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What Osinbajo feels about calls for restructuring Nigeria– Presidency

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Babafemi Ojudu, the Special Adviser to the President on Political Matters, as opened up on the disposition of Acting President Yemi Osinbajo on issue of restructuring.

Mr. Ojudu said the Acting President stands for the continuation of the discussion on restructuring which is on-going across the nation.

He said that the Acting President is listening to the growing calls for the nation to be restructured, stressing that the wishes of ordinary Nigerians cannot be blatantly dismissed without proper understanding.

Ojudu noted that while some demands articulated in the 2014 Confab report cannot be implemented, some recommendations can be looked into and accepted by the Buhari administration.

He told the Punch: “The Acting President’s stance is that the debate must continue, that he is listening and he is hearing them loud and clear.

“For him, debating and talking about restructuring is better than going to war or going into conflict that cannot be resolved easily. He is not against the talks about restructuring.

“For me, you cannot dismiss anything that Nigerians are asking for. We just need to have the proper understanding of the calls.

“He is taking note of what people are saying and what they are clamouring for. I can tell you that an aspect of it that is already being attended to is the issue of community police.

“The Acting President has bought into that idea and he believes that those that are clamouring for community police are right and correct in their position. It is not possible for all the nooks and crannies of Nigeria to be policed from Abuja. There is the need for us to look at community policing. That is also part of ways of addressing it.

“There are so many areas of restructuring; some are calling for fiscal restructuring, some are calling for true federalism, some are calling for community policing. He has listened carefully to the issue of community policing and he has taken that. He is trying to address it.

“Some people are calling for a revert to regional structure that we used to practise in the 60s as their own form of restructuring.

“In many of the existing states, workers are being owed salaries. So how do we go and adopt that kind of system that will create more states? That will clearly put additional burden on the country.

“The report is not being thrown aboard, in spite of the fact that the APC did not buy the idea that time. What we are saying is that some of the things they are asking us to implement are not even implementable in any way. How do you manage creating an additional 18 states at this time when states that are paying salaries are not even up to five?

“You want us to create additional structures that will take away more money from the system. But that does not mean that there are not some elements of it that can be looked into like the community policing that I talked about earlier.”

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See list of new Ekiti commissioners appointed by Fayose

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Governor Ayodele Fayose of Ekiti on Friday appointed new council members of the executive arm.

Mr. Fayose dissolved state cabinet a month ago

The appointment of the new commissioners was contained in a statement by Fayose’s Special Adviser on Public Communications and New Media, Lere Olayinka.

The full list of new Ekiti state commissioners are:

  • Barrister Kola Kolade- Attorney-General and Commissioner for Justice
  • Hon. Ayo Alabi- Local Government and Chieftaincy Affairs
  • Hon Lanre Ogunsuyi- Information, Youths and Sports
  • Hon Taye Otitoju- Lands
  • Hon. Gbenga Olajide- Budget and Planning
  • Hon Jide Egunjobi- Education, Science and Technology
  • Chief Tunde Ogunleye- Water Resources
  • Olayinka Ogundayomi- Women Affairs.
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Fayemi, Fasola, Ngige denies receiving pension from state govts as ex-govs

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Three cabinet members of the President Muhammadu Buhari, who were former state governors have said they are not earning pensions from their state pulses.

They are ministers of Works, Power and Housing, Babatunde Fashola (former Lagos governor), of Mine and Steel Development, Dr. Kayode Fayemi (former Ekiti governor) and of Labour and Employment, Chris Ngige (former Anambra governor).

Speaking on behalf of Mr. Fashola, his Special Adviser on Communication, Hakeem Bello, said the minister recently clarified that he had no reason to ask the Lagos State Government to stop paying him a pension when from the outset he never accepted it.

When asked if the power minister would also ask the Lagos State Government to stop paying him pension, just like the Senate President, Bukola Saraki did, Bello replied, “The minister spoke on Hard Copy, a programme on Channels TV on Friday. In that programme, he said you don’t ask them (Lagos State Government) to stop what you never accepted in the first place.

“This your question was one of the questions they asked him during that TV programme and what I told you was his response.”

Ngige also denied receiving double emoluments from the federal and state governments.

Ngige had made a similar denial last year following a public outcry against public office holders receiving double emolument as former governors and as serving senators.

Ngige said that the petition by the Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project to the Office of the Attorney General and Minister of Justice, in which he was mentioned only showed that proper investigation was not carried out before his inclusion as a beneficiary of double pay from the government or it was inspired by mischief.

Ngige denied drawing double emoluments from the Consolidated Revenue Fund of the Federal Government or the Anambra State Government since he was elected and appointed at various times into public offices contrary to media reports.

Ngige said that apart from two utility vehicles that were given to him some years ago, he had not accessed the privileges approved for him by the constitution as a former governor of Anambra State.

Ngige, who made the comment in a statement on Tuesday, said that he had not received the severance benefits approved for former governors and their deputies by the state assembly.

He said, “I wish to put it on record that since I left office in 2006 as governor of Anambra State; throughout the four years I spent in the 7th Senate (June 2011-2015) and currently as the Honourable Minister of Labour and Employment with effect from November 11, 2015, I have never drawn a dime even in the intervening period that I was not in public office, as salary, emolument and pension from the Anambra State Government’s coffers.

“In fact, I have not received any severance benefit as prescribed in the Anambra State House of Assembly law on pensions and other welfare and benefits for former governors and deputy governors, 2006, and amended 2013. Aside the two utility vehicles given to me some years ago, I have not accessed any of the privileges and other lawful trappings due to the office.

“It is worth stating for the avoidance of any doubt that the Supreme Court affirmed that I was entitled to these benefits in their landmark judgment in Mike Balonwu and others Vs Anambra State Government, which declared me governor, de facto and de jure between 2003 and 2006.”

The minister said that he was aware of the position of the law, the moral implications of receiving double emolument which was also against virtues of honesty and transparency being pursued by the government.

Also, Fayemi said he had not even received his severance package from the Ekiti State Government as approved by the Revenue Mobilisation, Allocation and Fiscal Commission since leaving office in 2014.

In a statement issued by his Special Assistant on Media, Mr. Yinka Oyebode, Fayemi, who is now Minister of Mines and Steel Development, said he had not received any kobo as pension.

Fayemi had challenged SERAP to apologise to him for including his name among former governors receiving double remuneration or face legal action.

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Kogi Assembly speaker resigns over fear of impeachment

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Kogi Assembly speaker resigns over fear of impeachment

Kogi State House of Assembly Speaker, Umar Imam, has resigned, over fear of being impeached Wednesday at plenary session.

When contacted, the Chief Press Secretary to the speaker, Ali Yakubu, who neither denied nor confirmed the development, said there was a proclamation on Tuesday evening convening the assembly for a special sitting on Wednesday.

He said, “Let’s wait for official confirmation from the house today.”

The House was enmeshed in serious fracas on Tuesday when hoodlums invaded the house during a plenary session and beat up a member, Elder Friday Sani.

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