Connect with us

Politics

Our economy needs to be salvaged, Speaker Obasa

Published

on

– Canvasses for true federalism with states managing their resources

– Says Lagos Assembly remains youth-friendly with its bills, motions

The Speaker of the Lagos State House of Assembly, Rt. Hon. (Dr) Mudashiru Obasa, on Thursday re-emphasised the need for Nigeria to think in the direction of true federalism saying it is one of the major solutions to the county’s many challenges.

Obasa made the call at the 13th annual Hijrah Lecture 1443 A.H (2021) organised by the House with the topic: The Role Of The Youths In The Emerging Socio-Economic And Political Realities.

According to the Speaker, it is very obvious that citizens and leaders in the country intensify efforts to salvage the economy, especially as it relates to the increasing poverty rate, the need to make the country secure and peaceful as well as the dwindling fortunes of the Nigerian currency as against the dollar.

The Speaker, who noted the topic of the event as very important at this time of the country’s journey, further urged the federal government to see the current situation as an opportunity to address the issue of the collection of Value Added Tax (VAT) in favour of the states.

He said if Nigeria was to make progress, the country should follow the steps of the United States of America and China which relies on the provinces.

“The topic of this event is very important. What is the situation of our country? What is the situation with the youth? How do we live our lives? What is the health and educational situation of the country?

“We talk about youth unemployment, but what is the state of education and qualifications?

“The topic is important, especially with the argument that the economy has become seriously challenged.

“The standard of living and the rate of poverty are biting. Months ago, the dollar rate was still welcoming at a little above N300 but today, it is more than N500.

“This current situation of the country is an opportunity for the federal government to address the issue of VAT.

“China today relies on the provinces of the country. USA practises true federalism. If we are practising federalism, we should be consistent. We should operate in a way that Osun State would explore its resources and Zamfara would do same,” Obasa said while expressing hope that Nigerians would be proud of the country which marks its 61st independence anniversary.

He noted that Lagos State House of Assembly has always been youth-friendly in relation to bills passed by the House.

He named some of the bills as the Neighbourhood Safety Corps, the Child Right Bill, the Employment Trust Fund which provides loans to youths ready to make progress and the Sports Commission bill amended by the House.

The Speaker said Hijrah affords Muslims the opportunity to thank Allah and continue to have faith in Him.

Obasa recalled how COVID-19 had affected the world and caused fears and deaths just as he remembered Nigerians who became victims of the pandemic.

In his lecture, Shaykh Muhyideen Ajani Bello, Chief Imam and Missioner, Ansar ud Deen Society of Nigeria, Northern States Council, urged the youth to know that they would one day lead the country just as he slammed leaders for relegating the youth for too long.

He also advocated for women to be given more important roles in governance of the country.

On his part, Dr. Sa’eid Ahmad, Consultant General Surgeon and Imam, also spoke about moral decadence in the society, the rot in the education and other sectors of the economy.

He said the youth must be diligent and hardworking even in the face of the country’s challenges.

Addressing the guests after the lecture, Mr. Tayo Ayinde, Chief of Staff to Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu, said the points raised by the lecturers would be considered and their suggestions implemented.

He described the topic of the event as thought-provoking.

Politics

Kwara: Lai Mohammed Only Good With Making Noise On Social Media – Gov AbdulRazaq

Published

on

By

The Kwara State Governor, Abdulrahman Abdulrazaq, says Lai Mohammed, minister of information and culture, has no political influence in his ward.

The minister and the governor have been at loggerheads in recent months, resulting in a division in Kwara APC.

In July, the information minister, during the inauguration of a new state secretariat in Ilorin, said the party entered “one chance” by supporting the candidacy of Abdulrazaq.

Mohammed said he raised a major part of the funds for the 2019 elections in the state, which the APC won by a landslide.

Reacting to the minister’s comment, the Kwara governor, in an interview with THISDAY, said Mohammed did not fund his campaign and that he planned the campaign himself with donations from friends.

