Nigeria must remain indivisible-Southern governors

write essay on love By Olawale Abdul-fatah After 12 years of differences, Governors from the south south, south east and south west zones of Nigeria under the umbrella of southern governors met in Lagos state on Monday, insisting that Nigeria must remain one to achieve its desired goal. The reached the After a two hour deliberation at Lagos State House, Alausa, Ikeja, the governors with one voice in a communique also said they have decided to work together towards improving their states economies.

business plan template for small business The meeting, co-.hosted by the state governor, Akinwunmi Ambode and Akwa Ibom governor, Udom Emmanuel, was held behind closed doors while Ambode at the end of the meeting read the communiqué, stressing that was targeted at ensuring the southern part of the country remain united.

enter site Ambode said: “We have reinstated our commitment to a united and indivisible Nigeria. The summit also reiterated the need for true federalism and devolution of powers. It reinstated its commitment to collaborate with one another for the growth and development of their economies.

enter “The summit emphasised priority on security of lives and property for the citizens. It further emphasised on the need for effective linkage on good infrastructure within the space of southern Nigeria.

page “The summit also appoints Ambode as the chairman while Ebonyi state governor, David Umahi and Bayelsa state, Seriake Dickson, as co-chairmen. The next meeting is scheduled to hold in Port Harcourt, River State.” Before the summit commenced, Ambode stressed the need for the practice of true federalism in the country, saying, there is certainly alot to be done about it. Ambode made the remark in his address at the opening session of the summit, which had 13 governors in attendance while three sent their deputies. It was only Imo state governor, Rochas Okorocha, that was obviously absent and did not send any representative

view The inaugural edition of the forum was organised under the tenure of Asiwaju Bola Tinubu in 2001 while the last meeting before Monday’s summit was held 12 year ago.

go here Ambode remarked: “This resuscitation of the SGF is coming at a most appropriate time. As we are,aware, the senate and house of representatives are currently harmonising their differences on the proposed amendments to the 1999 constitution before they are transmitted to the state houses of assembly for approval. “Perhaps, we need to quickly remind ourselves some of the landmark achievements obtained through the pressure exerted by  this forum in the past The first was its collective advocacy for the special allocation to oil producing states in the federation account which resulted in the current formula of 13 percent accruing for derivation in allocating revenues from the federation account.

Critical Lens Essay For Death Of A Salesman “Another major victory won towards strengthening the country’s practice of true federalism was the declaration by the supreme court in 2002 that the then prevalent practice of the federal government deducting monies from the federation account as a first line charge for the funding of joint venture contracts, NNPC priority projects , servicing of Federal Government’s external debt, the judiciary and the Federal Capital Territory FCT, and other Federal obligations were illegal and unconstitutional.

“Despite these successes, there is still alot to be done. There is certainly a lot to be done about true federalism, an issue that requires urgent, meticulous and pro active attention by this forum.

“No less disturbing is the failure to undertake the periodic review of the revenue allocation formula as provided for by the constitution to reflect evolving realities. This is another critical matter that ought to engage this forum in order to enhance the viability of the states and local governments as well.”

In an earlier statement by the Secretary to the Lagos State Government (SSG), Tunji Bello, the summit was held 12 years after their last gathering in Lagos to deliberate on how to forge stronger ties for the three geo-political zones.

Bello said the meeting was in line with the realisation that the different states in the South had since 2005 developed several areas of comparative advantage which could be harnessed and become mutually beneficial.

According to him, the Governors would also be expected to adopt a common position on the issues of armed robbery, kidnapping, devolution of powers and issue of fiscal federalism which have all gained prominence of late.

“The 2017 Lagos summit of the 17 Southern Governors representing the South South, South West and South East zones is expected to come up with a communiqué after the deliberation.

“It is noteworthy to recall that the inaugural meeting of the Southern Governors took place in Lagos in 2001 under the administration of Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu,” Bello said.

The statement added that the predominance of views is that if the Southern States speak with one voice, they are bound to attract weighty and credible listenership.

