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Posts tagged ‘National Assembly’

Nigeria As A Horror Show – By Bayo Oluwasanmi.


By Bayo Oluwasanmi

Nigeria has become a scam. It has lost sight of its social contract. The only factory that is working in Nigeria is corruption industry. We’re marching toward the end game of democracy.

It’s not difficult to see how interconnected things are, the performance of our legislators at all levels of government especially those at the National Assembly to the culture of corruption. Our legislators believe they don’t need the governed. They are not worried that the citizenry is left behind in all spheres of life. They are not concerned about decline of industry and lack of meaningful work for the unemployed Nigerians.

Our legislators are not disturbed that the youth are unprepared for the technocracy of modern economy. The young ones are being taught by the example of the political leaders that the only viable economic base in the country is the multi-billion Naira corruption trade.

The tragedy of the political situation is that our legislators are not even biting off a small morsel of the real problems that we face. We have nothing to show or depict institutional progress in Nigeria in all sectors of human endeavor. We have become accustomed to the professional practice of our political stewards from legislators to ministers and the president. As soon as they invent statistical figures and other bizarre bogus claims, they will go overdrive trying to make it look as if there is progress when in reality no progress is occurring.

The corruption of our political leadership in all the three branches of government combined has become a market based culture wherein majority of our people now fights over scraps to survive. Nigerians by the actions of their own elected representatives have become a permanent underclass. We have no manufacturing base. We don’t build anything. The factories have disappeared. And so with meaning of life that has value with Nigerians who were once employed by the factories.

Nigerians are under assault. The elite ruling class could care less as long as they placate enough people and as long as they throw enough scraps from the table that enough people get a little bit to eat, change will not happen soon. But, Nigerians are now being pushed to the starving point and very soon they’ll be willing to fight. And I believe that’s the only time when change is possible. When people are finally threatened to the root of life and just couldn’t take it anymore. When they reach the point, then it will signal a critical juncture in our history – when the long awaited change happens.

The legislature is one of the institutions that is supposed to serve Nigerians. It is supposed to care for them. But look at what they are doing to us – complete betrayal of the trust and social contract. The National Assembly is a beautiful metaphor for the hollowness at the core of Nigerian will. How can one explain the complicity and compromise of the legislators for the redundant and ragtag policies and programs of the president? As far as I’m concerned, that’s a failure of will and imagination. This has permeated every institution in Nigeria. The only reason by which Mr. Jonathan can be shaved and shaped into a leader for him to usurp the legislative powers and oversight of a moot legislature.

Nearly daily, Nigeria’s mass media report political corruption. Government bureaucrats from local to national are exposed for having abused their offices for personal gain. The key checks and balances of oNigerians are now being pushed to the starving point and very soon they’ll be willing to fight. ur presidential democratic enterprise that could reasonably be expected to reduce political corruption so far attempted have proved a disaster. The EFCC and ICPC and a slew of anti-corrupt agencies have been nothing else than smokescreens. What we have now is a system in which the economy best serves those who can most effectively corrupt and be corrupted.

We don’t need a fictional George Orwell to tell us Abuja is rotten at its core. Reason: Truth is much scarier than fiction. Proven shocking statistics and personal stories of challenge and hardship made even harder by corruption and political collusion that reward the corrupt and criminals at the expense of Nigerians. The horror created by the ruling class has become a manifest of primal fear, loss of will, and helplessness on the part of Nigerians.

The most powerful force in a leader’s life is love for people. The National Assembly at Abuja don’t love our people otherwise how could the government not work for the people? How could evil reign for so long? How could they remain silent and untouched in the face of all the evils that our people contend with daily?

What will it take them to respond to emergency situation that is ongoing in the country? How many babies would have to be killed before they take action? None of their actions or responses show any alarm. It is crystal clear that they have not responded with alarm that the situation deserves. The immigration recruitment exercise tragedy is the latest horror that has miffed the civilized world and seems to be asking “what the hell is wrong with Nigeria?” There comes a time when Nigerians should ask their representatives: how can this be? And now is the time.

Security provides the foundation for strong leadership. There is no question about it that the legislators have no foundation to lead the people. Nigerians feel insecure while the legislators drift from one mission whenever trouble arises. Because we the people do not feel secure, fear will eventually cause the legislators to sabotage their leadership.

The way they handle matters that affect us proves that they are not wise, accountable, submissive, but selfish. Theirs is a tragic case of leadership gone bad. Their greed and graft have greatly influenced their treachery and wickedness. We’re dismayed to learn that majority of the law makers are extreme opportunists and always think the ends justify the means.

The National Assembly is a divided house. A divided leadership eventually produces a divided nation such that we’re witnessing today – a nation of horror show.

Just as every sailor knows you can’t steer a ship that isn’t moving forward, leaders understand that to change direction, you first have to create forward progress!

byolu@aol.com

 

The views expressed in this article are the author’s own and do not necessarily reflect the editorial policy of SaharaReporters

Expensive leaders, poor economy.


 

President -Jonathan-FEC

The hope of better life for Nigerians after long era of terrible military rule, which culminated eventually into democracy in 1999, seemed dashed with emergence of profligate politicians and flamboyant public office holders who have only succeeded in pauperising the citizenry and deepening poverty in the country amidst stupendous national wealth.
With the coming of democratic dispensation, it was like starting over again for a country brimming with immense talent and potentials that turned into a synonym for everything dirty-corruption at all levels (monumental and petty), human rights abuses, drug peddling, fraudulent practices, immorality, environmental degradation, educational collapse, electoral sham, massive unemployment, power and water outages, hunger and homelessness.

 

Public officials steal and squander hundreds of billions of naira earned from huge production of oil and gas resources with reckless abandon. Nigeria has experienced three distinct leaderships under one political party, the People’s Democratic Party, PDP in the last fourteen years.

From Olusegun Obasanjo, a former military ruler who kick-started democracy, becoming President of Nigeria for eight years, to President Goodluck Jonathan took over after the death of President Musa Yar’Adua, and was re-elected as President in 2011; the squander and misuse of public funds has conitnued unabated even getting more scientific than ever before.

Addressing Nigeria’s socio-economic and political problems had been an uphill task for all the leaders since 1999. But the most traumatic is the Goodluck Jonathan presidency which was compounded by Boko Haram insurgency in which over 20,000 people have died so far including security operatives.

At present, the country’s entire economy revolves around oil with large reserves, which implies that Nigeria has the potentials of a very prosperous economy. In fact, oil accounts for nearly 90 per cent of her revenue, yet, the wealth from oil has not positively impacted on the economy as poverty is still endemic in the country.

Rather what continued to stare us on our faces is devastating lavish lifestyle of leaders from the presidency to ministers, governors, commissioners, local government chairmen, councillors, permanent secretaries, heads of parastatals, directors, board members and so on. However, the most disgusting is the extravagant salaries and allowances earned by members of the National Assembly – Senators and Representatives running into billions of naira every year, while millions of Nigerians are hungry, jobless and virtually homeless.

The executive, legislature and judiciary seemed to have connived in ripping off the people. In other words, the government has continuously shown that the interest of the larger Nigerian population is not its priority.

For instance, the sum of N150 billion is being allocated to the National Assembly as annual budget in which senators received quarterly pay of about N50 million each and House of Representatives members about N40 million each every quarter in addition to multi-million naira constituency projects allowances not accounted for. Also, members of State Houses of Assembly go home monthly with millions of naira.

Ministers and commissioners are paid millions of naira including all sorts of allowances beyond the imagination of the toiling masses whose minimum pay had been fixed at a paltry sum of N18,000 monthly which many states even refused to pay. Yet, state governors get billions of naira as security votes which ended up in private pockets.

Two years ago, N18 billion was budgeted for the maintenance of presidential fleet of planes, while N1.9 billion was set aside for the purchase of an additional aircraft for the President. Before then, it was announced that the presidential fleet was to be upgraded with planes costing N31.5 billion. It should be noted that wealthy nations like Britain have no presidential fleet as the Prime Minister David Cameron travels by the national carrier. The Chinese President also travels by the country’s national airline.

Only recently, the Federal Government approved N2.2 billion for construction of a banquet hall for Aso Rock Villa which evoked outrage of the citizens. Some years ago, the World Bank grant of $8.64 billion facility for growth and poverty reduction in Nigeria was frittered away, while in 2008, we were told that this country has spent $16 billion to reactivate the power infrastructure.

Corruption affects the way money is allocated within the state budget, diverting expenditures away from less lucrative sectors as health and education to high kickback areas.

