Following the backlash the former Vice President and perpetual presidential candidate, Atiku Abubakar, received for recommending restructuring for Nigeria, Senator Ben Murray Bruce has come for his defence.
Mr. Atiku had said that Nigeria could be restructured within six months, a statement that drew incredulity and surprise from various political observes in the country.
Only recently, an elder statesman, Yank Takasai, condemned Atiku over his statement, saying it was impossible and Atiku should know better than to utter such hogwash.
However Senator Bruce has issued a statement, aligning with Atiku’s view, and stating all that is needed is the political will to restructure the country.
“In his rush to judgment, Alhaji Yakassai said inter alia “I thought, as a politician that he (Atiku) is, that he has read our constitution from A-Z before suggesting that we can restructure in six months. My question here is, what are the details of the budgetary provisions for the Ministry of Works that should be transferred to the states’ ministries of education and so on and so forth before he made his pronouncement that these could be done within six months? We already have a budget approved by the National Assembly as empowered by the constitution for appropriation.
“I am a member of the National Assembly and participated fully in the budget process and I must say that Alhaji Yakassai is wrong to tie restructuring to just one budget cycle.
“Waziri Atiku Abubakar’s ideas on restructuring specifies how he would do away with quota systems by increasing Nigeria’s educational capacity through the return of seized schools back to the missions and handing over federal universities back to the states while more resources will be devolved from the Federal Government to the States and LGAs to enable them build more primary and secondary schools.
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“You do not need a budget to transfer schools from the Federal Government to the state government. You only need an Executive Order. I am rather surprised that Alhaji Yakassai does not know this.
“Why would anyone be against such a plan that would not require a constitutional amendment and will almost immediately take care of the over 12 million children out of the formal education system in Northern Nigeria? This number is twice the population of Togo, our next door neighbor. Is Alhaji Yakassai, as a Northern elder, satisfied with this situation? Shouldn’t he rather applaud Waziri Atiku Abubakar for wanting to fix this problem?
“And even in those areas that require constitutional amendments, Waziri Atiku Abubakar is right to say that Nigeria can restructure within six months. “Let me ask Alhaji Yakassai how long it took the National Assembly to come up with the Doctrine of Necessity in 2010? It only took a day. When a nation has the political will to restructure she can achieve it in one day or at least begin the process!
“Northern elders like Alhaji Yakassai should celebrate Waziri Atiku Abubakar who has shown that True Federalism can work. He employs more people in Adamawa state than the Adamawa state government proving that you do not need oil to survive as a state government in the process.
“Finally, let me add that at that event at the University of Nigeria Waziri Atiku Abubakar, predicted that the automobile industry will be moving away from diesel and petrol powered cars in favour of electric and alternative energy powered cars. This, he stated, was one of the reasons why Nigeria must restructure now or risk being bypassed by the global economy.
“Of course he was criticized and painted as crying wolf by the likes of Alhaji Tanko Yakassai , yet only 8 days after he gave this warning, Atiku was vindicated by the news from the UK which was reported in ThisDay’s front page on Thursday July 27, 2017 with the headline: ‘Doom for Nigeria, Britain Moves to Ban Petrol, Diesel Cars by 2040’.
“This again serves as a warning to Nigeria to heed the warnings of patriots like Waziri Atiku Abubakar and others like him, that while we still have a few good years of income from oil we need to urgently diversify our economy which will only be possible if we embrace restructuring.”
Watch video discussing modalities and Federal Government priorities in Restructuring Nigeria:
See list of new Ekiti commissioners appointed by Fayose
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.
Fayemi, Fasola, Ngige denies receiving pension from state govts as ex-govs
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.
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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