The roll call of the governors in attendance were:  Governors Emmanuel Udom of Akwa Ibom; Godwin Obaseki, Nyesom Wike – Rivers  State; Seriake Dickson- Bayelsa.

Others were Okezie Ikpeazu – Abia State; David Umahi – Ebonyi State; Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi -Enugu State; Rauf Aregbesola – State of Osun; Abiola Ajimobi – Oyo; Ibikunle Amosun –Ogun; Oluwarotimi Akeredolu – Ondo; Ayodele Fayose – Ekiti and Akinwunmi Ambode of Lagos State.

Those represented by their deputies were: Anambra state governor, Willie Obiano was represented by Ikem Okeke, Cross River state governor, Ben Ayade, and Delta state governor, Ifianyi Okowa was represented by Kingsley Otuaro

INEC registers 73.2m voters, targets 80m in 2019

By Newsdesk

The Chairman, Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Prof Mahmood Yakubu, has hinted that the commission aimed to register no fewer than 10 million voters before 2019 general election to increase electorate base in the country to 80 million.

Yakubu disclosed the commission’s target and number of registered voter during a round-table organised by the European Union Electoral Follow-up Mission to Nigeria and West Africa, held in Abuja.

The chairman, in a statement issued by the Chief Press Secretary to INEC, Rotimi Oyekanmi, yesterday in Abuja, noted that the round-table was also attended by Civil Society Organisations and other stakeholders.

While speaking on the ongoing Continuous Voter Registration (CVR), Yakubu hinted that no fewer than 3.2 million Nigerians had been register recently to increase the number of registered voters from 70 million registered voters used for 2015 general elections to 73.2 million.

According to him, the credibility of election depends on the credibility of the Voter Register. We are now doing it continuously. We have seen some challenges and we are responding to them.

“We started in April and as at last week, and we have registered 3.2 million Nigerians on top of the 70 million registered voters for the 2015 general elections that we had before. Our projection is that the Voter Register will probably be over 80 million by 2019,” Yakubu added.

He lamented that about eight million Permanent Voter Cards (PVCs) were yet to be collected by their respective owners after their registration barely two years ago.

“We haven’t made much progress in the last two years, but we have made elaborate arrangements with the states to ensure that the cards are collected.”

Giving a summary of the Commission’s preparations towards the 2019 general elections, Yakubu said that INEC would come up with a figure of the cost for 2019 general elections hopefully by next week.

According to the chairman, the commission has a Strategic Plan 2017 – 2021 and a Strategic Programme of Action and has just completed the draft Election Project Plan for 2019.

Yakubu said that as at today, INEC had conducted elections into 172 constituencies since the 2015 general elections.

“The last election was three weeks ago in Gombe, the next election will come up in eight days time in Sokoto, followed by the Anambra governorship elections. We have issued the timetable for Ekiti and Osun governorship elections.”

Yakubu said that in Bayelsa in January 2016, INEC combined accreditation and voting simultaneously, adding that it was well received and has been going on very well.

Also on upcoming Anambra governorship election, the chairman reinstated that the governorship election would be combined with the Idemili North state constituency election.

According to him, all arrangements, logistics, staff training, and security are already in place, while nine out of the 14 activities lined up for the governorship poll had executed.

On expressed fears that the security agencies could postpone the election at the last minute, the INEC Chairman observed that the responsibility of securing the environment before, during and after elections was not within the Commission’s jurisdiction.

He said be that at it may INEC would continue to maintain a close relationship with all security agencies through the Inter-Agency Consultative Committee on Election Security (ICCES).

He said that was why the commission had also decided to issue the timetable and schedule of activities well ahead of all elections.

“In Anambra, we issued the timetable in February for an election that will take place in November. We have done the same for Ekiti and Osun.

“We have taken care, in both cases, to avoid party politics, national festivals and students’ examinations. The last (governorship) election in Ekiti took place on June 14, but June next year is likely to coincide with the fasting period and Salah.

