The Ekiti State Governor, Dr Kayode Fayemi said, yesterday, that he and his colleagues in the Nigeria Governors’ Forum (NGF) were concerned about discontent, hunger and anger in the country and would be ready to work with other stakeholders to find a lasting solution.
Fayemi, who is the NGF chairman, said the raging nationwide #ENDSARS protests resulted from years of pent-up emotion, anger and hunger in the land, adding that the governors are committed to larger reform of the polity not only much-taunted police reform.
The governor spoke, yesterday at the special thanksgiving mass held at St. Patrick’s Catholic Cathedral, Old Garage, Ado-Ekiti, as part of activities to mark the second anniversary of his administration in office.
Fayemi said he understood the frustration of the young Nigerian citizens who had taken to the streets for the past one week, noting that he had used his younger years to participate in similar protests against bad governance, especially military dictatorship.
He lent his voice to the view of the Catholic Bishop of Ekiti Diocese, the Most Reverend Felix Ajakaye, who had called for an immediate suspension of the nationwide protests for the authorities to act on the protesters’ demand.
The service was attended by the Ondo State Governor, Mr. Oluwarotimi Akeredolu; Ekiti State Deputy Governor, Otunba Bisi Egbeyemi; Ondo State Deputy Governor-elect, Mr. Lucky Ayedatiwa; Ekiti State First Lady, Erelu Bisi Fayemi; former Ekiti State Governor, and now Minister of Trade, Industries and Investments, Otunba Niyi Adebayo; Ekiti State former deputy governors, Chief Paul Alabi; Chief Abiodun Aluko and Prof. Modupe Adelabu; Speaker, Ekiti State House of Assembly, Rt. Hon. Funminiyi Afuye; cabinet members, state lawmakers, traditional rulers, Bishop Emeritus of Ekiti, Olatunji Fagun, leaders of market women and community leaders, among others.
Fayemi, who described himself as a product of God’s mercy, sought for forgiveness from those who he might have offended in the discharge of his duties as the state’s Chief Executive.
According to him, he had sworn to an oath to do what is just and fair noting that his actions so far in the office were based on fairness and justice.
Speaking on the state of the nation, Fayemi said: “There is a lot of anger in the land, there is a lot of hunger in the land, pent-up emotion. There is disillusion in the land. As a young man who spent much time in the barricades protesting bad governance, I can understand what is going on now.
“I and my colleagues are concerned and we are committed to reforms not just about SARS because we will be making a mistake that the general disaffection in the land is all about SARS.
“Like Your Lordship (the Bishop) had said, the government should be allowed to address the problems that have cropped up.”
The governor said he would always be thankful to God for giving him the grace to serve Ekiti people again, saying he sees himself as an instrument in God’s hands and sees the governorship seat as missionary work.
He added: “If I had gotten my second term normally. I would have ceased being governor now and I know I wouldn’t have been NGF Chairman now. God has a purpose in our lives.”
Speaking on the wave of protests rocking the country on alleged police brutality in his sermon, Bishop Felix Ajakaye called for an immediate end to the protests to allow the authorities to implement police reforms.
The cleric also urged the Federal Government to address the grievances of Nigerians on the state of the nation, insecurity, insurgency and hardship being faced in the country.
As the Ekiti State Security Network (Amotekun) is launched, today, Ajakaye admonished its operatives to be apolitical and work with integrity and fear of God.
He further called for a synergy between security agencies in Ekiti, including the Amotekun operatives to make the state safe for everybody to live in.
He said: “The Federal Government should listen to the grievances of the people not only on #ENDSARS but on terrorism and other things that are wrong in our country. #ENDSARS protest should end, leaders’ indifference to people’s life, bad governance, insincerity and distrust should end.
“There is hunger and anger in the land and the government should act promptly. The protesters should suspend their protest immediately because if it continues, it may be counterproductive. We have those among them who are using the protest to protect their criminal activity.”
The bishop further charged Governor Fayemi to use the remaining two years in office to build worthy legacies for the benefit of the people.
The cleric also enjoined the governor to use the opportunity of his mid-term to re-strategize and execute more people-oriented policies and projects since “time waits for no man.”
Ajakaye, however, told the congregation that he carried out an independent investigation of one of the ongoing signature projects being executed in the state and the World Bank attested to the governor’s accountability and integrity in governance.
He said: “I have gone round to see your projects and I went to see the massive Water Corporation building along Iworoko Road, and I called a top World Bank officer to tell him what I saw. The officer told me what do I expect, he told me that the governor is accountable.”
Ajakaye enjoined the governor to build strong structures that are greater than strong people because “while strong structures last, strong people will fade away.”
The bishop urged Fayemi to be focused in the discharge of his duties and look beyond his years in office, saying “success without a worthy successor is a failure in reality.
“This is your half time and half time in football is a time of re-strategizing. Your wife was born in Liverpool and she supports Liverpool (Football Club), You Will Never Walk Alone.
“But recently when Liverpool played against Aston Villa, a team that was nearly relegated last season, they beat Liverpool 7-2. This is your mid-term, use it to rebuild your strategy, use it to rebuild your office and execute more people-oriented policies and projects because time waits for no man.
