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In Kogi, fresh wind of opposition blows from the east

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In Kogi, fresh wind of opposition blows from the east

For almost two years of the Yahaya Bello administration in Kogi State, the majority Igalla ethnic group that narrowly lost the opportunity of maintaining their grip on the state’s political power through the death of Abubakar Audu, are beginning to create opposition against alleged bad policies of the state government.

Before providence shifted the baton of authority to the minority Ebira with the emergence of incumbent governor Yahaya Bello, through the sudden death of the candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Abubakar Audu, the majority Igalla ethnic group dominated political power in Kogi State.

For many years since the creation of the state, the Igalla of Kogi East have been maintaining the dominance pushing the Ebira of Kogi Central and the Okun of Kogi West into playing the second fiddle by producing Deputy-Governors.

The once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for the minorities to occupy the Lugard House was created in the last governorship election but since Bello carried the day, most of the leaders from Igalla who put their weight behind the victory of APC through their support for Audu, have been left out in the cold as the new Pharaoh did not know Joseph.

Therefore most political leaders from the east who have been nursing their bruises from the missed opportunity, went underground. But with almost two years expended in the life of Bello’s administration, they are beginning to regroup to confront him.

The new wave of opposition from the East is being complemented by agitations even among the minority groups who have shifted their demand for power shift to calls for good governance amid allegations of failure on the part of government to bring development to the state.

Currently, the entire citizenry seem to be united by poverty, hunger and starvation because of non-payment of salary and allowances to the state workforce, a development that has denied the economy of the state of that important lifeline.

Worried by what it described as effects of “a rudderless administration,” an influential group of statesmen from the majority Igalla under the platform of Kogi East Elders Council (KEEC), has come out publicly to condemn Bello’s style of governance.

At a news conference in Abuja, chairman of KEEC, Sen. Dr. Amadu Ali said in their attempt to give the young administration the benefit of the doubt, the leaders had restrained themselves from taking any critical posture, in the hope that the government would retrace its steps and take the right path when it started taking wrong turns at inception.

As an apex socio-cultural body formed on the principles of equity, justice, fairplay and good governance in Kogi State, Ali said the Council had laboured behind the scene to ensure harmony among various political divides in the state and even across the three senatorial districts.

He said, “It is therefore with absolute distress that the elders decided to go public on the deplorable and deteriorating condition of resources-rich Kogi State.

“In the last two years since Alhaji Yahaya Bello providentially took over the mantle of leadership as the governor, impulsive and ill-informed steps taken by the administration have left in their trail, the sounds of wailing and lamentation in villages, towns and cities across the state.”

Ali added that hopes that the government would take the right path were being dashed as the leadership was sinking deeper into errors, making a shipwreck of the opportunity given to the younger generation to steer the ship of the state towards a greater future.

On the stalemate in the state-owned university Ali declared that the termination of the appointments of 135 academic staff of the institution was an evidence of government’s ignorance and insensitivity adding, “These lecturers, some of them professors and PhD holders, were sacked from the state’s university, at a time when many universities in the country are hunting for intellectuals to beef up their faculties.”

He said in their attempt to salvage the situation, the KEEC had sent a delegation led by a former minister, Architect Gabriel Aduku, to the governor with suggestions in the form of a communiqué to indicate their displeasure at the lingering crisis between the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) of the institution and the state government.

Ali recalled that when Bello was being inaugurated on January 27, 2016, the governor noted in his inaugural speech that salaries have not been paid to civil servants for some months, hence he proposed to commence payment as promptly as possible while implementing strategies to gradually defray the arrears but the promise was not kept.

The group disclosed further that the condition of Kogi has degenerated to a situation in which federal lawmakers had to donate bags of rice to the state workforce and therefore called for a speedy conclusion of the tortuous staff screening exercise that appears to be the longest in the history of the country.

On the state of insecurity in Kogi, the group observed that it has culminated into a situation in which people are being felled by bullets adding, “The evidence of widespread insecurity was manifest in the imposition of 24-hour curfew on five local government areas by the state government on November 9, 2017. The LGAs include Adavi, Ajaokuta, Okene, Ogori/Magongo and Okehi.”

The group therefore called on President Muhammadu Buhari to set up a presidential committee to investigate the purported staff audit as well as how the funds that went to the state as bailout and Paris Club refunds were utilized.”