“Since the law says that we should conduct the election at least 30 days to the end of the tenure (of the incumbent), we shifted it to July when there is no festival or examination.

“The same for Osun, instead of August 4, we’ll conduct the election in September. Interestingly in Osun’s case, we have given a one-year notice and we have always made copies of the timetable and schedule of activities available to the security agencies,” he said.

On party primaries, Yakubu alluded to the Electoral Act, which provides that once the national headquarters of a political party recommends a candidate to the Commission for election, the Commission could not reject such candidate.

“I think it was an amendment to the Electoral Act, borne out of our previous experience where the Commission with the security agencies were disqualifying candidates.

“The power was taken from the Commission and given back to the political parties. The parties have a role to play in strengthening our political processes. Yesterday’s solution has apparently become today’s problem because the political parties are now abusing the process.”

The chairman said that INEC look forward to whatever it could do to engage with stakeholders and the National Assembly.

He said that was not with the intention to have the power brought back to the Commission, but in such a manner that could address some of the issues and challenges being witnessed.

He warned that wherever a political party comes out openly to raise funds beyond the limits provided for in the Constitution, the Commission will apply sanctions.”

PDP lack experience to act as opposition-Bayelsa governor

By Newsdesk

The Bayelsa state governor, Seriake Dickson, has attributed Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), leaders’ inability to perform their role as members of the opposition party on lack of experience and strategy required to perform excellently in the new role.

Dickson added that the internal crisis within the party has further distracted the leaders to re-examine the party and understand PDP’s role in the country’s current political structure.

The governor, who made the claim during a chat with newsmen in Yenagoa, said there were internal forces within the party working against the emergence of a cohesive and strong PDP.

“I have invested enormous efforts in rebuilding the PDP and the work of rebuilding hasn’t been successful. PDP has a lot of work to do to become a formidable opposition party and I think that most PDP leaders lack the experience of opposition.

“But I remain optimistic. I pray the party overcomes its internal challenges, and I have been very prayerful because Nigeria needs a strong PDP as the country has seen the failure of the APC. Nigeria needs PDP, and I remain hopeful that the party survives,” Dickson said.

Dickson, however, said he remained optimistic that the party would bounce back to winning ways ahead of the 2019 general elections.

The governor, who headed the PDP reconciliation committee, said that he remained resolute in his call for the restructuring of the country, adding that his call was borne out of patriotism and quest for fiscal federalism.

“The Niger Delta people love Nigeria and have sacrificed to support the economic base of Nigeria. My support for restructuring is for the overall interest of our people. We love Nigeria and will want a better deal in a truly federal structure. There is an urgent need to have an all-embracing discussion to strengthen our unity and take decisions on the terms of the federation.”

The governor applauded the state Ministry of Health for containing the spread monkey pox disease, which broke out in the state four weeks ago, urging the people to continue to maintain high level of personal hygiene and remain vigilant.

SERAP faults NASS directives to unfreeze Jonathan’s account, urges withdrawal

By Olawale Abdul-fatah

The Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP) has faulted National Assembly’s directives that banks unfreeze former First Lady, Patience Jonathan’s accounts, urging the President of the Senate, Bukola Saraki, and Speaker of the House of Representatives, Yakubu Dogara, to withdraw the directives.

SERAP argued that such directives further account to both chambers mingling in the executive and judicial powers, stressing that, such action could affects democratic doctrines of check and balances and Seperation of power.

In a statement made available to Guild on Sunday, signed by SERAP deputy director, Timothy Adewale, the organization lamented that rather than the National Assembly contributing to activities that strengthen Nigeria’s democracy, the lawmakers directives indicate the opposite which could further put the country into trouble.

The organisation’s appeal came barely two days after the senate committee on Ethics, Privileges and Public Petitions, led by Samuel Anyanwu from Imo state, drilled management of four banks where Jonathan had accounts and directed that accounts not encumbered by any legal process be re-opened.

It claimed that the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) used the banks, Stanbic IBTC, First Bank, Union Bank, Diamond Bank, Fidelity Bank, Ecobank and Bank Zenith Bank, to close the accounts without due process of law.