The Kwara governor accused the minister of “hijacking” the donations made for his campaign in 2019, adding that the minister stayed in Abuja and did not know how the election went in Kwara.

“Everything that was donated, Lai Mohammed did not declare to the party, or to me. Some were direct donations to me,” he said.

“Some were sent to Kwara APC but there’s no governor, no minister. He was sitting there in Abuja, he did not know how we held the election.

“He did not know how we campaigned. He was in Abuja. Ask Minister Lai Mohammed, how many times he comes to Kwara? Our two ministers don’t come to Kwara. They are in Abuja. Both of them. Lai goes to Lagos. That’s his home.

“That’s where his son is a member of the Lagos state house of assembly. That’s where his family is. He has no house here. He doesn’t come here. As our minister, he doesn’t come home. Same with Gbemi Saraki. She doesn’t come. So it’s like we don’t have a minister.

“That’s why the pressure is on the governor. In other states, you have ministers relieving that pressure. Everything coming to the state, they stay in Abuja and hijack it. They are running from one ministry to the other to try and hijack things from Abuja. In terms of resources, they just took everything.”

The governor said the minister is only good with making “noise” on social media, adding that he cannot win an election in his ward.

Abdulrazaq boasted that his faction has all the members of the state house of assembly, except one who is in the minister’s camp.

He said: “They’re noisy in the media, not on ground. Lai cannot win an election in his ward. They’re good with social media noise. That’s all they do. But nobody’s asking how each member of the state assembly emerged. How did they manipulate their way to win their seats?

“There was no godfather, putting people in place, everybody struggled to emerge. We would network and work with each other. No godfather. Everybody struggled in their own way. Yes, I gave money, and they also sourced money for themselves.

“So everybody struggled to win this thing. But some people will sit down and say that it is their party. It is this or that, that I don’t have anybody. If I don’t have anybody, I have all the legislators with me. Is that not something? Let them tell me, they have people.

“How many legislators do they have both in the state and national assembly on their side? It’s just a whole lot of media hype. Lai came a few months ago to make noise that he sponsored the campaign, did this and that. He made a lot of noise and pushed it to NTA.”

 

Continue Reading

Politics

TINUBU AND 21 YEARS OF UNBROKEN DEMOCRACY IN NIGERIA – Tunde Rahman

Published

on

By

Twenty years in the life of a nation may be a short period of time. But when such a span of time embodies something meaningful and impactful, it is extremely noteworthy.

And so Nigeria at present is celebrating two decades of uninterrupted democracy since the democratic restoration of 1999.

Considering where the country is coming from- a long period of coups and counter coups, 30 months civil war, three previous short-lived attempts at democratic rule, military dictatorship of the worst form occasioning all kinds of experiments and fraudulent political engineering including an annulment of a free and fair election and then a brutal dictatorship during which many were either killed or maimed- having another democratic resurgence lasting 21 years, and still counting, is indeed significant.

Operating a democracy, the best form of government mankind has evolved, has never been easy anywhere, talk less in Nigeria. For our democracy to have endured all of 20 years means Nigerians have invested heavily in its success.

We all deserve special congratulations for working to entrench democracy in the land. These investments have come at great costs, which, however, have not been borne in equal measure.

Some Nigerians sacrificed so much for it, including paying the supreme price like business mogul Bashorun MKO Abiola, the winner of the annulled June 12 election, his wife, Kudirat and journalist, Bagauda Kalto, among others. Many were incarcerated.

Thousands who suffered immense pain in diverse manners remain nameless and faceless. Some were forced on exile for a long period.

One of those who had to flee into exile to escape the death squads of the Abacha military junta over the agitation for the de-annulment of the June 12 election from where he played a leading role in continuing the struggle is Asiwaju Bola Tinubu, the All Progressives Congress National Leader.

In exile, Asiwaju became a critical rallying point for the opposition, making things uncomfortable for the Abacha junta back home until that regime collapsed.

