A former governor of Oyo State, Rashidi Ladoja, yesterday, told agitators of Yoruba self-determination to exercise caution, as the agitation might degenerate into war if not well managed.
Addressing newsmen at his Bodija, Ibadan residence, after observing the Eid prayers to commemorate the end of the Ramadan fast, the former governor called for more religious tolerance and fairness, justice, especially in making political appointments.
Ladoja said: “Some parts of the country feel cheated in the appointment into some offices in the country. The country will collapse when we have incompetent people in power.
“We are a federation and not a mono-language or mono-ethnic country. We deserve the policies that make us strong, even with our diversities, but that seems to be our weakness. That is why people are looking for other options in terms of restructuring and dissolution. “And when that is the practice, it means the best of men are not in position and when you have people that are not competent running a system, the system will at the end of the day collapse. Let’s only hope that Nigeria will survive.”
Appealing to those beating the drums of war, the former governor said: “People only know the beginning of wars, but many don’t know how it ends. Some of the agitators for the Yoruba Nation don’t even know what it means.
“Nobody knows how the war in Syria started and it took years they have to take it easy. There will be a time when God will give us good leaders, and there will also be the time God will give us leaders that are not as good. If we want to go because of our challenges, we may need to sit down and talk things out on the way to go.
“When people are agitating, who says those in the North are not planning to go too? But let’s assume that people in the South are talking too much, while people in the North are acting too much.”
Southern, Northern govs should meet on grey areas —Mimiko
Meanwhile, former Ondo State governor, Dr. Olusegun Mimiko, yesterday, urged the Southern governors to meet with their counterparts in the North to harmonise grey areas on the resolutions reached at their meeting in Asaba, Delta state. Mimiko, in a statement, said that the resolution of the southern governors forum was commendable and the next step is for them to meet with their Northern counterparts “to iron out what may just be minor areas of difference in substance and timelines.” The statement reads: “The resolution of the Southern Governors’ Forum, at the end of its meeting in Asaba, Delta State, on May 11 2021, is commendable.
“It is also salutary that members of the Southern caucus of the National Assembly have weighed in. “It is all a reflection of the realization of the fact that the nation may be perching at the precipice, and of the urgent need to pull her back.
“The next step is for the Southern Governors to meet with their Northern counterparts to iron out what may just be minor areas of difference in substance and timelines. “There cannot be any reasonable arguments against decentralization of policing to ensure emergence of compact and efficient sub-national forces under State (sub-national government control). “There surely cannot be any disagreement amongst the Governors on the issue of devolution of resources from the centre.”
Act fast on your resolutions, Onitiri urges Southern govs
Similarly, an activist and critic, Adesunbo Onitiri, yesterday, urged the 17 Southern governors to take action on their 10-point resolution adopted in Asaba, Delta State, on Tuesday, to save their people from the present insecurity ravaging the entire area. Applauding the governors, Onitiri,
in a statement in Lagos, said they have waited for long, while their states were being deliberately ravaged by armed Fulani herdsmen and other hardened criminals, who have been making life difficult for everybody in the entire area. He said: “The southern governors should realise that they are not an appendage or inferior to their Northern colleagues. We are in a very perilous state; we are looking for heroes to salvage our country from imminent collapse and calamity.
“The governors should immediately make laws to ban open grazing in their various states, address the people of your states on the deplorable state of insecurity in the country and appeal to their patriotic sense to cooperate with you to stem down the insecurity.
“The most insulting aspect of the matter is that farmers were being attacked, maimed, killed or kidnapped for ransom. As if that was not enough, the farmers were being sent out of their farms, their farm produce destroyed, and their wives and daughters raped as if Nigerians were in a banana republic.”
East-West road, 43 others to be completed without delay – Fashola
All 44 road projects in the approved phase two of the Nigerian National Petroleum Company Limited (NNPC) Road Infrastructure Tax Credit Scheme including the East-West road will be completed without any delay or break.
The Minister of Works and Housing, Babatunde Fashola (SAN), stated this, stressing that sustainability of funding for the critical infrastructure in Nigeria would be guaranteed.
