Although some Nigeria’s political juggernauts have began jostling for the Vice President slot, President Goodluck Jonathan is still undecided, The Tide on Sunday can now reveal.
The race for the Vice President slot has been on behind the scene while Dr. Jonathan held sway as Acting President, it was intensified as soon as it was learnt that President Yar’Adua was no more, with Governors Forum and other interest groups showing interest in it.
Curiously, all the contenders for the plump political job are from the North and ardent members of the ruling Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) although the 1999 Constitution stipulates that the Vice President could be picked by the President from any part of the Country.
Sources at both the Presidential villa and Wadata House — the PDP National Secretariat at Wuse Zone 5, Abuja told The Tide On Sunday that virtually all the avowed ‘god fathers’ of the party, especially from the Northern Zone and some Governors of PDP controlled State have expressed interest in having their loyalists considered for the Number – Two office in the land.
These political godfathers, The Tide On Sunday learnt include some members of the PDP’S Board of Trustees (BOT), like its Chairman, former President, Chief Olusegun Obasanjo and former Chairman, Chief Toney Anenih and contenders for the party’s 2011 presidential ticket like former military President, Geneneral Ibrahim Babangida (rtd), former Vice President, Atiku Abubakar as well as Patrons and arrow-heads of the Arewa Consultative Forum (ACF) like Nigeria’s former permanent representative at the United Nations, Maitama Sule – on whose desk, many believe the political equation in the North stops.
Inspite of the general interests expressed in the Vice President’s Job and on-going jostling for it, especially in the North, The Tide On Sunday was able to establish in Abuja that the front contenders for the plumb Job as at yesterday are secretary to the Government of the federation (SGF), Alhaji Yayale Ahmed, National Security Adviser to the President, Aliyu Gusau and former Minister of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), Mallam Nasir el-Rufai who returned to the country last week after about two years in exile.
Our Aso Rock Presidential Source said the list is by no means exhaustive as behind the scene moves were being intensified to enlist names like Senate President, Senetor David Mark, former Chairman of EFCC, Mr. Nuhu Ribadu & Governor of Bauchi State, Mr. Isa Yuguda among other contenders, adding that the trio of Ahmed, Gusau and el-Rufai however seem to have an edge over others, as at yesterday.
Adducing reasons for this, our source said: “Yayale Ahmed has been loyal to Dr. Goodluck Jonathan, that explains why he was retained by Jonathan although he was appointed by Yar’Adua and you know any president want a loyal deputy so Yayale is being considered based on his credential of loyalty .
Gusau is seen as an old war-horse that could be used by the government to keep the status-quo intact. He is favoured by the Presidential Advisory council charied by General Theophilus Danjuma (Rtd), on whose advice of course, he was appointed National Security Adviser.
The Military is loyal to him. This has been proved overtime, right from the days of IBB and Obasanjo in government so the thinking is that with him as Veepee, mutiny in the army would be adequately kept under check throughout Jonathan’s tenure”.
Our source continued, “For el-Rufai you know he is Obasanjo’s boy”. Infact, Obasanjo is instrumental to his home-coming, without arrest at the airport, inspite of the fact that he was declared ‘wanted’ by the EFCC and you know Jonathan was Obasanjo’s Choice for the Veepee slot in 2007 when he ran with Yar’Adua. If you know President Jonathan very well, he does not believe in biting the finger that feeds him or being disloyal to his superior officers so the calculation is that if Obasanjo comes up with superior arguments for El-Rufai, he might be considered for the Veepee slot.
Our correspondent reports that the bulk stops on President Jonathan’s desk as he is the only one empowered by the constitution to nominate his deputy and forward the name to theNational Seemblyfor screening and confirmation but this may not be without consultation with parts of the country.
Justus Awaji, Abuja
FG Hails Rivers Top Spot In Literacy Education Dev
The Federal Government has commended the Rivers State Government over its concerted efforts in the development of basic education that has guaranteed the state the highest ranking in literacy education in the country.
The state scored 70per cent ahead other states of the federation in a recent national ranking.
The Coordinator in charge of Better Education Service Delivery for All (BESDA), Federal Ministry of Education, MrsAminaHaruna made the commendation, while speaking at a one-day state Technical Workshop on improving BESDA implementation at Bougainvillea Hotels in Port Harcourt, yesterday.
Haruna said it was of good note that Rivers State has shifted to where it was before and attained a commendable height in the development of literacy education, adding that such feat was worth celebrating.
The BESDA coordinator, disclosed that Rivers State has also taken the lead to replicate the just concluded performance review meeting held in Abuja, recently, adding that the technical meeting was essentially designed to bring all stakeholders in the BESDA together to brainstorm on way forward.
She said that the Federal Government was committed to ensuring that the menace of out-of-school children in the country was resolved, adding that it was what informed the Federal Government decision to borrow $11million to tackle the menace headlong.
She called on parents to ensure that they give their children the right to education, adding that the importance of education in the society cannot be over-emphasised.
“Rivers State has done well in literacy education, and they are ahead of other states. So, whoever that has done well; praise him or her”, she stated.
Also speaking, the state Commissioner for Education, Prof. Kaniye Ebeku said one of the cardinal policy trusts of the present administration led by Governor Nyesom Wike was to provide access to quality and qualitative education for children in the state, saying that BESDA programme was one of the links to actualise it.
Ebeku thanked the Federal Government and the World Bank for initiating the BESDA programme, adding that it has given hope to many out-of-school children to have access to education literacy, saying that the cult clashes that ravaged some communities was responsible for the over-crowded nature of schools in Port Harcourt and Obio/Akpor local government areas of the state.