Following the promise of the succeeding General Abdulsalam Abubakar regime to hand over power, Asiwaju Tinubu returned to the country from exile in 1998.

In no time at all, he became one of the leading lights who formed the Alliance for Democracy, one of the three main political parties of the time.

Persuaded by his close associates and friends, Asiwaju threw his hat into the ring for the governorship of Lagos. Against the remonstrations of those who wanted to impose a candidate on the AD, he and his associates insisted on open primaries buoyed by support from some temperate leaders of that party.

With open primaries, he emerged the governorship candidate of the party, contested for the 1999 governorship election and was elected.

If his contributions to the return of democratic rule again in 1999 after almost 16 years of military rule was remarkable, his role in nurturing and deepening democracy in the land from that period onward is even more worthy of chronicling.

Saying Asiwaju is a major pillar of the nation’s democracy that seized every opportunity to deepen the practice of transparent, responsive and accountable governance, federalism and the rule of law in Nigeria both in words and deeds is stating the obvious.

As governor, he put together a team of tested technocrats and experienced managers, unrivalled in Nigeria’s history, to help him actualize his vision for the state.

It is not surprising that many of them are still holding top leadership positions at different levels in the country today.

Tinubu and his team laid the foundation for a modern Lagos, fashioned out a master plan and engineered most of the innovations that spurred the unprecedented ongoing development and prosperity witnessed in Lagos today.

As he brought radical changes to both the economic and political landscapes of Lagos, enhancing the state’s fortunes in the process, he also made significant contributions to fiscal federalism and constitutionalism.

Under his watch, Lagos challenged the Federal Government on many constitutional issues. His government filed as many as 14 cases at the Supreme Court and won all.

One of such landmark cases was the one in respect of creation of additional local councils in the state, with the Supreme Court upholding the validity of the new councils but stating that they remained inchoate until the National Assembly had done its part by listing those councils in the constitution.

Nevertheless, the 20 Local Government Areas and 37 Local Council Development Areas (LCDAs) are alive and well today. They constitute the basis for accelerated rural development in Lagos State thanks to Tinubu’s vision and courage.

At the inception of this democratic dispensation in 1999, for instance, the Federal Government routinely deducted funds as a first line charge from the Federation Account for what it called “Special Funds”.

These included funding of the Joint Venture Contracts and NNPC priority projects, servicing of Federal Government’s external debt, funding of the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja, and funding of the judiciary and other federal responsibilities.

It was after the deduction of these monies that whatever was remaining was shared among the states and Local Government Councils. The robust legal challenge by Lagos State at the Supreme Court put a stop to this practice to the advantage of the states and local governments.

Again, it was the crusading legal action by Lagos State under Tinubu’s leadership that led the Supreme Court to declare that planning within the territorial jurisdiction of any state was a residual matter over which the states and not the Federal Government could exercise control.

In the words of Tinubu’s Attorney General at the time, Professor Yemi Osinbajo (SAN), “The Supreme Court by a majority of four out of seven justices in a full constitutional court held that urban and regional planning as well as physical development were residual matters within the exclusive legislative and executive competence of states and that grant of approvals, permits and licences for building and physical development in Lagos State including under bridges, loops and highways set-back are the residual responsibility of the state government”.

When former President Obasanjo withheld revenue allocations to Lagos on account of the creation of those additional councils, Asiwaju was forced to look inward, devising ingenious means of funding the new councils and running the state.

Such resourcefulness birthed the innovations that moved the state IGR from about N600 million monthly in 1999 to around N25billion and over N30billion monthly today. So significant was what Asiwaju and his team did in eight years that many continue to acknowledge his ingenuity.

In a tribute to the APC leader during his 67th birthday in March this year, President Muhammadu Buhari described Tinubu as one of the strong pillars of Nigeria’s democracy while also praising him for his selflessness in serving the country and contributing his quota towards making life better for our teeming people.

