The Centre for Anti-Corruption and Open Leadership, CACOL, on Friday called on President Muhammadu Buhari to withdraw the Ministerial nominee of Babatunde Fashola.
CACOL said Fashola, who was the immediate past Minister of Work, Housing and Power, had failed to ensure good federal roads within Lagos State and Ogun axis.
In a statement addressed to the President, the Executive Chairman of CACOL, Debo Adeniran also insisted that Fashola failed in Power and Housing sectors while he was a Minister, hence should not be reappointed.
The letter sent to DAILY POST reads: “We wish to draw your attention to some vital issues concerning distinguish men and women, that you have assembled to be part of your cabinet with a view of partnering with you, towards realizing your plan for promoting good governance and accountability.
“We believe that competence; integrity, track record and diligence will no doubt determine the realization of your goals, to birth a new Nigeria in accordance with your avowed commitment towards a socio-political environment in Nigeria, and a rejuvenated, economically virile, peaceful and united country in line with the dreams of our founding forebears.
“Against this background, the Centre for Anti-Corruption and Open Leadership (CACOL) hereby urge your Excellency to withdraw the nomination of Mr Raji Fashola whose name, unfortunately, featured prominently amongst those to be reappointed as a Minister of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.
“Sequel to the letter sent to you on 9th of April 2019, where we demanded that Mr Fashola should not be reappointed based on the fact that he has failed in carrying out his duty in the three portfolios in terms of Work, Housing and Power.
“Suffice it to outline our in-depth analysis on the key portfolios of the outgoing Minister as follows: –
“Deplorable conditions of federal roads within Lagos state and Ogun axis
“In Lagos, deplorable federal roads include the entire stretch of the Oshodi-Apapa Expressway, Lagos-Badagry Expressway, some sections of the Lagos-Ibadan Expressway yet to be touched by the ongoing reconstruction of the dual carriageway and where work has been ongoing, the quality of work has not been impressive
“Within the city, some of the affected roads are the Ijora Causeway and Flyover; Funsho Williams Avenue, Alaka, Custain Roundabout to Eko Bridge ramp and Costain to Iganmu bridge.
“Also affected are Carter bridge roundabout to LAWMA Junction inwards Eko Bridge, Herbert Macaulay Way from Jibowu Junction to Adekunle Junction, Outer Marina to Ahmadu Bello Way from Apongbon bridge to Bonny Camp, Falomo roundabout through Kingsway Road to Osborne Road, Apapa Road to Western Avenue, between Iganmu bridge ramp and Western Avenue bridge ramp among others
“Bad portions on the Lagos-Abeokuta Expressway such as Sango-Ota, Joju, Owode, Ijako, Iyana-Ilogbo and Pakoto have not only become death traps for motorists, but they have made commuters plying the road prone to armed robbery attacks
“Many spots on Lagos-Abeokuta Expressway are in a deplorable state, which of course have made things very difficult for the commuters and motorists. These spots are the Toll Gate area, the Sango Market area, Under Bridge, Joju junction, Oando Petrol Station junction, Owode-Ijako and Iyana Ilogbo, along Lagos-Abeokuta road. Specifically, on Sango-Idiroko axis, you have bad portions at Iyana Ota, Oju Ore, Fowobi Junction, General Hospital, Ota Junction as well as Ota High Court, Iyana Iyesi and the Bells area
“The deplorable state of the iconic Third Mainland Bridge has left many motorists dumbfounded as they continue to lament the fragility of this all-important, connecting bridge. Not only that some portions of the bridge evokes occasional tremor and instability, even on occasions that repairs are done, the quality of work usually leaves much to be desired. The dream of a Fourth Mainland Bridge remains what it is: a dream, as no tangible dateline for its commencement is in sight many years after its official launching. This would have no doubt, ease much of the congestion in movement of people and goods from Lagos hinterland to the surrounding cities
“Apart from the Lagos-Abeokuta and Sango-Idiroko express roads begging for urgent intervention, other federal roads in the state-required major intervention such as Ikorodu-Shagamu road, Shagamu-Ijebu Ode road, Ijebu Ode-Ore are equally in terrible conditions and require urgent attention.
In the area of power, CACOL said Fashola propagated more propaganda during his first term as Minister.