Sometime in 2012, an investigation by House of Representatives Committee on Finance, Petroleum Upstream, Downstream and Gas Resources, revealed how NNPC under-remitted a sum of N3.098 trillion to the Federation Account between 2004 and 2011 under the watchful eyes of CBN and NEITI.

Two governors in the South/South reportedly bought jet planes – a Bombardier Global 5000 worth $45.7 million and Gulf Stream Jet which cost $45 million. These planes are believed to be used privately and also for official duties. A governor, piloting a private aircraft crashed and was flown abroad for medical attention and is now no longer fit to resume duties after his return . Several ministers are said to be owning private jets and fleet of exotic cars and mansions.

Maintenance of these private planes could be a constant drain on public treasury which can be used to build and repair roads, improve healthcare, education, provide decent housing, electricity and water.

Also, the Federal Capital Territory Authority, FCTA, will be spending N3billion to build official houses for principal officers of the National Assembly.

About 70 per cent of the country’s income is expended on public officers and politicians who comprise less than 1 per cent of a population of 167 million.

According to the CBN Governor, Mallam Lamido Sanusi who said recently, “we cannot develop if we continue to have so much of our resources where government is spending 70 per cent of the nation’s revenue on itself and leaving 30 per cent for the people. Is that a sensible situation?” Ironically, the CBN budgets N300 billion lacking oversight duties of the legislature needed to ensure transparency and accountability.

In 2011, the United Nations Development programme placed Nigeria 156th out of 187 surveyed, saying that Nigeria has been recording constant high economic growth rate that has not produced commensurate employment opportunities and reduction in poverty among citizens.

In 2012, the M.O Ibrahim Index for Africa Governance, ranked Nigeria 43 out of 52 countries assessed. Nigeria’s overall score of 42.0 was no match to African average score of 51.9.

UK-based Economist Intelligence Unit ranked Nigeria as the worst place for a baby to be born in 2013. Nigeria is 80th out of 80 countries surveyed. Infant and maternal mortality is among the highest in the world. Expensive and frivolous lifestyle of the leaders that glorify waste and financial recklessness are responsible for the horrible economic situation of the country.

By Emmanuel Edukugho

Source: Radio Biafra.

Why President Jonathan changed military commanders.


 

President-Jonathan-C-I-C

Indications emerged, yesterday, why President Goodluck Jonathan sacked the service chiefs and appointed new ones.

The sack of the service chiefs, Vanguard gathered, was to prevent an implosion in the Armed Forces that was capable of threatening the country’s democracy.Their sack came less than seven months after a Federal High Court sitting in Abuja, declared the appointments of the Service Chiefs in the country by the President  without recourse to the National Assembly as unconstitutional, illegal, null and void.
Special Adviser to the President on Media and Publicity, Dr Reuben Abati, in a statement, said that President  Jonathan “has in the exercise of the powers conferred on him by the constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria approved the following changes in the nation’s Military High Command:“Air Marshal Alex Badeh takes over from Admiral Ola Sa’ad Ibrahim as Chief of Defence Staff; Major-General Kenneth Minimah takes over from Lt.-General Azubike Ihejirika as Chief of Army Staff; Rear Admiral Usman Jibrin takes over from Vice Admiral Dele Ezeoba as Chief of Naval Staff; and Air Vice Marshal Adesola Amosu takes over from Air Marshal Badeh as Chief of Air Staff.
According to him, “President Jonathan has briefed the leadership of the National Assembly on the appointment of the new service chiefs and will, in keeping with the provisions of the law, request the National Assembly to formally confirm the appointments when it reconvenes.”Earlier court order on service chiefsIt will be recalled that Justice Adamu Bello of the Federal High Court, Lagos, had on June 1, 2013 in his judgment in a suit by Lagos lawyer, Mr Festus Keyamo, filed in 2008 challenging the non-confirmation by the Senate of the service chiefs appointed by the President, maintained that it was unconstitutional, illegal, null and void for the President to single-handedly okay persons for appointment as service chiefs.Justice Bello held that Section 18 (1) & (2) of the Armed Forces Act, Cap. A.20, Laws of the Federation of Nigeria, 2004, is in conformity with the provisions of the 1999 Constitution and do not fall within the category of existing laws under Section 315 (2) of the constitution which any sitting President may by an order, modify its text to bring it into conformity with the provisions of the constitution.
Meanwhile, Keyamo said, that he had been “absolutely vindicated.”I’ve been vindicated — KeyamoSpeaking to AFP, he said: “My appeal to all Nigerians is not to be afraid to approach the courts to ventilate your grievance if government has committed any illegality.”Similarly, the apex Igbo socio-cultural organisation, Ohanaeze Ndigbo, while reacting to the sack of the service chiefs, said it has nothing against President Jonathan’s decision to replace the service chiefs as it was his prerogative to reorganise the nation’s security whenever it was necessary.Secretary-General of the organisation, Dr Joe Nwaorgu, said that only the President could explain the rationale behind the removal of the top military officers and the choice of those officers appointed to take over from them as it is purely a security issue.
One of the removed service chiefs, Chief of Army Staff, Lt-Gen Ihejirika, is from the South East zone.Igbo youths kickBut the Youth Wing of Ohaneze Ndigbo, sees the sack of  Ihejirika, differently, as it condemned same, saying that it was calculated to marginalize Ndigbo in the appointment of new service chiefs. It called on the National Assembly to reject the appointment as it lacked federal character.Also, the Federated Council of Igbo Youths, FCIY, frowned at what it described as a planned attempt to put the Igbo nation in the back seat by the current administration and called on Ndigbo to resist the ongoing alienation of the race.
Reacting to the new appointments, the National Publicity Secretary of Ohaneze Ndigbo Youth, Ikenga Imo Ugochinyere, wondered why in all the new positions shared, there was no person from the South-East considered worthy by President Jonathan to occupy any of the positions.Why service chiefs were sackedIndications emerged, yesterday that the retirement of the service chiefs was effected by President Jonathan with a view to preventing an implosion in the Armed Forces that was capable of threatening the nation’s democracy.Before now, Admiral O.S. Ibrahim, who was the oldest serving military officer in the land was a Course 17 regular intake of the Nigerian Defence Academy; General Onyeabor Ihejirika was a Course 18 regular intake of the Nigerian Defence Academy, NDA while Vice Admiral Dele Ezeoba was a Course 22 intake of the NDA.Ordinarily, the officers by virtue of their years in service or age, ought to have been retired in consonance with the terms and conditions of service of the armed forces (TACOS), but the challenges brought about by the war on terrorism occasioned by the Boko Haram insurgency and President Jonathan’s belief in their capabilities to tame the monster made him sustain the officers in office.However, the sustenance of the very senior officers was causing underground murmuring, disaffection and grumbling among officers because it meant more junior officers, who would have gained promotion or risen to the top echelon of their services may never get there because they would be caught by age on rank or shortage of vacancies for postings, which may lead to early retirement.For instance, while Admiral  Ibrahim was a Course 17 intake, next to him in the Navy, Vice Admiral Ezeoba was a Course 22 intake while their subordinates’ were courses 24 and above with implications that the next looming retirements of officers would have consumed up to Courses 25 and 26, who are the future of the Navy.In the Army, Ihejirika as Course 18 and still serving meant that many of his juniors have gone on retirement and more would still have gone as the army had become top-heavy and there must be weeding out for the triangle to maintain its shape.Need to avert implosionConsequently, an internal explosion was imminent and the question arose, as to whether President Jonathan was unaware of the terms and conditions of service which stipulates 56 years of age and 35 years in service.Moreover, many junior generals, Rear Admirals and Air Vice Marshals were being retired in compliance with the TACOS to the detriment of the armed forces.Vanguard gathered that many of the retiring officers petitioned the National Assembly to bring to the notice of their representatives, the fate that may befall their junior colleagues if nothing was done about the anomaly, though they acknowledged that Jonathan has the prerogative to keep a service chief as long as he wanted.Aside these reasons, Vanguard was told that the President was convinced that the dangers posed by the Boko Haram menace had been sufficiently curtailed by the service chiefs especially with the innovations brought about by Lt. General Ihejirika.Minimah: New Army ChiefRegarding the new appointments, Major General Minimah, who hails from Rivers State and is a Course 24 intake of the NDA, was until his appointment, the Commander, Infantry Corps.He was at several times, Brigade Commander 1 Brigade, Sokoto, and General officer Commanding 81 divisions, Lagos. He was redeployed to Jaji as the Commander of Infantry Corps after the unfortunate bombing of the Armed Forces Command and Staff College by Boko Haram terrorists last year. Minimah was born on July 27, 1959.Jibrin: New  Naval Chief
Vice Admiral Usman Jibrin was at the Defence Headquarters before his appointment. He was at several times, the Flag Officer Commanding Eastern Naval Command, Chief of Logistics at Naval Headquarters and Commandant, Defence Intelligence School. He hails from Kogi State.Rear Admiral Usman Jibrin was born on September 16, 1959 and joined the Navy as a member of the Nigerian Defence Academy’s 24 Regular Course.Amosu: New Air Force ChiefAir Vice Marshal Amosu, the new Chief of Air Staff, hails from Lagos State. At several times, he was the Commander, Presidential Air Fleet, Director of Operations at NAF Headquarters and Air Officer Commanding Tactical Air Command, Makurdi.
Air Vice Marshal Amosu was born on August 1, 1958 and joined the Air Force as a member of the Nigerian Defence Academy’s 25 Regular Course.Badeh: Defence ChiefAir Marshal Alex Sabundu Badeh, formerly the Chief of Air Staff and now Chief of Defence Staff, hails from Adamawa state.
Badeh was born on January 10, 1957 and joined the Air Force as a member of the Nigerian Defence Academy’s  21 Regular CourseBy KINGSLEY OMONOBI, Tony Edike, Ben Agande & JOHNBOSCO AGBAKWURU.