“Asiwaju’s uncompromising posture in the face of injustice and refusal to follow the path of least resistance for personal gains stand him out today as a rare breed and one of the cornerstones of Nigeria’s democracy, especially with his track record of persistence, consistency and effective leadership,” the President said.

“As the father of modern Lagos State,” Presidential Spokesman Femi Adesina quoted the President as commending “the visionary and inclusive leadership style that the Asiwaju provided for the commercial nerve centre of Nigeria for eight years, laying the foundation for a modern and technologically-driven city, and ensuring that every successive leader in the state sticks with the master plan of a greater Lagos.”

From the Alliance for Democracy (AD), Asiwaju and his associates moved to form first, the Action Congress (AC) and then the Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN) when the AD became polarised in the aftermath of the choice of that party’s presidential candidate for the 1999 poll among other contentious issues.

In the 2003 election, Asiwaju became the only AD governor who survived the virulent onslaught of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), which contrived to win the election at all cost in the South-west and credit Obasanjo with home-base support.

It was to Asiwaju’s credit that he led the struggle in winning back, one by one, those South-west states illegally captured by the PDP through the courts, which upheld the cause of justice.

With the ACN now in firm control of the South-west, Asiwaju’s ACN began alliance talks towards the 2011 election with the Congress for Progressives Change (CPC) led by then General Muhammadu Buhari, but that alliance fell through.

It is instructive that that merger of the South-west and North-West progressives and other like minds, once predicted by the late Chief Obafemi Awolowo, and which fell through in 2011, was eventually successfully and consummated in the build-up to the 2015 election, thus giving birth to the APC.

For the first time in Nigeria’s political history, that rainbow coalition that is APC, unseated an incumbent president and formed government at the centre.

Since then, in a bid to get the party to wax stronger, Asiwaju and his cohorts have had to battle some undemocratic forces within the party and their underhand tactics.

For instance, after the initial bright successes of the APC during which elective convention was the order of the day, some members wanted to foist dictatorship and automatic extension of tenure on the party.

Asiwaju and other democrats successfully wrestled this move to the ground. Tinubu spearheaded the struggle for the adoption by APC of direct primaries as a method of picking the party’s candidates for elections, involving the generality of the party members as opposed to some small coterie of delegates.

That agitation culminated in the election last year of a consummate labour activist and former governor, Comrade Adams Oshiomhole, as APC chairman. Oshiomhole has been changing the narrative in APC to the admiration of many and discomfiture of others.

Asiwaju did much more. Which of those other onerous contributions should one highlight? Is it the crucial role he played in persuading the Federal Government to give June 12 the honour it deserved, thus bringing the matter of the annulled election to a proper close or the leadership he provided, as Co-chair of the APC presidential campaigns, in galvanising the party’s rank and file to work assiduously for the president’s re-election in March this year, knowing full well that President Buhari is a honest and patriotic leader who, in his first term, had taken concrete steps towards laying a firm foundation for a greater Nigeria?

Tinubu’s role as a leading advocate of the legitimation of June 12 has borne ample fruit with President Buhari conferring on the hero of June 12, late MKO Abiola, a post-humous Grand Commander of the Federal Republic (GCFR) award while MKO’s running mate, Ambassador Babagana Kingibe, received the Grand Commander of the Order of Niger award.

The icing on the cake was the pronouncing of June 12 as Democracy Day by President Buhari. Now, the National Assembly has passed the bill making June 12 a public holiday and Nigeria’s Democracy Day. In the 2019 election, President Buhari posted a resounding victory, roundly defeating the PDP, and its candidate, former Vice President Atiku Abubakar, to win a second term which he began a few days ago.

In their book-“Statesmanship and Political Leadership: Analyses of Nigeria’s Fourth Republic-A Festschrift in Honour of Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu”, the authors of the book, edited by Prof. Olanrewaju Fagbohun (SAN) and Adewale Aderemi, PhD, who interrogated Asiwaju’s role in Nigeria’s democracy, said of the APC leader:

“At critical junctures since his emergence as a public figure in the early 1990s, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu has been a pivotal figure in the equation, by a dint of political doggedness as the last line of resistance to the ruling party, which historically never ruled the South-west, not only weathered incredible political turmoil but also nurtured the dominant political platform of the region from the brink of disintegration to becoming the nucleus of the new ruling party, ousting the sixteen-year incumbency of the PDP in the process.”

