The Senate said, yesterday, that it has not in any way suspended work on the Petroleum Industry Bill (PIB) that was transmitted to it for consideration and subsequent passage by President Muhammadu Buhari.
The Senate said that it would on Tuesday, October 20, 2020, debate the PIB as it enters second reading.
Disclosing this, yesterday, in Abuja before the adjournment of plenary after the presentation of the 2021 Appropriation Bill to the National Assembly at a Joint session by President Muhammadu Buhari, President of the Senate, Dr Ahmad Lawan, said that early debate on the bill was expected to avert any delay in consideration, resulting from the upper chamber’s decision to suspend plenary for one month to enable Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) of government defend their respective budgets for the year 2021.
According to Lawan, the critical piece of legislation, after the debate on the floor by lawmakers, would then pass for second reading and be referred to the Joint Committees on Petroleum; and Gas for further legislative work.
The President of the Senate said, “For the PIB, we need to get the document to our Joint Committee before we suspend plenary, otherwise, the document will remain unattended to throughout the time that we would be handling the budget; and that means we can only come back to it around November or December, and that would be late.
“Everybody is waiting for the PIB to be attended to, but we will take sufficient time to work on it because it is a very sensitive document.
“Nevertheless, we should take the debate and Second Reading of the PIB by the upper week, Tuesday 20th, 2020, and refer the document to our Joint Committees on Petroleum (Upstream and Downstream); and Gas.
“So, while we are working on the budget, they can keep work on the PIB warm. We are not going to rush on it since we have the budget before us.
“Our Joint Committee must do everything possible for us to have a document or report that we would work with in the Senate and something that Nigerians and investors will be happy with.”
Also addressing journalists, yesterday, Chairman, Senate Committee on Media and Public Affairs, Senator Ajibola Basiru, All Progressives Congress (APC), Osun Central said, “Reuters sent a request that Senate said it is suspending work on the bill till next year because of the budget, this is not true.
“The Senate is committed to expeditious passage of the bill because it is central even to the realisation of revenue and putting our oil in competitive international market.
“On the 20th of October, the bill will enter second reading after which it will be sent to the relevant committee of the Senate, that is committee on upstream and downstream sector so that as work is being done on the 2021 appropriation, work will be done at the same time on the bill.”
It would be recalled that the PIB scaled first reading in the Senate, last week, an indication that the Senate has begun work on the Bill.
Also recall that the leadership of the National Assembly, had penultimate week, pledged to accelerate legislative action on the Petroleum Industry Bill submitted by the President Muhammadu Buhari two weeks ago.
The leadership of the National Assembly had also said that the Ninth Assembly will break the jinx of not being able to pass the Petroleum Industry Bill after several attempts.
The National Assembly had, however, vowed to ensure thoroughness in its consideration, which according to the principal officers, would be treated simultaneously with the 2021 national budget.
The President of the Senate, Dr Ahmad Lawan, and the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Hon Femi Gbajabiamila, stated this during a National Assembly joint leadership meeting on the PIB, with the Minister of State for Petroleum, Chief Timipre Sylva.
The two Presiding officers had assured Nigerians that the time had come for the passage of the bill.
Speaking further, Basiru, who disclosed that work will start on the 2021 Appropriation Bill that was presented to the National Assembly by President Muhammadu Buhari next week, with copies of the budget made available to the Senators, he said, “we will make sure that copies of the presented budget are made available to senators latest by Monday so on Tuesday 23, the senators with take turns to discuss the principle of the budget and make their views and comments known publicly before it is sent to the relevant committee under the coordination of appropriation.”
Meanwhile, Senator Smart Adeyemi, APC, Kogi West has hailed President Buhari’s move to complete on-going projects as contained the 2021 Budget speech.
Adeyemi, who was reacting to the presentation of the 2021 budget estimates by Buhari to the joint session of National Assembly, said that the President’s focus to complete all on-going projects was fantastic.
The Senator, who noted that Buhari’s decision not to initiate new projects, until ongoing projects were completed was uncommon attributes not associated with a an average Nigerian politician, said, “A topical Nigerian politician will not be thinking of completing ongoing projects, they will be thinking of new projects.
“If these projects are completed and we network the North, South, West and East of the country, there will be boom on economic activities.
“Because the economists are telling us that next year may not be too friendly economically and it is a global problem.
“We may not feel the pain as much, because the policies that are required as a cushion for a global economy recession is already put on black and white for people to know that the government was conscious of it.
“The prayer is that let them implement all that they have said and in terms of the policies, don’t look at the money, don’t look at the figure, look at the policy put in place to garvanise the economic activities of the country.
“Once you have good road network in the country, rail system, and other infrastructural, these are key to economic boom.”
On his part, Senator Obinna Ogba, PDP Ebonyi said that he was happy President Muhammadu Buhari directed that all ministers and heads of Ministries Departments and Agencies (MDAs) must appear to defend their budgets before National Assembly.
