The All Progressives Congress (APC), yesterday insisted that the South-East and South-South zones would not be discriminated against by President Muhammadu Buhari.
Spokesman of the party in the South-East, Mr. Osita Okechukwu, who disclosed this in a statement, faulted a speech made on Saturday by the Deputy Senate President, Ike Ekweremadu.
Okechukwu said the APC, South-East “is outraged over the crass and unimaginative propaganda dished out by the Deputy Senate President, Senator Ike Ekweremadu, on why he re-contested for his former office.
“Whereas, we do not begrudge our dear brother Senator Ekweremadu for his re-election as Deputy Senate President; however it beats our imagination that the Distinguish Senator relied on gossip-terrorists in reaching the conclusion that the South-East and South-South will be marginalized. It is miles far away from the truth.
“For the avoidance of doubt, as of Saturday 13th June, 2015, and to date, when this unimaginative propaganda was riled out to hapless and anxious crowd by Senator Ekweremadu; President Muhammadu Buhari has not named the Secretary to Government of the Federation, Ministers, Advisers, Ambassadors, Boards etc. On which plank was this propaganda predicated?
“We are, therefore, at a loss, why the Distinguished Senator should choose this auspicious moment to play spoiler game, by wittingly or unwittingly throwing spanner on our wheel to clinch the coveted office of Secretary to Government of the Federation. Pundits may grab his unintended headline that we have been settled.
“May we ask, does the office of Deputy Senate President, in real political terms actually make South-East and South-South part and parcel of Buhari’s government? We do not think so.
“Or in other words, we challenge Senator Ekweremadu to enumerate what he achieved for South-East and South-South with the office under President Goodluck Jonathan, his party man? Why didn’t we get additional state under their watch?”
He added that “to us, without being immodest, one may amass with wealth with the office; but Deputy Senate President in real-politics is more symbolic than substantial. Otherwise why the 2014 Constitutional Conference after our brother chaired the National Assembly Constitutional Amendment twice?
“Accordingly, for the records we appeal that the South East and South South, especially we of the APC stock should not be denied any position due to us because of our brother’s unintended headline that we have been settled.
“Contrary to Senator Ekweremadu’s submission, Ndigbo will not vote for Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) again, for impunity will no longer triumph. With President Buhari’s program to revamp Enugu Coal, build refineries, fix our roads, improve electricity among other projects, we see the South-East and South-South providing the critical supplement to President Buhari’s vote bank in 2019.
“In sum, we re-affirm our implicit confidence that President Muhammadu Buhari will not marginalize or penalized neither the South-East nor the South-South; for Mr President has repeatedly maintained that he belong to everybody and that the past is prologue”.
Ogoni Youths Give FG 14 Days To Fix East-West Road
No fewer than 400 youths under the aegis of Ogoni Youth Federation (OYF), yesterday, staged a peaceful protest at the Eleme axis of the East-West Road, giving the Federal Government 14 days ultimatum to mobilize to site and fix the road or have economic activities in the area grounded.
The protesters, who carried various placards with inscriptions to press home their demands, trekked from Akpajo Junction to Refinery Junction in Eleme LGA, chanting solidarity songs to register their discontent over the neglect of the road.
Addressing newsmen during the protest, President General of the Ogoni Youth Federation, Comrade Legborsi Yaamabana, said it was regrettable that the road, which was a major route to the economic hub of the nation, has remained in a deplorable state, only becoming a death trap that has terminated the lives of innocent Ogonis.
Yaamabana, who described the mass action of the youths as a ‘warning protest’, said if the contractors handling the road were not immediately mobilized to site, then, the youths will have no option than to shut down all economic activities in the area.
He said, “we cannot continue to watch our people being killed on daily basis by tankers because of the poor state of Eleme axis of the east west road, we are calling on the Federal Government to as a matter of urgency fix the road and save our people from untimely deaths as a result of the sorry state of the road, the only bridge on the road at Aleto has collapse but nothing is being done to avert the disasters faced by our people daily”.