He expressed satisfaction with the performance of both teachers and pupils in the BESDA schools in the state, adding that children in the conventional schools were not doing better than the ones in the BESDA schools.
He, therefore, solicited for cooperation among all stakeholders in driving the programme, and assured that the state Ministry of Education would drive the supervision and monitoring to ensure it achieves set objectives.
In his speech, the Executive Chairman of the State Universal Basic Education Board (SUBEB), Ven. Fyneface Akah said the workshop was organised to replicate the Federal Government’s model on peer review performance by getting all stakeholders involved in achieving gaining more grounds in the BESDA programme in the state.
Akah said the board under his leadership was determined to ensure both children of fishermen and those who are out-of-school have access to quality education, which he said, was essential.
“It is not about the reward but the effort and impact. We are organising literacy content to ensure that those children in the programme read, write and understand numerical skills, and whoever that acquires literary skills has acquired the knowledge for further education”, he stated.
In her remarks, the RSUBEB Director in charge of Physical Planning, Mrs Joy Ojirika, who doubles as the state BESDA focal person, gave a scorecard on the progress of the programme in the state.
By: Akujobi Amadi
Wike, Okonjo-Iweala, Others For 4th DAAR Awards, Dec 6
The Rivers State Governor, Chief Nyesom Wike, the Director-General of the World Trade Organisation (WTO), Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala; and Delta State Governor, Dr Ifeanyi Okowa; are among those to be honoured at the fourth edition of the DAAR Awards.
The DAAR Awards, scheduled to take place on December 6, 2021 in Lagos, is organised by DAAR Communication Plc, which owns RayPower broadcasting station and African Independent Television.
At the ceremony, Wike would be honoured with the DAAR’s Man of the Year Award, while Okonjo-Iweala would be honoured with DAAR’s Woman of the Year Award, just as Okowa would receive award for outstanding leadership in public service.
In a letter to the recipients by the Group Managing Director of DAAR Communications Plc, Tony Akiotu, said the awardees were selected for their exemplary qualities and immeasurable contributions to the sustainable development and progress of humanity in various sectors.
On the criteria for selecting Rivers State governor,Akiotu said, “The Editorial Board and DAAR Communications panel of assessors for the 4th DAAR Awards had unanimously voted to confer the award of Man of the Year 2021 on Wike for his giant strides in infrastructural development of Rivers State and deepening of Nigeria’s democracy”.
Akiotu said that Deputy Senate President, OvieOmo-Agege would also receive award for Outstanding Leadership in Public Service along with Borno State Governor, Prof. Babagana Zulum; Oyo State Governor, Engr. OluseyiMakinde; and Osun State Governor, Prof. Adegboyega Oyetola.
Also to be honoured are the Vice Chancellor of the University of Lagos, Prof. Oluwatoyin Ogundipe, who would receive award for Outstanding Performance in the Academia, and Lagos State Commissioner for Health, Prof. Akin Abayomi, who would receive Outstanding Performance on COVID-19 Pandemicaward.
According to DAAR CommunicationsPlc, it would honour Ogundipe for extensive work on molecular systematics, plant anatomy, food security, natural resource management and biodiversity conservation.
Senate Blasts Saipem Over Breach Of Local Content Act On NLNG Train-7
The Senate Committee on Local Content has expressed displeasure at Saipem Contracting Nigeria Limited, a company handling the Train-7 gas project, for what it termed “deliberate breach” of Nigeria’s Local Content Act.
The company’s management has been evading appearances before the committee until last Wednesday after the panel threatened to compel their appearance with sanction.
However, the panel, chaired by Senator Teslim Folarin, after inference from evidence made available to the panel, demanded an explanation from Saipem Contracting Company why the gas project company awards contracts to foreign companies for supply of steel, rods, among other materials for execution of the project contrary to local firms in clear breach of LCA.
According to the committee, they have been flooded with petitions from the public over the sharp practices of the company in connivance with some Nigerians.
The committee said it was based on that the Train -7 gas project was invited while pointing out the breach of the local content act on the award of contract for the purchase of items for the gas project.
The committee, however, regretted the non-appearance of Nigerian Liquefied Natural Gas (NLNG), Nigerian Content Development and Monitoring Board (NCDMB), Saipem and Daewoo, which they said their appearances would have deepened investigation on why foreign firms habitually shortchange the nation.
It rescheduled the meeting and asked the committee clerk to issue fresh letter of invitation to the absentee organisations.
Senators Folarin and Sabi Abdullahi in reference to a petition pointed out that Saipem management is aware of contracts to foreign firms than Nigerian companies for supply of materials running into millions of euros in breach of the provision of the local content act.
Teslim said: “Can you explain, how you came about awarding the contract for the supply of steel for €4million, to TK Corporation, a Korean company, and €4.27million, contract to another Korean company for pipes, €3.86million to an Italian company and another €5.5million.
“All these are not Nigerian companies.”
He said the local content act provided for 50percent Nigerian content in the execution of the project.
In his response, the Managing Director of Saipem, Mr Walter Peviani said execution of the project by the company was based on a contractual agreement, and documents presented to the company by the NLNG and the NCDMB.
“Within the contractual documents, which we received, entailed, a project Nigerian content plan and entry procedures for Nigerian companies compliance certificate,” he said.
Unfortunately, the Executive Secretary of the National Content Development Management Board was absent despite invitations, a development, the committee said was deliberate and suspicious.
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