Ogba, who noted that this would help eradicate the reasons why budgets are delayed for passage, said that the executive should provide solution about the challenge of revenue generation in the country.
He said, “Not that the country does not have revenue, but these revenue go down the drain, what they account for the country is not what is actually generated.
“Effort should be made to transfer all money generated, directly to Federation Account and when that is done, you will discover that the issue of revenue will not be a problem in the country.”
The Senator, who noted that he was surprised that the N100billion earmark as zonal intervention fund had remain the same over the years, said, “I am surprised that the 100 billion earmarked for zonal interventions projects for the 2021 budget estimates is not increased.
“It has always been like that, I am surprised that it is not increased, that interventions fund need to be increased.
“Because what comes to my constituency is N200million and when you come to my constituency you will see the projects, we did with the money.
“In my community, where I come from, you cannot see Federal Government projects apart from the constituency projects.”
On his part, Senator Yusuf Yusuf, APC, Taraba said, “It is a usual routine, but every year we do this but like Mr President has emphasized that this time, is a very challenging budget, very challenging budget for that matter, you know we have a high amount of deficit and then our revenue is not commiserate with our expectation, we have the covid-19 challenge and so many other challenges this time that we have to contend with.
“But I am pleased that we are all determined by the MDAs, by the national Assembly itself that we are going to work round the clock to make sure we give Nigeria the budget that can be sustained, that can provide better value for the Nigerian people.”
On borrowing, Yusuf said, “As an economist, borrowing is not the issue; it is the use of the money that you borrowed for. If we are going to use the money just to consume, then it will be very challenging, but if we are going you use the money for the purpose of generating more revenue that means to provide for projects that are going to generate more revenue, then I think you know, it is worth borrowing, but do we have option at this point in time, we don’t seem to have the option.
“That is why with the kind of deficit that we have, with the kind of income, there is need to do borrowing so that we can survive and then work so hard to ensure that what we borrow we meet the terms of the borrowing.”
Inflation: Govs Meet Buhari Over Economic Woes, Insecurity, Today
Worried by the economic woes in the country, the 36 governors would, today, meet at the Banquet Hall of the Presidential Villa in Abuja, to discuss the way forward.
In a statement, yesterday, the Director, Media and Public Affairs of Nigeria Governors’ Forum Secretariat, Abdulrazaque Bello-Barkindo, declared that the state of the nation’s economy would dominate conversations during the meeting.
According to the statement, “several governors reasoned that it is high time to tell each other the bare truth by confronting each other on the situation and brainstorming on it.”
The statement noted that: “This formed the basis for resorting to an in-person meeting which since the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic has been relegated by the states’ executives.
“Two things will feature prominently in the conversation: the economy and security. This will be the first time in the year, contrary to media reports that governors had collectively advised the president on the weeding of fifty-year-olds from the federal civil service and other spurious suggestions meant to impose further hardship on the people, that governors will collectively meet to consider a total overhaul of the nation’s economy.
“The meeting which, according to the invitation issued by the Director-General of the Nigeria Governors’ Forum, Mr Asishana Bayo Okauru, will commence at 2pm. It begins with the launch of the Primary Health Care Leadership Challenge Fund, followed by the launch of the World Bank SFTAS charter before the real conversation on the state of the economy begins.
“There will also be such regular updates as the CARES programme and the chairman’s remarks. All governors are warmly welcome.”
2023: Momodu Urges Atiku To Sign Peace Pact With Rivers Gov …Says Fear Of Wike, Beginning Of Wisdom In PDP
A former presidential aspirant of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Dele Momodu, has suggested a solution to the rift between the party’s presidential candidate, Atiku Abubakar, and Rivers State Governor, Chief Nyesom Wike.
Momodu suggested that a close-door dialogue between Atiku and Wike would resolve the rift between the two politicians.
There has been a rift between the pair after the PDP presidential primaries in Abuja.
Weighing in on the face-off, the veteran journalist said both politicians should possibly sign a pact and agree on deliverables.
Momodu said the fallout of the PDP post-national convention crisis has shown that Wike was a force to reckon with in the party ahead of the 2023 presidential election.
According to Momodu: “What I would advise Atiku Abubakar to do today is to sit down one-on-one without no other person present with Governor Wike and agree on deliverables, if possible, sign an agreement.
“The situation in PDP shows what Wike is in the equation of things in Nigeria. If you have a man who is your best governor across the board, across party lines, Wike stands out as a fantastic performer.
“Today, the fear of Wike is the beginning of wisdom in PDP, there is no question about that. Wike is smart, he knows the game he’s playing, and what he wants to do is to force a deal with the party. That’s my own reading of the situation.”