“Power Holding (Electricity supply) and Nigerians’ Experience
“The experience has been that of continuous epileptic power supply even as the power generation availability hovers around 3, 500 to 4, 500 megawatts with tens of billions of US Dollars expended as shortfalls to Electricity Generation Companies (GENCOS)
“Almost four (4) years in the saddle, the Honourable Minister of Power, Works and Housing has demonstrated more of rhetoric and propaganda in protecting electricity consumers from the shylock electricity distributive companies (DISCOS) as more of darkness is supplied as bogus billing system (estimated billings) is enforced with people being hamstrung to pay for power they never enjoyed. The situation remains evenly pathetic, throughout the federation metering of homes and offices remain a pipe dream with different stories of how the exploited Nigerian power utilizing individuals and corporate organizations lick their wound daily, with unimaginable consequences on the entire economy and social activities
“Even with the claim of the power Ministry under Babatunde Fashola that power generation has increased from 4,000 (Four thousand) Megawatts to 7,000 (Seven Thousand Megawatts, Transmission from 5,000 (Five Thousand) Megawatts to 7,000 (Seven Thousand) Megawatts and Distribution from 2,690 (Two Thousand, Six Hundred and Ninety) Megawatts to 5,222 (Five Thousand, Two Hundred and Twenty-two) Megawatts, nothing is on ground to justify this claim as diverse protests rock the nation by frustrated and agonized members of the public who suffer these defects in power supply
“As it is characteristic of Babatunde Fashola’s style of leadership, when confronted with indifference and complacency on deployment of huge quantum of resources on electricity with defaulting companies not brought to book by Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP) and challenged through the Freedom of Information (FOI) Acts, all that could be extracted was the role of an Abuja based company named POW Technologies Ltd that got paid for 19 (Nineteen) items since 2014 but has remained in default of 6 (six) items while palpable failure of many other procurements and contracts remain sketchy till date.”
Highlighting Fashola’s failure in the area of Housing Policy and Result, CACOL added: “Honourable Babatunde Raji Fashola (SAN) while commenting on the housing sector hinted that the pilot National Housing Programme which to him is second in the history of the nation has led to a nationwide housing construction currently at various stages of completion in 34 States of the federation, where landed properties were provided. He also insisted that construction works at these project sites are an ecosystem of human enterprise where artisans, vendors, suppliers and craftsmen are direct beneficiaries as well as contributors to nation-building.
“The Works and Housing Boss opined that the Ministry is also tackling the backlog of issuance of consent and Certificates of Occupancy on Federal Government lands, explaining that a total of 1, 216 applications for Consent to Transfer Interest inland and 1, 300 Certificates of Occupancy were approved and signed.
“However, unlike what was clearly visible under Lateef Jakande’s administration as Minister of Works under General (rtd) Abacha’s regime, most Nigerians continue to lament lack of adequate and affordable Housing scheme under this regime.
“CACOL had written to advice against the appointment of same Babatunde Raji Fashola in concordance with our objective appraisal of his performance whilst he held sway as governor of Lagos state. Today, we have been sufficiently vindicated as his inability to deliver the goods stare us all in the face. It is in view of this noted incompetence that we hereby, express our dissatisfaction of his performance in all those three (3) vital portfolios and call on your leadership to not only relieve him of any future responsibilities, but to probe his office on all supposed contracts given out under him with a view to bring him and others who may be culpable of siphoning and diverting humongous sums of money for work not done.
“Please, accept our esteemed regards as we believe you would view this intervention as our little contribution towards assisting in the greater success of this government, especially during your last lap in office.”
The Senate had on Wednesday commenced the screening of the Ministerial list Buhari sent to them for confirmation among whom was Fashola.
Other nominees include: Chris Ngige, Hadi Sirika, Rotimi Amaechi, Adamu Adamu, Mohammed Adamu, and Lai Mohammed.
Others in the list are Uche Ogah, Emeka Nwajuiba, Sadiya Farouk, Musa Bello, Godswill Akpabio, Sharon Ikeazor, Ogbonnaya Onu, Akpa Udo, and Adebayo (Ekiti).
Also, Timipre Sylva, Adamu Adamu, Shewuye (Borno), Isa Pantami, Gbemi Saraki, Ramatu Tijani, Clement Abam were also declared as part of the nominees.
Paullen Tallen, Abubakar Aliyu, Sale Mamman, Abubakar Malami, Muhammed Mamood, Rauf Aregbesola, Mustapha Buba Jedi Agba, Olamilekan Adegbite, and Mohammed Dangyadi.
