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2019: Jonathan Cautions Against Candidates’ Imposition

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Ahead 2019 general elections, former President, Dr Goodluck Jonathan has called on politicians not to yield to any form of negative influence by godfathers.
He also urged political godfathers to yield to people’s yearnings in preparation for 2019 and advised them to steer clear of anti-party activities.
Jonathan gave the advice when he received Senator Philip Gyunka, who visited him in Abuja,yesterday.
He said that though there was nothing wrong with having godfathers, they should not be clogs in the wheel of progress.
“I have no problem with the issue of godfathers because as a Christian, if you are taking a child for baptism, there is this concept of godfather or godmother.
“These are people that are supposed to help mentor the children and give advice from time to time. Godfather should not be used negatively.
“For example, if you come from a community that participates actively in wrestling with neighbouring communities and you know your son cannot wrestle, you cannot send him.
“Even in politics, if you have a son or anybody and you know the person cannot lead the party to victory, and you are sending the person because you are hoping for something, then you do not like the party.
“If you like the party you, will ask your son to work with the person that you believe can win elections. “We lost most of these elections because of this issue of imposition of people that are not acceptable to the public,” he said.
Jonathan also said that sacrificing competence and efficiency on the altar of interest was counterproductive.
“I have not gone for elections outside Africa but at least, before leaving office I went round to observe election in a number of countries.
“Politics is like war. I am not saying people should carry guns and knives, but to struggle to win election. People must have that kind of personal interest.
“We need to send people that the people appreciate, people whom they believe in to bring development to their state so that even if it means sleeping there they will stay there and do the work.
“I commend the National Chairman of our party, Uche Secondus, because he has been emphasising that this time, primaries must be on level-playing ground so that whoever emerges, others will support the person,’’ he said.
The former president expressed optimism that party faithful in the states would work together to present candidates that would win elections.
“I am pleased to see you also getting interested in the Nasarawa State governorship race. “I believe you will do well.
We need the person that can advance the course of the state. “I am hopeful that this time, PDP members in Nassarawa State will come together. When people do not work together they cannot achieve much.
“Primaries must be done in a way that there are no grievances. If you lose gallantly you will have no problem but if you are manipulated out of the process, you will be angry,” he said.
Jonathan pointed out that Nasarawa state was critical not just in terms of arable land and abundant mineral deposits but in view of its closeness to the Federal Capital Territory (FCT).
“As we approach elections some of us who had the privilege of being at the centre for eight years have a reasonable idea of the country.
“Nassarawa state being catchment state to FCT is always very critical to the government. When you have religious turbulence in the state it affects Abuja directly.
“Nassarawa state is covered by the Brigade of Guards, meaning it is considered as almost a part of FCT.
So, it is a state that we really need good people to govern. “We will continue to do what we can to help the process.’’
On solid minerals in Nasarawa, Jonathan said “a friend of mine had discussion with some groups of persons and they were asking what he knew was bringing money to Nigerians not in terms of spread but volume.
“They said it was not crude but solid mineral. “He mentioned a particular mineral and said people make more money from it than those in the oil industry.
“Unfortunately some of these areas have not been really mapped out so we do not even know what we have.
“You see some Asian miners come to mine and from the information we get even when I was a president, the ministry has not been able to factor what is happening. What these people take out we do not even know.”
While commending the present government for encouraging governors to tap into mineral deposits in their states, Jonathan urged the governors to take the plunge.
According to him, now that even the government is looking at encouraging states to check their mineral resources, I believe it will be more efficient.
“This is because no governor would be there while we are looking for money for development and allow people to come and take things without you knowing.
Earlier, Gyunka had commended the former president for always promoting peace and unity in the country.
He said that it was the style of leadership and penchant for competence that endeared him to the former president, adding that, it was second to none.
“Some of us believe in your leadership and we will like to have you as our mentor.
“Godfather syndrome has killed this country. It has deprived so many talented youths from being where they ought to be.
“There are several instances where young peoples’ dream and talents die because they are not from rich homes and same is playing out in our polity as people without godfathers do not achieve their dreams in politics.
“God created us all with specific assignments but many dreams and assignments have died because of godfathers. “For me, you are the kind of man that any Nigerian that wants to succeed would want to have as a mentor.
“I believe strongly that if anyone under your tutelage holds public office, there will be peace because you are a man of peace. “I have come to meet you as my mentor, to put me through on how you were able to succeed carrying out your assignment,” he said.
The lawmaker said Nigeria needed good leaders, adding that it was only good leaders that would deliver the country from its present challenges.

