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Buhari, Okonjo-Iweala, Adesina, Recommit To Economic, Infrastructure, Youth Dev

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President Muhammadu Buhari, the newly elected Director-General of the World Trade Organization (WTO), Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, and the President, African Development Bank (AFDB), Dr. Akinwunmi Adesina, has called for development in economic infrastructure, investment in youths, and enhanced private sector contribution for Lagos as a smart city.

The trio made the call, yesterday, virtually at the opening session of the ongoing three-day economic summit in Lagos, tagged: “Eghingbeti Lagos Economic Summit 2021” with the theme: “Setting the tone for a greater Lagos”, at Eko Hotels and Suites, Victoria Island, Lagos.

Buhari said the Federal Government was determined to open up opportunities by which Lagos State can achieve its projects of a smart city.

He commended the Lagos State Government for its partnership and collaboration with the Federal Government for putting together an economic summit aimed at improving the lives of citizens of the state and Nigeria in general.

He said the Federal Government has several ongoing projects in Lagos, and particularly, commended Lagos State Governor, Babajide Sanwo-Olu, for his resolve to continue the development of Lagos.

According to him, “We want a Lagos that is united and ensure its economic prosperity leaves no one behind. I urge all stakeholders to come up with plans to achieve Lagos of our dreams.”

In a virtual question and answer session with Governor Sanwo-Olu, Okonjo Iweala said apart from construction of roads, Lagos should invest in technology such as broadband for every household, embrace artificial intelligence and digital economy, ensure a steady and sustainable supply of electricity and renewable energy/green to remain competitive in the next decade.

“The state should harness the youths by providing employment. The state should move from importing raw materials but exporting primary raw products to value and processing, to industrialize Africa,” she stated.

Akinwunmi, in his contribution, stressed that the youths are an asset to the state and should be given a chance in contributing their quotas to the development of the state.

He continued, “The state should also invest in education by turning tertiary institutions in the state to world-class.

“Youths are not the problem of Lagos, they are the asset. The slogan should not be the young shall grow, but the youths have arrived. Youths do not need empowerment or handouts; what they need is an investment.

“The poverty level in Lagos has reduced from 30.3 per cent in 2009 to 4.5 per cent in 2019. 20 per cent lives in slums.

“A prosperous Lagos will bring a healthier Lagos. A lot needs to be done in tertiary education especially in science. We must turn tertiary institutions in Lagos to world-class.

“The climate situation in Lagos should be attended to urgently. There is a slow need to invest more in the transport system.

“Private sector needs to be mobilised to support the new Lagos. The taxes belong to the people. There must be accountability for taxes collected. I see a greater Lagos, a Lagos where visions are turned into reality and where women and youths thrive.”

In his earlier remarks, Lagos State Governor, Babajide Sanwo-Olu, announced that the summit was originally planned to take place in November, 2020, but the fallout of the #EndSARS protests caused it to be rescheduled, adding that the summit was the first edition to happen amid Coronavirus pandemic.

According to him, “Here is a pandemic that has disrupted life in every country in the world, and ushered in truly unprecedented times, where physical contact with family and friends could be a source of debilitating illness, and where our places of worship and community interactions have been upended.

“Our growing youth population are disillusioned; their future and prospects for jobs are in question. We must all be distressed by this state of affairs, living as people with no hope or inspiration should never be an option for our young people.

“In the midst of every adversity lies an abundance of opportunities; it all depends on how we choose to view things.

“We are emerging from the most significant act of economic destruction that Lagos has witnessed in decades, combined with the effects of being the national epicentre of a stubborn pandemic.

“The challenge for us is to ensure we never forget our indomitable spirit to emerge out of adversity better and stronger.

“We must continue to maintain and nurture our audacious hope, and the intention to always bounce back from adversity and build back better and boldly.

“Today’s Lagos has seen so many revolutionary changes to usher in a new era of prosperity; reflected in improved infrastructure, economy, and security.

“We are still confronted with many challenges, no doubt, but it is also important to identify the progress so we can guard it jealously and build on it.”

Sanwo-Olu, while enumerating the factors that make Lagos thick, said the “Lagos is the largest city in Nigeria and the 7th fastest growing city in the world, and the gold factor that sets it above the rest, of course.

“Our human capital: their entrepreneurial energy, optimism and ability to pull together, demographic and geographical endowments of over 22million people, sea ports that control over 75 per cent of Nigerian imports, a 180 kilometre coastline and the busiest airport in West Africa.

“Lagos is one huge and accessible market within the West African Economic zone, and well-positioned for the African Continental Free Trade Area agreement.

“Construction of over 5,000 units of houses and delivered under the homeownership scheme. We have the construction of the Lekki-Epe Expressway, Lekki/Ikoyi Link Bridge, Pen Cinema Bridge, Agric Isawo Road, the International Airport Road; and very recently, the flag-off of the regional and Ibeju Lekki-Epe roads, together with over 10,000km road networks, ramps, and junction improvements.

“The regeneration of several parts of the metropolis, with one of the more high-profile ones being the Lagos Island Central Business District,” among others.

The governor reiterated, “In 2030, Lagos will be a smart city, fully covered by a network of several thousands of kilometres of fibre optic infrastructure that will carry broadband internet into our homes, offices, and schools and unleash a technology revolution that has never before been seen in this part of the world.