Source: Radio Biafra.

President Jonathan: My Government Created 1.6 Million Jobs In 2013.


By SaharaReporters, New York

In what appears to be an election campaign statement to rebut those who say his government has failed, President Jonathan has in a New Year message to Nigerians rolled out a list of his “achievements” in the past year.

Among them, he claimed his government may have been responsible for an astounding 1.6 million jobs in 2013 alone, but did not clarify where the jobs were filled.

“Our national budget for 2014 which is now before the National Assembly is specifically targeted at job creation and inclusive growth,” he said.

“We are keenly aware that in spite of the estimated 1.6 million new jobs created across the country in the past 12 months as a result of our actions and policies, more jobs are still needed to support our growing population. Our economic priorities will be stability and equitable growth, building on the diverse sectors of our economy.”

Mr. Jonathan did not say anything about the challenge of leading by example, and only referred to corruption and bad governance, which his critics claim he is nurturing in the country, in passing.

“I urge all Nigerians, no matter their stations in life, to rededicate themselves to contributing meaningfully to further enrich our national heritage.  The time for that re-dedication is now, not tomorrow,” he said, referring to the 2014 being Nigeria’s centenary year.

He reiterated that the amalgamation of 1914 was a blessing rather than a mistake, and called on Nigerians as they celebrate the landmark, to continue to work together to be “even greater” as one, united people.

“Whatever challenges we may have faced, whatever storms we may have confronted and survived, Nigeria remains a truly blessed country, a country of gifted men and women who continue to distinguish themselves in all spheres of life, a country whose diversity remains a source of strength.  We pay tribute today, as always to our founding fathers and mothers, and all the heroes and heroines whose toil and sweat over the century made this country what it is today.”

On the issue of peace and security in the country, he said his government will do more in 2014 to further empower the security agencies who are working in collaborative partnerships with its friends in the international community to stem the scourge of terrorism in our country, adding that the allocation of over N600 Billion to Defence and Policing in the 2014 Budget attests to this commitment.

Mr. Jonathan also highlighted, among others:

•    The commencement of the National Industrial Revolution Plan in 2013, aimed at industrializing Nigeria and diversifying our economy into sectors such as agro-processing, light manufacturing, and petrochemicals;

•    Nigeria has moved from a country that produced 2 million metric tonnes of cement in 2002 to a country that now has a capacity of 28.5 million metric tonnes; for the first time becoming a net exporter of cement;

•    A revolution in the agricultural sector, where 4.2 million farmers obtained their fertilizers and seeds directly through an e-wallet in 2013;

•    Nigeria produced over 8 million metric tonnes of additional food in 2013 and inflation fell to its lowest level since 2008 partly as a result, the nation’s food import bill reducing from N1.1 trillion in 2011 to N648 billion in 2012;

•    Between 2007 and 2013, the government has almost tripled the allocation for education from N224 billion to N634 billion; and

•    Nigeria is building strong safety nets and improving access to primary health care under the Saving One Million Lives programme, and in 2013 recruited 11,300 frontline health workers who were deployed to under-served communities across the country.

Mr. Jonathan promised that in 2014, his government will continue to prioritize investments in key sectors such as infrastructure development, power, roads, rail transportation and aviation.

“We shall boost investments in transmission to ensure power generated is properly evacuated and distributed,” he said.  “In this regard, we have already mobilized an additional $1.5 billion for the upgrade of the transmission network in 2014 and beyond.  Government will also strengthen regulation of the sector, and closely monitor electricity delivery to increase this beyond 18 hours per day. We will complete the privatization of the NIPP projects, accelerate work on our gas pipeline infrastructure and also continue to invest in hydro-electric power and clean energy as we monitor the effects of climate change on our economy.”

He said his administration believes that the cost of governance in the country is still too high and must be further reduced, and would therefore take additional steps to stem the tide of corruption and leakages, including curtailing foreign travel by government personnel will be further curtailed.
He did not say how he would recover public faith in his government that has been shattered by his refusal to declare his assets publicly, his protection of corrupt government Ministers and the state pardon granted to his corrupt friends, all being elements that are known to curtail or compromise every government’s best initiatives.

Full text of the statement:

NEW YEAR MESSAGE TO THE NATION FROM PRESIDENT GOODLUCK EBELE JONATHAN, GCFR
DECEMBER 31, 2013
Dear Compatriots,
I greet and felicitate with you all as we enter the year 2014 which promises to be a momentous one for our country for several reasons, including the fact that it is also the year of our great nation’s centenary celebrations. I join you all in giving thanks to God Almighty for guiding us and our beloved nation safely through all the challenges of the outgoing year to the beginning of 2014.

Exactly 100 years ago today, on January 1, 1914, the British Colonial authorities amalgamated what was then the separate Protectorates of Southern Nigeria and Northern Nigeria, giving birth to the single geopolitical entity known as Nigeria.  For us therefore, today is not just the beginning of a new year, but the end of a century of national existence and the beginning of another. It is a moment for sober reflection and for pride in all that is great about Nigeria.

Whatever challenges we may have faced, whatever storms we may have confronted and survived, Nigeria remains a truly blessed country, a country of gifted men and women who continue to distinguish themselves in all spheres of life, a country whose diversity remains a source of strength.  We pay tribute today, as always to our founding fathers and mothers, and all the heroes and heroines whose toil and sweat over the century made this country what it is today.

As I noted, a few days ago, the amalgamation of 1914 was certainly not a mistake but a blessing.  As we celebrate 100 years of nationhood, we must resolve to continue to work together as one, united people, to make our country even greater.

I assure you that our administration remains fully committed to the progressive development of our country and the consolidation of peace, unity and democratic governance in our fatherland. Despite several continuing domestic and global challenges, for us in Nigeria, the year 2013 witnessed many positive developments which we will strive to build upon in 2014.

We have diligently carried forward the purposeful and focused implementation of our agenda for national transformation in priority areas such as power, the rehabilitation and expansion of national infrastructure, agricultural development, education and employment generation.

You may recall that our 2013 Budget was on the theme, “Fiscal Consolidation with Inclusive Growth”, and I emphasized the need for us to “remain prudent with our fiscal resources and also ensure that the Nigerian economy keeps growing and creating jobs”. I am pleased to report that we have stayed focused on this goal.

Our national budget for 2014 which is now before the National Assembly is specifically targeted at job creation and inclusive growth. We are keenly aware that in spite of the estimated 1.6 million new jobs created across the country in the past 12 months as a result of our actions and policies, more jobs are still needed to support our growing population. Our economic priorities will be stability and equitable growth, building on the diverse sectors of our economy.

In 2013, we commenced implementation of the National Industrial Revolution Plan (NIRP) aimed at industrializing Nigeria and diversifying our economy into sectors such as agro-processing, light manufacturing, and petrochemicals. We have also negotiated a strong Common External Tariff (CET) agreement with our ECOWAS partners which would enable us to protect our strategic industries where necessary.

I am pleased to note that as a result of our backward integration policies, Nigeria has moved from a country that produced 2 million metric tonnes of cement in 2002, to a country that now has a capacity of 28.5 million metric tonnes. For the first time in our history, we have moved from being a net importer of cement to a net exporter. Foreign direct investment into Nigeria has also been strong. In fact, for the second year running, the UN Conference on Trade and Development has named Nigeria as the number 1 destination for investments in Africa.

We are witnessing a revolution in the agricultural sector and the results are evident. We have tackled corruption in the input distribution system as many farmers now obtain their fertilizers and seeds directly through an e-wallet system. In 2013, 4.2 million farmers received subsidized inputs via this programme. This scheme has restored dignity to our farmers.