AfDB President, Adesina wins All Africa Business Leaders Awards
African Development Bank, President , Dr Akinwumi Adesina received the African of the Year Award from the All Africa Business Leaders Awards (AABLA), Thursday, in recognition of his bold leadership and the innovation of the Africa Investment Forum which “opened up billions of dollars of investment into the continent.”
The ninth edition of the awards, organized by AABLA in conjunction with CNBC Africa, seeks to honour leaders who have contributed and shaped the African economy.
The Africa Investment Forum, inaugurated in 2018, has been a trailblazer in tilting investments into the continent. The second edition of the Forum which was held in Johannesburg, South Africa ended on 13 November. It was attended by over 2,000 delegates and secured investor interest worth $40.1 billion – up from $37.1 billion the previous year.
“It is indeed a great honour,” Dr Adesina said in remarks during the exclusive gala dinner held at the Sandton Convention Centre in Johannesburg, at which the awards were announced. Adesina added that he was overwhelmed to follow in the footsteps of his “big brother” President Paul Kagame of Rwanda, who won the award in 2018. “My heartbeat is to serve the people of Africa,” Adesina said.
The event was attended by an A-list of business leaders, government representatives including David Makhura, Premier of Guateng Province, who gave the opening address. The event also attracted some of South Africa’s leading personalities. Vibrant music was provided by The Muses, a south African all-female string quartet and “Dr Victor And The Rasta Rebels.”
The awards are decided by a jury of continent-wide judges led by Sam Bhembe, CNBC Africa Non-Executive Director, following evaluation of a shortlist of finalists to determine the overall category winners.
Bhembe said the award reflected how the winner would “shape the future of the African continent,” and that the winner would brace the cover of a special edition of Forbes Africa.
In other categories of the 2019 awards, Nigerian Co-Founder of Kobo360, Obi Ozor won Young Business Leader of the Year; Naspers CEO: South Africa, Phuthi Mahanyele-Dabengwa took the Business Woman of the Year award; while Nedbank, won the Company of the Year award.
Adesina dedicated his award “to the people of Africa who inspire me… I do not work alone.” He also said it was very rewarding to be at the helm “of an organisation that paves the way to progress.”
Soyinka, top musical artists, business leaders rally for children’s rights
Leaders from Nigeria’s private sector and entertainment industry on Thursday joined Nobel Laureate, Prof. Wole Soyinka for a reading of his poem A Child Before a Mirror of Strangers, dedicated to children around the world in commemoration of the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC), which celebrates a milestone 30th anniversary this year.
“There is one common bond among all of us — and that bond is childhood,” said Prof. Soyinka. “We have the responsibility to protect and preserve the integrity of that sole common bond, which is pertinent to all humanity.”
The event, a collaboration between UNICEF and the British Deputy High Commission, brought key leaders and influencers from Nigeria’s private sector and entertainment industry together to discuss how these sectors can help advance the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and the realization of children’s rights.
“Achieving the SDGs and achieving child rights go hand-in-hand,” said Peter Hawkins, UNICEF Nigeria Representative.
“Both will only be achieved if all sectors of business are fully engaged. Child rights and the SDGs need to be integrated into business principles, strategies and plans, which, in turn, can contribute to more robust and inclusive economic growth and improved employment of young people. That is good for children, good for business and good for Nigeria.”
With a population close to 200 million people and an ever-increasing youth bulge, Nigeria is experiencing increasing demands on schools and health facilities, and growing challenges for young people to find work, amongst other challenges.
In an appeal directly to children, musician, producer and songwriter Cobhams Asuquo said, “You are all that is right in Nigeria because you are the chance to rewrite all of wrongs that generations before you have done. You have a chance and a clean state to make this country the place we all dream of.”
A strong push will need to be made by all if Nigeria is to meet the SDGs by 2030. The private sector could be a critical key in unlocking opportunities for young people, and also addressing poverty, combatting inequality and tackling environmental problems.
“We are pleased to work with UNICEF, the private sector, and young people themselves on ideas that will contribute to a better Nigeria for current and future generations of children,” said Harriet Thompson, British Deputy High Commissioner in Nigeria.