“The smart city that is unfolding will also be home to a network of intelligent cameras that will support not only security and policing across the state, but also traffic management and data collection for urban planning.

“We are pushing ahead with plans to develop, in partnership with the private sector, a Medical Park that will offer world-class medical and diagnostic services in Ikoyi.

“We have so much to celebrate, but there is also so much to be done, and we are driven by a sense of urgency on the enormous task ahead to build the Lagos of our dreams.”

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Yobe: Former APC Guber Candidate, 1,000 Others Defect To PDP

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A former All Progressives Congress (APC) 2019 gubernatorial candidate in Yobe State, Dr Aji Kolomi, was among hundreds of members of the ruling party who joined the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) recently.
He was welcomed into the PDP’s fold alongside hundreds of his supporters at the main opposition party’s secretariat in Damaturu, the state capital.
PDP’s Publicity Secretary in Yobe, Hon. Salihu Mohammed Baba, in a statement, claimed that after the party has kicked off “Operation Flush APC In The State”, it has received over 1,000 APC loyalists into its fold.
He said the new entrants, comprising of men and women, were mostly from Abasha, Layin PS and Malaria areas within the metropolis.
“As the operation continues steadily, we welcome the new entrants into our great party the People’s Democratic Party, (PDP), and urge our teeming youth to answer the clarion call by joining PDP for better Yobe and Nigeria”, he appealed.

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Abdulsalami Abubakar Warns Against Increase In Fuel Price

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Former Head of State, Gen. Abdulsalami Abubakar (retd.), has warned against an increase in fuel price.
Speaking at the 19th Daily Trust Dialogue in Abuja, he said an increase in fuel price will push millions of Nigerians into poverty.
He said this following the recommendation issued by the National Economic Council for fuel price to be pegged at N302 per litre.
The former Head of State said, “Insecurity in the country is worsened by our dear economic situation. Unemployment and underemployment remain at a high level. Over 18 million Nigerians are still caught up in needless poverty. All of these tend to have negative effects on security. In fact, Nigeria now faces a full security crisis that is confounded by the COVID-19 global pandemic and the banditry in many states in Northern Nigeria.
“Most of these have disrupted the final value change across the country and negatively impacted the ability of Nigeria to produce, process, and distribute.
“There is a continuous rise in the prices of food items beyond the reach of many Nigerians. On top of all these, fuel prices are expected to rise significantly in the coming months as announced last November. We all know that when this happens, it will push many millions of Nigerians into poverty.”
On insecurity, Abdulsalami stated that the situation has overstretched the country’s security forces and has led to the death of thousands.
“Ladies and gentlemen, Nigeria is once again at crossroads. Insecurity remains the single, most difficult challenge for the country. The Boko Haram insurgency in the North-East, banditry in the North-West, violence in the South-East, kidnappings and abductions of travellers across many states all continue to fester in the land.
“In addition to these, ethnic, communal and religious conflicts are rearing their head again in many parts of the country. All of these have greatly challenged and overstretched our security forces. This has caused thousands of deaths and millions of internally displaced persons in the country over the past years,” he said.

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Osun APC Chairmen Forum Accuses Aregbesola Of Championing Crisis

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The Forum of the All Progressives Congress (APC) Party Chairmen in Osun State Local Government Council Areas has cautioned the Minister of Interior, Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola, to stop henceforth the disturbance of the political peace of the State.
The APC party chairmen who spoke through their chairman, Rufus Awotidoye, on Tuesday, after a meeting in Osogbo, the Osun State capital, stated that the conduct of Aregbesola constituted an obvious distraction to the administration of Governor Gboyega Oyetola.
Awotidoye disclosed that the Interior Minister’s affirmation in Ilesa last Friday “of being the brain behind the obnoxious, leprous and antagonistic pressure group within the state APC self-styled, The Osun Progressives (TOP), was unfortunate and needless.”
They praised the quick and prompt condemnation by the State chairman of the Party, Prince Gboyega Famodun, of the needless outburst of Aregbesola, stating that they were in agreement with the chairman’s timely response.
The local APC party chairmen, however, charged the governor to invoke his vast constitutional powers to deal with whoever is constituting a clog to the lawful performance of his official duties.
They warned Aregbesola to stop taking advantage of the gentle nature of the governor to foment trouble and crisis in Osun State each time he visits the State.
They reminded the Interior Minister that his ministerial appointment should be a source of blessing to the people of the State and not the other way round.
The local APC chairmen, who cautioned Aregbesola to desist from distracting Governor Oyetola from performing his statutory duties, accused him of being responsible for all the atrocities being performed against the sitting Governor and his government by the leadership of his militant political group in the state.
They asked the Interior Minister why he has chosen to be the tormentor-in-chief of Governor Oyetola when it’s on record that the governor as his Chief of Staff gave him a hundred per cent support for the eight solid years he ran the administration of the State.
The furious APC local chairmen told Aregbesola that “enough is enough, you should stop riding roughshod on the State as if Osun is a conquered territory of yours.
“There were functional politicians in the state before your foray into the political terrain of the state.
“You should stop playing God who possesses the absolute power to install governors in the State, as all powers belong to God Almighty.
“When it’s apparent that you could not allow any kind of such seditious act against your administration when you were in government, one wonders why you are doing the same to the focused administration of Governor Oyetola.”

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