Last year we produced over 8 million metric tonnes of additional food; and this year, inflation fell to its lowest level since 2008 partly due to higher domestic food production. Our food import bill has also reduced from N1.1 trillion in 2011, to N648 billion in 2012, placing Nigeria firmly on the path to food self-sufficiency.

The sector is also supporting more jobs. Last year, we produced 1.1 million metric tonnes of dry season rice across 10 Northern states; and over 250,000 farmers and youths in these States are now profitably engaged in farming even during the dry season.
This Administration is also developing our water resources which are key for both our food production and job creation goals. In 2013, we completed the construction of nine dams which increased the volume of our water reservoirs by 422 million cubic metres.  Through our irrigation and drainage programme, we have increased the total irrigated area by over 31,000 hectares creating jobs for over 75,000 farming families while increasing production of over 400,000 metric tons of assorted irrigated food products.

Fellow Compatriots, I have always believed that the single greatest thing we can do to ensure all Nigerians realize their potential and play a full part in our nation’s future, is to invest in education. The education of our young people is a key priority for this Government. We take this responsibility very seriously and I urge all other stakeholders in the sector to recognize the national importance of their work, and to help advance the cause of education in our nation.

Between 2007 and 2013, we have almost tripled the allocation for education from N224 billion to N634 billion – and we will continue to vigorously support the sector. We have improved access to education in the country with the construction of 125 Almajiri schools, and the establishment of three additional Federal Universities in the North, bringing to twelve, the number of universities established by this administration.

In 2013, we rehabilitated 352 laboratories and constructed 72 new libraries in the Federal Unity Schools; and also rehabilitated laboratories of all the 51 Federal and State polytechnics across the country.

In the Health sector, we are building strong safety nets and improving access to primary health care under the Saving One Million Lives programme. In 2013, we recruited 11,300 frontline health workers who were deployed to under-served communities across the country. Over 400,000 lives have been saved through our various interventions. We have reached over 10,000 women and children with conditional cash transfer programmes across 8 States and the FCT and we intend to scale up this successful initiative.

Our national immunization coverage has exceeded 80%. And for the first time in the history of the country there has not been any transmission of the Type-3 Wild Polio virus for more than one year.We have also eradicated the guinea worm that previously affected the lives of over 800,000 Nigerians yearly. In tertiary health care, we upgraded medical facilities across the country. Two of our teaching hospitals – the University of Nigeria Teaching Hospital in Enugu, and the University College Hospital in Ibadan – commenced open heart surgeries this year after the installation of new facilities.

Fellow Nigerians, I have dwelt on some of our administration’s achievements in 2013 to reassure you that we are working and results are being achieved on the ground. As we enter our Centennial year, there is still much work ahead. We are determined to sustain our strong macroeconomic fundamentals, to strengthen our domestic institutions, and to invest in priority sectors. These investments will create more jobs for our youth. Government will at the same time, continue to scale-up investments in safety nets and the MDGs to take care of the poor and the vulnerable so that they too can share in our growth and prosperity.

In 2014, we will continue to prioritize investments in key sectors such as  infrastructure development, power, roads, rail transportation and aviation. In the past year, the Federal Government completed the privatization of four power generation companies and 10 power distribution companies. We are also in the process of privatizing 10 power plants under the National Integrated Power Projects (NIPP).
We shall boost investments in transmission to ensure power generated is properly evacuated and distributed. In this regard, we have already mobilized an additional $1.5 billion for the upgrade of the transmission network in 2014 and beyond.  Government will also strengthen regulation of the sector, and closely monitor electricity delivery to increase this beyond 18 hours per day. We will complete the privatization of the NIPP projects, accelerate work on our gas pipeline infrastructure and also continue to invest in hydro-electric power and clean energy as we monitor the effects of climate change on our economy.

Our administration believes that the cost of governance in the country is still too high and must be further reduced. We will also take additional steps to stem the tide of corruption and leakages. We have worked hard to curb fraud in the administration of the pension system and the implementation of the petroleum subsidy scheme. We have introduced a Pensions Transition Arrangement Department under a new Director-General. This department will now ensure that those of our pensioners still under the old scheme receive their pensions and gratuities, and are not subjected to fraud. Prosecution of all those involved in robbing our retired people will continue. The Petroleum Subsidy Scheme is also now being operated under new strict guidelines to tackle previous leakages in the scheme and prevent fraud.

Foreign travel by government personnel will be further curtailed. This directive shall apply to all Ministries, Departments and Agencies of the Federal Government. Our strategy to curb leakages will increasingly rely on introducing the right technologies such as biometrics and digitizing government payments.

I am therefore pleased to inform you that we shall complete the deployment of the three electronic platforms in 2014 – namely, theTreasury Single Account (TSA), theGovernment Integrated Financial Management Information System(GIFMIS) and the Integrated Payroll and Personnel Information System (IPPIS) – which are all geared towards improving efficiency and transparency in our public finances. Through these reforms, we have already saved about N126 billion in leaked funds and intend to save more.

To sustain Nigeria’s ongoing agricultural transformation, we have planned further investments in the sector. We will provide input subsidies to five million farmers nationwide using the e-wallet system.  This Administration recently launched a self-employment initiative under theYouth Employment in Agriculture Programme (YEAP), called the Nagropreneur programme. This scheme would encourage our youth to go into commercial agriculture as entrepreneurs and we plan to develop over 750,000 youngNagropreneurs by 2015.

We will also establish new agro-industrial clusters to complement the staple crop processing zones being developed across the country.In 2014, this Administration will continue to work with the private sector to improve financing in the agricultural sector. For example, we will launch the Fund for Agricultural Finance in Nigeria(FAFIN) which will serve as a private equity fund to invest in agri-businesses across the country.

Our Small and Medium scale enterprises (SMEs) will be the bedrock of Nigeria’s industrialization. We have about 17 million registered SMEs, and they employ over 32 million Nigerians. When our SMEs grow, more jobs will be created for our youth. Therefore, in 2014, this Administration will focus strongly on implementing the Nigeria Enterprise Development Programme (NEDEP) to address the needs of small businesses. Our interventions will include helping SMEs with access to affordable finance, business development services, and youth training. In addition, our new CET policies will enable us to support our emerging industries.

We will also intensify our investment promotion efforts abroad, to ensure we bring the biggest and best companies from around the world to invest in Nigeria.

Dear Compatriots, the housing and construction industry is a critical sector in most developed economies. When the housing sector booms, it creates additional jobs for architects and masons, for electricians and plumbers, for painters and interior decorators, and for those in the cement and furniture industries.

Today, I am pleased to inform you that this Administration is reinvigorating our housing and construction sector. We have established the Nigeria Mortgage Refinance Company (NMRC) which will increase liquidity in the housing sector, provide a secondary market for mortgages, and thereby increase the number of people able to purchase or build homes at an affordable price in the country.

In 2014, we will work in a number of pilot states where the State Governors have agreed to provide fast-track land titles, foreclosure arrangements, and serviced plots. This new institution will enable us to create over 200,000 mortgages over the next five years at affordable interest rates. In addition, those at the lower end of the economic ladder will not be left behind as this new initiative will expand mass housing schemes through a re-structured Federal Mortgage Bank and other institutions to provide rent-to-own and lease-to-own options. I am confident that very soon, many more hardworking Nigerian families will be able to realize their dream of owning a home.

In this our centenary year, we will continue our efforts, through theSaving One Million Lives initiative to strengthen primary health care services. We will scale up interventions in reproductive, maternal, newborn and child health, nutrition, routine immunization, HIV/AIDS, malaria elimination, tuberculosis, neglected tropical diseases, and non-communicable diseases. We will pay greater attention to the provision of universal health coverage. Besides the implementation of new initiatives such as my comprehensive response plan for HIV/AIDS, we shall continue to collaborate with global health partners to deliver our health sector transformation agenda.

I am glad that the issues responsible for the long-drawn ASUU strike have been resolved and our children are returning to their campuses. We are committed to making our tertiary institutions true centers of learning for our young people. We will therefore focus on upgrading hostels, laboratories, classrooms, and halls.  As the 2015 deadline for the Millennium Development Goals approaches, we will continue to expand access to basic education for all Nigerian children. Working with State Governments, we shall decisively tackle the problem of the large numbers of out-of-school children in this country. We will also invest in technical and vocational education to promote skills development for our youth across the country.

