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Kogi APC’s search for peace after supreme court’s verdict

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Kogi APC’s search for peace after supreme court’s verdict

By John Akubo, Lokoja

Stakeholders seek cabinet reshuffle, all-inclusive government
Having survived all the legal fireworks that emanated from the stroke of luck that threw itself on his laps when he least expected, Governor Yahaya Bello of Kogi State may now work with a fresh pair of eyes to reconcile his party the APC.
The saying that a chain may not be stronger than its weakest links is a reminder that no member of the party should be wished away at this crucial time because sooner or later their support would be needed.
The circumstances surrounding the emergence of Bello, which were unusual, gave room for many of the party members to be fictionalized. The problem actually started after late leader of the APC Prince Abubakar Audu died whilst he was yet to be declared Governor. 
The APC had settled for the first runner up in the primary as replacement for the late Prince Audu who died while the election was yet to be concluded after due consultations on the legal implications.
But that decision did not go down well with the running mate of the late candidate, James Abiodun Faleke and his supporters and he turned down the offer to be running mate.
The Governor was faced with the stiffest of opposition within the party to the extent that some members of the State executive of the party passed vote of no confidence on him haven accused him of selecting 98% of his cabinet members from the PDP.
Subsequently three distinct factions of the APC emerged in Kogi – the Audu/Faleke’s faction, the Senator Dino Melaye’s faction and the governor’s faction.
Ever since, the APC chairman and some others have been in ‘Diasporas’ with the optimism that the Supreme Court would sound the dearth knell on the governor’s victory. But Bello was victorious at the Supreme Court.
With the legal tussles over, it was learnt that the State executive members of the party have been employing every available means to reach out to the Governor. Leaders of the party are rooting for genuine reconciliation so that most of them that have been left out might be accommodated.
Perhaps, one of the greatest challenges before Bello is that of reconciling with the Audu/Faleke camp which has hitherto been working at cross purposes with the present administration since it assumed power on January 27.
However political analysts are quick to remind the Governor of the need to take a critical look at the role of key political players from the Audu/Faleke group who worked assiduously for the success of the APC in the November 21, 2015 election.
They argued that with the cases over, he needed to settle down to use appointments as compensation for many of the aggrieved people who spent their time and resources to ensure the victory for APC.
It is envisaged that there would be a minor cabinet reshuffle to accommodate members from the other groups in his government for them to have some sense of belonging.
Just like the Supreme Court pronounced that votes belong to the party some of the stakeholders are also contending that Bello should urgently resolve issues with all the aggrieved executive members and stakeholders of the APC in the state; work with the party structure for harmony between his government and the party on whose back, he rode to power.
Commenting on the issue, Director General of the Prince Abubakar Audu Campaign Organisation, Mr. Dan Isah, said,  “It is our prayer that such reconciliation comes quickly with a very genuine intention because survival of the party is so paramount to us and we wouldn’t want a situation that will kill the party that we nurtured to maturity all because of internal fracas.”
According to the Speaker of Kogi State House of Assembly, Rt. Hon Imam Ahmed Umar, “The party became divided along interest lines; first group pitched their tent with Honorable Faleke who was the running mate to the late leader, the second group who had to obey party supremacy where I also belong pitched its tents with the party’s choice.”
“The APC chose the first runner up in the primary, Alhaji Yahaya Bello after superior legal advise from senior lawyers and of course it paid off.” The speaker said the differences in the party were not crises but natural phenomenon.
“The hope is that now that the case at the Supreme Court is done with there is going to be reconciliation and indeed the Governor would have the necessary support of the party to assist him in translating his blueprint to success.”
He admitted that the divergent interests and group within the party impacted negatively on the party’s fortunes and warned that if it continued, it would be embarrassing.
However, Umar expressed the hope that very soon there will be light at the end of the tunnel.On his part, an APC stalwart and member of Board of Trustees (BOT) in the state, Chief Clarence Olafemi, said since the Supreme Court is the final place of arbitration, the next move should be to solidify the party. He stressed that though it was unfortunate that the party became fragmented after the death of the initial governorship candidate, concerted efforts should be made to unite the warring factions now.
In particular, he wants the governor to look into genuine cases of complaints about marginalisation and make amends in the interest of the party, adding: “What should be paramount now is that everybody should sheathe their swords and re-strategise for the next election.
Furthermore, he said: “Mediation can come from many sources, but the most identifiable source is the national. They should set up a reconciliation committee. Let people like me, who have not been so conspicuously on one side or the other, be able to come in, I have my friends and admirers, who are complaining. I belong to the government by virtue of being a party man, so I still relate with both.
“We should not waste time, because the consequences of delay is that it will make some people irreversibly opposed to this government, and what it means is that they will continue to fight the government and weaken the party because the governor will continue to fight back and at the end of the day, the consequences will not be good for any side.”
Similarly, former Senator that represented Kogi West Senatorial district, Smart Adeyemi advised Bello to bring everybody on board and give all the senatorial districts a sense of belonging in the affairs of the state.
Adeyemi said: “The judicial interpretation has more or less helped to settle the quarrel between ‘two brothers of same parent.’ And it is worthy of note to appreciate the level of understanding and sense of maturity displayed by the duo (Bello and Faleke) in the outcome of the Supreme Court verdict.”
Also, the State Secretary of the APC, Mr. Tom Adejoh, said the governor as the leader of the party, should make all efforts to unite members of the party and carry them along for the success of his administration.
“The solution is not far-fetched; he needs the party to succeed. He is automatically the leader of the party. He should bring all heads together as one family so he can move the state forward. There is no question of I am from this faction or the other faction; what is on ground now is that he needs to move along with everybody in the party. 
“My candid advice is that by the time he embraces party’s patronage, everything will fall in place. Even the appointments are dynamic, they are not static, and somebody who has been appointed can be dropped. There can be a minor cabinet reshuffle to inject some other persons into the system to keep the relationship going,” Adejoh said.
Speaking on the issue, Bello said he was determined to build bridges of reconciliation with his opponents and all aggrieved stakeholders for smooth governance in the state.
The governor, who spoke through his Special Adviser on Media and Strategy, Mallam Abdulmalik Abdulkarim, indicated he has already extended the olive branch and urged all aggrieved stakeholders to reciprocate the gesture aimed at building bonds of fraternity.
He said all that transpired before now were “mere misunderstanding amongst brothers” which he noted, should be put behind in the overall interest of good governance and development of the state.
http://guardian.ng/features/policy-a-politics/kogi-apcs-search-for-peace-after-supreme-courts-verdict/