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NASS Passes N10.59trn Budget For 2020 … Jerks Its Appropriation By N264bn, Gives Reason

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The two Chambers of the National Assembly (NASS), yesterday passed the Appropriation Bill of N10.59 trillion budget for the 2020 fiscal year with a view to returning the nation’s budget cycle to January to December.
The Lawmakers jerked up the budget as proposed by President Muhammad Buhari to the tune of N246 billion.
The lawmakers passed the 2020 budget following a clause-by-clause consideration of the report of the Committee on Appropriations of the two Chambers.
Briefing the press after plenary session, the Chairman and Vice Chairman of the Senate Appropriation Committee, Barau Jubril and Stella Odua, respectively, defended the additional N246 billion the lawmakers injected into the budget.
The Chairman described the budgeting process as the best so far because it is the first time the Executive, Senate and House of Representatives came together on a roundtable to agree on a united document as budget of the country.
He defended the N264 billion increase injected into the 2020 budget as not padding of the appropriation bill, but harvested additional revenue, saying the additional fund was brought in conjunction and consultation with the Executive.
Denying that the extra funds injected was padding, Senator Jibrin Barau said the word padding is alien to the 9th Senate because the infusion on additional vote for capital projects was done in collaboration with the executive arm of government.
According to him, the Senate saw avenue to make additional revenue and “just fixed the expected increased revenue to sectors in need of additional revenue”.
He said “In a Presidential system of government, there is room for checks on what any arm of government is doing by the other. President Buhari no doubt presented a perfect budget, but it is our own responsibility as the parliament to critically look at what was presented by the executive and make corrections where necessary.
“During the course of deliberating on the budget, we saw opportunities of where we can get additional income for the government and we deployed them to areas that need further spending.
“The National Assembly has the right to do it and that is what we have done”, he said.
Presenting the report, Senator Barau Jibrin said the increase of N264billion allowed for interventions in critical areas such as national security, road infrastructure, mines and steel development, and health.
A breakdown of the budget, Senator Jubrin said, is that Statutory Transfer stood at N560.5billion, recurrent expenditure-N4.8billion, capital expenditure-N2.5billion, debt servicing-N2.7illionbn, fiscal deficit-N2.3trillion and deficit to GDP of 1.52 per cent.
He pointed out that daily oil production stood at 2.18 million barrels per day, Oil Benchmark stood at $57 per barrel against $55 proposed by the Executive, while the exchange rate stood at N305 per dollar.
Capital Expenditure for Ministries, Departments and Agencies of Government (MDAs) for the 2020 fiscal year are: Ministry of Defence N116,181,290,730; Ministry of Foreign Affairs, N7,608,141,474; Ministry of Information and Culture, N7,555,803,233; Ministry of Interior, N34,035,825,302; Office of the Head of the Civil Service of the Federation, N1,722,796,040; Ministry of Police Affairs, N15,959,986,864; Ministry of Communication Technology, N5,919,002,554; and Office of the National Security Adviser, N27,418,469,323.
Others are: Office of the Secretary to the Government of the Federation, N25,188,940,930; Special Duties and Inter-Governmental Affairs, N2,158,620,395; Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, N124,395,096,917; Federal Ministry of Finance, Budget and National Planning, N4,976,199,925; Federal Ministry of Industry, Trade and Investment, N38,583,331,761; Federal Ministry of Labour and Employment, N24,445,756,678; Federal Ministry of Science and Technology, N62,882,531,566; Federal Ministry of Transport, N121,366,932,571; and Federal Ministry of Aviation, N52,061,533,122.
Also, for the 2020 fiscal year, the Ministry of Power has an allocation of N129,082,499,363; Ministry of Petroleum Resources, N3,337,444,887; Ministry of Mines and Steel Development, N10,431,563,177; Ministry of Works and Housing, N315,563,564,269; Ministry of Water Resources, N91,679,927,042; Ministry of Justice, N3,853,600,220; Federal Capital Territory Administration, N62,407,154,360; and Ministry of Niger Delta Affairs, N23,120,350,399.
Others include: Ministry of Youths and Sports Development, N3,735,486,210; Military of Women Affairs, N6,650,300,966; Federal Ministry of Education, N84,728,529,572; Ministry of Health, N59,909,430,837; Federal Ministry of Environment, N12,350,140,731; and Federal Ministry of Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management and Social Development, N61,085,146,003.
President of the Senate, Ahmad Lawan, in his concluding remarks after the 2020 budget was passed, said, “when we came in, all of us approved our legislative agenda, and one of the key pillars of this agenda is to take back our budget cycle from the very undesirable cycle that cannot be defined to something that can be defined and bought into by our country and business partners living in and outside the country.
“Today, we have been able to achieve this. It means where there is will, there is always a way. This is something that we have been able to achieve together with the House of Representatives.
“I must give members of the Ninth National Assembly the credit, because we thought it was going to be impossible.
“Let me also commend the buying-in of the executive arm of government. When we continued to preach that we have to receive the 2020 budget estimates before the end of September, it was not easy for the executive.
“I know they (Executive) worked day and night. So it was presented to us on the 8th of October. We have been able to work harmoniously. There is no way we can achieve this without all of us working together.
“I want to commend our colleagues from the opposition. This Senate from the beginning, we said, will be bi-partisan. You have given us all the support that we require, and indeed, this is the way it should be”, Lawan added.
The Senate President also noted that with the recent passage of landmark legislations such as the Production Sharing Contract (PSC) Act, Finance Bills and Public Procurement Bills by the National Assembly, the Executive arm of government is sufficiently empowered to ensure the successful implementation of the 2020 budget.