It would be recalled that last month, the House of Representatives gave a similar directive to the banks to free the former first lady’s blocked accounts.

The organization, however, said that such directives purportedly unfreezing the accounts of Jonathan would not give the public confidence that the National Assembly would change its ways and often embrace rule of law.

“The National Assembly should not show itself as incapable and unwilling to address the concerns of Nigerians about its operations and apparent lack of transparency. These kinds of interventions by the National Assembly could portray our lawmakers in the eyes of Nigerians as forgetting what they are in Abuja to do.”

 “The Senate and House of Representatives should advise Mrs Jonathan to seek appropriate judicial remedies if she feels the criminal justice mechanisms have violated her human rights. That’s the essence of the rule of law, separation of powers and checks and balances. The supposed directives to banks have unfortunately again put the reputation of the National Assembly at stake.”

“What Nigerians want and deserve is a balanced sharing of constitutional powers for the sake of the public good, and not ‘Imperial National Assembly’, a National Assembly that sits on its throne in Abuja and treats Nigerians as serfs in their fiefdoms.”

“If the body that makes law also controls its execution, implementation and interpretation, it can effectively tailor the laws to help itself and its friends and hurt its perceived enemies. It can thwart the virtue of impartial general law-making by rendering it a tool for singling out,” it added.

Ambode, Wike, Fayose, 14 others to meet, power devolution tops discussion

By Olawale Abdul-fatah

Twelve years after their last gathering, Governors from the Southern part of Nigeria would converge in Lagos to deliberate on how to forge stronger ties for the three geo-political zones.

During the meeting which would be co-hosted by the Lagos state governor, Akinwunmi Ambode and his Akwa Ibom counterpart, Emmanuel Udom, would address issues that are germane to the development of the three contiguous zones.

The 17 Southern States governors expected at the summit include Emmanuel Udom of Akwa Ibom;  Ben Ayade, Cross Rivers State; Godwin Obaseki, Edo State; Nyesom Wike, Rivers  State; Ifeanyi Okowa, Delta  State; Seriake Dickson, Bayelsa and Rochas Okorocha, Imo State.

Others are Willie Obiano, Anambra State; Okezie Ikpeazu, Abia State; David Umahi, Ebonyi State; Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi, Enugu State; Rauf Aregbesola, State of Osun; Abiola Ajimobi, Oyo; Ibikunle Amosun, Ogun; Oluwarotimi Akeredolu, Ondo and Ayodele Fayose – Ekiti state.

In a statement signed by Secretary to the Lagos State Government (SSG), Tunji Bello, on Saturday,  the meeting is in line with the realisation that the different states in the South have since 2005 developed several areas of comparative advantage which could be harnessed and become mutually beneficial.

According to him, the governors would also be expected to adopt a common position on the issues of armed robbery, kidnapping, devolution of powers and issue of fiscal federalism which have all gained prominence of late.

“The 2017 Lagos summit of the 17 Southern Governors representing the South South, South West and South East zones is expected to come up with a communiqué after the deliberation.

“It is noteworthy to recall that the inaugural meeting of the Southern Governors took place in Lagos in 2001 under the administration of Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu,” Bello added.

The statement added that the predominance of views is that if the Southern States speak with one voice, they are bound to attract weighty and credible listenership.

Anti-PDP convention suit suffers setback after Judge withdrawal

By Newsdesk

The suit filed by Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) to prevent Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) from participating in the party’s convention has suffered setback after the judge handling the case, Justice Ibrahim Buba of Federal High Court in Lagos withdrew.

In the suit filed by Ogun Chapter of the party listed a member of the PDP National Working Committee,  the party’s Youth Leader in the state, Adewole Adeyanju, and delegates to the convention, Daisi Akintan and Idris Muniru, as plaintiffs.

Others are the Chairmen of Ijebu North, Ijebu East and Sagamu Local Government Areas of state — Tuke Omotara, Badejo Abiodun and Kola Akinyemi respectively.

