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FG Needs N6.26trn To Fix 711 Roads In 2021, Minister Reveals

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The Minister of Works, Babatunde Fashola, yesterday, said that to complete 711 highway projects in 2021, his ministry would require over N6.26trillion.
The minister said the 2021 budget provision of less than N300billion for the projects, was a drop in the ocean.
The minister raised his concerns, during a 2021 budget defence session before the Rep. Abubakar Bichi-led Committee on Works.
He observed that since the ministry cannot accomplish all its objectives due to paucity of funds, but recommended that rather than expanding the projects being financed through Sukuk, efforts should be channelled towards the completion of the entire green network covering the four major ports, Lagos, Warri, Port Harcourt and Calabar.
According to him, out of the total sum of N227.964billion capital allocation appropriated in the 2020 Appropriation Act, the sum of N152.150billion has so far been released to the Works and Housing sector (representing 66.74%), leaving a balance of N75.814billion; adding that the sum of N162.559billion projects was financed through Sukuk Bond.
“The sum of N77.955billion was released to the highway (Works sector) from the budget aside from the sum of N162.559billion for the Sukuk issuance.
“The Sukuk is to be drawn down for works certified only in respect of 44 roads and bridges and the ministry is still awaiting the payment of the first tranche of N54.8billion is for work done as at 16/10/2020.
“The ministry is currently administering 711 number of contracts nationwide and as of October 1, 2020, the ministry has a cumulative unpaid certificate in the sum of N392.020billion on ongoing highway construction projects,” he noted.
For 2021 budget proposal, Fashola said that the sum of N435.319billion was proposed for capital, personnel and overhead cost of the Ministry of Works and Housing and six parastatals, adding that the N15.886billion overhead is insufficient due to various socio-economic factors such as cost of fuel, inflation rate, among others.
While responding to questions on the Presidential Infrastructure Development Fund (PIDF), he explained that the three national priority highway projects are being financed from the sovereign wealth fund, namely: rehabilitation, reconstruction and expansion of Lagos-Shagamu-Ibadan dual carriageway; construction of 2nd Niger Bridge and rehabilitation if Abuja-Kaduna-Kano dual carriageway.
According to him, “the 44 roads and bridges are being financed through the N162.557billion sovereign Sukuk bond, mainly dual carriageways on major arterial routes A1-A9 on the federal road network, including A1 Lagos-Ibadan-Ilorin-Jebba-Jega-Tambuwal-Sokoto-Niger Republic Border; A2 Warri-Benin-Lokoja-Kaduna-Kano-Kongolam; A3 Port Harcourt-Aba-Enugu-Makurdi-Lafia-Jos-Bauchi-Potiskum-Maiduguri-Gambrou; A4 Calabar-Ugep-Ikom-Ogoja-Katsina-Ala-Jalingo-Yola-Gombi-BamaMaiduguri; A5 Abeokuta-Ibadan; A6 Onitsha-Owerri; A7 Kaiama-Kishi; A8 Mayo Belwa-Jamtari Jada-Ganye; and A9 Kano-Katsina-Jibia-Niger Republic Border and other major routes like Kano-Maiduguri, Onitsha-Enugu, Sapele-Ewu, Lagos-Badagry, Odukpani-Itu Bridge Head, etc”.
He also disclosed that “the ministry is engaging in a number of highway projects funded with multilateral loans for which the Federal Government contributes counterpart funding”.
He called for the amendment of the Public Procurement Act to accommodate small and medium construction companies, adding that the extant law does not provide for the award of contracts with low financial capacity.
Some of the lawmakers who spoke during the exercise, including Rep. Ben Igbakpa queried the slow pace of work done by Julius Berger, despite the release of N70billion for Abuja-Zaria, N62.8billion for Lagos-Shagamu-Ibadan; N100.6billion for the Second Niger Bridge while RCC has so far received N92billion for Lagos-Shagamu contract.

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Only Your Votes’ll Decide Fate Of Candidates, INEC Reassures Nigerians

