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Lagos Assembly calls for engagement with agitators, true federalism

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The Lagos State House of Assembly on Tuesday called on the federal government to engage agitators across the country rather than employ the use of force.

This is as the Speaker of the House, Rt. Hon. (Dr) Mudashiru Obasa, argued that the use of the military in an attempt to quell agitations for secession would not yield the desired result since it is part of democracy for a people to speak out concerning how they are governed.

Obasa, who noted that the 22 years of unbroken democracy being enjoyed by Nigeria is worthy of celebration, however, said there many things yet to be done after so long adding that these had led to the tension in the country.

The Speaker, who made the comment during the debate on a motion about the 22 years of unbroken democracy in Nigeria raised by Hon. Setonji David, commended President Muhammadu Buhari for signing an executive order granting autonomy to state legislatures and judiciary and for honouring the late MKO Abiola with the declaration of June 12 as democracy day.

Noting that democracy is a wholesome package, he added: “It is not about electing us alone. Those that elected us also have freedom, they have the right to protest where they think things are not working.

“The right to protest should not be taken away from them as long as such right is not taken for granted.

“There is no crime in seeking for separate nations within an existing nation,” he said as he mentioned some countries where the citizens have called for disintegration.

“Those representing the people through the ideology of social contract must listen to the people,” he said urging the government to engage the groups and calling on the National Assembly members to go beyond weeping on the floor of the House and truly rejig the constitution.

“For the southern governors, having stated their position, they should not go to sleep. They should follow it through,” he urged.

Concerning the issues of insecurity, the Speaker said: “We will continue to cry that we have state police and devolution of power.”

He said restructuring, which he described as part of the solutions and not a problem, should have addressed economic challenges and poverty level just as he lamented that the Naira has continued to fall against the Dollar.

He praised Lagos as the true example of democracy and promised that the state would continue to lead in this area.

The House observed a minute silence in honour of the late MKO Abiola and all those who lost their lives in the course of the struggle for democracy.

Earlier in his contribution, Hon. Rotimi Olowo described the current constitution as fraud.

“This 1999 constitution amended so many times can no longer be embellished. It is fraud,” he said as he called for the semblance of regionalism where the interest of the minority is taken care of.

To him, the current amendment is another effort in futility and a new constitution reflecting the will of the people has to be produced.

Hon. Gbolahan Yishawu suggested an overhaul of the constitution while noting that some items on the exclusive list be devolved.

On his part, Hon. Bisi Yusuff noted that Nigeria’s democracy is not a true reflection of the will of the people adding that the constitution was promulgated through a decree.

Supporting the motion, Hon. Desmond Elliot said Nigeria will not progress more than it is now if the constitution is not overhauled.

Other lawmakers who spoke concerning the motion include Hon. Tobun Abiodun, who complained that states are not allowed to manage their resources, and Hon. Kehinde Joseph, who noted the high level of insecurity in the country.

The House also called on the National Assembly to ensure true federalism while it urged Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu and the government to engage in enlightenment of the people on security consciousness.

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2023: Southern Nigeria Has Qualified People As President – Afenifere Dismisses Northern Elders’ Position

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JomogNews Nigeria reports that the Yoruba socio-political organization, Afenifere, has insisted that the Southern part of Nigeria has qualified people to rule the country.

Jare Ajayi, who Afenifere’s National Publicity Secretary, said power must shift to the Southern part of the country in 2023.

Ajayi, who spoke exclusively to DAILY POST was reacting to a remark by the Northern Elders Forum, NEF, on the North producing President Muhammadu Buhari’s successor.

Hakeem Baba-Ahmed, NEF spokesperson had said the North was not ready to relinquish power in 2023.

Baba-Ahmed had said the heavens would not fall if the North produces the next president, stressing that those against it should exit Nigeria if it happens in 2023.

The NEF spokesman had disclosed this at the Maitama Sule Leadership Lecture Series in Zaria, Kaduna.

Reacting, Ajayi said Baba-Ahmed’s remark showed that he is a sectional thinker.

He said: “Such an expression can only come out of the mouth of somebody who does not give a hoot about the other part of the country. I understand that Baba-Ahmed was a retired Permanent Secretary at the Federal level, and I expect that a person of that caliber would be nationalistic in nature and in his utterances.

“It’s not surprising that what is in his mind is what is coming out of his mouth; this has shown clearly that this man is sectional in his thinking.

“Saying that heavens will not fall means he does not wish the country well, that is why he is saying such.

“Our position is that, for Nigerians to have a sense of equity, harmony, and belonging, it will be fair that every part of the country partakes in the governance of the country. So, the presidency of Nigeria must shift to the Southern part of the country in 2023.

“And before that election, Nigeria should be restructured. We are sure of it and it has to happen.

“So, the Baba-Ahmeds of this world cannot be the ones to determine for all Nigerians; that will not happen.

“There is no part of the country that does not have people qualified to rule, which means that if we are to go by merit, every part of this country can produce a president.”

 

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Implement Transportation Law, Lagos Assembly Charges MDAs

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The Lagos State House of Assembly has charged the Ministry of Transportation, related departments and agencies to ensure effective enforcement of the State’s transportation laws, especially as it relates to commercial motorcycle riders.

The call was made by the House Committee On Transportation which is currently on its oversight to the various agencies.

During a visit to the Ministry, the Motor Vechicle Adminnistration Agency (MVAA) and the Lagos Metropolitan Area Transportation Agency (LAMATA) on Tuesday, the Chairman of the Committee, Hon. Temitope Adewale, said that effective enforcement of the laws would save residents and discourage the plying of major roads by Okada riders.

