President General of the apex Igbo socio-cultural organisatioon, Ohanaeze Ndigbo Chief John Nnia Nwodo, has likened Nigeria to a jungle facing imminent collapse under the current government of President Muhammadu Buhari.
According to him, Nigeria currently does not represent the wishes and aspirations of the people.
Nwodo told newsmen that the country must be restructured, saying that the Council of State has arrogated to itself the power of the legislature.
“Now, this is our plight; does it mean that our security forces cannot infiltrate the Boko Haram? All over the world, that is the essence of intelligence. Enter the organisation with your own informant within the organisation”, he said.
“Does it mean they don’t? Does it mean the $1 billion is going nowhere? Now, the Council of State has arrogated to itself the legislative organ. The other day, they budgeted $1 billion to give to states that are prepared to give grazing colonies. This is the rule of the jungle and the country is collapsing.”
Nwodo also bemoaned the poor security situation of the country, which led to the recent abduction of some girls from Dapchi, Yobe State.
“The porosity of the security in Nigeria leaves one with a lot of disgust that I am beginning to wonder whether there is not something behind all of this.
“Boko Haram has sought for ransom before and they were given ransom; so soon after the children have been kidnapped, somebody who calls herself Mama Boko Haram said she was now being contacted.
“When you give them this money, they will use it to re-arm themselves and they will use it, come back and kill more of our troops. Is government part of Boko Haram?”, Nwodo quipped rhetorically.
Meanwhile, leaders from the three geopolitical zones in the Southern part of the country and the North-Central, last Saturday, vowed to remain resolute over their demand for the restructuring of the country.
At a mega rally held in Yenagoa, the Bayelsa State capital, they declared that no amount of intimidation blackmail and killings could deter them in their quest for a country that is based on equity, fairness and justice.
Host Governor, Seriake Dickson, joined the coalition of leaders to reiterate his call on the Federal Government to restructure the country before the 2019 general election.
Dickson, who spoke at the South-South mega rally with the theme: “Restructuring the Nigerian Federation, noted that, only restructuring would guarantee the development, unity and peaceful coexistence of the country.
Dickson, who emphasised the need for consensus building to foster better understanding on the issue and convince opponents of restructuring, pointed out that no amount of military intimidation, blackmail and wanton killings would suppress the agitations for resource control, environmental justice, equity and proper federalism generally.
While commending the All Progressives Congress (APC) for setting up the el-Rufai Committee on restructuring, Dickson, however, called for sincerity of purpose by synchronising areas of divergent views, push President Muhammadu Buhari to sponsor executive bill to the National Assembly for debate and passage by the National Assembly.
In his remarks, the special guest of honour and former President Goodluck Jonathan, urged Nigerians to closely study the recommendations of the 2014 National Conference, with a view to finding a common ground in resolving issues agitating the people.
Represented by Senator Nimi Barigha Amange, Jonathan said the call for restructuring was not misplaced, as it would go a long way in addressing the structural challenges of the country and ensure equal rights to all Nigerians.
Chairman on the occasion, Chief Albert Horsfall, urged the people to be positive and united in the struggle for resource control.
Also, the co-chairman of the Central Planning Committee, Professor Godini Darah, who described the event as a festival of unity and restoration of federalism in Nigeria, said the rally was a follow-up to an earlier one organised by the South-West in Ibadan last year.
On his part, the national leader of Pan-Niger Delta Forum (PANDEF), Chief Edwin Clark, posited that the constituent parts of the federation would do better in terms of development, if they were empowered to control and manage their resources.
Going down memory lane, leader of the Afenifere delegation, Chief Ayo Adebanjo, noted that what is today known as, the struggle for resource control was started by the sage, Chief Obafemi Awolowo, who made a strong case for the Minorities in the 1954 London Constitutional Conference.
Presenting the position of Ohanaeze Ndigbo, Chief John Nwodo, said the mass movement for restructuring was aimed at restoring the stolen sovereignty of the people from oppressive and undemocratic forces for the common good of the country.
Dr. Bala Takaya, of the Middle-Belt, also called on youths and the womenfolk to join in the task of taking back the country from the precipice.