Wike Labels Disgruntled Elders As Traitors …Says He’s A Fulfilled Leader …He Was Best Performing LG Chairman In Rivers -Odili
Rivers State Governor, Chief Nyesom Wike, has accused some elders of ganging up against him because they did not scale through the primary to be the governorship candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in the state.
The governor explained that some of them, on his 2021 birthday, who indicated interest to fly the ticket, but failed at their bid to clenching it are now in Abuja plotting against him.
Wike spoke, last Monday, during the 74th birthday reception organised to honour the former Governor of Rivers State, Dr. Peter Odili, at the private residence built and donated to him by the state government in Old Government Residential Area, Port Harcourt.
The governor said those elders came to him in their own accord and showed a commitment that they would stay to see through what they came to convince him about.
“On my last birthday, 12midnight, some of our elders called me that they want to see me. They came to me and said they came to wish me happy birthday.
“Then, they presented me a letter that I should run for president. All of them including Dr. Abiye (Sekibo) signed the document.
“I say okay, you people too should go and give me someone who will be governor after me. They all sat there, looking left and right.
“I asked them, those of you who are interested to be governor should raise your hands. Everybody raised his hand. One person didn’t raise his hand, Senator Bari Mpigi. I asked why he was not interested, he replied, sir, let me hold what God has given me. I don’t want to lose the two.”
Wike noted that the elders also signed to a document that they would abide by whatever becomes the outcome of the governorship primary.
But governor expressed the regrets that since they were not successful, they have turned around now to allege that he was pursuing a third term bid.
“Some persons don’t know the history. They go and tell all kinds of story. But the truth is this; all of them (elders) signed the document prepared by O.C.J. Okocha that whoever I will bring, they will abide by it.
“But now, they went to Abuja that I must not be vice president. I also read, yesterday, when I was in Paris, one of them saying that I told him that if they do to me what they did to Dr. Peter Odili; that I will collapse the system.
“I am not an ungrateful person; and I will never be ungrateful in my life. What’s important is that I have done well as a governor. I am happy and I am leaving office a happy man.”
The Rivers State governor recalled that when Dr. Peter Odili was to run for the office of the president, he had a large crowd following, happily.
He noted that when the issue of governorship of Rivers State was to be decided and he did not give those who wanted it, they all left him, ran to Abuja to thwart his presidential ambition.
Wike, however, said he has been holding on to the advise of the former governor, hence he was not surprised at the turn of events and the outcome of the PDP presidential primary.
He described Dr. Peter Odili a true leader of men, who groomed many, and supported a lot of persons to political lamplight, particularly in Rivers State and across the country.
“There was a time every political class abandoned Odili. This is a man who gave us everything. Some people called him ‘Mr. Donatus’. There was no abuse he did not get. Everybody he tried to help their families, at the end of the day, all betrayed him.
“For us, we have used him as a school, and we thank him for making himself available for us to use him to learn so that we won’t be shocked of whatever that is going to happen.”
Wike expressed delight at the opportunity to have known Odili and being able to celebrate him.
He pointed to the several support and the gains from the political tutelage under Odili that had made him accomplish his political successes.
He reiterated that Odili’s benevolence made it possible for Ikwerre sons to emerge governors of Rivers State.
In his response, the former Governor of the state, Dr. Peter Odili said, himself and his wife, Hon. Justice Mary Odili (rtd) were overwhelmed by the birthday gift, courtesy of the state government.
Odili explained that during his tenure as governor, Wike was the best performing council chairman in the state.
He lauded Wike for investing in human capacity development, infrastructure and building the best law school campus in Port Harcourt.
In his goodwill message, Benue State Governor, Samuel Ortom, harped on the need for all Nigerians to work together to enthrone fairness, justice and equity in all facet of society, which Odili has always stood for.
Also speaking, Abia State Governor, Dr. Okezie Ikpeazu, noted that Odili was a great leader who had impacted on many lives across the country.
Similarly, former Cross River State Governor, Donald Duke, commended Odili for being a role model and comporting himself very well after leaving office.
In his homely at the thanksgiving mass, Monsignor Pius Kii, said Nigeria missed the opportunity of having Dr. Peter Odili as their president because he would have used his farsighted ability, courage and adaptive capacities to solve Nigeria’s many problems.
Similarly, the Rivers State Deputy Governor, Dr. Ipalibo Harry Banigo, felicitated with Dr. Peter Odili, as he celebrated his 74th Birthday, last Monday.
In her goodwill message in Government House, Port Harcourt, Banigo said as the father of the modern Rivers State, Odili has continued to be a great leadership icon, whose leadership style impacted positively on the lives of Rivers people and beyond during his tenure as the governor of Rivers State.
Banigo, who expressed gratitude to Odili for his support to the Wike-led administration, described him as a philanthropist per excellence, a great patriot and astute statesman.
The deputy governor while wising him many happy returns, prayed the Almighty God to continue to bless and keep Odili in good health.
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