When the case was called for hearing on Friday, the judge announced his withdrawal from the suit no. FHC/L/CS/1556/17 in the open court, hinting that his decision was based on a petition written against him to the Chief Judge of the Federal High Court.

Among the 31 defendants in the suit are the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), the PDP and the PDP National Caretaker Committee and its Chairman, Ahmed Makarfi.

The plaintiffs are seeking among other reliefs, a court order restraining INEC from monitoring or supervising any congress of the PDP conducted by the second to sixth defendants for election of any person (s) into the Executive Committee of the PDP in Ogun State.

They also want the court to bar INEC from accepting or recognising any person(s) that emerge from such congress conducted by the defendants or any other officer of the PDP until May 2020 when the tenure of the current executive would expire.

But Justice Buba, who had earlier fixed Friday to hear the case, withdrew himself from the suit, saying he had seen a copy of the defendants’ petition against him in the case file.

reports that some placard-carrying protesters had stormed the court premises, demanding the judge’s withdrawal from the case.

PDP will dislodge APC in 2019– Senate caucus

By Newsdesk

The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) Senate Caucus on Wednesday, met with the party’s, minority leaders of State Assemblies, assuring that the party was stronger and set to dislodge the ruling All Progressives Congress, (APC), from power in 2019.

They stressed that with the court verdict, the party was ready to maintain its position as opposition party before 2019 election and unseat the ruling party, APC.

They gave the assurance while briefing newsmen shortly after a meeting held behind closed door at the National Assembly Complex which lasted for hours.

“These are the Minority Leaders of the PDP in different State Houses of Assembly, who are in Abuja to interact with the Deputy President of the Senate, Ike Ekweremadu, and the Minority leadership of the Senate.

“We congratulated ourselves that we stood firm and at the end. God gave us victory at the Supreme Court and the party is now waxing stronger. We have reviewed the state of the party and re-evaluated the situation, state by state, and we found out that the party is stronger than it was.

“And as I speak, stalwarts and thousands of members of other political parties, starting from APC, all the way down to APGA, are on their way to the PDP. We also want to urge the leadership of the party at the national level to open the door wide open between now and the next convention to receive them”.

Akpabio said the caucus also discussed the guideline for the forthcoming national convention of the PDP in order to make meaningful contributions to the meeting of the National Executive Committee (NEC).

Speaking on behalf of the PDP Forum of the State Assemblies, Minority Leader of the Imo House of Assembly, Hon. Ken Agbim, assured of total support and mobilisation at the grassroots to give the party victory in 2019

Ogun former governor flag-off PDP chairmanship campaign, discloses solution to party problems

By Newsdesk

The ogun state former governor, Gbenga Daniel, has disclosed that after ruling Nigeria for 16 years, Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), deviated from its guiding principles, which led to the party losing 2015 general election.

Daniel hinted that one of the guiding principles which defined the essence and character of the party, since 1999, but was jettisoned after 16 years of existence was transparency.

He disclosed reasons the party lost to All Progressives Party (APC) while declaring his intention to contest for the national chairmanship of the party in Abuja on Wednesday.

“I have done informed study of the myriad of problems which confronted our political party in the last few years, especially the one which had cost us several electoral victories since 2011, especially the presidency in 2015.

“Various reasons have been given about how we got to where we are. Chief of these are indiscipline and impunity, lack of internal democracy. Others are imposition of candidates as well as dangerous introduction of ticket racketing to unpopular candidates.

“The alteration of the time-tested zoning formula and convention also contributed in no small measure to the undoing of the party especially at the last election,’’ he added.

Daniel said that a party that was hitherto governed by ethos and administered by internal conflict management mechanism based on equity, fairness, transparency and democracy became hostage to judicial controls.

He lamented that two years after, PDP still carried the scar and in some cases, wounds from the misunderstanding and breakdown in the party discipline order.

“I have come to the conclusion that the challenges which faced our political party are not permanent; they can be rectified through a careful deployment of intelligent resources.

