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As Buhari Grapples With Socio-Economic Challenges…

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President Muhammadu Buhari and Senate President, Bukola Saraki

President Muhammadu Buhari and Senate President, Bukola Saraki

Only a few people will
disagree that President Muhammadu Buhari, is on the path of history.
Never in the history of Nigeria had an opposition party defeated the ruling party at the centre, as Buhari’s All Progressives Congress (APC) did to the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) on March 28, this year.
May 29, which was the handover date, therefore presented a unique opportunity for President Buhari to assert himself as the agent of change that his party promised Nigerians.
In his inaugural speech, the president said the change that has already taken place, is going to positively affect the psyche of the Nigerian populace as the new government settles down to unleash its developmental agenda.
“Having just a few minutes ago sworn on the Holy Book, I intend to keep my oath and serve as President to all Nigerians.I belong to everybody and I belong to nobody,” he said.
This is one statement Nigerians would certainly not forget in a hurry. To think that after donkey’s years of the winner of an election taking all, even if it meant putting square pegs in round holes, or asserting superiority at the least presumed provocation, everybody, no matter affiliations, would be carried along, is one change Nigerians would eagerly look forward to.
Many have already given various interpretations to the statement, which is naturally expected. But,in recognition of the aspirations of the founding fathers of the Nigerian state, and how the leadership had hitherto deviated to the detriment of the country, the President confirmed thus:
“They might have differed in their methods or tactics or details, but they were united in establishing a viable and progressive country. Some of their successors behaved like spoilt children breaking everything and bringing disorder to the house”.
Since a house in disorder implies various forms of filth infestation, that Buhari has recognized this as fact is indicative of his resolve to embark on a thorough clean-up. How he will achieve such order that has eluded the country for over half a century is one big task most Nigerians would want to know, even as they look forward to it coming to fruition.
A pointer to where the President is headed in this wise seems to have been what manifested in the 8th Assembly during the election of key officials that produced a Senate President from the ruling party (APC), and his deputy from the opposition (PDP). It also saw the minority party producing the Majority Leader.
The President also knows how daunting the task may be, but he is also determined to realise that it is not insurmountable because, as he sees it,”there is now a national consensus that our chosen route to national development is democracy. To achieve our objectives we must consciously work the democratic system.
“The Federal Executive under my watch will not seek to encroach on the duties and functions of the Legislative and Judicial arms of government. The law enforcing authorities will be charged to operate within the Constitution. We shall rebuild and reform the public service to become more effective and more serviceable. We shall charge them to apply themselves with integrity to stabilize the system”, he said.
If it is true that Buhari was sort, as the Commander-In-Chief, to prevail on the happenings at the 8th National Assembly to ensure that his party had its way, yet he decided to allow nature to take its natural course, it can only mean that he is determined to let democracy be.
Contrary to the expectations of the APC, and the orthodox populace, Buhari said although he would have preferred that he would have wished that the process initiated and concluded by APC had been followed, he had no option than to accept the outcome because due constitutional process was followed.This is another way of saying that he backsNigerians’ determination to have a truly democratic government, which was set in motion when they decided tovote for the opposition against all odds.
Having been able to instil this level of democracy thus far, and if the Federal Executive under Buhari’s watch will indeed observe Separation of Powers to the letter, and law enforcement will be according to the constitution, not minding whose ox is gored, Nigeria would be on its path to contending with notably established democracies like the United State of America.
Rebuilding and reforming the public service to become more effective and more serviceable, among other things, imply that it will not be politicised as it is today. That, as it was in the days of yore, Permanent Secretaries will not come and go with the government of the day, they will naturally ascend the position through service and hard work in the given Ministry.
In other words, the Chief Executive will not have the sole power to sack, transfer, or carry out any disciplinary measure against a Permanent Secretary. The reason being that having grown through the ranks in the Ministry, the Permanent Secretary, as the Head of Administration, has become a custodian of rules and regulations, as well as the administration of the Ministry. A quality which a neophyte politician could hardly have.
This also means that measures taken in the good old days to make the Civil Service an epitome of discipline and encouraged education and hard work will be taken seriously. Such measures include ensuring that public servants are encouraged to take education seriously knowing that there is a limit to which level long service can get them.
Ultimately, he noted rightly that “It is only when the three arms act constitutionally that government will be enabled to serve the country optimally and avoid the confusion all too often bedevilling governance today”.
No doubt this has been one aspect of governance that had always been given lip service by past governments, even after they had sworn by the “holy book”. But the new President was not done. The same thing, he said, will trickle down to all sphere of governance.
“Constitutionally there are limits to powers of each of the three tiers of government but that should not mean the Federal Government should fold its arms and close its eyes to what is going on in the states and local governments. Not least the operations of the Local Government Joint Account.
“While the Federal Government cannot interfere in the details of its operations, it will ensure that the gross corruption at the local level is checked. As far as the constitution allows me I will try to ensure that there is responsible and accountable governance at all levels of government in the country.
“For I will not have kept my own trust with the Nigerian people if I allow others abuse theirs under my watch”.
Towards achieving what the new party in power aims at, he recognises that it can only be achieved with the cooperation of key stakeholders in the country’s development.
“No matter how well organized the governments of the federation are, they cannot succeed without the support, understanding and cooperation of labour unions, organized private sector, the press and civil society organizations. I appeal to employers and workers alike to unite in raising productivity so that everybody will have the opportunity to share in increased prosperity.
“The Nigerian press is the most vibrant in Africa. My appeal to the media today – and this includes the social media – is to exercise its considerable powers with responsibility and patriotism”.
With the tonic for expected change having been swallowed following President Buhari’s declarations in his inaugural speech, and the hitherto impossible having taken place in the National Assembly, expectations are fever-pitch high. By the end of thePresident’s first 100 days in office, the horizon may be clearer.