Yaamabana also called on the Minister of Niger Delta Affairs, Senator Godswill Akpabio to constitute a substantive board for the Niger Delta Development Commission to address the development needs of the Niger Delta region, noting that the use of interim management for NDDC was “diversionary, self serving and not in the interest of the development of the Niger Delta region”.
The OYF president general also called on the Federal Government to exonerate Ken Saro-Wiwa and his compatriots who were extra-judicially murdered by the late Gen Sani Abacha military junta, and given post-humours honour as martyrs of democracy in Nigeria, while the ideals of justice they stood for should be upheld.
Also speaking, the immediate past secretary of the Ijaw Youth Council, Eastern Zone, Comrade James Tobin, who joined the protest in solidarity, decried the neglect of the East—West Road by the Federal Government, and called the immediate fixing of the road to save the teeming road users from untold pains and death.
By: Taneh Beemene
Rising Prices Push 7m Nigerians Below Poverty Line -World Bank
The World Bank has said that rising prices pushed about seven million Nigerians below the poverty line in 2020.
This was contained in a press statement titled, ‘Critical reforms needed to reduce inflation and accelerate the recovery, says new World Bank report,’ released by the World Bank’s Senior External Affairs Officer of Nigeria, Mansir Nasir.
The press statement was released, yesterday, in line with the latest World Bank Nigeria Development Update.
It was acknowledged that the Federal Government “took measures to protect the economy against a much deeper recession” but it was recommended that certain policies should be set for a strong recovery.”
The statement read, “The NDU, titled ‘Resilience through Reforms,’ notes that in 2020, the Nigerian economy experienced a shallower contraction of -1.8 per cent than had been projected at the beginning of the pandemic (-3.2 per cent). Although the economy started to grow again, prices are increasing rapidly, severely impacting Nigerian households.
“As of April, 2021, the inflation rate was the highest in four years. Food prices accounted for over 60% of the total increase in inflation. Rising prices have pushed an estimated seven million Nigerians below the poverty line in 2020 alone.”
Quoted in the statement, the World Bank Country Director for Nigeria, Shubham Chaudhuri, identified some of the challenges faced by the country and recommended a way forward.
“Nigeria faces interlinked challenges in relation to inflation, limited job opportunities, and insecurity.
“While the government has made efforts to reduce the effect of these by advancing long-delayed policy reforms, it is clear that these reforms will have to be sustained and deepened for Nigeria to realise its development potential,” Chaudhuri said.
Also quoted is the World Bank Lead Economist for Nigeria and co-author of the NDU, Marco Hernandez, who also gave a recommendation.
“Given the urgency to reduce inflation amidst the pandemic, a policy consensus and expedite reform implementation on exchange-rate management, monetary policy, trade policy, fiscal policy, and social protection would help save lives, protect livelihoods, and ensure a faster and sustained recovery,” Hernandez said.
Inflation Dips To 17.93% In May, NBS Confirms
Nigeria’s inflation rate dropped to 17.93 per cent in May, 2021, from 18.12 per cent recorded in April, 2021.
The National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) revealed this in its monthly Consumer Price Index report released, yesterday.
The drop in the headline inflation in May was the second consecutive month this year.
The report indicates that the consumer price index (CPI), which measures the inflation rate increased by 17.93 per cent (year-on-year) in May, 2021, which is 0.19 per cent points lower than the rate recorded in the preceding month.
According to NBS, food inflation dropped in the same month from 22.78 per cent recorded in April, 2021 to 22.28 per cent in May, 2021.
The report reads, ‘‘All items less farm produce which excludes the prices of volatile agricultural produce stood at 13.15 per cent in May, 2021, up by 0.41 per cent when compared with 12.74 per cent recorded in April, 2021.
‘‘The highest increases were recorded in prices of pharmaceutical products, garments, shoes and other footwear, hairdressing salons and personal grooming establishments, furniture and furnishing, carpet and other floor covering.
‘‘Others include, motor cars, Hospital services, fuels and lubricants for personal transport equipment, cleaning, repair and hire of clothing.
“Other services include personal transport equipment, gas, household textile, and non-durable household goods,” the NBS added.
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