Nigerian entrepreneurs still lack access to affordable financing, with medium-to-long-term tenors. To address this gap, a new wholesale development finance institution will be established in 2014 to provide medium-to long-term financing for Nigerian businesses. We are working with partners such as the World Bank, the Africa Development Bank, the BNDES Bank in Brazil, and KfW in Germany, to realize this project. Our existing Bank of Agriculture and Bank of Industry will be re-structured as specialized institutions to retail financing from this new wholesale development bank.

In addition to the foregoing, our administration will also do all within its powers to ensure the success of the forthcoming National Conference. The report of the Presidential Advisory Committee on the Conference is undergoing urgent review and the approved structure, guidelines and modalities for the conference will soon be published as a prelude to its commencement and expeditious conclusion.

It remains our sincere hope and expectation that the success of the national conference will further enhance national unity, peace and cohesion as we move ahead to the 2015 general elections.

In keeping with our avowed commitment to progressively enhancing the credibility of Nigeria’s electoral process by consistently upholding the principle of one man, one vote, our Administration will also ensure that the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) receives all required support to ensure that it is adequately prepared for the next general elections.

As peace and security remain prerequisite conditions for the full realization of our objectives, we will also do more in 2014 to further empower our security agencies who are working in collaborative partnerships with our friends in the international community to stem the scourge of terrorism in our country and enhance the security of lives and property in all parts of Nigeria. The allocation of over N600 Billion to Defence and Policing in the 2014 Budget attests to this commitment.

Fellow compatriots, the task of making our dear nation a much better place for present and future generations cannot be left to government alone. I therefore urge you all to be ready and willing to do more this year to support the implementation of the Federal Government’s Agenda for National Transformation in every possible way.

Let us all therefore resolve as we celebrate the new year, and Nigeria’s Centenary, to place the higher interests of national unity, peace, stability and progress above all other considerations and work harder in our particular fields of human endeavour to contribute more significantly to the attainment of our collective aspirations. I urge all Nigerians, no matter their stations in life, to rededicate themselves to contributing meaningfully to further enrich our national heritage. The time for that re-dedication is now, not tomorrow.

I wish you all a happy and rewarding 2014. God bless Nigeria. Happy New Year.

Goodluck Ebele Jonathan, GCFR
President,
Federal Republic of Nigeria
December 31, 2013

President Jonathan’s make believe New Year message, ‘Nigeria remains a truly blessed country’.