 

Soibi Max-Alalibo

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…Urges Ondo Gov To Shelve N2bn Gov’s Lodge Project

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The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has advised the Ondo State government  to shelve its plans to build a new governor’s lodge at the cost of N2 billion in the interest of the state.
Mr Fatai Adams, the state PDP Chairman said this when he spoke with newsmen at the state party secretariat in Akure, yesterday.
Adams expressed concern over mass resignation of doctors in the state due to poor remuneration.
“We are seriously alarmed by the unfortunate resignation of over 109 doctors from the state public service over the inability of the government to pay their due salaries and hazard allowances as at when due.
“I’m sure you will all recall that Ondo State was the destination for medical tourism in the South West because of the first class service delivery found here under the PDP administration.
“According to the Nigerian Medical Association records, no medical house officer has been employed by the state government since 2019, a situation that is responsible for the poor services rendered in the hospitals.
“The present administration has a backlog of unpaid salaries of workers, it is proposing to build a N2 billion new governor’s lodge in Akure. This is not only ridiculous but the surest evidence that the government has completely lost direction,” he said.
Adams added” “Dr Olusegun Mimiko, Oluwarotimi Akeredeolu’s predecessor built a very befitting governor’s Lodge in 2013, a few years before Akeredolu assumed the reins of government.
“To spend N2 billion of tax payers money on another lodge at this time is the height of callousness and wastefulness,” he said.

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Senators Rate 9th National Assembly High

