The Senate, yesterday, vowed to hold accountable, every appointee chosen by President Muhammadu Buhari to help him address the nation’s myriad of economic problems.
President of the Senate, Bukola Saraki, who made the declaration at the celebration of one year of the 8th Senate, sought the support and co-operation of the President to discharge this oversight task.
Lambasting his colleagues for failing to take steps to come up with the necessary policy and legislation to put the economy on the right track, Saraki implored the President to look beyond his party, All Progressives Party, APC, to get the best brains to help him run the economy.
Saraki expressed concern about the worsening economic situation in the country, which had culminated in retrenchment, rising cost of living, unemployment, insurgency and renewed militancy in the Niger Delta.
He said further in his address to his colleagues in the chamber: “These are serious challenges that require all hands to be on deck. There is no other time in our history than now, when the business of government needs to be conducted with great inclusiveness.
“It is important that, as we move forward in this fight, considerable attention is paid to strengthening the anti-corruption agencies to enable them discharge their functions with greater efficiency and fairness.
“We want to assure Mr. President that the Senate will continue to play its part in the fight against corruption, which we believe is cardinal in our desire to improve governance in our country. We will also continue to broaden the scope for increased openness and accountability that we have promised at the legislative level.
“While government has made progress in the fight against Boko Haram and in the fight against corruption, the fight against mass poverty remains a daunting challenge. Rising cost of living, increased cases of retrenchment and corresponding rise in unemployment, inability of state governors to pay salaries and upsurge in ethnic-based agitation potentially deny government the full credit of the great strides it has made in other areas.
“The same energy that has been invested in fighting corruption and Boko Haram must be invested in taking care of the people, in making life easier and better for them. We need to begin to assure Nigerians that the sacrifice that they make today will not be in vain. We need to begin to show them that there would be light at the end of the dark tunnel. So, we must not relent in our efforts in this area over the next years ahead.
“I cannot end this address without a note on the on-going security challenges we are beginning to witness in the Niger Delta area of our country.
“We urge the warring militants to embrace our democratic institutions and channel their grievances through appropriate quarters as we can ill-afford further damage to the ecosystem of this all important region and any more disruptions in the system.
“In the same vein, we also encourage government to adopt dialogue and engagement as a more lasting option towards resolving this challenge. We also call on the leaders in the area to play their part and ensure through mediation that this menace is comprehensively quelled.
“The collapse in oil price has, without doubt, brought huge shock to our economy on a scale that perhaps, has never been experienced before. This requires us to develop creative strategies that would stimulate business and investments into other sectors.
“For decades, we have talked about the need to diversify our economy. But we have failed to take the necessary steps in policy and legislation that would set us on the path to developing the kind of economy that we desire.
“The Ease of Doing Business Report that ranks our country 167 out of 189 countries is not likely to attract business into our economy. This Senate understands this. With the support from our international development partners, the organized private sector, we commissioned an expert report which identified 54 extant laws that must be reviewed and brought in line with international best practices in order to open up our economy for private investments and business.
Meanwhile, Senate Minority Leader, Godswill Akpabio, while reflecting on what happened before June 9, which culminated in the election of Saraki as Senate President, said with what was on ground at that time, the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, would have produced the Senate President and other principal officers.
He said though his party had the number of required senators needed to produce the Senate president, following the absence of some All Progressives Congress, APC, lawmakers, it decided to put the interest of the nation first.
Akpabio, who noted that some intrigues played out prior to the election of Saraki as Senate President, said: “You (Saraki ) were jittery and sweating on that day. If we had wanted to take over the Senate, the PDP would have done that. We had the chance to take all the positions but because we are not greedy, we decided to allow the APC take over.”
Speaking on the general state of affairs in the country, Akpabio warned that if something urgent was not done, Nigeria would be plunged into crisis.
He said: “In the South-South, people have abandoned their homes because of activities of Niger Delta Avengers. The North is in turmoil; the South-East is boiling because of agitation. The South-West is the only peaceful area, but they still send mercenaries to other areas to fight.
“I want to urge the APC to market this country very well. The way the APC is saying the country is full of criminals, investors will not come here to invest. They must change the way they talk about Nigeria. Things need to change.”
RSG Alerts On Orchestrated Media Campaign
The Rivers State Government has raised alarm over alleged moves by some critics of the government to use selected media houses in the state to denigrate the state government.
A statement signed by the state Commissioner for Information and Communications, Pastor Paulinus Nsirim, yesterday, reads, “The Rivers State Government is aware of clandestine plans by the All Progressives Congress (APC) in Rivers State to use selected media houses in the state to denigrate the government of Governor Nyesom Wike.