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Group clears Bauchi Governor of Corruption allegation

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Group clears Bauchi Governor of
Corruption allegation

From Ali Sara, Bauchi

Corruption allegations against the Bauchi State Governor, Senator Bala Mohammed Abdulkadir are false, blatant lies being orchestrated by his political enemies, the Bauchi State Coalition Against Financial Crimes and Injustice (BACAFCI) has said.

The National Chairman of BACAFCI Mallam Bibi Dogo stated this on Sunday while fielding questions from newsmen in Bauchi in reaction to the recent petition  filed by alleged stakeholders from Bauchi State.
The group had accused the Governor of corruptly enriching himself and mal administration in the State as reported in some media.
Dogo indicated that the coalition received a copy of the petition which it has studied but found no tangible evidence but blatant lies with the sole aim of bringing the government to disrepute out of envy of his track records and successes.

Dogo who brought dozens of documents in defense of Governor Bala said the anti graft group BACAFCI cleared Bala on all the allegations after they studied the petitions filed by the socalled stakeholders before the Economic Financial Crime Commission EFCC.
Dogo explained further that the allegations of loans for the Purchase of 3.5bn official vehicles for the Political office holders are unfounded as all due processes were followed in the award of the contract.
He said the contract for their purchase was approved by the State House of Assembly through House resolution via a letter sent by the government and duly signed by the clerk of the House Umar Yusuf Gital with reference number BASHA/POL/S/13/VOL.XIX/203 dated 17/July/2019.
He said  the contract was awarded to an indigene of the State after it followed the normal scrutiny where certificate of no objection was issued to the company before it was awarded the contract.
Dogo observed that from their findings, all cars were supplied and put to use by the beneficiaries in the best interest of the State.

He said the allegations that Governor Bala is a director in one of the companies which Bauchi Government patronized is not true as the Governor had resigned his position in the company on 1st May 2019 adding that he was not a Governor at that time because he had not taken the oath of office.
He said their findings were confirmed through Corporate Affairs Commission CAC form no 51180 on the particulars of Directors.

The Chairman also indicated that allegations of awarding road contracts, Building of Palaces, Workshops, assistance to pilgrims, supply of School Uniforms to out of School children, children meals by the government, are all genuine projects that everyone with sincere mind can see.
“Where anyone is in doubt he can go to the relevant government agencies to confirm and verify.
On the issue of School Uniforms and meals for out of school children he said the contract for the supply of uniforms was awarded to the indigenes of the State after due process and the uniforms was supplied.
Dogo indicated that the project was aimed at reducing the number of out of School children, while the Workshop was carried out in the best interest of the state at minimal cost. 

Even the issue of ghost workers, he pointed out that it was Governor Bala who held a public hearing with all stake holders on the issue he is working hard to bring sanity to the system to free some resources and employ more people in to the state Civil Service. 

He said the petitioners were either ignorant of how government operates or it was born outof malice.
“They just decided to paint the governor black due to the large number of physical projects he has execute that has developed the state.

Bibi Dogo said many of the allegations are not directly linked to the Governor but some Civil Servants whom the petitioners didn’t care to accused but the Governor that is making effort to rebuild the State through the provision of genuine infrastructures.

