President of the Senate, Ahmad Lawan on Sunday made a strong case for national unity saying Nigeria needs all parts of the country to make things work.
Lawan stated this at the 10th year memorial anniversary of the father of the Senate Chief Whip, Orji Uzor Kalu which held at Igbere in Abia state.
The occasion was climaxed with the conferment on the Senate President a High Chief title of Nwannedinamba 1(our number one Brother in Diaspora) and as member Ezumezu Circle of Igbere Ebiri by the Igbere Clan Council of Ndi Eze, Igbere.
In his remarks, Lawan said: “This is one occasion that has brought all of us here. If you look at the cream of people around, you will believe that there is unity among us.
“Regardless of our political or religious persuasion, we are attending a function that all of us believe is so important.
“Abia state is a home of unity. We have seen the presence of the (Senate) Minority Leader, Senator Enyinnaya Abaribe, Senator T. A. Orji. These are people who belong to different political parties. So this kind of environment is not a political environment. This is peoples’ environment.
“The Governor of Enugu state, our brother, Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi has been here since. This is in solidarity with this family and this is what unity can achieve for us.
“Today and indeed even tomorrow and forever, we can achieve better. We can achieve more when we are united. Nigeria is designed by the Grace of God to be a nation of many people of different orientation, different sentiments but we must be a people with common purpose and common destiny and this is what we are trying to achieve.”
The Senate President said his friendship with Senator Orji Uzor Kalu who is now the Senate Chief Whip dated back to their days in the University when they were roommates.
“Today we are all grown up and we are still together. That shows commitment to friendship, privilege to maintain that kind of relationship that will make our country better and more stable and that is what we are supposed to do across the country.
“It doesn’t matter where you come from. It doesn’t matter what you believe in. What matters is that you are a Nigerian and the other person next to you is a Nigerian too,” Lawan said.
Still speaking on the quest for a united Nigeria, the Senate President said: “Abia state is the home of the Whips in Nigeria today. You have the Chief Whip of the Senate and you have another Whip in the House of Representatives and we have the Minority Leader of the Senate.
“Abia is more blessed than any state when it comes to the leadership of the National Assembly because out of the 20 Principal Officers, Abia has three. And that is to tell you that this state is at the heart of Nigeria.
“Let’s unite ourselves in this state and indeed in the Southeast. Let’s face common agenda of being in the center of Nigeria. Infact let’s even attempt to be the leaders of Nigeria because it’s a valid aspiration.
“Let’s not stay away from being part of the real center of action in Nigeria. That we can achieve when we sit together and talk among ourselves. Time is of essence.
“Nigeria needs all of us to be united. Nigeria needs all hands to be on deck. Nigeria needs the effort of each and every part to make it work and we can make it work.
“So let’s continue to unite here in Abia. Let’s continue to unite in the Southeast in making not only the National Assembly Whip our own but making Nigeria itself ours.”
On the chieftaincy title conferred on him, the Senate President thanked the traditional rulers and the entire community for the honour done to him.
“From now, I am a son of this soil and with my cap signifying the title conferred on me, I can stand anywhere, in any part of Nigeria proudly and say I am from Igbere community,” Lawan said.
The Senate President said Kalu’s father, Chief Johnson Uzor Nsiegbe Kalu who was being remembered “left us with a lesson of bringing up a family in a very decent and responsible way and we are lucky to be alive to see the benefits of doing so.”
On the trip to Abia with the Senate President were the Senate Deputy Chief Whip, Senator Aliyu Sabi Abdullahi, Senate Deputy Minority Whip, Senator Sahabi Ya’u Laura and Chairman, Senate Services Committee, Senator Mohammed Sani Musa.
One year in Office: Group knocks Adeleke, PDP Govt over failure to improve living conditions of citizens
By Ismail Azeez, Osogbo
The Democratic Socialist Movement (DSM), Osun State Chapter, has said Governor Ademola Adeleke and Peoples Democratic Party (PDP)-led government in the state have no fundamental achievement to show for their first year in office.