“With the anniversary of the CRC this year, the 30th anniversary of the African Charter on the Rights and Welfare of the Child next year and only 10 years left to achieve the SDGs, we must work together and with urgency to scale-up solutions in Nigeria that will improve our planet and all people’s lives, especially our children.”
World food prices jump in November – Report
World food prices rose significantly in November, reaching their highest point in more than two years, driven by jumps in the international prices of meat products and vegetable oils.
The FAO Food Price Index, which tracks monthly changes in the international prices of commonly-traded food commodities, averaged 177.2 points over the month, up 2.7 percent from October and 9.5 percent from the same period a year earlier.
The FAO Vegetable Oil Price Index rose by 10.4 percent in November, as palm oil price quotations rose amid robust global import demand, increased use for the production of biodiesels and expectations of possible supply shortages next year. Rapeseed and soy oil values also rose.
The FAO Meat Price Index increased by 4.6 percent, its largest month-on-month increase in more than a decade. Price quotations for bovine and ovine meats rose the most, buoyed by strong import demand, especially from China ahead of year-end festivities. Pig and poultry meat prices also rose.
The FAO Sugar Price Index rose by 1.8 percent from October, buoyed by mounting indications that world sugar consumption in the coming year will surpass production – which is being hampered by less-than-ideal growing conditions in Thailand, India, France and the United States of America.
The FAO Cereal Price Index, by contrast, declined by 1.2 percent amid stiff competition among the world’s leading wheat exporters. Rice values also fell while U.S. maize export prices remained under downward pressure even as those for Argentina and Brazil were generally firmer.
The FAO Dairy Price Index rose marginally from October, nudged up as milk production in Europe entered its seasonal low and global demand remained strong.
Record cereal production expected for 2019
FAO also released a new worldwide cereal production forecast for 2019, anticipating an all-time high harvest of 2 714 million tonnes, which would be 2.1 percent higher than in 2018.
The latest upward revision, contained in the new Cereal Supply and Demand Brief also released today, reflects higher-than-previously predicted coarse grain yields in China, the Russian Federation and Ukraine.
World output of coarse grains including maize is now forecast at 1 433 million tonnes, marginally short of the record level registered in 2017. After an upward revision for the European Union, global wheat production in 2019 is now forecast to rise by 4.8 percent from 2018 to reach 766.4 million tonnes. World rice production is likely to reach 515 million tonnes, a mere 0.5 percent drop from the record set in 2018, with Egypt, Madagascar and Nigeria all poised to spearhead a rebound for African rice production this season.
FAO’s world cereal utilization forecast for 2019/20 stands at 2 709 million tonnes, up around 21 million tonnes from the previous season. World cereal stocks at the close of seasons in 2020 are now expected to reach 863 million tonnes. At this level, the global cereal stock-to-use ratio would approach a relatively high level of 31 percent, underscoring a comfortable global supply situation.
World trade in cereals in 2019/20 is forecast at 416 million tonnes, some 1.1 percent higher than in 2018/19.
Weather hits cereal harvests in East and Southern Africa
There are 42 countries today in need of external assistance for food, according to FAO’s quarterly Crop Prospects and Food Situation report, also released today.
Compared to the September issue of the same report, Zambia, affected by drought conditions and record-high staple food prices, has been added to the list, which includes Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Burkina Faso, Burundi, Cabo Verde, Cameroon, Central African Republic, Chad, Congo, Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, Democratic Republic of Congo, Djibouti, Eritrea, Eswatini, Ethiopia, Guinea, Haiti, Iraq, Kenya, Lesotho, Liberia, Libya, Madagascar, Malawi, Mali, Mauritania, Mozambique, Myanmar, Niger, Nigeria, Pakistan, Senegal, Sierra Leone, Somalia, South Sudan, Sudan, Syrian Arab Republic, Uganda, Venezuela, Yemen, Zimbabwe.
The report also provides details on floods that followed earlier severe dryness, cutting harvest expectations in East Africa, and adverse weather conditions that caused a steep production decline in Southern Africa. Unfavorable harvests and significantly high staple food prices in Zimbabwe, set against an economy that has sharply deteriorated, will likely almost double the number of food-insecure people in the country during the first three months of 2020.
While the cereal output of Low-Income Food-Deficit Countries (LIFDCs) in Africa is expected to decline due to adverse weather that of LIFDCs in Asia is projected to increase, notably in Afghanistan and Syria.
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