He advised them to always cross check their facts and offer only constructive criticisms not blatant lies.

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Lawan seeks Pakistan support in capacity building for Nigeria’s Defence Industry

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Lawan seeks Pakistan support in capacity building for Nigeria’s Defence Industry

President of the Senate, Ahmad Lawan has urged Pakistan to aid Nigeria in the capacity building of her Defence Industry.

Lawan made the call on Friday while receiving in audience a delegation of the Senate of Pakistan which visited him to seek Nigeria’s support for the candidature of the Chairman of the Pakistani Senate for the Presidency of the Inter-Parliamentary Union(IPU).

The Senate President thanked Pakistan for its assistance in the area of training and supply of weapons to Nigeria Armed Forces in the fight against insurgency and other security challenges.
In his words,
“But one area that I think we need to sustain collaboration and partnership is in the area of helping Nigeria to build our Defence Industry.

“We started together in the 70s. For some reasons, we are still struggling to get stronger in the area of manufacturing or producing our needed defence weapons.

“But you have gone higher. We need to learn a lot from you in that respect.

“We have the Defence Industries Corporation of Nigeria located in Kaduna. They are still working hard to see how they can start producing the kind of weapons that we need in Nigeria.
“It’s going to take a while but I believe that you will graciously help us build the capacity of the people working in that place,” Lawan said.

The Senate President said the friendship between Pakistan and Nigeria which dated back to Nigeria’s Independence in 1960 had transformed into brotherhood.

“In all international fora, Pakistan and Nigeria have always been on the same side. Pakistan has been quite supportive of Nigeria in all ramifications.

“Presently, we do a lot together for our security especially the Armed Forces. You also help us with some of the weapons that we need in fighting the insurgency. We appreciate that and we hope that this kind of relationship and brotherhood will continue,” Lawan said

On the primary reason for the visit, the Senate President said the issue of the candidature of the Chairman of the Pakistani Senate, Muhammad Sadiq Sanjrani for the presidency of IPU “is like one of us running for that office.”

“We will give him the support that he needs from us and if we can go beyond what we can offer as an institution to other areas including the African jurisdiction, we will do so, trying to talk to as many of our colleagues in other jurisdiction within the African region, to see if we can get them on board as well.

“But he is eminently qualified. He’s vastly experienced and Pakistan has been quite prominent and visible in the activities of IPU.

“What we require is reforming IPU to make it more robust and vibrant and also provide opportunity for supporting the various chapters across the globe. And I believe that with his experience and expertise, he will be able to do that and for us he has no problem. He has our support.”

Earlier, the Chairman of the Pakistani Senate Committee on Foreign Affairs, Senator Mushahid Hussain Sayed who led the delegation said the mission was basically to seek the support of Nigeria’s Senate for the candidacy of the Chairman of the Pakistani Senate, for the presidency of IPU.

“The election is scheduled to hold in the first week of November. We feel that Nigeria’s support will be very critical and because Nigeria is a very important player in the international scenes and in particular with reference to Africa.

“It is in that spirit that we have come personally to solicit your support. And we hope that, God’s willing if we are successful, we will be voice, not just for Asia/Pacific, but the voice of Africa and democratic and civilised community of nation’s,” Sayed said.

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Works and Housing ministry gets lion share of capital expenditure at N404b in 2021 budget

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Works and Housing ministry gets lion share of capital expenditure at N404b in 2021 budget


President Muhammadu Buhari in his budget proposal to the joint session of the national Assembly Thursday has said that the works and Housing Ministry got the lion share of N404b for capital expenditure among other ministries.
The allocation he said is in line with his submission that capital expenditure in 2021 remains focused on the completion of as many ongoing projects as possible, rather than the commencement of new ones.
The president pointed out that, capital allocation to the Works and Housing sector is to facilitate the completion of several critical projects in 2021.
The works and Housing ministry was followed by that of Transportation with N256 billion in terms of heighrachy of importance.
The allocation Buhari said is line with his commitment to investing in Transportation Infrastructure.
According to him, the ministry of defence was allocated N121 billion in capital expenditure while
Power got N198 billion (inclusive of N150 billion for the Power Sector Recovery Plan).
For the ministry of Education N127 billion in capital was earmarked as another N70b was set aside for Universal Basic Education.

Commission
Other key capital expenditures of note are
Water Resources withN153 billion, Agriculture and Rural Development with N110 billion, mknistry of Health N132 billion with
Zonal Intervention Projects gettingN100 billion.
Others are ministry of Industry, Trade and Investment which got N51 billion while Niger Delta Development Commission was earmarked N64 billion.
According to President Buhari the 2021 capital budget is N1.15 trillion higher than the 2020 provision of N2.69 trillion adding that at 29 percent of aggregate expenditure, the provision moves closer to this Administration’s policy target of 30 percent.

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