President-Goodluck-Jonathan-11

NEW YEAR MESSAGE TO THE NATION FROM PRESIDENT GOODLUCK EBELE JONATHAN, GCFRDECEMBER 31, 2013
Dear Compatriots,
I greet and felicitate with you all as we enter the year 2014 which promises to be a momentous one for our country for several reasons, including the fact that it is also the year of our great nation’s centenary celebrations. I join you all in giving thanks to God Almighty for guiding us and our beloved nation safely through all the challenges of the outgoing year to the beginning of 2014.
Exactly 100 years ago today, on January 1, 1914, the British Colonial authorities amalgamated what was then the separate Protectorates of Southern Nigeria and Northern Nigeria, giving birth to the single geopolitical entity known as Nigeria. For us therefore, today is not just the beginning of a new year, but the end of a century of national existence and the beginning of another. It is a moment for sober reflection and for pride in all that is great about Nigeria.
Whatever challenges we may have faced, whatever storms we may have confronted and survived, Nigeria remains a truly blessed country, a country of gifted men and women who continue to distinguish themselves in all spheres of life, a country whose diversity remains a source of strength. We pay tribute today, as always to our founding fathers and mothers, and all the heroes and heroines whose toil and sweat over the century made this country what it is today.
As I noted, a few days ago, the amalgamation of 1914 was certainly not a mistake but a blessing. As we celebrate 100 years of nationhood, we must resolve to continue to work together as one, united people, to make our country even greater.
I assure you that our administration remains fully committed to the progressive development of our country and the consolidation of peace, unity and democratic governance in our fatherland. Despite several continuing domestic and global challenges, for us in Nigeria, the year 2013 witnessed many positive developments which we will strive to build upon in 2014.
We have diligently carried forward the purposeful and focused implementation of our agenda for national transformation in priority areas such as power, the rehabilitation and expansion of national infrastructure, agricultural development, education and employment generation.
You may recall that our 2013 Budget was on the theme, “Fiscal Consolidation with Inclusive Growth”, and I emphasized the need for us to “remain prudent with our fiscal resources and also ensure that the Nigerian economy keeps growing and creating jobs”. I am pleased to report that we have stayed focused on this goal.
Our national budget for 2014 which is now before the National Assembly is specifically targeted at job creation and inclusive growth. We are keenly aware that in spite of the estimated 1.6 million new jobs created across the country in the past 12 months as a result of our actions and policies, more jobs are still needed to support our growing population. Our economic priorities will be stability and equitable growth, building on the diverse sectors of our economy.
In 2013, we commenced implementation of the National Industrial Revolution Plan (NIRP) aimed at industrializing Nigeria and diversifying our economy into sectors such as agro-processing, light manufacturing, and petrochemicals. We have also negotiated a strong Common External Tariff (CET) agreement with our ECOWAS partners which would enable us to protect our strategic industries where necessary.
I am pleased to note that as a result of our backward integration policies, Nigeria has moved from a country that produced 2 million metric tonnes of cement in 2002, to a country that now has a capacity of 28.5 million metric tonnes. For the first time in our history, we have moved from being a net importer of cement to a net exporter. Foreign direct investment into Nigeria has also been strong. In fact, for the second year running, the UN Conference on Trade and Development has named Nigeria as the number 1 destination for investments in Africa.
We are witnessing a revolution in the agricultural sector and the results are evident. We have tackled corruption in the input distribution system as many farmers now obtain their fertilizers and seeds directly through an e-wallet system. In 2013, 4.2 million farmers received subsidized inputs via this programme. This scheme has restored dignity to our farmers.
Last year we produced over 8 million metric tonnes of additional food; and this year, inflation fell to its lowest level since 2008 partly due to higher domestic food production. Our food import bill has also reduced from N1.1 trillion in 2011, to N648 billion in 2012, placing Nigeria firmly on the path to food self-sufficiency.
The sector is also supporting more jobs. Last year, we produced 1.1 million metric tonnes of dry season rice across 10 Northern states; and over 250,000 farmers and youths in these States are now profitably engaged in farming even during the dry season.
This Administration is also developing our water resources which are key for both our food production and job creation goals. In 2013, we completed the construction of nine dams which increased the volume of our water reservoirs by 422 million cubic metres. Through our irrigation and drainage programme, we have increased the total irrigated area by over 31,000 hectares creating jobs for over 75,000 farming families while increasing production of over 400,000 metric tons of assorted irrigated food products.
Fellow Compatriots, I have always believed that the single greatest thing we can do to ensure all Nigerians realize their potential and play a full part in our nation’s future, is to invest in education. The education of our young people is a key priority for this Government. We take this responsibility very seriously and I urge all other stakeholders in the sector to recognize the national importance of their work, and to help advance the cause of education in our nation.
Between 2007 and 2013, we have almost tripled the allocation for education from N224 billion to N634 billion – and we will continue to vigorously support the sector. We have improved access to education in the country with the construction of 125 Almajiri schools, and the establishment of three additional Federal Universities in the North, bringing to twelve, the number of universities established by this administration.
In 2013, we rehabilitated 352 laboratories and constructed 72 new libraries in the Federal Unity Schools; and also rehabilitated laboratories of all the 51 Federal and State polytechnics across the country.
In the Health sector, we are building strong safety nets and improving access to primary health care under the Saving One Million Lives programme. In 2013, we recruited 11,300 frontline health workers who were deployed to under-served communities across the country. Over 400,000 lives have been saved through our various interventions. We have reached over 10,000 women and children with conditional cash transfer programmes across 8 States and the FCT and we intend to scale up this successful initiative.
Our national immunization coverage has exceeded 80%. And for the first time in the history of the country there has not been any transmission of the Type-3 Wild Polio virus for more than one year. We have also eradicated the guinea worm that previously affected the lives of over 800,000 Nigerians yearly. In tertiary health care, we upgraded medical facilities across the country. Two of our teaching hospitals – the University of Nigeria Teaching Hospital in Enugu, and the University College Hospital in Ibadan – commenced open heart surgeries this year after the installation of new facilities.
Fellow Nigerians, I have dwelt on some of our administration’s achievements in 2013 to reassure you that we are working and results are being achieved on the ground. As we enter our Centennial year, there is still much work ahead. We are determined to sustain our strong macroeconomic fundamentals, to strengthen our domestic institutions, and to invest in priority sectors. These investments will create more jobs for our youth. Government will at the same time, continue to scale-up investments in safety nets and the MDGs to take care of the poor and the vulnerable so that they too can share in our growth and prosperity.
In 2014, we will continue to prioritize investments in key sectors such as infrastructure development, power, roads, rail transportation and aviation. In the past year, the Federal Government completed the privatization of four power generation companies and 10 power distribution companies. We are also in the process of privatizing 10 power plants under the National Integrated Power Projects (NIPP).
We shall boost investments in transmission to ensure power generated is properly evacuated and distributed. In this regard, we have already mobilized an additional $1.5 billion for the upgrade of the transmission network in 2014 and beyond. Government will also strengthen regulation of the sector, and closely monitor electricity delivery to increase this beyond 18 hours per day. We will complete the privatization of the NIPP projects, accelerate work on our gas pipeline infrastructure and also continue to invest in hydro-electric power and clean energy as we monitor the effects of climate change on our economy.
Our administration believes that the cost of governance in the country is still too high and must be further reduced. We will also take additional steps to stem the tide of corruption and leakages. We have worked hard to curb fraud in the administration of the pension system and the implementation of the petroleum subsidy scheme. We have introduced a Pensions Transition Arrangement Department under a new Director-General. This department will now ensure that those of our pensioners still under the old scheme receive their pensions and gratuities, and are not subjected to fraud. Prosecution of all those involved in robbing our retired people will continue. The Petroleum Subsidy Scheme is also now being operated under new strict guidelines to tackle previous leakages in the scheme and prevent fraud.
Foreign travel by government personnel will be further curtailed. This directive shall apply to all Ministries, Departments and Agencies of the Federal Government. Our strategy to curb leakages will increasingly rely on introducing the right technologies such as biometrics and digitizing government payments.
I am therefore pleased to inform you that we shall complete the deployment of the three electronic platforms in 2014 – namely, the Treasury Single Account (TSA), the Government Integrated Financial Management Information System (GIFMIS) and the Integrated Payroll and Personnel Information System (IPPIS) – which are all geared towards improving efficiency and transparency in our public finances. Through these reforms, we have already saved about N126 billion in leaked funds and intend to save more.
To sustain Nigeria’s ongoing agricultural transformation, we have planned further investments in the sector. We will provide input subsidies to five million farmers nationwide using the e-wallet system. This Administration recently launched a self-employment initiative under the Youth Employment in Agriculture Programme (YEAP), called the Nagropreneur programme. This scheme would encourage our youth to go into commercial agriculture as entrepreneurs and we plan to develop over 750,000 young Nagropreneurs by 2015.
We will also establish new agro-industrial clusters to complement the staple crop processing zones being developed across the country. In 2014, this Administration will continue to work with the private sector to improve financing in the agricultural sector. For example, we will launch the Fund for Agricultural Finance in Nigeria (FAFIN) which will serve as a private equity fund to invest in agri-businesses across the country.
Our Small and Medium scale enterprises (SMEs) will be the bedrock of Nigeria’s industrialization. We have about 17 million registered SMEs, and they employ over 32 million Nigerians. When our SMEs grow, more jobs will be created for our youth. Therefore, in 2014, this Administration will focus strongly on implementing the Nigeria Enterprise Development Programme (NEDEP) to address the needs of small businesses. Our interventions will include helping SMEs with access to affordable finance, business development services, and youth training. In addition, our new CET policies will enable us to support our emerging industries.
We will also intensify our investment promotion efforts abroad, to ensure we bring the biggest and best companies from around the world to invest in Nigeria.
Dear Compatriots, the housing and construction industry is a critical sector in most developed economies. When the housing sector booms, it creates additional jobs for architects and masons, for electricians and plumbers, for painters and interior decorators, and for those in the cement and furniture industries.
Today, I am pleased to inform you that this Administration is reinvigorating our housing and construction sector. We have established the Nigeria Mortgage Refinance Company (NMRC) which will increase liquidity in the housing sector, provide a secondary market for mortgages, and thereby increase the number of people able to purchase or build homes at an affordable price in the country.
In 2014, we will work in a number of pilot states where the State Governors have agreed to provide fast-track land titles, foreclosure arrangements, and serviced plots. This new institution will enable us to create over 200,000 mortgages over the next five years at affordable interest rates. In addition, those at the lower end of the economic ladder will not be left behind as this new initiative will expand mass housing schemes through a re-structured Federal Mortgage Bank and other institutions to provide rent-to-own and lease-to-own options. I am confident that very soon, many more hardworking Nigerian families will be able to realize their dream of owning a home.
In this our centenary year, we will continue our efforts, through the Saving One Million Lives initiative to strengthen primary health care services. We will scale up interventions in reproductive, maternal, newborn and child health, nutrition, routine immunization, HIV/AIDS, malaria elimination, tuberculosis, neglected tropical diseases, and non-communicable diseases. We will pay greater attention to the provision of universal health coverage. Besides the implementation of new initiatives such as my comprehensive response plan for HIV/AIDS, we shall continue to collaborate with global health partners to deliver our health sector transformation agenda.
I am glad that the issues responsible for the long-drawn ASUU strike have been resolved and our children are returning to their campuses. We are committed to making our tertiary institutions true centers of learning for our young people. We will therefore focus on upgrading hostels, laboratories, classrooms, and halls. As the 2015 deadline for the Millennium Development Goals approaches, we will continue to expand access to basic education for all Nigerian children. Working with State Governments, we shall decisively tackle the problem of the large numbers of out-of-school children in this country. We will also invest in technical and vocational education to promote skills development for our youth across the country.
Nigerian entrepreneurs still lack access to affordable financing, with medium-to-long-term tenors. To address this gap, a new wholesale development finance institution will be established in 2014 to provide medium-to long-term financing for Nigerian businesses. We are working with partners such as the World Bank, the Africa Development Bank, the BNDES Bank in Brazil, and KfW in Germany, to realize this project. Our existing Bank of Agriculture and Bank of Industry will be re-structured as specialized institutions to retail financing from this new wholesale development bank.
In addition to the foregoing, our administration will also do all within its powers to ensure the success of the forthcoming National Conference. The report of the Presidential Advisory Committee on the Conference is undergoing urgent review and the approved structure, guidelines and modalities for the conference will soon be published as a prelude to its commencement and expeditious conclusion.It remains our sincere hope and expectation that the success of the national conference will further enhance national unity, peace and cohesion as we move ahead to the 2015 general elections.
In keeping with our avowed commitment to progressively enhancing the credibility of Nigeria’s electoral process by consistently upholding the principle of one man, one vote, our Administration will also ensure that the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) receives all required support to ensure that it is adequately prepared for the next general elections.
As peace and security remain prerequisite conditions for the full realization of our objectives, we will also do more in 2014 to further empower our security agencies who are working in collaborative partnerships with our friends in the international community to stem the scourge of terrorism in our country and enhance the security of lives and property in all parts of Nigeria. The allocation of over N600 Billion to Defence and Policing in the 2014 Budget attests to this commitment.
Fellow compatriots, the task of making our dear nation a much better place for present and future generations cannot be left to government alone. I therefore urge you all to be ready and willing to do more this year to support the implementation of the Federal Government’s Agenda for National Transformation in every possible way.
Let us all therefore resolve as we celebrate the new year, and Nigeria’s Centenary, to place the higher interests of national unity, peace, stability and progress above all other considerations and work harder in our particular fields of human endeavour to contribute more significantly to the attainment of our collective aspirations. I urge all Nigerians, no matter their stations in life, to rededicate themselves to contributing meaningfully to further enrich our national heritage. The time for that re-dedication is now, not tomorrow.
I wish you all a happy and rewarding 2014. God bless Nigeria. Happy New Year.Goodluck Ebele Jonathan, GCFRPresident,Federal Republic of Nigeria

Source: Radio Biafra.

CLO Replies Okupe, Says National CONFAB Treasonable.


…Backs Governor Elechi’s View Point

Ignatius Okpara, Enugu

The Civil Liberties Organization, CLO, has aligned it self with Ebonyi state Governor, Martin Elechi ‘s position on the proposed national conference, describing it as an assault on Nigeria’s constitution.

the Senior Special Assistant to the President on Public Affairs Dr. Doyin Okupe

the Senior Special Assistant to the President on Public Affairs Dr. Doyin Okupe

African Examiner reports that Gov. Elechi had last Friday, in his country home Ikwo, Ebonyi state, criticized the proposed Confab, saying it will amount to waste of funds.

CLO’s support for Elechi’s position on the issue was coming few hours after both the presidency and the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, lashed out at the Governor over the anti-national conference statements credited to him.