While stressing that the Middle Belt was in the vanguard for the call for true federalism through restructuring, he said only true federalism would give a sense of belonging to all ethnic nationalities in the country and stop the ongoing ethnic cleansing across the country.
Others at the rally were a former Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Chief Olu Falae; former Governor of Plateau State, Senator Jonah Jang, former Ijaw Youth Council President, Chief Asari Dokubo, Senator Stella Omu and representatives of the governors of Delta and Akwa Ibom states.
They insisted that true federalism of Nigeria remained the ace to the nation’s stability and economic prosperity, stressing that, recent developments in the country have given credence to the fact that there is no better time to restructure than now.
2023: PDP Govs Task NASS On New Electoral Law
The Peoples’ Democratic Party (PDP) Governors Forum has tasked the National Assembly to immediately set up a conference committee to harmonize the two versions of the Electoral Act Amendment passed recently by the two chambers.
In a statement, yesterday, the Chairman of the forum and Sokoto State Governor, Hon Aminu Tambuwal, said any delay in the passing and assenting of the Electoral Act Amendment Bill will hamper preparations for the conduct of the 2023 polls.
The forum also charged the National Assembly to adopt the version of the bill passed by the House of Representatives, as it gives the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) the latitude to adopt electronic transmission of election results.
“The PDP Governors’ Forum requests the Senate and House of Representatives (House) Conference Committee when set up, to adopt the House version of the Electoral Act Amendment Bill on the issue of electronic transmission.
“It should be noted that Section 52(2) of the House version says, ‘Voting at an election and transmission of result under this Bill shall be in accordance with the procedure determined by the commission,’ and Section 52 (2) of the Senate version provides, ‘The commission may consider electronic transmission of results provided that the national coverage is adjudged to be adequate and secure by the Nigeria Communications Commission (NCC) and approved by the National Assembly.
“The Senate version which subjects the decision of INEC to deploy electronic transmission to the decision of the Nigerian Communications Commission and National Assembly is manifestly a usurpation of the powers of INEC and offends relevant provisions of the Nigerian Constitution that guarantees INEC’s autonomy and independence,” the opposition governors.
According to them, INEC has demonstrated capacity to transmit votes electronically with the introduction and deployment of the Biomodel Voters Accreditation System (BVAs), used in the recent bye-election in Delta State.
The PDP governors further charged the National Assembly conference committee on the Electoral Act Amendment Bill, to jettison the position of the House to compel all political parties to adopt one method of conducting primary elections.
“The forum is of the view that political parties should be allowed discretion to adopt either direct or indirect primaries in their Constitutions and in practice.
“The Senate version that retains the original provision in the Electoral Act should be adopted in the interest of the growth of our political parties and freedom of choice, the hallmark of a functional democracy.
“This intervention of the PDP governors is predicted on the need to ensure a free, fair and credible election, that strengthens Nigeria’s democracy, constitutionalism and rule of law. Only a credible election will guarantee accountability and good governance which Nigeria so desperately needs today,” the governors stated.
Cholera: NCDC Records 46 New Deaths In One Week
The Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) says 46 new deaths linked to suspected cholera cases were recorded in the country in the past one week.
The NCDC said this via its officially verified website, yesterday morning, stating that the situation report was published based on data sent in by the 36 states of the federation and the Federal Capital Territory, for the respective reporting week.
It stated that eight states accounted for the new cholera fatalities.
The public health agency, in its epidemiological report for August 30 to September 5, said a total of 2,323 people had so far died as a result of suspected cholera infections in 25 states and the federal capital territory (FCT), since the beginning of 2021.
It stated that 1,677 cholera infections were recorded in 12 states within the period of one-week, bringing the total suspected cases to 69,925 as at September 5.
“In the reporting week, 12 states reported 1,677 suspected cases – Bauchi (566), Katsina (282), Sokoto (258), Yobe (183), Borno (179), Niger (94), Kaduna (66), Adamawa (34), Gombe (8), Kano (4), Kebbi (2), and Nasarawa (1),” the report said.
“There was a 58% decrease in the number of new suspected cases in week 35 (1,667) compared with week 34 (3,992).
