Senate Leader, Dr. Ahmad Lawan, on Wednesday spoke on his ambition to become Nigeria’s ninth Senate President.
He told newsmen in Abuja that although his mission is to have a Senate and the National Assembly that will work for Nigerians, his ambition is not a do-or-die affair.
Lawan, who may likely face a tough battle against Senator Ali Ndume, said “we contested for this thing in 2015 and it was the will of God that I would not be Senate President then and you will bear me witness that that did not stop me from going to the National Assembly to participate in activities of the Senate.
“I continued to represent my people as a Committee Chairman on Defence and I conducted myself as such and eventually I was elected the Senate Leader and I continued to serve as Senate Leader to date.
“Most of us believe that God Almighty that created us also has designed our lives from cradle to grave and I believe in that.
“So, it is not a do or die affair and I believe that should we not make it, that will not stop us from working to represent our people, do our oversight, to legislate for the good governance of this country, to support the Senate and the National Assembly and to support Mr. President to deliver the campaign promises of the APC as a political party”.
On the nation’s budgeting crisis, Lawan said: “Our approach in the National Assembly will be that we will talk amongst ourselves; we will tell ourselves that we want to pass the budget within three months. If we agree on that, then we will also have to agree on how we will achieve that.
“First, we should not leave the shores of Nigeria for anything unless it is health problem. We must stay around; ensure we have a time frame for budget defence. When I say time frame, I mean we will devote a whole month to it, not plenary unless it becomes absolutely necessary.
“We will approach the executive arm of government and discuss things with them. For Mr. President, there will be nothing more that will gladden his heart than having a budget passed within three months and I am sure it is the same for Nigerians.
Group Condemns Call For Jonathan’s Suspension
A political pressure group, the Niger Delta Youth Coalition (NDYC), has condemned calls by some stalwarts of PDP for suspension of the former President of Nigeria, Dr Goodluck Jonathan for hosting the newly elected Governor of Bayelsa State, Hon David Lyon of the APC.
National Coordinator of NDYC, Prince Emmanuel Ogba, who reacted to the call for Jonathan’s suspension, Wednesday in Port Harcourt said what the former President did does not amount to anti-party activity because by his position, Jonathan is a father to Bayelsa State.
“ We in NDYC think that the former President should rather be applauded for openly embracing the new governor irrespective of the political party he belongs to.
“ As a former governor of the state and President of the country, we expect Jonathan to restrict himself to advisory and fatherly roles not only to Bayelsa State but in Nigeria at large.
“Those calling for his suspension based on anti-party activity are myopic and should grow up. Such myopic views are the things dragging us backward politically”.
Ogba rather commended former President Goodluck Jonathan for setting the right precedence for Nigerian politicians to follow, stressing that politics should be played with the spirit of sportsmanship.
According to the group leader, Nigerian politicians should emulate Jonathan’s open way and large heart in politics and shun the ‘winner takes it all syndrome’.
“ Are those calling for the suspension of Jonathan suggesting that he should have chased the new governor and his team away from his house as former Governor and President in the name of PDP?” he queried.
He noted that Seriake Dickson as governor did not take full advantage of the presence and advice of Jonathan and should naturally be allowed to face the consequences of his actions and inactions.
He said what happened in Bayelsa in the last governorship election is healthy for the nation’s politics and a big lesson for other sitting Governors who according to him, are behaving as if they have conquered their states and therefore could take the people for granted.
By: Chris Oluoh
…As PDP Denies Rift With Ex-President
The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) says it has nothing against former President Goodluck Jonathan over the just concluded Bayelsa governorship election.
PDP National Publicity Secretary, Mr Kola Ologbondiyan disclosed this in an interview with newsmen on Wednesday after a meeting of the party’s National Working Committee (NWC) in Abuja.
There were reports in the media that Jonathan may be sanctioned by the party following the defeat of PDP by All Progressives Congress (APC), at the November16, governorship election in Bayelsa State.
Ologbondiyan said that the issue of Jonathan was not part of matters discussed at the NWC meeting.
“The issue of former President Goodluck Jonathan did not come up at the meeting and it was not discussed.
“You must know about the procedure and processes in our party. If we do not have a report or an issue before us, we cannot delve into.
“As we speak now, we do not have any matter concerning Jonathan before us in the party,” he said.
Ologbondiyan said that the only issue discussed at the meeting was the November 16 election in Kogi and Bayelsa, of which the National Chairman, Mr Uche Secondus would formally address the press on the party’s position yesterday.
“We have taken a decision to go to court long before but beyond that, we are going to take other measures which the national chairman will disclose.
“We have not done a post mortem of the election. We have only weighed the circumstances that surrounded the election.
“We have also looked at the global condemnation of the election. We have reviewed the role of INEC and the role played by security agencies. Formally, the party will come up with a position,” he said.
Ayade Presents N1.1trn Budget For 2020
Governor Ben Ayade of Cross River State yesterday presented a budget of N1.1trillion for 2020 to the State House of Assembly.
The budget, tagged “Budget of Olimpotic Meristemasis”, has a capital expenditure of N911 billion representing 82.8 per cent and a recurrent expenditure of N188 billion, representing 17.2 per cent.
While explaining that meristemasis is the active cell that stimulates growth in a young plant, which in this case represented the state, he pointed out that, “the budget will catalyse into existence a great opportunity for the state to put all hands and legs on the pedal.”
He said the decision to set aside 82.8 per cent of the budget for capital expenditure, was indicative of government commitment that will continue to reduce recurrent expenditure and focus on capital expenditure.
On the sectoral breakdown, Ayade disclosed that the health sector has an allocation of N44 billion, education N38 billion, New City Development N35 billion while agriculture was allocated N22 billion and social housing N12 billion, among others.
The governor announced that his administration would sustain its current tax policy with adjustment.
“All low income people like civil servants earning below N100,000 will be exempted from tax.
“Small scale businesses like barbing saloon, hair dressing and others are hereby exempted from taxation,” he said.
He also abolished daily levy of between N500 and N1000 by taxis in the state, noting that they will now pay N2000 only every month.
“We must come to the understanding that indeed any state whose budget is driven by envelope size is limited in vision.
“There are two ways in business and public sector management that you place your budget. It is either that your budget comes as an expression of your envelope size or as an expression of your ambition.
“The prosperity agenda set for this state does not allow me the opportunity of an envelope budgeting,” he said.
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