He said such enforcement would also help to stop the use of one-way by drivers.

Adewale, who commended the management of MVAA over its revenue generation, advised the agency to device means within the laws to actualise its mandate inspite of the challenges facing it.

According to the lawmaker, based on the revenue generated so far by the agency, it shows that Lagos is a prosperous State despite the country’s economic downturn.

At LAMATA, the commiittee chairman commended the agency for ensuring effective mass transit, adding that the state would continue to witness infrastructural development in the transportation sector.

Adewale also urged the agency to quickly complete ongoing projects so that new ones should commence before the weather becomes unfriendly.

Meanwhile, the Commissioner for Transportation, Dr Fredrick Oladeinde, said the ministry would continue to work with the House of Assembly to ensure the effective delivery of dividends of democracy.

Oladeinde said the ministry would further ensure that people are able to drive seamlessly from one point to the other without fear as he said the State has a transport masterplan which would address the challenges facing the sector.

On his part, Mr Oluwatoyin Fayinka, Special Adviser on Transportation to Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu, canvassed for budget line to enhance the productivity of his office.

Also, the General Manager of MVAA, Mrs Lape Kilanko, pointed out the challenges facing the agency as he sought the assistance of the House in addressing them.

Kilanko lamented that local governments and Local Council Development Authorities, LCDAs, were collecting the revenue that the agency was saddled to collect and that this had affected the revenue drive of the agency.

She said the agency has accommodation problem which is affecting its productivity.

Members of the committee present at the oversight were; Hon. Ganiyu Okanlawon, Hon. Sylvester Ogunkelu and Hon. Tijani Surajudeen.

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Pat Utomi, Donald Duke, Prof Jega, Others Float New Political Party

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Some prominent Nigerians have created a third force, Rescue Nigeria Project, RNP, to present Nigerians with an alternative to the All Progressives Congress, APC and the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP.

Founders of RNP include former governor of Kwara state, Ahmed Abdulfatai, Prof. Pat Utomi, Prof. Tunde Adeniran, former Governor of Cross River state, Donald Duke,

Senator Lee Maeba, Usman Bugaje, Prof. Attahiru Jega, Amb. Nkoyo Toyo, Yomi Awoniyi, Dr. Rose Idi Danladi, Dr. Sadiq Gombe among others.

In an address he delivered, Abdulfatai decried the state of the nation, noting that the high level of nepotism and lack of inclusiveness have given rise to agitations by different ethnic groups.

He recalled that in 2015, Nigerians embraced change, adding that today, “that change appears to be what we didn’t expect, as insecurity has taken over the nation.”

He said, “It is based on this that we decided to set up this Rescue Nigeria Project. We want to salvage this country and see how we can fix the mess. We want to set a template and key criteria leaders must have before they can attain any political position.

“Despite the great opportunities of the past, Nigeria has failed to live up to the dreams of its founding fathers and the hopes of successive generations of its citizens.

“Perhaps, at no other time have these failings become more apparent than in the past decade or so.

“In 2015, Nigerians overwhelmingly embraced the promise of change. These hopes have not only been dashed, but they have arguably turned out to be the worst political statements ever to be made in this country. Nigeria today appears set to fulfill all the prophesies of doom.”

He further noted that “Unprecedented nepotism and political exclusion have left the country more divided than ever as evident in the various separatists’ agitation that is threatening the corporate existence of the country itself.”

Also speaking, Adeniran noted that there is a disaster at hand, hence the move to rescue the nation.

He said: “You only rescue when there is disaster and when you fail to rescue during disaster, it is more dangerous.

“We have a disaster in our hands and we need to rescue the country. We need to look back and see how we get here. We know where Nigeria was before now. We know the task is not going to be easy, but we have to determine how to rescue the nation.”

In his opening remarks, the RNP national coordinator, Usman Bugaje, explained that the Rescue Nigeria Project was founded on the premise that the challenges bedeviling the country were largely derived from poor leadership.

Chiding the President Muhammadu Buhari-led government Bugaje said, “when you reduce the problems of this country to what they are, ultimately, it all comes to leadership.

“We have been unable to exit the leadership conundrum precisely because the leadership recruitment mechanism in our political parties is so flawed that, except for accidents, they are incapable of producing competent leaders with the requisite knowledge, discipline and commitment to make a difference. We are living with, or better still, groaning under the consequences of this folly.

“What this means is that any attempt to rescue this country from its troubles must first rescue it from the current leadership recruitment mechanism that seems to leverage on money and connection or ethnic sentiments and no premium on knowledge or competence.

“The challenge is how to introduce a set of criteria or better still re-calibrate the recruitment mechanism in our political parties to prioritize knowledge, competence and character. The deepening crises in the political parties is all the more reason this re-calibration is necessary.

“We must change the conversation about leadership. The first thing we should want to know about our President is not which part of country he or she comes from, rather how competent is he or she? What is the content of his policy document? What is his team made up of?

“We also seek to ensure a seismic shift from the politics of big men to the politics of big ideas. The empty politics of big men have not taken us anywhere but down the drain. We simply can’t continue this way.”

RNP’s vision is “to reconcile and re-unite our country, win and deploy political power for the purpose of nation building and national development, achieving prosperity for all, and the protection of life and dignity of every Nigerian citizen.”

This is even as the mission is “to reconcile, re-unite, mobilize the nation to build a critical mass of citizens capable of driving real and effective transformation, to translate the mass movement into a strong power base within an inclusive and responsive political framework.”

 

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