Any need to add more. All that Asiwaju has accomplished hasn’t come easy. As common in the trajectories of great men like Chief Obafemi Awolowo, Dr. Nnamdi Azikwe and many other leaders, Asiwaju has had his own fair share of treachery, deceit and campaigns of calumny, even by some of those he trusted.

He has, however, weathered the storms. He is carrying on and waxing stronger. One of the tasks he has taken upon himself at present is safeguarding and strengthening party supremacy within the governing party and ensuring adherence to the party’s position in respect of emergence of the National Assembly’s presiding officers.

Asiwaju has a lot more to offer. Surely, in the fullness of time and with the gift of life and continued good health, the fullness of his robust intellect, competence, and capability will be released in the service of our country.

First Published In May, 2019 by Tunde Rahman

Continue Reading

Politics

APC Faction Holds Parallel State Congress In Kwara

Published

on

By

Sunday Fagbemi has emerged new Chairman of the All Progressives Congress, APC, in Kwara State. Fagbemi is a strong ally of Governor Abdulrahman Abdulrazaq.

He will take over from Abdullahi Samari, who has now become Vice-Chairman in the new executive committee of the party.

The Chairman of the committe for the state congress of APC in Kwara State, Professor Emmanuel Dan-Daura, announced the outcome of the exercise held on Saturday at the party’s secretariat along Commissioners way in Ilorin.

Officials of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) were on ground to witness the exercise which was attended by top members of the party in the state.

Other members of the new state executive are, Alhaji Isowo Mustapha (Secretary) Alhaji Kure Yusuf (Financial Secretary) and Tajudeen Aro (Publicity Secretary) among others.

Governor Abdulrazaq, who spoke at the event, harped on the need for winners and loosers in the three congresses of the party, ward, local government and state, to see themselves as family members.

In his acceptance speech, Sunday Fagbemi, said, “We will hit the ground running and will soon intimate the public on the direction we will take.”

He thanked the delegates for the confidence reposed in him and promised to be transparent in his dealings.

Fagbemi emerged alongside 35 other members of the state executive council of the party through consensus among the party stakeholders.

However, a faction of the party belonging to the Minister of Information, Lai Mohammed, in a parallel congress, announced Bashir Omolaja Bolarinwa, as the re-elected state chairman of the party’s faction in the state.

Bolarinwa and other new executive members were also elected through affirmation process at its secretariat, flower garden, GRA, Ilorin, on Saturday.

Dr Bolaji Afolabi, the returning officer, said the new executive members emerged by the wish of the majority members of the party.

Chief Theophilus Adeboye Sunday and Issa Isiaka Agbogi, emerged Vice-chairman and Secretary respectively and Abolaji Olaide Rahmat (Women Leader).

Others are Joseph Ndanusa Tsado, (Senatorial Chairman, North), Abdulraheem Yusuf Akorede (Senatorial Chairman, Central) Barrister Razaq Alabi, (Senatorial Chairman, South), while Comrade Sunkanmi Afolayan emerged youth leader among others.

Addressing newsmen after the inauguration ceremony, Chief Sunday, said the new Chairman could not make it to the venue of the congress due to some reasons.

” BOB is absent for one reason or the other, but as you can witness, people have clamoured for his return as chairman and that is the wish of the majority of members of the party,” the Vice-chairman stated.

In attendance were Shuaib Yaman Abdullahi, House of Representatives member, Alhaji Abdulganiyu Olododo, Hon. Saheed Popoola of the Kwara state House of Assembly and other prominent party chieftains.

 

Continue Reading

Trending

%d bloggers like this: