The Ohanaeze Ndigbo last Monday described as childish, a call by the Minister of Labour and Employment, Dr Chris Ngige, that the Igbo should join the All Progressives Congress in order to produce the next President of the country.
The group’s National Publicity Secretary, Prince Uche Achi-Okpaga, in a telephone interview with our source said until an “Igbo man becomes president, Nigeria will never progress.”
Ngige, had while addressing the APC members last Sunday at Alor in the Idemili South Local Government Area of Anambra State, said the Federal Government led by President Muhammadu Buhari had done well for the Igbo.
He had stated that the APC was the easiest political platform the South-East could use to ascend the presidency of the country.
Faulting Ngige, Achi-Okpaga said the minister’s statement was baseless and pedestrian. According to him, in 2019, the Igbo voted for the APC.
He asked: “Is Ngige from Ghana? Is he not an Igbo man? The APC got all the percentages of votes they needed from the South-East in the February 2019 presidential election. Was it a fluke or doctored? Were the votes not Igbo votes? So if he is saying Igbo should join the APC, is he saying that there are no Igbo in the APC, including himself?”
The Ohanaeze spokesman said people asking the Igbo to join the APC were just looking for an excuse not to field an Igbo candidate in 2023.
He stated: “I think his statement is very pedestrian. It is just that when you want to kill a dog, you want to find a fault to hang it. Just to find a fault to say that the Igbo are this or that. Let me tell you, until an Igbo man becomes President, nothing will move forward. Nigeria will continue to be a motionless engine.
“We have said the Igboman sees the entire world as his village. So if an Igbo man becomes president of Nigeria, there is no state, there is no village in Nigeria that you cannot find an Igbo man. So he has no time to marginalise anyone. The Igbo man lives in Sokoto, so the government will like to build roads in Sokoto because his brother lives there. The Igbo man lives in Kafachan. The Igbo live in Ogun. They live in Cross River. They live in all parts of Nigeria.
“The whole of Nigeria is the horizon of Igbo man. There’s no ethnicity in Igbo man. It is only the Igbo that practise one Nigeria, every other person is a hypocrite. So until Igbo man becomes president, Nigeria will keep running round the same circle. What Ngige said was just childish.”
On its part, the Peoples Democratic Party said the APC was not a viable party for Ndigbo to actualise any of their political aspirations in.2023. The PDP Deputy National Publicity, Mr Diran Odeyemi, in an interview with journalists in Abuja also said the PDP was not dead.
He said the comment by Ngige that the Igbo people should join the APC to realise their aspiration for the 2023 presidency was a mere campaign talk which had no practical validity.
Odeyemi said: “Ngige can say all that he wants to say. He can cajole the people to join them in the APC. But he knows that the South-East is a no-go area for the APC. There is nothing they can say that the people will believe them.
“In 2023, we are bringing out a great candidate that Nigerians will know and vote for. It is too early to be talking about zoning, but Ngige knows that the Igbo people will never go the way of the APC because it is a party that is full of deceit and lies.”
Sanwo-Olu Signs Anti-Open Grazing Bill Into Law
Lagos State Governor, Babajide Sanwo-Olu, on Monday, signed the bill to prohibit open cattle grazing and trespass of cattle on land in the state into laws.
With the law, Lagos has joined some states in southern Nigeria that have anti-open grazing laws in place.
The law is coming more than two weeks after the September 1 deadline set by the Southern Governors Forum for states.
The governor also signed the Lagos State Domestic And Sexual Violence Agency Bill, into Law.
Meanwhile, the state government has said it is committed to tackling the menace of drug abuse frontally to reduce the ravage among youths in the state.
Sanwo-Olu stated this on Monday at the Lagos House, Ikeja, during a courtesy visit by the delegates of Anglican Communion Church of Nigeria, led by the Archbishop Metropolitan and Primate, Most Reverend Henry Ndukuba.
Sanwo-Olu said his government was building a massive rehabilitation hospital at Ketu-Ejirin to tackle drug abuse, adding that his administration would partner with the Church to ensure that the people lived a better life.
