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Again, Yoruba Leaders Adamant on Nigeria’s Restructuring



Group of People Waving Flag of Nigeria in Back Lit
  • Again, Yoruba Leaders Adamant on Nigeria’s Restructuring

For justice, peace and tranquility in Nigeria, Yoruba leaders again thursday said there was no alternative to their calls for restructuring of the nation’s component parts.

Rising from a marathon meeting in Ibadan, the Oyo State capital, they renewed their agitation for restructuring of the country as prominent Yoruba leaders met to discuss issues of national importance.

They insisted that Nigeria must be restructured to reflect true federalism and promote regional and national development.

The leaders also charged the federal government to commence the process of implementing the report of the 2014 National Conference as a template for restructuring of the country.

The Yoruba leaders under the aegis of Yoruba Leadership and Peace Initiative warned that no nation has ever witnessed war twice and survived it, stating that Nigeria cannot afford another civil war.

According to them, the time has arrived for Yoruba people to put on the thinking cap and take a stand on the current agitation across the ethnic groups in Nigeria.

The leaders, who emphasised Yoruba unity, noted that there is a national consensus that Nigeria is overdue for restructuring, urging the Federal Executive Council (FEC) and legislative arm of government to begin the process of implementing or review of the confab report before the 2019 general election.

Present at the event were a former Deputy National Chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Chief Bode George; former Governor of Ogun State, Gbenga Daniel; Senator Bode Olajumoke; a legal luminary, Chief Niyi Akintola (SAN); Pro-Chancellor, Lead City University, Professor Gabriel Ogunmola, Mrs. Bola Doherty and Chairman, Afenifere Renewal Group (ARG), Hon. Olawale Oshun.

Others were the National Chairman, National Action Party (NAC), Mr. Olapade Agoro; Proprietor, Lead City University, Ibadan, Professor Jide Owoeye; a retired Archbishop of Methodist Church Nigeria, Archbishop Ayo Ladigbolu; National Coordinator of Oodua Peoples Democratic(OPC), Gani Adams; Chief Tokunbo Ajasin, the scion of former governor of Ondo State, the late Pa Adekunle Ajasin; Secretary General, Yoruba Council of Elders (YCE), Kunle Olajide; Oloye Lekan Alabi , and convener of the retreat, Deji Osibogun.

George in his remarks, warned that the mistakes of the past should not be allowed to be repeated, adding that there must be collective effort to avoid truncating the unity of the Yoruba race.

Speaking on the need for the restructuring of the country, the former Deputy National Chairman (South-west) of the PDP, said: “Restructuring Nigeria doesn’t mean we are going to scrap the national government. You can see the way Americans work. What you produce, you should keep 70 per cent, and then send 30 per cent to the national government. That will encourage development from the grassroots to the centre. It is the military government that made everything unitary. And that is the style in the military. We need to revisit it. There have been a lot of outcry about it. And for me, I was at the conference. I supported it at that time and I support it now. And I will continue to support it.”

While harping on the education and enlightenment of the younger generations, George stated that the thoughts of former Premier of the defunct Western Region, Chief Obafemi Awolowo, should be revisited in administering South-west states, adding that Awolowo’s methodology in education, health, and politics remained the best till date.

He urged South-west governors to pick it up and sincerely manage Yoruba states successfully.

In his submission, former Ogun State Governor, Daniel, threw his weight behind restructuring of Nigeria, and advocated that the report of the 2014 National Conference should be re-considered by the federal government and not confine it to dustbin.

Agoro, while speaking, however, urged the Yoruba race to stand with the Acting President, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo, especially at this period.

Earlier, the convener of the retreat, Chief Deji Osibogun, noted that after several years of debate on how to bring the Nigerian people together to agree on the modalities for restructuring the polity, the administration of former President Olusegun Obasanjo convened the National Political Reform Conference in 2005, but noted that the initiative failed to douse agitation in the country.

“And because of the agitation across the ethnic groups, the former President Goodluck Jonathan convened another national conference in 2014. The 2014 dialogue was acknowledged to have made very far-reaching decisions on the required constitutional reforms to effect the desired restructuring.

“Not only did the conference address major issues of concern such as devolution of power, relative autonomy, resource control and fiscal federalism, among others, participants from all over the country unanimously agreed to the final report of the conference, which was submitted by Justice Kutigi to the federal government.

“Today, there is no doubt that there is a national consensus that Nigeria is overdue for restructuring. Therefore, we urge the federal executive and legislative arm of government to begin the process of implementing, or reviewing for implementation, the report of the 2014 national conference and ensure that it is completed before the 2019 general election.

“The report is a working document already at hand. It contains the considered opinion of the people of Nigeria, represented by participants from various sections of the country on the issues concerned. It cannot be pushed aside or dumped in the ashes of history,” Osibagun said.

CEO/Founder Investors King Ltd, a foreign exchange research analyst, contributing author on New York-based Talk Markets and, with over a decade experience in the global financial markets.


SERAP Urges FG to Slash Politicians’ Allowances



The Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP) has urged the Chairman of Revenue Mobilization Allocation and Fiscal Commission (RMAFC), Elias Mbam, to urgently review upward the remuneration, allowances, and conditions of service for Nigerian Judges, and reduce the remuneration of President Muhammadu Buhari and other political office-holders in order to address the persistent poor treatment of Judges, and improve access of victims of corruption to justice.

The appeal came on the heels of a nationwide industrial action by the Judiciary Staff Union of Nigeria (JUSUN) to press home their demand for financial autonomy for the judicial arm of government, and the federal government silence on the judiciary workers’ strike that has grounded court activities across the country.

