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Participants urge Kogi to key into Open Government Partnership

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Participants urge Kogi to key into Open Government Partnership

By Friday Idachaba

Participants at a one-day stakeholders strategic meeting on Open Governance Partnership have called on Kogi government to urgently key into the global concept to promote transparency, accountability and good governance.

The participants made the call in a communiqué issued at the end of the meeting organised by Conscience For Human Rights and Conflict Resolution (CHRCR) in partnership with African Centre For Leadership Strategies And Development (Centre LSD) on Tuesday in Lokoja.

The News Agency of Nigeria NAN reports that the Communiqué was signed by Mr Idris Miliki, Executive Director of Kogi-based CHRCR and made available to newsmen in Lokoja.

The Communiqué said that in view of the importance of the global OGP concept with potentials to check corruption and enhance good governance, 16 states in Nigeria had presently signed up.

It however revealed that Kogi State was yet to key into the global concept and urged the state to, as a matter of urgency, sign up for the state to derive inherent benefits of the partnership.

Objective of the meeting in line with the OGP concept, according to the Communiqué, is to encourage accountability, transparency and reduce corruption in Kogi State.

It is also to build on the existing Networks on Anti-Corruption, Transparency and Accountability (NATA), to mobilize Media institutions and professionals in reporting activities on OGP in Kogi State.

The participants however, urged multi-lateral financial institutions particular the World Bank to begin to hold State Governments accountable by verifying the situations of implementations on ground before rating them on financed projects.

The Communiqué reiterated that there should be no rivalry but rather, a broad based relationship and partnerships between the state government and the Civil Society Organizations as both work for and in the interest of the citizens.

The Communiqué said there was need for the current House of Assembly members to live up to their constitutional responsibilities by performing their oversight functions on all institutions of the state, “particularly the local government councils.”

It also called on Media Professionals to take more interest in OGP issues and partner more with the Civil Society Organisations in particular and other relevant institutions to drive the OGP Concept.

“The Civil Society Organizations needs to do more in raising awareness and sensitization of the general public on the OGP and with the Government to get the OGP.

“There is need for the development partners to continue to work with the Civil Society Organizations in the state to promote the OGP process”, the Communiqué added. (NAN)

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Gov bello says Kogi can no longer pay grants to its former Govs

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Governor Yahaya Bello of Kogi State
has sent an Executive bill to the State House of Assembly asking for an end to payment of grants to its former Governors
Bello observed that the State is no longer viable to sustain such venture like like payment of grants and other priviledges to former governors.
Out of the three former governors the State has produced since the return of democracy in 1999, Alhaji Ibrahim Idris and Alhaji Idris Wada are still alive but the first executive governor of the State, Prince Abubakar Audu died during the 2015 Governorship election in the State at the verge of clinching victory

The bill when passed will also affect former deputy governors that have also been enjoying the grants and privileges.
The executive communication that was sent to the State House of Assembly, was read on the floor by the Speaker of the House, Rt.Hon. Prince Matthew Kolawole.

The letter indicated that the State can no longer afford the payment of grants and privilledges due to financial constraints.

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Lawan turns down INEC chairman’s request for joint committee of Senate, INEC

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***Says it negates principle of separation of powers

The Senate President Ahmad Lawan on Thursday turned down a request by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) Chairman Professor Mahmood Yakubu for a joint committee to look in to two germane issues of delineation of State constituencies and the review of electoral constituency.

Lawan’s disagreement was based on what the perception of the public would be should such a committee be put in place especially as it negates the principle of separation of powers.
The INEC Chairman had approached the Senate on Thursday to present the issues which he said the commission has been trying to achieve in the last 17 years without success.
He said the commission has been challenged with 42 court cases over the issues, some of which he said the commission won while it lost others.
Professor Yakubu highlighted the many INEC’s attempts to carry out the exercise which were truncated with the litigations
He said the commission also made another attempt in 2009 to review the electoral constituencies for which it came up with a document that it forwarded to the National Assembly but till date there was no news.
So the chairman pointed out that the commission came to meet the Senate ahead of 2023 General election with a new document aimed at reviewing the constituencies with a new strategy.
“It is a document that contains the history of the Nigerian election dating back to 1922.”
He said they need the backing of the National assembly through constitutional ammendment to achieve their all important exercises.
He therefore advocated for a joint committee between the commission and the National Assembly members to look at the document and resolve the challenges
However, the senate president kicked against the formation of such a joint Committee on the ground that it negates the principle of separation of powers as it can easily be misconstrued by the public.
On the Review of the electoral constituencies which INEC has the mandate to carry out in not less than 10 years, the INEC boss said he has been listening to public opinions.
He said contrary to such opinions the constitution did not say it should be done every 10 years but that it should be done not less than 10 years interval, which can be in 100 years but not less that 10 years.
The INEC Chairman said the two exercises are very important because of population explosion especially as the last population census conducted in Nigeria was 2006, over 16 years ago hence he said they are no longer tenable.
The other reason which has to do with State creation, he said is not an issue as no State was created in recent years.
For the Commission to be able to achieve the delineation of State Constituencies and review electoral constituencies the chairman said they are asking the National Assembly to use its powers to amend the constitution.

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Bello’s achievement is only in birthday jamboree, photo-ops with celebrities – CNPP

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Conference of Nigerian Political Parties, Kogi State chapter, has berated Governor Yahaya Bello of the state for his perchance for celebrity parties but clueless about the economic challenges facing the State

In a statement signed by the State Chairman Comrade Mohammed Kabir and Secretary, Mouktar Atima, the CNPP said the only visible achievement of the Bello-led administration is its proven expertise in organising birthday parties and photo-ops with celebrities.

CNPP noted that the recent consumer price index report released by National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) last week Tuesday should be of serious concern to Kogi state government.

“Last week, NBS report showed that food prices were highest in Kogi state in the month of May. Same report showed that neighbouring Edo and Ekiti states recorded lowest increase in the same month.

“The latest NBS report makes it fourth month in a row that Kogi is topping the unenviable chart as the state with the highest increase in prices of commodities.

“In the face of the this alarming trend that affects the livelihood of our people, Governor Bello is only interested in social and political jamborees,” the statement reads.

CNPP stated that it obvious that the Governor Bello-led administration is clueless on how to approach the emerging economic realities in the state.

“The NBS report said the food inflation on a year-to-year basis was highest in Kogi at 32.82 per cent while neighbouring Abuja at 16.91 per cent recorded the slowest rise in year-on-year inflation in the country.

“While neighbouring States and the FCT are fairing better, Kogi State Government remains clueless as to the cause of the biting inflation in Kogi.

“Till date, the state government has not mentioned the issue not to talk of evaluating the situation and proffering solutions. All we see and hear is birthday celebration and fruitless engagements with celebrities.

“Go to any market in Kogi and compare prices of food stuff and other essential commodities with what is obtainable in other states and you will be surprised.
“Make further enquiries on how much each commodity was sold last month and you will confirm the sad reality the people of Kogi state are faced with.

“This is a state where local government workers, teachers and pensioners are being paid in ridiculous percentages.
“This is same state where local businesses are struggling to stay afloat because of unfavourable policies of the same government. How do we expect the masses to cope?

“There is serious and growing hunger in Kogi state. This is a time bomb that must be attended to immediately.”

The coalition of political parties therefore called on Governor Bello to “outgrow childish tendencies and face the reality of real governance”.

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