The group stated that the Adeleke government has failed to improve the living conditions of the people of the state.
This was contained in a statement jointly signed on Sunday by the State Coordinator and State Secretary, Alfred Adegoke and Kola Ibrahim respectively,
They called on the state government to issue immediate payment of all arrears of salaries, pensions and gratuities the government owes all categories of workers and retirees.
Also agitated for immediate increase in salaries of workers and pensions of retirees for due to economic hardship on workers by the effect of fuel subsidy for removal by the federal government.
According to the statement, “Given the support offered by the Adeleke regime by people of the state, there is a lot of expectations on the new administration to improve the living conditions of the people of the state.
“A year into the Adeleke/PDP government, there seems to be no direction for resolving all the various challenges on ground. While the APC government left rot in governance, the PDP government obviously has no solution within the framework of capitalism. While the Adeleke government raised alarm over the looting of the state resources and huge indebtedness by the APC government, it looks like the government only wanted to use it to score political points rather than recovering the looted state funds.
“If the government is serious about recovering the looted funds, it should set up a democratic and open probe committee comprising government officials, representatives of workers, retirees, relevant professional groups, etc., while a task force for recovery will subsequently be established to recover the identified loot. But can the Adeleke government undertake this task, when stalwarts of its party are also salivating for their own ‘juicy’ opportunity.
“The Adeleke government has prided itself as a promoter of workers’ and retirees’ welfare; yet this mere grandstanding. It is not actually a detour from the past. For instance, in the last one year of Adeleke administration, only two (2) months payment, out of 30-month arrears of half-salary and half-pension owed workers and government retirees inherited from the previous government have been paid.
“Also, the majority of government retirees on contributory pensions, especially those who retired from 2017 to 2023, have not received their pensions, including their own contributions; and thus have been subjected to excruciating poverty.
“Also, retirees on government enrolment, who retired between 2012 and 2023, have not received a single tranche of their gratuities under the current administration. Yet, payment of outstanding salaries, pensions and gratuities was a cardinal campaign promise of the Ademola Adeleke/PDP for which it was voted into office. Rather than pay the arrears of salaries and pension, the government was enriching its private consultant under the guise of conducting staff and retiree audits. This put the workers and retirees in unwarranted discomfort.
“The argument of lack of funds is not tenable given that the same government that complained of the fraudulent loans and contracts that put the state in huge indebtedness is still repaying the loans with interest.
“Besides, the allocations to the state governments from the federation accounts have been increased in the last five months following the removal of petrol subsidy and devaluation of naira – two of the anti-poor policies of Tinubu government which have compounded the cost of living crisis for working masses and the poor. The government could have simply demanded a moratorium on the loan repayment on the ground that the government is auditing the loans and contracts for which the loans were procured.
“This would have given the government time and resources to address workers’ welfare and embark on serious projects, while also having time to recover the looted state funds. But the PDP government will hardly go this route because it has the same primitive, capitalist approach to governance just as its APC counterpart.
“However, beyond the workers’ and retirees’ entitlements for which the government has fraudulently scored itself high, there is nothing to show for the one year in office. Social service sectors are in a deplorable state.
“For instance, public primary and secondary schools are still in the terrible conditions the previous administrations of Aregbesola and Oyetola left them, while state-owned tertiary institutions are still underfunded.
“The recent report on the dilapidated state of schools built by the Aregbesola administration tells much about the Adeleke government. Rather than face up to the task of funding the tertiary institutions, the state government is getting enmeshed in leadership tussle in the state owned polytechnic in Iree.
“Public health institutions from primary to tertiary level are still underfunded and in deplorable conditions. Rather than improve on the quality of the facilities and employ adequate numbers of medical and health workers, the government only organised a two-week free health mission!
”A significant increase in fund allocations, by at least 100 percent, to public primary and secondary schools, tertiary educational institutions and public hospitals (primary, secondary and tertiary). This should help to expand facilities and employ more hands
“Massive funding of mass public works programmes that is capable of leading to expansion of water supply infrastructures; expansion of intra- and inter-township roads, building of schools, hospitals, etc. These works programmes should be carried out through the Ministry of Works, as an alternative to the contract system through which huge sums are usually siphoned from government covers.