In a press statement signed by the south east zonal coordinator of CLO Barrister Olu Omotayo, made available to African Examiner in Enugu on Sunday, the human Rights organization hailed Elechi for taking such “bold stand.”

In the statement, the organization insisted that the conference is illegal and treasonable.

The statement reads:

“The Civil Liberties Organisation South-East Zone salutes the courage and wisdom of Governor Martin Elechi, of Ebonyi State, being the first governor and leader in the Southeast to come out openly and condemn in an unequivocal term the proposed national conference.

“The respected Leader and Elder had stated last Friday that he will not participate in the national conference being planned by President Goodluck Jonathan. The governor dismissed the planned conference as ‘a big joke, waste of time, and a distraction’.

“The Federal government in its’ reaction described Governor Elechi’s comments as undemocratic, dictatorial and against the rights of citizens to freely participate in popular discussions. The Senior Special Assistant to the President on Public Affairs, Dr. Doyin Okupe had stated that ‘the issue of participation of the states of the Federation in the national conference is beyond the approval of any states under the control of the PDP- led federal government’.

Okupe went further to state that ‘the national conference is a citizens’ civic responsibility and it is constitutional in the face of right of assembly for citizens’.

“We submit that the convocation of a national conference lacking any enabling law passed by the National Assembly is an assault on the constitution of Nigeria and is treason perse. The Constitution gives only the National Assembly the powers to legislate for the good governance of the country.  “Any other organ whatsoever lacks the powers or legality to determine what is good and the way forward for the country. The over 150 millions Nigerians gave the powers to legislate for the good governance of this country to their representatives in both chambers of the National Assembly”.

CLO further noted, “Suggestion or convocation of a national conference without the legal backing of the National Assembly is a way of looking for another way to governed this country outside the provisions of the constitution and is a treasonable offence.

“The Nigeria Constitution itself provides in Section 1(2), that “The Federal Republic of Nigeria shall not be governed, nor shall any person or group of persons take control of the Government of Nigeria or any part thereof, except in accordance with the provisions of this Constitution”. So the convocation of a national conference is not within the provisions and contemplation of the Constitution, unless the proponents are advocating for a revolution because advocating for what is not in the Constitution of the Federal Republic is calling for a revolution which is treason.

“In a Federal system if the executive attempts to take over or usurp the powers of the legislature then anarchy looms. If there is need for new laws or policies necessary for the good governance of the country, the executive should propose such as a bill to the National Assembly but not to attempt taking an extra constitutional path.

“On the issue raised by Dr. Doyin Okupe that ‘the issue of participation of the states of the Federation in the national conference is beyond the approval of any states under the control of the PDP- led federal government’, he erred because it is incumbent on the states of the federation irrespective of political affiliations to uphold the constitution and resist any attack by any tier of government on the constitution because the Constitution in its Section 1(1), states that ‘This Constitution is supreme and its provisions shall have binding force on all authorities and persons throughout the Federal Republic of Nigeria’.

“Furthermore on the other issue raised by Okupe that ‘the national conference is a citizens’ civic responsibility and it is constitutional in the face of right of assembly for citizens’, it is submitted that all other rights and provisions of the constitution is subject to to the provision of Section 1(1) of the Constitution quoted above which provides for and re enforce the Supremacy of the Constitution of Nigeria over all persons and authorities, so any assembly of persons or group of persons to undermine the supremacy of the constitution in not civic but an unlawful assembly to commit an assault on the constitution which is treason.

“We ally with the position of Governor Elechi, commend his courage and hope that all our other leaders in the southeast will emulate his firmness, truthfulness and courage on national issues affecting the southeast and Nigeria in general”.

Governor Elechi was on Friday quoted as saying that “the National conference to me is a big joke, waste of time and a distraction to Goodluck Jonathan. I’m skeptical about it. It will not achieve anything.

“The constitution gives the National Assembly the power to makes laws and the referendum cannot over ride the deliberations of the National Assembly.

“The best was the colloquium by former President Obasanjo in 2005. There, all segments of national life talked and reached far-reaching decisions. I will still consult my people but if at the end they decided to participate, I will not stop anybody but I will distance myself and be an on-looker.”

Source; African Examiner.

Police To Spend N125.6m On Dogs In 2014.


The Nigeria Police Force is to spend a whopping N125, 629,606 million on its dogs in 2014.

The amount is contained in the Police budget proposal submitted to the National Assembly by President Goodluck Jonathan in Abuja last week.  The presentation was made on his behalf by his Minister for Finance, Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala.

The budget for the dogs is part of the N292,351,812,085 billion budgeted for the police for the year.

A breakdown of the proposal shows that Construction of Force Headquarters (FHQ) dog section barrack offices and kernels will cost N60,081,151m while the Development of Police Veterinary dogs breeding centre, also at the FHQ, Abuja will cost N29, 544,748m.

The Police also budgeted the sum of N35, 993,707 million for the procurement of dogs handling equipment and feeding.

The police also expect to spend N277, 968,292 million on the procurement of arms and ammunition.

Source: SAHARA REPORTERS.

FG is to spend N11 billion to host the national dialogue and the World Economic Forum (WEF) in Abuja.


okonjo

This figure is contained in the details of the 2014 budget breakdown, which states that N7 billion is to be spent on the national dialogue.

Former President Olusegun Obasanjo, on January 18, 2005, requested the approval of N932 million to fund a three-month National Political Reform Conference scheduled to begin mid-February of the same year.

In the breakdown, Obasanjo said delegates would earn N21.68million as sitting allowance and N650. 25 million as allowances in lieu of accommodation.

Also included was N1.7million for return tickets from London, Washington, Beijing and Johannesburg, in addition to N28,800 for return flights to Abuja for the inaugural session and subsequent conference meetings.

Delegates, he noted, would be given N14,400 for airport taxi and local transportation within Abuja. There was provision for, at least, two CVU long wheel cars to be hired and fuelled at N2.9 million.

However, in the case of the Dr. Jonathan administration’s national dialogue, there is no breakdown of how the N 7 billion will be spent.

Besides, N4 billion is to be spent on hosting the WEF in Abuja.

These figures are captured under the Service Wide Vote of the Federal Ministry of Finance for 2014, with other expenses submitted for appropriation to the National Assembly. They include N35,409,859,962 to fund the presidential amnesty programme for the reintegration of transformed ex-militants; N546,300,000 for the presidential amnesty programme for the reintegration/transition safety allowances for 3,642 ex-militants (third phase) and N3,699,933,814 as operational cost for the programme.

Besides, the fund allocated to the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to conduct elections, N21 billion is voted by the Ministry under its service wide vote for election logistics support. There is also N7 billion proposal for payment of outsourced services.

Under the miscellaneous heading of the ministry’s service wide vote in 2014, N27.5 billion is proposed to be spent on unexplained contingency funding; N5,149,600,000 is set aside for adjustments to the recurrent budget and N5 billion for capital cost adjustments.

The capital expenditure of the ministry’s service wide vote is estimated to cost N433,584,612357. From this amount, N100 billion will go to finance constituency projects for legislators of the National Assembly; N62.8 billion for special intervention; N8 billion for national job creation scheme; N30 billion for the sinking fund for infrastructural development; N14 billion for Nigeria Electricity Liability Management Company (NELMCO) and N16 billion for the bulk trader.

In the budget, N5 billion is budgeted to be spent on “2011 election violence and civil disturbance (damage done to public property and places of worship) and N12.6 billion on special intervention Millennium Development Goals (MDGs 1 and 2).

About N10 billion is to be returned to a special account (not specified) and another N10 billion to fund the Multi Year Tariff Order (MYTO) under the electricity provision programme. The government, through the ministry is asking for N25 billion to pay off maturing domestic bonds and N5 billion for payment of local contractors’ debts; N16 billion for Development Finance Institution (DFI) and N4,060,000,000 to fund galaxy backbone infrastructure.

Source: Radio Biafra.

Namadi Sambo’s Furniture, House Upgrade Gulp N2.1 Billion In Four Years-PREMIUM TIMES.


By Ini Ekott

Vice President Namadi Sambo is spending a fortune to furnish and upgrade his official residence and guest house, two projects costing N2.1 billion and lingering since his election alongside President Goodluck Jonathan in 2011.

In three years leading up to 2013, the government has spent a minimum of N300 million annually to furnish and upgrade the vice president’s residence and guest house, according to past and present federal budgets.

The biggest spending -N900 million- for the upgrade and furnishing was done in 2011.

That year alone, N500 million was channelled into acquiring, upgrading and furnishing the vice president’s guest house at Aguda House, while a separate N400 million was spent on purchasing some more furniture and extending the vice president’s lounge there.