Fashola, who spoke in Abuja, noted that unlike in the past, when there was inadequate funding of infrastructure, the administration of President Muhammadu Buhari had secured alternative sources of funding that could guarantee sustainability from the beginning of the projects to their completion.
He said the tax credit scheme remained a new model that encourages partnership with private companies where taxes are paid in advance to enable the government invest in notable projects that would be beneficial to its citizens.
The minister said the Federal Government had focused on nine major axes of Nigeria, adding that the A1 – A4 axis covered the Northern part of the country, while the A5-A9 axis covered the East and West of the country.
He said the successful completion of all the roads would lead to sustainable mobility for Nigerians.
“The roads like Akure – Ado –Ekiti and East-West which people have been complaining about would be adequately catered for with the approval of the second phase of the NNPC Tax Credit Scheme,” he said.
On payment of compensation, Fashola noted that it would not be paid to anyone occupying the government’s Right of Way (RoW) and appealed to members of the communities occupying the areas to vacate.
Permanent Secretary of the ministry, represented by the Director overseeing the Office of the Permanent Secretary, Folorunsho Esan, said in line with the Executive Order 7 (2019), phase one was approved on October 27, 2021.
He stated that with the completion of phase one, the Federal Executive Council (FEC) has also approved phase II of the scheme to fund 44 critical road infrastructure to the tune of N1.96 trillion naira.
Esan said that as it was done with phase one, phase two would be governed by a set of guidelines to be issued to each contractor, adding that there would be a funding intervention agreement to be implemented in addition to the standard condition of the contract governing the execution of the projects.
He said that the availability of this new funding window will ensure steady cash flow and a timely completion of projects.
He also stated that the NNPC intervention which began in October 2021 with phase one has now occupied the top of the log with a portfolio well in excess of N2.6 trillion.
On the part of NNPC, the Group Chief Executive Officer, Mallam Mele Kyari, who was represented by the Chief Financial Officer, Umar Aliya, said that funding would not be an issue anymore as the company is committed to fully funding the next phase.
“We are committed to setting aside funds for phase II. Funding would not be a problem. What is important to us is that our consultant will need to validate the value for money and the quality of work. We will not compromise the quality and timely completion of work,“ he said.
“There is no need for excuses. As for us, on our part, we are committed and we implore the contractors to do quality work and do it on time so that the road projects can be open for use to Nigerians,” he added.
The Executive Chairman of the Federal Inland Revenue Services (FIRS) Mohammed Nami, explained that most of the roads captured by Executive Order 7 to be executed by the NNPC were mostly road projects inherited by the administration of Muhammadu Buhari.
“So, we are appealing to Nigerians to trust Executive order 007 so that government will continue to provide the physical infrastructure that our people need,“he said.
Nigeria ranks 150 out of 180 countries in 2022 Transparency International Corruption Index
The Executive Director, Civil Society Legislative Advocacy Center (CISLAC), Auwal Ibrahim Musa Rafsanjani, has announced that Nigeria ranked 150 out of 180 countries in the 2022 Transparency International (TI) Corruption Perception Index (CPI).
This according to Rafsanjani is four places lower than the 154th position in the country’s 2021 CPI results.
Rafsanjani made the announcement on Tuesday at a press briefing held at CISLAC meeting hall, Transcorp Hilton Hotel, Abuja.
He however added that in terms of points, the country has retrained 24 points it had in 2021.
He also noted that the data index used for the CPI is not collected by CISLAC/TI- Nigeria but by Independent and reputable organisations with sound research methodologies.
“While Nigeria moved four places up on the country ranking, it has maintained it’s previous score of 24 which is it’s lowest score on the CPI since 2012, which suggests a slowdown in the steady decline observed in the previous three CPI’s, he said.”
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The CISLAC boss lamented the rate of corruption in the country and reserved some blames for the Judiciary.
“Nigeria as a country has reached a point where citizens should come out in their millions to protest against corruption, thus, with the expectations that this regime could address the issue of corruption, yet the world continues to face corruption with the help of high profile officials,” he lamented.
Among other recommendations, CISCLAC called on the executive arm of government to stop granting pardon to corrupt politicians recklessly.
As a means to curb and tackle the incessant corruption in Nigeria, CISLAC also recommended as follows:
1. The presidency, INEC, political parties, security actors and other relevant bodies should ensure that the 2023 general election are free, fair and credible.
