The euphoria or jubilation at the swearing-in of the President, State Governors and elected members of the Houses of Assemblies is finally over with the President and Governors sitting down to face the stark reality of what governance is all about.
This is especially applicable to the newly elected Governors who initially might have thought that it is really easy to govern a people with the resources at their disposal.
Most of the governors will eventually meet what they would later claim as empty treasuries on their assumption of office but that, to a lot of Nigerians, is just rethorics. A mandate has been given and it behoves the elected official to think outside the box and seek for solutions to the teething problems they must face.
Already, one week has gone by, with the various governors beginning to see if the lofty speeches they made and the policy statements read on their inauguration can be implemented.
Some have kicked the ground running by making key appointments into various positions while others are still thinking on what to do.
At the federal level, it was quite disappointing that President Muhammadu Buhari had nothing new to offer Nigerians as he never uttered a word at his inauguration on the new direction his administration would take.
This, observers believe is sign posts admission of failure and lack of anything convincing on the credit side of the balance sheet of his administration.
At least what the president should have done was to come out publicly with his achievements or short comings, especially in the areas of security and infrastructural development. If his silence is seen as a mark of success to his administration, then Nigerians should be ready for a very rough four years ahead.
The main focus now is that all elected executives should take a holistic look at the problems of their various states, especially the Governors who are saddled with the complex rule of governance based on what they can generate as internal revenue.
In virtually every state, no incumbent had it easy prior to the elections which brought them to power as their major opponents gave them a good fight and it was after the final verdict by the electoral umpire that they got to know or realiz that they have won.
So the time for politicking had ended automatically with their assumption of office on the 29th of May 2019.
The reality today is that in Nigeria campaigns never seems to end as politicians are always jostling for power even when is it not yet the time for election thereby distracting most governors from really focusing on governance.
Although there is nothing wrong in keeping the governors and the president on their toes with criticisms, such objections to certain policies should not be done with malice.
It should be a constructive and one which cannot be faulted.
In some states, payment of salaries, gratuities and pensions are big problems which seem to be unending.
Sadly too, the president has not made any key appointment one week after taking his oath of office, and there is indespread hope that this will not be a replica of what happened in 2015 when it took him about six months to constitute his cabinet.
If he is really serious, by now he would have done so. By repeating the same thing he did four years ago it is an indication that he never did a good homework on positive governance.
In other climes, a president once elected and sworn-in within few hours or days makes key appointments which clearly signals his policy direction and to delay creates more anxiety in the business community.
This is 2019, let no chief executive make the old mistake of making appointments that are at variance with the principles of federal character or balance base of the geo-political nature of the state.
It is only under prescedent in the nation’s history that virtually all heads of the security, judiciary and even juicy positions in the presidency are from one geographical part of the country. Despite the hues and cries from other parts of the country he suddenly became deaf and dumb within his first term in office. He is not the only culprit as even some state governors were not left out of this same sin and if the president had been from a minority ethnic group with this catalogue of constitutional violations some ethnic jingoists would have been calling for his impeachment. Likewise, some of these state governors if they are also from the wrong side of the divide.
At the federal level the president still has more time, especially in constituting his cabinet as he is waiting for the 9th national assembly to be inaugurated, but this is not really an excuse as governance is a continous process.
Even the outgoing National Assembly especially the Senate, which has the responsibility of screening ministerial appointees, can still do the job. But if the President believes that he will wait for the 9th Assembly, which he hopes will rubber stamp any appointments or decision he makes, they may be making a wrong assumption.
In politics, anything can happen. It is only a vibrant national assembly that can cheek the excesses of the executive.
Again, this is 2019, the APC does not have absolute majority in the senate. From available records the PDP has 51 senators-elect, the APC 55, the YPP I and two to be determined by the court out of a total of 109 senate seats.
So the power game will be very interesting as to who becomes the Senate President and Vice President next week.
As usual, Abuja will be the next battle ground which will involve the presidency, state governors, party strategists, political jobbers and money bags.
The same goes for who becomes the Speaker or Deputy Speaker of the House of Representatives.
As all the interest groups and power brokers descent on Abuja, the future of the next four years will be determined by one vote and just six votes to determine the number three, four, five or sixth in the nation’s hierarchy of power.
Let the battle begin!!!
Huge Cost Of NASS Maintenance Worries TUC
Rivers State chapter of the Trade Union Congress (TUC), has called on the Federal Government to reduce the costs of governance in the country, noting that it cost the country billions of Naira to maintain the National Assembly alone.
The State TUC, chairman, Austin Jonah who spoke when he appeared as guest on a live Radio programme in Port Harcourt monitored by The Tide stated that the cost of governance in Nigeria is very expensive and not attainable.
Jonah further said the federal government will have enough funds to pay the minimum wage when they reduce the salaries and allowances of political office holders.