In 2012, the government spent additional N437.1 million for the “upgrading and furnishing” of the same guest house, and squandered additional N112 million solely on “household equipment” for Mr. Sambo’s residence.

The installation of Uninterrupted Power Supply (UPS) facilities at the residence, was completed at a whopping N202 million.

This year, the vice president’s Aguda guest house and his residence were furnished at a relatively modest N75.7 million, while landscaping at the residence alone was done at N26 million.

A new guest house for Mr. Sambo, at Yakubu Gowon crescent, Asokoro, was also given N170.7 million worth of furniture.

It could not be immediately confirmed how much of the proposed works have been implemented after spending more than N2 billion, an amount enough to furnish at least 200 primary schools where pupils attend classes under tree shades and sit on bare floors.

Such school furnishings are estimated at an average N10 million per school in the federal budgets.

Used differently, the amount can provide water in at least 200 Nigerian communities, based on the same budgetary estimates of N10 million community water scheme.

Despite the huge funding already, the government has made new allocations for the project for 2014, with the likelihood of even more spending for the vice president’s furniture and upgrading coming in 2015.

If the National Assembly approves a new budget proposal submitted by President Jonathan, as it likely would since previous furniture allocations for Mr. Sambo were not blocked, then the government will spend an extra N123 million on Mr. Sambo’s new guest house at Yakubu Gowon crescent.

Taxpayers will also buy kitchen utensils worth N8 million for the vice president.

The total N2.1 billion for furnishing and upgrading is far ahead of government’s allocation for some key road projects within the same period.

The obscene allocations for Mr. Sambo’s home and guest houses follows a trend that has seen the government repeatedly channel more funds for the convenience of public office holders while key projects suffer.

While the government claims it was cutting the cost of governance to address dwindling revenues and mounting developmental needs, it has for years continued to direct scarce funds for the luxury of its officials, providing them with exotic cars, homes, and other perks while more than half of Nigerians live on less than a dollar per day.

The presidency is one of the biggest beneficiaries of that anomaly.

In 2012, the presidency budgeted N1 billion for feeding, and half a billion naira for cars for President Jonathan and Vice President Sambo.

The car purchase was suspended after public outrage following media reports.

Mr. Sambo’s office has become notorious for some of the administration’s most outlandish spending. The cars the vice president was to receive would have been his second set in two years, having already spent N323 million on cars in 2011.

Also in 2012, the Federal Capital Territory Administration raised an already outrageous N7 billion for the construction of a home for the vice president by adding extra N9 billion to make it N16 billion.

The National Assembly finally blocked that request.

The furnishing and upgrading for the vice president was also listed in 2010, but under relatively modest subheads. The extension of the VP lounge, proposed for N207 million in 2012, was N30 million in 2010.
Furniture/household items
Upgrade
Total

2011
Acquisition, upgrading & furnishing of VP’s guest house at AgudaN400 million

Extension of VP lounge at Aguda house + furnishing of Aguda houseN500 million

N900 million

2012
1.       Purchase of household equipment & materials for VP’s residence  N112 million

2.       Acquisition, upgrading & furnishing of VP’s guest house at Aguda

N230 million

3.       Extension of VP lounge at Aguda house + furnishing of Aguda houseN207.1 million

4.       Installation of UPS facilities at the Vice President’s residence

N202 million
N751.1 million

2013
1.       Furnishing of the new vice president’s guest house at 41 Yakubu Gowon crescent, AsokoroN170.7 million

2.       Furnishing of ancillary offices at Aguda house and new vice president’s residence

N75.7 million

3.       Landscaping of new VP’s residence    N25.9 million

 

Remodelling of the new Vice President’s guest house at #41 Yakubu Gowon Crescent AsokoroN120 million

N392.3 million

2014

1.       Remodelling of the new Vice President’s guest house at #41 Yakubu Gowon Crescent Asokoro N115 million

2.       Purchase of household and kitchen equipment for VP’s residenceN8 million

N123 million

 
Grand totalN2.17 billion

Source: SAHARA REPORTERS.

Former FCT Minister, .nAbba-Gana proposes how to move Nigeria forward exactly 5 days to the expiration of the Zoo.


 

MUHAMMED ABBA-GANA

All over the world countries make constitutions, rules, regulations and social and economic policies which reflect and accommodate their history, well known peculiarities and social, economic, religious and ethnic diversities. That is how the much desired unity in diversity can be achieved or realized – by having sensible rules and realistic fundamental laws for our meaningful existence on our God given, full of resources territory called or named Nigeria.
There is the saying that nothing human is so good that it cannot be improved upon. Therefore, there is always room for some improvement in any human affair. The fact previous efforts at National Constitutional Conferences and Political Reforms have not met our great expectations does not mean that we cannot make Nigeria to work much better for the greater good of all Nigerians.  Definitely, and God willing, we can make our country better and greater.  It is possible.
Now, President Goodluck Jonathan has given all Nigerians another golden opportunity to make Nigeria much better and more efficient by setting up the Presidential Advisory Committee on National Dialogue/Conference. I believe Borno people, like majority of other Nigerians welcome this action of Mr. President.
This can be the roadmap to the realization or achievement of all our lofty and highly desirable National Objectives.
As the inspiring example of President Abraham Lincoln of USA, shows, failures in the past cannot prevent success in the future.  It was said that Abraham Lincoln failed in 31 endeavours, in business, politics and marriage, but finally won election to become one of the best and greatest American Presidents.  He abolished slavery, fought and defeated the Southern States over their slavery policy and prevented them from leaving the union and laid the foundation of the United States of America, which has now become the most powerful and prosperous country in the world.  So, current political leaders of Nigeria should do to Nigeria what Abraham Lincoln did to the United States of America. It is a matter of choice and political will.
In the circumstances we have now found ourselves, it is necessary for the President to avoid all legal obstacles. As a result he has to prepare in good time and send a Bill to the National Assembly to give legal backing to the proposed National Dialogue/Conference and how and which agency should implement the outcome of the Dialogue/Conference should be contained in the Bill.  It may even be necessary to amend certain sections of the current constitution, before the take off the dialogue slated to begin in February, 2014.
It is pertinent to point out at this juncture that with Executives and Legislatures functioning properly and constitutionally at both the Federal and States levels, any call or wish for Sovereign National Conference is a deliberate call for chaos and may be a clever way to disarm an dis-possess the ruling party. On the structure of the conference, it is a matter of common sense that National dialogue/Conference of this nature is better managed, guided and supervised by seasoned administrators of justice.  Therefore I would like to recommend the 1994/1995 Constitutional Conference model to this Advisory Committee.
For the 1994/1995 Conference we had distinguished Justice Karibe Whyte, as the Chairman while Justice Mamman Nasir was the Vice Chairman.  They were highly knowledgeable so all the delegates to the National Conference respected them and the conference achieved its objectives.  There are many highly respected retired judges.  The Chairman can come from the North or South.  The Vice Chairman can come from the South or North.  But their personalities should blend well and they must be team players.
It is necessary that some delegates be elected and some nominated.  There are many distinguished and knowledgeable Nigerians whose ideas and experience can benefit the country but will not or may not like to subject themselves to any electoral process. Therefore, I recommend to the committee that let the conference/dialogue consists of 75% elected delegates and 25% nominated delegates.
To save time, the committee should consider using the existing Federal Constituency where each of the 360 House of Representative members is elected.  So if every Federal Constituency elects one delegate we have 360 elected delegates.  The election can be done through Electoral College arrangement.  For the nominated delegates, 3 or 4 delegates from every state and one for the F.C.T is good enough.  If 3 delegates are nominated from each of the 36 states and one for the F.C.T. The total number of delegates for the conference is 469.  If 4 delegates per state are nominated and one from F.C.T, the total number becomes 505. The nominated delegates should come from various professional, institutions, civil society, religious groups and ethnic groups.
It is suggested that, the nominated delegates, some can be nominated by their states while the Federal Government also nominates some.  The National Council of State may peruse the list of nominated delegates to ascertain their integrity.
A country of Nigeria’s size, population and diversity is a natural federation.  So the present structure of Federal, 36 states and the F.C.T plus 774 LGAs be retained and consolidated.  If Nigerians can change their attitude toward politics, government, religion and business, we can make success of both the presidential and parliamentary Systems.
Any honest researcher of our present political system and its dynamics can discover that only three of the six Geo-political zones – south East, South West and North West (minus Southern Kaduna) can be converted into happy and comfortable regions.  The rest, North East, North Central and South-South Geo-political zones are so diverse that their peoples cannot willingly sacrifice the self-government and independence their peoples now enjoy in their respective states

.nAbba-Gana is former FCT Minister.

Source: Radio Biafra.

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