2. The relevant anti-graft agencies should ensure that high profile corruption cases are pursued to their logical conclusion for the benefit of Nigeria and her citizens.
3. Agencies given the mandate to recover assets under the proceeds of Crime (and Management) Act 2022 should ensures that they establish a database where information about assets in their custody is easily accessed by citizens in line with the Act and the proactive provisions of the Freedom of Information Act 2011.
4. The Federal government should address the lingering issue of oil theft in the country.
5. The relevant agencies should investigate those behind the important of toxic fuel to Nigeria in 2022.
6. The National assembly should ensure transparency in the implementation of the constituency projects. The relevant agencies should ensure that those found guilty are brought to book.
7. With the election fast approaching, the judiciary should ensure more than ever to deliver justice.
The Corruption Perceptions Index (CPI) developed by theTransparency International (TI) in 1995 is an annual ranking of countries on the prevalence of corruption within each country, based upon surveys by experts and business executives. It’s aims is to serve as a basis for critical reflection on tangible ways to strengthen the fight against corruption.
No single government can solve Nigeria’s problems – Buhari
President Muhammadu Buhari yesterday said that no single government can solve Nigeria’s problems.
Buhari, at a state- of- nation dialogue on security, economy and administration of justice in Abuja, stated that efforts of successive governments were required to see the country through its challenges
The President hoped that the event, which was organised by the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA), would contribute to Nigeria’s development. Buhari, who was represented by the Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Boss Mustapha, reminded lawyers that they owed the nation some responsibilities.
“I would say no one government in this country would be able to solve the problems of Nigeria. But as we build on the precedent set by successive governments, not discarding completely what has been put in place, we would in the course of our desire to build a Nigeria of our dreams, be able to pick one or two things, on which we can concentrate and move.
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“As a government, the outcome of this dialogue can be transmitted to us so that whatever resolutions are reached, that would become part of the documents would prepare us as we transit and hand over to an incoming government.”
Kebbi State Governo, Atiku Bagudu, who also attended the event, said one of the ways to tackle insecurity was to give priority to primary education in the country.
He said most of the causes of insecurity were a result of the breakdown of the social contract towards the people.
Bagudu, therefore, advocated more investment in primary education to turn the situation in the country around.
The governor pointed out that in developed countries, as much as $27,000 is spent on a child, while in Nigeria, a rich state like Lagos, spends far less.
He said: “They (children) have not been provided education. The challenges of inclusion are the most current. We need to include more people and so we have to mobilise more resources.”
Bagudu praised the NBA for the theme of the dialogue, which according to him, is holding ahead of the general election.
Deputy Secretary General of the United Nations (UN), Amina Mohammed, condemned the attacks on facilities of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC).
She also frowned at attacks on some candidates for the general election, as well as fake news and hate speeches focusing on religious and ethnic identities.
The UN chief said: “INEC has been making great strides in improving the transparency, accountability and credibility of Nigeria’s electoral process. The increase in the number of registered voters from 84m to 93m is encouraging and suggests Nigerians are enthusiastic about the electoral process.
“However, we continue to witness attacks against the institution. Fake news, hate speech, based on religious and ethnic identities, violence against candidates as well as INEC facilities and staff since the political campaigns began.”
Mohammed hoped that the elections would provide an opportunity for Nigerians to unite and shape the future of the nation.
She said as Africa’s largest economy with a youthful population, Nigeria cannot afford to fail.
The UN chief said Nigeria must be steeped in economic, social and environmental principles and must be guided by Agenda 2030 and its 17 goals.
“The Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) are an urgent to-do list, a blueprint for global and local action. We needed it to develop peace and prosperity and a thriving natural environment for current and future generations.”
NBA President Yakubu Maikyau (SAN) said there was a need to continuously engage government at all levels on issues affecting the country and the citizenry.
He urged members of the Bench and Bar to always ensure that justice was served without fear of favour.
The New Chairman of the Police Service Commission, Solomon Arase, encouraged the deployment of technology to secure the country.
Arase, who added that government cannot solve security problems alone, said the establishment of reform panels over insecurity was a waste of time.
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