 

By: Nneka Amaechi-Nnadi, Abuja

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Wike, Building Legacy For Tomorrow -Nsirim

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The Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Information And Communications, Rivers State, and Commissioner-designate, Pastor Paulinus Nsirim, says the State Governor, Chief Nyesom Wike is building lasting legacies for tomorrow through the various developmental projects going on across in the state.
Nsirim said the traffic gridlock being witnessed in major roads across part of the state, was due to the concerted efforts by the state Chief Executive’s transformation policies which, he said, havw turned the state to a construction site.
He, therefore, urged residents and visitors to the state, to bear with the State Government and not worry about what they see around, saying that it is the vision of the NEW Rivers mantra to place the state on the trajectory of leadership and governance.
Nsirim, said this while declaring open a two-day workshop for Universal Basic Education Board (UBEC), State Universal Basic Education Board (SUBEB), and Heads of Public Relations (PR) and protocol being hosted by the RSUBEB in Port Harcourt yesterday, with the theme, “Bridging the Gap and Breaking New Grounds in UBE Public Relations/Protocol Practice”.
He described the role of PROs and Protocol officers in basic education management in the country as very strategic and urged them to improve on their professional competencies in order to drive the programmes in their various boards.
“Your roles in basic education is very strategic.There are new strategies being introduced by government to ensure that basic education receives a boost in the country”, he stated
Nsirim also urged them not to see the workshop as an avenue to make new friends, but to improve on their proficiency in order to bring in various stakeholders into the activities of the board .
“What ever opportunity and duty you find yourself, see it as a service to God and write story of prosperity”.
Also speaking, the Chairman of the state SUBEB, Ven. Fyneface Akah, said the workshop was a unifying event that offers a moment of exchange of ideas and skills as well as orderliness among the Public Relations Officers and Protocol managers in order to streamline the way of doing things.
According to him, the workshop will help them on how to get the public to know and understand the workings of the board, adding that they have much work to do in making people understand the activities of the board.
In his own speech, the head, UBEC Public Relations and Protocol, Abuja, Mr. Ossom M. Ossom, who read the good- will message of the UBEC Chairman, said “Public Relations and Protocol practitioners owe it a duty, especially to Nigeria’s school-age population, to use every available opportunity in drawing the attention of all UBE stakeholders to the fact that our country cannot afford to berth and pass through the coming decade as largely uneducated entity and with the largest population of out-of-school children in the world”.
Earlier in an interview with newsmen, the Head of legal and Public Relations, SUBEB, Barr Karibi T. George, said “Public Relations is the live wire of every organization because it builds on the corporate image and reputations of organisation to build public Confidence”.

