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Obasanjo Rejects Restructuring

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  • Obasanjo Rejects Restructuring

Former President Olusegun Obasanjo yesterday expressed his strong opposition to calls for the restructuring of the country saying there was nothing wrong with Nigeria to warrant the raging clamour for restructuring or dismemberment. General Obasanjo who spoke at the palace of Olu of Warri, His Majesty, Ogiame Ikenwoli, when he paid a visit to the monarch said what needs restructuring is the mindset of Nigerians.

The former president who was reacting to comments made by the Palace Chief, Brown Mene who spoke on behalf of the throne that the Itsekiri people were marginalised by the Nigerian state said “There is nothing wrong with Nigeria, but a lot is wrong with Nigerians. We need to correct what is wrong with Nigerians and you become an accomplice if you fail to say what is right”.

His words: “The point I note of your dissatisfaction is that in spite of history and in spite of the current situation of marginalization of your interests and desire, you never asked to be separated from Nigeria.

“When I was president, some people from Ogun state visited Aso Rock to complain that they were also marginalised. There is nothing wrong in asking for more share of the national cake but it is unacceptable for anyone to say that the only way out is separation.

“We can solve all our problems through dialogue, debate, discussion, conversation. I participated in the civil war. It was gruesome, destructive, deadly. Those clamouring don’t know what war means. I swore never to be part of it again. They say in my place that he who sees Sango (god of thunder) fighting, destroying with fire will never want to see Sango in his element again.

“The answer to most of our problems is mindset change and change of mentality. If we need any restructuring, it is the restructuring of our mindset and mentality. How will anybody in his right senses believe separation in the way out? We have passed that stage. We have problems, there are many ways we can solve them. It is our diversity that make us a great country. I won’t want a Nigeria where we dance same juju, or wear same attire. Our strength is in our diversity.

“Some progress is being made in spite of our difficulties and problems. We need to make greater progress than we have made before. If we do that, we will have good governance. There should be no impunity, everybody must have a sense of belonging, a stake in this project called Nigeria. Dismemberment of Nigeria is not good enough. Inequality, injustice, unfairness, impunity are not good enough and should be substituted”.

Earlier in his speech, palace spokesman, Chief Brown Mene had told Obasanjo that the Itsekiri people were being marginalised by the Nigerian state in spite of the Itsekiri kingdom’s contribution to the growth of the nation, but that they would rather not thread the path of violence or separation to redress their plight.

Brown said on Itsekiri’s cry for justice that, “We prefer ours in a refined manner devoid of violence. We will go with it reasonably, responsibly, peacefully, persuasively, so that what is just may be recognised. We are aware of several parts of the country clamouring for secession. Itsekiri prefer for Nigeria to remain strong and united, a nation where justice is recognised, merit rewarded and crime punished correctively so that we can build an egalitarian society.

Harping on the former president’s background, leadership experience, towering influence till date and his passion to support a united Nigeria against all odds, he said the Itsekiri nation placed much hope on Obasanjo to help the kingdom in surmounting the challenge of marginalisation.

Brown told Obasanjo that, “In the sense of how we see the hand of God in you, there is still a lot more that can be done for this country through you. As you still have the voice in Nigeria, please continue to speak so that minorities in this country will not continue to be sidelined just because we lack headcount majority. We have been contributing values to the building of this nation.

“As God continues to give you a voice to speak, remember us. Because of the path God has given you to walk through, you also have as a duty to speak for the downtrodden so that Nigeria may be built on equity based on justice so that those who labour to build this nation may be rewarded”.

Former President Obasanjo’s current stand on restructuring was a carry over of his convictions when he was at the helm of affairs in the country. As president, General Obasanjo was opposed to any call for the restructuring of Nigeria.

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

Government

SERAP Urges FG to Slash Politicians’ Allowances

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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

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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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