“Of the cases reported, there were 46 deaths from Borno (13), Sokoto (12), Katsina (8), Bauchi (6), Niger (3), Kaduna (2), Adamawa (1) and Kano (1) states with a weekly case fatality ratio (CFR) of 2.7%.
“Twenty-five states and the FCT have reported suspected cholera cases in 2021. These are Adamawa, Bauchi, Bayelsa, Benue, Borno, Cross River, Delta, Ekiti, Enugu, FCT, Gombe, Jigawa, Kaduna, Kano, Katsina, Kebbi, Kogi, Kwara, Nasarawa, Niger, Osun, Plateau, Sokoto, Taraba, Yobe, and Zamfara.
“As at September 5, 2021, a total of 69,925 suspected cases, including 2,323 deaths (CFR 3.3%) have been reported from 25 states and FCT in 2021.
“Two new states (Osun and Ekiti) reported cases, though with dates of onset in weeks prior to week 35,” it explained.
The NCDC added that the national multi-sectoral EOC activated at level 02 continued to coordinate the national response.
Cholera is a waterborne disease with a high risk of transmission where there are poor sanitation and disruption of clean water supply.
The wrong disposal of refuse and practices, such as open defecation, endanger the safety of water used for drinking and for personal use, thereby leading to the spread of water-borne diseases such as cholera, and without proper WASH, Nigeria remained at risk of cholera cases and deaths.
Buhari Seeks Senate’s Approval For $4bn, €710m External Loan
President Muhammadu Buhari, has asked the Senate to approve a fresh loan of $4,054,476, 863.00, €710million, and a grant of $125million to finance critical projects in the 2021 budget.
Buhari’s request was contained in his letter read by Senate President, Dr Ahmad Lawan, at plenary following the resumption of the upper chamber from its two-month annual vacation, yesterday.
According to the President, the request is an addendum to the proposed 2018–2021 Federal Government External Borrowing Rolling Plan earlier approved by the National Assembly.
He said that the projects listed in the addendum to the 2018–2021 Federal Government External Borrowing Rolling Plan are to be financed through sovereign loans from the World Bank, French Development Agency, China Exim Bank, International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) and Credit Suisse Group, among others.
“In view of other emerging needs and to ensure that all critical projects approved by FEC as at June, 2021 are incorporated, I hereby forward an addendum to the proposed borrowing plan,” Buhari said.
The letter titled, ‘Addendum to the request for Senate’s concurrent approval of multilateral fund projects under the 2018-2021 Federal Government external borrowing (rolling) plan’ reads, “I write in respect of the above subject and to submit the attached addendum to the proposed 2018-2021 Federal Government external borrowing (rolling) plan for the consideration and concurrent approval of the Senate for same to become effective.
“The distinguishing Senate President may wish to recall that I earlier transmitted a request on the proposed 2018-2020 Federal Government External Borrowing Plan for the concurrent approval of the Senate in May, 2021.
“However, in view of other emerging needs and to ensure that all critical projects approved by FEC as at June, 2021 are incorporated. I hereby forward an addendum to the proposed borrowing plan.
“The projects listed in the addendum to the 2018-2021 Federal Government External Borrowing Rolling Plan are to be financed through sovereign loans from the World Bank, French Development Agency, China Exim Bank, International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) and Credit Suisse Group and Standard Chartered/China Export and Credit (SINOSURE), in the total sum of $4,054,476,863.00, plus €710million, and grant component of $125million.
“The Senate is kindly invited to note that the projects and programmes in the borrowing plan were selected based on positive, technical and economic evaluations and the contribution they would make to the socio-economic development of the country, including employment generation and poverty reduction as well as protection of the most vulnerable and very poor segments of the Nigerian society
“The Senate may also wish to note that all the listed projects in the addendum form part of the 2018-2021 External Borrowing Plan and covered both the Federal and States Government Projects and are geared towards the realization of the Nigeria Economic Sustainability Plan that cut across key sectors such as infrastructure, health, agriculture and food security, energy, education and human capital development and Covid-19 response efforts.
“I hereby wish to request for the kind consideration and concurrent approval of the Senate for projects listed in the addendum to the 2018-2021 Federal Government External Borrowing (Rolling) Plan to enable the projects become effective.”
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