the proposal.

This proposal pays special attention to mental and cognitive development as a major outcome of literary enterprises by promoting dialogues and discourses across several regions in Africa and the world throughout the period in which Port Harcourt will serve as the World Book Capital.

Being mindful of the fact that writers all over the world are mostly in danger due to the peculiar nature of their profession, the proposal for Port Harcourt as the World Book Capital of 2014 lays emphasis on the protection of the rights of writers and book publishing companies in line with their fundamental right to publish and distribute cultural and educational materials. The programme on copyright, piracy and sanctity of the written word in Nigeria will draw attention to the dignity of the end product of literary activities to the extent that they are protected and their values restored appropriately within the confines of the time and energy devoted to their production.

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For The Record

Delivering Quality Projects, Soul Of My Administration-Wike

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Being a text of Governor Nyesom Wike’s address at the presentation of the six years progress report to mark the 2nd year of his second tenure on Monday, July 12, 2021.
Excerpts.

Protocol,

As you know, our government was first inaugurated on the 29th of May 2015 with a four years’ mandate. When it ended, we sought for and got a renewal in 2019 to continue in office for a second and final term.
The 29th of May 2021 therefore marked two historic milestones in our government. First, it marked the 2nd anniversary of our second term in office and second, it also meant that we have been in office for six consecutive years.
First of all, I wish to thank God Almighty for the grace to lead our State for the last six years and the strength, wisdom and enablement to deliver our vision of progress and transformation to the good people of Rivers State in the midst of very daunting challenges.
For us, our duty is to govern, and govern well. But it is for the people to judge whether we have done well or not taking all the circumstances into consideration.
That is why we have gathered our people to, yet again,present to you our account of stewardship for the last six years.
Let me therefore welcome and thank you all for honouring our invitation to this important accountability event as I proceed with my presentation.
Precisely six weeks ago, we kick-started the celebration of the second anniversary of our second term in office with the flagging-off and commissioning of new and completed projects.
For 40 days, we traversed the length and breadth of the State to either commission or flag-off various development projects cutting across different socio-economic sectors, including roads, bridges, education, healthcare, housing, social welfare, sports and rural development.
The entire nation was witness to this phenomenal harvest of projects in Rivers State as the sounds and sights of the happy and grateful beneficiary institutions, communities and people were beamed on live telecasts.
You may wish to recall that this is rather the third phase of the series of project commissioning events that our government has carried out since late December 2020.
Before you, or shortly to be distributed to you, is a compendium of 536 pages, which captures the fundamental achievements of our administration in the last six years in road infrastructure, rural development, economic progress, education, healthcare, housing, administration of justice, security,agriculture, social welfare, sports,as well as culture and tourism.
Going through this compendium, you will see, with facts and evidence,the claims and assertions on what we have delivered in practical terms to advance the progress of our State and well being of our people in the last six years.
From the very beginning, we stated that the mission of our administration was to mobilize and deploy all available resources to build a State that works for everyone; a State that every Rivers person and residents can all be proud of and be happy to live and raise their children.
We reaffirmed this commitment during our second inauguration and further pledged to continue to build on the foundations already laid to make our State a land of peace, justice and development.
We promised to continue to grow our economy, expand our revenue base and create viable economic opportunities for everyone to explore for the benefit of everyone and to the exclusion of no one.
We promised to continue to deliver on our equitable development agenda that guarantees the spread of public goods and services, including quality socio-economic infrastructure such as roads, bridges, health and education facilities to all parts of the State.
We also promised to continue to advance the progress of our rural communities with modern internal roads and other social amenities to spur their economic viability and stem the rural-urban drift.
We also promised to deliver some specific important roads and projects, including the long awaited trans-Kalabari road and the Ogoni – Andoni – Opobo unity road.
We further promised to continue to transform and elevate the infrastructural status of our capital city, Port Harcourt and the adjourning territories with our urban renewal programme and make Rivers State one of the preferred business and leisure destinations in Africa.