Ali said the findings of the group revealed that cash that accrued into the coffers of Kogi State since 2016 was a total of N167 billion adding that the average monthly receipts of funds by the government for 21 months is, on the average, N8 billion. In terms of expenditure, he observed that an outline of civil servants and pensioners salaries and emoluments between 2012 and 2015 before Bello took over totaled N4.8 billion and that the total surplus that has accumulated from January 2016 to September 2017 is N67 billion.

According to him, “This amount should be available for infrastructure development, but the projects which might have gulped this sum are not on ground for the people of Kogi to see. If the government is not engaged in the construction of vital infrastructure, why has government been unable to pay the salaries of even the ‘cleared civil servants’ as at when due? Why did the state government embark on a borrowing adventure from commercial banks, and what has government used the borrowed money to service?”

But reacting through the governor’s Chief of Staff (CoS), Edward Onoja, the government said an industrial crisis actually engulfed the state university, which saw ASUU members refusing to teach for seven months adding that the plight of the stranded students degenerated to a point at which government was forced to proscribe the activities of the union to bring succour to the institution.

According to him, government disengaged academic staff of KSU who failed to resume normal duties after the proscription came into effect and the process of replacing them with other qualified persons was almost concluded.

The government therefore assured KEEF and other citizens of the state that the university can only come out of the process stronger and better positioned to retain her primacy among functional tertiary institutions in Nigeria.

On the issues surrounding insecurity and non-payment of salaries, the state government reiterated its desire to put an end to all criminal activities and that as acknowledged by the KEEC themselves, steps were already being taken in that direction as well as the conclusion of a process that will produce an effective workforce to deliver good governance in the state.
Culled from the Guardian

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Though Politics is tough for women, take the shot, humanitarian minister challenges womenfolk

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Though Politics is tough for women, take the shot, humanitarian minister challenges womenfolk 



Though there is the general believe that politics in Nigeria is tough for the womenfolk, Minister of Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management and Social Development Sadiya Umar Farouq has challenged them to get more involved in politics. 

The Minister spoke at the Kashim Ibrahim Fellowship Speaker Series held in Kaduna on Tuesday October 21, 2020.

This was contained in a statement by the minister special adviser on media Nneka Ikem Anibeze on Thursday.

Umar Farouq who made a virtual presentation titled ‘My Political Career as a Northern Lady: Experiences and Challenges expressed concern about the percentage of women in politics.

“The truth is that we are not many. We are not where we should be and clearly we need more women represented in politics and executive positions. 

The good news is that we are making progress. Today as the Deputy Governor of Kaduna State is a woman. 

“This is a first for the North and His Excellency Governor Nasir El Rufai by the grace of Almighty God made this happen despite the odds.

She said very soon the hope for the first female Governor and President would soon be realised.

The Minister said politics especially in Africa is  a difficult and expensive terrain for women however she encouraged  the younger generation not to be deterred but embrace the career.

“Politics is driven by a selected few and is also very expensive. We need more young people to participate, change the narrative and make conscious efforts to ensure inclusion so that any young woman or man even from a less privileged background or  from any part of the country can be a President of this nation”.

Umar added that her vision for Nigeria is to see more young men and women dream and achieve their ambition as leaders in whatever field of endeavor they choose. 

“I am a grassroots person and will continue to connect with my people to lift the vulnerable out of poverty and foster the creation of an environment for inclusive growth and prosperity.  

K9I am supported by a team of vibrant young men and women working in the Ministry to bring fresh ideas and strategies to solving the nation’s Humanitarian and Social Development challenges. I want to use this avenue to thank my staff who work day and night in difficult terrains to ensure that we achieve our mandate,” Farouq said.

The Chief host of the Speaker Series was the Kaduna state Governor, Mallam Nasir Ahmed El-Rufai. 

The Speaker Series is designed to expose Fellows to notable personalities who have distinguished themselves in their various fields of expertise.

Some of the previous speakers include former President Chief Olusegun Obasanajo, Mallam Nasir Ahmad el-Rufai, HRH Muhammadu Sanusi II the former Emir of Kano,  Deputy Chief of Mission, US. Embassy Abuja, H.E. David J. Young, Deputy-Secretary General of the United Nations Hajiya Amina J. Mohammed, Mrs. Ibukun Awosika – Chairman, First Bank of Nigeria, H.E. Donald Duke the former Governor of Cross River State, H.E Kashim Shettima, Ms. Kadaria Ahmed, Dr. Joe Abah, Ms. Yewande Sadiku, Prof. Pat Utomi, Mr. Mohamad Darwish and Dr. Dakuku Peterside amongst others.