“Democratic monitoring committees on all projects and funds by elected, non-salaried representatives of workers and communities where the projects are being implemented and funds allocated.”
APC wins all chairmanship, councillorship seats in Ekiti council polls
Candidates of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) won all the 38 chairmanship and 177 councillorship seats in Saturday’s council elections in Ekiti.
The Ekiti State Independent Electoral Commission (EKSIEC) made the declaration at Ado-Ekiti on Sunday.
Returning Officers in the local government areas and in the local council development areas took turns to present the results of the various council areas at the headquarters of EKSIEC.
EKSIEC Chairman, retired Justice Cornelius Akintayo, applauded the electorate in Ekiti for the peaceful conduct of the election.
He also commended parties that took part in the election for their sportsmanship; EKSIEC staff who worked on the field; security agents and the media for a job well done.
Akintayo listed political parties that participated in the election as Action Alliance (AA), Action Democratic Congress (ADC), African Democratic Party (ADP) and the All Progressives Congress (APC).
Others, he said, were Labour Party (LP), New Nigeria Peoples Party (NNPP), the Peoples Redemption Party (PRP) and Zenith Labour Party ZLP.
EKSIEC commissioners and principal officers joined Akintayo at the presentation of the election results.
Prominent opposition parties like the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and the Social Democratic Party (SDP) had earlier declared their disinterest in the council elections.
APC chieftain commends Tinubu on 50 per cent subsidy on agric inputs
Mr Olatunbosun Oyintiloye, a Chieftain of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in Osun, has commended President Bola Tinubu for approving a 50 per cent reduction in the cost of agricultural inputs for farmers during the dry season farming period.
Oyintiloye told newsmen on Sunday in Osogbo that the subsidy would have a positive impact on farmers and contribute to increased agricultural production and improved food availability.
The Minister of Agriculture and Food Security, Abubakar Kyari, on Nov. 25 said the federal government would support 250,000 wheat farmers with a 50 per cent input subsidy to cultivate about 250,000 hectares during the dry season.
Oyintiloye, a member of defunct APC Presidential Campaign Council (PCC), noted that the country’s current food inflation, according to the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) stood at 31.5 per cent.
Oyintiloye, a former lawmaker also said that in the selected food price watch for the month of October, as released by NBS, shows that the average price of one kilogram of rice local sold rose by 68.10 per cent on a year-on-year basis from N487.47 in October 2022 to N819.42 in October 2023.
He said the NBS statistics further revealed that the average price of one kilogram of brown beans rose by 39.90 per cent on a year-on-year basis to N790.01 in October from N564.69 recorded same period 2022, among other food prices.
Oyintiloye, however, said that the approved farm input subsidy by the federal government was timely, as it would reduced the food inflation in the country.
He said that President Tinubu’s assurance to Nigerians in transforming the agricultural sector by making food security the number one priority had started yielding positive results.
“We need to commend President Tinubu for this 50 per cent subsidy on farm inputs.
“This will go along way to boost food and nutrition security, attract private sector investment, reduce post-harvest losses, and add value to local agriculture produce in the country,” he said.
Oyintiloye said the programme of National Agriculture Growth, aimed at supporting farmers through training on good agricultural practices and provide certified inputs, would enhance food production.
The APC chieftain said that with the various agricultural interventions by the president, there would be a positive changes in the prices of food and there would be surpluses in the coming days.
He said the president’s passion for food security and his quick intervention on fertilizers, improved seeds, mechanisation and grants, in both long and short run, would yield a desirable results to ensure food production round the year.
Oyintiloye, however, appealed to the federal government to relate directly with subsistence and large scale farmers, among other stakeholders in agriculture business through their various associations.
He said this would enable them to access various government intervention programmes without any form of hindrance and make Nigeria self-sufficient in term of agriculture produce, thereby making prices of food items affordable.
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