He said governance started from the leadership of spiritual homes, noting that government and church can jointly build a community that would outlive all, while restating the commitment to improve the movement of people on road, water as well as building rail infrastructure to make Lagos a livable city.
Speaking earlier, Ndukuba thanked the governor for partnering with the church in the welfare of the people and commended him for his outstanding performance in tackling Covid-19.
Also present at the courtesy visit were the Deputy Governor, Obafemi Hamzat, Chief of Staff to the Governor, Tayo Ayinde, Secretary to the State Government, Folashade Jaji, Commissioner for Information, Gbenga Omotoso, among other dignitaries.
Okowa Tasks NASS On True Federalism
Delta State Governor, Senator Ifeanyi Okowa, has called on the National Assembly to embody in the 1999 Constitution being amended, true federalism and independence of Revenue Mobilisation Allocation and Fiscal Commission (RMAFC).
The governor made the call on Monday at a nationwide sensitisation on the review of the existing revenue allocation formula held at Unity Hall, Government House, Asaba.
He explained that an independent RMAFC would carry out its functions independently, including laying its proposals directly before the National Assembly for approval.
According to the governor, the current practice where recommendations of the commission are presented to the President has led to the non-review of the revenue allocation formula since 1992 as no President demonstrated the political will to forward the amendments to the parliament.
He commended RMAFC for ongoing sensitisation of the states before a zonal exercise where recommendations from the states would be received.
“For quite some time a lot of talks have gone on in the revenue allocation and it’s very unfortunate that in this country we are still operating a revenue allocation formula that was actually reviewed in 1992.
“As we look forward to a new revenue allocation formula, we hope that you come out with something that is fair, justifiable and equitable.
“But, the challenge is that when you have done all this work, you are going to eventually, by the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, lay this before the President and the President ought to lay it before the National Assembly.
“There is a challenge there and there has always been a challenge there, because what is there in our laws that will ensure that the President lays the recommendations of RMAFC before the National Assembly?
“We hope that the National Assembly takes a look at this amendment because RMAFC is supposed to be an independent commission, a commission on behalf of all federating units and component parts of the federation.
“They cannot tie your hands; the constitution ought to be amended to enable chairman of RMAFC to directly lay before the national assembly whatever review it has come up with so that nobody stands it down,’’ he said.
Okowa stated that the National Assembly must do what was right because “a nation is a nation.
Reps Query Presidential Committee Over Assets Seized From Past Leaders
The House of Representatives on Monday ordered the Presidential Implementation Committee (PIC) on Landed Property to produce reports of all assets seized from former Nigerian leaders.
Members were more particular about the late Head of State, Sani Abacha, whose property and money were recovered by the Federal Government.
The chairman, ad-hoc Committee on Abandoned Property, Ademora Kuye, said the House wanted a report on all assets seized from Nigerian leaders in and out of Nigeria, particularly Abacha.
He said this when the Executive Secretary of PIC appeared before the committee in Abuja.
“We need to know the state of those property and to also know if the property have titles of deed,’’ Mr Kuye said.
The committee also queried the sale of federal government’s assets held in trust by the PIC.
Mr Kuye said the committee discovered that some of the property the PIC claimed to have sold were either not sold or were not paid for, contrary to claims made by the PIC.
He added that some of the seized houses which the PIC claimed were vacant were still being occupied.
He directed the PIC to furnish the House of Representatives committee with up-to-date reports of federal government’s assets sold, amount realised from the sales, those yet to be sold and those under litigation.
Mr Kuye also asked that the PIC must state the amount of money remitted to the federal government from the sales with evidence of remittance, adding that all assets pointed out to the committee but not included in its first report should be forwarded to the House of Representatives committee.
Responding to Mr Kuye’s submissions, the Executive Secretary, PIC, Bala Samid, stated that some of the people occupying government quarters had refused to vacate them.
He added that as soon as the occupants were approached for payment or to vacate the houses they went to court to obtain injunctions restraining the PIC.
“We approached the federal government to report them and the federal government said that we should give them time”.
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