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Senators on Wednesday at plenary commended the 9th National Assembly at the mid-term assessment of its performance in the last two years.
The lawmakers, who spoke during a special session to mark the second year anniversary of the 9th Senate, commended the various legislative interventions of the National Assembly, especially on  security, economy and governance.
The lawmakers, who spoke included the Senate Leader, Yahaya Abdullahi (APC-Kebbi); Deputy Leader, Ajayi Boroffice (APC-Ondo); Deputy Whip, Aliyu Sabi (APC-Niger), and Adamu Aliero (APC-Kebbi).
Others were Yahaya Oloriegbe (APC-Kwara); Gabriel Suswam (PDP-Benue); Chukwuka Utazi (PDP-Enugu); Solomon Adeola (APC-Lagos), Olubunmi Adetumbi (APC,-Ekiti), Ibikunle Amosun (APC-Ogun), and Suleiman Umar (APC-Kwara).
The rest were Biobarakuma Degi-Eremienyo (APC-Bayelsa); Nicholas Tofowomo (PDP-Ondo); Istifanus Gyang (PDP-Plateau); Sam Egwu (PDP-Ebonyi); Teslim Folarin (APC-Oyo); Nora Daduut (APC-Plateau); Jibrin Isah (APC-Kogi); Abdullahi Adamu (APC-Nasarawa), and Francis Fadahunsi (PDP-Osun), amongst others.
Senate President, Ahmad Lawan, in a speech delivered at the special session, said 742 bills were introduced by the ninth Senate in the last two years.
According to him, out of the total number of bills introduced during the two sessions of the Assembly, 58 have been passed, while 355 bills have gone through first reading.
Contributing, Senate Leader, Yahaya Abdullahi, said the realignment carried out on the budget cycle by the National Assembly was to insulate businesses and the economy from going into recession.
Deputy Whip, Sen. Aliyu Sabi, said: “As we celebrate two years, we are guided by the legislative agenda.
“The unity of purpose which we have worked for, has enabled us to achieve those great strides.
“The Production Sharing Contract (PSC) is a testimony on how the National Assembly has been able to work in unity in the interest of the nation.
“We need to work together to find common grounds to problems that beset the country,” Abdullahi said.
In his own remark, Sen. Garbriel Suswam, said: “Inspite of challenges and shortcomings, the 9th Assembly had taken major steps to achieve some of its legislative agenda.”
He said that the executive has been intransigent in implementing the resolution of the National Assembly.
He appealed to the Senate President to ensure that the Electoral Bill presently before the National Assembly was passed transparently, while accommodating provisions for the use of electronic card readers and electronic transmission of results during elections.
Senator Chukwuka Utazi, on his own part, described Executive-Legislative relations under the ninth Assembly as a good one.
The lawmaker, who  called for the introduction of State Police, to curb rising insecurity in the country, also advised that the constitutional review exercise, be used to bring the South East region at par with other parts of the country.
Sen. Solomon Adeola similarly said that the Senate had on two occasions rescued Nigeria from a looming economic crises when it slid into recession.
He added that such a prompt response was extended by the National Assembly to the issue of insecurity amid its recommendations to the Executive arm of government, which were aimed at tackling the spate of insecurity faced by the country.

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PDP Inaugurates E-Registration Committee

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The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) on Wednesday inaugurated e-registration Committee to facilitate electronic registration of its members nationwide.
The committee is Chaired by the Governor of Edo, Mr Godwin Obaseki, while Gov. Ahmadu Fintiri of Adamawa State is the Vice Chairman.
The party’s National Chairman, Prince Uche Secondus, at the inauguration of the committee in Abuja, said that the e- registration was a project dear to the party and had been on the card since 2010.
Secondus said that the party decided to digitalise its membership for proper database, due to its size, reach and to move with time.
“When we say that PDP is the largest party in the continent, we are not grandstanding but stating the obvious.
“There is no nook and cranny of this country that you won’t find PDP members.
“In 2019 general elections, the PDP was the only political party that fielded candidates in all the positions: Presidency, Governorship, Senate and House of Representatives and in all the 36 states’ Houses of Assembly.
“Even in states where we are not in power, our members still out number even the ruling party in such states.
“We are the only party since inception in 1998 that has been consistent in name, motto, manifestos and logo,” he said.
Secondus said that reports available to the party across the country showed that many more Nigerians want to join PDP and that the exercise would provide them such opportunity.
Secondus advised members of the committee to use their wealth of experience to deliver on the mandate assigned to them.
“In appointing you as the Chairman of this project, the party took into consideration your background and your love for data and record keeping.
“We have absolute confidence that you and your team will deliver in this assignment that is expected to update the database of our party across the country.
“Membership registration into our party is a continuous programme, what we are embarking on is to digitalise it for proper analysis of issues.
“The place of women and youths in our party cannot be over-emphasised and this programme is going to help toward proper planning in our party,” Secondus said.
Obaseki, in his remarks promised that the committee would reach out to PDP members across the nation.
He promised that the exercise would be all inclusive to the men and women, especially youths who were living in the digital world.
Obaseki said the committee would leverage on the existing platform of the party and produced a membership register that the party would be proud of .
“It is very worthy that our party being a big party has decided to digitalised membership and position the party to take over in 2023,” he said.
The party’s National Organising Secretary, retired Col. Austin Akobundu is the Secretary to the Committee, while the National Publicity Secretary, Kola Ologbondiyan; Agbi Emmanuel, Prof. Wale Oladipo, Sani Kutigi, Cyril Maduabum and Hon. Austin Opara will serve as members. 

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