In a letter dated April 10, 2021, which was signed by SERAP Deputy Director, Kolawole Oluwadare, the organisation said Judges should get all they are reasonably entitled to, and that it is unfair, illegal, unconstitutional, and discriminatory to continue to treat Judges as second-class people, while high-ranking political office holders enjoy lavish salaries and allowances.

SERAP expressed concern that the remuneration and allowances of Judges have fallen substantially behind the average salaries and allowances of political office-holders such as president, vice-president, governors and their deputies, as well as members of the National Assembly.

The letter read in part: “According to our information, the last review of the remuneration, allowances, and conditions of service for political, public and judicial office holders carried out by RMAFC in 2009 shows huge disparity between the remuneration and allowances of judges and those of political office holders.

“Judges’ work is very considerable but they cannot give their entire time to their judicial duties without the RMAFC reviewing upward their remuneration and allowances, and closing the gap and disparity between the salaries of judges and those of political office holders such as the president, vice-president, governors and their deputies, as well as lawmakers.

“We would therefore be grateful if the recommended measures are taken within 14 days of the receipt and/or publication of this letter. If we have not heard from you by then, the Incorporated Trustees of SERAP shall take all appropriate legal actions to compel the RMAFC to comply with our requests.”

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COVAX Delivered 38m Vaccine Doses To Over 100 Countries, Says WHO



The World Health Organisation (WHO) yesterday announced that more than 100 countries have received life-saving COVID-19 vaccines from COVAX, the global mechanism for equitable access to COVID-19 vaccines.

It said the milestone comes 42 days after the first COVAX doses were shipped and delivered internationally, to Ghana on February 24th.

In a statement, the United Nations’ Agency revealed that COVAX has now delivered more than 38 million doses across six continents, supplied by three manufacturers – AstraZeneca, Pfizer-BioNTech and the Serum Institute of India (SII).

Of the over 100 economies reached, 61 are among the 92 lower-income economies receiving vaccines funded through the Gavi COVAX Advance Market Commitment (AMC).

It, however, said despite reduced supply availability in March and April – the result of vaccine manufacturers scaling and optimising their production processes in the early phase of the rollout, as well as increased demand for COVID-19 vaccines in India – COVAX expects to deliver doses to all participating economies that have requested vaccines in the first half of the year.

According to the CEO of Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance, Dr. Seth Berkley, “In under four months since the very first mass vaccination outside a clinical setting anywhere in the world, it is tremendously gratifying that the roll-out of COVAX doses has already reached 100 countries.

“COVAX may be on track to deliver to all participating economies in the first half of the year yet we still face a daunting challenge as we seek to end the acute stage of the pandemic: we will only be safe when everybody is safe and our efforts to rapidly accelerate the volume of doses depend on the continued support of governments and vaccine manufacturers. As we continue with the largest and most rapid global vaccine rollout in history, this is no time for complacency.”

The WHO Director-General, Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, said: “COVAX has given the world the best way to ensure the fastest, most equitable rollout of safe and effective vaccines to all at-risk people in every country on the planet.

“If we are going to realise this great opportunity, countries, producers and the international system must come together to prioritise vaccine supply through COVAX. Our collective future, literally, depends on it.”

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Approved Ibom Deep Sea Port, Proposed $1.4B Fertilizer Plant Will Change Akwa Ibom’s Economic Status – Gov. Udom



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Akwa Ibom State Government has said the approved Ibom Deep Seaport and the proposed $1.4 billion Fertilizer and Ammonia Plant are expected to change the economic status of the state.

The State Governor, Mr. Udom Emmanuel, made the assertion in an Easter message to the people of the state.

He maintained that with the recent approval and take off of the federal government’s approved Oil and Gas Free Zone and the ongoing construction of the Sterling Petrochemical Plant at Eastern Obolo, the state would be ready to dump its status as a civil service state.

The governor said the fertilizer and ammonia plants should be supported by all indegenes and residents irrespective of political affiliation because of its capacity to change the economic fortunes of the state.

The governor who commended President Muhammadu Buhari for approving the industrial projects in the state said construction work on the Ibom Deep Seaport would commence very soon.

“In recent past, we have been blessed with life-changing projects such as Sterling Petrochemical Plant in Eastern Obolo, where construction is in an advanced stage.

“Two months ago, the Federal Executive Council, (FEC) approved the license for us to commence the construction of our long desired Ibom Deep Seaport. Work would soon commence on this gigantic project. These are huge achievements for our State and our people.

“Ibom Deep Seaport will open up our economic fortunes; create employment and wealth opportunities for our people and throw open our State as a major maritime hub in our nation.

“We thank the President and the Commander in-Chief of the Nigerian Armed Forces, Muhammadu Buhari (GCFR) for this kind approval,” he said.

Continuing, Emmanuel said: “About three weeks ago, we signed a $1.4 billion Fertilizer and Ammonia plant with our Moroccan counterparts. The plant will again create huge employment and other supply chain activities for our people, which will transform us from a civil service oriented state to a fast industrialising one.

“These are huge achievements that should gladden the hearts of every Akwa Ibomite irrespective of political affiliations.”

He reminded the people of the state that the essence of Easter would be lost if the resurrection of Christ is not allowed to illuminate their souls through love and sacrifice to one another.

“Let the fishermen in the ocean fronts of Mbo, Okobo, Eastern Obolo and Ibeno love one another. Let the farmers in the rice plantations at Ini, Ikono, Ika, Onna and Nsit Ibom love one another.

“Let the civil servants and public servants, politicians in all political parties, members of all denominations, preachers of all faiths, love one another.

“When we let love drive our every action and every thought, when we let it drip from our lips and from our hands, then shall the joy of Easter be complete, and our State shall surely attain the lofty height set for it by our ancestors when they named it Akwa Abasi Ibom State.” the Governor stated.

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