“Look at the welcome pack of the National Assembly members. N4.6 plus billion for accommodation and furniture. A Senator is going home with about N10million, while the member of House of Representatives is taking N9million plus.
“If you calculate with 360 persons in the House of Reps, plus 109 in the Senate, that is about 469 people and they have severance gratuity. They have so many things they are going home with plus their salary. You see, if you look at governance and cut down expenditure in governance this money, they have already taken the money that are talking about.
“They have taken it in the sense that they want to increase communication tax, such as that every call you make you pay tax, sms you pay tax, data you pay tax and even cable Television,” Jonah lamented
The State TUC chairman said what the labour union negotiated with the Federal Government was not the minimum wage but consequential adjustment.
“What we were negotiating was the consequential adjustment. Now from N18, 000 to N30, 000, the difference is N12, 000, which is 66 per cent. That 66 per cent was what we negotiated. By right we are not supposed to negotiate.
“If you trace the history of minimum wage in Nigeria, it started in 1981 during the Alhaji Shehu Shagari Government. Whenever you finish with minimum wage, the consequential adjustment is based on the percentage of the difference.
“The first minimum wage presented by the NLC was N300, but at the end of the day N125 was agreed,” he said.
NASS Promises Better Funding For Nigerian Army
The Chairman, Senate Committee on Army, Senator Ali Ndume and his House of Representatives counterpart, Mr Abdulrazak Namdas, have promised to ensure adequate funding for the Nigerian Army in the 2020 budget.
They made the promise on Saturday in an interview with newsmen during the Passing Out Parade (POP) of 78 Regular Recruits Intake at the Depot Nigerian Army, Zaria, Kaduna State.
They said that the army needed to be adequately funded to be able to effectively tackle the prevailing security threats in the country.
Ndume, who agreed that the N100 billion proposed for the defence in 2020 budget was inadequate, said that the committee on army was looking at how to help to enhance the funding.
He said that the national assembly was aware of needs of the army that needed to be provided to enable its personnel to perform their duties effectively.
“We are going to do something despite the fact that the resources are scarce but security is first and everybody has agreed to that.
“We are looking at the budget critically to place our priorities right so that the right things will be done first.”
Namdas said that the joint committee had embark on fact finding tour to army formations across the country and realised that the army had challenges.
According to him, they are really on ground, they have done so much and now that the National Assembly is considering the budget we can appropriate for the army.
“We will see how we can be able to adjust and see how that can be able to cope with the challenges at hand,” he said.
Namdas also disclosed that a motion to provide for special funding for the armed forces was currently being considered on the floor of the House of Representatives.
He added that the armed forces could not be adequately funded only by the budget, adding that there was need to look beyond the budget to finance the operations of the armed forces.
“That motion has been taken and we are looking to it and by the special grace of God, even after the budget we will look for special funding for the armed forces generally,” he said.
The Depot Nigerian Army on Saturday graduated a total of 4832 regular recruits who would be deployed to various formations of the army.
Similarly, the Chief of Defence Staff, Gen. Gabriel Olonisakin, urged the graduating soldiers to always uphold the oath of allegiance they had taken to defend the territorial integrity of Nigeria.
Olonisakin also tasked them to display total loyalty while pledging that the prevailing security challenges would soon be over through the commitment of the military.
APC, Party For Notorious Liars – Ayade
Governor Ben Ayade of Cross River State has described the All Progressives Congress (APC) as a group of persons notorious for lies, especially in his state.
He said the assertions credited to the APC chairman in the state, John Ochala, over his return to school to pursue a Master’s degree in law at UNICAL were as laughable and pathetic as the party itself in the state, adding “the party in the state is notorious for lies.”
Ochala is reported to have said that Governor Ayade returned to school because of idleness and laziness and that he (Ayade) lacked ideas on how to govern the state.
But the Governor in a statement by Mr. Christian Ita, his chief media adviser, said it was “funny that a party like APC which prides itself as a major opposition cannot engage the Governor on governance issues but chooses to lie to score cheap political points.
“If they didn’t see anything wrong with Governor Malam Nasir el-Rufai returning to school in 2017 in faraway Netherlands for his PhD, what,then is wrong if Governor Ayade returns to school to add to his numerous degrees within Calabar, the state capital?” he asked.
The statement reminded the APC that Chief Whip of the Senate and member of the APC, Senator Orji Uzor Kalu was an undergraduate student while serving as Abia State governor.
“The timing of Governor Ayade’s decision to return to school is unequivocally perfect. Unlike APC members, the governor, despite all the resources at his disposal didn’t choose any foreign university, he decided to do it locally thereby boosting the reputation of Nigerian universities at a time tertiary institutions in West Africa are under attack,” he said. Ayade said to attack his quest for more academic degrees shows that APC in the state was weak as opposition party and could not be able to distract him.
Friday Nwagbara, Calabar
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