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PDP says Buhari’s Address Disconnected, Fails Empathy Test

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PDP says Buhari’s Address Disconnected, Fails Empathy Test


The long-awaited national broadcast by President Muhammadu Buhari on the protests rocking the nation, came with disappoint as it is completely disconnected from the realities of the tragic occurrences in our country in the last two weeks the opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has said.

This was contained in a statement that was issued by the party’s National publicity, secretary Kola Ologbodiayan in Abuja on Thursday.

The party however appeals to Nigerians, particularly the youth, to remain calm and allow a return to normal life in the collective quest for peaceful co-existence in the overall interest of our nation.

“The President’s address, in the face of the turmoil witnessed, the unrests as well as the killing of young Nigerians, is to say the least, depressing and failing in empathy test.
“Our party and, indeed, all lovers of peace in our country, were shocked that the President glossed over the immediate trigger of violent protests – the widely condemned killing at the Lekki Toll Gate by security operatives, a situation which created a global concern and drew the attention of the world to the abuse of human rights going on in our country under his watch.

“Painfully too, the President, as the Commander-in-Chief, was silent on the demand by Nigerians for enquires into the involvement of the military in the gruesome killing.
“Sadly, the long awaited address failed to inspire any hope. It failed to address the trepidations, the pervading hopelessness, the drifting towards anarchy and provided no concrete steps on how to arrest the situation and rein in bandits, hoodlums and vandals that were let loose to unleash violence on peaceful protesters and innocent Nigerians.
“In short, from the letters of the address, there were no correlations between the fundamentals of the crisis situation that we have witnessed and the long-sought reaction of the President.”

Furthermore, he said Nigerians had expected that the President will provide the lead for the much- needed overhauling of our security architecture to meet the demands of professionalism and respect for rules of engagement.
“The President also failed to use the opportunity to further heal wounds and inspire hope by outlining a roadmap to open up the economy in a manner that will enable our teeming hard working youths to pursue their productive goals as well as address the issue of pervading hunger in the land.
“However, in solidarity with Nigerians and in honour to the victims of Lekki Toll Gate killing, our party has directed that our flags in all our offices across the nation be flown at half-mast for a period of one week, beginning from Friday, October 23, 2020.

“The PDP urges all men and women of good faith to join forces in praying for our country as well as working towards solutions and peaceful resolution of the crisis that seeks to envelope our dear nation.”

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IPAC demands fresh LG election in Bauchi

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IPAC demands fresh LG election in Bauchi

From Ali Sara, Bauchi

The Inter-Party Advisory Council (IPAC) Bauchi State chapter has faulted the conduct of the just concluded Local Government elction in the State describing it as a sham.
He said there was no election but result were declared on social media instead of collation centers

The council therefore called on Governor Bala Mohammed Abdulkadir of Bauchi State to as a matter of urgency dissolve and declare all the seats of newly sworn in Local Government Chairmen/Councillors vacant.

The call was made yesterday during a press briefing at the NUJ Secretariat by the Chairman of IPAC Alhaji Usman Isa who alleged that election did not hold on 17, October 2020.

He said, “The purported local government election of 17th October 2020 in Bauchi State is an irony of democracy as the local government Chairmen and councillors who were sworn in on 18th October 2020 were selected/appointed by the minority rulers.
“If this impunity is allowed, it will be like sacrificing our hard earned democracy on the alter of mediocrity which will pave way for anarchy, God forbid”.

Alhaji Isa said that, ” IPAC is hereby disassociating itself from all the manufactured election results that were declared on Saturday 17th October 2020 in Bauchi State because they were not the product of our democracy.
“Candidates of APC and other political parties who won the elections by the available results from polling units were not declared as winners, the PDP candidates who lost in almost every ward and local government were rather returned as winners which is unacceptable”.

He demanded that Bauchi State Government refund all the official fees paid to the commission by other parties candidate including campaign auxillary expenditure incurred in the election process.

The chairman further demand the immediate dissolution of present members of the Bauchi State Independent Electoral Commission (BASIEC) to be replaced with technocrats and nominees from all the political parties with offices in the state.

He said, “Bauchi State Governor should conduct a fresh free and and fair local government election in which all political parties will be given a level playing ground to allow for a sound democratic process”.

According to him, “neither collation offices nor returning officers were seen at the designated wards and local government collation centers. Even where the elections were held the results and electoral materials were abandoned at the polling units without collation at designated wards and local government centers”.

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