 

 

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We’ll Monitor Commissioners’ Performance -RSHA …As NUJ commends Wike on Nsirim’s Appointment

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The Rivers State House of Assembly has finally confirmed the nomination of 13 Commissioner-nominees sent to it by the governor, Chief Nyesom Wike.
The confirmation was finally done after debate and sitting to scrutinize complete tax certificate and clearance of one of the nominees, Mr. Sylvanus Nwankwo.
Speaker of the House, Rt. Hon. Ikuinyi-Owaji Ibani said it was the constitutional mandate of the legislature to screen and confirm Commissioner-nominees; hence, it was not a witch-hunt on any of the nominees.
Debate on whether the nominees should be confirmed after they appeared on the floor of the House on Tuesday started when the Leader, Hon Martin Amaewhule, described all the nominees as, “fit and zealous” persons with requisite qualifications.
In the same vein, Hon. Matthew Dike of Tai Constituency said, “The Commissioner Nominees sent to this Assembly are landmark. It is full of men and women of proven integrity “.
On his part, Hon. Michael Chinda of Obio/Akpor Constituency 2 submitted that the Assembly will beef up its oversight on them, and therefore urged the nominees to be alive to their duties or bow out.
Chinda insisted that performance is key, saying that the House will monitor the activities of the screened and approved Commissioner nominees.
Meanwhile, the Nigerian Union of Journalists (NUJ), Rivers State Council, has commended the Governor, Chief Nyesom Wike for appointing their past State Chairman and two times Press Secretary to the Governor, Pastor Paulinus Nsirim as Commissioner.
Chairman of the State NUJ, Stanley Job Stanley, in a chat with The Tide, said the union is excited that after few years a professional communicator has been chosen to serve the state.
Though the nominees, who have been screened and confirmed by the Assembly, are yet to be sworn in and assigned port, folios, the NUJ Chairman expressed confidence that Nsirim will man the Information and Communications Ministry which he (Nsirim) had been a Permanent Secretary in the past three years.
“We are happy for the appointment because as a union, we have been advocating that professionals be appointed to man the Ministry.
“It will be a boost to the image of the NUJ because Nsirim was our former Chairman and for a very long time we have been longing for press/government relations to be cordial,” Stanley stated.
He described the appointment of the Permanent Secretary as well deserving, urging him to use his good offices to boost journalists/ government relations in the state.
Pastor Nsirim was among the 13 Commissioner-nominees screened and confirmed by the Assembly on Wednesday.
Nisirm, a Permanent Secretary of the State Ministry of Information and Communications until his nomination as a Commissioner, is currently the State Chairman of the Nigeria Institute of Public Relations(NIPR).
He has in the last six months championed a statewide image advocacy campaign tagged,” Our State, Our Responsibility.”

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