The Ondo State Council of the Nigeria Labour Congress, NLC, has called on the newly inaugurated 9th Assembly of the state legislature to fully exercise its duties as enshrined in the 1999 constitution in order to checkmate the executive arm for the benefits of their constituents.
In a statement issued yesterday by the State Chairman of NLC, Comrade Sunday Oluwole-Adeleye who reeled out expectations of the masses stated that as direct representatives of the people, the lawmakers should work harder to give quality representation through passage of laws that would impact positively on the state.
Comrade Adeleye, who congratulated the lawmakers on their inauguration emphasised that the re-election of the Speaker, Rt Hon Bamidele Oleyelogun and his deputy, Rt Hon Iroju Ogundeji as Presiding Officers of the Assembly is a clear indication that they should lead the state parliament to bridge the gap between the government and the people.
The congress, which also advised the lawmakers to avoid losing connection with their constituents urged that regular visit and constant interaction would acquaint them to know their challenges and how government can address such.
“The state 9th Assembly should regularly interface with other critical stakeholders including the organised labour unions to give useful suggestions on how to move the state forward.
“Ondo NLC appeals to the new lawmakers to take labour friendly decisions that would motivate and enhance the productivities of the state workforce.
“The Assembly should give maximum support to Governor Oluwarotimi Akeredolu to implement the new minimum wage of N30,000 in the State.
“The workers union reminds the new 9th Assembly on the need to have smooth working relationship with Governor Akeredolu and should not forget the principle of checks and balances in government,” the statement read.
Abaribe, Other Senators In Crossfire Over 2020 Budget
As Senators began the N10.33 trillion budget debate on Wednesday, there were different opinions on the viability of the budget by lawmakers who tried to tag the Appropriation based on their own different perspectives.
Minority Leader of the Senate, Enyinnaya Abaribe while ‘firing’ the budget said that so many things which could not be obviously achieved were put together in the budget.
“Very many things were put and jumbled together: budget of fiscal consolidation, investing in critical infrastructure and so forth.”
“In other words, putting everything together like that reminds us of what Shakespeare said: a tale full of sound and fury signifying nothing.”
This, however, did not go down well with the Senate President, Dr Ahmad Ibrahim Lawan who insisted that he should have concentrated on the contents of the budget rather than taking the chambers through a literature class.
“Minority leader, this is not a literature class and I want to appeal that you talk on what was read in the budget speech.”
Senate later raised concerns about securing loans and other issues, which paved way for the Minority leader to speak on.
Abaribe continued, saying the budget was that of taxation rather than consolidation.
“I want to suggest a name to those who wrote this speech for Mr. President, that this is nothing but a budget of taxation. It is a budget that is based on taxation. It’s based on 7.5 per cent increase in VAT, based on several other increases.
“Senate President, Senate leader, Senator Yahaya Abdullahi has helped us in his lead debate on how the Federal Government intended to secure loans in order to shore up the budget deficit while faulting the development.
“I want to mention that the biggest loan we have is the fact that, how would you talk about job creation when you do not invest in what will create jobs?
“Debt servicing as a component is higher than capital expenditure. 2trn for capital expenditure, 2.4trn for debt servicing.
The projected growth that they put in the budget was 1.9 per cent, less than the population growth of 2.6 per cent. So, if we look at it globally, we are still struggling.
“We may have to take over and direct the economic policy of this government. having seen that they have not done anything and they have failed.
“Two assumptions are critical for this government. First, the assumption on oil prices. I know that our people were happy when there seem to be a little problem in the middle east with Iran which will lead to a spike in the oil price but that seems to have gone down which means that our projection for the cost of oil may also be off the mark.”
“Second one is our projection for the production levels daily. Last year, the average production level was 1.8m BPD. Why don’t we just keep it there? Why must we go up to 2.1 only to be disappointed at the end of the day?
“I know that you have promised the executive that we are going to work very well with the executive to produce the budget, but I plead with my colleagues to look at the facts. You can’t run away from facts.
“The facts here is that this is not a sustainable budget. If we need to change, we must be able to look at the critical fundamentals of this budget speech and make adjustments as due.”
Senate President insisted that the Minority leader was inaccurate in his statistical presentations.
Similarly, some lawmakers of the opposition Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, maintained that the figure was bogusly put together by the executive without taking the nation’s dwindling revenue into consideration.
Speaking at a press conference after plenary, Spokesman of the Senate, Senator Adedayo Adeyeye said the nation has the best budget put together for 2020.
He said what transpired on the floor was in line with different perspectives of seeing things by people while describing the budget as “budget of consolidation.”
Lawmaker Advises AAC Candidate Against Appealing Tribunal Judgement
A lawmaker, Hon. Kelechi Nwogu said it would be a waste of time for the Governorship candidate of the African Action Congress (AAC), Biokpomabo Awara, to appeal the Tribunal ruling which upheld the election of Governor Nyesom Wike.
Recall that Engr Awara has said he will appeal the judgment after the Rivers State Election Petition Tribunal ruled in favour of Wike.
Nwogu who represents Omuma Constituency in the Rivers State House of Assembly said Governor Wike’s victory at the tribunal did not come to him as a surprise; saying there was no way Engr. Awara would have won the election when he barely campaigned.
“Some things are not right. Somebody purportedly think he is interested to contest election on Thursday, only for him to come out on Friday and make announcement that he was going to contest election, and on Saturday you want the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to declare you winner.
“You didn’t campaign for the election. You had no manifesto and you just want to be declared winner. The candidate we know in that election is Chief Barr. Nyesom Wike,” Nwogu stated.
He further said, “What did Awara tell Rivers people he was going to do for them to vote for him? Going to Appeal or the Supreme Court is a mere waste of time.
“If the sun in the morning and the sun in afternoon could not dry your clothes, the one in the evening will also not dry your clothes,” Hon. Nwogu said.
Youths, Students Hail Wike’s Tribunal Victory
A group, New Rivers Vision Youths and Students, has called on opposition parties that lost their case at the Election Petition Tribunal to put the State first above personal interest.
Director General of the Group, Chimzi Ihunwo who made the call during a chat with newsmen in Port Harcourt, commended the Judiciary for what he described as ‘its unbiased ruling on the matter.
Ihunwo called on Governor Nyesom Wike not to be distracted but to continue offering good governance to the people, noting power comes from God.
“His (Wike’s) victory shows that it is only God that chooses leaders and Governor Wike is God sent to the people of Rivers State. We are happy and we give God the glory.
“We urged other political parties and candidates from other divides to work with him to move our dear state forward and see how best possible to put Rivers State on the global map,” Ihunwo stated.
He lauded Governor Wike for his continued support to students, even as he called on the youths and students to reciprocate the gesture by being steadfast in their support.
“We thank the Governor for what he has been doing for the students community and we call on him to continue in his developmental strides.
“We also urge the youths and students to expect the best to come from the Rivers State Government,” the Director General, New Rivers Vision Youths and Students said.
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