We also promised to continue with our responsibility to build a virile judicial system, support the security agencies to protect lives and property and make Rivers State more safe, convenient and welcoming for residents, investors and tourists.
It is six years into our journey of renewal, transformation and consolidation; a journey to build a new Rivers State with a better life and future for the present and generations unborn, and we are very proud with what we have so far accomplished.
Recall that we came into office at a time the national economy was and is still in turmoil with much reduced revenues accruing to the State governments.
You also know that we inherited a State with visibly decrepit infrastructure, litany of abandoned projects coupled with a hopeless economic and security situation as businesses were closing shops in their numbers.
Everyone knew that Rivers State, prior to our administration in 2015,was asphyxiated and in urgent need for the restorative oxygen of rehabilitation, reconstruction and renewal.
But with determination, commitment to purpose and prudent management of available resources, we have drastically changed the development trajectory of the State for the better with many more progress to be delivered before we exit the stage for the next government.
Most of you, if not all, will agree with us that fulfilling promises and delivering quality projects is the mind, body and soul of our administration.
From the economy to the provision of roads, security, and administration of justice to the provision of education, healthcare, housing, rural development, and in the advancement of sports, social welfare, culture, recreation and tourism, the constant, consistent and recurrent narratives of the last six years under our watch have been unprecedented delivery of projects, transformation and progress.
Our economy has not just recovered from regression; it has grown and far more robust, stronger and generating greater revenues for government now than when we came in six years ago.
Although the long failing national economy continues to be drag on our own growth prospects and projections, the fiscal policies and measures we have put in place have and will continue to sustain and increase our economy to create more opportunities for business, jobs and empowerment.
The Rivers Cassava Processing Company alone is a game changer in the long-subdued potential of making Rivers State the foremost hub in cassava production in Nigeria. We will leverage on this facility as well as the cassava value chain to create wealth, income and jobs for our teaming youths who are willing to take to the business of agriculture.
Our performance in the provision of quality infrastructure, especially roads, has generally been described as phenomenal with the echoes being felt, heard and commended everywhere across the nation.
With over a thousand kilometres of Trunk-A roads already delivered, no government has increased and improved the State’s road networks and connected as many communities to the State capital and other parts of the State with good quality roads as we have done in the last six years.
We will be happy to be contradicted, if any, but it is rather humbling to say that, not even the Federal Government, has embarked on the simultaneous construction of ten arterial flyovers, with three already commissioned, and the others at various stages of completion,to improve connectivity and traffic flow within a record period of two years as our administration has done.
Today, we have efficiently reconstructed and regenerated the entire road networks at the Old Government Reservation Area, Amadi Flats and substantial parts of new Government Reservation Area in Port Harcourt and Obio/Akpor Local Government Areas to further improve connectivity, restore environmental sanity and enhance the socio-economic conditions of the population that live and do business in these areas.
It is historic that the ancient coastal community of Opobo has been connected to the rest of the State and the country by a tarred road and we are as excited as the good people of Opobo for being the government that ensured this glorious reality in the infrastructure and socio-economic lives of this important and famous community after one and half century of existence, 61 years after Nigeria’s independence and 54 years after the creation of Rivers State.
Again, with us, the construction of phase one of the trans-Kalabari road is underway while the remaining portions of the Ogoni-Andoni would soon be completed to connect the coastal communities of Ngo, Ikuru and other towns along that way after decades of impossibility by the previous governments.
As at the last count, we have turned and transformed not less than 18 major single lane roads, including Igwuruta – Chokocho road, Saapkenwa – Bori road, Tam David West Boulevard, Rumuokwurishi – Eneka – Igwuruta road, Reumepirikom – Rumuolumeni road, Rebisi – Trans-Amadi – Oginigba road, Justice Iche Nduroad, Eagle Island – Illoabuchi road, Elelenwo – Akpajo road, Birabi road, Emeyal road, Tombia road, Forces Avenue, Olumeni road, Abacha road, and Harley street to dual carriage ways with street lights, pedestrian walkways and covered drains, while the dualization of, Ahoada – Omoku, and Egbema Omoku roads is also underway.
Even now, a lot of roads connecting and interconnecting several more communities across the State, including Phase one of the Ahoada – Omoku dual carriage way, the Bori – Kono dual carriage way, the Eastern bypass – Ogbum-nu-Abali dual carriage way, the Ezimgbu dual carriage way, the Tombia Extention dualization, the Woji – Aleto – Alesa road and the Wakama – Ogu – Bolo road, are underway. These roads and many more would be delivered to further expand the State’s existing road networks in the next one year.