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The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has reassured Nigerian voters that only their votes will be the sole determinant of the winners among the 15,322 candidates nationwide contesting in next year’s general election.
The commission reiterated its commitment to ensuring that it delivers a credible, free and fair election, reassuring that the votes of the electorate will definitely count.
INEC Chairman, Prof Mahmood Yakubu, gave the assurance in his keynote address at the Annual Conference of the Guild of Corporate Online Publishers, held in Lagos, yesterday.
He admitted that with the lifting of the ban on political campaigns, the tempo of political activities has increased with parties, candidates and their supporters commencing campaigns, rallies, processions and media advertisements to canvass the support of the electorate.
The chairman, however, warned that the commission will pay particular attention to the conduct of parties, candidates and their supporters, stressing that as the regulator, it will play its role to ensure compliance with the provision of the law as well as our guidelines and regulations.
“The 2023 general election is fast approaching. It is now 141 days to Election Day. Polling Units will open at 8:30 am on Saturday, February 25, 2023, for national elections (Presidential and National Assembly) and the same time on Saturday, March 11, 2023, for state elections (governorship and state assembly).
“Campaign in public by political parties officially commenced on Wednesday, September 28, 2022. Therefore, the tempo of political activities has increased as parties, candidates and their supporters commence campaigns, rallies, processions and media advertisements to canvass the support of the electorate.
“The commission has published the final list of 15,322 candidates for the General Election contesting for 1,491 seats (one Presidential, 28 Governorship, 109 Senatorial, 360 House of Representatives and 993 State Assembly constituencies).
“I wish to restate once again the commitment of INEC to credible elections. Votes will continue to count and will be the sole determinant of the electoral outcome,” he assured.
The electoral umpire boss further explained that technological innovations introduced by the commission will guarantee and protect the sanctity of the choice made by Nigerians at the polls.
“For this reason, the commission has introduced many new innovations, supported by the deployment of appropriate technology, to protect the sanctity of the choice made by Nigerians at the polls ranging from voter registration to voter accreditation and result management,” he said.
“The deployment of the Bimodal Voter Accreditation System (BVAS) with its dual fingerprint and facial biometric accreditation process has ensured that only genuine voters are accredited to vote during election. This has curtailed the incidence of multiple voting and other sharp practices associated with voter accreditation during elections.
“The BVAS has come to stay and will be the only means by which voters will be accredited in the 2023 general election.
“Furthermore, the introduction of the INEC Result Viewing (IReV) Portal has made the result management procedure more transparent. Polling Unit results are now uploaded in real-time to the IReV portal for public view.
“This has enhanced the transparency, credibility and consequently public confidence in the outcome of elections. The IReV has come to stay and polling unit results will be uploaded to the portal in real-time in the 2023 general election,” he said.
Yakubu further emphasised that; “as campaigns commence, I also wish to remind political parties and candidates that you all signed the Peace Accord organised by the National Peace Committee (NPC) in which you committed yourselves to peaceful electioneering campaign. I urge you to be guided by the letter and spirit of the accord.
“For our part, the commission will pay particular attention to the conduct of parties, candidates and their supporters. As a regulator, the commission will play its role to ensure compliance with the provision of the law as well as our guidelines and regulations.
“We will pay particular attention to a peaceful campaign devoid of abusive, intemperate and slanderous language as well as the use of innuendoes or insinuations likely to provoke a counter-reaction resulting in the breach of the peace.
“Similarly, we will pay special attention to the observance of limits on party and candidate finance. I urge political parties and candidates to carefully study the provisions of the Electoral Act 2022 and familiarise themselves with their obligations as well as the penalties under the law.
“As you are aware, elections are a multi-stakeholder activity. As the commission is doing its best to ensure a credible process, we also appeal to the media for a continuous partnership. Managing the electoral process for credible outcomes is the responsibility of all of us. As campaign activities get underway, the media will continue to play an important role. A lot of the activities will take place in the media of which the new media is a critical player.
“We must continue to work together against the spread of fake news, misinformation and disinformation that seek to create or exacerbate tension or de-legitimise processes and outcomes,” Yakubu charged.

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2023: Era Of Ballot Box Snatching Over, Banigo Insists …Lauds Wike For Reappointing Danagogo

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Rivers State Deputy Governor, Dr. Ipalibo Harry Banigo, has expressed gratitude to Governor Nyesom Wike for the reappointment of Dr. Tammy Danagogo as Secretary to the State Government.
Banigo stated this during a meeting with leaders and critical stakeholders of the Peoples Democratic Party in Akuku-Toru Local Government Area at the Government House in Port Harcourt, yesterday.
The deputy governor, who congratulated Danagogo for his re-appointment, described the re-appointment as well-deserved.
Banigo said she does not take lightly the call to represent Rivers West at the Senate, and noted that her kind of representation at the Upper Legislative Chambers would bring glory to God.
“I encourage you to tell your people to collect their PVCs, because this time around the votes will count, as the new Electoral Act does not allow what they did in 2019, they cannot try it as nobody can carry ballot boxes”, the deputy governor stressed.
In a related development, Rivers State Deputy Governor, Dr. Ipalibo Harry Banigo, has commended leaders of the PDP in Ahoada West Local Government Area, for keying into the Divine Kingdom Mandate.
Banigo made this commendation while meeting with them at the Government House in Port Harcourt, yesterday, preparatory to the commencement of her campaigns in the upcoming elections.
She motivated the people to exercise their franchise, by collecting their PVCs to vote for credible candidates of the PDP.
“They should come out and vote, because this is our opportunity to chase out this bad All Progressives Congress-led government at the federal level, as they have brought so much untold suffering, untold hardship, bloodshed and kidnapping. We have seen the developmental strides of our governor so much development is going on in Rivers State, and we are poised to give you more”, Banigo added.

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Wike Signs Instrument To Withdraw Omehia’s Recognition As Ex-Gov, Today …Re-Appoints Danagogo As SSG

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The Rivers State Governor, Chief Nyesom Wike, will today sign the official instrument to withdraw the recognition of Sir Celestine Omehia as former governor of the state.
A statement signed by the Special Assistant on Media to the Rivers State Governor, Kelvin Ebiri, yesterday, said that the ceremony would “take place at the Government House, Port Harcourt, on Friday, 7th October, 2022 by 12 noon”.
The statement further read, “His Excellency, the Governor of Rivers State, Chief Nyesom Wike, is to sign the instrument on cancellation of the recognition of Sir Celestine Omehia as a former governor of Rivers State.
“The cancellation of the recognition is sequel to the resolution of the Rivers State House of Assembly adopted on Thursday, October 6, 2022, to derecognise Sir Celestine Omehia as a former governor of the state”, the statement added.
Meanwhile, the Rivers State Governor, Chief Nyesom Wike, has approved the re-appointment of Dr Tammy Danagogo as the Secretary to the State Government.
A statement signed by the Special Assistant on Media to the Rivers State Governor, Kelvin Ebiri, last Wednesday, said that “the appointment takes immediate effect.”
It added, “His Excellency, the Governor of Rivers State, Chief Nyesom Wike, has approved the re-appointment of Dr.Tammy Wenike Danagogo as the Secretary to the Rivers State Government (SSG).”

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