“More so, the willpower and ability to work through difficult situations, concession and compromises if need be, and ability to move all our people into one disciplined consensus on all matters.’’

According to Daniel, the ultimate goal behind his chairmanship ambition was to work towards ensuring that the party reclaim power from APC in 2019 general elections and in all other elections in between.

Besides, the former governor added that bringing back many of the party’s member, who had left was also his target, adding that this was not the time to start passing the buck.

Daniel stressed the need for a more focused, disciplined and reinvigorated PDP, adding that realising such values transcended the desire to merely hold office.

He said that his quest to become national chairman of the party was a clarion call to provide an alternative political platform to offer distinctive leadership Nigeria so much desired.

He said that the fate of Nigeria seemed intertwined with that of PDP, adding that  the citizens were looking up to PDP for the solution to their problem.

“I think I am most eminently qualified to correct some of the mistakes of the near and remote past having served as a Chief Executive Officer of one of the most complex states in Nigeria,’’ he said.

Attempt at including power devolution into constitution may fail – Saraki

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The President of the Senate has disclosed that overheating discussion on devolution of power could stall every attempt aimed at getting it passed into 1999 Constitution Amendment process.

Saraki’s warning came barely two months after the National Assembly had in the course of voting for amendment of the 1999 Constitution, rejected devolution of power.

The rejection was the outcome of electronic voting on the bill to alter the second schedule, Part I & II of the Constitution, to move certain items from the Exclusive to the Concurrent Legislative List to give more legislative powers to states.

Saraki, who gave the warning during an interview with newsmen during the 137th Inter-Parliamentary Union (IPU) Assembly in St. Petersburg, Russia on Tuesday, called on Nigerians to often embrace dialogue.

He stressed that it remained the best approach that would assist Nigerians see devolution of power benefit rather than bullying any part into amending the Constitution in that regard.

“Constitution amendment is such that we need the collaboration of everybody and it is always through dialogue not intimidation. We have to come to the table in a peaceful  and friendly atmosphere.

“As I have said many times  if we had had this amendment about nine months ago, devolution of power would have passed. Unfortunately because of all the noise and people equating devolution of power to restructuring, those who were skeptical about restructuring unfortunately developed cold feet.

“I am hoping that things will calm down a bit and we will be able to have this discussion in an atmosphere that will allow people to know that there is nothing detrimental about devolution of power to any part of the country.

“We do not have to play politics with the issue. We must allow the National Assembly to do its job. Noise making is not the answer, there is a process to everything.

“We have sent what we have to the state houses of assembly  to start working on and I am hoping that by the time we start engaging ourselves and getting everybody on board, we will be able to pass it.

Saraki said the national assembly would hopefully have a round table where experts would be invited to enlighten  people on benefits of devolution of power and why it should be allowed to scale through.





I will never return to PDP-Obasanjo

By Newsdesk

Efforts by the Interim Chairman, People’s Democratic Party (PDP), Ahmed Makarfi, to woo former President, Olusegun Obasanjo, ahead of 2019 general election, has proved abortive after he reiterated his stand on the party, stressing that his action two years ago would not be reversed.

Obasanjo made his stance known after the met with Makarfi behind closed-doors at his Presidential Library, Abeokuta, vowing that he would never return to the party on which he used its platform to rule the country for right years.

The meeting, which started at about 12:00 pm on Tuesday, was part of PDP leaders strategy to ensure the party regain its pride in the country after losing power to All Progressives Congress (APC) two years ago.

Though the strategy had recorded success in some states including Oyo state where the former governor, Rasheed Ladoja, has returned to PDP and is vying for the national chairmanship position.

Speaking in an interview with newsmen after the meeting, said: “I will never return to the PDP, just like a dog would never return to its vomit.”

The meeting came barely 24 hours after Ekiti state governor, Ayodele Fayose, Ladoja, fomer Vice chairman of the party, Olabode George, former minister of education, Dapo Sarumi and others held in Lagos.