Similarly, we have continued to step-up investments in the provision of internal roads, jetties, land reclamation, water and shore protection as part of our new development deal for the rural areas across Rivers State.
Elele-Alimini, Isiokpo, Rumuche, Okochiri, Amadi-Ama, Omoku, Odiokwu Bolo and some others now have a new lease of social and economic life with the internal roads we have provided, while those for Ogbakiri, Omerelu, Okochiri phase 2, Omagwa and Igwuruta are also already underway.
The reconstructed Bonny/Bille Waterside and the Okrika, Isaka and Witt and Bush Jetties are some of our interventions in the transport sector serving the social, economic and commuting interests of our people in the riverine communities.
Furthermore, we have reclaimed vast swathes of sand-filled land for some of the coastal communities, including Abalama, Bakana, and Kulato advance their development, just as, we have also started the sand filling of 55 and 42 hectares of reclaimed land for Abonnema/Obonnoma and Okrika communities respectively to drive the growth and expansion of these ancient and major communities. Last week Saturday, we further committed the government to sand-fill 25 hectares of land for Ogu community.
Also, construction has resumed on the shore protection works at Aze-Azaga, Isukwa, Owikwu, Obiofu and Utu communities in Ogba/Egbema/Ndoni Local Government Area to prevent the continuous erosion of their shorelines.
The justice sector is another important area that has received special and consistent attention from our government. In the last six years, we have built, furnished and equipped both State and Federal Courts, provided life-long accommodation for all State Judges and enhanced their movements and comfort with new official vehicles as well as built official residences for judges of all Federal Courts in the State.
The new Rivers State High Court complex, the new Federal High Court, the New National Industrial Court, the new Court of Appeal complex, and the new judges’ quarters for the State and Federal Courts all testify to what we have structurally achieved for both the State and Federal Judiciaries in Rivers State.
We have also automated the case management system, ensured the employment of more Judges and Magistrates and sustained the administrative and financial autonomy of the State’s judiciary.
Contrary to the chaos we inherited, there is no doubt that the justice system in Rivers State has been restored and what we have now is a system that meets international standards; a judiciary that is working well in advancing the administration of justice and contributing to the socio-economic progress of our State.
Our development agenda also prioritizes the provision and access to quality education and healthcare.This is why funding for education and healthcare delivery have always been next in quantum only to road infrastructure in our annual capital budgets, since 2015.
With the increased funding we have provided over 1200 classrooms and nearly 14,000 desks to over 200 primary and junior secondary schools. We have also reconstructed, furnished and equipped several secondary schools with modern classrooms, laboratories, libraries, sports facilities, staff quarters and paved interconnecting road networks.
We have continued to implement our free primary and secondary education policy with the payment of WASCE, NECO and JAMB examination fees in public secondary schools as well as stopped the collection of illegal levies by school administrators.
As a result of the concrete and targeted interventions, the education system is becoming more and more effective and qualitative in the State with enrollment and transition rates of over 98 per cent, while over 80 per cent have consistently recorded 5 credits and above pass rates, including Mathematics and English in WASCE since 2015.
At the tertiary level, we have elevated the structural quality of our tertiary institutions with new faculty, administrative and other buildings, strengthened the governance systems and enhanced staff welfare with the new salary structure.
Apart from the College of Medical Sciences, we have also implemented a multi-campus structure for the Rivers State University with the establishment of new campuses at Emohua, Ahoada and Etche Local Government Areas,thereby increasing the carrying capacity of the University and providing more access to quality tertiary education for our children.
Equally worthy of note is the approval we have received and our commitment to deliver the Port Harcourt Campus of the Nigerian Law School in the next six months to advance legal education in the State. I wish to reassure you that the Port Harcourt Campus will be the best Law School campus in Nigeria.
In the health sector, we are also very pleased with the progress we have made so far. In the last six years, we have built some new primary healthcare centres for under-served communities, renovated some existing primary health centres and general hospitals, commissioned the 132-bed Mother and Child specialist hospital, established the Rivers State University Teaching Hospital, built the senior doctors quarters and rebuilt and upgraded the Government House Specialist Clinic, while a junior doctors quarters is also under construction.