“This is as a result of the intimidating sterling performance of Governor Wike in infrastructure, healthcare, education, agriculture, rural transformation, housing development, administration of justice, social welfare and sports development.
“This orchestrated campaign spearheaded by a defeated and dumped governorship aspirant of the APC, Dr. Dakuku Peterside is designed to portray the government of Governor Wike as one that is not meeting the developmental aspirations of Rivers people.
“However, the uncommon transformation of the 23 local government areas as witnessed during the last six years of projects commissioning and flag off shows clearly that Governor Wike is actually meeting the yearnings of the people.
“The fact that Rivers people that turn out en mass at the various projects sites to heartily welcome their beloved governor and his guests drawn from all political divides is a clear indication that Rivers people can no longer be swayed by cheap politically induced blackmail.
“The truth of the matter is that the APC government that boasted that Governor Wike will not see money to pay workers’ salaries and execute projects has been humbled by the revolution in governance currently witnessed in the state.
“Instead of people like Dr. Dakuku Peterside and his acolytes to eat the humble pie, they are busy looking for cheap popularity through sponsored appearances in the media.
“No matter how hard these detractors push their propaganda, Governor Wike will never be distracted in executing his social contract with the people of Rivers State.
“In the next few weeks, more projects that have direct bearing to the lives of Rivers people will be unveiled.
“Governor Wike’s promise to continue working as if this is his first tenure and not abandon any project remains sacrosanct.
“Rivers people are watching those whose stock in trade is to dance naked and pray that they continue as merchants of mischief, falsehood and baseless allegations.”
“The people of Rivers State love Governor Wike whose outstanding achievements in salvaging the state from the dearth of basic infrastructural development required for speedy socioeconomic transformation has received national and international applause.
“Therefore, no amount of negative propaganda by the failed APC can diminish the legacy of Governor Wike in Rivers State.
“Rather than launder the thoroughly battered image of the APC, such media appearances by Dr. Dakuku Peterside and his cohorts will further expose APC’s penchant for lies and deception which is now a public knowledge.
“The former governor of Rivers State, Dr. Peter Odili, has confirmed that Governor Wike is the best Rivers State has produced.
“’I have been there. And I make bold to say Governor Nyesom Wike, you are the best,’ Dr. Odili said.
“Odili’s comment serves as an answer to those masquerading as informed commentators with puerile and suffocating commentaries”, the statement added.
Bandits In Trouble As Super Tucano Aircraft Arrives
The first batch of A-29 Super Tucano aircraft has arrived in Kano, yesterday, at about 12.34 pm.
The NAF Director of Public Relations and Information, Air Commodore Edward Gabkwet, confirmed the arrival of the fighter aircraft in a statement.
“On hand to receive the aircraft were the Hon. Minister of Defence, Maj-Gen Bashir Magashi (rtd); Chief of Army Staff, Lt-Gen Farouk Yahaya; and Chief of Air Staff, Air Marshal Oladayo Amao”, he said.
We’ve No Patience With Failure, Oyedepo Lashes Out At Sacked Pastors
The General Overseer and Founder of The Living Faith Church International also known as Winners’ Chapel, Bishop David Oyedepo, has reacted to the recent sack of over 40 pastors by the church.
One of the affected Pastors, Peter Godwin, took to social media, claiming they were sacked for not generating enough income.
Godwin, who was in one of the church’s branches in Ekiti State, had claimed, “I was told by the management that the church doesn’t operate at a loss.
“They also told me that the total income that is being generated from my station should be able to cater for my welfare and accommodation, so as a result of low income, I’m hereby dismissed.”
Reacting to the allegation in a video posted on the social media, Oyedepo said the sack of the pastors was not about money, adding that the latter were sacked as a result of their failure and the church “has no patience with failure.
“Money? Nonsense! We have never lacked it, and yet, we have never prayed for it.
“We are just simply obeying God, and He is backing up what He is asking us to do. Awesome God,” he noted.
On those criticising the sack, the GO said, “People are confused about our ministry. I learnt some fellows said, you know, they are not bringing income, that is why they asked them to go”.
He added, “We asked you to go because you are unfruitful. Unfruitful! Blatant failure. Doing what there? We have no patience with failure here.
“When we employed 7,000 people at a time, social media was dead.
“We have more employees in this organisation than most of the states. No one is owed a dime salary and we don’t borrow, we don’t beg. Ask our bank whether we take overdraft.
“We are covenant bound, working in the light of God’s word, enjoying an open Heaven.”
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