“Success without a successor is a failure in reality. There is a need for maintenance culture and continuity in the good work you are doing. You are a leader, a quality one, who has a listening ear. I thank you for listening to your people.”
Ogoni Youths Give FG 14 Days To Fix East-West Road
The protesters, who carried various placards with inscriptions to press home their demands, trekked from Akpajo Junction to Refinery Junction in Eleme LGA, chanting solidarity songs to register their discontent over the neglect of the road.
Addressing newsmen during the protest, President General of the Ogoni Youth Federation, Comrade Legborsi Yaamabana, said it was regrettable that the road, which was a major route to the economic hub of the nation, has remained in a deplorable state, only becoming a death trap that has terminated the lives of innocent Ogonis.
Yaamabana, who described the mass action of the youths as a ‘warning protest’, said if the contractors handling the road were not immediately mobilized to site, then, the youths will have no option than to shut down all economic activities in the area.
He said, “we cannot continue to watch our people being killed on daily basis by tankers because of the poor state of Eleme axis of the east west road, we are calling on the Federal Government to as a matter of urgency fix the road and save our people from untimely deaths as a result of the sorry state of the road, the only bridge on the road at Aleto has collapse but nothing is being done to avert the disasters faced by our people daily”.
Yaamabana also called on the Minister of Niger Delta Affairs, Senator Godswill Akpabio to constitute a substantive board for the Niger Delta Development Commission to address the development needs of the Niger Delta region, noting that the use of interim management for NDDC was “diversionary, self serving and not in the interest of the development of the Niger Delta region”.
The OYF president general also called on the Federal Government to exonerate Ken Saro-Wiwa and his compatriots who were extra-judicially murdered by the late Gen Sani Abacha military junta, and given post-humours honour as martyrs of democracy in Nigeria, while the ideals of justice they stood for should be upheld.
Also speaking, the immediate past secretary of the Ijaw Youth Council, Eastern Zone, Comrade James Tobin, who joined the protest in solidarity, decried the neglect of the East—West Road by the Federal Government, and called the immediate fixing of the road to save the teeming road users from untold pains and death.
By: Taneh Beemene
Rising Prices Push 7m Nigerians Below Poverty Line -World Bank
This was contained in a press statement titled, ‘Critical reforms needed to reduce inflation and accelerate the recovery, says new World Bank report,’ released by the World Bank’s Senior External Affairs Officer of Nigeria, Mansir Nasir.
The press statement was released, yesterday, in line with the latest World Bank Nigeria Development Update.
It was acknowledged that the Federal Government “took measures to protect the economy against a much deeper recession” but it was recommended that certain policies should be set for a strong recovery.”
The statement read, “The NDU, titled ‘Resilience through Reforms,’ notes that in 2020, the Nigerian economy experienced a shallower contraction of -1.8 per cent than had been projected at the beginning of the pandemic (-3.2 per cent). Although the economy started to grow again, prices are increasing rapidly, severely impacting Nigerian households.
“As of April, 2021, the inflation rate was the highest in four years. Food prices accounted for over 60% of the total increase in inflation. Rising prices have pushed an estimated seven million Nigerians below the poverty line in 2020 alone.”
Quoted in the statement, the World Bank Country Director for Nigeria, Shubham Chaudhuri, identified some of the challenges faced by the country and recommended a way forward.
“Nigeria faces interlinked challenges in relation to inflation, limited job opportunities, and insecurity.
“While the government has made efforts to reduce the effect of these by advancing long-delayed policy reforms, it is clear that these reforms will have to be sustained and deepened for Nigeria to realise its development potential,” Chaudhuri said.
Also quoted is the World Bank Lead Economist for Nigeria and co-author of the NDU, Marco Hernandez, who also gave a recommendation.
“Given the urgency to reduce inflation amidst the pandemic, a policy consensus and expedite reform implementation on exchange-rate management, monetary policy, trade policy, fiscal policy, and social protection would help save lives, protect livelihoods, and ensure a faster and sustained recovery,” Hernandez said.
Inflation Dips To 17.93% In May, NBS Confirms
The National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) revealed this in its monthly Consumer Price Index report released, yesterday.
The drop in the headline inflation in May was the second consecutive month this year.
The report indicates that the consumer price index (CPI), which measures the inflation rate increased by 17.93 per cent (year-on-year) in May, 2021, which is 0.19 per cent points lower than the rate recorded in the preceding month.
According to NBS, food inflation dropped in the same month from 22.78 per cent recorded in April, 2021 to 22.28 per cent in May, 2021.
The report reads, ‘‘All items less farm produce which excludes the prices of volatile agricultural produce stood at 13.15 per cent in May, 2021, up by 0.41 per cent when compared with 12.74 per cent recorded in April, 2021.
‘‘The highest increases were recorded in prices of pharmaceutical products, garments, shoes and other footwear, hairdressing salons and personal grooming establishments, furniture and furnishing, carpet and other floor covering.
‘‘Others include, motor cars, Hospital services, fuels and lubricants for personal transport equipment, cleaning, repair and hire of clothing.
“Other services include personal transport equipment, gas, household textile, and non-durable household goods,” the NBS added.
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