(more…)
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For The Record

Africa Gets 10m Of 55m Doses US Covid-19 Vaccine Donation

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The Joseph Biden-Kamala Harris administration in the United States has announced the distribution list for 55million of the 80million doses of America’s own vaccine supply President Biden pledged to allocate by the end of June in service of ending the Covid-19 pandemic globally.
“As we continue to fight the Covid-19 pandemic at home and work to end the pandemic worldwide,” Biden “promised that the United States will be an arsenal of vaccines for the world.
“Part of that plan is donating vaccine from our domestic supply, and the President has pledged 80million doses to be allocated by the end of June,” a statement by the State Department, made available to The Tide in Port Harcourt via email, said.
Earlier this month, the administration announced the plan for the first 25million doses that we have begun shipping, and today’s announcement completes the list for the remaining 55million doses.
“For all of these doses, those most at risk, such as health care workers, should be prioritized, based on national vaccine plans,” the statement said.
“In addition to sharing doses from our own vaccine supply, the Biden-Harris Administration is also committed to working with our U.S. manufacturers to produce more vaccine to share with the world.
“To that end, ahead of the G7, President Biden announced that the U.S. will purchase half a billion Pfizer doses and donate them to 92 low- and lower middle-income countries and members of the African Union.
“In total, the G7+ agreed to provide an additional more than one billion doses starting summer 2021.
“In addition, the U.S. is committed to expanding local production of vaccines, and through our Quad partnership and the International Development Finance Corporation’s support for vaccine manufacturing, more than one billion doses will be produced in Africa and India in 2021 and 2022.
“This vaccine strategy is a vital component of our overall global effort to lead the world in the fight to defeat COVID-19 and to achieve global health security.
“For these 80million doses, the U.S. will share 75% through COVAX and 25% will be targeted to help deal with surges around the world.
“Our goals are to increase global Covid-19 vaccination coverage, prepare for surges and prioritize healthcare workers and other vulnerable populations based on public health data and acknowledged best practice, and help our neighbors and other countries in need. And, as we have previously stated, the United States will not use its vaccines to secure favors from other countries.
“Based on this framework and pending legal and regulatory approvals, the allocation plan for these 55million doses include, approximately 41million will be shared through COVAX.”
According to the statement, the allocations include, “Approximately 14million for Latin America and the Caribbean: Brazil, Argentina, Colombia, Peru, Ecuador, Paraguay, Bolivia, Uruguay, Guatemala, El Salvador, Honduras, Haiti, and other Caribbean Community (CARICOM) countries, Dominican Republic, Panama, and Costa Rica.
“Approximately 16million for Asia: India, Nepal, Bangladesh, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Afghanistan, Maldives, Bhutan, Philippines, Vietnam, Indonesia, Thailand, Malaysia, Laos, Papua New Guinea, Taiwan, Cambodia, and the Pacific Islands.
“Approximately 10million for Africa to be shared with countries that will be selected in coordination with the African Union.
“Approximately 14million – or 25% of these 55million vaccines – will be shared with regional priorities and other recipients, such as: Colombia, Argentina, Haiti, other CARICOM countries, Dominican Republic, Costa Rica, Panama, Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Pakistan, Philippines, Vietnam, Indonesia, South Africa, Nigeria, Kenya, Ghana, Cabo Verde, Egypt, Jordan, Iraq, Yemen, Tunisia, Oman, West Bank and Gaza, Ukraine, Kosovo, Georgia, Moldova, and Bosnia.
“Sharing millions of U.S. vaccines with other countries signals a major commitment by the U.S. Government. Just like we have in our domestic response, we will move as expeditiously as possible, while abiding by U.S. and host country regulatory and legal requirements, to facilitate the safe and secure transport of vaccines across international borders.
“This will take time, but the President has directed the Administration to use all the levers of the U.S. Government to protect individuals from this virus as quickly as possible. The specific vaccines and amounts will be determined and shared as the administration works through the logistical, regulatory and other parameters particular to each region and country,” the statement added.

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For The Record

Reps’ll Pass Electoral Act Before July End, Gbajabiamila Assures

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The Speaker of the House of Representatives, Hon Femi Gbajabiamila, has assured the amendment to Electoral Act would be passed by the House before the end of July.
The speaker, however, asked Nigerians to hold the lawmakers accountable for what they were elected to do.
Answering questions from young Nigerians on national television as parts of second anniversary of the 9th House of Representatives, the speaker said the House was determined to make the Electoral Act better.
He said it was unfortunate Nigerians have misunderstood functions of the Legislature and often ask them to execute projects which they have no resources or the legal authority to execute.
On the invitation to the President to address the House, which never came to reality, Gbajabiamila said that President Muhammadu Buhari was determined to address the Parliament before misunderstanding sets in which truncated the process.

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